Saturday, February 15, 2014

Buy All The Things! Another Haul! - Sephora, MAC, Ulta, and More!

Hello! I'm doing it again; more than one post in a day! I'm hoping I'll be able to avoid this as we get closer to summer and there's better lighting and all that. I've been wanting to make this post for a long time now (well, not too long, I had to wait until I made the video since for some reason I can't make a post without making the video first, even though I take all the pictures first. At least normally.) but I had to wait until the weekend since I needed to get pictures of some things that I couldn't during the week since there was no sun (see, all my excuses come together eventually).

So this post is going to be a fairly large haul! I love hauls, both making them and watching/reading about them. I just love living vicariously through other people, just one of those weird quirks I guess. This all wasn't purchased at once; I've been collecting it since about the middle of January. What held this post up was I had made an Ulta order and it took forever to get here. It took 3-4 days to process the order, then it didn't get to my city until Feb. 4th and then I didn't get my package until Feb. 11th due to a looong sorting process, my mailperson, and my leasing office's annoying hours. This haul is a collection of things I bought online and in-person from a handful of different stores. Not everything is beauty related, but most of it is.

This is going to get kind of long...I got a lot of things!
I'll start with the stuff I got first and thus has been waiting around the longest. That will be my order from Sephora!
Mmm, box. I really love having free shipping; I don't have to worry about buying $50 worth of products each time, especially if I only have to get to $25-$35 worth of products to get special extras. I placed this order because of a special VIB Rouge extra: a tube of Nars Illuminator in Orgasm!
It seems in every order from Sephora now they include some kind of fragrance sampler. Before, it was some brochures that would fold out and have those little "peel and smell" kinds of samples. This time, Sephora really pulled out the stops. They included a whole set of postcards!
This is the big info card, the only card in the set that isn't a post card. On the other side it shows a bodyshot of the model they used in the other pictures and on the back it talks about the special triple points offer for beauty insiders; if you bought a perfume before Feb. 14th I believe, you would get triple points for it. With how expensive perfumes are, that would have been a really easy way to earn enough points for a reward (or two...).
And these are the postcards! There were seven in total, one of them being a two-for-one with Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black and White. These have the "peel and smell" stickers on the back, but they also have legit postcard formatting so if you were feeling adventurous (playful? Not really sure what kind of mood suits "mailing a postcard"), you could mail someone a perfume sample. I thought it was a pretty neat idea and once again, a great way to market an expensive and not often purchased item.

These are the samples I got! I got the GlamGlow eye treatment because I really wanted to try it (anything that's good for the skin around my eyes is a must try for me), the bosica BB cream because I didn't know what else to get, and the Nirvana Black and White duo because why not. I actually really like how both Nirvanas smell, though I think I lean more towards the Black. Unfortunately, neither spray bottle works so I can't actually try this perfume out on my skin, I can only smell it in the bottle. I'm pretty sure I could just go to Sephora and ask for a sample and they'd give me one, but it's still irritating to get a sample that doesn't work.

Surprisingly, this was the main reason why I placed this order (I did want to get the thing I order, but I was going to buy it in the store instead). With a VIB Rouge order of $35, you could get a deluxe sample of Nars' Illuminator in Orgasm. I've had samples of this product in the past, but I think I didn't really get how to use it back then so I didn't like it.

Now, I was told that this would be a deluxe sample size, and if you look at the pictures online, this tube is very different (and it looks smaller) than the full size. However, on the website, the full size is listed as being 1.1 fl oz and this size is...1.1 fl oz. I'm not sure if this is the full size or not or if there is a printing error somewhere (the bottle also says it's 1.1 fl oz on the back so it's not a misprint on the box) or what's going on. My best guess is that this is older packaging that they're trying to get rid off, but according to volume, this is the full size of this product, which makes it worth $30. Which is awesome and ridiculous.

I did two different swatches. This first one is just blobbed right out of tube. You do not need to use a lot of this product at once (in fact, try to use as little as possible. It's very sparkly and there's a high chance of looking like a disco ball) and even this would be way, way too much for your face.
I blended it out here to give a better idea of what it would look like on the skin. As you can see, it's a super sheer tint with a ton of sparkle to it (the color description is a "peachy-pink with shimmer". You can also get Super Orgasm which is "peachy-pink with gold glitter". Sounds intense). I've played around with this a little and, if you use it sparingly, it adds a nice, soft touch of shimmer. I wouldn't use this if you plan to be outside a lot (because sparkling) but for an evening this is a nice touch.

