Wednesday, October 30, 2013

New Series! Beautybabbling at Home

Disclaimer: The product mentioned in this post was purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

I'm hoping to start a series of posts on my blog about getting organized, in part to actually help me get more organized. I'm not going to make any promises about how often I'm going to do these kinds of posts because I will inevitably break that promise.

I'm no expert at being organized. I try, but things always end up going a little bit crazy around my house. Over the past few months though, I've made some discoveries that have really seemed to help.

Tip #1: Declutter before you buy organizing items. If your house is full of stuff, organizing that stuff isn't going to help all that much.

Tip #2: Don't rush into buying a bunch of items to help you get organized. Use cardboard boxes or other items that you already have lying around the house to see if your new organizing system is going to work. Also give yourself time to find the right item for the job. Settling for an item that will work for the time being can just be a waste of money and can just add more stuff to your house that you have to deal with.

That leads me to my example.

This bar area in my kitchen had been driving me nuts for months! It had become too much of a catch-all for cereal and snacks. My kitchen doesn't have a lot of counter space, so I like using that area for food prep, and all the stuff was starting to make that impossible.

I wanted to find a shelving unit to go on the wall to the right of this counter, but I wasn't finding anything I really liked and wanted to buy. I almost bought one of those cheap particleboard units like this:

Picture from
The thing that made me hesitate was that this would have been a temporary solution, and at somewhere around $30-$40, it wasn't a cheap one either.

Instead, I kept my eye out for something I really liked. I scoured the internet. Then one day, while out shopping with a friend, the heavens opened up when I saw this:

We were walking through Hobby Lobby when I saw this baker's rack. It is an antique bronze finish (even though it looks black in the picture), and it was around $100. It can fold up (the shelves fold up and the sides fold in), which made it possible for me to get it home in my 2-door Cavalier. The only thing I would change is making the shelves a bit thicker because they have a little bit of bend in them when I push down on them. I stashed a few of my cookbooks elsewhere because I was worried about the shelf permanently bending from the weight. Other than that, this has solved my cluttered counter problem, and gave me the added bonus of being able to store my cookbooks closer to where I actually use them (they were previously in a different room).

Now, if I had caved and gotten the particle board shelving unit, I would have had to deal with finding a new place for it in my home or get rid of it. The first option isn't ideal since I have no idea where I would have put it, and the second is just plain wasteful.

What is your best home organizing tip? Is there a solution that you've come up with that is working really well for you? I'd love to know!

Disclaimer: The product mentioned in this post was purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Deal Alert! The Honest Company is on Groupon!

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. I have included referral links for both The Honest Company and Groupon. 

I stumbled on a great deal this morning that I thought I would share with all of you. There is a Groupon (referral link) deal for $20 that gets you a $40 coupon code for The Honest Company (referral link).

Image taken from

I learned about The Honest Company when I received a couple of their products in a box I got from I fell in love with the idea of a cruelty-free company that makes home and body care products without nasty chemicals.

From their website:

Our list of toxic offenders is always growing.

While each product has a unique guarantee, as a company we keep a master list of toxic offenders we'll never consider for use in anything. Period. We confirm, to the best of our knowledge, based on information from our raw material & packaging suppliers and manufacturing partners, that our products are
Honestly FREE of: phthalates (DEHP, BBP, DBP, DMP, DEP); PVC; formaldehyde; alkylphenols; benzene; TEA (Triethanolamine); MEA (Monoethanolamine); parabens; phosphates; chlorine; chlorinated or brominated solvents; ceteareth 20; polyethylene glycol (PEG); resorcinol; bronopol; quaternium 15; nanoparticles; triclosan; sulfur oxides; organohalides; hexavalent chromium; DMDM hydantoin; organophosphate pesticides; 1,4 - dioxane; SLS/SLES (sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates); optical brighteners; mineral oil; petrolatum; BPA (bisphenol-A); a-chlorotoluene
After trying the products I got from Total Beauty, I ordered their Essentials Bundle free trial for $5.95 shipping, which included mini sizes of their shampoo + body wash, face + body lotion, laundry detergent, healing balm, and hand soap. This automatically signed me up for their bundle deal, which is 5 full-size products for $35.95 plus shipping. Their bundle program sets me up to receive a shipment every 4 weeks (but can be adjusted to ship every 5, 6, or 8 weeks). I have mine set to ship every 8 weeks because I don't need a shipment every month. I can change the contents of my bundle every month, so I'm not stuck getting products I don't need or don't like.

