Julep September 2017 (Flawless Without the Fuss) “Peaches & Dream” Maven Box unboxing (with add-ons and promo code!)

Just a quick unboxing post! I went with one of Julep’s curated boxes this month, “Peaches & Dream” (the box they suggested for me), and threw in a few extra nail polishes:

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My picks:

  • Skip the Brush Creme-to-Powder Blush Stick in Sweet Peach ($24 regular, $19.20 Maven), a “Light Peachy Pink Sheen,” plus these nail colors:
  • August ($14 regular, $11.20 Maven), new this month, “Chocolate Cherry Ghost Shimmer,”
  • Karin ($14 regular, $11.20 Maven), new this month, “Powdered Lilac Crème,”
  • Eve ($14 regular, $11.20 Maven) as an add-on, sold as the Unicorn Party Mystery Polish, “Iridescent Lilac Matte Shimmer,”
  • Signe ($14 regular, $11.20 Maven) as an add-on, “Red-Hot Coral Shimmer,” and
  • Ange ($14 regular, $11.20 Maven) as an add-on, “Tidepool Blue Crème.”

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Extras:

  • Katya ($14 regular, $11.20 Maven), freebie for getting three or more add-ons, “Açai Berry Crème,”
  • Julep stickers, this month’s freebie, and
  • the collection description card with the monthly quote (below) and featuring Julep’s primers, new cushion skin perfector, and new finishing powder (which I picked up in July).

I got two each of the sticker sheets and paper inserts this month, for some reason. Not that I’m complaining!

This month’s quote:

“Find a sense of self, because with that, you can do anything else.” – Angelina Jolie

The promo code that came with this box is FALLPOLISH for a free nail polish with a $10+ purchase at Julep’s website, expires 9/30/2017.

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I have Skip the Brush in three other colors already because they’re so versatile, and I’ve liked them all to varying degrees. I thought Sweet Peach would be a little more of a cream finish and a little less shimmer/glitter than Golden Guava, but that was only maybe somewhat true. Though you can’t see it in the tube, Sweet Peach ended up having some of those odd chunks of gold glitter inside, too. I think there’s less than I saw in Golden Guava, but if you can’t stand glitter, this is not for you.

I think Sheer Glow and Moonlit Sand stand as my favorite shades of this product. They have that glowy shimmer a good luminizer has, but no random chunks of gold glitter.

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I’ve already swatched new colors August and Karin in another post, and Eve is a duplicate I’ve also swatched, if you’re interested. (I love Eve, which you can read about at the swatch link.)

In short, August disappointed me because the shimmer doesn’t show, and in person, it reads as an almost-black creme. Here, you can see it next to an older Julep polish, Ledi, which has the same largely gimmicky “ghost shimmer” finish. You can see in strong direct light (this is taken in harsh sunlight) that it’s actually a very dark chocolaty brown compared to Ledi’s black, but it doesn’t look that way on the nail. Also, the shimmer is silver, not, say, reddish. Too bad.

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Signe and Katya are new to my collection and will be swatched at some point. 🙂

That’s all for this box. Feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions or comments about the products I got, Julep, etc. Happy fall!

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Julep August & Julep Karin

My September 2017 Julep box just arrived on Friday, and I haven’t had time to post about it yet, but here are the swatches of the two new colors I got in my box, Julep August and Karin. Here, they’re topped with Essie Good to Go top coat.

August, on all my nails except for the ring finger, is described by Julep as a “Chocolate Cherry Ghost Shimmer,” and I regret to say that I fell for that marketing sweet talk because chocolate cherry just sounded so yummy. 😦 It’s not a bad color, but it’s really more of a warm-toned/brownish off-black, and I already have a million off-blacks. Also, that Ghost Shimmer descriptor? Turns out it was probably a marketing-department euphemism for shimmer you really can’t see at all, except in strong direct light and only sometimes. August might as well be a creme, which is fine if that’s what you want, but I wanted to see at least a little bit of shimmer, and not just when direct sun hits it just right.

