GlamBot Review: Sell Your Used Makeup Online

glambotI have ALOT of makeup. My excuse is that I use to work in the beauty industry so I buy a lot of products to test and I would also get things for free. But I’ll admit, that’s just an excuse. I have more than enough products for a lifetime and most of it just sits in a drawer, never touched. Now that I no longer work in the beauty industry, I thought it was time for me to try to get rid of some of it.

I’ve been going through my stash and picked out a pile to give away to friends. After that, I was still left with a pretty big pile that I didn’t know what to do with. I didn’t know if selling used makeup was actually a thing for sanitary reasons but I did some Googling and stumbled upon GlamBot. GlamBot is basically an online consignment store…for makeup. You ship your used products to them, they give you a price, and you can choose whether or not to accept it. On the flip side, you can also shop for used luxury beauty products at a discounted price. [Read more…]

Happy Birthday! – My Favorite Birthday Deals & Freebies

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get this…FOR FREE

So my birthday isn’t until October. But that doesn’t stop me from thinking about it. I don’t really don’t do birthday presents anymore. However, the BF will usually get me something, even though we’re not big on presents. For the most part, after the age of 21, my birthdays have been pretty chill, consisting of a lovely dinner and drinks with family and friends.

I’m turning 26 this year and while it’s a little embarrassing to say this, I’ll still say it – I love getting those little birthday freebies from stores and restaurants. While I haven’t tried it, I’m sure you can practically eat for free on your birthday just from using up birthday offers restaurants provide. My friend recently asked me if I wanted to walk with her to Baskin Robins to redeem her birthday freebie and my initial though was “Wait, Baskin Robbins offers birthday freebies!?”, followed by “free ice cream!?!”.

I’ve been compiling a list of what I think are the best birthday deals and freebies. Enjoy and happy birthday to you (some time within the next year!):

  1. Starbucks – I frequent Starbucks way too much, it’s no secret. If you sign up for an account and enter your birthday, you’ll get a free drink on your birthday, any drink (yep, think venti caramel frappucino big!)
  2. Sephora – I don’t shop at Sephora too much since it can get expensive pretty quick. But when I do shop, I try to do it around my birthday. If you sign up for a Beauty Insider account, you’ll get a nice collection of deluxe samples.
  3. Baskin Robbins – Just recently learned about this but it’s awesome. Sign up for their emails and get a free ice cream on your birthday.
  4. Cold Stone Creamery – One free ice cream is never enough. Sign up for their eClub and get a free ice cream on your birthday.
  5. IHOP – The first time I had IHOP was in college and I was so excited they opened on in NYC. Sign up for emails and you’ll get a free Rooty Tooty Fresh N Fruity on your birthday (or in other words, a really awesome breakfast).
  6. Jamba Juice – I love Jamba Juice and while you can’t get anything free on your birthday, you can get a sixteen oz. smoothie for $2.
  7. CVS – Sign up for their extracare beauty rewards program and you’ll get $3 off any purchase on your birthday.
  8. Applebee’s – I use to be obsessed with Applebee’s, who knows why… But if you still frequent the chain, you can get a free desert shooter on your birthday.
  9. Moe’s Southwest Grill – I think this is one of the best freebies because you can get an entire entree for free, including chips and salsa.
  10. Medieval Times – I’ve been here twice. Once when I was 10 and another time just 2 months ago – still a great time no matter how old you are. On your birthday, you can get free admission.

There are a lot more awesome freebies and deals to be had on your birthday but unfortunately, those chains aren’t in NYC so I can’t test them out. If you know of any others, let me know in the comments!

ThredUp Review: Online Consignment Store

trhedupGrowing up, I had no idea what a consignment store was. Maybe it was because I lived in a big city but I don’t think I even lived near one. When I went to college in upstate New York, I discovered Plato’s Closet. The first time I went there, I remember I was blown away that someone would want to pay me for my Old Navy shoes (well, to be fair…they were never worn).

