$2 Mascara

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I needed a new mascara and my all time favorite is Loreal’s Double Extend Beauty Tubes.  Because it works so good, I often have the tubes all over the bathroom sink.  So I wanted a quick one to just throw on my lashes and run out the door.  I was using an e.l.f cosmetics mineral mascara that I really liked, but I didn’t have any trips to Target planned, or an order for the internet.
While at Walgreens I wanted to just check their many choices of drugstore mascara, and I was intrigued when I saw Wet n Wild’s mascara for only $1.89.  I’ll try that!
It claims to condition lashes with proteins and is enriched with acai oil.
I’ve used it twice and here’s what I think:
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For under $2 it does the job, but don’t expect to have any huge fake looking lashes.  It doesn’t lengthen, and it doesn’t add volume, but for a natural looking definition, it does the trick.  I think it’s great for everyday.
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It removes easily with my facial cleanser and water, and it stay flexible and lightweight through out the day.  No running, and no flaking.  It really DOES feel like it could condition, but that would be a long term assessment.  I give it a thumbs up!
Remember, this is not a sponsored post, and I purchased this with my own hard earned two $1 bills!  These thoughts are my honest opinion… I’d never lie to you.  🙂

 

Covergirl Lipstick Swatches

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I went to Ulta to get my free birthday gift, and that resulted in an unintentional lipstick shopping spree.
But it wasn’t at Ulta.
I kind of get the heebeegeebees at Ulta.
My particular Ulta always seems to have been raided by a bunch of lipstick gremlins who want to cause havoc and mayhem by smearing the beautiful colors all over the display, and who knows where else.  I shudder to think.
So I always have to carefully inspect the lipstick itself to see if it has been “used.”
So let me explain how Ulta led to my haul.  I felt awkward waiting in a huge line to just get my free item and looked at the clearance items.  Most where questionable, and they had my on lip gloss that I had wanted to try marked down.
Remember my hate relationship with lip gloss though?  Well I really hate if it’s not sealed, since you can’t clean a lip gloss once that entire tube has been contaminated.
One of the lip glosses WAS sealed, but I started thinking if I didn’t like it… I wasn’t really sure if Ulta had a return policy.
Walgreens DOES however have a return policy on any makeup you don’t like.
I got a clearance, non used lip color, and my free item, then I went to Walgreens.
Walgreens had BOGO 50% off…. hence the haul.
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The first I tried were the glosses, and I put one on my top and one on my bottom lip, to avoid chapped and irritated lips.
First is Covergirl Lipgloss in Fruitylicious on top lip and Plumlicious on bottom. (daylight on left, and regular light on right.)

Fruitylicious is a pink with a blue base.  It is more opaque, highly pigmented, and less glossy.  I like it.  I wore it to teach one evening and the color lost its gloss as the night went on and didn’t budge as a result.  $7.99 at Walgreens BOGO 50% off.
Plumlicious lacks the color payoff that the previous color has.  It’s more sheer, more glossy and less pigmented.  I can’t really tell it’s a plum color at all.  I’m not loving it, not hating it.  There’s no noticeable scent that is offensive to either color, and no weird taste.  Got this one for $3.99 with the promo.
Next is Covergirl Tantalize on top lip and Covergirl Outlast longwear lipstick in Plum Fury on bottom lip.  Again, left is daylight and right is regular light.

The Tantalize is a light dusty purple color that is opaque with no offensive smell.  It goes in smoothly, has no sheen or shimmer to it, and is great alone or with another lipcolor applied over, under or with.   This was $4.49 on clearance at Ulta.
The plum fury color has a slight sheen to it, and is very pigmented, almost in a copper shade.  Not a plum shade in my opinion.  This color is also opaque.  The one thing I don’t like about this lipstick is the shape of the tube.  It is a round and flat surface, that makes it hard to get a precise cupid’s bow.  I realize that I don’t have many lippies this shape, and I like the pointed tubes much better.   Regular Price $9.49.
No offensive smells or tastes to either color.

The last shade is my personal favorite out of all of them.  It is a Covergirl Continuous Color in the shade Midnight Mauve.  This shade has a nice shimmer, is easy to apply, is opaque, with no offensive smell or taste and goes on smoothly and easily.  I’ve been looking for a similar shade to the Wet n Wild Taj Mauve-hal which I used to mix with another shade.  This might not be the exact match, but it’s pretty close to what I was looking for.  Regular price $5.99
Whenever I get a bunch of new lipsticks, I always feel like a kid with a new box of crayons.  I remember walking to the pharmacy with my mom when I was a child.  There, they sold crayons individually with vibrant and unique colors.  My favorites were the neons.  This is my grown up version of picking out crayons!

