My Nordstrom Package + Online Shopping Tips!

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nordies It always makes my day when my online purchases are delivered to my doorstep. A few days back, my much-awaited Nordstrom Anniversary buys have finally arrived! It was supposed to be shipped earlier but Nordstrom separated one item from the delivery so instead of one package, it was split into two. It took a few days longer to ship here to the Philippines because I had to wait for the other package to arrive but pretty harmless overall. Check out the jump to see the items as well as some tips on online shopping (especially for Philippine-based beauty addicts!) that I’ve rounded up after the xx times I’ve ordered online both locally and internationally! n5Nordstrom is very generous with samples! They gave me three total samples which I chose from around 9-10 options when checking out. Right now, I’m getting quite into perfumes so I picked two sample perfume vials, L’Eau by Narciso Rodriguez and Spicebomb by Viktor & Rolf. I also chose a Sunday Riley product, Good Genes which is a brightening serum.  n4 And on to my actual purchases —NARS Voulez Vous palette (a Nordstrom exclusive palette which will not be released and available anywhere except in, YSL Gris Underground nail polish (newly released and part of the Fall 2013 City Drive collection) and Chanel Graphite (limited edition released last Fall 2011 and re-released for a limited time at I’m currently playing with the palette and already wearing YSL Gris Underground. Individual reviews on each of these will be up this weekend, hopefully! Do check back if you’re interested to find out about these. For now, I’ll talk about online shopping which I most of the time prefer than in-store shopping for a. the savings and b. the availability of other products and brands.

PRICES NARS Voulez Vous palette – $59 (Php4250 in Rustans! Which is around $98!) Chanel Graphite – $27 (limited-edition and hard-to-find) YSL Gris Underground $25 (not available here in the Philippines)



I used to buy from my trusted Multiply sellers but sadly, Multiply had to shut down. They now have their individual standalone websites or sell in Instagram (which is the trend now!). Some of my trusted and go-to sellers are the ff:

Carefreeshopper – where I hoarded my MAC lipsticks from Beloved 7 – my super trusted Chanel seller Digital Traincase – bought some French skincare products here Make Up Pro – Tom Ford, Chanel, etc! I also go to their two shops in Makati & QC.


This is something I dove into earlier this year because I realized that mark-up on makeup products in online stores is still quite high compared to purchasing it directly abroad (via their online store). The problem I faced with this though were: if they ship to the Philippines and if they do, the shipping charges, taxes, etc. I’d have to pay.

I first tried Strawberrynet, which had FREE SHIPPING WORLDWIDE and a variety of brands to choose from. My main gripes about Strawberrynet— they make use of local post which here in the Philippines means you’d have to go to the Pasay Post Office to pick your package up. But first, you’d have to wait for the notice card which they send out extra late for some reason. I went there one time and saw a pile of notice cards just stacked in their drawer! So if you have a package and it’s already been two weeks, I suggest just go to the post office cos it’s already there.

CRAZY CUSTOMS FEE!! To add to that, the local customs seem to just suddenly tax you whenever they feel like it. I’ve picked up about 4 packages that they didn’t tax and the 5th time I was there to pick up another, I’m suddenly faced with a Php1,600 tax! The price of the package wasn’t any higher than my previous purchases so I was quite dumbfounded to be faced with such an exorbitant amount. I paid, left and hadn’t purchased anything that ships through local post anymore.

GCASH-AmEX Virtual Pay

by Globe Telecom

Thankfully, I rediscovered this service recently after having tried it last year when it first launched. I wrote about it extensively from signing up to placing an order in virtually any e-tailers that accept American Express online HERE

packI’ll pick up where I left off from when I placed my order and waited for it to be shipped to my U.S. address. So, around 4 days after placing my order, I’ve been notified through email that I have a package that arrived in my My-Shopping Box suite.

Logging in to my account to authorize the shipment, I noticed that one item was missing. I checked my Nordstrom order and saw that Nordstrom separated the delivery of the YSL Gris Underground nail polish from the rest of the items. I was not able to ask the reason for this but I suspect that maybe the branch where the other items were coming from ran out of the YSL nail polish. 

Instead of having the first package shipped right away, I decided to just wait for the YSL polish to arrive and have them be shipped together (although the shipping fee would be separate as this is MSB policy so tip: leave a note in your online purchases to have all items be shipped all together in one box).


After authorizing shipment, paying for the shipping fee of $11.92 or Php513 for the first package and $5.99 or Php258 for the second package, I just sat and waited for my package to arrive at my doorstep. No picking up at the local post, no exorbitant taxes by local customs — just untouched, unopened packages sealed and packed properly to avoid any damages.

