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!

Throwback Thursday: Sally Hansen Nailgrowth Miracle Precious Pearl

I’ve never done a Throwback Thursday post, but hey, I just happen to be wearing the first nail polish that started this whole nail polish obsession: Sally Hansen Nailgrowth Miracle Precious Pearl. More on that in a bit.

This is in outdoor natural light, two coats, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat:

Precious Pearl is a very sheer, frosty ivory pearl with a strong pink shift. At two coats, it’s still almost transparent, especially from certain angles. The formula’s a bit watery, but it’s not bad to work with, especially in thin coats. It had an average dry time for me. Overall, it’s a decent polish, if you feel like wearing something sheer (which I was, for some reason, probably as a palate cleanser, so to speak).

I think the formula does possibly speed up nail growth a tad (at least when worn without base coat), though I can’t be sure because I haven’t taken down empirical data or anything.😉 I have pretty fast-growing nails as it is, and I itch to trim them every few days, so I’m basing this purely on my qualitative impression that I’ve felt like trimming my nails again even sooner than usual.

Precious Pearl probably isn’t in production anymore; I haven’t seen it in stores in years. Also, if I saw it now, I think I would scan over and pass it up almost immediately, in favor of something loud, like a neon orange or teal holo. A few years ago, though, I owned zero nail polishes and had no interest in nail polish whatsoever.

So what got me started on nail polish? Wrecked nails after a gel manicure (my first manicure ever!), which I got for my wedding. I think my nails got buffed a bit too much before the gel polish was applied, so they felt horribly sensitive after the polish was removed. I ended up going to the drugstore that night and picking this up, hoping the Nailgrowth Miracle part wasn’t just a gimmick and wanting something that looked as close to my natural nails as possible…without being too boring.🙂

And with that, my fate was sealed. I’m still not big on getting salon manicures (well, I’ve only ever had three in my life, two for weddings and one freebie when I got that first gel manicure removed when I didn’t know how to do it myself yet!), but maybe fourth time’s the charm? I usually feel bummed out afterward that my fingers are sore and that I could have painted my own nails just as well and cheaper. Maybe tomorrow’s (again wedding-related) salon visit will be better.❤

Julep Dakota & The Lady Varnishes Pumpkin Head

I did my Halloween nails a bit early this year, since I’ll be at Cuttlewig’s wedding this weekend and will probably be wearing something less garish. ;D

This is 2 coats Julep Dakota (index & pinky) and The Lady Varnishes Pumpkin Head (middle & ring), topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, in outdoor natural light. (The light’s a bit bluish because it was early in the day.)

Julep Dakota is an older Julep polish that I’d had sitting around but hadn’t gotten around to trying until now. It still had its shrink wrap on! Dakota’s a “[r]ose gold metallic chrome,” per Julep. Very coppery, like a new penny, with a kind of frosty finish that shows brushstrokes if you’re not careful. Top coat helps, though. I had no problems with the formula and got full opacity in two easy coats. Dry time seemed average.

The Lady Varnishes Pumpkin Head is a lovely grape-soda purple jelly packed with “brown microglitter, iridescent hexes and a mix of orange, copper and green dots” (from the maker’s description, which seems accurate!). Mine smells like pumpkin pie (you can pick a scent when you order) because I thought it’d be fun – and it really does smell kind of like a pumpkin spice latte or something along those lines! I had to fish around for the bigger glitters and do some dabbing to get them in place, but otherwise, the formula was great. Reasonably opaque in two coats and dries on the faster side. A little bumpy, like you’d expect from a chunky glitter, and it’s got a semi-matte finish if you don’t add top coat.

No complaints about either of these polishes! They were fun to wear, especially Pumpkin Head, and they lasted an average length of time for me without chipping (about 3-4 days).

Nuance Nightshadow | Face-off: Julep Desiree vs. Revlon Holographic Pearls

Here’s a quick comparison of Julep Desiree, a holographic top coat that came as a free gift with this month’s Julep Maven monthly box, and Revlon Holographic Pearls, which I previously tried over a shimmer polish with less dramatic effect. (They’re not all that similar, and I may even own other holo toppers that are more dupe-y, but this is just what I grabbed.)

In outdoor natural light, I’ve got two coats of Nuance Nightshadow (a dark blue creme) on all nails, plus:

  • index: Essie Good to Go top coat (1 coat)
  • middle & pinky: Julep Desiree (1 coat)
  • ring: Revlon Holographic Pearls (1 coat) + Essie Good to Go top coat (1 coat)

First things first: Nuance Nightshadow is great – dries on the fast side and super glossy even without top coat, and the formula is easy to apply. Opaque in two coats. (Nuance is Salma Hayek’s CVS-exclusive brand, and the nail colors I’ve seen aren’t especially adventurous, but the ones I’ve tried have good formulas and durability.)

Julep Desiree is a delicate holo top coat with a clear base. It’s a subtle and beautiful effect, and the formula is easy to apply and provides good coverage (in terms of shimmer density, not opacity, obviously) in one coat. It dries a tad on the slow side, though. A quick-dry top coat could help with that.

