Fast & Easy Makeup – What’s in My Makeup Box!

Every day I spend maybe 5 to 10 minutes on my makeup. I have better things to do than fuss about my face, so I have streamlined my routine as much as I can. And as you know, I love to share beauty tips with you guys because it is so easy to spend money on products that don’t work. So here is what’s in my makeup box that I use everyday!


For me, I would say the most essential part of my routine is mascara. So if I could only choose one thing it would be that! Mascara that you see here is Maybelline Full ‘n Soft, which is the brand I’ve been using since high school. I love it because it’s waterproof and smudgeproof. Yet it comes off easy when I wash my face at night. I don’t like non-waterproof mascara because it runs so easy and it’s bound to give you raccoon eyes. This stuff runs about $8 on average, and if you scope out a coupon, you can get it even cheaper!

real housewives of minnesota makeup tips


I don’t always use concealer but if it’s been a long day (or week, or month…) then I might add some concealer below my eyes and to the inside of my eyes as well. The concealer that I use is Mary Kay in Beige 1 (which is fairly light, to compensate for the darkness). This goes on before the foundation, naturally. This stuff works very well and a single tube will run you $10 but lasts for months. I’ve had mine for about 6 months now and it’s still half full.


My skin tends to be a little splotchy sometimes, and I’ve tried a good selection of foundations over the years. What I recently bought at Sephora has turned out to be my newest favorite. It’s the Tarte Amazonian clay 12-hour full coverage foundation. It also has a SPF of 15 to protect your skin as well. What I love about this foundation is that it covers so well but it’s not heavy, it’s super lightweight which is what I specifically asked the clerk for when I went into Sephora. I’ve had this bottle for about 2 months now and I’ve still got a ton of it left so this will last me a while! And it should, for $38! But I’d say it’s worth the money. You can also purchase a Tarte foundation brush to go with this but I apply it with my fingers and it works just fine.


This is my second must-have right behind mascara. It makes your eyes pop and seem larger, so it’s no wonder why I couldn’t live without it. Now like I’ve said before, I absolutely adore Eyeko liquid eyeliner – it’s amazing! But in this photo, I wanted to highlight another eyeliner that I use. That is the Sephora angled brush along with the Make Up For Ever Professional eye shadow in black. It stays so well, and it makes a very smooth line. I use this when I’m in a hurry and need something drastic fast.

As always, I would love to hear what you guys think and/or use! Leave a comment with your two cents 🙂

Sarah (Ruby)


DIY Puppy Crate Pad for Travel Dog Kennels

Hook, line and sinker; my puppy has me wrapped around her um, paw? So, I took on a new project this week and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out! My goal was to make a little crate pad for her travel kennel so that she could sit on something comfy, but at the same time, I didn’t want it to be big and bulky (like a blanket) because then she would chew on it.

So here’s what I ended up coming up with:

DIY dog crate pad

Not bad huh?! So basically I ended up finding the puppy paw fleece material at Walmart in the fabric section. I bought one yard of it and used about half. From there, I turned it inside out and overlapped the material by about 3-4″ so that it would hold the pad insert tight and not show through.

I then sewed a straight seem straight down both sides. Turned the material inside-out and voila! There was my cover! I made it this way so that if it gets wet or dirty, we can take it off the pad and wash it. Knowing the pup, we’ll be doing that a lot.

The pad itself is 2″ thick and I found that at Jo-Ann Fabrics. The regular price for that was around $14.50 but with my coupon, it was about $8.00 instead. So with the material I used, and the pad as well, this project cost me just under $12! I’ve seen these online and they are much more than that. AND they’re not made with love either 😉

She has used it a few times already and she really likes it! She hasn’t attempted to chew it (that is a big step for us!) and she looks very comfortable in there too! Win-win!

Sarah (Ruby)

PS – Another alternative to this (and I thought of this afterwards, of course) would be to buy a fleece pillow case and place that over the 2″ pad. It’d be an easy way to no-sew a DIY dog crate pad. But then you wouldn’t have the neat paw prints fabric, so there! 🙂

The Real Housewives of MN Get Air Time!

wcco channel fourYou might have seen us pop up on TV last week on the night time news. We were so excited when both WCCO and KSTP contacted us to do a feature! Since I’m the die-hard couponer, I took on the challenge with WCCO to give the top 3 coupon apps for your smart phone. This was so much fun, and I had an absolute ball working with Liz Collin, she is such a wonderful woman!! We headed to Target to talk with shopper about coupon apps and to help them save on their purchases that day.

