Friday, April 22, 2011

GET THEE TO A CVS

A little less than a week ago, I read this post at Lacquered, Painted, Polished about the author's epic Physicians Formula haul from CVS. She had found a comment on another blog about a printable Physicians Formula coupon good for $5 off any item ... no limits. As in, you could print 100 of them and as long as you had one item to go with each coupon (can't use 2 coupons to 1 item on this), then ... you were solid*. Since CVS currently has this brand at 40% off, she saved almost $90 on her haul - and spent less than $20.

Do I have your full attention now? Good! As soon as I saw that, I rushed to print out a coupon. And then another. And then I kept thinking and printing and thinking and printing. See, I've been lemming the Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing gel liners for a while now, and they come in a lot of different colors now (8 to be precise), and I wanted a mascara since my current one is over a year old (way past the expiration) and I wanted to try their liquid foundation since I haven't been able to find a decent one lately and I wanted to get some for my mom too and ... and ...

So I printed my stack of coupons, tucked 'em in my purse and made a mental note to go to CVS this week. And after a couple of days, I noticed something. First one other blogger posted about the coupon ... then another ... then another ... soon it seemed that the entire internet was in on the deal. Suddenly I was afraid I'd find my CVS's shelves cleared out (it has happened before)!

Well, I finally went tonight, and here's what I got.



I got 2 of the Hazel eyes trio intending to gift one, and there's actually another gel liner package missing from this pic, since I gave it to my mom before I took the photos (oops). So I got 7 PF items for $11.13, saving about $68 in the process. Can you say SCORE!

The gel liner stackers are about the cutest thing I've ever seen. They click together like Legos - and you will be tempted to make a giant tower o' liner if you're anything like me - but the little pots are small enough to be very travel-friendly when separated.

As for the colors, I'm pretty impressed! I do think the "Glam" ones are not as opaque as the original line, but they are still beautiful. See for yourself:



Hazel Eyes trio: brown, purple, and black are not the most original colors in the world, until you look closer. Click the images to enlarge them - see that purple sparkle in the black liner?! STUNNING. The purple liner is a more warm, red-toned purple, to set off greenish tones I assume, and the brown leans a bit greenish. These were the most opaque, and when I went to wash them off, they did not budge. Soap and water did nothing to those lines. I kid you not. I even took a picture, but got it confused with the original swatch pic because they were identical. It took actual makeup remover to clean that off (no scrubbing, though).

Also, the black liner reminds me of a Stila smudge pot from the Barbie Loves Stila collection - Little Black Dress is still available on eBay and Amazon, but I'm glad I never bought it, because this PF liner is exactly what I wanted LBD smudge pot to look like :)



"Glam" Brown [my eye color] trio: gold, copper, and black with coppery-gold glitter. Which, as you can see in the closeup of the pot, looks stunning but does not translate too well on my skin. I had to go over it more than once to make it fully black (that's why it looks so messy) and I still didn't see the glitter in it. The gold and copper are a bit sheer too, but I am okay with that because to me, this trio is a "neutral" set, great for any occasion.



"Glam" Green trio: silvery lilac, icy sage green, and black with silver glitter. You can see the glitter easily in all three colors, but the lilac and green are a bit sheer. Again, they are still beautiful, certainly pretty enough to justify the less than $2 this trio cost me.




The blush (in shade Rose) was less pleasing to me. I love the cute design, I think the packaging is very clever with the brush and mirror under the blush pan, but when I swatched it, all I saw was glitter. I couldn't see any actual color until I opened the swatch pic in Photoshop. Plus, the supposedly mood-enhancing scent was very faint and, y'know, a bit gimmicky. Basically I bought this for the appearance and will be returning it for lack of performance. Other bloggers seem to love this stuff, though, so go figure!

I briefly tried the mascara and found the big fat wand to be curious, but not too awkward. Once applied it looks a lot like my current CoverGirl Lash Blast mascara, so I'll keep it. Since I use Urban Decay's Lash Primer Potion under my mascara when I really want my lashes to look great, the actual mascara itself hardly matters, unless it is very smudgy or makes my eyes burn!

