Monthly Archives: July 2016

Monthly Manicure Reviews Featuring Nail Polishes: Rococo Flower Child Creme and Julep Kimberly

My nail polish collection is large, and thanks to my Julep Maven subscription, I keep adding to it. That means Julep polishes represent my biggest percentage, but I own a lot of brands. I started a nail polish challenge around the beginning of 2015 to put more of my polish to use. Sadly, my challenge got derailed when life got in the way. Halfway through this month, I decided to start regularly painting again. Instead of challenging myself to paint my nails at a specific time, I will just paint when I feel like it. Once a month, I will share all of my monthly manicures listing the polishes I used, how many coats of each I used, and how long each lasted. This should give me a great opportunity to use my polishes more often and actually review them. Since my polish collection keeps growing rapidly, I am not going to list them all in one place. Swatches and descriptions of every polish I own go into an article listing all polishes in the same color family. Typing the name of the polish you want to see in the search bar will pull up its respective article if I own it. If you have any requests on polishes I own that you want reviewed, please list them in the comments. As long as the polish you want reviewed is close to the color or finish I am looking for when I paint, I will consider it.

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Kate Somerville Rewards Redemption For EradiKate and a Free Gentle Daily Face Wash

Kate Somerville makes a few products I love. All products on her site ship free, so I never have to worry about ordering only one thing at a time. Most of her gifts come with a purchase of $100 or more. Thankfully, the items I love from her line are all more affordable than that, so I am unlikely to ever take advantage of those offers. She occasionally offers a nice gift with any purchase using either a general code or a unique one through a targeted email offer. This order looks remarkably similar to one I placed in August of 2015, where the gift with purchase was a general code. The item I purchased, the full-size gift with purchase, and one of the samples are the same. I did receive two new samples and a deluxe banner offer that make this slightly different.

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Nerd Block Jr Subscription Box Review July 2016

We originally bought this Nerd Block Jr For Boys subscription for my 9-year-old son, Xander. Our boys get to select a six month subscription, plus other gifts for their birthday. My younger son, Connor, just turned 5. Connor loved seeing his brothers boxes so much that he decided he also wanted this one. He is a little below the demographic, but I do not think that’s a big deal. Last year, he selected Citrus Lane for his subscription, and he mostly enjoyed that. Now that he’s older, he’s ready for items meant for bigger boys. It costs $13.99 plus shipping ($6) per month and is for boys aged 6-11. All plans auto-renew, and this actually renewed from when we ordered it for Xander. 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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Tips for Getting the Best Deal When Shopping Beauty.com or Drugstore.com

How do you get the best deal at Beauty.com and Drugstore.com? Deal stacking at Beauty.com is less complicated, but it is possible at Drugstore.com with a little effort. I’ve never seen a guide for getting the best deal for either retailer (even though one may exist). Putting everything I can think of in one place to make deal shopping a little easier seemed like a great idea, because the site is not the easiest to navigate and does not make deal searching easy. A lot of deals are link activated, and the links are temperamental. Dealing with these temperamental links is challenging, but there are ways around it. There are always new things to learn, so I will edit this any time I discover something new. Details scare some people. If you’re scared of detail, click that little X and back out now. Do not say I did not warn you!

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Influenster July Backyard Bash VirtualVox

Influenster gives free trial products of everything from beauty products to household items. To qualify for programs, you fill out quick product surveys. Once you’ve qualified, they mail the products. Try them and tell people what you think in person and on social media. Complete a short exit survey and review the product(s) on Influenster. The more active you are the more programs you qualify for. Everything received from Influenster is free. Some virtual Voxboxes or multi product packages include coupons to redeem for the product. At times, the coupon will not cover the full amount, but you can opt out of any program that only offers discounts or does not interest you. If you are unfamiliar with Influenster, you can read my overview.

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Tips for Getting the Best Deal When Shopping at Sephora

How do I offer tips for getting the best deal at Sephora when it only hosts two real sales a year? Sephora is DisneyWorld for makeup lovers. As someone who probably loves Disney more than makeup, I do not say that lightly. Although I love a lot of beauty and makeup stores, I experience pure joy when visiting Sephora. My son calls it my store. He’s not wrong, because I love shopping there. Deal stacking at Sephora is not always possible, but there are times when it is. There are always new things to learn, so I will edit this if I discover something new. I’ve seen guides to getting the best deal at Sephora before, but they’re not usually comprehensive and miss many important tips. Details scare some people. If you’re scared of detail, click that little X and back out now. Do not say I did not warn you!

