Thursday, August 16, 2012

August 2012 Julep Maven American Beauty Mystery Box

Okay, so after I posted my Boho Glam mystery box, I did a little research to see what everyone else was getting.  It seemed like there was very little variation for each style box - for example, 95% of the Amercian Beauty boxes were the same, unless you got the $200 box; and a handful had a slightly different color selection but the same products.  The boxes were still available, so I decided to get two more mystery boxes because I knew I'd be happy even with the low value box.  

The first extra box I got was the American Beauty.  It paid off, I got the 3 colors I was hoping for! Pippa, Amy, and Natalie are all beautiful, and I got another one of the delicious vanilla mint lip balms, and travel size (1 oz) versions of the Glycolic Hand Scrub and the Age Defying Hand Brightener.
Julep's descriptions:

Pippa is an updated neutral camel creme, sure to upstage!

Amy is smoky, turquoise cream. 

Natalie is chic, retro honeysuckle pink.

So far I have just tried out Natalie.  Based on the fact that Natalie is only $11.20 and it was featured in the May 2011 US Weekly, it's an older polish; Julep was clearly trying to capitalize on the fact that Pantone named Honeysuckle the color of the year back in 2011. However (and my swatch below doesn't accurately capture this - see here for a more accurate swatch), Natalie is HELLA BRIGHT on the fingers, more like a neon honeysuckle pink.  It's really pretty, but definitely something I'd keep on my toes a lot longer than on my fingers.  My boss LOVES to comment on unprofessional nail polish ("Are your fingers...glittery?").  Heh.  

No formula issues; it's a two coater.
Pippa and Amy are $14 each, Natalie is $11.20, the lip balm is $6, and the hand products work out to $10.67 each (the full size is $32 for 3 oz), making this box worth $65.53.  I paid $19.99, which was totally worth it to me.  

I am excited to try out the hand products, since I am finding that all of the Julep stuff is pretty much amazing.  I have been following up the Pedi Prep with the Pedi Creme, and my feet feel almost as smooth as Adriana and Lucia's.  Okay, fine, not THAT smooth, but certainly the smoothest I've ever gotten outside of an actual pedicure.  I don't know what I'm going to do when I run out, because all of these fantastic products are NOT fantastically priced.  

Dearest Julep, would you please consider doing an all product mystery box?  That would be amazeballs.  

Anyway, one more box left to go.  I ordered it within an hour of ordering this one and it's still not here.  Think I could have lucked out with a $200 box (heavier box, longer to ship...)?  We will see!

You can enter my Julep Maven Intro Box giveaway here (longest giveaway ever), or sign up for the Julep Maven using my referral link here (use the promo code MAVENINTRO and get your first box for ONE PENNY).  

Friday, August 10, 2012

August 2012 Julep Maven Boho Glam Mystery Box

My mystery box came!  I knew as soon as I saw the box on my porch I wasn't going to be disappointed - it was a nice big one.  

I got The Best Pedi Prep Ever! ($20), a foot file ($6), toe separator thingies, and three polishes ($14 each).  Not as much as I thought would be in that big old box, but I'm happy.  I was super excited about the Pedi Prep, because I'm really enjoying my Pedi Creme, my feet are getting really calloused from running, and we are going to the beach soon.  Perfect timing!

From left to right in the pic below, I have Michelle, Blake, and Alyson.  I just wanted to do a quick swatch to see what the formula was like, hence the sloppy ass paint job.  Michelle was on the thick and goopy side, but it could be due to the fact that the box sat in the sun all day.  I had the same problem with a bunch of my June polishes, but they are all fine now.  I think my favorite is Alyson - I love how neutrals make your hands look so clean and polished.  I am definitely excited to wear Blake to the beach.  Given that Michelle appears to be a close dupe of OPI's Suzi Skis in the Pyrenees from the Spain Collection, I probably won't get much use out of it, but for $20 ($68 value), this box was a win!

You can enter my Julep Maven Intro Box giveaway here, or sign up for the Julep Maven using my referral link here.  Also, the mystery boxes appear to still be up, you get get one here (not gonna lie, I'm seriously considering getting another one).

Did you get a mystery box?  What did you get???

