Monthly Archives: June 2015

WalMart Beauty Box Summer 2015

Wal-Mart Beauty Box is a subscription box delivered once a quarter. The items are given to you free of charge, and you pay $5 for the shipping. Your first $5 charges when you subscribe, and a box from the current season will ship to you within a few weeks. Future boxes will incur the $5 charge as the box ships. My summer box arrived today.

This is the first Wal-Mart Box I’ve received without a lippie. There are two things I’ve made a no-buy commitment on. One is lipstick. The other is eyeliner. You can guess what replaced my lipstick in this box! My no buy is not because I do not like these items but rather because I own more unused than used. Thus, I welcome receiving both in kits or boxes until I start actively buying them again.

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Citrus Lane June 2015 4 Year Old Boy Box

Receiving subscription boxes is always a lot of fun for me.  The surprise element coupled with finding something I love that I never would have considered buying keeps me subscribing.  My boys watch me open my subscription boxes all the time.  In May 2015 while planning my son’s fourth birthday party, I decided I wanted to order him a subscription box of his own.  After doing a little research, I chose Citrus Lane.

I missed the cutoff for the May 2015 box, so his first box would arrive in June.  That was actually neat for two reasons.  His first box would come around his actual birthday making no mistake about what the subscription was for.  Also, he did not miss his item choice for his first box.  Like my favorite subscription, Birchbox, you get a choice on one of the items.  As long as you like the options, you get at least one item that will please you.  At nearly four, I felt he was old enough to make his own choice, and he did.

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Fabletics May 2015 Tree Islands

When I walked around my gym, I felt like I looked frumpy.  Some may think, it’s a gym, who cares what you look like?  The thing is it seems like most of the women in my gym do care what they look like when they work out.  I am not referring to the women who workout in full hair and makeup (which is another story altogether), but I am referring to those who actually wear quality workout gear.  Most of my workout gear was on the cheaper side, because I never put much thought into it.  After much consideration, I finally decided to put a little more effort into my gym clothes.

Fabletics provides quality workout gear for a decent discount over buying the similar items from sporting good stores.  They’re cute and high quality.  You can even get 50% off your first outfit making the first outfit an incredible deal too good to pass up.  I was happy to see that there was no wait.  I signed up in May, and my first choice was immediate.  As it turns out, I actually find workouts more comfortable in nicer attire, so that is an added bonus.  Of course, I like the way the outfits look on as much as I like the way they feel.

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Julep February 2015 Birthstone

I love collecting the Julep birthstones, so I collect them all rather than just my gemstone. February’s offering was a black glitter polish. While black is not my usual color, my collection needs to be complete. Also, a little glitter never hurt anyone, so I am always down for a glitter polish. Some may be tempted to order this the first day of the month when it opens up in the secret store. More popular colors will sometimes sell out when they’re in the store. The problem is they charge the full $11.20 Maven price in the secret store, and promo codes do not apply.

If you wait it out a little, even the colors that sell out will make a triumphant return. It can take some time with certain colors, which I will cover soon. As a Maven, I get free shipping with every order, so I could order just the birthstone each month and call it a day. That is not my style though, because I live for a deal. Mavens get offer codes in each box.

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Influenster Really Influences My Purchases

Influenster is the sampling site that sends free items for you to try.  There is no catch to trying the free items other than the request that you review the item(s) and complete a short exit survey.  For minimal effort, you get items in a free VoxBox selected based on your profile and qualification survey.  Sometimes the items are brand new to you, and those are the items I most look forward to, not that I mind receiving extras of items I already know and love.

My most recent VoxBox gave me the opportunity to try the Dessange Haircare line.  Prior to receiving it in my VoxBox, I had never heard of the brand.  After researching it, I learned it was yet another line in the impressive Loreal brand.  I instantly fell in love with the shampoo and conditioner.  Since testing it, I now see it pop up often.  It is only sold at Target, but luckily for me, that is where I shop the most.  This has been a Cartwheel offer twice, and I’ve even seen a Target coupon pop up.  I also walk into the hair care aisle on certain trips to see what other items Dessange has to offer.

