Julep Pepper

Quick swatch post: here’s two coats of Julep Pepper from my Maven box this month, topped with Essie Good to Go top coat, in outdoor natural light.

Pepper is described by Julep as a cornflower blue, which is pretty accurate in person, and it’s loaded with silver shimmer. Interestingly, it’s brighter and greener-leaning in the photo than it looks to me in person. It could be the purple/pink flash, but I find the polish looks more indigo in person – not dark, but definitely a bit of a deeper hue than my photos suggest. The dichroic/duochrome-y flash (which I think shifts from purple to cyan) is fairly subtle and shows a bit more in the bottle than on the nail. It mostly leans purple for me.

This second photo from another angle has more of the purplish blue I typically saw, but in person, it’s a bit cooler-toned than this.

Formula was easy to apply, but it dried infuriatingly slow, like Julep Shay. A fast-dry top coat helped, though I didn’t wait quite long enough, and at least one nail got dinged. Oh, well. Just a heads up in case you hate waiting for polish to dry, like me. Love the color, though.

Durability was okay but below average for me. I don’t know if it’s because I was on and off a plane and changing climates so many times while I had this polish on (since that dries and stresses out my skin and nails like crazy), or whether it’s because I didn’t wait long enough for it to dry when I applied it, but it started chipping significantly off after about two or three days. Not great, but since travel’s bound to beat up nails more than staying home, I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt for now.

Overall, not bad, but I wonder what’s with the long dry times on Julep’s recent polishes. Is it a particular pigment in the polish?

Julep May 2016 (Rainbow Bright) Maven Box, part 2 of 2

The second half of my Julep Maven May 2016 Maven box came in a bit earlier than expected, yay! (Here’s the first half, if you’d like to read about the original unboxing or snag a promo code.)

I normally don’t post a picture of the description card, but this month’s appealed to me with its bright rainbow colors:

julep160511b

I took a couple better pictures of what came in the original box last week:

julep160511c

Pepper is described as a “[c]ornflower multidimentional shimmer.” It’s a medium blurple (blue-purple) with silver shimmer and flashes pink/purple from certain angles.

Your Lip Addiction (in Crave) is Julep’s new tinted lip oil in an orange shade. The oil is pretty sheer (barely there) and nicely moisturizing, and it has a light citrus candy scent that I like, though it’s not the most natural citrus-y smell. The applicator is a very flexible doe foot that works quite well. The packaging on this is also aesthetically pleasing, with its clean and modern rounded square shapes and semi-matte mirrored cap.

julep160511d

And here are the previously missing items that came in yesterday:

julep160511

Summer, “[c]antaloupe sheer iridescent,” also from this month’s Rainbow Bright collection, and the Flower Power Trio add-on, which included two other new colors from this month, Francine (“[s]eaglass iridescent chrome”) and Regina (“[n]ebula pink iridescent chrome”), as well as Paulina (“[p]eacock duochrome”) from October 2015’s New York Never Sleeps collection.

I’ll be swatching some of these colors soon, so feel free to check back later for those.:) I may need to do some comparisons with existing colors in my stash; we’ll see what happens when I try them on.

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!

Spring 2016 Pusheen Box unboxing!

My daughter loves Pusheen. I don’t know what it was – maybe it was the pink frosted donut that the plush Pusheen was holding in her paws, or maybe it’s just because Pusheen is so freaking cute – but the first time a four-month-old ‘Fiend Jr. saw that chubby gray cat at the bookstore, she flipped out. In a good way, that is. She couldn’t stop staring, growling, and stretching toward that plush the whole time we were at the store, so I bought it. I swear, Pusheen was one of the first words she learned to recognize. Since four months, anytime I say “Where’s Pusheen?,” she’ll swivel her little head in the direction of that plush.