Summer 2012 Day in the Life

If you are reading this post, that means I FINALLY actually completed a Day in the Life project!!!! WHOOOOOOOOOOOOO, go me!  I have tried to do this at least 3 other times, and then I take 11 jillion pictures and get really overwhelmed when it comes time to blogging about it.  This time, I decided to exclusively do iPhone pics, and to pick a day where I am at work so it's not like there is a ton going on anyway.  It's not glamorous, but it IS what I do five days a week.  Also, I totally look like crap today, so sorry about that. 

This was originated by that other Laura over at Navigating the Mothership.  I adore her posts, go stalk her archives if you have some time.  Or, stalk later, pick up your camera, and join us!

Some time in the early 6's:  I wake up on the couch.  Shit!  I must have fallen asleep watching Big Brother shortly after making Justin stay up to watch it with me.  He was probably so annoyed that he just left me here.  My right wrist, shoulder, and knee are NOT HAPPY.  

6:23: Justin is up and in the shower, and I can hear Lucia banging around her crib.  I sigh, haul myself off the couch, and go make a bottle (last week of formula EVERRRRRRRRRR!!!).  I hand it to Lucy, plug in my iPhone (completely dead), and head back downstairs to pick out some kiddo outfits for the day.  Have we discussed the fact that I almost exclusively dress the girls in matching outfits?  Weird, I know.  My friend Kim recently visited, and she just kept saying "But...why?  They are two different people!"  Whatever, Adriana likes it.  
Genuine kids from Target, I believe
6:30: Justin is grabbing Lucy (the pic is blurry because the lights were off) so I am stuck with crabbypants McGoo.  Look at her, all hiding under the blankets like a tiny teenager.  I snap a picture, and she makes us laugh by yelling "It's TOO SUNNY, Mama!"  (meaning the camera flash, not the actual sun).  
I tentatively promise to not wake you up when you are an ACTUAL teenager, as I will be sleeping too.
6:40: Adriana and I get dressed, brush our teeth, and go through the morning potty ritual.  She will be 3 in October, but she still sometimes fights us on peeing (mostly when she's tired), and ALWAYS fights on pooping.  She asks for a diaper when she has to poop.  Someone please tell me that this will end soon?
She was skeptical at first, but I told her we were having cake tonight and she perked right up.
6:50: Kids and hubs are out the door.  I give Lucy extra kissies since I didn't get to spend any time with her this morning.  I am allowed to turn her car seat around next week, but she seems fine facing backwards so I guess we are going to leave it?

1000 yard stare
6:50-7:30: Couch to 10K time.  I am on week 4, day 2 and it's a rough one thanks to the night on the couch.  I am fantasizing about only doing half the workout from the very first step.  I don't see how I am ever going to do the 5.5 miles at the relay.  Then I remember that the girls are spending the night at my parents' house, so if I power through today, I can sleep in tomorrow (and still have time to do hair and makeup like an actual grownup).  
Crabgrass is the devil.  Pulled some during my cool down but it's still a losing battle.
7:30-8:10: I pack up clothes for the girls and watch a few minutes of Big Brother while I wait to stop sweating and for my face to calm down.  I give up and hop in the shower.  My face is still bright red when I pull into the parking lot (I work 3 minutes from home), but I slap on some makeup in my car before heading in.  It's always a gamble not waiting for the red to go away, since it's hard to tell if I have too much or too little foundation.  But I'm wearing a weird outfit (teacherish skirt and too thin maternity t-shirt)(not pregnant) and my hair is wet, so it's not like my face is what is keeping me from looking awesome.  
Don't ever say I never posed topless for you. 
8:15: The plan was to toss my bags down and go get breakfast (we have a cafe in our building).  I got as far as tossing my bags down before getting sucked into a million emails.  That all came through AFTER I left work near 8pm the night before.  Sigh.  
I like black bags and I cannot lie.
9:00-9:45: Meeting with about 15 members of management.  It's every Monday and Thursday morning, yet I manage to regularly forget this and come into work looking like a slob on those days at least twice a month. Oops.  
I buy my own fancy notebooks and pens.  Our office supplies are crap.
9:45-12:00: Blah blah blah work stuff blah.  We are trying to settle one case and we just got an important opinion and order in another, so I was super busy in my cube, surrounded by binders and daycare art. 
Does anyone else think daycare art is super creepy?
12:00-12:30: Picked up Panera and waited around for my brow appointment.  The salon had OPI's Germany Collection, which I hadn't seen yet.  It's pretty meh - I think "Berlin There Done That" pretty much says it all.  They also had "Nundies", which, um NO.  
Then again, maybe the mustard yellow OPI is calling my name.
12:30-1:00: Back to the office, where my newly separated brows and I enjoyed lunch.
Do you guys fill in your brows?  YouTube is making me think I need to do this. 
1:00-5:00: Blah blah work stuff blah.  I'm on a conference call from 3-4:30, so I paint my nails.

