Donna Does Reviews

Lots of Reviews and Pretty Things

Spring 2014 Empties!

So this quarter has been a bit slow on the empties.  I’m not sure why, but it’s kind of annoying.  Anyway, here is what I’ve used up this quarter.


  1. LUSH Ocean Salt – would definitely repurchase as this is my holy grail scrub!
  2. Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash – would not repurchase if you paid me.  I got this for free with my razor blades and I’m glad I didn’t pay for it.  There was no moisture and it was heavily perfume-y.
  3. Teavana Pumpkin Spice Brulee Oolong – this was an okay tea, but I wouldn’t repurchase it.
  4. L’Occitane Hand Cream in Cherry Blossom – would repurchase.  It’s just a lovely and light scent.
  5. L’Oreal Smooth Intense Polishing Shampoo – would not repurchase.
  6. Fortune Cookie Soap Body Wash in Honey Dew Me – lovely, light, and refreshing scent.  I would repurchase it if it was still available (boo for limited edition scents).
  7. Fortune Cookie Soap Bar Soap in Make It Rain – a tiny bit too floral for me and the soap itself was a tiny bit drying.  I wouldn’t repurchase this one.
  8. Fortune Cookie Soap Whipped Cream in Pinch of Grinch – love this scent!  I would repurchase this if it wasn’t limited edition.
  9. Redken All Soft Conditioner sample (not pictured) – would repurchase.  It made my hair feel lovely.
  10. Fortune Cookie Soap Whipped Cream in Halloweentown – I would definitely repurchase if it wasn’t limited edition.
  11. Gud Conditioner in Mango Moonbreeze – would repurchase, but it was nothing special.  It just smelled really awesome.
  12. Olay Fresh Effects S’Wipe Out Makeup Removal Wipes – would definitely repurchase.  They were very nice and moist to the last wipe.  I think they’re my new favorite wipe.
  13. Almay Liquid Lip Balm in Rosy Lipped – would definitely repurchase.  These lip balms are amazing and I’m so proud of myself for finishing one!
  14. Up & Up Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes – would repurchase, but they’re not too special.
  15. DKNY Be Delicious Fresh Blossom – nice scent, but I wouldn’t buy because it doesn’t last all day on me.
  16. bareMinerals Purifying Facial Cleanser – probably wouldn’t repurchase, but my skin didn’t have an issue with it.
  17. bareMinerals Purely Nourishing Moisturizer for Normal/Oily – I would consider repurchasing this, but I will most likely stick to my Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+ in the winter.  This would be light enough in the summer months though I think.
  18. Zoya Remove+ – This managed to sneak in after I took the picture already.  Anyway, this is my holy grail nail polish remover (if you can have a holy grail nail polish remover).  I’ve already repurchased this.

Hopefully I do better next quarter…

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Project Pan 3.0 Update #3 – 9 Month Update

So, I’m a little late in updating this time around.  I’ve been doing quite a bit of traveling for work and pleasure so I’ve been pretty absent from here.  As usual though, 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 22 products that I need to use up.  I just can’t seem to resist this stuff…

Anyway, here are the reasons I have for the extra product I have to use up:
16. Bought bareMinerals Double Trouble set
17. I can’t remember, but it was probably a lip product…
18. & 19. I bought 2 limited edition Color Elixirs
20., 21., & 22. I bought the new bareMinerals bareSkin Serum Foundation (I tried a sample and I just had to buy it!)

9 mo. Update

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
  6. bareMinerals PrimeTime Original

I don’t know how anybody uses anything up.  I just can’t seem to do it.  I am getting pretty close on a lip product and a concealer though.  And then after that I think there’s a powder (finally!) that’s on its way out the door as well.  No idea though.  I hope to have used up quite a few more things next update.  And I hope not to  have bought too, too many things.

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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.