Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Quick and easy nail art

My Mash nail art dotting tool set arrived today, so of course I had to try them out!

I used the largest tool for this quick and easy mani, with Zoya Zuza and Julep Georgia.

Just a little something to brighten this damp cold weather and remind me of summer!

The kit comes with 5 tools, each with two different size ends. Quite the deal at $3.98! MASH 5 X 2 Way Marbleizing Dotting Tool Pen Set for Nail Art Manicure Pedicure

*Disclaimer - links contained within this post are referral links, and I will receive credit for anyone who signs up and makes a purchase.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Julep New Years Mystery Box

I swear Julep will be the end of me! They had a 72 hour sale on a New Years Mystery Box that was guaranteed to contain a never before released glitter polish and a minimum total value of $100 up to a maximum of $500 with one box containing an iPad mini.

My sweet, sweet hubbin said to go ahead and order one, but  if I got the iPad that it was his. Considering he bought me the iPad mini as an early Christmas gift already I figured that I was still getting the better end of that deal so I snapped one up!

My box arrived today and I'm quite happy with it. Inside I found:

  • Age Defying Hand Brightener
  • Matte top coat
  • Isla
  • Portia
  • Hoch
  • Mystery glitter
  • Silver glitter pot
  • 3 nail polish remover pads
  • 2 foil package samples of Age Defying Hand Brightener
  • Reusable Julep shopping bag
I already have both the matte top coat and Hoch, so those will likely be swapped out for shades I don't already have. All in all I really enjoyed what I received, and while I'm not really a fan of glitter polishes these are so different than anything else I already have that I'm sure they will be put to good use. Ironically I was just getting ready to buy a white polish so I'm pretty excited to give Isla a try!

The only problem with getting the box today is that now I'm itching to swatch the new shades, which means taking off the lovely Scarlett polish that I've been enjoying for the last couple of days! This was one of the new microglitter shades for December, that I picked up at the Warehouse sale.

*Disclaimer - links contained within this post are referral links, and I will receive credit for anyone who signs up and makes a purchase.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Beauty Army

Last week I decided to cancel my Ipsy subscription (formerly Glam bag) and subscribe to Beauty Army instead. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with Ispy - each month I received a cure makeup/travel bag FULL of makeup - but I honestly got more pink lip glosses and black eyeliners that I can use for a good long while so I thought I'd switch subscriptions for a while to get some new items.

Beauty Army is a little different in that you get to choose 6 products to try each month from 9 options, and if you don't like the options you can redo your profile to get another set of 9 products to choose from. My first kit arrived tonight and I'm looking forward to trying out some new products!

The samples I chose are as follows:

  • Lipsi Cosmetics Aphrodite Powder
  • Nelson J Beverly Hills Argan Oil 7 Non-Foaming Shampoo
  • Whip Hand Cosmetics Loose Pigment Eyeshadow (Green Beret)
  • Enspri Moisture Duo
  • Mark Hook Up Lip Gloss (Blow Kisses)
  • GG Gatsby Raise Volume Conditioner
The Mark gloss is full size, and they even threw in the connector that you would use to connect another gloss at the other end. I'm actually a Mark rep (though I never sell anything - just buy products for myself) and I've been a big fan of these glosses for years. The formula is great and it's a perfect sheer red that is nicely buildable. As far as glosses go it's actually slightly less sticky than some other formulas (I'm looking at you, Bare Minerals) and the wear time is pretty good for someone like me who can't seem to keep lipstick color on for more than a half an hour.

The eyeshadow pigment is a nice green, slightly lighter than I expected from a color with a military theme but I'm actually quite happy with it and it will go nicely with the pearl pink eyeshadow pigment I got from Ipsy last week.

I'm almost out of my Bare Minerals Mineral Veil so I'm looking forward to trying the aphrodite powder, and I'm always interested in trying out facial serums and moisturizers so the Enspri duo will also be put to good use. While they are in foil packs they are a good size and should give me at least a couple uses.

Normally I would not get a conditioner without the shampoo but I got a volumizing shampoo without the conditioner from Birchbox last week so the timing on the GG Gatsby sample couldn't be better! And the argan oil shampoo is really a multi-use product that claims to take the place of shampoo, conditioner, and treatment all in one! I absolutely love argan oil for my hair so I'm anxious to see how this compares to my current Organix products.

All in all this costs me $12 a month, I can choose what products I want to try, and since they are based out of CA the kit arrived within days. Each month on the 11th (the day I signed up) I will receive a notification that the selection window is open and I can select my products, or I can choose to skip for the month. This service is very much like Julep in that aspect, though instead of selecting from several pre-selected boxes I can choose exactly what I want! While most of my products were deluxe sample sizes it seems that they also include full size products, so I feel that this subscription is a great value for the money!

