Haulage! Shoppers Drug Mart / beautyBOUTIQUE (September 2018), Joe Fresh clearance

Haulage! Joe Fresh clearance at Shoppers Drug Mart (September 2018)

Over the last few months, Loblaw, a Canadian grocery and pharmacy retailing giant, has been making a lot of changes to their online luxury beauty store, beautyBOUTIQUE.

For one, they changed their website from beautyboutique.ca to keep it under their Shoppers Drug Mart umbrella at beauty.shoppersdrugmart.ca. This redirects to beauty.shoppersdrugmart.ca/beauty-boutique, which seems a little redundant to me.

Anyway, secondly, they added a regular Beauty section to the Luxury Beauty section! This means that Canadians can now purchase a wide variety (though not a full selection) of drugstore beauty products online via Shoppers. This is great news for me—I’ve been sending messages about this to Shoppers whenever they ask for suggestions—since I hate having to hit up a few different locations just to find the all products I want.

I’ve noticed that there are still some growing pains. For example, not all brands are available online (L’Occitane and quite a few perfume brands in the luxury section). The weekly sales are not always posted at the right time. The database is a bit wonky: Mid- and lower-priced brands (Calgon, J.R. Watkins, Marcelle, Pixi, Cake Beauty, all lower-end fragrances) show up in the Luxury section. There are some other oddities: Vasanti is under Luxury, but similarly-priced Nude by Nature and Consonant Skincare are slotted into regular Beauty; Strivectin is Luxury but Fekkai and Redken are filed under regular Beauty.

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Etat Libre d'Orange 30 mL perfumes in Jasmin et Cigarette & Putain des Palaces

Store Reviews: Luckyscent & FragranceBuy Canada, Hauling Samples & Etat Libre d’Orange (January 2017)

While I do love to swing by the department store or Shoppers Drug Mart’s beautyBOUTIQUE (Sephora’s a bit crowded for my liking) to try out perfumes, there is something I particularly love about having a sample at home, because then I can try out a perfume multiple times at my leisure, at different times of day, and under different conditions. The main drawbacks are that samples are not always free, especially for rarer and niche scents, and that the samples usually do not come with sprayers. I find that a perfume sprayed often gives a different impression than a perfume dabbed.

However, the benefits outweigh the negatives, so I occasionally round up an order of samples from an online perfume shop like Luckyscent, that offers decanted samples of many (most?) of the niche perfumes they sell. I have in the past used sample-only outfits like The Perfumed CourtSurrender to Chance is another, though I can’t remember whether I’ve actually placed an order with them—but in recent years, their shipping costs to Canada have become too prohibitive. FragranceX is another option for official carded samples, though their selection is very limited and I typically just order full-sized bottles from them. (I am not affiliated with any of the aforementioned sites.)

It’s probably been about four years now since I placed a big sample order—I wasn’t interested in trying perfumes while pregnant, since your sense of smell can apparently change during this time, and then after the kids were born, I was simply too tired to even think about perfume! But now, especially after the holiday season when perfume gift sets are everywhere, I’ve gotten back into the swing of things.

Reviewing: Luckyscent

Here’s my first Luckyscent sample order in a long time. I love this US-based online store with a wonderful selection of niche scents. Their shipping to Canada is very reasonable (a flat $8 for my 16-sample order) and they ship very quickly. I received my order in just five days (three business days)! I also included two samples from a newer Canadian line, Zoologist; if I’d ordered directly from Zoologist’s site, my samples would have cost more, as well.

All fragrances I selected are eau de parfum concentration, and prices are in USD. The 0.7 mL samples (basically your typical 1 mL sample vial, but they’re never actually filled up all the way) each cost $3–$5. The perfume links I added all go to the Luckyscent page (again, I’m not affiliated), where I also got additional details on each fragrance.

The only fragrance I wasn’t able to get a sample for that I’ve been wanting to try for ages is Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin. It was, sadly, out of stock.

fivezero's December 2017 Luckyscent sample order, bottles
Images: Luckyscent

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Rebecca Minkoff, Small Soft Love Crossbody with Guitar Strap, in Beet

Happy National Handbag Day! Rebecca Minkoff — Small Soft Love Crossbody with Guitar Strap Review

Happy National Handbag, everybody!

Last month, I shopped a sale at Rebecca Minkoff (referral link—plus, code HANDBAG25 gets you 25% off selected styles, plus free duties and taxes to Canada, for today only!) and picked up two bags for my upcoming birthday (yes, yes, it was three months early, but sales this good don’t happen every month, y’know). The RM team had apparently been having customer service issues at the time—which I didn’t find out until after I placed the order, naturally—and I admittedly did have some issues with their website functionality. However, the order did go through properly, and my bags arrived promptly in Canada via BorderFree shipping. Maybe they’d gotten their act together by the time I ordered, but my order went smoothly.

