Little Joys-aka Items You Buy To Make the GWP Threshold

Or when you live in Hawaii, the extra item(s) that you buy when you need to buy something more to make the free shipping threshold.

Sometimes I’ll go ahead and buy more than one of the same product at the same time, but it’s a rarity when I like something that much, or plan to give it to a friend because I highly endorse the product.

It’s like when I’m in Nords and I see the Clinique rep and she points out the Early Access giant Dramatically Different Cream that comes with another regular sized cream of the same.

_12550393It’s a siren call.

I have to stand there and take a mental inventory of my beauty supply products cabinet(s). Yes, I said cabinet(s)-which actually is three shelves in the medicine cabinet, the top portion of the vanity, one full drawer of the vanity, underneath bf’s vanity (but only a small area for larger items like shampoo and travel stuff) and finally the catch all closet in the hallway for stuff like body wash.

As it turns out, after that mental gyration, I don’t need another of the same cream – though I really do like the cream version of Dramatically Different.  I use the lotion formula samples all the time, and use the cream version over my serum and under my sunscreen. I just use a small 2-pea sized dab smoothed between two fingers and pressed on-the moisture lasts the entire day.

So, anyway.

One of the products that I bought to make the threshold is Benefits’ Dandelion box o powder blush travel sized mini for $15 bucks.

When I received it-I took one look and thought-hmm rip off, hardly any product and doesn’t look saturated.  I watched a net video of how to use the product and promptly didn’t try it for a couple of weeks.

Time makes for a desirous heart.

On a day I was planning to stay home and work, I still put some sort of a “face” on, so I took out the Benefit product. The little flat sweeping brush that comes with is rough and cheapy but it fits in the box and does a good job of getting the product on. Smooth it out with a real brush tho so you don’t look like you have two pink racing stripes on. search

I like to use the product on the very tops of my cheek ‘bones”. The light peachy pink with no shimmer gives me a little boost of color that I like and when blended out a bit looks a little fake healthy-but better than without.

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but the retailer always wins with the threshold game.



I hate Clinique’s pricing structure–their PepStart Eye is $26.50 and their GWP threshold is $27, so unless you want yet another sharpener…..



What’s Up With That?Sephora Pricing Same Product, Same Size at a Premium

I pride myself on shopping around for the best deal-when all things are the same, same product, same size-I still look for the extra whatever to sweeten the deal.

The other day, I shopped online while my friend was driving and talking on speaker phone as we researched the best deal for a certain eye cream and moisturizer which was on her shopping list for the day.

After a few clicks, I helped her figure out how she could get the cream(s) she wanted, get the brand GWP, and the store GWP!

So this morning, the siren call of a Bobbi Brown GWP came in via Sephora’s daily sell email. I click on it-it looks good, so I check for the Estee Lauder Advanced Time Zone eye cream I like.

At Sephora a .5oz jar is $62.

At Macy’s a .5oz jar is $58.


I have become increasingly suspicious of Sephora’s practices.

I get that the 100 point aka $100 threshold for the VIB deluxe samples really cost me $100.

And that they now sell the same deluxe samples that the brands giveaway in GWPs in the stores and online.

But to add injury to insult by pricing at a premium?

I don’t think so.



Heading Down the Yellow Brick Road-Battle of the GWPS

Seriously, my eyes and fingers always answer the siren call of the GWP.  My favorite go to blog is GWP Addict-a daily update of all things GWP, written by Lisa of Arizona.

Over the years I have found some tried and true products that I like so much that I will always buy them for my basics and it takes a lot to turn my head to pull me away from my beloveds-Clarins’ SPF sunscreen, Kiehl’s Rosa Artica Moisturizer and Kitoko and Neuma hair products.

So, when I see it’s time to stock up on my basics, I go to to see if there are gwp offers for whatever I have in mind.

I recently started using Estee Lauder’s Advanced Time Zone Age Reverse eye cream (which I haven’t written about yet!), which has the consistency similar to rosa artica moisturizer-a heavy (shortening like-yes like the baking stuff) cream that I rub a very small 1/2 pea sized or less amount on my finger tips and apply in the inner corners of my eyes.  It retails for $58 a jar.

I know that Macy’s is supposed to have an Estee Lauder event soon, early in September, so I’ve been waiting around-but I thought I’d check Lisa’s blog for any specials. So lo and behold Macy’s is having a Tuesday Flash Sale!* As you guys know, beauty products rarely go on “sale” unless they are about to expire or be discontinued so I snapped up the eye cream and a Laura Mercier Bronzer that someone put on me at NMs but I didn’t feel like buying at the time. The Estee product had a mini-gwp of advanced time zone eye serum(meh) and mascara(rarely buy mascara because companies always give samples. yay!).

So was feeling pretty happy about that.

