Monthly Archives: August 2016

Monthly Manicure Reviews Featuring Nail Polishes: Zoya Zuza, Ulta Baby Doll, and Julep Leo

My beautiful niece, who passed away on 02/18/15, would have been 10 today. Although it is nowhere near as substantial as anything she used to write, I dedicate this article to Sammy. I love and miss you more than I can ever express. If your Mom lived closer, I’d give her a great big hug today.

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. 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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Sephora Favorites Give Me Some Lip Review Fall 2016

See the 2018 Give Me More Lip Review

Two of my favorite things to collect are lip products and eyeshadows. I have a hard time passing on the latest and greatest eyeshadow palette and lipstick kit. Sephora puts favorites kits together like no one else. It is so hard to pass on them, even though I have more lippies than I can use. Earlier this year, Sephora launched Give Me Some Nude Lip for $28. Even though I am not a huge fan of nude lip colors, I loved the set. The colors in this new Give Me Some Lip are more my speed, so I knew I had to get this. If you’re looking for Give Me Some More Lip that launches every year, that should probably launch around the end of September if it follows 2015 or mid September if it follows 2014. After seeing previews around social media, it is safe to say I will purchase that one as well. These lip sets never stay in stock long, so it will probably sell out before the bigger one launches.

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Target September Beauty Box

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 Target September Beauty Box retails for $10.

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BzzAgent BIC® XTRA-Fun #2 Pencils with Stripes

BzzAgent is an international network of consumers who take part in word-of-mouth campaigns for a variety of products and services. It is a membership program that gives subscribers free products to try. After trying the free products, members review and share their experiences with the campaigns to qualify for future campaigns. Short surveys will appear in your profile. Complete them to see if there are any new campaigns available. When you complete surveys, you can accept free MyPoints offers. There are over 1 million BzzAgents in the US, Canada and the UK.

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Influenster Back To Cool Virtual 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. 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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Nerd Block Jr August 2016 Subscription Box Review

This Nerd Block Jr For Boys subscription for my 5-year-old son, Connor. 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 BoysJr For Girls, and the newest offering Shirt. For details on all boxes, visit my Nerd Block Page.

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Sephora Play August 2016 Subscription Box Review The Eye Openers

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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Sephora End of Summer Sale With Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Body Butter and a Lot More

See recent articles on Sephora Sale items.

The Sale Section at Sephora blew up last week and keeps releasing loads of new goodies. Sephora is having an End of Summer Sale to make room for fall. New items from tarte, Urban Decay, Philosophy, Make Up For Ever, First Aid Beauty, Supergoop!, Ren, St. Tropez, Buxom, Lavanilla, bareMinerals, Josie Maran, Ole Henriksen, Sephora Collection, Stila, Formula X, Boscia, Ciate London, Korres, Algenist, Nest, Peter Thomas Roth, Butter London, Karuna, Julep, Jinsoon, and more are available. Although it is always a good idea to check the Sale Section as seasons change over, it is actually a good idea to check everyday over the next few weeks. I am seeing new items almost every day since I first reported about the sale on the 22nd.

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Ulta Free 20 Piece Beauty Bag With a $60 Purchase

See General 2018 Beauty Bag Offers.

While we wait on our 10x points hauls and wait for the Fall 21 Days of Beauty to start on the 4th, Ulta decided to give us another reason to place orders. There is a 20-piece Beauty Bag available with a $60 purchase starting now. It is available through the August 30th, if it lasts that long. Check my Ulta page for ideas on what to order with this.

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Birchbox Man Final Point Redemption

See recent Birchbox articles.

There was a 20% off code, WELCOMEOFFER20, still working on my husband’s account. He only purchased from the store one other time, so he has not redeemed many codes. Birchbox deactivated the others, because I could not get any to work. My husband told me he wanted to cancel his subscription in July but forgot. When he told me he wanted to cancel after August, I decided not to let him forget again. As soon as I confirmed he did his final reviews for the last 50 points he will ever do on the account, I logged into his account and canceled for him! The problem is after I canceled, the 20% off code stopped working. It made me wonder if the codes are only for subscribers. COMEBACK15OFF for 15% off still works, but he was getting 20% before I canceled his subscription.

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ebates Triple Cash Back Week

ebates Triple Cash Back Week is on. They run on Eastern time, so it officially started at 9pm last night. This one week event gives up to three times the usual cash back rate when you click through ebates to shop online. There will be new offers released throughout the event, so participating retailers with less than stellar offers at the beginning of the event could get better offers as the event moves on.

