November Empties

Maybe it's pure nosiness, but I always love reading other peoples' empties or used it posts.  I've never done one before, but when I realized I was finishing up a bunch of things in a row, I decided I'd go for it this month. 

And, here's what I used up in November......

Young Living Lavender Bath & Shower Gel - I'm sensitive to some scents, and even completely natural ones by a lot of brands bother me.  This is a pretty standard body wash and Young Living's scents are never an issue for me.  They all smell great and this one is perfect if you like straight lavender scents. 

Young Living Lavender Volume Shampoo and Conditioner - These have been my go to shampoo and conditioner for several years.  Unfortunately, they were reformulated a few months ago and the new formula doesn't work for me at all.  I've since switched to Organic Excellence, which I'll be reviewing once I've tested it out a bit longer.

John Masters Organics Firming Eye Gel - This was a sample I got in my Hip Apotheca Discovery Kit.  As I mentioned in that post, I didn't notice much difference in the week the sample lasted, so it isn't something I plan on purchasing right now.

Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream - I didn't actually use this up, but it is getting the boot this month.  It's a great cuticle cream that smells delicious and works really well at moisturizing and healing dry or cracked cuticles quickly.  I've had mine for a few years and noticed the lemon smell was pretty much gone and it was starting to smell like old-ish oils, so it got the toss.  It isn't something I'll rush to repurchase since I have other products that work just as well, but I might buy it again one day.

Cheeky Cosmetics Eye Shadow Sample in Little Black Dress - I practically never finish eye shadows, even samples, so this was a bit exciting!  It's a matte black that doesn't have the greatest colour payoff dry, but I love using it wet as liner. In fact, foiled, it's what I use most often for black liner.  I already have a full size waiting in the wings.   

Zuzu Luxe Onyx Mascara - My favorite mascara at the moment.  I've gone through many a tube of this and expect I'll go through many more. 

Gabriel Color Mascara - Since this is supposed to be pretty much the same formula as the Zuzu, I figured I'd give it a try.  I don't know if I just got a bad tube or what, but it seemed like it went off after about a month and a half and started smelling really funky.  More details here if you're interested.

Burt's Bees Lip Shimmers in Rhubarb and Merlot - These are another Burt's Bees item that's been hanging around my stash for a few years.  Burt's Bees seems to still makes them, but I don't know if they are the same today as when I purchased mine.  I was able to swatch a couple in store recently and they seemed pretty shimmery without a lot of colour, while Merlot and Rhubarb are both vibrant pinky-reds with a slightly glossy finish, no shimmer, and pigmentation somewhere between a heavily tinted lip balm and a lipstick.  I don't think they make Merlot anymore and Rhubarb was not available in store either, so I don't know if it's the same as the one I have.  If I found Merlot, I might repurchase, otherwise, it's unlikely.

Phew!  And there you have it - my first empties post.  Looking at the list, I feel like I used up a lot actually.  I don't think this will turn into a monthly thing, just because I don't tend to finish too many things in most months, but maybe every now and then I'll do one, assuming I remember to hang on to the empties!


Hip Apotheca Discovery Kit

Hip Apotheca is a new online store that sells natural makeup, hair care, bath and body, and other personal care products.  They opened about a month ago and offered discovery kits for registering and filling out a profile.  My discovery kit came about two weeks ago - three samples, in a cute pink envelope.  Unfortunately, I don't think they are offering these anymore, but I figured it was still worth a blog post to show you what I received.

John Masters Organics Firming Eye Gel
This is the only sample of the three that I've tried so far.  The eye creams I've used in the past have been a lot richer and heavier than this one, which is a pretty thing gel consistency.  As a result, it feels light on the skin and absorbs quickly.  I tend to have moderately dark under eye circles and slight puffiness, both of which the gel noticeably lessened right after application, but unfortunately, after a couple hours, both the darkness and puffiness came back.  The sample was enough for about a week, but I didn't notice any lasting results during that time.  Hip Apotheca sells the full size for $42CAD/$30USD.

John Masters Organics Lavender & Avocado Intensive Conditioner
I haven't had a chance to try this one yet, but I've always heard good things about John Masters' hair care line, so I'm looking forward to it.  A full size is $31CAD/$22USD.

Antipodes Vanilla Pod Hydrating Day Cream
Antipodes is a new brand to me and even though I usually love vanilla scents, I think I'll be passing this on to someone else, as it contains phenoxyethanol, a preservative I do my best to steer clear of.  The full size is $42.50CAD/$48USD.

One thing that is a little strange is the price conversions of different products.  My discovery kit shipped from British Columbia, Canada, but Hip Apotheca allows you to shop in either US or Canadian dollars.  I've noticed that while some products are priced the same in both currencies, others are priced higher in one currency or the other.  John Masters products, for example, are more expensive in Canadian dollars, while Antipodes are more expensive in US dollars.  To me, this inconsistent pricing just seems unnecessarily confusing.

The Bottom Line
The discovery kits were a great way to launch the store and I think Hip Apotheca shows a lot of promise.  Right now, they don't carry a ton of different brands, but they seem to be consistently expanding their stock.  Signing up for their newsletter will keep you informed of new products and will also give you access to specials and coupon codes.  