However this morning, Sephora sent their daily blah blah of whatever is new, and I, heeding the call, open it and check out the new beauty lines, and failing to be sold, go to the Fresh products page, which eventually leads me off to gwp addict in search of whatever.

I had seen the Nords $125 gwp gift bag with a bunch of samples, but I did not know there is also a gift bag for a $50 threshold. When you compare the two, I’d rather pay the $50, cuz from my point of view the $50 had better samples and less perfume which I don’t wear.


06-29-15-p04-cid0628156443-7-adam-38ab9e85-1d00-4cde-8a97-a4c20110e43d-fil-file $125


I already knew I needed to restock my Clarins’ sunscreen-I had tried the Murad Invisible Blur which is great, but no great gwp so I bought the Clarins,plus Nords is offering a two-fer sale of $62, a savings of $22. But as I am checking out, I think to look at the Estee offer.

A much much better gwp than Macy’s for a $45 gwp threshold, plus spend $5 bucks more and you get the $50 gwp bag!

I know so what, but I work from home so little things are exciting.

The clincher for me is that Nords ALWAYS has free shipping to Hawaii which is a huge perk. It’s pretty much why I do not shop the Fresh or Clarins’ company online stores because shipping is outrageous to Hawaii. I mean it’s like they are sending the products to Russia.  (I recently got ballet slippers from Grishko Russia, and unbelievably, shipping was free!).


It pays to be a shopper, and a free shipper.


*These offers will expire and may not be available when you read this post.

Lube Me Yu-Be-Japan’s Soft Skin Secret

I am always on the hunt for the next big facial moisturizer.


I had done a good amount of holiday shopping online at Sephora-and you know the drill, you’re always looking for something for the last little bit to reach free shipping nirvana.

I had seen Yu-Be moisturizer at Sephora before, but had decided against trying.

But seriously, the law of supply and demand, supply being Sephora was sold out of the stuff,

made me want it.

Not want it more.

Just want it.


Yu-Be was invented by a Japanese pharmacist in 1957 and it has glycerin, vitamin B2, E and sodium hyaluronate- a humectant which says “moisture come to me”.

yube-logo-smIt smells like camphor – also known as Vicks vapo-rub-the stuff your mom rubbed on your chest when you are little and congested.

The consistency is like neosporin-but not oily at all. Just sort of ointment-like.

A famous Japanese mountain-climber is the brand’s poster girl-having used it during her mountain climbing expeditions saying that she overcame extreme temperatures and winds using the product.

Me-I take half a pea and spread it around my crow’s feet area and around the sides of my mouth for an extra boost of lubricant and moisture.

Because at the end of the day, dryness causes wrinkles.


Yesterday Once More – Neostrata Lotion Plus

Like I said, I wonder why I do this to myself. Meaning, why do I stray from something that works?

The answer is mostly boredom.

I used this magical lotion for years and years ago when it cost only $17 per bottle.  

Nowadays it goes for $42!!  $45 on the official neostrata site.

But it wasn’t so long ago that I think that price is really super duper high!

But seriously, it works.

Works like magic.

Practically with the first application.

Neostrata Lotion Plus is AHA Glycolic – 15%!  It is for experienced uses, there are step downs, and is used to “resurface” the skin by exfoliating.

For me-as much as I like my Honey and Sugar scrub, this is pretty fast and I can do it everyday without waiting for the housekeeper to come so I can make a mess in the shower.


Makes my skin feel silky-and moisturized tho there are other formulas that exfoliate and are moisturizing.

Dry no more!


Stand Up and Curl! Diorshow Iconic Over Curl Mascara

I think I’ve been taking ballet class as an adult for nearly 10 years now.  I have to use “who my boyfriend was at the time” markers to help remember how long. I had been taking class for about a year when the boyfriendathtetime remarked I must take yoga because of my inner radiating calmness.

I know – yeah-what an interesting line.

At the time, I transitioned from being an aerobics princess who was always obnoxiously bouncing around the front, giving the moves some flair, or riffing off my friend’s moves in my own way, or just trying to jump higher.

When I think of it now, I have to laugh at my silliness.


I used to think that being sort of ratty “flashdance” sort of look with torn sweatshirts falling off the shoulder and worn out leg warmers was the look to covet, but not anymore.

Neat hair, leotard, tights and cover up with no holes, and believe it or not, pretty make up.

If you flip open any fitness magazine, they are always telling people to remove their make up before exercising.

I get it-it clogs the pores blah blah blah.

But when you think about it-ballet is a moving art form-and if wearing a little mascara makes it prettier, then ..

1.  Mascara for me must make it through ballet class without making me look like raccoon ballerina.

Sometimes it’s so bad it looks like a botched smoky look.

I guess that makes sense because one of those passed on mascaras is Bobbi Brown’s Smoky Eye Mascara.  I like the way it lengthens and it’s not clumpy but it looks pretty bad after class.

