Sunday, February 23, 2014

Blog Sale at Store Envy!

I'm reopening my blog sale, but doing it on Store Envy this time. I'm working on adding products (500+), but you can begin to access it here:

Normal Girl Nails @ StoreEnvy

Thanks so much!! <3

Monday, September 24, 2012

Not quite back... but a Blog Sale!

Hi all!  Is anyone still out there?!?!  I know, tomorrow will be a year since I've posted.  *sigh*  I plan to come back when life settles down a bit, but until then, how about helping me unload over 400 unloved polishes??

Yeah, you read that right.  Over 400.  Eeeep!  Just because I haven't posted doesn't mean I haven't been buying!  But, as most of us polish collectors have found, my tastes have changed over the years and I have many things just sitting and taking up precious space that I desperately need if I'm going to stay in the 4 melmers I have limited myself to!

As there are so many polishes, I don't currently have pics, but I will take them upon request.

I have a cat and though I don't polish her nails, her hair tends to get into everything.  If a few cat hairs in your package bother you, this probably isn't the blog sale you're looking for.  ;)

All polishes are either swatched or used for 1 mani, unless otherwise noted.

Prices are somewhat negotiable, but please, no low-balling.  My drugstore polishes are priced pretty low as-is.

Payment is by Paypal ONLY.  I would prefer a gift, but will invoice (including fees - 2.9% + $.30) upon request.  I have feedback on MUA here and eBay here.

US shipping - $3 for the first, $.50 additional until we get to $5, then we'll look at Priority options.  Will include Delivery Confirmation.


International shipping - actual shipping costs plus $1 for shipping/packing materials.  At your own risk, as there will be no tracking.

Contact me at normalgirlnails@gmail.com with sales or questions!

Here are a few of the polishes you'll find in the sale!

All That Glitters - Plum and Plummer - $8
   SOLD
All That Glitters - Valentine Massacre - $8
   SOLD
All That Glitters - Vinyl Junkie - $8
   SOLD
Candeo Colors - Orchid - $9  
SOLD 
Dollish Polish - Fat Guy in a Little Coat - $8  
SOLD 
Dollish Polish - Material Girl - $8  SOLD
Dollish Polish - Puttin' on the Ritz - $8
Dollish Polish - Random Dancing - $8 - slightly tinted base, glitter still vibrant
Dollish Polish - Team Salvatore - $8 - original square bottle - slightly tinted base, glitter still vibrant  SOLD
Dollish Polish - Zombie Flesh - $8 - some evaporation, 85-90% full
   SOLD
Happy Hands - Flowers on the Highway - $8
Lush Lacquer - Slime Time - $7
   SOLD
OPI - Absolutely Alice - $18 - 2 available - AUTHENTIC!  Found at my local grocery store!
OPI - Mad as a Hatter - $35 - 2 available - AUTHENTIC!  Found at my local grocery store!
Nail Pattern Boldness - Le Big Party - $8
Nail Venturous Lacquers - Toxic - $45 OBO - swatched once
Nerd Lacquer - Antisocial Media - $45 OBO - swatched once  SOLD
Nerd Lacquer - Selfish Green - $50 OBO - swatched once  SOLD
Nerd Lacquer - Webinarmy - $45 OBO - 1 mani  SOLD


And many, MANY more here!

Thanks for looking and I hope to see ya'll soon!  :)


Sunday, September 25, 2011

A few updates!

Hi all -
I know most of you follow through Google Reader, so you probably haven't noticed the few little updates to my site.  In the sidebar, I'm now linking to my Spreadsheet, Wishlist, and Swaplist (though that one is still a work-in-progress).  My Spreadsheet hasn't been updated since late July (yikes!!), but feel free to browse and if you see something you want swatched, either leave me a comment or hit the Contact Me button.  Sometimes I'm not sure what to try next - the current thing you are seeing everywhere or something totally different?  Let me know what you want to see!

Also, I'm trying to get into Twitter.  I just don't get it though.  I mean, I do... but how the heck do you keep up with everyone?  I'm only following 22 people, but I can't keep up!  Suggestions?

I don't have a Facebook account, but I'm trying out Google+ to see how that goes.  You can add me by email I think... it's threnodynx @ gmail . com.

