Monday, September 30, 2013

Super Nova Mystery Box #1 by Julep

 Disclaimer:  I purchased this.
In addition to the monthly Maven subscription box that Julep offers each month for $19.99, they also usually have a "mystery box" each month for purchase.  I got a few mystery boxes when I first subscribed a year ago, but then relied on the regular subscription box to acquire Julep's polishes and beauty items.  Recently however, Julep has revamped their mystery boxes by offering different tiers, and the value has been good enough  that I decided to take a chance on one this month!
Julep really is a master of marketing, as they usually sweeten the deal with an offer of some some that is not readily available elsewhere.  For example, the September mystery boxes featured a galaxy theme and included an exclusive polish called Estelle that looks like an inky star studded view of the cosmos.  Three different boxes were offered at different price points  ($19.99, $24.99, and $39.99) and only the two more expensive boxes included Estelle.  I told you, savvy marketing!
I chose the Super Nova option at $39.99 but was fortunate enough to find a code that gave me $5 off, so the final price was $34.99 plus tax.  There were two different versions of the Super Nova box and I received box #1, which turned out to be the box that appealed to me the most.
I received 8 polishes, and there is always the risk of receiving polishes I already own, which happened with 2 of the polishes - the dark pink Raegen and the gold top coat Adele.  I love Adele enough that I'm happy to have a backup, and the second Raegen can always be gifted, so no problems there.
Raegan, Adele, Dakota
I like all of the colors and the two beauty related items I will either use or give as Christmas gifts.  The boxed set in particular may be going to my mother, as she will definitely use the hand cream and suffers from flaky nails, so maybe the oxygen nail treatment will appeal to her. 
Tracy, Amity, Nicolettte
There is a nice mixture of finishes in this set of polishes, as Tracy is a sand (textured) finish, Adele is a gold shimmer topcoat, Estelle is a holographic glitter, Amity and Stefani are metallics, Dakota is a suede, and Nicolette a cream.
Estelle, Stefani
Value of the box at full retail for each item would have been $157, but take that with a grain of salt as Julep's items are overpriced and discounts are usually available.  Still, quite the value for $34.99 and I'm happy with one caveat - shipping took 10 days since Julep used DHL.  But, considering I decided to skip October's maven box, this made for a very nice alternative :-)

Friday, September 27, 2013

NOTD: Azurite by JINsoon

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.
Azurite is one of the 5 color polishes from the Fall/Winter 2013 collaboration of JINsoon and women’s wear designer Amy Smilovic of Tibi.  A midnight blue with small specs that look silver most of the time, it can also flash color in more intense light.  I've seen comparison references to Essie's discontinued and much loved Starry Starry Night, but never having owned that, I can't really say.
Application was easy and Azurite wore extremely well, a full six days with minor tip wear and no chipping.  While JINsoon polishes are on the pricey end at $18, I'm impressed with the quality!  Considering I was dishes by hand (broken dishwasher) and do yard work with gloves on, I'm persuaded that the double patented formula featuring high-tech polymers and resins to ensure longer wear isn't just marketing hype.  This baby performed!
I see more JINsoon polishes in my future, especially considering I'm currently wearing Epidote and am smitten with how gorgeous it is as well.  You'll see that one next week :-)
 Linking up with The Nail Files hosted by Well Shut the Front Door!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sephora+Pantone Universe Day Break Full Spectrum Eyeshadow Palette

Disclaimer:  I purchased this.
I waffled back and forth on purchasing the Sephora+Pantone Universe Day Break palette for what seemed like forever.  One week I'd be concerned it would sale out since it's been in the sale section for half price at $19 for quite a while.  The next week I'd decide I have more eyeshadow palettes than I need and I should pass on this one.  Well, I guess we know which sentiment won out in the end:-)
Here's the good news:  I love this palette and think it's quite unique to my collection!  According to Sephora's description:
Create a multidimensional eye look with this shadow palette of harmonious shades and a unique color-shifting formula that alters depending on the angle of view and lighting. Each color family includes coordinated hues ideal for capturing a variety of looks, balanced with a slight pearlescent finish to provide depth and softness. The combination of esters, emollients, and vitamin E creates a soft and velvety texture that allows color to spread smoothly and evenly.  The curated assortment pairs glazed pastels inspired from aurora borealis, misting geysers, and colored clouds with luminous natural shades.
The Sephora+Pantone Universe packaging is lovely per usual, and while the clear acrylic lid with the magnetic closure may not be the smartest travel choice, I'm finding it handy for home use. 
Navajo and Shrimp
I love the softness of the colors and how they shift depending on the light.  While some of the colors are sheer, they work great for layering over other shadows and are spectacular over darker colors, as the duotone really shows up then.
Dew and Atmosphere
At first I though Atmosphere was a straight up taupe, but there is actually some purple in it as well.
Jet Stream and Cloud Pink
These wore well over primer and the only one I felt had issues was the matte bisque Jet Stream.  It looked chalky on and the color did not work for me as a brow highlight. Shrimp and Cloud Pink are similar in color, but Cloud Pink has more of a gold shift to it.
Fairest Jade and Peach Melba
Fortunately, the second matte shadow Peach Melba did not suffer from the chalkiness of Jet Stream and is a color I can see myself using often.  These are subtle, soft colors and it is difficult to catch the shift in color in pictures, but they really are lovely.
Here are some of the looks I've done using this palette:
Well worth the $19 and I'm glad I finally picked up Day Break!  The is also a more vibrant Night Fall palette in this collection as well, and both are still available in Sephora's online sale section.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

