Ulta-mate Beauty Spree: Help!

I love beauty supplies. I don't use many of them, but I love browsing stores like Sephora, Sally, & Ulta. (And y'all hear me talk about them fairly often, b/c every single time I *do* get something, I'm so excited, I share it here! :-D)

A brand new Ulta had it's grand opening here last Friday morning, close to our house. YAY!!! Ulta is Annelise's favorite by far, and I love it, b/c 1) they always have great coupons (like $3.50 off a $10 purchase or 20% off total) and 2) it's a nice middle ground, carrying both drugstore & higher ends brands in one place. They announced that for this grand opening, they would be giving away gift certificates of $5 - $100 to the first 100 people in the store. It opened Friday morning at 9 AM, and I was free, so at about 8:50, I drove over. I swallowed hard when I saw the unexpectedly-long line, but the lady in front of me said she had counted and we were about the 60th. Whew! [I really wanted that $5! Esp. after the bad news of no vacay & JB's car repair, every little bit helps!] :-) I only had to wait about five minutes; they opened promptly at 9 AM. We kept hearing big cheers every once in a while, as we got closer to the door. We assumed it was the $100 gift certificate and then maybe a $50 or the $25's. When we got to the door, the lady behind me asked if anyone had gotten $100, yet, and an employee said, "No! We've just been cheering for fun!"

I reached into the glass bowl full of rectangular slips of paper, fully expecting to pull out the $5 denomination. My fingers worked through a stack of several at the bottom; I wanted the middle slip. I opened the fold to reveal...*THE* $100 gift certificate! I kid you not - my breath left my body for a second. I am SOOO UNLUCKY at this stuff, I couldn't even believe it! (True story: JB won't let me anywhere near him when he's in casino-mode in Vegas, b/c I am the ultimate cooler.) All the Ulta employees squealed! One took my picture! :-D (Dude, it was with a disposable drugstore camera! I didn't even know they still SOLD those! :-P If it would have been on a phone, I would have had him email it to me!) I felt like a queen!!!

...And then I felt extremely overwhelmed. I had $8 of stuff I actually needed. Now I have the luxury of $92 more?! I have to use the gift certificate all at once within the next month; so after browsing for a while, I got my freebies (other grand opening perk: 4 free gifts! no purchase necessary!) and just left with my voucher. I knew I couldn't have this dreamy spree w/o 1) Annelise :-) and 2) devising a detailed plan, so I'm not wracked with buyer's remorse. (Yes, I know that it's virtually free play money; but I am too cheap to just blow it all on whims!)


I don't use any expensive skincare products. My skin is extremely sensitive: the last facial I got was just over seven years ago; it was "sensitive" and my face still burned bright red. The esthetician was HORRIFIED. She told me to throw away every product I had and even *not* to buy what her spa was selling, either. She told me to simply wash my face with the Aveeno Moisturizing Bar (only $3) and get a light, oil-free facial moisturizer like Neutrogena. That's it. I was so thankful to have a professional esthetician be that blunt & honest, not try to upsell me on whatever miracle repair her spa offered, and give me such a basic & inexpensive course of action. PS - it totally worked! My skin has been brighter & clearer in the last seven years than it has been since I was little. I really battled acne breakouts through college and up to my mid-20's; but I can't tell you the last time I had more than just a little pimple here or there. The Aveeno Moisturizing Bar cleanses and exfoliates, and I settled on Jergens Natural Glow FACE Daily Moisturizer w/ sunscreen (~$7) b/c the natural color makes me not want/need to wear any base or foundation makeup.

So, I only *need*:
Aveeno Moisturizing Bar
Jergens Natural Glow FACE Daily Moisturizer

I'm at $10. I'm thinking maybe I should buy a couple of each, though, so I won't have to pay to replenish the supply anytime soon. ;-)

Now what?

