What’s in my bag? (Matt & Nat Elle)

Posted on July 28, 2017 under Thoughts

There is cat hair in this picture, which is an accurate representation of my life.

I’ve been toting around a Forever 21 crossbody bag that I got for £18 in Glasgow for over two years now. (Before that I had a £10 Primark bag that predictably lasted about 5 months.) I’ve been looking to upgrade my bag for the better part of a millennium, but nothing was meeting my specifications. I wanted a crossbody that could fit a decent amount without being too big, I wanted it to be black, I wanted it to be simple (i.e. sans fringe or bling), and I absolutely needed silver hardware. Gold metals do not enter my home, and I see so many otherwise beautiful black bags that are ruined by gold hardware. This is really a matter of personal preference, but it’s one of those things that just is a dealbreaker for me.

Discovering Montreal-based company Matt and Nat was a revelation for me. Their pieces are simple, attractive, and functional; they have silver hardware; and they’re vegan. I’m a meat-eater, but I draw the line at wearing dead animals on my body. That just seems needless. And of course I loved that they’re a Canadian company – they even have a bag named after my old Montreal neighbourhood! Matt and Nat pieces are also quite reasonably-priced for the quality and their commitment to sustainability.

After browsing their website I finally decided on the Elle bag, which met all of my specifications and basically looked like an upgraded version of my shitty Forever 21 bag. I held off ordering for a very long time, but finally the old Forever 21 bag disintegrated completely and so I bit the bullet.

Matt and Nat Elle compared to my Forever 21 bag:

You could say I know what I like!

The Matt and Nat Elle bag has one outer slot and three inner pockets, one of which zips. The back pocket and middle, zipped pocket both have smaller pockets on the side perfect for holding little things that tend to migrate to the bottom of the bag if not adequately contained. There’s a magnetic flap which covers the three main pockets, which I think is very cool.

I’ve had this bag for about two months now and I’ve found it great: it’s small enough that I don’t feel weighed down but large enough that I can reasonably bring everything I need with me; it’s very sturdy and well-made; the way it’s organized makes sense to me; I think it’s a sharp-looking bag. With bags I favour simplicity 100% of the time, and this is a simple, versatile piece that I can wear with anything.

Size reference, using the book I’m currently reading.

When you see the random junk I’ve been hauling around in here, you’ll see why I limit myself to a smaller bag.

Front Flap

Earbuds – I have these tucked into my bag at all times because the worst thing ever is to leave your house for a long commute without earbuds. These are just the default Apple ones, which fit my ears well. (I think I have small ear holes, because a lot of earbuds really hurt!)

Bic pens – These are the cheapest, most common ballpoint pens and I adore them. Real stationery nerds probably think I’m uncultured swine, but they write so smoothly! I buy them in bulk and keep multiples in all my bags. It is never a good idea to be without pens!

Mini notebook – I mainly make notes on the Evernote app on my phone, but I’ve been out and about and wished I had a notebook handy plenty of times so I just keep one with me. I don’t use it that often, but it’s teeny tiny so I figure why not. My friend Ashley did the hand-lettering on this years ago!

TTC tickets: Funny story! After I graduated high school, I kept buying student tickets for public transit because I figured nobody would know the difference. In the past five years, that theory has proven true 100% of the time. I actually switched to paying adult fare in the past year, figuring that I was pushing my luck, but out of habit I went to my corner store and asked for ten student tickets, so I’m working my way through this stack of them.

Wedding keepsake: When my friends got married, all the guests got these little paper hearts infused with seeds. I tucked mine into my bag for safekeeping, where it has remained for the past two weeks.

Movie tickets: I’ve known for over a year that I would be seeing Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk when it hit theatres, since Harry Styles is in it and obviously I support anything he does. My brother and I saw it on Saturday, and then we went and saw it again with my parents on Wednesday. Before the positive reviews started coming out, I didn’t necessarily have high hopes for it, but it was great: so expansive, intense without being manipulative, and singular in its lack of focus on character backstory. Beautiful cinematography, music, and sound-mixing too!

