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!

Unboxing: Wet n Wild Summer Season in a Box – Unicorn Glow!

I don’t really keep up with beauty trends, so I completely missed the unicorn highlighter craze that apparently happened late last year. I only just discovered rainbow luminizer in a recent Ulta e-mail a couple weeks ago, advertising the limited edition release of Wet n Wild Summer Season in a Box – Unicorn Glow.

Ulta was releasing the box one day early (May 21), and I was pretty excited (rainbow highlighter! iridescent lipstick!) but I hemmed and hawed about it. By the next day, though, the box had sold out at Ulta, and I was a bit disappointed…but I was still on the fence. Was I just being lured in by the holo unicorn marketing scheme? I had to think about this a little.

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In the end, I decided I didn’t care. Wet n Wild is so affordable ($29.99 for this box of nine items!) that I figured I might as well throw in the towel and nab some fun unicorn makeup. I mean, I’m not much of a makeup wearer, but when I do wear makeup, I do it for fun!

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This box was only available at a New York beauty convention, Ulta, and the Wet n Wild website, it seems. Wet n Wild e-mailed a notice the second day after release, around 6am when I was heading into the office, that they only had 50 boxes left. I made my order right then and there on my phone. 😀 Good thing, too – they also sold out shortly thereafter.

Seriously, good job on that marketing, Wet n Wild. Way to reel in the children of the 80s and 90s. 😉

My box came in a few days later on May 27, and it did not disappoint! Wet n Wild may be an inexpensive drugstore brand, but their products are pretty solid.

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(1) Unicorn Glow Highlighting Brush – check out that oil-slick iridescence! This is one of those rare cases where the actual product is way prettier in person than in the marketing photos. I like how you can see the colors of the highlighting powder really well on the white brush, and it does a decent job, too. It looks small, but it’s just the right size for sweeping over the top of a cheek bone.

Gotta admit the brush was a large reason for my attraction to this box. This and the rainbow highlighter:

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(2) Color Icon Rainbow Highlighter in Unicorn Glow – surprisingly wearable rainbow highlighter. Once applied, it’s not as garish as you might think – just a hint of sparkle and color. It’s buildable to greater opacity, too, but I’ve only worn it sheer. The pan is a bit too large for applying every color of the rainbow over the cheekbones, though. I settle for about half the colors at a time.

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(3) Color Icon Rainbow Highlighter in Bronze Over The Rainbow – this one imparts a warmer, gold-tinged glow.

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(4) Color Icon Rainbow Highlighter in Everlasting Glow – this one is a cooler-toned pale golden pink when applied. A surprise favorite for me!

I’m guessing these highlighters probably go fine with most complexions, though I found that the cooler-toned Everlasting Glow looked a bit more flattering on my cool-leaning neutral-toned light complexion. I’m guessing Bronze Over The Rainbow might look better on warmer-toned complexions.

Each of these can be applied as is or swirled together. I kind of like the subtle bands of different colors, though!

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(5) Color Icon Loose Pigment in Mythical Dreams (purple),

(6) Color Icon Loose Pigment in Pegasus Flutter (pink), and

(7) Color Icon Loose Pigment in Unicorn Wishes (blue) – I haven’t tried these yet, but the packaging says they can be applied anywhere, not just the eyes.

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(8) Mega Last Prismatic Lip Color in Immortal Tears – sheer with blue-purple shimmer. It’s pretty similar in effect to Bite Beauty Opal Creme Lipstick (which I bought sometime earlier and really like), as you can see above.

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(9) Mega Last Prismatic Lip Color in Unicorn Soul – this lipstick looks blue, but it’s one of those color-changing lipsticks that turns pink/fuchsia after application. The blue shimmer remains, though. I think it’s Wet n Wild’s version of Too Faced La Creme Color Drenched Lip Cream in Unicorn Tears, but I don’t own that one (yet), so I can’t compare. In any case, I really like this one, even though it feels slightly gritty and doesn’t glide on as smoothly as other, nicer lipsticks that I own. (Immortal Tears is smoother.) Surprisingly wearable (though I wouldn’t wear it to work).

I was surprised by the quality of the products, especially for the price. (Where were these fun colors when I was a teen and didn’t have to worry about looking appropriate for work?) Even better, they’re all vegan and cruelty free, and my sensitive skin didn’t react badly to them. ❤

Woot! Guess what arrived over the weekend! #wetnwild #unicornglow #rainbow #unicornmakeup

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The Unicorn Glow box may be sold out, but it looks like the individual items are still available as of this writing if you’re interested in them, and they may be eligible for promo codes that the box wasn’t eligible for.

Next up on my radar, Chaos Makeup Kaleidoscope Rainbow Highlighter, my dream rainbow luminizer.

