Living Like a Princess on a Cinderella Budget #2

Estee Mother's DayDo you realize in just over two weeks will be Mother’s Day?  I didn’t.  Not until I was looking at my calendar for something else did I realize how close we were to that very special day to honor all Mothers.  Don’t have any children?  Not to worry, it’s YOUR day, too!

So here’s my take on celebrating Mother’s Day, being recognized even if you have not given birth to any children.  YOU had a mom.  At some point in your life, someone gave you life, and that was your mother.  If you are a female, chances are you have some sort of mothering instinct inside you, whether it’s for stuffed animals, live pets, or Cabbage Patch Dolls.  I feel young ladies of all ages should be recognized on Mother’s Day because there’s a good chance one day they will be a mother, and they also have mothers.  There are women who would have loved being a mom and raising a family, but God had other plans for them and it just didn’t happen, for whatever reason.  Maybe you would like to celebrate the life of a woman who has been a mother-figure to you, even though she is not of blood relation.  Celebrate ALL women!  So for what it’s worth, I believe all ladies of all ages should consider Mother’s Day a day they can celebrate.

Have you been agonizing over what to get that special “Mom” for Mother’s Day?  Let me Estee Mother's Day Shadowhelp you a little bit over the next few days.  My first choice for a gift is Estee Lauder products.   Pictured above is what I have chosen to gift myself in honor of Mother’s Day.  Estee Lauder has a little something for everyone, from skin care and facial cleansing, to mascara and lipstick, and everything in between.  Right now, Elder-Beerman department store was offering a free gift with $35 purchase of Estee Lauder product.  The free gift was valued at approximately $130.  Spend $65 on Estee Lauder products and receive that free gift PLUS two additional skin care deluxe samples.  So for the purchase of $65 worth of product, you get roughly an additional $150 worth of product.  That’s my kind of shopping!

The free gift consisted of a beautiful makeup bag, Take it Away makeup remover, Advanced Night Repair, two lipsticks, an eyeshadow quad, and Sumptuous Mascara.  You can take your pick of Subtle Colors or Bold Colors.  I chose the Bold Colors.  And I am loving the lipstick shades it came with, Pinkberry and Hot Kiss!  The Pinkberry is a lovely pinky nude shade that should compliment most women’s complexion.  The Hot Kiss is a much deeper, bolder pink that would be perfect at night, or anytime you might want a bolder lip color.  The additional deluxe samples I received were the Resilience Lift Firming/Sculpting Face and Neck Crème with SPF 15 and the Resilience Lift Eye Crème.  Both are nice, silky feeling moisturizers.

Estee Mother's Day CompactNow, what to spend $35 on to get the free gift?  I chose the golden alligator compact filled with Lucidity Translucent Pressed Powder for $39.50.  It is very small, maybe 2″ across, and it comes with a felt bag to keep it in so it won’t get scratched up in your handbag.  It looks very elegant.  To me, it’s the perfect size to carry with me so it’s not bulky or heavy.  It will easily slip into a small evening purse or wristlet.  I’ve wanted one of these for a very long time.  There just always seemed to be something more important for me to purchase before, like foundation.  But the timing was right for it this time.

Another suggestion would be the Estee Lauder Five Star Favorites gift set for $35 (pictured above in the red box on the right).  It includes a Double Wear All-Day Glow BB Moisture Makeup with SPF 30 in color intensity 1.0, Pure Color Envy Sculpting Lipstick in Dynamic, Sumptuous Infinite Daring Length + Volume mascara in Black, Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II for all skin types, and a small, .14oz., bottle of Modern Muse Eau de Parfume spray (LOVE that scent!)

As you may have guessed, or already knew, I love Estee Lauder products.  They are luxurious and high quality.  They make me feel like a lady who is being pampered for no reason…and that’s OK!  They also have body lotions and shower lotions in some of their most popular scents.  And when you get some free gifts with your purchase, it seems economical, too.

Beauty in my Eyes

We all have our own ideas of beauty.  What catches your eye may slip right by mine.  How do I define beauty?  I’m not exactly sure.  I know it when I see it, though.

12994311_1040268042676959_7205009825890081950_nPlanners and notebooks in both bright colors and basic black catch my eyes.  Throw in a pretty, comfortable writing instrument and I am in my element, floating high on a writer’s cloud.  It’s just paper, you might be thinking.  Oh no!  It’s not just paper!  It is the recipient of my thoughts and dreams.  It is the listening ear of my troubles and sorrows.  It rejoices with me when I share joys of the days or conversations with friends.  It is my traveling companion and my confidante on sleepless nights.  These notebooks have a heartbeat of their own, in my eyes.

