Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sephora VIB Sale Fall/Winter 2013 Haul!

Hello! Hope you're all having a great weekend! I'm super pumped for next week since I only have to work for three days, then get a four day weekend! I definitely need the extra days off; I've been having a hard time lately with stress and what-not, and I feel like a long, semi-relaxing break will do me some good. Minus Thanksgiving because that's probably going to turn out to be quite drama-filled and is one of the things that's stressing me out so we'll stop talking about that for now.

Anyhow! Sephora! VIB! Sale! Yes! Every year (at least, every year I've been a VIB), Sephora has had a special 20% "Friends and Family" type of sale during the fall/around the holidays (I'm trying to remember when the last one was...I think there was snow on the ground and it was cold, but I also may be thinking of another VIB special that was during the spring. It's cold and snowy here from late fall-late spring...). This year, only VIB and VIB Rouge members were given the 20% off coupons (I think this is different from last year because I saw a few comments on Facebook from people who were upset that it was only for VIBs this year, but I don't know for sure since I've been a VIB for a long time now) with another one-time use coupon they could give to a family member or a friend (the 20% coupon for the VIB was reusable during the sale from Nov. 7th-Nov. 11th). These 20% off coupons are a big since it's 20% off everything (I'm sure there's some exceptions, but they are few and far between) and a lot of the makeup at Sephora is high-end and rarely ever on sale. Before the sale, I was about $140 away from hitting VIB Rouge, and, since I'm pretty sure I'll never get that close to it again (you have to spend $1000 in a calendar year...I really hope I never do that again...) I really wanted to use this sale as a way to maximize my spending power and push through.

I can happily say that I am now a VIB Rouge with all perks due to such a prestigious title (in all honesty though I'm kind of embarrassed...that's about $100 a month on beauty products. From one store...).
I made an order on Sephora.com and I bought even more in the store!
I'll start with my online order since that's the stuff I "got" first (though technically, I got the things I bought in the store physically first since my order didn't come until around Wednesday). I actually have a little rant about my online order, so I'll start there and get happier as I go.

The VIB Sale started at midnight on November 7th online (in store it started when the store opened that day, obviously). Since Sephora headquarters are located on the east cost, they run on Pacific time, so midnight for them was 2am for me. My plan was to fiddle with my cart and then, at 2am, to place my order and go to bed since I had to work that day. Because these 20% off sales are so few and far between, people really like to take advantage of them and I was afraid that if I waited until Thursday morning, some of the things I wanted would be sold out. Granted, I don't think anything that I was looking to order was really in much danger of selling out (unlike some palettes and things like that), but I can be an anxious person about those things and figured I'd sleep better knowing that my order was placed.

As soon as 2am came around, I set about placing my order. I don't have my card saved to my account since the small annoyance of having to re-enter it every time is much preferable than, say, if my account got hacked and someone decided to go on a shopping spree. I got to the final "place your order" button, clicked it, and waited. And waited. And then waited a little more. Until I got an error message saying that Sephora was unable to process my order. I figured there was a lot of strain on the servers at that moment so it might have just timed out, so I went about replacing my order. To have it error out again. I even did a third time and still it failed. So I began to get worried. I figured the best way to see if other people were having my same problem would be to check out Sephora's Facebook page. And people were definitely having the same problem. It seemed like no one was able to place their orders; they got to same point as me and then got the same error messages. Since it was already so late, I figured I'd just stay up a little longer, watch the feed on FaceBook, and see if things fix themselves. Soon, some people started reporting that they were getting their confirmation e-mails, but that their cards had been charged twice, three times, even five times! This got me really worried so I immediately checked my bank account. Sure enough, there were three charges for the order I had tried to place three times. I checked my e-mail to see if my order had gone through, but there was nothing. I went back to FaceBook and more and more people started to write, quite angrily, on the wall that their cards were maxed out with no confirmation, their giftcard values had been depleted but no confirmation, that their order was confirmed but that they had been charged seven times for it...it was awful. What was even worse was that the Sephora customer service line didn't even open until 6am Pacific time (so 8am my time). People were very upset that Sephora didn't have the foresight to have special customer service hours for what is basically their biggest and only sale of the year (Black Friday is probably the only competitor to sheer volume). I was very upset, but realized that my problem was very small compared to some other people; some people tried to place $200+ orders multiple times, their cards being charged each time with no confirmation.  Around 3am, I had to give up and go to bed. Even though people were reporting that their orders were going through by this point, I didn't want to risk a fourth charge on my card. I figured I'd call customer service in the morning and figure out things from there.

