VIB Clutch o’ Samples

One of my final hurrah purchases came in yesterday along with the VIB jam-packed sample clutch (fun size everything!)  The clutch is hideous, naturally, but here’s what’s inside:

  • Benefit POREfessional (0.25 oz)
  • Lancome Hypnose Drama Mascara (0.14 oz)
  • Sephora Instant Moisturizer (1 oz.)
  • Smashbox Hydrating Photo Finish Primer (0.25 oz)
  • L’Occitane Shea Hand Cream (0.34 oz)
  • Murad Intensive-C Radiance Peel (0.33 oz)
  • Algenist Overnight Restorative Cream (0.5 oz)
  • Stella McCartney Stella (0.05 oz)
  • Hanae Mori EDT, 1.2mL

This is how it’s done, Birchbox!  The original clutch featured Stella, but mine was replaced with Hanae Mori – and I’m glad!  I think it’s actually for men, but it smells strongly of vanilla with a little jasmine, and I’d wear it in a heartbeat.

I haven’t had a chance to dig in to the rest of the samples, but with the spending freeze fast approaching, I expect I’ll be cherishing them soon.  Even though I have a hoarder-style stash of samples already, I always find them useful for car and purse extras, saving suitcase space on trips, or to fill up my basket of guest toiletries (my girl friends love that!)

On a related note, Sephora’s offering 5 free samples (rather than their usual 3 free) til 8/28.  Double points for VIB’s AND extra samples?!  Get it, girl.




10-second review: Too Faced Powder Puff Brush

Not too long ago, I picked up the Too Faced Powder Puff Brush ($32) to replace my struggling old powder brush.  It’s deceptively cute – and by that I mean, it’s a great brush despite looking like it came with a My Little Pony gift set.  I’m not a huge fan of its over-the-top cutesy appearance, but I can deal.

Too Faced is one of those brands I had looked at as an outsider.  Much like Kat Von D and  Tokidoki, I saw it as an overpriced novelty line, and not an everyday standard.  (Too harsh?)  But after discovering Starry-Eyed glitter liner and this brush, I know I’ll be keeping an eye on this brand in the future.

These bristles are super-soft “teddy bear hair” and surprisingly dense.  It’s really one of the softest brushes I’ve ever used, and I love that.  The densely packed bristles, however, throw me for a loop.  I’m still getting used to the heavier application, but it looks great – very smooth and even.  It’s decent with pressed powders, but amazing with loose ones (like MUFE’s HD Microfinish powder).  And I’m not a mineral makeup girl (yet), but I imagine it’d be perfect for that too.

Pick one of these up next time you’re at Sephora… even if it’s just to feel the teddy bear hair.


In-Store Haul

Planning an upcoming trip to Vegas, I realized I am dangerously low on bronzer and couldn’t order a new one in time.  I drove to my nearest Sephora with a shopping list in hand to keep me from straying.  Once I’m in a makeup store, I’m stuck for a good hour, and will likely come out with a number of things I “never knew I needed”.  I’m proud to say I made it out this week with only one impulse buy, and I’d say it’s a good one.

Here’s my haul:

Nails Inc. Kensington Caviar base coat
.  I grabbed it on my way to the register without looking closely.  I meant to get the top coat, I’ve heard wondrous things about its wet look and I’m a little low on Polishield… but I’m hoping this base polish will be a happy mistake, because I’m basically too lazy to return it.

Too Faced Powder Pouf Brush.  My previous powder brush has been with me for years, so long the branding has worn off and I don’t even remember where I got it.  It’s been a real trooper, but it’s starting to get a little scratchy and it’s losing some hair.. so in with the new.

Too Faced Starry-Eyed Liquid Glitter Eyeliner in Mad Mad Love – this was my in-store must-have!  I grabbed for the powder brush and my eyes stuck to four little tubes of glitter eyeliner.  Normally I can breeze past it, but I have Vegas on the mind, so

Tarte Mineral Bronzer in Park Ave. Princess.  My irreplaceable everyday bronze – there just isn’t one as golden, neutral, and with just the right amount of shimmer..  This is a long-term relationship for sure.

