Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Haul Time! - Ulta, Sephora, MAC, and Bath and Body Works! Plus Some Random Extras!

Hello! Today was such a gorgeous day out! It got up to 70°F, which is awesome and much needed. I hope things stay this way; last year we still had snow on May 2nd so you never know with Minnesota... I'm so over winter, as I'm sure pretty much everyone else ever is, and look forward to all the warm, sunny days in the future!

This post is going to be another haul! What can I say, I like trying new and different things (though I do have some "holy grail" products that never change). I also like to rotate my make-up out every so often; I'm a bit of a germaphobe and once I start to feel that my make-up is getting old and dirty I get the urge to replace it. I don't throw things away, though (unless it really has gone bad or it's something I can't really sterilize like mascara). I pass them on to my mom and sister, with a full disclosure of how long I had it, how often I used it, and anything else that might be "wrong" with it, so I don't feel too wasteful.

This haul is going to be a combination of two online orders, one from Ulta and one from Sephora, some MAC (actually, I think it's only one MAC product...), some PocketBacs from Bath and Body Works, and then a few extra things that I didn't know where else to put.
Gratuitous order box shot!
I didn't actually feature this order in my haul video; it's a little on the boring side since I just repurchased some hair products that I was running out of. I don't normally like to order online since you have to spend $50 to get free shipping, but the weather wasn't very good and there was a special promo for my preferred haircare brand, Ouidad, so I figured, "why not?"

One thing I really like about orders is that the samples you get are totally random. Yes, it's nice to be able to pick the three you want with orders, but you only get to chose from nine or so different items and at least half of them are fragrance samples anyways. With you can chose to get a fragrance sample pack, a skincare sample pack, or a variety pack. I always chose the variety pack because I like surprises and you really do get a good variety of products, including a mixture of drugstore and high-end.
This time I got two hair care samples and a BB sample. I ended up really liking the Exquisite Oil shampoo (though the conditioner wasn't as good as my Ouidad) so I might have to pick that up when my current shampoo runs out. I'm not a fan of Smashbox's BB cream, and I especially don't like foil packet BB cream samples; they always seem to separate and get all gross. I haven't used the heat protectant yet, but since I want to start actually spending time doing my hair, it will be nice to try.
I also got the recent edition of the catalog (this was a while ago, so this isn't really all the recent anymore...) and...

An info card about Benefit's new Big Easy foundation-thing! I've seen a few reviews about this product now and, while I am curious, I still really, really like my Estee Lauder Double-Wear and can't imagine anything topping it.

Kind of on impulse, I got another tube of Jack Black lip balm, this time in the Shea Butter and Vitamin E "flavor".
I really like my Grapefruit and Ginger one, but sometimes the citrusy/grapefruit flavor kind of gets to me. In general, I'm not a big fan of grapefruit and citrus scents/flavors, so I'm not sue why I picked that one to begin with (I imagine it had to do with being a sheeple and the fact the sales associate said it was her favorite one). This is basically the "unscented/unflavored" version and I love it! While I do want to try some of the other flavors, especially the blackberry and tea, this will definitely be my go to flavor from now on.

I also picked up another canister of the KMS California Hair Stay Style Boost since mine was almost out (it's totally out now; in fact, I think I already featured it in an empties video. That's how far behind I am...). I really like this stuff and I think it makes my hair look so much nicer! Also, it crackles, which is cool.
And I got two bottles of Ouidad's Balancing Rinse Essential Daily Conditioner. This is the only conditioner I have ever had consistently good results with; if I have one "holy grail" product it is this one. My only issue is that I can only buy it from Ulta (I'm sure there are other places online where I can get it, but Ulta is my most accessible/trusted). Sephora does carry Ouidad and I used to purchase it from there, but for some reason they stopped carrying this specific conditioner. This conditioner is pretty much the only reason why I went Platinum at Ulta.
Finally, this is the special gift with purchase that prompted this order! If you spent $25 or more on Ouidad, you got a sample size of the Climate Control gel (which I use daily and love) and the Botanical Boost hair mist. I mostly wanted to try the Botanical Boost mist (though getting another bottle of the gel is awesome, too); I tried it once before when I first started using Ouidad but I didn't like it too much. I didn't really know what I was doing and the world of haircare was still new and scary to me. I wanted to give it a second chance when I was more knowledgeable and better able to appreciate it. Overall, I think it's an okay product; it does make my hair feel moisturized and refreshed, but I really don't think it's worth the $17 for a full sized bottle. I feel like I would go through it so quickly!

