Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Green gift wrapping for the fashion-forward set

Guess what you find if you do an eBay search for "ugly"?

A cornucopia of holiday themed sweaters, all being pitched as a cool 80s retro look.

Gosh, I'm feeling nostaligic. I can just imagine Princess Di wearing one of these beauties. But dowdy? Definitely. Unless you have any Gen Y friends who are throwing one of those ironic holiday-sweater-themed cocktail parties, in which case, head to your local thrift shop and pick one up.

Otherwise, enjoy these for what they are: a walk through the not-so-distant past when people celebrated Christmas by dressing up as a roll of wrapping paper.

Wait a minute. The Christmas light just went on over my head! These sweaters really do look like wrapping paper. And if you have a large, irregularly-sized gift to wrap, what could be more environmentally-friendly than to wrap it in one of them? And just think--this would be the gift that keeps on giving. You could use them year after year after year--how green is that? Just think about how many holiday sweaters you'd be keeping out of the landfills.

Martha Stewart is green with envy right this minute. And she's into recycling, so watch for this idea next year in Martha Stewart Living magazine.

Really, I am brilliant. Just think--in a pinch, in case of a power outage, you could actually wear them to keep warm.

While the electricity is out, of course. Promise me that you'll put them back in the gift-wrap supplies closet as soon as the lights come back on.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Review: L'Oreal Age Perfect Pro-Calcium tinted moisturizer

In my attempts to get up to speed with the CVS frequent-buyer program, I tried some new products. The one the CVS shopping experts (now dubbed CVSavvies) seemed to be the most excited about was the

L'Oreal Age Perfect Pro-Calcium Radiance Perfector Sheer Tint Moisturizer.

OK, I admit it. I cut and pasted the above from drugstore.com. And when I saw how huge it turned out, I decided to keep it that way. It illustrates so perfectly that, just as they pack their products with age-fighting, skin-brightening, mega-beautifying ingredients, cosmetics companies pack the names of their products with the kind of high-flown rhetoric that I expect to hear coming out of the mouths of First Lord and Second Lord at the beginning of a Shakespeare play. You know what I mean: "My lord, the king our liege blah blah blah blah'd."

You know? But soft, for the review begins:

It was on sale for $15.99, down from its regular retail price of $20.00, (and 18.99 at drugstore.com) and it came with $15.99 in ExtraBucks rebates, meaning that after you bought it, you'd get a register coupon for $15.99. Which means it wasn't going to cost me anything to try it.

So this morning after my shower, I was all excited about the chance to try my new L'Oreal moisturizer.

From what the box said, I expected a tinted moisturizer--something like my Estee Lauder DayWear Plus, which I love and use daily--but with more of the stuff that middle-aged ladies like. You know the drill. Five or six extra-speshul exotic-sounding ingredients that promised to make me look as young as I was when I started reading the fine print on the back of the package. I expected light diffusers, lots of hydration, humectants, anti-oxidants, SPF, eye of newt, throat of turkey, and a soft, dewy finish.

The reality?


It's not moisturizing enough for the "mature, dull" it's supposedly aimed at. With an SPF of only 12, it doesn't have nearly enough sunscreen. Even though it comes in "Light" and "Medium" and promises to transform itself, a la Tangee lipstick (or a mood ring) to match your complexion, the Light shade that I tried wasn't light enough to lesson my under-eye circles or lighten the pinkish-mauve shade my eyelids have developed.

Also, the self-blending color?

Flash back to your first-generation Q-T self-tanning nightmares.


OK, maybe there's some Vitamin C or other wondrous ingredients lurking around in there ... but if I'm going to end up looking like an Oompah-Loompah? Forget it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Cheap thrills at CVS

If you come by here from time to time to check on my shopping expertise, it may have occurred to you that if I ever had any (which is doubtful) I appear to have lost it.

This is in part because I'm not doing a lot of shopping. I mean, I am kind of a goofball, and that is certainly a factor, but right now, for me and my fellow Americans, it's the dawning of the Age of Austerity. Right?

Well, pardon me for going all I was there first on you, but I stopped shopping long before real estate values started their steep dive and the stock market ended up in the toilet. And you know what? I take a perverse pride in that.