Formula-wise, at least it dries really fast. Streaky at one coat and okay at two, but if you have enough light hitting it to actually show the red tones in the polish, you can also see how unevenly it actually goes on (which I could not see while I was applying because it just looked black in regular indoor light). Also, I hate the current Julep flat-tipped wide brush. As I’ve said so many times before, it’s too fat for my small nails, and the flat tip is just too wide when it spreads to make a good curve along the cuticle, so I needed to clean up with a brush and acetone afterward, which I hate.

I guess in direct sun, it has a hint of the red that’s supposed to make it “chocolate cherry.” Meh. Disappointed with this one. :\

Karin‘s much better. It’s got an interesting cookies-‘n’-creme-milkshake finish going on, with darker matte particles suspended throughout, rather than the more standard shimmer particles. The base color’s a milky pale pinkish lilac (Julep calls it a “Powdered Lilac Crème”). Formula’s a bit thick, though (prone to cuticle flooding), and has an average dry time.

Tl;dr – August’s description is misleading, but it could be a decent warm off-black almost-creme, if that’s your jam. I think the Ghost Shimmer finish is pointless, personally, since it doesn’t even shimmer enough for a noticeable subtle effect. Karin is pretty cool, and I’d love this finish in more ice-cream inspired colors.

Defy & Inspire Rock of Love

A new Target recently opened near me, and Defy & Inspire Rock of Love caught my eye while I was checking out the store. This is my first time trying this brand, and it’s a winner! Here it is, topped with Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat:

Rock of Love is semi-sheer, milky pale blue loaded with shimmer that flashes a glowy orangey pink in the light. So pretty. It reminds me of watching the sunset over the ocean. You can see the shimmer best in direct sun.

The formula is good and reasonably opaque in two coats. The brush was somewhat wide but not as wide as some of the Sally Hansen and Julep ones lately, and it applied fine. The shimmer shows brush strokes somewhat, but it’s not too obvious in person. It also dried fast, which always wins major points! ❤

This polish was $9.49 at my local Target, and I bought it before looking online because I was already at the store and it was the last bottle left, but on Target’s website, it’s $7.49, and I think you can pay from the website and reserve the item in-store. Wonder if doing that could have saved me two bucks! Ah, well. Next time.

Julep Channon, Julep Sarai & Julep Rendee

Catching up swatches from the past few weeks. These matte shimmers debuted this past May (Eve is from the same Sun Crush collection) and are great summer colors!

Julep Channon a shimmery cool-toned white matte. This is two thin coats, but it probably could have used a third for more even opacity. The formula was good and even if applying in thin coats but had a hard time drying if I tried applying more thickly.

Julep Sarai is a blue-leaning (emerald) green shimmery matte that looks almost teal from some angles. This is, again, two thin coats. As with Channon, I found the formula had a bit of a hard time drying if I didn’t use the thinnest coats. (My dog dinged my middle fingernail because it didn’t fully dry down, even after maybe an hour or more.)

This one caused some staining when I was removing it, as teal polishes tend to. It stains after the remover melts it, not before, since the parts that chipped off were clean. I’d advise holding the remover-soaked cotton ball/pad against the nail for the shortest amount of time possible and wiping it away immediately to minimize staining! Stunning bright emerald, though.

Julep Rendee is a a sparkly purple-leaning blue matte. (The base color under all that shimmery blue is pink, giving it that purplish cast.) The formula is about the same as the other two – thin coats work best. This one didn’t stain like Sarai, thankfully.

I picked up these three colors as part of a “Beach Mattes” trio from the Julep Secret Store a couple months ago – for free! I may have mentioned before that Julep’s customer service is pretty awesome and gave us $50 to spend on Julep products when a monthly box item hit some manufacturing obstacles and couldn’t be delivered as promised. Even more awesome, when I somehow missed that there was an expiration date on the $50, they still let me use it when I asked. ❤

Tl;dr: Overall, I really enjoyed wearing these colors, though I was a bit bummed that they didn’t dry as easily as I’d hoped, given the matte finish and no need for top coat. I’d recommend three very thin coats for these polishes, rather than two thicker ones.