And so what did I buy?
The Sephora Favorites Vol.1 Skin Bender kit! I already have Vol.2 Skin Cleanse (I did a review on it in my previous post) and I couldn't pass up getting the Vol.1 as well. I love these Sephora Favorites kits since they're a great way to try new products/brands without having to pay for a full sized product (that you might not even like). I'm going to be doing a more in-depth review of this bag, like I did for the Vol.2, after I've given all the products a try. You can still buy these on Sephora's website, but I don't know how much longer they'll be around.

I think I'm going to stay in the vein of online orders (which I think is out of order from how I went in the video...I can't remember and I don't like watching my own videos after the initial once-through-before-uploading because I think I'm awkward) and do my Ulta order next, which is the thing that took the longest to get here and what was holding up this post/video from being posted/made.
Ulta seems to be much more efficient at packing than Sephora; this box was super small and I was really surprised that everything fit in (as opposed to my Sephora orders where they're 2/3 kraft paper). This was a surprisingly big order for me from Ulta (it's also only my second one ever!); I'm not the biggest fan of Ulta and if I can get something from a different store, I usually will. I basically just go to Ulta to buy Zoya nail polish and get my hair conditioner (...both of which are things I bought). I had a 20% off coupon and, since it was so cold around here, I knew I would be able to get to my Ulta before it expired, so I used it online! For some reason, I assumed I needed to hit $50 to get free shipping (last I looked you only need $25, which makes more sense since Ulta sells a lot of inexpensive and drugstore products. I think I assumed $50 because that's where Sephora's free shipping starts) and I also assumed it needed to be $50 after my 20% off coupon, so I got a lot of things I might not normally have purchased.

One thing I really like about buying things from Ulta online is their sample sets. Unlike Sephora which lets you pick three samples from a selection of twelve (of which 4-6 are usually fragrance samples), Ulta gives you three options: a skincare sampler, a fragrance sampler, or a variety sampler. I pick variety and it really is; you can get anything from makeup to skincare to haircare and you get samples from both high-end and drugstore brands.
This time, I got a shampoo/conditioner/leave-in conditioner trio from the TIGI Catwalk Curls collection, a small packet of Gardner's Hand Healer from a French brand (I'm not sure which is the brand, but I'm pretty sure Bunny, aka Grav3yardgirl, bought things from this brand) which has 20% shea butter and apparently seven magical herbs, and a small bottle of Ulta brand moisturizing body lotion in Freshwater Mist (this will become my "for everyone at work" moisturizer since I don't like fresh scents). A very good variety!

There were two main items to this order, and everything else was kind of just thrown in for fun.
You've all sen this before and I've talked about this before. This is about the only conditioner I will use. I've tried others, especially since I wanted to find something a little less expensive, but nothing makes my hair feel as nice nor as manageable as this. I didn't get a picture of it, but you can see in the video, but the cap of this conditioner as well as the cap of the leave-in I purchased had scotch tape on the tops, presumably to prevent any leaks. Luckily, there weren't any (at least that got outside the bottle, I'll explain in a second), but these are already sealed so that probably helped.

The other item I picked up I didn't get a picture of because I returned it before I got a chance to. I also picked up a bottle of the Ouidad leave-in conditioner since at 20% off, it would save me about $4. I'm about half-way through my current one, but since I think I like my Klorane one better (so much so that I'll probably purchase another bottle when I finish this one) it'll will likely still last me a while. Unfortunately, it also managed to leak somehow; when I unscrewed the cap to check the seal, it was all gross and goopy inside. I couldn't find where the break was, but since it was likely to sit around for a long time without me using it, I didn't want the seal broken anywhere. I ended up returning it for store credit since I didn't have my confirmation e-mail (you need both the e-mail and the invoice to return things in store; I don't have a printer or a smart phone so I didn't have a way to bring it) and my bank issued me a new debit card due to the whole Target debacle (I didn't get my identity stolen, it was a precautionary and annoying measure). I don't mind getting store credit though, since, no matter what, I'll always be back for my conditioner.

