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 😉

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!

New Makeup Favorites… and They’re DRUGSTORE Brands!

New Makeup Favorites… and They’re DRUGSTORE Brands!

I’ve ditched a few makeup favorites for drugstore brands (hey… they’re cheaper… and most ended up being better overall for the most part), had to make some changes due to discontinued products (boo!), and added a few newbies to the makeup routine over the past year or so (because, mom skin, y’all… it’s just totally different).

This post will walk you through my typical full coverage makeup regimen, my daily makeup regimen, what has been working well, what could use some improvement, and what products I’d like to try next.

Full Coverage Makeup Regimen

So, since I have been blessed with adult acne, it makes it much harder to get rid of any acne marks quickly.  Aging skin and acne just don’t mix, guys.  That being said, now add skin that is beginning to wrinkle and the fun begins.  Most days I wear fairly minimal makeup, but when I have time I LOVE to play with new trends and see what’s out there that works.  Lately I’ve been all in on drugstore dupes.  I’ve found that I can usually find drugstore brands that work as well (or better… heck yes!) than pricier brands.  I’ve also found that the pricier brands I grew to love changed their lines CONSTANTLY.  So, once I found something I loved they discontinued it.  Bummer.  Here are the steps I take for a full coverage face, what I use, what works, and what isn’t my favorite, but is currently what I use.

Oval Brushes

oval brushes.jpg

And I thought I loved my beauty blender.  You guys.  Oval brushes are a thing and they are LIFE CHANGING.  Now, I’ll have to say they’re not great for everything, but here is what I find them most effective for:

  • foundation
  • blush
  • powder

I think my favorite has to be the foundation brush.  It makes foundation go on so smoothly without clumping, streaking, or absorbing all of the foundation.  I do love the blush and powder brushes for the same reason-effortless blending.

I still use my beauty blender for concealer, highlighter, and contouring.  I also use my eyeshadow brushes for eye makeup.  I found it extremely hard to use the eye makeup flat brushes as they were hard to get an even application with a flat brush.

African Black Soap for Brush and Beauty Blender Cleaner

african black soap

I have tried so many products and different methods to clean my brushes and beauty blenders over the years and NOTHING has come close to African Black Soap.  It even gets my beauty blender completely clean.  The price also can’t be beat!  The. Best. Hands. Down.

Maybelline Master Prime Primer

primer.jpeg

Maybelline’s Master Prime Primer has something for everyone.  They have options for dry skin, redness, large pores, you name it, they’ve got you.  When I’m using full coverage makeup I typically use the redness control because I tend to have a little more redness in my cheeks as I get older.  All of these that I’ve tried have worked better than all expensive primers I’ve tried.  A great primer can go a long way to make your foundation look smoother, which helps provide such great coverage.

Maybelline Superstay Better Skin Foundation

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So, this stuff is magical.  I follow primer up with this foundation.  It’s a great full coverage foundation, is extremely light, goes on smoothly, and stays.  All. Day. Long.  It also doesn’t cause my skin to break out after wearing it like some heavier full coverage makeup I’ve tried.  It also has many different shades, so matching a color is fairly easy.

My only beef with this foundation is that I’m pretty sure it’s being discontinued.  They do however make a non “better skin” version that is still awesome.  I believe the only difference is the normal Superstay version doesn’t contain salicylic acid, which dries your skin anyway.

Maybelline Superstay Concealer

concealer

Might as well keep with the Superstay theme…  I figure if I’m going to use a a Superstay foundation, I might as well follow it up with a Superstay concealer.  This concealer works just as well as the foundation.  I use it on blemishes, redness, and sometimes I even use it as an under eye concealer.  It’s pretty awesome.

This also seems to be discontinuing, however.  I will more than likely replace it with the non-salicylic acid version, which should be just fine.

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Concealer

under eye

The Superstay concealer works for under eye circles, but I’ve notice that the older I get the worse my dark circles get (yay!).  This concealer seems to help combat the dark circles, but my only complaint is that my eyeliner and mascara seem magnetically attracted to this concealer.  Like, they’re besties…

I’m still using it for now until I find something that doesn’t stick to my mascara and eyeliner so much.

