Victoria’s Secret semi-annual sale is ON!

OK, it’s not “on” in stores just yet (but it will be starting Jan. 2!) — the semi-annual sale is happening now on victoriassecret.com.

While the prices are great discounts compared to regular VS prices, I know some of us are on tighter budgets. Let me plug Gap Body. I am obsessed with them. Their full-priced items are reasonable…but who pays full price? If you’re able to wait for a sale, you can get bras for $15-20, sometimes even less. And you don’t have to wait for a few sales a year — there are sales almost monthly (or more, depending on the season).

The styles aren’t quite as “sexy” as those from Victoria’s Secret — they’re feminine, and some have some nice lace detailing, but I would describe the bras as fully functional, everyday bras.

If you have some kind of special “occasion” where you need uber-sexy bras and matching uber-sexy underwear, then the semi-annual sale is the perfect time to make those purchases. If you’re looking to build your go-to supply of everyday bras/underwear, I’d suggest Gap Body.

What I Bought: Apple iPad

I’ve wanted a tablet for quite some time, but was never ready to make the purchase. Since Black Friday was approaching, I decided this was the time! I’ve always been very anti-Apple — I won’t get into it, other than to say that I think most Apple users are very pretentious. Well, that was more than five years ago — before everyone and their mom had an iPhone. So even though I still have an initial knee-jerk, puke-in-my-mouth reaction, it really doesn’t apply anymore, and it just makes me a hypocrite for judging people based on the electronics they use since that’s what made those people so annoying to me in the first place.

Anyway.

Criteria:

– I was looking for something that could be a laptop alternative for the nights I sit at home and browse my favorite magazines, fashion websites and YouTube videos.

– I didn’t need something really lightweight/portable because I don’t plan on carrying it around in my pocket (are there people who carry tablets around in their pockets? Who are you?). I don’t plan on sitting in a coffee shop with my tablet and typing up a blog.

– I wanted something that starts up in less than five minutes (like my laptop). I also wanted something with a battery that lasted longer than seven minutes without being plugged in (like my laptop).

– I wanted something that would load my favorite websites crazy fast, and I wanted a screen that was uber-crisp.

– I wanted to be able to put my music, magazines, podcasts and anything else all in one place, but I didn’t need something with space for an entire multimedia center.

– I also wanted the option to shoot videos for YouTube (in case I ever go down that route).

– As shallow and stupid as this sounds, I also wanted something that I could put in a cute case J Go ahead, judge me, I don’t care.

The iPad was a contender in my tablet hunt, as was the Kindle Fire HD. I decided not to even look at anything else, namely because one of the reasons I wanted the tablet was to be able to read my magazines on it, and two of the magazines I subscribe to — Glamour and Lucky — only had digital subscriptions for the iPad, the Kindle and the Nook. I didn’t even consider the Nook — sorry if you’re a Nook fan.

So it was between the iPad and Kindle Fire HD. If I was going to get a Fire, I wanted to get the newest one with the 8.9-inch screen. I read reviews, I watched YouTube reviews, I went to several Best Buy stores to try them out and hold them in my hands. Both seemed easy to use, but the Fire kept freezing up on me. You might say, “Well, Lindsey, it was a display model — who knows how many people had played with it?” That’s true, but it had just started selling in Best Buy stores that day, so it’s not like it had been on display for weeks.

No one had anything bad to say about the Kindle Fire, but it seemed like more people had more good things to say about the iPad. That’s probably partially because of the brand, but I think it’s accurate. [There are probably more Kindle reviews now that it’s been out longer — at the time of my research, it had only been in stores a few days.]

I also knew that by going with the iPad, I was getting the best of the best. Is it a higher price? Yes. But I knew I wasn’t sacrificing anything by getting it (other than money). In the past, I’ve cut corners on electronic purchases and while sometimes it’s worked out, oftentimes I’ve regretted not spending just a little extra cash for something I knew I’d love. So that’s how I decided to purchase the iPad.

What I bought: The 4th gen iPad in white, 16G. I have no intentions of downloading a lot of stuff, so I didn’t need any extra storage. I also don’t need to access the internet from everywhere, so I chose the WiFi only version.

my ipad!So far I am absolutely loving it. It’s so easy to use. I’d never had an iTunes account, so I finally created one of those and bought all my favorite songs from the late 90s. It’s funny because when I’m listening to my music, I find myself repeatedly saying, “Geez, Lindsey, you have A-mazing taste in music.” Some mornings I’ll bring the iPad with me to work and I’ll listen to music on the train. I’ve found that it’s next to impossible not to tap my foot with the music or do a little swaying motion in my seat when certain songs come on.

