Five Inexpensive Makeup KnockOffs That Work For Me

Makeup Collage

I am not very skilled in the makeup department. So I get a little cheap when it comes to makeup. Partly because I don’t know what I am doing and so I don’t want to waste expensive makeup. Partly because I am just cheap in general. I think the politically correct term is frugal.

So often when I hear of an expensive brand that everyone swears by I go scouring the internet to see if there is a cheaper version that still does the trick. If enough people are talking about it then it must be true. And then I go and spend under $10 to find out if it is true for myself. 9/10 times it is.

I am sure makeup junkies and experts will tell you, you get what you pay for. But my clueless self will just keep on paying for the cheaper versions and going about my merry little way.

Here are a few makeup knockoffs that are working for me lately:

  • Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel EyelinerBack in 2012 I sung the praises of Bobbi Brown Gel Liner . It was fantastic as long as my little pot lasted, which was actually a long time. But I was bummed it often dried out. And for the cost, it really should have been amazing from beginning to end. The Maybelline brand of gel liner were on sale one week and I thought I would give it a try. Dare I say I like this even better? It lasts just as long, goes on smooth, and doesn’t smudge. I will say the Bobbi Brown eyeliner brush is FAR superior than the one that comes with the Maybelline gel liner. I know it is pricey, but the precision is amazing. So save on the eyeliner, splurge on the brush.

$8 vs. $30

  • Milani Shadow Eyez: After this many years of wearing makeup the one thing I cannot figure out is how to apply eye shadow in any way that doesn’t make me look like a hooker. So I have switched to giant crayons like a preschooler. I love “Champagne Toast” and wear it almost every day. It goes on smooth (unlike a lot of cheap brands I tried), don’t smudge and lasts for the bulk of the day. I’d like to try layering, but I am sure I would mess that up too. So for now it is just me and Champagne Toast. I am comparing it to Clinique’s Chubby Stick which I have tried before because I honestly think it knocks Clinique out of the park.

$6 vs. $17

  • NYX Blush in Pinched:  Everyone knows the gold standard in blush is Nars Org*sm (keeping spammers at bay). But it is mucho expensive. But it gives your cheeks a very natural glow (rumor has it like you just had the big O). For a fraction of the price, and after MUCH research, I decided to give this NYX blush a try. I love it. It is a perfect pink/ peach blend with a tiny bit of a shimmer. And now I have a very natural glow about me.

$5 vs. $40

  • Maybelline New York Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer:  I have long lamented about the raccoon eyes God has blessed me with. Nothing I seem to do erases them and, while various products have helped, I am always a little bit unsatisfied by them. Things are either too cakey, don’t provide enough coverage, or make me look old. I had been saving up waiting to buy the under eye concealer that wins award after award, Yves Saint Laurent’s Touche Eclat. Granted these are both technically highlighters, but that just gives me more ways to use it. I need all the brightening I can get. I’m not saying it is because of the new concealer, but I keep having people tell me I look younger. I’m gonna pretend it is the concealer. 

$6 vs. $40

  • Monistat Soothing Care Chafing Relief Powder-Gel: I have saved the best for last. I started using a makeup primer a few years ago because I like how it helps my makeup go on even and stay on longer. As I get older I need all the help I can get hiding skin imperfections. You can get the Smashbox Primer that everyone swears by, or you can spend $6 on something that isn’t meant for your face at all. Similar ingredients. Similar results. Fraction of a price. You don’t need much and it does an amazing job. If you are skeptical, google it. It really does work!

$6 vs. $35

I’ve spilled my secrets. Now what are yours? I always loooove a good makeup tip!!