And now, as a grizzled veteran of the Compact, FlyLady, and voluntary simplicity--as a person who recognized Real Simplicity for the marketing scam it is--when I look around at the mountains of crap I already own, I'm surprised I ever step into a store. So mostly, I don't.

But you know, a girl needs to buy toothpaste. And toilet paper. And batteries.

So my latest hobby is shopping at CVS and using my ExtraCare Rewards Card.

Now, I don't have the time or energy to explain what Extra Bucks are. I'll just say that every week there are items on sale that give you Extra Bucks back, which you can then spend like money. I learned about it from Crystal at Money Saving Mom. Her post "CVS 101" has the best explanation of how to use ExtraCare Bucks I've ever seen. Her follow-up post is equally good.

For example, this week Duracell batteries were on sale, and if you bought $20 worth of them, you'd get a coupon for $15 in ExtraCare Bucks.

Today I spent $100 at CVS. I got back $45 in Extra Bucks. This is pretty good start, although the hard core people, the real CVSavvies, come out of the store with bags of stuff that was free. Still, I saved a bunch of money on stuff like batteries, toilet paper, and Honey Nut Cheeries.

Of course, I'm probably going to have to build an addition onto my house to store all the buy one, get one free Colgate toothpaste I bought. But it gives me such a warm, housewifely feeling to have a few tubes squirreled away.

OK. Ten tubes. WHATEVER.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

How to score a free Waterford crystal decanter

I like my wedding presents boring and traditional. How boring and traditional? Extremely.

In my opinion, a wedding present isn't any good unless the bride leaves it in its original box for a minimum of 5 years after her wedding. Sure, she'll get a kick out of the inflatable Munch's The Scream punching bag or the hilariously retro Conestoga Wagon lamp, but someday she'll have a real dinner party, and matching place settings will start to seem like a good idea. This is when I shine.

At my age, you'd think I'd be done buying wedding presents until a niece or nephew gets married, but I'm not. And recently I needed to come up with something nice for my brother and his fiancée.

They registered for gifts at Crate and Barrel, William Sonoma, and Bloomingdales. Their Crate and Barrel and William Sonoma lists were OK, but not exciting, because they revolved way too much around cooking appliances. And the problem with cooking appliances is that is that this year's panini maker is next year's yogurt maker. Or bread machine. Or electric wok. With a teflon lining.

And that's why my default present is something like china, crystal, or silver.

In this case, the bride had selected Waterford's Lismore crystal pattern, and I had to wade through a couple of screens full of highball glasses and port glasses and such before I hit pay dirt. Behold the crystal ship's decanter:

Which retails at Bloomingdale's for a cool $375.

So here's how to get one for free. First, sign up for the Amazon.com Visa card.

With every 2,500 reward points you accumulate, you receive a $25 Amazon.com Reward Certificate. So start accumulating points.

How do you get points? Well:

You get 3 points for purchases made on Amazon or through Amazon.
You get 2 points for purchases of gasoline, drugstores, and some restaurants.
You get 1 point for purchases made anyplace else.

How many points have we accumulated? I'm not exactly sure, but in the past year and a half, I shaved about $300 off a Nikon camera, $400 off the price of my MacBook, and snagged the Waterford crystal decanter for free.

Before this, we used the Citibank American Airlines card. But that only gets us free travel on American Airlines, and sometimes I'm not in the mood for travel. I also have a Brooks Brothers platinum card, which yields me a $20 gift card once in a while--but that's only useful at Brooks Brothers.

The beauty of the Amazon.com card is that it gives us substantial discounts on anything you can buy through Amazon, whether it's Me & Ro jewelry, Gwen Stefani dolls, iPods, or PG Tips tea.
And this means that you can use your Amazon.com Visa card for boring stuff like groceries and gas and dry cleaning and little Tommy's cello lessons--basic, utilitarian stuff--and build up a little stack of discounts on much more fun stuff like Waterford crystal decanters.

Or you can use your discount to buy the Clearisil Ultra Acne Solution System for $21.95. It's your call.

Monday, September 22, 2008

ShopSmart's guide to buying cosmetics on-line

with the addition of clickable links and my own takes:

Best Overall Selection: Beauty.com
Shipping Free if you spend $49 or more.
Return policy 30 days on unopened products or, for certain items, if you don’t like the color. Returns cost $4.99 unless a product is damaged or incorrect or the color is wrong.
Best selection? As if! This is like an Ulta store--Smashbox, Lorac, Urban Decay--with no sampling. Plus the model on the site is wearing the worst makeup I've ever seen. Honestly, my 11 year old daughter could do better. And she tends to color in her eyebrows with blue eye crayon.