I will mention one thing for Canadian customers: RM.com offers free international shipping with a US$300 order. But, when you switch over to the Canadian site with prices in Canadian dollars, they don’t tell you how much you need to spend. Now, it’s obviously my fault for submitting my order without checking to see if I was getting free shipping (d’oh!) but it turns out I had spent exactly US$299. I ended up paying CA$35 for shipping when I could easily have added a low-value item (not that there are loads of those at this store) to my shopping cart and gotten free shipping. Bleah! But, lesson learned. At least I did get CA$12 back via ebates.ca (referral link).

The sale was pretty awesome: I paid CA$197.06 for a Small Soft Love Crossbody with Guitar Strap in Beet, which had an original price of CA$295.04 (US$225), and CA$193.14 for a Geo Quilted Love Crossbody in Mushroom, which was originally CA$386.83 (US$295.)

Rebecca Minkoff Geo Quilted Love Crossbody in Mushroom, Small Soft Love Crossbody with Guitar Strap in Beet

I’ve not generally been a fan of many of Rebecca Minkoff’s newer styles, which are often a bit too inspired by popular luxury bags, and usually I just don’t think they look anywhere as nice as her more original designs (MAC, MAM, etc.).

The Love Crossbody is one exception. It’s clearly inspired by the immensely popular and immensely expensive Chanel Boy bag. But there’s something about RM’s take on it that really appeals to me, and much more so than the original bag does. Every time I see a Boy, I admire its luxe look, but gosh darn it, it looks ridiculously heavy! The Love Crossbody is a lot less expensive, and as such it doesn’t have that heavy, chunky hardware and thick leather. It has a more lightweight, playful vibe that I personally prefer. (It also doesn’t have the large in-your-face logo that the Chanel has.)

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fivezero's beautyBOUTIQUE haulage, Shoppers Optimum Points redemption (September 2017) Chanel, Dior, Estée Lauder

Haulage × 2! beautyBOUTIQUE (July & September 2017)

This post covers two Optimum Points redemption orders I placed in July and September 2017.

I’ve been racking up the points via the Shoppers app, and redeemed 95k points for $170 worth of product (all prices in CA$) in both July and September during two PLUS Bonus Events. Here’s July’s order:

  • ARTDECO Art Couture Nail Lacquer in Silver Willow (978)
  • Elizabeth Arden Advanced Ceramide Capsules (60 Capsules)
  • Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup in 1N2 Ecru
  • Soap & Glory Flake Away Spa Body Polish

Free samples (I forgot to take pics of these):

  • Elie Saab Le Parfum EDT (sample)
  • Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Overnight Firming Mask (sample)
  • Vasanti Brighten Up! New Skin Amplifying Moisturizer (sample)

beautyBOUTIQUE actually made the first ever mistake I’ve ever had with them: they sent me the wrong shade of ARTDECO Nail Lacquer.

  • ARTDECO Art Couture Nail Lacquer in Rose Peony (953)

ARTDECO Nail Lacquer in Rose Peony 953

They only asked me to send a picture, which I did, and then they sent out Silver Willow right away. I got to keep Rose Peony, as well. I was really pleased with their excellent handling of an error. Plus, when they sent me the correct nail polish, they also included three free samples!

  • Lise Watier HydraForce Hydra-Protective Creme-Gel (sample)
  • PRADA Candy EDP (sample)
  • Sekkisei Clear Brightening Mask (sample)

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Jolse haulage (September 2017)

Haulage × 2! Jolse (August & September 2017)

After Jolse started offering “free” shipping to Canada again (I say “free” because they simply work the shipping costs into the product prices), I hit them up with an order in August:

  • Holika Holika Piece Matching Nails in GT07
  • Holika Holika Piece Matching Nails in YE02
  • SCINIC Ceramide 100 All In One Ampoule
  • SCINIC Honey All In One Ampoule

fivezero's Jolse haulage (August 2017)

Now, orders from Korean online beauty stores usually take between 3–5 weeks to arrive to me in Canada. I assume a large part of this time is spent in Canadian customs, as well, though I think these orders are exempt from duties and tax because of a trade deal Canada recently signed with South Korea.

Get this. My August Jolse order shipped (August 8) five days after I ordered it (August 3). It arrived to me ten days (August 18) after shipping. I received my order in a record fifteen days.

I was delighted, but also wondered if this was merely a fluke, so for science (haha) I placed a second order:

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Julep shipping box

Julep — Maven Boxes (July–September 2017) & Gobs More!

