Saturday, January 16, 2016

My Birthday Haul

Hey, beautiful people!

In a year, I have transitioned from a compulsive shopper to a compulsive shopper undergoing recovery. I have shopped almost everything from my ever-growing wishlist, Alhamdulilah. One positive step that I pat myself on the back for is - decluttering my makeup drawers CONSIDERABLY. It is not all sorted, but I have narrowed it down to things I use or will use in foreseeable future. A lot of the hoarding happens as I attempt to try and review everything for the blog (or my own comparative knowledge). Beyond that, many things remain untouched in the back of my stash and new ones pour in. To top it off, I have a weakness for in-stock items. That is when I do the impulse purchases. Otherwise, I am very very methodological in selecting pre-order items. I wish I could ever show you the utmost madness I go through while short-listing the items to buy. There are recommendations, research, swatches, excel sheets (LOL), price analysis, comparison with existing collection, sales analysis and so much more. Consequently, the products that come in are fairly dear to me and of good use. I have come to realize that you can only apply limited number of things on your face/body. Frequently switching skin care doesn't happen to me either. Even though I am a "beauty" blogger, I am pretty much low maintenance - meaning, you will not see me in makeup often. Taking everything in regard, hoarding too many products does not only cost me my hard-earned money (lol, yeah, husband's too while I am at it :P), but the stuff remains unused in the confines of my wooden drawers. That is why, I held few major blog sales to declutter and screen my closet. It will continue for a while till I have sorted my ... stuff together :-) Here's to becoming more ORGANIZED in 2016!

All right! Coming onto the items that I am about to show you, I did shop in small bundles all year round before going on a spending ban for 4 months. There is always so much going on that I skip on sharing it all in a proper blog post. They do, however, get showcased on my social media. If you don't want to miss it, do follow these updates on my Facebook and Instagram. Without further ado, let's see the haulin' that I did! Don't forget to say Masha'Allah :-D

Tada! MASHA'ALLAH! Since I received the packages in parts, there seems to be a lack of uniformity in the pictures. Some items had been greedily swatched by the time I am putting this post up :-) Sorry, it is difficult to resist - albeit for a good cause. I will mention a list of all products at the end and in the spirit of keeping it short & sweet (lol, I wish!), let me highlight the main items and my thoughts behind selecting them.

Foremost is my new Remington S9600 Silk Straightener which costs around PKR 8,000 from Naheed Super Store (Bahadurabad, Karachi) and PKR 7,400 from Imtiaz Super Market (Korangi, Karachi). Agha's and Hyperstar did not have this in stock. Neither did Al Fatah (Lahore) when I checked there last month. It is one of the newer models of Remington. You can pick this or Remington Keratin Therapy because they're essentially the same, except for the feature that Silk Straightener allows you to have a temporary increase in the straightener heat for those pesky curly hair that would not budge. It is important for me since I have some very stubborn curls on the roots. If you don't have them, Keratin Therapy would work just as fine for you. I planned on ordering a GHD from their sales. Honestly, I was not too sure if I want to commit to spending that much on a straightener when Remington has done the job just as well for me. I have tried GHD a few times (at a friend's), so I do not have any doubts about its capabilities. Internationally, there were mixed reviews on how GHD quality has decreased over the years. This was coming from the users of GHD who had their first flat irons for over 8-10 years, but the second purchases lasted through 2 years or even less. :-D However, the Eclipse version that I was interested in was either out of stock or grabbing the full box from an online seller meant paying extra shipment charges. I went back and forth with the idea... Especially when I was so stingy about the cost-benefit analysis with my gift money All in all, I resorted to drugstore straightener and I am quite pleased with the results. My hair remain straight till the next wash. Before, my straightening would barely lasted through an hour or two in its prime. The humidity would get to the roots. To curb that, I had to put in A LOT of products in my hair. I have used it a few times since I got it and will update if anything changes <3