Phone: I always put my phone in the front flap for ease of access. It’s a white and silver iPhone 6S with an unnecessarily expensive case from Sonix. (My entire iPhone-owning career I have only ever bought cheap $10 cases from mall kiosks, but I saw this case from ACROSS THE TELUS STORE and knew I had to have it. Roses are my birth flower and I have two rose tattoos!)

Front pocket

Programme and receipt from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts: I went to the MMFA with my friends Katie and Caitlin when I was in Montreal earlier in the month and I have not cleared my bag out since then.

YSL Lipstick: Lest you think I have managed to only hoard one lipstick in my bag, this is the only lipstick in this pocket.

House key: Self-explanatory. No idea when or where I got the keychain.

Disposable camera: Every summer I like to buy a cheap disposable camera. It’s a lot more fun than the instant gratification of iPhone pictures. I only have one picture left on this roll and I am hemming and hawing over what is special enough to photograph before I get the film developed. The last camera I got developed was disastrous: only seven of the photos turned out. I’m hoping this one fares better, because I took a lot of pictures at my friends’ wedding.

Middle pocket

Wedding officiating script: I do not need this anymore!!! I also didn’t even use this copy on the actual day of the wedding, so it was a waste of printer ink.

Thank you card: My friends wrote me a card and bought me a bottle of rosé as a thank you for officiating their wedding, which was super sweet because I was absolutely buzzing to do it just for the extreme and utter honour of it all. The rosé will make a lovely sangria!

Grocery store receipt: I bought a bottle of water for $0.89. Exciting stuff.

Sunglasses: I knew I became a real adult when I bought prescription sunglasses! These are the Sunset style from EyeBuyDirect. I got them during a BOGO with a pair of clear frames. The case came with them.

Lipstick: Told you! Here I have two Revlon Balm Stains, in Lovesick and Romantic, and a Buxom lip pencil in Hush Hush. (This one lives in my bag pretty consistently since it’s my favourite everyday lip colour at the moment.)

Wallet – This is the Matt and Nat Vera wallet, which I got for 40% off at Marshall’s. (I bought this pre-bag – it was my first Matt and Nat piece, and what convinced me to bite the bullet on the bag.) It’s simple, but I like the front flap detailing. It has enough slots for my cards (a perpetual struggle for me in the era of loyalty cards) and a zippered-off compartment for change. Those are my wallet must-haves, so this works very well for me.

Card holder – I put my most-used cards in this so I don’t have to cart my whole wallet around at all times, and just for general ease of access. This was $30, which I feel is slightly steep for something so tiny, but card holders seem to be pricey in general. Most of the ones I’ve seen online are real leather, too, which is a no-go for me, so I decided to just go full throttle with the Matt and Nat theme and throw Max into my cart when I ordered my Elle bag. I like that this one has a middle pocket that you can stick bills into. I don’t know how I ever got by without a card holder – it’s so convenient to have all my must-have cards in one tiny wallet that I can easily slip into my back pocket when I don’t want to carry around my whole bag. For the record, I have my driver’s license, debit card, credit card, and Optimum card in it.

Back pocket

MMFA ticket: There really is no rhyme or reason to where things end up in here: why did I not tuck this ticket away with the MMFA programme and receipt? Who knows! Anyway, if you happen to be in Montreal soon, the Revolution show is very cool. Most of the MMFA is free, and the exhibitions cost $15. This ticket also got us into the Jean Paul Gaultier wedding dress exhibition, which was very neat as well.

Blotting papers: These are from Joe Fresh and they work as well as any other blotting papers. I mainly use them on my nose, which is the only part of my face that gets oily.

Compact mirror – I have many of these Sephora mirrors that come with gift cards, as you probably do too. At this point I just have one in every bag I own so that I never have to switch them over. Maybe one day I could get a cool/cute/pretty compact, but when I have like 900 of these lying around what’s the point?

