How to Hack Sephora to Get Free Samples

I was, and still am, a Sephora addict. For those who don’t know what Sephora is, google it. It’s a skincare and makeup heaven. If you become VIB Rouge, which you have to spend $1000 a year to get there and maintain, you get a load of benefits. Not only do you get free custom makeovers whenever you want, but you also get Free 2-Day shipping on online orders, first access to new items, and special gifts on your birthday. If you’re seriously into makeup and skincare, it’s a perfect place.

But buying good makeup and skincare products is expensive. And spending $1000 a year on those products sounds insane – believe me, I know. Although, I love it. I love trying out new products and taking care of my skin as much as I can. With having psoriasis and acne-prone skin, I am definitely willing to pay more for quality products that keep my skin healthy. For me, it’s all worth it.

After being a VIB Rouge member for some time, I began to realize some tricks into the online Sephora system. Any online order is qualified for 3 free samples. Somewhere hidden on the Sephora website is a page called “Weekly Specials” which shows all these other samples you can choose from after spending ~$25. Now if you know Sephora, it’s highly doubtful you’re purchasing an item for less than $25, which means that for almost every item, you can do a separate order and get 4 free samples if you are VIB Rouge (because of the free shipping). So, I began to do just that. I’d have 4 or 5 products to buy, so I’d place 4 or 5 separate orders, and they’d send me everything in one box. It’s a brilliant way to try new products and decide if you like them enough to purchase it on its own. Or you can save up the samples for travelling or to keep in your handbag when you’re out and about.

After doing this for a year, I had built up an insane amount of free samples. Before I moved to the UK, I had to go through them all. And then I got this brilliant idea: that I would try these samples out and write reviews on them. Yay – I love being inspired by a new post idea! Within the next couple of weeks, I will be sharing my feelings on all these skincare and beauty products to let you know which ones I think are worth purchasing.

Oh! And as an added bonus, my CapitalOne card gives me an option to use my miles to get gift cards. Sadly, there are no Sephora locations in the UK, however, they can do international shipping. It may not be as convenient as it was back in the States, but I can still feed my Sephora addiction from time to time.

Anyway, I’ll keep you updated as I carry on with everything. Make sure you follow my Instagram account and keep a look out for my stories as I’ll make sure to show you all what I’m trying out!

 

Much Love

xxx

 

Pergola at Paddington Central: A West London Adventure

When I decided to move to the UK, I made myself a promise that I would take advantage of living in a foreign country by going on adventures when I had the chance. It’s so easy to fall into a rhythm and go to the same places and do the same things. And it’s also so easy to make excuses, something I am very very good at when it comes to whether or not I should leave the flat.

Luckily enough, one of my best friends lives in London and is always open to trying new things. So the boyfriend and I met up with her and her husband out in West London to try the Pergola at Paddington Central – which essentially is a very cutely decorated street food cafeteria type place where, conveniently enough, you can get drunk. We had reservations but as all four of us were late, we lost our table in the actual pergola area downstairs. We got a table near the bar by the entrance which wasn’t nearly as loud and much more convenient for getting drinks.

We were lucky enough to have a gorgeous night outside with a beautiful sunset and very comfortable temperatures. Although, we did notice that it was a very young crowd of people who attended this place. Which in all honesty is probably because it’s mainly been promoted through Instagram and other social media.

Photo Aug 14, 9 55 18 AM

We decided to have one more bottle before we ended the night but were told that the bar was closed. If I remember correctly, this was around 11:30pm, so unfortunately this isn’t a place you can really stay all night for. But M was very familiar with the area as she got her MBA nearby so we went for what was supposed to be a 5 minute walk – which turned into about a 20 minute walk – looking for shisha. (For my American friends, shisha is what they call hookah over here.) We finally found a place, and I could never tell you what the name of it was. But I would never suggest anyone go there anyway as the people who worked there were pretty rude.. But nevertheless, we got a couple of shishas, had some more drinks, and stayed out until around 2am when we all decided it was probably time to go home. We all had a brilliant time. Lots of drinks, lots of laughter, lots of fun!

Photo Aug 14, 9 52 04 AM

If you’re ever in the West London area, I would definitely suggest trying one of the Pergola locations. There’s the one in Paddington Central that we went to, and there’s another called Pergola on the Roof in White City which is even further west. The food can be a bit pricey for street food, so if you’re just in the mood for some drinks on a nice night, it’s a perfect place for it. Otherwise, if you are willing to splash out on the food, I would highly suggest Patty & Bun. The burgers were very tasty, and it was actually the first burger joint in the UK to ask me how I liked my burger cooked so I was able to get a medium-cooked burger versus the general well-done every other place just assumes. (That was a serious triumph for me, let me tell ya!)

Have any of you been to either of the Pergola locations? What did you think of it? If not, let me know if you do go! I’d love to hear what your favorite part was!

