Amazon Fire Kids 7” Tablet Regularly $147.93 for $49.99!

Amazon Fire Kids 7” Tablet Regularly $147.93 for $49.99!

Thanks to a friend of mine, I came across her Facebook post asking parents for recommendations on tablets. I immediately thought, “Nah… our son doesn’t need a tablet. He uses my iPad. That continually runs out of space. Ok… maybe a tablet is a good idea.” So, I read down the feed and parent after parent suggested the Amazon Fire Kids. They said it was durable, easy to use, you can set time limits, and most said it was affordable. Ok, sounds alright. Then my friend posted a link stating that you can get one for $49.99 shipped from HSN. Hmmm… surely they can’t give a better deal than Amazon, right? Wrong! The same tablet is $99 on Amazon.

After reviewing the tablet it sounds like a decent buy. There is a 2 year guarantee from Amazon, a very durable case, and you can add pretty much any app. There are also parental and time controls available.

I checked out the website and the deals listed and the $49.99 (code 187109) is after a $20 code using MasterPass. Well, I’m not signing up for MasterPass, BUT there is a $10 off coupon code for new HSN users. So, $59.99 shipped (code 10NEW) is still a great deal. I’ll post a review when the tablet gets here. This will be a great Christmas gift!

Want a New Keurig K-Cafe for $121.91? Here’s How!

Want a New Keurig K-Cafe for $121.91? Here’s How!

k cafeI saw a commercial for the new Keurig K-Cafe the other night and decided I HAD to have one.  I mean, it would SAVE me money, right?  Lattes, cappuccinos, you can stick the milk steamer in the dishwasher, and you can use NORMAL K-cups?!  SOLD.  So, naturally I whipped out the old Google only to find out they’re normally $199.99.  Well, to be honest, I didn’t think that was too terrible of a price, but the thrifty side of me said no way… I can do better.

Well, I headed on over to Amazon (per my usual deal finding routine) and their deal wasn’t terrible-$179.99 for the system itself or $199.98 for the system in addition to a 24-pack K-cup sampler.  Ok, cool, but still not good enough for me.

I asked my sister-in-law if she had seen them and being a coffee-holic like me I knew she’d have to have one, too.  She sent me a text back and said “they’re $219 at Kohl’s!” and I thought, “Dang, Kohl’s… you usually have great deals! What gives?!”.  Then, it hit me.  Well, it took a while… it hit me at 3 am, but it hit me.  Kohl’s currently has 30% off online.  Free store pickup.  I’m sure there is also a miscellaneous $10 off for some reason or other.  Are they doing Kohl’s cash right now?!  Does RetailMeNot have a rebate?!  The possibilities are endless!!!!  So, here’s the breakdown:

RetailMeNot

Sign up for a RetailMeNot account if you don’t already have one.  They typically have rebates on all major retailers for some purchase or another.  Yes, even Amazon!  When you sign up with your account, look up Kohl’s on their website to activate their $10 cash back on $110 or more online purchase option.  I’ve had great luck with these cash back deals lately.  I redeem mine via PayPal.  They deposit it right into your account so you can use it on a future online purchase or you can choose to have it direct deposited to your bank account.  Sweet.  Deal.  Next, head on over to Kohl’s.

Kohl’s Deals

Now you’re ready to pile on the savings in your Kohl’s cart.  Add the Keurig K-Cafe to your cart.  Next, apply these deals:

  • APPLE30 -30% off your purchase with a Kohl’s charge
  • NOVHOME10-$10 off home purchase of $50 or more
  • Select store pickup to receive an extra $5 in Kohl’s cash
  • You’ll receive $10 in Kohl’s cash for every $50 spent, so you’ll receive $20 in Kohl’s cash

Alright.  There you have it.  Your grand total will be $156.91, $10 cash back rebate from RetailMeNot, and $25 in Kohl’s cash for a grand total of $121.91.  You’re. Welcome.  Now, if only all of my good ideas would come at a time more convenient than 3 am… I’ll work on it.  Go make yourself a latte!

Update!