Summer 2017 Pusheen Box unboxing!

Better late than never, right? I received my Summer 2017 Pusheen Box back on July 29th – delayed from its original expected delivery in mid-July because of a customs inspection, we were told. Anyway, here’s the box:

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Pusheen with star shades! Adorable. As before, it was shrink-wrapped in plastic during shipping to protect the box. The box also seems to be of a slightly glossier paper this time.

Here’s what was inside – vacation and hot-weather stuff!

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There was a bit of moisture/condensation inside my box, but luckily, it doesn’t seem like anything was damaged.

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Condensation inside the vinyl figure packaging. The ice pack also had some condensation in the packaging.

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(1) Pusheen lightweight backpack – Pusheen Box Exclusive – Starting with probably my favorite item in this box! Vacation Pusheen and ice cream print, with Pusheen on a skateboard front and center. I love that this lightweight backpack folds up compactly into its own front pocket and zips up into a roughly 6″ x 8″ handled pouch. Holds up to 20 pounds. 100% polyester, machine wash cold, line dry.

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Phone included in photo for scale. 🙂

 

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Folds up nicely. 🙂

(2) Pusheen luggage tag – Pusheen Box Exclusive – Not sure what kind of plastic it’s made of, but it’s textured, in that signature Pusheen aqua, and printed with Pusheen on the front. The print is kind of sticky-feeling, and the sewing isn’t terribly even, but hey, it’s a cute luggage tag.

(3) Pusheen passport holder – Pusheen Box Exclusive – Same aqua textured plastic as the luggage tag, with an embroidered patch of a hang-gliding Pusheen sewn to the front and “See ya” embroidered under that. Super cute, but again, the sewing isn’t terribly even, and the inside of mine is pretty crooked. It actually looks worse in person than in the below photo, probably because you can tell it’s not just perspective causing that funny bend in the right pocket. Ah, well. Doesn’t look bad from the front, and it’s still functional and cute.

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Fronts

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Back/inside. Not the best quality workmanship, but not entirely unexpected for this kind of subscription box.

(4) Pusheen earbuds – Maybe my second-favorite thing in this box. Aqua cable with pink connectors and buds, which have Pusheen’s front end on one side and her back end on the other. Too cute, and they work just fine. Also comes in a handy matching storage box! Too bad they don’t seem to have a built-in mic for phone use, else I might ditch my current vanilla earbuds for these.

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(5) Pusheen 4 popsicle mold set – Pusheen Box Exclusive – 4 popsicle molds shaped like Pusheen’s adorable noggin (the features are printed on the mold and won’t show up on the pop when removed), 4 popsicle sticks (in pink, yellow, mint, and blue), and a popsicle stand. BPA-free and dishwasher-safe.

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(6) Pusheen 3 silly straw set – One clear with Pusheen and ice cream, one aqua with Pusheen and watermelon, and one pink with Pusheen sipping a drink.

(7) Pusheen ice pack – It’s one of those plastic gel ice packs, shaped like Pusheen with sunglasses! It was packaged in a cute clear box with a sun, birds, and clouds backdrop. Roughly palm-sized and probably too small to use in a lunch bag, but probably useful for cooling down in hot weather or icing injuries. Non-toxic gel, wash gently by hand.

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(8) Pusheen sleeveless tee – Pusheen Box Exclusive – Heather gray, 60% cotton and 40% polyester, and printed with various Pusheens, clouds, and hang-gliding Pusheen. This top fits me better than the other unisex-cut clothes I’ve gotten from the Pusheen Box, thankfully, though I have the usual issue of it being a bit snug in the hips (it’s about hip length on me). Everywhere else, it’s nice and roomy. It should make a good workout shirt!

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(9) Vacation Pusheen vinyl figure – Pusheen Box Exclusive – It’s Pusheen in sunglasses, at the beach under a palm with a beach ball! My two-year-old especially loves this figure and keeps gushing about “Pusheen on an island! With a ball!” I think it’s her favorite one yet.

