Face-off: Sephora Formula X Riotous vs. Julep

On my birthday last month, my pet human husband gave me Sephora Formula X Riotous as part of my birthday present, just because he liked the color. When I saw it, I couldn’t help myself. I had to sprint to my stash, immediately dig out my bottle of Julep Nellie (from my October 2014 Julep box), and do a little dance while comparing the bottles side by side. (I don’t know about you, but I have this profound feeling of resonance when I see a polish color that looks just like something else I own…and I think Mr. ‘Fiend has an uncanny tendency to reliably buy me near-spot-on dupes all the time possibly for the same reason.)

Anyway, before we go on: I’m sorry for the super crappy paint job. I kind of slapped this on half in the dark while watching Stranger Things. 😀

Well, they’re pretty close, aren’t they? The formula on these two fuchsia creme/crelly polishes is almost identical, too. Both had slightly watery formulas (not too watery but watery enough that I accidentally flooded a cuticle when I wasn’t paying attention) but excellent coverage in two coats.

Riotous dried faster than Nellie, though, so it gets the edge for that! Other than that, though, I really can’t say there’s much difference between the two. Durability was about the same. They lasted on the longer side of average for me (maybe four or five days). I honestly couldn’t tell them apart on the nail, so you probably don’t need both, even if you’re a polish fiend.

Sephora Formula X colors were originally $10.50 for a 0.4 fl. oz. bottle, but it looks like they’re currently on clearance for $5 each at the time of this writing, and Riotous is no longer available at their website. (I don’t know if this means Sephora’s discontinuing their Formula X line, but if so, that makes me sad!) Julep colors are usually $14 for 0.27 fl. oz. ($11.40 Maven), but they frequently have deals to pick up polishes for cheaper. Both are great!

Illamasqua Viridian & Glitterati

I got these polishes on clearance after the holidays from Sephora some years ago, before they stopped carrying Illamasqua products, and I busted them out again this year because I missed wearing them!

Here’s Illamasqua Viridian, one coat, on all nails, except for two coats Illamasqua Glitterati on the accent nail, all topped with Essie Good to Go top coat. In outdoor natural light on day 2:

Viridian is a lovely metallic evergreen (blue-toned, somewhat dusty green) with fine silver shimmer. The bottle seems to show some blue duochrome/dichroic flash, but it doesn’t really show on the nail. Best thing is it’s got a great formula that’s completely opaque in one coat. So awesome. It’s still one of my favorite greens/teals. (I did a comparison post of several similar polishes earlier, if you’re interested!) Dry time was around average.

Glitterati is jewel-toned berry jelly with various sized holo glitters and some kind of fine iridescent shimmer that flashes blue from some angles. I seriously love this polish, and my crappy photo unfortunately doesn’t do it justice. The depth and coverage is good at two coats, but it’s a bit too uneven at one. No complaints about the formula, which dried pretty fast.

Both of these polishes lasted about four days or so with my typical base and top coats – pretty average for me.

Happy new year!

Winter 2016 Pusheen Box unboxing!

My Winter 2016 Pusheen Box arrived last week!

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This box was gift-wrapped Pusheen and Cozy Pusheen-themed. So cute!

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Another nine adorable Pusheen items, with a description card.

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(1) Pusheen gloves (Pusheen Box Exclusive), the fingerless kind with mitten caps and 100% acrylic, and (2) a fleecy Pusheen-shaped scarf (Pusheen Box Exclusive), 100% polyester, are perfect for cold weather. The gloves are a bit on the small side. I usually wear size M women’s gloves (size 8), and these are pretty tight – as in the area where the thumb connects to the rest of the glove stretches so much that there’s a small visible hole at the junction. If you have larger hands than mine, you might not be comfortable wearing these!

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(3) The Pusheen String Light Set has eight lights and can be used indoor or outdoor at 120V AC 60Hz and requires 2 AA batteries. I haven’t tried these yet because their reliance on batteries kind of limits their usefulness to me. Might try to alter them later to plug in to power.