While I've always been a big fan of technology and being social on the web, for some reason I am really struggling with all this social media!  I hated MySpace (only had one because a friend made me, I deleted it 2 years ago), I don't like Facebook (I'm a boss - I don't want my employees to know all about my personal life, mmmkay?), and Twitter is just like WTFBBQ?!!>?! when I start looking at my stream.  However, it's important in this day in age to be visible on something, ya know?  Email just isn't enough!  *shakes head*

It's been especially different since the whole MUA Nail Board split thing.  I think I moved to the new one.  I say think because I don't really feel like I'm a part of either community now.  I don't lurk on the new one as much as I did on MUA, but I also haven't developed that close bond that so many others have.  I'm leading a Lynnderella group order though, so maybe that will help?  I haven't posted on MUA since the split, and I haven't even read the board in a few days.  Trolls galore and the community has just changed.  A lot of lovely ladies I have gotten to know are not posting on either board, and I think that is part of the problem for me.  I can't keep up with all the different subforums on the new one, but I don't like MUA anymore.  *sigh*  So now I need some kinda social media to stay connected.  *grumbles*

My blog turned a year old Labor Day weekend, and I also hit 100 followers the week before.  Plus I turned 30 two weeks before that.  I promise, I am going to do something to commemorate such a special occasion, I just haven't gotten to it yet.  What would you guys like to see in a giveaway?  BN or swatched once?  HTF or LE seasonal collections?  I have access to Meijer, which usually gets LE drugstore collections when they are HTF throughout the rest of the country.  Frankening supplies?  Makeup?  I'm actually quite makeup-addicted, though I don't feature it on this site.  I have A LOT to learn about applying it, so don't worry, you won't be seeing it here.  Foreign polishes?  I would appreciate any feedback you might have.  I'm always broke, so I want my one year giveaway to be something special - there won't be another one for a long time!  :D

I want to say THANK YOU to all my followers - it means so much to see your little pictures in my sidebar.  I especially want to thank those early supporters who inspired me to keep going - Jaybird, Kris in Philly, Lindsay, Cilucia, and many others.  If those of you who had blogs hadn't followed, a) I wouldn't have any followers, and b) I probably would have given up early on.  I know what I have here isn't top-notch, but I am proud of it and the work I've put into it.

In personal news, today is Daniel and I's 7th anniversary!  He has to work all day today though, so not much fun.  We are going to see Elsinore tonight, which is an amazing band, plus they are local, so it's the best of the best.  And I got the tickets free through my work!  We are both on vacation starting Monday (well, mine started Saturday), so yay for no work!  Daniel is taking me on a mystery vacation from Tuesday-Friday - I have no idea where we're going!  If you knew Daniel, you would realize this is totally out of character for him, but I'm loving it!  I know that we're staying in the state, that we haven't been there before, there will be wine there, and he expects us to be able to walk wherever we want to go.  ?!?!?!?  I'm totally clueless!  I was assuming we were going to the bed and breakfast we stayed at on our honeymoon and we were going to hit the wine trails of Southern IL, but he said we'd never been to this place before... and we can walk everywhere.  That is definitely not Southern IL, as he lived there for 5 years, we visit often, and there is no way you can walk to anything down there.

Sooo... I won't be posting or anything until at least Friday.  That shouldn't be a big deal, considering I go weeks without posting!  lol  I will try to check emails, but it might only be once a day, so if you do send me feedback on everything I asked for up there, please understand I might not get back to you until I return.  I thought about scheduling a post while I was gone, but I don't think I will have the time.  I put the Google+ app on my phone, so if you are interested in finding out where I'm going, add me - I'll be updating on my way!

I hope you all have a great week.  Thank you all SO much for your support!  *hugs*


Orly Mineral FX Collection


As a follow-up to last year’s Cosmic FX collection, Orly has released Mineral FX for Fall 2011.  These also carry the higher price point ($7.99 at Sally Beauty, $10 everywhere else), but they also have some extra-special finishes that makes them worth it.  Think of the FX series as Orly’s version of OPI’s DS series.  You pay a little more, but it’s worth it!  Or is it…??

