Bright on a Budget: May 2014

Friday, May 30, 2014

High Five for Friday

Every week, I'm surprised at how fast the week has passed by!  Happy Friday!!!  Here's the recap of my week:

1.  I started the week off in Gatlinburg, TN with 40(ish) close friends. . . no, seriously.  My husband's entire office goes on a team-building trip every Memorial Day weekend.  They alternate each year between Vegas and Gatlinburg.  We had to miss last year's trip because I was 37.5 weeks pregnant, so I was glad we got to go this year!  Each trip has its own name (with a story behind it)--Project Honeybadger, Project Death Squirrel, Project Baby Koala--you get the picture. This year's trip was Project Prancing Unicorn, and it was awesome!  This was the 1st time we spent the night away from Kane, but we survived:)


2.  Of course, we had awesome food while we were gone.  I have to hit up Fuddrucker's every time I'm near one for their milkshakes and wedge-cut fries.  Also, we ate at Flapjack's.  No joke, I ordered biscuits and gravy and pancakes with butter, whip cream, and powder sugar.  Remember, this is a judgment-free zone, folks.  Whoever said nothing tastes as good as skinny feels is eating the wrong stuff!



3.  Victoria's Secret was having their 7/$26.50 panty sale, so of course I had to go replenish my panty drawer!  I also had a $10 giftcard I had received from customer service, so that made the sale even better!  For those of you who missed out, Victoria's Secret is now having their semi-annual sale!  I tend to wait 'til the end of the sale when you can swoop in and get everything dirt cheap, but if you were an in-demand size, you may want to go on and check out what they have!  There are several promo codes out there right now, including a free PINK beach blanket with any $50 PINK purchase (code: BEACHPARTY), so check out retailmenot.com to make sure you're saving as much as you can!

4.  One of my good friends from law school, Brittany, hosted a craft night this week.  There was no particular craft you had to make. . . you could just bring whatever you were working on.  I helped Brittany make a fabulous wreath, and I worked on some flowers for a friend's wedding. Speaking of which, if you're getting married, or know someone who is, be sure to check back next week for an exciting giveaway. . .

5.  Of course, you know I shopped the outlets while I was in Tennessee.  You can read here about my shopping haul and here about my advice for outlet shopping.  I picked up the shirt from J. Crew Factory and the necklace from LOFT Outlet.  I picked up several things in this orange shade, but I really racked up in the periwinkle department.  The skirt is one I scored at an end of season clearance sale at Maurices last summer.

Shirt: J. Crew Factory, details here.
Necklace: Loft Outlet, $5 + an extra 15% off.
Skirt: Maurices, approx. $7.
To conclude, I had several posts planned that I was unable to do because life has been hectic lately!  Work is hopping and Kane has been sick 3 times in less than 2 weeks.  I asked the doctor today if we qualified for frequent flyer miles yet.  No worries though--those posts are coming up over the next 2 weeks and you will not be disappointed:)

Be sure to check out Lauren's blog over at Lauren Elizabeth--she hosts the H54F linkup!

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Bright [Wardrobe] on a Budget : Memorial Day Weekend Outlet Shopping--Part 2


This past weekend, I hit the outlets not once, but twice, so here's some of the deals I scored the second time around, as well as some general advice about outlet shopping.  You can find Part 1 here.

I love outlet shopping, so of course I have to hit the outlets when I'm nearby! Growing up, I had always heard of outlet shopping like it was some sort of mythical creature, but never got the chance to experience it.  It wasn't until after my first year of law school that I finally got to experience the outlets, and needless to say, I was immediately hooked! I've found I can score some awesome deals when outlet shopping!

That said, just because something is at the outlet doesn't automatically make it a good deal.  Here's my tips for outlet shopping.

1. Realize that there's a difference between a brand's full-price store and their outlet store. A lot of brands make items just for their outlet store that would never show up in their full-price store.  Sometimes the items are completely different, sometimes the styles are based off last season, and sometimes the items are actually clearanced from the full-price store. . . (here's an article that explains more about that and how to tell the difference).  I'm okay with that, because there's times when I like the outlet products better than the full-price store.  For example, I hate the full-price Gap store, but love their outlet.  Just don't base your outlet budget on full-price store retail prices--adjust accordingly.  Treat them as if they were any other store you would shop at.