You might remember that one of the criteria list items was the availability of cute cases and accessories. Luckily the iPad has nothing but options to choose from, so I was able to find a couple that I really loved. They’re perfect for packing the iPad into my backpack for my commute to and from work.

If you’re considering buying a tablet, the right one for you totally depends on what you’ll use it for and what kind of accounts you already have. If you have several Apple products, you’ll probably get an iPad. If you are a Prime member on Amazon, the Fire might be the best bet for you because you get all sorts of sweet deals with it. Unfortunately I did ZERO research on any of the other tablets…so I can’t give you any information on those. I’m sure they’re all somewhat good. Ha, that’s convincing. What I mean is that they all have their pros and cons. It’s just a matter of determining what you plan to use yours for.

Blowing it

This is going to be one of those posts where I talk solely about shopping. This is a post that you would expect to be a conversation between two girls. Because a majority of my friends aren’t lame enough to talk about shopping for this long, I’m writing about it here.

So I blew through my September clothing budget already — and it’s only Sept. 1!

Here’s what happened: Stores had some really good sales that I knew I wouldn’t be able to beat…so I bought things now. I have a really hard time passing up what I consider to be a good deal. Usually I’ll take the stuff home and talk myself out of it, either because it doesn’t fit quite right or I feel mega-guilty about buying it.

Since September is the month of my birthday, I got all these coupons from stores. That, combined with all the Labor Day sales, made for a pretty treacherous shopping weekend for me.

Express. I wanted new jeans and Express had a sale last weekend where all jeans were $50. I had several coupons that saved me another $60…but I still didn’t need to buy four pairs. Ha! I keep trying to convince myself that the jeans are good because they ended up being relatively cheap, but I’m pretty sure they are made for a female in her early 20s, not a female who’s almost out of her 20s. I shouldn’t say that. What I should say is that I think Express jeans were made for me in my early 20s (maybe?), not me today. What I should be focused on is saving my money so that I can buy jeans that are made for me. But alas. I do like one of the four pairs, so I might keep those and just return the other three…which makes me feel slightly less guilty about >> Nordstrom.

I rarely shop at Nordstrom. However, a coworker of mine had a super cute blazer on the other day and I begged her to tell me where she got it. She found it at Nordstrom Rack and I’ve been meaning to go ever since. I finally did tonight. What I like about these blazers (yeah, I bought two!) is that the fabric isn’t as stiff as most other blazers/suit jackets. I usually get a headache from other blazers — it has something to do with the way the collar lays against my neck. I don’t know, my head/neck seem to be overly weak and I get a headache just thinking about getting a headache. Anyway. I found the blazer. It came in black and grey, and they were much cheaper than I expected, so I decided to get both. Side note: I bet I stood in front of a mirror trying on two different sizes for at least 10 minutes; it was ridiculous.

When I got home from the mall, I checked Nordstrom’s website to see if the blazer (it’s a Gibson blazer, btw) came in any other colors. I didn’t find the exact same style, but there were other colors in other styles…and they were all on a really good sale…ha, so I bought two more. It was free shipping, and I’m sure I won’t keep them anyway…but I just want to try them on! The fabric and fit is different, so maybe the colors will end up being horrible and the fit unflattering.

Back to Express. There’s a sweater thing I really wanted, and with my birthday coupon of $40 off, I ended up getting the sweater (which was cheaper than $40) and a three-pack of nail polish, all for $6. So I don’t really feel guilty about that.

Am I the only one who feels compelled to buy something because I don’t want to miss out on a good sale? I also am the person who stands in the middle of the store, staring at her coupons and adding up the prices of the items she wants to buy to figure out which transactions would result in the most savings.

Reel it in

I had set a goal for myself to not buy any clothes for an entire month. While I technically achieved that goal (I had purchased something, but then returned it, so I think that counts), I should have set a follow-up goal for the next month. So instead of saying, “Whew, made it through that month — time to make up for lost time!” I should have said something like, “OK, good job, Lindsey, now going forward, how about we put a budget on your monthly shopping?”

