Friday, November 30, 2012

The Friday Forum - November 30

The birds aren't hungry yet. They will be when it gets cold. The robins will come along and strip the hollies bare of berries. I wish people would always consider feeding and sheltering wildlife when they select trees and shrubs. Hollies are a great choice because of the winter sustenance they provide. They shelter too; the cardinals hang out in my hollies.

Discounts! Do discounts entice you to spend money to save money? I'll admit that I'm a sucker for a discount. Friend & Family, Cyber Monday - you name it - offer me a discount, and I'm likely to purchase something I wouldn't have otherwise. Budget? What budget?

When NARS had its Friends & Family sale, I went through the site like an athlete on steroids. I filled my cart. I even got out of bed shortly after midnight shortly after the sale started to checkout and pay. Is that crazy? Probably. Yesterday I got my box, after it was held hostage by FedEx for a day, and opened it with glee. I'm glad NARS enticed me with a discount.

I do differentiate discounts offers me real value vs perceived value. I hit the stop button in my head this week when a discount simply gave me free shipping. This week, I closed my shopping cart when I realized that the 25% discount simply cut the shipping charge in half. Suddenly, that cart didn't look like such a good deal. What did I realize? A discount must be significant, and it has to come along with free shipping. Otherwise, it's not what it seems.

How about you? Do discount offers entice you to buy things you might not have purchased at full price? I'd love to take an informal poll in the comments. Do we represent the "average" customer?

Let's talk about your week of beauty. It's time for the Friday Forum, our open chat. I love this part of our week. Have you selected your favorite holiday collection - and purchased a few new treasures? What new products did you discover this week? Did you find any deals you couldn't resist? Are you using a fabulous product and want to sing its praises? Did you find a beauty product disappointing? Do you have a question others might be able to answer? Want to talk about skin care? What's new in your life? Just use the comments. Don't be shy. Just make sure to ask any question you might have over the weekend. By early the next week, most (not all) readers will have moved on.

Don't forget there are two giveaway contests this week.
  • The Sephora Favorites Glitz & Glam Party Sampler here; and
  • The Laura Mercier Flawless Facebook here.
The deadline for both contests is midnight tomorrow, Saturday, December 1. Don't forget to enter.

Photo by Best Things in Beauty


Eileen said...

I love your picture. The berries look so festive and they remind me that I need to put the Thanksgiving decorations away today and begin decorating the house for the Winter Solstice and Christmas. The weather has finally cooled off here and so I'm beginning to get into the holiday spirit.

Apropos all the sales and discounts, I strongly believe that you should never spend money just because you think you're saving money. Buying a lot of stuff you don't really want or need just because it is on sale is false economy. Don't get me wrong. I love a bargain and look forward to the genuine sales as much as anyone, but I don't let the notion of saving a bit unduly influence me. Notice I said genuine sales? I am so sick and tired of Macy's Wow Pass, one day sales, and their inflated "suggested retail" prices. Earlier this year they had an item on sale, but their final discounted price was actually several dollars more than what the price was on the manufacturer's own website! I ended up buying the item from another retailer who actually had a genuine sale going on. Moral to the story? Caveat emptor should be everyone's mantra when holiday shopping.

I have been getting so much pleasure out of this year's holiday collections. My beauties from Chanel, Guerlain, and Chantecaille are in constant use. I have been particularly enamored with Chanel's JC in Star Dust. I love that delicate shimmering pink and think it is perfection with the gorgeous eye looks that Holiday has brought us this year. It brings just enough color and sparkle to the cheeks without distracting from the eyes. I'm hoping that we'll see more delicate cheek looks come spring. I must admit that as happy as I am with the Holiday collections, the makeup enthusiast in me is already looking forward to the Spring collections. For me, makeup is a harmless and fun diversion :-)

Have a great weekend everyone.

Swathi Narumanchi said...

We had a beautiful garden about 10 years ago, but now all that's left is a rotting garden of that place, it's the house next to where I currently live.

We still feed crows and pigeons, as weird as those both birds in one sentence might sound.

We almost never have discounts, and if we do, then they are all bogus sales of some kind. I, for one, have never been interested much in discounts. But sometimes, when ordering online, I wish that the shipping rates to my place were lower, because they are often very very high. So I just make sure I order enough items to warrant such rates !

This week, I did go back to Shiseido for more and I am so very happy. I bought two more lacquer rouges in shade Savage RD 702 and RD 607 Nocturne. Bright colors, but I wear them as stains. I received a very generous gift from them, a mini foundation, eye cream, mascara, mini lipstick and finishing powder. Now, that's very impressive.