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(4) The Pusheen gift wrap and gift stickers (Pusheen Box Exclusive) with two sheets of wrap and four gift-tag stickers and (5) the metallic light-blue Pusheen Printed Tape have a present and cake theme that can be used for just about any occasion, not just the winter holidays. The print on these is crisp and very cute!

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(6) The Pusheen Holiday Stamp Set is my favorite item in this box. It includes eight rubber stamps with wood handles and a brown ink pad. Not all of the artwork has the same line thickness, probably because they aren’t of the same scale, and the stamps aren’t all glued very straight on the wood bases, but they’re decent stamps that make clear impressions. The included ink pad works well, too.

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(7) The Pusheen Tea Infuser (Pusheen Box Exclusive) is made of silicone, including the chain, and is dishwasher and food safe.

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(8) The Pusheen Stainless Steel Thermos (Pusheen Box Exclusive) is a dainty little thermos – only about six inches tall! It holds 280mL (a little less than 9.5 fluid ounces) and promises to keep beverages hot or cold for four hours and fit in standard cup holders. The outside of the body has a grippy rubbery texture – silicone? – and the head feels like normal smooth plastic. Hand wash only.

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The cap is a slightly different gray from the body, but it doesn’t really bother me. The print is crisp.

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And, finally, this month’s exclusive vinyl figure, (9) Cozy Pusheen Vinyl Figurine (Pusheen Box Exclusive), with the eponymous chubby kitty dressed in a hat, scarf, and booties. Here, I’ve placed her next to Baker Pusheen from the Spring 2016 Pusheen Box, so you can see them side by side. I think the paint job quality has improved with the last three figures I’ve received, since there’s no more bleeding paint on the newer ones. 🙂

So cute. ❤ #PusheenBox #pusheen #pusheenthecat #cozypusheen

A photo posted by Lacquerfiend (@eternaldecember) on

This box wraps up a year’s worth of Pusheen Boxes (four total, one per season), and I haven’t been disappointed! Definitely a fun and useful box for anyone who loves Pusheen, and if anything, the quality of the items has improved.

Speaking of which, I’d mentioned with my Fall 2016 Pusheen Box that I’d contacted customer service about the defective teacup and saucer that came in my box, and they were nice enough to send out a brand new one to me! It took a little while for the replacement to ship out, likely because it’s imported, but the new one is good, so I’m a happy customer. ❤ Plus, I now unexpectedly have a matching set, even if one has a smudged saucer.

Not sure if I’ll get another post in before Christmas (my nails are, in fact, naked right now – I’ve hardly even had time to pick up presents for family this year!) and not sure when I’ll get a chance to post next, so just in case, happy winter holidays and New Year!

Julep Mercedes & Julep Bree

Quick swatches of my last two months’ nail polish picks from my monthly Julep Maven boxes: Julep Mercedes and Julep Bree.

Two coats each, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, in outdoor natural light:

Mercedes from November, described by Julep as a “canyon rose metallic,” is what looks to me like a cocoa-brown base with rose-gold shimmer. Beautiful and not like anything else I had in my stash. Very autumn-y.

Bree from this month is a sort of pearlescent champagne-gold base with fine silver flakie-type glitters. It reminds me a bit of Julep Love and those Maybelline Color Show Brocade polishes from a few years ago, but with different glitter. Could be a good New Year’s polish!

Both polishes have great formulas and are fully opaque in two coats, though the coverage is pretty good even in one coat. Dry time seemed slightly faster than average, and durability was great. These nails lasted me over a week (!), though part of that could be some slight residue from the gel manicure they replaced.

Julep December 2016 (This Way to the Soiree) Custom Maven Box (with promo code!)

Has it been a month already? Life’s been so busy that I can hardly keep track!

Anyway, time for another quickie unboxing post! Here’s my customized Julep December 2016 Maven box!

