Friday, December 27, 2013

Naked 1 Palette Tutorial #1

Here's a tutorial using the original Urban Decay Naked palette.

  1. Blend "Naked" into the crease in a windshield wiper motion.
  2. Place "Baked" onto the lid in a patting motion. 
  3. With a pencil brush, create a triangular shape with the color "Hustle" in the outer V of your eye.
  4. Without using anymore color, blend any harsh edges with a blending brush. 
  5. With a shader brush, use "Virgin" along the brow bone.

  6. Using the same pencil brush as early, add a smaller triangular shape above the "Hustle" e/s using the color "Creep".
  7. With a clean shader brush, apply "Sin" in the inner corners of the eye.    
Add eyeliner and mascara, and you've got yourself a "Naked" look!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Save that Money, Honey!: Free Clothes

Do you like freebies?  Of course you do!  And so do I!  As you may now know, I am always on the hunt to find how to get a lot for little.

Last summer, I found a way to get it for free!  That is, free clothes.  And more specifically, free school uniforms for my son and daughter!  Impossible?  Not even!

About two years ago, I subscribed to the Banana Republic VISA credit card.  I did this because I love their clothes and figured, why not, this is a place I shop at often, being a teacher and all, and if they'll send me more coupons on account of having their Visa card, I'll go for it.  Now let me just "disclaim" something- I always pay my credit cards off in full every month.  I never accrue interest.  So, having another credit card, for me, isn't an issue because I simply integrate it into my budget.  Notice I didn't say ADD it- I said integrate.

Let me explain, as you read in my previous post, I use one credit card every month for all of my bills (clothes, food, gas, etc).   So when I applied for the Banana Republic Visa card, I only intended it to serve for part of my already allotted clothes budget, not in addition to my clothes budget.  This is why I can pay it off in full, because I have already allotted for it and I stick to my budget.

Anyhow, during the summer months of May, June, and July, Banana Republic offered a promotion.  Three times the points per dollar.  My head starts clicking and ticking and then...I had a plan.  Instead of using my regular credit card, I would switch to my BR Visa card.  Essentially, embodying the same idea of buying what you already have to buy, and earning free money in the process.  Let's just say that at the end of the three month promotional period, I had accrued over $400 in BR rewards (example shown above).  The awesome thing about BR rewards is that you can also use them at Gap and Old Navy!  Sooo, I waited for the right moment, and as soon as those two stores started promoting their back to school sales, I went through Ebates and ShopatHome (yup, I wanted cash back on my free money), clicked on the Old Navy website, bought undies, undershirts, socks, pants, shorts, polos, used an online coupon on top of that (because yes, you can combine rewards with coupons) for...wait for it, wait for!  I did the same for my daughter at the Gap.  Amaze-balls!

Now, I still had to buy shoes.  So I bought shoes with other coupons online through Ebates and ShopatHome.  But nothing, nothing can beat that deal.  I hope they have the same promotion this upcoming summer, but if they don't I still have a good deal with their current program.

I hope this inspires you to think about what your credit card company's rewards are and how you can use them to your advantage.

If you have other exciting incentives or strategies for getting free clothes, please share with us and spread the word!

Monday, December 23, 2013

How to Wear: Purple Eyeshadow!

How to Wear: Silver Eyeshadow!

Naked 2 Palette

Full face look!

Save that Money, Honey!: Free Flights

So, flights are expensive.  They are especially expensive when there's four of you, or six of you, or whatever.  But I found a way to save money on one of the most outrageous expenditures of any family vacation.

My husband and I decided we would use our Southwest Rapid Rewards card for ALL of our household expenditures.  Everything.  All year long.  And by doing what I have to do anyway, shop for gas, groceries, Amazon products :)...I earn points for flights.  When summer roles around we usually have enough to pay for all of the flights to our family destination.

The Southwest card is not the only card that offers this program, there are many of them.  But perhaps this will spark some ideas for you and yours when planning for your next airline travel!

Let me also mention that in order to avoid paying interest fees on balances carried over, you should plan to pay the credit card in full at the end of the month.  Don't save just to spend!

Happy savings!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Save that Money, Honey!: 12 Ways to Save on Amazon!

I have become a diehard fan of Amazon just because of all the amazing deals/offers available for moms like me trying to care for their family in the most economical way possible!