Bumble & Bumble Defrizz Mini.  I’ve had a little issue with flyaways for a while, but LA’s dry summers don’t exactly help.  I tried some of this in the store (and more when I got home) and it seems to tame the frizz layer without any greasiness.  I tentatively dig this.

Bumble & Bumble Styling Creme Mini – honestly, kind of an impulse buy also.  It was $7 and my B&B Defrizz said I could mix it with Styling Creme “for a humidity-proof polish.”  I don’t know, I trusted the bottle.

Along with these lovelies, I got a couple of Burberry Brit Sheer samples that I promptly rubbed all over my forearms.  I’m liking it – it’s definitely the summer version of my old faithful Burberry Brit.  It’s like running a Burberry Brit-spritzed tee through the dryer with fabric softener.

Looking forward to smooth hair and glittering eyes in Vegas!


Bumble and Bumble Bargains at Target

I don’t know if you know about this, but daaamn – Target has some killer deals on Bumble and Bumble!

Their selection is pretty limited, but right now, the full-size bottles are buy one get one free.  And at $20-$27 each, that’s a great deal.

Target offers Salon Travel Kits if you want to try before you invest – $29.99 for a 2 oz. bottle of a shampoo and conditioner (either Creme de Coco or Seaweed), plus 2 oz. bottles of Styling Creme and Styling Lotion.  The styling products work fabulously with just a couple of drops, so those mini bottles will last you several months at least!

I already love the Creme de Coco hair masque and conditioner, so I decided to try the shampoo.  I also picked up the Styling Lotion (because I’m digging the Styling Creme) and a Seaweed shampoo.  Four full-size products, and I only paid for two.  Big ups to Target.


Sephora Mini Haul

Another fun bag from Sephora came in today, hurray!

Here’s what’s inside:

4 mighty fine samples: Clinique Stay-Matte Foundation, Dermadoctor Photodynamic Therapy and Shiseido Bio-Performance Serum, plus a free deluxe size Smashbox Photo Finish Primer (watch your backs, Rimmel and MUFE).

The Sephora Pro Blush Brush #49, to replace my awful Sephora Complexion brush.  I finally took a stand against that nasty, constantly shedding (and subsequently thinning) brush.  I cried out, “I shouldn’t have to live like this!” while carefully picking Complexion Brush hairs off my fully made-up face.. and that’s when I knew it was time to upgrade.

A 500-point Beauty Insider perk, Amore Pacific Flawless Skin Essentials set… because my points were stacking up, and after looking into this brand, I knew there was no way I’d buy any of this without trying it out.  $125 eye cream,  real talk.

Lastly there’s the Beautyblender 2-pack.  These things are blowing up online, and I felt like a complete dumbass spending $26 on a couple of sponges… but the reviews are unstoppable, and curiosity got the better of me.  Don’t make a fool of me, Beautyblenders!  Or do.  You’ve already made a 96% profit on a set of pink foam eggs, you can kind of do whatever you like.

So that’s what’s new in my beauty cupboard, I’ll let you know how everything works out!

Have you tried/enjoyed/hated any of these things?  Share!


10-second review: Jeffrey Campbell Perfect Spike

A few days ago, I “seized the sale” and picked up a couple of pairs of greatness.  They arrived a day or two after I placed my order (Solestruck, you know the way to a lady’s heart), but sadly, one pair is on its journey back to the warehouse.

And it’s the Perfect Spike.  Bummer.

I was fully prepared to love this shoe, and grab a couple more colors on sale.. but I guess there’s a reason no one else is scooping these up.  Just like my spiked Litas, these are wonderfully heavy and well-made.  Unlike the Litas, though, there’s not much holding them up!

