Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Hope all my readers and friends had a great long weekend... we ended up going to Canada on Saturday, and on the way up the river was super high, and the white water rafting was going strong. By the time we got back from Canada, around dusk, the rafting had stopped and people were camping and having major cookouts. I was starved, and so wanted to stop and ask them for a burger, lol!

We ran into some major thunderstorms in Canada, where it had been humid and windy most of the day. Lucky for us, we were in the mall shopping and it didn't affect us that much. I have been slacking terribly these past few weeks-cleaning house, getting things packed for my trip in less than a month, and taking care of my grandsons as my son and his girlfriend recently split up. Not getting into reasons here, but he of course is upset-and has pretty much holed himself up in his apartment and I've been working on getting him out and about. (WHEN he answers the door that is!) Being a mother, I am worried-and hope that time will heal the wounds and at least they will be able to get along for their children. My ex is moving in with him soon, and although Daddy isn't the best influence there is out there-I feel better knowing he won't be alone.

As I wrap up this post, I will put up a few pics above of just how crazy the river was at The Forks, Maine this past Saturday. I can't imagine going down the river in a raft (though I've threatened hubby a few times that I'd send him downriver without a paddle) with the river going so fast. Even driving back, I was sure in spots it was going to go over the road. We took the pics around 8 pm just as it was getting dark, so they may seem a little dark-sorry about that! :) Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

CoverGirl NatureLuxe Review

I've been a BzzAgent for some time now, and recently signed up to try out the new CoverGirl NatureLuxe line of makeup. First, let me explain that I received two items free of charge to try out-and offer my opinion on through BzzAgent.

When I finally went to the campaign and opted in, there was not a huge selection of foundation to choose from. I am VERY light skinned, so when I received color 330 Chamois, I knew it was going to be way too dark for me. Luckily for me, my 9 yr old was a willing participant-and considering her dad is Guatemalan, she got the good genes and his wonderful skin tone. (Which makes mom very jealous since she gets awesome tans in the summer!)

When the package arrived, I was surprised to see that this foundation also had the added benefit of SPF 10 sunscreen. Granted, it's not the SPF 30 that I am used to-but I have to admit, ANY sunscreen (for the times that we all forget to put it on, me included) benefit in a foundation is definitely a plus.

I am not a huge foundation wearer, when I was younger I used to wear it occasionally-but it always felt caked on and some of the gals from the 80's (my era, lol)literally wore it as a mask-whenever they smiled it would crack, and you could see the tell tale white skin around their hairlines and under their chins where the foundation stopped and their true skin color began.

Nowadays, I just use foundation for my under eye circles, blending in a light color to go with the rest of my face and hoping to not look like a raccoon. The first thing I noticed was that it has a pleasant scent-and a light texture. Rubbing it in a few spots I noticed I didn't feel like it was suffocating my face, and instead, allowed plenty of room for my skin to breathe. Some of these foundations are so heavy, and this was not one of them. I am glad that this provided a creamier, lighter version of most foundations I had gotten accustomed to, and I can definitely see myself using the Alabaster shade in the near future.

Granted, although it was not my correct shade, it did a great job of making my skin feel as natural as could be. The packaging was the right size, perfect to fit into a purse or travel bag, which was also great. It looked great on my daughter, as it blended nicely with her skin tone, and took away her under eye circles when she was a bit tired from staying up too late one night and had to head to school the next day. At only 9, she's got a few years to go before she gets into cosmetics other than some lip gloss now and then. (or at least I hope so!)

Another product that was sent was the CoverGirl NatureLuxe gloss balm for lips shade 235 Grenache, with another added benefit, this time SPF 15! Considering your lips can get sunburned, I loved this. I really liked the fact that it left my lips feeling soft and lasted awhile without running or bleeding. I love pinks, so the Thistle 210 and Tulip 205 shades are on my TO BUY ASAP list since they look gorgeous!

Did you know that NatureLuxe Silk Foundation contains a touch of cucumber water and natural jojoba and rosehip extracts? By changing the formula a bit for more natural ingredients, they were able to get rid of some of the heaviness used in conventional formulas to create a smoother, creamier, more refreshing foundation. And I bet you didn't know that the NatureLuxe lip gloss balm had mango and shea butter ingredients, which make your lips feel soft and kissable too :)

These 2 products definitely get a thumbs up in my opinion! You can find them in your local drugstores, online, and of course at Walmart, Kmart and other similar stores. The prices are reasonable as well, between $6-10 each so it won't break the bank either. Thanks to BzzAgent and CoverGirl for providing me with the products needed to do this review.

Disclosure: As stated in my review, I am a BzzAgent and was provided the products in order to review them and offer my honest opinion. All opinions above are my own based on the products I received.

Is the Customer Always Right? Not At JC Penney Today!