No, I cannot really define my idea of beauty, but I can tell you my friends are beautiful.  All of them.  Each one in 303233_2397092091761_1825382099_ntheir own special and unique way.  Take my friend, Piccadilly the Clown.  Isn’t she absolutely gorgeous!  But be assured there is much more than what catches the eyes.  Her beauty runs deep, shares laughter, instigates smiles, and warms hearts with her love of people and God.  She is generous.  She shares of herself and expects nothing in return and that, my friends, is beautiful.

12987067_1040266269343803_264469149487097492_nMakeup is beautiful.  Oh my gosh, the colors are all over the place!  Put a pretty lipstick and blush in a bright, shiny makeup bag and I’m ready to step out the door into the light.  Some black mascara on the eyelashes frames the soulful eyes of a woman, and can brighten the sad eyes that cried the night before.  Strategically placed color on a woman’s face can change her mood from “all hope is gone” to “I can face anything!”  A little lipstick on these pale lips can mean the difference from someone telling me I look sick all day, to telling me I look like I feel better.  Oh yes, makeup is beautiful.

Have you ever sat down to eat feeling ravenous, looked at 13001267_1040268329343597_7368945132206482458_nyour food, and then all of a sudden lost your appetite?  I love salads, but if they look a mess with everything just thrown in with no thought, I don’t love them so much.  But I LOVE a pretty salad!  I love pretty food!  With each topping in its own special place on top of that lettuce, it’s a beautiful thing.  The mixture of colors, textures, and tastes can make the difference between just eating and really enjoying my food.  And let’s face it, we have to eat.  We might as well eat for the joy and beauty of it!

Certain colors are sure to catch my eyes.  Pinks and purples will snatch their attention every time.  I love bright colors in the Spring and Summer.  They make me feel happy and full of hope.  The days go smoother when there is a joyful color in them.  12990889_1038006399569790_3297011779775416156_nAnd if that joyful color happens to be on my handbag, I am one joyful woman.  A handbag is useful, yes.  It can be a workhorse, an accessory, a compliment to a pair of shoes.  But add a splash of color to it and it becomes a work of art.  Magenta.  I waited weeks for this color handbag to arrive.  It’s so beautiful I’m almost afraid to pack it with me fearing that something might happen to it, that it will become covered in grease or tomato sauce or stolen by an art thief.  But as I said, almost.  It will not be nearly as beautiful sitting on a shelf in my closet, or housed in a dust bag.  To really enjoy it, it needs to be close by, in my hands where I can touch it, and let it carry that beautiful purple cosmetic bag full of pretty makeup.  It all goes together.  Beauty builds upon beauty.  It all has its’ place.

Of all the beauty in all the world, there’s nothing more beautiful to me than my fur Maggie3family.  Maggie is beauty in my eyes.  She is warm, wiggly, sassy, and smart.  She lives and breathes beauty around me.  She is full of love and spunk and occasional treats.  Her ears have been torn and have ragged edges, but that just adds to her character and charm.  She snorts and snores and reminds me in the night that I am not alone.  She adopted me and saved my life.  There is nothing more beautiful in my eyes.

What is beauty in your eyes?  Take time today to look around you.  There is beauty in the everyday.  There is beauty in our chores and in our play times.  God has created beauty all around us, if we will only take a few moments to see it.

Blessings.

Makeup Memories

  It was late summer 1977.  I was 18, blemish covered, red faced, and makeup naive.  It was time to try to improve my complexion.  It was time to try makeup.

I had a job then.  Bringing in my own money, and being of adult age, I wanted to try and pretty myself up a bit.  My previous clear complexion had decided to go stark raving mad with acne.  Pastules and pustules and painful cystic type adult acne.  I didn’t know it then, but that was only the beginning of a lifelong battle with adult acne.  I wanted it cleared up, and I wanted it covered up.  It was so bad I didn’t want to go out in public.

I made my first appointment with a dermatologist at age 18.  Diagnosed with adult acne and rosacea, I left with a prescription for an antibiotic and cream for my face.  I was instructed to wash my face with my hands and a very mild soap in the evening, like Dove, and to use only water of a morning.  Apply the MetroGel both morning and evening.  And yes, I was allowed to wear makeup, but it had to be water based.

I headed to the drugstore to get some Cover Girl makeup.  I was still a teenager who hadn’t used makeup before.  I thought everyone used Cover Girl.  Who knew there would be so many shades to choose from?  And how was I supposed to pick one if I couldn’t try it on?  I left empty handed and more than a little disappointed.