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That’s all for this box! Very pleased that nothing was defective in this box, and the selection of items was pretty great. 🙂 Anyone else nab this box? What was your favorite item?

Julep July 2017 (Neon Nights) Custom Maven Box unboxing (with promo code!)

Unboxing incoming! This month, I very nearly skipped my Julep box, but I was curious about Julep’s new Insta-Filter Invisible Finishing Powder. I kept this box small – just two items.

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The contents:

  • Insta-filter Invisible Finishing Powder ($32 regular, $25.50 Maven),
  • Skip the Brush Creme-to-Powder Blush Stick in Golden Guava ($24 regular, $19.20 Maven), a “Peachy Pink Gold Shimmer,” and
  • oddly, I didn’t receive a freebie (usually candy but sometimes a free Julep product) this month. It’s not the first time this has happened, but it was a bit disappointing. 😦

This month’s quote:

“I’m very much about letting other people shine, because it makes us all shine brighter.” – Chelsea Handler

The promo code that came with this box is SUMMER20 for $20 off a $50 purchase at Julep’s website, expires 7/31/2017.

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Insta-filter comes in a fancy, slightly rubberized black paper box with metallic violet print. The round compact inside is metal, about 3 inches in diameter, and hefty. Quality seems good, and it’s nicely designed with clean, modern lines; a little groove for your fingernail to pry up the lid; and a firm magnetic snap.

As for the product, it definitely does what Julep says it will –  “blur the appearance of pores, fine lines, and imperfections while instantly mattifying.” I don’t have much of a comparison point, though, since my usual translucent/finishing powder is BareMinerals Mineral Veil, which I got in a slightly dewy finish instead of a matte. I don’t own/wear enough makeup to compare it to anything else. Insta-filter works nicely enough, though, and the little foamy sponge is so soft, especially the flocked application side. Thumbs up.

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Well, my Golden Guava arrived with this fugly ding from the cap being squeezed on too tightly inside the box. 😦 The ugliness doesn’t affect its function, though, fortunately, so I didn’t even bother telling customer support this time.

It’s pretty similar to the past Skip the Brush sticks that I’ve purchased (Sheer Glow and Moonlit Sand), but the barrel is shiny gunmetal gray instead of matte black, and the formula on this one somehow seems a little creamier or stickier than my other two. The reviewers on Julep.com mentioned “glitter” in this one, which made me curious, since my other two colors don’t have anything coarse enough that I’d call glitter.

I tried it, and sure enough, the Golden Guava color somehow has an odd bit of coarser gold glitter flecks when applied, even though they’re not visible on the stick. The flecks are so occasional, too, that they stand out strangely against the otherwise smooth and finely milled peach/pink. Not my favorite, mostly because it looks inconsistent on application. I don’t know if that’s a mistake on Julep’s part, or if it was intentional. Looks fine on eyes, though, at least, maybe because the area is so small.

That’s it for today. There should be a Pusheen box coming in soon, so that’ll probably be my next post!

Julep Carrie Ann

Sometimes after wearing some bolder colors, I just get this urge to wear something more boring – relatively anyway. Here’s Julep Carrie Ann, a sheer nude with some subtle holo sparkle:

You can’t see the holo sparkle that well in my photos, unfortunately, but it’s definitely there and shows up better in brighter light. It just happened to be an overcast day.

I liked the way this polish looked better at one coat, actually, but it’d be a no-go if you don’t like sheer polishes/visible nail line. At one coat, it applies evenly and has a your-nails-but-better look, and the holo shimmer seems to be, if anything, more visible. (Sorry I didn’t take a photo!) At two coats, I ended up with what you see here – something that somehow looks infinitely more boring and more humdrum creme-like. Oh, well. Work appropriate to the max.

Formula was fine, easy to work with with average dry time and average durability. Like many lighter colored polishes for me, though, it started getting a bit dingy looking after a few days, with some dark stains at the tips that didn’t come off with even vigorous hand washing. :\

Next time (if I get around to a next time with this polish), I’ll wear it with one coat and see if I like it better. At two coats, it’s okay but a little too drab for me!