Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What’s in my Birchbox: January Edition

How many of you receive a Birchbox? I signed up just a couple months ago and am still tweaking (almost typed twerking) my profile to more accurately hone in my beauty preferences. For $10 a month, it’s a great way to get a handful of beauty and hair care items I would be unlikely to buy for myself.

Here’s what I received in my January box:
  • Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Crème. It’s no secret that I have very thick hair, so any form of cream that dares to tame this mane is a welcomed gift. I’ve only used it a couple of times (mostly because I’ve been too lazy to do my hair in any style besides a messy bun or braid), but it seems to work fine. It says to use a quarter-sized amount, but I use less, about a pea-sized. The only thing worse than frizzy hair is greasy looking hair. PRO: You can use on wet or dry hair! CON: You have to style your hair to see if the product works.
  • Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy. This was the second month I’ve received a fragrance sample. I have nothing against perfumes, in fact – I love to smell good! But a girl can only use so many tiny tubes of delicious scent. Last month, I threw my sample into my gym bag and I’ve been using this sample at home in my “perfume rotation.” Viva La Juicy is a strong floral scent, but not too overwhelming. Even though I like it, it doesn’t make me want to run out and buy the full-sized bottle. I also changed my Birchbox profile to limit the amount of fragrances I receive. Call me boring, but I just like smelling the same every day. I find it distracting when people smell differently all the time – don’t you?
  • Nail Rock. Words can’t describe how excited I am to try this product. I’ve had some shellac on my nails recently, so I haven’t busted open this sample yet, but it looks promising. Nail Rock comes with a polish to provide a solid color foundation to your nails, as well as a big pot ‘o glitter. My sample is a light pink/nude with a pot of pink sparkles. After painting nails with two coats, you’re instructed to dip WET nails into the pot of sparkle. Press down firmly and allow 15-20 minutes to dry. I’m not gonna lie, this sounds awesome, but messy. And I have limited trust in my ability to execute this process properly. Here's a quick video that demonstrates the process. Look closely and you'll notice that they pretty much skip over the part between dipping the nail in glitter and having a perfectly manicured nail. However, I’ve been big on having sparkles on my ring fingers lately (see here and here) and I don’t see why you couldn’t use the sparkles with other polish colors as well. I’ll report back after experimenting.
  • I was supposed to receive Coastal Scents Revealed Eyeshadow Palette, but instead received some Ahmad Tea. I mean, it tasted just fine, but I'm gonna be honest, I would have preferred the eyeshadow. Tea is tea in my opinion so I think I'll just stick to Tazo.
  • As an added bonus, I also received Burt’s Bees Intense Hydration Day Lotion.  Since I’m suffering from the world’s worst cold [slightest exaggeration], this facial moisturizer has truly been a gift from Lord Jesus. I haven’t been using it as a full-facial lotion, but have only used some around my nose to help avoid the sensitivity that usually follows excessive Kleenex use. It smells heavenly and feels like buttery milk. That’s weird. I know. But just trust me and buy some. I’ve also used some on my hands on the coldest South Dakota days. I’m probably breaking some beauty rule.

What did you receive? Do you subscribe to a different but similar service? If so, tell me more about it! Do you like it? What drew you to that service instead of Birchbox?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Beating Target

I recently posted this Instagram photo following a trip to Target. I've known for quite some time that females of all ages, and even males, succumb time and time again to the wonders of Target aisles. You only need new mascara? That’s nice, but except to walk out $60 poorer without mascara, because that’s what Target does to your brain.

I believe we all have the power to buck this trend. Here are some tips on how to successfully navigate your Target experience:
  1. Don’t you dare take a cart or one of those pesky shopping baskets. Those are DANGEROUS. By limiting yourself to purchasing only what your hands/arms/body can hold, you will be forced at some point to put down that nail polish simply because you have no other limbs to hold it. If your shopping list demands that you need a cart (i.e. you need Kleenex, toilet paper, and a complete restock of the shower/makeup necessities), you’re screwed. And that’s okay. Just accept it.
  2. Be cautious in the Dollar Spot section at the beginning of the store. Some of this stuff is absolute junk. Don’t buy it. But some items, like $1 thank you cards, will save you money in the long run. We all buy excess cards/stationery that fill our desk drawers, but it’s better to only spend $1 than $5 in an aisle just 100 feet away! Also be cautious of some items that may be $2 or $3. Target has started to throw these items into the fray – so just be aware of the price tags when browsing.
  3. Don’t walk around the whole store. It’s one thing to end up with an extra $6 necklace or $4 lip gloss, but navigating down the home furnishings or book aisle will quickly add to your bill. Target stores are functional in the way that the layout is predictable. You can easily avoid “trouble spots” by avoiding entire sections of the store altogether.
  4. Avoid the dressing rooms. By refusing to try anything on, you avoid purchasing unnecessary clothing. I've never shared the philosophy of “buy it, try it on later” so this is an easy way for me to save some dollar bills.
  5. Focus on the end-caps. This is where you can save some big bucks – or spend $10 on things you really don’t need, depending on the way you look at it. My two favorite end-caps (this may vary depending on your store) are located in the school supply and makeup section. These end-caps do not face the main aisles, but the back wall. So if you’re in the school supply section, go towards the wrapping paper wall and you’re bound to find some solid clearance end-caps. The discounted makeup end-cap generally faces the massive nail polish wall. Here’s an example.
  6. Photo credit: All Things Target.
  7. What day is it? Target has a markdown schedule so keep an eye out for those red stickers! Generally speaking, clearance prices will end in either a 4 or an 8 (i.e. $1.98). According to All Things Target (seriously – who knew such a site existed?!), this is the latest rundown:
  • Monday – Electronics, Accessories, Kids Clothing, Books, Baby & Stationery.
  • Tuesday – Domestics, Women’s Clothing, Pets and Market.
  • Wednesday – Men’s Clothing, Health and Beauty, Lawn and Garden.
  • Thursday – Housewares, Lingerie, Shoes, Toys, Sporting Goods, Décor and Luggage.
  • Friday – Auto, Cosmetics, Hardware and Jewelry.

These tips may be helpful when you’re really looking to stick to your list, but let’s be honest, you’re going to cave from time-to-time and that’s okay! The great thing about Target is that we love shopping there. Browsing aisles at Target is never stressful to me and it shouldn’t be stressful for you either! So although it’s good to stick to our budgets and our shopping lists, enjoy the moments when Target sweeps you off your feet. Just avoid purchasing lattes at the in-store Starbucks, going home, setting the latte down while you marvel at your purchases … only to rediscover the cold latte hours later. Or does that just happen to me?