 

Much Love

xxx

My Last Month in a Nutshell

Holy moly, life has been insane!! If you hear about everything I’ve been up to, you will understand why I haven’t posted anything for weeks. Although, if you follow me on Instagram, you may already know all of this as I have been sharing this adventure on there.

But, guys, I’m in the UK. Like I am currently living in London. I think I’m still in quite a bit of shock that this is now my life. I keep thinking back to when I was at university and how I thought my future would be, and I think my 21-year-old self would have been shocked if she knew where she’d be in 4 years’ time.

Anyway, life is good right now. I plan to post a bit of a “guide” for those interested in what it takes to move from the US to the UK. I did a lot of research before I moved and nothing prepared me for everything I had to do, and how much time it would all take. Therefore, I wanted to write something realistic for others who will be in that position in the future. So more details of my experience will be explained in that post (when everything has wrapped up).

Around the time of my last blog post, I was getting everything ready to apply for my Visa. I had to schedule an appointment on a work day, then drive 5 hours to Chicago for the 30-minute appointment and then drive the 5 hours back in one day. Then, had to wait for it be approved, and mailed to me.

I had to go through all of my belongings and put them into either “sell,” “donate,” “pack” or “throw out” piles. I had to list everything I wanted to sell on a Facebook marketplace group, and rifle through dozens of messages a day, organize a time to meet or pick up, and then actually sell it. I donated the rest to charity or to my mom or friends. I threw out a huge amount of stuff. And then I had to decide what, and how much, I wanted to ship over ahead of time on a crate. I had to manage the crate and shipping process, fill out a customs form and wait for them to get back to me, and then get the crate shipped onto a boat (which still hasn’t left the port yet, as far as I’m aware).

On top of that, I had to wrap up my last week of work, say goodbye to family and friends, cancel all memberships and bills, turn in my key and sort out any apartment stuff, and try to manage a way to get rid of my car lease. Which is still sitting in my parent’s driveway since I can’t find anyone to take over the lease. It’s a 2017 Ford Fusion Sport in great condition, and has a year left on the lease. So if you live in Michigan, and you’re interested, let me know, because I’m currently still making payments on something 4,000 miles away from me and not being used. 😦

Lastly, I had to pack up all the remaining stuff, and get on a plane and fly over here, saying goodbye to everything I have ever known.

So that sums up the last month of my life. Moving to a new country is hard, and timely, and expensive, and exhausting – I promise you. But, I’ve been here for two weeks exactly now and I can tell you that it was most definitely worth it. We’ve managed to stay very busy making plans – getting out when the weather is nice – but also staying in and cooking together to save some money.

We plan to start looking for flats next week, and I’m hoping we have some luck and find properties worth looking at. I’d love to be able to move in shortly after – late July/early August – so that we can get settled and start our life together.

And then, when all of that is said and done, I can finally get back to focusing my attention on the blog. I have a lot of ideas to revamp the site, and will be able to go on many more adventures around London and England, and share them with you all. Eventually, when we have enough money saved up, we’ll go on holiday somewhere beautiful and I’ll be able to take you all with me – metaphorically speaking…

Thanks to all of you who have been patient with the lack of posts. As you can tell, I have been very busy and was making the move here a priority. I’ll try to shoot out some posts here in the next couple of weeks. So stay tuned for more 🙂

 

Much Love

xxx

A Trip to Stella’s Lounge

One of the last weekend’s of May, the boyfriend came to Michigan for a long weekend. It was my grandma’s 80th birthday party and my entire family was getting together to be with her. We had some extra time and I wanted to show D a little bit more of Michigan as he hasn’t seen too much. So we decided to go out to Grand Rapids for a night. A good friend of mine from college lives out there, so we met him and his girlfriend at a place called Stella’s Lounge.

I did some research before heading out to Grand Rapids and saw that Stella’s Lounge has been voted the best burger in Michigan. As I am a sucker for burgers and french fries, I knew we had to go here.

By the time D and I had gotten there, we had already drank a lot of beer (for him) and cider (for me). And we were starving. We ordered as soon as we could, and devoured our food. Although, I wanted to eat the entire burger, it was so big and the cider filled me up so much that I couldn’t actually eat it all. And then D went to the bathroom and put his napkin on his plate (which I thought was the sign for ‘I’m finished’) and I told the waiter he could take it away. Apparently he wasn’t done….. Oops!

Photo May 19, 7 58 17 PM

But just look at this ginormous burger. It’s no wonder I couldn’t eat it all. But it was amazing. Even though I was decently drunk and probably would have eaten anything at this point, it was delicious. And I miss it terribly. Yes I am allowed to feel these things about food. Whatever.

Anyone ever been here? Comment below and let me know how you felt about these burgers. I’m interested in sober thoughts as well!

