The Summer Break

It's official - I'm taking the summer off from blogging.  But I'll be back in the Fall probably because October is my favorite month & I really like Fall up here.  You may see a post here & there on the blog but probably only a grand 3 or 4 until September hits.  I'm just a little burned out.  I want to blog but I don't want to put in the effort.  This is the story of my life.  So I'm taking the Summer off to rethink where I want to go with blogging.
If you do want to keep up with me please follow on Instagram (click the link or search @fivesixteenths) because I'll be posting make up reviews, FOTDs, crafty things, daily life, etc on there - it's fast & simple, and I can respond to comments on Instagram easier.  I'm horrible with replying to blog & video comments.  If you don't have Instagram, I'm going to reactivate my Tumblr for the time being & you can follow it here.

So I'm taking a Summer break.  See you in September!

xoxo, Moe

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Around Here Lately // I'll Be Back

I'm at a point where I want to blog but feel like I have nothing to say.  Part of it is I don't want to put in the work to create a full blog post - I want to talk about the newest eyeshadow palette I have, but I don't want to take the pictures.  I also want to do more on my YouTube....but I don't want to edit the videos (or film them!)

We've been doing a lot on the weekends and I've been sewing a lot on the week days...but it's nothing I really think that fits into this blog.  We've been going to SCA events & it's been a really fun and social time.  And the sewing I've been doing is making period style dresses so I can fit in better at the events.  So far I have three dresses (one got wine all over it this past weekend!).  There's one I like, one I love (currently covered in wine) and one I don't quite like.  I need to get more linen to sew more dresses since I like it better, and it's more appropriate.  

So that's been taking up a lot of my time & when I do find inspiration to blog, I do it suddenly & all in one go.  The three posts from last week were like that...but I wish I felt like I knew what to say.

I will be back, I always am, but I think I'm going to step away for a second.  I will always be active on Instagram though!  So follow along there too!

xoxo, Moe

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BH Cosmetics Haul + Review

A bit ago I posted on Instagram that I picked up some things from the BH cosmetics site.  I am not linking to BH in this post for the only reason that I was requested (by BH) to remove a link to them in a previous post - a link they requested me to add in the first place.  But I wanted to review these products anyway because some I'm satisfied with & some I'm disappointed in.  So, if you want to find any of these products, I'm sorry but you'll have to go to the BH website on your own - the links I will provide are all from Amazon (if I can find the product) and are affiliate links, btw.  So if thats not something you're in to.....just an FYI:
So above is what I picked up for a pretty good deal.  I'm always hesitant to buy make up online because unless I've bought it before I don't really know how it will be like.  In this order I did save more than half even after shipping.  Things were on sale, I looked for a coupon code online, & I thought I used Ebates but I don't see anything in my account now.  My original total was $63.90 before shipping.  With the things I got on sale + a 5% off coupon I found on line that saved me only .84 cents - I paid $24.45+$7.95 shipping.  I only paid $32.40.  So I was pretty excited about the discounts to try new things I'd never tried before.  But let's get into the reviews:
I was really excited about these - I thought the would be a fun alternative to the Lorac Pro To Go palette.  I also got a little sample of the eyeshadows in my Ipsy bag way back in the summer of 2013 (here is where I did a make up look featuring it) but the shadows from the sample & the shadows in the actual palette I feel are totally different.  Each palette has 16 eyeshadows & 4 face powders and different themes based on the city they are supposed to represent.  I'm on the fence about these palettes.  Each have fun, pigmented eyeshadows - when you use your finger to swatch them.  But they don't apply very well or have a lot of color payoff when you apply them with a brush.  These eyeshadows are average at best - Wet n Wild and even Elf eyeshadows have much better pigmentation & application.  The eyeshadows in these palettes remind me of a super cheap palette from like a drugstore Christmas aisle.  They are ok....but not great.  The powders themselves are rather chalky & kick up a lot of powder.  The face powders, however, I do like.  Each palette has 4 powders - a highlight type of powder, a deeper powder that might be able to be used as a bronzer, and two powders you'd assume are blushes.  The Malibu face powders are my favorite - I noticed the blush lasted a good long while during the day & the lighter, highlight shade is really pretty.  Overall, I'm glad I got these on sale & would only recommend them if you're looking for a lighter eyeshadow application.  They would be great for travel if thats what you're into but I'm not totally satisfied with them since I don't like every product
Way back in October I had this on my October Wishlist and it's taken me this long to actually pick it up.  I am soooo hesitant to buy make up online when I don't know what it will actually be like.  These blush duos come in cardboard packaging with two individual pans of product.  It's not a split pan type of deal but two separate pans in half circle shapes.  These blush duos have a lighter & a darker side to them and all but the Tulip shade can be used in blush & highlight way.  The Tulip shade has two deeper sides that may not work in that manner & you could probably use them as two separate blushes.  Anyway, back to the one that I have - Rose.  These are pretty average too. The pigmentation is nice and the highlight-and-blush combo is a great idea but all in all, pretty average so the sale price I paid wasn't too bad for it.  I wouldn't recommend paying full price for these.
Bombshell Bronzer in Diva
I think this is the only thing I'm very satisfied with.  I was a bit disappointed that the bronzer has gold flecks of glitter in it when on the website it clearly states that it has a matte finish - of course the glitter isn't picking up on camera, so that is a testament to the next sentence - But the flecks of glitter in there are pointless as they are the chunky kind that will fall off your brush & never reach your face.  I do quite like this bronzer & have used it over the past few days for contouring.  Its a wonderful brown color - not too orange and rather deep (contrary to what the picture shows!), making it perfect for contouring.  I actually would recommend this to you & at a sale price of $3.95 it's a steal.
6 Color Concealer & Corrector in Light
I actually do like this product as well.  It's pretty versatile as it has 3 corrective shades & 3 more skin tone shades. (On the website the Medium is also set up this way but Deep has all skin tone shades.)  However, the skin tone shades in this palette are a bit too light or a bit too off color to really conceal.  I like the lightest shade in the top row for highlighting under my under eye.  Then the other colors in the row have more of that salmon color to conceal under eye circles.  The texture is really smooth & it almost has a powder finish.  This palette applies great with your fingers & blends out nicely with a sponge.  I'd recommend this to you as well.