Too Faced Shadow Insurance (Replaced by Urban Decay Shadow Primer)

I have used Too Faced Shadow Insurance in Champagne for years.  I loved it because it doubled as a shadow.  It has a slightly shimmery nude base color that’s great for everyday wear or as a shadow primer.  Well, in true Too Faced fashion they discontinued it.  Fail, Too Faced, huge fail.  I’m pretty much on a rally against Too Faced since they’ve discontinued every product of theirs I love.

I received Urban Decay Shadow Primer in a gift from Ulta and it’s serving its purpose well, but I’m not about to shell out a fortune for this stuff.  I’m keeping my eye out for a great drugstore dupe and if I find one, you’ll be the first to hear about it!

Maybelline Master Contour Stick

contour

As a contour newbie, I chose this version because 1. it was cheap 2. it had awesome reviews.  I was NOT disappointed.  It has great color, is easy to blend, and did I mention it’s cheap? Oh… I did?  Ok.

If you’ve never contoured you need to try it-it’s not as hard as it sounds, guys and a little goes a long way.  Find a YouTube video and try it once-I promise it’s not hard!

What I love about this product is it has great pigmentation, blends fairly easily, but doesn’t just blend away.  You know what I mean… I know you’ve all had a product at least once that you put it on, it looks great, then you try to blend it and then think “wait… I just wanted to blend it, where did it go?!”.

My only complaint with this one is that it’s rather odd having a two sided product.  It just keeps getting pointier and pointier as I use it.  How do you fix that?  If you figure it out, let me know…

Maybelline Master Strobing Stick

highlighter

Meh.  I can take or leave this one.  It highlights alright, but I always add powder to my finished face anyhow, so it kind of defeats the purpose.  I don’t typically use highlighter, so I just figured I’d give this one a try since I was using other Maybelline products.

Urban Decay Naked 2 Basics Eyeshadow Pallette

eyeshadow

I know, I know… another pricey one.  I can’t help it-I have searched high and low for a drugstore dupe for Urban Decay’s Naked pallets and it just doesn’t exist.

The high pigmentation, last-all-day wear, and awesome shades don’t exist for a drugstore price.  Sorry, guys, I promise I tried!

Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso

blush

I’ve actually used a cream blush for a few years, but secretly hated it.  Why did I keep using it?  I paid so dang much for it.  It was a Tarte cream blush that I tried to talk myself into liking.  Well, it is now discontinued, so apparently I’m not the only one that couldn’t stand it.

Replacement?  Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso.  Thanks to my awesome sister-in-law (you know, the one that got me hooked on Poshmark…) I have found the holy grail of blush.  It’s cheap, it has high pigmentation, and the shades are gorgeous.  Best of all?  It’s cheapest on Amazon.  Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

Maybelline Shine Free Oil Control Loose Powder & Maybelline FIT ME! Matte and Poreless Powder

When I’m doing full coverage makeup I usually reach for a loose setting powder.  Maybelline’s oil control powder is awesome and seems to last nearly all day.  My sister-in-law also suggested the Maybelline FIT ME!  powder in a compact.  It’s. Awesome.  It gives a flawless finish weather you’re wearing full coverage makeup or just an every day look.  I highly recommend both!

COVERGIRL Perfect Point Plus Eyeliner in Charcoal

eyeliner

I’m not a fan of liquid eyeliner because it tends to look way too harsh around my eyes.  I have used this eyeliner for over 10 years.  Yeah… that’s a long time.  When something works, it works!

Benefit Roller Lash Mascara

roller lash

I’ve tried sooooooooo many different mascaras.  My favorite?  Chanel.  Well, I have expensive taste on a drugstore budget, so Benefit’s Roller Lash is my compromise.  It has what I like about Chanel’s mascara at more of a wallet friendly price.  No, it definitely isn’t cheap, but I have yet to find a drugstore brand that compares.