I'll keep with the theme of online orders and go through my order next!
More gratuitous box shots!
This was a new promo item for me; it's a kind of cool type of fold-out advertising perfumes! For a while now, Sephora's been really pushing their fragrances.
This one talks about Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue and it includes one of those pull-off samples. Personally, I hate D&G Light Blue because I had a horrible co-worker who wore it every day and now when I smell it, I think of her. Scent memory is a powerful thing!
For my three free samples I went with a volumnizing conditioner from Phyto, Dr. Brandt's D.N.A. serum, and Katy Perry's Killer Queen. Killer Queen is a little too deep and heavy for me, even for evening-wear. Sephora also included a carded sample of Algenist's Microalgae Oil; I already have a deluxe sized sample of this from my skin care favorites kit and I love it so I'm really happy to get more (even if it's just a little bit!).
I also decided to pick up a 100-point sample this time around. Normally I bank my points hoping to snag a really good 500-point reward, but I had seen a bunch of reviews of Urban Decay's new Naked lip glosses and I really wanted to try one.
Inside the little card it talks about some of the features and benefits of the lip gloss, as well as listing all the colors it comes in. This sample is in the color Lovechild, which is quite pretty!
I was a little disappointed in how small this sample was, especially for a 100-point perk! It is a nice lip gloss though, and I'm happy I got to try it!
I liked the color Lovechild a lot and my only complaint about it was the slightly minty taste, which many people like and I'm just weird about (I hate mint-flavored lip products. They remind me too much of gum or toothpaste).

What prompted me to make an online order instead of purchasing in-store was a special VIB Rogue gift that was being offered with any $35 purchase. I had such great luck with the Nars Illuminator VIB Rogue GWP (gift with purchase) that I couldn't resist.
This time it was a three piece Origins skin care set! I love their Clear Improvement face mask and needed more since I ran out of my little pods. I don't think Origins even packages the mask like that anymore since I can't find them anywhere, which is said because I liked the idea of the one-time-use pods. It took the guesswork out of how much product I needed. I've also been really into exfoliators so I wanted to try the Modern Friction. And, since I'm always looking for new eye products, I was happy to try the GinZing eye cream. Let me just say, the eye cream is one of the worst ones I've ever tried. The day I used it, my co-worker thought I was sick and was extremely concerned for me. That's how bad I looked. I still really love the face mask, though, and I've yet to give the Modern Friction a try. Overall this is on okay set, but I am sad I missed on the "luxe" set that had an Hourglass primer, a Marc Jacobs mascara, and a Givenchy lipstick.

What did I actually buy?
I finally gave in a bought a Beautyblender! And not just one, but two! And the cleanser! I got this set for $40, so I basically got the cleanser for free. I was just going to buy one, but I figured it'd be good to get two, especially if I ended up liking it, and since you can use the cleanser for your brushes as well, it sounded like a good investment. OH MY GOD BEAUTYBLENDERS ARE THE BEST THINGS EVER. I have no idea why I waited so long to try one, except for the fact that they are $20 make-up sponges. But they are worth every. Single. Penny. They help me apply my foundation and concealer flawlessly and gently; everything just looks so much better when I blend it in with my Beautyblender. As for the cleanser, it seems okay. I've only used it a couple times with my brushes, though it's a little tricky to dispense since it's really designed to be used with the Beautyblender. I have heard that people prefer the solid cleanser, so I might have to give that a try next. But the Beautyblender itself? Absolutely amazing.

And that's it for online orders! Now, I'll move back to Ulta and what I got in their physical store!
So. Yeah. I gave in and bought the Too Faced Chocolate Bar palette. I wasn't going to since I already have the Naked2 and Naked3 palettes by Urban Decay, as well as a few other neutral palettes, but...I had to. I mean, it smells like chocolate!
Everyone and their mom did a haul and review of this palette on Youtube, and there are far better blogs/videos about it than I could ever do, so I don't want to spend too much time talking about it. But I still have to talk about it because it's pretty awesome! Also did I mention it smells like chocolate? Because it does.
One thing a lot of people have taken issue with, and I take issue with it as well, is that instead of printing the color names on the palette itself, Too Faced printed them on a clear plastic overlay. Which is annoying and I ended up just throwing away.
The colors are on the back of the box and, since the magnetic latch is kind of weak in my personal opinion, I'm keeping the box around to use for travel purposes. So at least I'll have to reference to if I ever need to know the color names (which isn't something that comes up too often).
So many pretty colors! ALSO CHOCOLATE. When I bought this palette, the sales associate asked me if I knew it smelled like chocolate. I thought she was just making small talk and I told her yeah and I was really excited about it. She said that was good since they had some people buy the palette and then return it the next day because they didn't know it smelled like chocolate and they didn't like it. Sad!
One thing I like about Too Faced products is that they often come with these little "Glamour Guides"; they're basically tiny "lookbooks" that give you ideas on how to use the product.
This one has instructions for three different eye looks! My favorite is the "Semi-Sweet".
I love the graphics that Too Faced includes; it's especially helpful for someone like me who isn't the best at doing her eyeshadow. I'm definitely a visual learner and these are simple and easy to understand.

