Showing posts with label Hauls. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hauls. Show all posts

Sephora Favorites: Skinstant Radiance

Calling all high-end skincare lovers, RUN to your local Sephora inside of JCPenney! One of my favorite things is to try out new high-end skincare. I don't have the budget to spend $40-$100 on one single skincare item, like a lot of companies charge. I always end up going for these value sets or beauty boxes that feature an assortment of skincare products. After trying them out, I can decide if it really is a miracle product and worth the high price tag.

Sephora Favorites

Nouveau Cheap posted about this value set on Tuesday. I have been loving all of my other Sephora Favorites sets and knew I had to have this one. Not to mention, yesterday also launches the Beauty Insider 10% off sale with code "BILOVE". (Yes, I'm on a no-buy but I always hoard my Christmas gift cards for the April sale.)

I believe this set is available only in-store at Sephora inside of JCPenney; you can not purchase it online.

sephora favorites

The Skinstant Radiance Set has 11 skincare samples and a makeup bag. The set says it's a $110 value, I had a difficult time believing that, so I did my own calculations:
  • bareMinerals Mineralixirs 5-Oil Blend (0.1 oz.) - $2.94 value
  • Boscia Tsubaki Oil-Infused Exfoliating Powder (0.35 oz.) - $5.97 value 
  • Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm SPF45 (0.17 oz.) - $4.42 value
  • First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser (1.0 oz.) - (1.0oz retails for $5.50 at Sephora)
  • GLAMGLOW Powermud Dualcleanse Treatment (0.5 oz.) - (0.5oz retails for $19 at Sephora)
  • Josie Maran Argan Infinity Intensive Creamy Oil (0.16 oz.) - $2.04 value
  • Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser (1.0 oz.) - $5.34 value
  • Ole Henriksen Ultimate Lift Eye Gel (0.1 oz.) - $4.20 value
  • Peter Thomas Roth Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Cleansing Gel (3.3 oz.) - $14.75 value
  • Soap & Glory The Righteous Butter Body Lotion (1.7 oz.) - $1.50 value
  • St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Lotion (2.85 oz.) - $14.96 value
  • Sephora makeup bag - unknown value
I didn't triple check my math and I could've possibly made an error; according to my calculations, the product value comes out to $80.62. I guess Sephora put a $29.38 value on the makeup bag? (Someone please correct me if you see an error.)

Either way, $35 (plus 10-15% off) for $80+ worth of product and a makeup bag is an awesome deal! I'm super pleased and happy with this purchase. I haven't tried any of these exact products; I'll get to try out new skincare for months!

HE skincare junkie,

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Three Days, Three Boxes

I'm still holding up pretty well with my empties budget/no-buy and concentrating on finishing products I already own. *pats self on back* The only downside to buying less is fewer products to haul and review. I accumulated three beauty boxes/bags in three days and it almost felt like a haul. I figured an unboxing/haul only made sense...

Birchbox March 2015
I really like how Birchbox now has sample choice. Don't get me wrong, I love surprises but it's nice every now and then to be able to make a decision, too. This month, I chose It's a 10! Miracle Leave-in Product; this is my HG detangler and I figured I could use a travel size. I received a sample choice confirmation and spoiler email. I was a little disappointed my box featured totally different products. Birchbox informed they ran out of inventory. Bummer!

  • Benefit Watt's up! Highlighter
  • Derma E Evenly Radiant Brightening Day Creme SPF 15
  • Macadamia Nourishing Moisture Masque
  • Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo Powder Spray
  • Roloxin Light Revitalizing Facial Masque Treatment (set of 2)
I already owned/tried three of these products... that has never happened to me in the history of my Birchbox experience. (Nearly four years!) On the plus side, this is probably the highest value box I've ever received - $10 for over $50 worth of product. Impressive! I'm generally always pleased with my monthly Birchbox. Birchbox is a monthly subscription service that brings you new beauty products tailored to your personal profile. Sign up here. (referral link)

Walmart Beauty Box Spring 2015
The Walmart Beauty Box is a seasonal subscription box that cost $5. (There are only 4 boxes a year, $20 in total.)