What I love about this mascara is that it feels almost waxy when being applied rather than a crunchy spider lash feel.  What I don’t like about it is that it always seems to leave marks under my eye later in the day.  But, overall I reach for this one every time.

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water All-in-One Mattifying

micellar

Since I rarely wear waterproof mascara I’ve been using Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water for makeup remover.  It’s gentle, not oily, and seems to help remove most of my makeup before I was my face at night.  It doesn’t, however, remove stubborn waterproof makeup.  You’ll have to take more drastic measures for that one, ladies.

Daily Makeup Regimen

I don’t have time for a full coverage face every day.  What I do make sure to do is have a moisturizer and at least some eyeliner and mascara so my eyes still look like they exist.

Burt’s Bees BB Cream

BB cream

The first step I take is a moisturizer followed by a BB cream.  I feel like my skin never looks good enough to be naked, so this BB cream always does the trick.  Does it cover everything?  Nope, but that’s not the point.  This moisturizes and has an SPF 15 sunscreen while being slightly tinted to give a little smoother complexion.  To further smooth my complexion I add a thin layer of the Maybelline FIT ME!  powder I previously mentioned.

I follow up with the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer.  This gives my lids some color and smoothness without having to apply layers of eyeshadow.  Add the COVERGIRL eyeliner and Benefit Roller Lash mascara and BAM!  A less than five minute effortless day-to-day look.

New Products I’ve Tried

Some products were suggested to me, so I figured why not give them a shot.  My current full coverage foundation is getting low, so I might as well see if something might be a better replacement.

Maybelline FIT ME! Matte and Poreless Foundation and Maybelline FIT ME! Concealer

My sister-in-law/s makeup always looks flawless, so I figured I would try the other FIT ME! products she suggested from Maybelline.  As drugstore products go these were great, but I’m not ready to replace my Superstay with them.  I felt they lacked a little coverage compared to the Superstay line.  It did however feel a little lighter than the Superstay version if that’s what you’re looking for.

Bottom line: I’m still not ready to switch from Superstay.  Yes, it’s still a pretty good foundation, but I still prefer the Superstay from Maybelline.

What I’m Pumped to Try Next

COVERGIRL Clean Matte BB Cream

covergirl bb

My Burt’s Bees BB cream is running low, so I’m tempted to try something different.  While I love the Burt’s Bees BB cream it has a very oily feel to it.  This COVERGIRL version has amazing reviews and is less than half the price of the Burt’s Bees version.  I’ll keep you posted on how it holds up!

CC Cream

I’m also ready to try a real CC cream.  I have funky things going on with my skin and could really use a little more coverage and correction.  I haven’t really found one that is getting great reviews, so I’m open to suggestions!  Anyone have any luck with CC creams?  Let me know!

Save the Trees… and Get Crafty!

Save the Trees… and Get Crafty!

When I was a kid, maybe Kindergarten or First Grade, I brought home a tiny little pine tree and planted it in my backyard.  That little tree lived until a few years ago and had to be cut down.  My parents left the stump because my mom couldn’t bear to see it go, so she made it an adorable little garden.

img_2971

My dad saved a few branches for me, so I decided I had to do something with them.  One branch almost looked like a coat rack all on its own, so that’s what I rolled with.  Thanks to Amazon, I found cast iron owl hooks that went with the branch perfectly.  I screwed the owls onto the branch, drilled two wholes in the branch, then screwed the branch to the wall.  Perfect coat rack!

 

img_3462

A few weeks after making the coat rack my oldest son came home with a few tiny pine cones in hand and said “Mommy, these are so you remember your tree”.  I’m not crying, you’re crying.  Seriously.  So, of course I hung those babies up next to the coat rack (yes… that is our fingerprint family below the pine cones… minus the tiny one).

img_3465

Hope this inspired all of you to get a little creative with your memories!

 

A Force to be Reckoned With

A Force to be Reckoned With

Force of Nature

Alright, guys… I fell for a Facebook ad.  Ok, so it’s not the first time, but hey, it’s worked out well every time I’ve fallen for one, so that’s a good thing, right (just nod your head in agreement… it will make me feel better)?  Maybe I’m a good skeptic and only fall for the ones I know will work out in my favor or maybe I’m just lucky, but back to the original reason I fell for the Force of Nature ad.

