Birthday Month Beauty Swag

Ah, January. Beginning of the year and it was also my birthday month. Whoop! I had started gathering up the freebies a few weeks and picked up the rest after my birthday. The one thing I wanted to get ASAP was the mini gift set from Sephora. They’re offering 3 this year From Bite, Glamglow, and Bumble and Bumble. I chose the set from Bite since I was immediately drawn to the shades of the lip products.


The set contains samples of their Agave lip balm and lip scrub, and deluxe sample sizes of their Matte Creme lip crayon in Glace and Amuse Bouche lipstick in Chai.

Ulta’s freebie was a Cranberry and Pomegranate lip oil and mask. If you subscribed to their email list and entered your birthday, you’ll receive a coupon to print out and present at any location to receive it. In addition, there’s also a promo to activate which gets you twice as many points for their Ultamate rewards program for every $1 you spend during your birthday month.


Haven’t used the lip oil yet, but it smells nice. I don’t know if it’s just me that feels this way, but Ulta’s birthday freebies have been somewhat lackluster in past years, with the exception of the Benefit Porefessional from last year.

I also noticed in their recent ad that they change the freebies depending on when your birthday falls. That kind of annoyed me. It would have been nice if they were all offered as options and we could choose one like with Sephora. *shrugs* Oh well.

Coming Soon: Ulta 21 Days of Beauty

For you beauty lovers, that time of the year is just around the corner! Ulta will be having their 21 Days of Beauty event beginning this Sunday Sept. 3rd. Each day, select products are offered in store and online for 50% off  (unless specified). After checking out their selection, I’m actually not going to participate this time. *gasp* Shocking, right? The only item that even slightly grabbed my interest was the UD Flushed palette. Not that I need it, so I’m fine with passing it up.

Check out what they’ll be offering throughout the event on their website.

Do you plan on purchasing anything during 21 Days of Beauty? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty: It’s Back!

Starting Sunday March 19 through Saturday April 8th, Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty event returns. Each day will feature an awesome deal for select product(s), with the special pricing valid for that particular day only and while supplies last. Although I have no plans to swoop up anything this time around *gasp*, I will take advantage of their Hot Buys which will last throughout the duration of the  21 Days event. I can finally snatch up a few of those bareMinerals  matte liquid lip colors I’ve had on the wish list for some time! Check out what products will be part of the event here, and the rest of their Hot Buys here.

Birthday Beauty Bonuses and Hauls

I’m in the process of prepping to do a beauty no-buy for the month of February. Since this is my birthday month, I’ve done a little gathering here and there of a few products before that starts. I see myself being OK with the makeup part since I use it sparingly, so the real challenge will focus more on what I use often. Here’s what I obtained during the birthday week.



I’m always excited to see what Sephora has to offer for their birthday freebies. This time around, Beauty Insiders have their choice between a mini set from Caudalie or tarte. My skin care routine is pretty much set, so I opted for the tarte duo. It contains a 1ml Creamy Matte Lip Paint in Birthday Suit and a 1.5g Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Paaarty. Loved how both of the shades looked, although the lip paint is appears darker when applied compared to how it looks in the tube. I think this is the best freebie I’ve gotten from Sephora to date.


In past years, I would just head to the nearest store location to redeem for the gift, but I added the set to an order I placed online. This crossed a few more things off of my loves list. Luckily the other products I still have on there aren’t limited edition, so I can hold off on purchasing them for another time (e.g. after my no-buy month). Here’s what I got:

Escada Agua Del Sol rollerball – Is it just me, or do most of Escada’s fragrances smell similar? I had a slight obsession with them in past years, but tapered off due to that fact. I did purchase this one because it was limited edition and only available online. Notes for this one are mandarin, apricot nectar, and sandalwood. They also have another limited edition fragrance at Ulta in celebration of their 25th anniversary. Will I cop it? All signs point to…probably.

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer (0.33oz) – I agree with a fellow blogger that a little of this goes a long way, so buying their full size would not do justice for me, especially since I don’t reach for it often. Plus the miniature size is easy to toss in my makeup bag when I travel. I consider it one of my HG primers.

Lavanilla The Healthy Deodorant in Vanilla Grapefruit – I’ve been using a more natural deodorant towards the end of last year and have been loving it. I liked the scent of this when I checked it out in store, so I bought it to alternate with what I already have. Hopefully it’ll also do a good job with reducing odor.

Smashbox Cover Shot Eye Palette in Softlight – Upon first viewing the Cover Shot palettes online, I wasn’t sure whether I’d actually invest in one. But I found them to be the perfect size for travel when I saw them in person. I picked the one that’s probably the least popular in terms of shade selection and wear. I’ll have to see for myself after trying out a look or two with it. Thankfully Sephora has a great return policy if it happens to not be worth the investment.

Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in TMI – This was the last to be checked off of my Vice lipstick wish list. The shade is a sheer mauve-pink.



The birthday swag from Ulta is either hit or miss. I still have a shadow palette that I got from them probably over 2 years ago that’s still unopened. *shrugs* However, I did hop on this year’s giveaway since 1) it’s from Benefit and 2) it’s their Porefessional primer, which I’ve been curious about. I also added a blending sponge since I plan to dispose of my somewhat neglected Real Techniques one soon, and also grabbed one of the new NYX Lip Lingerie lip colors in French Maid since they’ve added 12 new shades to the current lineup.


I also placed an order for Urban Decay’s Vice liquid lipsticks that released last week. Will get a post up on those once I have them. If you have any of the products featured here, let me know your thoughts on them.

