Monday, August 24, 2015

Swimming Up Stream

This inappropriately-short, salmon-hued dress has become a summer favorite this year.  To keep it PG, I've worn it with leggings.  To keep from freezing in the office, I add a sweater.   It has pockets.  It's light enough to be comfortable in the Georgia heat (without the sweater).  I feel confident in it.  It is good for whatever most days hold. This salmon leaves me ready to swim up stream.. if we take that as a metaphor for working hard against the current, and not for going somewhere to die.

Dress, Dots, thrifted; sweater, Faded Glory, Walmart; leggings, George, Walmart; shoes, Merona, Target; glasses, Zenni Optical; dogwood earrings, thrifted.

Widget the velcro dog photo bombed me again.

I used to steer clear of these colors, but now I think they suit my coloring.  Pink, peach, and coral tones bring out rosiness in my cheeks and lips.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


This is my super hero skirt.  It is emblazoned with classic comic phrases like "blam," "buzz," "kaboom," and "ouch"  My sidekick, as usual, is Widget.  With those ears, you can call him Batdog.

Shirt, Chicos, thrifted; skirt, Xhiliration, Target; shoes, Relativity, Younkers; headband (worn as necklace), Urban Outfitters, The Final Cut.

I added nearly-neon pink lipstick.  I'm not wild about the matte lipstick trend that seems to be a thing right now.  It tends to feel dry, and it's too unforgiving of my shaking hands.

I work in a library.  What's your super power?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Some days are easy, some days are hard, but any day I get to snuggle my dog is rosy.  Widget was insistent on the snuggling today.

Sweater, Gee, thrifted; lace tee, Eyeshadow, Younkers; cami, Oscar de la Renta, Sam's Club; pants, George, Walmart; shoes, Merona, Target; glasses, Zenni Optical; dogwood blossom earrings, thrifted.

I picked rosy pink for my clothes and makeup.  The Widget accessory picked himself.

Widget was so insistent that he should be included in today's outfit photos, but he was less wild about being carried around.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Optical Illusion

My friend Kristin said this outfit looks like an optical illusion.  I'll take it.

Sweater, George, Walmart; dress, Old Navy; shoes, Relativity, Younkers; earrings, gifted (thanks, Natalie!); necklace, Target; glasses, Zenni Optical.

Pattern mixing like patterns is so easy, it doesn't even feel like mixing.  Because both pieces are black and white, the combination is not too busy or complicated.

These glasses from Zenni Optical are just $12.95. At that price I could afford to get them in black and tortoise!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Julep: a Lukewarm Welcome Box

I saw and offer to try the Julep beauty box if I paid just the $2.95 shipping.  It is usually $24.99.  For $2.95 I'm satisfied.  For $10, I would have been disappointed.  For $25, I would have felt ripped off.  

The Julep Welcome Box contained two nail polishes, a Plush Pout Lip Crayon, and a Konjac Sponge.  On one hand, all products were full-sized.  On the other hand, the return on investment with this box is much lower than other beauty boxes.  Julep says its boxes are worth around $40.  That's about the same stated value as Birchbox and ipsy, but the other boxes are only $10 per month.  At $25, the Julep box feels a lot more like paying full price for products. 

Apparently in subsequent months Julep will allow you to choose your monthly beauty products, but I didn't see that as an option in the welcome box.  

  • The Julep Konjac Sponge is nice.  I will give this beauty box that as a point in its favor.  It gently exfoliates, and came with a little suction cup to store it in the shower.  I've used it the past few days, and I like it.  You can, however, get a two-pack of comparable sponges on Amazon for less than a single $12 sponge from Julep (see the SpaWorks Konjac Exfoliating Facial Cleansing Sponge - 2 pack,** among others).  I'll use this sponge for the recommended 2-3 months, and I may even replace it, but I won't replace it from Julep.  
  • The Plush Pout Lip Crayon has great color and feel, but no staying power.  It smeared all over at the first sign of a coffee cup.  Unfortunately it is highly pigmented enough that it left my face a mess.  If the lip crayon had staying power, it would be a winner, but, as it is, it just doesn't have what it takes.  I tried lining my lips to prevent the color migration, but it didn't help.  To top it all off, this product is $20 on the Julep site.  I like lip crayons, but for a little over $6, you can get a Revlon ColorBurst Balm Stain with moisture, color, and staying-ability.
  • Julep boxes all seem to come with two nail colors.  Someone else might find this great, but I'd quickly become overwhelmed if I started receiving two nail polishes per month.  I rarely paint my fingernails, and my toes get a couple quick paint jobs per month.  According to the Julep site, these polishes are $14 each.  
I see how they came to the "over $40 value" total.  The sponge ($12), lip crayon($20), and two nail colors ($28) would total $60 on the Julep site.  It might be a $40-60 value to someone, but it isn't to me.  The lip crayon and nail polishes both went in the give-away box.  

My other gripe about Julep is that you can't cancel online.  This can't be anything other than strategic.  I know I'm not the only one who prefers to interact with customer service online instead of by phone.  By making you call to cancel, they reduce the likelihood that you will cancel.

Customer service was good when I called to cancel.  The representative was cordial and prompt about canceling my account.  I wasn't hassled or pressured to keep my account.

Julep could be a good option for someone who loves nail polish, wants to customize their monthly beauty box, and isn't as focused on getting the most, random products for their money.  It's not a great value for me.  

*This post contains referral links.  If you sign up for Birchbox or ipsy through the links I may receive points towards future purchases.  This is not a sponsored post.

**This post contains Amazon affiliate links.  If you make a purchase through those links, I will receive a small commission.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Lazy Legs

I have worn pants or leggings every work day since last Monday.  The horror!  It started because I was bitten by an ant and my ankle swelled up like a balloon.  (Surprise, I'm allergic to ants!)  It kept going because I was tired and lazy.

