Thursday, August 30, 2012

August Pickups and Deliveries

I need a new working title for "haul" posts. Not sure that "pickups" is working out after all. I've decided to include in the lot any beauty-related gifts received from friends as well as product samples from PR for you product-loving peeping toms.

Went off on a bit of a bender this month, probably because I had to socialize more due to entertaining out-of-town visitors and celebrating birthdays and whatnot. Since March, I've basically been more or less a hermit. Going out to nice restaurants are restricted to once or twice a month in general (including special occasions). And I don't know what it is about going out, but as soon as I step foot outside the house, money automatically goes flying out the wallet. The Canadian Mint may as well issue currency with aerodynamic wings.

Anyway, here's the damage this month:

Garnier Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel-Cream ($6.99 on sale at Shoppers) - A repeat purchase. Gasp! And a moisturizer, too, which I ignored all summer. My current cleanser was drying out my skin when I skipped toner, and it feels like autumn already in mornings and evenings, so I figured get it now and save the hassle later. I wish I hadn't been so overeager though. Forgot about the mountains of samples to claw through -- but then again, this will be nice to have on hand if the samples end up irritating me. #justified


Rexall Baby Wipes Premium containing 80 wipes (on sale for $3.99 at Rexall) - I prefer the Life Brand over Rexall Brand, and the Life Brand packs go on sale for $2.99 frequently. This wasn't too bad though. I've finished the whole package already. (For new readers: I use baby wipes to wipe off makeup and wipe down stinky summer feet and insides of shoes.) I'm going to stop buying these though in October when we can wear socks again.


Bio-Oil 125ml bottle ($15.99 at Winners) - Regular price for this is about $30 at Shoppers so I won with this find. I ended up giving the Pure Vitamin E Oil from last month's pickup to my mom and have been using this to treat the post-surgery scar on my leg. It works wonderfully. Maybe it doesn't belong in a haul post, but health and beauty go hand in hand. I plan on writing a thorough post about the discovery and removal of the viral wart that I was afraid was skin cancer.

Weleda Pomegranate Firming Eye Cream ($8.99 at Winners) - I've been talking about not using eye creams despite being well into my 30s now. But the more I talked about it, the more I talked myself into thinking it was time to give it another try. I shouldn't have, because eye creams are always too rich and end up breaking me out. This was no different and I sprouted a huge sucker on the high point of my left brow, which was really lovely for two weeks. #fail Am feeling lucky that I stuck to a cheap purchase. I don't think it's possible to buy eye creams for $8 at even drugstores now.


Guilty splurge of the month: Limited Edition Dior Vernis in Orchid and Poison ($24 each at The Bay) - I felt like slapping myself when I committed the deed and even for days after. But I kept looking and looking and looking at them and got tired of my own indecisiveness. I am a Dior nail polish collector, though I don't buy every single shade. And I've been wanting these since I first saw them on one of my favourite nail blogs, Fashion Polish. As you can see, I've left out Shadow which I didn't like the look of. I gave up so many daily joys of living in the past five months that I felt the splurge was justified and well-deserved. I don't know. I'm still torn up about it. I wore Orchid happily for a week and have yet to swatch Poison because I thought of returning it. 


On a remarkably self-restrained visit to Sephora earlier in the month, I ended up leaving with only two items:

Shiseido Facial Cotton ($5 at Sephora) - I was really pleased to see a half-size pack of my favourite facial cottons. I know that in the end $9 for a jumbo pack is worth its weight in loonies, but I'm not enamoured of spending so much on cottons. I'm going to keep using the cheap $2 stuff from Rexall but treat myself to small sizes of the Shiseido now and then.

Dior Hydra Life BB Creme (free launch sample at Sephora) - I got an email telling me this was available and headed over to score my free sample. I don't always do that but wanted to that time. Keep reading below...


I was quite bemused when the Sephora SA slapped the sample into my hand. As you can see, it's incredibly tiny.


It's about 1/2 to 2/3 the size of regular sample tubes. I know, it's a free sample. Is there room for complaints? But I feel like if you're going to send out emails about it and get people to come trampling over, try to make it a little more worth their while, no? Anyway, moving on.