September Eco Emi: Fall is in the Air

Disclaimer:  I subscribe to Eco Emi for $15/mo.
Mobile is experiencing a small taste of fall like weather, as it was in the upper 60's this morning and I've got all my windows open.  Eco Emi is reinforcing this feeling of fall in the air with their September box, which features some drinks and beauty items to help up get me in the autumn spirit.  I'm more than ready, believe me!
 The non-beauty items this month were:
  • Vitacare Whitening Gum in Cool Mint Freshness + Acai:  I've received Vitacare gum from Eco Emi before, and I like it!  Sample value $1.99.  
  • Organic Peru La Florida Coffee by Cool Bean Perks Coffee:  I love coffee but am currently wedding to my Keurig, so this will go to my aunt who still brews the traditional way and only uses organic beans.  Perfect!  Sample value $1.06.
  • Ginger Peach Iced Tea by Mighty Leaf:  This is a new flavor from Mighty Leaf and features sun swelled peaches and delicate ginger.  It smells fantastic, and I inhale iced tea, so it will definitely get used.  Sample value $4.50.
 The beauty and personal care items for September were:
  • Organic Mayan Riviera Honey Moisturizing Exfoliant by Zola Jae:  This organic sugar and brown sugar based facial scrub also features organic honey, Vitamin E oil, pure vanilla extract, organic sunflower oil and castor oil for softening skin.  It's also reasonable priced at $3 for the 2 oz. container I received.  

  • Cleansing Towelette by Desert Essence:  This all purposed cleansing towelette features a blend of tea tree oil, lavender, and orange extracts to cleanse, sooth, and refresh skin.  Sample value is 53 cents.
  • Assorted Creme Foundation by Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques:  I received 3 samples in different color variations of these creme foundation, and I think the middle shade should work for me.  I can't say I completely understand the color ranges/naming, but that's okay.  The consistency of these is a nice, thick whipped creme designed to provide medium to full coverage.  I look forward to trying out this all natural cream foundation, as they are few and far between!  Sample value $6.
  • Organic Sweet Orange Deodorant by Only NatCHeryl:  I switched to natural deodorants several years back, so I'm always interested in trying out new variations.  This would be the first natural deodorant I've tried that comes in a stick format, so I'm hoping it works. The scent is a faint orange creamsicle - quite pleasant!  I'm estimating sample value at $1.50.
  • Ochre, Juicy Orange Flavor Lip Gloss by Purely You Minerals:  Great fall color and it does indeed have a faint orange flavor and scent.  It's a non-sticky gloss that is comfortable on, but I'm guessing the staying power is minimal  I am liking the gloss it has!  I'm estimating sample value at 75 cents, and a full sized tube goes for a reasonable $7.50.  
  • All Purpose Healing Salve by The Natural Choice Apothecary:  This all natural herbal balm is good for small cuts, scrapes, sunburns, diaper rash, and chapped skin or lips.  The smell reminds me of Thanksgiving dinner in a good way - the herbs used in the dressing, perhaps?  Sample value $1.00.
There is not anything in this month's box that won't get used, so I'm a happy camper!  I'm most interested in the deodorant, foundation, and sugar scrub, but invariably I find surprise favorites.  Total box value for September is $20.33.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

JINsoon for Tibi: Azurite and Epidote Preview

Disclaimer:  I purchased these.
I don't usually indulge in high end (read expensive) nail polish, although I have on occasion when something has really grabbed my fancy.  These two JINsoon polishes were more the result of needing to hit that $250 minimal purchase to get the GWP from Space NK I showed you yesterday.  But gah, now that I've got my hands on them, they're gorgeous!
First off, I had never heard of Jin Soon before.  Since I've purchased them, I seem to see her name wherever I turn, but I'm guessing it was there before and I was just oblivious.  If you are oblivious like me, Korean born Jin Soon Choi has been described as the nail art dynamo of the fashion world and was dubbed the "Nail Guru" by The New York Times Magazine.  She has a really interesting background that you can read more about here, and debuted her own line of polishes in 2012. 
Now, a bit about the The A La Mode: Tibi Collection™.  It is the Fall/Winter 2013 collaboration of JINsoon and women’s wear designer Amy Smilovic of Tibi and consists of 5 color polishes named for their mineral like appearance and a matte top coat.  The formula is 5-Free and was created without the toxic chemicals formaldehyde, toluene, DPB, formaldehyde resin, and camphor.  Furthermore, the double patented formula features high-tech polymers and resins toensure longer wear and an extended shelf life while UV filters protect against fading and yellowing of color.  Pretty fancy!
Azurite is described as "a classic deep blue that never goes out of style. This shade is enhanced with galaxy-like specs that provide a subtle star dust quality."  In bright light you can see the holographic multi color specs, and in darker lighting it appears as silver specs for that night time sky effect.  Either way, it's gorgeous.  I'm wearing Azurite now and you can see pictures of it on Friday in my regular NOTD post.
Epidote is "a metallic green with a multidimensional, iridescent, chameleon-like finish that reflects light in myriad ways."  It is lovely and complex and I can't wait to wear it next.  I didn't realize it was a color shifter when I purchased it and was instead going by the olive green color I saw in the bottle shot.  Sometimes surprises are good :-)

