Friday, May 31, 2013

Where are the BEST deals on higher-end makeup brands?

As I mentioned in my previous post, I love the thrill of finding a great deal, especially when it comes to buying perfume and higher-end makeup products like Bare Escentuals, Urban Decay, Dior, etc.

While retailers may offer a varying assortment of products/colors in a particular brand, the price will be the same across the board, whether you purchase the item from Sephora, Ulta, or directly from the brand's website.  You may be thinking, how can I save money then?  

The secret?  Shop the "Friends and Family" sales!

At least once a year, sometimes twice, retailers will offer a "Friends and Family Sale".  Typically, it is 20% off their entire store.  However, sometimes there will be exclusions.  After shopping several of these types of sales, here are places that I think offer the best sales....

1) Sephora - BEST sale, in my opinion :-)
~ 20% off applies to everything, including fragrance! 
~ The discount can be used to shop online or in the store
~ They have tons of brands, including some really high-end ones like Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Bobbi Brown, etc.

~ 20% off applies to everything, including sale and clearance items!

3) Ulta
~ 20% off most items, but usually excludes fragrance and Lancome
~ Typically, this discount can only be redeemed in the store and NOT on their website...a bummer if you live 50 miles away from an Ulta like I do :-(
~ Since Ulta also sells drugstore brands, they often have a 20% off sale that EXCLUDES higher-end or "prestige" brands, as they like to refer to them.  Be sure to read the fine print to determine which sale it is!

4) Bare Escentuals
~ 20% off everything except their "Last Chance" section
~ Offer is valid in their boutiques and online
~ FAB members also get to choose another day of the year to save 15% off and it's free to join!

~ 20% off everything except sale and clearance items

~ 20% off everything
~ They carry most of the brands that Sephora does in addition to many that are only found on QVC
~ I had technical difficulties getting the discount to apply to my order so that's why I ranked this at the bottom.

These sales usually do not all run at the same time of the year.  If you want to be notified of the sale(s), you will need to register on the websites with each of these companies.  

Happy Sale Shopping :-)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Where are the BEST deals on drugstore makeup brands?

There is nothing like a sale on makeup that puts me in the mood to buy, buy, buy!  I think everyone loves the thrill of finding a great deal no matter what you are shopping, clothes, makeup, etc.  However, sometimes a "sale" price isn't always a great deal so I'm here to give you some tips to discern when to take advantage of those sales and when to just say "no" :-)

In this post, I'm specifically going to talk about drugstore makeup brands.  Some of you might be wondering, "What is a drugstore brand?"  Typically this refers to brands like Revlon, Maybelline, L'Oreal, etc. that are sold in drugstores, such as Walgreens, CVS, Rite-Aid and are also sold in discount retailers like Target and Walmart.  Even though Ulta Beauty store is not a drugstore or discounted retailer, they do sell most drugstore brands along with higher-end brands as well.

So where do you find the best deals?  Well, I thought it might be easiest to see the best deals by doing a price comparison on two specific items:  Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Stick and Revlon Colorburst Lipbutter.  Based on the prices in my area and what I found online, if I wanted to buy both of these products, here is what I could expect to pay....

*If I don't get them on sale, the combined regular price for both the lipstick and lipbutter at each store is as follows:
  • Target and Walmart:  $11.45
  • Ulta:  $14.48
  • CVS, Walgreens and Rite-Aid (average price):  $16.68
Clearly, Target and Walmart are the winners here.  Since they are "discount" retailers, they should almost always have the lowest, everyday price.

*But, let's say that I want to wait for a sale.  Since Target and Walmart already offer such low prices, they typically don't put makeup on sale for more than about 10% off.  Ulta and the drugstores, however, quite often offer deeper discounts.  However, will their sale prices be cheaper than the regular price at Target and Walmart?  Let's find out.....going back to our example of the lipstick and lipbutter purchase...

 1) Buy 1, Get the 2nd for 50% off Sale - Since the regular retail price at Ulta and the drugstores starts so much higher than Target and Walmart, this is not going to save you as much as you might initially think.
  • Target and Walmart Regular Price:  $11.45
  • Ulta ~ Buy 1, Get 2nd for 50% off:  $10.99
  • CVS, Walgreens and Rite-Aid~ Buy 1, Get 2nd for 50% off:  $12.54
Here, Ulta will save you a little, about 50 cents but at the drugstore you are still paying more!