Sienna from the August 2012 Julep Maven Box.  LOVE!
5:00-6:00: I stop at home to switch out the teacher skirt for some jeans and to check the mail before heading to my parents' for my SIL's birthday dinner.  I have two packages, some Steven by Steve Madden shoes I bought off Hautelook, and a bathing suit from the Loft (now sold out).  The bathing suit is a size smaller than I normally wear, but it was a great deal and reviews said they run big so I gambled.  I think it's going to work!  We go on vacation in a couple of weeks, and I wanted something that will fully cover my jiggly bits. 
Have we established that I wear a lot of black and white?
6:00-7:00: Dinner time!  My amazing mom cooks everyone's favorite dinner on their birthday.  She also whips up fancy dinners like this on, say, a tuesday.  She is a supermom.  My dad, who is equally super, was on meat duty.  Sorry the lighting is crazy in all of these pics, my parents have giant windows in every direction.  

Seriously.  Superparents.
Nom nom nom
7:00-8:30: General family togetherness; getting the girls ready for bed (they spent the night).  In case you can't tell from the pictures, I'm with my parents, my brother Nick, SIL Kathleen, nephew Colin, brother John, SIL Val (birthday girl), Justin, Adriana, and Lucia. John and Val are the ones in the table pic above; Nick has a hat, Kathleen has lighter hair and is wearing her glasses today (she doesn't normally).  

It's not a family gathering until someone gets hurt.
I always think it's cute watching my brothers play with the girls.
Not pictured: John playing pirate ship with Adriana and Colin.  The pics turned out crappy but it was hilarious to watch.
8:30-10:00: Drive home and watch Big Brother with Justin.  It was nice to cuddle on the couch sans kids since we don't get to spend a lot of time together at family gatherings (we tend to each take a kid).  My all time favorite player in the history of BB got evicted, boooo!  I may or may not have ended the night falling asleep on the couch AGAIN while watching Bachelor Pad.  


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

August 2012 Julep Maven Mystery Box

This is just a quick heads up for anyone who didn't get the email...Julep is doing a mystery box again in August (see June's here).  This one is a bit different than the last one in that the boxes are already $19.99 (you don't have to use a promo code) and you actually choose the style of the mystery box (there are 5 mystery boxes in honor of Julep's one year anniversary).

To an overthinker like me, this is MADDENING.  Do I get the American Beauty box, because I love that style?  Do I get a different one, because I probably already have a lot of the AB polishes? Can I rule out It Girl because it will be all polish and no product? Am I decreasing my odds of getting one of the $200 boxes by limiting myself to one style?  GAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH

I think I'm going with Boho Glam.  Much like whatever line I choose at the grocery store, this will be the wrong choice. 

You can enter my Julep Maven Intro Box giveaway here, or sign up for the Julep Maven using my referral link here.  Sorry to everyone who has already done these things, this is for the googlers.  

Friday, August 3, 2012

Julep Maven Intro Box Review and Giveaway

This box was sent to me as part of the Julep VIP Blogger program, in which a blogger is sent a box for review and a reader can win one in a giveaway.  See below for giveaway details.  

Any of you who have been reading for the past few months are well aware that I have a slight obsession with beauty subscription services in general, and with Julep Maven in particular.  I was a nail polish hoarder long before I got into makeup.  I have been known to identify the specific brand and name of nail polish one is wearing from across the room.  It's pretty much my only party trick, since I could never master the cherry stem thing.  So, as you can imagine, any service that sends nail polish to me on the regular is okay by me.  