After telling my mother-in-law my woeful makeup tale, she suggested I go to one of the nicer department stores to the Estée Lauder counter and let them help me find a shade, so I did.  Back then, there weren’t as many makeup brands on the market, but Estée Lauder was, and still is, one of the best.  It’s a brand I’m still loyal to.

The Estée representative was very nice, had her own makeup applied flawlessly, and was very helpful.  I had the works done.  Starting with the cleanser, toner, and moisturizer, she then picked out a water based foundation and found my shade.  She dotted and blended concealer over all my red spots and finished with a very light dusting of powder.  A light pink cream blush was next, then on to my eyes with neutral eyeshadow and mascara.  I stopped her at the brows.  I thought that was only for old ladies.  Then a pinkish nude lipstick finished up.  

Looking in the mirror, I wasn’t sure what I thought at first.  Was that me?  Was it too much?  I felt like a little girl playing with a forbidden toy.  And yet, I felt pretty.  I still knew my acne was there, but the makeup helped so much in smoothing out my complexion.  Maybe this would work after all.  Maybe I could do this.

The Estée rep was good at her job and I was desperate to feel pretty, so I left her that day with a lovely little shopping bag filled with cleanser, toner, moisturizer, foundation, blush, and lipstick.  I decided to wait a while on the eye makeup.

 

Christmas 2015 set.
 A few months later was Christmas.  My mother-in-law gifted me with the beautiful Estée Lauder Christmas makeup set with more eyeshadows and blushes than I knew what to do with.  And I made every application mistake I possibly could.  Too dark, too bright, too blue.  But slowly, I learned through trial and error what I liked best.  I was feeling more like a lady.

This was a time before foundation primer, eyelid primer, bronzers, highlighters, and numerous other items invented for women to spend more money on.  When I get on YouTube and search for all the makeup gurus on what and how to apply makeup, I am just amazed at how much time and product they get into.  And I wonder why we need three different kinds of concealers, three cheek products, and five shades of eyeshadow.  Really?  And their makeup “collections” of not only drawers upon drawers of makeup, but a room of makeup.  Thirty years ago I never would have dreamed that to be possible.

As I’ve aged, my makeup and skincare needs have changed.  Having rosacea, I will probably always have flare ups of pimples and redness from time to time.  I feel that’s very unfair at my age of 56, but my dermatologist says that’s life and hormones for ya.  I kind of hate that he’s not only right, but looks like he’s about 18.

Experimenting with makeup is still fun for me, and sometimes I do go all out by applying foundation primer and eyeshadow primer.  No matter how hard I try to achieve that smokey eye look, it always comes off looking like I belong in the Adam’s Family photo album.  So I mostly stick with lighter neutral shadows, usually only two at a time.  One eyeliner.  One mascara.  And a brow powder, because my eyebrows have become more sparse than they once were.  A little blush and always lipstick.  Lipstick does wonders for my pale face.

  
I’ve learned that makeup is to enhance my features, not to dominate them.  It should always be fun, and I should always still look like me, only better.

It’s really rather amazing to me all the different brands and products on the market today compared to thirty years ago.  But it tells a story about how women are always searching for products to make them beautiful, and will pay good money to get them.

How has your makeup evolved over the years?  More?  Less?  What was your first makeup brand, and are you brand loyal?

Blessings

Full Size Style

Fashion and style are not just for the skinny and young.  Plus size women of all ages like to look fashionable, too.  And they can now, with more options and with more clothing lines recognizing that beauty comes in all sizes, and so do the women who purchase clothes.

  
One of my favorite shops for larger sized clothing is Catherine’s and catherines.com.  They have surely come a long way over the years.  They now offer clothing that is on point fashion, fits well, comfortable, and for all ages of women.  The picture above is their Dashing Blouse, $69-$74, depending on the size.  Most pieces run in size from 0X, a size 14, up to 5X, a size 34/36.

They carry a couple collections called Perfect Price and Suprema.  These are usually comfortable, casual items in cotton and cotton blends at a budget worthy price.  The Perfect Price tops come in beautiful colors and patterns.  The only con with these is that they are not always included in the frequent sales that Catherine’s has because of their already lower prices.

Now, let’s talk for a moment about purchasing lovely clothes on a budget.  I love clothes and being able to wear nice clothing.  I feel like Catherine’s is a nice quality, but I cannot afford to pay full price for their clothing.  They help with that by having frequent sales.  It seems that nearly every week they have some sort of sale going on.  I wait for the really good ones where I can get clothing 50% off, plus my 10% off with the store’s Perks Plus discount.  That’s 60% off!  They also offer what they call Catherine’s Cash at certain times that you can use for shopping at future dates.  I suspect between now and Christmas they will have some fantastic sales promotions.