Great for Hard-to-Find Products: Beautyhabit.com
Shipping Free on orders of $100 or more; otherwise $5.95.
Return policy 14 days on most items. No returns on opened or used products.
The products all the cool kids like--Tocca candles, Kai and Child fragrances, Paul and Joe makeup, goose down powder puffs from France. You like it? You can get it here. Me? Meh.

Great for Trendy Brands: Beautyofasite.com
Shipping Free on orders over $75; otherwise $5.95 to $8.95.
Return policy 30 days. You pay for return shipping unless the product was damaged. All returns are for exchange or store credit only. There are no refunds or returns on color cosmetics.
It's like Bravco, but on line instead of on Oak Street--a few niche makeup lines, but lots of hair, skincare, and nails. Probably the best nail products assortment I've seen on line.

Best Prices: Buymebeauty.com
Shipping Free on orders of $35 or more; $4.95 on orders of less than $35.
Return policy 30 days. Products must be unused and unopened, unless they are defective. You have to call or e-mail before returning products; you will also have to pay the costs of return shipping.
This is a random selection of what looks like discounted, sometimes discontinued products. Worth a look if you're looking for a bargain or for something hard to find.

Great Return Policy: Cosmeticmall.com
Shipping $5.95 plus 93 cents per pound. Return policy 30 days. You can return most products for any reason, even after they’re opened.
NB: This place has a fantastic selection of perfumes, and the Chanel ones, at least, come in every known form, from EDT to pure perfume to scented bath powder, shower gel, deodorant--from the looks of it, you could wash and wax your car with Allure or Chanel #5. And they have Helena Rubenstein skincare and makeup!

Great Drugstore Makeup Section: Drugstore.com
Shipping Free on your first nonprescription order of $25 or more; free on orders of $49 or more after that.
Return policy 30 days. Returns are free if a product is damaged, defective, or incorrect. Returns are free on certain products if you don’t like the color. Otherwise, products must be unopened and unused.
NB: And of course, this is really Amazon, with all that implies: fast reliable shipping, good prices, reviews from your fellow shoppers, gift certificates and rebates, and no sales tax.

Great for Freebies: Sephora.com
Shipping Free on orders over $50; otherwise $5.95. Return policy 60 days. Free return shipping. Store credit after 60 days.
N.B. Always check for coupon codes before ordering from Sephora; they usually have several. And join their frequent buyer's club, while you're at it. You'll get a birthday present!

Great for Organic Products: Skinbotanica.com
Shipping Free on orders over $49; otherwise $5.95.
Return policy 60 days.
Meh. I don't do organic. If I wanted to smell like hemp, I'd smoke pot.

Best Shipping Deal: Skin-One.com
Shipping Free.
Return policy 30 days. Product must be at least 75 percent full. You have to pay return shipping fees, and no returns are allowed of an opened product if you received a sample of it with your order.
N.B. Did my Chicago readers know that this boutique skin-care store is local? There's a store not far from me at 680 Lake Shore Drive. It's a tiny shoebox of a place with tons of fabulous, hard-to-find skincare. I don't do internet ordering from them, though ... and I do pay sales tax.

Best Online Version of a Walk-In Store: Walgreens.com
Shipping Many items qualify for free shipping of purchases of $50 or more; otherwise $5.49 for 10 pounds or less.
Return policy 30 days.
N.B. CVS.com is also worth checking out, especially if you're interested in the frequent buyer ExtraCare card program. This is so complicated that I still haven't figured it out myself, but smart people swear by it, so I keep trying.

