Julep February 2016 Maven Box + add-ons (with promo codes!)

My Julep Maven February 2016 Maven box arrived this past Monday – yay! I would’ve posted earlier, but it’s hard to fit in time to post on work nights, especially now that I’ve got ‘Fiend Jr. as a second full-time job. :]

Anyway, on to the box! I got the Modern Beauty box this month and tacked on some nail polishes that I wanted to try out.

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White pearlescent tissue paper, cream-colored paper crinkles, loads of nail polishes (which I’ll list out in a moment), Julep Lip Gloss in Captivated (one of the Modern Beauty choices this month), and a smaller box. And, inside the smaller box…

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Charcoal/gold-shimmer tissue paper (maybe my favorite tissue paper from Julep so far) and more cream-colored paper crinkles cradling the rest of the Modern Beauty box items:

  • Julep Gel Eye Glider in Olive,
  • Julep Lip Gloss in Timeless,
  • chocolate heart (this month’s freebie)
  • a quote card doubling as an introduction to this month’s new Eyeshadow 101 colors, and
  • promo code for a free Eyeshadow 101 with a $15+ purchase (use code FEBEYES), expires March 31, 2016.

This month’s quote is from Martha Beck:

“Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but feeling beautiful exists solely in the mind of the beheld.”

I hadn’t heard of Martha Beck before seeing this quote card, but it looks like Dr. Beck is a life coach and author. I find the quote kind of interesting because unlike the other, more lighthearted quotes I’ve seen from Julep, this one sounds like tough love to me: your self-perception is your own responsibility. I’d agree with that message, though I don’t know if that’s how it was meant. Anyway, I guess the quote goes along with Julep’s recent #bravepretty campaign, which might not really resonate with me personally, but hey, I won’t knock a positive message.

Onward to this month’s new nail polishes that I picked up!

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These four are new colors for this month, which I picked up in two add-ons:

  • All Gold EverythingKay (“[w]arm taupe with gold microshimmer”) and Luz (“[s]unset gold metallic”) – plus it was supposed to include a roll of Thin Gold Line Nail Tape for nail art, but this was missing from my box (boo) :(
  • Beet It Duo –  Hayley (“[b]eetroot crème”) and Rosie (“[c]harcoal grey with magenta glitter”)

Luz strikes me as a possible fraternal twin to Essie Leggie Legend, so I may compare those two in the future. I’ve got my eye on Hayley for Valentine’s, though. It could be because I really love beets (yum). :)

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Next up:

  • Sienna is a classic Julep color (older) and a duplicate for me, but I don’t mind having a backup because I’ve used it quite a few times, and it’s a great polish. Very versatile and matches with everything. This was the freebie for taking 3+ add-ons this month.
  • Hartleigh is a “[h]olographic heart glitter top coat” – new for me, but first released last February as that month’s Valentine’s freebie. Julep gave it out as a freebie this year, too – they sent out an e-mail that gave you the opportunity to opt in if you took this month’s box. (To be honest, I might have skipped this box, but that extra incentive might have given me the little push needed to change my mind. Well played, Julep. Well played.)
  • Hazel (“[w]ild violet and bronze duochrome) – a polish I wanted before and was able to snag for $4.99 as an add-on.

Here’s the new olive eye liner (I need to find a better location to take photos at my new place, but in the meantime, please excuse the bad lighting, etc.):

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Close-ups on the lip glosses:

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Here’s where I discovered something wonky with this month’s Modern Beauty box. The default items in this month’s Modern Beauty box were the Lip Gloss in Timeless, the Eye Glider in Olive, and Eyeshadow 101 in Olive. As usual, Julep offered the option to swap your color if you preferred something else. Most of the options were other shades of Eyeshadow 101, but at least one of the options was the lip gloss in Captivated (another new release this month). I liked the olive eyeshadow and eye liner, so I picked the alternate lip color, since I’ve already got a nude one in my collection. Oddly, against what I expected, instead of swapping out Timeless, though, Captivated ended up replacing the Eyeshadow 101!

