Sunday, January 27, 2013

Candy Cane lotion...BRRR

Around Christmas time, I got a big 'ol bottle of Philosophy Candy Cane body lotion. (yes, "big 'ol" is the official size.) I took a shower this morning and decided to use the lotion post-shower as a pick-me-up. I stayed up way too late last night, so I figured the blast of peppermint would help. And it did...but here is something I learned about the makes you COLD. The lotion makes your skin tingle, and get COLD. It's been 20 minutes, I still have goosebumps, and I'm FREEZING. This is going to be super awesome when it's 100 degrees, but right now when it's 10 degrees outside, I am considering jumping back into the shower to rinse it all off! I am putting this away until about June, and then I'll be taking it up to our lake house where we don't have air conditioning. My air conditioning will be in lotion form.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Skincare Routine

I've had a few conversations about skincare routines with people recently, both online and off. I thought I'd go over my skincare routine here. I used to be pretty inconsistent with facial care..sometimes I washed my face, sometimes I didn't. I didn't give a rip about SPF and most nights I just swiped at my face with one of those makeup removing cloths. (I love those, by the way. I have nothing against them at all, and I still use them sometimes when traveling, when I'm too drunk to go through my whole skincare process, and after working out at the gym. Not that I do that very often. The gym thing. Anyway, I just don't use them every night anymore.)

Then, when I was 30 years old, my father was diagnosed with lung cancer. As a result, I quit smoking immediately, cold turkey. (almost 4 years with not even a drag, what up!) After I quit smoking, I realized how badly smoking had aged my skin. I had lines around my mouth, lines around my eyes, and lines on my forehead. My skin was dull and always looked tired and parched. I decided to crank my skincare routine up a notch (or 12) and really start to take it seriously. I started with using a moisturizer with SPF every day. Today, at 34 years old, I have MUCH better skin. Many of my wrinkles have actually disappeared, and my skin looks smooth and soft. I know that quitting smoking had a ton to do with it, but I also believe that this new skincare routine has basically performed miracles. So here it is, folks.

I start the morning with washing my face. I believe that since a cleanser isn't on your skin for very long at all, since it's rinsed off pretty much immediately, that you can get away with using a cheap, no-frills cleanser. If you don't have acne, I recommend using one that is creamy. The clear see-through cleansers tend to be a little harsher and more drying. I don't have a cleanser that I ALWAYS use. I pretty much use whatever I have gotten on sale or whatever I have gotten as a bonus while buying beauty products. I have about 5 cleansers lined up, so I won't be buying anything new for quite some time! For about the past 2 months, I have been using Olay Regenerist Regenerating Cream Cleanser.

I really like it. It makes my skin feel really clean, it is slightly exfoliating, and it rinses clean. My skin doesn't feel tight after using this, which is my Number One Facial Cleanser Pet Peeve. This retails for about $8, and you can almost always find coupons in the monthly P&G coupon insert in the Sunday paper.

After the cleanser is when I start getting picky. I am pretty much strictly a Philosophy girl when it comes to skincare. It's pricey, more money than I ever thought I would want to spend on skin products, especially because as a general rule I'm kind of a cheap bastard. I have been so incredibly happy with the way my skin looks using Philosophy products, though, I just think there's no turning back. Other than cleanser, I have been using Philosophy products for about a year and a half. Like I said, my skin looks pretty awesome for a 34 year old ex-smoker, and I contribute at least part of the awesomeness to Philosophy products.

After cleansing, I use Philosophy Hope In A Jar with SPF 25 Moisturizing Cream.

This retails for $40. I do not by any means believe that you need to spend this much money on a daily moisturizer. I just happened to get hooked on this one and that's the way it is. I DO believe, however, that you ABSOLUTELY need to be using SPF on your face every day. Olay has some nice moisturizers with SPF and so does Neutrogena, both half the price of the Philosophy stuff. In fact, before I was using this, for 5 years I used Olay Complete SPF 15 Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin. I may go back to it when I am through with this tube, it's great stuff. Anyway, this Philosophy moisturizer feels light and it soaks in right away and makes my skin feel really soft. I also should mention that I love the way Philosophy skincare products smell. It's kind of a light clinical smell, which probably sounds weird, but they smell like they WORK, you know?

Now comes the nighttime routine. I wash my face with the Olay cleanser again, and then I use Philosophy Help Me Nighttime Retinol Treatment. This is my Holy Grail product, the one that I simply will not go without. I swear this product has ERADICATED the fine lines around my eyes. My skin looks brighter than it did before I started using this, and even a little tighter. This is a miracle product, I promise you.