Unboxing: Spring 2017 Pusheen Box!

I hit a few snags with the Spring 2017 Pusheen Box, but I finally received it about a week ago!

As always, it arrived shrink-wrapped in protective plastic, which kept the cute Bunny Pusheen cardboard box clean, perfect for future gift use:

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Look at the cute puffball bunny tail:

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And here it is, freshly opened:

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Here’s what was inside:

(1) Bunny Pusheen vinyl figure (Pusheen Box Exclusive) – super cute, and no problems with the paint/print job on this one. Too bad it didn’t arrive before Easter!

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(2) Pusheen Wireless Speaker – I assume this is a Pusheen Box Exclusive, too, though it doesn’t say so on the box. It’s a cute (but cheap), hard-plastic Bluetooth wireless speaker shaped like Pusheen, with a handy grab strap for toting her along. It comes with a short USB/micro-USB charging cable and no wall-socket adapter.

It works and is about the level of quality I’d expect for it being one of 10 items in a roughly $40 box, but unfortunately, that means it’s not a particularly well-designed speaker. A red light comes on to tell you when it’s being charged, but it never tells you it’s done charging. The speaker was easy enough to pair with a Bluetooth device, but the sound quality isn’t great (as expected for a small, cheap speaker), and a bright blue light flashes annoyingly the entire time it’s in use. I also discovered that the battery drains out really quickly when it’s not in use. (I’d charged it for maybe 8 hours before using it, played some music for a few minutes just to test it out, and turned it off. A couple days later, the battery was completely dead. Not great.)

That being said, it’s a very cute little speaker, reasonably sturdy, and very lightweight. I’ll probably give it to ‘Fiend Jr. to play with when she’s a little older. 🙂

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(3) Pusheen Selfie Stick (Pusheen Box Exclusive) – lightweight and compact with an aluminum telescoping arm, spring-loaded plastic phone mount decorated with a molded soft-plastic Pusheen peeking over the top, and a foam-wrapped grip with a camera button.

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Very cute. Sadly, it didn’t work at all with my Samsung Galaxy S4 phone (the camera button tried to zoom instead of taking a photo) and worked only inconsistently with my sister’s iPhone 6. I’ve never used a selfie stick before this, so I don’t know if that’s typical of selfie sticks, but I’ll try it again when I upgrade my phone later.

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(4) Pusheen Party Balloons (Pusheen Box Exclusive) – includes 12 latex balloons in gray, aqua, and pink, all printed with Pusheen’s face in puff paint. I gave these out as party favors at Fiend Jr.’s birthday party.

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(5) Party Pusheen t-shirt (Pusheen Box Exclusive) – these shirts come in unisex sizes only, so it’s a boxier cut. I typically wear women’s small or medium, and this shirt was sadly too big and wholly unflattering on me. I’ll probably save it for altering into a tank top or wearing as pajamas.

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(6) Pusheen Bento Lunch Box (Pusheen Box Exclusive) – I’d suggested this very item in one of Pusheen Box’s customer surveys a few months back and was so stoked to receive this! Sadly, mine arrived broken, and when I contacted customer support, they told me they were all out of replacements and could only offer me a $5 refund. Ugh, so much bad luck with this box.

But, I hate seeing things go to waste, so I’m planning to drill a hole in that little nubbin of plastic and replace that flimsy plastic with a better, metal hinge. I’ll fix it somehow. Take that, broken bento box!

Anyway, BPA-free, dishwasher safe, and microwave safe. Purportedly, anyway. 🙂

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(7) Pusheen Bottle Opener (Pusheen Box Exclusive) – metal, encased in a soft-plastic Pusheen shell, with a handy magnetic back. Nice touch.

(8) Pusheen Reusable Utensils (Pusheen Box Exclusive) – somewhat smaller than standard utensils, as you can see in comparison to the pen, and only about the same sturdiness as better disposable utensils, so I’d probably want to be careful with these. Wish they came with a case or pouch! Dishwasher safe.

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(9) Pusheen Photo Booth Props – various cute paper cutouts (macarons, a slice of cake, Bunny Pusheen ears, playing cards, etc.), plus a sheet of adhesive dots and sticks for assembling into photo-booth props. I can see these being great as wall decorations, too!

(10) Pusheen Pennant Banner – a string of six aqua, pink, yellow, and gray cardboard pennants printed with Pusheen’s face, sewn on a white ribbon for hanging.

I would’ve taken better photos of the contents of these two items, but I wanted to keep them protected in their original packaging as possible decorations for ‘Fiend Jr.’s birthday next year. 🙂

And, that’s it for the Spring 2017 box! The bento box was my favorite this time, and I’m sad it arrived broken, but hopefully I can make it functional again. I’m still enjoying the Pusheen Box, but I’ve received defective items on a several occasions now, so I might not renew after this year. I guess we’ll see how I feel at the end of the year.