*Disclaimer - links contained within this post are referral links, and I will receive credit for anyone who signs up and makes a purchase.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Julep Maven Program (aka my newest obsession)

I signed up for the Julep Maven program back in October, right before I left Portland to move to Seattle (home of Julep). While I've only received two subscription boxes so far (my intro box in Oct and my first Maven box in Nov - I skipped Dec's glitters box) my collection has already grown to 23 Julep polishes - my husband calls it my newest obsession!

Last weekend I was lucky enough to get to attend Julep's warehouse sale at their distribution center here in Seattle, where I bought 12 polishes and some miscellaneous beauty products at a huge discount, most of the polishes were only $3 (regular price $14) so I just could not resist! Not only did they have tables upon tables of polishes and products for purchase, but they also had cupcakes and mimosas, a DIY nail art table, and a free gift for everyone who purchased. The first 50 in the door got a free goodie bag, but when we arrived 30 minutes before they opened there were already at least a hundred people in line! It was absolutely PACKED but everyone was so nice and friendly and there was plenty of opportunity to look at everything and pick out exactly what you wanted. At one point the CEO of Julep was actually standing right next to me but I was too chickenshit to say hello (did not want to go all fangirl on her and totally embarrass myself), though it was really awesome that she was out circulating with everyone. I took one of my coworkers from my new job with me and we had such a great time, I jokingly told her that I had a budget and she had to keep me reigned in but she was an enabler and ended up with a nice haul of her own (though mine was much bigger).

The Julep Maven program is a monthly subscription for $19.99 (plus tax if you live in WA, so it's $21.89 for me) where you take a quiz to find out your style profile - mine is American Beauty - and each month you will receive at least 2 polishes plus another beauty product. On the 20th of each month they allow you to preview what you will receive for the following month, and you can either take your usual style profile or choose from one of the others (Classic With a Twist, Boho Glam, Bombshell, or It Girl). If none of those strike your fancy they will occasionally offer another Maven's Choice option, or you can choose to skip for the month at no charge like I did for December. In addition to your monthly subscription you can also add on up to three additional polishes or products at a huge discount, and you save 20% off the regular price and get free shipping on any other purchases through their site throughout the month. They also offer a secret store once a month for those Mavens who purchased that month's box and there are some fantastic bargains to be found there as well!

Over the last couple of months I've seen Julep pop up on several other websites such as and, and they were even featured as one of Oprah's Favorite Things under $100! It's absolutely amazing to me that a local company is doing so well, and I absolutely love supporting the local 'girls' and spreading the word about Julep's great formulas to everyone who comments on my polish.

I've never really thought of myself as a girly girl but I have been absolutely loving my pretty nails and switching my polish up every few days so I can wear something new, who knew I had it in me? ;)

Julia - American Beauty December 2012

*Disclaimer - links contained within this post are referral links, and I will receive credit for anyone who signs up and makes a purchase.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

The new and improved Influenster

I've developed a serious addiction to online monthly subscription boxes - currently subscribing to Birchbox, Ipsy (formerly MyGlam), and Julep - where you pay a monthly fee and you get a box of goodies in the mail. Mine are all beauty boxes, and have varying degrees of customization so you get to try new products that are geared to your own personal skin type, preferences, or interests.

Another fun player on the scene is Influenster, which has recently been revamped and is better than ever! What makes Influenster different is that it's a free service - you sign up as a user and fill out your profile for the chance to be selected for a VoxBox of products. Each VoxBox is matched up with registered users of the site to find the best possible match for the products that are being featured, and when you are selected for a VoxBox you will receive it free of charge. In return you simply review the items provided and share your experiences on your various social media channels. You get to try new products, and the brands get free advertising and word of mouth - a win/win situation for sure!

I was lucky enough to be picked for a VoxBox earlier this year and am still enjoying several of the FULL SIZE products I received. I'm still exploring the newly redesigned site and filling out the enhanced profile, and wanted to share the news for those who have not yet checked out the site.

It seems as though Influenster may be invitation only at the moment, so if you are interested let me know and I'll send you an invite!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

June Birchbox

I'm a couple weeks late in posting this month's Birchbox and my feelings are a bit mixed on this one.

This month's haul included:
  • Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream (sample)
  • Eyeko Fat Eye Stick (full size, brown)
  • BORGHESE Bagno di Vita Body Soak (two sample packs)
  • theBalm® cosmetics Stainiac (sample, beauty queen)
  • LUNA Bar (chocolate peppermint flavor)
While I certainly enjoy the products I received I have to admit I'm a little jealous of some of the other boxes I've seen online. My boxes seem to be a bit on the skimpy side when compared to others, and I'm pretty disappointed that I did not receive the men's cologne sample that most of the boxes included. I've received a brown eyeliner and hand cream two months in a row now so I'm hoping that next month's special Glamour magazine edition has something fun and different to try.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Trying something new

Testing the Blogger app and posting from my iPhone

Also trying a new look - I rarely paint my nails and can't decide if I like this combination or not

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Out and about

The weather has been absolutely gorgeous here for the last few weeks (the rain is back this week, but for a 'Bama girl this isn't enough rain to bother me) and we've been getting out and exploring our new town.

