Thursday, May 16, 2013

Mid-Sized Haul - Sephora, Ulta, and Bath & Body Works, Plus Some Extras!

Hello! This post is going to be all about my most recent shopping trip and all the things I purchased. I fully intended to only go to Ulta and pick up two nail polishes, but the mall is right across the street, and I figured why not go and look around. Which then led me to spend a bit more money than I also intended to...but I don't regret it as I was able to pick some things I really wanted to try.

I'll start with my Ulta purchases first, since that's where I originally wanted to go. I wanted to pick up two nail polishes from OPI: Significant Other Color from the Brights collection (a purply duo-chrome) and Pussy Galore from the new Bond Girls collection. The Bond Girl polishes are all in OPI's "liquid sand" formulation, so they have this interesting gritty texture with sparkles throughout. These two colors are very popular, so they were both unfortunately sold out; I guess Pussy Galore has been so ridiculously popular that they haven't been able to keep it in stock. Last time I checked, both colors were still in stock online, but I don't really want to pay shipping. Luckily, there is a special mini Bond Girls set that includes Pussy Galore!
You also get the colors Jinx, Vesper, and Solitaire.
You also get the colors Jinx, Vesper, and Solitaire. I used to really like these mini bottles since I could get more colors for less money, but lately I'm finding myself preferring full sized bottles, so I'm still a little sad I couldn't get the full size of Pussy Galore (seriously, that name amuses me so much). I am, however, happy to also have the colors Jinx and Solitaire along with Pussy Galore since they're quite pretty. I'm not sure how I feel about Vesper since it's much darker and seems less sparkly than the other polishes (Honey Ryder would have been a much better color, I think).
This is the back of the box; it describes the four colors better, and it also has directions for how to use the liquid sand polishes. The biggest detail is that it says to not use a topcoat, which I thought was strange. I did paint my nails with Pussy Galore, and I hate to say it, but I'm a little iffy about the color. It's a very pretty pink, and I like the idea of the "liquid sand" formulation, but in practice, I'm not sure how well it works. Pussy Galore is a fairly sheer light pink, so even after two coats, my natural nail showed through. The sand texture also didn't spread evenly over my nail, so there were patches that looked more bare than others. It made my nails look kind of...cheap? Like they were poorly painted or that I didn't take care of them. I tried to go back and fix some of the barer areas, but then it just ended up looking gloopy. I'm not sure if it's a flaw in my technique (which it might be), or if that's just how the polishes are.
Here's a swatch of the four colors (sorry it's against my fans foot, but it was the best way to show off the colors). As you can see, they come out pretty sheer and a lot light than they look in the bottles. You can also see how Vesper is more matte than the other three. I do like these polishes, and I'm very happy to have Pussy Galore (Best. Nail polish color name. Ever.), but I'm not super impressed by them.

I also picked up some more conditioner while at Ulta because it's always nice to have a back-up ready.
I know you've seen it before, but here's a picture of my holy grail conditioner. I don't know what I would do if Ulta stopped carrying it like Sephora did.

After Ulta, I wandered over to the mall. The first place I stopped was the Sephora inside of JCPenny (which I think is trying to rebrand itself as just JCP now). When the Sephora in JCP first opened up, I thought it was kind of silly, since there was already a full sized Sephora, pretty much just down the hall, that had a much larger selection. Now, I actually like stopping at both Sephora's since the one in JCP tends to have a larger selection of sale goods (including products not available at the other store), and it sometimes has products in-stock that are sold out at the full-sized Sephora (such as the Sephora by OPI nail polish remover, which smells really good--like black licorice, that seems to never be in-stock at my regular Sephora). I'm glad I did, since they had a bunch of nail polish on extra-sale! The last few times I've visited, they've had these polishes on sale, but they were $5-$7 a bottle; this time, they were $2 a bottle! I couldn't pass a deal like that up.

I got two full size Sephora by OPI polishes in Dance Til Fawn, which is a very pretty light taupe-ish grey:
And Why Yellow There... which is a non-pastel banana yellow :
I think these colors would look super cute together, especially as a fun, colorful reverse french tip, with the taupe as the base and the yellow for the half-moon.

I also got two full sized Nails, Inc polishes in the colors Cheyne Walk, a super metallic purple:
And Stratford, a metallic gold (I'm always interested in a metallic/shimmer gold):
Along with the full sizes, I got a three-pack of Nails, Inc minis in the colors Royal Opera Arcade, Stratford (a double), and Abbey Road:
I'm not a big fan of Nails, Inc polishes; for a high-end polish, I don't think they perform very well. When I was first getting into nail polish and was more interested in neutrals, I picked up a three-pack of minis from Nails, Inc that included the colors Porchester Square (a light dove grey), Chelsea Rose (a pink glitter), and the Caviar top coat. I don't know if the polishes I picked up were old, or if it had something to do with the fact that they were minis, but my Caviar top coat felt like it applied very thick and goopy and my Chelsea Rose, while a very pretty glitter, was super chunky and dry (it ended up drying out really fast and is now pretty much unusable). Even Porchester Square seemed thicker than usual and it was hard to apply smoothly. I've only swatched these polishes, so I can't say for sure how well they apply, but even if they're the same as the ones I got before, I won't be too disappointed since I got them cheap (unlike my first mini three pack, which was $16).
These are the Nails, Inc polishes swatched starting with Abbey Road on the left, then Royal Opera Arcade, followed by Stratford and then Cheyne Walk. I'm worried that Royal Opera Arcade is going to end up like my Chelsea Rose since they seem to be the same type of polish, but I was pretty impressed with the metallic finish of Stratford and Cheyne Walk.
These are swatches of the two Sephora by OPI polishes, with Dance Til Fawn next to Cheyne Walk, followed by Why Yellow There..., which is followed by another polish I picked up at the full sized Sephora that I will talk about soon.