Outfit details here.
2. Make a budget before you go and stick with it.  This is super important.  When you're outlet shopping, it's so easy to spend more than you planned to spend.  You're saving money, so you spend more money. . .it's a vicious cycle.  So set a budget and stick with it.  Have in mind what you're looking for and how much you're willing to pay for those items.  If you're going to look for a new purse and set a budget of $150, then don't buy the $175, no matter how good of deal it is.

I shopped some for Chauncey as well!
Swim trunks: Old Navy, $14.96 on sale, currently $24.94 + 25% off on oldnavy.com using code ONSAVENOW.
Shorts: Old Navy, $13.76, currently $22.94 + 25% off on oldnavy.com using code ONSAVENOW.

3. Watch prices to make sure you're getting the best deal.  Many outlets now have online stores (here's some).  Some of my favorite outlet stores are online--Coach Factory, J. Crew Factory, and Vera Bradley Outlet (pop-up sales).  The key to making sure you're getting the best deal is to watch prices.  Pay attention to which sales are good but know which sales are best.  Sometimes I'll watch an item for several weeks to make sure I'm saving the most money.  Also, disregard the price listed on the tag as the Suggested Retail Price, Comparable Price, etc, and base your price evaluation you do by watching prices.

Striped t-shirt: Old Navy, $4.97 (excellent deal!), currently $9.94 + 25% off at oldnavy.com using code ONSAVENOW.
Polo: Old Navy, $10.46, currently $14.94 + 25% off at oldnavy.com using code ONSAVE NOW>
4. Resist impulse buys.  No matter how good of deal it is, if you don't need it (or can't live without it), don't buy it!  I can't stress this enough.  I think that you can get sucked into a must-buy mentality because the outlets are usually a little bit of a drive, and you think you have to buy buy buy.  No!  If you're on the fence about something, ask yourself if you're going to majorly regret NOT taking it home.  If the answer is no, or you're still on the fence, leave it in the store.

Shirts for Kane!
Shirts: Children's Places.  Approximately $17 for all 3. I can't find my receipt for exact prices:(
5. Beware of non-outlet stores in disguise!  I've found several stores, such as Bath & Body Works and Old Navy, that truly aren't that much different at the outlet.  So while you can still get good deals at these stores, realize that you can probably get the same deals back home.

6. Always look for a coupon!  As you're checking out, always ask the salesperson if the store currently have a coupon out.  If they say they do, then Google the store name + printable coupon code and set your search results to the past week.  I usually have great luck doing this!  This weekend, I was able to use coupons like this at Gap Outlet and Loft Outlet.

I hope these tips help you if you're planning on going outlet shopping soon!  I will say that I like Premium Outlets better than Tanger Outlets, but I'll hit up either one.





Monday, May 26, 2014

Bright [Wardrobe] on a Budget : Memorial Day Weekend Outlet Shopping--Part 1

I'd like to start this post by saying thank you to all the men and women who have died in their service to the country--for your courage and sacrifice, I am forever grateful!

Chauncey and I just got back from a trip with his office to Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg, Tennessee. He works for VetData (seriously awesome place to work!), and I'll talk more about the trip on this week's H54F.

If you follow me on Instagram @brightonabudget, then you know I did some outlet shopping while I was in Tennessee.  Confession time: what I posted was Round 1.  We did Round 2 later that evening but I didn't have a chance to post pictures of my haul.

Here's a look at the spoils of Round 1.  Part 2 of this post will be coming to you tomorrow, and features some guy and baby clothes (and maybe shoes).  Part 2 will also give some of my general tricks and tips for outlet shopping, to help you make sure you're getting the best deals!

J. Crew Factory
Button-up: J. Crew Factory, $12.74*
*J. Crew Factory had everything 50% off, plus an extra 15% off with student ID. 
 J. Crew Factory + Coach Factory
T-shirt: J. Crew Factory, $16.79
Earrings: J. Crew Factory, $9.56;
Keychain: Coach Factory, $13.

