Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday This and That and Sephora News

I love it when the crepe myrtles start to bloom. They have a long summer season, showing off their beauty as other flowering plants start to wilt from the extreme heat. Hot it has been!

This morning, we had a little excitement - well, Charlie did. He got up around 4:00 am and started being really obnoxious, making enough noise to make my last hours of sleep fitful. At one point, he was digging various things out from under the bureau (was it a message I needed to clean better?). It was only after he started played in the bathtub that I got really curious and went into the bathroom to see what he was doing. He was playing with a new friend, Mr. Mouse. Mr. Mouse was terrified, but looked uninjured. I grabbed a cup and, after a few fruitless attempts, with Charlie getting in the way, I scooped him up, covered the cup with a rigid catalog, and took him outside, where I liberated him. Mr. Mouse seemed OK as he scurried away into the mint under the shrubs. It was a riot watching Charlie sit on the toilet for 30 minutes afterward keeping an eye out for his new toy, Mr. Mouse.

I'll give you a quick update on my malware woes. My guru disappeared from the scene for a few days, and I was panicked. Fortunately, he came back yesterday. Perhaps he was off for a few well-deserved vacation days. Anyhow, reader Katherine had recommended I try ComboFix, freeware that promises to rid your computer of known malware, spyware, and other bad actors and remove them. I ran ComboFix yesterday evening, and (knock on wood) I haven't had a redirect since. Kuttus, my guru, also sent me some additional code to use with an OTL run, and I did that late last night. Today, I have not had a link redirected - yet. Could it be that we've had a successful exorcism?

I went over to Nordstrom yesterday to check out the Anniversary Sale. I was seriously interested in the Attilio Giusti Leombruni shoes. There are only two brands these days that I can wear from Day 1 with comfy feet: AGLs and Aerosoles. When I got to the upscale shoe department, I learned that every AGL on sale had sold out during pre-sale - another reason to hate Nordstrom's pre-sale policy. Nordstrom encourages customers to open credit cards and potentially go into debt - rather than live on cash at hand - and rewards them with early sale access. It doesn't matter if you spend more than those cardholders in a year. You are out of luck when it comes to the annual to-do. Yeah, they offer a debit card too, but since my debit card number was stolen there, I'm not confident they can protect my security, especially since they thought that card number theft was an inside job.

After my shoe department disappointment, I went down to Beauty and was incredibly unimpressed by the Anniversary Sale exclusives. There was a relatively nice Bobbi Brown Telluride Glow Collection. I might have purchased it in flusher days. I got to see the new Dior color. I think I already got the best pieces. I was not at all excited over the Dior Fusion Mono Eyeshadows. The colors were boring for this makeup addict, and they were too metallic for my tastes. I flirted with the new powder shadows, but they were so similar to shadows I already own, I lost interest quickly. I think I already own the best of the Mystic Metallics Collection.

I did a quick drive-by of Clarins and found the summer collection still featured. Then I headed for Clé de Peau, where I found the new Extra Rich Lipsticks! They were everything I expected and more. With 30 shades in three finishes, satin, silk, and velvet from which to choose, I played with colors for 30 minutes. It took that long to narrow my selections down to two. These are pricey lipsticks. I couldn't buy more than two. I'll show you my two choices tomorrow. I'm absolutely sure I'll go back for more before too long.

The biggest beauty news of the week was Sephora's announcement that it is revamping its Beauty Insider Program. I found out at WWD, from which I lifted this news. "More memberships, more rewards, and more points" was the message when Sephora executives revealed the company's relaunched Beauty Insider program, including a new premium membership level.

Sephora’s Beauty Insider Program is made up of two tiers. At the base is Beauty Insider, which provides the customer with birthday gifts, seasonal promotions, product rewards, gifts, and member-only classes. The second tier is VIB (Very Important Beauty) Insider, for which consumers qualify once they have spent $350 in a calendar year. This tier includes all beauty insider benefits, first dibs on new products, seasonal VIB-only gifts, advance access to sales, and private VIB-only shopping events (I like this because Sephora doesn't practice credit card "extortion.") The new tier, called VIB Rouge, launched on July 23 and offers frequent shoppers even more incentives. This premium level is reserved for customers who spend $1,000 or more in a calendar year and provides members with all Beauty Insider benefits, all VIB benefits, free shipping on all orders, unlimited access to The Beauty Studio, exclusive Rouge events, and surprise gifts. 