An online friend told me that after I shared this information with her, she told her relative who is struggling financially like so many of us, and who has two tween daughters. She was able to buy about $100 worth of makeup for them for around $20 and all three of them were so happy. When my friend told me about this I felt so glad to have found out about the deal and shared it with my friends. THIS is what coupons are meant to do, help the non-wealthy feel like royalty for a change :)

So in summation: Go to coupon link; print coupons; go to CVS; haul epically. Enjoy :)

*Brief note on the "ethics" of what we must now refer to as EXTREME COUPONING thanks to TLC: It is considered bad manners to abuse the system, many coupon producers track where their coupons are being printed and then refuse to honor the coupon to the retailer if they believe the shopper was "cheating" by printing more than allowed, copying them, etc. In this case, the coupon clearly states the limitations as being one coupon per item, and expiring June 15, 2011. There are no other restrictions to use this coupon. There is no stated limit per person or household. In my opinion, that means you are not doing anything wrong by using more than one of these, since you are specifically not prohibited from doing so. Others may disagree. I know the manager at my CVS seemed harried and disgruntled when he saw my transaction, and he double-checked the coupon details and how many I'd used, but since it was obviously nothing "wrong" he didn't say anything. For more information on coupon ethics, see this post on Nouveau Cheap.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Awards

Is it ironic that my first new post in a while is about a blog award?!

Well, the awesome Amanda (a.k.a. the Snarky Princess/ Snarky P) at The Eyes Have It has chosen to pass along this award to me, whether or not I feel I deserve it ;-)


Amanda does GORGEOUS makeup looks and is an incredible photographer, so when she does a look, you can really see the colors and how she's applied them. I love following her even though I occasionally suffer from blend-envy - she's way more talented than I am with makeup!

Anyway, this is another award that wants me to post 7 things you don't already know about me, and then pass this award to a bunch of other blogs, so here goes:

1. I'm in a new, [very ... very ... VERY] long-distance relationship - I'm not talking a few hours' drive, I'm talking about 5500 miles. Yyyyep. The guy is pretty damn incredible, so he's definitely worth it, but it's already a bit difficult since we have to go MONTHS without seeing each other in person (thank you, inventors of Skype, for your creation, but please fix all the bugs kthx)

2. I met this boy through a YouTube beauty guru! Seriously! It was because of a MAC haul video that I first developed a crush on him. And fittingly, there's a brand-new haul vid up in which my name is mentioned more than once ;-)

3. Speaking of boys, I have 2 brothers: 1 older, 1 younger (we are each 18 months apart), but no sisters. Kind of glad now, even though I always wanted a sis when I was little; realistically, my life would have been a lot different if I'd had to share that spotlight, lol! And anyway, I've got friends that are like sisters to me.

4. Even though my blog has a link to my jewelry shop on Etsy, that's not my "real" career at all. I had hoped it might become that, but basically I've been in sales for ever, particularly home furnishings, and I even have a bit of a portfolio of some of the rooms I've done.

5. I can't sleep very well without some noise in the background! Not dog-barking noise, but either piano music or ocean sounds. Otherwise, all the bumps and strange animal sounds in the night would keep me awake for ages.

6. I originally wanted to be a fashion designer - seriously!!! When I began college, it was at an art school, with a fashion design major! I loved History of Fashion and Fashion Illustration, but damn, those classes do NOT transfer to other majors >.<

7. I'm a pro at opening champagne bottles. Probably because champagne cocktails are my favorite :)

Okay, time to tag some other bloggers!I'm not sure if they're supposed to be "new" blogs or not, but oh well. In no particular order ...

If you are an avid reader, and especially if you love the paranormal, you MUST check out Tynga's Reviews. She does, obviously, reviews, but also interviews with authors, giveaways and more.

Candace of Cinnamon Candies is on a mission! She has eschewed mainstream makeup and is using only indie brand, handmade skincare and makeup. She also talks about DIY beauty tricks.

Several authors contribute to Beauty Raid, where you can see their thoughts on different beauty products.

Fierce Nerditude: I swear, it's not just because of the super sweet background and banner!

