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.

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Online Shopping Sans Credit Card

Since January is no credit card month, it pretty much means that online shopping is out for me. According to the authorities, online shopping should only be done with credit cards. Debit cards, while they function like regular credit cards, aren’t as well protected. Frankly, I don’t need some crazy hacker finding me online and draining my (already pitiful) bank account. At least with a credit card, the banks will refund your money, and your rating is not damaged if you are hacked.

Anyway, I’m starting to consider what being credit card free for a month actually means. As the Discountess, I’m not supposed to be doing a ton of online shopping anyway. However, there are certain things that I order online because their cheaper. Best example is my favorite, drugstore.com, who offers all of my products at a fraction of the cost in CVS.

I certainly can’t give that up for an entire month!! So I decided to research which online retail outlets offer payment through PayPal. I assume most of you know what PayPal is, but in case you’ve been living abroad (or under a rock) for the past few years, I will explain. PayPal is an online payment service that allows you to securely transfer money from a checking account to pay for goods online. You can also use it to send or receive payments from people.

Thankfully, PayPal payment is an option at drugstore.com. Here are some other retailers that offer PayPal as a payment option. This is where I’ll be shopping for the next month.

(this one is new – THANK GOD!)

(Also a welcome surprise)

(YESSSSS!)

(check out Land’s End Canvas for some cute, reasonably priced clothes)

 

 

 

This month may not turn out as badly as I thought!

 

Resisting Neiman Marcus For Target

Today is a very big day! The much-hyped Neiman Marcus for Target collection is FINALLY out and available online. In my former life, this would have been a morning where I got up, made a cup of coffee, and got to work spending several hundred dollars to purchase a ton of stuff I don’t really need. But now, since I’ve turned over a new leaf and all, I followed the morning routine until the spending part.

I did look at the collection, and it is pretty cool. Some of the stuff is weird. For example, why would anyone want to spend $500 on an Alice and Olivia bike? It’s foofy looking (that is a technical term), and it probably doesn’t go very fast. It’s items like the bike that indicate that Target (whom I love/deeply adore) is looking for suckers with this sale. For. Sure. Still, there are some items that I had to resist purchasing. These are they:

For the home

Altuzarra Old-Fashioned Glasses
We used to have Old-Fashioneds every Thanksgiving at my Aunt and Uncle’s house. They hosted a separate thanksgiving dinner, so we’d have ours and they’d have theirs and we’d meet after for a late afternoon Old-Fashioned session. I have very fond memories of those parties, and these brought them back.

https://i1.wp.com/img2.targetimg2.com/wcsstore/TargetSAS//img/p/14/18/14182089_120919103000.jpg

Altuzarra Gold Tray

If anyone has seen my house, they will know that I’m a big fan of black. Not that my whole house is shrouded in it, but I do have a lot of bold black and white patterns with gold, red, and yellow accents. Clearly, this would fit in.

https://i0.wp.com/img2.targetimg2.com/wcsstore/TargetSAS//img/p/14/18/14189816_120919103000.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the Bod

Lela Rose Top
So cute. Perfect to wear to my aforementioned annual Christmas fete.

https://i2.wp.com/img3.targetimg3.com/wcsstore/TargetSAS//img/p/14/20/14206601_120919103000.jpg

Prabal Gurung Cape

It is cold in wintertime, after all.

https://i2.wp.com/img3.targetimg3.com/wcsstore/TargetSAS//img/p/14/21/14210333_120919103000.jpg

Robert Rodriguez Top
I love the idea of this one, but I’m pretty sure it would make me look fat. Money saved!

https://i2.wp.com/img2.targetimg2.com/wcsstore/TargetSAS//img/p/14/21/14210957_121014043000.jpg

Misc.

Marc Jacobs Gold Pouch
I always find little bags like this useful. It would be perfect as a little clutch or to use for makeup inside a larger tote.

https://i1.wp.com/img1.targetimg1.com/wcsstore/TargetSAS//img/p/14/21/14210325_120921183000.jpg

So now the big question – did I make a mistake? Should I go back in and snap one of these puppies up before it’s too late? Please advise.

Mastering CyberMonday

It was a black, Black Friday for me.  I spent most of the day on the train returning home from my thanksgiving in Connecticut, and OF COURSE, the internet was not working. My plans to shop online (for Christmas presents, that is) during the trip home were completely foiled. Thankfully CyberMonday is tomorrow, and there are plenty of deals still to be had.

Here are a few that I’ve discovered today during my preparations.

Kate Spade Cyber Sale
My aunt asked for the Kate Spade perfume for Christmas.  Whaddaya know – they had a gift set on super sale! Done and done. They also had some pretty cute purses and shoes, but I’m not supposed to be buying those so I stayed away.

JCrew Sale
I’m always a sucker for a good JCrew sale as well. You can get 25% off your entire online order, plus free shipping on orders over $150 using the code: COLOR25.

Lands End Canvas
They’ve really stepped it up a notch at Land’s End, especially with their Canvas line. I’d highly recommend you check it out.

GAP
30% off your total order on Gap.com using this code: CYBER

SPANX
Free shipping on Spanx.com using this code: FREESHIP12. Spanx are a holiday staple – less as gifts and more as a way to keep your clothes fitting until new years.

This is just a sampling of deals. You can find more at www.CyberMonday.com. They have a full roster of participating stores – everything from Horchow and Lillian Vernon (who knew that still existed!) to Sephora and Target.

May the discount force be with you. Happy shopping!

I Miss Mani-Pedis

I love a good mani-pedi. I have this great spot near my house in Georgetown that does a fabulous job, and at about $50 for a mani-pedi, it’s a pretty good price too. They even give you a back rub when you’re done – I’m a sucker for a back rub.

BUT, I started adding up the cost, and I realized I need to cut back. $50 a month for 12 months is $ 600/year. I’m not saying that I’m never going again, but I’m going to try to hold myself to once a quarter. I’m hoping that will be enough to keep my nails funk-free.

Hurricane Sandy provided a great chance for me to try out an at home manicure and pedicure. I’ve been watching my buddies at Vicky’s for years, so I’ve seen what they use on me. All happens to be available at drugstore.com and Target (oh and CVS, but buying it online is waaaay cheaper). Here are my products:

Base coat: Seche Clear

Nail Color: OPI A-Taupe the Space Needle
(Note: I prefer to buy my favorite nail colors. Even if I am getting a professional job, I take my own polish with me. That way, I can touch up any chips later on and make the work last a little longer.)

Top Coat: Essie Top Coat

I did take the time to file and buff my nails and trim the cuticle. It does take a little extra work, but I think the results look less like a home job. Then I did base, 2 coats of polish, and top coat, and here are the final results.

Not too bad if I do say so myself. If only I had my back rub…