Donna Does Reviews

Lots of Reviews and Pretty Things

Winter 2013 Empties!

So, it’s been another 3 months and I’ve gone through quite a few products.  From now on though I will be switching it up a bit and splitting up my beauty empties and lifestyle/houseware empties.  They will both be in this post, but just seperate lists.


Let’s start with my beauty empties because those are more fun:

  1. Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes: nice, but not moist enough.  I probably wouldn’t repurchase.
  2. Gilchrist & Soames Spa Therapy Moisturising Sea Moss Conditioner: holy grail!  If it wasn’t so expensive I would purchase it over and over.
  3. Lancome Cils Booster XL: probably would repurchase, but it is quite expensive.
  4. Gilchrist & Soames Softening Sea Lettuc Conditioning Shampoo: smells lovely and makes my hair nice, but it’s very expensive for a shampoo.
  5. FCS Fortune Cookie Soap in A Roll in the Leaves: nice, but I wouldn’t repurchase.
  6. Clinique Chubby Stick in 07 Super Strawberry: I love this color!  I already have another mini in this shade though so I won’t be repurchasing any time soon.
  7. Gilchrist & Soames Stimulating Sea Wrack Body Wash: nice, but I wouldn’t purchase.
  8. Gilchrist & Soames Relaxing Sea Fennel Body Lotion: not a holy grail, but would purchase if it wasn’t so expensive.
  9. Peter Thomas Roth Mega-Rich Conditioner: I wouldn’t purchase this.
  10. FCS Whipped Cream in Halloween Town: I love this scent and so does my husband.  It’s just too bad it was limited edition.
  11. Peter Thomas Roth Mega-Rich Shampoo: I wouldn’t purchase this.
  12. Herbal Essences Honey I’m Strong Strengthening Shampoo: would repurchase, but it’s nothing special.
  13. B&BW Eau de Parfum in Forever Red: would definitely repurchase!  I wore this on my wedding day and it’s a lovely scent.
  14. L’Occitane Aromachologie Repairing Shampoo: loved the feel of it.  It could even possibly be holy grail status, but it is too expensive to purchase on a regular basis.
  15. FCS Fortune Cookie Soap in Stuff My Stocking: would not repurchase, but it was an okay scent.
  16. Gold Bond Ultimate Softening Shea Butter Body Cream: works nicely, but I don’t think I would repurchase.
  17. Pantene Pro-V Smooth Conditioner: wouldn’t repurchase ever again.  This didn’t do anything.
  18. bareMinerals PrimeTime Original: would repurchase.
  19. Shine for Sheraton Shower Gel in Mandarin & Mint: wouldn’t purchase as it didn’t lather very well or make my skin feel clean.
  20. Clean & Clear Makeup Dissolving Wipes: these felt exactly the same as the Neutrogena wipes I used earlier this quarter.  I wouldn’t repurchase.
  21. FCS Whipped Cream in Christmas Town: I loved this scent!  Too bad it’s limited edition or I would consider purchasing again.
  22. Clinique A Wealth of Flowers: a pretty scent, but I would not repurchase.  It didn’t last very long.

And now for the lifestyle/housewares things:

  1. B&BW Mini Candle in Cinnamon Frosting: okay scent, but the mini is awfully tiny.
  2. Teavana Maharaja Chai/Samurai Chai Mate Sample: spicy, but not overwhelmingly so.  I would consider purchasing, but not my very first choice of blends.
  3. B&BW Mini Candle in Fresh Balsam: definitely would repurchase!  It’s such a wonderful pine scent.
  4. B&BW Small Candle in Leaves: would definitely repurchase again and again.
  5. Teavana Earl Grey Creme: this is the first tea I am purchasing once off my tea no-buy!  It is an absolute favorite of mine.

Review: Scotch Self-Seal Laminating Pouches





Yet another product from Scotch.  I seriously adore these.  They are quite a durable feeling plastic and make for the perfect flyleaf for my 2×2 Post-It notes.  I put a picture from my wedding in the one below.


I can’t wait to go out and get more in a bigger size!  Applying the picture to the inside of the pouch was very easy and everything went smoothly.  And I didn’t get any bubbles which is what I normally get when I try to do these types of things.

I can’t remember how much these cost, but I know I bought them at Target. They are also available at Target.