  2) 40% off Sale - This is the best sale and the one that will save you the most money.  Typically, Ulta and the various drugstores will only offer one brand at a time at 40% off and they rotate the brands throughout the year.  Here's the price comparisons for both a lipstick and lipbutter purchase:

Target and Walmart Regular Price:  $11.45
Ulta ~ 40% off Revlon Sale:  $8.68
CVS, Walgreens and Rite-Aid ~ 40% off Revlon Sale:  $10

Ulta again is the winner here and finally, the drugstore is saving you some money :-)

Final tips: 
*If you aren't already an Ulta Beauty member, sign up on their website or the next time you are in the store.  Not only will you receive their ads in the mail but you will earn rewards with each purchase which you can redeem for money off purchases.  They also offer coupons quite often for $3.50 off your purchase of $10 or more.
*For sales at your drugstores, check the weekly ads in the Sunday paper.  Or, you can view the weekly ads on the websites for each of these stores.
*To save additional money on drugstore brands, check your Sunday paper for manufacturer's coupons.
*Keep an eye out at your drugstores for "Last Chance, 75% off".  Drugstores will do this when an product/color is being discontinued.  Usually, these aren't products/colors that I would normally buy but sometimes can't resist at a super low price :-)

Happy Shopping!

Up Next:  Where are the BEST deals on higher-end makeup brands?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Clean With Me Monday Challenge - Baseboards & Extra Vacuuming

*Wipe down baseboards, chair rail/trim and window sills in entryway, living/family room  and hallway
*Bonus Task:  Spend a little extra time with the vacuum in the living/family room, sweeping under the couch(es), chair(s) and under all the cushions; also if you have a fireplace with brick, vacuum that as well.

*Approximate time ~ 10-15 minutes cleaning baseboards; Bonus Task ~ 15 minutes

*Tips:  For cleaning baseboards, use hot water with a little dish soap (i.e., Dawn) and an old rag.  For stubborn marks or scuffs, use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

Personal Notes:  If you have a brick or stone fireplace and think it looks pretty the vacuum over it and you may be surprised at all that was "lurking" in the crevices and cracks!  Also, if your baseboards/trim need a little touch-up with paint, this is a great time to tackle that.  I'd been putting this task off for quite awhile but finally got that done and it looks so much better!

Happy Cleaning :-)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Clean With Me Monday Challenge - Fans

*Clean the bathroom fan (if applicable), ceiling fans and any portable fans you use for the summer
*Bonus Task:  Wash comforter(s) on beds and mattress pads/covers

*Approximate time ~ 10 minutes per fan; Bonus Task ~ time for 1-2 extra loads of laundry

*Tips:  For the bathroom ceiling fan, be sure the switch is turned off then remove the cover.  Rinse the cover with hot water and dry.  Use the vacuum and/or a damp paper towel to remove lint and dirt around fan opening.  For ceiling and/or portable fans, use damp paper towels to clean each fan blade, motor, etc.

Personal Notes:  I just happened to look up at the fan in the bathroom the other day and saw lint peeking through the vent.  This prompted me to remove the cover and my oh my.....I couldn't believe what I saw!  The fan was installed probably 30 years ago and it looked like it'd not been cleaned since.  But now it's clean and I feel so much better knowing all that dust and lint and dirt is gone!

Happy Cleaning :-)

New Series this week ~ How to find the best deals on makeup!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"Holy Grail" Hair Products

Since I have such a wild and crazy hairstyle, I get asked all the time, "What do you use to get your hair to stand up like that?"  So I thought I'd share with you my favorite "holy grail" hair products, how I use them and the reasons I would cry buckets of tears if they were ever taken off the market :-)

Now, the first time I heard someone refer to something as a "holy grail" or "HG" product, I had no idea what they were talking about.  When I heard the words, "Holy Grail", I immediately thought of movies such as Monty Python and the Holy Grail or Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.  Both movies feature men on an adventure across the world to find the Holy Grail and they encounter many obstacles along the way.  It was then that I connected the "HG" product is something that you find after an extensive search and it becomes your number one product to use for a specific purpose.

