Sunday, February 17, 2013

Are all trash cans created equally?

Is a trash can that retails for $179.99 worth it?  That is the question I had to ask myself yesterday while in line at my local Bed, Bath & Beyond.  It is also the question my mom asked when helping me carry this into my house earlier today.

image via Bed Bath & Beyond
If you are asking yourself why one would want such a trash can, here are my reasons (in order of importance).

  •  Trash and Recycling receptacles all in one
  •  Removable bin inserts (making cleaning a breeze)
  •  Silent closing lid
  •  The ability to lock the lid in an open position for extended chores (i.e. cleaning out the fridge)
  • Price
  • Small size of each receptacle (a blue 16-liter aka 4.23 gallons and a black 30-liter aka 7.93 gallons)
  • Inserting the bags properly does take a little more time and getting used to
  • If you want the proper fitting bags, they can be pricey (I am using my regular 13-gallon ones without too much of a problem, fyi)

A little "trash can" background:

I have had this Sterilite 11-Gallon Step On Trash Can for over ten years with zero problems.  It washes well, was less than $15.00, the bag sometimes falls inside of the can and it is white (my fave color).  Alas, I was bored with it.

image via Walmart

My Trashcan Research:

From the beginning, I really wanted the simplehuman trash can, but I could not justify the expense.  Almost $200 for a trash can!?  What was I smoking?  (Disclaimer:  I don't smoke anything).  So instead I headed over to Sam's Club and bought their knock off version.

image via Sam's Club

I mean, it came with two trash cans, was less than $50.00, had the removable insert,  slow closing lid and lock mechanism I so coveted in the simplehuman version.  I though to myself, Why not?   Winning!!  Not so much.  This can broke within the first month.  The lid stopped functioning properly.  I fixed it once and my husband fixed it a second time.  It jams halfway open or closed every other time you try and throw something away.  It is now at the point where it refuses to close even when you press on the lid.  They look great, they just don't work well.  I have dealt with this since August.  AUGUST!!  The mini one works fine, but they are both outside ready to be taken back to Sam's Club (they have a great return policy by the way).

Mama needs her $50.00 back.. Just saying.

I have owned my new trash can less than 24 hours and I am in LOVE.  In love with a garbage can?  Yesssss, yes I am.

I am super excited with my new purchase.  Even more so because I was able to purchase it for a lot less than the retail price.  Here's how:

$179.99 Bed, Bath & Beyond Price
-$36.00 BB&B 20% off coupon
-$50.00 Gift Card I received for Christmas
$93.99 Price I actually paid (before tax)

I realize this is still an astronomical amount to pay for a trash can.  Did I really need it?  Most likely not, but I really wanted to de-clutter my kitchen and not have two separate bins for trash and my Dasani water bottles.

Have you been eyeing one of these, too?  I figure we only live once, so...all you need to do is get yourself a coupon, find a friend willing to give you a gift card and go get yourself one of these bad boys.

As always, thanks for reading.  :)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Hall Closet Organization: Part One: Ideas & Inspiration

The Linen/Hall Closet aka The Hot Mess in our home has been on my "to do" list for...well, forever!  I am almost too embarrassed to even post my before pictures.  If it were up to me, it would never be a mess.  Alas, an eight-year-old, a messy husband and one other person who shall not be named (my MOTHER!) get their hands in there and POOF! it becomes a hot mess.  None of them will admit this, you see, so that means I am left with the task of organizing and reorganizing get the picture, right?!

Enough is enough!  I need a functional, user-friendly hall closet.  Sooner, rather than later.

In all fairness, our Linen/Hall Closet has a lot to handle.  Not only does it house linens, towels, etc., but it is also home to medicines, vitamins and first-aid paraphernalia, as well as unopened toiletries such as dental floss, toothpaste, soaps, shower gels, razors, cotton balls, etc.  Now, that is a lot.  Factor in my obsession with Bath & Body Works sales, and there really is not a lot of extra space.  If any.