  • Dove Go Fresh Mandarin & Tiare Flower Seed Body Wash (travel size)
  • Garnier Miracle Sleeping Cream (foil packet)
  • Lady Gaga Fame Fragrance (sample)
  • Maybelline Fit Me Matte & Poreless Foundation (foil packet)
  • Neutrogena Healthy Skin Boosters Facial Cleanser (White Tea & Vitamin E) (sample)
  • Nivea In-Shower Lotion (foil packet)
  • Rimmel Lash Accelerator Mascara (full size)
  • Schwarzkopf essence Ultime Omega Repair & Moisture Shampoo (travel size)
  • Schwarzkopf essence Ultime Omega Repair & Moisture Conditioner (travel size)
  • $14 in coupons
I'll admit I was a little confused when opening the box, nothing really screamed 'Hello spring!' to me. I'm generally always disappointed with fragrance vials - this one REALLY annoyed me since it came out 3 years ago!! (Subscription boxes normally showcase new fragrances.) However, I'm looking forward to trying everything else. The mascara alone retails for over $5.00. I'm guessing the value of this box is close to $20 plus $14 in coupons. I think this box is totally worth it if you're into drugstore products. Sign up here.

Whole Foods Beauty Bag
Whole Foods launched a beauty bag for beauty week. (It hit shelves March 21, 2015. This is not a subscription box. It is/was available in stores only.) The bag retailed for $18 and has a value of over $60! See more details here.

  • Acure Cell Stimulating Facial Mask
  • Derma E Microdermabrasion Scrub
  • Gabriel Mascara
  • Giovanni 2chic Blackberry & Coconut Milk Ultra-Repair Shampoo
  • Hello, Beauty Bag
  • Pacifica Eye Shadow Duo (or Lipstick)
  • Trilogy Vital Moisturizing Cream 
  • $5 off coupon for any Biosil Product
I saw this bag was being released and knew I had to have it. Three vegan skincare products (& more!) for under $20? Yes, please! I've been eying a few Giovanni products, so that caught my eye too. I would've preferred the lipstick but my local store was only offering the eyeshadow. A more neutral color eyeshadow duo would've been nice, but otherwise no complaints! I'm happy the bag is 'plain'; I'll probably actually use it instead of storing it with the all of the obnoxious printed bags companies usually giveaway. 

surprise samples,

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Holiday Haul / Gift Ideas

Christmas tree with wrapped presents

I thought about posting this before Christmas, but I didn't want to give any spoilers for gifts of loved ones. I hope these gift ideas are helpful throughout the year or for next Christmas!

I can not rave enough about Amazon wishlist; they even have a toolbar button so you can add anything to your wishlist, not just Amazon items. I use this all year long and it's great for others to know exactly what you want for any occasion.

Holiday Haul

christmas gifts - makeup, Friends boxed set, kitten

A kitten was all I was really expecting but Brad gifted so much more! Brad gave me many things from my wishlist but a lot of thoughtful surprises, too:

Friends Completed Boxed Series  - I kept saying I wanted to watch Friends from beginning to end. I feel like there's always so many Friends references that I never understand. I figured I would just stream it, but now I have physical DVDs and no excuses.
Kitten - I have wanted a kitten for the longest time. We finally found a perfect match from New Beginnings Animal Rescue.
Waiter's Wine Opener - I've always found these intimidating at restaurants or parties. Now I have one to learn! 
Wine Rack - I kept mentioning I wanted to build or buy a wine rack. I'm excited to finally have a home for bottles of wine.

new makeup

(pictured: wishlist beauty items, Winter Walmart Beauty Box, & December Pinchme Box)