As soon as it was 8am, I started to try and call Customer Service. They were so swamped that I didn't even get a dial tone until about 10am. I spent about 15 minutes on hold, then was able to talk a very friendly Customer Service Representative. I explained to her what happened (even though I'm sure that's all she heard about that morning) and she told me she'd check on my order status to see if it went through. She also reassured me that the extra charges would drop off in one to seven business days (they were just card authorizations, so they weren't actual charges yet, but my bank treats them like they're already taken out of your account. I'm sure most banks are like this). Unfortunately my order had not gone through, but she was more than happy to help me place it over the phone. I figured why not, then I'd know it was coming, so she read off the items that were in my cart from the previous night to confirm before she placed the order. Two of the items were missing, so she said that they must have sold out, but that she could look for them to make sure. I didn't have the item numbers or anything with me (I was at work, in a ladies restroom for semi-privacy so I didn't have access to a computer or anything and I don't have a smartphone) so I tried to explain to her the best I could what I wanted, but she couldn't find it. I told her that I appreciated her help, but that I'd just try to place my order when I went home for lunch.

When I went home for lunch, I checked my cart and it seemed like everything was still there, including the two items that were missing from cart when I was on the phone. Normally, if an item in my basket is sold out, Sephora won't let me move forward in the ordering process until I remove it. I didn't get any such warnings, and I was able to complete my order. I was very worried that I wouldn't get a confirmation e-mail, or that the items actually were sold out, but I had to go back to work so I couldn't wait and see. When I got home, I checked my e-mail and I did have an order confirmation! I also had four charges on my account for the same order, but three of those would hopefully drop off. A day later I got my shipping confirmation, three days later I got my order, and everything was in it! The three extra pending charges also eventually dropped off (though it took about five-six days) so everything worked out in the end. END RANT.

Now let's look at makeup (and makeup-like things)!
For the sale, everyone got a free tote! It was added automatically to my cart and you could get them in store, too. It;s not the sturdiest tote, it feels like plasticized mesh fabric, but it was free so I can't really complain. I also have way too many totes. Waaaay too many. There's a cute quote inside of it, too! "Beauty Tip: Every gloss is a chance to shine." How poignant.

As with every Sephora order, I got three samples.
I wanted to pick non-fragrance things so this is what I came up with. I'm kind of interested to try the Agave oil; I've never heard of it before. It kind of looks like a brand you'd find in the drugstore. Ever notice that? The busier the packaging is, the cheaper it looks? Maybe minimalists are on to something.
I also picked up this mini bottle of Julep's Freedom Polymer Top Coat as a 100-point reward. For as long as I've been a Julep Maven, I'm surprised I've never really tried this top coat before (I technically have, once, when I got a manicure at a Julep parlor). It's supposed to set fast and prevent smudging, which is good because I am an impatient girl and seem to always smudge my polish no matter what.