I e-mailed Julep customer support about this in case it was a mistake and was told that the Eyeshadow 101 was the swappable item in the Modern Beauty box, never mind that it wasn’t the same product as the option I chose. Weird. I wanted to find the selection-time original text for the Modern Beauty box, just to check if I had a brain fart and didn’t read something that would have tipped me off, but I wasn’t able to find it, since the selection window’s closed now. I’m a bit bummed out, but at least the lip gloss is the higher-value item of the two (regular retail price of $20, versus $18 for the Eyeshadow 101), and it’s not like the gloss won’t be put to good use.

Also, they did refund me for the gold nail tape that was missing from my box, and they offered me a free nail polish for the inconvenience, which was nice of them. All in all, everything’s copacetic.

Did any of you get this month’s box? Any issues with yours?

Happy Valentine’s!

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 Celeste

Finally had a chance to paint my nails again. This is three coats of Julep Celeste from January 2016‘s Julep Maven collection, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat.

Indirect natural light:

Celeste is a charcoal-gray jelly base loaded with various round/hex iridescent glitters. Julep calls it a “[c]osmic gray iridecent glitter” (sic), which describes it pretty well. At two coats, the glitter is less dense and less busy-looking, but the base also applied a bit patchily, so overall, I didn’t think two coats was enough. Maybe with some undies, two coats would be fine, though!

Formula-wise, Celeste is a bit goopy, so it takes a bit of care to apply without making a mess of things. It dries fast, though, and isn’t too bumpy for a glitter. On its own, it dries to a kind of squishy semi-matte finish. I preferred it extra shiny with a glossy top coat.

For comparison, here’s a shot in indoor bright white LED light:

As you can see, for the most part, some of the glitters seem to predominantly lean indigo/purple, and some seem to lean green. It looks kind of like Mardi Gras on the nails. In sunlight, though, I saw more color variation.

These photos were taken on day two of this manicure, and so far, so good, other than the usual tip wear. Great color overall. I’m so glad Julep is making some more interesting polishes these days and that they generally have pretty reliable consistency and durability.

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 Tali

Finally, wrapping up today’s swatch backlog post flurry, here’s Julep Tali from the January 2016 Julep collection, New Year, Fresh Look.

Before I go on, I’ve got to say this polish has some great staying power. This is two coats, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, in indirect natural light, on day 3:

Pretty good durability so far.

Tali is a frosty, almost purplish blue – close to a cornflower blue – that Julep describes as a “[g]lacier breeze linear liquid holographic.” It’s gorgeous. The holo effect isn’t the strongest I’ve seen, but the linear rainbow is definitely noticeable in the right light. In diffuse sunlight, the rainbows aren’t as obvious, but Tali still virtually glows on the nails. Very eye-catching.

Here it is again in indoor artificial light, earlier in the week:

The rainbows show much better in this lighting, even though the artificial light isn’t as color-accurate as sunlight:

Awww, yeah, those rainbows. Like I said, not the strongest linear holo ever, but it’s still a good amount of rainbow. :)

Formula was pretty good for a holo, as in it dries fast but tends to bald if you run the brush over the polish while it’s partially dry. I found it best to work quickly and go from one side of the nail to the other (instead of starting in the middle, then painting the two sides, as I usually do).

I love blue polishes generally, and this one is a good one. Besides, it shares a name with…

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I don’t know how many lacquerheads are also Mass Effect nerds, but my sisters and I make three. We somehow misremembered that the nail polish color was more similar to Tali’s suit colors, but I guess it was just the lighting sometimes; her signature color’s actually usually way more purple than this. Guess Julep didn’t name the color after her, after all!

Anyway, thumbs up on this polish. Excellent overall.

LynBDesigns Start with the Riding Crop

Belated swatch from New Year’s – LynBDesigns Start with the Riding Crop, from her Sherlock-themed Baker Street collection! (We just watched the Sherlock Christmas special about a week ago – still so good. <3 Season 4 can’t come soon enough!)

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

Start with the Riding Crop is a black jelly loaded with silver holo glitters of all kinds – squares, huge hexes, microglitter, diamonds…there’s a lot going on in there! The translucency of the jelly gives it a nice depth effect. So fun.