And Victoria, the creator of all the stunningly beautiful eyeshadows at Persephone Minerals, has a great blog called Persephone's Playground where she talks about her own line's future as well as the other brands she loves!

I'm bored of sifting through all the blogs I follow so those are all I'm going to award! Thanks again to Amanda for the award!

**EDIT: Through Candace's blog award post, I found a blog I hadn't seen before, and from there I found this one: The Make up Fairy, which I think is deserving of this award as well! She's currently doing a MAC free week, which I love since I own no MAC aside from 2 lippies!**

Monday, April 11, 2011

Summer Bunny Giveaway

April continues to confuse me with its crazy weather - 80ยบ one day, then suddenly I'm driving through a hailstorm - but we can look forward to an awesome summer with Kiss an Makeup's Summer Bunny Giveaway!!!

I must admit, the first thing to catch my eye was not the Too Faced Shadow Insurance (I finally bought myself some a few weeks ago!) or even the pretty makeup bag. It was the Pacifica body butter in one of my all-time favorite scents, Hawaiian Ruby Guava!


To see more information or enter to win, head over here!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Amber needs your help

Whether you are a blog writer yourself, or an avid reader, or both, you probably have a pretty good idea of how much love and hard work can go into blogging.

Imagine that you poured your heart and soul into your blog for two years and then someone came along and ripped you off - your title, concept, even going so far as to trademark YOUR catchphrase.

Well, that's what is happening to Amber at Shoeperwoman - all the work and effort and passion that have made her blog into a huge success are now being undermined by one Laura Blake, who is setting up her own domain and attempting to trademark what someone else, Amber, created. Not only has she begun a Shoeper-woman blog, with extremely similar content (though far lower quality), she has set up a shop in which shoes are for sale - all using the name Shoeper-woman.

Does inserting that hyphen make it an entirely new idea? What would Disney-land be like? How about Harry-Potter?

Imitation is only the sincerest form of flattery until it threatens the originator's livelihood, which is exactly what this woman will do if she successfully trademarks Amber's work. Amber would no longer be able to use the terms she herself invented, including Shoeperwoman, shoeper-hero, shoeper-man, etc. without legal repercussions. In fact, she is already being threatened for "harassment" and "cyber-bullying" - just for writing a blog post to explain the situation.

Blake has already set up Twitter and Facebook accounts using the Shoeperwoman name, and new readers may find themselves following the thief instead of the creative genius. That's where we come in. Whether you have a blog following (big or small!), Twitter followers, a Facebook fan page or just yourself and friends, you can help Amber by linking to the original Shoeperwoman using the full name as the link text as I've done here (to help ensure the right one comes up in Google search), spreading the word about the situation, and/ or offering legal advice if you are qualified to do so.

This is my small but sincere contribution to Shoeperwoman. I hope you'll do what you can, too.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Aromaleigh, Inglot, and More, oh my!

Sorry, I can never name three things in a row without adding "oh my!"

Sophie over at Ethereal Beauty is very excited to do her first blog giveaway, and has gone wayyyy overboard with the prize, which adds up to more than $150 worth of items :O Her generosity extends as far as allowing the winner to choose their own Inglot pigment as part of the prize, so if you've been hearing all the hype about this Polish brand that is new to the US, this could be your chance to try it! Plus, there is a good amount of Aromaleigh in there, a brand you can no longer order from as it has gone out of business!


Enter HERE to win!

Giveaway on an awesome blog

I love to follow blogs written by people in different countries - sometimes I feel so ignorant about how other people live in other parts of the world, and then it's just fun to see how similar and different everything is around the world - and Emily's Anthology is no exception!

Emily is Malaysian and has also lived in Australia, so she definitely has some new and different things to share. But she also likes more well-known brands like Urban Decay, and is including the Book of Shadows in her 100 Followers Giveaway:


You should follow her blog for sure, and you can enter to win her giveaway here!

But it's trendy!

Sometimes we get sucked in by the lure of fame when looking at a product - the fame of a celebrity spokesperson, and the fame of the "special ingredient" itself.