On other matters, I have recently started caring about my skin, and in an endeavor to take care of it, I started using La Roche Posay and Dermalogica, as those are some of the few brands available here, They are expensive here, but so worth it for me atleast. My skin is feeling so much better and nourished. So I went ahead, and bought some body butters from The Body Shop just today. Love the smell of some of these creams ! :)

Bellyhead said...

Weather has turned so much cooler and the air in the office & house so dry. My skin is experiencing a major freak out session, being terribly irritated and making me irritable! Any suggestions for a generally combo-oily skin that's forgotten how to be oily? Right now, I'm being more generous with moisturization by using my PM lotion in the AM.

I did much too much damage to the wallet these past few weeks leading up to and including Cyber Monday. While I am excited by the incoming boxes of some really nice things, I need to figure out a better way to make a list and stick with it. Yikes to me.

I recently moved from the city into very wooded suburbs and enjoying the very unfamiliar sounds of songbirds in the morning. My husband one day went to check who was at the door only to realize a frenetic knocking sound was a woodpecker!

Hope CG and everyone is anticipating a happy weekend!

lovethescents said...

I love gardening but ours is mostly for consumption during the summer. I have gotten rid of most of the shrubs to make room for eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, etc. Of course, the summer is only about 3 months long, so the rest of the year, we have trees and dead grass :-) That's okay, though. We live next to a protected wooded area so it's VERY common to see and hear all sorts of birds, fox, raccoons, skunks, and there was even a scary wolf sighting last winter! ~Thank God not by me :-)

Well this week I finally finished that useless Caudalie moisturizing cream. It was very ineffective and provided little moisture for my wintery skin. I did buy Derma E DMAE-Alpha Lipoic C-Ester Creme. The price was right, it's cruelty-free and is very moisturizing. So far so good.

Then, I did something stupid. I bought a l'Oreal concealer. It was horrible! Flaked off me about 4 hours later. So I bought a Cover Girl one. Awful! No coverage at all! As you know, I've spent so much on concealers, looking for one for the winter that would work well. No luck so far, which is why I went for the drugstore stuff. Boooo!

But I digress :-) Unlike our Eileen, I'm not looking forward to the Spring collections as I haven't purchased anything from the Holiday collections. I'm having fun dipping my fingers in them at the shops, though! Love the idea of colour and sparkle "without distracting from the eyes". Think I'll pull out my Chantecaille Biwa for that effect. Lovely and thank you!

Sales? Yes, I love them. I bought all the children's summer clothes last week :-)

Victoria said...

Bellyhead, that sounds like my skin! The ironic thing is, I recently started testing a bunch of oil-control moisturizers (I have oily skin, although it seems to be getting a little less oily with each passing year), and it seemed like ALL of them were working, which I found rather unbelievable, before I had my "duh! it's winter!" moment. I admit that I used to use the same moisturizers year-round, rather than differentiating between a lighter moisturizer for the summer and a heavier one for the winter, but it looks like I may have to start doing that now, as my skin continues to feel tight even after moisturizing. Which, darn - more experimenting!

My facial skin flakes have also come back in full force, and not even Tatcha's Rice Enzyme Powder can keep them at bay this time. I'm considering springing for DDF's Revolve 400x microdermabrasion system. Has anyone used it? It's similar to the Clarisonic brush, but it also comes with a rotating sponge head, which I'm hoping will actually polish away my flakes. The Clarisonic, unfortunately, is rather terrible at exfoliating my skin; the brush head just becomes clogged with my flakes (TMI, I know).

CG, I may have to hit you up for some gardening tips eventually. I'm hoping to do some landscape remodeling next year, and one of the quandaries I'm running into is what to plant. I like plants that are both functional and pretty, but then when I factor in the location of the would-be plant, such soil type, amount of light vs. shade, wet vs. dry, etc etc, suddenly my list of candidates dwindles very, very quickly.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Eileen,

"Discount" example (buyer beware): There is a printing company. I did a little detective work this week and found that their prices change, depending on how you get into their site.

I got a discount offer, and went in through that e-mail. The list price was 1.69/item. So if they gave you the advertised discount, it would be 1.45/item. Then, I went in directly, and guess what? The price was 1.45/item. Totally dishonest. I will never order from THAT company again.

I pointed out the discrepancy to a woman from customer service. Her attitude was that the discount was only on the regular pricing. There was no such disclaimer on the e-mail.