For this order, there are two big things that I knew I wanted to buy, two sale things that I was worried about selling out, and one kind of random thing I picked up on a whim but am really happy I did because I ended up really liking it and now I'm going to totally repurchase it. I'll start with the two items that made up the bulk of my order, starting with the YSL Touche Eclat Radiant Touch Set.
My camera hates shiny things, so these aren't going to be best best photos. Ever since I first got into makeup, I've always wanted an YSL Touche Eclat pen. It's a cult favorite among beauty enthusiasts, and it's supposed to basically perform miracles. I could never justify dropping $40, especially since there are so many other, cheaper options out there. I've been using bareMinerals Stroke of Light eye brightener for a while now, and have been pretty happy with it, but...I don;'t know. It's not perfect; the color's a little off (when I first bought it, I think it only came in one color, the pink one, but now it comes in four different shades) and it makes my under eye area kind of sparkly, which can look weird as the day goes on. At 20% off, I figured it'd be now or never, so I took the plunge and bought it! I had a hard time deciding which color to go with; I have used a sample of the YSL Touche Eclat before, but it was in the color No. 1, the original, and pink, color. And the highlighter I had been using, the Stroke of Light, was pink, too. I, however, am not a pink person and thought that the more yellow No. 2 color would look better on me (like I said, I didn't think the pink of the Stroke of Light was a perfect match for me and thought that something more yellow would work better). Then again, what I'm trying to do with this product is minimize my dark undereye circles and everyone says you should be using peachy shades to counteract the purplish/blue color. After much deliberation, I finally went with the No. 2 shade because A. I wasn't positive the pink would work with my skintone and B. I really wanted this special set and it only comes in the color No. 2. And I am very happy I did! This color works perfectly with my skin! It blends in and it really minimizes my undereye circles. This set is the same price ($40) as the pen alone, so I got a deluxe size sample of the YSL Shocking volumnizing mascara for free!
Again, I do apologize for the bad photos; my camera was having none of it.

The next big (and second most expensive) part of my order was a replacement head for my Clarisonic.
I don't think it's been quite three months since I last replaced it, but my old one was starting to look a little rough around the edges. Plus, I wanted to try a different style. Previously, I had been using the "Sensitive" brush, but I hadn't been really seeing any results from it. I know the Clarisonic is supposed to be "life changing", and I've been using it regularly for a long time now, but I just really havn't seen any difference. I have the same amount and severity of breakouts as before. I like how it feels on my face, though, which is why I decided to keep it. I went with the "Acne Cleansing" brush this time to see if it would make any difference in, well, cleansing my acne, so to speak. And surprisingly, I think it has! Ever since I changed up my brushes, I've noticed that my current blemishes are fading and that few to no new ones are popping up. Hopfully, as I keep using this brush, there will be further improvements to my complexion.

And then I threw in some random things!
I picked these charcoal mud masks up on a whim a I am so happy I did! For $8, you get four pods, each good for one mask. As the box shows, you can also buy this product in a big tube, but I kind of like the idea of the little pods and it already being measured out for you. I've been into facial masks lately (well, more so, anyways. I used to get the LUSH Fresh Face masks a lot, but since you can only get them in the store and they're only good for a week or two, it's hard to keep them around) and figured for $8, why not give these a try? And I love them! The mask does sting a little, but it's nothing major (to contrast, the GlamGlow mud mask is very painful for me to use) and it makes my skin feel so clean and fresh after I wash it off. I've been using this once a week (I've designated Sunday as "spa day", so I do all the extra special beauty things that day) and I've really noticed a difference in my complexion (for the better!). I will definitely repurchase this product, I'm just not sure if I'm going to buy the big tube or these little pods again.

These headbands are one of the two sale items I picked up. They're like the Twistband hairbands, but bigger. I like wearing headbands, but since my head is somewhat large they are always way too tight and give me a headache. I bought these with the hope that, like the Twistbands, they'll get a little looser over time and thus won't squish my head. I've worn the greenish one a few times now and haven't really had any problems with headaches, so I think I'm good! This was one of the items I was worried about selling out and was one of the items that wasn't in my cart when I called customer service. Right after I placed my order they went out of stock again, so I was worried that they might not make it to me, but they did and I'm very glad!
And the final item in my order, this is a Nars nail polish in the color "Disco Inferno". This color was on sale for $5 and since Nars polish retails for $20 a bottle normally, I had to have it. I think this was on sale because it's a "limited edition" color, but you can still buy it, for full price, on the Nars website. Disco Inferno is an "iridescent silver green" and almost looks exactly like "Knackered" by butter London, which is a shame (my polish collection is getting quite large so I've become a little pickier about which colors I get; I would much prefer not having any dupes). To be honest, I'm not really a fan of this polish. For $5, it's okay, but there's no way I would pay $20 for this. The formula seems thin and streaky, the brush feels cheap, and I just feel like you'd be much better off getting an $8 bottle of Zoya polish instead of this.
This is a swatch; it's the color on the far right. It's also on my nails! It's super sheer, like Knackered, and it takes a good three coats to get a good opacity.