BCBG Landon Floral Pants  
• Beautyblender blendercleanser solid
• Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Moonstone
• Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette 
• Sephora Favorites: Superstars 
Urban Decay Naked On the Run Palette 

sephora favorites

Sephora Favorites: Superstars had the highest priority on my wishlist. This is the ultimate gift for beauty lovers. This would be a great gift for someone transitioning from drugstore to high-end makeup, too. A few of these products I've already tried but the majority are new-to-me and I cannot wait to try. The Superstars gift set retailed at $75 and it included $225 worth of product - totally worth it! The products included are:

- Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Dark Brown (full size)
- Benefit Cosmetics POREfessional (1/3 size)
- Benefit Cosmetics They're Real Mascara In Jet Black (deluxe sample)
- Bumble And Bumble Surf Spray (half size)
- Chloè by Chloè Rollerball
- Formula X Nail Color in Ignite (full size)
- Fresh Sugar Rosè Tinted Lip Treatment (deluxe sample)
- Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil (deluxe sample)
- NARS Cosmetics Blush in Orgasm (full size)
- Smashbox Cosmetics Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 35 in Light (full size)
- Stila Cosmetics Stay All Day® Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner In Intense Black (full size)
- Urban Decay Eye Shadow in Sin (full size)

unwrapped Christmas presents

My parents got me:
• Candy 
• Gift Cards
• Hue Boot Socks in Oxblood
• Lisa Frank Pen
Minnetonka Gray Three Layer Boots - (wishlist item) I bought the Minnetonka black ankle boots years ago and have worn them so much. These have been on my wishlist for the longest time. I'm so happy to have a pair of shoes that aren't black.
• Old Navy Fleece Pajamas
Purex Mini Casserole Dishes - (wishlist item) I love casseroles but they always produce so much food for just two people. I wanted these to cook half the casserole immediately and then freeze the half for dinner in a week or two.

My sisters got me:
• A kitchen towel: "Cat hair - both a condiment and a fashion accessory."  
•  C.O. Bieglow Lemon Lip Balm - (wishlist item)

For the Man

When I asked Brad want he wanted, he told me 'screwdrivers and socks'. Brad uses Amazon wishlist, too - but he doesn't update it too often. Brad has been talking about an iPad forever but didn't really 'want' one...

Birchbox Man, iPad mini

I gave Brad an iPad mini. (There were plenty of deals Black Friday!) He hasn't put it down since.

I also gave Brad the 'Sweat the Small stuff' gift set from Bircbhox. Luckily, there were socks in here. (haha.) I've been wanting the KOR water bottle since last year. (Yes, I stole it back from him right after Christmas.) All the other stuff in the gift set is super nice, too! The gift set retailed at $54 and has $110 worth of products! The gift set included:

-Bálla for Men Body Spray
-Baxter of California Deodorant
-Bombas Ankle Socks
-Bombas Calf Socks
-KOR Aura Water Bottle
-Quirky Wrapster
-Under Armour Trance Sackpack


My parents got Brad a complete screwdriver set and a carwash set (not pictured.)

The Gift Card Debate

gift cards

Personally, I love gift cards - they're essentially cash to use at your favorite store. However, I know some people think they're impersonal or lazy.

Tips: If you don't know where the recipient shops, go with a gas card or a gift card to your local grocery store. Add a personal item to go with the gift card - like a DIY project, your favorite candle, or your favorite food.

Christmas gift basket

Brad's mom gave us gift cards in a super cute basket filled with food, a candle, kitchen items, and personal ornaments. We can't wait to use the gift cards but trying out so many new foods and items has been so neat, too!

Gift Ideas:  

For the Beauty Experienced: I got my mom and Brad's mom a beautyblender. The beautyblender has so many good reviews of people stating the way it changed their makeup routine. I figured both of our moms have been using regular makeup sponges for years - why not give them a new tool?