Another reason why I like going to the Sephora in JCP is that the cashiers tend to be...not necessarily nicer, but I feel like they pay more attention to you. The cashier I had was incredibly sweet, took the time to carefully wrap all my polishes, and even let me know that I hadn't received my VIB in-store welcome package yet (I re-qualified for VIB in March). I ended up with a shiny new VIB card and a 10% off coupon. For a long time now, I've been curious about trying a Clarisonic, but never bought one because a. they're very expensive for a face cleaning tool and b. I wasn't sure if you could use other cleansers with them besides the Clarisonic ones, and I really didn't want to be locked in to using just one facial cleanser. I wanted to pick one up during Chic Week in April when I had a 15% off coupon, but I didn't have the money at the time. I told myself that next time I got a coupon, I would buy one.

Since I wasn't expecting to make such a major purchase, I went to my full-sized Sephora to browse around and mull it over. As I was looking, I discovered that they still had their Hello Kitty products up and on sale. If you've read some of my previous posts, you know that I've been on a sort of mini-quest to get all the Hello Kitty nail polishes (and that it ended somewhat poorly since I had to return a color because it came to me completely dried out and unusable). I wasn't able to pick up the color I had to return, but I did get a color I didn't have before, called Frosted Cupcake:
This is the light pink color in the swatch above. It's a pink similar to the Bubblegum color, but it's sheer like Pink Sprinkles with micro-glitter in it. Very cute and girlie.

I continued to walk around and mull over the idea of buying a Clarisonic and made my way over to the First Aid Beauty section. I was afraid that my Sephora had stopped carrying the line in store since it wasn't in it's usual spot, but they had just moved it to make more room for a different brand. I needed to pick up some more Facial Radiance Pads, and there is a new boxed set that includes full sizes of the Facial Radiance Pads, the Facial Cleanser, and three samples of their newish Dual Repair line that I wanted to get. It's actually cheaper (by about $2) to buy the set than it is to buy the Facial Radiance Pads and the Facial Cleanser separately, so your getting the samples of the Dual Repair line free AND saving money. I was happy to see that my Sephora had some sets in stock, so I got one.
I wish the usage directions were on the little sample jars as well and not just on the back of the box; it's a pretty big box and I feel like I have to keep it around now to make sure I use the products correctly. It's not that it's complicated (most of the time it's "put on in the morning and at night"), but I have had some creams that have fairly specific directions, so I like to keep them around until I get into a routine.
These are the full sizes of the Facial Cleanser and the Radiance Pads, and one thing I thought was amusing was that they blacked out the bar codes so you couldn't return them individually since they were cheaper to get as a set and you also got three good sized samples for free.
These are the three samples you get from the Dual Repair line; you get the Eye Cream, the Power Serum, and the Face Cream. I haven't been able to use these yet (still going through some other samples), but I look forward to giving them a try since I really like FAB's products.

Now, while I do really love FAB's line of products, especially their Facial Cleanser and Ultra Repair Cream, I am thinking about trying a different toner after I go through this next tub of Radiance Pads. I've been using them for quite some time now, and I don't think I am really showing enough of an improvement over not using them to justify spending $30 on them every 2ish months. I was thinking of maybe going to back to using LUSH's Tea Tree Water, or possibly even using plain Witch Hazel as a toner. Not sure yet.

After deciding to splurge a little and grab the FAB set, I figured why not just go all out and get a Clarisonic. I went over to the display and started thinking about which model I wanted. At first I wanted to get the Mia, since it was the cheapest. I had some questions, so I went and found a Sephora employee, who got me in touch with the store skincare expert. After talking with her for a few minutes and learning about the different options (she also assured me that you can use any cleanser with the Clarisonic as long as it didn't have physical exfoliators), I decided to pick up the Mia2 since it came with a travel case and it had the T-Timer, which pulses to let you know when you should move to a different part of your face (kind of how the Sonicare toothbrush times how long you should brush for). I wanted to get a blue one (the color is called "Sea Breeze"), but they didn't have it in stock. They had a pale pink, a darker pink, a black, a white, a lime green, and a forest green, so I went with the darker pink (it's called Berry).