Catherine’s carries a diverse line of styles that should appeal to most all ages and styles of women.  My favorite style the past few years is long over lean, as in long tunics over leggings or slim leg slacks.  Because of some health issues I have with my legs, this is a very comfortable option for me, and when a black legging is paired with a black ankle boot, you can’t go wrong.  And pretty much any color tunic goes with the black leggings.  This style is easy and takes me wherever I want to go, whether it’s work, play, or somewhere in between.  It just works for me.

Once you try on some of their clothes in the store, you will get a sense of what styles you like and look best on you.  Don’t be afraid to try on large prints and bright colors.  You will be surprised how great your body will look in them.  I’ve also ordered their clothing from catherines.com in my usual sizes and everything has always fit.

  
This is their Softness Sweater I recently purchased in red.  Do keep in mind when you’re shopping online that their models are usually wearing their smallest sizes.  This sweater looks much different on me, yet still attractive and comfortable.

Ladies, no matter what your size, have fun with your clothing.  Pair a simple sweater with a gorgeously colored scarf.  Make a statement with a ruana thrown over your shoulders.  Even a pair of soft, supple, black leather gloves from  Catherine’s will put the finishing touch to your outfit.  And don’t forget to accessorize!  Make your earrings tell something about your personality.  Carry a handbag that’s going to pull everything together, or make a dramatic pop of color with neutral clothing.

Lastly, but certainly not least, don’t forget that grooming can make or break any outfit.  Give yourself a manicure and pedicure, tweeze or wax your eyebrows, shave any pesky facial hair that loves to start sprouting around menopause, and just enough makeup to enhance those beautiful features.  A little lipstick and mascara can really brighten your complexion and add a little classiness in an easy and simple way.  Or go for a total makeup look!  Just don’t overdo.  You don’t want your makeup colors to compete with your clothing for attention.

No matter what your size, you are beautiful and worthy of dressing to enhance your beauty.

What is your favorite plus-size fashion look?

Please share with your plus-size fashionista friends!

Blessings

Review of Maybelline The Falsies Push Up Drama Mascara

 I’m no beauty guru, but I do like and buy makeup.  I’m middle-aged, so I don’t gravitate toward some of the younger brands.  Recently, I had a couple great coupons for this mascara by Maybelline, one of my favorite mascara brands, and used them on a deal at CVS.  I’ve worn it for three days and here are some of my thoughts on it.

  • The name of it is way too long. Perhaps that’s rather picky of me, but with a name this long, I’ll never remember it.
  • I like the packaging.  It has a unique, fresh look about it.
  • It has a rubber brush, like many do. 
  • The formula is pretty wet, so if you prefer a dry formula, don’t buy this one.
  • The brush is supposed to scoop and lift lashes, which I thought it did an ok job of doing that.
  • It says on the back “New creamy plumping formula delivers instant volume and holds lift in place.”  I thought it did ok with that, too.
  • This is how it looked on the left eye in the picture after one coat.
  • I thought it did a great job of lengthening and a moderate job of thickening.
  • A couple hours later, I looked in the mirror and had a moderate amount of smudges of mascara under my eyes.  This occurred all three days I wore it.
  • My lashes did stay lifted.  I liked the “spidery” look it gave them.  I do think more than one coat would have been too much for me.
  • Overall, I liked the look and length it gave my lashes.  I would have preferred a little dryer formula.  I didn’t like the smudges.  I will continue to use this mascara until it runs out or I need to throw it away, but I won’t repurchase it.  I still prefer the Maybelline Rocket mascara.

Living Like a Princess on a Cinderella Budget – Part 1

I’m semi-retired, work part-time at my church, have a fixed income, and love couponing and getting a bargain.

When I can save a lot of money on my personal items, like oral hygiene products, facial moisturizers, body wash, etc., it frees up money for those items I want to splurge on, like the Estée Lauder makeup set I recently purchased.  The place I like to coupon the most at is our local CVS Pharmacy.  In addition to being able to use manufacturer’s coupons on name brand items, they also run deals where they will give me back coupons, called Extra Bucks Rewards, that I can spend in their store like cash on future purchases.

To get the lowest out of pocket cost, I match up sales and coupons.  This system works well as long as I don’t purchase items I have no need for just because they are on sale, and I don’t.