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WalMart Beauty Box Spring 2015

I subscribed to the Wal-Mart Beauty Box.  My Spring Box was actually opened at the same time as the Winter Box on 03/26/15.  To make sure I did not mix them up, I kept them in separate places.  It honestly would not have mattered which one I presented first, because they were that similar.  I already wrote in the last installment that my late subscription may have had something to do with this.  Other reviews of the winter box seemed to contain different items than mine.  Thus, my theory is they ran out of some winter stock and started using advanced spring samples for later winter orders.  If you place an order late into the season, this may happen to you as well.  That could be great if you love the items or not so great if you do not, because then you end up with two not so great items.

Now that my subscription is active, I hope to only get items from the current season.  Wal-Mart Box items depend on the age you enter when you sign up and the colors vary.  That means there will be some variety from box to box, and there is no guarantee you will get the same box I get.  It is a recurring subscription. You get the box for free but pay $5 for shipping. The $5 charge posts immediately when you subscribe, and you get a box from the current season, which can take a few weeks.  Boxes go out once per season. Each box after your first will only charge the $5 fee when it ships.

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WalMart Beauty Box Winter 2014/2015

I ordered the Wal-Mart Beauty Box on 01/17/15 based on the strength of the Fall Box, which I missed.  That box seemed amazing, and I love that it had a full-sized Secret Clinical strength deodorant, which I already use.  It retails for over $5 alone.  Sadly, I knew nothing about this box when they were originally filling orders, so I missed out.  It is a recurring subscription.  You get the box for free and pay $5 for its shipping.  The $5 charge posted immediately, which I expected.  On the website, it says the charge posts right away, and you will get a box from the current season.  Boxes get shipped once per season.  My first box arrived during the time where I never opened any packages, so it had to have been sometime after 02/18/15.  All of that time blurred together, so I apologize for being unable to pinpoint an exact date.  I know I opened it on 03/26/15 though. It actually took me a bit longer to go through it and begin to put the items away, because of everything going on in my personal life at the time.

Other reviews of the winter box seemed to contain different items than the items from mine. My late subscription may have had something to do with the fact. It seems as though they ran out of some winter stock and started using advanced spring samples for later winter orders. If you place an order late into the season, this may happen to you as well.  Unlike Target Beauty Boxes where you know all the items in advance, and the only variation is in color, you have no idea what will come inside your Wal-Mart box.  It is a big surprise.  Even if you read spoilers on sites like mine, your items could be slightly or entirely different.  For me, that is part of the fun.  I’ve found so many wonderful items I never would have purchased on my own through boxes.  If you do not like surprises, this is not the subscription for you.  Could you find $5 worth of value though?

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Target Clearance

Target already has great prices, but it also has clearance sections in a several categories.  They are usually on the outside of the aisle and are often very small.  My favorite clearance section is in the beauty department. Don’t blink or you may miss it.  Look for red and white price tags.  Clearance is on it.  Old prices are listed to the left, and new prices are listed to the right.  It is not unusual to find multiple stickers.  Unlike some other stores that sometimes have a cheaper price on stickers as you peel the layers down, you will not find that at Target.  As items are more deeply discounted, the price always goes down.  I always look at the prices on all stickers, and I suggest you do as well.

Most Target items do not have price tags on them, so any time you spot a price tag, that is a huge clue that you have hit the clearance section (or someone dumped a clearance item off in a random place if you find one odd product).  While markdowns on clearance items can happen any day of the week, I’ve read that Wednesday is the most common day for beauty items.  However, Target via Snopes denies that.  How do you know when to buy and when to walk away?

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Why I Canceled Ipsy and Scoff at Most Birchbox Versus Ipsy Posts

See recent Birchbox articles and all Welcome Box articles.

There was a major update that changed the rewards program at Birchbox effective 07/11/16. I compared Birchbox to Sephora Play (another $10 a month box) without factoring in the monthly review points if you’d like to see a current match-up. Everything below the line was the case when the article was written, so I want to leave the original article in tact. Since the Ipsy program makes redeeming points difficult (I could never redeem any) with lower value and limited items, I still do not consider its rewards program valuable. The box comparisons are still an accurate match-up of the two. All current offers and details regarding the new rewards program are on my Birchbox Subscription page. It is no longer the best reward program EVER (as described below). I’ve remained subscribed to Birchbox under the new reward program based on the strength of the items in my boxes. As long as I keep getting great boxes, I will continue to subscribe without extra points.

