Julep Pam & Julep Alysha

I’ve got swatches for two Julep August 2016 colors today, Julep Pam and Julep Alysha! These photos show two coats, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, in outdoor natural light.

Pam is a somewhat frosty, somewhat metallic orange-soda orange with holographic shimmer. The frosty finish shows brushstrokes a bit, but it’s better with topcoat. The holo effect isn’t especially strong in this one, but it gives the polish a cute carbonated appearance.🙂

Alysha is a deep berry-purple shimmer with occasional maroon undertones and linear holographic shimmer. I didn’t really photograph it well, but the rainbows are pretty vibrant.

Both Pam and Alysha have good formulas that are nearly opaque in one coat and even out well in two coats. They both dried on the fast side of average for me. No problems to report on either polish.

Julep August 2016 (Endless Summer) Maven Box

My August 2016 Julep Maven customized box arrived a bit early this month (yesterday) because Julep apparently hit a bit of a snag with the production of their No Excuses Invisible Sunscreen Gel and had to give us a rain check on that. Last I spoke to their customer service, there was no ETA on the sunscreen yet, so to make up for it, they gave us free expedited shipping for everything else in our boxes. I’m totally cool with that.

The box:

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Hot-pink tissue paper, blurple paper crinkles, and:

  • A quote card with a product photo and the Endless Summer theme text on one side and this month’s quote from American poet and Blue Mountain Arts co-founder Susan Polis Schutz on the other: “Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair…”
  • 20% off coupon for Julep at Ulta Beauty – an actual physical store coupon this time, to celebrate Julep’s launch at Ulta. No promo code this month, folks, sorry!
  • Julep Fan Brush, an all-synthetic soft fan brush for my arsenal,
  • Eliza, “[i]nfinite ocean holographic,”
  • Pam, “[t]igerlily holographic,”
  • Ellis, “[p]ink dawn linear liquid holographic,”
  • Alysha, “[v]ivid pansy holographic,” and
  • Lemonhead lemon candy, this month’s freebie

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Eliza, Ellis, and Alysha were an add-on nail polish trio (Sunshine Sparkle, which totally sounds like a My Little Pony name). Eliza and Alysha are both new colors for this month and have really promising rainbows in the bottle! Pam looks a bit more frosty and subdued than those two, which I wasn’t expecting. Ellis is an older polish from September 2015 and doesn’t have the bright rainbows of Eliza and Alysha but should still be a holo. We shall see!

And because finding dupes in my existing collection is always half the fun, here’s Ellis next to L’Oreal Masked Affair:

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It doesn’t look like Ellis has the linearity of Masked Affair, but it could still be worth doing a face-off!🙂

I’ll do more photos of the fan brush for Part 2. To be continued when No Excuses comes in!

UPDATE 8/21/16: This was originally going to be half of a two-part post, but Julep’s since contacted Mavens who ordered No Excuses and let us know that it’s been delayed indefinitely due to unforeseen circumstances, so they gave us each a $50 code to spend on their website instead. I’m happy enough with that.🙂

Disclosure: This post contains one or more referral links. I don’t expect you to use my referral links unless you want to, of course, and they don’t affect me giving my honest opinion. Referrals go toward products reviewed on this site – thanks!

Zoya Bela & LynBDesigns The London Season

In a moment of ambivalence, I asked Mr. ‘Fiend what color I should paint my nails this week. He said pink, then white-pink when I asked for more specificity. So, I dug out a pale pink I hadn’t tried yet: Zoya Bela, which apparently achieved fame as the nail polish featured in Black Swan (which I haven’t watched yet but have heard is a great film).

This is day two of two coats, plus one coat LynBDesigns The London Season on the ring finger and all topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, photographed in outdoor natural light:

Bela is a semi-sheer cool-toned ballet-pink crelly/jelly polish, designed for use as a French manicure base but soft and pretty on its own. It’s still pretty sheer at two coats, as shown here, and could probably be mostly opaque in three. I kind of like it semi-sheer, though. The formula is pretty good, though it’s got a tendency to streak a bit, even at two coats, so it takes a bit of care to apply evenly. Glossy top coat helps, though! Dry time seemed average.