So, today we have learned that I hoard receipts. Based on all the junk I carry around in my bag for indeterminate amounts of time, you can probably see why I deliberately go with small bags. Can you imagine the strain on my shoulder if I had a big bag? NO THANK YOU!

What’s in my travel makeup bag? Wedding edition

Posted on July 15, 2017 under Thoughts

As this post goes live, my friends Paige and MJ are getting married. This is exciting enough as it is, but I’m also officiating the wedding. I thought this joyous occasion called for another “What’s in my travel makeup bag?” post.

A note on semantics: I’m writing this post in advance (no wifi at our Airbnb, plus I will be busy, plus they are literally getting married AS THIS POST GOES LIVE, and I will obviously be present), so everything will be in future tense.

So, the wedding is in a small town halfway between Montreal and Ottawa, and I’m travelling by train. I’m also rolling this into a little side trip to Montreal, so I’m packing for that as well. I’m travelling by train, so there are no liquid restrictions.

First, I want to show off my makeup bag because it’s seriously the score of the century. I got it for 90% off – it totalled $2.50. And it’s actually pretty cute! I feel silly buying a makeup bag when I have so many that I’ve accumulated through my three years working in cosmetics, but this one is special. All my other makeup bags are envelope-style, which means that when I pack them to the brim I have to empty them out to find whatever I’m looking for in the dark cavern.

This makeup bag, on the other hand, has a clear pocket and the shape allows me to see what’s inside of it a lot more clearly. And it has a mesh compartment at the top that’s perfect for brushes. I’d go with a different makeup bag when packing light, but you can’t really go to a wedding and pack light in the makeup department, can you? This bag fits SO MUCH, so it’s perfect for this occasion.


For base I’m going with my longest-wearing product: Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation in Alabaster. I did buy it pretty much specifically for the wedding, which seems silly, but I don’t want to worry about my makeup melting off my face! Because I’m extra, I also packed my Serum Foundation from The Ordinary because I’m definitely not going to feel like putting on the Hourglass foundation when I’m going out for St. Viateur bagels in Montreal.

In terms of concealer, I was feeling cheap when I ran out of my NARS RCC and replaced it with Maybelline Instant Age Rewind in Fair. I had this once before in the brightening shade and didn’t like it, but the shade Fair works a lot better for me. I’m also packing my Maybelline Master Conceal for blemishes, although I’m hoping I won’t need it! Going high-low with the skin here: a $56 foundation and two Maybelline concealers.

Overall I’ve been loving loose powder, but it’s a pain to travel with and doesn’t lend itself to quick touch-ups. For those reasons, I’m packing my Rimmel Stay Matte.

For blush I’m going with two from Hourglass: Luminous Flush, a peach that I’ll be wearing on the day of the wedding, and Mood Exposure, which is my favourite blush ever. (You all know this, I’m sure, and you should assume that I will bring Mood Exposure on every trip I ever take!) I could probably get away with just Luminous Flush, but I don’t know what type of makeup I’ll be doing on the other days of my trip and Mood Exposure is a safe, goes-with-everything option.

I’m of course bringing my Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Light. I’ve actually kind of been off contouring lately, but obviously I’m going all-out glam for the wedding and probably if I go out with my friends in Montreal too! (Actually, when I go out with my friends I usually do, like, red eyeshadow and forest green lips, but contouring just adds to the over-the-topness of that vibe.) I’ve decided to pop in my Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer – I don’t know if I’ll end up using it because I’m bronzer-ambivalent, but it can’t hurt to have it.

I’m also highlighter-ambivalent, but a wedding surely demands it. I’ve selected two options from similar colour families: the Glossier Haloscope in Quartz, which is probably my favourite highlighter, and Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone, which is a little more blingy and which wears better. I might layer them or I might just go with Becca, but the Haloscope is a good casual product. Like, I’m not going to go all in with the SSP to go eat a bagel, you know?