After authorizing shipment, the package arrived exactly after 9 days. Not bad at all. This GCASH-Amex Virtual Pay service certainly opened a big big window of opportunities for an online beauty shopper like me. Especially since so many brands available at Sephora, Nordstrom and SAKS aren’t available locally.

May I add — ALL THIS WITHOUT EVEN THE NEED OF A CREDIT CARD! Yup, you just put cash in your GCASH wallet and that will be the source of funds for the GCASH-Amex Virtual Pay transactions.

Interested? Check out the GCASH-AMEX Virtual Pay site to sign up!

I’m already looking into my next purchases as it’s even cheaper to ship an entire haul compared to buying individually. How about you— are you an online shopper? Any experiences / tips you want to share? Please do share them below.

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  1. August 22, 2013 / 10:53 pm

    I would love to try the GCASH Virtual Pay in the future because not paying customs is a big PLUS!

    • August 23, 2013 / 3:05 am

      Yes indeed. One of the main reasons I was more enticed to shop internationally!

  2. August 22, 2013 / 11:22 pm

    I also noticed the sudden custom tax hike! I always pay super cheap before but just recently in had to pay Php 1,500! I’m assuming its because the BoC was below target and they have a new commissioner. Oh well. I always use Gcash x AMEX and though it was a hassle on the first 3 attempts, it was smooth sailing afterwards 🙂 Love the purchases!!!

    • August 23, 2013 / 3:08 am

      Hahaha good point – kakainis naman sumakto pa yung pagpalit ng commissioner sa orders ko! Pero grabe, ang taas ng tax! Even those marked as gifts with no price stated, they taxed heavily 😐

      And curious lang, why hassle the first 3 attempts? What happened? 🙂

  3. August 22, 2013 / 11:54 pm

    I’m a big online shopper myself. But I have this “suki” who I usually go to for my beauty needs. You can browse through the Sephora website for whatever makeup you want or need and ask for her price (but that would be plus her profit already, of course) and if you want to buy it, she’ll add it on her website and you can order through there. Everything’s for preorder though so you’d have to wait for 2-3 weeks for it to arrive and to be shipped to you. Her shipping is for just Php90 nationwide so it’s not that bad. You can check out her site here: if you’re interested 🙂 And thanks for this post. I didn’t know that you can have packages shipped here without going through our local Customs. I hate how corrupt they are, so nah. Lol

    • August 23, 2013 / 3:10 am

      Thanks for sharing, Victoria! I already checked her store out and she does sell items I’m interested in – and at reasonable prices!!

      And yes, sana the taxes we pay are justified noh? Eh looking at the post office pa lang, alam mong walang napuntahan yung taxes eh! 🙁 Sad.

      • August 23, 2013 / 5:12 am

        Patay na ang mga apo ko sa tuhod, hindi pa rin justified ang taxes natin. Kaloka lang. Haha. Oh well, that’s Philippines for us 🙁

        Yes! Super reasonable prices. That’s why I fell in love with her online shop in the first place. Mababa lang siya magpatong. Unlike other sellers. Halos doblehin na yung actual price. Plus the seller’s really nice and friendly (prinomote ko na talaga siya ng bongga di ba hahaha!). Anyway, can’t wait for your post about the products you bought! 🙂

  4. August 23, 2013 / 12:45 am

    9 days? 9 DAYS?! I had to wait for around 45 days for my shipping from Korea no less, which is c’mon, so much closer to the PH than the US. Dannnngg. That’s some service. 🙂

    • August 23, 2013 / 3:12 am

      I was quite surprised too! I expected that it would arrive siguro two weeks earliest but it was delivered in 9 days! Galeng 🙂

      Shucks 45 days!? Bat ang tagal?! Parang sea shipping from the US na yon ah!

  5. August 23, 2013 / 1:12 am

    BPI has an online shopping credit card with extra layers of cyber protection for all those frozen by internet paranoia!

    • August 23, 2013 / 3:17 am

      Ooh thanks for the heads up! Is their service tied up with a shipping company though? I like Globe’s cos they have this tie-up with a freight forwarder so I can ship the product w/in the US lang and then the shipping company delivers it here for a cheaper fee (than when shipped by the e-tailer) 🙂 Thanks for this tip, tellie! I’ll look into it.

  6. August 23, 2013 / 2:52 am

    My trick for going through regular mail is keeping my package cost under $50, incl. shipping. I send ASOS on through here! Try buying from next time. I got a shitload of samples but I only bought a lipstick case from Paul & Joe. LOL as in yun lang tapos puro sample laman. Can’t wait to read about your buys!

    • August 23, 2013 / 3:24 am

      I see! But then I had packages before that exceeded $50 that they didn’t tax naman. 🙁 It’s so shady lang na ang labo nila mag-tax. Even my sister’s packages, parang bara bara lang yung pag-tax nila and ang taas pa.