Sometime later, I’m subscribed to the Pusheen box, and my Spring 2016 Pusheen Box shows up on my doorstep on a rainy Saturday morning. I’m surprised (and delighted) that they’ve thoughtfully shrink-wrapped the cute Pusheen-printed box in plastic to protect it from the dirt and wet, and the unwrapped box is pretty much pristine. Nice touch.

pusheen160507

This box is adorable. It’s even got a tail and paws!

pusheen160507c

My box had a “1” sticker on one side. I don’t know if that means there were variations of this box. Everything inside is made in China, as you’d expect these days, but the quality is actually pretty good in this case.

pusheen160507b

And, here it is, open.

pusheen160507d

There’s a little card describing all the goodies inside: an apron, a set of three socks, a set of three pins, stickers, a portable umbrella, a mini planter, a cookie cutter, and a key cover!

pusheen160507e

I unrolled the Let’s Bake Pusheen apron (Pusheen Box exclusive) first:

pusheen160507f

85% polyester, 15% cotton, and printed with Baker Pusheen. Pretty decent quality, super cute, and works well for a petite woman. I’m not sure how it’d fit on a larger person, but there was definitely room for adjustment to a bigger size. I love the three large pockets in front. (‘Fiend Jr. went nuts for the big Pusheen print.)

pusheen160507g

The Pusheen the cat 3 Piece Pin Set looks and feels pretty high quality and are smooth metal with crisp print and color. Pusheen eating has got to be the cutest thing ever. The Pusheen the Cat 3 Pack Socks matches the pins and feature a pair of Pusheen and pizza, a pair of Pusheen and chocolate-chip cookie, and Pusheen and donut. They’re 98% polyester, 2% Spandex.

pusheen160507r

The Pusheen the cat portable umbrella (Pusheen Box exclusive) is a typical compact size and comes with a matching slipcover/pouch.

pusheen160507s

The print quality is good. I haven’t tried the umbrella outside yet, but just from inspecting it, I’d guess that it’s an average-quality umbrella. It opens and closes smoothly enough, but the parts appear to be plastic and lightweight aluminum and probably won’t withstand a stiff wind. (I’ll probably update this post when I get a chance to test it out.)

pusheen160507t

Anyway, it was nice receiving an umbrella on this rainy Saturday morning.

Next up, we have the Baker Pusheen vinyl figure (Pusheen Box exclusive), the advertised exclusive with this box:

pusheen160507h

She’s bigger than I expected, about palm-sized. You can check the pen (which is 5.5 inches long) for reference.

The figure is pretty good, but not great quality. That is, if you collect figures like me, it’s maybe about the same as or a little better in quality than the typical Funko POP! figure (roughly $8 each), but nowhere near as good quality as, say, a Good Smile Nendoroid (in the ballpark of $50 each).

pusheen160507i

The print on Pusheen herself was generally pretty good, but the chef hat white paint kind of pooled at the bottom. The dough and rolling pin both had some brown ink smeared on them. There was also a bit of white grease under the rolling pin that wasn’t a big deal and wiped off easily.

pusheen160507j

Back view shows the messy chef hat paint job.

pusheen160507k

Pusheen is removable from the base, though the rolling pin and dough are not. Pusheen’s underside is a bit rough, but I guess you wouldn’t normally see it, so it’s also not a big deal (though nicer figures have more finished bottoms, even if no one sees them). Still, overall pretty good.

pusheen160507l

Also, I wonder if my figure was a demo or something. The box it arrived in was a bit crunched (as you can see from a couple photos back), and the inside of the box was strangely dirty. Ew.

pusheen160507m

The Pusheen Mini Planter is a small ceramic cup (again, pen for scale) with a drain hole at the bottom. Some suggestions for this cute container are to use it for “a little plant” or “small items on your desk.” I’m thinking I might fill mine with candy.

pusheen160507n

Close-up of the drainage hole at the bottom. There’s also a splotch of darker gray paint. I’m not sure what that’s about, but it doesn’t bother me a whole lot. It’s overall pretty nice – Pusheen’s feet aren’t glazed at the bottom, which is pretty typical for something like this, but the other edges are smoothly glazed, with no rough/jagged edges – though the uneven paint job suggests good, not amazing, quality.

pusheen160507o

The key cover is made of some kind of plastic (doesn’t specify on the packaging), and it may not be an especially secure one, since the chain goes through its own loop at the top of the cover instead of through the hole in the key itself. It also looks like it may only fit relatively standard-sized/-shaped keys, as the cavity is squarish. Print/mold quality is pretty good, though.

pusheen160507p

The Pusheen cookie cutter is some kind of hard plastic and stamps Pusheen’s lovable likeness onto your cookie dough when you press the plunger. Hand wash only, towel dry. The packaging doesn’t specify that it’s food safe, but I’m hoping that’s a given.

Finally, we have the Pusheen the cat Snack Sticker Set, 3 sheets of them! The stickers are generously sized, as you can see with the pen for scale.

pusheen160507q

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, except for maybe one or two items that they leak to entice potential customers as the season goes on.