Ten Uses for Coconut Oil

coconut oil

Coconut everything is all the rage. I love big flakes of raw coconut in my cooking. I gave coconut water a try and wanted to barf. And I have had a jar of coconut oil in my cupboard for about 6 months but never even cracked it open. The hubby has a mild coconut allergy so I have always been nervous about cooking with it. But did you know there are a ton of other ways to use it? I rounded up a few ideas for this amazing fruit (yes it is a fruit, not a nut)

  1. Makeup Remover: This was actually the inspiration for this post. I ran out of my usual makeup remover (I have been making my own for a few years) and didn’t have all the stuff to make more. I remembered I had read that coconut oil removes makeup so I gave it a try. Hands down the easiest makeup remover ever. Even tough mascara came right off. I now keep a jar in my bathroom.
  2. Lotion: Since it is already in your bathroom, you can use it on your rough spots. I use it especially on my elbows and feet and it makes everything incredibly soft. I even use it as a chapstick! Plus no weird ingredients (have you read the ingredients in lotion lately? Oy vey!!)
  3. Shaving: Shaving cream is stupid expensive. Sometimes I use conditioner instead, but that seems pricey too. Coconut oil to the rescue. It leaves my legs feeling AMAZING.
  4. Heal a sunburn: Of course the best thing is to not get sunburned in the first place. Bonus: did you know that coconut oil has natural sun protection in it? How cool is that? Anywho, if you manage to get yourself burnt (as I did last week) coconut oil has soothing and healing properties.
  5. Cradle Cap: Hannah had bad cradle cap. I think I used olive oil on it. But coconut oil would have smelled so much better. Simply massage into head, leave on for a few minutes and gently rinse with a warm wash cloth. Problem solved. 
  6. Oil Pulling: Have you heard of this? I am curious, but haven’t tried it yet because I am so afraid it is going to make me gag. Are you on the oil pulling train? It is supposed to be amazing for dental health, gum health, teeth whitening and tooth pain.
  7. Diaper Cream: Thanks GOODNESS I don’t have to worry about this anymore. No kids in diapers over here. WOOT! But I read that it heals diaper rash quickly and naturally. Give it a try.
  8. Cooking: Use it in place of butter or olive oil when sauteing, stir frying or even baking. And certainly stop using vegetable oil. It does better under high temperatures than most other oils. And I always worried that it would give things a coconut-ty flavor but it doesn’t.
  9. In Your Smoothies: Throw a spoonful in your smoothies! Coconut oil has been shown to reduce cholesterol and belly fat and boost metabolism. Who wouldn’t love that? Rumor has it, it is also yummy in coffee in the morning (I don’t drink coffee so I can’t tell you).
  10. Hair care: Use as a leave in conditioner. Or use on the ends of your hair to tame split ends or frizz. Don’t overuse or it will make your hair greasy. But this time a year we could all use some frizz control.

Allergies, Eyeballs and Visine-A

Of all the bummers of gene pool roulette, I am super thankful I don’t deal with allergies. Well with one caveat. When I am pregnant I somehow manage to suffer from all of my husband’s seasonal allergies. And I usually spend large portions of my pregnancy asking him incredulously, “Is this how you feel all the time???!!!!” Suddenly I am much more sympathetic to his plight.

Allergy season is just starting in Michigan. In fact when I looked up the current pollen forecast this morning, this loveliness greeted me.

allergy forecast

Since my hubby is the allergy sufferer in my house I thought I would let him share a bit about his experiences with seasonal allergies and allergies to cats. See if you can relate (and since 1 in 5 Americans suffer from allergies, I am going to assume many of you will).

Have you ever seen a picture from the late 1800’s or early 1900’s of people strolling in parks, with men wearing full suits and women wearing huge dresses and carrying parasols? You know what the caption of those pictures should read? “People…sweating their asses off.” I’m pretty sure any of them would have strangled someone for a window air conditioner, had they known of their existence or had the power outlets to support them. I’m not one to romanticize the past. While our culture may daydream about more romantic, cordial, and safer past times, there’s something to be said for air conditioning, smart phones, all-wheel drive, and flushable wipes.

Perhaps the most personally impactful advances in my life have been good allergy treatments. Life as a kid with allergies in the seventies and eighties was awful. I remember countless nights as a kid trying to sleep on my left side to try and create any sort of drainage out of my totally-clogged right nostril (or vice versa). I remember scratching my eyes until they started to sting and putting cold wash cloths on them to reduce the inflammation. And there were really no good over-the-counter medicines. The pills either did nothing or completely knocked you out (anyone remember taking accidentally taking one of those old-school antihistamines during the day? Nope, me neither. Zzzz). Eye drops provide some relief, for approximately two minutes until the allergies waged a counter-attack. It was enough to almost make you dread the end of a Michigan winter (and that’s saying a lot).