So before I explain it a little more, here’s the feature that I did with WCCO:

Play the Video Here!

The coupon apps that I recommended, are ones that I’ve downloaded for my iPhone. Unfortunately I don’t know if they’re available for Android.

The coupon apps that I recommended were:

  • Passion for Savings – find the weekly match-ups for ultimate couponing
  • ShopSavvy – scans bar codes and searches for best deal
  • Ibotta – take polls, learn facts, etc. to earn coupon points
  • SnipSnap – store coupons on your smartphone

On the article that WCCO wrote up, someone commented something to the extent of, “I would guess that she got paid to feature these apps!” Which couldn’t be more wrong (as nice as that would have been) lol I definitely didn’t make a cent off promoting those apps.

kstp channel fiveThe next feature that we did was with KSTP. They wanted to go over the 10 items that you shouldn’t buy at grocery stores. So I put together a list of where I typically bought those 10 items, and so did Macy. Then Ellen put them all together and hit the pavement to see how the prices matched up. Here’s the feature that aired:

Play the Video Here!

Some of our suggestions for where you should buy items for the best deals included some of the following:

  1. Canned Goods – Costco (bulk)
  2. Diapers – Costco or Amazon
  3. Greeting Cards – Dollar stores
  4. Batteries – Dollar stores
  5. Cereal – Aldi or Costco
  6. Magazines – Buy a subscription (don’t buy them on the newsstand!)

For the rest of the suggestions, be sure to watch the video! 🙂

Did you catch one (or both) of these savvy shopping segments?? What’d you think! We’d love to hear your thoughts 🙂

Sarah (Ruby)

PS – Since we aired our segments, you may have noticed that I’ve been using my real name with my old pen name in parenthesis. I figured the cat’s out of the bag, we probably don’t need to use pen names anymore. But I didn’t want anyone to get confused either! lol

The Best Self-Tanning Lotions and Sprays

Hello, Minnesota winter. Goodbye golden glowing skin. Yes, I know that all took place a few long months ago, but I’m still combating with the pale skin blues.

I’m not one where my skin looks beautiful in a light tone. Some people can pull that off so wonderfully. I cannot. So, over the course of the last year or so, I’ve tried enough self-tanning products that I’ve got a good idea of what’s out there and how well they work so I wanted to share what I have learned!

Here’s my reviews of the following products and at the end I will share which is my favorite.

self tanner comparison

1. Jergens Natural Glow Tanning Lotion ($8.64) This is the stuff that first came out when I was in college. I thought it was wonderful back then. I had it down to a science. I’d shower, dry off and then use the lotion while my pores were still open. Then I’d use the wet towel to wipe between my fingers and on the base of my palm, as these are the spots I found that the lotion would build up and look a little orange. It always made for a flawless application. No streaks, spots, or blotches. It takes a little while to show up, at least a few applications before you notice a big difference. The unfortunate part was that the lotion made my face break out. Then they started making the face lotion but I never ended up trying that, I’m sure it’s gotten more advanced. (Note: The image doesn’t reflect this lotion, I’m all out! But I did find this other Jergens shimmer tan stuff, but I’ve never used it before. It must have come free with one of the other bottles.)

2. Fake Bake Original Self-Tan Lotion ($14.15) I found this lotion on Amazon and thought that since I’d had luck with lotion in the past, I’d like this as well. Although I did like the instant glow of this lotion, I didn’t like how long of a process it seemed to take me. It comes with rubber/plastic gloves with which you apply the lotion which makes it kind of awkward to apply. Plus, my hands are left white and pasty, with kind of an odd line around the palm base. The end result was nice though, and the tan seemed to last.

3. SUN Self-Tanning Lotion Ultra Dark ($18.99) This was a popular option on Amazon as well. I had searched through the top reviewed and fan favorites to see what everyone else was liking, and this product is what they lead me to. Ironically enough, this was probably my least favorite. The result was good, but again the process was too long for my short attention span.