Purse Haul
Fossil Outlet + Coach Factory
Clockwise from L to R: 
Fossil Outlet, $59.99*
Fossil Outlet, $10.50
Fossil Outlet, $13.17 
Coach Factory, $49.99.
*Fossil Outlet has everything BOGO 50% off, including clearance!

Gap Outlet
Zebra sweater, zip back, $20.24*
Striped tee, $10.34
Sleeveless dress, $24.74
Baby tee for Kane, $5.84;
*Yellow reusable tote, $3.50. Buy reusable tote and save 10% all year, each time you bring the tote shopping at Gap Outlet! Great to carry wet/sandy towels, swimwear, and flip flops this summer!



Notes about purchases:  

I had to buy the orange button-up because my undergrad's school colors are orange and black.  

I love pineapples.  They're a sign of welcome and I'm glad to see them everywhere this year! 

The $13 Fossil bag was the best deal (shout to Sheila for clueing us in!)--you could actually get 2 of those bags for $20 using the BOGO 50% deal!!!  

Finally, I cannot wait to wear the dress from Gap Outlet--probably on our beach trip later this summer!

Part 2 will be up tomorrow!




Friday, May 23, 2014

High Five for Friday

It's Friday!  This has been a super busy week for me, but I'm okay with that.

1.  I got a hair refresh/update this week.  In case you missed it, you can read here about how to go longer in between hair coloring appointments and your hair still look good.



2.  Since I had to go back home for my hair appointment, Kane and I got to spend some time with family.  Oh, and I got to take several naps.  When you're a parent, naps are a BIG deal!

3.  I got this awesome new nail polish from OPI.  It's the perfect color for summer, and was only $4.50!!!  Details here.


4.  If you have not tried this Blue Bunny Mini Swirl Cones, then you need to.  Like now.  I love the Birthday Party flavor!  I keep these in the fridge at work for midday pick-me-ups.


5.  Kane is growing up too quickly!  This week he has learned to stand by himself (so long as he doesn't realize that he's let go of whatever he was holding on to) and to drink from a straw

Be sure to follow me on Instagram--I'm outlet shopping today, and I'll be posting tons of deals there!

I'm linking up with Lauren Elizabeth for H54F.  Be sure to check out her blog!

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Bright [Hair] on a Budget : How to Stretch Hair Coloring Appointments

There's nothing like getting your hair done.  For real--it melts your stress away and transforms your attitude.  Last Friday, I drove the 2.5 hours home to visit my hairdresser, Ginger, at Le Rose Salon.  She is absolutely amazing.  It had been 3 months since my last appointment, so my hair was definitely in need of some extra TLC, a major trim, and a color refresh.  By the time I left, I felt like a new person!

I don't have the time or budget to get my hair colored every 6 weeks.  Ok, let's be honest--I have the money but have better things in my budget to spend it on.  I know, you're probably thinking I have absolutely hideous roots, right?  Wrong!  My hair color looked almost as good when I went into the salon as it did when I left it 3 months ago.  How?  

Here's my tips for stretching your time (and money) between hair coloring appoints.

1.  Request shades that are close to your natural color.  I'm a brunette with natural red highlights.  Even though I slightly change up the shades every time I go, the shades are always very close to my natural color--think within 3 shades for both highlights and lowlights.  I use hair coloring as a way to enhance my natural color, play it up, and give it more depth.  Another option would be to opt for the ombre trend.  While I've seen it look great on some people, though, it's just not for me.

I love this shirt--I picked it up on sale from the Polo Factory Store
right before Christmas for around $9!
2. Request that your hair stylist stay away from 3 areas when she colors--your hairline, your part, and the crown of your head.  If you pull your hair back, roots show at your hairline, and if you wear it down, roots show at your part and your crown.   By not coloring these areas, your roots will not be as noticeable, and your won't be locked into a hair style trying to hide your regrowth.


