Summer is officially here, so it is time to go over my favorites from the 2019 spring season. I like to call these my core collection items, because I find myself reaching for them over similar products in my stockpiles. These are items I am still working on, so they will not make the Empties article for this season. Each is still worthy of discussion, so this is the place I like to do that. Items I am still in love with once I empty them become FabuFinds. While I cannot promise I will ever finish these (some products expire before I can empty them) and I cannot promise I will still love them enough to label them as FabuFinds upon completion, I loved them throughout this season. Many of these items are serious contenders for my Best of the Year article. There were seven items I really enjoyed this winter.
When Birchbox released its new Floral Favorites Limited Edition Box, I knew I was going to get and review it. The challenge is always waiting for the right promo code to come along while hoping the box does not sell out before it does. Some boxes sit in the shop for months and others sale out quickly. It seems the ones I want the most are the ones that sell out the fastest, so I clearly have great taste. Limited Edition Boxes are my favorite items to purchase from Birchbox. These are a mixture of full and sample sized items that usually fit a specific box theme. All boxes have a value far greater than the cost so they are a great deal when the items you want to keep exceed the value of what you’re paying.
It’s time for the Best in Beauty for 2018! Part of the reason we try new things is the thrill of the hunt. We all want to discover a holy grail or made for me product and are willing to gamble on the unknown. At times, the risk pays off, and we find things worth talking about. Those are the items we want to shout about from the rooftops. Deal shoppers do not always try things the moment they release, because we like to read reviews and wait for sales. The items on this list were not necessarily released in 2018. I did not discover their greatness until 2018 though. This is a list of the 10 best products I tried for the first time this year and for good measure I have two bonus products. While it is amazing when we find drugstore items that perform as well as high-end ones, and I sample products from low-end to luxury with that goal in mind, this list is only indicative of the best products (not the best in their price range).
Welcome to the place where I like to discuss my favorites from each season that I did not finish. Anything I’ve finished this season made it into my Empties article. Items I am still in love with as I empty them become FabuFinds. While I cannot promise I will ever finish these (some products expire before I can empty them) and I cannot promise I will still love them enough to label them as FabuFinds upon completion, I loved them throughout this season. These are items I reached for many times even though I have plenty of similar items in my stash collecting dust. Many of these items are serious contenders for my Top 10 of the Year. There were six items I reached for constantly this fall.
My favorite shopping event of the year is finally here. This weekend, which kicks before Thanksgiving with some retailers, provides some of the best deals we will see. Traditionally, this is the weekend where most retailers cross over from red to black, and they will do whatever it takes to earn your shopping dollars. Offers are competitive, because almost every retailer will have one. I will update this every time I see an incredible offer through Cyber Monday, so this list will grow over the week. My tastes might vary from yours, so make sure you sign up for emails from all of your favorite retailers. It is also a good idea to check multiple blogs and sites to see what each of them feel is worth mentioning this season. Most of these offers go out to all customers. Of course, there might be some affiliate exclusives or offers targeted to select customers. I am not listing any small offers, because this is the time of year when we can stretch our budget further by scoring just the right deal. Some big offers will not make the cut either, because I cannot list them all.
See the grab or pass on the Sephora Favorites Superstars Everyday Must Haves, and all 2019 Sephora Promotions, Sales, GWP, Deals, Promo Codes, and Events.
This 2018 Sephora Favorites Kit came back in stock temporarily (after I reviewed it), but it returned to its original $80 price tag. I went over the reasons I would not purchase the 2018 Sephora Favorites Superstars Kit at full-price in a grab or pass article. The main reason was the original price of $80 was too high for mostly samples that Sephora has given out many times. Of the $85.50 in full-size products, none of the items really grabbed my attention. I already owned two of them and the other two were things I would not usually purchase, especially at full-price. All of the samples already existed in my collection, and I did not need duplicates of any of them. My decision in that article was I would purchase the kit if it dipped to $40. At that price, I could justify grabbing the two items I did not already own and keeping some duplicates of the products I really love and would actually need. Days after posting that article, Sephora discounted the set to $40 in its Labor Day Sale. To make sure I could not pass this deal up, Sephora allowed me to use my Rouge discount code from the Beauty Insider Appreciation Event for an extra 20% off bringing the final sales price to $32.
As some of you may have noticed, I have not been writing many articles lately. Taking too long to write articles caused me to get this review up after the box has already sold out. There are times when Birchbox limited edition boxes disappear and reappear, so I am going ahead with this review. If it never comes back in stock and you were not even interested before reading this, I apologize in advance. Admittedly, I did not initially think I would grab this one. I do not own a pool for the float, and I have a ton of sunscreen. Those were the two main draws of this box. Ultimately, I decided I had to get it, because I have not been able to pass on a single limited edition box in a long time. Thanks to Birchbox for putting things I want in every single box for the past two years. That’s right, if you search for any of the current boxes, you will find my review. Well, a new box just came in stock, and I have not grabbed that one yet. Hopefully, I get that one up a little faster after receiving it if I do.
I know it has been a long time since I’ve shared my favorites. When you’re going through the motions, it is hard to get excited about anything. There were six products that stood out ahead of the others. So, I decided it was time to bring my favorites out of semi-retirement to talk about them. My plan is to have 5 articles a year, one for each season and one for my overall favorites from the year.