4. Neutrogena Micro Mist ($9.82) This item is extremely easy to use. You spray your body and the mist evenly applies. This was my first sort of attempt at tanning sprays so I was hesitant to try it, but when I did, I loved it. There are no splotches and the color doesn’t look orange. It gives an awesome glow, but it does take an hour or two to start to develop. This one is great for the quick spot treatment when you’re on the run. Wearing a lower cut shirt? Or maybe you put on the shorts or capris and realized you needed a little color. This is perfect and so quick to use at these times!

5. Fake Bake Flawless Self-Tanning Liquid ($14.49) This item was actually recommended to me by a friend. It’s a spray but you spray the tanner on a mitt and then apply to your skin. I used this for quite some time (and went through a couple bottles actually) but again, it’s time consuming and I just don’t have the patience to mitt up my whole body. However, this is probably the best of the five at giving an instant color, and it lasts quite a while as well.


Longest Lasting – It’s a toss up between: Fake Bake Flawless Self-Tanning Liquid, Fake Bake Lotion and the SUN Lotion.

Best Bang For Your Buck – The Fake Bake Flawless Liquid

Easiest Application – Neutrogena Micro Mist

Best Color – This is also a toss up between the Neutrogena Micro Mist and the Fake Bake Flawless Liquid.

Overall Favorite – Neutrogena Micro Mist

Did you see that overall favorite coming? I tried to make it suspenseful as we traveled along those reviews there.

If there is a certain self-tanner that you love, leave a comment and share!

Sarah (Ruby)

My DIY Puppy Toy

homemade puppy toyOhhh, the pup. She’s what I call teething. I don’t know if that’s a real technical term or not, but I’m rolling with it. Anyways, she’s successfully ruined all her toys that we got her. They just don’t make those things strong enough! A couple days after chewing and she’d break a hole and start pulling out stuffing (eek!) So after buying a few toys that fell apart, I was not impressed. I decided to take matters into my own hands and make her one myself. The photo you see here is her enjoying her new homemade puppy toy. It lasted all day today and no holes yet (knock on wood) so here’s hoping!

My hubby said, ‘Wow honey! That’s way good. You should blog about it!’ lol – so here I am. Blogging about it. I’m not really sure what you guys would even want to know about this one, but you know, it’s a chew toy… I found the material in the remnants bin at Walmart for $0.50 – score! I just tried to find the thickest, most durable material and that was it right there! I had enough to layer the material twice on each side so that if she broke a hole through one piece of material, she’d still have another to go through.

homemade puppy toyI stitched the material from the outside (about a million times over) because she likes to chew the edges. I didn’t leave enough there for her to chew anything off, but enough for her to enjoy the material. Inside is just regular pillow stuffing. I’m watching her close when she has it, so that if she does manage to outsmart my crafty toy, I can swoop in and grab anything she shouldn’t eat.

It’s rugged, ragged, and apparently chewable! I will take that as a great success. Plus, I don’t think she’s real picky 😉

Sarah (Ruby)

Simple Steps Towards Becoming Acne Free

The following article is a guest post from an author via MyBlogGuest.

Acne – be it pimples, whiteheads or blackheads – can plague men and women at any age, and it’s one of the most common skin conditions.

According to various dermatologist estimates, almost 85% of the world’s population experiences an outbreak of acne some time in their lives.

Each year, consumers spend millions of dollars on topical and oral products to slow or eliminate acne outbreaks. In the quest for a clear complexion, becoming acne free is only half the battle. Once the blemishes are gone, the discoloration and indentations may be left behind, and these become more difficult to get rid of than the acne itself. Those marks and spots don’t fade away overnight, let alone in a few weeks. Depending on how severe your acne breakouts have become, there are solutions to start achieving smoother-looking skin.

In-Office Solutions

There are a variety of treatments that address acne at the source, and each solution is directed at the factors that lead to the inflammation.

Deep Acne Scars

To remove scars that create pockets in the skin a surgical acne treatment is the best course of action. There isn’t a magic cure for these types of scars. Often, a dermatologist can use filler for the pockmarks, but generally, out-patient surgery is required. The layer of skin containing the scarred tissue is removed. It can leave residual marks, but overall the skin ends up looking much better.

Smaller Superficial Acne Scars

A combination of treatments such as skin micro-dermabrasion, lasers and fillers can often correct smaller pitted marks to help smooth the texture of the skin.