While last year’s FX collection was mostly unique, or was the cheaper option if there was a dupe, this year it seems that there are a couple of dupes and you will be paying the same or more for the Orly, depending on where you get it.  I did not purchase Rock The World or Rococo A-Go-Go for this reason.  While not an exact dupe to either, Rock The World is VERY similar to Zoya’s Faye and OPI’s Rally Pretty Pink, just a bit darker.  Rococo A-Go-Go is pretty much a dead-on dupe to Zoya’s Valerie (which is almost dead-on to Zoya’s Jem too).  The PolishAholic has done great comps on these – you can see Rock The World here and Rococo A-Go-Go here.

So let’s move on to the ones I did buy, the non-dupes!  :D

OrlyEmberstone

Emberstone is a glowy, orange-leaning sparkly red with tiny gold and purple flecks.  I’m not sure if you can see them, but they are there and that’s what makes this one unique.  Great formula too – two coats to perfection!

OrlyEmberstone2

I’m not so sure it’s a fall color, but I do love it!  Too bad it wasn’t around this summer, I would have worn it half to death.  The shimmer is a larger particle, smaller than a normal flakey, but it is more like little flakes than your typical shimmer. 

OrlyEmberstoneComp

For a sparkly red, it’s actually pretty unique.  I have seen it mentioned to be dupey to Hard Candy – Lava (ring) and Zoya – Kimmy (index), but as you can see, they are a little different.  First off, Lava is a glitter, while the other two are shimmers.  Lava’s glitter is much less dense than the shimmer in Emberstone and Kimmy, so it looks kinda patchy by comparison.  Kimmy is similar in its base color and density of shimmer, but it’s the shape, size, and color of that shimmer that sets Emberstone apart.  Kimmy has the standard shimmer, straight gold, while Emberstone’s is larger, more flake-like, and it is purple and orangey-gold.  You can decide for yourself if you need all three, but I’m not sure I can part with one!

OrlyRockIt

Rock It is a deep wine shimmer with a bit of gold in it as well.  The sparkle and glow on this one is intense.  I absolutely love it and will be wearing it a lot this fall!

OrlyRockIt3

It’s close to a foil, but not quite.  Intense, densely-packed shimmer with a great formula – this could be a one-coater if you were careful.

OrlyRockItComp

Yes, Rock It has something quite similar… OPI’s The One That Got Away (on ring and index, Rock It on middle).  They are a bit different though.  For one, Rock It is a bit deeper in color, and a tad warmer.  For two, the shimmer in Rock It is more densely-packed than TOTGA.  While TOTGA looks super shimmery on its own, almost foil-like, compared to Rock It, it just looks like a regular shimmer. See below!

OrlyRockItComp2

See?  The Orly looks crazy-glowy compared to the OPI!  I love them both, but if I had to choose, I would choose Rock It.  Thankfully, no one is making me!  :D

OrlyStoneCold

Stone Cold seems to be the fan favorite of the bunch.  A rich blue with larger blue flakes – it just barely misses the mark of being called a flakey.  The flakes are larger than the ones in Emberstone, but still not quite as large as a true flakey (flakie?) polish’s would be. 

OrlyStoneCold2

The flakes give it such an amazing depth – I don’t see too many polishes like that.  It’s like the light glinting off of ocean waves.  Two coats, and it’s kinda thick.  I’ll add a bit of thinner next time.

OrlyStoneCold3

Extra pic because… well, to be honest, I’m trying to love it, but I’m just not sure I do.  I don’t wear a lot of blue polish to begin with, and this color of blue least of all.  I guess I wish it leaned a little more green, a little more purple, or it was darker overall.  I really appreciate and respect it – I mean, the flakes are gorgeous, it really does remind me of the ocean, and I can see why everyone loves it.  I just don’t love it on me.  I’m going to try it at least one more time before I swap it though, the flakes are beautiful and I would hate to have regret!

OrlyStoneColdComp

I thought it looked awfully similar to last year’s Lunar Eclipse (ring) when I bought it, but when I compared the bottles, I realized LE leans much more purple, besides that whole flake difference thing.  I have seen a lot of questions asking if OPI’s Swimsuit… Nailed It! is dupe – as you can see, it isn’t.  A little greener, plus totally different finishes – the OPI is a foil.  SNI entered my top 20 (maybe even my top 10!) the first time I wore it and is by far my favorite blue, so you can figure out what I would pick if told to choose!