I rather enjoyed this box and am looking forward to sharing the contents with ‘Fiend Jr. someday!

Julep May 2016 (Rainbow Bright) Maven Box, part 1 of 2 (with promo code!)

My Julep Maven May 2016 Maven box arrived this past Tuesday – only it arrived in a suspiciously small box. I was pretty sure not everything I ordered could have fit in it.

Here’s what was inside:

julep160503

 

Baby-blue glittery tissue paper, indigo paper crinkles, and:

  • Collection description and quote card with a lovely photo of the bright new nail polish colors this month and an introduction to this month’s new product, Your Lip Addiction tinted lip oil. The month’s quote is from Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr: “Sunshine is good for the soul, but I always make sure I wear a big hat.” (Me, too, sister.)
  • Julep Your Lip Addiction tinted lip oil treatment in Crave – it’s orange, dude. Pretty excited to try this out.
  • Pepper, a new nail color described as a “[c]ornflower multidimensional shimmer.”
  • Promo code for $15 off a $30+ purchase – use MAY15, expires June 30, 2016.
  • A pink “shimmery gumball” per the ingredient card (a.k.a., the flip side of the promo-code card). No brand name, manufacturer, or country of origin provided. I hope it’s safe to eat.

And…that was it. It was missing Summer, which was part of my base box, as well as the Flower Power Trio add-on – all nail polishes because I was a sucker for the bright and shiny iridescent colors this month. I did contact Julep customer support, and though I’m a little irked that I’ve had shipment issues multiple times recently, to their credit, they were very courteous and prompt in shipping out the missing items to me. The missing loot should be here by next Friday, so I’ll continue with part 2 of my unboxing after they arrive!

To be continued…

(UPDATE 5/12/16: Part 2 is now up with the rest of my May 2016 box items!)

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!

Vacation nails & Taiwanese nail lacquer: Julep Shay, LynBDesigns Thirsty & UNT EA055 愛情的微光 (A Glimmer of Love; English name: Mint to Be)

I recently got back from a two-week trip to Taiwan and had a great time there! Can’t go wrong with the company of beloved family, copious amounts of great food, and lots of hiking in brutal island sun to kick this post-baby body back into some kind of shape.

LF_160507

…Plus, I had the chance to snag some Taiwanese nail polish while I was visiting the motherland! xD This is UNT EA055 愛情的微光 (Ai Qing de Wei Guang, or A Glimmer or Love) from UNT’s Love Captain collection:

LF_160507b

(UPDATE 5/7/16: I just discovered UNT has an English website, and this color is named Mint to Be for the English-speaking customers. I’ve updated the references below with the official English name, as well.)

It was 99 NT, or about three bucks, on sale (normally 199 NT, or about six bucks). UNT might be a drug-store polish, but I can’t be sure. I found it at a FamilyMart. In the department stores, I mostly saw familiar brands like OPI and such, so I was excited to try UNT when I saw that it’s a made-in-Taiwan brand.

I also picked up another UNT glitter topper called 欲望是合理的 LV035 (Desire is Reasonable; English name: Daily Miracles) that I’ll swatch on another day.

Anyway, I brought Julep Shay from my January 2016 Julep Maven box and LynBDesigns Thirsty on the trip with me, knowing that I’d be in the mood for some bright untried colors while I broiled in the tropical heat. The trip was so hectic that I almost didn’t get around to polishing my nails, but two days before I left, I threw in the towel and just painted my nails on the moving tour bus. It didn’t come out especially well as a result, though I tried to take maximum advantage of stop lights and traffic, and I didn’t have a chance to take better photos, but eh, other things took higher priority.😉

This is two coats Julep Shay on all nails, except for two coats LynBDesigns Thirsty on the ring finger, topped with two coats UNT EA055, all topped with Essie Good to Go top coat. The photo was taken on the Taipei subway in artificial light of some sort, probably white LED. The color’s not too off – though, of course, Thirsty’s neon doesn’t photograph properly.

Shay is a turquoise glass-fleck-y shimmer (described by Julep as a “[c]eladon iridescent chrome”) that’s beautifully bright. Perfect tropical vacation color. The formula was easy to apply, but the dry time was annoyingly long! I dinged some of my nails because I didn’t wait long enough for them to dry. Takes patience, but it’s a beautiful polish.