Revlon Holographic Pearls is like a gaudy disco ball next to Desiree, but hey, sometimes that’s what you want! Against Nightshadow, it’s clear how glitter-packed HP is in just one coat, and it’s definitely not subtle. HP dries matte on its own, but I added an extra layer of glossy top coat for better rainbows. This one dries pretty fast, and no complaints on application.

Here’s another shot in different lighting, to give you a better idea of the holo rainbow effect:

I had the coffee shakes and was pretty sloppy, sorry!

Anyway, there you have it, in case anyone ever wondered how these two holo toppers look side by side.

Julep September 2016 (Cheers to Five Years!) and October 2016 (Dark and Stormy Nights) custom Maven boxes (+promo codes)!

It’s been a while since I posted a Julep Maven box unboxing, and I’m going to catch up today by posting about this month’s box (which came in last weekend) and last month’s box! Hoping to make this short and sweet:

Julep September 2016 (Cheers to Five Years!) Maven box (customized)

“Celebrate what you’ve accomplished but raise the bar a little higher each time you succeed.” – Mia Hamm

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September was Julep’s fifth anniversary, and they celebrated by releasing some anniversary items, including a Cheers to Five Years! Mini Lip Trio (which I passed on because I don’t really wear lipstick), a nail polish trio with three of September’s new releases, and the Cheers to Five Years! Mini Eyeliner Set ($40 regular, $32 Maven), which I did pick up because I’ve been a fan of Julep’s gel eyeliner pencils so far. I also got an It’s Fun to Exfoliate Charcoal Body Konjac Sponge ($16 regular, $12.80 Maven), which I love because it’s gentle on my easily irritated skin.

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Closeup on the 5-piece mini eyeliner set (from left to right): When Pencil Met Gel in Galaxy Black Shimmer (black with purple glitter), Deep Sea Foam ShimmerGilded Gold ShimmerLilac Shimmer, and Ultraviolet. I wore Galaxy Black and Gilded Gold to a wedding, and they went on smoothly and stayed put all night. (FYI, Gilded Gold is an actual metallic gold, unlike the disappointingly terracotta-y Sunset Gold.) Galaxy Black, with its deep purple glitters, is awesome. Thumbs up.

Promo code: FALLCOLOR for a free polish with a $10+ purchase (expires 10/31/16).

No freebie in my September 2016, not even a piece of candy like we usually get.😦 I asked Julep’s customer service about it and was told this: “This month we were supposed to include a makeup bag for our anniversary. However, the bags arrived flawed and not up to our standards so we were not able to ship them with the September box.” Boo. I read some people got emery boards, but not me.

Anyway, onward!

Julep October 2016 (Dark and Stormy Nights) Maven box (customized)

“We are all of us stars, and we deserve to twinkle” – Marilyn Monroe

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Yep, I picked up the No Excuses Invisible Sunscreen Gel ($28 regular, $22.40 Maven) that didn’t make it into my August 2016 Maven box. It was smaller than I expected, which you can kind of see from comparing it to the nail polish bottle. It’s roughly palm-sized and really skinny at that.

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The gel came out looking a teensy bit gelatinous and chunky-looking, as well as slightly sparkly and pink-tinged, when I first squeezed it from the bottle. (I’ll add photos later if I’m able to capture any decent ones.) It applied smoothly, though, and dried down matte as promised (no evident sparkle). It was lightweight, didn’t irritate my finicky skin, successfully protected me from sunburn, and took to mineral powder foundation well, so I’m pleased with it.

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I also picked up a What Your Skins Needs Restorative Facial Milk ($38 regular, $30.40 Maven). I would’ve picked this up earlier, but it wasn’t available as a Maven box selection for a while. This stuff is amazing. I didn’t think I needed another moisturizer in my rotation, but I tried it last winter when my sister got one in her Maven box, and I changed my mind when a few drops of this stuff fixed the eczema patches on my face faster than my expensive prescription meds. It smells a little funny (kind of like Elmer’s white glue, if we’re being blunt), but man, does it do the job.

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And, I picked up a Get In Line Invisible Lip Liner ($16 regular, $12.80 Maven). This product has mixed reviews on Julep’s site, so I’m don’t know yet if I chose wisely, but I’ve always wanted to try a clear lip liner. All I’ve done so far is remove the cover (carefully, by first twisting the cap until it loosened before trying) to photograph it, but the tip didn’t immediately fall out like it did for many of the people who gave it a 1-star review, so I might be in the clear (no pun intended). I’ll update this blog when I’ve had a chance to give it a whirl.

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Finally, the freebie for October, Desiree, a “high-gloss holographic top coat.”❤ (I’ll be posting up swatches in the next post. EDIT: Swatch here!)😀

Promo code: OCT10 for $10 off a $25+ purchase at Julep.com (expires 11/30/16, two uses per customer).

That’s it for now!