Argan oil is one such ingredient that has been getting a lot of attention lately, and Josie Maran was one of the first to hop onto that bandwagon with her own line of Argan oil-infused products. If you don't know what it is, Argan oil (sometimes referred to as Moroccan oil, since that is where all of the oil comes from) is a rich oil that is purported to have many benefits, including skin and hair repair. The oil currently in use is said to be produced by a women's cooperative which shares profits among the women of the tribe.

That's all well and good, but does it work? You'll find many glowing reviews online from women who have tried it, in one form or another, and fell in love; well, it happened to me too. Since the beginning of this year, I have been using the oil (100% oil, nothing else in there) as moisturizer and my skin loves it, so I recently decided to add this miracle oil to my haircare lineup as well (you can absolutely use the pure oil on your hair, it's even recommended that you do, but I didn't want to use mine up that much faster).

But - as the name of this blog should suggest - I could never bring myself to pay the rather inflated prices of some brands who buy up all the advertising ... sending out tons of free product to YouTube gurus who don't have the less expensive version to compare it to. I'm willing to bet that those reviewers would not find any differences between those bigger brands and the ones with identical ingredients but lower price points.

Sorry to pick on you, Ms. Maran, but being stocked at Sephora, this brand is probably the best-known! Josie Maran's Organic Argan Oil is the exact same product as the Eden Allure oil I have been using for about four months now, but the most economical bottle of it (4oz limited edition bottle at Sephora) costs $24 per oz, and smaller bottles cost $28 per oz, while Eden Allure's oil (the exact same kind!) costs $18 per oz for a smaller bottle and just under $14 per oz for the standard 2.2oz bottle. If that wasn't clear: The exact same product sells for twice as much at Sephora (shocking, right)! But it gets better - raw Argan oil can be found on Amazon for as little as $8 per oz, for, yes, the exact same product!*

Haircare is a similar story. The Argan Oil Hair Serum Sephora carries costs $15 per oz minimum, and has almost the same ingredient list as the Organix Moroccan Argan Oil Penetrating Oil (quite a name), which retails for around $2 per oz! However, in this case they are not exactly the same product; just very, very close. But let me tell you, after just three uses with this product, my hair is actually softer and silkier than it already was (people have always loved to stroke and pet my hair ^_^;) and shiny, too! Plus, I got this stuff on sale for just $5 at Safeway - for a 4oz bottle that should last me the rest of this year.

I think this post can be summarized quite neatly in one sentence: Don't pay twice as much as you need to, but do get some Argan oil into your beauty routine.

*Some versions of Argan oil have had the scent removed, Eden Allure being one of those; otherwise it has a nutty scent that not everyone likes. That is the only difference between any of the 100% Argan oil products you can buy, as far as I'm aware.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

horsefeathers Liquid Sunshine blog party

*WARNING* This is a long, wordy post!
Olivia over at horsefeathers blog is hosting a blog party and massive giveaway from April 2 - 10th, and I decided to enter! Basically, you answer some or all of the questions in this Q&A and then link it to her original post here.