Below are a list of perks I have found to be the reason I use Amazon to do so much of my online

1. Amazon Prime: For only $79 a year, Amazon Prime offers free two-days shipping, access to the Amazon lending library to borrow one Kindle book per month (only useable for those who actually own a Kindle), and access to tons of free movies and TV shows!  

I cannot tell you how much i LOVE this membership!  I have managed to cut back on my satellite bill (roughly $600 a year) and gas for my car since I am making less runs to the store and still getting great prices online.  Nothing is more convenient than coming home to boxes of necessities at your door after a long day's work!  Just on those two points alone, I am STILL saving money despite the membership fee.

2. Amazon Mom: You do not actually have to be a mom to join Amazon Mom!  This program also costs $79 a year and you will always get 20% off diapers and wipes.  If you have a small child, you will quickly earn back your membership fee.  You will also get the two-day free shipping, unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows, and you'll be able to borrow a Kindle book (again only available for those with a Kindle) for free each month.  It works just like Prime but with mom discounts!  

3. Amazon Student:  This programs costs just $39 per year for four years.  To join you must be willing to show proof that you are a student.  This program is also similar to Amazon Prime, however, you won't be able to access the free streaming and free two-day shipping is only available for six months. The cool thing about Amazon Student is that you can earn back that membership fee through friend referrals-$5 per referral to be exact!

4. Amazon Trade-In Store: How can you further save on your Amazon bill when you are shopping for those household necessities?  Well trade in your old college textbooks, books, electronics, movies, video games, or music to the Amazon Trade-In Store and earn gift cards to apply on your next purchase.  Amazon pays the shipping fees so there is absolutely no out of pocket costs to you!  Love it!

5. Amazon Subscribe and Save:  Have I told you how much I love Amazon?  If not, I do- and by that I mean Amazon Subscribe and Save has been a God-send.  When you order through this program you will be saving 5% off each item ordered - not bad.  But it could be better.  When you place five subscribe and save orders to be delivered in the same month you will save 15%!  If you are an Amazon Mom member your savings increases to 20%!  Many times, coupons are also available to "clip" which magnifies the savings!  In-creeee-dible!

So you know, you are also in complete control of the delivery schedule.  It can be as frequent as every month or as infrequent as six months.   Shipping is always free and if you decide you no longer want this item to be shipped to your home, you are under no obligation to continue.  Simply cancel your subscription and move on to the next item!

Just as a side note, I also like to earn Amazon gift cards through surveys which I apply to my subscribe and save orders.  This takes my final cost WAY down and leaves more cash in my pockets.  Me likey.

6. Filler Finder: Let's say you don't subscribe to any of the aforementioned programs and you simply want to make purchases through Amazon- you will find that you will need to meet the $35 minimum requirement for free shipping.  That is a real pain when you are only a few dollars short.  But that can easily be eliminated by using a Filler Finder to find objects that will help you meet the requirement!  Save on paying more than you need to!

7. Gold Box Deal of the Day: These are heavily discounted items - sometimes up to 75%.  Awesome deals to be had here!

8. Lightening Deals: These are found on the same page and are again, awesome deals.  These only last four hours or until they are sold out!  Stay abreast of this page as the deals will change often!

9. Amazon Warehouse Deals: Check out this area of the site for quality open-box or refurbished items.  Amazon guarantees these items so you can request a refund if doesn't end up meeting expectations.

9. Price Guarantee: If a price drops on an item within 30 days of when you bought it, call or chat online with customer service and ask for the difference to be refunded.  You will need to check back on your orders but if you are like me and love to get your family's needs met for next to nothing, this is worth the time.

10. If you are looking to purchase something from Amazon (especially big ticket items), check this site first!  It will send you an alert when an item hits your target price!

11. Save for Later or Add to Wishlist: I use these options all the time when contemplating items to purchase.  (It helps me avoid unnecssary impulse buys.)  The cool thing about "save for later" items  is when you visit your cart, you will receive an alert stating whether one of these items has increased or decreased in price.  You can monitor these items and when the price is right, you will know it is time to purchase if you're still interested!

12.  Shop with Points: You can use your Chase credit card points to shop on Amazon!  Yay free money!  Seriously, if you have any of the cards below, including an Amazon Visa (which is not shown), you will be able to apply whatever earned points you have towards your Amazon purchases at checkout!  Too.  Cool.

I intend to keep adding to this list as I discover more ways to save on this site.  I'd love to add your recommendations too.  Please share with us in the comments below!