3. Maintain, maintain, maintain!  Think of this as preventative care.  Once you have your hair colored, wait a couple of days before washing it to let the color set/take.  Always wash your hair with a color protective shampoo and conditioner.  It doesn't have to be a salon brand--L'Oreal has a great, affordable option with their Ever Pure Sulfate-Free Color Care System Shampoo and Conditioner. They have lots of options for different types of hair.  I use the one to add volume.  Finally, be sure to use a UV blocker/protector on your hair when you're outside this summer, like this one by Tresemme or this one by L'Oreal.

Works great and smells good too--kind of a minty smell.
Only $5.99 each at Target, plus you can usually find coupons!
If you follow these 3 steps, you should be able to almost cut your salon visits (and budget) in half! Also, if you're not committed to a stylist, you can always try Groupon to save a little more:)

Don't forget that Ulta's Love Your Hair Event is going on now.  You can check out some of the deals I scored here.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Bright [Hair] on a Budget : Ulta's Love Your Hair Event

Disclaimer--today's post was intended to be about how to go longer between coloring/highlighting your hair, but boy has it been a rough couple of days!  Kane has been sick with croup and possibly double pink eye, so I've had to focus on my baby boy!  I hope you all will excuse the temporary changeup, and tune-in for that post later this week.

If you read my H54F post, then you know I was getting a hair update last Friday.  I'm in love with my cut and color (as you should be after a haircut.  If you're not, your hairdresser is doing it wrong!)!!  Anyways, as summer's coming fast and heat/UV rays/pool chlorine can really play a number on your strands, I wanted to pick up some items to mix in my hair routine and to keep my hair healthy in between trims.

Ulta's Love Your Hair Event is currently going on, and they have some awesome deals on hair products, tools, and services (see ad here). 

Nail Polish (L to R): OPI You're Such a Budapest and OPI Live. Love. Carnival. Reg. $9 each,
$4.50/each with coupon (BOGO FREE).
CoverGirl Beauty Bag: Free in-store with survey.
Nexxus Pro-Mend Heat Protection. Reg $12.99, $6.99 with coupon.
Brush: Olivia Garden Ceramic + Ion Thermal Hairbrush 3 1/2". Reg. $22.45,
on sale for $17.96, $13.89 with coupon.
Bobby pins: Karina. Reg. $5, on sale for $4 (unavailable online).
BONUS: $5 off $15 purchase coupon printed with receipt!
I really wanted a bigger round brush to use when drying my hair for at-home blowouts so that I could cut down on my flat iron/curling iron use. Ulta has their Olivia Garden brushes for 20% off, plus you can use Ulta's current 20% coupon to score extra cash off! I already had my eye on them but when I confirmed that's the same brand of brush my hairstylist, Ginger, uses, I had to have one.  

I also was in search of a different heat protectant.  I had a $6 off manufactuer's coupon from Nexxus, so I searched to see if they had a heat protectant with good reviews--they did, so I decided to pick that up as well.

And low and behold, but I got an email coupon from Ulta for BOGO Free OPI nail polish!  Of course I couldn't pass up that deal!  I know, I know...nail polish seemingly has nothing to do with hair... um, hello... haven't you ever gotten wet nail polish in your hair thinking it was dry on your nails?lol (Read here about how to prevent that.)

Finally, I scored the sweet CoverGirl beauty bag below for FREE!  At my Ulta, you had to do the survey to get the bag, but I think that some other stores may have different requirements.  I'm really excited about trying the mascara!


My next post will be about how to go longer in between hair colorings.  I don't have the time or money to get a color update every 6 weeks, so let me share my tricks with you to avoid the 6-8 week hair color cycle!

Do you change up your hair routine in the summer?

Friday, May 16, 2014

High Five for Friday

TGIF!  This has been a busy week!  I have a couple of projects going on that I'm not quite ready to share yet, but that I can't wait to share with you all once I'm able to:)  Let's get down to business and take a look back at my week.