Non-invasive treatments

Prescription-strength acne-fighters like Retin-A and Tazorac exfoliate the top layer of the skin, reducing the appearance of scars over time. Other treatments include a variety of peels like alphahydroxy, glycolic or salicylic acids that treat persistent acne.

Dermatologists also suggest a series of pain-free laser or light treatments that diminish oil and bacteria. The LED lasers emit blue and/or red light that kill acne-causing bacteria and in turn decrease inflammation. Patients using laser treatments have reported benefits that last up to six months.

At-home remedies

To fight acne at home, use products containing benzoyl peroxide and salicylic or glycolic acids. These unclog pores and prevent the growth of bacteria. Topical products containing retinol also aid in cell turnover while encouraging collagen production, so any acne scars become less noticeable. Also, look for products that contain zinc oxide, which helps soothe and protect the skin’s surface while healing.

Complexion and Texture

Tackle those red, brown and purple discolorations left behind with Vitamin C gel that aids the healing process by promoting collagen syntheses. Skin brighteners like natural alphahydroxy acids, matic, and kojic acid target hyperpigmentation, scars and spots by exfoliating dead skin cells and creating a much smoother texture.

Most acne treatments need to be continual and prolonged, as they control the causes of acne. While we all wish we could snap our fingers and become acne-free overnight, improvements typically require 60 to 90 days.

Featured images:

Author Bio:

Wayne Hemrick is familiar with information about how to improve the look of your skin. Wayne searches online for Ulmer Dermatology for further information on this topic.

Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe

I’ve had a lot of questions about my homemade laundry detergent. How it works, how to make it, how much it costs, all that good stuff! So I thought I would share my recipe with you guys so that you can make it at home too!

First off, I won’t call it my own, because I found the original recipe on She has wonderful instructions and it seemed like a good idea to try it out and see if it worked! Well our first batch lasted us over a year and cost us a mere $20! Let’s just say that my husband was thrilled. Thrilled enough that he wanted to make another batch when the first was gone. So we still use it and still loving it!

Here’s a glimpse of the goods:

homemade laundry detergent recipe
And now, the much awaited details on how to make it at home.

Homemade Laundry Detergent Recipe

What you will need:

  • 1 large box of Borax (78 oz or 4 lbs)
  • 1 large box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda (78 oz or 4 lbs)
  • 1 large box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (55 oz)
  • 3 bars of Fels Naptha (found in laundry aisle) or really any laundry bar soap
  • 2 containers of Oxy Clean (or 3.5 lbs) you can also substitute the store brand for this
  • Optional: laundry crystals (found in laundry soap aisle) for a stronger scent

I personally do not use laundry crystals in our soap, but she mentions it in her original recipe that you can use it if you’d like more of a scent to your soap. I would also think that you could add in essential oils like lavender or rose for a really nice smell. What we do is use a scented dryer bar that lasts us forever, and it leaves the clothes with a nice fresh, and subtle scent as well. Plus, you can usually find coupons for the dryer bars and that always helps 😉

Directions for making the soap:

1. The whole process of making the soap is really pretty easy. You’re going to want to grab a big garbage bag (the thicker the better) and dump in all your ingredients except for the bars of Fels Naptha, or whichever laundry bar soap you chose.

2. Mix ingredients together. I use a wooden spoon for this, it seems to work well and it doesn’t tend to puncture the garbage bag as easy as a stick or something might.

3. Next, you have a choice. You can grate the soap with a cheese grater (or food processor) until it’s into fine little pieces. OR – you can go the no-grate route and save yourself some time (and knicks on your knuckles – trust me on this one…)

If you choose the no-grate route for your laundry detergent, here’s what you will do…

Place one of the bars of soap on a plate and place in the microwave and set the timer for 3 minutes. Keep an eye on your soap, because every microwave is different. When it expands into a large fluff, you can remove the plate (careful, it will be hot!) And place it on a large piece of wax paper. Repeat with the other bars of soap.

It will take about 20 minutes for the soap balls to be cool enough to peel apart. When you feel like they’re cool, use your hands to break it up over the rest of your laundry detergent mixture. I got this microwave method from

4. Mix it all together and you are set to go! Use 1 tbsp for a small load, 2 tbsp for a large load. I kept the scoop from the Oxy Clean and use that for our detergent 🙂 It works perfect! The scoop in there is 2 tbsp.

Let me know if you make this, and let me know what you think!

Sarah (Ruby)