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!

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.

lupicia160103

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:

lupicia160103b

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!

lupicia160103c

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.

lupicia160103d

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. ❤

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:

lupicia160103e

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

Zoya June 2015 Mystery Trio Box unveiling

I’m such a sucker for Zoya deals. Late May, Zoya sent out an e-mail offering yet another Mystery Trio Box, promising “3 brand new, never before released or produced colors in adorable mini 0.25oz sizes,” promised to flatter all skin tones, plus a “special gift,” all for $15 and free shipping. I figured that with a newborn to take care of, I’d probably be too occupied to keep up with my nail-polish obsession for a while, so this might be kind of my last hurrah for now. :]

Here’s what I received last Saturday! (Yep, this blog’s probably going to see sparser updates for a while.)

zoya150606

The three mini-sized nail polish colors, from left to right:

  • Mini Temperance ($5 retail for Zoya mini polishes), a cool-leaning medium gray with dichroic/duochrome gold-to-magenta shimmer,
  • Mini Marion ($5), a dichroic/duochrome green-to-purple metallic, and
  • Mini Violet ($5), a dusty violet creme.

As promised, these are the Zoya mini 0.25 fl. oz./7.5 mL sizes, only slightly smaller than a bottle of Julep polish (0.27 fl. oz./8 mL). All three colors are ones I’d be happy to wear, and I’m especially excited to try out Temperance, which is different from anything else I currently own.

zoya150606b

Just from looking at the bottles, Marion looks like it could be pretty spot-on as a dupe or near dupe for Julep Phia ($14 regular, $11.20 Maven), a color that I love. I’d like to do a face-off post later on, if I can find the time. (7/11/15 UPDATE: It’s up!) If Zoya releases Marion as a regular nail color later on, I suspect it could be a more economical substitute for Phia, as Zoya frequently has excellent deals. Even at full retail price, Zoya full-size polishes are typically about $5 less than Julep polishes for about double the volume of polish.

The “special gift” turned out to be two items:

  • A 1 fl. oz./15mL bottle of Zoya Remove+ nail polish remover ($2.30 estimated retail value, based on $4.60 for the 2 oz. size) and
  • A 12 g/0.42 oz. tube of Zoya Hot Lips Glossy Lip Balm in Sweet Tart ($6), which looks like a lovely raspberry/plum with fine silver shimmer. (I found a swatch posted by another blogger, if you’re curious how it looks when applied.)

zoya150606c

The estimated retail value of this box is about $23.30, based on Zoya’s regular website prices. When you think about it, the $15 price tag is significantly lower than that of a Julep monthly box ($19.99/month for grandfathered-in older Mavens or if you prepay for three months as a newer Maven with the option to fully customize your box, else $24.99/month), and the items are arguably a better value than what you’d get with a default Julep It Girl box – not that I’m saying that Zoya and Julep are necessarily interchangeable, but for those that don’t prefer one brand over the other, there it is. Not bad, not bad.

Did you pick up this mystery box, and did you like what you got?

Disclosure: This post contains a referral link. 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 May 2015 Mystery Box (Version 1) with Julep x Brika bag