Another fail was Trish McEvoy’s High Volume Mascara-great at first-but now it sits in my mascara graveyard, only to be used when I know I am only going to not do anything more physical than lift a glass a wine.

2. When Clumping is Good-it’s ok when mascara washes off in “clumps” -a phrase taken from my ace brow person, Stacie at Marsha Nadalin, vs smudgy messes that can only be removed with oil or real eye make up remover.

That’s what I like about the Trish mascara, but it was a fail at the raccoon test.

However-I was searching for a xmas gift and know that she really likes mascara and it must satisfy pretty much the same requirements.

Diorshow Iconic Overcurl came with a mini 5 eye shadow quad of neutral colors – cream, peach, light brown, medium brown and a brown for liner.

I am loving the mascara.

It stays on in class and doesn’t move – even when I perspire.

It comes off easy without special efforts. Comes off with my Cerave’ foaming face cleanser, or my Fresh Soy cleanser.

3.  Stand Up and Deliver-mascara doesn’t have to curl for me to like it, but the Dior product does work well and pretty much stays at attention through the entire class.

The plus was the little eye shadow that came in the holiday pack.  I had always been curious about it, but you know Clinique and everybody else and their sister brother give away eye shadow in their gwps-so I only buy shadow if I really like the color.

The colors are really neutral but for my aging lids, works better than wearing a lot of color product.

Since people are now referring to me as “issheyourmom?” I need all the help I can get.


Taming the Frizzies-Neuma NeuSmooth Illuminating Shine

You’d think with all of the oil based products there would be a lot more people walking around with oily stringy hair.

A problem we avoided as younger people-that being oily hair-so it’s ironic that we seek out oil as our older selves.

BOSS Beauty Supply often sells their products in trios–like the Neuma Shampoo, Conditioner and something usually a finish treatment as the third.

A typical cocktail trio

I changed up my moisture formula in the blue bottles with the volume formula in the orangy-rust colored bottles-and it turns out they work great.

Since the big M, my hair had gotten extremely dry and the cocktail of Neuma Moisture shampoo and conditioner plus kitoko oil, plus only doing gloss to cover my gray was the road back from a color-treated frizzy mess.

I wash my hair every day-mostly because I just like fresh hair, and contrary to others, my hair is not better on the second day. So, when contemplating something new, Lincoln’s staff told me the volume formula works very well and still gives moisture.

As some people know I’m Janey come-lately, and I tried flat-ironing my hair to get that glossy look, but when honesty is applied, I am way too lazy to take that much time on my hair.

Instead, after blow-drying, I take a couple of shots of the Neuma Illuminating Mist and rake it through my hair.  Because I always have to drive somewhere, I take this time to “set” my hair. 

Then my secret to non-frizzy hair, which won’t work for people who like a really polished look, but is great for a slight controlled beachy wave, is to first twist my hair, then use a scrunchy or hair rubber band and make a low bun.

It actually looks chic, with a low side part, but if I am going to an appointment, as I drive up I take out the rubber band and rake my fingers through my hair again.

It’s a lot easier than using a flat-iron and twisting and flipping and all that.

I like it easy-life’s complicated enough.


Trish to Trash-Eye Base and Eye Lift

I’ve seen the Trish McEvoy products when I was still in love with Bobbi Brown and then Laura Mercier.  I wasn’t falling over myself to buy their kits that had everything you need in terms of color in one of those 80-s filo fax binders.  I still have nightmares of people who organized their days that way and forced me to do the same. I think I did the filo fax thing-meaning I carried the binder, but I never did the post it thing, the move projects to the next day and order them thang.

Rather I liked to write my notes and my schedule in the binder-mostly as a sales tool. Why? I would open it toward the end of the sales call and ask – how about we meet next week at such and such time?


As I mentioned in an earlier post, I attended the Nordstrom sneak preview Early Access event and I obviously got caught up in the moment,

I had watched Trish’s videos on applying her products like Eye Lift and Eye Base. So I had gone to Nords with the idea that I wanted the Eye Lift-which is basically an eye shadow primer.

Now I know from passing the Trish counter by (only stopping to buy gel liner once or twice), that her products are supposed to have beauty benefits besides color. So watching her smooth on the product liberally on the model in the video, I thought hmm must work pretty well.

Same goes for the under eye product – Eye Base. Maybe I get confused with the names but they are her two main eye products. With the Trish triangle of light – which is pretty much the same as Bobbi Brown’s secret to beauty or whatever she calls basically smearing concealer from the inner corner of your eye pretty much to the edge of your cheekbone. 

Bobbi’s actually makes you look pretty good but it does not photograph well – see her books.  The women look odd with all that concealer. Lighter hand please.

So I bought the kit with the Eye Base, Eye Lift, Bronzer/Blush/Highlighter/Magic Powder, an eyeshadow and lip mini palette, a lip pencil with lip brush and mascara.