Boring things first: I would be nowhere without my Milani Eyeshadow Primer. I’m not sure if I’ll use liquid liner on the day of the wedding, but I will want it at some point during my trip, so I’ve thrown in Stila Stay All Day in Intense Black. I will want to tightline with Marc Jacobs Highliner in Blacquer, as it’s a step I never miss. The NYX Wonder Pencil in Light will brighten up my waterline nicely. And of course, I bought my favourite mascara, Clarins Truly Waterproof, specifically for the wedding. It does amazing things to my lashes, and waterproof is a must at a wedding!

Speaking of lashes, I have the Ardell Knotted Flares. The last time I wore false lashes I was in university and I peeled them off at 5am and slapped them onto the nearest surface. This time I’m going with a few placed strategically. Lash glue is just the one that came with my Tanya Burr lashes, because it’s what I have. (I actually totally would have worn those lashes if I hadn’t run them into the ground.)

My brow products are so standard I should stop mentioning them: Maybelline Colour Tattoo in Tough as Taupe and L’Oreal Brow Stylist Plumper Brow Gel. I hate how much I like this brow gel, because it’s $15 and that is absurd. L’Oreal needs to humble itself and calm down with these prices.

I love my Modern Renaissance palette something fierce, and it has everything I need for both a softer wedding look and something more interesting should the compulsion grip me during my trip. When I’m in Montreal for some reason I am drawn to do crazy makeup, so the berries and reds in the palette are a safe bet.

Other fun things: NYX Vivid Brights Eyeliner in Sapphire and two ColourPop Super Shock shadows in Paradox (a red berry) and Animal (a neon orange).

Wedding glam: Stila Magnificent Metal Liquid Eyeshadow in Rose Gold Retro because it is oh so beautiful and this is probably my best excuse to wear it. The Lise Watier 24 Hours Glam Eyeshadow Stick in Satin Glam is perfect for a strong inner corner highlight.


Even when I pack light, I go overboard with lip colours. I just never know what I’m going to be feeling, you know? This time I’m packing two options for the day of the wedding (Revlon Balm Stain in Romantic, a warm sheer red, and NARS Audacious in Brigitte, my perfect peach), an easy moisturizing colour for travel days (YSL Rouge Volupté #17, a true staple in my travel makeup bag, which I pair with ColourPop Lippie Pencil in Contempo), and a few fun colours to give me options: Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution in Electric Poppy and Little Mix by Collection in Perrie. Somehow I forgot to include the latter two in my picture, but you can see them swatched below:

L-R: Revlon Romantic, NARS Brigitte, ColourPop Contempo, YSL #17, Charlotte Tilbury Electric Poppy, Collection Perrie. On my lips Revlon Romantic is more obviously red; because it’s sheer the colour looks a lot lighter on my pale inner arm.


Tweezerman has me covered with their eyelash curler and tweezers. I don’t know if I’ll actually need to sharpen anything, but if I do, my NARS sharpener has my back. Finally, I’m bringing my Quo Blending Sponge for the stick foundation.

I tend to pack every brush I’ve ever touched in my life when I travel, and I didn’t cut back too much here:

Face brushes: Magic Collection Oval Brush, Quo Deluxe All Over Powder Brush, bdellium tools 787 Duet Fiber Large Tapered Blending Brush (great for undereye powder), Real Techniques Duo Fiber Powder Brush, Real Techniques Cheek Brush, The Body Shop Fan Brush, ELF Small Stipple Brush.

Eye/lip brushes: ELF Eyelash and Brow Wand, million-year-old Forever 21 angled brush, bdellium tools 766 Blending Brush, MAC 217, ELF Crease Brush, Elf Concealer Brush x2 (best brush ever for packing shadow on), Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush, Elf Eye Contour Brush, Real Techniques Bold Metals 201 Pointed Crease Brush, Real Techniques Smudging Brush, Quo Crease Blending Brush, Lise Watier Eye Contour Brush, Real Techniques Accent Brush, Real Techniques Detail Brush, Elf Small Smudge Brush x2 (amazing for the lower lashline), Real Techniques Lip Brush, ELF Lip Brush.