Another highlight is a pair of Banda FitFlops in Tan leather. We're catching up with the FitFlop trend here in Pakistan. I got my first three pairs from Shoetique in UK on sales a few years back and since then, I am hooked onto them. You are able to find several replications of FitFlops in local brands, but nothing lasts as well or genuinely come close to curbing my back pain like an original FitFlop does. True, they're a splurge, but trust me, I have worn my pairs in desert, on rocks, in the snow, and in rain. Used 'em. Abused 'em. They have the usual wear and tear, but are STILL going strong after 3-4 years of CONSTANT wearing. By constant, I mean constant - as slippers, as office shoes, as everything. The only drawback of them is the scooter-look (lol). They are comfy, but not the cutest looking shoes. I have foot-related issues and have certain requirements regarding my footwear that leave me with limited options. They look quite "butch" on my feet - a fact that I have made peace with. However, for more formal settings, I needed something a bit more 'elegant'. Banda FitFlops are the new generation FitFlops with a thinner sole and heel. It has sandal and slide versions in different colors. Almost all of them cost around GBP 85 - 110, unless on sale. During Black Friday deals, I spotted TAN (and other colors) at Nordstrom, but before I could successfully purchase, my size had flown off the shelf. I ended up finding it on Amazon at a great deal and grabbed it. It took me a while to find a reliable vendor - which is a risk in itself if you are not ordering through official website. When I received them here in Pakistan, I was somewhat disappointed in Amazon (seller's) packaging and customer service. The item was wrapped in a thin plastic bag, no box and with hard acrylic/plastic inserts that were meant to maintain the shoe's shape. Those, however, were too hard against the soft original tan leather and caused certain scratches during the transit. If given a choice, I would pay a higher price at stores like Nordstrom or Shoetique and have them reach me in perfect condition. Thankfully, the scratches were one/two and turned out to be very minor that they remained invisible until you specifically looked for them - still, the thought that it could have been much worse without any chance of refund/replacement is daunting. Take care when you order from Amazon. Other than that, they are a beauty - by the standards of a comfy-shoe-a-holic. They fit perfectly and feel amazing throughout the day.

I have expressed my utmost love for the Revlon Colorstay Whipped Foundation in Medium Beige. It can be used on any occasion due to its blendability and coverage. I had a shade darker than my skin tone which I gave away and grabbed Medium Beige. Since the pigmentation levels and undertones over my face vary, I feel the foundation is lighter than my liking. I don't wish to give this one away again, so I will definitely see how I can make this work for me during Summers.

The best time to shop for NARS is during the three-four Black Friday sales at their website. Unless you have Sephora VIB, Rouge or special points to redeem during the sales or so, the best sale on NARS is the 20% off with free-shipping on their official website. I looked through all the products and went through my rigorous shortlisting procedure to choose these beauties - NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Ginger - I have only swatched it once till date, but the tiniest swatch under the eyes covered my dark circles by 90% without any assistance from eye cream, serum, primer or color corrector. It is shade darker than my skin tone, that helps cover my dark circles well without making them look grey. I would not be able to use it on the rest of my face for any blemishes or so since Custard would have been a better match for NC20-25. It is love at first swatch and I will compare it against the much-raved Maybelline Fit Me to let you know the results. NARS The Multiple in Orgasm - If you have read my 2015 Beauty Favorites post, you would know how The Multiple in Copacabana won me over. I wanted to grab one of my favorite blushes in the ease of a Multiple - enter Orgasm. My experience with NARS Super Orgasm Illuminator was less than satisfactory. It would flatter duskier skin, but blended into oblivion on mine. The amount of glitter chunks in liquid illuminator version was a turn-off as well. I was a tad unsure about how NARS Orgasm Multiple would turn out. To my pleasant surprise, it was amazing! I do plan on getting South Beach, Portofino (may be), Laos and Siam (hell yeah). I toyed with the idea of purchasing NARS Sheer Glow or All Day Luminous foundation, Dolce Vita Lipstick, Vera or Janet in Audacious Lipstick, Dragon Girl Velvet Matte Pencil (omG, love!) and Mata Hari Powder Blush. Due to budgetary choices, I made the decision of purchasing something I had been aiming for quite some time - a RED blush - NARS Powder Blush in Exhibit A. It comes off as a red with warm undertones - something that would flatter the warm skin tones. It might look outrageously loud in the pan, but you can work it as an amazingly natural cheek color in every type of look/occasion. This is an actual picture of the Exhibit A blush that I took today - It is LOVE <3