Reminded me of Macy's. :)

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Swathi,

You selected two good skin-care brands. Good for you!

When I order things from European sites, I have to pay a LOT for shipping - unless I spend a lot. So I tend to spend a lot, just to avoid shipping fees. Yes, I know - crazy!

Charlestongirl said...


I laughed out loud when I read your comment. We had a woodpecker (pileated - huge) who was insistent that his rival was in my father's car rear view mirror. Daddy was so afraid he would break the mirror that he used to cover both with shower caps when he parked. I am startled (momentarily) each time a flicker starts pecking on my gutters. What a drill!

Speaking of drying out, my heels have started to crack - way earlier than usual. It hurts too! I am using a lot of moisturizer, and it's only November!

I did spend a lot at NARS and Armani, but I resisted most of the offers. I don't need very much - as you might imagine.

Charlestongirl said...

Oh no, Lovethescents. Just think. For all the money you wasted at the drugstore, you could have purchased Chantecaille. I'll root around for an extra concealer for you. What shade do you think you are?

Charlestongirl said...

Bellyhead, forgot to tell you. Some people with oily skin have winter dry skin. You are not alone, and you must change your routine for winter. Can you tolerate retinol?

Charlestongirl said...

May, I'm here for gardening tips!

Have you tried retinol? I cannot use it in any products EXCEPT LMdB's. However, it sounds to me that you need a chemical exfoliant. You may actually be doing physical damage to your skin with all the abrasive products you are using/trying. If you want, send me an e-mail with age, what you're using, and I'll give you some personalized suggestions.

lovethescents said...

Oh Charlestongirl, the drugstore concealers came to a combined total of around $20 which is still considerably less than the Chantecaille.

I have no idea what colour I would be and can't find any online swatches of the Chantecaille concealer....I might be a Vanilla, perhaps? What do you think? I"m SO yellow!

Bellyhead said...

CG, LOL at your dad covering up the mirrors. Seems like these birds are very territorial guys.

I've been trying to finish up my warm weather moisturizer (so pricey) before cracking open the dedicated winter one, but I think I have no choice. I'm using Retin-A as a long time user for zits & beauty. Should I slow it down with the use?

Oh May! I hope you find a good solution for the flakiness!

Evelyn said...

I love birds visiting our yard in winter; we get cardinals and the occasional junco, etc. We don't usually have food out otherwise every pigeon within miles would be here but we do have a heated birdbath so there's always fresh water available. I just sit at the window and enjoy. :)

A discount will entice me to spend if it's on something I intend to buy but it has to be worth my while. I like free shipping, I don't like advertisements of 25% off that really only cover shipping costs and I'll just empty my cart and wait for a better deal. I might go with that only if it's a store I can't get to which is rare.

Did pick up quite a few things - some gifts from Sephora which had a 10% cash back on ebates for all of 1 minute. lol I did purchase from Armani because I wanted to try the new liquid lip colors and discount + free shipping + ebates was a good deal. I also bought an item each from Tatcha and Omorovicza that I had intended to buy in the future so why not buy now for less? Lenox had a great deal which I took advantage of because I was desperate for gift ideas and they fit the bill with their baby Christmas ornaments. I'm happy but my place looks like a UPS truck exploded in it.

I haven't enjoyed any of my new beauty products this week because being sick I am completely unmotivated to put makeup on & I don't want to contaminate things anyway. I have a ton of samples of Lancome's Genifique that I decided I should use up and I can't believe it but my skin feels so nice and soft after 1 week. I'll use them up and see how I look. happens even with my mostly oily skin in winter. I tried the every popular Exfolikate and my skin became furious at me, aside from it feeling like coarse grit sandpaper on my face. Even the Tatcha Regular & Deep clean rice exfoliators (so mild going on) upset my skin. Yet the Oil of Olay Clairsonic knock off doesn't cause me any issues. I'll stick with that!

That's the story of the week, time to wrap myself in a blanket and force this cold to be done! Have a great weekend everyone. :)

Eileen said...

Hi Bellyhead,

Retin A is very drying. Perhaps you should switch to a gentler, more emollient formulation during the winter. Your dermatologist should be able to suggest one for you. There are some good formulations that are not nearly as drying as the classic Retin A. I have dry, mature skin and I use .05 retinoic acid in a calming and emollient base that I get from my dermatologist. My skin tolerates it very well and it doesn't exacerbate my skin's natural tendency towards dryness. You can also try using your Retin A every other night or mixing it with a bit of your moisturizer.

