Monthly Archives: March 2016

My Ulta 2016 Birthday Gift (Part Two) is My Beauty Steal Score

The 2017 gifts have been announced. I started a new article for the new gift.

The 2016 free Ulta Birthday Gift is changing every quarter. Join UltaMate rewards before your birthday to get your free gift. Starting with a referral link will also give you $10 off your fist purchase. I have a general article that covers the gift for each quarter, and the quarter two gift has updated. When I went in for my free brow appointment, I picked up my free Ulta Birthday Gift. Platinum members also get a $10 coupon good toward any product. I saved my coupon until today, because there was something I wanted to pick up from the 21 Days of Beauty.

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Walmart Beauty Box Spring 2016

Wal-Mart Beauty Box is a subscription box delivered once per 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 spring box arrived yesterday. There is usually some variety in boxes based on the age of the recipient. If you’re unhappy with your box, you can try adjusting your age up or down before canceling.

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Benefit Brow Bar Service (My free Redemption)

The Benefit Brow Bar specializes in brow mapping to customize your brows to your eye shape. I’ve visited a Benefit Brow Bar at Macy’s and many times at Ulta and have almost always had a great experience. There was one time my brow specialist took my brows too thin. As someone who kept a more natural brow (even through the 90s when thin brows were in), it was disappointing. However, the same specialist always did a good job before that and after that. It was the one time I forgot to remind her I liked them as full as possible. Even thin, they always look perfectly placed because of the brow mapping technique they use.

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My Ulta 2016 Birthday Gift

The 2017 gifts have been announced. I started a new article for the new gift.

Ulta is one of the few retailers that offers a completely free birthday gift. It does not require a purchase, but it does have to be picked up in person. There are a number of retailers that offer free gifts or a GWP for your birthday. Every quarter in 2016, the gift is changing. The birthday gift for the first quarter, for anyone born in January, February or March is a 0.1oz Benefit Roller Lash mascara. I will update the general list and my general Ulta gift article as soon as I find out what the gift is for each subsequent quarter. Within the next couple of days, we should know what the quarter two gift is.

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Nerd Block Jr March 2016

This Nerd Block Jr For Boys subscription is for my 9-year-old son, Xander. It costs $13.99 plus shipping ($6) per month and is for boys aged 6-11. All plans auto-renew. You get a discount paying up front for a set number of boxes. Save 10% at 3 months ($12.59 each plus shipping), save 15% at 6 months ($11.89 each plus shipping), and save 20% at 12 months ($11.19 each plus shipping). Each box has at least $40 in value and gives 4-6 toys. We are on the six-month subscription. You pay for all boxes and shipping on all boxes up front. Nerd Block has a variety of subscription offers including: Classic, Arcade, Horror, SciFi, Comic, Jr For Boys, and Jr For Girls. For details on all boxes, visit my Nerd Block Page.

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Sephora Chic Week 2016 Schedule

Sephora Chic week invites were sent via email on 04/05/16 and are arriving in the mail. This is the second year in a row where it is referred to as a Sephora Love Note, so I may have to stop calling it Chic Week next year. The sale dates and the discount amount varies based on your Beauty Insider status. Rouge clients can start shopping 04/07/16. VIB clients can start shopping 04/08/16. BI clients can start shopping 04/09/16. The sale lasts through 04/13/16 for Rouge and VIB clients, giving seven and six shopping days respectively. Beauty Insiders can only shop through 04/12/16, so they have four days to shop. Rouge and VIB clients get 15% off, and BI clients get 10% off.

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Ulta Lancome 5x Points and a Laura Geller GWP

See 2018 5x Points Offers.

View detailed instructions on Earning and Redeeming Points at Ulta.

As much as I love Ulta, and I really do love all the deal stacking at Ulta, I never buy my beloved Lancome there. Why? They never get the blockbuster GWP options you see at department stores. From April of 2o13 to May of 2014, I partook in over 30 Lancome gifts from a variety of retailers. Ulta never got any of my Lancome love until now. This was my very first (and possibly last) Lancome purchase at Ulta.

