My Experience with Public Goods

A few years ago, I made the conscious decision to pay attention to the ingredients in the products I use. I started with food, and I do my best to buy natural and minimally processed items whenever possible.

Then I moved to medicines and cleaning supplies. I’ve found all-natural laundry detergents and household cleaners that smell great and actually work. It took some time to find the right items for me – there’s no perfect product for everyone. I use essential oils to help with headaches, allergies, and the occasional stomach issue…thus reducing my use of over the counter medicines. I’m not a doctor and I still firmly believe in modern medicine. I just don’t use as much Tylenol, Benadryl, or Pepto as I used to.

My last holdout for chemicals was hygiene. I love the effectiveness of aluminum-filled antiperspirant. Nothing ever got my hair feeling as squeaky clean as those sulfate-laden shampoos. (That feels terrible to write, but it’s true).

It took me close to a year to find an aluminum-free deodorant that actually worked. I’m still on a journey to find the perfect one, but I’ve at least found one that is adequate. The market is flooded with natural alternatives and this is, again, something that varies by person.

When it came to shampoo and conditioner, I could not find a sulfate-free alternative that didn’t make my hair feel gross. Until…

I heard about Public Goods on a YouTube channel, and signed up for a free 30 day trial. The whole idea is that you pay a yearly (or lifetime) membership fee and you can buy natural and sustainable products at-cost. I placed my first order quickly because I wanted to receive it in time to test things before my trial ended.

They had shampoo and conditioner for less than $5 each. I knew I had to try them because I couldn’t find any natural products in store for that price. My hair feels clean and I have zero build-up after several weeks of using the same products!

I loved every product I tried in that first shipment. I particularly loved the packaging. Aside from the simple aesthetic, the bottles are bio-degradable and they sell refills so you can re-use your bottles. They also have plenty of household products. Their glass cleaner, kitchen towels, and the ayate washcloth are all great.

I did the math and decided that even with the yearly subscription, I’ll save money by continuing to use Public Goods. I might even convert to a lifetime subscription. It’s sort of a Costco membership for home and body products.

If you’re curious, I highly recommend that you try the 30 free trial. I’m super glad I tested it. They even have travel size items, so I’ll be using them when I go on my next adventure!

A Book Lover’s Paradise

Last weekend I found the equivalent of buried treasure for a bibliophile like myself. I read an article about The Book Thing in Baltimore, but I was sure there had to be a catch. A used bookstore where every book is free? My mother was also intrigued, so we made the one hour trek to the city on Saturday.

Believe the hype. And bring lots of bags or boxes.

The backside of The Book Thing

The Book Thing is tucked away on a tiny street. When we arrived at 11am, the place was bustling with people combing over bookshelves. Most of them had boxes or bags to hold their finds, and a few had wheeled carts. Everything is categorized (the rooms are color-coded to help your search), but they’re not in order within their category…so finding a specific book might be a challenge.

Within five minutes of entering the building, I knew this would be a multiple-trip destination. I couldn’t even begin to plumb the depths of their offerings in a single morning. When it comes to books, I enjoy combing the shelves and letting titles or covers “jump out” at me. Even though the place was crowded, most everyone seemed to have the same mindset. No one rushed me during my perusing.

I spent two hours at The Book Thing, and I left with 24 books. I found some great fiction selections as well as a National Geographic from the month and year of my birth. I also picked up some travel books. They may be outdated but they’re a good starting point for my research. The volunteers (who were constantly restocking the shelves) were extremely helpful and gave us pointers on where to look for certain books. Once you’re ready to leave, there’s a sign-out sheet to let the staff know how many books you took home.

Our bags o’ books

If you’re anywhere within a reasonable drive of Baltimore and you love books, I highly recommend The Book Thing. It was a great experience!


Gift Idea for Movie Fans!

I enjoy going to the movies, but they’re expensive. I’m not a super fan, but I enjoy the entertainment. Every year I struggle to choose which movies I’ll see in theaters and which will have to wait until dvd release.

