to pamper / {sale alert} 30% off peach and lily collection at ulta

The beauty sales are so aggressive in Q4. I think it’s been worse this year than last year with Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom joining the ring. Sephora has one more weekend left of their annual sale and is welcoming all status levels (after last weekend didn’t go so well).

Ulta nonchalantly dropped a Cyber Fundays event as a precursor to Cyber Monday. The event is through Saturday and I was surprised that the entire Peach and Lily collection is 30% off and they had trouble keeping some items in stock. While Peach and Lily will probably have 30% on their site next weekend, I rather buy from Ulta and build status, and I had gift cards. Don’t forget to add a free beauty bag.

I resisted this collection when it was released. It wasn’t too hard as some things flew off the shelves. I waited for real, non-sponsored reviews. General feedback is good. They’ve done a great job formulating the products. Toxin and irritant free. To date, I have tried:

  • Super Reboot Resurfacing Mask, great for degunking your pores. I use a mask like this about once a week and follow with a moisturizing (wash off or sheet) mask. Since I love variety, I rotate this with the Tata Harper resurfacing mask. This one has a jellier consistency and does not dry matte. If you have sensitive skin, you will need to patch test.

Image: Peach and Lily

  • Glass Skin Refining Serum. A very pleasant serum to use. It has a nice weight, texture, absorbs well, and plays nice with other products. I don’t think it gives a glass skin look though and I’m fine with that. It is well priced given the ingredients (not just for hydration), sleek packaging, and the sale makes it a smart buy.

 

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to pamper / sephora holiday beauty insider event

It’s that time of year again for Sephora’s annual sale. Sephora did push up the dates a bit. When you can shop depends on your Sephora Beauty Insider status. The discount applies in US, Canada, and JCPenney.

Rouge: Code ROUGEBONUS for 20% off from Oct 26-29 and Nov 2-5. Fine print for Rouge.
VIB: Code VIBBONUS for 20% off from Nov 9-12
Insiders: Code BIBONUS for 15% off from Nov 16-19. Anyone can sign up for Insiders.

I read that Rouge can use their code during the VIB/Insiders weekends as well. Also, the VIB/Insiders code is one-use only whereas Rouge can place unlimited orders. Sephora has been doing these annual % off sales for the longest. Now, there are other retailers that run similar promotions, however they don’t have all the value sets that Sephora has!

My picks:

Drunk Elephant. In the US, you can buy Drunk Elephant from their own site or Sephora. I quite like Drunk Elephant (old posts). My favorites are the vitamin C serum and the lip balm, then the eye serums, moisturizers, and marula oil. I don’t like the jelly cleanser or SPF.

(1) The Trunk 2.0 comes with 10 full size products, a snazzy acrylic case customized to hold the products, and 28% off. With the Sephora discount, it comes to 42% off. Of course I bought it (with some gift cards I’d been saving). This has since sold out on Sephora, but it’s hard to say whether it will be restocked before the sale ends. It’s also available on Drunk Elephant. Note, it does not include all of DE’s products. Missing: D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops, Lala Retro Whipped Cream, Shaba Complex Eye Serum, Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense SPF 30, Juju Bar, or Pekee Bar.


Images: Drunk Elephant / Sephora

For the remaining kits, they contain at least one full size product that is priced close to the kit price. It is a no brainer to me.

(2) Agent Ellie Day Kit – I’ve been through about 4 bottles of this vitamin C serum. It’s my favorite and since vitamin C oxidizes, their packaging is 5 stars. The smell does take some getting used to but the cons outweigh the pros. I tend to stock up on products, but this is one serum that you should not stock up on as it has a shelf life of 12 months unopened (from manufacture date, not purchase date). If you do have problems with a bottle, email Drunk Elephant directly. They stand by their product!