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Ulta 21 Days of Beauty Steal Too Faced Sweethearts Perfect Flush Blush Peach Beach (At Last)!

The Fall 2016 Event

Today was the day I was most looking forward to in the Ulta 21 Days of Beauty. There are four steals happening today, and I wanted all of them. This is the first and last time I will probably purchase all four steals in one day. Of course, I was ready to go right at 10pm Pacific time (Ulta crosses each day over at midnight and runs on Central time). If you have not already laid out your purchase plans, I have all the steals for this event (gathered from multiple sources) laid out with some basic tips. I also go over a more detailed shopping plan from a previous event that applies to the different steals here.

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Whole Foods Hello Beauty Bag 03/18/16-03/20/16

The latest limited edition Whole Foods Beauty Bag to kick off the launch of Whole Foods Market Beauty Week launched this morning. It will be available in store only until the 20th, unless it sells out sooner. Some stores have already sold out, so contact your store before heading over. The Hello Beauty bag, made by Riji Green, retail for $15. The 2015 press release for the event goes over the reason behind the event, which is to promote Riji Green, a company trying to end human trafficking and expand the ever-growing beauty Department at Whole Foods.

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Nail Polish Swatches Greens

My nail polish collection is large. Polishes kept in good condition (away from heat or light) can last a long time, longer than the two years many people quote. A good thinner (I use Seche Vite) can also revive them. I have tossed polishes when thinner cannot save them or they have obviously gone bad, but it is rare. When I started collecting polishes again, I tossed all polishes older than the summer of 2013. To avoid ordering duplicates, I created a spreadsheet. Swatching them with these spoons I purchased from Amazon will help me compare the colors, finishes, and overall quality. All polishes only have one coat, because I wanted to spot the difference between my sheer and opaque polishes. We’ve all seen polishes that look dark in the bottle only to need 3-4 coats for opaqueness. No polishes have base or top coats either, because that can change the way the polish looks.

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Nail Polish Swatches Salmon and Wines

My nail polish collection is large. Polishes kept in good condition (away from heat or light) can last a long time, longer than the two years many people quote. A good thinner (I use Seche Vite) can also revive them. I have tossed polishes when thinner cannot save them or they have obviously gone bad, but it is rare. When I started collecting polishes again, I tossed all polishes older than the summer of 2013. To avoid ordering duplicates, I created a spreadsheet. Swatching them with these spoons I purchased from Amazon will help me compare the colors, finishes, and overall quality. All polishes only have one coat, because I wanted to spot the difference between my sheer and opaque polishes. We’ve all seen polishes that look dark in the bottle only to need 3-4 coats for opaqueness. No polishes have base or top coats either, because that can change the way the polish looks.

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Birthday Time!

Some of you already know that a lot of birthday offers come in the day of your birthday instead of coming in earlier to shop for them. My guess is this is to spend some of the gift cards retailers assume you’re getting. Well, today is my birthday, and I updated as many last-minute Birthday Beauty Deals as I could this morning. My husband has a pretty agressive schedule for the rest of the day, so I will update any that arrive later today tomorrow morning. Of course, I will continue to update it for those rogue retailers who actually send the offers after the birthday.

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Then, there are the pesky ones I opted out of with the intent to opt back into before my birthday, but opting back in takes an act of congress. Lesson learned. If I want the birthday offer, I have to take all of the other emails throughout the year. Clever retailers! Over the next few weeks, I will try to see if any of them have offers worth redeeming, and will update them if I find any.

View my main page for the guide map to the site and deeper deal exploration.

Nail Polish Swatches Treatments, Base Coats, and Top Coats

My nail polish collection is large. Polishes kept in good condition (away from heat or light) can last a long time, longer than the two years many people quote. A good thinner (I use Seche Vite) can also revive them. I have tossed polishes when thinner cannot save them or they have obviously gone bad, but it is rare. When I started collecting polishes again, I tossed all polishes older than the summer of 2013. To avoid ordering duplicates, I created a spreadsheet. Swatching them with these spoons I purchased from Amazon will help me compare the colors, finishes, and overall quality. All polishes only have one coat, because I wanted to spot the difference between my sheer and opaque polishes. We’ve all seen polishes that look dark in the bottle only to need 3-4 coats for opaqueness. No polishes have base or top coats either, because that can change the way the polish looks.

