Sunday, August 17, 2014

Julep Secret Store (August 2014) and 100 Degrees of Mystery

Julep's secret store is open to Mavens only for the first few days of each month, and offers some incredible deals.  Usually non-Mavens can access the store through some hard-to-find links up until around the fifth or sixth of the month.

I'm not currently a Maven because although I LOVE Julep, I'm not always crazy about the limited choices that are offered with each different Maven set.  So getting access when I can to the secret store is always a treat.

My favorite item that Julep has is the Glycolic Hand Scrub with natural apricot seeds.  This radical treatment for your hands and body whisks away dirt and oil and reveals noticeably softer and younger looking skin after just one use.  Plus its fresh floral scent provides a little boost.

It does just what it promises.  I use it at least once a day as a cleanser for my hands, and they just feel so fresh afterwards.  I hope Julep never stops making this because there is nothing else like it on the market.  The bottle just isn't big enough, and is a little pricey ($23), but during the secret sell I received both a full-size (3oz) and a travel-size (1oz) for only $17.99.

In addition, Julep's 100 Degrees of Mystery box has been on sale for $24.99.  As a special add-on at checkout they had a smaller version for only $9.99.  I was intrigued by the box so I added that as well.  Unfortunately, I was not terribly pleased at the selection I was sent.

Included in the set were Alma, a Trina Turk Fall '12 dijon mustard yellow crème, Fiore, an Espresso brown crème, and Nan, a Nantucket red crème.  None of these are colors that I would ever wish to wear.  I have contacted Julep to see if I can return them for credit in the amount I paid.  As of yet, I have not heard back.

Sometimes I suppose, mysteries do not need to be solved.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Beauty Box 5 (August 2014)

Ugh... I'm not gonna sugar-coat it.  I'm pretty disappointed in this month's Beauty Box 5, and that's hard for me to say because BB5 has been without a doubt my favorite subscription sample box.  So much in fact, when my finances are less than stellar, it's the only one I keep.

Each Beauty Box 5 comes with a handy card detailing each product they have included this month.

1)  Nanacoco Lip Gloss in First Kiss - "Your lips deserve a rush of color and shine with no stickiness attached.!  We adore Nanacoco's gloss because it's packed full of pigments and vitamin E to keep your sassy pout poppin' and nourished at the same time."  There is no chance I can pull off this dark fuchsia color so it will be going in the swap pile.  I wish they could somehow personalize the colors received because a nice neutral would've made a great addition to my collection.

2)  Style Essentials Nail Polish - "Bored with plain polish?  Wave hello to shiny, exciting nail!  This lavish lacquer adds a pretty dash of color and fun finish to your digits, and the easy-to-apply brush makes switching to a new hue simple."  This is a blue and white confetti polish and has no name to describe the color.  I'm sorry, but I'm 35 years old.  I like trying new fun looks.  It's just that confetti is pushing the age-appropriateness line.

3)  Pur~lisse Pur-protect SPF 30 - "This lightweight moisturizer has the perfect amount of SPF to protect your pretty face and won't upset sensitive complexions."  SNORE!  Every box this summer has contained Pur~lisse.  I couldn't be more sick of seeing these show up.

4)  La Fresh Travel Lite Facial Cleansing Wipes - "Since they condition with vitamin E, aloe and cucumber, they're gentle enough for all skin types and calm your complexion in a snap."  No way I'm fitting anything else in my purse, so I guess these will be going in the restroom.

5)  ROUX Anti-Aging Hair Serum - "This leave-in elixir of vitamins A and E, biotin, keratin, and UV filters is straight TLC for your tresses!  It strengthens your locks to make them look younger while adding moisture and brightness for a fortified finish."  This is the only product that I'm looking forward to trying.  Unfortunately it will have to wait until after my hair project blog has been completed.  Look for a review of ROUX in a future random products review post.  Luckily for me, not only is this a better hair care product than those who received similar boxes as me, it is also worth the box price so at least I got my money's worth.

Needless to say, I'm not exactly thrilled with this BB5, especially since I gave up Birchbox this month.  My expectations are very high for September.

Birchbox (July 2014) + Points Purchase

I'm not even going to rehash the boxes within boxes thing. :-)

Birchbox paired with Women's Health Magazine this month to curate our kits.  Here's mine:

1)  Whish Shaving Cream in Acai Grapefruit - A shea butter-packed shaving cream in a pick-me-up grapefruit scent.  It smells lovely, but I won't be trying it because... I dry shave.  DON'T JUDGE ME! :-)

2)  Coastal Scents Revealed 2 Eye Shadow Palette - From the just-launched palette, these matte and shimmery shades will have you tickled pink.  Except that mine weren't pink.  I had a dark matte brown, a medium shimmery brown, a different shimmery brown, and a light shimmery tan. I typically wear purples because I have hazel eyes, but these were very pretty colors.  Just a little extra... shimmery. 