Here are the things I love most about Julep Maven:

  • The colors are definitely on trend.  I have yet to see a month where Julep hasn't hit the nail on the head.  Since I have been a subscriber, we have had bright colors for June, glitters  and matching lip glosses to nails for July, and metallics for August.  
  • The program is so well done it's ridiculous.  You take a quiz and get assigned a style, but if you don't like your style that month, you can switch.  Or you can skip.  Or you can send it to a friend.  I love the flexibility.  
  • You can add on up to three items to your box at a hugely discounted rate ($4.99!)  
  • They have fun mystery boxes.
  • They might surprise you with a golden box.
  • I love getting mail.  
  • They have great packaging - not once have I gotten a broken polish, and if I did, I know Julep would fix it because...
  • They have the best customer service out of any box I subscribe to, hands down.  Some of the brushes were wonky?  They sent two free ones to everyone in the next box.  They accidentially mislabeled some of the nail polishes in a photo shoot?  They sent everyone who ordered either color both.  
  • They have been offering penny boxes for months, with no further obligation.  You can cancel any time!  I suspect that most people, like me, sign up with the intent of spending a penny and then cancelling, but they don't because it's such a great service.  If you want to sign up using the penny code, it's MAVENINTRO.  
  • They have an amazing referral program.  If you want to use my referral link to sign up, click here.  For every two Mavens I refer I get a free box, up to two years.  And you can do this too, after you are a Maven!  It's pretty awesome, thank you again to everyone who has subscribed using my link.   
So what is in the Julep Maven Intro box?  Two polishes and The Best Pedi Creme Ever! if you choose American Beauty, Boho Glam, Bombshell, or Classic With A Twist, or three polishes if you choose It Girl.  They change the intro boxes every few months, so the ones I linked to are actually a bit different than what was offered when I picked my box to review, and those were different from the ones when I first signed up.  But I think the ones I linked to are the ones you will get to pick from if you win the giveaway.  

UPDATE: Above links only worked for Mavens (duh), so I removed them and added the screenshot below.  The correct link is here

I chose the American Beauty box; my version had the pedi creme, toe separator thingies, Renee, and Eva. 

Julep says: The Best Pedi Creme Ever! Exfoliates with alpha hydroxy acids, hydrates with shea butter and coconut oil, nourishes with vitamin E. Apply nightly for noticeable results in just 1 to 2 uses.

Laura says: Dang, my feet are gross from running!  I see results after just a few days of use, but I will spare you all my crusty foot pictures.  I wish it was a bigger bottle (2 fl oz) because I think I'm going to love it and it might be too expensive to purchase on it's own ($22).  Fingers crossed that I get more in the next mystery box.  Wait...I'm an idiot!  I could buy an intro box for $19.99 and get two more polishes with it!  I always forget you can do that because the option to buy an intro box or the last few month's boxes aren't there unless you are signed in to your account (it's for Mavens only).  Woohoo!

Julep says: Renee is a spring lilac creme.  Surprisingly ladylike.

Laura says: Renee is definitely lilac, but there's a touch of gray in there too.  The formula is a bit thick, but not in an overly goopy bad way.  It's actually thick in a "hey, I could do just one coat if I wanted to" kind of way.  I did two, because that's how I roll.  I know from past experience that these thicker Julep formulas are the least likely to chip, even without a topcoat, which is awesome considering that with two children, I find myself quickly painting my nails at my desk more often than not.  This pic from Julep's blog is cute and more accurate than mine.  

Grr, not photographing true to life.  
Julep says: Eva is a juicy raspberry creme.  The right balance of sophisticated and whimsy.

Laura says: Crap!  Renee is so pretty that I repainted it instead of testing out Eva!  But it looks really pretty in the bottle.  I read on the internets that it takes 2-3 coats and there aren't any formula problems.  I opened it and it's a little thinner than Renee so that sounds about right to me.   


The face on the left is what she does every time I ask her to smile.
You can get up to six entries to win your very own Intro Box below.  Julep ships to the U.S. and Canada.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Birthday Party Update

Executive decisions have been made, I reserved this shelter in the park for a date in between both girls' birthdays:

It doesn't look like much, but it's by a pretty pond with lots of ducks, so I know Adriana will like it.  I plan to order food by someone who is not me, have one big sheet cake (or maybe some fancy cupcakes...yeah, probably that) and then a little smash cake for each of them.  I know you don't really do smash cakes for 3 year olds, but that way they each get their own cake to fail at blowing out the candles on.  I prefer my piece to be slobber free.  

Our families are so big that I really have no desire to do this twice, especially if I have to invite every last person on all four sides.  I figure we will have enough room that no one will want to kill each other, and if they do, they can hide the body in the woods before I am any the wiser.  And there's lots of room for cornhole, which apparently people who aren't from Ohio do not play?  Or has it finally gotten big enough that you aren't like "cornWHAT" when I say that? 