1. Last Friday, I took my last final of the semester.  It was for Financial Management. I've always had to work harder when it comes to #s, and was really dreading the final. 60 questions in 2 hours. UGH!  I felt amazing when I clicked the submit button!  Chauncey, Kane and I went out to Chuy's to eat after I was done, and then I headed out to an impromptu bachelorette party once Kane was in bed.  One thing's for sure--dancing in high heels is a workout!  Oh, and I ended up with an A in both of my classes!!!

Shoes: Maurices, end of season sale last summer, approx. $6.
Jeans: a.n.a Boyfriend Jeans, $8 w/ coupon from JCP;
 similar, $14.99 (I'm wearing them unrolled). Extra 15% off w/ code DAISY15 or printable coupon here.
 2. My 1st Mother's Day!  I am so blessed to be Kane's mommy.  Being a mom isn't always easy, but it's always worthwhile.  We spent the weekend with family and had a great time.  Chauncey and Kane got me a gift certificate for a massage and chocolate.  Chauncey said I was stressed and needed to relax.  I agreed.

After church. Yes, I got to wear the almost Easter dress.
Details here about both the dress and what happened.
How sweet!  Kane smudged his toe prints because he was ticklish!lol
Thanks, Miss Camille!
3.  New Birchbox arrived! I think the Cynthia Rowley eyeliner is great, and there was a $25 off $75 coupon for Kate Spade's Saturday website.

Not my favorite box, but interesting none-the-less!
4.  Domino's did the cooking last night.  Yummy!  I really like ordering Domino's because you can get 2 medium pizzas for $5.99/ea.  Plus, if you have a Shoprunner account (more details on that coming in a later post) then you don't have to pay for delivery!  Yes, the pizza on the right is mine.  No, it doesn't have sauce on it.  Can't wait to have the leftovers for lunch today!

In case you haven't figured it out yet, I love pizza as much as I love a good deal.
5.  I've found new blogs to follow!  Per usual, I'm linking up with Lauren at Lauren Elizabeth for H54F, and I always try to check out some of the other blogs that are linked up.  Here are a few I've really come to enjoy over the last couple of weeks, so go check them out!


PREVIEW: It's looking like the blog line-up for next week will be tips for going longer in between hair salon visits to get color touchups, how to make your own wedding bouquet for less than $20, and another H54F post.

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Bright [Tech] on a Budget : Pool/Beach Protection for Your Phone

I'm notorious for destroying phones.  One time, I went through something like 5 in a year.  Don't judge me.  Things happen--you drop one here, have one stolen there, or send them swimming in a bubble bath (yes, the bowl of rice trick will work if you immediately power off your phone). . . .  I got the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 a year ago and shattered--yes, shattered--the screen 3 weeks after I got it.  That was a personal record.

I always get insurance on my phones, but insurance is expensive!  My deductible is $100--definitely nothing bright on a budget about that.  So I'm always looking for ways to protect my phone that don't involve spending $80 on a protective case.  Especially something to protect my phone while at the pool and beach (!) this summer.

Enter this sweet little contraption from Avon.  It's called the Beach Carry-All Case.  Not only is it waterproof, but it also allows you to use your phone while it's in the case!  How great is that?!

The top has 2 ziplocks on it to keep the inside waterproof.

My phone is HUGE but still fits in this case, so an iPhone or Galaxy S would definitely fit in the case no problem.  While I wish the clear portion was larger, that's just a liability of having a big phone.

Once you've sealed both ziplocks, you fold down that portion and button the snaps.
Disclaimer: I really don't have 63 unread messages.  I see them pop up at the top
of my screen, read them, and then it just doesn't clear.  I'm too lazy to manually
clear everything.
I also like how the case has a strap that will let you wear it around your neck or crossbody.  I like to wrap the strap a couple of times, though, to where it's more like a wristlet.

I wrap the straps around before I fold down the top portion, so it stays in place!

This case is a BRIGHT must-have for summer!  Great way to protect your phone on a budget!  I feel much safer about taking my phone on vacation and to the pool since I have this!

UPDATE:  The Avon Beach Carry-All case can be purchased for $9.99 here.  If you're interested in seeing what else Avon has, check out my friend Amy's Avon website here.  