Sad Site: BeautyDepot.com This site didn’t have a wide selection of products. You have to buy $99 worth of stuff to get free shipping; otherwise you could end up paying $7.95 or more for UPS ground. Cosmetics (and many other products) were not returnable, and there’s no toll-free customer-service number.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Worst clothes at New York Fashion Week, part 1

From Betsy Johnson, who apparently hasn't gotten the memo that maternity dresses are no longer in style, this combination of Gwen Stefani's new perfume bottles with out-takes from Little House on the Prairie:

From Marc Jacobs, who is apparently trying to resurrect the glory days of Lady Di in the early 1980s, proof that sometimes even an Earl's daughter gets dressed by digging through the dirty clothes hamper and throwing stuff on in the dark:

And from Philip Lim, a sad-faced Fashion Criminal realizes that the guards probably won't let her accessorize her prison jumpsuit with her kicky polka-dot handbag.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Duh-rool, duh-rool

OK, I go to the Neiman Marcus website to check out the latest Beauty Event in order to reinforce my knowledge that I have quite enough makeup and skincare, thankyouverymuch.

And the first thing I see is this amazing Bobbi Brown Limited Edition Artist's lip palette:

Which I so totally don't need at all. But want, anyway. Even though I already have two or three--OK four--Bobbi Brown palettes with lipsticks and glosses in them.

(Which I always buy at the Cosmetics Company outlet store for way less than the $200 this little beauty would cost.)

I know what's going to happen. I'm going to find myself buying something else equally unnecessary but will cost less. Like the Bobbi Brown Limited Edition Shimmering Nudes palette. This could be mine for a comparatively cheap (yet still extravagant) $50. Even though if I lined up all the beige and brown eyeshadows I already own, they would fill the Grand Canyon. And even though I just blogged about how great the Bonne Bell shimmering beige quad is, which I bought two weeks ago for the low, low price of $3.99.

I can has common sense?


Monday, August 25, 2008

Darn these credit card limits!

Let me get you up the speed. I'm on record for totally loving Karl Lagerfeld.

So now I'm incredibly upset. I don't even know what my limit is, or how much room I have on the card, but I'll bet I don't have enough purchasing power to buy an official Steiff Karl Lagerfeld bear. At $1,500, it's zehr chère, as they say in Germany and France--which you have to admit, is kind of a lot of money to spend on what is--if I may be frank for a minute--a toy.

And I'm really upset about it. I mean, what could be cuter? Does anyone else out there think it looks like Michael Jackson going to court to hear the jury's verdict? It does! Right down to the super pale plush.

Ah, but I can dream, can't I? Right now I'm imagining it taking pride of place in my boudoir, lovingly propped up between my Marie Osmond dolls and my Limited Edition Neiman Marcus Elton John "English Rose" anti-AIDs Princess Diana candles.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Jen Lancaster has won the (Barnes and) Noble prize for literature

For proof, guess what I spotted at the local Barnes & Noble. A rack of Lancaster. Not Jen's rack. A rack of Jen!

Jen Lancaster's books at B&N

Don't her three books look adorable together? They do, don't they? So (because for the moment this is blog where I tell you what not to buy) if you're in a bookstore and you find yourself picking up Skinny Bitch, put it down.

Trust me. Unless you want to go completely vegan and caffeine-free and wake yourself up in the morning by giving yourself a hot grapefruit juice enemas (or some such New-Age-y, real-life-unfriendly nonsense) Skinny Bitch is useless. I know this because I already wasted my money.

Don't waste yours. Head for the Jen display. Buy her books.

In conclusion, excellent display-age, Barnes and Noble--and way to go, Jen!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Lilly Pulitzer is making stationery!

Talk about two great tastes that taste great together--the only thing I love more than Lilly Pulitzer is cute stationery, and now Lilly will be selling stationery (and gifts) beginning in January, 2009.

Head over here and give them your email and you'll be in the know faster than you can say "please ignore the Walgreen's display of fold-over cards with "Thank you" printed on them."

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I want you to do me a favor.

If you are at all interested in drug store makeup, please head over to my latest BlogHer BeautyHacks post and leave a comment.

I know it's a lot to ask, but I slaved over that damned thing--finding the pictures and uploading them was a big fat pain--but it's been up since last night, and no one has commented yet.

And now I feel like Stella Dallas's daughter that time when she was supposed to be having a birthday party and none of the kids she invited showed up.

Stella Dallas
Poppy tries to comfort her little BlogHer post

This illustration is designed to make you feel really bad for even contemplating blowing this off. Also, I'm cross-posting this entry at The Opiate of the Masses.

Right now you're reading the current incarnation of my moribund shopping blog, which bestirs itself every six months or so and tries to grab some attention, only to continue to be ignored. Kind of like John Kerry.

