10 Budget Friendly Back-to-School Beauty Essentials

Whether you or your kids are going back to school or off to college, it’s the perfect time of year to find deals on essential beauty products.  The Meijer Beauty team challenged me to find my top back-to-school picks, and it was gratifying to see my must-have bath, body and color items with wonderful prices.  Considering I work in a high school and have kids in both college and middle school, I am all about finding the best products at the right price.  Drumroll please…my top ten recommendations for essential (and budget friendly) back-to-school products.

Soap for school:  J.R. Watkins Foaming Hand Soap and I love...Coconut & Cream Shower Gel

Soap for school: J.R. Watkins Foaming Hand Soap and I love…Coconut & Cream Bubble Bath and Shower Cream

1.  J.R. Watkins Foaming Hand Soap ($4.99, I got it at Meijer for $4.49)  The reason I first bought this hand soap was for the awesome vintage label.  The reason I keep buying it?  It’s excellent foaming hand soap, especially for the price.  The soap in public buildings like schools is usually pretty rough stuff, I wash my hands all the time.  My solution is to bring my own.  I keep this soap in my office, and it would fit nicely into a locker.  I like the Aloe and Green Tea scent as a real mood enhancer to help get the school year off right.

2.  I love…Coconut & Cream Bubble Bath and Shower Cream ($7.29)  This British brand is soooo good…doesn’t the packaging look like the Philosophy bottles?  I actually prefer the I love… brand, and it is so much more affordable.  I start my day with a shower then end it with a bubble bath, and the Coconut & Cream scent takes me right back onto vacation.

Necessities for school

Necessities for school

3.  Goody 50 piece Ouchless No Metal Elastics ($2.19, but I got mine at Meijer for $1.10!)  The perfect way to hide morning bedhead is with a ponytail or bun…and these Ouchless Elastics don’t snag, pull, or break hair strands.

4.  Nivea Lip Butter in Caramel Cream Kiss ($3.99)  This super cute lip butter has only been available in the U.S. for about a year, and I am so happy it’s easily found now!  It has great slip and keeps lips soft and moist, plus it tastes like caramel toffee.  Yum.

5.  Meijer Hand Sanitizer ($1.19)  This is simply a must-have for purses and backpacks.  You never know who was sitting in that desk or what nose they were picking…eewwwwww.

Perfect colors for back to school!

Perfect colors for back to school!

Nudes and deep pinks

Nudes and berries

6.  Cover Girl Bombshell Volume by Lashblast Mascara ($9.39)  I think this is the best drugstore mascara out there.  One end is the base coat, which gives definition and length perfect for casual days.  When I want more oomph – and I mean fantastic oomph – I use the other end, the intensifying top coat.  This side darkens lashes and provides mega-drama without any flakes or smearing.

Physician's Formula Nude Eyes

Physician’s Formula Nude Eyes

Nude Eyes - gorgeous.

Nude Eyes – gorgeous.

7.  Physician’s Formula Nude Eyes ($9.99, but I got mine at Meijer for an incredible $6.99)  I am loving neutral, nude eyes with berry cheeks for the fall, and this nude eyeshadow palette is to die for.  Is it reminding you of the Urban Decay Naked2 palette?  Yup, me too, but this is way cheaper with the same quality.  Use these shadows dry or wet for more intensity, and keep the palette sitting out because the packaging is stunning.

Maybelline Hi-Lighting Blush in Pink Rose

Maybelline Hi-Lighting Blush in Pink Rose

8.  Maybelline Hi-Lighting Blush in Pink Rose ($8.29)  Just check out the gorgeousness of this mosaic highlighter/blush.  The soft, creamy shades can be used alone, but I like to swirl a big brush over the whole thing for a beautiful berry glow on my cheeks.

Nicole by OPI mani and pedi shades for school

Nicole by OPI mani and pedi shades for school

9 and 10.  Nicole by OPI Nail Polish in Sing You Like a Bee and Cocoa a Gogo ($5.99 each)  Going back to school is an awesome reason to treat yourself to a manicure and a pedicure, and these two shades are perfect for a nude and berry combo.

Sing You Like a Bee

Sing You Like a Bee

Sing You Like a Bee is from the Carrie Underwood collection.  This is a gorgeous sheer white with golden shimmers.  It is a beautiful shimmery nude look by itself, and it makes a perfect top layer over pretty much any color.

Cocoa a Gogo

Cocoa a Gogo

Cocoa a Gogo is a shimmery chocolate-brown that I love for pedicures…and it is the perfect color for transitioning into cool days and cozy nights by the fire.  Even better, it smells like cinnamon!