(3) Inspector Drunk Night Kit / (4) Out of Office. The pink Framboos serum is a nice AHA. It’s certainly not the cheapest night acid serum but it is nicely formulated and works well for my skin. I like the Lippe lip balm (I’m on my 5th?), especially the larger surface to get into the corners, and it’s nice to get some minis out of the purchase.

Sephora x Clare V

Image: Verge Creative Group

This was an old early 2017 collab, so I’m surprised to still see them in stock and on sale. This Penelope Pencil case has CV’s signature spots and the unpictured Agnes clutch is double sided with a signature stripe.

Others

  • AMOREPACIFIC Vintage Single Extract Essence. No review yet, I am going to start using this highly rated essence soon. I picked it up at Lotte Duty Free for a good price.
  • AMOREPACIFIC Treatment Enzyme Peel. I’ve gotten a few of these over the years in beauty boxes or as a sample. A little goes a long way. This is great for gentle exfoliation when traveling.
  • Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask Limited Edition.My favorite Tata products are her cleansers and masks.. This is a limited edition jumbo size of my favorite Tata mask of hers. Not sure if I care for the brush though.
  • CAUDALIE Brightening Heroes. I really like Caudalie products and have been using a sample of the brightening serum.
  • Sephora Cuticle Nippers. I misplaced my existing pair so am picking up a new pair.
  • Christophe Robin Volumizing Gift Set. The volumizing paste smells so lovely and a little bit goes a long way for good volume. A tub of this has lasted me a long time. Pick it up here if you want the shampoo or conditioner. This is often OOS elsewhere when there is a sale.
  • Fresh Mask for Miles. I love Fresh wash off masks and this is a very nice of well sized minis. They have a few value sets but this is the only one that is all masks.
  • GrandeLASH – MD Lash Enhancing Serum. I am a fan of their serum and it comes in this PLAY! set on sale. It is much better value than buying the full or jumbo size.
  • Glow Recipe Watermelon Jelly Tote Set. More millennial pink in a cute bag. I’ve never tried the watermelon products before.
  • Mount Lai Gua Sha Facial Lifting Tool. Gua sha increases blood flow and stimulates the lymphatic system. I got one recently and need to look more Youtube tutorials to figure out how to use it.

to pamper / beauty box review (allure, birchbox, sephora play)

If you’re interested in a beauty box, the Allure Beauty Box has been impressive. I subscribed in December 2017 when I heard of the January spoilers (a full size $85 Sunday Riley serum). They have a good balance of prestige and non-prestige brands. Value-wise, it is easy to pick 1-2 products in the box that exceed the $15/monthly fee*. The box contains a booklet that explains each product and discounts for the full size. You can go month to month, which is what I do.

A sample of what’s been in my boxes:

  • October 2018: 7 products. Sunday Riley x 2, Caudalie, Hourglass mascara, YSL lipgloss, etc. Valued at $86.

  • September 2018: 5 products, 2 were full size. Drunk Elephant Babyfacial, full size MAC lipstick, Tarte x 2, IGK, etc. Valued at $66.

  • August 2018: 6 products, 2 were full size. Laneige, Caudalie, Eyeko, etc. Valued at $69.
  • July 2018: 8 products, 1 was full size. Olay, Ouai, Sunday Riley, etc. Valued at $110.
  • June 2018: 5 products, 3 were full size. Kat Von D and Ole Henricksen. Valued at $69.

I prefer skincare and I like when the products are prestige brands or interesting products from the smaller/mass brands. I don’t wear makeup often but the offered brands tend to be prestige (like Make Up For Ever, MAC) and/or a product that I would actually use (like highlighter or lip product). Hair products are not in every box. No perfume samples to date!

Perhaps a part of their success is not customizing their boxes like their competitors below (excluding color variations for makeup). Spoilers are usually available, e.g., here is November’s. I like the spoilers – no surprise needed here.

Signup link through Allure (they have gift subscriptions)
My referral link
* – first box is $10, subsequent boxes are $15 each. One year is $150. I tried cancelling after 2 months and they offered me 4 boxes for $10.