The London Season is from LynBDesigns’ Downton Abbey-inspired Meet Me at the Abbey collection and is a really fun glitter topper loaded pretty densely with transparent tiny hex glitter in red, green, blue, pink, yellow, and purple, as well as a pinch of transparent iridescent squares and microglitter. I can’t help but think of confetti and birthday cake when I see this glitter. The formula’s a bit goopy, but it’s easy enough to dab on and spread out the glitter where you want it. Dries fast.

I’m pretty happy with both polishes. The sheer/nude Bela is a nice palate cleanser between bright colors (I’m going to try one of this month’s Julep holo polishes in the next swatch, probably), and it’s nice that I’ve got someone that picks colors for me that I normally skip over when I pick out polish by myself! :]

Julep Tomi

I finally got around to polishing my nails for the first time in over two weeks! This week’s polish swatch: Julep Tomi, the Wonder Maven color from this month’s box. Here’s two coats, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, in natural outdoor light (bright sunlight):

Tomi is a yummy blue-raspberry-Icee turquoise crelly with fine holographic shimmer. I already liked the color when I saw it in Julep’s preview and in the bottle, but once I put it on – BAM! – I was flooded with nostalgic flashbacks to my childhood, of wandering the mall with my parents and that delicious, unnaturally blue slushie in my little hands. I can virtually taste it. That holo sparkle (just there enough to cast a noticeable but not-too-in-your-face twinkle throughout) helps bring on the fond Icee memories, too. Love.❤

The formula wasn’t bad. It’s easy to apply and reasonably opaque in two coats – just slightly transparent enough to give off that squishy jelly vibe and lend the shimmer some depth. I wish it dried a bit faster, though. I’d say dry time was a bit longer than average for me, but it’s not interminable like some other polishes I own. Quick-dry top coat helps a ton on the second coat!

…Seriously, it’s been almost two decades since I’ve had one, and I kind of want one of those blue Icees now.

Summer 2016 Pusheen Box unboxing!

Look what arrived on my doorstep this morning! It’s the Summer 2016 Pusheen Box!

I didn’t see any sneak peeks in my e-mail or on the website this time, so the contents were a complete mystery. The box arrived shrink-wrapped in plastic (which I still think is a nice touch) like the Spring 2016 box and was noticeably larger than the last box but also felt lighter. I was intrigued.

The items were cushioned nicely with wadded tissue paper, and everything arrived in good condition.

Like last time, the box came with a glossy card explaining the eight summer-themed items:

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(1) The Mermaid Pusheen vinyl figure (Pusheen Box exclusive) is roughly 5″ long and about the same quality as Baker Pusheen from the Spring box. The print on her face, stripes, and scales is crisp and clear, but the rest of the print job is a bit sloppy, with some bleeding and smudges. Mine has a small bald patch on the star headpiece. Overall, though, it’s decent.

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(2) The Mermaid Pusheen travel cup is a clear plastic, BPA-free, double-walled 16-oz. travel cup for cold liquids. (Hand wash, not microwave safe.) It has a transparent green screw-on plastic lid and transparent pink plastic straw with a stopper to keep it from sliding out completely. The Mermaid Pusheen design is crisply printed on a clear plastic insert sealed inside the airspace between the cup walls.

The insert is just a sheet wrapped around the cup and isn’t seamless like, say, some Tervis travel tumbler designs I’ve seen, but that’s okay by me. Tervis is overall higher quality, though.

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Again, this cup isn’t the highest quality plastic travel cup I’ve seen, but it’s really not bad and very cute. It’s probably my favorite thing in this box, and I know ‘Fiend Jr. will love it! If I don’t end up taking this to the office as my cold beverage cup, it’ll probably become a travel milk cup for her.

