Monday, February 25, 2013

Garnier Hair Care: Delivering Salon Quality Any Woman Can Afford

Recently, I had the opportunity to try a new at home color, Garnier Olia, for free thanks to BzzAgent.  Olia completely ‘WOW’ed me and earned a fantastic review from me.  Boyet has continuously been complimenting on how shiny and healthy my hair looks.  From the before Untitled-1and after picture, on the left, it’s easy to see why.  This has  caused me to think about the quality of the products I have been putting on my hair. My hair is fine, thin and has the texture of straw. Fine and thin is probably due to genetics (although I’m not sure as my sister has thick, voluminous hair) but the texture could be due to the products I have been using. The natural oils in Garnier Olia has truly improved the health of my hair. So I am now on a journey to explore the rest of the Garnier line and to discover which products can truly improve my hair.  Some women don’t have to worry about the cost of their hair care products; but, I’d like to prove that quality doesn’t have to cost a fortune. I want to determine if the average American woman can find great products at fantastic prices. I, also, realize that the average woman doesn’t have a ton of time on her hands; so I’d like to simplify the process by seeking out bargains that don’t require jumping through hoops to acquire.

Let’s start off with some basics on how I save money.  I use coupons, Coupons are my friends, I love coupons. I know what you’re thinking; but I am not referring to anything extreme or needing storage for a year’s supply. Yes, I have three cans of unopened hairspray; but, I don’t think that’s excessive.  I always have a backup on hand; this way I never need run to the store to pay retail for a can of hairspray. Couponing is about organization; it’s not about hoarding.  You need to match the coupons with a sale.  Timing is everything. You need to keep your coupons organized and your resources handy. I do not run all over town to shop. There are four stores that I shop at regularly; they are CVS, WalMart, Target and Homeland (local grocery store chain.)  Today, I  paid only $61.16 at CVS for what would normally cost $138.40 by combining sales, coupons and their Extra Care discounts.

Last week, I bought three cans of Garnier Fructis Anti-Humidity  hairspray with bamboo IMG_9048extract.  This hairspray combats humidity and keeps my hair sleek and smooth. Since I am focusing on the texture of my hair, using a hairspray that helps promote these attributes is extremely important to me. Normally, I would purchase a higher priced, so called salon quality hairspray and end up spending too much for a hairspray that didn’t live up to its claims.  I would eventually get frustrated with spending so much and would then swing the other way and purchase any cheap hairspray because nothing was going to live up to its promises. So, why  waste my money. I need a hairspray to do two things; it should hold my hair in place and to not damage my hair. Period, end of discussion. I have found that the Garnier Fructis does just that and by combining sales and coupons I paid $2.33 a can instead of $3.99 a can. Beauty at a bargain, what’s not to love.

Currently, I am using a keratin serum to help repair and smooth the texture of my hair. I am pleased with 2222899272_97286559543466291129the results; however, I am extremely interested in  the Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Miracle Dry Oil. This oil claims to contain a blend of olive, avocado and shea oils for intensely nourishing hair. It absorbs instantly without leaving the hair greasy or weighed down. Several BzzAgents are participating in a campaign to try and review this product. Sadly, I did not get selected for this campaign. So I will wait until I find a sale that I can combine with my coupon; then, you can bet your bottom dollar that this girl will be all over this ‘Miracle’ dry oil.

Stay tuned to my blog to determine whether or not this dry oil is a miracle.  Also, stay tuned to learn more about how I, with a little help from Garnier, save money on everyday beauty needs. .  Trust me when I say this, it’s not complicated. If this girl who suffers from a rare, chronic neurological condition, a rare heart condition and whose husband is facing a lengthy immigration battle can mange to save money with coupons, then anyone can.

Currently, Garnier coupons are available at for $1.00 off Garnier Fructis Shampoo, Conditioner or Treatment.. Coupons are also available at for $1.00 off Garnier Olia, $1.00 off Garnier Hydra Recharge Shampoo or Conditioner. 

Thanks Garnier for creating Olia. It’s perfect for giving me great luxurious color while nourishing my hair.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Finally, Salon Quality Hair Color Comes Home.