In fact, I think this shopping blog (which believe it or not, used to get more clicks than my "main" blog) is ready to have an affair to take some attention away from my "main" blog. Which in case you didn't realize it, is the John Edwards of blogs.

See how utterly lacking in integrity I'm being? Shamelessly whoring myself out, expecting to get away with my self-promoting sleaziness because of my good hair and boyish grin? Well, I'm doing the same thing over there. Expecting the tens of dozens of readers who check in every day to fall for my charm. Exactly like John Edwards.

So anyway, please head over to BlogHer, and if it isn't too much of a pain, leave a comment explaining why mine is the single most insightful post on how to make the transition from late summer to fall makeup for $30 tops, including tax.

(Of course, this is assuming you already have foundation, mascara, an eyelash curler, a my-lips-but-better shade of lipstick or gloss and a second gloss in a darker shade. If you don't already have that, you are way behind, and you need to get cracking.)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Disney iconoclasts will love this one

A long time ago I visited a part of Spain that had been colonized by the Romans. There were still Roman statues to be seen here and there, but they were all headless. Someone told me that when everyone converted to Christianity, they knocked the heads off the old statues of gods and goddesses. Or maybe they were statues of Christian saints and the Muslims knocked them off. My informant wasn't quite sure which it was.

But just think, kids. Now you can knock blocks off in the safety of your own home!

All you need to do is buy this life-sized status of Donald Duck. Yes, that's right, I said life-sized. And yes, I realize that Donald Duck doesn't actually exist and is, in fact, a drawing. In this case life-sized means: larger than a regular duck, and smaller than a second-grader. For the record, this work of art measures a stately 39 inches high--roughly the height of the average chair back. So no worries about "where would I put it?" Because if you have room for a chair, you have room for this statue of Donald Duck.

And just see how he blends with every kind of decor! Behind him you see a mid-century armless slipper chair accessorized with a tufted satin pillow. It's sleek, but glamorous. And yet see to the right? The sort of Tuscan looking dark wood commode with the glass bowl of flowers? It's old-world and romantic.

And Donald looks great with both.

To add to Donald's versatility? He comes with two heads. Just think how handy! Now you don't need to use words, body language, or weapons to get your point across. Whether you're happy or sad, Donald does the talking for you.

Now I can just imagine you saying "But Poppy, where will I keep the extra head?" Come on--don't tell me you haven't had one of those elaborate California Closets installed. If you haven't, what are you waiting for? Get the doohickey that's designed to hold basketballs. It would be perfect for Donald's extra head.

And of course, you have the option of knocking one or both of the heads off, in case you're a godless heathen who hates Disney.

It's breathtaking, isn't it. For $399 plus tax plus shipping plus an extra $55 handling, this limited edition statue can be yours.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Would you buy a pair of shoes from this woman?

She looks like she's going to a masquerade party as Tweetie Bird, except her feet decided that Looney Tunes characters weren't chic enough. The left foot wanted to go out as Disney Princesses, but the right foot said the whole Disney Princess thing had been done to death, so they decided to go out as two of the puppies from 101 Dalmatians.

Except Paris's feet were so big they had to go out as the puppies' parents, Pongo and Perdita. 

Seriously, I swear, if you listen carefully, that front foot? Is speaking with Rod Taylor's voice.

At any rate, Paris is going to be designing shoes. And we're all excited about that, aren't we?

Aren't we?

Friday, February 01, 2008

The internet picks my pocket. Again.

My excuse is that it's a snow day, so I'm stuck inside, listening to my children play video games--a sound I thought I'd be spared until 4:00 this afternoon--thinking about how much fun I'm going to have shoveling the foot of snow that has accumulated out there--and visiting an unusually large number of blogs.

I mean, an unusually large number of blogs even for me, the Baroness of Bloghopping.

Which explains how I was seduced by my friend Wendy's craft blog.

Should I just mention here that I can't knit, crochet, sew, or embroider? And my last crafting efforts--a needlepoint canvas of poppies (get it?--so you'd think I'd be motivated) is lurking in the back of my closet? And has been for about five years?

So what was I doing clicking over to A Dress a Day and clicking on her advertisers? I mean, hello, I don't do that stuff. I CAN'T SEW.

So why did I buy this from the Antique Doll House of Patterns?