Looks like Kohl’s has some competition with Best Buy! Best Buy now has this machine with a bonus of 24 k-cups for $179.99 and a $30 Best Buy gift card with purchase. Score! Either way, you can’t lose. By the way… I’m pretty sure if I had bought as many lattes as I have already made with this thing from Starbucks it would have paid for the machine 😉

Slow Cooker Chili

Slow Cooker Chili

chili
Photo Credit: Betty Crocker

Most of my favorite recipes come from Betty Crocker, so naturally, I happen to love their recipe for slow cooker chili.  This chili has a very short ingredient list, but is very filling since it uses double the amount of ground beef as most chili recipes.  It’s hearty and delicious!  Check out their original recipe here!

 

 

Ingredients

  • 2 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
  • 1 cup frozen chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 can (28 oz) petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (16 oz) chili beans in sauce, undrained
  • 1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1. In 12-inch skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown; drain.
  2. In 4- to 5-quart slow cooker, mix beef mixture and remaining ingredients.
  3. Cover and cook on Low heat setting 6 to 8 hours.

I hope you enjoy this one during the winter months!

I Tried a Few More Pricey Skincare Brands So You Don’t Have To!

I Tried a Few More Pricey Skincare Brands So You Don’t Have To!

I have tried it all.  I mean ALL.  I had flawless skin my entire childhood and nearly through my teens.  I started having acne problems around the time I became a sophomore in college.  Great.  I think I would rather I had suffered from acne in my teens than in college.  Nothing I tried worked.  I went from dermatologist to dermatologist and nothing worked.  Some things worked for a bit, most things dried my skin out like crazy, and others made my skin even oilier.  I wouldn’t say I have oily skin and I wouldn’t say it’s dry either.  I tried diet changes, I tried not wearing makeup, I tried wearing more makeup, I took every over the counter cream, every oral antibiotic, and even… Accutane.  Accutane, guys.  You know, the medication that has too many lawsuits against it to count?  Sure, it promises that if you take it for a few months you’ll never experience acne again.  That worked for a hot minute, then bam.  Back to my normal breakouts.

I had given up all hope and just tried random face washes and topical creams suggested by friends to no avail.  I switched makeup brands now and then and just accepted my fate.  After having kids my skin is all over the place, so every now and then I try different products to see if a miracle will happen.  Here are my reviews of the Dermalogica MediBac and Rodan + Fields Unblemish lines.

Dermalogica MediBac

Dermalogica

Expensive?  You bet.  I sprung for the kit and bought it at Ulta without a discount ($40 and usually a free gift is given online).  I shopped around a bit and found that the full trial kit is about the same no matter where it is purchased.

It is typical to wait a period of 4-6 weeks to determine if a product is working on adult (30-something) skin.  I used the products for around 2 1/2 months or so.  Here are some things I liked about this system:

Pros

  • My skin felt extremely clean after cleansing-very smooth, not oily, but it didn’t seem excessively dry as it does with some other systems.
  • This system uses salicylic acid, so it won’t stain clothes or towels (oh, the horror of benzoyl peroxide…).
  • It is targeted toward adult acne.  Unlike most systems, this is formulated for ADULTS.  Adults get… wrinkles.  Other systems don’t really take that into consideration.  This system does.
  • I liked that this had a night clearing lotion as well as a lotion formulated for day.  The night clearing lotion was targeted toward fighting acne while the day seemed more important to keep my skin moisturized.
  • There weren’t a million steps-just wash, put on a lotion.  It did come with a mask that they suggest using every few days, which I did like.  It was the first mask that I felt actually did anything for my skin.  It felt smoother, my pores felt smaller, and my skin didn’t feel completely dried out like it can sometimes.

 Cons

  • Price.  Each tiny bottle of this stuff runs around $50.  I did however manage to purchase from Target online at a discount (thanks, gift cards from diaper purchases!!!) as well as a discounted price from Nordstrom thanks to Nordstrom Note rewards.
  • The moisturizer doesn’t contain an SPF.  I felt this was rather odd since this system targets adult acne problems.  Most adult systems contain an SPF moisturizer to combat and prevent signs of aging.
  • It didn’t eliminate the core problem I was having: acne.  The system began strong, so I purchased full versions of each item in the system (ouch… that was a mistake).  This was so disappointing when my acne started to return after around 8-9 weeks.
  • It didn’t seem to reduce old acne marks or redness, which was a major reason I purchased an adult acne kit.  For some reason I now have more red pigmentation in my cheeks than I used to.  This product seemed to increase this problem.