Monday, May 12, 2014

Walmart's Savings Catcher Review

UPDATE (08/17/14): Wal-Mart's Savings Catcher is now available nationwide!

I loath grocery shopping.  Seriously, can grocery prices get any higher?! Sorry, I probably just jinxed all of us. My husband usually goes, but every time I pop in to pick up something I have sticker shock. Am I the only one that has this problem??? I have been casually couponing to get better prices (post here about how NOT to extreme coupon) but I'm always up for a way to save more.

Enter Walmart's Savings Catcher.  I kept getting emails about Walmart's new savings program called Savings Catcher, and finally decided to check it out. Evidently, the program is still in beta form is only being tested in 7 markets-- Lexington, Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Huntsville, Minneapolis, and San Diego-- so if you haven't heard about it, nows the time to get ahead of the game.  (see update above!)

Savings Catcher is really simple.  After shopping in-store at Walmart, you just enter your receipt on the Savings Catcher website and let Walmart find the savings for you!  Walmart will search prices from other retailers in the area and give you any savings they find!  If Walmart finds a cheaper price, then you are given the difference between that price and what you paid.  The difference is issued as a credit that can be redeemed on a Walmart Rewards eGift card.

The top half of the page shows your savings and lets you enter new receipts.
The bottom half of the page shows your actual receipts, so you can see how much you've saved per receipt.

Items that are eligible for Savings Catcher include most groceries (with some exceptions, like store brands), consumable items (paper good, household cleaners, etc.), and health and beauty items.  The stores that Savings Catcher will match differ depending on your geographic market.  For example, in Lexington, Walmart compares prices to Aldi, CVS, Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Save-A-Lot, Kroger, Meijer, Rite Aid, Target and Walgreen.   If you have other questions, check out the Savings Catcher FAQ page.

Be sure to save your receipts until they process. This can take a few days and you may have
entered some info wrong (see my INVALID warnings above)!
How simple is that?!  There's no time wasted clipping coupons, or searching salespapers to get the lowest price.  It takes just a few minutes, if that, to enter your receipt on the website!  The website will also tell you what your Walmart savings were, which is how much you saved on certain items by shopping at Walmart!  So far, I have $2.69 in Savings Catcher Credit, and have saved $1.39 by shopping at Walmart.

You can actually see what the prices are at the other stores!
I really like the simplicity of this, and am very glad that I stopped ignoring Walmart's emails and finally gave it a try!  I always wanted to sit down with sales papers and find the best deals, but I just don't have spare time.  Oh, and one more important thing-- even if you use a coupon, Walmart will give you the price difference regardless of the coupon!  So you will get the best price plus your coupon!

Did any of you already know about this program?  Have any of you used it?  I'd love to hear if you have!

Friday, May 9, 2014

High Five for Friday

TGIF and the end of the semester.  I have a final for Financial Management today, and then I'm done til next semester, which is my last for my MBA!  I'm clearly blogging when I should be studying. . . . Like every other Friday, I'm linking up with Lauren at Lauren Elizabeth for H54F.

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1. We hit the pool for the 1st time this year with Chauncey's co-workers, and Kane loved it!  Chauncey works for and with some awesome people, so we always enjoy getting together with them!  Yes, it was only 70 degrees outside, but the pool was heated to the mid-90s.  

Kane was too cool for the shades.

2. I went out to dinner with a good friend at Old Chicago.  I think it's my favorite chain pizza restaurant.  I had an individual Chicago-style with pepperoni and cheese, no pizza sauce (don't judge til you've tried it).   It was nice to catch up, and of course we talked about books!

This was too yummy!
3.  BRIGHT deal!  Ulta has their brand of gel eyeliners (mentioned here) on sale for $1 each!  You can buy 10 for $10, and use Ulta's $3.50 off $10 coupon to score 10 eyeliners for $6.50 TOTAL, or $.65/each.  I'm stocked up on black eyeliners right now, so I got some fun colors to try.  Colored eyeliners pair great with nude eyeshadow, especially if you do a cat-eye.  If you're looking to add some color, pick up Ulta's Gel Eyeliner Pencil in Storm or Peacock, or their Automatic Eyeliner in Capri, and layer it over black eyeliner to make the color pop!  