On the quest to find my "holy grail" hair products, I didn't exactly have to dodge bullets and swords or answer questions like, " your favourite colour?" (Monty Python).  I did, however, spend quite a lot of time wading through the maze of hair products, trying all sorts of brands and having lots of bad hair days.  But finally, after trying each of these, my search came to an end.  I'd found the perfect products for my hair and I was no longer interested in trying anything new.....something very odd for me because I love trying new things!

#1 - Catwalk TIGI Root Boost - Spray for Texture & Lift

*Provides amazing lift and volume at the roots of your hair
*Features a small spray applicator which allows you to pinpoint your application and apply just to the sections of your hair that need the most lift

How To Use:  After washing hair, towel dry; apply Root Boost by lifting sections of hair and spraying just on the roots of the hair.  Focus on areas that need more volume such as the top, crown and back of the head.

Where To Buy:  Target, Walmart, Ulta, Beauty Salons

#2 - Enjoy Dry Wax - Non-Greasy, Moveable Texture, Firm Flexible Hold
*Provides amazing texture and hold without being greasy or "crunchy" :-)
*You can easily "remold" your hairstyle after applying by using the heat from your blow-dryer and styling with your fingers.
*Fragrance free so guys can use it too!
*It can be a little difficult to wash off hands and out of hair so a little extra scrubbing is necessary.  But I think the benefits outweigh this little con :-)

How To Use:  After blow drying hair, scoop out a small amount of wax and rub between hands to soften it; work through hair, styling into place with fingers.  To soften the wax and make it a little easier to work with, you can turn your blow dryer on low and heat up the wax in the jar.  Use sparingly...a little goes a LONG way!

Where To Buy:  Ulta, Beauty Salons and online at  FragranceNet

#3 - Aussie Instant Freeze Hair Spray (aerosol can) - Freezes Your Style in its Tracks
*Dries super fast and gives amazing hold for hours without making hair look hard and "crunchy" :-)
*Can be combed out fairly easily and washes clean with shampoo

How To Use:  After styling hair, spray on hair, using short bursts.

Where To Buy:  Target, Walmart, Drugstores

Coming Up Next....Learn the secrets to getting the best prices on beauty products.  Stay Tuned!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Clean With Me Monday Challenge - Bathroom Lights

*It's time to clean those light fixtures in the bathroom(s)!

*Approximate time ~ 15 minutes per light fixture

Tips:  Be sure your light switch is off and the lightbulbs are cool to touch.  Carefully, remove each bulb and wipe clean with a damp rag, clorox wipes or a little Windex and a paper towel. If your fixture also has shades over each bulb, wipe these clean after bulbs have been removed, being very careful not to drip water into the light bulb sockets!  Finally, wipe down the rest of the fixture and then replace the bulbs.

Personal Notes:  I'm always amazed at how much brighter my bathroom is when I have clean lights!  This is such an easy task but for some reason, I neglect it often :-)

Happy Cleaning!

*Tune in tomorrow for Holy Grail Hair Products!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Clean With Me Monday Challenge - The Microwave

*It's time to tackle those spills and spatters in the microwave!

*Approximate time ~ 10 minutes

*Tips:  For minor cleanups, use an all-purpose cleaner like Fantastic or Lysol Kitchen Cleaner and a rag or paper towels and wipe down the entire inside of the microwave.  Be sure to remove the turntable or tray in the middle if you have one and clean underneath.  Then thoroughly wipe down the outside including the door, handle and number pad as well as the top and the vents.  For a super stuck on mess, here is a great method to loosen up the gunk and get it cleaned up in no time: Clean Your Microwave in 10 Minutes or Less

*Personal Notes:  I'll admit that I try to keep the inside of my microwave pretty clean.  However, it was that upper ledge and vents along the top of my microwave that were layered with dust, dirt and who knows what!  But with a little Fantastic Cleaner and a few paper towels, I'm happy to report it's now ready for the white glove test :-)

Happy Cleaning!

*Want to know what this Clean With Me Challenge is all about?  Click here to learn more...