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Beauty Insider Appreciation Week at Sephora Brings Point Multipliers September 10th 2016

See 2018 Point Multipliers.

See 2018 Beauty Insider Promotions.

The private VIB Rouge event for this promotion took place 09/10/16, and the 2016 VIB Appreciation Gift Bags released.

Beauty Insider Appreciation Week, which is usually at the beginning of August, starts September 10th this year. It runs through September 17th. The event comes with a point multiplier and an 8 piece GWP bag for VIB and Rouge members. Rewards Bazaar officially launched 08/18/16, and I am guessing Sephora wanted to work out the kinks before the point event. Today is actually the second official day of Rewards Bazaar, because new point perks are only released during business hours on Tuesday and Thursday. Though the official launch did not see any major offerings, Sephora promises they are coming. Perks from 100 points to 50,000 points will get released. I expect the 50,000 point perks will be extremely rare and incredibly valuable. In typical Sephora fashion, we will not see the official email on this event until shortly before the event. For official details, “stay tuned.”

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Sephora Sale Section Exploded and new VIB Promo Code, VIBICON

See recent articles on Sephora Sale items.

See 2018 VIB Promotions.

I know today is a big shopping day at Ulta (10x Points Day), but Sephora has offers of its own. The sale section exploded overnight with a lot of gems that will not last long. This is all part of the End of Summer Sale to make room for all the fall offerings. There are new items from Ciate, Julep, tarte, Stila, Korres, Sephora Collection, philosophy, Benefit, Ole Henriksen, Kat Von D, Nudestix, First Aid Beauty, Formula X, Butter London, Supergroup, L’Artisan Parfumeur, Nest, Buxom, Boscia, Josie Maran, Urban Decay and more. New items are releasing every day, so it is a good idea to keep checking.

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Ulta 10x Points 2016 For Platinum Appreciation Day Today Only!

See recent 10x points events.

The 2017 event took place on 08/21/17. A special mini 10x points event took place in early November 2017.

See General 2018 Beauty Bag Offers.

Every year Platinum members at Ulta get a one day event where select items are available for 10x points. Yes, this combines with any other multipliers you may have. Read my Ulta page for the rules on combining multipliers (if you’re lucky enough to have more than one). This event is always at the end of August and has not included every item sold at Ulta since 2014. In 2015, the event only included select items. It landed on Monday, August 24th. Ulta is on central time, so it officially started 08/23/15 at 10pm PST.

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There is a dedicated link this year for the promotion, so no one has to wait for their email in the morning or play hours of trial and error to see which items get 10x points. The event offers free shipping and although it was not actually working in the early hours of the sale, I noticed it started working around 10am PST.

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Ulta 21 Days of Beauty Fall 2016 September 4th through 24th

I love the Ulta 21 Days of Beauty. Twice a year, usually starting in March and September, Ulta has a 21 day sale where select brands or items are deeply discounted for one day only. The fall event will run from 09/04/16 through 09/24/16. These deals come from the upcoming catalog, and the online link from the special event page. Deals listed in the catalog are in-store or online. Any deal added after the catalog was printed was online. All online exclusive deals are only listed online. All Steals ship free for Platinum members and with a $50 purchase for UltaMate members. I am a huge fan of redeeming 2000 points during this event when items are at least 50% off, so I hope Platinum members got a chance to stock up on points during the recent 10x points eventContinue reading

Brand Challenge: AHAVA

Mixing and matching brands to find the products that work best for an individual is ideal. Even the best brands have duds, and most brands do not carry every product within a beauty routine. I created this brand challenge series to use as many products as possible from one brand to see how the products work together, and to find which products in the line are a little stronger. Of course, that will also call out the items that do not work as well. These are my opinions and go along with my product needs, so your ratings could be totally different. In order to qualify for this series, I need a minimum of seven different products from a single brand that I can use at one time. Anything less than that, and it does not feel like a brand challenge. Since I am really loyal to the brands I love, it will be extremely easy to use way more than seven for some brands.

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Macy’s Back to School Shopping and Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette for 25% Off

Macy’s is one of my favorite stores to purchase clothing for myself and my kids, because the clothing is cute and the prices are decent. They have frequent sales, so we rarely pay full price for clothing. Back to school shopping is usually an exception, because we usually shop in store. My boys tend to buy the items they like, and they rarely select items from the sale section. After shopping in person at Macy’s and Dillard’s for back to school shopping last year, we all decided it would be best to do back to school shopping online this year. The best part of shopping online is I can only show them things on sale without them experiencing fear of missing out when they see something in the full-price section. I highly recommend online shopping for this very reason unless your kids need to try the items on to make their decision.

