005 NYC #BASIC INSIDER'S GUIDE

tl;dr scroll down for my top NYC recommendations :) 

I moved to Manhattan three years ago after "conquering" three popular US cities on my own money, yet "making it" in New York City was by far the hardest. Not only does this city whip your personal finances into shape - budgeting is ESSENTIAL - but there are so many options that it's hard to know where to go for simple errands, quality shopping, or indulgent self-care. After three years, I finally figured out my favorite spots to confidently call Manhattan my home. So to help out my New York City neighbors (or visiting tourists!), here are my insider recommendations for everything you might want in NYC. 

SKINCARE:

  • Facials/Estheticians: Skin By Brooks; I've also tried and loved Silver Mirror with Taylor and HeyDay with Liana C, but ultimately felt like Skin By Brooks was the best investment. 
  • Asian Beauty Retail Shopping: oo35mmLOVUEPeach & Lily brick-and-mortar stand at Macy's in Flushing. Also look out for incredible sample sales and fun pop-up events, including Peach & Lily's annual sample sale around the end of August.
  • Beauty Retail Shopping: SpaceNK; Sephora; Ulta mainly for the IT Cosmetics for Ulta brushes; Barneys but only during the Love Yourself Event; Harmon Discount. Although I haven't visited yet, I've been dying to visit clean beauty store credo and making an hour-long appointment for a Clean Beauty Swap.

SELF-CARE SERVICES:

FITNESS:

LIFESTYLE & OTHER: 

003 Peach&Lily's 2017 K-Beauty Sample Sale Recap

td;lr If there's one day of the year to mark in the K-Beauty calendar, it's definitely Peach & Lily's Original K-Beauty Sample Sale!! This is my second year attending and this is hands down my FAVORITE sample sale in NYC because Alicia Yoon and her team curate the best and latest K-beauty finds at truly affordable prices. Make sure you do your homework and plan accordingly in order to make the most of this event and stock up on items you truly need for the upcoming year. 

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Unlike previous years when the sample sale was hosted in August and lasted for two days [check out @BeautyandtheCat and @CeciBeautyTherapy for in-depth coverage on the 2015 and 2016 sales], Peach & Lily's 2017 sample sale was hosted in late September and only lasted one day. But since this is their third year hosting, the team had the process down pat - the event was hosted in a bigger space with increased stock and their social media team managed wait time expectations through live updates on Instagram. Prior to the event, attendees could follow Peach & Lily's Instagram or RSVP at events@peachandlily.com for sneak peeks of which brands would be available. 

To make the most of the event, I definitely suggest doing your research beforehand and determine what you want out of the sale. If you're a casual consumer and just want to dip into K-Beauty, there's no need to wait an hour in line and get flustered at the frenzy of people grabbing everything. If you're a K-Beauty master, you might spend an hour inside looking up every ingredient on your phone and miss everything as new and coveted products sell out around you. Or you might just want to try out everything and end up with too many products for the wrong skin-type that will make a forever home in your ever-growing stash. None of these scenarios sound like fun to me and you'll end up spending a lot more money then you need to. Kind of defeats the purpose of a sample sale, am I right?

Here's my 2017 recap and advice after having great experiences in 2016 & 2017: 

The Night Before:

  • Take an HONEST look at your current stash - and I mean a good, LONG look. What type of products do you actually need right now? What type of products will you need in 3 months? What type of products did you love in the past year and actually use up?  For me, I had been shopping my stash for most of the year and already depleted most of my stash. I was actually all out of cleansing oils, toners, and sunscreen and I was down to one backup bottle of essence and a few samples of eye cream. Since fall and winter were coming up, I wanted to incorporate hydrating mists into my routine because heaters in my office and apartment tend to really dry out my skin. And I wanted a few true powerhouse items for the winter because I spend the holidays in Chicago where I tend to get dry patches because of the weather / water. After looking at my stash, I realized I am actually horrible at sheet masking. I only do so about 2-3 times a month, at most. In contrast, I'm pretty good at using up wash-off masks and modeling masks. Finally, in addition to sheet masks obviously, I was already set for 2nd cleansers, serums, and moisturizers/creams for many years to come. 
  • Research & build a wishlist  - this is where my inner nerd researcher gets to shine. Stalk the hell out of Peach & Lily's website and any new brands that are mentioned during Peach & Lily's sneak peaks. From previous purchases and empties, I knew my skin loved products from Shangpree, Rose By Dr Dream, and Be the Skin. From online research/window shopping, I wanted to try Atopalm and Atoclassic. All of these also seemed relatively exclusive to Peach & Lily. Meanwhile, Peach & Lily also hinted at new brands Let Me Skin, Elisha Coy, Duft + Doft, Olivarrier, and Frudia. I decided I'd hold off on Elisha Coy and Frudia since although I love both, I knew Alicia helped CVS stock those brands and CVS often sends 30-40% off coupons. Duft + Doft mainly seemed like hand creams that didn't interest me. But Let Me Skin modeling masks were offered at Barneys/P&L for $20 each and Olivarrier selling at Glow Recipe for $36+. For the lines I was interested in, I listed out products I'd definitely want to purchase no matter what (marked with an asterisk) and items that were maybes (accompanied with their retail prices. I used Notes because I like doing research on my Mac and then pulling up the sync-ed Note on my phone during the sale. You can also get creative and pre-make a Google Sheet to calculate your total prices, but I'm not a huge fan of the Sheets app on my phone so I didn't bother. Example of my notes: 
    • SHANGPREE S-Energy Long Lasting Concentrated Serum * [$120]
    • BE THE SKIN Botanical Nutrition Power Toner* [$29]
    • ATOPALM Moisturizing Eye Repair Serum [$46, 40% Off = $27.6, 70% Off =$ 13.8]
  • Set a REALISTIC budget - here's the scary part. If you add up all the items on your wishlist, how disastrous is your total? Seeing everything added up really made me gulp and move more items from the Must Asterisk to the Maybe section. I suggest leaving some room for new finds at the sale, say a $10-$20 leeway. 
  • Decide your schedule - after doing the above, would you be heartbroken if you didn't get all the items on your Must list? Or maybe going through the process, you realized you don't need that many things and you just want to check out the sale for fun. Use these feelings to determine whether you want to invest the time to arrive before opening or whether you're fine strolling in at the end of the day. For me, I knew there were popular items (ahem Shangpree) that would sell out fast and my overall savings from the sample sale would be more than if I did my usual online shopping habits. On top of that, I had to leave by 11AM to catch a flight out of NYC that day...so I wanted to arrive early and leave as early as I could to still make my flight. 

Lines & Wait:

KBeauty fans will NOT let huge lines intimidate them away from a good deal. I arrived around 7:20AM and the line was already looping around the corner and growing past two blocks long. Luckily for me, a friend got in just after 7AM and was waiting in the middle of the first block [approximately #30 in line] so I was able to jump in and catch-up with her while we waited for the doors to open. The P&L staff opened the doors right on time at 8AM with Alicia at the door welcoming everyone in! 

  • Buddy Up - I suggest a buddy system and which can ease the process for both buddies - if Buddy #1 lives nearby and can hold a spot in line, Buddy #2 can take it easy on the commute. Then when Buddy #1 needs to rush off to work or school, Buddy #2 has got Buddy #1 covered. YAS SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIPS. What I wouldn't suggest is a buddy group larger than four - other girls waiting tend to give you the side-eye for cutting in line and orders for large orders across multiple people can get messy, frustrating, and pricey. Keep it small.  
  • Check Your Phone Often (& Bring a Charger) - The Peach & Lily team were totally on top of their social media game so it's worth coming to the event with a full battery. In addition to commenting with estimated wait times on their Instagram, they responded to inquiries about whether specific products were sold out yet. People waiting in line were already planning what to get once they reached the door because they were watching what others were currently getting inside. And those who were at school or work could determine whether they wanted to make a trip or save it if their favorite items were already sold out. 

In Store:

  • Don't bring extra baggage - If you're short on time, bring only a small cross-body to keep your wallet close and your hands free. The P&L team have a strict bag policy - anything that can be considered "tote size" needs to be checked-in. This cuts down on space, makes it easier to shop, and (I'm guessing from my short-lived retail career at Hollister) prevents shoplifting. A small line can form within the store of people waiting to check-in their bag, so if you're short on time, just don't bring one. Otherwise, hand your bag to the nice P&L associate who will hang it for you on a rack and hand you a ticket number. Another associate will give you a Peach & Lily shopping bag (or more if you know you're about to do damage) to hold your new items. 
  • Color coordinate your haul - Products are arranged by price, which is indicated by colored stickers. It's a great, efficient system. This year, the prices were Orange [$35], Red [$22], Yellow [$15], Green [$10], Blue [$6], Pink [$3]. As I found products on my wishlist, I added my count of each color - Eg 1 Orange, 3 Blue, etc. By the time I had looked through all the available products, I could see how over / under budget my current bag had. 
  • Stick to your wishlist & budget - This is where all the preparation really shows because people struggle with part. There's no room to sit down and start rethinking all your purchases - in fact, people who did were asked to move since they were forming a crowd right by the only entrance/exit (probably a huge fire hazard.) My best advice for this section is to justify each and every purchase - if you keep the Orange, put a Yellow, Green, and Blue back. Or if you're between two sunscreens, ask the staff for their opinion! They're incredibly knowledgeable and want you to be happy with your purchases.  
  • Check expiration dates - Always always always a must for any skincare purchases. This sale is always really good about expiration dates - almost all of the items I picked up were just manufactured and should be good for at least a year.
  • Pay happy - There were 2-3 lines for checkout arranged in a very Trader Joe-esque fashion, with a P&L associate directing us to alternate turns as cashiers freed up. My cashier was super clear in separating out all the items by color and counting them clearly in front of me and showed me how everything added up on the iPad. Purchases over $350 qualified for a Peach & Lily pouch filled with their latest name-brand masks and acne patched. The staff staple up the Peach & Lily bags for you and text the receipt to your phone. I also saved the best part for last - there's no tax
Wish I had a better photo, but here's Alicia Yoon greeting @mybeautyjars at the door right at opening!