Since I didn’t do that, I kind of when a little overboard in the last week. Well, not overboard. I had some necessity purchases that I hadn’t made in years, and kind of decided to focus my attention on that aspect of my wardrobe, so I somewhat overhauled that wardrobe, which means a large chunk of money was spent all at once. Why did I do that, you might ask. Well, let’s say I had been wearing a certain size of a certain kind of clothing, only to realize that size was completely wrong. So since I found out what size I should be wearing, it seems like I should replace my current supply with the right size. And that can be expensive. Anyway, that was a dent.

I was also nearly out of my Bare Minerals foundation, so I had to buy a new compact of that.

Then I also did a little online shopping with Old Navy when they had a sitewide sale of an additional 20 or 30 percent off everything…but all I bought were super cheap scarves, running socks and running bras. Not a single item was more than $7 — most was less than $5! See how I’m trying to convince you it was OK so that I’ll feel better about it? Ha.

I’ve also kind of decided that online shopping is the most satisfying shopping for me. I get to do all the work of hunting for bargains (reading reviews, comparing products, etc.), I get to put it all in my shopping cart and purchase it. That part is fun. Then I get to wait for it to arrive days later and open all of it up and try it on. It’s like two fun experiences in one. Does that make sense? And if you’re like me, you over-shop and buy so much that you forget all the different things you bought, so you’re surprised with some of the items you get to open. “What? I bought four scarves instead of two? Sweet! I have such good taste!”

So I’ve set a monthly budget for my clothing/beauty purchases. I just have to ignore all the emails I get about new sale items, special discounts and free shipping promotions. And avoid MOA as much as possible.

And since I’ve blown right through that budget for August already, I will try to stay home and away from my email inboxes for the next two weeks. Ha, just in time for the Labor Day sales!

Getting organized

I have so many scarves.

Before.

Since moving into my condo, they have been stuffed, one by one, into a small drawer, leaving them crumpled and buried under one another. It got to the point where I didn’t even remember what I had, or I was remembering what I had differently, like what I thought was blue was actually magenta.

Due to some necessary re-shuffling of drawer contents, I needed a new storage solution for my scarves. After doing some research on Pinterest and Google, I found a lot of options for scarf storage where people knotted their scarves on rods, and while that may have looked slightly more uniform…it looked like something that would take time and (some) brainpower to put a scarf on and take a scarf on. I can barely be creative about the way I knot a scarf on my neck — I don’t want to have to do it on a rod too. I want to be able to just throw the things up there at the end of the day or rip them off when I’m in a hurry in the mornings.

So…the uber-creative items I saw weren’t going to cut it.

After.

Instead, I went with an over-the-door towel rack. I found one on Home Depot’s site that I wanted, but unfortunately it wasn’t in the store I went to. I went to Target next and although I didn’t actually like the one they had, I was so set on having the scarves out of the drawer that I decided to buy it anyway. The hanger had three rods and was just enough space…OK, it’s a pretty tight squeeze and some scarves will be more difficult to get to than others…but it’s so much better than the drawer.

My least favorite thing is that I have to “close the door with care” because the over-the-door part isn’t the most perfect fit. But since I very rarely fight with my boyfriend and therefore need to slam the door, I should be OK.

My favorite thing is that I’ve been able to use that drawer for other items. Oh, and the fact that my scarves aren’t a giant, wrinkly mess when I want to wear them.

Review: Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer

Overly detailed background

I’ve tried a few under eye concealers in the past year, struggling to find something that 1) didn’t look yellow, 2) didn’t look super cakey, 3) didn’t create the reverse raccoon eyes by the end of the day.

Everything I tried had its pros and cons, or it’s specific uses. For example, I tried Bobbi Brown’s corrector and creamy concealer. I loved the coverage and the color match. Unfortunately, it was pretty creamy (read: greasy), which resulted in a number of issues. First, I couldn’t wear sunglasses because the part that rests on the bridge of my nose would rub the concealer off, and it would look super weird. The product would also settle into my fine lines pretty badly. I tried several different kinds of setting powders, hoping that would help…but no such luck. So, I had to ban that product for extended wear and only use it when I had a minimal amount of time that I’d be out. Like a lunch or a dinner. On days that weren’t sunny. Ha, that’s really helpful.

The other products I tried were OK, but would end up looking really yellow as the day wore on, which is the opposite of my skin tone, so it just looked awful. (Let me know if you’d like to know what those other products were.)