This year, thanks to a friend who told me about MoviePass, I don’t have to choose! For the low price of $9.99 a month, you can see a 2D movie every day. I have no intention of seeing 30 movies in a month, but if I see even two movies in a month I’m saving money!

When I first heard about MoviePass, I thought it was too good to be true. But my friends used MoviePass with success, so I ordered my card. The first time I went to the theater I was convinced that something would go wrong…but everything was great!

How it works:
1). Go to the MoviePass website and click “Sign Up.”
2). Purchase a plan and they mail you a customized card.
3). Once you receive the card, download the MoviePass app and activate your card. – Make sure your location services are activated for the app.
4). Get to the theater!
5). Once you’re there, (I usually do this step in the parking lot) open the app and select the theater.
6) Select the showtime of the movie you want to see.
7) Wait a few seconds until you see the “Success!” message.
8) Go into the theater and purchase your ticket using your MoviePass card – it works like a credit card.
9) To save money on concessions, make sure you sign up for whatever theater loyalty programs are available!

1). You can’t use the card on sites like Fandango or to pre-purchase tickets.
2). No 3D or Imax movies.
3). You need to make sure there are participating theaters in your area. (all the theaters around me participate)
4). I can’t think of any others!

I personally chose to purchase MoviePass for November, December, and January because those months tend to have the most movie releases that interest me. At that point, I’ll decide whether it’s financially advantageous to continue. So far I’ve seen seven movies and everything has gone smoothly.

The best part? You can gift a subscription to someone who loves movies! It’s a great idea.

My Skincare Favorites on sale at Hautelook

Two of my favorite, affordable skincare items are available on Hautelook for the next few days, so I thought I’d put up a quick post. Sheet masks (for your face) and the sparkling peeling gel are two things that I use regularly.

Sheet Masks

sheet-maskI love sheet masks. It’s an easy way to relax for a few minutes, and they’re not nearly as messy as the face masks where you have to paint stuff on your face and let it dry. Here are the steps for using a sheet mask:

  • Open the pouch
  • Unfold the mask
  • Place it on your face
  • Wait 15-20 min
  • Remove the mask and massage any remaining serum into your skin

There’s a huge price range for sheet masks, but I usually wait until the Korean Beauty masks appear on hautelook and buy them for a good price. Today, they’re on sale for a dollar a mask. I’ve seen them as low as 75 cents per mask. I took several sheet masks with me on my business trip and used them every other evening. I’d put on the mask and lay down for the 15-20 minutes…it was so relaxing!

Sparkling Peeling Gel

sparkling-gelThe sparkling peeling gel is now a regular part of my skincare regimen. I use it once a week to exfoliate my face. It’s really simple to use. You rub the product onto your clean, dry face. As you massage, you’ll see and feel the dead skin leaving your face. When finished, wash your face as normal. I do this once a week and my skin has never looked better! I only use a small amount each week, so a tube lasts me a few months.

What is HauteLook?

For those of you who don’t know, Hautelook is a discount website. It’s affiliated with Nordstrom Rack. Every day they have new “events” where a specific brand or category of items becomes available for a certain number of days. The key is patience. Brands will cycle through every few months, so if you missed something it will probably appear again. Also, when you purchase an item it can take up to three weeks to arrive at your house.

Some of their products are great values, while others are not…you just have to pay attention to what you’re buying. I got a NorthFace coat for 60% off the retail price and I love it! They regularly have name-brand clothing, shoes, and cosmetics available. The return policy varies by item and is listed on the item’s description page. I purchased a lovely pair of shoes a few months ago, but they didn’t fit quite right. I was able to walk into my local Nordstrom Rack and return them with no issue!

My Favorite (& Easiest) Way to Save Money Online

I don’t like to pay full price for anything. I dabbled with extreme couponing a few years ago…but that takes a serious amount of time and effort. I also don’t trust a lot of those online money-making schemes since they’re usually too good to be true.

But then I found something that saves me money and takes very little effort on my part.

Continue reading “My Favorite (& Easiest) Way to Save Money Online”