Wish I had a better photo, but here's Alicia Yoon greeting @mybeautyjars at the door right at opening!

Don't be surprised that Mr Peach & Lily (Alicia Yoon's husband) knows a ton about skincare too! He was answering questions and recommending products!

Don't be surprised that Mr Peach & Lily (Alicia Yoon's husband) knows a ton about skincare too! He was answering questions and recommending products!

The 2017 Haul 

FINALLY Here are a few of the items I picked up that I'm most excited about! 

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  • Olivarrieh Dual Moist Hyaluron Essence [ Green $10 | Retail $36 on GlowRecipe ]
  • Olivarrieh Dual Moist Toning Lotion [ Green $10 | Retail $18 on MelodyCosme ]
  • Olivarrieh Squalene Fluid Oil [ Yellow $15 | Retail $33 on RoseRoseShop ]
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  • La Muse Multi Effect Perfecting Face Oil [Green $10 | Retail $54 according to tradeKorea but currently unavailable]
  • La Muse Creme Solare SPF [Blue $6 | Retail $45 according to tradeKorea but currently unavailable]
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What did you guys pick up at the Peach & Lily Sample Sale or which products are you most excited about? Let me know in the comments below!

-V

002 ClubClio's 90% Off Sample Sale

tl;dr Club Clio's Union Square location in NYC had an amazing end-of-summer sample sale with brands Clio Professional, Peripera, Goodal, Dr G, and Soo Ae offering products up to 90% off. Deals are still going strong as of 9/18/2017! 

#boxesonboxes 

#boxesonboxes 

This post is about a month late, but Club Clio [11 W 14th Street] had an amazing sample sale from Aug 16th 2017 - Aug 31st 2017.  These were the most affordable prices I’ve ever seen on kbeauty yet, with items up to 90% off and most products selling for $10 or less. And according to the sample sale queen Dinara [@practicallyhaute], the deals are still going strong until they run out of stock and remodel their location :) 

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Club Clio currently has two makeup lines, Clio Professional and Peripera, and most items were between $1-$5! I’m totally loyal to the Clio Professional Kill Brown Waterproof Eyeliner but unfortunately most neutral colors were sold out within the first day of the sale. I hardly wear makeup so I picked up a few colorful eyeliners and lip tints to gift to friends:

3 x Clio Professional Gelpresso Waterproof Pencil Gel Liner [3 for $5]

5 x Peripera Lumi Pang, Peri’s Tint, and & Peri’s Milk Balm [3 for $5]

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There was less variety available for skincare - I only saw a few single bottles of Dr G products that didn't interest me. I did use this chance to check out Goodal [@goodal.beauty] because their Deep Clean Pore Facial Clay is one of my favorite wash-off masks. While I’m super excited to try the items I purchased, there was little-to-no information on expiration dates. Because I was a little wary of how much I could use up on my own, I mainly bought multiples to share with friends with warnings to use them up in the next 6 months. I did check that each bottle was still sealed and in brand-new condition: 

1 x Goodal Phytorain Murumuru Seed Hydra Toner [3 for $5]

3 x Goodal Phytoshine Acaiberry Brightening Toner [3 for $5] 

3 x Goodal 100% Cotton Sheet Masks in Orchid, Cherry Blossom, & Baby Perennis [3 for $10] 

3 x Goodal Toning Lotus Water Oil [3 for $10]

1 x Goodal Orchid Nutrition Body Wash [3 for $10] 

2 x Goodal Moisture Barrier Liquid [3 for $10]

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My total order came out to exactly $50 which is insane considering the huge bag I walked out with! I felt like I robbed a store but nope, just an insane sample sale that I highly encourage others to take advantage of. I'll be sharing my honest opinions of the Goodal products as I work my way through them. 

What do you loves think? Leave a comment with your thoughts or, if you were able to make the sample sale, let me know what you got!  

- V

Disclaimer: Big thank you to Claire of DK Cosmetics for sending the details of this event with me in advance. This is not a sponsored post and as always, everything on this blog and my Instagram/Instagram stories are my honest opinion.