I think I wouldn't feel as badly over the Dior polishes if I had limited myself to just them. But I had to hop on the nail polish train two more times as the month wore on. Work was incredibly stressful, more so than any other month due to some internal departmental conflicts, so I ran away to the nearby mall quite frequently during lunch. The perils of working in downtown. See, money flying out of wallets.

SpaRitual Can You Dig It? (left) and Hypnotic (right) ($12.50 each at Sephora) - I have two other SpaRitual polishes, both of which are lovely, and I was really excited to see Sephora added them to their nail bar. SpaRitual is a brand that doesn't get nearly enough as much attention as they deserve. I could go for a handful of some more SR shades even now. These two screamed fall colours at me and so I caved.


OPI Every Month is Oktoberfest ($10.95) - I caved again when I saw the new OPI Germany collection at a local hair salon. I read some reviews and decided the shades, while very pretty, were not unique or remarkable. However, in person they are absolutely stunning. I was blown away and that hardly ever happens. Because of the Dior splurge, I picked up just one though I wanted to snatch up all the vamps and blues and purples from the collection. For fabulous swatches, see Eugenia's posts at Ommorphia Beauty Bar here and here.

OPI Top Coat (free with above purchase) - I might have been stronger against the Germany collection had not a free top coat been offered with it. Seemed like a good idea at the time.


Now the non-purchased goodies!

SilkyGirl Magic BB Powder Foundation in 03 Medium x 5 - I had my friend J from Singapore lug them over for me on her visit in late July. Two are for me, two are for my sister (if she likes it) and one is for my MAC Fairy who has been so kind. I repaid J with the items briefly reviewed here.


Care package from the fabulous Amy of Beyond Just Beauty! I've been enjoying getting to know Amy for the past little while and suggest you check out her blog if you love clever verbose linguists with penchant for rambles on daily perfume wears, cute boys, good food and all things beauty. I was especially happy to see Revlon Whimsical which I was on the fence about for a long time. But I was most eagerly waiting for her sample vial of Dior Eau Savage, which wears marvelously on Amy but not so on me. She also included more nail polish, gorgeous jewellery (sadly my ears aren't pierced -- well, they were twice but healed and closed over super quickly both times) and some bagged flavoured nuts which I devoured before pictures could be taken.


And lastly, some PR samples of the UK skincare brand Simple which can be found in drugstores across Canada now. I was happy to receive these as they had me intrigued for a while and the products sounded just right for my finicky skin. However, I take forever to publish the more clinical reviews since I like to test the products for as long as possible and be as thorough as possible. Also, I didn't want the testing to overlap with the bad skin phase and wanted to get my face under control first. I'm going to test these all throughout the month of September and hope for the best! Later in September I'm also going to test and post about some Almay products that have been sadly neglected due to intense summer heat and bad skin days.


I spent $124.91 on arguably non-essentials. My goal was to cap at $50 max, but it's so difficult when there are as many bad days as there have been this month. I am addicted to the thrill of purchase that psychologists like to talk about, to temporarily boost morale, and I'm fully aware that having a less than fulfilling day job is a huge part of that. (Changes are afoot on that front but nothing solid yet.) On the other hand, I live for this shit. I can read, breathe, talk beauty products all day long every day. It's really really difficult to draw the line sometimes. And many times when I make a purchase, it's with a sense of hope for better days to come. That the tiny boost of positive feeling at that moment will translate into something more meaningful before the day is over, that I won't always be slaving at and hating my jobs, and that some day I can enjoy all that life has to offer without feeling guilty or having to justify each and every little thing.

The argument I have to keep reminding myself of daily is that while we are all deserving of nice things, it's not always the right moment to indulge in them. I'm sure many of us are worth more than tens of thousands of Tom Fords, Burberrys and Chanels. Denying them doesn't mean we're undeserving. And one doesn't always have to justify why they deserve big splurges. Everyone likes nice things and sometimes we just really need them. But it doesn't have to be now NOW NOW all the time and it won't kill me to hold on a bit longer for those better days. The whole thing is still so baffling to me. I can give up daily Starbucks trips but not nail polish???

