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!  :)

Orly Pure Porcelain + Barielle Buddha-ful, and a camera update!

This was the last mani I took pics of before my camera died (it’s not so ugly it broke it… right?), a very light and neutral one – not usually my thing!


So here is Pure Porcelain by itself.  I had thought to pass on this entire collection, but Cilucia posted a comparison of Sapphire Silk and other teals that I love, so that one ended up coming home with me, and I kept hearing raves about Pure Porcelain, so I finally bought it when doing a group order at work.  I didn’t find the formula of PP to be as great as everyone claimed, but a little thinning will probably fix it up.  It was thick, and though not exactly streaky, it wasn’t the most opaque and smooth polish I’ve ever worked with.  I think it actually looks ok on me – it isn’t my *perfect* nude or anything, but it doesn’t seem to clash too much.  There is a bit of pink, but not enough to make my hands look dirty or sick.  I guess it’s just an ok one, which probably means I should ditch it.  It’s about the best I’ve found in these kinds of shades though, so I’m waffling.  It was such a nice blank canvas, I decided to top it with Barielle - Buddha-ful, from their spring collection.


OOOOH look at the flakies!  :D  So pretty with their little green glints… I <3 flakies!


But um… honestly, I don’t like this combo on me. Buddha-ful has a milky/nude base which adds just enough pink to Pure Porcelain to make it… well, icky. I wore this mani for 3 days only because I couldn’t find the time to change. I really wanted to though! :(


Even in the shade, the little flakies show their pretty green side!  I really need to find a way to wear Buddha-ful, ‘cos I really like it.  That damned hint of pink in the base kills it for me though!  :(

I actually have the entire Barielle spring collection, just waiting to be swatched and have pics taken… but no camera yet.  I did order one today though!  :D  Yesterday was my birthday (the big 3-0, yikes!  I’m wearing La Boheme to celebrate, but boooo no pics!), so I got money from my family and didn’t have to spend very much.  Wanna see what I got??


Fujifilm S2950

It isn’t at all what I went looking for, but I think I’m going to really like it!  :D  I looked at so many reviews and website last week and I thought I had one all picked out and was planning on ordering it as soon as I got some $$.  I looked at Best Buy’s website to see if they had what I was looking at in stock so I could go play with it, and they didn’t have that one, but had a very similar model that was a bit newer methinks.  My family gave me some $$ yesterday, so I went in to Best Buy today ready to buy.  I played with that camera for awhile and um… yeah, I didn’t like it.  At all.  I couldn’t figure out how to get it into macro mode.  Apparently a ton of these new point and shoots don’t have a wheel like my other ones have, with the macro  settings clearly marked with the flower.  Most of them have the flower on an edge of round button-thing on the back, including the Fujifilm above that I purchased.  Some of them are also auto-macro, so they detect it and then switch over.  The camera I went in looking for never switched into that.  I figured out how to manually put it in to macro mode, so then, like a crazy person, I started taking pics of my hands.  I never could get it to focus, no matter how close or far away I was, and all the close-up shots I took were blurry.  I was SO disappointed.  I know I could probably figure out how to use it, but I want something that isn’t going to take a million years to learn to use.  My first digital camera (which does work, but the macro doesn’t) is like that – it has a ton of bells and whistles, but it can’t just take a regular picture without having to mess with every setting.  It’s around 7 years old (and was $600 at the time!), so I wasn’t surprised that it wasn’t intuitively obvious on how to use it.  However, I figured most P&S cameras in the $150 range would be easy to pick up and start shooting.

I went around testing every camera they had out and was having the same troubles on most – macro would not focus.  The macro wasn’t great on my Kodak that died, but it was better than the ones I kept picking up, in the same price range.  I finally ventured to the other side of the aisle, where the more expensive cameras are.  I had to pass over everything that was $250+, but then I stopped at this one, which was only $200.  It fit well in my hand and was very comfortable, not too heavy, and it has an awesome viewfinder thingie, plus the screen is huge.  No macro on the wheel, so I almost put it down right away, but I decided to try out the macro button on the back.  I was in pretty low-light, but I snapped a couple of pics of my nails anyway, and lo and behold, they were really nice!  Very detailed, crisp and clear.  I tried several different angles and distances and all of them came out very sharp.  I can’t wait to see what it looks like under my OTT light!  :D  I tried some pics around the area and all of them were fab.  There was only 1 left on the shelf, but I picked it up all happy and excited… but then I remembered how Best Buy’s price is usually higher than Amazon’s, so I looked it up on my phone. $25 difference, plus I had a $25 Amazon gift card leftover from xmas.  That’s $50 right there.  It was REALLY hard to put it back and walk out of the store empty-handed.  I wanted to cry, since it was my bday and I wanted my present NOW!  LOL

