Thursday, January 23, 2014

BEAUTY HAUL! ULTA! (Birthday Edition + Brief Reviews)

Hey y'all!!! 

I have not posted a beauty "haul" in a long while. Honestly, I feel a little awkward just showing y'all products I have gotten without a review or swatches. Product reviews are the main reason I have a blog. 

However, I do enjoy and look forward to haul videos on Youtube. It is a nice way of discovering new things or similar to friends sharing what all they bought at the end of a shopping trip. Moreover, I always receive positive feedback when I post a haul, so maybe it is interesting. 

My Beau took me shopping recently for my birthday and gifted the items I have shown below. I am truly lucky to have a best friend and partner like him. I don't say this because he bought me makeup, but because he is always so patient with me and on my special day he was extra-patient and involved. He gave me his opinion about what colors looked suitable on me, what did not, and what I should try out for my blog, etc. For the one hour we spent in ULTA, his company was priceless. For someone who is a complete "dude" being patient with a full on "girly girl" makes me one lucky duck! 

I plan to review most of these items in the following weeks. Please comment below to let me know if y'all have any special review requests and I will do my best to fulfill it.

Coupon-ing! It will drive you crazy! ULTA recently emailed a Friends and Family 20% off coupon with very limited exclusions to anyone who signed up for the coupon on their website. This coupon was for one-time use and applied to the entire purchase.  I received my very first 20% off (no exclusion, entire purchase) coupon last year in late March. I received it again in October of last year. The F&F coupon was similar in that it could be used on most high-end brands, but some items, like UD Naked 1, 2, and 3 palettes, were excluded. I recently received yet another 20% off (entire purchase, including prestige brands) coupon in my email with different limited exclusions, such as fragrances. I like that ULTA sends out these coupons once in a while, like once every season, not only because I get a discount, but also discipline myself. It is also something to look forward to, like a gift. I am a ULTA platinum rewards member, so I received a free CK One mascara and $10 off anything (including prestige) coupon.

Viva La Juicy by Juicy Couture (3.4 fl. oz. $90) is my signature scent. I hope it never gets discontinued or retired because never have I ever liked a perfume as much as I adore this one. This is the fragrance I imagine I will wear as a bride. I received 20% off on this and paid nothing for it in actual money. Why? I have been saving my reward points for months and finally had enough to cover the price of this perfume. ULTA had a different reward program before the current one and even then I accumulated my points and got this same fragrance. This was my first luxe fragrance. Although I did use it sparingly, my first bottle lasted me quite a few years.
Viva La Juicy is not a musky-mature or a heavily sweet scent. It is a light (but not faint) floral scent with a subtle hint of fruitiness. It reminds me of a garden. I like to describe scents by what I am reminded of. This fragrance is not rosy. It is not herbal (lavender) or too citrusy. It is definitely not sweet like a bakery or fruity candy.

Clarisonic Cashmere Luxe Brush ($30) feels nothing like I had imagined it would. I definitely underestimated it. The first brush I tried was the one for acne-combination skin. The second brush I tried was for pores and it was so rough. I did not use it consistently because it really irritated my skin. It continued the "purging" even after the initial two-week purge that the brand claims will happen when you first use the system or change to a new brush. I never had any reaction to the acne brush though, so I returned the one for pores because I had bought a two-pack. It was expensive and I didn't want to waste my money. I purchased the Cashmere Luxe brush instead. This one is the most expensive. It feels  like the bristles are made from butter! Yes, butter! So far my skin has not become irritated, but it does not feel as squeaky clean as it did with the acne brush. This difference could also be attributed to the fact that I am using a different cleanser now.

Essie Good to Go Top Coat ($10) is much better (out of this world better) than Seche Vite or OPI. I would highly recommend this top-coat. I have been using this one for a couple of years now. I cannot sit still and wait too long for my nails to dry. I always seem to paint my nails on the go and in a rush or while I am doing something else. This allows my polish to dry within seconds, almost immediately.

Carol's Daughter Macadamia Oil Heat-Protectant Serum ($20) is an amazing styling product. I only like to use oils to style my hair. I don't like to use hair sprays, creams, mousse, or gels because those products make my hair feel stiff, tacky, and dry. I want to be able to run my fingers through my hair. This product feels lighter than oil, but conceals my split ends and makes my hair look set-in-place and silky smooth. I get a keratin treatment done once or twice in a year, so I don't fuss much with my hair otherwise. I don't use any heating/styling tools. Lastly, this serum smells like baked, warm, nutty, sweet dessert.

Real Techniques Buffing Brush ($8.99) 

Laura Geller Color Drenched Lip Gloss in Raspberry Roast ($19) 
*New* Too Faced La Creme Lipstick in Pink Chocolate ($22) 
*New* Tarte Amazonian Butter Lipsticks in Tulip and Plummy Rose ($16 each)
Benefit Cosmetics Cheek Powder in Dallas ($28)
Victoria Secret Matte Eyeshadow ($3 / Semi-annual clearance)
*New* Cover Girl Lip Perfection in Delicious ($6.99 / Limited Edition Spring 2014 "Pastelicious"Collection) 

Free! Free! Free! The following items are birthday gifts from ULTA, SEPHORA, and Bare Minerals. This year ULTA is giving out a free CK One mascara during your birthday month. This promotion might be limited to platinum reward members only, but I am not sure. I believe this year SEPHORA is giving out free Make Up For Ever Mascara-Lipstick-Eyeliner birthday gift-set to its VIB members. Bare Minerals sent me an email notification for a free eyeshadow. I am not a fan of mineral shadows, so I am going to save it for my aunt. 

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  1. Well happy happy birthday my dear! You deserve all this and much much more. Glad you have a man who is patient and cares about your blog! SO cool! You got some great stuff! I have been curious about the Clarisonic luxe brush so thanks for the mini review, and you got a La Creme lippie, yay! I pretty much just want to see it all :) And I do like haul posts, btw :)

    1. Thanks! Left you a response / few comments on your blog. :)


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