This Nerd Block Jr For Boys subscription for my 5-year-old son, Connor. It costs $19.99 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 ($17.99 each plus shipping), save 15% at 6 months ($16.99 each plus shipping), and save 20% at 12 months ($15.99 each plus shipping). Each box has at least $60 in value and gives 4-6 toys plus a T-Shirt. 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, Jr For Girls, and the newest offering Shirt. For details on all boxes, visit my Nerd Block Page.
The Holiday Sample Bags for customer appreciation launched on November 1st last year, so people got nervous when the Mystery Sample Bag launched on November 1st this year. That promotion is usually tied to Cyber Weekend. As predicted, the bags traded places for the promotion line up this year. Sephora officially released the holiday sample bags today, which is right in the heart of Cyber Weekend. I passed on the Mystery Sample Bags, which I probably would not have if it came on its usual schedule. This sample bag promotion is a must for me, and I especially like that it still has a $25 buy-in. All other sample bags this year had a $35 buy-in, so I was beginning to think that was the new minimum. All Beauty Insiders are eligible for this promotion, so it is not the same as the VIB Appreciation Bag (typically offered in August but launched in September this year).
Happy Thanksgiving. Today is the official launch for the Tom Ford Lips & Boys Lip Colors at Sephora. To celebrate the launch and appreciate the most active BeautyTalk users (community members of Sephora’s online Beauty forum), Sephora and Tom Ford sent selected community members a free lipstick. The best part of this giveaway is we got to select a fellow BTer to receive a free lipstick as well. The ability to pay the gift forward makes receiving this gift even better. I love that I got to pick someone to receive a gift, and I selected the person who is going through the most. Hopefully, a tiny gift can brighten her season. This is my favorite time of year. On a similar note, the lady in front of my husband in the Dunkin Donuts Drive Thru this morning paid for his order. That has never happened to me, but I would also pay for the person behind me, like my husband did.
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.
See recent Birchbox articles.
Birchbox gives at least 5 beauty samples each month for $10, which is half the cost of the Men’s Box. Boxes get customized to your beauty profile to a degree, but you cannot opt out of any type of sample. There is an option to select a sample (from a choice of 3-5 items) or the featured box where you know all 5-7 samples up front. Subscribers can review 5 samples for 10 points each once during the lifetime of the account. Unless you pay a year up front, you do not get any points for the cost of your subscription. That means there is no rewards program whatsoever for month-to-month plans after five reviews. With no rewards, the boxes have to speak for themselves in value. The samples will always go over $10 in value, but will the value you get from them equal $10!
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.
No one puts favorites sets together like Sephora. They are one of my favorite things to buy, because I love sampling a lot of items that I get an incredible deal on. There is always a $75 Favorites kit released before the holidays that I consider the blockbuster. This year, that set is the Sephora Favorites Beauty’s Most Coveted set. It was out-of-stock very early into the Employee Appreciation sale, but it did come back in stock before that sale ended. I gave away my extra codes, so I decided to wait for the VIB Rouge Sale. When the sale started, it was still out-of-stock, but it did come back a day into the sale. Shortly after picking it up, it went out-of-stock again. The more popular sets tend to go in and out-of-stock a lot during these sales, but Sephora usually re-stocks them a few times. Sephora could re-stock this before the VIB sale or at least afterward for those thinking of gifting this set for Christmas (or getting a Christmas gift for themselves).
There are a lot of beauty trends that make no sense to me, like bright red lipstick under your eyes to conceal dark circles. Then, there are others that seem a little odd, but I can see the reasoning when I really examine what people are going for. Conditioning your hair before you shampoo it is one of them. Could those with lifeless or flat hair who need conditioner to soften and assist with tangles reverse the typical rotation and still achieve beautiful hair? More companies are jumping on this bandwagon and actually creating systems designed to reverse your routine. TreSemme is one of those companies, and I actually got a chance to try its reverse system when I joined an Influenster VoxBox earlier this year. Systems marketed that way are definitely, but I wanted to see if they actually worked better in reverse. Of course, you could always try this challenge with your current shampoo and conditioner instead of rushing out to buy a set that is specifically marketed as a reverse system.
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 am loving but cannot finish any time soon 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 five products I consider FabuFinds in my October Empties that I have not discussed yet.
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.
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 name them FabuFinds and 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 October 2016 that I am not even close to finishing.
See recent articles on Sephora Sale items.
The Sephora VIB Rouge 20% off sale started today. I’ve covered the info needed to shop this sale. If any of you are considering a trip to the store for the free bag with any purchase, I can confirm it is the same thin bag offered since 2014. Sephora calls this a shopping bag, but it is thicker than the average shopper bag. However, it is much thinner than the average reusable shopping bag. This free bag has not been available online since 2014. It is prettier than the design from last year. Like the Sample Clutch and the Mystery Sample Bag, this bag has gemstones. Unless a trip to the store is convenient for you, the bag alone is probably not worth the trip. It rips easily, but I do like these bags to store my empties. They stand upright and rarely fall over. By picking one up this year, I will have another back-up when my current one inevitably rips.
The Holiday Sample Bags for customer appreciation launched on November 1st last year, so people got nervous when the Mystery Sample Bag launched on November 1st this year. That promotion is usually tied to Cyber Weekend. Sephora chose to flip the promotions for 2016, so the Sample Bag launched November 26th. Why the change? I’m guessing Sephora decided to release the Sample Bags after the VIB sale for 2016, so the people who usually choose between the sample bag and the discount will have an easier decision this year. It is also completely possible they got behind schedule in procuring and marketing the items for the bags. This switch up definitely threw me off, because I decided to pass on the mystery bag. I did pick up a Sample Bag though if you want to see a review on Bag #2 and the options in all four bags.
Let me start this article by stating I do not get advance notice on Beauty Breaks, so I do not want the title to look like click bait. Beauty Breaks are pop-up GWP offers. Most Beauty Breaks get released at 8am PST on Wednesdays. They usually run for 4-6 hours. I’ve decided to track Ulta Beauty Breaks and am linking a couple of months together to limit how many articles I dedicate to one specific type of deal. Every time I see a Beauty Break (I am on the West Coast, so please do not use my article as your source of notification), I will update this article until the end of December. If you have not already, subscribe to Ulta emails. There are times when better Beauty Breaks disappear before I even wake up. Surprise Beauty Breaks (those typically offered outside the normal Wednesday schedule) do not usually get emailed. They are only open to those lucky enough to stumble upon them. All surprise offers I’ve seen are below. My hope is this article (and future versions for later months) can help me predict: trends, upcoming offers, and more. At the very least, it can show me with certainty when a Beauty Break repeats.
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 an 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.