 

 

Easy, Affordable Valentine Dinner with Dessert for under $30

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Hey all!  If you take note of the post schedule… I’m late.  But mainly because I was asked to do this guest post on a blog, and was unsure of when the post would go live.  My post on their blog isn’t up yet, but I didn’t want my readers to miss out on my Valentine Dinner plus Dessert for under $30 idea with V-day right around the corner!
So here it is:
Sometimes simpler is better. But when relationships are new, sometimes money is no exception, and we pull out all the stops with lavish gifts and elaborate dates. Then one day you may realize it’s the simple things that should be cherished.
Eating out, especially for Valentine’s Day can be really really expensive. Not only do you have to pay for the food, but also gratuity and the cost of getting to and fro. It’s an expense that can be too much for those that are watching their bottom line, and most everyone is these days!
So, let’s cut out the middle man and make a date night in, super easy and super special! You can even get all dolled up if you want to… or not…. whatever is your fancy.
So, you know I’m going to talk about my #1 budget conscious grocery store option… Aldi. I love Aldi so much! Even the employees are nice, which makes it even easier to shop there.
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With Aldi shopping, a “surf and turf” meal plus dessert for under $30 (yes that’s for the two of you) can be on the menu for your date night in. Assuming you have a few cooking staples, your Aldi bill will be under $30. So, what’s on the menu for tonight’s dining? Tender beef filets, shrimp, mashed potatoes, roasted broccoli, sparkling water with frozen fruit as beverage, and cheesecake for dessert.
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Yes, you do have to cook this yourself, but I promise you, it’s one of the easiest meals to make, but looks so indulgent you won’t even believe it!!
Ingredients:
Exact pricing may vary by location, product type, and season.
Cattleman’s USDA Choice Bacon Wrapped Beef Chuck Tender Filet. 2 in a package for approx. $5
Sea Queen Easy Peel Raw Shrimp. Varies based on size and area approx. $5
Fresh Garlic 99 cents
Bag of potatoes. Varies by type and area, approximately $4
Broccoli $1.69
La Vie cans of sparkling flavored or original water, approx. $5
Frozen strawberries $2.09
Two pack slices of frozen cheesecake $2.09
  1. Wash and chop your broccoli. Toss with a few teaspoons of oil and add some garlic salt (optional). Place on baking sheet and roast in 400 to 425-degree oven until roasted to preferred doneness. Start this first as it can take the longest.
  2. Chop potatoes and place in large pot of salted water to cover the potatoes. Boil until soft. Drain water from potatoes when done. Heat milk and add the warm milk and butter to potatoes. Use a hand blender to whip potatoes and make them soft and fluffy. I add a little milk at a time until I get them to the consistency I like. You can also add a nice chunk of butter to melt in too. Again, start this along with your broccoli, as this can take the longest.
  3. Thaw per package directions and remove the shells and legs from the shrimp and rinse them in cold water. In a small glass dish, spray the bottom with a light coating of nonstick cooking spray or coat with oil. Lay shrimp in single layer, and add some dots of REAL butter, along with some minced fresh garlic. Place in preheated 375-degree oven, and bake until pink. They get done fast so save this for after your broccoli is done. You can keep your broccoli in the oven while the shrimp cook to keep it warm.
  4. Cook the beef filets per the directions on the back of the package. I like to use the grill pan, but you can use a skillet and/or finish them off in the oven to your preferred doneness. Make sure to let them rest before cutting.
  5. Pour your sparkling water and add frozen strawberries
  6. Be sure to take cheesecake out of freezer to thaw with ample time before consuming.