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(3) The Pusheen the cat ice cube tray (Pusheen Box Exclusive) is a six-well ice cube tray made of what feels like probably silicone (it’s soft and flexible), but the material isn’t specified on the packaging. Each well looks like it holds about an ounce. I’m thinking these would also make great molds for candy, frozen treats, soaps, or crayons!

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(4) The Pusheen Heat Sealed Embroidery Patch can be heat transferred or sewn on, and it looks to be pretty good quality. Mine has a minor embroidery error about one third up from Pusheen’s feet, but it’s not that noticeable. It’s not as thick as some patches I own, but that could be a good thing. Saving this for ‘Fiend Jr.!

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(4) These pale lilac Dance Party Pusheen sunglasses are super cute, with their chrome accents and colorful boomboxes, sunglasses-clad Pusheens, cassette tapes, and musical notes. The label says they have CE UV400 (100% UV) protection. Probably my second favorite thing in this box, only losing to the travel cup because I usually wear glasses and can’t rock these except when I use contacts.😛

(5) I didn’t take a close-up of the Pusheen Compressed Beach Towel (Pusheen Box Exclusive) because it’s still in its little compressed pancake form, which ‘Fiend Jr. has in an iron grip.🙂 When washed, it should expand into a 27.5″ x 55″ purple towel printed with a winking, lounging Pusheen. 100% cotton.

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(6) The Pusheen weekend bag (Pusheen Box Exclusive) is a 100% polyester simple, lightweight duffle bag, about 18″ long. It’s made of fairly thin material and has no pockets other than the main zippered compartment, but the webbed handle seems reasonably sturdy, and it’s got a fun, 80s-esque Pusheen print. This will be great for transporting ‘Fiend Jr.’s toys to Grandma’s house! (Machine wash cold, gentle cycle, hang to dry, do not iron or bleach.)

(7) The Pusheen beach ball is petite (about 10″ diameter) and has ears and paws that inflate. So cute! ‘Fiend Jr. is scared of it, though.

(8) The Pusheen flip flops are your typical foam-sole flip flops with cute Dance Party Pusheen print. The quality isn’t especially great, though. They have a bit of a chalky feel, the print had already come off part of the left heel, and the straps are a bit loose in proportion to the sole. Usable but cheap.

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‘Fiend Jr. and I enjoyed this box overall, especially its beachy, 80s theme (mermaids were all over the place after Disney’s The Little Mermaid came out in 1989!). All of the items are cute, though everything is made in China, and the quality of the items is cheap to middling, rather than excellent (like, say, San-X or Sanrio character goods).

I estimated the retail value of the contents at maybe around $74 ($8 for the figurine, $10 for the cup, $8 for the ice cube tray, $10 for the sunglasses, $1 for the patch, $10 for the bag, $2 for the beach ball, $5 for the flip flops, and $10 for the towel, based on prices of similar items), the box is still a reasonable value, if not necessarily up to the $100+ the website says each box is worth.

The Pusheen Box comes out once a season (four boxes a year) and is $43.95 per box (or $39.95 per box if you commit to a full year of four boxes), plus $6 domestic shipping in the US. It promises over $100 of licensed Pusheen goodies, many of them Pusheen Box exclusives, per box. The contents of the boxes are a surprise.

Julep July 2016 (Into the Sea) custom Maven Box (with promo code!)

I received my Julep Maven July 2016 Maven box almost a week ago (last Friday) but I didn’t have time to post about it until now.

I’d been thinking of skipping to save money, but I thought I’d give Julep’s new Lip Shade Sheer Lip Butter a try, since my lips need something with SPF that they’re not allergic to, and I’d yet to find the magic lip balm that fits that bill.

On to the box!