3)  Real Chemistry Luminous 3-Minute Peel - This acid-free peel gently exfoliates for instantly softer, smoother, and brighter skin.  I was pretty impressed.  First I was nervous because my skin is so sensitive.  But I used it, and was shocked at how much dry skin, dead cells, just rubbed right off.

4)  Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream - Anti-aging multi-tasker that conquers wrinkles and dark circles at the first signs of aging.  I didn't dislike this eye cream.  I just wasn't wowed by it.  In a market as saturated in great products as the eye cream market is, you kinda need that WOW factor.

5)  100% Pure Gingerade Shower Gel - All-natural, richly foaming cleanser with aloe to hydrate and green tea to nourish skin.  I didn't care much for this shower gel.  The smell was delicious, but it didn't foam up well, and it did not leave my skin feeling moisturized like some of my favorites do.  It also took both sample packets to leave me with this still unfulfilling shower experience.

EXTRA!  Included in this box was a 12-month subscription to Women's Health Magazine.  If you are not interested in the magazine, you can fill it out and mail the card in for a refund of the $9.99 subscription fee.  Even though you didn't even pay for it!  Basically you're getting the $10 Birchbox subscription fee for the month back, making this Birchbox FREE!

With my Birchbox Points, I was also able to purchase a $20 Deborah Lippmann nail polish called Million Dollar Mermaid.  It's a creamy orange shade is made with chip-resistant ingredients and punchy tangerine glitter.  I absolutely love it.  The quality of the polish itself is sublime, and the color is beautiful for any occasion.  I will definitely be getting more Deborah Lippmann nail polishes, most likely for free with my lovely Birchbox Points.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Nail Art Society (July 2014)

My letter this month read:


"Your July 2014 kit is here! We have curated the #neonpop kit with Sally Hansen to give your nails a bold pop of color.  You'll find fun nail art essentials and some Scotch tape to make this nail art look a breeze.

"The NAS Team"

There was a handy card included in the kit, explaining all of the products they chose this month.  Once again they kept the theme consistent throughout the box.

The kit's "Essential" was Sally Hansen's polish "White Out".  It only took two coats to get a nice solid layer of polish.

The "Colors," two summer brights to give your nails a pop of color were from Sally Hansen's I Heart Nail Art collection.  One was an iridescent yellow named Sunny and the other was a magenta sparkle called Intense.  Both colors took three coats to get a solid layer.

There were also two Sally Hansen's I Heart Nail Art collection pens in yellow and black.

The Bonus Gift was Scotch gift wrap tape that is "perfect for DIY nail art.  I have no idea how to apply this for the purpose of nail art, but hey, who can't use Scotch tape?

Not listed, but in the box was a great I Heart Nail Art file.  I really like these kind of files and they have appeared in both of the kits I have received so far.  I had my doubts about Nail Art Society, but they are really becoming one of my favorite boxes.

Trying out these products was amusing, despite my enthusiasm.  Both of my hands are super shaky, and my left hand... well that's pretty much worthless.  The photo on the left is my left hand, which I decorated myself.  Fun, but certainly not the quality I would love to be able to create.  I quickly became more impressed with my own work once I saw what my husband did with my right hand.  So funny!  It wasn't terrible.  What was most hilarious was his attempt to duplicate the flower on my left thumb.  As it became apparent there was no possibility it would even resemble a flower, we went all Bob Ross and decided it would just have to be a happy little tree!

I will be re-subscribing to the Nail Art Society as soon as my, uh, financial situation improves.  Look for my July Birchbox review to come sooner, hopefully, than later.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Nail Art Society (June 2014)

My letter this month read:


"Your June 2014 kit is here!  We have curated the #pediproper pedicure kit to give your toes the love they deserve.  We've included a mini Ciate polish, a pedicure set, plus a special product to help keep your skin hydrated this season.  We hope your feet enjoy!

"The NAS Team"

Unfortunately, I did not receive the BONUS GIFT, which I assume is the "special product to help keep your skin hydrated this season."  I have contacted Nail Art Society but have yet to receive a response.

There was a handy card included in the kit, explaining all of the products they chose this month.  I really like that they kept the pedi theme consistent throughout the kit.

Each kit came with one of five Ciate polish minis.  I'm not sure the name of the name of this particular color.  It's not labeled.

Included as an accessory to the polish is an exclusive NAS glitter pot for a sparkling accent nail.  I painted all of my toenails with the polish except for the toes next to my big toes (sorry I don't know the proper terminology for toes).  I painted that toe a lovely shade of bright green from the Julep collection called "Tatum".   Then I put the glitter on my big toe and sealed the glitter on with several layers of clear coat.  I think they came out pretty cute, but the glitter was absolutely EVERYWHERE.  There was quite a bit of cleanup involved.

