Wednesday, December 28, 2016

December Shopping Reflections

I hope that everyone had a lovely Christmas holiday and is looking forward to the new year! I'll soon be doing a year-end fashion and beauty roundup post that will also discuss my plans for next year's budget.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links that could result in a commission, typically a few cents, for me if you click. Thank you for your support!

This was a shopping-heavy month, especially with Black Friday sales factored in. That J.Crew Stadium Cloth Cocoon Coat I was so excited about ended up not working. It has a much more exaggerated cocoon shape than the Ellen Tracy "Stadium" Cocoon Coat I already own, and it just wasn't right for me. My substantial Uniqlo order included mostly "off-budget" items: most notably the normal and extra-warm Heattech leggings for use as long underwear. I used up my Grana referral credits (new customers who sign up with my link get 10% off their first order, and I get $20 referral credit, thank you for your support!). I also bought backups of a few items that are staples in my wardrobe, including the Sam Edelman Petty booties and two The Limited wide waistband pencil skirts. The Limited is going out of business in January, which is a pity, as their skirt suits work well for me, though I never shopped for anything else there.

As a general matter, I'm not sure that buying backups of favorite items while the originals are still in good shape is wise. It's not minimalist, as it involves buying something one doesn't need right now, and therefore may never need. I've previously done it once, nearly two years ago, for a pair of sandals (the several seasons-ago Sam Edelman Trinas, also here), and... Well, I haven't worn the newer pair yet, because I ended up preferring the more casual and comfortable Fitflops instead for the last two summers. 

Skincare-wise, I wouldn't normally shop at Soko Glam, as they are consistently more expensive than Amazon. Their Black Friday sale (30% off everything) did make their CosRx products a bit cheaper, however, so I picked up a few refills and some new things. The combination of CosRx BHA Skin Returning A-Sol and BHA Blackhead Power Liquid has continued working wonders for my skin since I first reported on them in October. At some point, I'll need to write a new post about my skincare routine, which now features drugstore or drugstore-equivalent products more heavily.

Fashion - (TOTAL: $221.13)
  • Sam Edelman Petty, black leather - $79.91 - These may not be the wisest purchase, as my old pair are still going strong, now in their third year of intense wear (with a few visits to the cobbler). They were a bit of an impulse purchase when Nordstrom added an extra discount for Black Friday. 
  • Uniqlo Fleece-Lined Sweatpants, dark gray - $18.18 - These are extremely comfy and fuzzy on the inside. I only had one pair of sweatpants, so I thought that having a second pair, for when the other was in the laundry hamper, would be nice. Based on the reviews, it's best not to machine dry these lest they shrink, but they come out fine when line-dried. 
  • The Limited Wide Waistband Pencil Skirt, black x2 - $69.94 - I bought two of these in summer of 2013, right before on-campus recruiting season, and they've been in regular rotation in my work wardrobe since then. Those are still in good shape, but because The Limited is going out of business, it felt like it was "now or never" if I wanted any backups of this. 
  • Grana - $53.10 - ($177.00 - $100.00 referral credit - $20.00 Grana Labs survey credit - $3.90 discount code = $53.10)
    • Silk Cap-Sleeve Top, Off-White, M - I received one of these in black for review this month (here) and decided I wanted more for my work wardrobe. 
    • Silk Cap-Sleeve Top, Mulberry, M - The Mulberry is a lovely color, and I've accumulated a few Grana silk tops in it. 
    • Cashmere Boyfriend V-Neck Sweater, Gray, S - I received one of these in black for review this month (here) and liked it so much that I decided that one in gray was just the thing. I like slouchy sweaters for both work and casual wear, and while I do have another slouchy gray cashmere sweater from H&M (old, worn here), this one is a bit more "classic" as it lacks the high side slits. 

Beauty and Skincare - (TOTAL: $75.97)
  • Soko Glam Black Friday Sale Order - $64.78 - (with 30% off discount, links are generally to Amazon as they typically offer better pricing) 
    • CosRx Acne Pimple Master Patch - These are a staple for me when my naturally acne-prone skin is misbehaving, as they speed up the healing of certain pimples when used correctly. My skin's been a lot better, so I don't need these as often as I used to.
    • Missha Mild Essence Sun Milk - This was the only sort-of impulse buy in the order. I don't have a "holy grail" sunscreen at the moment, so I've been rotating through a handful of different Japanese and Korean ones. This one is more a gel lotion in texture than it is a milky sunscreen. I've only tested it for a few days, but it's been alright. (I prefer the Biore Aqua Rich Watery Essence, as it has a runnier gel texture that's easier to blend into the skin.) 
    • CosRx Natural BHA Skin Returning A-Sol - I sang this item's praises two months ago after testing it and the BHA Blackhead Power Liquid for around four weeks, and I'm happy to report that things are even better now. The combination of the two CosRx products has displaced my previous favorite, the Paula's Choice BHA Liquid
    • CosRx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid - I use this in combination with the BHA A-Sol. Please do introduce these products into your routine slowly and carefully - this one has significantly more BHA "oomph" than the A-Sol, so I'd start with that first, for at least a few days, before introducing this one slowly. 
    • CosRx Advanced Snail 96 Miucin Power Essence - I'm thinking about switching the CosRx Galactomyces 95 Whitening Power Essence for this, as that one doesn't seem to do terribly much. I haven't been testing this for long enough to really report on it, but it works well in my routine and is more moisturizing and soothing than the Galactomyces product. This one is a sticky gel that feels like it might contain a lot of snail miucin or snail slime. 
  • Cerave Moisturizing Lotion - $11.98 - This is a refill on a longtime holy grail product. I use it as a morning moisturizer, and sometimes as my nighttime moisturizer in the summers.

I also received a few items for review this month. Grana was kind enough to reach out to me after reading some of my previous reviews, and they offered to let me select a few items, which I've since posted about under the "partnered post" tag. I received the Cashmere Boyfriend V-Neck in black, the Silk Classic Shirt in Rio Red, and the Silk Cap-Sleeve Top in black.

Do you buy backups of favorite items before the original one(s) wear out? Has it generally worked out for you? I have the option of returning the Sam Edelman booties because of Nordstrom's excellent return policy, but The Limited skirts are final sale, given the state of the company. 

Linking up with Franish and the Budgeting Bloggers this month, as usual. Please do go and check out what everyone else bought this month! 

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