My ideas for our space are simple:
  • Streamline the space
  • Tidy it up in order to be super organized and efficient
  • Make things easy to locate
  • Make things easy to put back (this is the biggest problem our family faces)
  • Possibly make room for toilet paper and paper towels (I wish, I wish!)
  My dreams for our space:
  • Adjustable Shelves
  • Lined shelves (a pretty, clean pattern and something I won't loathe in a few months)
  • All white linens & towels (this is something I have actually been working on the past 6 months or so)
  • Ironing Board Storage

I have been searching the web for some inspiration.

I am for sure not going to go as far as ironing every single sheet and pillow case to make my Linen Closet look this fab:
image via Martha Stewart
But, a girl can dream, eh?
I LOVE this:
image via a blog I found via Pinterest

This is pretty:
image via Style at Home

Ironing Board Storage:
image via Collect 5

I adore this "basket" for each room idea:
image via Collect 5

One last thing.
I absolutely love this and aim to at least try it.  I am not sure I will be able to make it look as perfect, but I am going to try my best!
image via Martha Stewart

I could seriously do this all day.  Seriously.  Once I get started browsing for ideas on Pinterest or the web, there is no stopping me!

Do you Pin?  If so, feel free to check out my boards.  I promise they are super organized and full of a ton of home inspiration ideas.

I need to back away from the computer and get busy on my closet makeover.
"Part Two" to follow soon...

As always, thank you so much for reading.  Please leave a comment.  <3

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sensitive Skin Must Haves: Smooth Legs Edition

Do you love soft, smooth legs and skin?  Well, I do.  Who doesn't, right?  There are numerous products on the market that promise you the closest, smoothest shave and some may deliver.  Most, however, do not.  Many of my girlfriends prefer to use their husband/boyfriend/guy friends razors.  This mama, does not. 

When I want to treat myself to a spa-day without the spa price tag, I do these four simple things:

1.  Scrub
Before stepping into the shower, I use a body scrub.  I turn on the shower, so it will be nice and steamy and I use this scrub.  I use it everywhere (except on my face, of course).  It smells AMAZING in the shower (think eucalyptus) and leaves absolutely zero scent on my skin.  This, I love.  A little goes a long way.  Once you are done scrubbing all of your dead skin off (ew), rinse thoroughly.  As in, all of your nooks and crannies.  This is a salt scrub, not a sugar scrub. So, be sure to use this PRIOR to shaving.  Not after.  Or you will be in for a painful surprise.

US $24.00

2.  Cleanse
Body washes come in many different formulas.  Don't worry about those.  Try this one.  It is THE. BEST.  It is so awesome, even my 8-year-old son begs to use it!  It smells like cake batter, but ONLY while you are in the shower - it leaves no scent on your skin after rinsing.  How awesome is that?  Maybe some of you like smelling like a bakery, alas I do not.
I digress .
This product, in combination with step 1, will give you the closest shave ever.  I swear by it.  True Blue Spa offers a product specific to shaving, but the scent kills me and I love this one more.  So, there.  Even if you hate it, you can return it - Bath  Body Works has one of the best return policies around.

3.  Shave
 This is the best razor evaaaaa.  No, seriously. It is.  I have never experienced a closer shave in my life.  Also, it works wonders on my sensitive skin.  No bumps, nicks or cuts.  Used in conjunction with the above shower cream, you will get the most out of this razor.  The only con regarding this product is the price.  The refills are super pricey unless you get them at Costco.  They have the best price I have found so far.  Sometimes, the package even includes the Gillette Shave gel.  Throw that away.  You won't ever need it.  :)  Just kidding, give it to your sister.

(Fair to say, I have also used this razor with other shower creams/shave creams/gels with a similar effect, however nothing beats my 4-step process.  Just saying.)
Gillette Venus Embrace Razor
Approx. US $10.00 (includes one razor and two cartridges.  It even comes with an "In-shower razor holder" that suction cups to your shower wall for ease of use.  Can we say, Awesome?!