Thirsty is a neon mac-‘n’-cheese orange (yum!) crelly that is definitely way more impressive in person than in a photo, which just can’t capture those blazing neons. (Well, either that or monitors can’t display it.) Love. Perfect formula, fast dry time.

EA055 (愛情的微光/A Glimmer of Love/Mint to Be) is mint-green and teal multi-sized glitter topper with a clear base. Like an average glitter topper, it requires a tiny bit of fishing for glitter in the bottle and dab-and-glide glitter placement, but it’s not too bad. I needed two coats to get the glitter density I wanted. Dry time seemed average or maybe slightly longer than average for a glitter, but not bad.

Durability on this combination was fantastic, though; this mani lasted me a good week before chipping significantly. Happy with all three polishes overall.❤ I hope I have more chances to travel abroad and collect foreign nail lacquers!

Face-off: LynBDesigns Time and Relative Dimension in Space (TARDIS) vs. Essie Starry Starry Night (Retro Revival version)

Been too busy to post for a while now, so I’m playing catch up today.:) Going to try to make it quick!

LF_160410

Quickie comparison between LynBDesigns Time and Relative Dimension in Space (TARDIS) and Essie Starry Starry Night (SSN), this year’s Retro Revival (RR) collection version, not the original. Index and ring are TARDIS, while middle and pinky are SSN, and both are topped with Essie Good to Go top coat. (Kind of sloppy application, but I was in a hurry packing to get on a plane!) In outdoor natural light:

I’ve previously written up a post about LynBDesigns TARDIS, so you can read all my earlier impressions it there. It could be from the pigments settling a bit, but I found the formula thinner than the last time I applied it last July, even after shaking up the bottle. Maybe it needed more shaking. In any case, these photos show four thin coats.

Essie SSN (RR) is not the same as the original SSN that so many nail polish collectors are crazy for and which I do not own. Michelle at All Lacquered Up did a really great swatch post comparing the two, as well as a few other polishes. Frankly, I almost didn’t pick it up because I already have Zoya Dream, which I love to death, and the finer sparkle in Dream captures more of what I love about the original SSN. After a lot of hemming and hawing, though, I gave in and purchased a bottle anyway. I wanted to give it a shot.

The new SSN’s got a deep sapphire-blue jelly base and small silver hex glitter (a bit smaller than the silver and turquoise square glitters of TARDIS) and is a much brighter blue than TARDIS and slightly brighter than the original SSN. These photos show two coats. Formula was fine and dry time was about average.

Here’s a shot after only one coat of each:

LF_160410b

Durability-wise, I didn’t have much luck with either polish; both chipped pretty significantly after only maybe two days, despite my usual base and top coats.

Bottom line: Obviously, these two polishes are not dupes, and neither looks that close to the original SSN, but they’re both pretty in their own way. (Ultimately, though, I think I still prefer Zoya Dream over both of them.)

The Lady Varnishes Have Some Candy & Candeo Colors Jellybean

Happy Easter! Thought I’d celebrate with a couple candy-sweet indie colors today. This is The Lady Varnishes Have Some Candy (inspired by Wreck It Ralph‘s King Candy, from her monthly Disney villains series) and Candeo Colors Jellybean.

Have Some Candy is a salmon-pink jelly base loaded with gold shimmer and various sized holographic hex glitters in purple, fuchsia, and gold-green. The polish is good to go in two coats, was easy to apply with no special glitter placement needed, and dried on the fast side of average. Better yet? It smells of bubblegum!❤

Jellybean instantly made me think of Peeps when I saw it for the first time. It’s a thin creme base in pale, cool-toned yellow, with turquoise, pink, and purple hexes and microglitters. This polish takes two to three coats to get good opacity and seems to have an average dry time, but the glitters distributed evenly on their own and didn’t take special placement. In the bottle, I wasn’t sure if the bright glitters would overpower the pale base, but it works beautifully on the nail; the thin base gives it that jelly-sandwich effect that mutes the glitters a little to excellent effect. Great Easter polish, for sure.

I love both these polishes! Jellybean is my first and only Candeo Colors polish at the moment, and I wasn’t disappointed. I’ve picked up quite a few colors from The Lady Varnishes, but Have Some Candy is definitely one of my favorites when the mood for pink strikes.

Anyway, have a great weekend, and eat lots of candy!😀