Bellyhead said...

Thanks, Eileen! I use the micro, but you may be right. I'm down to a few times a week, but maybe the derm can recommend something like a Renova. In the meanwhile, I'm going to mix it with the moisturizer as you suggest!!

Charlestongirl said...

Oh Bellyhead,

When I asked if you could tolerate retinol, I was wondering if a very dilute dose might help you get rid of the flakes. Retin-A is as strong as it gets. It could be causing your flakes. Even Renova or a different drug might be better for you. Ask your dermatologist. I do not know if he/she would recoomend another product that would be less irritating in winter. There are cosmetic products with retinol, but they may not be strong enough to help prevent blemishes.

Since you are using Retin-A, I cannot recommend glycolic acid or another ingredient. It would be a double whammy for you.

If you have breakout problems, it will be difficult (trial and error) to choose a moisturizer that won't irritate. Chat with your doc!

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Evelyn,

I hope that illness goes away soon. Seems like it's been hanging on.

I love my cardinals. They dive bomb me for food when I get home from work. Even thought there's bird food loaded with sunflower seeds in the feeder, they want peanuts.

I'd love to have a UPS truck explode here! Love the analogy!

Happy weekend. Snuggle up at home and get well!

Victoria said...

Hi, CG! I'd love to hear your recommendations on chemical exfoliants. :) I'm actually not using any physical exfoliants and haven't been for a long time; I only use the Clarisonic on my body, since it doesn't do anything for my face. The only exfoliant I'm using currently is Tatcha's Rice Enzyme Powder. I think it counts as a chemical exfoliant?

My flakiness problem may actually be two-fold: I don't exfoliate on a regular basis (maybe twice a week?), since I have sensitive skin, and my moisturizer may be too light, since I have oily skin.

I use retinol very sporadically, as it just makes me flake even more. A question for retinol (and its derivatives) users: Does the initial flakiness ever diminish? I admit I kind of can't imagine using retinol on a regular basis if I have to perpetually deal with worse flakiness, even if it is the best anti-aging ingredient out there.

On the subject of discounts:

Maybe it's because it's so commonplace now, but I now only shop at places that offer free shipping (with or without a coupon code), and I don't consider the perk of free shipping as part of the "discount". So for me, it's all about the hard percentage/dollar amount off, with free shipping thrown in.

Also, while I love a good sale/discount as much as the next person, I've come to realize that for me, a good return policy is more important, and other perks like free samples. This is why I purchase all of my skincare and beauty products at Sephora or Nordstrom. They're more than happy to provide me with samples so that I can test the product at home before buying (a necessity, as I have sensitive skin), and on the rare occasion that the item still doesn't work out, they're more than happy to take the item back.

My family probably thinks I'm a spendthrift, as I almost never purchase drugstore items (except for things like shampoo and conditioner). But, after years of throwing out drugstore products, I'm actually saving (a lot) more money by only buying at high-end stores which allow me the flexibility of extensively sampling products before buying.

Phew, long spiel there! Maybe I'm just trying to justify to myself why I only shop at high-end places. ;)

On another note: I'm attending my first private holiday shopping party at Nordstrom tomorrow. Excited!

Nemo said...

I do not like discounts at all, nor do I like sales. I would rather pay full price than shop a sale, especially if it means going into a store.

Midwestern Mama said...

This week, I received my Chantecaille trio les fetes. It's beautiful and I'm in love. I'm also loving the gloss in Glamour. Thank you for bringing It Cosmetics up in your blog. I ordered the Bye Bye Under Eye concealor and No More Pores HD powder. Both are fantastic! As is the brown pencil that they added as a sample! Thanks!

Speaking of discounts, I'm going to peruse Armani again since they extended their 20% off. I ordered the Eyes to Kill Palette #3 and Love it!

Charlestongirl said...

Hi May,

Let's start with retinol. For most people, the burning and peeling stops after the skin becomes tolerant to the "assault." However, it never stopped for me. My dermatologist and I tried every concentration, and he finally told me to give up. I cannot tolerate it even in the lower doses cosmetic products. So, the answer is that some people just cannot use it.

The TATCHA powder is a physical exfoliant. Anything that has particles in it is physical. The chemical exfoliants, like fruit acids, have no particles that rough up the surface of the skin.

I am like you. I am almost always refusing to pay for shipping. There are exceptions, but not many. Free shipping is the best enticement to get me to buy online. The combo of free shipping and a discount? I turn into a pushover.