OrlyStoneColdComp2

Another pic… because I am still trying to convince myself.  Am I crazy?  I totally prefer SNI here!  Then LE… and then Stone Cold.  Gahh!

OrlyRockSolid

Last up I have Rock Solid, a foily gunmetal with larger holographic glitter.  I haven’t ever seen a polish quite like this one!  The texture of the foily base is unique on it’s own (at least I don’t have anything similar), and to toss the holo glitter in with it?  Unheard of!

OrlyRockSolid2

Rock Solid is also getting a lot of love, and again, I can see why.  It’s different and it’s really pretty.  However, again, I’m not totally sold.  If the holo glitter wasn’t in there, I would be all over this one.  “Like a duck on a beetle”, as Robert Jordan has said in Wheel of Time so many times (have I ever mentioned I was obsessed with this series?!).  While I love holographic polishes, I don’t find myself loving holo GLITTER polishes, especially not ones with such large glitter as this.  I’m keeping it though, as it is really unique and I might change my mind – it is quite pretty and sparkly!

OrlyRockSolidComp

I tried to find some similar polishes in my collection and came up short.  The closest I got was $OPI’s If You’ve Got it, Haunt It (from last year’s Halloween collection), and LA Girl’s Heavy Metal (from the Rock Star collection).  Maybe if you mixed the two together, it would be similar to Rock Solid?  IYGHI is a DENSE black and silver glitter with a sparser amount of… is that holo glitter in there?!  If it is, it primarily flashes blue or green with an orange flash every once in awhile.  It was a limited edition from Sephora last year and is quite HTF these days.  I haven’t seen it up for swap, on eBay, or in a blog sale… so maybe Rock Solid will be close enough to squash the lemming?  Heavy Metal is a much deeper base with multi-colored shimmer.  It isn’t a foil, but once applied, it kinda looks like one.

So, what do you think?  Have you picked up any Mineral FXs?  Are you planning on it?  Which is your favorite?  Am I cray-cray for not being head over heels for Stone Cold?!?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Julep Maven Program – Review Part 2


I really liked my Intro box, except I wasn’t super-crazy about frosty Alfre, but the September box was awesome for me.  Would you like to see?

julepboxsept

Same heavy black box, but inside this month was a card telling me what was in it, plus a little flyer about the program.

julepboxsept2

Different colored ribbon this month, but packed the same in this cute shopping bag.  Boxed items are just in the bag, unboxed items (such as nail polishes) are wrapped in tissue paper.  Sorry, I had it unwrapped in about 2 seconds, so no pic of that!  ;)

julepboxsept3

All items, unwrapped/unboxed.  I accidentally ripped the tissue paper, so I didn’t unwrap it all the way, but I wish I would have, this is a weird pic.  :P

This box contained a full-sized Everyday SPF 30 Hand Cream ($28 retail – 3 oz), a full-sized Essential Cuticle Oil ($18 – .29 oz), and a full-sized bottle of a new for fall polish, Boris and Nicole ($14 – .27).  Retail value of this box is $60.  Would I pay $60 for these items?  No.  But $19.99 isn’t too bad.  I didn’t mind that.

We’ll start with the hand cream, since I mentioned it last post.  It is 3 oz, which is a pretty decent size, and it contains SPF, which, I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time finding in a hand lotion.  Everyone mentions how important it is, but I don’t see any hand creams laying around here (and trust me, I have many) that have SPF.  The product itself has a slightly sunscreen smell that dissipates a few minutes after rubbing it in and that’s it – I don’t smell anything else, which is a nice change.  Usually I have to ditch lotions with a strong smell, my head just can’t tolerate them.  As there is sunscreen, there is a bit of a greasy feel when you initially put it on, but again, gone in a couple of minutes.  I am able to use this one at work, which is uncommon – most lotions leave my hands too slippery to use at work.  I work with paper all day every day and if my hands are too soft or lotiony (I think you know what I mean), I can’t grab anything.  Everyday SPF 30 isn’t the most moisturizing product I’ve ever used though, and that is its one downfall.  It does help – it’s better than not using anything, but I wouldn’t rave about it’s moisturizing properties.  It’s not bad though – it’s on par with most lotions out there.  Good, but not GREAT.  It is the only one I own that I am able to use at work though, and I appreciate it for that.  Plus the SPF isn’t something I find everyday, and there isn’t the strong scent that I get with most hand creams.  I’d give it a B.  Maybe a B+.

