Walgreens Haul, Makeup Edition!

I know, I know. But those Balance Rewards points keep racking up, and what’s a girl to do? I seriously had over $250 worth of points!! So I did what any normal girl would do – took an audit of my makeup collection and used my rewards points to fill in the holes.

walgreens BR order
I am OBSESSED with these L’Oreal Infallible Eyeshadows. As you know, I’ve had Amber Rush for awhile, and after rediscovering it last month, had a total one-track mind when it came to acquiring some of the other colors. The green (above left) is Golden Sage, and the brown (above right) is Bronzed Taupe. Both are shimmery pots of gorgeousness, with amazing long-lasting wear. I seriously can’t say enough good things about these shadows. They give eyes depth and polish, without having to do a whole involved eyeshadow routine – I just gently pat my index finger into the product and tap lightly all over my lids. If I’m feeling fancy, I take a highlighter shade and buff the color up above my creases. I don’t even have to use primer! And 10 to 12 hours later, after a long workday, my eye makeup looks just as pretty as it did in the morning when I applied it. AH. MAY. ZING.

walgreens mini haul slices
A close up look at my goodies. From left to right:

Milani Easy Brow Automatic Pencil – I love double-ended products, especially double-ended brow products. The pencil is deeply pigmented – this is Dark Brown 02 – so I advise going in with a light hand. It’s perfect for the tail end of my brows, which tend to be non-existent and need darkening. And the spoolie brush is perfection – it packs a punch and gets every last unruly hair into place. I’m using this every day and loving it.

Milani Illuminating Facial Powder in Hermosa Rose 02 – When reviewing my makeup collection, I realized that I didn’t own a really good neutral blush. I have corals, hot pinks, rosy pinks, all kinds of pinks actually, but nothing that ran more towards the nude pink end of the spectrum. This is one I’ve had my eye on for awhile, and I must say, it’s absolutely gorgeous in person. The powder is pressed into overlapping roses, and has hues of light brown, nude pink, and champagne. I like to swirl my big fluffy Sonia Kashuk blush brush in it, and tap on the apples of my cheeks and up towards my temples. The result is very subdued and neutral, and leaves me with a perfectly flushed face, which makes it perfect to pair with more dramatic eye or lip looks.

L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche Balm for Lips in Nourishing Nude – I am not, nor will I probably ever be, a lipstick person. But this is not technically a lipstick, but rather a balm. The color is almost exactly my lip shade but a little deeper, and it goes on smooth and creamy. Does NOT dry out my lips, as many lip products tend to do, and it looks natural. I highly recommend this, especially if you are lipstick-averse like I am. It’s a nice way to have a more polished lip without going full on lipstick.

And finally, all the way to the right in the collage above, a better look at that gorgeous Golden Sage eyeshadow.

swatches walgreens BR order
I hardly ever do swatches because unless you have the exact same coloring as I do, it’s probably not very helpful. But these shadows are so amazing, I had to swatch and share. From left – Bronzed Taupe, Golden Sage, Milani Brow.

And there you have it, a pretty nice makeup haul, if I do say so myself! How about you – any great makeup hauls lately? What are you buying and loving right now? Let me know!

Cheers,
birdie

Birchbox Points Spending Spree

Soooo, this happened:

Birchbox points haul 2Is there anything better than seeing “Grand Total: $0.00” at the end of a large beauty order? Plus, I even scored 50 bonus points for the Gimme Brow, how cool is that?

I got trigger happy and hit “place order” a few weeks ago – despite still waiting on my 13 month anniversary code. I was *really* wanting the amika mini-blow dryer and I was afraid it would sell out, as it was getting a lot of coverage on beauty blogs and forums.

Here’s the haul… and please note, I ordered on a Friday morning and had this in hand by the following Monday. Good on ya, Birchbox!

Birchbox points haul 1Right up front is my Mystery Pick-Two – a Bulgari perfume sample (meh) and a Supergoop skin serum (meh? Although it has good reviews.) So that was kind of a bust, especially considering some Mystery packs I’ve seen, but hey, you take your chances.

As I already blogged, a few of these items were HG’s for me, so I’m loving having full-size versions at my disposal. The Gimme Brow is very cool, the Instain blush is GORGEOUS (Gawsh, I love you, TheBalm!), and the amika dryer is beyond cute and surprisingly effective for such a little guy (gal?). The only thing I haven’t tried to date is the Embryolisse – just waiting for the weather to get a little colder so my skin doesn’t throw a hissy fit and the supposedly crazy moisturizing benefits.

Tell me, what do you think of my order? What would YOU have ordered with 800 points?

Cheers,
birdie

Mini-Hauls & Musings

I know what you’re thinking – how can you tag a blog post with “no-buy”, “low-buy” AND “haul”?

Well, here’s our thinking. We went on a no-buy for August, and it really changed the way we approach our beauty routine/products, so now we are on a perma-low-buy and all about the mini-hauls!

Here’s a recent Ulta mini-haul from birdie…

sept ulta mini haulThoughts: Pre August, I might have gone into Ulta on a whim, grabbed up whatever seemed like a barnburner of a deal, and left in a daze, wondering how on earth I’d managed to spend $50…again?? With this mini-haul, I came armed with an Ulta coupon ($3.50 off $10, what!) and had already planned on buying the acetone for my weekly at-home mani (remember, we’re all about the nails now!). I knew I’d use the Sally Hansen gel strips since I already had the starter kit, and the Essie polish was a beautiful purple that I knew I didn’t already have in my collection. The whole thing cost under $10 and I walked out satisfied and ready to add these few new things to my beauty arsenal.