On top of the 5 products in the bundle, I have the option of adding 3 more products to each shipment for 25% off. If my bundle total is $50 or more, I get free shipping. If I decide to cancel my bundle subscription, I can call them and cancel at any time (I wish they would make it possible to cancel through their website, but it isn't a huge deal).

Since I learned about The Honest Company I have switched over to using their laundry detergent (in both liquid and pod forms), their dishwasher pods, and their toothpaste. I have several other products that I've added to my bundles that I plan on switching to when I finish off the products I already had.

While I'm far from perfect about it, I really love that I have found products that are cruelty-free and more natural than what I can get in my town.

Do you use any natural or cruelty-free cleaning products? Are there any I should try or avoid?

Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased by me. I have included referral links for both The Honest Company and Groupon. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Girlactik Matte Bronzer in Cabo - Review and Swatches

Disclaimer: The products mentioned in this post were purchased using a gift code sent to me by I got the code because I am subscribed to receive their newsletter. Everyone who was signed up when the newsletter went out got the code. I have used my referral link in this post. All opinions are my own.

I figure this is a good post to follow closely on the heels of my one about trying to go cruelty-free.

Sometime around a year ago, I heard about a website called (referral link). It's a shopping site that carries only cruelty-free items. I haven't purchased much from them yet because it is a still a relatively new site and has a limited selection (that does seem to be growing every time I check there), but I love the concept of a site like this.

Back in July, Sindulge sent out an email to all their subscribers with a $20 coupon that didn't have a purchase minimum. It was an amazing deal, and I spent quite a bit of time browsing their site trying to pick a product to order.

What I ended up stumbling upon was the Girlactik Matte Bronzer in Cabo, which is a light-toned, matte bronzer. I've seen Girlactik products before when browsing websites online, but I hadn't heard much about them or tried any of them myself. This was a great opportunity to try a new brand for an amazing price. The bronzer retails for $26. When you factor in my coupon and shipping, I paid less than $10.


The packaging for this bronzer is quite simple, which I really like. I love the brown and pink theme on the box, and the chandelier detail is subtle but feminine. That detail carries over the the compact, and the compact itself has a metallic pewter color. It shows fingerprints a little bit, but not as bad as more reflective packaging does.

There isn't a brush included with this bronzer, which is perfectly fine with me because it keeps the size of the compact small and well....compact.


As mentioned above, this bronzer is a lighter-toned, matte bronzer, and I have to say that I am really loving it! It doesn't have any orange tones in it, but it isn't so cool-toned that it looks muddy or grey. I can use it as both a contour shade or a bronzer shade on the high points of my face. It looks good both ways.

For those of you with darker skintones, Girlactik has a darker shade of bronzer as well called Casablanca, but it is not available on Sindulge's website.

Final Thoughts

If you are fair to light and are looking for an easy bronzer to work with, you might consider picking this one up.

Even if this particular bronzer doesn't catch your eye, I would suggest giving (referral link) a look. It really is a fun site to check out for cruelty-free products or just for brands that aren't as common (like Girlactik, armour beauty, and tini beauty).

Have you tried anything from Girlactik? Have you found your perfect bronzer?

Disclaimer: The products mentioned in this post were purchased using a gift code sent to me by I got the code because I am subscribed to receive their newsletter. Everyone who was signed up when the newsletter went out got the code. I have used my referral link in this post. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Holiday Collections! What to Buy?

Disclaimer: There is nothing to disclose. 

It's the time of year again when makeup brands come out with amazing value sets and palettes for the holidays. It's also a great time of year for beauty sales.

I'm itching to place orders since I was able to get my hot little hands on a Sephora Friends & Family 20% off code, and I just got a 20% off (nearly everything) code for Ulta. My only problem is deciding what the heck to buy!