Will I use all of these? Probably not, but it’s good to have options.


I separated my skincare/toiletries into a different bag just for ease of access. I really like using my Glossier pouch for travel because it’s cute and functional. I do have a TSA-approved clear bag from Muji, but the Glossier one is cuter.

For skincare, I mainly went with travel minis just to save space, since full size skincare can be so bulky. That said, I am not one to ever skimp on my skincare routine, so I still brought a lot…

I got my Caudalie birthday gift from Sephora last month, which was perfect timing for the trip. I actually really like how the Vinoperfect Radiance Serum and Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet layer under makeup. In my real life I have an eye cream for day and one for night, but in my travel life I’m bringing Biotherm Homme Aquapower Eye Depuffer for both. Nivea lip balm is basic but necessary!

I have weaned myself off Lancôme Bi-Facil in favour of La Roche-Posay Respectissime, but the travel minis sure come in handy! I repurposed an empty sample of the Vichy micellar solution and filled it with some good old-fashioned Bioderma Sensibio. For real cleansing I’m bringing my mini of the La Roche-Posay Cleansing Milk. I normally favour an oil followed by a gel, but I can’t be bothered when I travel.

For nighttime I’m bringing along my Hyaluronic Acid from The Ordinary for general hydration as well as their Lactic Acid 10% for an exfoliating step (not pictured ’cause I’m stupid). Normally I have a separate night cream, but I’ll use the Caudalie just to save the space. If I feel I need it, I can use my Squalane from The Ordinary, which I can also use as a body moisturizer and on the ends of my hair. And, obviously, I could never even fall asleep without my Nuxe Rêve de Miel lip balm…!

I’m also bringing these Life Brand sheet masks for me and my friends so that we can have a fun girls’ night the day before the wedding. I don’t really think these masks do anything other than moisturize, but there’s something about sitting in your Airbnb farmhouse with four of your friends with a sheet mask on and a glass of rosé in your hand, you know?

I forgot to photograph my sunscreen, but I’m bringing Vichy Ideal Soleil Ultra-Fluid SPF 50 for the face and La Roche-Posay Anthelios Lightweight Lotion SPF60 for the body.


Hair-wise, I decanted a bit of my Light Blue Shade purple shampoo and my current hair mask (Ice Cream Restructuring Mask with Keratin), since my hair demands very specific products. (The D and N labels are leftover from when I used these containers for day and night cream on another trip!) I’m also bringing my Olaplex Number 3 so that I can have the most perfect, damage-free hair in the world. Honestly, I could cut down most of the products I’m bringing, but my hair is so damn high-maintenance these days that it’s a pain when I travel.

Hairspray is one of those things that you just can’t decant, but my full-sized bottle is huge and bulky so I was forced (forced, I say!) to buy a mini. I was going to go with Elnett, but when I saw that the travel-size was $7.99 I decided to cheap out on the $2.99 TreSemmé because what the goddamn hell.

On the other hand, I packed my full-size dry shampoo because fuuuuuck mini Batistes are expensive as shit and I already have two bottles of the full size on backup.

I inherited this travel-sized hair straightener from my mom a million years ago. I use this technique to curl my hair with it.

I have clear elastics and bobby pins in case I want to do anything fancier than quick curls. Super exciting, right? The black headband is essential to keep my hair out of my face when I’m doing my makeup.

And that is everything! Phew. Being in a wedding requires a lot of shit, huh?

PREVIOUSLY: Gallivanting around Europe makeup bag | Funeral/graduation hybrid makeup bag (pretty similar to this one, actually, but with way worse photos)

Quarter 1 Beauty Product Consumption Accountability Checkin

Posted on April 08, 2017 under Thoughts

Whew, that’s a mouthful. I’m so bad at being concise, everyone. Anyway, since one of my goals this year was to be more mindful of my beauty product consumption, I thought I’d check in here. I’ve been dutifully cataloguing everything that’s come into my possession this year in two separate lists. I’m using one list to track the products I’ve purchased myself and one to include gratis from work, PR samples, gifts, GWP, and other things of that nature. I’m going to share those lists with you along with the dollar value of each product. Some products will have a second price listed in brackets which will reflect what I actually paid for the product after my 30% employee discount. I’ve also been converting anything purchased in USD to CAD. Because the dollar value fluctuates, those values may not be accurate as of right now, but they reflect how much I paid in CAD at the time of purchase.

