Monday, September 30, 2013

Julep Galaxy Mystery Box

Julep is a monthly subscription service whose main focus is nail polish. You take a style quiz in order to best match your preferences, then receive a box of nail polish every month. Some profiles are polish only and some have beauty items such as skin care or make-up. The subscription is $19.99 per month, but there is usually a code floating around to get your first box free (just pay shipping).

Julep Galaxy Mystery Box

Although I've sworn off Julep's mystery boxes more than once, I was sucked in by a $5 coupon and seeing pictures of the boxes. There were three options for the Galaxy Mystery Box:

Pluto Box at $19.99 ($50+ value)
Cosmic Box at $24.99 ($70+ value)
Supernova Box at $39.99 ($120+ value)

The Pluto box was the only one that didn't include Estelle, a new black holographic polish. I decided to order the Cosmic box because with the coupon, it came to the same price as the Pluto box and included Estelle. I just can't resist a bargain!

Julep Galaxy Mystery BoxJulep Galaxy Mystery Box
First looks at my Galaxy box!

Galaxy box goodies
My Galaxy box goodies!

Hand Model Set
Hand Model Set. Includes glycolic hand scrub, rock star hand creme, and oxygen nail treatment.

Galaxy box
Received Reiko, Blakely, Lexie, Francis, Estelle, and Charlotte.

This is the first mystery box where I felt that I actually got my moneys worth, so I'm happy about that! The hand model set is listed on Julep's site at $25, and polish is $11.20 for Mavens, so this box has a $92.20 retail value. Very pleased!

Did you order a Galaxy Mystery Box? If so, are you pleased with what you received? This restores my faith in Julep, which is both a good and bad thing (good for my mystery box addiction, but bad for my wallet!).

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Julep Nadia nail polish

While I'm not normally fond of yellow nail polish, decided to give this one a try as it seemed more gold than yellow in the bottle.

Julep Nadia
Nadia is described as a sun-kissed golden frost on Julep's website. Didn't seem shimmery enough to me to be considered a frost, but I was pleased with the end result. Very pretty and summery!

Julep Nadia
This is two coats, no base or top coat. One coat was too thin and I could probably have added a third coat, but thought two was enough in this case.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Bondi Uptown Girl and Botanical Beauty nail polish

Bondi New York is a new nail polish subscription where you receive three polishes and a beauty surprise every month. A monthly subscription is only $19.99, and they also offer 3, 6, and 12 month subscriptions at a discounted price.

Bondi Uptown Girl & Botanical BeautyBondi Uptown Girl & Botanical Beauty

This is the first time I've used more than one color on my nails since high school, but am very pleased with how it turned out! I thought that Botanical Beauty was a little too pink for my tastes, so decided to alternate it with the purple Uptown Girl. It worked!

I used two coats of each to ensure full coverage, but Uptown Girl could have been a one-coater.

After skipping the September subscription box, I'm looking forward to seeing the October colors! Fingers crossed that they have a breast cancer tie-in, as October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Review: ArctiCloth Cooling Towel

ArctiCloth Cooling Towel

Arcticloth cooling towel, great for use on the job site, working out, in the yard or at sporting events, keeps you cool for hours, last for years of re-use, absorbs sweat & keeps you cool, plastic bottle acts as storage for travel & carry loop makes it easy to attach with a carabineer, machine or hand wash with liquid detergent. (

This towel is one of those things where you read the description, think that it's a great idea, but don't really believe that it will work so move on to something else. When I saw this on a recent Vine newsletter, I decided to give it a try and find out once and for all if it actually worked.

The towel comes in a plastic tube and it took me a minute to figure out that the instructions were printed on the underside of the label, which has to be removed to read. Wish I had saved the tube for storage, but we threw it away. After washing the towel, it dried to a stiff inflexible impersonation of cardboard. Luckily, running it under water softened it right up!

ArctiCloth Cooling Towel
Stiff towel doing its cardboard impersonation!
Have to say that we were pleasantly surprised that the towel lives up to it's promises! Once run under cold water, the towel actually keeps you cool when draped around your neck. 

We've used it when mowing the lawn, doing yardwork, and playing golf. It actually stays cool and helps keep the wearer comfortable! During golf, my husband did have to wet it about halfway through his round because of the sun drying the towel out. Out of direct sunlight, the towel stays wet and cooling for hours. Very pleased with it!

ArctiCloth Cooling TowelArctiCloth Cooling Towel
Website shows the towel nicely folded and looking like a real towel. Reality shows that the towel dries into a stiff, unfoldable sheet.

Think that this is one of those products that actually lives up to the hype! It helped keep us cool when outside and stayed cool for hours (unless in direct sun, then it dried out). Thinking about getting a second towel so we won't have to share!

Towel received from Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Mail Call (6)

mail call

Having signed up for so many samples and entered so many contests, decided that I needed a place to share the goodies that have started coming in the mail!