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Nail Polish Swatches Yellows and Golds

My nail polish collection is large. Polishes kept in good condition (away from heat or light) can last a long time, longer than the two years many people quote. A good thinner (I use Seche Vite) can also revive them. I have tossed polishes when thinner cannot save them or they have obviously gone bad, but it is rare. When I started collecting polishes again, I tossed all polishes older than the summer of 2013. To avoid ordering duplicates, I created a spreadsheet. Swatching them with these spoons I purchased from Amazon will help me compare the colors, finishes, and overall quality. All polishes only have one coat, because I wanted to spot the difference between my sheer and opaque polishes. We’ve all seen polishes that look dark in the bottle only to need 3-4 coats for opaqueness. No polishes have base or top coats either, because that can change the way the polish looks.

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Nail Polish Swatches Sheers and Whites

My nail polish collection is large. Polishes kept in good condition (away from heat or light) can last a long time, longer than the two years many people quote. A good thinner (I use Seche Vite) can also revive them. I have tossed polishes when thinner cannot save them or they have obviously gone bad, but it is rare. When I started collecting polishes again, I tossed all polishes older than the summer of 2013. To avoid ordering duplicates, I created a spreadsheet. Swatching them with these spoons I purchased from Amazon will help me compare the colors, finishes, and overall quality. All polishes only have one coat, because I wanted to spot the difference between my sheer and opaque polishes. We’ve all seen polishes that look dark in the bottle only to need 3-4 coats for opaqueness. No polishes have base or top coats either, because that can change the way the polish looks.

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My Sephora 2016 Birthday Gifts

All Sephora Beauty Insiders get a free birthday gift. There are two gifts to choose from, and I will go over the gift I selected in this article. One gift is for the skin care lover, and the other is for the makeup lover. If you love both like I do, good luck choosing. They’re both incredible this year. It is completely free if you pick it up in person or you can include it with an online order any time from two weeks before your birthday until two weeks after your birthday. Email reminders go out (for those signed up to receive emails). If you did not receive an email or do not see the option to add it online, I have instructions in this article.

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Sephora Favorites Paint It Pink Product Review

Paint In Pink retails for $40 and has a $122 advertised value. I have a hard time resisting a Sephora Favorites. No one puts kits together the way Sephora does. Although it only has eight items (making each one $5 each), three of them are full-size. The cost of the full-sized products alone more than pays for this set. Usually, I would present the entire purchase in one article to go over the entire deal. This set stands alone by itself, and the items I got with this also stand alone. Thus, I will present the second half of the order tomorrow.

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Birchbox March 2016

See recent Birchbox articles.

Birchbox gives at least five beauty samples each month for $10. For every review I give, I get 10 points, which is equal to $1 in the shop. A five sample box like this one gets me $5 back to redeem toward future purchases. You can read my detailed overview of the program for more information. Each month, you get a sample choice or you can select the guest editor box. For this box, I selected the featured box, Ready for Anything.

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Julep Pisces

I spent all of 2014 and 2015 collecting the Julep birthstones. My plan was to collect every birthstone in 2016 as well. Julep decided to forgo the Birthstone Collection this year to focus on the Zodiac Collection. Each sign releases before the introduction to the new period. That means we can expect each sign to release before the secret store opens. Thanks to a wonderful Leap Day sale that did not exclude codes, I was able to get 2 polishes free with this order.

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Julep March 2016

When it comes to nail polish, I am a huge fan of Julep’s five free formula. These polishes chip less than most, and the polishes themselves are a good deal when you have a Maven membership. They are quality polishes, so I would probably purchase them at $14 each if I did not have my Maven membership. Luckily, I do not have to pay that much. The color selections and polish finishes are more vast than almost any other nail polish line. Every month, they release nine new colors (unless they re-release one or two from the vault). I have not skipped a box since I first subscribed in May 2014, because I find something I want every month. More often than not, the nail polishes are what draw me in, but I like to try Julep’s beauty products as well.