I don’t usually use cuticle oil, as I find it to be extremely messy, but I was intrigued by Julep’s Essential Cuticle Oil – it’s got a rollerball top, so I can just roll it on around my cutes and be done.  No brushes, no dripping.  I LOVE the rollerball.  It is so easy to roll it on really quick at work before I start the next batch of work.  It does have a stronger smell, though not overwhelming.  It contains Vitamin E oil, as well as Jojoba seed, Sweet Almond, Caster, Rosewood, Lavender, and Ylang Ylang oils.  I think what I’m smelling is a combination of Lavender and Ylang Ylang.  It’s a woodsy, herbal scent that I can’t quite put my finger on.  I’m not a HUGE fan of the scent, but it isn’t totally off-putting either.  I keep using it, if that means anything, and my head hasn’t protested yet.  If you have had a messy experience in the past, Julep’s Essential Cuticle Oil might be worth looking into.  It isn’t going to replace my Lemony Flutter for nights, but I love using it during the day.  It’s easy and quick to apply, no mess, and it does a great job of sinking in and moisturizing my cutes.  The rollerball applicator makes it easy for me to actually moisturize at work, which I never did before!

Finally is the polish, which is what we all want to see.  Boris and Nicole (named for hottie Boris Kodjoe and his gorgeous wife, Nicole Ari Parker) is THE color of fall.  Honestly, I was blown away.  It is so damned gorgeous and looks like fall in a bottle.  Is it super-unique?  Well, no… but the idea is absolutely perfected in this polish.

JulepBorisNicolebottle

It’s a deep red with gold shimmer… like I said, not the most unique idea, but I haven’t seen another similar polish that is good as this one.  It’s a warm red that pairs perfectly with the gold shimmer, and there is exactly the right amount.

JulepBorisNicole2

This is 2 coats – formula was perfection, again.  I have only tried 3 polishes from Julep, but the formula has been fabulous on all 3.  It’s a pretty dense shimmer, but no brush strokes.

To be honest, my breath caught when I opened the tissue and saw this one.  I LOVE these kinds of colors.  LOVE.  But then I was like “man… that is a dupe for Essie – Wrapped in Rubies." and I didn’t rush to put it on.  But guess what my lovelies?  NOT DUPES!  :D

JulepBorisNicolecomp

Wrapped in Rubies (middle), is a much cooler, more burgundy color, with less of that gold shimmer showing on the nail.  Formula was also thinner and I needed 3 coats for opacity, compared to 2 for Boris and Nicole.  I know I shouldn’t keep both, but I probably will anyway!  ;)

I haven’t comped B&N to OPI – Russian to a Party on the nail yet (since RtaP is HTF, I don’t usually go for the HTFs first), but on paper, whey are pretty similar.  RtaP is a tiny bit darker, cooler, and the gold shimmer blends a bit more with the red base, it it seems more like a warm red shimmer than a warm red with gold shimmer.  Pretty danged similar though… again, I don’t think I would need both.  RtaP was hard for me to get ahold of though, so it isn’t going anywhere!  ;)

Overall, I was quite happy with my September box – a good lotion, easy to use cuticle oil, and a gorgeous polish.  I know some would think $19.99 was steep for that, but I think it’s about right.  I don’t think I could go to Target and buy a lotion with SPF, cuticle oil, and polish for much under $20, let alone things that I am happy with.  To each her own though, right?

A quick word on this… I am not being paid or compensated for this review.  Julep doesn’t even know I did one!  I just wanted to share my experience.  Yes, if someone clicks my referral link and signs up for the Maven program, I will get $15 credit, but I don’t think that’s quite the same.  I paid for the products, I like them, I’m sharing.  I have seen a lot of negative reviews about Julep and unsatisfied customers, but I did want to put one positive review out there since I do like the program and plan on sticking with it for a bit.