OK, so this is something of a haulage megapost, because I slacked all summer and only posted the unboxing of my first Julep Maven Box.

Now, not only do I have my Maven Boxes for July, August, and September for you (note that I didn’t skip any months even though Julep gives you the option to do so as much as you’d like), but I also have mini hauls that I got in-between boxes. Julep is constantly running little deals that are so hard for me to resist, particularly since shipping is always free.

And, it’s not just the free shipping. My Julep orders arrive so, so fast, and I’m in Canada! It’s amazing. I literally got my most recent order in two days. There’s never a customs charge, either (though I have never placed an order over US$33).

In addition, their boxes come so neatly packed and easy to open. You just snip the little bit of strapping tape on the front and it opens up with no hassle.

I’m super happy with Julep after four boxes, and I’ll definitely be resubscribing after my six-month subscription comes to an end. I think I should have enough Julep points (“Jules”) by then to get a free Maven Box, too. I posted my first Julep swatch last Friday (hint: it’s a purty one), and you can look forward to many more!

Without further ado, here is my Julep summer haulage. It’s a biggie.

June 2017 (Order #2)

  • Zodiac Nail Color in Gemini
  • Zodiac Nail Color in Glowing Gemini

Julep Zodiac Nail Colors in Gemini, Glowing Gemini

Julep ran a BOGO sale right after I got my first Maven Box, so I picked up two of the Zodiac polishes, twin polishes Gemini and Glowing Gemini! Baby Olive is a Gemini, though these are pretty polishes in their own right, and I’d have picked them up, anyway.

Every month when you select products for your Maven Box, you’re given a limited (but still pretty good) selection to choose from. If there are specific items or polish shades you’re looking for, you may have to wait a while—otherwise, Julep’s sales are the best time to pick them up.

(You can use Ebates Canada [referral link] with these purchases, too! It’s been consistently 1.5% cash back since I’ve been with Julep. I can’t use Ebates with my monthly boxes, though, since they’re prepaid with my 6-month subscription. Any add-ons I buy with my boxes don’t get an official “check out” so Ebates doesn’t work then.)


July 2017 Maven Box

Collection: Julep 2017 July, Neon Nights

  • Insta-Filter Invisible Finishing Powder
  • Love Your Bare Face Hydrating Cleansing Oil

Add-Ons:

  • Nail Color in Rosario (Add-On)
  • Nail Color in Sam (Add-On)
  • Nail Color in Signe (Add-On)

Freebie (for purchase of 3 Add-Ons):

  • Nail Color in Alysha (Add-On)

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Rebecca Minkoff Collection Alaina shoulder bag in Mango

Haulage! Rebecca Minkoff Collection — Alaina

I like to browse a couple of online consignment shops every now and then—specifically Yoogi’s Closet and The RealReal, which are the only ones I’ve actually purchased from—but I stepped it up this month since my birthday is coming up in a few months and I’m hoping to finally pick up a small Chloé Paraty. (Though my eye was also recently turned by a ten year-old black quilted Chloé Bay carried by Rachael Taylor’s character on The Defenders…)

Rachael Taylor and Krysten Ritter on Marvel's The Defenders (2017), Season 1
Rachael Taylor and Krysten Ritter (who, incidentally, often carried Rebecca Minkoff on another show) in Marvel’s The Defenders (2017), Season 1.
Image: Netflix.

Over the weekend, I browsed The RealReal’s Rebecca Minkoff section, as usual, hoping to spot an old school RM bag at a good price (this is my Holy Grail RM), and noticed a gorgeous Rebecca Minkoff Collection bag at a deep discount.

The Rebecca Minkoff Collection bags first came out around 2010, and represented a more luxe (and higher-priced) version of her usual line. Some of the bags used existing designs, like the MAB, MAC, and Nikki, adding luxe details like fancier leathers and real gold. Others were new designs exclusive to the line (I believe they may have been released 2012-ish), and I much preferred them to the blinged out classic styles.

RM Collection: Alaina

Mango

RM Collection: Allie

Black & Pink

RM Collection: Allie

Teal

RM Collection: Cali

Green

RM Collection: Elle

Colorblock

RM Collection: Elle with studs

Iridescent

RM Collection: Maria

Orange

RM Collection: Maria

Yellow

I remain on the hunt for the Allie in Black & Pink and the Studded Elle in Iridescent, but the one I just got is the Alaina in Mango, which retailed for US$850. I snagged it, gently used, off The RealReal for a total of $61. It was listed at US$130, on sale for 30% off, with a store coupon stacked on for $30 off. Shipping to Canada was $35—eek, I know, but they shipped it FedEx International Priority, so it arrived at my door in two days.

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