Bath & Body Works holds a special place in hearts of those who love fragrance & body care essentials. From the cult-classic pocketbacs to 3-wick candles and fragrance mists, BBW has a wide range of products to cater to everyone's preferences in fragrances. They had an incredible semi-annual sale with good cut-downs and bundle deals, especially on the seasonal fragrances. I am a big fan of Bath & Body Works Japanese Cherry Blossom fragrance mists, so got that for my Mom. I'm a fresh-scent person, but it is a scent that I fell head over heels for. Must-try! Other fragrance mists from Bath & Body Works were Jingle All The Way and Beautiful Day. Really happy with Beautiful Day! Bath & Body Works Moonlight Path Body Butter, Pocketbacs in Energy, Stress Relief, and Paris Amour were my other picks from the sale at great prices.

I love neutral eyeshadow palettes for the occasional times when I actually wear anything other than eyeliner and mascara. All of my palettes lean warm & gold and I wanted to grab something in the silver-smokey undertones. Morphe Eyeshadow Palette in 35D is something I have been eyeing for quite some time. Although the Black Friday Morphe sales made the brushes go out of stock, I was lucky enough to grab two eyeshadow blending brushes from Morphe M441 and M433 Blending Brushes. I can't say much about either of the two Morphe finds yet because I haven't used them much.

Benefit Roller Lash Mascara and Girl Meets Pearl are two of my wishlist items. I have used and reviewed Girl Meets Pearl on the blog and the regular readers know my love for They're Real mascara. I tried Roller Lash by borrowing from a friend and just as my previous mascara was breathing its last, I wanted to switch it up and see if the new Roller Lash is worth the hype for the short, sparse and stubby lashes that do not hold the curve. Will definitely be doing a comparison post for the two mascaras.

The Balm Schwing Eyeliner and Urban Decay Travel Eyeliner Set were purchased by me for the days when I do not have  the patience to carefully draw the line using Inglot AMC 77 Gel Eyeliner. Both of them were intense in pigmentation and I absolutely adore how Schwing turned out to be. People need to rave about it more often. Definitely an underrated product, I feel.

Tarte My Favorite Things, Laura Geller Gilded Honey and Bite Beauty Luminous Lipstick in Pepper included three of my wishlist items that I was able to grab at a good bargain. Gilded Honey's packaging and size were less than impressive, but the product itself was remarkably good. #WhatHighlighterDreamsAreMadeOf. Seriously! I wanted to grab Guava at the 50% off sale as well, but may be next time. Maracuja Oil from Tarte remains untouched so far, but I am happy that I got it in a value pack with full-sized Lipsurgence and deluxe cheek stain - all in the price for which the Maracuja oil deluxe would retail alone! I had tried Bite Beauty lipstick formulation before in brighter shades, but this wearable color allows me to sport a nude-rose lip in a long-lasting creme finish.

Last, but not the least - Colourpop. I am amazed by the value-for-money offerings that Colourpop has. I have lined up a big review of Colourpop items, so I will not say much about them yet - except for the fact that I love their products. All of them.

This combined haul was made possible due to my beloved husband who, for once, gave me a free reign to splurge on cosmetics. It's my birthday and once-a-year (a decade, in his words) occurrence, so I cherish it THE MOST <3 I will try to be a good girl this year and use at least quarter of my stash to try new stuff :) Insha'Allah!