Olia2Yesterday I received my first Bzz/Kit from BzzAgent which contained a coupon for a free box of Garnier Olla hair color and information about the product.  Olia is the first oil powered, permanent at-home haircolor.  It is made of 60% blend of oils  with natural flower oils and contains no ammonia. It offers maximum color performance and 100% coverage of gray.  It is available in 24 different shades. It claims to visibly improve and restore hair leaving it softer, shinier and with bounce.  It also claims to have a pleasant floral fragrance.

1360387093339Now, I am not an expert on hair or hair color but I have used several different brands of at-home hair color before.  I would, however, consider myself an expert on my own hair which is fine, limp, frizzy and the same color as a church mouse..In this photo on the left I have colored my hair to add some dimension; but, clearly, I still struggle with the problems I mentioned.  Now, I know that a good box of hair color will never solve all my problems in life but feeling good about my hair and my appearance  makes me feel better equipped to tackle them. 

Included in the box are the developer, colorant, after color conditioner and the unique drop IMG_9030shaped applicator bottle.  They also include gloves and directions to simplify the application process.  The application process was easy and was without incident, meaning my bathroom did not look like a crime scene afterwards. Usually the color drips out of the applicator and off my hair splattering on the sink and floor looking like something out of of a B rated horror film.  None of that with Olia, it was no fuss, no muss and no mess.  Now, let’s chat about that delicate floral scent. That might be a bit of an oversell. I wouldn’t choose those exact words but it is by far the least offensive Ihair color ever used.  Actually, I was truly impressed by how little scent there was.  My nose thanks you, Garnier.

20130220_203557_2So, now that we know the application process was straightforward and, dare I say it, pleasant; let’s talk results.  After all, we women have been willing to suffer through the coloring process in order to get the rich hair color that we were never born with.  Not only did Olia deliver the color, it also lived up to the other claims of leaving my hair revitalized.  My hair feels healthy, silky, sexy, and is full of light and shine. I entered this skeptical that a haircolor could deliver on all the promises and claims that it made. But they made me a believer. Garnier Olia is now a glorious addition to my home spa night.  Thanks, Garnier, for turning my problematic hair into my crowning glory. I feel gorgeous!

Garnier Olia was sent to me free of charge from BzzAgent for the purpose of review.  However, my personal opinion is not swayed by the cost of the product.

Let’s Talk Bzz

Try, Share, Repeat.
I have recently become a BzzAgent (buzz agent).  What on Earth is a BzzAgent you ask? The short answer is that I get to try select products for free.  So, you’re thinking, what’s the catch?  Companies don’t just randomly give away their products to someone because they want to try them, right?  Well, sometimes they do. You see, advertising isn’t what it used to be.  Today we are so bombarded with advertisements that we no longer give them they attention that they they once demanded. In today’s society the most reliable advertising is word of mouth.  To hear a friend or an acquaintance recommend a product increases the probability that you will trust the review and hence be more likely to buy that product.

BzzAgent utilizes consumers who actively use social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc) to try products and give open, honest reviews about the products.  They don’t images (3)expect glowing reviews because they gave you a free product; they do expect an honest review. Tell what you like, tell why you liked it, tell what you didn’t like, tell why it worked, tell why it didn’t work. Trust me, I wouldn’t be doing this if I could only sing their praises. Those that know me realize that I am always honest, even if it hurts. Besides, not all products fit all consumers. Their goal is to find the right target demographic for the products.  When you start, you have to take surveys to let them know what you really enjoy so they can fit you with the products you would enjoy the most. Let’s face it, if they gave me some plant food; I would say, “Excuse me, have we met? I’m the girl that kills green growing things.”   But let me tell you, when the right consumer finds the right product its like magic. Consumers get excited and start talking about this amazing product.  In other words, they start buzzing.
BzzAchievementsNow, there are a few things that I am required to do. They ask that I include specific wording in my posts, tweets, and tags  (like #GotItFree); it makes it easier for them to track and to ensure that we are giving BzzScore copycredit to the proper product.  I love interacting on social media, so I’m just doing what I normally do. BzzAgent encourages me to keep the information flowing by giving me achievements. Gold stars, merit badges and ‘I did it!” stickers have been awesome rewards since we were kids.  It doesn’t change just because we grow up. I’ve only just started so I only have a few. Don’t judge! I’m getting there.  They also use a BzzScore to help them rate the quality of information that BzzAgents provide in order to chose the most effective agents within the target demographic. The science behind it is very effective. I believe it is a great way for manufacturers to reach the target demographic using word of mouth advertising without spending enormous amounts of money on traditional advertisements, which might not even work.