Welcome to the place where I like to discuss my favorites from each season that I did not finish. Anything I’ve finished this season made it into my Empties article. Items I am still in love with as I empty them become FabuFinds. While I cannot promise I will ever finish these (some products expire before I can empty them) and I cannot promise I will still love them enough to label them as FabuFinds upon completion, I loved them throughout this season. These are items I reached for many times even though I have plenty of similar items in my stash collecting dust. Many of these items are serious contenders for my Top 10 of the Year. Like my FabuFinds, these are items I consider great deals. The deal discoveries do not need a discount to earn their value (although I will always try to find one if I can). Most of the time they are new to my collection. That is mostly due to the large amount of new products I try each year. Sometimes, they are items I’ve tried in the past but love more upon rediscovery. While I try to edit mini reviews into any article I mentioned these items in, I like to dedicate more time and attention to items I feel are worth the extra effort. They are core items to my collection.
A new Sephora Favorites Limited Edition Set, Glow For It, is out. I love when Sephora puts out a new Favorites Set. These sets retail for a lot less than the value of the items inside. As long as the items you plan on keeping exceed the value of the price you pay for the set, it is a good deal. This is one of my favorite ways to sample new items, and I like the sets even more when they have some full-sized items inside. While paying for samples is something I do often with subscription boxes, I limit how often I pay for samples in sets. The mystery of subscription boxes and desire to get things I would never purchase prevails in that case. When a set only has samples and costs over $20, I am less likely to purchase it. Paying for samples is not always a bad thing, especially when sets have items you really want to try, and you have not been able to get them for free or as a GWP.
Limited Edition Boxes are my favorite items to purchase from Birchbox. These are a mixture of full and sample sized items that usually fit a specific box theme. All boxes have a value far greater than the cost so they are a great deal when the items you want to keep exceed the value of what you’re paying. Better boxes sell out quickly, but the ones that linger will occasionally pop up in the sale section for 30% off. Aces sometimes get 40% off on sale items. Predicting which ones will sell out is not always easy so I buy the ones I really want close to the release date. If you’re on the fence because of price, wait it out.
Birchbox released a new limited edition box today. This box is included in the Valentine’s Day Shop offers that work with the discount code VD20 through 02/03/18. I was already going to pick it up, but I was thankfully distracted. When I went to purchase it this afternoon, I noticed Birchbox placed 50 surprise points for being an Ace in my account. For those looking to track 48-hour 50 point surprise offers, I’ve got you covered. An offer for all subscribers went out on 12/08/17. Offers for Aces went out on 12/31/16, 03/24/17, and 06/28/17. The offers appear to release randomly, but I will let you know if I ever notice any patterns. I take advantage of these points when possible, because there is no purchase minimum to redeem them. As an Ace, you also get free shipping on any purchase.
It says it is a 48-hour surprise. The official email did not come until the next morning, and it says this offer is valid through the 27th. That means those of us who were lucky enough to stumble on it before the announcement got more than 48 hours to redeem them. If you are an Ace and looking for something to spend your 50 points on, I suggest this box!
The 2019 birthday gift article is up. New birthday gifts are available every quarter at Ulta in 2017 and 2018. Remember to check all birthday offers before your birthday arrives, because many retailers have great offers. Every quarter when the next gift announces, I will update this (and the main post). If you have not joined the UltaMate Rewards Program yet, join before your birthday to receive your free gift. Joining with a referral link will also give you $10 off your first purchase.
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).
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.
See the 2018 Give Me More Lip Review
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. This is the first year since I started shopping at Sephora that there is no Give Me More Lip Set. The large set lip lovers get this year is Give Me Some Lip & Liner. It has 14 lip products, so it is right on par with past sets (they usually have 15-16). There are four full-size products in the set and as usual the value of the full-size items exceeds the cost of the set. If you’re interested in the full-size items, this set is definitely a deal.
I remember when I was younger, I used to watch HSN and feel the need to purchase everything. It always seemed to have so much stuff I never knew I needed. Over the years, they’ve expanded their items to many things I know I need and many more I want. They are wonderful about putting together adorable sets and some of these sets are a little too irresistible. The one they are discounting today is one I could not pass up.
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 three products I consider FabuFinds in my August Empties that I have not discussed yet.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Benefit Dew The Hoola releases 02/26/16. As a fan of Hoola Bronzer (especially in the summer when I have more color), I really wanted to try this. Ulta emailed an offer for a Sneak Peek of the product to select UltaMate members. This offer ties to your account, so the amount of the sample ($10) will only drop off online when you’re logged in. Members who are celebrating their UltaMate Rewards anniversary have 5x points offers. My anniversary is not until next month, so the only 5x points offer I have is for fragrance. That is an offer I will probably never redeem. If you do not have a 5x points on everything offer and do not want to spend $50 online, you can pick this up in person.
See recent Birchbox Limited Edition Boxes.
The 2016 CEW Boxes are available. Check my Birchbox Page for details and offer codes.
You’ve banked a lot of points at Birchbox. What should you spend them on? There are thousands of great items in the store. If you’re a subscriber, you’ve probably even sampled some gems you could buy. I like to use my points to purchase more boxes. The Limited edition boxes, in particular. The CEW boxes are usually a great purchase, because they’re high value and desired items. Birchbox usually applies a $5 discount (applied automatically) when you add both CEW boxes to your cart. You can look at the discount however you want, but I look at it as getting the Mass Appeal box for $10 instead of $15.
The discount makes it almost impossible not to get them both. There are items from both boxes I really want to try or already know and love, so it was an easy decision to get them both.
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.