And now for the fun, random things! At this point, I thought I needed to hit $50, so I just...threw things in my cart. There was a "buy 1, get 1 50% off" for Maybelline, so I figured why not pick up another cheek stick and a mascara?
This time I went with the color "Just Pinched Pink". It's a pretty standard pink blush color with shimmer in it. I wish I had gone for a more "dangerous" shade like the bright fuchsia one or maybe the mauve, but I wanted something soft and delicate.
Here are two swatches of it; I couldn't decide which one I liked the lighting better on so I'm just going to show off both. This is unblended so the color is super saturated, but these sticks sheer out beautifully.
And this is the mascara I picked up! Technically, I got a different one (which you can see in the video), but it had all this weird brown stuff on the back and, since nothing in my order was brown, I was kind of weirded out by it. When I went to exchange it, I found a color that I thought would work better for me, so I got that instead. I've heard a lot of good things about this mascara and, after falling in love with the Cat Eyes version, I'm excited to try it!

Because I've been kind of obsessed with face masks lately, I picked up a few.

These two or from the Body Shop, and I think they're new. There is a Body Shop in the Mall of America, but I like that Ulta carries them as well since sometimes it's hard to get out to the Mall (especially on weekends when it's crazy busy). The Tea Tree mask is good for blemished skin (like mine) and the Seaweed one is for oily/combination skin (which I don't have but I didn't think it would hurt to try it). There's at least one other one that was for dry skin, but I was worried it would be too heavy for skin (still trying to find a good balance).
I also picked up this huge tube of Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque. Seriously, this is a giant tube of face mask and it's going to last me a long time. While this product does have parabens and add fragrance (both not good things in a face mask), I've heard so many good things about it I finally caved in and bought it. It's super cheap, too! I think this huge tube was like $4! It's a green, clay-texture mask with a really strong mint smell. I'm a little concerned the mint will be irritating, but even if I end up not liking it, it was cheap and I can give it to my mom or a co-worker or something.

Finally, I got an eyebrow pencil, since I figure it's time I learn to do something about my brows. I'm lucky; because I'm blonde, my eyebrows are pretty light so it's hard to see any stray hairs. I've gotten them waxed before, but it leaves my skin severely irritated and red/bumpy for days so I try to avoid it. I'm absolutely terrified of shaping them myself since I have no idea what I'm doing and if I do something stupid, they might not grow back. I'm never done anything makeup wise with them, but I think it's something I need to start doing. Have groomed eyebrows can really open up your face and eyes and make you look super polished. I've heard a lot of good things about the Fling eyebrow pencil from MAC, but I thought it would be best to start small and work up from there. So I got this incredibly cheap one!
This is the Prestige Browliner in blond. This is the lightest color they had, but after swatching it, I'm worried it might actually be too dark.
While this product was incredibly inexpensive, it had a lot of really good reviews so I thought it would be a good starting point. I have had eyebrow kits before, but I didn't have the skill to use them properly, so I ended up returning them. I think starting with a pencil will be better since I feel like I'll have more control over what I'm doing (unlike a powder product). We'll see what happens!

And that's my Ulta order from online! While I was waiting for it come, it ended up warming up enough where I felt I could venture out and not die, so I made a trek to my physical Ulta to get a deal on some Zoya nail polish!

If you bought two Zoya polishes (they were advertising the Naturals collection, but it could be any two), you could get a special product set worth $20! Because I love Zoya polishes and gifts with purchases, I couldn't resist. I picked up Giovanna (the green) and Addison (the pink). I didn't go in with a plan on which polishes to purchase and honestly, I ended up with these because there wasn't much left. My Ulta is pretty bad about restocking.
Here they are swatched on my color wheel. I like Giovanna, but I'm a little worried that Addison is too dusty for me.
This is the kit I got! In the sales flyer, it said we'd be getting the Spring kit and it looked like there was a special polish in there, but I got the Natural kit (which makes sense since the Natural line was the one that just came out and the one they were promoting. I wonder if the Spring kit is intended to come out with the new spring colors. If so, I am totally buying them and getting it). It included four items:

There was a bottle of Remove+ (which is great; it's not my favorite remover, but since Sephora stopped making it, this will have to do), a small Anchor base coat...