The formula was easy enough to work with, though the bigger glitters took a little special placement. Nothing overly difficult, though! For the most part, the glitters arranged themselves as well as could be expected for such a chunky mix. :)

Really loved the cosmic sparkly black and all the rainbows in bright light. So awesome.

The only issue I had with this polish was the durability, as it seemed to be a bit brittle after drying and chipped after maybe a day or two of wear. Still, it’s a beautiful lacquer that I look forward to wearing again.

Essie On A Silver Platter

Time to play catch up with my swatch posts. Here’s Essie On A Silver Platter, which I wore over Christmas – a long time ago, I know!

This is two coats, in outdoor natural light, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat (and a bit hastily and sloppily applied, I’m afraid):

On A Silver Platter is a clear base densely packed with silver-gold shimmer and various sized holographic sapphire-blue/indigo glitters. It’s on the sheer side at two coats, as you can see, but it builds up pretty well. The formula is on the watery side, like many Essies, but it’s workable if you know what to expect (and if you’re not in a huge rush like I was). Just gotta be careful not to flood the cuticle (like I did). :)

It’s got a bit of a lacy sheer effect, like Julep Love, Deborah Lippmann Mermaid’s Kiss/Mermaid’s Dream/etc., or Revlon Parfumerie Wintermint. I’m not sure if it’s meant to be a textured polish, as it’s from Essie’s Encrusted Treasures collection from winter 2013. It’s not particularly textured, though, at least not more than you’d expect from a glitter polish. I liked it better topped with a shiny top coat, anyway.

In different outdoor natural light (different time of day):

Ugh, please excuse my horribly dry, winter-ravaged skin. It’s easier to see the rainbows from the holo glitters in these shots, so I threw them in here.

Durability on this polish wasn’t great for me – it chipped after maybe a couple days, at best, using base and top coat. Overall, I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite polish, but I like the idea of the indigo holo glitters mixed in with the gold shimmer. I may need to try this one again with better application technique and see if I can get it to look better. Blue and gold deserves a second chance!

Julep January 2016 Maven Box: New Year, Fresh Look Collection, Modern Beauty box + add-ons (with promo codes!)

My Julep Maven January 2016 Maven box arrived yesterday! I got the Modern Beauty box this time because I wanted to try their new moisturizer, plus I grabbed a few add-ons with some of the polishes I wanted at a reduced price. Such a good deal.

Here’s what came in the mail:

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A smaller box, plus the It’s Balm lip crayon in Nectar Pink from the Modern Beauty box, all my add-on nail polishes, and the freebie for picking up three add-ons, all nestled in cream-colored paper crinkles and wrapped in glittery baby-blue tissue paper. <3

Before I continue on, here’s Nectar Pink, one of the new It’s Balm colors released this month, up close:

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I haven’t tried it on yet, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’m not allergic. I don’t even wear lip stuff very frequently because of skin sensitivities, but the coral color really attracted me. So happy looking. I’d brave that for a special occasion.

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The smaller box had the No Limits Luxe Hydrating Creme (an all-purpose moisturizer, the other half of the Modern Beauty box) and this month’s bonus: a little box of Junior Mints! Yum. I liked that the quote this month is from Dr. Seuss.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”

True, that. And, here’s No Limits, unboxed:

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The sparkly pearlescent box and plastic jar are pleasing to the eye. Under the lid, though, the dispenser for the moisturizer was unusual – at least, I’ve never come across this kind of dispenser before.

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Gotta admit, it took me a few tries to figure it out. “Push to dispense,” unfortunately, was not an adequate instruction. It should have read “pump a few times to prime, then push to dispense.” (If anyone from Julep is reading – maybe you could include the instructions on the side of the jar?) I didn’t pump the button first because I didn’t want to accidentally dispense too much, so when no product came out when I pressed the button, I initially tried pressing again, then pressing harder, then holding the button, then even checking the valve (the smaller circle) to see if there was a seal I hadn’t removed before I tried priming the dispenser. After priming, the product eventually squishes out from under the edges of the valve, so you can scoop it up with a fingertip or something. Weird design, but I guess it works.