Overall, I was disappointed in the quality of these items.  I hear a lot of people rave about the quality of other items from BH Cosmetics - so I guess the quality doesn't really stretch across all items.  I am much more impressed with a similar site called Coastal Scents.  I did a review of their Revealed Palette here & they just launched the Revealed 2 palette and I'm excited.

Have you ever used BH Cosmetics?  What did you think?

xoxo, Moe

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My Coupon Organization

You guys....I just did my first attempt at coupons at the grocery store this past weekend....let's jut say I am no pro when it comes to grocery couponing!  We did save $37 bringing our bill down to $100 - but we also shopped a lot of the sales, bought the Meijer brand of somethings, and used about 4 coupons!  Meijer does have an mPerks app where you can clip manufacturer coupons & use in the store as well.  So we pretty much just saved on butter and sweet tea, the important things for a southern girl right?
The point of this story is that I have a long way to go when it comes to grocery shopping but I like to keep to these tips in mind when it comes to couponing in general!  But this post is about how I recently changed the way I store my coupons....since I'm trying to branch out in to saving on actual important stuff like food!
I was keeping my coupons & my little coupon/sale list in a pencil case from Target clearance.  I separated the coupons out by memory, folding them, & using my notebook as a divider for receipts.  That was working out when I was just working from CVS & printed coupons.  But now that I'm trying to branch out from CVS to include Meijer & Walgreens, I needed a way to separate the coupons by store & type.  I also wanted to keep my receipts for this month as well in a separate space so I don't lose them.
I picked up a small lime green pocket divider from the Dollar Tree & made smaller inserts for it from scrapbook paper.  The green pocket divider only came with 5 slots and I knew I'd need to separate more.  Now each slot has 3 sections in it.
The five main dividers are personal, food, home, clean, & receipts.  The front of the personal divider holds the coupons I plan on using for whatever trip I'm making.  It also holds the coupons I haven't clipped out yet - like register coupons or a whole page of the Walgreens coupon book.  The rest of the personal tab is divided between make up for one section & other (like soap, shampoo, etc).
Food has coupons divided by store - so sometimes I'll get Walmart only coupons if I'm not paying attention or think it might be good to stop in there.  The other coupons are coupons for regular, grocery food and I put some restaurant coupons in there too.
Home is for stuff like Frebreeze coupons, toilet paper, hand soap, sponges, batteries etc.  Things that wouldn't fall under Food or Clean.  While Clean is mainly for Clorox, Swiffer, laundry detergent, dish soap, etc.  

That's how I have my coupons divided so far.....and so far it's working.  I really need to try to step up my food coupon game.  I want to try to set a goal for at least 20% savings on my grocery bill but I'm not sure how to exactly do that - should I also factor in picking the store brand over the name brand?  I'm pretty sure that doesn't show up on your receipt!