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Teal paper crinkles, wine-colored tissue paper (though it doesn’t look it from the photo), and:

  • Lock Down Your Brows Iconic Brow Gel ($22; website doesn’t list a Maven price, for some reason), “Clear-setting gel infused with brow-boosting peptides and nourishing Power Cell Complex™ that shapes and tames brows with a flexible, natural-looking hold,”
  • Bree ($14 regular, $11.20 Maven), described as a “Golden Gardenia Multidimensional Glitter” (whoa, uh, I somehow got two, even though I actually only ordered one!),  and
  • Light on Your Lips Full-Coverage Creme Lipstick in Shimmy ($22; again, no Maven price listed) a sort of rusty, orangey red.

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I’m still riding out those gel nails, so I haven’t painted my nails in a long time, but maybe I can try out Bree with last month’s Mercedes next. I had a hard time choosing out of Bree, Ginny, and Kristjana when I first saw the December 2016 reveal, and I’m still not sure I picked the right one of the three! Bree reminds me of those Maybelline Color Show Brocade polishes from 2013.

Other than the polishes, my choices this month are maybe a bit weird for me. My sister likes the brow gel, so I decided to give it a go, but my wiry brow hairs are adamant about sticking the way they want to stick, and the gel honestly didn’t seem to make any difference, even with extra coats. I like the brush, though. It’s spiraled like a shorter mascara brush, or a bottle brush, and is firm without being too scratchy. The gel itself hardly feels like anything.

Finally, I’m not typically one to wear lipstick because of skin sensitivity issues, but that just means that when I need to wear some, I can’t seem find any I can or would like to wear. I’ve, therefore, made a point of nabbing a lipstick here and there (when economically prudent ;P) to try out so I can figure out what works. I didn’t have an orangey one like Shimmy yet, so I’m going to give it a try!

Also in this box:

  • Monthly collection intro & quote card: info on the new It’s Whipped Matte Lip Mousse colors (which I didn’t pick up) and a quote from socialite and fashion designer Lilly Pulitzer, “That’s what life is about: Let’s have a party. Let’s have it tonight.”
  • Gilliam Green Apple Old Fashioned Candy Stick, this month’s freebie (yum), and
  • Promo code card: free polish with $10+ purchase at Julep.com (use FREEDECEMBER, expires 1/31/17).

Oh, also, I love the Julep bird-and-stars print compact mirror I picked up during Black Friday. It’s really cute and happened to be free with a $30 purchase:

The chameleon eyeliner trio is pretty good, too. In that subtle Julep way, the liners look black but have a hidden shimmer (silver, gold, or violet are the shimmer colors in the trio) that’s visible (when the light hits just right) but not too flashy for work. 😀

That’s it for now!

Julep November 2016 (Light & Shadow) Custom Maven Box (with promo code!)

Quick unboxing post for my customized Julep November 2016 Maven box!

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Brown paper crinkles, pearly white tissue paper, and my selections for this month, all new products introduced for November:

  • Eyeshadow 101 in Burgundy Shimmer ($18 regular, $14.40 Maven), a lovely warm berry/wine shimmer,
  • Eyeshadow 101 in Evergreen Shimmer ($18 regular, $14.40 Maven), a cool-leaning deep green shimmer, and
  • Mercedes nail polish ($14 regular, $11.20 Maven) which Julep describes as “Canyon Rose Metallic” but looks more like a cocoa with gold shimmer to me.

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I haven’t tried the eyeshadows yet, but I liked the previous one I got in Orchid Shimmer, and I liked the product photos of these colors. I’ll probably post an update when I have a chance to give them a go.

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I thought Mercedes would be rosier from the product shots, but I love how reminiscent the actual polish is of cinnamon and other autumn spices. Definitely wearing this one once my current gel manicure gives out!

Also included in this box:

  • Collection intro card with this month’s quote: “Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.” – Emily Bronte
  • Freebie of the month, a gold foil-wrapped milk-chocolate marble, and
  • Promo code card (free polish with a $10+ purchase at Julep.com, use FREENOVEMBER) with candy ingredient list on the back.

Looking forward to trying these colors out!

Fall 2016 Pusheen Box unboxing!

A bit late on this one; I actually received this box well in advance of Halloween, so it was pretty timely, even if this post is not. 🙂

This quarter’s box was Bat Pusheen-themed!