Overall this system made my skin feel great, but it didn’t fix the problem: acne.  It seemed to for a while, but then kind of went in reverse, which is what always seems to happen.  After purchasing each pricey item, it all quit working.  Talk about disappointing.  Reluctantly, I moved on to Rodan + Fields.

Rodan + Fields Unblemish

RF

Ugggghhhhh… you guys.  Believe me when I say I did NOT want to have to resort to this.  Why?  I want to walk into a store (ok… really I want to just go on Amazon, but you get the point…), grab whatever product I need, and go, WHEN and WHERE I choose.  So, naturally, I went to Amazon.  Alright, Amazon is charging $190-something for this crap.  NEXT!

Ebay.  Ebay!  I forgot about Ebay! Found the entire kit brand new, sealed and in its original sealed box for $125-woo hoo! Yeah… I know, that’s a discount… insane, huh?

My Unblemish Routine

I modified the Unblemish routine a bit for various reasons.  First of all, the system says to use it once a day until you know how it will affect your skin.  I have a fairly greasy T-zone, but the rest of my face tends to dry out very, very easily (especially in the winter months).  I figured I might be sticking to the once-a-day instructions for this system since benzoyl peroxide can be very drying for skin.

Using the system once daily seemed to work nicely with some dryness, so that’s what I went with.  Here is the routine I’ve been using for the past few months:

Morning

In the morning I wash my face with Cetaphil daily cleanser.  This is a mild cleanser and I figure since I’m not wearing makeup at night it is sufficient to eliminate any oil my face has produced overnight.

cetaphil

Next I apply the Unblemish system’s Step 4 moisturizer with SPF 20.  This moisturizer is very light and helps to repel harmful UV rays while keeping your face matte.  Overall it is a pretty good moisturizer, but I wish they provided the kit with a larger size, especially since all of the other products in the system are significantly larger.

eye creamI follow the moisturizer with an anti-aging eye cream because, well, aging.  I love this moisturizer I found on Amazon.  It has amazing reviews and seems to be helping keep any signs of aging far away.

Night

micellarI use almost the full Unblemish line nightly.  First, I remove any makeup I’ve been wearing that day with Garnier Micellar water.  This product definitely won’t remove any stubborn waterproof makeup, but I’ve found it useful to help get any daily makeup off before washing my face.

Next, I wash my face with the Unblemish Step 1 sulfur wash for at least one minute.  I’ve read that the longer you leave a sulfur product on your face, the better the results.  A full minute is about as patient as I get, which probably isn’t a good thing.

After the sulfur wash, I apply the Step 2 toner.  This is basically like any other toner and I apply it with a cotton round.

Next, the Unblemish Step 3 is a dual pump with what seems to be a benzoyl peroxide product that you mix with a moisturizer.  Since this step contains a moisturizer and I won’t need an SPF product at night I omit the Unblemish Step 4 from my nightly routine.

Lastly, I finish with the anti-aging eye cream that I also use in my morning routine.

Pros

  • My skin feels much smoother and seems to have a more even skin tone.
  • My acne seemed to decrease around my forehead area.  However, I did seem to start getting breakouts on my upper neck, but it resolved itself within a few days when before any breakouts I had would last for at least a week.
  • Because the products are so expensive I FORCED myself to be extremely consistent.  This has also seemed to help my skin improve.
  • I love the convenience of just having a few different steps to the system that are very consistent.
  • I was able to make the product last much longer than the 60 day claim (score for my wallet!) because I only used the system at night and the moisturizer in the morning.
  • It seemed to diminish any fine lines I was beginning to get, which was a very unexpected benefit.