The ladies behind cosmetics businesses on Facebook are the ones I am extremely grateful towards. Aisha of MAC Addict, Summaiya of Endulgence, Maruee of Zensky, Sidra of International Makeup in Pakistan, and Ayesha Ismail did a fabulous job of procuring my much-loved items. I adore them and you MUST check out their pages for the drool-worthy pre-orders and in-stock items <3

As promised, here is a list of complete haul items, Masha'Allah! They were in parts and on sale, so the prices might vary now - hence, not quoting them:

- Remington S9600 Silk Straightener
- Nivea Men After-Shave Balm (to use as makeup primer)
- Victoria's Secret Bombshell Perfume
- BBW Fragrance Mists in Beautiful Day, Japanese Cherry Blossom, Jingle All The Way
- BBW Pocketbac Sanitizers in Stress Relief, Energy, Paris Amour
- BBW Body Butter in Moonlight Path
- Revlon Colorstay Whipped Foundation in Medium Beige
- NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Ginger
- NARS Multiple in Orgasm
- NARS Blush in Exhibit A
- Laura Geller Gilded Honey Baked Highlighter
- Soap and Glory Kickass Compact Powder (an older purchase from UK)
- Urban Decay - Triple Threat Travel Pencil Set
- Fitflop Banda Shoes in TAN
- The Balm Schwing Black Liquid Eyeliner
- NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Cannes
- Morphe Brushes for blending - M441 and 433
- Bite Beauty Luminous Cream Lipstick in Pepper
- Benefit Roller Lash Mascara
- Benefit Girl Meets Pearl Illuminator
- Morphe 35D Palette
- Tarte My Favorite Things Bestsellers Set with Full Size Lipsurgence, Maracuja Oil, and Highlighter
- Colourpop Lippie Stix - Primer, LBB, Bossy, Clique, Behr Hug
- Colourpop Super Shock Eyeshadows - Bae, Roulette, Get Lucky, Glitterati, Coconut, Hammered, Silver, Mooning, etc.
- Colourpop Eyeliners - Silver (gel), Bee Sting (pencil)
- Colourpop Ultra Matte Lip - More Better, Drive In, Scrooge

Thank you for going through the picture-heavy post! Do let me know in the comments that what would you like to see a mini / detailed review of ? <3




  1. MA SHA ALLAH My eyes just opened after seeing this , welldone ! :)
    wish u many many returnz of ur day

  2. wow May you always be Blessed Ameen

  3. ..Stuff together! Hahaha! No swearing for you :D Masha Allah I admire your *coughs* restraint but your research has paid off and the haul is too good to be true :) Waiting for your reviews for purely research purposes of course ;) -Sadaf

  4. Masha Allah , amazing haul and happy belated birthday:)

  5. Wow.... Happy Birthday first of All :) and congrats for getting your Wishlist ;)
    Masha Allah...
    and I wanted to know that "Remington Hair dryers" are available at Imtiaz Super Market khi ?
    and yea I personally like NARS... but will try it in Black Friday sale next time or so :/ and yea would like a Review on 'The Balm Schwing Eyeliner' and Colorpop Collection plus Nars and everything that you bought, as I like concealers/highlighters/foundations/liners and lipstick and name anything :P

  6. Whattay haul man! I have seen so many Youtubers rave about Nivea Men After-Shave Balm. What is the fuss about?

  7. Ma Sha Allah.
    lovely hauls.
    I can see you Nivea Shaving Balm :p

  8. Bia, this was one helluva haul. Love your picks. I wish I had permission to buy these many goodies. Enjoy and MashaAllah! :)

  9. Mashallah everything has been arranged beautifully :)
    Loved the way you have taken pictures. Nice post :)

  10. Ma Shaa Allah. What an ah-mazing haullll :) Loving everything. Those banda flitflops are so cute. Looking forward to reading ur reviews on many products from this haul IA. Stay blessed <3

  11. Masha Allah, Each and every item is lovely, Happy Birthday and May Allah Bless you Always Bia! xx

  12. I am in love with your haul. Very lovely products. I am also in the process of compiling a wishlist for year 2016 these days :p Lets see how that pans out

  13. Hey. I badly I want to try out colourpop but I really can't figure out where to buy them from. Can you help me in this please?


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