and Shut Down

Noooooooooo!!!! First, it was Sephora (via Amazon) but that was okay because a few years later, a Sephora store actually opened up in Kuwait. Then it was Ulta that no longer accepted my credit card (even though I was ordering to a US mailbox via Aramex). I’m still not okay with that because Ulta had the best deals, gifts with purchase, deluxe samples, and an extensive selection of brands from luxury to drugstore, including the home brand itself called Ulta (y’know like how Boots sells stuff but they also have their own home brand called Boots). Then Cherry Culture closed down (I didn’t even get to use my reward points and after years of shopping there I’m pretty sure I’d accumulated an insane amount) promising to open up two years later (2017). Cherry Culture had so many inexpensive brands like Milani, Nyx, Jordana, LA Girl and so much more. Also, they were very good at keeping up to date with newly released items from those brands. I mean NYX on it’s own was massive, and Cherry Culture literally had everything from NYX on their site. Sadly, now it’s and and I’m absolutely devastated!

If you’ve never shopped at or I’ll break it down for you. They were both different websites with different brands on each site. was exactly what is sounded like. They sold anything and everything drugstore-related whereas focused on higher-end brands and luxury items. You could shop at both sites at once and the items from both sites would be combined in your shopping cart, so you’d only need to check-out once. For example, I could go on add the Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Powder to my shopping cart and then go on to and purchase an EOS lipbalm, some Real Techniques makeup brushes, and a L’Oreal mascara before checking out. It wasn’t just beauty-related products. Both sites sold almost everything you could think of… and now they’re both gone. had all the newest products from Revlon, Covergirl, Maybelline, L’Oreal, Physicians Formula, Neutrogena, Rimmel, Milani, Wet n Wild, NYC, EcoTools, Burts Bees, E.L.F. and so much more. They also had limited edition items from pop-up collections, for example the Covergirl Star Wars Collection (hauled here). Under the personal care tab, there was a section titled lip balms which was regularly updated with new lip balms out on the market. I literally stalked that section, daily. I mean when EOS first came out with their now iconic adorable spherical lipbalms I was dying to get my hands on them and guess where I found them? It’s also where I got those gorgeous smelling Vaseline Lip Therapy tins before they were available here (and even now, we still don’t have the entire collection available for purchase in Kuwait) as well as Vaseline Rosy Lips (which we still don’t have in Kuwait yet either). They had the entire range of products from Chapstick, Carmex, Palmer’s, Burt’s Bees, Bonne Bell, Disney (from which I’d just purchased the cutest little 6-piece lip balm set for my 10 year old niece because it had the characters from Frozen on it). They had all-natural lip balms, vegan lip balms, lip balms from skincare brands like Aquaphor and Eucerin, lip balms from well-known sun protection brands, as well as several random ones like Chicken Poop Lip Balm. It’s also where I got my Blistex lipbalms (reviewed here), and my beloved Nivea A Kiss of Olive Oil & Lemon Lipbalm (reviewed here).

They didn’t just sell make-up and makeup brushes. The majority of my hair tools and hair accessories come from Remember those little Spin Pins by Goody? I was gagging to get my hands on them and I found them at I mean eventually they came to Kuwait (Claire’s lawl) but they were about two years too late, and triple the actual price. Then later on when messy buns became a thing and every brand came out with a bun-maker. I got mine early on from Conair thanks to Faux bob kit, temporary hair tattoos, scrunchies, clips, bobby-pins, headbands, etc… all from Not only did they have a huge selection but they also catered to different types of hair, you could choose from small-sized hair ties for fine hair, medium for average hair, and larger hair ties for girls with thick hair from Scunci. I mean yeah I’ve got crazy hair but when I straighten it, the hair ties used to slip off so these were a God-send. They also had bobby pins and clips in blonde which blew my mind – back when I was a blonde – because it was just so discreet and therefore perfect for my needs. They were also available in light brown for brunettes and the usual black. It isn’t that big of a deal now because you’ve got those options almost everywhere but at the time (about 8-9 years ago) it was kind of a huge deal to me ‘cuz as I’ve stated earlier, my hair is the bane of my existence. They also had so many types of different hair brushes and combs from brands like Bed Head, Revlon, Kardashian Beauty, etc… One brand even had the Twilight characters on it. My favorite discovery was The Marilyn Brush (for intense back-combing which I’m 100% useless at).