It's $47, and it lasts me about 3 months. Maybe a little less. You just use a tiny bit every night. It is a retinol product, so you want to be careful about being in the sun when you're using this. Some people are more sensitive to the sun when they are using retinol product. I do not happen to be one of those people, but I have heard it's pretty common. This stuff, though, delivers the retinol via encapsulated technology, which basically means it's time-released, therefore more gentle. This product won the Allure magazine's "Best Of Beauty" award for "Best Anti-Aging Treatment".

Lastly, I use Philosophy Hope In A Jar moisturizer. It doesn't have sunscreen, which is why it's my go-to nighttime moisturizer. It's simple, light, and effective.

It's $40 and usually lasts me 2-3 months. Philosophy did just release a Hope In A Jar Nighttime Moisturizer, and I will be trying that as soon as I am done with this jar.

Three times a week or so, in the shower, I use this exfoliating product on my face. Philosophy Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash. This is $26 and I have had mine for probably 6-8 months, and it's a little more than half gone.

I know this seems really expensive, and it is, but there's ways I've found to get my Philosophy without paying full price. The Today Show runs a promotion every few weeks called Steals and Deals, and Philosophy is often featured. The last one was a 16 oz Philosophy Candy Cane shower gel, a 2 ounce jar of the Hope In A Jar moisturizer, full sized Philosophy Purity facial cleanser and a lip balm for $32, which is less than the regular cost of the moisturizer. So I always check those, and then I also check Marshall's and TJ Maxx pretty frequently. They sell Philosophy products at a discount pretty often. They sell the bath products more often than the skincare, but I have seen the skincare there a time or two. Lastly, I make sure to buy the products from Sephora, where I build points for free product and always get free samples with my order, or I buy it when has one of it's "spend $100 and get a makeup bag filled with 18 free samples." Ulta has a rewards program where you can build points to get free products. Basically, if I'm not getting the products at a discount, I try to get it from somewhere that I am at the very least building up points to get more products next time at a discount.

So there you have it!

Thursday, January 24, 2013


I got another Cravebox in the mail today! This is the Back To School Snacks Cravebox. I paid $13 for it. Here we go!

Here's what it looks like, freshly opened.

First we have a white envelope. Inside is...a coupon for a free Earthbound Farm product. To be completely honest, I don't know what Earthbound Farm is, but according to the pictures on the coupon, they have salad bags, frozen fruit, grapes, and other produce.

 That's good, that will definitely get used, assuming my grocery store carries the brand. OK, next!!

A one ounce bag of Veggie Stix. Meh. I am not a fan of veggie chips or stix or stax or whatever you want to call them. Declan will probably like them, though. Oh, Declan is my 3 year old. I don't think I've mentioned him yet.

Next we have a full sized pack of Stride peppermint gum. I like gum. Gum is good.

Up next is a full sized Barilla Mezze Penne with Tomato and Basil sauce, along with a $1.00 off coupon. I have tried this before, it's pretty good.

Now we have three SunRype fruit strips. Declan and I both really like these, so that's awesome.

And an Honest Kids Organic Grape Juice drink. Yum!

Two Handi-Snacks. Pretzels and cheese dip.

That's it.

I gotta say, guys, I'm not super impressed with this one. Only one coupon for a free product. A few full sized  products, but nothing super exciting.

I have another one coming

Free Makeup and Beauty Samples

I just stumbled across a pretty cool website.

On the home page, they have "featured samples". I haven't even completely dived into the website yet, and I have already seen a free Eucerin sample, free Fitness magazine, free Venus razor for Costco's sure nice to have all the latest samples in one easy spot. You can also search freebies by brand.

They also have giveaways...I just entered a giveaway for a $50 MAC gift card.

I also signed up for the email subscription so that all the freebies come right to my inbox.

This is definitely one to check out!

Monday, January 21, 2013


John Frieda was kind enough to mail me a coupon. (Not John Frieda himself. I assume.) It was a buy the Luxurious Volume shampoo and conditioner, get a free Luxurious Volume Fine to Full Blow Out Spray coupon. I noticed that the shampoo and conditioner were on sale at Target for $5 each, so I decided to try them out.

I'm really happy with all three products.

Touchably Full Shampoo

The Touchably Full shampoo, other than it's name, is wonderful. Is "touchably" even a word? Is "touchably full" even a thing?! The name bothers me more than I can explain in words. Anyway, it's a clear formula. The smell is smells like a salon product. The shampoo lathers up quite well, and rinses clean.