Also, maybe I’m a n00b, but hey, I got it working eventually. ;P

The moisturizer itself is nice; I tried it on my face and hands. The creme isn’t greasy or heavy, soaks into the skin quickly, and kept my horribly dry skin feeling nice for many hours. So far, my super sensitive skin hasn’t had any bad reactions to it, either. The smell isn’t my favorite, though. It’s got the same scent as Julep’s Rock Star hand creme, I believe.

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The add-ons I picked up were:

  • Out Of This World trio (three polishes released this month: Tali (“[g]lacier breeze linear liquid holographic”), Shay (“[c]eladon iridescent chrome”), and Celeste (“[c]osmic gray iridecent glitter”)) for $14.99,
  • Viv (“[c]rème de menthe liquid holographic”) from this past holiday’s All Is Bright holographic polish trio, for $4,99, and
  • Tiffany (“[p]ink radish jelly”) from last June’s The Deep End collection, for $4.99.

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Janae, a “[c]ool charcoal crème” was my freebie for getting three or more add-ons.

Last, but not least, the promo codes for this month:

  • JAN10 for $10 off a $20+ purchase (from my box) and
  • JANLIPPY for a free It’s Whipped matte lip mousse ($22 regular retail price, $17.60 Maven) with a $20+ purchase (from my sister’s Boho Glam box)

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!

Lupicia Tea 2016 Happy Bag

Happy new year!

It’s Happy Bag time again! As has become a yearly ritual for me, we went to Lupicia and picked up one of their new year mystery bags, guaranteed to have a value about twice of what you pay. This year, they offered a $30 bag worth about $60 and a $50 bag worth about $100. I would have gotten the $50 bag, but it was all sold out, so I got the $30 one.

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The box says “Variety (black tea, green tea, oolong tea)” and “Leaf” for loose leaf, I’m guessing. The top says “ume (plum) 11″ – I don’t know what it means exactly. Maybe there are variations in the happy bag contents this year? The English label on the bottom says “2016 Happy bag (B).” If you have any insight into this, please let me know!

Here’s what was inside the box:

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Nice little note from Lupicia: “Thank you for purchasing LUPICIA’s happy bag. We will continue to bring the finest teas of the world[,] and we look forward to having you at our store in the coming year of 2016.” Onward to the teas!

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9 bags of loose-leaf tea in total:

The total approximate value was $70.00. I’m so pleased with the teas they included in this box!

While I was at the store, I also picked up the limited edition monkey teas commemorating this zodiac year, Fortune Mallet and Fan Dance. To my great sadness and surprise, the limited edition tin for Fortune Mallet was already sold out! Both the tea bags and tins are already sold out on the website, so I wasn’t even able to link it for you. I’ve never had this happen to me for a Lupicia limited edition tea before, so I was a bit shocked.

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I was able to pick up the limited edition tin for Fan Dance (blend of oolong and spring Darjeeling tea, with real gold flakes!, $15 for the loose leaf in the tin), though, as well as a box of tea bags of Fortune Mallet (green tea flavored with tangerine/mikan and peach, $13.00 for 10 tea bags). The nice storekeeper did say that we’re first on the waiting list in case a couple tins of Fortune Mallet aren’t picked up by the person who reserved them, though. Keeping my fingers crossed that the other customer changes his mind because the tea smells so good. <3

I wonder if Lupicia’s keeping lower stock on special items these days. They’ve never run out of Happy Bags or limited edition teas before I got there in the past! I guess I have to be quicker about these things (like with Essie Starry Starry Night, which continues to elude me, sigh).

I still love Lupicia, though – and even more so because of the free samples with each $30 purchase:

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Matcha Kirara rice tea – so good. Yum!

I’ll be back to nail polish again in the next post, and I’ve got two swatches to post at once because the holidays and moving have me running behind, so feel free to check back later if nail swatches are more your…cup of tea (hurhur). ;D