Anyway, I just talked myself into returning the SpaRitual polishes which are untouched, as well as Dior Poison. The SRs are permanent and Dior has a permanent shade called Purple Revolution which I can pick up in the future at a cushier moment. This takes my monthly total down to $75.91 which is easier to live with.

No worries, friends. If you're of the party that thinks I'm being too hard on myself, wait until next month. I'm waiting for a few worthwhile goodies from NYC. :-)

40 comments:

  1. Liz, for a moment as I scrolled down the page, I did a double take when I saw Silkygirl. "They get Silkygirl in the States?!?!" was my first thought until I read that it was brought to you from Singapore. Its a local pharmacy brand hence my surprise and now my curiousity - is it all THAT good? I never really paid attention to them. Oops! :P

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    1. Hey, Paris! I'm in Canada and visited Singapore in January. Back then we didn't have powder BBs yet and it was the first I ever saw. The swatch looked good, too, and it was the only BB product that had a darker yellow shade instead of the really pale pinky shades that Asians seem to like so much. (I'm Korean by race.) Anyway, I wrote a review about it

      http://beautyreductionista.blogspot.ca/2012/02/silkygirl-magic-bb-powder-foundation.html

      and basically find that while much cheaper, it stands up to quality when paired with a really good primer like Hourglass and the shade suits my skin almost perfectly. Hope that helps! You should definitely give it a swatch test at least. :)

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  2. Hi Liz, It was great to see a p.u.a.d. post to complement your empties posts! The Garnier kind of looks like Clinique's Moisture Surge (which to be honest I think is nice but overpriced). Glad you kept Orchid; I think it's the more wearable of the two, and pretty too! The hydra life is really teeny; I've noticed that samples these days in general are so stingy :-/ which I'm not happy about either (even though they're free). Everytime I see the Revlon or Lippman's Glitter in the Air, I get a re-hankering for that. I should just pick it up already; I just can't seem to stop longing for it! I hadn't heard of Simple yet, but I can't wait to hear your thoughts on it. 'Foreign' skincare is a topic I've been interested in lately :)

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    1. Thanks, Dovey!

      There's a decent sized Moisture Surge up for 500 points perk at my local Sephora right now. I was tempted but resisted. :) I really liked the Garnier surprisingly enough and hope it will treat me kindly again this time around. (Sometimes what worked in the past doesn't work again for mysterious reasons!) Glad you share my thoughts on too tiny samples and I hope to do justice to the Simple reviews. And I think either Whimsical or Glitter in the Air will be a nice complement to the soft pinks and happy shades in your collection. :)

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  3. Oh good. If you hadn't talked yourself into it, I would have told you to return Poison. That's the shade I liked the least. I also think it's the least unique? Well. I dunno. Anyway. Moving on. You know my own dilemma. I've decided against it. I bought some skincare this month because my skin has been lackluster lately, and it *seems* like it might all be working, but who knows. I have to trial it all for a bit longer before I do any sort of reviewing. I also figured now was the time to try, because it's enough time for me to scrap the new stuff if they don't work or break me out, and recover from that, but also enough time to let them to their thing if they do work, before the big day. Which I'm already tired of, and I'm sure everyone else is tired of. If there wasn't still stuff to do for it I would just as well forget about it until the day of. Sigh.

    I think you've got the right thinking about this whole "Are we worth it? Now are we worth it?" problem that we sometimes have.

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    1. VOICE OF REASON. I should consult you every time I step foot into a mall. :)

      I love the look of Poison but agree it's not unique. The bottle is just so damn pretty though. And yeah, skincare dilemmas suck. Hope it works out. And October is like AROUND THE CORNER. We're almost there!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!