I am planning on hiring a photographer because that was a big regret from Adriana's first birthday, so some of the savings will go to that.  And since it's not going to be until September, I might even be able to redeem some of my slackerhood with some pinterest decorations.  But don't hold your breath on that one.  Especially since the party is the day after we drive back from Hilton Head (omg).  

But anyway, I now have a plan.  So that is exciting.  

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

First Books and Other Internet Distractions

Shalini posted this fun First Books questionnaire, which Jessica and Erin have since responded to.  I was a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge reader when I was young - I was that kid who would bring a book to the playground and sit and read while everyone else was making friends.  I'd also read through meals, baths, family gatherings...pretty much if I was awake, I was reading.  

Amusing Christoper Pike story before getting to it:

Erin mentioned in her responses that she read Christopher Pike when she was younger, which led to a fun little trip down memory lane with a number of my twitter friends.  Monster!  Last Act!  Midnight Club! Remember Me! (I love you guys so much!!!)  

I did some googling to see what Mr. Pike has been up to since I last went and got "caught up" on my Pike library in 2005 or so.  [Shut up, it is PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE that I still own and love Christopher Pike!  He is SO MUCH BETTER than R.L.Stine!]  I started reading the reviews of the Secret of Ka, because I assumed his audience was a bunch of other childhood fans who bought the book in a fit of nostalgia.  The most popular negative review had 118 comments, so of course I had to see what that was all about and I instantly got sucked into the thread.  

You guys, Christopher Pike was supposedly pretending to be his editor and addressing comments and posting fake reviews praising his books.  I think this whole story is freaking HILARIOUS, whether it is true or not.  [Please don't let it be true.  He was my IDOL.]

Anyway, I was a huge Christopher Pike fan, and apparently still am, as evidenced by the fact that I bought the book anyway and will now be stalking the mailman in the same manner I stalked Waldenbooks clerks many years ago.  

First Book I Loved

The Boxcar Children.  John (little brother) and I used to CONSTANTLY pretend we were running away, possibly due to this book.  I could probably even still tell you what everyone's colors were (Henry - Green, Jessie - Blue?, Violet - Purple, Benny - Red).  Yeah.   

First Book I Hated

I can't really remember HATING books.  There was one horror book I read in about 6th grade where the murderer turned out to be the narrator, who was trying to solve the murder?  It made no fucking sense and I was really mad when it was done.  I can't remember who wrote it or what it was about other than that, but I think it had a school bus on the cover.  Anyone?

First Series I Read

Probably also the Boxcar Children?  I read a ton of them, but the first was always my favorite.  If it wasn't BC, it was Babysitters Club.  Which I also still own a ton of.  I bought a lot off ebay a few years back "for Adriana" but it was really for the trip down memory lane.  HEH.  

First Fantasy / Sci-Fi Book I Read

A Wrinkle In Time.  Does that count? I loooooooooooved this book, read it a million times.  I read the other three in the series in college; love the one that was set in biblical times as well.  Many waters?  Is that the right one?  

First Book That Made Me Cry From Laughing

This one is hard...I read a lot of Vonnegut in high school, was greatly amused by the asshole drawings and whatnot, but I can't think of my first "cry from laughing" sort of funny.  This is a terrible answer, I will update later when I think of something better.  

First YA Book I Read and Loved

Christopher Pike was definitely my gateway to the YA world.  My first through third grade BFF's older sister had a copy of Weekend sitting around; I started reading it one day when I was over there and never gave it back.  I think I was in second grade.  I distinctly recall asking my mom what an orgy was and she almost wrecked the car.  I was still allowed to read Christopher Pikes after that, beginning my long love affair with him.  

The first YA book I read and loved as an adult was The Giver.  

First Horror Book I Read

See above re: Weekend.  But I don't know if that one is strictly horror...Monster is a much better horror novel of his.  That one came out when I was older, like 6th or 7th grade.

I think I was a bit younger when I read all of the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books, and I was probably in about 4th or 5th grade when I started reading Stephen King.  I think I read Misery or Cujo first.  

First Book I Was Completely Obsessed With

Probably Anastasia Krupnik or Harriet the Spy.  Nerdy girls with notebooks.  Who could have possibly guessed?