Thus completes my online order! At this point, I was about $44 away from becoming a VIB Rouge. I wasn't going to spend anymore, but I didn't want to waste my 20% off coupon, so I said the heck with it and went in store to push myself over the edge. In store, I picked up two things; the Glitz&Glam Party Sampler and a mini set of essential oils from 21 Drops.
This is the Glitz&Glam Party Sampler! When I first saw this, I wasn't very interested in it. I think what really turned me off was that it included a top coat by Nails, Inc. and as you may know, I really, really dislike Nails, Inc. polishes. The more I researched it, and the more reviews I read/watched, the more I realized that this set is actually pretty awesome! You get eight products, four of which are full sized (if you count the lashes as full size, which they technically are since that's how you would buy them on their own). I made a video where I talk more in-depth about each of the products included in this set, which can be found here: http://youtu.be/5EODGR_OT3Y . I'll go through them here as well, but I won't say quite as much about them. I kind of want to just get this post finished (it's...been put off way too long).
You might have to click on this picture to see the bigger version (and even then I don't know if it will be big enough to really see), but this is the back of the info card. There's a somewhat amusing warning under the mascara ingredients where they talk about the importance of maintaining eye hygine and cleanliness. I've never seen a warning like that before on packaging,
I really like the burnt-out designs Sephora went with this year for their Favorites sampler sets. The clutch/bag everything came in is actually pretty good quality and very pretty! It's a light gold metallic with the cream cutout overlay.
I'm just going to go in order of the products on the back of the info sleeve since it's easier that way. First up is the Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelee in the color Pink Escape. This is a full size and is worth $22. I didn't think I would like this product much since I'm sensitive to argan oil and I'm not very good at using cream blushes, but this product is great! A little goes a long way, it blends easily, and it even smells nice, too.
This is Lancome's Hypnose Star mascara in Noir Midnight. I haven't used this product yet since I have so many mascaras already in use, but it sounds interesting. It apparently has a two-sided brush; one side is flatter to deposit the product and the other side is more bristly to help separate and lengthen. This is a deluxe sample same (I didn't calculate values on the samples in this bag).
Next is the Nails, Inc. Kensington Caviar Gel Effect Plumping Top Coat, the item I am least excited about in this bag. This is a half size (it's 5ml, the full size one is 10ml) and worth about $5. As a top coat, it's alright, it does make your nails shiny, which is nice, but I'm not sure if it really has any plumping effect.
This is a deluxe sample size of Nars "Larger Than Life" Lip Gloss in the color Gold Digger. It's a "sparkling pink shimmer" and it looks nice over both bare lips and as a top layer over lipstick. Instead of a doe-foot applicator, this gloss uses a little brush! It's a little gritty feeling at first, but it goes away pretty quickly. It lasts about as long as most other glosses do for me (which sadly isn't that long, but I think it's just me).
Already over halfway through! These are "Celebrity" style lashes from the Sephora Collection False Eye Lash line. It comes with a little tube of glue, though I don't know how good it is. This is another product I haven't tried yet; I want to save them for a special occasion. I've only ever worn false eyelashes one other time and that was for a Lady Gaga Halloween costume, so I don't have much experience with them. Apparently these are made out of natural hair for a realistic look and feel, but they don't really specify where the natural hair comes from... These are full size and are worth $10.
Next is a fairly small sample (I would still call it deluxe, though) of Stila's Stay All Day 10-In-1 HD Iluminating Beauty Balm with Broad Spectrum SPF 30. This came sealed and has an expiration date stamped on it, which is always awesome in my book (especially for an SPF product). I like using BB creams (in fact, I used a BB cream exclusively for the last two years, only recently switching over to liquid foundation) and this performed pretty okay. It's an American-style BB cream, which is similar to a tinted moisturizer (as compared to Korean BB creams which are thicker and more foundation-y). It did give my skin a nice dewy finish, but it's a little too dark for me. It only comes in one color, which is very limiting.
This is one of the products I was very excited to try! This is the Too Faced 3-Way Lash Lining Tool. It's an eyeliner, but in a special way. It has a three-pronged tip and you can use it in a few different ways, depending on the look you want. What really made me want to try this product is that it seems like a liquid eyeliner for people who aren't good at using liquid eyeliner. Which is me. I am very bad at liquid eyeliner. I've only used this once and I wasn't too impressed, but I think there's a slight learning curve to this product. I'm going to try it a few more times before I really judge this product to see if it's just me or if it really isn't that good of an eyeliner. This is a full size (which kind of surprised me, it seemed kind of small) and is worth $22,
And finally this is a full sized Urban Decay Moondust Eyeshadow in the color Space Cowboy. Urban Decay recently came out with their Moondust line (I think it was over this past summer) and oh man is this eyeshadow ever sparkly! Urban Decay recently went through and reformulated all their eyeshadows; they've always made good eyeshadows, but a lot of people didn't like their glitters because they were kind of chunky and prone to fallout. These Moondust shadows really show how good of a reformulation it was! This shadow is PACKED with glitter, but I get little to no fallout from it and the glitter stays on all day, even without a base! This wasn't a product I was initially excited about in this bag, but after playing with it, it's one of my favorite things in it! This full size is worth $20.