For the Beauty Lover: Sephora Gift Sets (mentioned above)

For the Man: Sweat the Small Stuff Gift Set (mentioned above)

makeup for beginners or a teenager

For the Preteen or Friend: a makeup kit. My youngest sister has started to get into makeup. (She even knows how to apply it - she watches as many YouTube tutorials as me.) I made her a "makeup starter kit." This would be a great idea for a friend too - give them some of your current favorite products or stuff they occasionally 'borrow' from you!

For the Teenager: techie gifts or eyeshadow palettes. I gave my younger sister an iPad cover. She really liked mine, so I got her a similar one. I also gave her the Coastal Scents Revealed palette. She wears very minimal makeup. With so many saying this is a dupe for Urban Decay's Naked palettes (my favorites), I figured it would be a great way to introduce her to more eyeshadow and create multiple looks.

For the Wino: waiter's wine opener / wine rack / wine saver  (mentioned above)

presents & ideas,

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Haul: St. Louis

mall haul shopping spree

My last no reason shopping trip was in January - nearly half a year ago! Lately, when it comes to shopping, I'm always on a mission looking for just one item... in-and-out in just ten minutes. It was refreshing not to be looking for anything and to just aimlessly wander through a mall all day. In honor of my second no reason shopping trip this year, I thought a haul was appropriate:

LUSH cosmetics

Unfortunately, we no longer have LUSH in Memphis. I always look forward to visiting LUSH whenever I'm out of town. (My last visit was in March!) I picked up my two favorites: Ocean Salt Scrub & Sex Bomb Bath Bomb.


The only clothing item I'm 'need of' at the moment are shorts. The majority of my shorts from last year are too small or just fit weird. I'm having issues finding both comfortable and flattering shorts this season. I was contemplating between a pair of Joe's white shorts (flattering but not comfortable) and these H&M ones (comfortable, sort of flattering, but sheer.) For now, I went with the H&M ones. But the shorts hunt continues...

I'm obsessed with midi rings! However, I'm constantly losing or breaking them. I got two variety packages at H&M: I got 15 rings (all shapes, sizes, and colors) for $8.90; (that's about .60 cents a ring) I won't feel too bad about them disappearing anymore!

Fashion finds from Wildfox & BCBG

I have been wanting a Wildfox sweater for forever, but I could never talk myself into spending $100+ on a funky, not-everyday-wear, sweater; I was super excited when I found this one on sale. It's so comfortable! It feels like a soft blanket and will work as a great, year-round piece.

I scored this BCBGMAXAZRIA 'Carman' dress for 60% off. I think it will work as both a career and night-out piece. I'm a big fan of matte jersey material... it's comfortable and low-maintenance (no steaming or ironing!) Not to mention, how cool is the design?

french macarons

Finally, no big shopping trip is complete without some sweets! We stopped at LaBonne Bouchée for macarons. They had 35 flavors to choose from (WOW!!) - it was both overwhelming and fun; I picked six flavors for myself. They have pre-packaged bags and boxes for a discounted price; I also got a grab bag for a gift. (If you can't tell, macarons aren't really a 'thing' here in Memphis, so I always try to find the best macarons in other cities when I'm out-of-town.)

disappearing rings & endless macarons,

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Holiday Haul

Happy Holidays!
I spent my holiday with great people, great food, and nice new things. If you recall, last year I also did a Holiday Haul, so I figured I should continue the tradition. I plan to do some after-Christmas-shopping in about a week, so that may be a separate post.

Sisters and dog in Christmas pajamas.

My mother has always gotten us Christmas pajamas - so of course, we continued that tradition.

Scotch heel shoe tape dispenser

My sister got me this cute tape dispenser that I can't wait to use!

chocolate makeup

This year, my "big item" from Santa was this beautiful tan faux leather Kenneth Cole jacket. I really liked all the small details - silver hardware, the asymmetrical zipper, studs, the double-wrap belt, and quilted arms and shoulders - I knew I had to have it! My favorite stocking stuffer was this chocolate make up kit. Santa knows me so well and combined my two favorite things!