I do lots of shopping at JC Penney and especially love their clearance sales. In the past few weeks, I've been buying lots of clothing for hubby's family in Guatemala. Today was no different...or was it?

One area I like to focus on is the Women's formal party dresses. His sisters love those type of dresses and if I can get them on markdown cheap enough they can get some lovely dresses for a fraction of the price. Knowing how their sales work (I used to work for JCP way back in the day after high school) I know that their final clearance prices always end in .97 (for example $1.97, $4.97, etc...)

A few weeks ago, they had a few of these formal dresses priced at $70 regular, then marked down accordingly, 60%, 70% and even 80% off. I usually check weekly, and when they hit $4.97 I snatch them up. Within the last month or two, I've gotten about 8 dresses using this method-a great deal for a bargain hunter like myself and also great for my sisters-in-law. Plus, the store is clearing its inventory, so all is good.

Today I happened to stop by JC Penney and noticed the dresses. Most were marked down to 70% or 80% off, however there was one that was clearly marked $4.97 with the code 4/20 (which probably was the date it was marked down). I had purchased a dress with that price and date about a week or so ago no problem, so I took this white size 14 formal dress to the women's register and was waited on by an associate that had rung me up several times over the past weeks, and knows I usually buy the clearance merchandise.

This time, she tried to ring it up and told me that it was not correctly priced. I told her the item was clearly marked at $4.97. She said (with another associate chiming in as well) that it was new merchandise and was on sale for $50.00, not $4.97. She then began peeling the $4.97 sticker off quickly when I told her I did not want it for that price. Obviously someone had made an error in the pricing,she said. She specifically said that the system is always right and it was NOT on sale at that price. Um, what happened to the customer is always right? The associate in back of her said that there was a woman they were watching (and she made it clear to emphasize that it was not ME) that is known for switching the price tags. This tag was attached with one of their little guns that go right through the material, and the markdown sticker did not appear to be tampered with at all. My guess... someone screwed up on the markdown OR the system was not updated.

It's funny, because I went to Kohl's this past Monday as well. Hubby happened to find a formal suit jacket he loved. It was marked $66.00 on clearance. We'd been watching it for a few weeks, hoping that it would eventually go down. Finally, after accumulating $30 in Kohl's Cash and an additional 30% off it would have been pretty cheap. When it rang up, it rang up as $88.00. Immediately we brought it to the clerk's attention. She checked the price tag over, apologized, and told us it probably was the system that was incorrect. And gave it to us at the $66.00 price no problem. WHY JCP didn't do that is beyond me.

I certainly did not feel like a valued customer, and I even told the associate I was pretty humiliated by the whole thing, because I honestly thought the price tag was correct. I understand mistakes can happen-perhaps I should have asked them to call a manager, but the clerk was peeling off the sticker so quickly I really didn't have a chance to state my case. There was some discussion by the other associate that if it was last year's merchandise, which it was NOT, then it might have been marked that price. I told her that's what I thought it was-she mentioned it was still a pretty dress... but-as I stated when leaving-it wouldn't have fit me anyways.

It's really sad, but I think I will be shopping Kohl's more often now. JC Penney is in my home town, and I have to travel to get to Kohl's but I really felt humiliated by the whole scene. Maybe I shouldn't have taken it so badly, I tried to be upbeat and polite-and not throw a fit. I just feel as though if it was their error price wise, it should have been given to me at the price marked. And I just can't believe how the "system" can always be right. Everyone I know has had something that they've purchased that for some reason didn't ring up at the correct price... because the system was wrong. It's a human error, just as marking something the incorrect price is a human error. But most companies let the customer have it at the price marked-and make any adjustments after the error has been brought to their attention. I do not condone price tag switching in any form, as I consider it theft.

Granted, this was only one dress. And I know the others will be marked down eventually. But now, I won't go there. I will head to Kohl's or Deb Shops, or somewhere where I feel I am valued as a customer. Not treated like I am the one that made the mistake. So JC Penney, you've lost a customer. I know I probably won't be missed, but if this is how others are treated as well, those dollars DO add up. When I worked the Catalog Department years ago, and we had the wedding dresses come back (obviously used with wine and lipstick stains-even ALTERED) and the satin sheets purchased by a certain male customer every week (and returned the next week, USED and with stains from God knows what) I had to take them back-and refund their money. The customer was always right. It appears store policy changed... (and in the cases above, for a GOOD reason!)but maybe next time you should post a sign by the registers stating "Our System is Always Right-Thus, If Your Purchased Item Rings Up Differently Than Marked, You WILL Be Charged The Price As Reflected On Our System-Take It or Leave It."

Friday, May 13, 2011

Review-Diamond Candles

Lately I had been hearing the buzz on the internet about a new company, Diamond Candles, that has wonderful smelling soy candles that retail for $24.95 and include a ring in the candle which can be worth $10, $100, $1000 or even $5000.