Products purchased in between January 1, 2017 and March 31, 2017

  1. 01/02: Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder – Light – $53 – $30 gift card used. Replaced my previous contour product, which was about two and a half years old.
  2. 01/02: Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette – $55. I had been attempting to buy this palette since mid-June, so I feel justified in the purchase.
  3. 01/11: The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 – $6.80.
  4. 01/11: Nuxe Rêve de Miel Lip Balm – $17 ($11.90). Replacement.
  5. 01/15: Maybelline Fit Me Foundation – Matte and Poreless – 110 Porcelain – $5.99. This was an impulse buy because it was on deep sale. (Normal price in Canada is about $12.99.) It’s okay, but I didn’t need it and I don’t love it. I never used to be the kind of person who would impulse buy foundation of all things. :(
  6. 01/23: L’Oreal Brow Stylist Plumper Brow Gel Mascara – Transparent – $5. Replacement for my Essence brow gel.
  7. 01/23: TreSemmé Colour Revitalize Shampoo – $4. I bought this when I went red thinking it was a great deal: a mere four bucks for nearly a litre of shampoo! Of course, now that I’m blonde I’m back on the purple shampoo bandwagon, so I won’t need this anymore. It was a good deal at the time, though…
  8. 02/01: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Riche Moisturizer Set – $31 ($21.70). This was a replacement. I bought it in a set because it was the same price and I got some minis that I can bring travelling.
  9. 02/01: Quo Blending Sponge – $7 ($4.90). Replacement for my very crusty and old blending sponge.
  10. 02/01: Essence Gel Top Coat – $4.49 ($3.14). I bought this because I needed a new top coat and didn’t want to splurge for Sally Hansen, but I ended up buying Sally two months later because this one isn’t as good. Lesson learned.
  11. 02/01: L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Primer – $10.49 ($7.34): I bought this to use as a primer under coloured mascaras so they’ll show up better on my lashes. Not a totally necessary purchase, but it does do what I wanted it to.
  12. 02/08: ColourPop Super Shock Shadows – Stereo, Paradox, Animal, Boy Band – $5 USD or $6.53 CAD each = $20 USD or $26.12 CAD total. I’ll review these at some point and get into my reasoning behind purchasing them, I promise!
  13. 02/08: ColourPop Lippie Pencil – Contempo, Nevermind, Heart On – $5 USD or $6.53 CAD each = $15 USD or $19.59 CAD total.
  14. 02/08: ColourPop Ultra Matte Lips – Dr. M, Lychee, Tuesday – $6 USD or $7.84 CAD each = $18 USD or $23.52 CAD total.
  15. 02/14: MUFE Ultra HD Foundation – Y215 – $52. Technically this was a replacement for my used up bottle of Ultra HD, but since I already had two foundations on the go I’m not sure this counts as a replacement… In my notes I’ve marked it as such, so obviously I was in a cheating mood that day.
  16. 02/21: La Roche-Posay Respectissime Eye Makeup Remover – $19.50 ($13.65). Replacement for the same product, which I used up.
  17. 03/14: Ice Cream Restructuring Mask With Keratin – $14.99 ($10.49). I had a very serious love affair with another Ice Cream hair mask, so when I saw that they had this one with keratin I went for it without second thought. I did need a new deep conditioner. So far so good!
  18. 03/17: Olaplex Step 3 – $30.70. Not a replacement, but a necessary purchase as after I went back to blonde my hair was in terrible condition. It’s made a huge difference already and it’s only been a few weeks!