Now for swatches! Like I said, there are so many other people who did swatches and reviews that are much more professional and in-depth than mine, so I'm not going to go into much detail.
This is the top row of shadows; from left to right is Gilded Ganache, White Chocolate (one of the big highlight shades), Milk Chocolate, Black Forest Truffle, and Triple Fudge. I really don't like Gilded Ganache since it's this weird olive/gold/black color with somewhat chunky glitter, but Triple Fudge is a great liner color.
Second row, left to right, Salted Caramel, Marzipan, Semi-Sweet, Strawberry Bon Bon, Candied Violet, and Amaretto. This is my favorite row of colors! Salted Caramel is gorgeous, as well as Marzipan. Strawberry Bon Bon is a little disappointing; it wasn't very pigmented. Candied Violet was also a little disappointing since it has pretty chunky glitter, like Gilded Ganache.
Final row, left to right, Hazelnut, Creme Brulee, Haute Chocolate, Cherry Cordial, and Champagne Truffle (the other highlight color). I really like these colors as well, though Cherry Cordial suffers from the chunky glitter problem as well.

Overall, I am extremely pleased with this palette! It has a great color selection, I love Too Faced's eyeshadow formula, and it smells like chocolate. If you're looking for a great neutral palette, you won't be disappointed with this one!

Continuing on with things I bought in-store, I got some eyeliner from MAC!
I'm slowly expanded my MAC collection and I feel like this is one of those products everyone recommends. I was sad I missed out on getting Julep's gel eyeliner so I thought I'd pick this one up instead! I went with Blacktrack since I thought it would be the most versatile color, though I might end up picking up a dark brown one as well.
I really like the texture of this product and find it much easier to work with than liquid liner. I normally use eyeshadow for liner since I find it easy to work with and less harsh-looking, but I like the super defined look you can get from liquid liner. I thought this would be a good "in-between" type of product and, overall, I'm very happy with it! I find it easy and quick to use and it's very customizable. I can do a very dramatic or very subtle look, depending on how much I use and where I apply it.

I also bought a bunch of PocketBacs from Bath and Body Works!
I love these little guys; especially for work! And $5 for five of them is a deal I can't pass up. This time around I got Strawberry Cheesecake (which unfortunately has glitter in it. I don't like glittery hand products because I am an adult and not a magical fairy), Warm Vanilla Sugar (a great, neutral kind of scent), Berry Shortcake, Island White Pineapple (because summer!), and Kettle Corn Pop, which smells exactly like popcorn and is the weirdest thing ever. I love it.

And now for the random things that I didn't know where else to put!

My husband and I went up to his hometown to see his mom and his little brother for his birthday and we went shopping at some of the local stores.
At one of the stores they had all winter hats for 50% off and I couldn't resist picking this one up! You can never have enough hats in Minnesota and for $3.50...I had to buy it.
I also got a new wallet! Because owls. I like owls.

I don't normally peruse the clothing at Target (I stick to the outer perimeter since I mostly just buy groceries and toys at Target), but for some reason, I was drawn to one day. And I'm glad I did because I found this sweatshirt on sale for $7! It's a nice, lightweight sweatshirt for spring in a pretty, soft pink color with flowers! I'm super into floral this spring, which works out nicely since it's on trend.

Speaking of floral, I also got these sweet overall shorts from Forever 21.
Overalls are big this spring/summer and when I saw this pair in Forever 21, I had to get it! Unfortunately, they've since released even cuter color combos and patterns, so I kind of regret jumping the gun so quickly, but I think it's still super cute and I can't wait for the weather to warm up so I can wear them!

And that's my whole haul! It feels good to get that all typed out! It will feel even better to get everything put away and to get rid of some of my desk clutter!

Thanks for reading! <3

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