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…..



PEP PEP PEP…errrr Clinique Pep Start Eye

Just like the jingle-I’m lovin it!

But I wasn’t loving the fact that the Estee Lauder Advanced Time Zone eye cream I was using suddenly changed their formula without warning.  Either that or the stock at Macy’s Windward was so old that the eye cream muushed into something thinner than the Crisco like thickness I love in my moisturizer and eye cream.

So, off I go in search of a new eye cream that has the magical stick to it ness of Crisco.


Well, if you’re a younger person you probably have no idea what the thick, white, magical crisp making chicken aka shortening of which I speak.

Just picture something THICK-maybe p butter is a better example.


I had seen Clinique’s new Pep Start eye cream somewhere in a magazine maybe Allure-and thought I’d check it out at the Clinique counter.

Cliinique counter no more!  clq_ZH4801_402x464

The new product is sold only at Sephora or!

Ok-that’s cool cuz I have a sephora gift card anyway. So the next time I was at the mall I checked it out.

The packaging is a bright vitamin C orange tube, with a sphere shaped tip where the product comes out. I figure this is so, if you want, you can squeeze some up and apply the product right from the tube.

Ok in theory, but one could potentially contaminate the product in the tube with whatever cream, serum or whatever you previously applied to your skin.

So, I apply with fingertips-squirt a little of the thick product on the tips, rub to warm and pat all around the eyes.

I so totally ignore the make up counter directions to pat only on the orbital (eye socket) bones.

I have to tell you that this product delivers the claim that is directly addresses puffiness.

In the morning, I’ve dabbed on moisturizer first thing for years. But have noticed that my eyes are a little puffier.

So, first thing in the am I have added Pep Smart to my regimen.

By the time I am off, my puffs look pretty good.

Plus, I like the way the cream moisturizes for most of the day.

It wears well under concealer too.

Thing is, I spoke to the Clinique area rep and asked her why they don’t sell it at other retailers. Her explanation was that sometimes Clinique is testing a product and limits distribution, and later if the product proves popular, distributes everywhere.

Another explanation from a clinique counter was, Sephora sometimes negotiates for product exclusivity so…

Anyway-a high recommend. Only $27 bucks. Worth it.




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.


Shimmer Me Timbers ! Clinique Corrective Primers

Give me a silicon based primer and I am intrigued.  Make it work a little harder and I am in love.

I was cruising Windward Mall Macy’s a few days ago and spied colorful tubes at the Clinique counter. I was with the BF so it was mainly a touch and go, but a few days later I got a sample from Neiman’s..

Clinique’s new primers are silicon-based, so the result is a little cushion upon which your foundation sits on top of. My friend calls it “spackle”–sort of fills in the nooks and crannies of old scars, pores and probably light lines.


What makes them special is they come in colors that correct for sallowness (lavender), brightness(pink), radiance (gold), redness(yellow), and I think there was clear/translucent, making it just the primer with no correction.

MakeUp Forever also has primers for specific issues by the way.

But the Clinique products work very well with their new CC Cream. I’m not sure if it helps form a seal of moisture, but using both together, helps with the dryness issue I had with the CC cream. They work beautifully together. But at least in my case, not so well with my non silicon based primer.

I’m happy to see that Clinique is creating new products that actually work–their price point is vey reasonable, and their gifts with purchase are great. While other gwps are getting a little chintzy, or boring because they always give the same thing, Clinique is offering a breath of fresh air.


Dramatically Different? Clinique DD Lotion

I remember when I got my first job out of college and I would marvel at a co-worker who was already using Lancome’ and other non-drugstore brands.  She was everything I wasn’t – petite, stylish and skinny.

I was still in the category of, the purchasing of department store brands was a far off thing that I hadn’t thought about yet.  Even when another co-worker bought a Dior eye shadow set with multiple colors, and wore the entire rainbow on her lids, I balked at spending $45 for eye shadow.

I guess that’s how I entered the luxury brands by first purchasing Clinique and it’s 3-step cleansing, toning and moisturizing set of a soap, toner and Dramatically Different.

I’ve noticed going by the counter that DD had the same familiar rectangular package, but it’s signage was announcing it was a new thang.

I had gotten a sample so many months back, but figured, whatever, it wasn’t going to hydrate my dry skin. It was ok in my youth, but not 25 years plus later.

But I figured I’d try it over my various serums – skinceuticals C 20%, or Clarins’ Double Serum etc.

I have to admit, whatever is in the new formula, it works better for my skin.  I feel like I stay hydrated most of the day-even days I am in out and out of the car in town where it is hotter and drier than the ww side.

it must be the time release formula for moisture delivery? Now if they could stop time and aging on my facial skin altogether, now that would make me happy!

Hmm.Maybe they should make a body lotion without fragrance.


Calling Asian Complexions! Clinique’s CC Cream is a MATCH!!!!


I love the idea of a cream that does everything for you-like roll out of bed, slap on some BB CC AA cream and go!


Not true in my case.

Before I do that I put on serum, real sunscreen applied on my entire face, neck and décolleté, and I advise everyone who uses any kind of tinted moisturizer of multi-purpose cream to do the same in the sunscreen department.

Think about it, you put on your tinted whatever more sparingly than the quarter size helping of sunscreen you’re supposed to apply.  Do you put on  quarter size dollop of tint?

I DIGRESS as always to preach the sunscreen gospel.

Anyway, I don’t know about the US mainland and other places, but Clinique Hawaii counters offer 3 shades they claim are not offered allover.  They are special shades made for Japanese complexions who tend to be fair and a little less pink.

Even though I live in Hawaii, I tend to lean toward the fair side.  I’ve stayed out of the sun for the last 17 years and use sunscreen religiously even on overcast days.