As for me, here are a few things I'm considering ordering from the sale:


Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sales

If you've been reading my blog for long, you probably already know that I'm a big sale shopper.  Here in Canada, Black Friday isn't nearly the huge deal that it is the States, but I'm still not a fan of the crowds on days like this, so I'll be restricting any shopping this weekend to online.  There are tons of companies with amazing sales this weekend.  Here's a list I put together of ones that I'm going to be sure to check out.  In addition to getting great deals on quality products, in shopping these instead of the mall, you'll also be helping support small businesses.

Darling Girl is still in my backlog of companies to review, but Susan's eye shadows are amazing - definitely some of my favourites.  November 24 at 6pm to November 25 at 10pm CST, get 20% off site wide.  Refunds of 20% will be sent by paypal within 24 hours of purchase.  Plus, one in five orders will contain a raffle ticket good for $5 off your next purchase!

Detrivore makes my go to eye shadow primer, not to mention beautiful eye shadows and blushes.  November 24 to 26, get 50% off orders of $20 or more with coupon code 'Black Friday'

I haven't tried anything from Face Naturals, but I keep hearing great things about their products.  November 22 to 25, get 20% off and free shipping with coupon code 'save20.'  Alternately, 'body40,' will get you 40% off body scrubs. 

Lauren Brook Cosmetiques
I've been wanting to try their cream foundation.  Now through December 31, get free shipping on all orders.  You can also get 15% off with coupon code 'sweetholiday11' and all purchases of $50 or more before December 25, will also receive a $10 gift card.

I've been eying Morgana's tinted lip balms since they were released - finally going to order a few to try out! 4 Day Sale begins November 24 at 11:30pm PST.  $2 lip balms in slimline tubes, $5 gel lipsticks, 50% off lip balms in regular tubes and new limited edition glosses, quantity discounts on cream lipsticks, and various other specials.

Persephone Minerals
Persephone makes some of the most gorgeous duochrome shadows I've ever seen.  November 24 to 28, coupon code 'BFMADNESS' will get you 30% off on both Artfire and Etsy.  Orders of more than $30 (after discount) will receive a full size mystical highlight or stardust shimmer powder of your choice.  Orders $31-50 will receive 2 full size mystical highlight or stardust shimmer powders of your choice, and Orders of $51 and up will receive 3 full size mystical highlight or stardust shimmer powders of your choice AND a 25% off code for your next purchase.

Sassy Minerals
You can find my Sassy swatches here.  Sassy is combining websites with their other brand, but until they do so, they are offering 15% off to decrease inventory.  Coupon code will automatically show up in your cart, but you need to submit it to receive the discount.  Not sure how long this will run.

Another of my favorite companies for eye shadows.  You can find my swatches hereNovember 25 to 28, get 30% off orders of $30 or more.

Possibly my favorite all around indie company.  Amazing selection of lip products, not to mention other makeup, skin care and hair care. Not a sale strictly speaking, but 1 in every 20 orders placed between November 19 and December 4 will receive a FULL REFUND.

Sugared Beauty's Happy Face scrub has been calling my name for months.  November 24 to 28, receive a free product of your choice with any purchase of $15 or more.  Up to $15 value!  Make sure to mention what you'd like as your freebie in the notes to seller.

Another company I've been wanting to try for quite a while.  Prices can be a little steep, but November 24 to 28, get 30% off with coupon code 'blackfriday.'  Excludes samples.

My favorite source for Zuzu Luxe/Gabriel products, but they also carry tons of other brands including Alima Pure, Priti NYC, and 100% Pure.  Makeup and more on sale November 24-January 1st

This is in no way a complete list of all the sales going on this weekend.  A few other great lists of this weekend's sales:

If you're celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend, I hope it's great!  And to anyone headed out shopping tomorrow, good're far braver than me! :)


iHerb Haul (+ a discount code!)

iHerb is a great site that brings together products from hundreds of brands and sells them all at discounted prices.  They sell tons of vitamins and also lots of natural bath and beauty and grocery items.  I placed my first order with them recently and was really excited when it came this week.

Shipping was inexpensive and also very quick.  I think I got a shipping notice within 2 hours of placing my order.  I forgot to take photos before I tore into it, so I don't have pictures of the packaging, but my order came in a box with everything individually sealed in plastic bags.  I especially appreciated this when the shampoo I ordered managed to leak in transit -  because of the way everything was wrapped, the mess was mostly contained and it didn't get on anything else.  Also, when I emailed iHerb about the leaking, they immediately credited me the whole cost of the shampoo - great customer service in my book!

I'm sure I'll do reviews of a lot of these products once I've had the chance to test them out, but in the mean time, I'll leave you with my first impressions of what I got.

Organic Excellence Wild Mint Shampoo - the shampoo I've been using got reformulated recently and the new version just isn't working for me.  I've heard really good things about this one!

Clif Honey Oat Crunch Granola Bars - Canada can be funny sometimes about what it manages to import.  We can get Clif products here, but only from certain product lines.  I've never seen these here before.

Honeybee Gardens Lipstick in Karma and Soft Kiss - I've been meaning to try Honeybee Gardens for a long time now.  These both look like really pretty colours.

Crazy Rumors Lipbalm in Cola - Another company I've heard a lot about.  I'm not crazy about the scent though - it really doesn't smell very much like cola to me. 

Now Foods Vanilla Lipbalm - iHerb lets you pick one free product/sample in every order, and this is what I chose.  I also received a couple other samples as well.

Bottom Line
I'm really happy with my iHerb order.  The combination of great prices, customer service and fast shipping has me already planning my next order :)
If you're new to iHerb, you can use the code ITI429 to get $5/$10 off your first order.