My suggestion is try Birchbox, even without the old reward program, and customize your profile as much as possible to get items geared toward you. If your boxes miss the mark, play around with your profile to get better ones. Cancel if the boxes do not meet your expectations. They meet mine (for now), but we are all different. The standard box format is five deluxe items from different beauty catgeories: hair, fragrance, skincare, body, and makeup. While you can limit how many fragrance samples you get, you cannot limit the other categories. It is extremely uncommon to get more than two from any category (outside of bonus foils typically in the hair category). Look at pictures of all my recent boxes, and you will see the product mix is in every box. Those who do not want hair samples or want more makeup may not like that all boxes are a good mix of beauty products. There are other subscription programs that usually send more makeup per box, including Ipsy and Sephora Play! People looking for mainly makeup samples will likely be unsatisfied with Birchbox, so I’d suggest picking another subscription.

There was a six month period in 2014 where I subscribed to both Ipsy and Birchbox. When I started Ipsy, it impressed me. Every item in the bag was exciting. The best thing about the Ipsy subscription was the little bag that accompanied the samples. Most of them were very cute. If you have a beauty addiction, odds are you will never use any of those incredibly cute bags. Why? They’re way too small unless you are rocking a very natural look with little makeup, so my cute Ipsy bags are not used. Whenever I gift something small, I always put it inside a Birchbox now. They make great gift boxes or you can even repurpose them for something else.

Ever since Birchbox introduced box themes, I find them incredibly cute, like the Ipsy bags. When I run out of the boring brown boxes, will I be able to gift using my colorful treasures! Probably not. Although, I will probably not repurpose them another way, so I know I should.

Birchbox and Ipsy both cost $10 a month or $110 a year. Since Ipsy restructured its format, they both send a variety of beauty samples. You can expect to see hair products, perfumes, skin care, body care, makeup, nail polish, and more from both. The similarities end there. Ipsy stopped sending mostly makeup, which disappointed many, including myself. When Ipsy got into the skin care game, they did not enter it the same way Birchbox did. They started sending mostly low-end brands, whereas Birchbox sends items closer to mid range. I am not anti low-end brands. Some of them are good, but the nice ones tend to be the exception and not the rule. While I have no problem trying the low-end makeup Ipsy samples, I found I could not even bring myself to sample some of the low-end skin care.

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Sephora’s Beautytalk Members Receive a Free Formula X The System to Go Set

Some of you may have already read Beautytalk and How It Pays to be a Member. Well, courtesy of Formula X owner, Kendo, it is paying again. It appears Sephora sent the vast majority of Beautytalk members were gifted a free Formula X The System to Go Set. The set contains 4 0.1oz nail polishes and retails for $16. While this thread clearly demonstrates some are still waiting, I have a good feeling most people will be victorious in receiving a set. Thus far, responders have only reported to receiving Alive, the set with peach-pink polish, and Pyrotechnic, the set with red polish. I am watching the thread to see if anyone receives Thrilling, the set with gray polish.

If you have not received yours yet but have ever created a Beautytalk account, there is a good chance that yours is on the way. The first reports of this lovely gift were dated five days ago, but I only received mine yesterday. With thousands of users, it makes sense that they are staggering mailings. It does not appear closeness to Kendo has anything to do with the timely manner in which you will receive the item either. My package was mailed from 525 Market Street, 15th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105. Although I live in the next state over, people in Canada (yes, Canadians are not excluded) received theirs before I received mine. There was even a user who reported receiving one at her UK address.

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Disney Makeup on Sale

This was actually a pajama order.  We are huge Disney fans, so most of my boys’ pajamas come from the Disney Store.  I also got a pair of pajama pants of my own.  Although I rock those Minnie Mouse pajama pants, I am writing this to share a different Minnie purchase with you.  Disney actually sells makeup.  As a frequent visitor to the cruise line, the mall stores, and the US parks, I’ve seen the makeup they’ve offered everywhere.  Some of it looks cute while other selections look cheap.