I’m glad those days are long gone. Today, modern antihistamines work wonders, and I recently discovered Visine-A, which unlike most drops, has its own antihistamine and provides quick and consistent relief. No more constant scratching of my eyes or sitting in business meetings looking like I’d just watched the end of Forest Gump. And since I’m now at the age where my kids have inherited my allergies, I’m thankful that they can now get through the day and get a good night’s sleep without all of that suffering. If only I could take some of this stuff back to the eighties and trade it for some of those baseball cards and Star Wars action figures I’ve lost along the way.

Because I am an amazing wife who has large amount empathy for her husband OR more likely because writing this post and reading his post gave me some sort of bizarre sympathy allergies, I had an allergic reaction today to something and one of my eyes took the brunt of it. Seriously! Redness, that feeling of sandpaper in my eyes, itching. I rushed home and used the Visine-A and within a couple of minutes all was well. It was seriously amazing.

red eye

But check out this a few minutes later:

Eye Collage

This is kind of committed blogger that I am. Taking gross close up pictures of my eye for your enjoyment.

Visine-A and The Motherhood will be hosting a Twitter party Thursday, May 8, at noon ET (11a CT / 9a PT). You will learn more about combating seasonal allergies and how to deal with those awful symptoms. And of course there will be lots of prizes. You can learn more and RSVP here: http://twtvite.com/visine

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Visine-A and The Motherhood. Bizarre allergic reactions are just a bonus. 

10 Fun and (Fairly) Easy Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs

Ten Easter Egg Ideas

First, a confession: I don’t really enjoy decorating Easter eggs. Well full confession: I don’t really enjoy any sort of crafting with my kids at all. I fully believe this is why God invented grandparents. But maybe you are one of those amazing craft loving moms. Or maybe you just want to forward this post on to Grandma. No judging here.

Anyway, with the Easter season upon us, I thought it would be nice to roundup some of the fun ways you can decorate Easter eggs with your kids.

1. Fingerprint Eggs:



This idea from Sassy Dealz is so adorable (totally digging the toilet paper roll holders) and pretty simple. With your help even the littlest kid can pull off a fingerprint. If you want to really knock it out of the park you could save them each year to remember how teeny tiny your kid’s fingers used to be.

2. Sharpie Tie-Dyed Eggs



Sharpies are like a forbidden fruit in our house. My kids desperately want to use them but I try to avoid letting them anywhere near permanent markers. But for these eggs from Housing a Forest, they get to use Sharpies till their heart’s content. Oh Happy Day!!

3. Shaving Cream Dyed Eggs: 

shaving cream egg


There is nothing more awesome than your mom telling you to make a giant mess. Sticking your hands in a pile of dyed shaving cream and squishing an egg around in it? Mom of the year award is coming your way for sure. This is a crazy easy method and the eggs turn out really cool. Thanks to A Thrifty Mom.

4. Chalkboard Eggs

Chalkboard Paint Eggs


I happen to have some chalkboard spray paint lying around (Pinterest will make you buy crazy things) so this one would be so easy to pull off. It’s Overflowing uses actual paint, but spray paint would be even easier. The best part about these is that you can decorate them over and over.

5. Polka Dot Easter Eggs



I love all things polka dot. And yes these do involve glitter (the herpes of the craft world), but Domestifluff also gives a great tutorial at the end of her post about how to make these using decorative sugar. Still messy, but less likely to stick to every single surface imaginable and make your life a living you know what.

6. Glitter Eggs



Yes, I know what I just said. But maybe you love glitter. And maybe these sparkly eggs are hard to resist (I gotta admit, they kind of are. Plus Totally The Bomb makes it crazy easy. Maybe this time the glitter wouldn’t be so bad…….

7. Melted Crayon Eggs

melted crayon eggs


I came across one idea for melted crayon eggs that literally had you melting crayons and rolling your eggs in them. Seems like an incredibly messy way to get burned fingers. Thankfully this idea from S.A.S Interiors is much simpler. Again, this could be done easily with really little kids and is much more fun than plain colored eggs.