Recently, I discovered ThredUp. Basically, they’re on online consignment shop. They will buy your gently used clothing from you and in return, resell it. You might be confused about how they’re able to do that since they’re an online business. Here is how it works:

  1. You order a ThredUp bag, which they will send you free of charge. You then fill it with your gently used clothing.
  2. Ship the bag back to ThredUp (it is pre-paid and pre-addressed so you don’t have to pay any shipping).
  3. Once they receive your bag, they will determine what they will buy and how much they will pay you for it (up to 80% of the resell value). Anything they don’t want will be donated or recycled (you can also opt to have them return it to you but you will have to pay return shipping).

The timing was perfect for me to hear about ThredUp because I had just done my spring cleaning and had a big bag of clothing to get rid of. I was planning on donating it but this seemed like an interesting program to test out. Plus, a little extra cash is always a good incentive.

ThredUp only accepts certain brands (you can find the list here). While higher end designer brands will get your more money, they also take a good number of mass-market brands, such as the Gap and Banana Republic (even Forever21, ladies!).

I requested my ThredUp bag and received it in a few days. I wish I took a picture of it because it’s a pretty big sized bag – you can fit at least 10 garments in there. I stuffed it with 6 items and sent it on its way. Since I received my bag so quickly from them, I kind of expected them to receive it and process it quickly. Not the case. It took about 3.5 weeks. Not that I mind since I wasn’t in any rush to get my ‘cash’ but still, that’s a freaking long time to wait.

Anyhow, I finally got the email telling me how much they were going to pay me. Here’s the verdict:

thredupbag

$20.30! I’m not really sure if I should be happy or upset. I sent them some crappy items (like a pair of Forever21 shorts) but also some nice things (like a pair of J. Crew leather boots). While they note with a * which items they were paying for, I wish they specified exactly how much each.

So would I do this again? Probably. I never really expected to get much back, you never really do with these type of businesses. But it’s certainly nice to be able to send them a bag of your used clothing, without having to drag it to the store. I am also happy they donate or recycle any items they don’t resell.

Have you ever used ThredUp? Would you consider trying it?

*BTW, since they resell everything they buy, you can also shop on ThredUp! I haven’t tried it since I’m not sure how I feel about buying used clothing online but might be worth it.

How To Create A Weekly Meal Plan (It’s Easy!)

4088699532_ae44f04b7d_zI’ve probably mentioned this 14,3243,289 times but I use to eat out…ALOT. By alot, I mean 5 days a weeks, 3 meals a day. Obviously, this was a complete waste of money and I’m kind of embarrassed to even admit that now.

Contrary to what you might think, I actually do like to cook. I’m not really that great at it but I do enjoy making my own food and trying out new recipes. My main problem was the time it took me to decide what to cook. I’m already an indecisive person as it is (which is a story for a whole other post) and deciding what to make for dinner took almost as long as making it.

I heard a lot about meal planning all over the blogs I read and at first, I thought it was another waste of time for people who were obsessively organized. But since I was spending in a week what I should’ve been spending in a month on food, I decided to give it a try. It couldn’t hurt.

I’ve been meal planning for a few months now and while some weeks are a hit or miss, I have to say that this is one of the best things I’ve ever done for my budget. I’ve cut my food spending by over 50% but the best part is how much healthier I eat. No more fast food for me!

If you’re having trouble creating your meal plan, here is a how I go about it:

  1. Block out time (about 15 or 20 minutes) during the week for meal planning. I prefer Sundays since I can go grocery shopping on the same day but do whatever is most convenient for you!
  2. I’m a personal fan of pinterest so I’ve collected a lot of different recipes. Whether its from a website or in a magazine, if you come across a recipe you like, save it. When you’re meal planning, you can slot it right it.
  3. While you might prefer to write it down, I like to type mine up in a spreadsheet on Google Drive. That way, I can access it anywhere, even on my phone when I’m shopping.
  4. When putting together my plan for the week, I’m slotting in 2 meals a day (lunch and dinner). Breakfast usually consists of a smoothie, some fruit, or cereal. I try to bunch recipes with similar ingredients together so nothing goes to waste.
  5. While I throw in one or two new recipes a week, most of my meal plan consists of items that I already know how to make. It just makes it so much easier.
  6. A lot of days, my lunches consists of leftovers from the night before, which is fine with me (that means less cooking!). I just make sure to cook a little extra.
  7. I also put down what ingredients I need next to each meal so that my meal plan essentially acts as a shopping list as well.
  8. Once I have my plan together, I’m off to the market!