Do you save money on your grocery bill? How do you do it?

xoxo, Moe

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Make it Monday // Simple Sewing Kit

I've been doing a lot of sewing recently as I am in need of some period style dresses for the SCA events we've been attending.  So far I have one dress I'm pretty proud of, my first dress ever, and a dress I don't know if I can salvage from this past weekend.  I would say I'm a novice sewer at best but the styles of dresses I'm making are just the right amount of difficulty for me.  I put together a little sewing basket to corral all of my items for me using a basket I had laying around from Hobby Lobby.  (Hobby Lobby always has half off basket sales...so just wait for one & you can get a great deal!)
Here is everything all packed together.  I like this little basket because it's small enough to carry around in one hand but fits all the things I need.
I don't have too many spools of thread right now so these all fit rather nicely together in the bottom of the basket.  Then the pin cushion sits to the side.  Bobbins fall nicely beside that & my safety pins, of course, always fall to the bottom anyway.  I really like those colorful pins because if one is dropped I can see it on the cream colored carpet easily.  
Here is a bigger overview too.  The scissors are from a bigger sewing basket I scored at the thrift store one day back in Williamsburg.  It was a huge basket filled up with supplies for only $7! The two hem guide/ruler things (do they have a proper name?) are very helpful in here.  One has a middle part that slides up & down through the middle of the ruler & the other is an actual little clip!  Pretty nifty for pinning & measuring hems.  Other little notions are a handy seam ripper - I like that this one is rather big & sturdy - a thimble, and of course, bobbins.
I pull this little guy to the coffee table along with my sewing machine to get some sewing done.  I think each of these tools is important & helpful - and as a plus, the basket means I'll always know where everything is.

You can assemble a basket like this for super cheap too by checking out the Dollar Tree for small sewing kits, using coupons as Joaanes, & waiting for sales at Hobby Lobby.  Bonus if you can find some awesome stuff at the thrift store!

xoxo, Moe

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How to Coupon With Out Stockpiling

Now, I'm not claiming to be a coupon expert...oh god no...but I want to share with you my coupon journey.  That journey involves no stockpiling.  I've been couponing mainly on beauty products for the past month & just now feel comfortable branching out into non-beauty products.  The other day I scored an awesome deal on laundry detergent (I'm actually thinking about picking more up on this sale because who doesn't need laundry detergent....but that is on the verge of stock piling for me!)  So below I just want to share with you what goes through my head when I'm trying to coupon:

Keep track of sales & check store sale weekly - If you have enough time I'd suggest keeping track of store sales.  I've heard the average sale cycle is 6-8 weeks.  To me, ain't no body got time for dat.  Dat being keeping a sales book, comparing prices, and traveling from store to store.  There are 2 stores I mainly shop at - CVS & Meijer.  However, I do want to start at least keeping an idea of the rotation of sales.  But also I check the sales at CVS each week which easy because you can view the ad online usually on Saturday nights.  I also check our Meijer's ad and clip their coupons often through their mPerks app on my phone & iPad.  It doesn't hurt to save a little something when you go in.  Even if you're not dropping you're $150 grocery bill down to $2.  Also try doubling coupons on top of sales.  Meijer had a good sale on paper towels last week & they had a coupon on their mPerks app.  And it turned out to be a bit better to buy a huge pack than a small pack.

Buy what you need when you need it (part 1) - While you can keep track of sales, the best thing to do is to buy what you need when you need it & stock up when it's on sale.  The best example of this is the laundry detergent I just bought.  Zach & I are a two person household so laundry detergent goes a loooong way.  Recently I bought 3 Arm & Hammer 32 load detergent bottles at 3 for $7.49 (a buy 1, get 2 free deal).  It would have been sweeter with another coupon on top, but alas I did not have one.  So I know we are going to need more laundry detergent in the near future, I keep that in the back of my mind as I'm out looking for deals.  I saw that deal & stocked up because 96 loads can last us at least 8 months (I do about 3 loads of laundry a week).  So the point of this is to buy what you need when you need it.  Do I care that I got Arm & Hammer and not Tide? Nope, we don't have sensitive skin nor do we notice the change in any sort of way from different brands.  Same sort of thing with toothpaste & tooth brushes - if you find a really good sale & are down enough in that department to justify picking up a few, do it.  I try to have no more that 3 things depending on the size.  Ain't no body got room for a serious stock pile (but if you do, go for it!)  Toothpaste is small so 3 items take up no space while detergent can be bulky so 3 things might end up being too much.

Buy what you need when you need it (part 2) - Don't buy 3 of a product you tend to change up often.  I bought Pantene shampoo on a great sale once right before I decided to try out Suave Moroccan Infusion line and now I have a whole bunch of shampoo that I don't want to use because I have a new favorite.  Same with face wash - I'm getting bored of my L'Oreal Youth Code collection but I have 2 other face washes I need to use and I don't want to because I want to try something new.  The other side of this is you can always donate anything unopened through your church or other group that may collect for a shelter.  Along the same lines - if you have 3 of something but want to try something new, try with all your might to use it all up before you migrate.  You might also find that you won't get a bang up deal all the time when you wait around to buy what you need but try to double up coupons and purchase the smaller item to save the most, shop with your rewards (like CVS Extra Bucks), and keep in mind when you'll need to be looking for this item again.