Thoughts?  Nice ones?  ;)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Julep Maven Program – Update & Review – Part 1


I apologize for the delay in posting – I had to learn my new camera (still working on that part), and after the whole fiasco with Julep’s referral program not working correctly, I wasn’t sure if I should post this.  However, Julep has fixed the problem, given me an acceptable solution, and I am happy with the service I have received from them, so I’m going to go ahead.  Please don’t leave me hate spam for supporting them if you do not agree.

I signed up for the Maven program on August 14th and after taking their little style quiz (which I kept retaking until I got the polish pack I wanted!), I was “American Beauty”.  My order shipped on August 16th and I received it August 23rd, so right at a week.  My second box, however, shipped on August 26th and it was in my mailbox on August 29th.  My first box came Parcel Post, the second Priority Mail, which explains the difference.  We will see in October how they ship!  My October box will be free, however, so that may mean we’ll be back to Parcel Post… maybe not a good indication of how they will ship in the future.

So yes, my October box is free.  If you haven’t already heard all of this, I will do a quick explanation.  One of the perks of the Maven program is that for each person you refer, you get a $15 credit to your account, as long as they click and buy through your referral link.  However, the original links given to customers did not work.  They went to Julep’s site and people could sign up, but the links didn’t keep track of who referred them and such, and therefore the referral program was pretty meaningless.  I learned of this from Noelie, but later there was a backlash after Jen from The Polishaholic posted about it.  I do agree with Jen – as soon as Julep realized there was a problem, they should have emailed, tweeted, Facebooked, whatever, and let people know there was a problem.  They just kinda sat on it though.  I don’t know if it was because they didn’t know what to do or if it was trying to be sneaky – I’m not sure what went on.  However, Julep did issue an apology email the day after Jen’s post.  Maybe it was because of Jen’s post – I don’t know.  I’m sure they noticed how many people cancelled the program that day, that’s for sure.  I didn’t cancel, however… I decided to wait and see what happened.  I’m glad I did.  As an apology, Julep is giving us the October box for free.  I think I only had one referral, so that is plenty sufficient to please me.  They were offering other solutions for people who had more than 1 referral and it looks like they were pretty good.  I saw a huge Julep haul on The TraceFace Philes that she was able to get from referral credits.  Maybe someday that will  be me!  ;)

So, now with all the drama behind us, let’s talk about the boxes, shall we?

When they say you can send these as a gift, they mean it.  Really well packaged and they look like a present!  Here is the nice, heavy black box they are shipped in:

julepbox

(Sorry for the wonky picture sizes in this post, I’m used to working with nails and cropping – I didn’t take these pictures quite right for that!)

Inside:

julepbox2

Inside is a heavy-weight paper bag with Julep’s logo on one side and the other…

julepbox3

Julep’s motto, “Powered by Girlfriends”.  $1 of every polish sold goes to charity.  The charities change monthly – you can see which one is being sponsored this month here.  One of the charities they are sponsoring this month is Dress for Success, which helps disadvantaged women purchase professional attire (as well as support and career development tools), which in turn will help them find jobs and remain employed.  Lia Sophia has been working with this program for several years and I usually purchase the Dress for Success pieces, of which the proceeds go to this charity.  I was pleased to see Julep working with them!  :)

Inside the bag is where you will find your monthly goodies:

julepbox4

If they aren’t boxed, you will find them wrapped in tissue paper.  They don’t bubble wrap or use packing peanuts, so there is a possibility of breakage, but it looked pretty good to me and I doubt they will see much of that unless a box gets smashed or something.

So in my first box I received a full-sized tube of Facial for Hands Glycolic Hand Scrub, a sample of the same scrub and one of their Everyday SPF 30 Hand Cream, a full-sized basecoat, Cameron, and Alfre.  Full-sized scrub is 3oz and retails for $32.  The basecoat and polishes, full-size, are .27oz, which, yes, is small.  Very small.  A regular polish is .5oz, Chanels are .4oz, Mac are .34oz, Glitter Gals are .3oz, and an Essence Color & Go is .16oz, if that helps you out at all.  At $14 a pop, these polishes are quite expensive for the amount you get.  However, I used those coupon codes I mentioned before to get my intro box for only $4.99, which was a steal.  I have $74 retail + the two samples in here and I didn’t pay shipping costs.  If each box was like this, the $19.99 normal price would be a steal.  But we’ll get to that!