Have fun at the Nordies party!

Charlestongirl said...

Nemo! You don't like discounts? What if Chanel had a discount day? :)

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Lizzy,

I can't figure out why Armani doesn't send me notices about the sales. I may be one of their best customers. Perhaps I deleted it, but I don't recall getting the first one. Did you find out by e-mail, or did you just discover it?

Unknown said...

I wasn't too enthused by sales this season until I discovered that NM offered an 8% rebate through Ebates for Cyber Monday, plus a gift card that I can use on cosmetics. I promptly bought the Clinica Ivo Pitanguy Specifics Eye Cream that I've been wanting for over a year. Thanks to Lizzy T's news that Armani has extended its sale (plus 5% through Ebates), I'm browsing that site now for Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadows.

while not exactly a sale, I'm looking forward to my 10point evening at Nordstrom tomorrow. I'll be getting a makeover from my favorite former Chanel SA, who is returning as a freelance makeup artist. I expect to get the new Chanel quad and liquid liner.

May, Zelens PHA+ Bio-Peel Resurfacing Facial Pads contain an excellent chemical exfoliant. The hyperpigmentation across my forhead disappeared in a couple of days and hasn't returned. After applying to my face, I wipe the back of my hands.
Even they look better! Ingredients are Water (Aqua), Alcohol Denat., Propylene Glycol, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Glycerin, Sodium Lactate, Salicylic Acid, Lactobionic Acid, Citric Acid, Lactic Acid, Perfum (Fragrance), Disodium EDTA, Linalool. It's not at all drying. I got mine at Space NK; they are also available at

Charlestongirl said...

Ava, I may be the last holdout. Maybe I need to join ebates.

The Zelens PHA+ Bio-Peel Resurfacing Facial Pads sound very interesting. I may check them out to try. :)

Have fun at Nordies!

Eileen said...

Hi May,

Regarding retinol: Yes, the skin does eventually become accustomed to it and the flaking should ultimately stop. The skin will not have a chance to acclimate to it; however, if you are only using it sporadically. If you are only using it occasionally, then it is like starting all over again when you do use it. Consistency is the key. I have been using a prescription strength retinoic acid product in a soothing, emollient cream for over fifteen years. Except for in the beginning, I have not had any problems with flaking. When I first started using it, my derm had me apply it just twice a week, then three times a week, then five times a week, then as many times as my skin could comfortably tolerate. I only experienced some flaking around my nose and mouth the first couple of weeks but have not been bothered by any flaking since then.

At the same time that I began using retinoic acid, I eliminated the use of AHAs and BHAs, and strong exfoliants of any kind. Retinoic acid is much, much stronger than retinol, so the other acids and exfoliants are superfluous. Many women don't realize that they are actually creating their own problems by loading up on acid products or by using strong chemical or physical exfoliants.

Use your retinol products at night. If your retinol prodcut is not moisturizing enough, about 30 minutes after applying your retinol, you can apply a supplemental cream that contains humectants, emollients, and anti-inflammatory ingredients. During the day, wear a moisturizer followed by a sunscreen. All retinol products will make your skin susceptible to sun damage so always, always, always wear a good non-irritating sunscreen whether you plan on going out or not. Just make it a habit.

Some women cannot tolerate retinol and its relations. Their skin becomes inflammed and irritated no matter how carefully they proceed with using it. If your problem; however, is just the annoying flaking, you're probably just not using it properly or giving your skin the chance to get used to it. If you're not familiar with Nicky Zevola's blog, FutureDerm, check it out. There are some wonderfully comprehensive articles about skin care ingredients including retinol.

Eileen said...

Hi Ava and Charlestongirl,

I was thrilled when Ebates recently started offering a NM rebate. Charlestongirl, you've got to start using Ebates. You do so much cyber shopping. You'll be thrilled with the cash back. Just think of all the extra beauty goodies you'll be able to buy :-)

This week I went to the local 10X points night at Nordstrom and it was so much fun. Champagne, sweet and savory treats, free samples galore! My favorite SAs were there, of course, and the counters all had something special going on. I used the opportunity to stock up on a lot of staples like my Chanel SPF. I also did some holiday shopping as well. Have fun, Ava :-)

Midwestern Mama said...

Hi CG:

I think I received an email from Armani about their sale being extended. Today I received an email from Sak's with 20% off. I'm not sure if it will apply to all beauty brands, but I'm going to check!