My sweet boyfriend, Brad, spoiled me (as usual!) and got all the items that were at the top of my wishlist. I'm so excited to have my hands on the NAKED 3 palette and not to mention nail polish for DAYS! He also got me my first Ronaldo jewelry piece - the Etched in Time bracelet and managed to score this hard-to-find Alice+Olivia Starbucks mug.

It's better to give than to receive.

Along with a few other things, I got Brad a three-month subscription to Birchbox Man. Since I'm a long-time subscriber to the Woman's box, I've been eyeing Birchbox Man for awhile. I knew my dad wouldn't use the products. I'm not sure Brad will either, but I know he'll try anything once. Unlike the Woman's Birchbox, Birchbox Man also comes with STUFF (socks, boxers, t-shirts) other than just grooming products. I'm excited to see what is in the months to come!


"This was the easiest Christmas ever!" - my mother.  This is because I told her (and Brad) exactly what I wanted. I've been using Amazon wishlist for a long time - mostly for my own personal shopping reminder. This year, I decided to send my wishlist link out. My wishlist ranged from a $5 tape dispenser to a $4000 purse, and there was plenty in-between. I was able to provide exactly what I wanted, a picture, a link, the size/color I needed, and the item priority. I installed the Amazon wishlist browser button, which makes it super easy to bookmark an item from any web page (even items NOT on Amazon.) For the first Christmas in as long as I can remember, I have ZERO returns because of the wrong size or me just not liking the item - and it's extremely nice! If you're not already using Amazon Wishlist... I highly recommend it.

All of these items were received as gifts.

naughty or nice,

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Haul: Chic Week

a small Sephora Haul & First Impressions

If you didn't know, Sephora's Chic Week is currently going on. (April 12 - April 21) During this time, everything at Sephora is 15% off both online and in-stores. Sephora usually only offers discounts twice a year, so it's a great time to try out new products or stock up on favorites. Luckily, I also had a gift card - so it combined with the sale allowed me to mark off a lot of my wishlist for a small out-of-pocket cost. I purchased:

sephora haul

Caudalie Beauty Elixir
This has been on my wishlist for so long. Most everyone in the beauty community has raved about this product. I always put off purchasing it because of the high price tag and I never really understood the concept.  But so far, so good - I like the herbal scent and the refreshing feel it leaves behind.

Soap & Glory Flake Away Body Polish
Remember my last Chic Week haul?  (It was my first time trying Soap & Glory products.) Once I got past the overwhelming smell and childish packing, I really liked the products.  I used all of them up and I've made a few repurchases since.  I decided to try something new.  I've only used this body polish once; I enjoyed the signature Soap & Glory scent and the fact that the product is coarse but not abrasive.  However, I didn't see or feel much of a difference in my skin with the first use.

Soap & Glory Hand Food Hand Cream
I've purchased the full-size tube twice.  This time around, I wanted a small tube to keep in my purse.  This really is a great, reasonably-priced hand cream that is worth the hype.

Urban Decay 24/7 Concealer Pencil in DEA

I purchased this once before but never got to use it.  (It broke/melted in the mail, so I ended up returning it... I should've taken that as a sign.) Some of my drugstore concealers work equally as well, if not better.

Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Travel Duo Fragrance Set
I'm so weird and picky when it comes to perfumes.  Every time I visit a beauty or department store, I would always "test" this perfume.  I've always liked it, but I didn't completely love it.  Regardless, I finally purchased my own little bottle.  This set was the best value .75oz of perfume for $35. (The .68oz spray is $50!) I still really like the perfume but I'm afraid it doesn't work with my body chemistry.  It smells great when I spray it on in the morning - a floral scent with a touch of herbs.  But by the end of the night, the perfume smells like a cheap, musty, vanilla scent.