Ulta 21 Days of Beauty Picks

Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty event was back this month from the 4th through the 24th. Each day would feature select items priced at 50% off for either in-store or online purchase. The ones I really had my eye on were available towards the end of the event, so I stopped in twice this past week to snag them.




So what did I go home with? First was the bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie lipgloss in Maverick. I’ve had the mini size of this that came with a set for a while, but never considered a full size one until I saw it in their ad. This is one of my favorite gloss shades and was featured in a previous post I did on MLBB (aka My Lips But Better) shades. On the last day of the event, I got the tarte lights, camera lashes mascara. This has been my higher end HG mascara since I discovered it about 2 years ago in one of my ipsy bags. For a formula that isn’t waterproof, this hasn’t caused me any issues with flaking or smudging. The next event won’t be around again until Spring of next year, so hope you were able to check it out!

Ulta 21 Days of Beauty Buy: Urban Decay Eye Shadow Primer Potion

From the time I began wearing eye shadow at 18, I never gave a second thought to using something prior to application to make it last longer. In fact, several more years passed before I finally decided to prime my eyelids. The first products I used were the paint pots (Painterly and Soft Ochre) and paints (Bare Canvas and Sublime Nature) from M.A.C. They did a pretty good job, however, I did see occasional creasing. Yay, oily eyelids! *sarcasm* I then switched over to bareMinerals Prime Time Eyelid Primer, which has been a mainstay in my small but often rotating arsenal of eye products. Some times I would alternate between that and a sample size tube I got of Too Faced Shadow Insurance. They’re both just about empty, so I was more than due for a replacement. Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty saves the day yet again with a promo for their UD Primer Potion. Down to $10 from their original price of $20, I’d be a fool to ignore this deal. Plus I’m already a fan of UD because of their NAKED shadow palettes, so why not add another item to my collection?


This will last me a good while since I don’t use eye shadow too often. From what I know, the primer used to have a sponge applicator wand, but has since been changed to a precision tip, meaning more product and more bang for your buck. Sah-weet! It has a similar creamy consistency as the bareMinerals and Too Faced. And guess what? No creasing! Looks like I made a good investment here. This comes in 3 other formulas (Sin, Eden, and Anti-Aging), but I’m very much content with the original.

St. Pat’s Day + Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty

First off, hope y’all had a good Tuesday/Saint Patrick’s Day! I’m sure a good number of us will be heading out for a green beer, Irish coffee, or some type of drink appropriate for today. As for me, I might just lay off of the alcohol and settle for green tea later tonight instead. I did have an urge to reach for my Crabbie’s ginger beer and have it with a shot of whiskey, but I’m paranoid that the former is considered soda, which I decided to give up for the Lenten season. Eh, oh well.

I dawned a bit of green today as I usually do every year. Even turned it up a notch by doing my nails. It was a crap-tastic job, really. Let it be known that I’m not the most patient when it comes to doing my nails. I rarely use base coat and never have used a top coat (terrible, I know), so I often leave these digits readily open to a chip or smudge. Thank goodness for quick drying polish.

Polish on my nails is a once in a blue moon sight. I used Kourtney by Julep.
Polish on my nails is a once in a blue moon sight. I used Courteney by Julep here.

In my on and off effort to drink more tea, I was happy to discover that Davids Tea was offering a free hot or cold drink to anyone that visited their store wearing green. Not only was the timing great, but I was also able to try out their Berry Poppins flavored herbal tea. It’s part of their Spring collection of loose leaf teas, and needless to say, it was “berry” good (insert rim shot here).

Iced Berry Poppins tea. Yum.
Iced Berry Poppins tea. Yum.

Before heading home, I stopped by the Ulta near my work and picked up a full size of Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes mascara. I loved the small one I received in a past ipsy bag, so when I saw that this was on sale for $10 (half off the regular price of $20), I had to get it. This is just one of many so-called “beauty steals” happening during Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty event for Spring. Each day has a new deal, both in-store and online, plus various in-store events from March 15th to April 4th. I’ve ignored this in the past because I didn’t really need to update any of my cosmetics then, but I’ll be taking a bit of an advantage this time. Makeup needs Spring cleaning too!

A $20 full size tube for $10. Score!!!
A $20 product for $10? Score!!!
Full size compared with the small size I received from ipsy.
Full size compared with the small size I received from ipsy.

Birthday Freebies

A fun thing about birthdays is that if you know where to look, you can snag some free stuff. I have email lists and rewards programs to thank for that. For food and drink, I got a free beverage for being a Starbucks rewards member and a Frequent Steeper at David’s Tea. I also got a free dessert during my dinner at Sino for being on their email list.

The beauty freebies are just as good! Here’s what I was able to get this year:

Sephora offered either a NARS lip pencil set or a Peter Thomas Roth facial care set for their Beauty Insiders. Seeing that this was the first time I had to choose, I looked up what the suggested retail value was for each one. I went for the Peter Thomas Roth set since I’m well taken care of with the lip products.



As part of the ULTAmate Rewards program with Ulta, members received a coupon to redeem for their Complete Eye Palette. It includes 4 shadows and 1 powder liner. I got the Indie palette, which is a mix of purple/brown shades with a highlighter color in the middle (the photo does not do much justice, unfortunately).


I’ve only started visiting Peninsula Beauty after finding out that they had the hair color I was looking for. I received an email which I could present for either a free OPI Classic, Essie, or Morgan Taylor nail polish. I chose Essie’s Mademoiselle, which is one of the brand’s best sellers.


Haven’t tried any of the items from this freebie haul yet. Most likely will once the birthday month is over. I still have some more celebrating to do!