No, I’m not talking about a hurricane, tornado, or any other natural disaster: it’s a cleaning product.  One you make AT HOME.  Weird, right?  Now, if you know me well at all you know I hate bleach.  So much so I don’t even know if we currently have a bottle of bleach in our house right now <gasp!>.  But seriously, guys… bleach has been proven to be more harmful than beneficial (don’t just take my word for it… do your own research. No, really.  Do it… you’ll thank me later) and there are other cleaning products out there that disinfect as well or better than bleach.  This ad claimed that the cleaning product is proven to be more effective at disinfecting than bleach, is completely safe around infants and pets (yes, Rem the chiweenie… it’s safe for you, too, buddy), doesn’t stain or discolor fabrics, deodorizes, is cheaper to produce, does your laundry, and cooks breakfast for you.  You can’t just blow up my Facebook feed with these claims and not pique my interest, sneaky marketing people.

Since they had such a “great deal” with a Facebook discount code I decided what’s the harm in just trying it.  I mean, I’m getting a good deal!  Yeah… just let me believe that, k?  So… after it arrived, here’s what happened…

I. Love. It.  No joke-this stuff is amazing!  I’ve been using it for about a year now and I have to tell you… it’s my go-to for cleaning almost anything.  Here’s why I love it:

  • Safe around kids and pets
  • Disinfects better than bleach
  • Doesn’t stain my fabrics
  • Deodorizes (hey… I know you have stinky shoes, too… don’t act like you don’t)
  • Cost effective
  • Refills may be ordered on Amazon… AMAZON, YOU GUYS.  If that doesn’t sell you on this product, I don’t know what will…

How it Works

Force of Nature uses only salt, vinegar, and water that uses electricity to create electrolyzed water making a product that disinfects and deodorizes in a safe, non-toxic way.  A starter kit includes a spray bottle, a mixing bottle, a 5-pack of salt and vinegar mix refills, and the device that electrifies the salt, vinegar, and water to create the Force of Nature cleaner.

The Verdict

The Good…

So far, so good.  I’ve had great luck with it as a cleaner and deodorizer and it is far cheaper than purchasing multiple products.  My favorite part is that it is so safe I sometimes spray down my child’s pacifiers, rinse, and they’re good to go!  It is now my everything cleaner from counter tops, sinks, bathroom counters, stinky shoes, wet dog smell (looking at you, Rem), and any general messes  I come across.  I’ll have to confess I always forget to try it out on carpet stains.  We generally don’t have massive stains in our carpet, but what I do come across I find myself grabbing the Resolve and forgetting all about my handy-dandy cure all on my counter top.

It’s really simple to make the cleaner and even easier to order refills.  I purchase mine on Amazon, because, well… Amazon.

The Bad…

The negatives here aren’t even really completely negative.  They’re more minor annoyances I’ve found, which to me don’t outweigh the perks of having such an effective non-toxic every day cleaner.

My spray bottle has somehow managed to become defunct, which, to be brutally honest didn’t disappoint me, but gave me a reason to purchase a super cute new spray bottle from Target with “So fresh and so clean” emblazoned on the front of it.  Who wouldn’t want one of those???

More on the bottles… the bottle system used to create the solution is, well, leaky.  Maybe it’s just me, but it leaks like CRAZY when I pour the finished solution into the spray bottle.  What do I see when it leaks all of my brand spanking newly created cleaner down the sink?  Literal $$$ down the drain, people.  However, I never use all 12 ounces created in a 14-day time frame anyway, so it’s not that devastating.  It actually just now occurred to me that their customer service may have a solution or a replacement, so… contact them I did.  I’ll update you on how that turns out when they respond.

What’s with 14 days, you ask?  Yeah… there’s another negative.  The ingredients in the cleaner break down over time, so its maximum effectiveness has a 14 day window before it becomes much less effective of a cleaner.

But What Do I REALLY Think?