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  4. Oh, how much can I relate to this post? So much it hurts! I've been on a bit of a beauty bender this past month myself and a whole lot of it has been because I've had a shitty, stressful day and I needed a quick pick-me-up(Oh yeah, and some money my dear old Dad gave me secretly to spend just on myself - sneaky old fellow. Now you know where the money for the TF palette came from). Anyway...I keep telling myself I should NOT buy anything now until my Christmas vacation but I know how well I won't do with that so I'll just be a bit more mindful between now and then. I'm liking your monthly budget idea. If I allow myself a set amount then I'll certainly have to think about how I spend it! On a lighter note - love seeing all those Silky Girl BB's and the Simple skincare stuff. I'm halfway through a pack of Simple green tea wipes and I'm ready to declare them my favourites!!

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    1. Between now and Christmas!!! You set a pretty high standard, Vita. No doubt you can do it but I certainly cannot. And I'm sure your dad is happy that you're happy. :D

      Budget is always a good idea but I never really stick to it. It can go out the window one spectacularly good makeup season, ya know? Or we can be super frugal other months instead of spreading everything out all the time. There's no one system that pleases me and that's why I frequently end up in trouble.

      I wasn't sent the wipes so have no idea, but if you say they're good, I believe you. :)

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  5. Yay! I'm glad you like Whimsical :) And the nuts! I find that anything food-related gets ingested well before I remember to grab a photographing device, which is why my blog features so little food, in spite of the mountains I eat...also, I'm sorry you can't take advantage of the earrings, but I hope they find a happy home somewhere <3

    As far as spending too much on beauty goes, oh my god this month was a disaster for me. Like, unbelievably bad. I think it was a combination of post-birthday glee, a rash of good deals that I just couldn't pass up (hello, Inglot), and the upcoming wedding I'm attending and simply neeeeeed to buy lipstick(s, as it turned out, though one of them is going back) for. And also the occasional stressful day, and the fact that I read so many beauty blogs and find so much beautiful stuff to want, and the joy of couponing/sales, and...well, I could go on rationalizing forever, but basically, my impulse control wasn't great. Even waiting to purchase didn't always help (again, Inglot). But I think it's important not to get down on ourselves too much, and just try to do better in the future! While being aware of the things that make us weak. I definitely need to work on the "beauty as reward" rationale I sometimes fall into, and find a way to feel good about myself/less stressed about life *without* having to throw my money at products.

    Wow, that ended up being longer than I anticipated. But basically, I approve of your decision to return some polishes, and I've been interested in the Moisture Rescue stuff for awhile now, so I'll keep it in mind for if I ever need a new moisturizer! Also, I am so jealous that you found Every Month is Oktoberfest! I hate the name, and I really don't need any more vampy polishes, but good god is it gorgeous.

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    1. I will definitely find the earrings a happy home but the magnet is staying with me! <3

      Oh man, I totally understand the birthday bonanza extravaganza syndrome! It's hard to come back from that kind of high, hahaha. And there were a lot of amazing deals this month. I had to walk with my eyes closed sometimes, they were just everywhere.

      I was really pleasantly surprised by how good Moisture Rescue was. It might not be moisturizing enough for anyone dry/normal/combination skin but works well on my oil slick of a face. And yes, I hate the names of all the Germany collection shades! First they made me laugh but trying to remember/retype them is murder on the brain.

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  6. Liz, you're such a bastion of reason and sensibility :) I think you did very well this month with your purchases and I approve of the decision to return some polishes! Funny thing is that since I started working at a beauty supply store a couple months back where we have a full selection of OPI polishes and a good amount of China Glaze, Essie and Orly, I actually got to be a lot more discerning towards the shades I buy - I still buy way too many though, mostly because of the employee discount! Other than that, I only did a bit of online shopping at Sephora for my birthday, which is actually in a week :) I'm planning to stop at that for the month of September!

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    1. I'm not sure I can accept that compliment! I have some post-disaster reasoning skills, but reason flees when I'm in the thrall of a new pretty polish. X__X

      I can't imagine how bad I would be with an employee discount. I bet you're doing terrifically and being much more sensible than I ever can be. But sometimes being oversaturated with something can make us consume less of it.