LAQA & Co. nail polish in Tweedledee and TheBalm Stainiac in Homecoming QueenLAQA & Co. nail polish in Tweedledee and TheBalm Stainiac in Homecoming Queen
Finally earned enough Birchbox points to redeem them for goodies! I picked LAQA & Co. nail polish in Tweedledee and TheBalm Stainiac lip stain in Homecoming Queen.

Bondi I'm Vers
I ordered a Bondi base coat, called I'm Vers with a promo coupon, so it only cost $2.50! I love a good deal!

Chanel Sky Line polish
The most expensive nail polish I've ever ordered! Chanel Sky Line cost $30, way outside my polish budget, so good thing I had a gift card! Totally gorgeous polish, but I'd never spend this much on my own.

swap goodies
I joined an un-birthday swap on Facebook, but it took over two months for the girl to send my box. This was supposedly the fourth package she sent, as the others were all lost. Uh-huh. Very disappointed that we had to keep hounding her, and it sort of took all of the fun out of the swap for me. Hope that the current swap group I'm in runs smoother and I never have to go through that again!

Another great week!


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Friday, September 20, 2013

September Birchbox

Birchbox is a monthly beauty subscription where you receive a mix of beauty products (samples and full size). At only $10 per month, it's one of my favorite beauty boxes and a great deal!

This month's theme is Heritage. This month is their anniversary month, so I was expecting more of a "wow" box. Happy with what I received, but I was expecting more.

Birchbox first lookBirchbox first look
First look at my September goodies!

Racinne Eye Serum
Racinne Ultimate Youth Power Eye Serum. Ah, youth…a time of 20/20 vision and naturally firm undereye skin. These days, we’re relying on Racinne’s Ultimate Youth Power Eye Serum to make up the difference (our eyesight, however, is another story). The serum contains a powerful cocktail of ingredients to help rouse tired skin, minimize the appearance of dark circles and fine lines, and firm contours. Plus, natural plant oils penetrate skin cells to moisturize.

BCBGMAXAZRIA Bon Genre.  With opening notes of lychee and red berries, this scent is ultrafeminine for sure. But things get more complicated (in the best possible way) when middle notes of tiger lily and jasmine noir enter the picture. A seductive swirl of Australian sandalwood and golden amber only serve to make things more alluring. And who doesn’t love a little mystery?

Airelle Berrimatrix Intense Repair Complex with Copper & Vitamin E. While guzzling quarts of water is key to keeping skin hydrated and supple, it’s not always enough. That’s where a topical moisture boost, like this silken morning and nighttime treatment, comes in. The formula is packed with naturally derived antioxidants and botanicals that restore dry, rough skin and keep it protected from environmental aggressors (think moisture-dapping central air-conditioning). We’ll drink to that!

Davines This is a Sea Salt Spray
Davines This is a Sea Salt Spray. We fully appreciate when a brand tells it like it is. This Is a Sea Salt Spray is, you guessed it, a sea salt spray. But we’re thinking they may want to tweak the name slightly—something more along the lines of This Is a Life-Changing Sea Salt Spray. Hair is left looking perfectly unperfect, full of sexy post-beach texture and volume.

Ruffian nail polish
Ruffian nail polish in Fox Hunt. This set of super-luxe polishes is fashion forward with a dash of daring - just how we like it. The high-gloss formula is also chip-resistant, so your mani will stay put for days. Now that’s what we call a team effort, and a gorgeous one at that.

After a few disappointing boxes, I had really high hopes for their anniversary box. While it didn't "wow" me, overall I was pleased with the box. I'm a sucker for nail polish and perfume samples, and I really love the sea salt spray! Happy, so thinking I'll keep my subscription.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Goodies - August box

Goodies is a monthly subscription box that lets you try new snacks and food for the low price of only $7 a month! This is one of my favorite subscriptions, as I've already been introduced to so many new-to-me items!

It comes in a very sturdy box, so I never worry that anything will be broken.

First look at my August goodies! I received Taster's Box #7

Poplets Sea Salt & Butter
Poplets Sea Salt & Butter. You know the crunchy half-popped kernels at the bottom of each popcorn batch? The ones with crisp, concentrated corn flavor and a healthy dose of butter and sea salt? Yeah, here’s a whole bag of those perfect, delicious morsels.

Orion One and Only Cookie-Crackers
Orion One and Only Cookie-Cracker. Thin, crisp and subtly salty with melt-in-your-mouth texture and a sprinkling of sugar. This snack is having an identity crisis and we’re reaping all the benefits! Indulge in this cookie-cracker’s exotic notes of coconut and sesame.

Pronto coffee in Hawaiian Hazelnut. Simply stir Barnie’s Pronto Coffee into 10-oz of hot or cold water and enjoy flavor as deep and complex as freshly brewed coffee. Made with 100% Arabica beans, this concentrated liquid coffee has notes of caramel, pecan and cinnamon, with no sugar added.