Not only are these ten products essentials, it also costs less than $55 to purchase them all at Meijer.  Get your style on for back to school and save money too!

Be sure to check out MeijerStyle.com the last week in August for a post with links to lots of blogger Back-to-School articles – one lucky person who comments on the MeijerStyle.com post will receive a gift basket of Back-to-School/Back-to-College products.  – Lisa

*products reviewed courtesty of Meijer, opinions and selection of items all my own!

Makeup Wars – Halloween nails


The Makeup Wars team thought it would be appropriate to share our Halloween nails with you. Why though did I think it was appropriate to even try this? I have two left hands, I can’t do nail art, I’m a total klutz. When Makeup Wars first started I was handed a mission from the Mission Impossible Team and I agreed to try to do every mission. Ha! And I thought favorite red lip was hard. That was a cinch compared to doing nail art. Oh well, if you laugh I won’t hear you on my end of the computer.

practice time using a nail wheel

First stop was practice time on my nail wheel. For that I used OPI Black Onyx, WetnWild The Wonder Yellows, Le Metier de Beaute Penny Lane and Le Metier de Beaute Wild Ginger – black, a golden yellow, two shades of orange. Then I went to work and couldn’t believe what a ghastly job I was doing. Maybe that’s okay since Halloween and ghastly go together.

I decided to try a marble attempt because I’d seen a nail blogger do a gorgeous manicure. It looked and sounded so easy.

Everything I used

I started with the OPI Black Onyx base with just one thick coat. (I should have stopped there). I let that dry and then dotted on WetnWild The Wonder Yellows dabbing it on with the cosmetic sponge. Next I used Le Metier de Beauty Wild Ginger in the same way. Should have worked right? This is what I got:

Uneven blotches of color taken by my window on a rainy day

Same polish in bathroom light with bleeding black and orange

Up close it looked and felt a lot like vomit

Well that certainly wasn’t working and I was running out of time. So onto the nail decals which I’d bought as an emergency backup.

Kiss Halloween Nail Decals with cats

The finished product! I had so much trouble with the one decal that I didn’t go farther.

The finished product

The only good that came out of this is that I learned that no one who is a nail blogger needs to fear competition from me. While I have (what I consider) great taste in nail colors and a large collection, the best I can do is paint my nails a single color.

Hopefully my fellow Makeup Wars team members will be an inspiration where I failed. Please use their logos to go visit them all. Thanks for staying and not throwing up!! Happy Halloween — Marcia

My Contest Winnings – thanks Mary!

In June, Mary from one of my most favorite blogs Body and Soul ran a little contest in honor of her birthday.  I was stunned and amazed to find out later that I was the winner!!  So, another happy birthday wish to Mary, and here are the really fabulous items I won:

Everything in the box was birthday themed.  First, there was a great Birthday Girl Set from Philosopy.

Inside I found Amazing Grace Shower Gel, Purity Made Simple face cleanser, Time on Your Hands hand cream, Soul Owner exfoliating face cream, and Vanilla Birthday Cake lip shine.  There was also a card that said, ‘if tomorrow never comes, what do you ‘wish’ you would have done with your time here on planet earth?  may we suggest you begin fulfilling your ‘wishes’ now.’

Next I found four great OPI items:  Espresso Scrub, two Espresso Soaks, and Cappuccino Massage.  They smell DIVINE, I can’t wait to treat myself to a nice long pedicure!!  And when I do, I will have lots of new nail polishes to choose from:The shades from left to right are:  OPI Japanese Rose Garden, a gorgeous cool-toned creme pink; OPI Birthday Babe, a frosty silver that will look great with my faux summer tan; Lippman Collection Happy Birthday, a super fun clear color with different colors and sizes of confetti.  I had to put this one on right away:

I see green, pink,  silver, gold, red, light blue and dark blue confetti.  It’s going to be a blast finding different ways to use this polish!!  Next in the lineup above is OPI 20 Candles on My Cake, a gorgeous warm creme red (and my hubby’s favorite); and then OPI Pearl of Wisdom, a truly amazing iridescent pink that seems to flash other colors as well, depending on the light.  I love it.

Thank you again Mary, this was just a terrific collection of great birthday-themed items!!  – Lisa

The Perfect Spring Nail Color

I was digging through my stash and I found this gorgeous OPI nail color called Venus di Violet.  I had just bought our hanging baskets for our porch, and it reminded me so much of the petunias I bought that I had to use it for my next manicure.

This light, opalescent violet is just a perfect shade for spring.  I don’t think OPI sells it anymore, it was part of the Colorcopia collection, but I found it here for only $7.32 a bottle!

Here it is right after my mani:

And here it is, a little out of focus, with my inspiration.  Happy spring!! -Lisa