I came home, did some research on it, and ended up ordering it from Amazon – by the time I got the camera, memory card, and rechargeable batteries/charger, I still spent less than what I would have spent on just the camera at Best Buy.  Then I had that gift card, so that made it even better.  I am paying $19 more than what I have received for my bday, and I’m actually having a bday party next weekend, so I’m sure I’ll end up with a bit more cash.  YAY!  Delivery estimate is Thursday… I’m going to go crazy waiting for it!  :D

Thanks to everyone for being patient while I am camera-less!  I just found out that I am at 95 followers – whoa, when did that happen?!  I might have to do something special when I reach 100!  :D  <3 you all!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Finger Paints – Peace, Love & Color Collection - Summer 2011

I wasn’t so sure about this collection, so I waited until Sally’s put it on clearance before I bought.  I have only bought a few Finger Paints before, and they haven’t really thrilled me (swapped one, two awaiting new homes!), but this collection seemed special, so I couldn’t resist for $.99 each!

Before I post the swatches though, I gotta tell you guys about my experience in purchasing these.  I got an email from Sally’s saying their clearance stuff was 1/2 price online and I’d been eyeing these, so within 2 minutes of getting the email, I had placed my order for 8 Finger Paints (Artistic Azure, Give Pink a Chance, Psychedelic Sunshine, All You Need is Color, Outta Sight Orange x 2, and Peaceful Purple x 2 – extras for a co-worker), so $7.92 for 8 polishes, plus $5.95 shipping.  The shipping was really hard to swallow, but I wanted to make sure I got them all, so I just went ahead and paid it.  Who knows what would be at my store?

I got a shipping notice from Sally’s a few days later, nothing unusual looking – it didn’t have any notes or anything, so I just tracked the package.  When it arrived, it only contained 4 polishes – Give Pink a Chance, All You Need is Color, and Outta Sight Orange x 2.  I checked my invoice and it said “w93” in the spot for the other polishes, which was printed at the bottom saying "item was not available in warehouse at time of shipping” or something really similar.  I was like WTF… are they out of stock or something?  I checked their website and they were all still listed and I could add them to a cart.  I then looked at my shipping notice again and sure enough, it only listed the polishes I received, not the other 4 I had ordered.  Nothing was stated in that shipping notice to say if they were out of stock or anything.

I started looking around on Sally’s website and found that if an item is out of stock at the time of shipment, Sally’s will notify you, but they will not ship backordered items.  They are dropped from your order and if you would like them, you will have to place a separate order when they are available again.  That is about the craziest policy I have ever seen.  Most places will contact you, and then give a choice of holding your order or cancelling the items, and some nice companies will even ship backordered items later.

The thing that really bugged me is that Sally’s never notified me that they did not have the items I ordered.  No little note in the shipping notice, nothing.  I was furious at this point – I paid $5.95 for shipping on $3.98 worth of merchandise?  If I knew I was only going to be able to get a couple, I would have just went to the store and taken my chances!  I shot off an email to their customer service – not too mean, but I complained that their website says customers will be notified of OOS items and that I found it unethical to cut over half the merchandise from the order without informing the customer.

I didn’t expect a response, but I got one within 24 hours – and a refund of my shipping charges!  I am usually not one to complain to companies about how bad they suck, but I might have to start, since Sally’s worked to fix their mistake.  The letter I got back apologized and said they would be speaking with the shipping department to find out why I wasn’t notified.  I don’t know if anything will change, but at least they are now aware that customers are NOT happy.

Fortunately, I did stop by my local Sally’s later and found the missing polishes.  I do have a gripe there too though – the summer display was still out with the new stuff and was not marked clearance in any way, so I assumed I would be paying full price.  Finger Paints were buy 2, get 1 free in July, so I got Psychedelic Sunshine and Peaceful Purple from that display, then chose Sketch n Etch from the regular display, since it seems to be dupish to Essie’s Dominica Green.  I figured getting 3 for $10 wouldn’t be that bad, so I trudged up to the counter and paid.  My total seemed really cheap, but I hadn’t really paid attention to the Beauty Club prices on a couple of the items I picked up, so I didn’t really look at the receipt until I got home.  Those summer Finger Paints were clearanced for $1.98, so I paid $4.99 for the regular one, $1.98 for 1 summer, and got 1 summer free.  It seems like a great deal, but had I known the summer ones were that cheap, I would have picked up one more clearance polish instead of the one from the regular display and would have gotten 3 for $3.98!  Argh!!!

Sally’s sucks!  >:P  Anyhoo, thanks for reading my rant (if you did – if you didn’t, I don’t blame you!), here are swatches as a reward!  ;)


Give Pink a Chance is a pinky-corally crème – I think it really depends on your skin tone what color tis one is on you.  For me, It’s pretty pink, but Scrangie said it was red-orange-coral on her.  Formula on this one was pretty smooth and opaque in 2 coats.  Maybe a hair thick.