The pedi set was pretty thorough.  All the tools you need for a perfect pedicure.

I'm likely to not get the not get the names of these items correct, but here goes:  Toe separaters, a file, a buffer square, nail clippers, umm, a stick with rubber thing at the end, and err, a wooden stick that I assume is for cuticles, and uhh, a brushy thingy, which I have no idea what to do with.

I'm pretty pleased with this kit, even though I don't know what some of this stuff is, and despite not receiving the bonus gift.  I always enjoy giving myself a pedicure.  And I think this one is a great accent for the outfit I'm wearing to my dad's wedding this weekend.

I'm a little late with this post.  Obviously.  But I had recently been treated to a deluxe salon pedicure by my mother.  And whatever they used on my toes DID. NOT. WANT. TO. COME. OFF.  Really, it took me like, ten days to (almost) fully remove the blue polish.  I should be posting July's review within the next week or so.

Until then, keep them toesies happy!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Freebies & Samples I Got in the Mail (July 2014)

Ouidad Climate Control Defrizzing Shampoo, (2) Climate Control Defrizzing Conditioner, Curl Quencher Moisturizing Shampoo, and Curl Quencher Moisturizing Conditioner
This promotion has ended (for the time being).

Once again with Ouidad, right place, right time.  Ouidad was offering free shipping and five samples with ANY purchase AGAIN.  I LOVE THESE GUYS.  I was able to find a trial-sized (2.5oz) version of their Curl Co-Wash for only $8, and received generous 0.6oz samples of items I listed above, though I could've chosen from almost any of their amazing products.  Ouidad is really making my July "straight-to-curly" project too easy!

WEI Royal Ming Firming and Hydrating Cream
No promotion available.

Sorry to keep "tricking" you into thinking everything are freebies.  Problem is, a lot of the freebies I list on my page, Contests, Giveaways and Freebies, have ended by the time I get them in the mail to add to this post.  Make sure you check out that page frequently so you don't miss out!

Others I get free with purchase.  I'm always on the hunt for a deal, especially when the offer includes freebies.

This particular freebie was a surprise.  I'd been dying to try Origins' "Starting Over" face cream without buying the $35+ full-sized version, which is the only one they offer on their website.  I found a 0.17oz sample for less than $2 on eBay, and surprise!  They included the WEI product.

MURAD Acne Clearing Solution
Promotion has ended.

Somehow or other, I ended up being lucky enough to get two of these.  I received a total of 6 packets at 0.045oz each.

Fortunately for me, I do not have acne, so these will go in the swap pile.

LIPTON Iced Tea K-Cup Packs

Watch a short video, fill out your information, and you will receive:

*  Full-sized LIPTON Classic Unsweetened Ice Tea K-Cup
*  Full-sized LIPTON Iced Tea Lemonade
*  $1.00 coupon towards any LIPTON K-Cup pack product

P&G Product Sample Pack

Take a short survey about yourself.  This particular package included:

*  OLAY unscented body wash (1.7oz)
*  HERBAL ESSENCES Body Burst Body Wash (1.2oz)
*  PRILOSEC OTC heartburn relief (2 tablets)

GARNIER Clean Balancing Daily Exfoliator

Included: 0.16oz sample packet

OLAY Regenerist Advanced Anti-Aging Moisturizer
Promotion has ended.

*  Micro-Sculpting Cream (0.02oz)
*  $3.00 coupon towards any full-sized OLAY Regenerist Facial Moisturizer or Facial Cleanser

NIVEA Lotion Samples NIVEAusa/app_672169342845579

Once again, somehow I got lucky enough to get both samples.

*  NIVEA Extended Moisture Body Lotion (0.14oz)
*  NIVEA Smooth Sensation Body Lotion (0.14oz)
*  (2)  $1.00 coupons off any NIVEA body lotion or crème

SUAVE PROFESSIONALS Natural Infusion Samples
Promotion has ended.

*  Anti-Breakage Shampoo (0.28oz)
*  Anti-Breakage Conditioner (0.28oz)
*  Strengthening Light Leave-In Cream (0.28oz)
*  $1.00 coupon towards any SUAVE PROFESSIONALS Natural Infusion product.

DeFEET RUN DV8 Lite Low Socks
No promotion available.

I honestly have no idea how I got these.  But I sign up for so much stuff every month, sometimes there's just no way to keep up with everything.

These socks are purpose-built for runners.  The performance and durability runners get from these socks results from the highest-grade fibers assembled with DeFeet craftsmanship.