To kick off the program’s relaunch, Sephora will feature a few new incentives between August 12 and 18. When Beauty Insiders purchase new items, they will receive double points. VIBs will receive triple points, and VIB Rouge members will receive quadruple points. Also, the points earned are eligible to transfer to friends and family to score 5,000- or 10,000-point rewards. A select few will qualify for prizes like a trip for two to Paris with Make Up For Ever or the Marc Jacobs beauty collection tucked away in a fall 2013 Marc Jacobs handbag. I think I'll be making my trip to Sephora to check out the Marc Jacobs collection soon.

What do you think about that? Will the enhanced program make you even more likely to buy from Sephora? The stores might be messy, but Sephora online shopping is the bomb (as the kids say admiringly).

Remember I featured TATCHA’s GOLD Camellia Lip Balm recently? For a limited time, you can enjoy this treasure with every purchase of $300 or more (a $36 value) at TATCHA's Web site.  Enter the code GOLDCRUSH at checkout, and the balm will be yours for free. The offer is valid through August 7.

Update 7:30 pm: After a redirect-free day, I just got redirected. I'm crestfallen.

Photos courtesy of Southern Living and WWD


Nemo said...

Glad your computer woes are on the wane. I loved the Mousie story! Kitties we must remember are killers. Charlie would have toyed with Mr. M for awhile, and then moved in for the--well, you know. My late Nemo found a tiny shrew in our basement once and, in trying to save the shrew, my poor husband ended up dropping a weight machine on it. Owww! My Saks LMDB Galore eye and cheek palette arrived last night and I wore it today. I love it. I thank you for your recommendation of Tomeka at Saks. She was great, and so was Milley.

Anonymous said...

Nordstrom doesn't just want you to open a credit card-you can also open a Nordstrom debit card that is linked to our checking account. That's what I did two years ago and haven't had any problems. Just use it for your nord purchases and you get all the rewards benefits.

Melanie said...

Eek on the mouse and yay on the potentially-solved computer issues!

Thanks for the info on the Dior Fusion Monos. Did you find them to be similar to Chanel’s Illusion d’ombre?

I ordered TATCHA’s sampler set, finally. When I got it, though, I was very surprised at the lack of information on the ingredients (a pet-peeve of mine). Only after I ordered it did it occur to me that they list just the “actives” on their site. Same for the samples. I did a search for them and was, sadly, disappointed with what I found. I am not likely to use most of it. I had higher hopes for that brand.

Will report back on the bee venom mask after I have used it a few more times. It arrived Friday and I decided to try it out last night. The Patyka Huile absolue that I had also ordered arrived Friday as well. It smells so wonderfully of roses. It was like a night at the spa!

Nemo said...

Hey, thanks for saving my little hide, Lady!

angusmum1 said...

Computer woes here too, frustrating! I have heard the Sephora program will include Canada wondering if the points bonus will as well. I have only made a couple of online purchases and have never been in a store at all. They seemed to be quite efficient and I got a couple of good deals as well. Been missing BTIB lately!!

melisand61 said...

I just googled Attilio Giusti Leombruni shoes and fell in love with a dress sandal on a Euro Comfort website. On sale, but still pretty expensive. If the site had a better return policy, I think I'd order them in a heartbeat. What gorgeous shoes!

LilyBiscuit said...

I'm glad you saved the little mouse :) A couple of years ago I did the same thing with a plastic bowl and cardboard. The one I released outside was so tiny, and cute!

Crista said...

Charlie the watch kitty :) Thankfully the only creatures my girls have been able to stalk or "play with" are the occasional spider or two that dare come around in the house. I was so under impressed w/ the Nordies anniversary beauty Starr - I did snag a giant bottle of Kiehls Creme de Corps body lotion -- my absolute favorite! Hope your computer problems are gone for good.

Christina said...

I love the story about your cat & new friend, the mouse.

I look forward to getting new Cle de Peau lipstick. I can't wait to see your post on them. :)

All the best with your computer situation.

Lisa C said...

The Nordstrom Anniv. sale didn't do a thing for me this year. Last year there were some pretty hot items. I didn't really see anything this year that won me over. Good thing for my wallet, I guess! lol

I'm so excited about the new Sephora VIB Rouge program. I can't wait to see what the seasonal gifts will be!

Sara said...

Good job Charlie for guarding your house! My cats love to play with bugs- but have never found a mouse! I just got the VIB Rouge card and cringed when I realized how much I spent to qualify. I step up my skincare at the beginning of the year and that's a large reason why. I did email Le Metier to ask about the subscription service but didn't hear back. I am so tempted but am loathe to sign up without more info. This week I pulled out the Chantecaiile Tigers in the Wild palette and rembered why I loved it- am very excited for the upcoming collection and will be watching your blog for recommendations! Good luck with your ongoing computer battle!