I have tried everything except the mascara at this point.

I was pretty disappointed with the “gift” at Honolulu Nords. It was a cosmetics bag. PERIOD.

My very nice artist/salesperson gave me a few samples of Fresh, YSL foundation, and an eye thing. But really that was it!

The cosmetics bags itself was the gift. Having spent $200+, I went online to check it out.  It turns out that Nords online had a gift with purchase, and explaining my disappointment, the very nice customer service person sent me a gift with Trish lip gloss and mascara. The mascara is great. The lip gloss is pretty, but no staying power.

So back to the base and lift-I tried a lot of product, a little product. I warmed it up on my hand before applying, I tried more moisture base to help it spread.

Both products were like spreading clay.

Considering we are talking about the eye area and it’s delicate texture – this is just bad.

I went so far as to go back to Nords and ask the product rep what was the deal? He said to use less-a pin point. Still didn’t work.

I didn’t even want to pass them on to friends to try their luck.

Into the trash.



The lip pencil with brush on the end is good. However, Trish, please revisit the quality of the package supplier.  The tops from both sides kept slipping off. When I tried to secure them tightly-one side cracked the side making it useless.


Bat My Eyes! Clinique High Impact Extreme Mascara

The BF and I have a little deal.  He uses the Super Defense SPF 25 EVERYDAY to protect his blue eyed self, and I look for a Clinique gift with purchase so I can get the freebies.

As a side note, don’t you just hate it when you’re like $4 away from the gift threshold and you end up buying $20 more of something you don’t really need? Afterall you can only have so many pencil sharpeners – though Laura Mercier’s is superior.


I am the queen of lazy when it comes to putting on more than one coat of mascara so my mascara has to do it in one application, and I mean one short application.  Instead of brushing and brushing and coating each lash, I pretty much do 5-6 brushes, while pulling my lashes upward.  I skip the lower lashes. I skip curling them.

I’m not a mascara conniseur like some of my friends, but I am open to trying something new. For the most part, I get so many sampler tubes, I really don’t have to buy mascara – but I end up buying to get to the gift threshold.

Over the years my favs were Great Lash, Mac’s False Lashes, L’Oreal’s Voluminize, Bobbi Brown’s Party Lash (?), Cliniique couple of different formulas. And many many more.

But as a marketing person I think it’s funny that the Clinique ad agency must have sat there and said to themselves,  how many adjectival adverbs can I use in the product name?

The product is a performer. It only takes a couple of sweeps to get the product taking your lashes to new heights of length and volume.  For me that means, fat and long at the same time.

The only thing is- the formula is very liquid-y so it’s easy to smear it, and it kind of builds up on the brush. And the brush is so fat, it doesn’t work well on lower lashes.

There you go—now you have to buy their bottom eyelash mascara with the special brush to get the gift.

Great product, but seriously, why not just make a mascara with two brushes on the ends for upper and lower?


The Fight Against The Dreaded Eye Wrinkle Monster!

The day I was shopping around for a new eye cream, I was looking for something that would ease the dryness around my eyes-the sides, the under and a little under the brow AND something that I could use with concealer if I chose to take that step.

I have used Bobbie Brown’s eye cream which Bobbie uses when she demonstrates how to put on concealer her way. If you haven’t watched her video on concealer, it is pretty eye opening in that she covers the entire triangular area under the eye and above the cheekbone.  The affect is gorgeous if you have the right concealer color.  I always skipped the powder step because my skin is too dry, but I had a person who has known me for years exclaim, “damn, you just keep looking younger!”


I dabbed my way through pots of eye cream in Sephora, Nords and NM and then was coaxed into L’Occitane’ with the heavy fragrance wafting out of their doors.  I go in and out of how much I like their products–my favorite was their honey lotion which they discontinued years ago, but they should bring it back.  It was light yet very moisturizing.

I got  a sample packet of Immortale’ Precous Eye Balm,  L’Occitane’s premium skincare line.  Made with a special flower that somehow has properties that sustain youth blah blah blah.

I went back and purchased the product a few days later.

Why, is it that, the sample and the product don’t always perform the same?

The sample packet was a little thinner, the actual product a little thicker.  True it is called Precious Eye BALM, like in chapstick, but the product goes on really thick.  I take the step of warming it up on my fingers, but that doesn’t help much.

The thing is – a balm is supposed to help seal moisture in, so in other words you don’t feel dryness during the day.

But Precious precious eye balm – does not keep my skin moist.  After a few hours, when I smile or even when just sitting around, I can feel my skin getting dry.

Maybe I’m more sensitive than most, but hey….Plus insult to injury, this product is in a very very tiny pot for $40+ buckeroos. Yes, it’s not a $100+, but I give this product for lack of performance a C.