Spotlight on: Trader Joe’s Bath and Body

Recently, my friends Regan and Katie from Cardigans and Couture, posted about their go-to Trader Joe’s food recommendations. As a frequent TJ’s shopper, I couldn’t agree more with their recommendations (though I might add this and these to the list), but it also got me thinking about all of the bath products that I use from Trader Joe’s. Here’s what I’d add to their list from the TJ’s “beauty department.”

I keep this hand soap in my kitchen at all times. It’s smells great, and it lasts forever. Don’t believe me? Here’s a great review from the I’m A Trader Joe’s Fan blog.

Speaking of lavender, this all-natural scrub is great for the shower. I use it after shaving to get really smooth, soft skin. Joluxe blog happens to agree with me.

Since we’re talking about shaving, I highly recommend the honey mango shave cream from TJ’s. It’s gentle on skin, smells great, and you don’t have to deal with a rusty can of shaving cream crudding up your tub! Check out what the gloss has to say on the subject.

This is my most recent TJ’s discovery, and I’m totally in love! It gives your scalp a tingly feeling when you’re using it, and doesn’t cause unnecessary buildup. At $3.99 a pop, it’s well worth the price. Urban Bush Babes put together a great review. Oh, and there’s conditioner too!

What about you? Have any items to add to this list?

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The Clarisonic Verdict

Who knew that there were so many Clarisonic devotees out there?! I was overwhelmed with comments on my last post, and let me say ladies, you made a convincing case! Literally, there wasn’t a single person with a bad thing to say. Not one! I just placed my order.

Big thanks go to my friend Meredith, who reminded me of Capitol Hill Style’s recent post on the Clarisonic. In her post, she recommended buying from Skinstore, which had a 20% off promo code on the purchase. Holla!

You know I love a discount, so I was all over that. The Mia in graphite grey is headed my way next week. I get all of this and for only $95 (plus free shipping and free samples)!

Thanks for all of the advice, everyone. I’m excited to get started!

Considering the Clarisonic

I’ve always had issues with my skin. It’s super sensitive, fair, and prone to acne. Everyone has that one thing about themselves that they will spend any amount of money on to make better. If you’re Kim Kardashian, it’s body waxing. For my friend Liz, it’s hair products. For me, it’s skin care. After a life of crazy combination skin and breakouts, I am willing to do almost anything to keep my face looking fresh.

All that said, I don’t have a super fancy face regimen. It’s Cetaphil in the morning followed by some Oil of Olay, and at night, I take my make up off with good old Costco-brand face wipes.

But a recent birthday, and the threat of grey hair and wrinkles, has caused me to think that I might need to up the ante in the skin department to ensure a somewhat wrinkle-free existence. I am lucky that I don’t really have wrinkles yet (or perhaps I just can’t see them), but I’ve heard you should start defying your age before you start showing it.

I’ve had friends say great things about the Clarisonic. You know the magical spinning wand brush that is supposed to make you look 10 years younger each morning. At $150 (or so) a pop, it would certainly be an investment, but if I can freeze time, then won’t it be worth it? I don’t know….so I’m hoping you can tell me.

Here are my big questions:

  1. Do I need to age defy or am I being silly?
  2. Will this thing make me look awesome or like I’ve been washing my face with a brillo pad each morning?
  3. How often am I supposed use it?
  4. Do I have to use the Clarisonic product line to really make it worth it or can I load it up with Cetaphil and go on my merry way?
  5. And I guess, overall, is it worth the investment?

Calling all devotees or disbelievers – help me figure out what to do! This is your moment to dictate my spending. Do I reallocate my CVS money toward skin care greatness or save my $150 for a rainy day?

 

Home Waxing – A Cautionary Tale

Without my family’s annual winter beach vacation, I have been slacking off on – what I affectionately refer to as – routine maintenance. Part of it has been a time thing, part is a money thing (usually it’s about $50 a pop for a professional job), and part is just plain laziness.