Clip coupons for what you need - Don't need any cat food? Then don't select clip all on coupons.com because you'll be printing for days.  Take the time to clip things you are thinking you will need & keep in mind what you'll be in search of over the next month or so.  Keep a mental list or an actual list...doesn't matter, but clip what you need & not everything.  It's always nice to have extra coupons on hand for Advil and the like as you may need to run out and get some randomly.  Think a tummy ache with no Pepto or suddenly sick with no NyQuil.  It doesn't hurt to save even a little bit.

You don't have to use a coupon (part 1) - Just because you have one doesn't mean you have to use it.  Along the same lines as part 1 & 2 above - I have a $2.00 off two Head & Shoulders shampoo which both of us use sometimes.  We are nearly out with only half of a back up bottle (don't ask me how that happened) so it's time to start looking for a good deal.  While I'm writing this, CVS has Head & Shoulder's as 2 for $10 so with that coupon it brings it down to $8.  Well the CVS brand shampoo is something like 2 for $7...so that's not a great deal.  I don't have to use the coupon and in fact I lose out a dollar when it comes to overall savings.  That Head & Shoulders coupon is good for another month or so, so if & when I find a better deal I can use it.  But until then we are set on a back up there's no need to waste a dollar.

You don't have to use a coupon (part 2) - Stacking generic store coupons - like $3 off $15 in beauty type of coupons - may help get a store brand product for free.  For example, I have a $1.10 off of an Olay body wash but I got the CVS brand for free using a CVS $1 off $$ body wash or shower gel coupon + a $5 Extra Buck reward.  That brought the $5.99 CVS body wash down to free when I would have paid something like $3 for the Olay brand.  That was a good price to grab another & use the coupon before it expired.  Sooooo I guess if you can use a coupon you should - but only if it's going to be awesome.

Mix & match BOGO sales - If you can mix & match your BOGO sales so you aren't stocking up on too many of one thing.  A good example is with the CVS beauty department.  Often they will have a sale where Maybelline, Revlon, & Almay are buy one, get one 50% off.  Look carefully but usually that means you can pick up one Maybelline and one Revlon item & get the lesser one 50% off.  I did this in Meijer the other day - knowing I need more Suave conditioner I picked up a large Suave conditioner & dry shampoo along with a Pantene hairspray because the deal was buy 2 of any Suave or Pantene product, get one free.  I use conditioner a lot so I got the big bottle.  I don't have any more dry shampoo.  And I find my self needing hair spray again but not too often so I picked up the smaller bottle of hair spray.  That meant my hair spray was free.  By mixing & matching and buying the sizes/quantities you need you'll never be over purchasing.

So those are a few tips I have on couponing & saving without stock piling.  If you think you need a garage full of paper towels then do it but even saving 20% on something is worth it, in my opinion as I don't have room for floor to ceiling paper towels in my garage.

How do you save money on everyday items?

xoxo, Moe

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Adventures in the SCA

Zach & I have been going to a lot of SCA events lately.  The best way to explain it is to copy something directly from the SCA.org website:
The Society for Creative Anachronism is an international organization dedicated to researching and re-creating the arts and skills of pre-17th-century Europe. Our “Known World” consists of 19 kingdoms, with over 30,000 members residing in countries around the world. Members, dressed in clothing of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, attend events which feature tournaments, royal courts, feasts, dancing, various classes & workshops, and more.
So I've been trying to make a few dresses just to see if I can.  Zach's mom is much more talented at sewing than I am & she has patience for patterns.  I however like that a basic dress for the SCA can consist of a rectangle that goes over your head and triangles (or gores, I believe) that go on each side & the middle, then two sleeves.  I sewed that blue dress above on Wednesday & Thursday night.  Also I made a little head covering, cap thing on Friday night.  Saturday was the event & I think I looked rather put together!

Pretty much an event is hanging out, eating, socializing, and learning.  If you're into it, there's fighting as well.  Which is that second picture above.  We've gone to events the past two weekends, we don't have one next weekend, but we do have one on June 13th.  So far it's pretty fun & if you're into history or art you might appreciate being a part of it.  At past events I've learned about the history of cards, calligraphy, how to make a dress, and how to wear a veil.  If nothing else you get to dress up nicely & see others who look lovely as well.  You can get as far into it as you'd like as there are many opportunities to do a bunch of different things!

xoxo, Moe

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