I do have some similar colors in my collection – Essie Too Too Hot (ring) and China Glaze – High Hopes (index).  They aren’t dupes though, surprisingly enough.  Too Too Hot is a bit more red and is more of a jelly finish, while High Hopes (which I hate, btw… one of the worst formulas I’ve dealt with!) is brighter and more orange.  Give Pink a Chance is a great pedi color for me, I will use it often!


Outta Sight Orange is a glass fleck orange with almost duochrome flecks – sometimes it’s gold, sometimes it’s red!  I <3 it!  I’m sorry for the glare on the pic, my camera hates me.  It’s dead now though, so haha, I get the last laugh.  Or maybe it does, cos now I have to buy a new one.  Ugh, read on for more info on that situation.  Anyway, back to Outta Sight Orange… the formula on this one was fantastic.  2 coats to opacity.  If this one looks familiar to you, that’s because it is VERY similar to Nicole – Fresh Squeezed in the bottle.  However, Outta Sight Orange is the winner of the two.  It is what I hoped Fresh Squeezed would look like!


4 coats of Fresh Squeezed on the index and it still isn’t opaque.  I’ve went up to 6 before, and I don’t think it ever got there.  It’s streaky too – not a fave.  I also put China Glaze – Orange Marmalade on the ring so you could get an idea of what the base color looks like.  Outta Sight Orange has become a fave orange for me, and I <3 oranges!  :D


Psychedelic Sunshine is a really gorgeous and unique color – sunny yellow jelly with iridescent glitter.  I don’t have anything in my stash like it.  I’m not sure there *is* anything like it out there!  The glitter is small and sparkly and the yellow is such a happy color.  Gorgeous!


Slightly less blurry to see the glitter bits.  My camera did not like how sparkly this one was!  I don’t have anything similar, so I didn’t compare it to anything.  In my pics, it kinda looks like China Glaze – Lighthouse, but next to each other, they aren’t very similar, especially since this is glitter and the ChG is glass fleck.


This one has some big flaws though… it is so thick, I don’t think it would be useable if you didn’t own thinner.  I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a polish so thick before.  It’s syrupy and chunky and kinda gross actually.  I have added a TON of thinner, I even have had the bottle overflow twice and it still is really thick.  I dunno if it isn’t making it all the way into the bottle or what, but it is a mess.  It also dries extremely lumpy.  I dunno if you can tell in this pic or not, but it is dull and gritty.  It looks beautiful until it dries and then it’s like WTFBBQ IS THAT?!?!  A coat of Gelous before your regular topcoat will fix the problem, but it’s pretty blechy until without topcoat!

Next up in the collection should be Groovy Green, but it looked frosty, so I skipped it.  Frosty is icky!


All You Need Is Color is a gorgeous glitter, pretty opaque too.  I don’t have another teal glitter to compare it to, can you believe that?  However… I’m pretty sure this is a dupe to Butter London’s Henley Regatta.  I purchased it for a swap and noticed that it had a mix of teal, green, and cerulean glitter – I really wanted to keep it at that point, but sent it off.  When I got All You Need Is Color, I noticed it had the exact same colors – it isn’t just a straight teal glitter!  Woo hoo for cheap dupes!  :D  This one is also very thick, though it has taken well to being thinned and is perfect now.  This is 3 coats and a topcoat.  It’s a bit gritty without one, but it isn’t a hungry glitter, so one topcoat should be enough!


Last up we have Peaceful Purple, an opaque purple glitter.  This one is just straight purple, no other colors hidden in there.  This is two coats, but it looks a bit patchy on the edges, I probably should have done 3.  Also very thick, but was perfect once thinned.  Again, I didn’t have a purple glitter that was similar.  Weird, eh?  Scrangie says it is a dupe for Urban Decay’s Xanadu, which is in that new Rollergirl mini set I refuse to buy.  I got one the Apocolyptica one and felt like it was a rip off.  Those bottles are TINY!

This collection was perfect for summer – now I’m a bit said I didn’t pick it up until summer was almost over!  If you can still find some of these at your Sally’s, get them – they should be cheap and they are all gorgeous.  Make sure you have thinner though!!!  If you don’t… well, don’t bother.  You won’t enjoy them at all.

This might be my last post with lots of pics for awhile – my camera (which is less than 2 years old, I might add), worked fine on Tuesday this week, but would not turn on on Wednesday morning.  It won’t even charge.  I bought a new battery thinking that would fix the problem, but it still won’t charge.  The only other thing I can think to try is to buy a new cable for it.  I’ve contacted Kodak to see if they have other suggestions, but I doubt they will.  Of course, I am broke (as usual!) and really didn’t want to spend money on a camera.  :P  I kinda need one though… do you guys have suggestions?  I am trying to spend less than $150, looking for a good macro setting and something that can actually take decent indoor pics – I haven’t had a camera that could do that yet.  :P  I’m thinking about the Canon Powershot A3100 IS – what do you guys think?  Let me know if you have any experience with it, or if you know of something else in my price range that you think will work well!  :)