      Anyway, happy early birthday!!! In this case, I can say for certain that it is WELL DESERVED. :D

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  7. You did so well, Liz :) It takes so much courage to return something that you have been wanting to buy so much. Even well planned buys can be as bad as impulse buys, leaving us with guilt. I am reminded of my aunt, who, when she was young bought herself a very expensive face powder, returned it after one hour and bought groceries with the money. She could very well afford it but she is still like that, frugal. She is kind of right but what is the point in denying ourselves of something when we can afford it?!
    I totally agree, there will be better days and bigger splurges to go with it! Here's to hoping for better jobs and splurges without guilt, for all of us :) Good luck x
    Oh, the Dior BB cream! I got that as GWP a few months ago. It is small but it lasts for a long time. Even the full size is also not very big for a full size. Only 50ml I think and exxy! It is good though.

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    1. I don't think I did well at all, but thanks, Su!

      I feel like the excessiveness of our collective frivolity is something new and recent, because everyone talks about their mothers and previous generations dealing with just one lipstick and achieving perfect flawless skin with just soap and Vaseline. I waver back and forth between being frugal and going overboard so often that my head spins. Like, today: I had an epiphany that life is too short for us to worry so much about every little thing and that caution sometimes has to be tossed to the wind. And this post about being careful was just a couple of days ago, LOL.

      Thanks for the details on the BB cream! Good to know!

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  8. ahhh retail therapy is great, but not so on the budget, that's one thing I know! I bought the Shiseido cotton pads finally and let me tell you, I'm never looking back, they're so soft!!

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  9. Great post. I am always trying to keep my beauty and health spending in check.

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  10. Great post! I am looking forward to your Simple review. I got the MU remover and the cleansing gel in a Glossybox. The gel was ok* but the remover stung my eyes like nobody's business. I just bought their night cream because my mother has been raving about it, so I hope I will have better luck with that.

    *I use the gel to wash my face in the shower after the gym and (I know this shouldn't be an issue because skincare is not for eating) but I somehow got it in my mouth and it tasted unbearably awful. Just FYI.

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    1. Hey, Sarah!!

      I've decided to go liner heavy for fall so it will be the perfect time to test out the makeup remover. Thanks for the warning! I think I also have a night cream in that box but will have to double check.

      I used to use Phisoderm which also tasted horribly if it went into the mouth somehow. I had to just toss it halfway through in the end as I could not stand it. And I have no clue how we manage to ingest so much cleanser unwittingly!!

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  11. Fantastic post, Liz!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the title Pickups and Deliveries-- it's brilliant!!!

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    1. LOL! Glad someone noticed that dilemma. ;D

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    2. WHY, OH WHY do you have to live so far to the north? SERIOUSLY. Moscato toast! <3

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    3. I've overdosed on moscato now but if you feel like red wine this fall/winter, come on over. :)

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    4. On. My. Way! It still feels like summer here- you are lucky that fall is in the air. Our version is far less satisfying! :)

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  12. You totally nailed it by saying we're all deserving, but that doesn't mean we need a splurge right this second. I think I'm gonna have to remind myself of that the next time I need another lipstick or eyeshadow to cheer myself up!

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    1. But remember to treat yourself once in a while, too. :)

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  13. Obviously you know I'm all over this Liz, and agree 100% and struggle with the exact same thing daily. Dammit, why is it so hard?! I'm getting better but it irritates me nonetheless that I always have to 'talk myself out of it.' Where I want to get is a place where I splurge on a treat every so often, but then overall only buy essentials/replacements. Not there yet but will keep trying! Also, I believe that blogging and reading blogs sadly doesn't help in the least...but that's not going to stop any time soon do what can ya do??

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    1. I know, right?!? Today I was thinking that it's better to toss caution to the wind and just live for the moment, LOL! But seriously: you are so awesome at being reasonable and splurging just the right amount for your lifestyle. It's not easy but you're much more consistent at it than I am. Reading too many blogs and magazines is definitely not good as it keeps the thoughts of makeup constantly in our minds, but it's the world we chose... I still don't have a solution for that one!