JINsoon polishes are $18 and judging by my initial experience, are worth the splurge!

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Mother of All Gift Bags: Space NK Autumn Beauty Event

Refinery29 called this "a gift with purchase on steroids", and I'd say that's an apt description.  I was not familiar with Space NK, but when I saw this one day gift with purchase offer (Sept. 12th) while perusing blogs, I took the plunge.  And it was a plunge, as you had to spend $250 in order to get this GWP valued at over $350 (it's actually $504, according to my calculations).  Call it an early birthday gift to myself or a reward for my recent promotion and raise, or just poorly restrained impulses, but it was worth it :-)
A mixture of deluxe, travel, and full sized skincare, haircare, and makeup products , the bag contained:
  • Space NK Tote Bag
  • Lipstick Queen Sinner Pinky Nude Lipstick (full size) (sample value $22)
  • Rococo Nail Apparel Brocade Crème (full size) (sample value $16.50)
  • African Botanics Pure Marula Oil (17 ml) (sample value $21.59)
  • Antica Farmacista Prosecco Room Fragrance (25 ml) (sample value $7)
  • Bumble and bumble Texture Hair (Un) Dressing Crème (15 ml) (sample value $2.84)
  • By Terry Cellularose Brightening Serum (4 ml) (sample value $15.60)
  • Caudalie Vinoperfect Serum (10 ml) (sample value $26.33)
  • Chantecaille Mini Brilliant Gloss in Lucky (1.5 ml) (sample value $1.67)
  • Clark’s Botanicals Deep Moisture Mask (15 ml) (sample value $21.48)
  • Darphin Azahar Cleansing Micellar Water (50 ml) (sample value $10)
  • DevaCurl 3-Step Introductory Kit (1 fl.oz No-Poo, One Condition & Light Defining Gel) (sample value $4.80)
  • Diptyque Volutes Solid Perfume (.14 oz) (sample value $42.66)
  • Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution (.25 fl.oz) (sample value $16.25)
  • Goldfaden MD Doctor’s Scrub (3.75 g) (sample value $2.81)
  • Hampton Sun After Sun Moisturizer (2 fl.oz) (sample value $8)
  • Hourglass Film Noir Mascara (.15 oz) (sample value $12)
  • Natura Bissé Oxygen Gel (10 ml) (sample value $17)
  • Oribe Côte d’Azur Hair Refresher (65 ml full size) (sample value $22)
  • Philip B Light-Weight Deep Conditioning Crème Rinse (15 ml) or Russian Amber Shampoo (15 ml) (sample value $4.88)
  • Radical Skincare Youth Infusion Serum (8 ml) (sample value $45.33)
  • Rahua Conditioner (60 ml) (sample value $7.42)
  • Ren Hydra-Calm Global Protection Day Cream (15 ml) (sample value $16.50)
  • Revive Masques des Yeux (7 ml) (sample value $43.79)
  • Rodial Bee Venom Moisturizer (5 ml) (sample value $19)
  • Serge Normant Meta Silk Shampoo (60 ml) (sample value $6.50)
  • Serge Normant Meta Velour Conditioner (60 ml) (sample value $6.50)
  • Sunday Riley Good Genes Treatment (10 ml) (sample value $35)
  • Tata Harper Rejuvenating Serum (15 ml) (sample value $22.05)
  • Wei Gingko Leaf Repairing Décolletage Treatment Pad (single use) (sample value $11.33)
  • Zelens Transformer Instant Renewal Mask (5 ml single use) (sample value $15)
Space NK apothecary is UK based and features a curated collection of innovative beauty products both online and in store from all over the world.  There are no Space NK stores near me, but fortunately the GWP was available with online purchases as well. 
The majority of the US stores are located within Bloomingdales, with 7 free standing ones.  I'll have to keep an eye out for them when I'm traveling, as I'm pretty sure Mobile will not be on the list to get one anytime soon.
I'm going to have so much fun playing with everything and feel amply stocked up with high end skincare items.  I'm glad NK Space is on my radar now!