Julep May 2017 (Sun Crush) Custom Maven Box unboxing (with promo code!)

Another Julep Maven unboxing! This month’s featured products are some of my favorites from Julep – the Sea Salt Texture Spray, Mint Condition Pedi Creme, and No Excuses Invisible Sunscreen Gel – but I still have those on hand, so I picked other stuff:

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The contents:

  • Skip the Brush Creme-to-Powder Blush Stick in Moonlit Sand ($24 regular, $19.20 Maven), “Rose Gold Shimmer,” because I ❤ rose gold,
  • Eyeshadow 101 Creme-to-Powder Eyeshadow Stick in Pearl Shimmer ($18 regular, $14.40 Maven), “Soft Cream Shimmer,”
  • CTRL + Z Eye Makeup Eraser ($10 regular, $8 Maven), which I’m hoping will help me clean up my eyeliner accidents (though it’s got mixed reviews on the website), and
  • Sixlets chocolate flavored candy, this month’s freebie. I’d never had them before, so that was fun to try, and the slightly different flavors for each color were kind of interesting!

This month’s quote:

“I am my own experiment. I am my own work of art” – Madonna

The promo code that came with this box is FREEMAY for a free polish with a $10 purchase at Julep’s website, expires 5/31/2017.

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Here’s a close-up on the Skip the Brush and Eyeshadow 101. I previously picked this up in Sheer Glow and loved it more the more I used it. I find myself frequently using it over other luminizers in my arsenal, so I thought I’d try it in a different shade. I’m not much of a blush person, but this one looks pretty natural, goes on sheer, and is buildable if you want more pigment. I prefer using this on my eyelids and lips more than on my cheeks – yay for multitasking products! Love the subtle touch of rose gold sparkle.

Oh, and I find it works better over bare skin or a BB cream (or similar cream-based product) and not as well with my mineral powder foundation.

Not much to say on the Pearl Shimmer eyeshadow. It’s a pale, shimmery, almost-white eyeshadow. 🙂 As with the other Eyeshadow 101s, I find a primer is necessary to keep it from smearing around.

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This is a close-up of the CTRL + Z Eye Makeup Eraser. It’s designed for removing eye makeup mistakes, and I thought I’d give it a shot, despite mixed reviews on the Julep website. Most of the complaints are that the tip is overly rough. I haven’t actually used it yet, but I’ll post an update when I’ve had a chance to try it out. (I currently use a Q-tip dipped in remover to clean up my cat eyes, and I’d love a more convenient solution!)

(EDIT 7/14/2017 – I’ve since tried CTRL + Z, and it’s awesome. Sharp cat eyes every time now, without wiping off and redrawing them a million times. 😀 The tip’s a bit scratchy, but I use a light hand, and it’s been fine on my sensitive skin.)

That’s it for this box! Still waiting on my Spring 2017 Pusheen Box to show up. I know folks who got their boxes ages ago, and mine hasn’t even shipped yet! Customer service says it was scheduled to ship this past week, but still nothing. :\

Anyway, happy Mothers’ Day to my fellow moms! Can’t tell you how awesome it is the first time you get a Mothers’ Day card from your own kid. ❤

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Julep April 2017 (Relax & Remix) Custom Maven Box unboxing (with promo code!)

Not quite as late this month posting my Julep Maven unboxing!

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This month’s quote: “Give me a sun lounger, a pool and a sea view, and I’m happy.” – Miranda Hart, an English actor and comedian that I wasn’t familiar with until I saw the monthly quote card. I’ve found most of the recent quotes a bit less than inspiring, but at least they have some educational value because I end up looking up the person quoted. :]

Anyway, my picks this month:

  • Feels Like Velvet Full-Coverage Eyeshadow Duo in Moonlight & Starlight ($20 regular, $16 Maven), “Lilac Grey Matte & White Sand Shimmer,” a previous release from last May,
  • Feels Like Velvet Full-Coverage Eyeshadow Duo in Cinnamon & Spice ($20 regular, $16 Maven), “Auburn Shimmer & Mushroom Shimmer,” new this month,
  • When Pencil Met Gel long-lasting eyeliner in Ultraviolet ($16 regular, $12.80 Maven), “Blue Violet Shimmer,” new this month, and
  • Brigitte ($14 regular, $11.20 Maven), “Bright White Crème” nail polish, which I think was released in April 2014 and is this month’s freebie. ❤

 

The promo code that came with this box is APRIL30 for 30% off a purchase at Julep’s website, expires 5/30/2017.