And a Sephora one from bijou…

Sephora mini haulThoughts: I knew walking in that I wanted to try and find a nice, neutral grey creme polish – AND that the Sephora by OPI collection was on sale due to being completely revamped. Score for me. While I was on my way to checking out, this mini-kit from Benefit Cosmetics caught my eye. I can’t find a link to the kit online, but it has a mini Coralista blush and a mini Sun Beam highlighter. I’d specifically been wanting to add to my face product arsenal – specially blush and highlighter/bronzer – and I adore Benefit. Score another one for me!

We hope you enjoy seeing our mini-hauls – cheers!

birdie&bijou

Walgreens Haul

I blogged about this order back when I placed it – I had been saving my Walgreens Balance Rewards Points for quite a while and finally cashed in 50,000 points – which brought a $50.92 order down to a whopping $4.92!

I’m excited about this haul but wanted to note that it’s not just hauling for the sake of hauling (haulers gonna haul?), but rather products that round out my existing beauty product collection and/or items that I’ve been wanting to try and keeping my eye on for quite some time. I know we talk about it incessantly, but I really do feel that No-Buy August helped me gain a lot of perspective on my shopping habits and being a consumer overall. I want to buy and consume things that are truly great products/finds, not just buy them because they were on sale or I got a good deal.

Enough with the deep stuff, on to the goodies:

Walgreens2
Orofludio Shampoo: I had purchased the Orofludio Mask from Birchbox awhile back, and my beauty OCD was always triggered by the fact that I didn’t have the shampoo to go along with it. It’s a very distinctive smell – exotic and amber-y? – and is extremely nourishing. Highly recommend.

Seche Vite Fast Dry Topcoat: The supposed creme de la creme of all topcoats, and I finally snagged it! I’ve used it several times already and have to say, I can see what the fuss is about. It dries polish fast and leaves my mani/pedi looking super shiny. Highly recommend.

Smith&Vander Energize Spa Shower Tablets: How fun are these? I didn’t even know such a product existed but I’m loving being able to experience aromatherapy/pampering while in the shower. The scent is fruity and invigorating and really does permeate the entire bathroom, as the packaging suggests. Highly recommend.

Walgreens1Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap in Hemp Rose: I bought this to use as a brush cleaner, but obviously, as the bottle says, it has a ton of uses. There is also a lot of crazy stuff on the bottle. Political and religious statements, etc. Anybody know what’s up with that? Recommend.

Freeman Charcoal & Black Sugar Polishing Mask: This was featured in Allure magazine’s October Best of Beauty issue and I immediately added it to my Wish List. It has a very gritty texture and definitely has sugar in it (don’t get it in your mouth, but if you do, it’s not too bad). It leaves my skin sparkling and bright. Kind of ridiculous how well it works for how little it cost. Highly recommend.

Village Naturals Aches&Pains Foaming Bath Oil: Love this scent and had used the bath salts version before. I was very intrigued by the “long-lasting bubbles” claim, because I can never find a bubble bath product with decent staying power. Unfortunately, this didn’t really measure up in the long-lasting department, although it did scent my bath quite nicely. Recommend.

Whew! What do you think? I’m quite pleased with this order and looking forward to continuing to use all of these products. I also purchased a Real Techniques face brush set, which I’ll blog about later – I have a lot to say about brushes, as I’m kind of new to that scene. Turns out that using nice brushes goes a long way towards making your makeup look fab.

Any recent hauls for you? Are you a Balance Rewards (or any kind) points hoarder like I am?

Cheers,
birdie

En Route

Is there anything more deeply satisfying than getting a shipping notice for a carefully plotted, months-in-the-making online beauty purchase?

No. No there is not.

Here is what’s en route to us this very minute (in addition to bijou’s October Julep Maven box, which should ship soon!):

JHAG1A nine-piece (nine!) sampler of scents from French brand Juliette Has A Gun. Birchbox sent out samples of “Mad Madame” a million years ago, and bijou fell deeply in love. Some recent swings through Birchbox’s online user reviews of Mad Madame yielded the discovery of this sampler set, which is really quite a steal, when you consider that a full-sized bottle of their perfume goes for roughly $135. We’re figuring it’s a good investment to sample a whole lot of their scents before splurging that big. Bonus: the packaging is chic beyond belief, even for samples, and the whole thing is just oh-so-French.

Sept Walgreens orderAll of this? $4.92 after all was said and done. Thanks to a whole lot of points saving – if you live near a Walgreens, look into their Balance Rewards program – birdie just cashed in $50 worth of points on this order and used an online promotional coupon to bring down the price even more. It’s kind of insane how quickly the points can add up and pay off.

A few thoughts on this order…
– We’ve been eyeing Real Essential brushes for quite some time, and this kit will round out our brush collection nicely.
– Seche Vite is pretty explanatory – it’s revered pretty much everywhere as THE top coat to have, and we’ve been dying to try it.
– The Freeman mask is new *and* got a shoutout in Allure magazine’s recent Best of Beauty issue, which is basically our annual beauty bible.
– Some fun bath/shower stuff and the Dr. Bronner’s to clean afore-mentioned makeup brush collection (we’ve read on many a beauty blog that it is the brush cleaner to end all brush cleaners).
– Orofludio shampoo, to match the Orofludio mask that birdie purchased from Birchbox awhile back. Because nothing triggers our beauty OCD quite like having to wash our hair with non-matching shampoo and conditioner.

And while it may look like we are getting crazy-spendy after our No-Buy August, a lot of thought and budgeting went into these purchases. In fact, No-Buy August has us approaching beauty products in a whole new way – something we’ll blog about in more detail at a later date.

Anything fun en route to you right now?

Cheers,
birdie&bijou