I ended up answering all of them. Here are my responses!
Favorite season, and why? I have to say spring, just because summer here in California can be uncomfortable sometimes – I don't enjoy 100+ degree days! But I love sunny days when you can walk around in light clothes and feel perfectly comfortable and cheerful.
How would you describe your personal style? Fun in a subtle way. I do experiment with bright colors or different trends at times, but I really don't ever go over-the-top or follow a trend that doesn't actually look good (harem pants, I'm looking at you)!
What's one weird thing you can do? (The stranger the better!) I can use willpower to change the way I feel physically. Ha, that sounds crazy, but generally I would just convince myself I wasn't freezing cold or that tickling had no effect on me (past tense because I have somewhat lost my touch)!
Rain or shine? Shine please, unless it's over 85 degrees out, then I'll take that rain!
Confession time... what's a flaw of yours? I always forget to reciprocate in polite conversation – you know, someone asks how your family is doing, and you're supposed to ask them once you've responded. I have many more flaws too of course!
Favorite music? Comedic rock – Dane Cook and Infant Sorrow come to mind.
Have you ever made a decision you instantly regretted? What was it? Instantly? Hmm. The only thing I can think of is boring; my manfriend and I were in a rush to get on the way to San Francisco and I briefly looked for my umbrella but then just walked out of the house without it. Bad decision. But not a very big deal!
Who do you admire/look up to? Lots of people, including Caitlin of Shiro Cosmetics (hello multitasking!), Diana Gabaldon who seems to have an endless supply of inspiration for her stories, and my mom!
You've just won an unlimited lifetime supply of... what? LIP BALM PLEASE
If you were an animal, what would you be? Definitely a cat, possibly a wild cat. Napping in the sun most of the day, and then getting violent until food is in my belly, then back to napping!
If you knew you were going to die in a year, what would you do with your time? Yikes, that would be rough, I'm only 24 and haven't accomplished much yet. I feel like I'd want to quit school since it would only take away from my time with people I love, I would try to travel if I was financially able to, go wedding-dress shopping at Kleinfeld's with my best friend, give away everything I owned a bit at a time … and write. I would definitely try to write a journal or autobiography of sorts, just for the people who would miss me.
You're now a gazillionaire... where do you go to spend your money? Where wouldn't I go?! New York is the obvious choice, but I love Las Vegas and there are lots of fantastic shops there too!
Classical music: love it or hate it? Love some of it!
Phobias? Spiders, heights, crowding in loud places ...
Hop on a plane and go live somewhere for a year... where is it, and why? Padua, Italy. Because ever since my family and I spent a few days there I have wanted to live there temporarily; it's like an Italian version of my hometown (so loads of great shops and restaurants, plus culture and beautiful surroundings).
Are you an extrovert or an introvert? I'm a very sociable introvert! I need lots of alone time and am always “in my head” as people say, but I also have a need to be around people and chat nonstop.
Would you/do you perform on stage? I have at times, and I do enjoy being in the spotlight under most circumstances, but not as a career! I do NOT ever want to be famous – ugh, the invasions of privacy …
Your turn! For a chance to win the more than $300 worth of prizes on offer, or if you're just bored, fill out the Q&A and post it on your own blog!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

WHY CAN'T I HAVE YOU?!?!

image from The Daily Varnish, click to go to the original post

Sinful Colors created a monster when they released Green Ocean into the beauty world!!!

All the blogs went crazy for the watery green and blue flakies in this beautiful $1.99 polish ...

image from Nouveau Cheap, click to go to the original post

image from Valerie Vanity, click to go to the original post

... so all the polish-addicted readers ran out to get some for themselves! Unfortunately, I was either too late, or just S.O.L. because I haven't even seen an empty slot for this color ANYWHERE. I've searched different retailers and different locations, and nada. I'm empty-handed ... and those hands could be so much prettier with this polish on the nails!

I've become so obsessed, I've even got my friend Shelby into the hunt - it's addictive, because you just don't know if Store A might have some new display or Store B maybe restocked their shelves ...

Anyway, if I can't find it, I'll be a very sad panda indeed. There are bottles on evilBay for around $3.50-$5, but ... I should be able to find it HERE and not pay inflated prices plus shipping ...

HELP! Have you seen this polish? If so, where (and when)???

Friday, April 1, 2011

Belated Blog Award Acceptance

Eek!!! I received this award two weeks ago and kept forgetting to post about it! Bad blogstress, bad! (I made that word up :)


The lovely and slightly crazy mNg of I'm Not Skinny, So What? bestowed this on me and linking to her earlier today made me finally remember to post this!

Award rules:
1. Post about the award and copy the rules.
2. Link to the person who gave you the award.
3. Choose 3 to 5 new blogs that you would like to present the award to, post links to those blogs and leave a comment to let the recipients know.

New blogs, that's always difficult! How do I sort my 200+ blogs that I follow by how new they are? Okay, here goes:

Dungeons & Diapers: Life as the Picky Mama Scholar is a very new blog with a variety of topics, like makeup (yay), gaming and food (also yay)!

(not) Making It Up is semi-new and I've linked to Shelby before, but I lubs her so I'm awarding her again! She talks about stuff other than makeup, so those of you less obsessed with face paint can still enjoy her blog.

The Urban Critique is also very new - as in, less than 1 month old - and features reviews of my favorite thing to read about ... makeup!
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