 A matte top coat (these are fun! I have one from Julep and I'm happy to get another. I love playing with the textures and finishes of my polishes) and a Hot Lips lip balm in the color Flirt (a soft, nude cream).
Here it is swatched on my hand. It felt pretty sticky and it was kind of hard to get it to sheer out like it would on the lips. It has kind of a weird applicator (it's not a doe-foot, it's rounded and it seems like it would be hard to apply) and the scent is super sweet; it smells like either pink lemonade or an apricot-y cotton candy (I'm pretty sure it's pink lemonade since apricot cotton candy would be an oddly specific scent). Not sure if I like it all that much, but it was free and I love Zoya polish so whatever.

I'll move on tho things I bought in physical stores now; specifically stores in the Mall of America! I love going to the Mall; there's so many things to do there and even just people-watching is immense fun. Also, I love capitalism and where better to enjoy capitalism than at the biggest mall in the U.S.? I went to a lot of stores, but I ended up making purchases in only two.

My husband I really like going into Urban Outfitters and checking out their sales. Normally, they're pretty overpriced, but if you can get something on a super sale, you can get some cute, unique stuff for cheap! Also I like their cloth shopping bags. This time around I snagged a pair of mouse shoes:
and a glow-in-the-dark Illuminati pint glass:
The mouse shoes are super cute and soft! The outside is a short, velor-like material and the inside is really plush. They have little studs for eyes and embroidery for the details. They are pretty cheaply made, though, and I'm sure I could get these or something similar for super cheap on eBay from China (one of the buckles is sewn on backwards, though you can tell unless you're up close to my feet). I only paid $5, so no big deal. The pint glass was on sale for $3, and a glow-in-the-dark Illuminati pint glass is just an amusing thing to have. And drink out of.

Lucky for me, there is a MAC store in the Mall (it's right across the hall from Sephora, funnily enough. It's also near the Macy's, which I think is getting a MAC counter this month sometime). I've been somewhat into MAC and I've been periodically buying and trying out a bunch of different products. I wanted to try an eyeshadow, but they're pretty expensive at $10-$15 a color depending on what form you purchase them in. That is until the Fantasy of Flowers collection came out! I subscribe to Allura Beauty on Youtube and she usually has a video that shows swatches from MAC's newest collections. In the Fantasy of Flowers collection, there are four mineral eyeshadows that are basically quads since they're split into four different colors. Four colors for $21 is something I can justify, so I decided to get one. I ended up with two!
The first one I picked up was Golden Hours. I couldn't decide between this one, or the Pink Sensibilities quad but I figured I had more pinks than golds so I would get more use out of this one. Since these are mineral eyeshadows, they apply pretty sheer but you can make them more intense by applying them wet. These are also pretty shimmery colors, so if you're not a fan of glitter/shimmer, you probably won't like these.
This is a quick swatch of the colors on my arm with no base or anything. This is one swipe with a dry brush; as you can see, they're very sheer and sparkly.

After getting the Golden Hours, I thought I would be satisfied. Nope. I think I discovered why people go so crazy for MAC; it's the idea of things being limited edition and collectible. As we walked around the Mall, I kept thinking about the Pink Sensibilities quad and that, if I didn't buy it then, I probably never would. Something just clicked and I needed it. It's that idea of collectivity and scarcity; it gets me every time!
Yay more eyeshadow! As I said, this is the Pink Sensibilities quad and it has two pinks and two browns.
I really like the browns in this quad, though the darker pink is nice, too. Not sure how I feel about the light pink; it's a little too frosty for me I think. For $21, I think these are a pretty good deal if you're into spending that kind of money on eyeshadow. It is kind of pricey (for $42 I got eight different eyeshadows, for $10 I could have gotten 12 shadows in an Urban Decay Naked palette), but as a way to experience MAC, I'm pretty pleased. Also I think I'm hooked and I'm waiting for the next limited edition collection...