I visited a Bare Escentuals boutique to try their new Stroke of Light highlighter concealer and really liked how it looked under my eyes.I’m trying to get used to the fact that I won’t be able to 100% rid my under eyes of dark circles. Whenever I have beauty things that I’m self conscious about, I wonder how much other people notice. Typically they say that you are your worst critic…but there are definitely people who I’ve looked at and thought, “Does she know she looks like that?” So maybe you are your worst critic, and then I’m your second-worst critic 🙂

Moving on.

I wasn’t totally sold on the price of BE’s Stroke of Light, though, and had heard good things about Maybelline’s Dream Lumi Touch Highlight concealer, so I figured I’d try that first since it was considerably cheaper.

Actual review

I really like it. The color seems to be slightly more on the pink-ish side, which is good. It goes on smoothly and is easy to blend. It does a good job of reflecting light. I also use it on a light pink birthmark I have on my forehead — it does a great job of covering that.

I use my Bare Minerals “well rested” under eye concealer as a setting powder. I’m not a huge fan of “well rested” because I think it’s a little too yellow (which is why it sucked as an under eye actual concealer for me), but it works well as a setting powder for the Dream Lumi concealer.

– Miss Glamorazzi reviewed it in her July Favorites video

– You can also read tons of reviews on makeupalley.com

– There are a few reviews on ulta.com – plus, right now, it’s buy 2 get 1 free

Tress stress

For the last few years, I’ve had long hair.  I’m really awful at judging length or quantifying things, so I’ll estimate that it was just shy of my elbow. Ha, some of you who know me might be thinking, “What? Lindsey? Your hair was was shorter/longer than that!” I honestly don’t remember. I’m sticking with elbow-ish.

Anyway. About a month and a half ago I chopped off quite a bit. It’s an inverted bob, the longest part is just below my shoulders, the shortest part grazes the nape of my neck.

When I had long hair, I could curl it (using a large-barrel curling iron) and I liked how it looked throughout the day. The curls wouldn’t necessarily hold their curl the entire day, but the loose curl I had at the end of the day was still pretty. When I wore it straight, there wasn’t really anything special going on, but it was fine. When I let it air dry, there were some days it would be OK enough to go out in public, but probably not OK enough to go to my office (although that didn’t always stop me!).

So with the new cut, it’s definitely a time-saver when it comes to blow drying, but the curling (with a smaller barrel curling iron) aspect sucks. It seems to take forever (I have to hold the curling iron in place for longer to make sure the curls hold, and trying to curl the back sucks because it’s pretty short). I like how it looks about 10 seconds after finishing, but it just looks weird as the day goes on. Certain curls that were separate in the morning decide to fuse together and create a giant chunk of curl. When I try to separate them, they become poofy and then eventually just re-fuse together.

I’ve tried using hairspray pre-curl and post-curl — no help. I’ve tried using mouse — no help. I’m thinking I’ll have to try a different hairspray and then a lot of trial and error. I also think I need to use some kind of volumizing product on my roots (Redken 10 – Guts). But the last thing I want to do is spend more time on my hair. I like looking pretty, but I don’t really want to spend a lot of time on it (read: I want to sleep in). Especially when the extra time is just to make my hair look passable, as opposed to something amazing that is definitely worth the extra time.

I’ve also found that it’s impossible for my hair to look good in a ponytail. The length is exactly the right length to just look sad and pathetic in a ponytail. The one thing about my long hair was that I could easily pull it back and it would look OK (especially because the curls from the day before would still be there). I had multiple ponytail options, including buns, braids and other fun looks. My mornings were so much simpler! I’ll have to do some web-browsing for cute updos of some kind for shorter hair…sounds time-consuming.

I realize all I’m doing right now is complaining about my short hair — I actually do like it a lot. I just need to figure out the easy styling things so I can sleep in every once in awhile.

Here are a few places I’ve gone to for hair inspiration:

– The Small Things (blog and YouTube channel). This woman is absolutely great with hair. Her hair is slightly longer than mine so not everything she shows works for me, but usually there are variations of it that I can do. Her voice also relaxes me 🙂

– Pinterest! Obviously there are endless photo-inspirations on Pinterest, but it can be hit and miss for tutorials…if you need them, which I do.

– This Time Tomorrow (blog). I just love her hair. I like to think that my hair looks like hers what I first do it in the morning.

– Suave: Ask the Professionals (website). I haven’t been to this site in awhile, and I swear that it had more tips back then….but I did find a video for a “flirty bob” style that I think I could do.

– Lets Make it Up (YouTube channel). This girl has great tutorials…but mostly for long hair styles.