Cons

  • Consultants.  I repeat, CONSULTANTS.  If you love being a consultant and love your product, awesome-you do you, boo boo, but count me out.  I don’t want to have to go through a consultant EVERY DANG TIME I have to order something.  I’m I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T do you know what that mean, man? Now I got the song stuck in your head, didn’t I?  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, climb out from under your rock… here you go… you’re welcome.
  • This stuff is EXPENSIVE.  I mean insanely expensive.
  • The sulfur wash smells.  Horribly.  It makes your face smell like a stink bomb kids used to break in class in elementary school.
  • Benzoyl peroxide stains (bleaches) clothing, towels, and pillowcases.  BUT… I actually haven’t noticed it staining anything, which is odd.
  • It does dry my skin out a little, but moisturizers work fine to combat a little dryness.  We’ll see how I hold up through the dry winter months.  My guess is I’ll need a little more help in the moisturizing department.
  • The one component I was looking forward to the most was a TINY trial size.  Yep… the moisturizer with SPF was tiny.  I guess I could always purchase a similar moisturizer, but if I’m going to commit to something I would like to be consistent and use all of the products, since I’m guessing they work together best.  On the bright side I have found that you can purchase Step 4 on eBay and there seem to be fairly good prices whenever I check.

Final Verdict…

As much as I hate to admit it, I think the Rodan + Fields Unblemish system is the ultimate winner.  I started the system in August and it is now November and I’m still not out of product, which is fantastic.  I do only use the products at night, so I know this has contributed to the longevity of the system.  My skin has never felt smoother or more primed for makeup application without being flaky, oily, or uneven.  It hasn’t completely eliminated my acne, but at this point I’m not expecting any product or system to do so.  I think it’s probably a mixture of genetics, a hectic lifestyle, and stress all rolled into one.  I think these products overall control major breakouts and make the best of acne marked and aging skin.  For now I’m sticking with the Unblemish system and will be finding ways of purchasing the kit from eBay or Amazon.  Yes, I know… I’ve heard all of the horror stories about why I shouldn’t purchase beauty products from such places, but I’m taking my chances.  The first kit I purchased from eBay was sealed in the box, not expired or close to expiration, and was the real deal, so I’ll take my chances.  Hope my honest reviews helped you choose what to purchase so you don’t have to waste money to find something that works great for your needs!

Pinterest Wall

Pinterest Wall

hallway

After scrolling through Pinterest one afternoon, I came across a hallway wall with shelves for photo frames.  The wall was painted a taupe color and a large vase sat in the corner.  As I looked at this pin I thought “Hey!  I have that vase.  I have a ton of photos hanging on my plain hallway wall that looks rather empty.  I could do that!”.  Famous last words… “I could do that!”.

Well, I did do that.  Or… I gathered the things to “do that” and had the hubby paint the wall and hang the shelves for me.

I removed all of my photos from my boring, plain black frames and got more interesting frames (thanks, Hobby Lobby!) for each photo.  I took a round empty coke bottle, swirled some green paint on the inside to give it some color, added a few flowers, and voila!

img_1370

I have to say, I’m very pleased with how it turned out.  Memories are displayed in a creative way that fills the space without just hanging photos on a blank wall.  Thanks, Pinterest!

Are Amazon Deals Always a Great Bargain?

Are Amazon Deals Always a Great Bargain?

Amazon and I are practically besties.  They have everything, I mean EVERYTHING, are usually competitive in their pricing, anything ordered shows up at your doorstep typically in 3-5 days (at least), and their customer service is top notch. So, are those “deals” really good deals?  For the most part I’ve had great success with Amazon.  If their prices aren’t cheaper than most retailers they’re at least close to brick and mortar prices.  There’s also the added benefit of not spending time and gas going to said store, which to me is a win in and of itself.  I have purchased a large variety of things from Amazon from food to diapers and everything in between.  I’ll share a few odd things I’ve purchased from Amazon recently and why I chose to purchase them from Amazon over any other company or brick and mortar store.