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Birchbox Man Subscription Box Review August 2016

See all Birchbox Man articles.

Birchbox Man gives at least four grooming samples a month for $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. My husband decided to cancel his box after he reviews these items for the last 50 review points (which every account gets once). If you’re thinking of canceling, make sure you review your items before you cancel or you will lose the opportunity to review. He finally decided to help me use items in my stash that he does not consider too girly. We have a lot of work to do!

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Birchbox With the New Points Program Versus Sephora Play!

See recent Birchbox and Sephora Play articles.

I’ve happily subscribed to Birchbox since February 2014, so the July 2016 box marked my 30th month. There were also months along the way where I simultaneously carried two or three subscriptions (under different emails) with them. That means I’ve received a lot more than 30 boxes, and I’ve been happy with most of them. It is a quality subscription box that helps me discover a lot of gems. The rewards program was the best in the business until monthly review points halted on 07/11/16. Under the new rewards program, each subscriber gets 10 points each for his/her first five reviews. After that, review points are unavailable. Every product review received 10 points before, and there were a minimum of 60 products a year. This new program is closer to rewards program other subscription boxes offer.

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Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Is Open To Everyone – Use Those Free $10 Gift Certificates for Joining Nordstrom Rewards

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is a once a year event that starts in July and carries over into August. It opened to shoppers with a credit or debit card on July 14th, so they got eight extra shopping days across the 3 and a 1/2 week event. Those of us without any Nordstrom cards can shop the sale officially starting today, July 22nd. This sale runs through August 7th, so it is a long event. If you have not already joined Nordstrom Rewards, sign up before shopping the sale. It used to only be open for card holders, but everyone can join now. Card holders will still get better benefits, but those of us who refuse to open cards still get some benefits. Add any benefits to Nordstrom’s legendary service, and shopping there becomes even more desirable.

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Julep Maven Subscription Box Review July 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 seven to nine new colors (and at times re-release 1-2 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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Ulta Gift With Any Purchase

Ulta periodically emails offers for a free gift with any purchase. There is no set schedule for these offers, so I cannot pinpoint an exact time period the way I do for major promotions. At times, there will be none and other times there are up to four. These are typically valid in store and online, but each offer will specify if there are any restrictions. Online offers include a link to add the purchase. These are targeted offers, so they are not listed in the general GWP section. In-Store offers include a coupon. Most of these targeted offers are general, meaning we can share them with someone who did not receive the offer. Others are unique, and a unique code can only be use one time in store (if it has a 20 character bar code) and one time online (if it has a 10 character code). If you are not using a unique offer, you can pass it along, but it will only work one time (per method since online and in-store codes are different). Any other questions on these coupons and other Ulta coupons are likely answered in Everything You Need to Know About Ulta Coupons.

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Sephora Play! July Subscription Box Review Effortless Summer

See recent Sephora Play articles.

Sephora Play! is a subscription box that offers six beauty samples for $10 a month plus tax, shipping included. The charge posts from the 1st through the 4th, and the boxes start shipping around the middle of the month. Spots are limited, but you can place your name on the waiting list if they’re unavailable when you check. This gives one more sample than the standard $10 box offers, because it considers the monthly fragrance as a bonus item. Only items sold at Sephora come inside the box, so it only includes well-known mid to high range items. There is not a traditional rewards program with this box, so you cannot get points for referring friends or writing reviews. It does award 10 Beauty Insider points and applies $10 toward your purchase minimum to maintain your Beauty Insider status. Visit my Sephora page for descriptions on points and status.

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PINCHme Volume Eight

PINCHme is a free sampling service. Complete your profile where you answer questions about your household and shopping habits. On select Tuesdays at 9am PST when new samples release, you can order any available that match up to your profile. The better samples tend to run out quickly, so log in as early as possible. Once you’ve tried the samples, you complete a short survey. As long as you complete your surveys in a timely manner, you are eligible to receive future samples.