I tried out the Facial for Hands immediately and I really liked it.  It smells like oranges and wood – not like the woods, but like a new package of orange sticks.  Or toothpicks.  Something like that.  You should probably shake the tube first – I didn’t and it came out kinda watery and separated, but it sat out in my mailbox for a few hours at 100º temps, so it could have broken down a bit.  Anyway, give it a good shake and then apply a dime to quarter-sized amount on damp hands.  Rub it between your hands and don’t forget your knuckles and cuticle areas!  It’s full of little scrubby particles (looks like walnut shell and that kinda stuff, same as in CO Bigelow’s Lemon Body Scrub) that gently exfoliate your hands.  When you are satisfied, rinse and pat dry.  Follow up with your favorite hand lotion.

Now, I won’t tell you this is the *best* scrub I’ve ever used or anything, because that honor goes to Mary Kay’s Satin Hands set.  If you haven’t tried it, get on it!  It’s pricey, but usually not terrible on eBay.  My friend gave me a full-sized set for my bday one year and I’m still using it… that was like, 7 years ago.  Satin Hands is amazing, but there are 4 steps to it, which can be a bit cumbersome if you are in a hurry.  Julep’s scrub is REALLY nice and it’s only 2 steps.  When I’m going to pamper myself, I’ll pull out the Satin Hands, but for everyday use, I’m using Facial for Hands.  It smells great and gets the job done in half the time.

(I tried the sample of the lotion, but I’ll review it with the September box, since I received a full-sized lotion with it.)

The polishes are why we are really here, so let me get to them!

julepbox5

L-R: Basecoat, Cameron, Alfre

JulepCameron

Cameron is a yellow-based bright pink crème.  My new camera can pick up purples ok, and even teals, but pinks?  Don’t even think about it.  Please forgive me – these aren’t even close.  The pics say blue-based almost neon, and that isn’t right at all.  It is totally unique to my collection, though I can imagine that a pink collector will be able to find something similar.  The closest in my collection was Revlon Top Speed Jelly, but it is deeper and more orange than Cameron.  I don’t have a comp photo because my camera hates pink.  It wouldn’t be accurate and you probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.  Pink is tough, ya’ll.

JulepCameron2

This was two creamy, dreamy coats.  Amazing formula.  Absolutely easy to work with.  Dries super-shiny, so no topcoat in this swatch.  However, I do have to complain a bit about the bottle itself.  It’s tall and thin, so VERY easy to knock over while reloading the brush.  I love the polish though, and it’s a great brush, so I won’t complain *too* much… but a different shape would be easier to work with.  I think I’m going to have to use Silly Putty to stabilize the bottle while I’m working.

I’m going to switch to the basecoat real quick here because I used it under Cameron and did a wear test for you.  It was tough, but I wanted to see what the quality was like on the basecoat and polish itself.

JulepBase

Hey, it’s naked nails!  First time I’ve showed those off – be kind!  Julep’s basecoat is thin and VERY shiny for a basecoat, I even double checked to make sure it wasn’t topcoat!  It dried quickly though, no bubbling.  I used one coat of BC and two coats of Cameron on my left hand, one coat of Nail Quencher on my right and 2.5 coats of Cameron, as it didn’t want to flow as well over NQ, which is a problem I’ve had in the past.  I decided to wear it until one hand chipped and declare a winner.  I was expecting this to be short contest.  I haven’t had a lot of luck with anything that isn’t “moisturizing”, and this one doesn’t say it is.  In fact, Julep has a moisturizing basecoat, so this is different.