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  14. hey, at least you can decide to return something if it isn't worthwhile. $75 is not too bad at all! Sticking to a budget is TOUGH and I'm going to try to do it till christmas too. Except the other day I remembered that the Sephora F&F sale is always november and I kind of want to get everything on my list then! Lol

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    1. I was trying to remember whether that sale was in Oct or Nov and trying to hold out for a while longer. Thanks for the reminder, Joyce! Maybe I should prepare a list now and try to stick to it when the time comes. Good luck to you. lol

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  15. Well said, Liz. I don't think $75.91 is bad at all! I must really look into curbing my purchasing habits though. My spending suddenly spiked about 2 months ago when I was going through a breakup--so I think that was kind of justifiable, but now I have no excuses!!!

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    1. It wouldn't be so bad in a normal situation but I've taken on a lot of additional bills this year and shouldn't be spending that much. They don't seem a lot at the time but manage to rack up so quickly!

      As for breakups, I think the standard is to go for a $200 cut and highlight job, isn't it? Fresh start and all. I'm sorry about that but glad you're seeing the light now. ;)

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  16. Ugh, I need Whimsical in my life! I still haven't found it appear in the shops :(

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    1. I saw it for a while around the drugstores here but not sure whether they're still here. Where are you located?

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  17. Call it a voyeuristic tendency on my part, but I love seeing what my friends are up to where beauty purchases are concerned - I also get to pick up some cool tips in the process (your baby wipes as sweaty summer feet cleaners was pure genius!) I was taken aback to hear that your eye cream didn't agree with you, then I read that you broke out near your eyebrow; now that you're in your 30s, you should definitely use an eye cream as a preventative measure, but how about applying it just to the crow's feet (ie: outer corner) and maybe the undereye area...and avoid the lid entirely? Works for me!
    Thos Diors....le sigh....when I was in the States this past summer, I went to Nordstrom's to pick them up, only to learn that they were sold out even before they hit the counter (WTF?) and as they are a Nordie's exclusive, I was crushed: I was desperate for 'Poison' as it's the shade I want to wear with my gown for my nephew's wedding coming up. I've been haunting the Dior counter at The Bay since I returned, hoping this trio would make an appearance (something strange going on: Nordstrom exclusives and The Bay exclusives are always identical ....hmmmmm.....) and as soon as I read that you picked these up, I couldn't get to The Bay fast enough to pick mine up! Thanks, although it's a shame you returned Poison; I compared it to Purple Revolution, which winds up looking a lot more black, but I guess it's still close enough.
    I'm with you on thorough testing of skin care - which is why my reviews take forever too; what's the point on simply showing the product (as a blogger) if you can't really discuss it, right? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on your goodies!

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    1. Love looking at other people's pickups myself! It's the only reason I post these, other than the fact that I'm trying to be a little more responsible now as well. :)

      I broke out at the corner of my eye also, so I'm not going to try the Weleda around the eyes again. Thanks for the advice though!

      I'm eagerly awaiting your swatches of the purples knowing you'll do them full justice. :D I love Purple Revolution just as much, and one day it will be mine. Just not right now. :))) (I still ache a little at missing out on Bond Street though.)

      So far I like the Simple skin care and hope to make the full report before long!

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  18. OK, pen and paper, or digital sticky note ready, I've got to try that Garnier gel cream...I've had issues with skin sensitivity during the winter, allergies are not my friend. And are the Shiseido cottons better? I get the cotton pads at Costco and they are fantastic. They're by Delon, made in Germany, and cheaper than Shiseido. I don't know, I was just wondering.

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    1. It's a nice, light moisturizer for summer time for oily skin, but I don't know if it'll be good for dryer skin in the winter. But it's so cheap that you're not risking much if it doesn't work out!

      I'm told that the Costco cotton are decent and I just keep forgetting to look for them there. The Shiseido ones are AMAZING though. You won't want to go back to regular ones. But I'll get my hands on the Costco stuff for a true comparison some day!

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    2. That would be an interesting comparison post. It's something you use everyday but a lot of gals don't think about it. You just pick up a pack where ever when you need it sometimes. I love those sort of posts myself.

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