So if you are interested in trying products for free from well known manufacturers, like Quaker, Garnier, Olay, Nexxus, Glade, Tresemme, Nescafe and more; then head on over to BzzAgent to sign up.  I can tell you that so far I am having fun, meeting new friends and will soon be trying new products for FREE!! Thanks BzzAgent! Bring it on! I’m ready to Bzz!!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

This Day of Love

Today is Valentine's Day.  A day to show your adoration to the one you love. A day to send bouquets of roses to your special someone.  A day to proclaim your undying affection for your significant other.  A day of hearts, flowers, chocolate, cards and such.  A day of overcommercialized hype!
0669e8be763e11e2877022000a9f1278_7Boyet and I both believe that you should be showing your partner unconditional love all 365 days out of the year, not just this one day.  If you aren't doing such, then grand gestures today will not fix what ails your relationship.  One day of overpriced items cannot correct a year of not showing your love.  So, on this day of love we would like to break the spell of the overrated, overpriced, red and pink trinkets that retailers would like to cast upon you.  We would like to replace it with everyday ideas to fill your entire year with small gestures that make love that magical emotion that makes our hearts flutter.
f5a832f8fada11e18b4622000a1d010d_6• A bouquet of roses does not express the depth and breadth of your love. What is so loving and caring about watching roses slowly wither and die a premature death because they were sliced from their natural environment before they could realize their truest beauty?  Instead, take a trip to the arboretum together when they are all in bloom to appreciate their grandeur and aroma.  I will always cherish the memory of the fun and laughter on the day we took a trip to one of our local gardens. I captured this priceless moment when my darling husband posed for this adorable picture of this white beauty while leaving it in its nature habitat.

8f50bf3276ba11e2914122000a9f1439_7• Your sweets do not need costumes to explain to your Sweety that they are your Sweetheart. It's almost tragic that those big, pink, frilly, heart shaped boxes contain those Forest Gump mixtures.  Chocolate is such an amazing creation, it doesn't deserve the confusion and the cartoon representation provided by those mass produced atrocities. Just share a Hershey's bar while watching a movie or a hot fudge sundae on Saturday afternoon.  Stop by a local chocolatier for a fresh sampling of the glorious richness that only chocolate can provide.

• A candlelit dinner of rich cuisine and fine wine at a restaurant will leave your tummy too full, your wallet too empty and your libido sinking. On Valentine's Day, restaurants are over-crowded with others who can't figure out that they open most other days of the year.  Instead, spend your money on quality ingredients for a fabulous dinner at home.  Bring out the good china, create a romantic tablescape with candles, enjoy lighter portions for dinner, skip the wine and share a single serving of a fabulous dessert. Your budget will sigh with relief and the stress free, intimate environment and lighter portions will leave you feeling much more amorous.  You could also try dining in reverse. Start with dessert and end with the salad.  This year, my sister surprised us with a decadent marble cake drizzled with chocolate which we ate for breakfast and we'll enjoy a lovely dinner at home tonight. 

1360882762881• Let's talk greeting cards.  There are beautiful cards with well written words that express our deepest emotions during times of celebration and sorrow. However, there are so many more ways of personally expressing our emotions.  Write a heart felt letter in your own handwriting (no matter how awful it is) or create a poem for your beloved (even if it's bad).  For those that have no creativity or linguistic flare, thousands of fantastic love poems exist as they have been written for ages.  Take the time to find one that you can relate to, transcribe it onto fancy stationary or a blank card.  Someday you will be able to share these fanciful words with your grandchildren. A personal creation is something that will be treasured for a lifetime or longer.