 I didn't post a picture of the conditioner because guess what, it looks the same. Just imagine it says "Conditioner" instead of "Shampoo". It's a nice, light conditioner. It's not heavy or thick. Same fresh smell. I left it in for 3 minutes and then rinsed, and I could tell immediately that my hair was much softer.

The shampoo and conditioner retail for $5.99 each.

Fine to Full Blow-Out Spray

The blow-out spray has the same fresh, salon scent. I sprayed it in my hair while it was damp, combed it through, and blew dry. It made my hair much softer and better smelling than usual. I have to admit, the "blow-out" is not exactly one of my skills. I have no idea how people wield a hair dryer and a round brush at the same time, and I don't really know what I'm doing with a hair dryer anyway. I don't blow-dry my hair that often, I'm pretty much an air-dryer. It's possible this product is The Absolute Best Product Ever but I don't realize it because I have no clue how to perform a proper blow-out. Either way, I like the product. It retails for $8.04 at Target.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


I got a deluxe size sample of this in my most recent Cravebox. I tried it this morning. It's a mousse. The directions say to put it in your damp hair starting at the ends and style as usual. I did. The thing is, I don't really "style" my hair. My hair is long and straight and fine and flat and boring. There's nothing to "style". So, I put it in my hair, combed it through, and "styled as usual" which means "air dry while drinking coffee and internetting."

My hair does feel much softer than usual, but that's about the only difference. It doesn't feel that much more moisturized than usual. It smells really good.

Next time I try this, I will give it a fair try by styling my hair somehow afterwards...curling it or something. For right now, I'd say that if I got a really good price on this (less than 2 bucks) I'd buy a full size. The good smell and softness are worth that. This retails for $5.79.

Silky Moisture Whip

From the website: Pantene’s Pro-V Daily Moisture Renewal Whip helps hair feel moisturized for up to 48hours, helps protect against heat damage and regulate hair’s moisture- delivering silky hair that shines.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Free Sample Eucerin Professional Repair Lotion


To ring in the new year, I thought I'd share some of my favorite drugstore products. I have found them all to be cheap and effective.

Olay Complete SPF 15 Sensitive Skin

I have been using this for 6 years now, every single morning. My grandmother used Olay all her life, and when she died in her mid-seventies, she had almost wrinkle-free skin. This stuff absorbs well and has SPF. I get the sensitive skin version because it's unscented, I don't like the smell of the regular formula. This goes for less than ten bucks..usually $8.99 or so, and you can almost always find a coupon in the P&G monthly coupon insert in the paper.

Olay Regenerist Facial Cleansing Cream

This creamy cleanser has gentle exfoliating beads in it. I have just recently started using this, but so far I really like it. It's about 6 bucks, makes my skin feel soft, and rinses easily.

product image

Cover Girl LashBlast 24 Hour Mascara

This is the best mascara I have ever come across. It's about 6-7 bucks with coupons readily available, lasts all day without smudging, comes off easily with facial cleanser, and really thickens my lashes up.

COVERGIRL LashBlast 24 Hour Mascara
Jergens Original Scent Cherry Almond Skin Moisturizer

I like to use this post-shower. It's a classic..great scent, great moisturizing properties, and cheap.

Jergens® Original Scent Dry Skin Moisturizer

Nivea A Kiss of Smoothness Hydrating Lip Care

I consider this the best lip balm out there. I have one at my desk at home, one at work, one in my purse, one in my makeup drawer...I wear it every day, either alone or under lipstick. I also wear it overnight. It's not waxy or sticky, doesn't have an offensive smell or taste, and makes my lips feel really soft. I buy them whenever they are on sale, which is often. They are usually about 3 bucks regularly priced, and Walgreens often has them Buy One Get One Free.


Happy New Year! I thought today would be a good day to talk about products I like to use when I'm hungover. We all have a little too much to drink every now and then, and wake up feeling like death warmed over. That was me this morning. The first thing I do is brush my teeth and use mouthwash. After that, into the shower. For some reason a head to toe exfoliation always makes me feel better. For my face I use Philosophy Microdelivery Wash.

For my body I use whatever scrub I'm trying to use up....right now it's a Cynthia Rowley Almond Sugar Scrub. I couldn't find a picture of it, but here's the oatmeal and honey version. Looks the same.

Then I use a super moisturizing body wash...this is what I used today..

Mega Moisture Heavenly Vanilla

Even my hair feels dehydrated when I'm hung over, so I use a deep conditioning treatment.

After my shower, I slather moisturizer on my face.

Then I use this wonderful little product..this is especially nice in the summer when it's hot, but anytime is good. It's quickly become one of my faves...

Then I drink iced peppermint tea and curse myself for being such an idiot, while promising myself I will never ever ever drink, ever again.