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Ole Henriksen POWER Bright™ Free Trial from Sephora

A Sephora moderator contacted me via its Beautytalk Forum on 06/03/16. Beautytalk is my favorite online hangout, because there are a lot of like-minded friendly people to chat with about all things beauty. I probably hang out there a little more than I should. Those familiar with Beautytalk may know me under the user notcreative. The moderator wrote, “as an active community member who has made great contributions and given helpful product recommendations on BeautyTalk, you’ve been especially chosen to receive a free gift (no purchase necessary) of a new Ole Henriksen product! You will receive Power Bright, a three-step brightening system with a 25% Vitamin C Complex.”

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Influenster TRESemmé Expert Selection Beauty-Full Volume Reverse System VoxBox

Influenster gives free trial products of everything from beauty products to household items. To qualify for programs, you fill out quick product surveys. Once you’ve qualified, they mail the products. Try them and tell people what you think in person and on social media. Complete a short exit survey and review the product(s) on Influenster. The more active you are the more programs you qualify for. Everything received from Influenster is free, so they never collect payments for products. If you are unfamiliar with Influenster, you can read my overview.

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Bloomingdales’s 40% off Fourth of July Sale Haul

Bloomingdale’s had a wonderful discount on sale and clearance items from June 29th through July 4th and sent coupons to Loyallists that gave an extra percentage off up to 40%. I actually received four different codes (five emails but two had the same code) during that period and did not realize until after the sale that the codes were different. If the first one I checked did not have the highest discount amount, I am sure I would have checked the other emails. When I know they’ve sent me the highest one, I have a hard time passing.

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Target $3 off a $15 Purchase from the July 2016 Beauty Box

When you purchase a Target Beauty Box, you get a coupon for $3 off a $15 beauty purchase. They usually expire within a month of receiving the box. I went to Target last night to redeem my unused one from the June 2016 Beauty Boxes only to discover I messed up the expiration date. That one actually expired on the 9th, instead of the 13th, like I thought. My confusion probably stemmed from receiving the July 2016 Beauty Boxes having coupons that expire on the 13th (of August). This is a reminder to look at them and make sure you know when they actually expire. Thankfully, I used one of the June coupons online for the July Boxes, so I only wasted one. I had the July box coupons on me, so I used one last night and still have another month to use the other one. There are not many exclusions other than beauty items purchased from the baby or personal care departments. Target releases most of the Beauty Boxes on the first Monday of the month, so the next one will be right around the corner.

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Influenster Virtual VoxBox Lumene Bright Now Vitamin C Night Cream

Influenster gives free trial products of everything from beauty products to household items. To qualify for programs, you fill out quick product surveys. Once you’ve qualified, they mail the products. Try them and tell people what you think in person and on social media. Complete a short exit survey and review the product(s) on Influenster. The more active you are the more programs you qualify for. Everything received from Influenster is free, so they never collect payments for products. If you are unfamiliar with Influenster, you can read my overview.

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Ebates Flash Cash Back Day and TopCashback Bonus Cash Back Event

Apparently, July 12th is a really special day for deal lovers. I’ve already reminded you that today is Amazon Prime Day. Well, ebates and TopCashBack want in on today’s action. Both have increased cash back offers that are available today only. When the click strikes midnight, these cash back percentages will return to their regular rates. Yes, they both have offers for Amazon!

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Dial Rewards

Colleen from the public relations department at Dial sent me an email on 05/19/16. She gave me six bullet points for why my readers might be interested in Dial Rewards. I told her I would join and play around with it for a little while. If I liked what I saw I would suggest it to others. Well, I obviously liked what I saw. The program is rewarding and only asks for minimal effort back.

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Amazon Prime Day July 12th 2016 The Largest Event Ever

Amazon hosts an annual event for Prime members, Prime Day. The July 12, 2016 event will be the largest event ever. Even though it’s advertised as a one-day event, there are always Prime Day Countdown Deals leading into the event and excellent deals after the event wraps. There are 313 Prime Early Access Deals and more coming as those expire. Deals during the event are the real star though. Expect incredible promotions, deals, discounts, and steals on every type of product you can think of. Better deals will sell out quickly, and new deals come all day long. All deals have expiration times, and most will not run throughout the entire day. In other words, come early and often. The deals will change all day long. If you check the site less than a dozen times throughout different times in the day, you’re missing some of the best offers.

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Ulta 20% Off Prestige, a Beauty Break, and Lipstick Queen Let Them Eat Cake At Last!

See the 2019 20% off Prestige Coupon Offers.