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More views of the box:

Catching up a bit on the blog. Fall 2016 #PusheenBox #BatPusheen-themed packaging. So cute. ❤ #pusheen #pusheenthecat

A photo posted by Lacquerfiend (@eternaldecember) on

The innards were well packed, too:

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The description card for this box is a thinner, semi-matte finish instead of the heavy glossy cardstock of past cards, but that’s okay with me. There were nine items total:

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(1) The Bat Pusheen vinyl figure is a Pusheen Box exclusive and is pretty good quality, like the figures from the two past boxes I received.

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The print on this one is crisp and better than the print on Baker Pusheen and Mermaid Pusheen. No leaky bits or smudges on this one. I was hoping they used glow-in-the-dark plastic, but no. (Nuts!)

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The only issue I had with it is that the bottom’s a bit too rounded, so the figure doesn’t stand easily without sometimes significant fiddling. Overall a good quality figure, though, and ‘Fiend Jr., of course, loves her!

(2) The Pusheen The Cat Pumpkin Scented Air Freshener (1 pc) is another Pusheen Box exclusive and looks like a typical die-cut paperboard car air freshener with a hanging loop, featuring Pusheen popping out of a Jack-o’-lantern. It smells like artificial pumpkin pie scent and is pretty heavily scented, so everything in the box smelled like it. As of the time of this writing, it’s still going strong, and it’s been over two weeks since I received the box.

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(3) & (4) The Pusheen pen and Pusheen holographic notebook (Pusheen Box exclusive) are pretty adorable. The pen is retractable but doesn’t look refillable, sadly. The little rubbery plastic or silicone charm can be removed and used elsewhere, though. The notebook pages are mediocre ruled paper but should do the job if you’re not using an inky pen. No idea if the paper is acid free or anything like that. The print on the cover is a teensy bit blurry, but you’ll only notice if you look at it up close.

(5) The Pusheen Sticky Notes are another Pusheen Box exclusive. It doesn’t say how many sheets you get, but the pad is about 1.5 cm thick.

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(6) The three Pusheen Silicone Coasters (Pusheen Box exclusive) are a bit smaller than a typical coaster (mostly because of their irregular shapes) and may not be wide enough except for narrower-based cups and glasses, but man, are they cute. They’re embossed at the lines and have a bit of a raised edge for catching condensation. These were ‘Fiend Jr.’s favorite! She likes to play with them at mealtime, and they’re really easy to clean.

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FYI, the front of the purple coaster had some print transfer from the back one of the other coasters it’d been resting against, but it wasn’t too bad. It does make me a bit concerned about print transfer onto other surfaces, though.

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(7) The Pusheen Costume Set (Pusheen Box exclusive) is surprisingly decent quality and includes two ear clips (alligator style) and a clip-on striped tail in fuzzy velour. The size seems to work for both children and adults. 🙂

(8) The Pusheen printed pullover (Pusheen Box exclusive) is a medium-weight 60% cotton and 40% polyester in a heathered gray. The inside surface is looped like terry cloth. It’s probably a unisex cut, so compared to a typical woman’s top in approximately the same size, the shoulders are a bit broad and the sleeves a bit long, and the hip area is proportionately cut slim, which makes the top fit a bit awkwardly on me, but it’d be fine for lazy at-home wear.

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The print is pretty crisp and the new material feels a bit stiff, probably from the print. Hopefully it holds up and softens well in the wash! I would’ve loved this as a super loose, slouchy top, but I guess that wouldn’t be as wearable for guy subscribers. Might be slouchier for a girl with a straighter figure, too. 🙂

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(9) And, finally, my favorite item, the Pusheen Tea Cup & Saucer in an apples and pie theme! SO CUTE. The cup holds 6 oz., and the set is hand wash only and not microwave safe. Sadly, my saucer arrived with a defect, as you can see in the photo (the weird ink smear). I contacted the Pusheen Box customer support, and they said they’d ship me a replacement, which I’m currently waiting on.

All in all, another great box. I loved the Halloween theme!