This is obviously a post that is a couple of days old. I had amassed a lot of samples between Sephora and Birchbox, and I brought a bunch of them with me to Florida. So, I have opinions on those. I have opinions on the Outlet mall experience. Keep in mind, these are merely opinions and not intended to offend if you have a particular affection for, say, Kate Spade or H&M.
Let's start with products. I have been shaving my legs for what seems like a million years. It has been miserable ever since. I struggle to find the gel/razor/lotion combination that doesn't result in at least 15 minutes of pure razor burn. Origins had an amazing product I used before they discontinued it. Lately, I have been doing the Harry's Shave Gel, Razor and C.O. Bigelow Lemon Butter lotion. More often than not, that worked okay. In an attempt to try something different, I ordered a sample pack of SHAVEWORKS Cool Fix shave gel and after-shave lotion from Sephora. Yesterday, I tried it. The shave cream was fine. It created suds so I wondered, "Is this going to wash off?" It was fine. After the shave, I applied the shave lotion. It may be described better as a gel (think Aloe). I was worried that I had used the wrong products because the initial application stung my pores. That lasted all of ten seconds before a very smooth pain-free day. I WILL be purchasing both of these products in their full quantity. I have also been using a sample of SKII Essential Power Essence After a beach day and a shower, nothing felt more awesome on my face than this sample. I will have to win the lottery to buy the large quantity, but it is on my radar. Aside from those products, I have been sampling sunscreen. I burned through Australian Gold's SPF 30 in different places. The SPF 40-50 that I used of Josie Maran, Murad and Supergoop worked just fine! Honest brand worked really well for me last year.
The outlet mall experience served a narrow purpose for me - to buy business casual work clothes. The stores that I would imagine would have the biggest draws (Saks, Kate Spade, BCBG) were the biggest disappointments. Lucas even overheard an employee at Kate Spade admit that Kate Spade designs an entire line solely for the outlets (hence, cheaper material). So, if you are chasing a label, go for it. If you are chasing quality, I might pass. In the grand scheme of shopping on a budget, I'd much rather hit Target than low-grade designer garments. Plus, I've just been out of the preppy stage for a while and most of Kate Spade is super-girly/preppy. Saks was a disaster of epic proportion. The deals are hardly deals and the lack of organizaiton in the store is enough to drive you bananas. When we went to the next shopping center, we heard there was an H&M. Lucas and I gave it whirl. While it had some pretty trendy stuff for guys, the stuff for women was extremely disappointing. I haven't seen such poor quality clothes since The Body Shop. The fabrics were nearly unraveling. The clothes are poorly constructed. I am holding out hope that I just went into a crummy store, but again, I can think 50 other places I'd rather shop on a budget.
Where did I have success? Banana, J.Crew and Gap buying basics - chinos, pencil skirts, and oxfords.
In a nutshell, I recommend outlet shopping with a purpose. I recommend SHAVEWORKS and higher SPF sunscreen (Yes, I still got a tan!). I discourage Kate Spade's low-end line, Destin's H&M and Saks.
Oh, and tuna dip. I always recommend that!