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Completing My Disney Reigning Beauty Mirror Collection and Why I Prefer Shopping Sephora Online

Almost a year after the release, I’ve finally completed my Disney Reining Beauty Mirror Collection. I started with Belle and Snow White the day they launched, 09/15/15. On 10/07/15, I purchased Cinderella. The Elsa and Anna mirror has been available online almost non-stop since the release. Aurora and Ariel proved elusive. My thoughts were I had the three I wanted most, so I would not get any more unless I was able to get them all. We went to Disneyland last weekend (where I purchased another special Disney compact I will share with you in a separate article within the next week). Of course, I visited the Sephora at Downtown Disney, because Disney is my favorite place and Sephora is a close second. That store just seems a little more magical than other Sephora stores, even though it is far from the best I’ve been to.

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Birchbox August 2016 Subscription Box Review: My Final Box With Review Points

See recent Birchbox articles.

Birchbox gives at least five beauty samples each month for $10, which is half the cost of the Men’s Box. The new points program at Birchbox started 07/11/16. Under the new program, subscribers can only review 5 samples for 10 points each, and they can no longer get any review points after that. I reviewed my July box before the deadline, so this was the first box I received after the change. There were only five items in this box, so I was able to review all 5 items for 50 points. Now that review points are over, I’ve tried to decide whether I want to stay subscribed or cancel. For anyone without a ton of unused beauty products, I really believe this subscription is still worth the $10 monthly price tag without review points (which was the most generous subscription program out there). People who never bothered or do not want to bother with reviews will not notice a difference in the subscription. Everything else is exactly the same as it was. Others who have a lot of stuff may not see the benefit when we no longer get points to purchase full-size items in the shop. My stash is insane, so I really do not need any more samples for a while. I really do love Birchbox, so I am not taking the decision lightly.

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Rewards Bazaar Replaces Epic Rewards at Sephora

If you’re looking for rewards that are about to release or have already released, view my 2018 article on the Rewards Bazaar. Those looking for an overview on the program or tips to actually score the upcoming items can keep reading this. 

Most Beauty Insiders know that Epic Rewards was a hot mess. Epic rewards was a Sephora promotion where members with at least 1,000 points got extremely limited gifts in exchange for Beauty Insider Points. This event was never announced far in advance, so members with a lot of points had to stalk the site. Those lucky enough to arrive within five minutes of launching had a shot to grab some items. Others who were not lucky enough to refresh the screen at the right time missed out entirely. For those who were fruitful, the gifts were great. They were easily worth the points (ranging from 1,000 to 10,000), but the hassle to get them was certainly not. This event only happened three times (that I can recall) in: August 2014, May 2015, and August 2015. After the third failure in a row in August 2015, Sephora scrapped the idea altogether. Three strikes, and they were out. Sephora is attempting to address this run on the bank with the launch of Rewards Bazaar.

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TopCashback Student Treats Giveaway

TopCashBack is the only Pay-to-Shop Program I use that runs games. I adore games, because they are so much fun. Playing games whilst getting a great deal is perfect for me. The games are not constant, but the last game was less than two months ago and there were plenty of other giveaways along the way. Following TopCashback on social media will help you keep track of the games and clues. This game got off to a rocky start with programming issues, so TopCashback only started advertising it yesterday despite its 08/08/16 start. After finishing the Summer Treats Giveaway by only winning a quarter, I am off to a great start with this Student Treats Giveaway. With a quarter already banked and more time to spare, I have faith I will win something more this time. Here I come to $0.50! A grand prize winner will get $1500 when the contest wraps and everyone else will share $5,ooo from instant wins. AT&T Wireless is the sponsor of this game.
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Ulta Forever Fabulous Flash Sale Exclusive Platinum Member Offers and Over 30 Deals For Everyone

See 2018 Sale Items of Note.