Now, I like to burn candles as much as the next person-and a visit to the local candle store sets me back around $20 anyways, so with shipping (I paid for the UPS shipping, a little pricier) it was almost $35 but I thought it would be a fun thing to see what I received in my candle. Apparently, tons of other women think so as well, since they are posting photos of their multiple rings they have gotten from their candle purchases and a swap/purchase page has even been started up on Facebook for those looking to swap or sell their rings.

I told my 9 yr old about this, and she picked out the new scent, Carnival Candy. I placed the order, paid through Paypal, and waited. Immediately I received confirmation that the order had been accepted, and the next day received shipping with tracking information. Finally I received the candle. It took about 3-4 days, but that was fine-I knew it was coming and had no worries.

When I opened the box, I was greeted to a cotton candy type smell. Strong, but not overwhelming. While I like sweet scents, my favorite scents are tropical ones-so they would really be on my fan list if they were to make a coconut scented candle, or mango, or something along those lines. But since they are a new company, I am going to wait to see if they come out with something like that in their next batch of new candles.

I immediately saw the ring, wrapped in gold foil, not too far down from the top. I waited until my daughter came home from school, and took a few pictures of her (above) with the candle. Now you have to understand, she wanted this candle AND the ring, AND she wanted it to be a $5000 ring as well. I did my best to prepare her for the fact that it might NOT be what she wanted, but whatever we got it would still be something nice.

We burned the candle for an hour or so, and I decided to get adventurous. The wax was melted pretty good, and I was able to fish around with a steak knife without making a huge mess and get that ring out. We unwrapped it, and while it was not a REAL ring (more likely the $10 costume version stamped THAILAND) it was heavy, all the stones were intact, and appeared to be well made. AND it fit ME perfectly. That did not make my daughter happy. As I write this now she is searching the house for spare coins to save up for yet another candle. And I can only hope we will get something real (even silver) and in a smaller size.

It is a gold finish, with a yellow stone similar to a citrine and small cubic zirconias on the side. All in all, it is a pretty ring-and something I can wear and enjoy. I do have a feeling however, that once I have burned this candle my daughter is going to want another one.

My opinion? While the shipping can be a bit high (depending on what option you use) The candle that I had burned well and had a pleasant scent. My ring was in good condition with no loose stones or damage. It is not a color stone I usually wear, but I am pleased with this design and it doesn't completely overwhelm my small hands. My initial experience with Diamond Candles has been a pleasant one, and I most likely will be a repeat customer when I need another candle to burn. Hopefully they will make some in tropical scents though, because I would love to have a few of those!

If you want to find out more about these candles, visit their blog, their Facebook page, twitter, or their website. You can watch some really neat videos of customers getting some nice surprises in their candles. I would have done a video, but alas, my FLIP cam froze on me last summer, and while hubby wants to trash it, I have been hoping it comes back to life ;) They will be announcing a new contest soon, so be sure to check it out!

Disclosure: I received no freebies from the company for this post-I wrote it as a paying customer, after seeing it mentioned on a couple of other blogs. The opinions above are solely my own-yours may differ.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Just wanted to wish all of my readers a Happy Mother's Day! May you enjoy your day with family and friends-get some rest, relaxation, and maybe even a little pampering too :)

I received a marigold from my daughter, with a lovely verse on the pot that she had made at school... she also got me a keychain that says "Drive Safely Mom, I love you".
(No, I am not a crazy driver-very cautious actually-but she knows how I hate driving in the snow and freezing rain in the winter months so I am putting her keychain with my keys as a reminder that when the snow starts flying again to drive safely...)

Hubby, well, hubby does not get me anything. His theory? I am not HIS mother lol. No big deal, I don't get him anything for Father's Day either. It really doesn't bother me because we rarely exchange gifts anyway, except for the holidays-and even then it really isn't much. I'd much rather have the things I want and need throughout the year than wait until the holidays, so if I need something, or want something, he forks over the cash :)

I am still sore from another ER visit last night-stupid IV's and not being able to find a vein to draw blood from-I've got holes all over my arms and hands :( But I am fine, and that is all that matters. I just wish doctors and pharmacists would read my allergies to meds before they give me a drug for high blood pressure that is in the same family as one that I am allergic to. Looks like I gotta remind them (and I usually do!) at least 3x before they prescribe me a new med. But I am home for Mother's Day, and that is all that counts! Wishing you all a great one!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Winner of Personal Steak Themometers

Apparently no one wanted these :( and there were 4 entries, one didn't put mandatory info in and the other was deleted. Leaving just 2 valid entries lol. Oh well, the prize goes to MomtoDC~ congrats and happy grilling to you! I've notified you by email, please respond within 48 hours so I can send you your prize.

Now on to find the next item to give away...