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Nail Polish Swatches Blues

My nail polish collection is large. Polishes kept in good condition (away from heat or light) can last a long time, longer than the two years many people quote. A good thinner (I use Seche Vite) can also revive them. I have tossed polishes when thinner cannot save them or they have obviously gone bad, but it is rare. When I started collecting polishes again, I tossed all polishes older than the summer of 2013. To avoid ordering duplicates, I created a spreadsheet. Swatching them with these spoons I purchased from Amazon will help me compare the colors, finishes, and overall quality. All polishes only have one coat, because I wanted to spot the difference between my sheer and opaque polishes. We’ve all seen polishes that look dark in the bottle only to need 3-4 coats for opaqueness. No polishes have base or top coats either, because that can change the way the polish looks.

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Nail Polish Swatches Corals and Oranges

My nail polish collection is large. Polishes kept in good condition (away from heat or light) can last a long time, longer than the two years many people quote. A good thinner (I use Seche Vite) can also revive them. I have tossed polishes when thinner cannot save them or they have obviously gone bad, but it is rare. When I started collecting polishes again, I tossed all polishes older than the summer of 2013. To avoid ordering duplicates, I created a spreadsheet. Swatching them with these spoons I purchased from Amazon will help me compare the colors, finishes, and overall quality. All polishes only have one coat, because I wanted to spot the difference between my sheer and opaque polishes. We’ve all seen polishes that look dark in the bottle only to need 3-4 coats for opaqueness. No polishes have base or top coats either, because that can change the way the polish looks.

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Essentielle Beauty Product Test Volume Three

After two previous product tests for Megan at Essentielle Beauty, she asked me to do a third. In the first test, I sampled Raspberry Cream and Lavender Balm. The second test included: Chocolate Face Cream, Peppermint Face Cream, and Gingerbread Face Cream. This test includes a Peppermint Balm and a Super Oils Cream, which consists of: jojoba, hazelnut, rosehip, macadamia, and kukui. If you’re thinking her products seem good enough to eat, I assure you most of them smell good enough to eat as well. The Apple Pie Face Cream she sent me with an order really smells like Apple Pie. Megan’s products are hand-made.

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February 2016 FabuFinds

Every month, I review my empty products. Some products are not worth thinking about once the month is over. Others are wonderful and seem like they’re made for me. Those are FabuFinds, and I generally 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.

To eventually spotlight all of my FabuFinds, I will never repeat items already mentioned in a past article. That does not mean they lost their magic. It is also possible an item not spotlighted in a past Empties article may get promoted as I try it more and fall deeper in love. Other times, it is because I had a lot of FabuFinds in a previous month and had to condense the article. There were five products I consider FabuFinds in my February Empties that I have not discussed yet.

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Birchbox Man March 2016 Box Review

See all Birchbox Man articles.

Birchbox Man gives at least four grooming samples a month $20. The price is double the Woman’s box, because of the added lifestyle item, which usually retails for over $20 by itself. As long as the lifestyle item is something you’d want, you should always get your investment back. You will get an email reminding you to select your lifestyle item. Respond as soon as you can, because the more desirable lifestyle items can go out-of-stock. All grooming samples are chosen based on the answers to your online profile questions. For every review on an item received in your box, you get 10 points, which is equal to $1 in the shop. A five item box, like this one, gets my husband $5 back.

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February 2016 Finished Product Reviews

When the new month starts, I toss everything I finished the previous month. I give a mini review of each item. Items I love are usually repurchased, so some of them appear in the Empties Series a lot. 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. Items that are not for me may not always be empty. Generally, I finish them but do not use them again in the future. If they’re really awful and new samples find their way to me, I give them to someone else unopened. For items I really love, I do a separate product spotlight to discuss them in more detail.

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