I decided it was finally time to take the plunge into the Disney world of makeup.  It might be fun to combine two of my favorite things, beauty and Disney.  Worst case scenario is I hate the item, but I still have a collectible trinket.  All things Disney are super cute, so I would keep my purchase regardless of the outcome whilst adding it to my Disney collection.  When it comes to makeup, one of my favorite things to collect also seems like the hardest item to ensure quality, eyeshadow.  If you get a lousy lipstick, you can always reapply.  Lousy eyeshadow is much harder to reapply, because once it creases or refuses to blend, it is done.  What better place to start my Disney makeup journey!  Will it end before it really begins or will this be the beginning of a new Disney addiction?

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Deal Shoppers Unite

I’ve often wondered why some people choose to pay full price on items without any promos, perks, samples or anything.  We all do it from time to time, because deal hunting can be a lot of work.  Sometimes items are excellent and stand on their own without a deal.  Other times, there are no deals to be had.  Even when we’ve done our research, we can feel downright discouraged later when we find out we did not get the best deal after all.  The love of the deal and the hunt is half the fun for me.

When it comes to television, I have two guilty pleasures.  One is Days of Our Lives.  I have watched it on and off since I was 13.  It is the only soap opera I’ve ever really watched.  Years ago when Passions came on after DoOL, I would watch some episodes.  That really was soapy even for a soap opera, so I never really got into it.  I do remember the current Rafe and Brady were also on Passions, but I cannot remember their character names.

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FabuFinds: Product Spotlight February 2015

Every month, I review my empty products.  If you missed this month’s empties, you can find them here.  Some products are obviously miserable, and I do not want to think about them again.  Others are so wonderful and seem like they’re made just for me.  Those are FabuFinds, and I generally like to devote a little more time to discussing them.  They are items I have repurchased and will continue to repurchase even at full price if I could not find a good promo code.

Of everything I used in February 2015, there were only three I consider FabuFinds.  Two already exist in my stash, and the other one will once I’ve used the samples I own of it.  Three is one less than last month, but finding products that are just right for you is a task.  If you find even one a month, it makes your never-ending quest to find them worth it.

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February 2015 Empties

It’s the beginning of the month. That means it is time to review empties.  Okay, these empties are from February, but I will eventually get caught up and have more timely reviews.  This was actually a rough month for me, so looking over the items that got me through it is actually a little weirdly satisfying.  Have you tried any of these items?  What are your thoughts on them?

I will give you a mini review on each item. I’ll tell you the items I love and will repurchase. If I like or am indifferent to an item, I will not rush out to repurchase, but I would be willing to use or try it again. Lastly, I will present the items that are not for me. Generally, I will not use these any more in the future. If they’re really awful to me, I always hope I can find someone else who may actually like them. Thus, I will try to find someone to give duplicates to. For the items that I really love, I will do a separate product spotlight on them at some point to discuss them in more detail.

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Influenster Virtual VoxBox from Healthy Essentials

Influenster is the completely free sampling program that has members complete short surveys to see if they qualify for specific programs.  Read more about the free program.  I’ve received several physical Voxboxes before, but I recently received my first Virtual Voxbox.

As someone who loves deals and saving money, this virtual Voxbox was right up my alley.  Coupons are always nice to receive, but I have never taken the time to get into extreme couponing.  Thus, I tend to only use physical coupons I stumble upon and do not actively seek them out the way I actively seek out online promo codes.  Healthy Essentials offers virtual coupons, so I should be able to print coupons I want.

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Getting the Best Deal

How do I get the best deal? This is a question I see often. Sometimes it is directed toward specific retailers. Other times it is more of a general probing. Let’s face it. Getting the best deal can be a lot of work. Have you ever been so proud of yourself for doing your research and locking down an incredible deal only to find out you did not get the best deal available? You are not alone. This has happened to me, too. We live and we learn from overpaying. Then, we get more savvy in the future. There are the tricks everyone knows. Subscribe to the retailer’s updates. Do Google searches for promo codes. Use ebates, ShopatHome, Mrrebates, or TopCashBack to get a percentage back on what you order. Of course, you can always visit sites like this one that try to list all known deals in one place. What are you missing though? Can you do anything else?

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