In the Mall, there's an amusement park. My husband and I like to go there because we like to play the claw games. We have a ridiculous amount of random stuffed animals because of this, but it's so much fun to win that we're pretty addicted. There's also a really tiny collection of traditional midway games that we usually ignore, you know, because they're a scam (not like the claw games are any better...) but when we went they were running a special where all the games were a dollar. We decided to try out the one where you throw ping pong balls at colored plastic cups floating in water. There were some pretty awesome giant stuffed Pokemon you could get and my husband was determined to get me a Minccino (which he calls a "Mousky" for reasons I don't fully understand. I can't say anything though because when I was little and Pokemon first came out, I could never remember "Sandshrew" and called him "Shrewdude", which is equally inexplicable). In the end, I was the one that got a ball in a cup and I won this happy little fellow:
He's no Minccino, but he's kind of cute in his own, blue koala bear kind of way. I ended up winning another bear another time we went that I show in the video but I don't have a picture of it. It's really poor quality though so I might give it to someone with a tiny child or something.

Also while we were at the Mall, Caribou Coffee was having a special promotion. In the Mall there's a big central area called the Rotunda where they hold special events and display advertisements and stuff. Caribou Coffee was giving out free samples of their new, Pintrest inspired blend called "Real Inspiration". They also had a huge, 60ft Pintrest board that updated in real time, which was cool (not all the spaces did; it was a giant printed sheet with parts cut out that did change). You could take a picture next to this big coffee cup and get posted to the board. Because I am incredibly shy and awkward, I declined to get my photo taken, but the coffee was pretty tasty (I didn't even add any milk or sugar since they were over by the big coffee cup and thus at risk of getting photo-takened and it was still good) and I got a free notebook!
It's a pretty nice, medium sized notebook with felt covers and both lined and dotted paper on the inside. I like notebooks since they always feel like they're full of possibilities (I know it sound weird, but I love empty notebooks and sketchbooks and things like that because I like to think of all the creative things I can fill them with. When it comes to the actual creating part though...that takes a little more effort to get going). As a marketing/advertising campaign, I thought it was pretty effective (I mean, I am telling you guys how much I liked their coffee and the notebook they gave me).

And that was our trip to the Mall! We used to live super close and would go at least once a week, but now that our schedules are so different and we live farther away, we probably only go a few times a month. Sad, but probably better for our wallets!

I wanted to include on last thing in this haul. I kind of threw it on haphazardly at the end of my video, but I did want to show you guys since it is something that interests me and I like talking about more than just makeup/beauty things. I really like buying Japanese magazines because A. they're much better quality than American magazines, B. they sometimes comes with free things like tote bags, and C. Asian fashion tends to be much more interesting than American fashion. I really love buying magazines from physical stores when possible (which is basically only when I've gone to Seattle and had access to Kinokuniya), but I do also purchase them online from CDJapan. I love CDJapan because they don't charge you anything extra for the magazines, you pay newsstand price. It's the shipping that sucks. Granted, you do pay more for the magazines at Kinokuniya since they factor in shipping, but if you calculate it, it ends up being about the same. This time around, I picked up five magazines, four for myself and one for my husband's Valentines Day gift. I didn't take a picture of what I got him, nor did I show it in the video because I didn't want him to see it before Valentines Day, but that's kind of a moot point now (I already gave it to him and he loved it!).

I got the February issue of egg:
the March issue of Kera (I don't know why, but Japanese magazines seem to come out super early...I placed this order back in January)
and two Gothic and Lolita Bibles:
number 49 and the special 50th edition with extra diary!
I was kind of behind on my GLBs (49 is the autumn edition, 50 is the winter, and the 51st is set to release this month I believe) so I wanted to get up to speed on those (even though they're full of old releases that I likely can't get my hands on, it's still fun to look at all the coords and get the patterns). I'm mildly into gyaru fashion (I don't ever wear it, I don't really have the body for it) and egg is a fun read, and Kera is a great way to get info on lolita fashion, as well as other street fashions (not sure if I like Kera more or Zipper. Zipper is similar to Nylon magazine here). Admittedly, I do pay a ridiculous amount of money for magazines that I can't even read (I took two years of Japanese in college so I can read a little, but I'm rusty and kanji is not my strong point), but like I said, the quality of Japanese magazines are amazing and they're packed with tons of pictures.

And that, finally, is the entirety of my haul. Ugh, my fingers are sore from typing so much! This was a bit bigger than normal, but that's just because of how long I spent collecting these things. I'm happy I got through it though since now I can finally put everything away and clear up some space around my desk!

Thanks for reading (especially if you made it all the way through)! <3

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