 

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Neon yellow tissue paper and turquoise paper crinkles: nice, bright summer colors. And:

  • Intro/quote card – “I must be a mermaid… I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.” – Anais Nin, Cuban American poet.
  • Promo code – use JULY30 for 30% off a Julep.com purchase through August 31, 2016.
  • Glow Highlighting Powder ($28 regular, $22.40 Maven) – I think this product currently only comes in one color, since the Julep website doesn’t actually specify a color choice, but mine is labeled as Champagne.
  • Lip Shade Sheer Lip Butter in Macaroon ($22 regular, $17.60 Maven) – Julep’s new product this month, with broad-spectrum SPF 30.
  • Julep Tomi ($14 regular, $11.20 Maven) – “Bermuda blue holographic jelly”
  • Julep Mickey ($14 regular, $11.20 Maven) – “Pink geranium ghost iridescent,” a freebie!
  • Pizzazz Juicy Jelly – This was pretty yummy, actually. It’s a soft jelly made of agar (a kind of algae), which seems more common in Asian candies. These are made in Canada, though. (Mine was cherry-flavored, and TiO2’s was lemon.) A freebie!

Onward!

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The Glow Highlighting Powder case has a simple and clean modern design, matte-black cover, and shiny sides. The hinge opens easily, though not so easily that I’d be afraid of it just swinging open in a bag. I did notice some loose powder inside the cardboard box, though, so I wouldn’t want to just throw this naked into a purse.

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Here it is, opened, though with the protective film still covering the powder well. I don’t typically carry makeup with me since I hardly wear it and don’t bother to touch it up when I do, but the large mirror seems handy for that, so I dig it.

Glow seemed like it could be a fun, subtle addition to barely-there makeup, so I gave it a shot. I swiped some on over the usual highlight areas (cheekbones, bridge of the nose, chin, etc.), and it looked fine over my favorite mostly matte bareMinerals. The sparkly diamond dust added a bit too much shine to some of my tinted sunscreens/BB creams, though. Guess it takes some trial and error not to end up looking sweaty.😉

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Lip products are always such a gamble for me because of how often they irritate my skin, but Lip Shade Sheer Lip Butter in Macaroon is okay so far! Only time will tell if my skin will eventually hate it, but it’s otherwise a nice product. It smells a bit like cotton candy or cookies, goes on smoothly and semi-sheer, and feels moisturizing. (Macaroon turned out to be not the most flattering color for me because it’s not as bright as my natural lip color and makes my lips kind of disappear into my face, but a little lip liner helps with that.)

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And, finally, Tomi and Mickey, this month’s polishes. I’d completely forgotten that Julep promised to throw in a free surprise pink polish for sharing a Julep e-mail coupon earlier in the month. I’ll be trying these out soon and posting up swatches.

Disclosure: This post contains one or more referral links. I don’t expect you to use my referral links unless you want to, of course, and they don’t affect me giving my honest opinion. Referrals go toward products reviewed on this site – thanks!

Julep Amity

Two coats of Julep Amity, plus a coat of Essie Shine of the Times making a cameo appearance on the ring finger, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, in outdoor natural light. Direct sunlight on top and shade on bottom:

Amity, described by Julep as a white-gold metallic signifying friendship, is a sparkly semi-sheer silver-white metallic shimmer, part of Julep’s limited edition Champagne Trio (along with Clio for celebration and Reiko for gratitude) celebrating their Maven program’s second anniversary in 2014. It’d probably build up to opacity with another coat or so, but I was fine with the semi-sheer look. It’s a bit frosty/pearly/brush-stroke-y, but the streaks aren’t that visible except under direct light, as you can see from the top set. The lighting also determines how sheer the polish looks:

Formula is generally good, though it’s hard to get the brush strokes not to show and is probably meant to be semi-sheer. Otherwise, I had no issues with this polish, and it dried on the fast side of average for me. Durability was good. I put these nails on in a rush for a wedding last weekend, and they’re still going strong with hardly a chip five days later.

As I mentioned, I brushed on Essie’s iridescent flakie topper Shine of the Times on the ring finger in an attempt to match my opal jewelry, but it’s hardly noticeable. You can see it if you look really carefully at these photos, but it’s basically invisible. Ah, well. I’ll put it to better use next time!