Totally worth replacing many other cleaners!  My selling points: easy to make, safe, cleans effectively, competitive price.  I found myself cleaning A LOT of things in my house with vinegar.  While that’s fairly effective, vinegar isn’t necessarily safe on many surfaces and stinks.  Like, smells horrible for days. Overall, I can’t say enough good things about Force of Nature as a safe, effective cleaner.  You’ll see it on my counter top ready to kill germs and squash the stench for a long time to come!

The Dos and Don’ts of Online Shopping

The Dos and Don’ts of Online Shopping

 I. Love. Shopping.  I don’t like how much time it takes now that I’m a working mom.  I have become a GREAT online shopper.  Great deals and even greater products in a fraction of the time.

The key to a great online experience is to find what works for you.  Once you nail down what you’re really looking for don’t get distracted by a “great deal”.  I’ve been there… so that funky shirt was only $5.  Doesn’t really matter when you don’t wear it!  $5 down the drain.  Here are some tips to help you avoid the pitfalls of online shopping.

Clothes. Clothes.  More Clothes.

Where to Go

What type of clothes are your favorite?  Chances are you have that go-to store that you absolutely love.  You know how all of their clothes fit and can pretty much pull an item off of the rack and know immediately if it will look good on you.  Well, there are online stores that have the same safe and familiar feel.Two of my favorites happen to be Gap and Old Navy.  I know how their clothes fit, what cuts flatter my body type, and I know the price range I have to work with.

Once you have your go-to sites, keep your cart full at all times-you never know when there may be a pop-up sale… you’ll be ready!  The clothes aren’t going anywhere, so it’s time to have a spending strategy…

Price Tag

I usually have an idea of how much I want to pay for certain items in my mind.  I never pay much for clothes because I tend to favor trendy pieces over traditional lately because I can find great deals.  When I start to feel like I’m starting to be not-so-trendy, I ditch them for some new trends at minimal cost.

Always look for promo codes.  Always.  There are usually great promo codes out there and I rarely settle for anything less than a 30% promo code in addition to items being on sale.  This is when having your cart full comes in handy-once you see a sale and have promo codes, you can decide what items are worth purchasing and which items are still a little too pricey and you can purchase them later.

Shipping

There are very few sites I will pay for shipping.  Most of the time if you purchase $50 or more in merchandise or have their credit card (Gap/Old Navy, Victoria’s Secret, Target).  Sometimes being able to have items shipped directly to your door outweighs the cost of taking the time to drive to the store to purchase items.

Cosmetics/Beauty Products

Promo codes. Promo codes. Promo codes.  There are frequently promo codes or free item promotions for cosmetics from Ulta and Sephora.  Target also frequently has gift card promotions for purchasing a dollar amount of beauty products.  I normally don’t purchase beauty products online unless there is a large giveaway in addition to a coupon.

Although some higher priced products such as Too Faced or Benefit at Ulta are excluded in coupons, they frequently have free item promotions for those product lines.

Amazon

Amazon is one of my favorite go-to online shopping options.  However, I have found that sometimes deals aren’t so great for some items.  Always do a quick Google search on the item you’re considering to make sure there isn’t a high markup.  You never know… another site just may beat Amazon’s prices.

Credit Cards

I’m normally not an advocate of store/company credit cards, HOWEVER, they can be extremely beneficial for online shoppers.  Here are some of the perks they provide:

  • Free shipping
  • Cardholder exclusive sales, promotions, and coupons
  • Loyalty rewards

I never carry a balance on any of my credit cards, so these benefits really help me out when finding the best online deals.  Here are some of the cards that have great benefits to online shoppers:

  • Gap/Old Navy/Banana Republic
    • Free shipping
    • Bonus promotions/sales
    • Loyalty rewards
  • Amazon
    • Free Shipping (with Amazon Prime)
    • Credit applied after application
    • Rewards points on purchases on Amazon.com and anywhere Visa is accepted
  • Kohl’s
    • Bonus promotions/sales
  • Victoria’s Secret
    • Cardholder promotions/sales
    • Rewards for purchases