Save That Money, Honey!: Paying Off Your Car Faster

I am always trying to pay things down quickly.  I hate debt and I love saving everything I can.  I'm becoming addicted to the challenge of saving as much as possible everywhere I go and in everything I do.  So one way I do that is by paying a little more every month and making payments more frequently.  

Let me explain.  Let's say my monthly payment is $450.  I pay $50 extra per month and build it into my monthly budget.  Over the course of a year, I will have paid an extra $600 which is more than an extra payment a year.  

Another strategy to pay off your car loan sooner is by making weekly payments instead of monthly ones.  So I take my $500 monthly payment and divide it by 4 weeks in a month.  That's $125.  I then schedule that payment to be withdrawn every week from my bank account so that it isn't something else I have to keep up with.  I should note that not every month has 4 weeks, in fact, there are 4 months that actually have 5 weeks.  So, you will need to allot for that extra payment for those months.  Doing this will mean you will make an additional $500 payment towards the principal of your loan over the course of a year.   

Making weekly payments will also actually save you on interest.  For me, that comes to about $11 saved on interest every month.  That may not sound like a lot, but $11 times 12 months = $132 a year.  

So let's add up what I save: $600 (from extra $50 payment made every month applied directly to principal) + $500 (extra payment made over the course of year from making weekly payments) + $132 (interest saved every month by paying weekly instead of monthly) = $1,332 additional money applied to your car loan every year.  Nice!

Over the course of four years that's $5,328 and over five, $6,660 additional monies applied directly to the principal of your car loan!  My car loan could be paid off a year sooner!

Now, how much will YOU actually save?  Well it all depends on your loan interest rates, if you are paying extra per month, how frequently you are making your payments, etc.  Regardless, it's definitely worth doing the math, looking at your budget, and talking to your bank to make sure they will accept weekly payments.  

One thing is for sure, though, I LOVE how a little planning, organization, and persistence can make a HUGE difference for your wallet.  

How about you?  How do you go about saving money on your car loan?  I would love to hear any other suggestions!


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Urban Decay Vice 2 Swatches

Left to right: Smokeout, Lovesick, Shellshock, Coax, X-Rated

Left to right: Prank, Madness, Strike, Stash, Poison

Left to right: Radar, Damaged, Voodoo, Betrayal, Derailed

Left to right: Dope, Toxic, Habit, Ambush, Rewind
(Toxic is actually swatched, I am just that tanned :))
Need I say this palette is gorg?!  Beautiful pigmentation and the day to night look possibilities are endless!

Sephora is already all sold out, but you can still score yours at Ulta!

How to Use Up Old Makeup: The Weekly Makeup Bag by Strwberry Sweet

As I was scouring YouTube in search of girls who were doing more than just project pan, girls who were actually figuring out a system to use ALL of the makeup they own, I came across this doll—StrwberrySweet.  As her username indicates, she is a sweet girl who vlogs about her weekly makeup bag.  That isn’t all she does but she has racked up dozens of these videos with plenty of views.  

I won't even try to describe the idea, just watch her videos and know that I have jumped suit and started my own weekly bag too!

How to Use Up Old Makeup: The “Use Me Up” Bag

Here are the current products I am keeping in my bag to remember to use up!
When working on a “project pan”, be sure to keep all of the products you are trying to finish up in one place.  I like to keep mine is this “Use Me Up” bag which is essentially just a makeup bag where my vanity area is.  It is the first thing I look at before I begin applying anything when getting ready for the day.  It is also a nice little reminder to “keep on keepin’” on with my mission even when I’m hectically trying to get out the door weekdays at 7am!  If you are a busy mom like me, you know every minute is precious!
Keeping my little "Use Me Up!" bag in front of my daily makeup products.

How to Use Up Old Makeup: Un-pigmented Eyeshadows

I have been collecting makeup for quite some time and over the years the one product that never goes bad on me are my eyeshadows.  I have a range from drugstore to high end and until recently, my high end shadows always outperformed by drugstore ones.  That being said, I still have drugstore shadows from years back that were not built with the same lasting power as the drugstore shadows of today.  Now, based on my previous posts, you know that I don’t like to waste, so to use up those shadows here is what I recommend.  

Drumroll, for the eyeshadow saviors please!  Pppprrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

Check out what a difference it makes!

To the left are the drugstore eyeshadows without any primer.  To the right are the shadows with primer.  See what a difference!