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Haul: Planner Decor

This is not the result of only 1 shop or even just 1 shopping day.  I did go quite a bit crazy though.  I have been watching way too many planner videos on YouTube lately, so I think I can safely say “YouTube made me buy this”.


At the first trip I stopped at Target to pick up some washi tape (a trend among all papercrafters and planner enthusiasts).  I found those cute paper flags in the $1 section and then I found the tape and mini tape set in with the other office supplies.  That Target didn’t have much selection in terms of washi tape, but I did think this pattern was cute.  The washi tape is from Scotch’s Expressions line.  I absolutely adore Scotch, don’t you?  Seriously, I don’t know where I would be without them.


I later went to Target, Staples, and Michaels.  This picture is the result of that.  I first stopped at Michaels and got the 3 washi tapes at the right and the plastic bobbins.  These are usually for thread, but I think they will be perfect for taking my washi tape with me instead of keeping them on the big rolls.  After that I went to Target and got 2 extra fine Sharpie markers and 1 Scotch washi tape.  Staples was a big haul for me.  I got the plastic dividers, 2 Scotch Expressions Magic tape, and 3 Scotch washi tapes.  The plastic dividers were basically just for the plastic.  I plan on making my own version of the Filofax dashboards.  I actually did make 1 for my washi tape code.


I also used the Scotch (love these guys) Self-Sealing Laminating Pouches to make some little post-it holders out of a few photos from my wedding.  Aren’t they just great?  I would definitely want to get more of the laminating pouches.  I think they worked out better than the plastic dividers in terms of durability.  As you can tell, my planner is definitely a work in progress.  I’ve already thought of a few ideas for improvement next year.  I can’t wait and it’s only February!

What’s your favorite thing to decorate your planner?

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My 2014 Planner: Arc Style (Warning: Pic Heavy and Long)

At the end of last year I came across the M by Staples Arc notebooks.  I have a review of them here.  At the time I didn’t have a lot of them, but I have full-blown Arc fever I think.  Seriously, I love these things.  I think I’ve bought about 3 of the junior size and 1 of the letter size.

Today I’m going to be showing you my current planner.  I’ve always loved planners.  At least ever since I used to get them for free from my school (it had my hall pass log and student handbook and such in them so they would give us all one at the beginning of the year).  In college I used to use the DayMinder version that the college bookstore sold.  I did take a small break after I graduated thinking that I would switch to using my phone and digital technology.  Yeah, that just didn’t work well for me.  I’d always forget something or I wouldn’t look at it.

Anyway, now on to the pictures of my current planner.  I obviously use the M by Staples Arc junior-size notebook with 1″ discs.  I have actually changed the front of the planner since taking these pictures and now the front is a clear cover so I can see my pretty planner cover shown below.


As you can see I have the months and 2-pages a week at the beginning of my planner.  I keep mine with the months in with the weeks instead of the months being at the front.  My pink and green tabs are Avery NoteTabs 1″ x 1.5″.  I hope that one day Staples will sell tab dividers with the months on them, but until then I will make my own.  Each month has its own cute cover like below (sorry about the shadows, I took these pictures at night with my dining room light and it just was not cooperating with me.


The macaroon theme was made by me with some clip art pictures that I got off of Etsy here.  I absolutely love all of her clip art.  And now that I’ve fallen into the Etsy black hole (I get stuck here often) to get that link I’ve noticed that she also sells a cute Kawaii version of her macaroons.  Perhaps that will be next year’s theme…

Right after these tabs I have the month on 2 pages.  These I’ve also decorated with the macaroons.  I had a blast making these pages, btw.  Let me know if you’d like to see any of these planner pages in my Etsy shop and I can put them up for a reasonable cost.


And here is what a typical week view looks like for me.  Next year’s planner will have an added little section for weekly goals I think.  And I will definitely be decorating them more since I just have the day’s on there.  These week on 2 pages sheets also have all the major holidays on them because I thought it was convenient and I absolutely love this font.


I use the ruler from Staples to keep on the correct week.  The little drops (Martha Stewart for Avery color-coding labels that I bought at Staples) at the bottom of the right page have my chores that I want to accomplish that week.  In the daily parts of the page I keep my to-do lists and appointments.  Sometimes I also scribble little notes in there as well.  My color coding is as follows: light blue/turquoise is for tasks I’d like to remember to complete and red is for the tasks I’d like to complete that week.  I don’t always make it and then they roll over to the next week, but I’m striving to be better about that though.  I only re-write my to-do lists in the weekdays (and always have for some reason).  I use die-cut post-it notes for random notes that I may want to affix to my phone to bring into a store with me.  The note shown was a quick to-do list of things for work.