It took a full friggen week before one of these babies chipped.  Seriously… a week of the same polish.  It was kinda hell-ish, especially because I had the time and drive to swatch, but I couldn’t!  Both hands had tipwear within a couple of days (I was hell on ‘em), and on day 4 I started to have some lifting around the cuticle on my right middle finger (writer’s bump and a permanently dry cuticle).  I did not get an actual chip until day 7, during an extremely physical day at work.  My Julep hand did end up chipping first, but I ended up with a chip on the NQ hand a little later in the day.  I will say though, it wasn’t a small chip – about half the polish on the index finger cracked and fell off.  But neither was the NQ hand… by the end of the night, my hands were looking toe-up!  >.<

I really was impressed with the Julep Basecoat and am using it right now on both my hands and toes.  I wore my next mani for 5 days with only tipwear and only one tiny chip after another extremely stressful day.  It was also a Julep polish, so I’m currently wearing it with a different brand (OPI Skull & Glossbones with Lynnderella Connect the Dots on top – AMAZING!) to see how it goes.  After 48 hours, it still looks perfect – like I just did it today.  And I’ve spent 16 hours on the computer today, so that’s no small feat.  I will keep you guys updated on it, but right now, it’s my go-to BC.

Finally, we have Alfre.  In the promo pic I saw before I placed my order, she looked like a smoky purple, kinda like a Zoya Kelly.  I’ve been craving smoky, work-appropriate colors lately, so I was pretty excited.  In the bottle pic above, you can see it’s a metallic… but when I looked closer, I began to get concerned.  Is this a freaking frost?!?!

JulepAlfre

Why yes, yes it is a frost.  But… it’s not as bad as it could be.  Actually, my ring finger looks great.  You can really see the brush-strokes on my middle finger though.  Ruh-roh. 

JulepAlfre2

On the upside, it dries so shiny on it’s own that you can see my reflection in my middle nail!  Depending on how thick your coats are, this is a 2-3 coater.  It is a beautiful smoky color – a gunmetal mixed with lavender, which is a great idea for the fall.  It reminds me of a cross between Nimue and Tao, both from Zoya’s Mirrors collection.  I don’t have either to prove that, and I don’t think they have as much frosty shimmer as this one, but they are close.

So Alfre was kind of a let down after the awesomeness of Cameron, but don’t fear – the next box made up for it!

Stay tuned for the next post where I share my September box, review Julep’s Everyday SPF 30 Hand Cream, and give you my overall review of the Julep Maven program thus far!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Julep Maven Program

If you’ve been around the blogging scene or the nail board the last couple of days, you’ve probably seen people mentioning the Julep Maven program.  It’s basically like Birchbox, where they put a little box of samples together for you to try each month for a fee.  The awesome thing about Julep’s program is that it is all nail related.  I have been interested in trying the brand since I saw them posted on a few blogs (last week maybe?) and this seemed like a great chance.  It’s $20 a month, which seems steep, but you will get $40 worth of products – their polishes are $14 each, so if you get 2, you’ve gotten your $20 worth.
The thing that really drew me to the Maven program is that you get to see what they are going to send you – a little preview – and if you don’t like it, you can request a “shelf pull”, and they will redo your box.  You can also choose to skip that month and you won’t be billed.  Or, if you see it say “that’s pretty, but it’s not me… but mom would love it!” or something similar, you can have the box shipped to her instead.  I liked the flexibility Julep provided with this program, unlike some of the other ones I’ve looked into.  Maven members also get 20% off and free shipping on all orders!
If you’d like more information, you can look into the program on their website – click here.  Julep does have a referral program, so if you end up joining through my link, I will earn $15 towards a future purchase.  I didn’t want to try to be sneaky, so there it is.  If you join, you can also earn $15 for each friend who joins.  Not bad, eh? 
To figure out what products you will be interested in, they do a short quiz to figure out what your style is, and at the end, they show you some colors that fit that style.  If you click from there, you can see the exact box you would be getting for your first.  If you don’t like it, no big deal – go back and retake the quiz.  I did this several times until I found a box I LOVED.  I can’t wait to get it!  :D

The best part?  Coupon codes to get your first month for a discounted price!  BeautyStat will give you $10 off that $19.99, or smh9oxu will give you $15 off, making your first month only $4.99.  I’m trying it out – I will let you know about it when I get my box, but I wanted to share since a) I’m excited and b) there are coupon codes working right now!  :)