Yay, Clarisonic! The charger is also pretty cool; since you can use the Clarisonic in the shower due to it being essentially water proof, there's no openings in the case. The way you charge it is this magnetic thing that you just attach to the bottom of the handle. I didn't really consider getting the full sized Aria model since it was $200, but I almost wish I had since it came with a stand, which would have been nice. Right now I'm having a hard time trying to decide how to keep it in my bathroom without it getting dirty. I've been using it for a little over a week now, and to be honest, I'm not totally wowed yet. When I asked my husband if he noticed any difference he said yes, but I'm not I've really seen any improvement in my skin over what I was doing before. Another issue I've discovered is that the T-Timer doesn't seem to give me enough time in each area to effectively clean my face. I'll wash my face before I get in the shower, and when I'm done I'll use a Radiance Pad to tone my face and there will be traces of make-up left on it. I've tried going through two rounds of the T-Timer (so two minutes on my face instead of one) and it seems to help get a better clean, but I'm not sure if that's good for my skin; if you were supposed to use it for two minutes, wouldn't they make the T-Timer two minutes long? When I first bought it, I thought the T-Timer was an option you could use, but it looks like it's just how it works all the time, which kind of disappoints me. With the Mia, it looks like you can use it as long as you want, unless it shuts itself off after a minute. I do get a 90-day money back guarantee from Clarisonic, though there are probably some hoops to jump through to use it (I think I have to register it or something).

My final stop of the day was Bath & Body Works. I had wanted to get a candle or two for my apartment (after a long winter, I wanted some fresh, clean smells to brighten things up), but after dropping $150 on my Clarisonic, I didn't really feel comfortable spending $20 on candles, but I still wanted to see what new scents Bath & Body Works had to offer.

For a long time, I've avoided using hand sanitizer since I've found them to be way too drying and irritating. Recently, I've found myself in situations where I would have really liked to have had hand sanitizer and unfortunately had none, so I decided that I would at least carry some with me just in case. Bath & Body Works was having a five for $5 sale on their mini anti-bacterial hand gels, and while I didn't really need five, I thought it'd be fun to try out some different scents to see which ones I liked best. I was really able to sample them before I bought them, so I picked five scents that I thought would smell nice.
I got Bella Flora (which is from their new Italian line; I feel like Italian themed things are becoming trendy; I noticed that at Victoria's Secret, which is owned by the same company, had a lot of Italian themes in their designs, too), Caribbean Escape (I just liked the look of the bottle), Warm Vanilla Sugar (one of Bath & Body Works classic scents; it's either this one or the Japanese Cherry Blossom that is their best seller, but I don't remember), Japanese Cherry Blossom (just because it is so classic), and Fresh Lavender (since lavender is so soothing).

They also had a lot of different holders for their mini anti-bac gels, ranging from the very simple, to the very complex like cats and elephants. I had my eye on a pink kitty one, but it was $6, and I didn't think that was worth it just so I could hang my anti-bac from my purse handle. I ended up getting a cheap, plain one, though it does glow in the dark, which is cool.
And that was my mid-sized haul from my most recent shopping trip! I did spend a lot more than I had intended to, but overall I am happy with the purchases I made and I hope they live up to my expectations (which is a weird thing to say, but I couldn't think of a better way to phrase it).

Now for some extras! Yes, I have some random things that didn't really warrant a post of their own, but that I still wanted to include to show you guys. A while ago, I went to Kohl's since I got a $10 gift card in the mail. This is about the only time I go to Kohl's since I find their products to be a little expensive and not very high quality (thought that might just be me, they do carry some nice brands there). I wanted to get a pair of shoes, but I didn't find anything I liked, so I randomly decided to browse their clothing selection. I'm very glad I did, because they had a bunch of stuff for up to 80% off. I ended up picking up three tops; there was a pair of pants I really wanted to get, too, but they were only half off and were still $20, which is a little too much for me (I know, $20 on pants is too much but $150 for a skincare item is fine, I have weird monetary priorities). I got this cute striped top:
This polka-dot sweater:
And this Adventure Time sweater:
After my $10 coupon, I only paid $12 for all three of these tops, so not a bad deal at all. I actually had to get a size too big in the striped top since the first one I bought (a small) had this really gross stain on the arm that I didn't notice until I got it home. It almost looked like dried blood, which really creeped me out. By the time I was able to go back to exchange it, they only had a medium left. It's supposed to be kind of baggy, so you don't really notice that it's a little big. I was super excited about finding the Adventure Time sweater; it's just so goofy and 80's. There is a faint red pen mark on Jake's leg, but you have to be really close to see it (my husband couldn't find it). This was the only I found on sale, and I didn't want to let it go.

I also randomly picked up another brush from ELF's Studio line.
I've never owned a stippler brush and since these are only $3, I thought it would be a good way to try one out. I actually don't mind the brushes from ELF's Studio line, they're pretty soft and apply product well, especially for only $3. I would not, however, recommend the brushes from the $1 line; I found them to be very rough and scratchy and also very thin. I've only ever owned brushes from Sephora, and I want to start exploring other brands to see what else I can find.

And those are my random extras! I hope this didn't get too long for you guys and that you enjoyed my haul and my random extras!

Thanks for reading! <3

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