Aside from beauty products, hair care, and skin care, they also sold literally everything under the sun. It would be pretty silly to purchase a table or shelving unit or whathaveyou for a certain amount and then pay an insane amount on shipping from the US mailbox to Kuwait (based on weight). However, if you wanted to do that, the option was totally open to you, aside from the shipping restrictions from Aramex (no liquids that exceeded a certain amount, no sprays of any kind, no nail polish, etc…) because they were considered as hazardous materials. You also got 5% back from each order. Basically, you’ll have an entire month to use up your Dollars which is the accumulative of your orders (5% per order) from the past quarter. So if I placed an order at the beginning of December 2015 which cost $50 and then another $50 order towards the end of December 2015, the total would be $100. So 5% of of that is $5 so during the next quarter which would be January 2016, once I’d sign in to the website, I’d get a message telling me the exact amount of Drugstore Dollars I had to spend, and the message would stay there for the entire month. 1 Drugstore Dollar = 1 US Dollar so basically Drugstore Dollars was their rewards program. Best of all, they were always having some sort of sale (excluding newer items) like buy one get one 50% off (BOGO) on certain brands. Also, you got free shipping (to your US address or in my case mailbox, only) once your order reached a certain amount, which meant I only had to pay for the shipping from my US mailbox to Kuwait, which I thought was convenient. I’ve purchased everything from a talking Darth Vader plushie, Vacu Vin Pineapple Slicer, Aquis Towels, High Heel Shoe Scotch-Tape Dispenser, a magic 8-ball, to adult-size Black Feather Wings. We can argue about the practicality of those items later but that was part of the appeal of You could literally find anything and everything there. Where am I supposed to purchase my Rohto Eye Drops from now? had brands like By Terry, Urban Decay, Nars, Stila, Lorac, theBalm, Anna Sui, Japonesque, Jill Stuart, Smashbox, Tarte, Too Faced, GlamGlow, Origins, Laura Geller, Nip + Fab, Skyn Icelandic, Dr Jart, Cargo, bareMinerals, First Aid Beauty, Korres, It Cosmetics, Eyeko, Pop, Pacifica, Eve Lom, Nuxe, Z Palette, Jack Black, Bliss, Claudalie and so much more. I remember dying to get my hands on the True Blood palette from Tarte and after signing up, filling up all my info on Tarte‘s website, and attempting to check-out, they wouldn’t accept my credit card because the shipping address (US mailbox) did not match the credit card address. I was devastated! Aside from Tarte, I had the same issue with so many websites (Sephora, Lancome, Urban Decay, Too Faced, and the list goes on). In comes a trusted website, that accepted my credit card, and had all the latest offerings from these hard-to-come-by (read: not available in-stores in Kuwait) brands. Not only that, but if you purchased just one item (it could even be a $2 sharpener) from you got to pick out 3 free samples out of 9 or 12. They were a one-time use sample (not deluxe-sized) but sometimes they were pretty cool like the GlamGlow Youth Mud or Peter Thomas Roth Rose Stem Cell Gel Mask or Smashbox Primer, etc… and if you accumulated enough of those (re-ordering from and choosing the same samples over and over again) you could use the same samples consecutively and decide on whether to purchase the actual full-sized product, based on how it worked for you, as opposed to deciding just based on a one-time use. The samples would always change after a month or so but sometimes they’d bring them back.

Another perk of shopping at was that once or twice a year, they’d have 20% off sale, site-wide. You could purchase that Mason Pearson Hair Brush that you were eyeing but decided was too much of a splurge or that crazy expensive eye cream. In my case, it was the By Terry Baume De Rose which I felt a lot less guilty about when I purchased it during the 20% sale. I know that for all intents and purposes it is just another lip balm, and a color-less one at that but it’s such a “princess” product, so pink and cute with a delicate rose scent. Not to mention the fact that I was engaged and my marriage was less than a month away. Naturally, I had fantasies of applying the Baume De Rose to my lips – as part of my night-time skincare routine – as a married woman. I’d be wearing a Kimoni over a delicate, possibly lace-y nightie, my hair up in an artfully messy bun, and my future husband would be in bed next to me, topless, wearing black pajama bottoms elongating his already impossibly long legs, possibly silk (do guys even wear silk pjs?) reading something (because we’d be an intellectual couple who favored reading over watching tv). He’d set his book down and comment on the rose scent and because he’d be a well-traveled, mature man his vocabulary would extend beyond the word “nice”. I’d smile at him, pleased that he’d notice and without breaking eye contact, we’d have a short yet intimate conversation (about our day or whatever) and I’d illicit several laughs out of him because he’d find my little anecdotes charming (as opposed to insane). Then we’d become even more intimate (cuddle, spoon, etc…) *Screen Fades to Black* So yeah obviously after all that, I had to get the Baume De Rose, as it was going to be a catalyst for a blissful marriage. For the record, the reality was far, far different. To the extent that I never even took the Baume De Rose out of its original packaging (as it seemed like a waste to use it) until after I got divorced.