Shapewear

shapewear1Yep… I know that’s really odd, but I have yet to find shapewear that meets my expectations.  I fell into the Facebook Shapermint ad trap.  Don’t do it.  Just. Don’t.  You will be so disappointed.  Instead, I found awesome shapewear that rolls very little, doesn’t impede breathing (kind of important…), looks great under clothing, and isn’t uncomfortable to wear all day every day.  Two kids make finding clothes that look cute but not lumpy difficult (those little boogers are lucky they’re freaking adorable because they did a number on my figure).  Ready for the price? $10.99.  No, that’s not a typo!  Probably the only negative for this shapewear is that it is made of a silky material that makes some clothing like pants or tights slide down, but that’s not a deal breaker for me.

shapewear2If the material is a deal breaker I do have a second type of shapewear that I also use from Amazon.  This is a little more expensive at $17.04, but it also does the job and is a great price for a name brand item (Maidenform).  This shapewear tends to be a little more restrictive, but works great.  It might tend to roll a little more than the first one mentioned, but it’s also great shapewear at a great price.

The key to great shapewear is fit.  Always review the size charts provided on Amazon.  Some of the sizing of shapewear is crazy, so make sure you take note of measurements before purchasing!

Lounge Bras

loungeHave you noticed a trend here?  I HATE shopping for shapewear and undergarments.  So, off to Amazon I go.  I previously had Jockey lounge bras and they were great, but didn’t wash well.  They became discolored after wearing darker clothing over them, became very pilled after wearing, and were extremely expensive considering they were only lounge bras.  I figured surely Amazon had a cheaper option and of course I was right!  Just like the Jockey version they have removable cups, they wash much better, and the price tag of $21.98 for four bras is incredible.  Definitely a great purchase!

Side Slit Cognac Booties

bootiesI’ve actually had great luck with shoes on Amazon.  The best advice I have for shoe buying (or any other wardrobe purchases) on Amazon is to read the customer reviews, the fit guide, and the fit section.  Purchasers are usually very truthful and helpful in providing fit feedback.  I also always view all photos uploaded by reviewers to see how the product actually looks on and if it seems of high quality in the submitted photos.

Back to the boots… I was searching for cognac or camel colored booties with the trendy side slit.  I looked everywhere (ok… everywhere online… kids, work… I don’t have time to get out much, people) and couldn’t find anything in a great color with the side slit.  Amazon had what I was looking for!  I don’t typically like paying much for trendy shoes, but I figured $32.99 wasn’t terrible for boots I would get a lot of wear out of, so I sprung for them and I’m glad I did!  They’re no the most insulated or comfortable boots, but they’re great to complete an outfit.  They don’t have a very high heel, which makes them even more comfortable.

Kodiak Muffins

muffinsYes, muffins.  Muffins you can make in the microwave with only water in one minute.  Need I say more?  You can find these guys (in addition to Kodiak flapjacks in a cup, pancake, flapjacks, and muffin mix) in local grocery stores like Kroger and Meijer, but this particular variety is cheaper on Amazon AND it comes right to your door. Sold.

We love these things so much that we should actually be paid for endorsements.  My husband and I make them at work and everyone comes to the kitchen to ask what in the world we’re making because it smells so good.  These muffins are amazing!

Car Seat Protectors

seat protectorsCar seats and gym going takes a toll on my car seats and I hate seat covers, so I figured there had to be a better alternative than old towels that wouldn’t stay on my car seats.  Seat protectors to the rescue!  These have been great for protecting the seat from kiddie feet climbing in and out of the car, car seat indentations, and sweaty gym sessions.  This particular style isn’t currently available, but there are plenty of other options to choose from.

Batteries

batteriesAmazon batteries are a great deal.  They’re so much cheaper than name brand batteries, they last about as long as name brand batteries, and it’s easy to keep them stocked up when toy batteries die every 5 minutes (not that that ever happens at our house or anything…).

 

iPhone and iPad Cases

I typically don’t switch phone cases all that often.  I find one that’s very protective (kids…) and just stick with it until it looks like it’s been through a world war then search for a replacement.  I’ve found that cell phone cases are always cheaper on Amazon, even for name brands like LifeProof and OtterBox.  Of course, you also have to have the fun waterfall cases, because… glitter.

So, there you have it.  Some recent things I’ve found on Amazon that were great deals that I’ve found extremely useful.  I’ll let you know what else I find!