I just realized that I haven’t picked up a Julep mystery box in over a year! This time, though, I was in the market for a light slipcover for my iPad, and the faux leather Julep x Brika bag with its candy-bright crystalline shapes was calling my name. At $29.99 for the entire mystery box package, guaranteeing the Julep x Brika bag and two new polish colors I liked, I was confident I’d get enough value out of the mystery box, no matter what the other items were. Julep promised a total product value of at least $150.00, though this is based on their arbitrary full retail prices. Anyway, here’s what came in today! julep150515 The Julep x Brika bag does not disappoint. The cheerful print is just as vibrant in person as it is in the promotional photos, and the bag looks well made and sturdy enough. The outside is faux leather, the inside is lined with mint-green cotton, and it’s got a small, flat, zippered accessory pocket inside. It’s not terribly padded as far as tablet cases go, but it’ll do for the light protection I was going for. In Julep’s blog post about the 9″ x 11″ pouch, they said it could fit an iPad Mini, but the bag is actually a great size for my iPad Air 2, too. julep150515e I think it’s an exclusive, so it’s not available at Brika, but significantly smaller pouches (around 9″ x 7″) at Brika seem to go for $28.00 to $36.00, so it’s probably safe to say that the pouch itself has a retail value of at least the entire mystery box price. Now, on to the Julep products the bag came with. According to my invoice, I ended up receiving May Mystery Box Version 1. In beauty products, I received a Julep Length Matters mascara ($24.00 regular, $19.20 Maven) and a Julep Lip Gloss in Vivid ($20.00 regular, $16.00 Maven). julep150515b I’ve never used the Julep mascara and am looking forward to giving it a try. Meanwhile, Vivid is described as an “[i]ridescent burgundy shimmer with Power Cell Complex™” and looks pretty accurate to the description. I’m also looking forward to testing this out and hope my super sensitive lips don’t hate it! julep150515d The five polishes included in my box were:

  • Chatoya, a “[b]right platinum glitter top coat” from December 2014,
  • Marcella (new for the May mystery box!), a “[w]eathered pink crème” that reminds me of orchids,
  • Shayla (new for the May mystery box!), a “[p]urple perennial full-coverage microglitter,”
  • Brandis, a “Taos turquoise crème” from February 2015, and
  • Bea, a “[l]emonade crème” from August 2013.

I liked how the colors kind of match the Julep x Brika bag – and, hey, I didn’t get any duplicate nail colors this time, either. :] I threw Marcy (“Prosecco silk (semi-matte opalescent)”) into the photo below, since I picked it up as an extra freebie polish in my mystery box order with promo code SPRINGFUN, which may still be active at the time of this writing. Doesn’t hurt to give it a try! julep150515c julep150515f Julep nail polishes retail for $14.00 regular and $11.20 Maven. Altogether, that comes to a total retail value of $114.00 regular and $91.20 Maven for the beauty products on their own. I’m guessing this means Julep values the pouch at $36.00, which isn’t unreasonable, given the prices of the smaller pouches at Brika. Overall, I’m well satisfied with this mystery box. It’s unfortunately no longer available on Julep’s site, so I think it’s sold out, but the SPRINGFUN promo code for a free nail polish with your order may still work. And, if you’re not a Maven yet and want to try out the monthly box, you can currently get a free 4-piece welcome box with promo code SPRING. Happy Friday!

Zoya 2015 New Year New Hue promotional mystery trio unveiling

I swear, Zoya has some of the best promotions.

Near the beginning of the year, Zoya celebrated 2015 by offering a free mystery trio of mini polishes and any three Zoya colors for $15 shipping. In essence, it was like buying any three Zoya polishes at a discounted $5 each and getting a free mystery mini trio and free shipping. Awesome, right?

The promise was that the “[m]ystery shades have never been available for retail sales and will not be available for individual (open stock) purchase. The three shades will be available exclusively in mini (0.25oz) sizes as part of the mystery gift only.

Well, mine arrived today, about a month later! Here are the three mystery minis: Severine, Anais, and Charlotte!

zoya150209

Severine is a neutral metallic – not quite gold and not quite silver but somewhere in the middle. Anais is a very slightly warm black with a subtle fine metallic shimmer that imparts a velvety texture similar to Julep Ledi‘s. Finally, Charlotte is an ivory/light khaki creme, another neutral.

So, it looks like these three colors are limited releases of colors from the Zoya & Peter Som A/W 2014 collaboration, created for Peter Som’s runway show and not available for purchase. Pretty sweet.

Lupicia Tea 2015 Happy Bag

Happy 2015!

New Year’s means Lupicia has their annual Happy Bags – a mystery bag of tea advertised to be worth double the price you pay – for sale again! This year, they had a $30 bag worth $60 and a $50 bag worth $100. I picked up the $50 bag at our local store, and this is what I got:

The total value of this bag came out to $89.00. Hmm. Maybe my bag was missing an item? It’s under the guaranteed $100 value by $11, which is about the price of a loose-leaf tea packet. I’ll probably go back to the store and check with them, just in case.