All in all, I'm happy I finally marked off the majority of my high-end beauty wishlist. I'm going to try out these products for another week or two; I might end up returning a few or they may make it to my April Favorites ~ stay tuned!

hauls & herbal sprays,

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Holiday Haul

I'm a nosy person and always enjoy watching "What I Got for Christmas" YouTube videos and reading blog posts, so I figured I'd share a few of the items I acquired over the month of December.

This year, I spent Christmas at my parent's house. I grew up without a fireplace, finally seeing my stocking hung properly was so nice.

It's tradition for us to receive new pajamas on Christmas eve.

My sisters know I'm into beauty products.  I received a Joico K-Pak gift set and homemade candy cane facial scrub from them.

My "big" present from Santa was a heated blanket.  I've been wanting one for awhile.  I usually stay cold and hate sleeping in a lot of layers or thick clothes so this blanket is so perfect.  Being warm helps me go to sleep a lot faster.

After Christmas is usually when all the stores offer their deals so I took advantage of the sales and got a lot of new clothes.  From BCBG, I purchased two sweaters, a shirt, leggings, and a $5 canvas tote which is probably my favorite purchase.  I'll most likely use this as my school bag next semester.

h&m maroon dress

H&M had a really great sale.  Since I don't have a H&M in my city, I went a little crazy.  I mostly picked up basic layering pieces and accessories. This $15 peplum dress was the best deal.

Target Neiman Marcus collection, Kaitlyn Maness

I've been eyeing the Target + Neiman Marcus collection ever since it hit stores on December 1st.  However, I didn't think the low-quality materials with the designer labels matched the high price tags.  But after Christmas when everything finally went on sale I grabbed a few pieces.  With Target gift cards, I purchased the Marc Jacobs black scarf, and Proenza Schouler sweatshirt & iPad sleeve.

As for cosmetics, I only purchased one thing.  Unfortunately, the LUSH Cosmetics store in my city closed, so I definitely had to purchase my favorite facial scrub: LUSH Ocean Salt.  I don't have a free-standing MAC store near me, so I made sure to pack all of my empties for the Back 2 MAC program.  I much prefer eyeshadows over lipsticks (Counters only offer lipstick trade-ins.)  I choose the colors All that Glitters and Charcoal Brown.

Rebecca Minkoff Mini MAC

I've heard some people treat themselves to a new item for the first of the year... maybe as a good luck charm or something to remind them self of a fresh start.  I liked the idea and decided to do the same this year.  Since my Michael Kors purse is over a year old and nearly falling apart, I knew I was going to have to purchase a new purse soon anyway.  I purchased the Rebecca Minkoff Mini M.A.C. in black with silver hardware.  It can be carried three ways, has a lot of organizing compartments, and best of all: it's much larger than I was expecting and can definitely hold all the necessities.

pajamas & Christmas sales,

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Birthday Haul

My last big Sephora purchase was in April. For my birthday, I treated myself to a few products that have been on my wishlist for awhile.

sephora haul

I purchased: NARS Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner in Rue Bonaparte, NARS Blush in Albatross, and Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Tipsy.  As freebies I received: Tom Ford Black Orchid Fragrance, Prada Infusion d'Iris Fragrance, Josie Maran Organic Argan Oil, Lancome Bi-Facil Double-Action Eye Makeup Remover, and Happy Birthday Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment duo.

Love Culture cardigan

At the beginning of September, it was still really hot outside but too cool inside class and work, so I needed something light to go over almost all of my daily outfits.  I purchased all of these at Love Culture, my favorite is the striped one.

michael kors watch

Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in Vertigo
Alex and Ani Positive Energy Russian Silver Bangle: Buddha
Alex and Ani Positive Energy Russian Silver Bangle: Libra
Michael Kors Silver Lexington Watch

fat chef wine holder, barefoot moscato

Fat Chef Wine Holder

birthday cards, 21

Birthday Cards


Sushi dinner, and macarons instead of birthday cake.

The majority of these items were received as gifts or purchased with a generous employee discount.

legal eagle,

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