I’m no stranger to high, high heels – and if a great-looking shoe scrapes by as “barely walkable,” I’ll make it work.  But as much as I love the Perfect Spike’s look, it’s unavoidably dangerous.  Before buying it, I paid no attention to how tiny the ankle strap is.  See that little guy?  Flimsy!

I tried one on and knew immediately that I’d snap that ankle strap right off with a heavy night out in Hollywood.  The shoe is just too weighty, and the platform is high enough to cause a major wipeout without better ankle support.

Sad to see you go, Perfect Spike, (but I love to watch you leave.)


Attention Shoe Fiends!

Solestruck’s 8th Anniversary sale is on now til Sunday, rejoice!

I love Solestruck to death because of their free (and fast) shipping, easy returns and amaaaazing selection.  Best shoe store on the web, according to me.

My original grab-as-I-go shopping cart was a few thousand dollars, so I painstakingly whittled it down to two pairs.  I’m now anxiously awaiting these babies:

Jeffrey Campbell Libby Tick in Black 
$169.95 marked down from $269.95

and Jeffrey Campbell Perfect Spike in Black 
$119.95 marked down from $174.95

All the Perfect Spike colors are SO CUTE it was heartbreaking to pick only one.
(First world problems).

These amazeballs shoes won’t last long with vultures like me grabbing at them, so get going!



I’ll be the first to admit I’m a straight-up sucker for gifts with purchase.  I love the thought of buying a couple of things, but getting A BOX FULL OF THINGS instead.  It’s a cheap thrill.  Or more accurately, a free thrill.

A lot of times, gifts with purchase are useless little samples designed to rope customers into spending money on something they don’t want.. but after loading up on hideous department store freebies as a teen, I’ve come up with a few rules for myself:

1. Always buy something useful to ‘earn’ the free item.

2. Don’t jump for the freebie unless it’s something I already like, or am very interested to try.

My best tip is to keep a shopping list of makeup and tools you use and replace regularly (for me it’s Clarisonic brush heads, Make Up For Ever foundation and concealers, nail files, new Essie polishes and hair products.)  When some amazing gift with purchase comes up, I have a legitimate NEED to spend the money and earn some free swaaaag.

And with that, I announce my two newest freebie shipments from Clinique and Sephora.  (I should have posted on this sooner, since I think the Clinique promo is over.. sorry homies!)

Here’s my Sephora haul:

I spent, I think, around $40 on this fine array.  I bought the Make Up For Ever concealer, Sephora primer (now entering the ring in my primer battles – more on that later), Tokidoki nail tattoos (can’t stop loving the cuteness) and the Sephora Hot Hues neon lip balm.  My three free samples were the Dior serum, MUFE HD primer (I already use it, but this little packet will be handy for traveling), and a daily face peel.  I got the Fresh Sugar Kisses duo free as a birthday gift, and the Benefit Bella Bamba blush free with 100 Sephora Beauty Insider points.  The Tokidoki eyeshadow (in Diamante) was a gift with $25 purchase promo.

And then there was Clinique.  I can’t find their eyeshadow duo in Coffee Shop in any store anywhere, but the colors are so good with my skin.  They’re the perfect warm neutrals, and I will love them til the night closes in.  Clinique has such killer gifts with purchase that I added the eye makeup remover SORT OF on a whim.  I’ve been half-assedly looking for one, and Clinique’s had great reviews.

So for a total of around $45, I got these bad boys PLUS a fancy bag full of excitement.

What’s in there, you say?  Another eyeshadow duo (Lucky Penny and Chocolate Chip), Moisture Surge Intense, Repairwear Laser Focus, All About Eyes Serum mini rollerball, Lash Doubling Mascara, and the ol’ Chubby Stick in Mega Melon.  Yessss.

My favorite things about freebies are that I get to try a bunch of new things, and they’re usually small enough to stuff in my purse.  Also, I like that they are free.

With that, let me point you toward for their “15 Days of Thrills” promotion… 12 days left with a new gift with purchase daily.  And‘s not looking too shabby with their 5-piece Philosophy gift set with purchase.  Get your freeloading on, friends.