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you about this year's beauty buys at Nordstrom's Anniversary sale. Slightly a snooze. I don't like the idea of giving a store access to my debit card number, which in turn, is tied directly to my bank account number. Just not comfortable for me. I get tired of the SAs asking me over and over about applying for credit/debit cards there.

Eileen said...

I really like the idea of different benefit tiers tied in to how much a person spends and I was pleased to read that Sephora is trying to improve their VIB program. Things like free shipping, extra discounts, special promotions, special shopping services, free alterations, etc. are all nice ways for retailers to reward those people who are particularly loyal. Actually, that is something I like about Nordstrom. I'm a level 4 so I get some major perks that keep me coming back.

Thanks in large part to on-line shopping, people have an abundance of choices as to where they want to spend their money. That means retailers have to make customers feel valued by providing incentives to shop with them. There will always be those greedy people who feel entitled to all the perks without making any significant outlay of cash, but I think most people would agree that a person who drops big bucks with a particular retailer is entitled to some extra rewards.

Hi Melanie,

I'm so sorry you were disappointed in Tatcha's ingredients :-( Personally, I have no objection to any of their ingredients, but I fully understand that many women for many different reasons do avoid various substances. The art is in finding products that are well suited to our particular skin's needs, our esthetic, and our belief in the safety and efficacy of certain ingredients. Anyway, good luck with your other new products.

Charlestongirl said...

Nemo, I'm glad you like your palette. I decided to skip that one. Can't have everything.

Charlestongirl said...

Anomymous, I will not open a debit card with Nordstrom. As I said, my debit # was stolen there, and Nordstrom Security thought it was an employee who did it. It took 10 days to get my money back from the bank. I had to file a police report. It's risky to use debit cards where your number can be stolen.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Melanie,

I spoke too soon. All evening, I've been redirected. Crestfallen!

Give TATCHA a call for ingredient lists.

Charlestongirl said...

Thanks, angusmum1. Unfortunately, I had only eight hours of redirect-free life.

Charlestongirl said...

Melisa, AGL shoes are so good, you will wonder why you ever wore any other flats.

Try another Web site. Arthur Beren has a liberal return policy.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi LilyBiscuit,

I always catch and free them. Sometimes, it's really hard to get them. Today was pretty easy. :)

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Crista. He has a fondness for crickets too. Sigh!

Charlestongirl said...

Just wrote it, Christina. I will publish early tomorrow.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Lisa, it's hard to believe, but I haven't qualified this year for the new level. I guess it was my newfound frugality.

Charlestongirl said...


Congratulations! I'm envious.

I wear tiger at least once week, and often every day. I adore that palette. Last week, I was wearing the sharks.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Anonymous,

I think a lot of us were in snooze mode. :)

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Eileen,

Sephora just dangled a mouse in front of me. :) I'll probably qualify in December. It was a bad year.

LoveSugarBabyDoll said...

I wish I had known that Sephora would be offering 5000 point, or even 10,000 point perks. I never would have cashed in all those 500 point perks. I would be getting (or trying to get) the haircut or MJ bag and collection. Is anyone else slightly annoyed?


Oh Dear Charleston Girl, I am so sorry that the bugs are still in your computer. Now that must be seriously annoying. I wish I had some information for you, but I know nothing about computers.

I usually get workout gear during the Anniversary Sale. I really like my new socks and sneakers. I skipped the clothing, for some reason nothing called my name. The only other thing I purchased was the Dior palette in Constellation, which I love.

Claire said...

Mr. Mouse looks so adorable and so was Charlie for waiting for him!!

Re. Sephora, I think maybe they are up the ante of the game because I heard Nordstrom will also have beauty membership program similar to that, already launching in select stores as trial. Who knows.. I feel long way back when, when samples were so easily given, there was no such thing as loyalty programs like this. Now I feel these programs are ways to get samples which are supposed to be given freely. I don't think it'll change my spending pattern with Sephora, I'll continue buying stuff from them for things that are convenient/not available at Nordstrom (because I'm a Nordstrom CC holder, I get points when I shop there).

Ellen said...

Hello Charleston Girl, you can apply for a Nordstrom credit card, use it for access to the sale and then
pay with cash, check or any card you wish including a debit card. (But no points.). I've seen it done. Sorry you didn't get your shoes!

regina said...

Oh no, was so sad to read your update at the bottom of the post indicating your computer troubles continue! Really hoping it is all resolved soon and you can spend your time in a more pleasant way! :)