And that's the Glitz&Glam Party Sampler! For $45, I definitely think it's worth it. It's a whole party look in a bag, but the best part is that it's a fairly neutral/natural look, just with a bunch of glitter!

This is the essential oil set I picked up as well. It ended up costing me about $3, due to how much I saved on the sampler set with my 20% off coupon. I've been intrigued by 21 Drops and their oils since they first came to Sephora, but I couldn't justify spending $30 for a vial of roll-on oil. I was pretty skeptical of their claims as well. Until I got a sample of the Invigorate oil. I don't know if these essential oils actually work, or if I just think they work, but regardless, they do work! This is supposed to be a kind of..."holiday stress" pack and it includes four little rollerballs of Headache, Sleep, Passion, and Focus.
On the back is lists what oils are in which blend and what they do. My favorite, and most used, in this set is the Sleep blend. I find that it really helps me get to sleep, especially when nothing else does. These little vials are only about half full, and I don't know how long they'll last, but I'm definitely going to get more, at least of the Sleep blend, when I run out.

And now for the whole point of this crazy amount of shopping...
VIB ROUGE! Yay! Free shipping! I've already taken advantage of my free shipping a few times now and it is soooo nice not having to worry about getting my order up to $50 every time. If nothing else, it's actually encouraged me to spend even more at Sephora.
This is what's inside the little welcome/info booklet. It talks about the benefits I can now take advantage of as well as the special VIB-only color of Bite lipstick I can now purchase. I think it's pretty awesome that there's an exclusive color that only VIB Rouge members can buy; it feels very luxe!
This is my shiny, new red card, my all access pass to the Beauty Studio (yay free make-overs!), and my little sample of the VIB Rouge only color of Bite lipstick.
This isn't the best photo, but this is the best my camera was going to give me this day.
Here's a somewhat washed out swatch of the VIB Rouge only color; it's a dark, cool red and I think it will look nice (but intense) on me.

And that's my VIB 20% Off Sale/Becoming a VIB Rouge member adventure! I spent more money than I wanted to, but I'm pretty happy with most of what I bought and I definitely got to try some new things, which I always love to do!

Thanks for reading! <3

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