I haven’t been in CVS for a while, so I did not have any Extra Bucks to help with my first purchase.  This made my out of pocket cost higher than I like, but I had to start somewhere.  I didn’t do great today, but I consider any savings to be good.

I made my purchases in two transactions so I could use the Extra Bucks from the first transaction on the second one.

First transaction:

2 Maybelline the Falsies Push Up Drama Mascara @ $9.49 each.

1 L’Oreal Visible Lift foundation @ $14.99.

I had two $3 off coupons on the Maybelline mascara, and the CVS deal was buy 2 and get $5.00 back in Extra Bucks.  The L’Oreal deal was spend 12 and get $4 back in Extra Bucks.

My out of pocket cost for this transaction was $30.44, including tax, and I got back $9 in Extra Bucks.
Second Transaction:

Two packages Olay wet facial cloths on sale 2/$8.00.

Two cans Campbell’s Chunky Soup on sale for .77 each.

Two Softsoap body washes on sale for buy one get one free @ $4.99 each.

Two GoldBond lotions at $7.79 and $10.79.  The deal was buy $15 of GoldBond and get $5 back.

I used two manufacture coupons for $1 off the Olay cloths, and the $9 in Extra Bucks from my first transaction, making my total out of pocket $25.86, including tax.  I got back $5 in Extra Bucks from the GoldBond deal to use next shopping trip.

CVS also has a Beauty Club where I can spend $50 in beauty products and they will put $5 Beauty Bucks on my card in a couple days that I can use later.

My total spent out of pocket today was $56.30.  I budget myself $50 per month for CVS shopping, but since I went two months without spending anything there, I’m still within my budget.
This is like a game I love to play.  I get a high on saving money on necessities!  I’m already planning my next shopping trip after I get my Beauty Bucks in a couple days and will then have $10 in Bucks to spend.

I will post my next shopping trip toward the end of the week.

What ways do you save money on your necessities?  How do you live like a Princess on a Cinderella budget?

Please feel free to share.

Blessings.

Emergency Makeup

 

MakeupBag

This has been one of those days.  Yes, one of THOSE days.  It’s the kind that my momma never told me about, mainly because she didn’t know about this kind of day.  It’s one of those “No Makeup” days, the kind when I’m running short on time and I figure the most important thing is to get to work, even if I don’t have my makeup on.  And I did.

I’ve had these kind of days before, so I came up with a plan to rescue myself from the horror of being seen with a naked face; the Emergency Makeup Bag.  This bag holds an entire face in it.  Everything I need to cover up and pretty up my face, and yet it’s still pretty basic.  It contains foundation, face primer, eye primer, eyebrow powder, eyebrow brush, eyeshadow, blush, eyeliner, mascara, lipstick, and a sample packet of facial moisturizer.  I don’t leave home without it.

In addition to my emergency bag, I have some items in my desk drawer; just in case.  I have a tiny pouch in my bag with a lipstick and tweezers in it.   And this doesn’t include all the makeup I have at home for when I’m not in a hurry and can put it on before leaving the house.  Sometimes, the makeup application takes place in the car while it’s warming up.  I’m flexible like that.

Makeup2

I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup before I was 18.  By that time, I didn’t know what to buy or how to put it on.  I went to a Merle Norman shop and had a gentleman give me a makeover.  The only thing I loved was the lipstick.  I would look at the makeup in drugstores and department stores and just window shop.  It was like pretty candy I was afraid to touch because it wouldn’t be good for me.  Makeup baffled me.

I was probably in my early 20’s when my mother-in-law gave me a Christmas gift of an Estee Lauder makeup set.  It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen!  All those colors of eyeshadow were like an artist’s paint palette.  I just knew they would make me beautiful!   As soon as the stores opened after Christmas, I was at that Estee Lauder counter getting coached on how to put on my foundation and apply eyeshadow.  Of course, the makeup was guaranteed to apply better if I purchased all the skin products, too.  I spent most of a pay check at that makeup counter, but I couldn’t have turned it down even if I had wanted to.  I was hooked.  I’ve never been without makeup since.  It doesn’t all come from Estee Lauder, though.  My mascara comes from the drugstore by using coupons and sales.  Revlon makes a great lipstick.  The special Christmas kit Estee Lauder puts out lasts me all year with blush and eyeshadow and is a very good value.  I will buy my foundation when they offer a free gift with purchase.  I do try to makeup shop responsibly.

Some people carry around emergency telephone lists, emergency first aid kits, or emergency chocolate.  I don’t even own a Bandaid.  But if you ever need a blush or mascara fix, I’ve got you covered.