And just to emphasize the staying power of the NYX pencils, this is a picture after I tried cleaning up my arm with a wipe.

If you want to use up some of those old shadows, definitely try these tricks!  Just apply these bases to your eyelid first and then pop on some of the eyeshadow.  Walah!  

How about you all?  Do you have any tricks up your sleeve to make those less-than-pigmented eyeshadows pop?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

How to Use Up Old Makeup: Multiple Uses

If you are like me and have accumulated lots of makeup, you will inevitably develop favorites or "holy grails".  That means, then, that you will have less-than-loved products laying around.  And if you're like me--that's just not acceptable!  They have to be used up or tossed- and I opt for used up if they are still good :).  It just makes me feel like everything is right in the world when I do.  

So here's how I do it...

Find multiple uses for the product!

Lipstick-Use that old lipstick as a cream blush!  It can also be used as a base for your powder blush by first applying and blending a tinge of lipstick with a clean finger in circular motions up the cheekbone.  Then lay a light layer of powder blush atop that.  Not only will your blush last all day, you will be using up an unwanted makeup product!

Lipliner-Lipliners can be great bases for lipsticks, making your lip color last all day!  But they can also alter a lipstick color.  For example, let's say you have a lipliner color you are no longer exactly in love with--place it all over your lips and top it with a nude lipstick or lipgloss color and you may find that you have found a new use for an old lipliner that needs to go.  Try this same trick to make unflattering lipstick shades take on a whole new look.  (Think "too-nude-for-your-skin-color" nude lipsticks, or "too-dark-and-vampy" ones, or even lipstick colors whose trendiness have since passed!) The possibilities are endless!   

Blush- Blush can be used in place of eyeshadow.  It can actually serve as a beautiful transition color between your lid and highlight colors.  Have a "too dark for you blush"?  Use it as a lid color on your eyes!  You may find you love the color after all.  The same is true for "too light for you" colors, too!

Mascara- Mascara can be used to set your eyebrows.  Now, this is really only true of brown and clear mascara, but a useful trick nonetheless!

Foundation/Concealer- Foundation can actually be a great primer for your eyeshadows!  When applying foundation, just be sure to run it over your lids as well.  Another trick I use when trying to use up foundations that are either too dark or too light for my skin color (this generally happens when I get samples from Sephora), is to use them strategically on my face. For instance, I can use that dark foundation where I would normally contour my cheeks and forehead, and I can use that light foundation where I would normally highlight my face. The same is true of concealer!  Concealer can also act as a great primer for eyelids and lips, making both eyeshadow and lipstick last longer.

Eyeliners- Eyeliners are not only great for giving definition to your eyes, but they can serve as eyeshadow bases as well.  This is especially true of gel liners which brings me to my next point...Gel liners can be used in place of mascara.  Don't believe me?  Just search YouTube and you will find what I am talking about.

Eyeshadow- There are all sorts of uses for this one!  So here is what I find to be so true of my own makeup stash- I have a kajillion cream colored, pearly white, brown, and black eyeshadows.  No joke...a kajillion.  How in the world could I use all of them up?!  Glad you asked, because I was going to tell you anyway.

First off, use those browns and blacks as eyeliner by running the color along the rims of your eyes where you would normally apply eyeliners.  This gives such a beautiful smokey effect anyway.  It can also be placed over a pencil or gel eyeliner to help lock it into place.)

That brown eyeshadow can be used to define your eyebrows or even as a bronzer/contour on your face.

Now, as far as those light shades go, not only are they staples for natural looking eye makeup, but they can be used to highlight other areas of your face as well.  Have a thin pout?  Add a bit of a light shimmery pink right in the center of your pout after you apply lipstick and your lips will appear fuller.

Don't like a shade on your eyes?  Maybe it could work on your nails!  Crumble up some old eyeshadow that is either a color you hate or a terrible finish (like chalky eyeshadows), take some inexpensive clear polish, mix and wham- a new nail color!

Body Lotion- Though not really considered makeup, there are multiple uses for this product as well.  After applying it to your body, trying running it through your hair to tackle those annoying flyaways!

After reading this, I hope it inspires you to be creative with your unwanted products!  Or if not, that it gets you thinking about whether you really need a new brown shadow, highlighter, or primer..etc.  You get the drift.

Now what about you?  How many ways can you think of to use your products?