Tunic/dress, BRAND, swapped; leggings, OP, Walmart; woven belt, thrifted; shoes, Dr. Scholl's Joliet Ballet Flat*; Amazon; earrings, Target; glasses, Zenni Optical.

The belt came from a weekend visit to the Catholic Social Services thrift shop.  It was a dollar.  It is colorful woven pattern.  Also, these prescription glasses were $12.95!  Get over to Zenni Optical and get yourself some!

This long tunic/very short dress came from my most recent clothing swap.  If you haven't had a swap yet, why haven't you?  You share the clothing you don't wear with friends who will enjoy it.  You take home fun styles you might not have tried before.  Everyone gets something they like, and it doesn't cost you any money.  

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.  If you make a purchase through those links, I will receive a small commission.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Fave Five: Things to do With All Those Beauty Box Samples

I have only received five beauty boxes (two Birchbox, two ipsy, and one Walmart beauty box), and I'm already feeling a little overrun by beauty samples.  I've loved some of the samples.  I've disliked a few.  I've been apathetic about others.  In any case, I need to divest myself of some of the samples before I'm buried in an avalanche of makeup.  The pile is already starting to get out of control.

Here are five ways I've thought of to share the love and keep my cabinets from being overwhelmed:
  1. Share with Friends: As I try products, I think about the other people in my life who might enjoy them. When I'm done sampling, I share.  I gave BB and CC creams to a friend who expressed an interest in trying those and another cleanser to a friend who liked the Vasanti cleanser I tried last month.  
  2. Donate to a Charity: Homeless shelters, battered women's shelters, and other charities have a need for toiletries.  Imagine it could brighten another woman's day to get a really nice set of toiletries at a hard time in her life.  It's a little thing, but little things matter, too. 
  3. Make a Guest Toiletry Stash: Want to impress your overnight guests?  Offer them a selection of toiletries for their visit.  Who doesn't love pawing through the toiletries at a hotel?  
  4. Make an Emergency Kit: An emergency kit in your desk drawer can help you look your best in a flash.  Mine has a subtle Blistex Lip Vibrance Lip Protectant**, a bold Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain, the Neutrogena mascara sample from the Summer Walmart beauty box, the Amika Un.Done Texture Spray from the July Birchbox, and a tube of C.O. Bigelow Chapped Hands Remedy (gifted by my friend Natalie), all tucked into the makeup bag from my June ipsy Glam Bag.  
    In case of beauty emergency, open bag.
  5. Save for Travel: Samples you like can be saved for travel.  Small sizes mean less space in your luggage, and quality products can make travel feel even more special.  
Birchbox and ipsy each have 5 products per month, and it is probably a reasonable goal to average one product per month that fits into each category.  Once my emergency kit is full, I can make them for friends.  Once my travel stash is full, I can donate more to people in need.

No one wants used, contaminated products, so, if you may not keep your samples, make sure you keep them clean.  Use cotton swabs for lipsticks and eyeshadows, and cotton balls for blush and powder.  Eye-liners are probably not ideal for re-giving.  

*This post contains referral links.  If you sign up for Birchbox or ipsy through the links I may receive points towards future purchases.  This is not a sponsored post.

**This post contains Amazon affiliate links.  If you make a purchase through those links, I will receive a small commission.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Walmart Beauty: No Frills, But Thrills?

I've gone a little mad for beauty boxes, and, though I was skeptical, I couldn't resist the siren call of Walmart's attempt at the market.  It's only $5.  You really can't go too far wrong for $5.  Walmart beauty boxes are delivered quarterly, with the products tailored to the season (spring, summer, fall, and winter).  I received the Summer 2015 box.
Not surprisingly, the Walmart box did not contain anything earth shaking.  This is my first beauty box that contained all products I recognized.  I know, I'm a cretin.  I was surprised, though, by the quantity and quality of the products that were in the box.  For $5 I received 10 beauty samples and two coupons.

Here's what I got:

  • Revlon Ultra HD Lipstick (plus $1 coupon)
  • Beach Blonde Sea Waves Sea Salt Spray
  • One Direction You & I Eau de Parfum
  • Nivea Soft Moisturizing Creme
  • Clean Scalp & Hair Therapy Nourishing Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
  • Aveeno protect + hydrate lotion sunscreen (plus $2 coupon)
  • Jergens Natural Glow self-tanner
  • Neutrogena healthy volume mascara
  • Neutrogena Healthy Skin Boosters facial cleanser
  • Ken Paves You Are Beautiful Volumizing Shampoo & Conditioner
I'm not going to review all of these products.  They are easy access, so if you want to try them, you probably can.

  • The Revlon lipstick is very creamy and pigmented, but it is prone to smearing and wearing off quickly.  The color "Gladiolus" is bold and pretty, but I'm too inattentive to my lipstick to wear that needs maintenance.  This one goes in the "give away" pile.
  • The Beach Blonde sea salt spray made me laugh.  All the beauty boxes were in on the idea that salt spray is the official hair product of summer.
  • I'm slightly ashamed to admit that I really like the scent of the One Direction perfume.  What am I, a 12 year old girl?  It is lightly floral without being cloying.  
  • The Nivea Soft cream will be a great addition to my purse.  It can be used on face, body, and hands. so it is the perfect cream to have in a pinch.
  • The Clear Shampoo, Aveeno sunscreen, Neutrogena cleanser, Neutrogena mascara, and Ken Paves shampoo and conditioner will be great for travel or guests, but the Jergens self-tanner may be a give-away.  I'm leery of self-tanners after too many streaky experiences.  
These products are more the workhorses of the beauty world, the unsung heros. They are no-frills.  No-frills doesn't mean bad, and I am very happy with this box.  I'm thrilled.