I’ve already tried once or twice cooking up a storm on Sunday and then freezing meals for later on. I personally like to meal plan and prepare each meal individually. I think it takes a little less time and it keeps my meals a little more exciting. I’m not eating the same thing over and over again.

I also leave at least 1 day “empty” for lunch and dinner so that we can either go out or order in. We still splurge a little every now and then, just not as often.

For just the two of us, meal planning is rather easy and doesn’t take a lot of effort. For a larger family, I’d imagine it’d be a little tougher. Do you meal plan?

The Great Makeup Debate: Drugstore Or High-End?

IMG_0002Men, this post is about makeup. You have been warned.

I hate to admit it but one of my guilty spending pleasures is makeup. While I freelance as a writer on the side, I work full-time for a beauty company so being around makeup products all day long definitely doesn’t help. Before I started this position, I had a thing for expensive makeup products. No, I wasn’t going on shopping sprees in Sephora but I kind of looked down on anything you could find in a drugstore. I mean, could a $10 foundation be any good? I was a makeup snob so to speak.

Now that I’ve been in my current job for about a year and tested many, many, many products, my view on makeup has definitely changed. I’m always telling people you get what you pay for, quality over quantity, blah blah. But makeup is one thing where I have to eat my words.  While I don’t want to divulge all the secrets of my trade (since I am still working there after all), I will say that many, if not most, drugstore products are just as good as the stuff you find in the department store. Reasons being:

  • You do get what you pay for…in the form of packaging. The pretty containers and boxes that the high-end products come in are pricey, which is a large reason why the products cost so much more. It doesn’t necessarily mean the product inside of it is that much better.
  • Have you ever noticed that many high-end and drugstore makeup brands are owned by the same company? While the products all different, a lot of the manufacturers are the same. At the end of the day, all the products go through the same development process.
  • I hear a lot of people say they wouldn’t put drugstore cr*p on their face. I totally get that mentality but the expensive stuff isn’t any better for your skin then the drugstore stuff. After all, all consumer products are regulated. If you want to be REALLY careful about what goes on your skin, then you’d have to go with the natural and organic stuff.

I really don’t want to say that I would never buy high-end makeup products because that’s just not true. While it pains me to pay $40 for a makeup product, I can justify it at times. Here is my breakdown on what I would get at the drugstore and what I wouldn’t:

  • Foundation – HIGH END. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a drugstore foundation I like. Also, since foundation is tricky to travel with, I’m fine with paying a little more for better packaging so that I don’t find an exploded makeup bottle all over my luggage.
  • Blush – DRUGSTORE. I enjoy those $2 Wet N Wild blushes as much as do the MAC blushes. No difference to me.
  • Mascara – DRUGSTORE. Some of my friends swear by the $25 Dior mascaras, which I think is a ridiculous price to pay for a product that doesn’t have a long shelf life. Personally, I’m a fan of Maybelline mascaras.
  • Eyeliner – HIGH END. I think I must have oily eyelids because I haven’t found a drugstore eyeliner that won’t give me racoon eyes. I currently use a pot of the MAC fluidline that I’ve have for a while and it still hasn’t dried out (again, great packaging!)
  • Eye shadow – AHH I CAN’T CHOOSE. I do just fine with the eye shadows in the drugstore but gosh, doesn’t MAC just have the prettiest colors?

Ladies, where do you stand in the great drugstore vs. high-end makeup debate?