Lastly and arguably best of all, every few months they would have a gift with purchase (GWP) that consisted of a beautiful bag filled to the brim with deluxe samples (and sometimes even full size products), provided that your order from exceeded a certain amount, usually $100. It was my favorite deal from as I got to try stuff from all kinds of different brands (stuff that I wouldn’t normally purchase).

I mean… I’d never shell out a crazy-expensive amount on anything (even if it was made out of unicorn tears and whatnot) unless I’d at least tried it out beforehand. Especially since I didn’t have the option of returning it (if it didn’t work for me). Just to clarify, I could totally return stuff if I wanted to and get a refund or purchase something else or whatever but the fact is; shipping something out of Kuwait costs even more than shipping it in to Kuwait (#thirdworldproblems), and that’s why it was never an option for me. Basically, since I had to commit to whatever I’d purchased, I had to be 100% sure beforehand. Like I’ve stated earlier, it’s fine if you are a normal human being and would like to treat yourself from time to time but if you’re a product junkie (like myself) who is constantly purchasing stuff (in-store and online) it kinda’ adds up. So, at this point, I can’t afford to be spending money all willy-nilly and just cross my fingers and hope for the best, ya’ feel? Yeah… you feel.

Anyhow, the “samples” range from skincare (like fancy-shmancy stuff that I’m probably not old enough yet to actually be using regardless of what I’m led to believe by my magazines, blogs that I visit, or beauty gurus that I watch on youtube) to hair care (luxury brands that we do not have in Kuwait, still, and I can’t even purchase the full size online because it has a spray nozzle or contains too much liquid therefore classifying it as hazardous material and therefore not eligible for shipping to Kuwait), as well as beauty products. What I’m trying to say (in a very roundabout way) is that using these deluxe samples is actually fun because this way I get to try out products that I wouldn’t normally get to use otherwise! At one point, I wanted it so bad that I was practically dreaming about the Skindinavia Finishing Spray/ Urban Decay Setting Spray (before Urban Decay was sold in Kuwait) and would have done just about anything to get my hands on either but because they contained liquid that exceeded the amount allowed (Aramex rules) and technically were sprays (another no-no) I could never risk purchasing it (I mean sure I wanted the thing but I also didn’t want to be the cause of a possible plane crash). Imagine my delight when I found a deluxe sample of the stuff all nonchalant, just chilling with the rest of the samples in my newly received gift with purchase bag. So that’s another perk of those gift with purchase bags; they always snuck in stuff I was “literally dying” for, at the time. You might be thinking, “LuLu, Y U so impatient?” because eventually they might be available for purchase in Kuwait but nuh, as I keep reiterating, a lot of those products never made it to Kuwait (and probably never will because… Kuwait).

As for the bags themselves (which are always designer), aside from being aesthetically appealing, they are actually also quite practical. I mean not only is the pink Erin Fetherston Traincase stupid cute but it also doubles as beautiful storage for your jewelry or makeup or whatever else you’d like to store. The colorful Shoshana Bag (it doesn’t look it but it’s actually pretty huge) happens to be waterproof and housed all my liquids when I went to Thailand several years ago and that Lela Rose clutch could totally double as an evening wear accessory. More recently, had come out with a gorgeous Aztec-print Mara Hoffman Bag which I die for (namely for the Aztec-print)! Over the years, I’ve accumulated several of those bags, discovered so many amazing products (thanks to the deluxe samples), and purchased so many fantastic products from so it makes me so sad to say goodbye but

on October 1, 2016 both and closed down for good.

Adieu, and

You have served me well. I will always remember you fondly.

Now, a moment of silence for and

Please feel free to share your fond memories of them in the comments section below.

25 thoughts on “ and Shut Down

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