Here are some ways to make it extra special:

Shop your home for a special tablescape. Add an appropriate tablecloth, or even a fashionable scarf to your table.
Bring out the “good dishes” and wine goblets.
Do you have cloth napkins? Bring those out too!
Add some non-scented or complimentary scented candles. Everyone looks romantic in candlelight!
Lastly, take a cue from your elementary school days. Take a piece of paper, and fold it in half to cut out a heart. Take a minute to write down the things you love about your partner. We always enjoy hearing the specifics about what our partner loves about us, and it’s important to let them know too.
Bonus tip: Leave the dishes and the mess for tomorrow! Enjoy your night together, and don’t fall back into your old routine, at least for one night. Take this night as a time out, to enjoy time spent together!
(Photo credits: Aldi.us and morguefile)

Last Thrift Haul of 2016

What better way to start out 2017 than to show you all my thrift finds over the break?
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There was way more stuff at Goodwill after the break.  I stopped in two days after Christmas, because I was looking for a handbag.  I can’t even believe I can say that I needed one, but I did.  I have a zillion handbags, but only one that I found at a garage sale that fits my Happy Planner (and everything else I schlep around with me in an emergency) nice and orderly.
Maybe someday I’ll start filming again ( hey, a new years goal) and I’ll show you what’s in my bag.
But staying on track….I went to Goodwill looking for a replacement purse for my current one in which the strap was literally hanging on by a thread.  I thought I found a bag, which didn’t work so I exchanged it for other stuff, resulting in a second visit to the Goodwill.  All in all I found lots of good things!
Remember how I said I have a zillion purses…. add one:
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It’s cute, it’s a Betsy Johnson, I liked it.. sold.  It was $6.99
Also you’ll see at the top of the photo my favorite find in this grouping, a kitschy vintage blue swan towel holder (.99) a pale green ceramic spouted dish with a handle (.69) a little incomplete child’s tea set that I’ll probably actually use, in my favorite 50’s shades of pastel pink, blue, green and yellow (2.99) and a jar of little quotes in the cutest little envelopes ever (.99).
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This rather regular looking pie plate was alerting my spidey senses.  I picked it up and realized it was a white whale….. A real flamingo pink pyrex dish that is in perfect condition.  I actually thought someone was going to see it and snatch it from my hands.  I looked around really quickly and gasped a little at my findings.  At just 1.99 I’m sure someone in the back didn’t realize what it was, as those Goodwill employees can sometimes be highly knowledgeable about what is popular and what is in high demand!  If you follow me on instagram, I gramed this the second I found it!  Check it out there to see a photo of the bottom. 
Also above that, a soap dish that was .99.  I liked the vintage farmhouse look of it.  The red lidded item is a sugar dispenser, I think.  I was drawn to the red, to put in my Valentine’s Day vignette.  It was only .69.
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If you haven’t done a thorough loop yet of Goodwill… always do one more final round.  I found these vintage elf knee huggers in that final loop.  They were lassoed together with two more vintage Dakin and Company stuffed animals, that I think will end up in the shop.  The entire set was only .99.  I like who was in the back on this day just haphazardly pricing items to get them on the floor!  I also found this tree topper that is likely ready to be classified vintage in a few short years, if not already.  I have a mini collection of these.  It doesn’t light up, which could be a bad bulb, but I don’t care.  I loved the three candles in the center.
I ended up finding some tinsel still in the box (just the way I like it, and exactly how I plan to display it next year) for 2 for a quarter at a church thrift store.  I forgot to take a photo of it before packing it away.  Plus I found a pink wicker magazine rack for the bathroom… the vintage kitschy pastel guest bath.  It matches my scale and trash can from an estate sale perfectly!
On the second trip to exchange the purse that didn’t work, I found more stuff….a new to me dance bag for $5.99, and this:
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It’s from Cracker Barrel, and it is a sweet retro snowman lighted wall decoration.  Just $1.99, I didn’t even have to think about it.
I hope you all enjoyed your break, or have made some New Year Goals.  I admit, I took a little break from the blog, and hopefully can get back in the swing of things soon.  I have a lot of potentially exciting things on the cusp of happening, and as soon as they are a green light, I can share the news with all of you… but I don’t want to count my chicks before they hatch!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

 