I DON'T KNOW. I do actually own a sewing machine--a 1940 Singer that a friend of my mother's passed along to her. And it works. I happen to know that it sews both forwards and backwards, because about 14 years ago I actually sat down and sewed Barbie clothes for my sister's Barbie--from a 1960's pattern--as a funny Christmas present.

One little sundress took me ALL. DAMNED. DAY.

So I'm crazy. But not crazy enough to buy this:

Even though it's adorable and wonderfully retro, and at 38 Canadian dollars, quite cheap. But I know it wouldn't fit me. I have a giant noggin, and women's hats never fit me. I love hats, so this is a cruel prank played on me by my ancestors. I console myself by telling myself that my noggin is giant because it's filled to overflowing with brains.

But then I remember the APRON PATTERNS I just bought. And I realize that I'm just kidding myself.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bloggy Giveaways

In case you don't read my main blog, I thought I'd give you the head's up. I'm participating in Shannon's Bloggy Giveaway, and if you enter before 5:00 Friday, February 1, you can win:

1. a bunch of chick-lit books
2. three NIB limited edition Barbie dolls
3. various bottles of EDT
4. an Hermes scarf

Tomorrow I'm going to put up a NIB American Girl Doll.

Come enter!

Whole Latte Love

See this? It's the very first latte I've made with this:

Which I bought from Whole Latte Love as an anniversary present for my huzbin. That was back in September, and believe it or not, this was the first day I flew solo. I was intimated by its sleek Italian design and counter-intuitive buttons. But it was so easy!

This is the Saeco Italia--one of those all-in-one machines that grinds the beans, makes the espresso, and lets you heat and froth milk for capuccinos and lattes. You can also use pre-ground coffee.

Please note the BonJour Primo Latte whisk to the left of the machine. I like to use that to supplement or supplant the steaming foaming nozzle. Note that I did the lazy-or-cheap woman's version of a Vanilla latte--no sugary syrup, just a little bit of vanilla extract and a couple of packets of Splenda.

Just so you know, Whole Latte Love is running a Valentine's Day special--5 percent off with coupon code savein08. And if the price of these machines makes you wince, may I remind you what a latte costs at Starbucks? And how nice it is to make them at home ... watching the snow fall down and cover all the Saeco-deprived suckers who have to head out to Starbucks for their lattes?

Also? I bought a refurbished Saeco Italia. Now, it looks like our particular model is sold out, but they have other refurbished models for less than $400, or the price of 29 Venti Soy Hazelnut Vanilla Cinnamon White Mocha with extra White Mocha and caramel—plus 13 espresso shots. Making it a bargain, if you're thinking long term. And remember, there will be 5 percent off, no sales tax, and free shipping.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Empress speaks

I get a lot of compliments on my skin, and I'd like to keep it that way. Therefore, as I age, I find that to my usual routine of SPF-five-zillion moisturizers and careful cleansing, I need to add two thing: serums and exfoliation.

It's reached the point where I consider myself to be the self-declared Empress of Exfoliation. And ladies, we need to talk.

Exfoliaton is key. KEY. If you are over 35, you need to exfoliate on a regular basis. Exfoliation gets rid of flaky skin, keeps your skin smooth and glowing, makes your skin more receptive to those expensive potions you're using, and increases cellular turnover, which like so many other things, diminishes with age.

Anyway, I've tried lots of exfoliation tools, from the lowly Buf-Puf to some Yves Saint Laurent je ne sais quoi sans gommage stuff I bought at Neimans. I now have a new favorite, and I've been using it for a few months with no desire to switch--which for me, is saying something.

Now, ordinarily, I don't go around handing out random beauty secrets to all and sundry, because who knows which of you hussies wants to become the next Mrs. Buxom? All I need is one of you young lovelies moving in on That Stud Muffin I Married. For all I know, you look just like me, except younger and prettier. I mean, it could be a John Derek situation, where all the wives look the same, just increasingly younger.

But anyway. I love this product so much that I have to spill the beans.

My new boyfriend is named RoC Daily Microdermabraision Cleansing Disks. Drugstore.com even has them on sale. 

Go. Buy a tub of them. Start off slow--maybe twice a week. I've now worked up to every other day, first thing in the morning in the shower. They are fabulous--easy, quick, perfect for travel (no messy tubes.)