The only makeup I use is eyeliner and lip stuff. I like brown and/or purple eyeliners with some sparkle or metallic element. For years, Hard Candy's hyper (brown with gold glitter) was my signature. That's been discontinued, and I've had a bear of a time settling on a replacement. MAC's Eye Kohl in teddy was wonderful, but then I got an Ulta gift card (no MAC) and tried Stila's Sparkle Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in rock candy. It did not last as advertised. Now I'm sporting Sephora's 12HR Wear Waterproof Liner in a metallic 15 Purple - love the hint of color (purple = perfect w/ my brown eyes!) and that I can blend it into not needing/wanting to wear any eyeshadow. But now that I have this Ulta gift, I'm up for trying something new, again. Do you have any brown/purple/slightly sparkly/metallic/super long-wearing eyeliner suggestions???

Lips: I never remember to reapply. Ever. The only thing that remains on my face longer than 30 minutes is Maybelline's Superstay 24; when I remember to put it on, I wear 080 Infinite Petal. I look best in mauves. What other lip products could y'all recommend that are super long-wearing and offer a mauve-ish color? The only gloss that has ever lasted on me is L'Oreal's Infallible Plumping 8HR Lipgloss in Plumping Mauve. Should I just get more of the (BORING OLD) same, or do y'all have any ideas? Has anyone tried Revlon's ColorStay Just Bitten lipstains? I had super high hopes for Stila's Coconut Crush Lip and Cheek Stain this summer: it looked AMAZING when I initially put it on...but it lasted less than an hour. :'(

[See! I told y'all I love talking about this stuff!!! :-P]

What else?

I like the idea of self-tanning lotions, esp. for my legs. (I am a sun goddess and loooooove being at the pool; but I *AM* trying to be healthier and wear tons of SPF. I want my color, though.) Brand/type suggestions?

I'll get a nice facial sunscreen stick for Annelise, b/c bless her heart, she has super sensitive skin, too, and I can't get the regular stuff on the skin close enough to her eyes w/o them stinging and watering so terribly.

Maybe I should get a new nice pair of precision pointed tweezers.

Y'all know I don't need any hair products (yay, Moroccanoil!) or nail stuff (yay, Gelish!) and do we dare open the Pandora's box of fragrance?

Oooo, the kids LOVE Ulta's 3-in-1 Beauty Smoothies for the shower (chocolate truffle is their current fave :-)) so I might need to grab one of those.

The suggestion box is WIDE OPEN! HIT ME UP!!! [...But do it *NOW*, b/c I am getting super anxious to "free" shop! :-D]


  1. I'll stick to ideas that I can find on the Ulta website (and presumably are available in their stores):

    CeraVe moisturizing cream is awesome for dry skin. I have sensitive skin too, and this (frangrance free) stuff is a miracle. A BFF used to be a pharma rep for that brand, and so she introduced me to their line of products (and I practically have a lifetime supply thanks to her ;) ). I use that cream, their facial cleanser w/ my Clairsonic Mia, and their moisturizer (one has SPF, the other doesn't), and I have zero reaction to any of their products! My skin has never been so happy!

    I also love Boscia blotting sheets, Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer, Tweezerman tools...

  2. THANK YOU!!! I'll check those out. :-)

  3. Wow - how neat that you won the $100 gift certificate!! You and Annelise have a ball spending it!!

  4. can you use the gift certificate for services in their salon? you could get a manicure or pedicure! :)

    and fyi- Hard Candy wasn't discontinued- you can buy hard candy makeup at Walmart!

  5. Annelise went with me Saturday morning, and we had a ball! :-)

    Nope - couldn't use it for any salon services, but that's OK, b/c we really had an easy time filling it! :-P

    They didn't have CeraVe (some stuff is only online; also, b/c this store is one week old, they still have a little stocking to do) but I did get new precision pointed tweezers. :-)

    YES! I was so excited when I saw the Hard Candy at Walmart, but their formulas are different. The eyeliner isn't the same. :'(


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