Some of the fun places we've been and things we've seen in the last few weeks:
  • Tulip Festival in Woodburn
  • Tillamook Cheese Factory
  • Oregon Zoo
  • Seaside
  • Iris Festival in Keizer
This weekend starts the Rose Festival here in Portland and we're planning on going to see the fireworks on Friday night, then seeing the Alabama Shakes on Sunday. Not sure what we'll do for Memorial Day, but I'm sure looking forward to a long holiday weekend!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Got home from a hectic day at the office to find not one, but TWO boxes of beauty goodies in the mailbox! I LOVE getting mail and packages, so I've been stalking the mailbox for a few days waiting for these goodies to arrive.

The first was my May 2012 Birchbox, shown below. If you haven't checked out Birchbox yet you are missing out! For $10 a month you get a box full of generous samples or full size products to try out, customized according to your own beauty profile. 

This month's box included:
  • A sample of K√©rastase Cristalliste Lumiere Liquide leave in hair serum
  • A sample of BVLGARI Omnia Crystalline Eau de Toilette Spray
  • A sample of Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream
  • A sample of Kiehl's Abyssine Cream + moisturizer
  • A full size stila sparkle waterproof liquid eye liner in "Rock Candy" (chocolate brown)
  • A cute note card with matching envelope
I'll be trying out the products over the next few days, but overall I am thrilled with this month's items! I would never have picked out a liquid eyeliner but the color is gorgeous and the brush seems like it will be easy to apply. I use a hair serum, moisturizer, and fragrance every day so new ones are always fun to try, and I keep a hand and nail cream in my purse so this will get a lot of use as well.

The second package was the Spring 2010 Beauty VoxBox from Influenster, and is my first time to receive one of these packages. Influenster is a similar concept, but you sign up for free and may be selected to receive a package of items to try out based on your profile. While you receive the items at no cost, you are expected to share your experiences with the items on your social media platforms to help the brands get their name out.

This VoxBox included (all products were received complementary for testing purposes from Influenster):
  • ChapStick Lipshield 365
  • Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips in a fun zebra design
  • SOYJOY soy and fruit bar in Blueberry
  • Sheer Cover duo concealer in Light/Medium
  • Bath & Body Works Fragrance Mist in Japanese Cherry Blossom
  • Dr Scholl's For Her ball of foot cushions
  • Aveno Daily Moisturizing body wash (travel size)
I'm a complete lip balm freak, so I've already tried out the ChapStick and have to say I'm extremely pleased with it. I usually stick to Burt's Bees but the Lipshield goes on smooth (not waxy) and leaves my lips feeling soft but not heavy with balm. I'm a big fan of Bath & Body Works fragrance mists and the Japanese Cherry Blossom scent, so I'll be giving that a try tomorrow when I'm getting dressed for work. I've been using the ball of foot cushions for years so another pair is always a good thing in my book, and I've been needing to buy a new concealer so the timing couldn't be better for the Sheer Cover concealer. The SOYJOY bar has already been claimed by the hubbin, but I'm hoping to at least get a bite of it! I don't usually keep my fingernails painted, but I've been dying to try the polish strips so this will be a fun experiment for me!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Starting a new adventure!

This blog has been dormant for FAR too long, so I'm hoping to resuscitate it and get back to blogging about my adventures and interests.

Some of the major changes in my life since my last post - I'm now living in my 4th state in two years, was in Houston, TX when I last posted, lived to Oklahoma City, OK for a year then Minneapolis, MN for 9 months, and now Portland, OR. Each move has been a result of a new job, and I've started and completed a Masters degree in Project Management through Penn State along the way as well. I'm now an AUNT to the most precious niece (my brother) and nephew (husband's sister) ever and I love spoiling them rotten.

What hasn't changed? I'm still sewing and knitting and crafting up a storm, though I've added an embroidery machine and a Silhouette digital cutter to my ever-expanding craft room. I've been documenting my crafty adventures on Facebook and I plan to use this space to document in more detail as I'm sure my husband is getting tired of pretending to know what I'm babbling about ;)

I've fallen off and gotten back on the fitness bandwagon a few times, but living in this perfect climate has the urge kicking back in to high gear so I plan to get back to the gym and hopefully into biking or running over the next few weeks. I've already become obsessed with my Fitbit and Polar fitness computer (Thanks to Little Bit Funky and BlogHer!) and I'm working on convincing my new coworkers to form a team for the upcoming Color Run that's taking place here in September.

Wine is still very much an interest of mine, and now that I live in the wine country I'll be visiting various local wineries much more often than my previous once a year trips. There are so many things to see, places to go, and festivals in the area that I'm getting a lot of use out of my camera already!

I've also become obsessed with Pinterest, BirchBox, and Influenster so I'll be sharing other various fashion, beauty, and just plain girly things in the coming weeks.

It's great to be back!