Ulta releases 20% off prestige coupons to UltaMate members five times a year: late January, early April, Platinum members in late June 2016, early July for UltaMate, late July for Platinum members (this is the normal time but members who received them in June did not receive the July offer), late October, and Mid December. The July offer was reduced to 10% for non Platinum members in 2015 and 2016. In 2016, the early April offer was also reduced to 10% for non Platinum members. During this promotion, select UltaMate members receive a coupon for $15 off a $50 purchase if they have not shopped in a long time. Each unique coupon is eligible for one online purchase AND one in-store purchase. Coupons emailed have a different code than coupons mailed. If you receive a coupon from both methods, you will have two different online codes and two different in-store bar codes.

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Birchbox Subscription Box Review July 2016 Rise and Shine Plus a Reminder to Review Your Box Before July 11th

See recent Birchbox articles.

The new points program at Birchbox starts tomorrow, so make sure you review those July Birchboxes today. Birchbox actually published the review links earlier than usual (for most users). If you wait until tomorrow or later, those will be the last points you ever receive for reviews on the account. You will also only get 50 points, even if your box has 6-7 items. Do not worry if you have not received your box yet. There is a question on every review asking if you’ve sampled the product. Select no, and you will still get your points. Birchbox does not publish reviews where the subscriber states she has not tried the item yet.

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Julep Cancer

I obviously love Julep nail polish, but I think a lot of items in their lip range are equally impressive. When I saw they were releasing a new product, a Lip Butter for the July 2016 Maven box, I decided to order two. My Julep Maven Subscription Boxes usually arrive between the 5th and the 9th with a few anomalies in either direction. On 06/29/16, I received an email stating my box was delayed with a code that offered 20% off as an apology. Usually Julep just gives added Jules as a delayed shipping bonus, so this coupon code was different. The email said this code, JULY20 works on anything, even items in the secret store.

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Ulta Free Gift and Gift With Purchase

Free gifts at Ulta (not a gift with purchase but a free gift) are rare, but they do come out occasionally. In May, Ulta randomly mailed 0.03oz Benefit Goof Proof Brow Pencils to Platinum members. Ulta randomly mailed Urban Decay Vice samplers to Platinum members in June. Those samplers included 24 0.007oz new shades of Urban Decay Vice Lipstick. Some Platinum members were lucky enough to receive both. Others received one. Unlucky Platinum members, like myself, received neither. The July 2016 catalogs have a coupon inside for a free gift in store. There is no purchase required, but there are not enough for every member.

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FabuFinds June 2016

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. Items I love but cannot finish make it into Deal Discoveries.

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 decided to condense the article. There are two products I consider FabuFinds in my June Empties that I have not discussed yet.

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Finished Products Review June 2016

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 spotlight ones I’ve finished and others I have yet to finish, so I can discuss them in more detail.

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Target July 2016 Beauty Boxes Simply Radiant and Fresh & Fabulous

These boxes are back in stock. Target releases seasonal beauty boxes. These are not subscription boxes and always sell out the day they release, usually in the first few hours. A new box released today and is still available. Shipping is always free, and the box contents announce as soon as the box goes on sale. Most items are sample sized, but there is almost always a full-size item or two inside. Value is usually at least triple the cost. The only variation in box content is on color items. Unless the color is specifically stated in the description, colors will vary. Boxes usually range in price from $5 to $10. The Simply Radiant and Fresh & Fabulous Boxes are $7 each.

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Core Collection June 2016 Deal Discoveries

The Disney Minnie Collection is on sale. See my Disney items to see why I recommend this collection.

There are so many products I fall in love with but will take a while to finish. Instead of waiting until I can mention them in a FabuFinds article (for Emptied Products) or waiting to see if they make the Top 10 of the Year, I want to go over items from my Core Collection. These are items I consider great deals (even at full-price, although I will still try to get them with a deal). If I ever finish them, I will probably replace ones that do not already have back-ups. Sometimes, they are items I’ve had for a while and just tried or items I tried in the past but love more upon rediscovery. Occasionally, I purchase items I love that do not fit into an article other than this one. When I try something from a recent acquisition where I wrote an article, I will always edit a mini review into the original article (love, hate, or anything in between). A single product review in the original article will not always depict how much I love it compared with other items I tried that month. This lists my Deal Discoveries from June 2016 that I am not even close to finishing.

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