Here's what I'm considering getting from Sephora:

Too Faced A Few of My Favorite Things - Picture from
Too Faced A Few of My Favorite Things Palette - I have to confess, I haven't been overly impressed with the Too Faced eye shadows I've tried. However, the soft neutrals that make up most of this palette keep calling me, and I've read some good reviews on it.

Urban Decay Ocho Loco 2 Set - Picture from
Urban Decay Ocho Loco Set - I'm addicted to these eye liners, and I really like the colors in this set. I think I'll get a lot of use out of the neutrals in the set, and the brights (barring Deep End) are deep enough that I think I could pull off wearing them on a regular day.

Those two are the things I'm just about positive I'm going to pick up. There's other things that I'm eye-balling, but I'm trying to resist.

Nars Guy Bourdin One Night Stand Cheek Palette - Picture from
Nars Guy Bourdin One Night Stand Cheek Palette - This is really tempting. There is such a hype over Nars blushes, and the colors do look really pretty. I have a hard time justifying it though since I already have the Nars Danmari palette, which has 2 of the 6 colors in this palette, and I don't reach for that one as often as I should.

Tarte Off the Cuff Blush Palette
Tarte Off the Cuff Blush Palette - When I first saw this palette, I thought I HAD to have it, and I would buy it in a heartbeat if I didn't already have 2 of the 4 blush shades and a mini of the bronzer shade in this palette. Instead, I'm waiting for a set of 4 mini blushes that is supposed to be released on QVC to get my Tarte blush fix.

Sephora Favorites Glitz & Glam Set - Picture from
Sephora Favorites Glitz & Glam Set - I'm a sucker for these kinds of sets. Surprisingly, this is the only set this year that has really caught my eye. It isn't in my cart right now because I'm only really interested in the Urban Decay shadow, the Josie Maran Cheek Gelee, and the Too Faced 3-Way Liner. Beyond the Cheek Gelee, I can see using most of these products once or twice before letting them collect dust.

My plotting for my Ulta purchase is a bit more troublesome, but in a good way. Thanks to some strategic purchasing and Ulta's rewards program, I have $131 in Ulta rewards to use on top of the 20% off coupon. I want to go ahead and use all of that. I've got a couple of things that are definite purchases, and there's a couple of items that I'm debating.

bareMinerals Mix Master READY 12 Shadow Palette - Picture from

bareMinerals Mix Master READY 12 Shadow Palette - I love the concept of this palette! That combined with the fact that the READY eye shadows are really good has me buying this palette without seeing any reviews on it. It will be mine!

Urban Decay Shattered Face Case - Picture from
Urban Decay Shattered Face Case - An entire look all in one little palette? Yes, please! I love that they didn't put the lip product in pan-form. The colors are neutral enough to make them easily wearable for me. I'm tempted by the Anarchy Face Case too, but the colors aren't as tempting to me, so I'm showing restraint. (Side note: I already have the Vice 2 Palette, which is why it isn't on my list.)

Here's where my order gets tricky. I want to buy value kits or palettes because they give me the most bang for my buck. There's several that I'm interested in, but they aren't saying, "Buy me now!" I'm also not having luck finding reviews for most of them yet.

bareMinerals Perfect Ten Palette - Picture from
bareMinerals Perfect Ten Palette - I'm drawn to this because of the READY products, but I'm unsure about it because I haven't been able to find any swatches of it yet. That makes me hesitant, and I can't get to an Ulta store easily to check it out there.

Urban Decay Black Market Set - Picture from
Urban Decay Black Market Set - I love these pencils, but the colors aren't jumping out at me as much as the Ocho Loco 2 set.

Anastasia Catwalk Palette - Picture from
Anastasia Catwalk Palette - I've read good reviews about this palette, and I haven't tried anything from Anastasia yet except for a mini of her brow gel.

I've considered a couple of items from Stila's holiday collection too, but their holiday collections seem to be of lesser quality than their regular line.

If you had the $131 and a 20% off coupon at Ulta, what would you pick up? What holiday collection items have caught your eye? Is there anything I should give a second (or third, or fourth) look?

Disclaimer: There is nothing to disclose.