Total value (CAD): $405.18
Total spent (CAD): $334.84

Honestly, I’ve never tracked my beauty spending before so I’m not sure how to feel about this number! For the most part, I don’t think it’s bad, considering I’ve included skincare, bodycare, hair products, and nail products in this and not just makeup. I did make a few frivolous and/or impulse purchases, but if you take the ColourPop order and Maybelline foundation out of the equation, almost all of it was either a) a replacement, b) necessary though not a replacement, or c) something I thought about for a long time before buying. The dollar value might seem a little high, but I don’t regret most of these purchases. By the way, if you’re American hopefully you’ll see our shitty dollar value reflected in these prices: if you convert my total spent into USD it’d be less than $250. HOWEVER I did get to use my employee discount on a lot of these items, so as you can see the actual dollar value is obviously higher if the average consumer were to buy all this stuff. I’m not mad about what I bought this quarter, but I still think I can trim the fat a bit next time!

Products received at no cost between January 1, 2017 and March 31, 2017

  1. 01/18: Marc Jacobs Style Eye Con No 7 Plush Eyeshadow Palette in The Lolita – $71 – Gift. My friend Kristin got me this for Christmas (and of course we had our gift swap almost a month after Christmas).
  2. 01/28: Bite Beauty Lip Liners – 020 and 044 – $20 each ($40 value) – PR. Received from Influenster.
  3. 01/28: Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick – Honeycomb and Whiskey – Deluxe Samples – $30 full size – $10 sample value ($20 for both) – PR. Received from Influenster.
  4. 02/14: Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair Hair Mask – Deluxe Sample – $46 full size – $5.75 sample value. Used Sephora points.
  5. 02/25: Reversa Antioxidant Booster Serum – $49 – Gratis. I completed an online Reversa training and received this as gratis.
  6. 02/28: StriVectin Active Infustion Youth Serum – $99 – Gratis. Received at a brand school.
  7. 02/28: StriVectin All Smooth Starter Trio (Haircare Deluxe Sample Kit) – $30 – Gratis. Received at a brand school.
  8. 02/28: StriVectin Silver Peel-Off Purifier – Deluxe Sample – $72 full size – $7.20 sample value – Gratis. Received at a brand school.
  9. 03/15: Maybelline Creamy Matte Lipstick – Burgundy Blush – $10.99 – Work. Occasionally my boss puts out a bag full of discontinued products for us to pick through. This was in one of those bags. I couldn’t resist it since I know I adore the Maybelline Creamy Matte formula.
  10. 03/29: Avène YsthéAL Intense – $55 – Gratis. Received at a brand school.
  11. 03/29: Avène Eau Thermale – $16.50 – Gratis. Received at a brand school.
  12. 03/29: Avène TriXera Nutri-Fluid Lotion – $30 – Gratis. Received at a brand school.
  13. 03/29: A-Derma Exomega 2-in-1 Shower Gel – $25 – Gratis. Received at a brand school.
  14. 03/29: Ducray Anaphase+ Strengthening Conditioner – $26 – Gratis. Received at a brand school.

Total value: $485.44

So, this is the area where I think I struggle the most. In the cosmetics world spring and fall are when you go to brand training schools, aka sit in a hotel conference room with stale pastries for 4 hours learning about the new launches so that you can walk away with a generous swag bag. You’ll see more of my training school hauls reflected in my next check-in post as well. I give away quite a bit of the stuff I receive without even opening it, but even so I end up with a lot of skincare goodies. I try to only keep things I’ll use, but I don’t like to have too much open at one time, so inevitably some of it goes in the backup drawer. I really do try to limit the products I own, but at the same time part of my job is trying a lot of products so I can give good recommendations to customers. So I don’t know…

All in all, a lot of stuff came into my possession this quarter. In terms of what I bought, I feel good about most of it, though I did somewhat succumb to impulse. I think the gratis category is kind of a lost cause at this time of year because I’m being plied with products left, right, and centre. But I think I’m doing okay, all things considered!

(Jeez, 38 new products in 3 months does seem like a lot though.)