      Anyway super thanks for the tip re: BeautyBay. Why have I not heard of it before! Grabe sa samples — and I thought Nordstrom was generous, haha. Cant wait for your makeup ban to end so I can see your ULTIMATE MAKEUP HAULS again! 🙂

  7. August 23, 2013 / 2:56 am

    9 days? Wow. Gotta love that. 🙂

  8. LoveT.
    August 23, 2013 / 3:13 am

    Great Haul!


  9. Janice
    August 24, 2013 / 12:08 am

    Don’t forget to add the US tax, approx 10% when computing the mark-up price 🙂 But that gcash-amex is just wow! no US credit card needed and ** customs! would love to try this 🙂

    • August 26, 2013 / 9:09 pm

      Yes, I do take that into account dear 🙂 Even the shipping costs they incur 🙂 I still find that ordering online myself is cheaper than most online stores I found.

  10. August 25, 2013 / 9:57 am

    thanks for sharing links on your fave local online shops shari. i bookmarked them 😀 im excited to purchase from the Chanel sulit vendor. their prices are definitely lower than Rustan’s.

    • August 26, 2013 / 9:22 pm

      Hi Shayne! No problem – love sharing my finds to other beauty junkies! Marie is super nice and I love transacting with her. 🙂

  11. August 26, 2013 / 6:54 pm

    Thanks for sharing this super awesome way of shopping online ^_~ I’ve been sent with a few package that are clearly TAG as “gift” and has an OR that state it is only worth $30…but guess what, the customs compute it using a super duper long formula that I really don’t know where they came up and end up charging me PHP1596!! The heck~mas mahal pa sa package ko!! I hate corrupt customs! ok lang sana if we pay taxes to have their process upgrade or speed up, pero, HINDI! we pay so much taxes, yet 2-3 hours before you could actually claim the package and have it open and compute it MANUALLY! biro mu parang grade school na computation mano mano, they don’t even use a formatted excel just to speed up the process~ sorry for ranting on your comment, pero I feel for you talga! Thanks so much for sharing this! finally I can shop without having to wait for the notice card,commute all the way to Pasay, wait 2-3 hours to be called and pay $$$$ for stupid taxes…lolz~rant talga eh..hehe..=)

    • August 26, 2013 / 9:35 pm

      Hehe, no problem janet! Ano ka ba, thanks for sharing noh. At least we’re aware that there are also others being treated this way by our local customs.

      I feel for you, dear. Their computation is mano-mano tapos hindi pa consistent. The place is also hard to go to and the waiting time is crazy (although I go at non-peak times so walang tao and I pay and leave in less than 10mins!).

      Try shopping with this GCASH-Amex thing next time and tell me your experience. All the hassle is completely eradicated from the shopping process!! Parang endorser eh. Pero i really recommend it.

  12. September 4, 2013 / 7:07 pm

    Nice Nordstrom Haul sis!! for me, I dream of going on a sephora store lol hopefully soon 🙂

    P.S Overpricing of products in Philippines doesn’t surprise me, especially with cosmetics. I bought MAC products from their website and there is a PRICE DIFFERENCE.

    • September 5, 2013 / 10:33 pm

      I agree. It’s the tax ++++ markup so super taga 🙁 I really dont buy MAC products in the malls here anymore. Grabe sa markup!

  13. Mika Avila
    October 22, 2013 / 7:34 pm

    This looks so useful! I’d like to try it but I’m still a student. Even if you’re not a credit card user, does the Gcash Amex act like a credit card? Or like an ATM where you can put cash in first before shopping?

    • October 22, 2013 / 11:44 pm

      Hi Mika! The GCASH-Amex card acts more like an ATM where you have to put money 🙂 Even students can get one, just sign up for a card at the Globe website I posted above or you can click here: to sign up! Best way I’ve found to shop online, abroad or here.

  14. Andrea
    June 25, 2014 / 3:20 pm

    Hello! I would to ask about claiming a parcel sent under free shipping. I really a frustrated right now since I was expecting my package to be delivered at the date given by ASOS shopping. I already asked them about sending me details about the tracking number and other details, but they told me that I they couldn’t provide me such for it has already been delivered to the postal office here in PH. And all tracking numbers can only be generated by them. But I have contacted EMS delivery of philpost but they told me I can only be assisted with a tracking number. But I dont have it. I havent received any notice. What should I do? I hope you answer. Thank you!

  15. January 5, 2018 / 3:03 am

    Hey there! This post could not be written any better! Reading through this post
    reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept talking about this.
    I will forward this write-up to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read.
    Thanks for sharing!

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