Tomorrow only, 08/17/16, Ulta is having a Forever Fabulous Sale. The free shipping minimum will reduce to $35 during the event. There will be exclusive Platinum member offers and over 30 deals for everyone. I’ve pictured most below and highlighted a few, but we are a little over 9 hours away from this event going live. For those Platinum members waiting for the 10x points event, I still believe it will take place Monday, August 22nd. No official announcement has gone out yet, so I do not know which items get 10x points. Anything excluded will likely get 5x points, like last year. This Forever Fabulous Flash Sale has items that are open to non-Platinum members, so it is a great time to shop for anyone who is really close to hitting Platinum. If you hit it before the cutoff date (not sure what that is), you can shop the Platinum 10x points event. The 2x for UltaMate and 3x for Platinum members promotion is happening now through the 20th. Make sure you activate that multiplier before shopping this sale (if you have not already. Do that from the My Rewards section of your online account.

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Paula’s Choice Testing Panel Volume Two

I’ve always appreciated that Paula’s Choice does not do animal testing. While I have not yet boycotted brands that do, I like buying from those that do not. My skin is sensitive, so I get reactions from products. It is still nice to try as many new products as possible, and I use Beautypedia (an expert site affiliated with Paula’s Choice that uses scientific research instead of opinions for reviews) as a first stop in seeing what ingredients may have caused my reaction. Both sites are a great source of information. Anyone can sign up for Paula’s Choice Testing Panel to test products and give feedback. Panelists immediately fill out a short skin care profile. When Paula’s Choice needs a new item tested, it reviews profiles. A short survey determines whether the panelist moves forward. Those who do take part in the test fill out an exit survey by the deadline. Successfully complete one test to qualify for more.

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PINCHme Volume Nine

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 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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BzzAgent Campaign L’Oreal Root Cover Up

BzzAgent is an international network of consumers who take part in word-of-mouth campaigns for a variety of products and services. It is a membership program that gives subscribers free products to try. After trying the free products, members review and share their experiences with the campaigns to qualify for future campaigns. Short surveys will appear in your profile. Complete them to see if there are any new campaigns available. When you complete surveys, you can accept free MyPoints offers. There are over 1 million BzzAgents in the US, Canada and the UK.

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Target $3 off a $15 Purchase from the July 2016 Beauty Box Part 2

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. The ones received in the July 2016 Beauty Boxes expire today, 08/13/16, so this is your official reminder to use them if you have not already. While the intent is to use the coupon to get a discount off the item(s) you enjoyed from the box, you can usually use it on anything in the beauty department. 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. I already used one of the coupons I received from those boxes last month, so this purchase only covers one coupon.

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Nature Made Kid’s First Multi Gummy and Where Did The Target Free Samples Go?

When Target was still sending free samples, I received a free full-size Nature Made Kid’s First Multivitamin Daily Nutritional Support Gummies. I randomly check the free sample link, because there is never any notice when a new sample pops up. They go really quickly, too, so you have to get lucky and check it at the right time to get something. A couple of days before this published I noticed that the link no longer works. There is not a new link either. If Target updates the link for free samples, I will update it here, on my Target Page, and on my Free Samples Page. It is completely possible Target eliminated the free sample section, but I will leave the link up until I confirm it will not return. Since Walmart redesigned its link, I have not found any free samples at the bottom of that page either. Hopefully, the samples did not dry up, because I love getting free samples from two large companies I trust.

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BzzAgent Campaign Daisy Squeeze Sour Cream

BzzAgent is an international network of consumers who take part in word-of-mouth campaigns for a variety of products and services. It is a membership program that gives subscribers free products to try. After trying the free products, members review and share their experiences with the campaigns to qualify for future campaigns. Short surveys will appear in your profile. Complete them to see if there are any new campaigns available. When you complete surveys, you can accept free MyPoints offers. There are over 1 million BzzAgents in the US, Canada and the UK.

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Core Collection July 2016 Deal Discoveries

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 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) or mention it in an Empties article (if I finish it quickly). 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 July 2016 that I am not even close to finishing.

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Sephora TROPICAL

Sephora is getting into the Olympic spirit with its current promotion. It picked five samples for its Summertime Shake-Up it considers as good as gold. The first two did not make the medal round, because only three of the five samples were still available by the time I received the email. Thankfully, the missing two were the Coola and the Atelier, both of which I already own. I guess only three can get medals anyway. By the time I received my order, the tarte was out-of-stock, so I guess it gets the gold. I have a feeling the item I selected will get the bronze, which works out perfectly for a bronzy summer. Use code TROPICAL to redeem one of the two remaining samples: a 0.6oz Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream or a 0.15oz Culture Scent and Shine Coconut Oil with a $25 purchase.

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