 

Much Love

xxx

The Moment I Fell in Love With AmorePacific

Well the moment is here. I found my favorite skincare moisturizer.

Unfortunately it costs as much as my grocery bill for a month, so I’ll never actually get to use it.

You guys, this stuff was amazing. And I had no idea what I was getting myself into! Let me explain…

I have found a very clever way to hack Sephora and get free shit. So in one of those Sephora hacks, I was able to choose a free sample. I tend to choose moisturizers or face washes so that I can take them with me when I’m travelling. I saw the AMOREPACIFIC gel moisturizer and picked it. It got to my apartment just in time for my weekend trip to NYC. I was staying with some girls and when I pulled it out, they freaked out and told me that this is an amazing brand and it’s really expensive. And I’m just over here in my ignorant cocoon like “la da da da da” having absolutely no idea.

I went to wash my face and put the moisturizer on. And I kid you not, I woke up in the morning and my face had transformed. It looked amazing and felt amazing. A lot of my acne had settled down and my face looked healthy. So I’ve been using teensy tiny bits of this moisturizer since then so I could get as much out of it as possible. My acne has almost completely gone away. My face looks the best it has looked in MONTHS. And I feel like I have to attribute it to this moisturizer. I looked it up on Sephora and it was $100-200. So I’ll never be able to afford it and this makes me very sad.

But, if you get the chance for a free sample or any kind of opportunity to use this, DO IT. It is amazing. And now I can understand how models and celebrities have flawless skin – because they have access to magical products that are priced much too high for the peasants! Argh!!

Anyway, go look at their website here. Even the design of the site looks like it cost a billion dollars.

😦

Have any of you used AMOREPACIFIC’s products before? Comment below!

Much Love

xxx

Reasons Why I Blog

Day 31 – 31 Day Blog Challenge

Ahhhh! Finally. The last day of the 31 Day Blog Challenge. And a challenge it was!! I am happy that I did it, but also happy that it is over. Blogging every day is not easy when you have a full time job and a very hectic life outside of that. It was crazy. And I was late on a lot of posts – sorry about that – but I do feel a lot better about my writing in general.

For the last day, I am supposed to write about the reasons why I blog, which is a fantastic way to wrap all of this up. Why do I do what I do?

The main reason, as most you know – or could have guessed – is because it gives me joy. I actually love thinking of new posts to write and have participated in so many more activities lately because of the blog. These last 4-5 months have been busy (and it’s only getting busier) but I have not felt like the blog is a burden at all. In fact, even though it adds some extra stress and chaos to my life, it’s been welcoming. I finally have a place to be creative.

One of the blog posts I had to write for the challenge was about my “dream job.” Which my answer was to be a full-time blogger. I would love to be able to devote all of my time to this blog. I’d definitely redesign the website as I’m not a huge fan as to how it looks right now. As soon as I move and get situated in London, it’s my plan to focus some time on the design. I’d also have more time to reach out to brands and other bloggers to develop relationships with them. I’d love to attend blogger events, which I know there are many in London. I’d also be able to devote much more time and research to my posts. I have a lot of serious topics and ideas sitting in my drafts right now and I would love to be able to get those published. I do love talking about fashion, beauty, food, and travel, but I also want to be able to write about the world and get honest hearty discussions going. It’s the best way to learn, in my opinion – which is one of the main reasons I love travelling so much. Meeting people from other cultures and talking to them about their experiences has been so liberating, interestingly enough.

Anyway, this post is supposed to be about why I blog, not about what I plan to do with it in the future. I’m just excited – forgive me!

I’ve decided to make a list of other reasons why I blog so read below to find out more.

  • I blog because….. it’s given me the courage to take more steps outside the box (taking more pictures in public, engaging in more social activities and events, talking with fellow bloggers and getting to know their stories, etc.)
  • I blog because….. I’ve definitely become more intelligent. I am reading more about the news and staying active in current events. I take every chance I get to learn more about the world around us. My horizons have expanded in regards to being tolerant to those in other cultures.
  • I blog because….. it has helped me with the realization of what is truly important in my life. By blogging, I have been able to understand what my passions are. Therefore I know the difference between wanting and liking something versus needing something. And as much as I do love materialistic possessions, I most definitely do not need them. And I no longer treat them as a priority. Just an added bonus 🙂
  • I blog because….. as I am moving out of the country, it will be a great way to keep my friends and family in the States apprised of my life abroad. They will have very easy access to what I am doing with my life. And as I am extremely honest with my blog, they will be able to see and read about the hardships as well.
  • I blog because….. it makes me proud. I truly do feel proud of myself for what I have created so far. It may not be the best, and I know I have a long way to go, but I am seriously loving the ride. The internet community is so engaging and it can be a wonderful place. I’m just trying to enjoy what I’ve created thus far and always have my learning hat on so that I can continue to get better.