4 Thanksgiving Ideas for the Family Gathering

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Today I’m bringing you some (hopefully) fresh ideas to entertain your family on the big turkey day.
Everyone knows that when everyone gets together, they gorge on turkey and all the sides, plus dessert…. and usually all settle in to watch football, or traditionally chit chat and gab away.  Kids tend to entertain themselves (either good or bad).
Instead of everyone doing the thing they do every year, why not add a little extra into the mix?
Here are 4 ideas to shake everything up, (just a little bit)
Recipes:  Having a potluck?  Want to try something new for next year?  Have the people that bring a dish, also bring copies of the recipe.  They can also send you or give you the recipe before hand so you can make copies and provide them for guests to take if they want to introduce the dish into other events.  One of the greatest things about recipes is that the dish is continually always known by the person you got the recipe from.  It can be a widely known recipe, but if someone you know introduced you to it, it’s THEIR recipe!  Let your recipe live on this year.  For the more tech savvy crew, you could even create a newsletter with everyone’s recipes, but make sure you have a paper friendly version for the non techie folks.
Time Capsule Craft:  This next idea comes from my love of crafting.  I know not everyone loves glitter and glue, but this simple craft is fun for the whole family.  Create a Christmas Tree ornament that will seal the moment in time.  Provide clear plastic fillable ornaments, and have guests fill them with craft supplies that you or they provide.  (Craft table potluck anyone?)  Personalize ornaments by having guests write simple memories on small sheets of paper.  Ideas to get you started are; major life events such as marriages and births, major life accomplishments like graduating, or landing a good job, and simple life events like favorite holiday movie, food, or song.  A link to directions and craft supplies can be found HERE but don’t limit yourself to just these craft supplies.  They have such cute things in craft stores these days, so take a trip to just meander.
Silly Talent Show:  Everyone has a silly talent or trick.  Can you recite the alphabet backwards, or do some magic tricks?  Have guests showcase their talents after dinner.  Let guests know ahead of time so they can prepare and aren’t put on the spot.  Kids particularly might love this activity, so let them steal the show if they want.  You might get an entire magic show, or dance recital!
The Most Important of All:  Give back.  Vow to do an act of kindness.  No act is too small.  Share your ideas and proclaim your act to everyone.  Maybe you can get together and volunteer your time.  Feed off of one another, steal each others ideas, and most importantly… follow through.  Acts of kindness are only great if they play out.
Want more ideas?  
I’ll be emailing additional ideas including a free printable PDF activity placement for all ages to my Nicolyndime Club email list subscribers only!  Want to subscribe now?
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Here ya go:

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Plus check out last year’s free printable to keep you sane!

Frugal Living Tip

In my effort to constantly find frugal living habits, I try to look at everyday items in a new light.  Years ago, makeup was such a luxury and expense that most women would never dream of throwing out a lipstick tube before scooping out the last little bit.  I rarely finish a lipstick because I’m always trying out the newest pink color, but I do scoop out my chapsticks.
This got me wondering what else I could squeeze a little more out of.  I’ve often heard of cutting the toothpaste in order to get the last little bit.  My favorite eyebrow pencil, elf instant lift brow pencil, is a product I often find myself going through rather quickly.  I always panic when I get to the end of one, even though I like to have a few on hand as a back up.
So last time I got to the end, I began investigating how the packaging was put together.  I surmised that there was a little more product inside the base, much like a lipstick tube.  To my surprise, the top portion of this retractable pencil came off with minimal effort.  Look at what I found!

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As you can see there was a tiny bit more in there, and that tiny bit actually got me through another full week of use.  I encourage you to take a look at your products once you think they are used up, and see if you can get that little extra bit out.  Have any of my loyal readers discovered any ways to get more use out of a product?  Please share!

Pantone Color of the Year Inspiration!

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This month’s Allure Magazine Fashion Cravings reflects one of the Pantone Colors of the year… Rose Quartz.  Of course I am all for seeing this color for a year since it is a shade of pink… a more blush and understated version of my favorite Barbie Pink color.  Keep an eye out for this shade in all the realms of fashion and decorating!
I simply went to my closet again for some thrifty finds from the past, and it didn’t take long to find some items in this color.  Honestly, this is probably one of the easiest colors to find at the thrift store!
Here is the “ready to work out” look.  This thin sweatshirt is perfect to start your workout, until you are warmed up and ready to go.  This is essential for a dancer, as sometimes the studios can be chilly at first!

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The next look is a simple addition to a blank slate outfit, and gives a little pop of that rose quartz color!

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This scarf has a silver thread woven through, and complements the black sequin of the top.
The last look is my wild card rose quartz look.  I found this top at an estate sale here in Florida.
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I paired it with a grey duster jacket to tone down the look a bit!
So keep an eye out for that beautiful blush color at the thrift stores and estate sales you attend.  You are sure to find it all the rage in home decor, fashion, and beauty.  You can still be fashionable and trendy on a penny this season by spying these finds at your favorite secondhand shops.
I love seeing other people’s finds as much as I like finding my own treasures, so as always, keep me posted on your treasure hunt loot by commenting down below!