It’s a nice selection of tea, though. I’ll update this post when I’ve gone back to the store to check if I got all the contents they intended.

(UPDATE 1/8/2015: I did go back to the store and double check with them, and I did get everything I was supposed to have. :] Thanks to reader Lana D. for sending me the correct link to the 50g loose leaf bag of Oriental Beauty – I corrected the list price from $12.00 to $24.00. That brings the total value of the bag to $101.00, not $89.00. :D)

Again, happy New Year!

Julep Lucky Mystery Box with Shannon – It Girl

Today’s going to be a major blog-post catch-up day. First up is Julep’s March 2014 mystery box, the Lucky Mystery Box, which shipped super fast and arrived yesterday, something like two days after my order.

Julep released four choices for this box, one with Shannon, a “pale minty silk”; one with Aislinn, an “edgy black with green glitter”; one with Taryn, a “deep sea teal holographic glitter”; and one 100% mystery that didn’t guarantee a new exclusive polish. Each box went for $24.99 and promised at least four times its cost in full retail value ($100+).

Julep’s been doing their mystery boxes differently lately, and I wanted to see how this one worked, especially since I haven’t picked up a Julep mystery box in a good long while, and the contents make for great random gifts. I also wanted Shannon because I’m a sucker for mint green (it’s one of my favorite colors), and I like the textured silk finish.

The box that came in was huge, so I was pretty hopeful at first, but it turned out half of it was just packing material. Bummer! No iPad Mini for me this time.

julep140313

Here’s what I ended up getting:

  • 3 oz. Glycolic Hand Scrub ($23.00 regular, $18.40 Maven)
  • Kennedy, a “[k]haki crème” ($14.00 regular, currently $3.99 on sale)
  • Tatiana, a “[g]olden burnt orange microglitter” ($14.00 regular, currently available for free with a $10+ purchase)
  • Shannon, the aforementioned “pale minty silk” (presumably $14.00 regular and $11.20 Maven)
  • Sabrina, a “[z]esty orange shimmer crackle” ($14.00 regular, currently $2.99 on sale)
  • Blakely, a “[p]urple and green molten” ($14.00 regular, $11.20 Maven)
  • Fiore, an “[e]spresso brown crème” ($14.00 regular, $11.20 Maven)

The total maximum value is $107.00, but realistically, going by the lowest prices, the box is worth more like $58.98, or about 2.4 times the cost of the box. Three of the six polishes were doubles, but they’re colors I love, so that’s fine by me. It’s not a bad box, but it’s not the most exciting mystery box I’ve gotten from Julep.

I also picked up the Lucky Mystery Add-On, which was $9.99 for a $42.00 value. I wanted to try out the bigger Major Mystery Add-On, which was $14.99 for a $63.00 value, but they were sold out at the time. They seem to be back in stock as of this writing, but I guess it’s just as well. Saved me some money.

julep140313b

Here’s what I got:

  • Rose, a “juicy watermelon red crème” ($14.00 regular, $11.20 Maven)
  • Grace, a “[c]lassic ‘go-to’ light pink sheer” ($14.00 regular, currently $6.99 on sale)
  • Sienna, a “[s]ophisticated, shimmery gold” ($14.00 regular, $11.20 Maven)
  • packet of forget-me-not seeds (this was a freebie with a Maven box last year, so I’m going to consider it free)

That makes for a maximum total value of $42.00, as promised, and realistically for a Maven, a value of $29.39, still 2.9 times its cost.

It’s a decent deal, as usual, but also as expected, the boxes seem to be where much of the clearance stuff goes, and if you’ve stuck with Julep for a while, you’ll probably get a fair share of duplicate colors. As long as you go into the purchase understanding that, you probably won’t be disappointed. These boxes are great for starting a collection, though, if you’re new to nail polish or Julep.

By the way, when I looked at the invoice this time, I didn’t see a version number like with previous mystery boxes I ordered, so I’m guessing there was only one version of each mystery box. Did any of you get this box, and did you get the same items as me?