Tangy Zangy Twisties
Tangy Zangy Twisties in Sour Wild Fruit. Prepare your taste buds for a super sour experience! These gummy twists of vibrant red and blue are tart and chewy with wild berry flavor. Just enough of a sugary dusting restores balance to your puckered palate. How sweet (and sour) it is!

Mango-Blackcurrant Ojo nectar
Mango-Blackcurrant Ojo nectar. Cheers to your (eye) health. This refreshing fruit drink doesn’t just taste delightfully tropical, it’s also specially designed to help protect and preserve vision health, made with all-natural juices high in vitamins, antioxidants and omega-3s.

Snyder's Garden Veggie Chips. Spinach, tomato and potato put a healthy spin on a traditionally not-so-healthy snack. Made with natural, wholesome ingredients, no preservatives or additives and 40% less sodium than regular potato crisps, these are chips you can feel good about eating.

All in all, not a bad box. My favorite items were the cookie-crackers and sour candy. OMG, the cookie-crackers were SO good! The chips were okay and we ate them all, but I still prefer regular potato chips. Hated the nectar, as it had a slight medicine taste that no one liked so we threw the rest out. Same with the poplets. We don't eat the uncooked popcorn at the bottom of the bag, so didn't care for these either. I don't drink coffee, so put the Pronto packet aside to give away down the road.

Well worth the $7 subscription price!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Deborah Lippmann Mermaid's Dream

Thanks to an appeasement gift card from Fancy (due to a screw up with their subscription box), I was finally able to get my hands on a Deborah Lippmann nail polish! I've heard nothing but good things about this polish, but it's a little expensive for my tastes so I was very happy to see it as I was browsing the site! I picked Mermaid's Dream, as I love the name and look!

Deborah Lippmann Mermaid's Dream

Deborah's website description of Mermaid's Dream really caught my fancy: The mystery of the ocean has always intrigued me. This shade is my interpretation of life under the sea- magical, fantastical and ethereal. I love how the small flecks of glitter catch the light and appear to float off the nail.

Deborah Lippmann Mermaid's Dream
Described as seafoam splendor, I love how it glitters!

Deborah Lippmann Mermaid's DreamDeborah Lippmann Mermaid's Dream

I wish the pictures did this polish justice, as it's absolutely gorgeous in person! I used a base coat and two coats of polish. Wasn't that hard to remove either, which was a relief as I've heard that glitter is a bear to remove. Love it!

Monday, September 2, 2013

BarkBox - August box

Recently, I won a one-month subscription to BarkBox from Jen at Ramblings of a Surburban Mom. Could hardly wait to see what was in our first box! 


BarkBox is, literally, for the dogs. Their goal is to make dogs happy. BarkBoxes contain all-natural treats and other the coolest pup products in each box - things you can't find at the typical big-box pet store. Each monthly box contains a combination of 4-6 treats, toys, and hygiene products that have been hand selected and approved by Scout, head product tester for BarkBox. (website)

First look at our August box!

August BarkBox
Our August BarkBox!

Barkworthies Bully Flake Food Topper
Barkworthies Bully Flake Food Topper. We haven't tried this yet, but you sprinkle it on top of your dog's regular food. From what the package says, it's just flavoring. My dog wolfs down her food so fast that I don't really see the point of adding this as an enticement.

Primal Pet Freeze-dried Liver Munchies
Primal Pet Freeze-dried Liver Munchies. These are healthy, high-protein snacks made with no antibiotics, preservatives, or hormones. They look like they might disintegrate on contact, but Waffles seems to like them.

Plato Duck Treats
Plato Duck Treats. These are made with natural ingredients and are hypoallergenic to boot! They are thicker than our usual treats, but I cut them up to include in her frozen Kong and she seems to enjoy them.

The Honest Kitchen Ice Pups mix
The Honest Kitchen Ice Pups mix. This is a powder that you mix with warm water for a wintery treat or you can chill/freeze it for a cool treat in the summer. We haven't tried this yet, but I'm thinking about adding it to her Kong for a frozen treat.

Aussie Naturals Floating Dolphin toy
Aussie Naturals Floating Dolphin toy. This toy is designed to be used as a water toy, and there's a tennis ball and rope inside so you can toss it. The nose and tail have squeakers. Waffles ignored it for a little over a week, but now she loves it! While we don't have a pool to test its floating capabilities, she loves to toss it around and shake. Not sure how much longer it will last, but she's having fun with it!

While we enjoyed our first box, it's a little on the expensive side at $29 per month (discounts available if you order a 3 month or 6 month subscription). She loves the toy, but we have other treats that she likes better. The value of the box was more than $29, but I think I'll stick to buying her treats and toys at our local pet store so I can chose the items myself. 

We might try it again down the road, but for now I cancelled our subscription.