I hope all of you have enjoyed my posts so far. I am always open to feedback so if you don’t want to leave a comment below, please feel free to contact me at samb@knackeredbychaos.com or using the Contact page on my blog. I would love to hear from you!

I do have a lot of plans for this blog in the future but I will have to ask you to be patient as it may take awhile longer before I can get back to devoting a large amount of time to it. I can not wait to move to London and write about my experiences as an expat. So weird. Yet soooooooo exciting!

Anyway, hope you all enjoyed the blog challenge and learned a lot of new things about me along the way. Stay tuned for many more exciting things to happen!

 

Much Love

xxx

What’s in my Makeup Bag?

Day 30 – 31 Day Blog Challenge

Ok so we’re nearing the end of the blog challenge here. And for today I am supposed to write about what’s in my makeup bag, which is hilarious because I have fit a billion different products in there. As I don’t feel like naming each and every one, I have taken pictures of some of my favorite items and have listed and included links to everything else.

My makeup bag is a mess. It’s relatively large, so I have been able to fit a lot of stuff in it. It’s also dirty, but honestly, who’s isnt?

As you can see, there’s two sections. The top section has a zipper pocket where I keep my mascara, eyebrow pencils, and eyeliners. Then you have the area for all of my brushes, which there are many. And many more I don’t keep in there.

And then there’s the bottom part which has foundations, CC creams, eyelid primer, face primer, eyelash curler, mirror, eye shadow palettes, contouring palettes, etc. Just to name a few.

I just bought the Tarte Double Take Eyeliner (left) which has the pencil on one end and a defining waterproof liquid on the other. It’s perfect and I seriously love it.

I do layer my mascara. I have worked with LOADS of mascara since I started wearing makeup at age 12. Obviously I started with cheap drug store brands and now I just get my mascara at Sephora. My three favorites are Lancome Hypnose Drama to start, then Too Faced Better Than Sex , and end with Urban Decay Perversion (not pictured). I have also used a sample of the Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 mascara and loved that as well.

I have been buying more Tarte products lately as I love their brand and the positive effects it has had on my skin. I never breakout using their products and feel like my skin reacts very well to their creams and moisturizers.

As for eye stuff, I just bought this BB eye cream from Smashbox (top left) and I absolutely love it. I hate under eye concealers that look cakey and crease all over so when I went in to Sephora, I had a sales associate help me and as soon as I tried this on, I realized it was perfect!

For eye shadow, I tend to work mostly with palettes as it’s been my lazy way of accruing lots of different colors. As I have dark eyes and hair, I gravitate towards the Urban Decay Naked palettes since they generally have brown and natural looking tones. I have the Naked2, the Naked Smoky (shown below) and Naked2 Basics, which is actually my favorite one.

Lately, I have been using the Smashbox Matte Exposure palette (shown below) using most of the colors on the left. I tend to just mix colors and throw a dark shade on my crease and call it a day, which is why it looks as messy as it does. Usually when I’m doing my makeup, I’m going to work with a bunch of middle-aged men so I tend to be very lazy and simple with my makeup.

I started contouring my face a while back and have used all Smashbox products. I started with the Step-by-Step Contour Stick Trio, which was great for beginners. Then I got the Step-by-Step Contour Palette, which is a powder. After awhile, I wanted something more advanced. So I did some research and found the Anastasia Contour Kit. I bought it and have been using it ever since. I really like the fact that you can buy refills for the powders and don’t have to purchase a whole new palette or kit like I had to do with the Smashbox ones. It saves me a lot more money.

Photo May 30, 7 02 33 PM

Weirdly enough, I don’t keep any lipsticks in my main makeup bag. I keep them in a smaller bag in my purse since I tend to carry my lipsticks with me everywhere. I’ve listed my favorite brands below. I tend to navigate towards bright reds, matte, and long lasting wear.

Some other products that I love and use daily are below:

From this post, you may gather I am obsessed with makeup and products. And I kind of am. I find it so much fun to shop for makeup and try out new products or even go to Sephora and get my makeup done. I have been VIB Rouge for two years now and going on my third, and probably fourth. For those who don’t know, you have to spend a certain amount of money a year to become VIB Rouge and maintain status. The benefits are Free 2-Day Shipping, and free 60-minute makeovers in the store among other things. However, with my impending move to UK, I don’t know how I’m going to be able to deal since there aren’t any Sephora locations in the UK. I do know they have international shipping although I’m sure it’s not “Free 2-day.” Sad face.

I would eventually like to have a vanity where I could sit and seriously organize all of my makeup and products, which I do hope to accomplish when we get our new flat. Crossing my fingers for that one.

Please let me know if you have any questions on any of the products I listed. This has recently become a passion of mine so I love talking about it. Do any of you share the same love for any of these items? Comment below and let me know!

 

Much Love

xxx