Friday, August 27, 2010

Beauty Comes in Small Packages

The start of fall (it was only 93 deg yesterday) always puts me in mind of beautiful paper goods. After stalking Night Owl Paper Goods for over a year, I finally placed an order this morning. Check out all these lovelies!

Letterpressed cards can sometimes seem like a luxury, but try their sale section, where they have limited amounts left from previous runs. Many of the cards I ordered were $1. Even when you spread out the $5 flat shipping, that's much less than I would spend on a grocery store card, for a far superior product.

Night Owl does amazing work on wooden cards too. I ordered two red, love-themed prints that were intended to be sent as postcards, and that I intend to hang on my wall as art.

Don't you love your friends and family enough to send them beautiful cards?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

got 2b... smooth & plump

I received some coupons from Bzz Agent to try out the new line from Got 2b, Smooth Operator. I've had some good experiences with Got 2b products, but haven't ever found anything I'm in love with. This time I tried the new line, Smooth Operator, which has cashmere in it. I'm all for something that can smooth my oft-frizzed tresses and make them cashmere soft. I chose the Smoothing Luxury Mousse and the Smoothing Lustre Lotion. I used the mousse on towel-dried hair before styling, and the lotion after blow-drying and styling. I tried both of them alone and together.

The good:
The Smooth Operator line protects against heat damage from your blow dryer and flat iron, and contains a UV protectant, to fight off that nasty Arizona summer sun. I was impressed with how soft and silky my hair turned out. Which was especially nice in the summer, when the sun and chlorine can sometimes make it, um, not soft and silky. These products, especially the mouse, created major volume - a plus for many people. And I love that Got 2b comes close to salon-brands, but at a very affordable price point. You can get most of the products for under $5 at your grocery store or drug store.

The bad:
Lots of volume. This can be a plus for some, and usually I'm looking for products to boost volume, but with my current unfortunate hair cut (I'm growing out some funky layers & wish it was all 4 inches longer), it created way too much volume for me. Especially when I used both products together. It was pretty wild.

I'm going to hold onto the other half of my bottles for when my hair grows out a little bit. I think it will be perfect then! In the meantime, a little Lustre Lotion goes a long way to smooth and soften my hair.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Buy an Apple for Your Teacher

And...  it's that time of year again. Time for new backpacks. Time for new lunchboxes. Time for new shoes, and jeans, and clothing of all kinds! Time for back-to-school shopping! Oh, and school too I suppose. As excited as we are around here for the start of 1st grade and preschool (only 1 kid still home all day), it's hard to parallel the excitement I get over a reason and a justification to spend money. And as I've been catching people's tweets, status updates, and posts about what they do & buy to prepare for the new school year, I've been wondering about the necessities. What new items do you buy, beg, borrow or steal for your children?

Our biggest challenge this year was tennis shoes for my 1st grader. He still can't tie his shoes and my husband insisted on non-lace shoes. I took my boy to 7 or 8 stores and couldn't find anything we liked for less than $20. And most around $30. Is it just me? Am I totally cheap? I can barely pay $20 for shoes for me!

Payless has some awesome shoes, in addition to all the lame character tennies. Unfortunately the cool ones were $20-25, and I kept looking. We found some cool, classic Vans for $20 but my boy is used to flat, flexible soles and said they felt weird. We are not skaters over here. In the end, I found some slip-on Converse for under $17 at Nordstroms. It was a special deal on only one color (chocolate brown) and the store matched the price for me. Great experience and shoes are checked off the list.

As for clothes, that's where I get a little disappointed. Because I do so much clearance-rack shopping year round, there's not much left to do in August. My friend, Becky, posted about getting her three kids school ready and said she spent over $400. That only included three new outfits for each of them. We saved on not having to buy a backpack, lunchbox, or any school supplies. (We never got a list of supplies. Will he come home with one tomorrow?) For my son, he is just ready to move from size 5 to size 6, and his birthday is next month so I spent some time today pulling out all his size 6 clothes. Despite not feeling like I spent much money for back-to-school clothes, I pulled off tags totalling about $80 worth of new things.

And what do we have to show for it all? A year's worth of clothes:
10-12 t-shirts
4 polos
3 pairs of jeans
2 pairs of other pants
4-5 pairs of shorts
4-6 long-sleeved shirts (do kids need these for winter in AZ? I say yes, husband no)
various (plenty of) church clothes

What do you think? Is it too much? Ridiculously too little? Am I forgetting something? Yes, he has socks, underwear, pajamas, and jackets too. And probably way too many of each. Just like me!