(Bargain hunters:  I checked the Gillette website and found this gem:
A $3.00 off coupon.  Okaaaayy!  Now we are shopping!)

4.  Moisturize
 Not all body creams are created equal and this one sets the standard to ruin all other body creams for you.  Not only is it fragrance-free, but it also has shea butter in it, so it is ultra-rich.  At first, it may seem a bit greasy - but it is thicker than most creams and you only need a small amount.  I usually squeeze a nickel sized amount onto my palm and then rub it between both of my hands - this will help it spread more easily once  you apply it to your body.  I do this as soon as I get out of the shower, after drying off, but before getting dressed.  Who am I kidding?  I roam my house in the nude all day.  Pffft.

US $15.00
If you don't experience the softest, smoothest skin after using these four products, tell me what you do use to get a spa-like feeling at home.  I will go and buy it immediately to try.  No joke.  Well, unless it is like a trillion dollars.  Mama can't be affording all of that!

I understand the price of some of these items may seem a little steep, but trust me.  I always find a deal.  For example, a few times a year Bath & Body Works has a sale on their True Blue Spa line and believe it or not these products can be found for buy 2 get 1 free.  (Uhm, like as in right now.  I just checked).  You just have to pay attention.  Oh, and stock up!  I usually buy about $150 dollars worth every year.

By the way, if you are asking yourself, "Does this chick work for B&BW?!", the answer is no.  I can't even use most of their products without having a reaction - including the candles, because of my sensitivity issues.  I received the body scrub as a gift years ago and have been hooked on these three products since.
(I also do my own spa mani & pedi at home, too...maybe I will write a post on that later).

As always, thanks for reading and please share this with your friends and feel free to leave a comment.  :)

Sensitive Skin Must Haves: Facial Edition

Throughout my life, people have always complimented me on my skin: the texture, softness, overall look, etc.  When I say, "People" I am referring to friends, family and random strangers.  Seriously.  It is something I have encountered since a young age.  They also ask me things like, "What products do you use?" and  "Are they expensive?".  Sometimes, my answers vary depending on my skin's mood, the season or simply because I ran out of my favorite product and have been substituting with another one.  Mostly, my regimen has stayed the same since I was about 10 years old.  Yep, 10!  Hard to believe I have been taking diligent care of my skin for almost 30 years.  Yikes!  Am I that old already?  Why, yes I am.  You just can't tell from looking at me.  How old am I?  Let's just say I am closer to 40 than I would prefer to be.  Moving on...

This is a blog I have been wanting to write for some time now.  The next time someone asks me (because believe me, it happens a couple of times per week), I plan on directing them here - to this cheat-sheet of sorts.  Reviews of products with prices and links to where those products can be purchased is something I would love to have when shopping.  Just saying.

I will try and keep this list in the order I use the products, but I may stray a bit.  Also, let me preface this my saying I have super sensitive skin.  Like SUPER SENSITIVE.  So sensitive that I have slowly had to switch entirely to almost all fragrance-free products.  So, if you have sensitive skin like I do, this list may help you even more than the average fragrance-tolerant person.

The following are my favorite facial skin care products.  With the exception of the blemish control product, I actually use these products on a daily basis.  Like as in every single day.  Sometimes more than twice, because I like to take baths and stuff.

Facial Soap
I use this at least twice per day.  Morning and night.  I have tried quite a few facial soaps, both liquid and bar and this is hands-down my absolute favorite one.  It washes makeup off completely and does not leave my face feeling tight and dry like some others have.  I have not noticed any type of scent while using this, either.  I usually plan my Clinique shopping around the annual campaigns most department stores run each season (Hello, freebies!), but recently due to an injury, I was unable to leave my house and decided to order directly from the Clinique website.  On the plus side, shipping was free (I had a code via email for free shipping) and it arrived in a timely fashion.

