As someone who has no problem spending $90 on a cotton tee-shirt or $60 on hair conditioner, it is really nice for my checking account when I find something that I really like that is also a bargain. Here are a few products that are not only excellent but cheap as all get out and one of them is even kind of free, as along as you have internet service or your neighbors do and don’t have their WI-FI locked or you know their password because it is something dumb, like password. Really people, you need to step up your personal security game.
Rosebud Lip Salve: a few winters ago I had such a bad bout of dry eyelids that not only did it hurt like hell but also made it damn near impossible for me to wear any eye make-up. First world problems I know, but I reside there and work there and wearing some eye make up is part of my reality. Living for four months of the year in the real world version of Game of Throne’s The Wall otherwise known as Minnesota, lots of body parts dry out but nothing had ever been this bad before. In the past if something (usually the bottoms of my feet) got super dry I would just apply a bunch of vaseline and sleep in socks and that would take care of the problem. Not this time though. Just when I thought I was going to have to go to the dermatologist I decided to try some of my Rosebud Lip Salve on my eyelids even though it’s made up of 99% vaseline and that had already disappointed me greatly like the very idea of Morrissey ever actually completing another world tour in our lifetime. Here’s a hint people, he won’t.
This charming hand-made man aside, whatever the other one percent is in Rosebud Salve it is the Anne Sullivan of balms because it is a miracle worker. I woke up the next morning and not only did my eyelids no longer hurt but they were also no longer dry and therefore amenable to a little Urban Decay eye shadow, life was so worth living again. Ever since then anytime I get even the slightest hint of a dry spot anywhere I grab that little blue tin, it works really well on cuticles too which can also be a problem in the winter for me. I use it every night on my lips and maybe buy it twice a year so a little dab will certainly do ya. The mint version is great too, just not so good if you think you ever might want to use it anywhere near your eyes. Trust me, don’t do it, I can tell you from personal experience it is not a wise move. I usually pick mine up at Sephora since I go there a lot (don’t judge, it is fun there and I need to keep my VIB status) but you can get it here too.
3M Lint Roller: Do you have animals? Do those animals have fur? Does that fur sometimes come out like all over your furniture? Does the fur match all your clothes? If it does not and you answered yes to all but the last question then you know how very valuable a good lint roller is in your life. I have one upstairs, one downstairs, one at work and one in my car if the car wash people did not get rid of it like they did my re-usable water jugs which was totally uncool unless they recycled them since I was going to do that eventually anyway. At this point in my animal-loving life I could probably own part of 3M considering how many of these I have purchased over the years. Anyone with a pet needs a bunch of these, even this guy:
Huggable Hangers: Those of us who live in older homes know what it is like to be closet-challenged. While my house has lots of closets for its era, none of them are particularly huge and the one in my bedroom is exceptionally small, factor in my clothes addiction and Houston, we have a major storage problem. I used to always use padded hangers because I thought they were better for my clothes but they were definitely space hogs. I could never use wire hangers because I had seen Mommie Dearest in my formative years and Joan Crawford and her weirdness about them scarred me for life.
Then one day while channel surfing I happened across the Huggable Hanger lady (Joy Mangano) on one of those home shopping channels and was intrigued. Could it really be true that by switching to her skinny-minny hangers I could gain some valuable space in my tiny closet and possibly get even more clothes in there? The answer was a resounding yes to both. It took me awhile and many trips to Target but I eventually switched everything over and can’t recommend them highly enough. Check them out here.
Maxwell House International Cafe: as a non-coffee drinker I will admit that my standards are pretty low but I have loved this tinned powdered flavored coffee product since I was a teen and my mom used to put it in my Christmas stocking. When I was a kid it was called General Foods International Coffee but sadly General Foods went the way of the Sony Walkman and cassette tapes and no longer exists. Thankfully the folks at Maxwell House saw the huge growth potential in the tinned powdered flavored coffee market and decided it was a product well worth keeping. As a teen my favorite flavor was Suisse Mocha, which I thought at the time was the height of coffee sophistication and made me feel worldly even though I had only ever been to Canada at that point. Starbucks, Dunn Brother or Caribou weren’t on every corner or in the public library like they are now. Back then people had to make their own damn coffee and we liked it that way, even if it was fake.
Now that I am a grown up I will drink “real” coffee occasionally (lots of cream and sugar and pretty much anything taste good), but I still don’t really like it. I do however still like the fake stuff, although now I am pretty devoted to French Vanilla Cafe as it is delicious. So go ahead and celebrate the moments of your life, not with some Pike’s Place blend from Starbucks but with something a little more elegant because every time you drink a cup of tinned powdered flavored coffee product another pretentious hipster loses their sense of irony and that really is worth commemorating.
YouTube how-to-videos: If you thought YouTube videos were just for watching cats and dogs do amusing things than you are mostly right but there are other more educational options to check out as well. While I am sure you can learn how to do a lot of bad things on the internet (not that I would check, mind you) you also can learn how to do a lot of good things and maybe even save yourself some money in the process. For example, in the last couple of years I have learned how to replace a pull chain light fixture in my laundry room despite the fact that I am petrified of all things electrical and learned how to clean out my tub drain with the help of a Zip it which was beyond gross and disgusting. I am not going to lie, fixing both of those fairly simple things myself without paying someone else to do it or asking for help made me feel all sorts of sister’s-are-doing-it-for-themselves kind of superior and I liked it, a lot.
The how-to videos that I really love though are the hair and make-up ones. As previously discussed, I am terrible at hair styling but I still like to watch others who are good at it just in case something eventually rubs off (umm, so far no). But the videos that intrigue me the most are the make-up tutorials. Just like Lay’s Potato Chips you can’t eat or watch just one and the next thing you know it is lunchtime and you have not moved off the couch for three hours and did not even notice.
No matter which side of the make up equation you fall on personally, there is no denying that it is an art form and that there are many incredibly talented artists out there. The ability of these women to transform themselves in so many ways is both mind-blowing and inspiring and as long as they keep posting I will keep watching.
* of course I can live without all these things, but why would I want to?