Signup through Amazon (While you may get an older box as first box and don’t get a $5 discount on your first box, you don’t have to deal with Allure’s customer service. Not that I had issues with them when trying to cancel via e-mail. Recommended if you have issues with getting mail as you’ll be dealing with Amazon and it also sounds like they ship faster.)

Alternatives

  • Birchbox:$10/month. I did Birchbox for a bit, stopped, restarted, and then stopped again after they devalued their program. Birchbox is still quite good for shopping, especially during November sales, for discovery kits and value sets. I like higher end brands and while Birchbox sells them, their customized boxes don’t consistently have them. Is the box worth the $10? Not to me. The brands also tend to repeat, which is not a good thing when it is not an appealing brand. I also think there is room to improve the website, which in my opinion, is hard to shop and lacks filtering/sorting functions that are common in most other sites.
  • Sephora Play: $10/month. This was super exciting when it initially launched and registration was limited but it fizzed out for me and I cancelled after 10 months. It had too much makeup/perfume, some skincare that wasn’t appealing, Sephora Collection products, or it started repeating. This is great for someone who isn’t picky. I ended up selling most of what I got. A non-committal alternative is buying the Play boxes that aren’t monthly or past monthly boxes when Sephora clears them out.

All images from Allure.com

to shop / halogen x atlantic-pacific

Blair Eadie of Atlantic Pacific is one of my favorite style bloggers – yes, she actually still blogs in addition to Instagram. I visit her actual blog, which is not that common versus reading it in Feedly, because her Notepad and Edit & Etc pages aren’t captured in my RSS feed. I love her style. It reminds me of a time when J.Crew rocked and when I dressed less basic. I also like how she keeps her social channels professional.

Blair just launched her collection with Nordstrom’s Halogen house label on Monday. My favorites are the jackets and blazers. There aren’t too many pieces and surprisingly, she didn’t shoot each piece styled. Many pieces have sold out.

Bow Detail Tweed Jacket – although I don’t love this bow, the rest of it is a solid tweed, slightly cropped jacket without any metallic embellishment.

This double breasted blazer came in pink and black. I have been actively staying away from pink after acquiring one too many millennial pink accessories and a chair that has since been dismissed from the home. The pink flew off the shelves, the black is still around.

I love this lace trench. It has lace and a black/navy combo. A good black/navy coat has eluded me since I passed up a Massimo Dutti coat in Florence in 2006. (Lesson learned: don’t ask non-fashion minded friends for their opinion!)

Reminder: if you have a Chase Freedom card, department stores are 5% cashback this quarter!

All images from Blair’s blog or Nordstrom.

to shop / uniqlo lately (oct 2018)

I found myself in Uniqlo over the weekend, which is rare as I am much more of an online shopper. The Columbus Day long weekend sales are in full swing.

Blocktech Soutien Collar Coat


I love outerwear pieces and Uniqlo is great at nailing practical, affordable options with their Heattech/Blocktech/Airism technology. I saw this one in the store. The material was softer and lighter than I’d expected (from prior Blocktech purchases). This coat reminds me of something I had from Gap circa 2002, minus the hood (which can be removed) and the nifty Blocktech.

The Uniqlo store didn’t have the size/color I wanted, so I checked their online store. I don’t understand why Uniqlo likes to do this. There are two products named WOMEN BLOCKTECH SOUTIEN COLLAR COAT with different SKUs, prices, same content, and some overlapping colors. That is a challenge with buying online – you can have the same fabric content but very different weight/feel.

Extra fine cotton A-line striped 3/4 sleeve dress which I posted is on sale along with the shirt version.

Fleece coatigan and Fleece Collarless Jacket looked great in person, especially the lighter colors. The pockets on othe coatigan do add bulk if not laid flat. Although the fleece “cardigan” coat from the Uniqlo U collection last fall/winter still wins in style.

Images: Uniqlo