So escape the commercialism of Valentine's Day, learn to take care of your someone special every day. It's these little treasures that change a love story into a fairy tale romance and when you're living a fairy tale you don't need red and pink trinkets.  So I say to my Valentine, thank you for making every day magical for me. Thank you for supporting me when I am feeling down.  Thank you for keeping the faith when I falter. Thank you for making me feel like a princess writing a fabled story that will live for ages. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Learning to Coupon

Lately, Boyet and I have been learning to coupon.  We watched the television shop Extreme Couponing and we thought, “Hey, we need to be doing that!” So we began collecting Sunday papers for the coupon inserts and began printing coupons from online sources. We soon learned that there were a LOT of rules regarding coupon usage.  We also learned some great tips that helped stretch our coupon dollars. Tomorrow we are even going to a free couponing class being offered by a local website (Coupon Closet). 
IMG_9004One of our favorite stores for couponing is the drugstore CVS. Today we armed ourselves with their sales flyer, store coupons, and ‘Extra Care’ bucks (in store credit) and were able to score some great deals! We bought 4 Dove Men IMG_8996Care soap, 2 of which came with  free deodorant samples, 2 Nature Made Full Strength Mini Super B Complex vitamin supplements, 2 Maybelline Color Whisper lip colors, Colgate Max Fresh and a travel size Nivea crème for $20.41.  Plus, we have $8.00 in “Extra Care’ bucks (storeIMG_8998 credit) to spend next time! In a second transaction, we purchased John Frieda hairspray, John Frieda hair glaze, a 4 pack of Schick Hyrdro 5 razors, 2 Eucerin Intensive Repair lotions, 2 Eucerin Original Healing lotions,a L’Oreal Telescopic Extensions, and a L’Oreal True Match concealer crayon for  $29.63. Plus we have $19.00 in ‘Extra Care’ bucks to use on our next visit!
20130210_132739Next, we headed over to our favorite grocery store, Homeland.  It’s our favorite because they double coupons up to $1.00! TIMG_8989herefore, a $1.00 coupon will provide $2.00 in savings. I always take my coupon box full of coupons.  They are organized alphabetically by product manufacturer so I can find them easily. We spend $62.93 for all the groceries here on the right. But the amazing part is that we saved $84.58!! A 60% savings! I can honestly say that we are now officially addicted to couponing. Although it takes time and effort to organize the coupons and to match the coupons with the store sales, it is well worth it.  Just look at this picture on the left, we received everything in this picture for completely free! IMG_8990Three Yakisoba noodles, 3 Kraft Fresh Take chicken coatings and a bag of Dole Baby Spinach!  Pictured on the right are all of the items purchased for under $1.00. Buiton Linguini $.19, 2 BuitoniIMG_8991 Cheese Ravioli $.99 each , 3 Chicken Fettuccini Helpers $.75 each, Honey Nut Medley Cheerios $.50, 3 Hormel completes $.79 each, 3 Hormel Sandwich completes $.79 each, Swanson Flavor Boost &.85, Dial Antibacterial Hand Soap refill $.59 and Tresemme Sculpting Spray Gel $.76.
IMG_8994IMG_8993Between my sister and I we have managed to amass 15 boxes of hamburger/chicken helper!! Now the problem is where on Earth do we store 15 boxes of this stuff?!?! We have limited storage space in our kitchen! Thank goodness we have a large freezer and another refrigerator in the garage.  Boyet was having a tough time getting everything to fit in our fridge in the kitchen.  I am prepping my groceries for their big photo shoot. while Sis organizes cans in cabinet.  Sis is also mad at Boyet for taking such a lovely photo of her. Usually I take two photos just in case I capture someone with a ‘derp’ face. Sadly, my husband does not utilize this same philosophy.


Couponing has changed the way we shop and is changing our meal planning as well.  Since it is decreasing our monthly food bill, we have gladly changed our menu!