But in the last few days, it’s started to get the better of me. My go-to salon for waxing is the Red Door Salon and Spa. They use a special kind of wax that doesn’t hurt as much (to me at least), so I’ve been a devotee for years. Plus, there is one near my office, so it’s super easy to pop out on my lunch break to take care of business.

But lately I have been really busy (and poor and lazy), so I haven’t been able to get over there. So, as I was perusing the aisles of Target this past weekend, I saw these wax strips and decided to give them a try (for a grand total of $6.99). I suppose I was feeling extra Discountess-like that day. A total savings of $43 – not bad, right?

Well now, with the full experience in the rear view mirror, I can safely say I was wrong. SO SO SO WRONG. This is not something you should do at home. AT ALL. It was awful. AWFUL! Here’s why:

1. It hurts. Of course, it hurts when a professional does it too, but something about the element of surprise when someone else does it makes it an easier pill to swallow.

2. It takes a while. What is normally a 15 minute blip in my lunch break took me 25 minutes to get it right (insert more pain here). Slow is definitely not the way to get this done.

3. Without a mirror and some serious acrobatics, you can’t entirely see what you’re doing. This is not a time for guesswork. Trust me. One misstep, and you guessed it, more pain.

4. Did I mention that you can seriously hurt yourself? Let’s just say, I managed to give myself some sort of bruise in the process. Enough. Said.

So for you Discountess readers who are looking to cut costs, my recommendation would be–cut elsewhere. This is an experience that even many professionals screw up, and I was no exception. I was too big for my britches. I failed, and I have a bruise to prove it.

Splurge vs. Save – Blowouts

With New Years Eve almost upon us, I have been thinking about what I’m going to wear. Due to my reckless spending during December, I need to shop in my closet for my outfit (which makes me feel totally lame). BUT, everyone wants to look good on New Years, so I decided to treat myself to a blow out before my night on the town.

My darling brother gave me a gift certificate to DryBar for Christmas – the new blow out salon in DC. I visited the DryBar in New York during my last visit, and it was quite the experience. For $40, you got bottomless champagne, a shampoo, and a blow out. I paid $10 extra dollars to my stylist to rub my head for 10 minutes. I HIGHLY recommend this. In fact, I would wash my own hair and show up there just to have them massage my scalp. It was awesome.

Unfortunately, all of their appointments are booked for new years (and at $40 a pop, my pre-gift certificate self was not in a hurry to make an appointment). So I’ve been looking for a low-cost alternative.

Enter Bubbles Salon.

It’s about a 4 block walk from my office, and according to their website, they will do a shampoo and blow dry for $25. They say that cost depends on how long and thick your hair is, but my shoulder length blond locks shouldn’t put me in a higher price bracket. Of course, there is no champagne and no head rub, but I’m hoping that I will still get a fuss-free blow out that will make my old outfit on New Years look like new.

I have an appointment tomorrow after work. Best case scenario, I get a great look for my New Year’s party. Worst case it goes up in a bun for the evening. I’ll let you know how it goes!

 

The Grand Hair Experiment – Part 1

I need to get my hair cut. Most women know that this means dropping upwards of $75 for the cut and an extra $5 – $10 (depending on how stingy you are) on the tip! At one point several years ago, I was paying $90 plus tip for a blunt cut bob that anyone could do. Unreal!

Given my new-found frugality, that is not going to work anymore. I’ve always heard about the Aveda Institute – the cosmetology school that trains up and coming stylists and estheticians. They offer services (supervised by the teachers) at a far discounted rate.  Their haircuts range from $18 to $23, and they offer a full suite of spa services including nails, waxing, and facials.

I have my first appointment for a haircut and blow dry tonight. I’m thinking of something like this.

It’s not too far off from what I have now, so I’m hoping that it will be pretty easy to do. Wish me luck!

I’ll spill the details on the results tomorrow.