I don't know what I like more--the colors or the price!
4. This outfit.  I love cropped pants in fun colors with simple tees, especially when everything is on sale/cheap!
Scarf and Pants: Old Navy, details here.
T-shirt: Similar, Arizona at JCP, $6.99

5.  We started celebrating Mother's Day in the office early. . . with cupcakes.  We celebrate everything with food.  Sometimes, we have to celebrate with cupcakes just because, but today we had an excuse to:)



Don't forget that Mother's Day is Sunday!  If you're still looking for a gift, be sure to check out this post for gift ideals from Target for less than $20!




Thursday, May 8, 2014

Bright [Beauty] on a Budget : Birchbox

As many of you know, I work full-time as an attorney (hold your lawyer jokes. . . or let 'em fly. . .whatevs), but I'm also finishing my MBA.  I have a Finance final after work on Friday that I'm absolutely dreading. YUCK.

Anyways, now that's off my chest, let's talk about my never-ending love affair with Birchbox. I first heard about Birchbox several years ago in Cosmo or Glamour, but it wasn't until I started reading reviews at The Small Things Blog that I just had to try it.

So what is Birchbox?  Birchbox is a beauty box that you receive one a month.  It's seriously like a mini-Christmas in your mailbox.  Each box contains 4-5 deluxe beauty/lifestyle samples from awesome brands-- I've received stuff from Benefit, Color Club, OPI, Smashbox, POP Beauty, Stila, Pur Minerals, Twistband, and Juicy Couture, and several times received full-sized products.  What you get is based on a profile survey that you fill out about your hair type, skin type, coloring, and preferences. This profile can be updated at any time.

My April box.

Each box is $10/month for a monthly subscription which is automatically charged to your credit card, or you can get 1 year (12 months) for $110/year, which is the equivalent of getting 1 month free.

I'm not going to lie.  Most of the time, the boxes are great, and every now and then they're not.  Some of my favorite items to get in boxes include lip glosses, nail polish, and dry shampoo.  The sizes are great for travel.

The fabulousness doesn't just stop at the boxes.  For each item you receive, you can do a review of that product and get 10 Birchbox points.  100 points= $10 to spend on the Birchbox website getting full-sized products (you can shop from a lot of items, not just what you get in your box).  You can accumulate these points too--I've used $30 worth of points for 1 order twice.  The site also frequently offers coupon codes and free shipping with items that were in your box or if you spend $50+.
$55.49 retail price
25% off anniversary coupon + $30.00/300 Birchbox points + free shipping =
$11.62 TOTAL

Interested in getting a Birchbox subscription?  You can sign up here.   The best part about referring your friends to Birchbox is that you get 50 Birchbox points for each friend who signs up!

I really enjoy Birchbox because I get to sample a lot of brands that I would never sample otherwise.  It's much more budget-friendly then buying full-sized versions of all the products I get to try.  I also really like that I can easily earn points and apply that towards more "big ticket" purchases like the BB cream from Benefit in the picture above.  I can't wait to get my May box!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Bright [Mother's Day] on a Budget : Gift Deals from Target for Less than $20!

Note to procrastinators-- Mother's Day is upon us!  Still no idea what to get your mom, or what to suggest for your significant other to get you?  Don't worry, I've got you covered!  Note, there is no shame in giving gift suggestions:)  I had to run in Target today and they have some excellent deals going on for $20 or less!

Shoes
I love shoes, much to Chauncey's distress.  So when I saw this pair of sandals on sale for $12 today, I HAD TO HAVE THEM!  I can see myself wearing this with crop/ankle pants, shorts, and dresses. The color is such a good neutral, but they also come in cognac, mint (more of a light aqua shade), navy, or peach.