The end of each month has a large macaroon (I just couldn’t resist).  After the planner section I have a 2-poly pocket divider (?).  I keep stickers and those chore labels in the front and my HSA receipts in the back.


Front pocket with stickers/labels


Back with HSA receipts

As you can see I have 5 dividers behind that 2-pocket divider.  These are from Martha Stewart for Avery.  I keep stuff in here for the blog, personal notes, Simply Annod (my Etsy shop) ideas, plane notes (currently empty), and blank pages (both designed by me and store-bought).

These dividers are a great place to put my post-it notes.  They peel off so much easier than off paper.  Here’s just the beginning of my blog section.


As you can see, I had a lot of fun making my own custom pages.  I really do enjoy that kind of thing, even if they aren’t very fancy looking.  Please, please let me know if you’d like to see these in the shop.  I also have other custom pages that I’ve made so maybe I’ll showcase those here in later posts.  Thanks for sticking out this long, long post!

What’s your planner like?  Are you Team Filofax or Team Arc?  I think it’s pretty obvious which team I’m on.


What’s In My Bag: Work Travel Edition (+bonus walking pharmacy)



Recently I went on a trip for work and I thought I’d give a little looksy at what I take in terms of makeup for a work trip.  I normally keep it pretty simple when I’m traveling for work since I run on very little sleep while away.

I am loving this Orla Kiely for Target Beauty Organizer.  I don’t really love that it’s orange (one of my least favorite colors), but it’s a cute enough pattern.


On the one side I had my 2 dual-sided Urban Decay liners, a Jordana eyeshadow pencil, a bareMinerals PrimeTime shadow primer, and my Clinique Lash Doubling mascara.  In the center I kept mostly face products.  I have my bareMinerals PrimeTime Original, Lancome Macquicomplet concealer, bareMinerals Original foundation, bareMinerals Mineral Veil, and Tarte Amazonian Clay blush.  I also have my headband and pencil sharpener in there as well.



On the other side of the case I have my makeup remover wipes just loosely in there.  Then in the pockets on this side of the case I have my eyelash curler, a mini kabuki (that I actually ended up throwing away since it really was pretty useless), a bareMinerals Flawless Face brush, and a bareMinerals Angled Blush brush.

See, not much to my makeup when I’m going for work.  In fact, if I just packed concealer and powder I’d probably be fine.


As a bonus I thought I’d put in my walking pharmacy (coined by Jen from  I keep mine in a small, clear bareMinerals case that I got with some product.  It fits everything perfectly.  It holds typically 3 lip products, my mini crystal nail file, nail clippers, a few hair ties (I get mine from Jennifer on Etsy), and a slim Clinique mirror hiding in the back.  Right now I’m harboring 2 Almay Color+Care Liquid Lip Balms (Apple a Day and Rosy-lipped) and a Maybelline Color Elixir in Rose Redefined.

What do you travel with for a business trip?  Anything you think I’m missing?

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Project Pan 3.0 Update #2 – 6 Month Update

To see my rules, check here.  At the beginning of the year I changed my mind and decided that I would be allowed to buy 3 makeup kits/sets thoughout the whole year.  I’m now up to 15 products that I need to use up.

Anyway, here are the reasons I have for the 2 extra products I have to use up:
14. Used up 3 trial-size products (yay for finishing things!)
15. Bought L’Oreal Extraordinaire by Colour Riche Lip Color


Blue = Trial-Sized
Purple = Full-Sized

  1. Tarte Clean Slate Poreless 12-hr Perfecting Primer
  2. Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter in 001 Pink Truffle
  3. bareMinerals Original Mineral Veil
  4. Lancome Cils Booster XL
  5. Clinique Chubby Stick in 07 Super Strawberry

Seriously, this is insanity.  I don’t know how people ever use up anything.  Do they just pile it on?  I only used up 2 products this quarter, but I am almost done with another 1.  I think I only have 2 days left of product in it so you’ll see that in my next update.  Thanks for sticking through this with me.  It’s amazing that I’ve been on this for 6 months and I’m only up to needing to use up 15 products.  This Project Pan is going so much more successfully than before.

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