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Feels Like Velvet really is pretty comfortable to wear, and the colors are great, but so far, I’ve only tried applying them dry, both with and without primer, and they faded more quickly than I would have liked. Reviews on the site seem to say doing a wet application is the way to go, so I’ll have to give that a shot later on.

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Moonlight & Starlight is an matte-finish duo and looked subtle and creamy when I wore it. Again, though, maybe a wet application could amp it up a little. Work-appropriate for sure, and super fine/soft texture.

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Cinnamon & Spice has two shimmer colors and shows up more dramatically on my relatively fair skin but also seems pretty work-appropriate. It wasn’t overly sparkly when applied dry.

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The Ultraviolet eyeliner looks great on the pencil – a nice cool-leaning violet with blue flash – but on the lid, the blue flash didn’t really show up. Still a beautiful color with excellent application, but I was hoping for more blue shimmer!

I’ll give it another shot and see if I like it better next time. After all, the Sunset Gold color looked almost terracotta to me the first few times I wore it, but later on, the gold metallic shimmer finally made an appearance. No idea why it took a few applications to kick in, but it did, and now I love it!

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I haven’t tried Brigitte yet, but as I understand from reading various reviews, it’s a standard bright white creme polish, and some people have some issues with the application (pretty typical for bright white polishes, unfortunately). I’ll update the blog later when I’m able to give it a try.

I’m still well satisfied with the value and quality of the Julep Maven box. I just checked, and Julep’s new subscription options now include prepaying for 6 months and getting boxes for $16.66 each (whoa)! I’m still under the oldbie $19.99 month-to-month plan, but either way, it’s a pretty great deal for trying new products or stocking up on past favorites. If you’re interested in trying it and find my posts helpful, please consider using my referral link! (You can also use the code FREEFALL to score an extra set of 12 full-size Julep polishes ($168 value), if you’re a new Maven. :D)

Anyway, that’s it for now. I better get to bed so we can take ‘Fiend Jr. to an egg hunt tomorrow morning!

Julep March 2017 (Spring To It) Custom Maven Box (with promo code!)

Behind on posting, since I was down for the count with whatever slew of viruses ‘Fiend Jr. brought home from daycare the week before last. D: Anyway, here’s this month’s Julep Maven unboxing!

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This month’s quote: “Spring is when life’s alive in everything.” – Christina Rossetti, an English poet known for “Goblin Market.”

  • Skip the Brush creme-to-powder blush stick in Sheer Glow ($24 regular, $19.20 Maven), a multipurpose product that also works on eyes and lips,
  • When Pencil Met Gel long-lasting eyeliner in Clay ($16 regular, $12.80 Maven), a new color released last month,
  • When Pencil Met Gel long-lasting eyeliner in Fig Shimmer ($16 regular, $12.80 Maven), a new color this month, and
  • two One-Step Polish Remover Pads, this month’s freebie.

The promo code that came with this box is SPRING30 for 30% off a purchase at Julep’s website.

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Skip the Brush in Sheer Glow works great as a multipurpose highlighter. The finish is lightweight and comfortable. It does look subtly sparkly, which may not be for everyone, but I like it.

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I think I’ve said before that I enjoy the Julep eyeliners, so I keep picking up more colors. I haven’t tried the eyeliner in Clay yet, but Fig Shimmer is more purple and less burgundy than I was expecting from the marketing photos. Still a pretty color, though, and application is as smooth and long-wearing as usual.

And, tomorrow’s monthly selection time again. Looking forward to seeing what’s new!

Julep February 2017 (Cozy in Love) Custom Maven Box (with promo code!)

Late post, but no biggie, since it’s another custom with previous releases. This month’s box was a birthday gift to my mom, with some of my recent Julep favorites.

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This month’s quote: “Romance is the glamour which turns the dust of everyday life into a golden haze.” – Elinor Glyn, a British author who, according to Wikipedia, “specialised in romantic fiction that was considered scandalous for its time.” 🙂

  • No Excuses Invisible Sunscreen Gel ($28 regular, $22.40 Maven), which I previously talked about in September 2016 – I love it because it’s lightweight and dries smooth and matte;
  • Boost Your Radiance Reparative Rosehip Seed Facial Oil ($36 regular, $28.80 Maven), which I tried and enjoyed when it came out last month – I love the delicious bergamot scent, which always reminds me of Earl Grey tea; and
  • a sample of Love Your Bare Face Hydrating Cleansing Oil, this month’s freebie from Julep, which was unexpected but also a favorite Julep product of mine because it gently and easily removes makeup without stripping skin oils or irritating my sensitive skin.

The promo code that came with this box is POLISHLOVE for a free polish  with a $10+ purchase at Julep’s website.

I hope she likes them – sometimes it’s hard to tell!