Toner aka Clarifying Lotion
Back in the day, I used to swear by a product called, Sea Breeze.  I used it religiously for the better part of 15 years.  Then, one day my skin started feeling dry.  That was the end of my obsession with Sea Breeze.  Well, kind of.  For many years after that, I would still use it as a spot treatment for blemishes.  Until I found my new fave - more on that later.  I now use Clinique's Mild Clarifying Lotion after cleansing.  Every.  Single.  Time.  It helps tone, prevent blemishes and deep clean your pores without stripping your skin.

I used to only use Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturizer, but one day my skin changed.  It was as if the moisturizer was no longer doing its job as well as it had in the past.  I was out of town and really didn't have the time to run out and buy another facial cream.  What I did have with me was my tired and trusted Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion.  Up until that point, I had only ever used it on my body, but I figured it was my best bet and I have never looked back.  Not even once.  There is a reason this stuff wins awards.  Not only is it less expensive than my former fave, it truly moisturizes my skin better.  Seriously.
Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion
US $8-10.00 depending where you purchase it.
Side note:  I buy mine at Sams Club & Costco, where you can get two large bottles of this for around the same price as one regular sized bottle from your local drug store.

Eye Makeup Remover
 I don't usually wear much makeup, but when I do go all out with mascara, liner and shadow - this is my absolute fave product.  It removes everything in about two swipes with a cotton pad.  Also, it has never, ever once burned or bothered my eyes in the least.  It is also great for removing lipstick and lipgloss; hence the name, "Lids, Lashes & Lips".

Blemish Control
 I swear by this.  So much, that I have converted many friends to this product.
  It contains
benzoyl peroxide, which I have found to be a better alternative for my skin than salicylic acid.  Anytime I feel a blemish coming, I dab this on clean skin and I rarely see the blemish appear.  If it does, it is gone within a couple of days.  Also, this small tube lasts for months.  Months.  Well worth the price tag in my opinion.

Well, there you have it.  My list of tried and tested, facial care products I am pretty sure I could not live without.  If you are thinking, "Wait a minute, what about body care products?!?", don't despair - I plan on making this a two-part seriesThe next entry will cover my favorite sensitive skin body care products.  **Update: click here to read about my favorite sensitive skin body care products.**

Do you use any of these products?  Do you have other facial care products you prefer for sensitive skin?  Comment below and let the world know.

As always, thanks for reading!  :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Easy Peasy Health(ier) Nachos

What makes this recipe so great?
First, It is easy.
Second, it is lower in fat than traditional nachos.
Third, you can make it at home.
Fourth, it is super quick.
Fifth, your options are limitless.

Please note, I have listed the brands I prefer to use, but you can use any brand you prefer.  Ready?  Here is what you will need...


1 Bag of Padrinos Reduced Fat Tortilla Chips

(2) 16 ounce cans of Rosarita Fat Free Refried beans, heated

(1) pound of Laura's Lean Ground Beef, seasoned, browned and crumbled

1 pkg of Kraft Reduced Fat Shredded Cheese

1 Bunch of Chives (aka Green Onion) finely diced

Prefer a different meat?  You could easily use shredded chicken, beef, etc.
Want to make it Vegetarian?  Forget the meat and add some additional veggies (ideas: olives, tomatoes, additional types of beans, etc.)

This recipe is all about layers....

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
To make clean up as easy as possible, I line my casserole dish with foil before adding any ingredients. This recipe makes approximately 10 servings.

Layer the ingredients in this order:

Chips, Beans, Meat, Cheese, Chives.

You will have something that resembles this:

Bake in the oven for approximately 20-25 minutes (the cheese will be completely melted) and Voila!

You have a healthier version of nachos that even the kids can throw together.

If you must know the calorie content for this recipe, head over to My Fitness Pal and figure it out.  I kid, I kid.  I already did it for you!

Thanks for reading and please leave a comment.  I really do read them all.  :)