8. Drip Art Eggs



I think this one has the potential to be quite messy, but I absolutely love the look of these metallic paints and the rainbow colors it makes. Red Ted Art calls it drip art and I think the finished products would make a gorgeous centerpiece.

9. Silk Dyed Easter Eggs



Okay so this one is really more for the grownup crafters. Simply head to your local thrift store, gather up some pretty ties and these gorgeous, swoon worthy eggs can be yours. It is a process that takes some time, but I think the results are well worth it. Head over to mama. papa. bubba to see the close up finished project. Gorgeous!

10. Color By Number Easter Eggs



This idea from No Time For Flash Cards is so fun because it incorporates egg decorating and MATH!! Perfect for home schooling families or anyone who wants to sneak a little math into their kid’s day. Simply number your Sharpies, roll the dice, count and color. How fun is that?

I have lots more fun Easter ideas and recipes over on my Easter Pinterest page. Make sure to check that out!

Five Best Apps For Traveling With Kids

road-trip road-trip

What do you do when you don’t have any plans for Spring Break and the entire state of Michigan is heading to Florida?

You head to Sheboygan, Wisconsin of course!

Okay so it wasn’t exactly like that. But Ryan had work in Sheboygan and Chicago and he planned it for the week of spring break so we tagged along. I squeezed in dinner with my college roommate and her family in Milwaukee and we got to spend time in my favorite city on the planet, The Windy City.

But first there was Sheboygan…..

So I turned to a few of my favorite travel apps and we ended up having a really good time. Well except for the sibling bickering and lack of sleep that led to me wanting to lose my mind. Is there an app for that? #keepinitreal

1. Roadtrippers: Based on the Roadripper website, this app was my favorite!! Simply enter your road trip route and it points out  attractions, history, nature, shopping and more. Not to mention eating and lodging. It brought about the biggest surprises of the road trip. In the middle of a Chicago suburb, next to houses of average nature, we found a 17,000 square foot pyramid with a huge statue of Ramses out front. Oh and it is plated in gold. Pure Awesome.

gold pyramid


We also found the Jelly Belly warehouse factory tour. We ate our weight in Jelly Belly’s and sampled such flavors as Tabasco Sauce, Draft Beer and Grass. Because why not?

jelly belly


2. Trip Advisor: I use this app andwebsite obsessively. Whenever I am in a new place I always look through the restaurant reviews and for the list of the top attractions. It led us to a super fun children’s museum in Sheboygan. We spent a ridiculous amount of time there (partly because it was raining and most of the other top attractions were outdoors). And as luck would have it, right across the street was a top rated restaurant that specialized in bacon. BACON.

3. Yelp: My go to guide for restaurants (see bacon above). I use it mostly when I am traveling without the kids, but it is kind of a must have with kids as well. When you are in a strange place you really need to know if you are going to show up to a place that is totally unkid friendly. The last thing a couple on their first date needs is my four year old telling a fart joke. Or my 40 year old husband laughing hysterically at it.

4. Sit or Squat: No matter how many times you say to your kids, “Do you have to go to the bathroom before we get back in the car for a long drive?”, they will always have to go to the bathroom 3-7 minutes after you get back on the road. We have taken a LOT of roadtrips and we have gone to a lot of nasty restrooms out of desperation. Including one on our trip to Florida last year that I still can’t unsee. Sit or squat helps you find the clean ones. Thank goodness someone dreamt this up.

5. UberWhen we go to Chicago my kids think going on the El is like going on a ride to Disney. Same with riding a bus. They are living sad, un-citified lives. But sometimes the El and bus just aren’t convenient. I can risk all our lives in a cab, or we can rid like kings with Uber. You download the app, ask for a pickup, and a towncar comes and picks you up. But the awesome part is that the app is linked to your credit card so you don’t have to deal with any cash. It just automatically charges you and adds on the tip. The app will show you an estimated cost before you “book” your car. I thought the cost was very comparable to a cab ride, maybe a little more, but well worth it to avoid the hassle. (sign up with my link and we both get a $10 credit. WOOT!)

Honorable mention goes to my white noise app because falling asleep in a hotel room with kids is some sort of 7th circle of hell.

Do you have any favorite apps when you travel with kids?