So this new CC product-I got a sample and it matches my skintone perfectly!  Like the old Prescriptives ads, when it is applied it disappears into my skin.

What’s more, it has good coverage and for me, I apply it from the center around my nose and under my eyes.  It brightens my whole face – I don’t need to apply to my forehead, but I like a little coverage where I do have a few freckles.

Anyway-Clinique CC Cream in colors for Asians!

It’s a hit!




Neck Up-Clarins Advanced Extra Firming Neck Cream

I don’t know about you guys, but of late, I’ve been thinking more about the skin below my face – mainly my neck, and specifically where my neck ends and my decollete’ starts.

I guess it’s gravity aka old age but my skin seems to be stretching and changing texture in that specific area.

When I visit make up counters I ask about what they offer in the way of neck creams, and for the most part most brands don’t carry a specific neck product.

I guess it goes with the fact that most brands started somewhere whether it’s based in color or skin, and they eventually branch out from skin to color, or color to skin.  Like Clinique is a skin company who added color, or Bobbi Brown is a color company, that added skin.

Some of the walks on the wild side work, other times Not!


Clarins is a skin company that branched out to color – so after walking around Nords the other day (finally got a parking space in the Nords lot-Ala Moana is going through an expansion to add Bloomingdales and the closed  parking lot by Sears is causing MAJOR traffic jams.  Not to mention Nords is starting construction to expand on that side of the lot – pretty soon there won’t be any place to park!  Ala Moana management needs to start the holiday valet service now, so people won’t just get frustrated and go to Ward Centre).

The person at Nords Clarins came from Macy’s and is now their sales manager. I forget her name, but she has a singsong voice and when she told me the story of the neck cream and the sun flowers swaying in the wind, like your head, are both supported by a strong base – the sunflower stalk, or your neck.

I know-pretty funny.

I’ve been using the cream in the morning and the evening, and I have to say, I see an improvement in my skin when the product is applied. Non sticky, pleasant fragrance, and goes right in-what more could I ask for.

At $80 something a jar,if it works I’m happy. Plus it just happened to be extra bonus time, so I got a deluxe toner which I’m running out of, Beauty Flash Balm, and something else it didn’t make an impact on me. I think I may have mailed it to my mom.

As a side note, I had gone to WW mall counter and the girl there showed me a different neck product from Clarins.  I don’t know if she is just not educated or lazy, but I asked the Nords person about it, and she said the other $105 product also helps get rid of spots on your neck.

A high recommend – it won’t improve your decollete’ area if it is highly damaged, but I think it’s good for when you’re showing the signs.  (If you have more damage, it’s time to visit the doc).




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?


Nerium AD

Update 8/14/14

I as checking out Biologic Stem Cells-my friend gave me a sample so I found this site. Kind of scary about Nerium.

I’m a marketing person by trade so I like to look at my statistics on my beauty blog.

Consistently people find my blog on web searches for Nerium AD, WInam Street Studio and The Face Shoppe for its Korean foot mask.

I continue to go to WInam and last time I was at the Face Shoppe I stocked up so I pause to revisit my Nerium blog.

Like any pyramid product, Nerium enjoys natural word-of-mouth by the nature of how it is sold by individuals who have set up their own businesses.

There’s no question that the product works for some people removing wrinkles and age spots-but in search queries, I also see questions like, ‘nerium makes my eyelids swell”.

Which, the deal is, I make no claim that I am an expert on products, I just like to try a lot and have fun writing about them.

But, I have to wonder, if the people selling (sorry no offense meant) don’t tell people not to apply the product on their eyelids(a very sensitive skin area), or otherwise, do a test spot on the inside of their arm to gauge sensitivity, then….

they should.

Most beauty counter people are instructed to tell you to not apply face creams to your eyelids or even around the eyes. That may sound like hype to sell the additional eye cream product, but the face skin is not quite as sensitive as the eye area skin, and for that matter, the neck or decolette’.

I’ve frequently posted about what I call the zero-to-60 effect-if you never do, or rarely use a type of product, then using the product for the first time will probably show results quickly. You know, when you’ve been walking around all-day and the Clinique person takes her cotton soaked with their alcohol based cleanser and swipes it on the back of your hand taking off the accumulated dirt which she shows you the icky instant result.

So, yeah, some people will get results from Nerium, but for how long will it be effective?



Moving Target

Yesterday I planned to go to Nordstrom’s, not so much for the event, but because I had some time, a rarity on a Sunday.

I should have taken it as a sign from the full parking lot that it might be crowded.

Yes, it was.

And then, one of the most irritating things in retail.

The counters had been moved around.  Kiehl’s had been moved from the center in front of the escalators, and had been replaced by Mario Bedescu, Erno Laslo, et al. You know, the lines that have a few specialty or cult products but are probably actually being given a last gasp before the store shows them the door.

And the counters were very crowded with people wanting to experience the event and the “new” offers.  I went by Bobbi Brown three times to sample her new BB cream-felt it on my hand, great texture.  At Clinique the rep had her hands full doing a makeover.

I finally found Kiehl’s which had been crowded onto half a counter.

This is my beef with Nordstrom’s they just don’t have enough reps at any given time.  You can roll a bowling ball through on some days, and even on a day projected to be busy weekend, there still aren’t enough reps.

Go to Macy’s and there are plenty of reps – but also a bunch of floaters – who can ring you up if you know what you want.  Or Neiman’s is usually staffed with someone who knows the line, but who are, like Sephora, driven by sales goals.  I get that it’s all about the sales, but consultative selling will when out over being pushed anyway.

I’m just not that easily convinced to buy a product just because someone says so. I guess that’s why buying color is challenging, unless if the rep actually gives a rip and is trying to get you the right color foundation, lip or eye selection.

Anyway-I like having things stay in the same place so I don’t have to wander around.

Don’t you?