Merona Emily sandals, sale $12 (reg. $16.99)

Handbags
Confession-time: I like nice purses.  Now, I always get said nice purses on sale, but I usually don't shop the handbags at Target.  Until this beauty caught my eye.  This is a great crossbody bag that's great for the mom on the go, especially those that have to carry little ones.  It's orchid in color, which is the Pantone Color of the Year, and this can add a pop of color to just about any outfit, but it also comes in black for the moms who prefer a more neutral color.

Xhilaration Crossbody, $19.99
Target currently has BOGO 50% off on jewelry, handbags, and accessories.  If you have the Target Cartwheel app on your phone, you can add deals to your Cartwheel to save an extra 10% off handbags and wallets, women's jewelry, and/or fashion scarves.  That means you could pick up the handbag and a statement necklace or gauzy infinity scarf for a polished look for mom for an awesome deal!

Beauty Accessories
The Sonia Kashuk makeup brushes I suggested here would be a great gift for any mom that she may not buy herself.  Target currently has a coupon for $5 off a $20 select beauty department purchase (you can also text BEAUTY to 827438 to get the coupon--standard messaging rates apply).  Combine these makeup brushes with a lip gloss or a cute Essie nail polish (color suggestions here) to hit the $20 mark so you can save! If you choose to get some of the Up & Up makeup brushes instead, you can add a deal to Cartwheel to save an extra 5%.

As always, you can use your Target REDcard for an extra 5% off in store or online + free shipping on any order!

Friday, May 2, 2014

High Five for Friday

Friday again already?  You won't hear me complaining--at least not about that:)  Here's a look back at my week:

1.  I got this absolutely awesome savings card for places in Lex that includes a lot of my favorite restaurants and has unlimited uses through May 2015.  Some of my favorite deals are BOGO Free combos at Raising Cane's on Wednesday, 10% off $10 at Roosters, 15% off at Orange Leaf, free Jet's Bread with a large deep dish pizza from Jet's... I could go on and on!  The card was only $10, and was being sold for a fundraiser, so it's an all-around win.  Thanks for the hookup, Shannon!



2.  Earlier this week, I switched out all of my fall/winter clothes for my spring/summer.  I always dread this chore but I'm glad it's done!  Every time I do this, I feel like I've went shopping because I have different clothes to wear.

Can you spot Giz supervising in the background? Hint: towards the top!

3.  New swimsuit!  I purchased this one from Victoria's Secret in store because I had a $10 off $50 coupon from taking one of their surveys.  I have wide hips, so I usually have to have string bikinis so that the bikini bottom doesn't "cut" into my hips, but the ruffle around this bikini bottom is perfect to camouflage that!  Can't wait to wear this to a pool party this weekend!

Top: Beach Sexy Ruffle Halter Top in Cloud Tie Dye, $30.50 b/f discount
Bottoms: Beach Sexy Cheeky Low-Rise Bottom in Flo Fuchsia, $18.50

Want to save on a swimsuit from VS?  For a VS online order, you can use 3 coupon codes: use ULTIMATE to get the Ultimate Beach Tote and Scarf for free with any swim purchase, use SHIP50VS for free shipping on orders of $50+, and if you receive their emails, check your email for a code with pin # for 20% off any item.  Otherwise, you can use 20OFF125 for $20 off any $125 purchase. * These offers are good through 11:59 PST on 05/04/14, but the tote/scarf combo offer is only good through 11:59 PST on 05/04/14 while supplies last. 

4.  Last weekend was busy but good!  Our homeowners association worked outside on Saturday morning, and then Kane and I headed out to dinner and shopping with my friend Kara and her daughter Lily. The next day I went to a Stock the Bar party for my friends Jane and John who are getting married this month, and saw several law school friends while there:)

These pink shorts are the ones I picked up from Old Navy. Details here.
PS- I promise Kane was not wearing a belly shirt.lol
5. Look what's in!  Waiting on a special time to host an upcoming giveaway for this!  This is an authentic large wristlet from Coach.  It has 8 credit card slots (or something like that) in it and a pocket on the front that's great for putting your cell phone in.  And, as you can see, it's perfect for any UK fan!


Linking up with Lauren from Lauren Elizabeth!  Hoping your week has been good as well!

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