Sunday, July 22, 2012

Julep Box!

I got my Julep box today. It was just sitting there in my mailbox, waiting for me when I went home for lunch. It was such a nice surprise! I love getting mail.

For those of you who don't know, Julep Maven is a monthly subscription service that sends you 2-3 full sized nail polishes per month, along with a nail-related accessory or sample. My box was the American Beauty starter box which includes (according to their website):

The Best Pedi Cremè Ever! exfoliates with alpha hydroxy acids, hydrates with shea butter and coconut oil, nourishes with vitamin E. Apply nightly for noticeable results in just 1 to 2 uses.
Eva, juicy raspberry creme. The right balance of sophistication and whimsy.
Renee, spring lilac creme. Surprisingly ladylike.

The colors don't exactly seem like what they look like on the website, and the Pedi Creme looked full sized online (at least to me, but maybe I'm crazy cakes), but was just a deluxe sample in real life.

I'm not crazy about Renee, but I had decided that I would go with a different color than I normally do, so I wanted to see if it would grow on me. A few days later, and it still hasn't.  I'm out of topcoat, though, and it's held up pretty well, considering. Only a chip here or there on my fingers and none on my toes a few days later.

I do, however, love, Love, LOVE Eva. I think it's a really great color and I'm sure I'll be wearing it all the time. Also, my hands don't look that ugly in real life. At least, I hope they don't.

I have only tried the Pedi Creme once, mostly because I keep forgetting about it at bedtime. I don't really think it's all that much better than any other lotions, but I guess it's ok.

I like the toe spreaders, because they are the thinner, more flexible ones, so they aren't super uncomfortable to wear.

I got the package on the 18th, which was 2 days after they said they were shipping it and 5 days after I signed up. I think that's a pretty good turnaround, so I'm pretty happy with that.

All in all, though, unless I continue to get Maven credits from referrals (for every 2 of you that sign up, I get a free month), I'm going to just skip most months. While I like it, and like that you can choose what you'll be getting, I just don't think that it's really worth $20/month. If I had that kind of money to blow on nail polish, I'd be at the nail salon getting professional mani/pedis. Besides, a lot of the other subscription services regularly send nail polishes with their samples, and I'm always checking the clearance section of Target and Ulta and such to find new colors that are marked down, so usually I spend less than $20/year on new polishes.

Disclaimer: I bought this with my own money (although I did use a code that meant I got it for a penny). All opinions are my own.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I might have a problem....

While we were in The Boy's hometown, he was getting a haircut. I was supposed to be getting some jeans tailored while this was happening, but the tailor was on vacation, so I tagged along. While I was waiting, I picked up a magazine. In the magazine, I read about Birchbox. (If you click this link and buy stuff, I get credits for free stuff, so please do)

I tried getting a subscription, but they are currently full and I am on the waiting list. When I decided to read more about it, I stumbled on some very bad news for my Discover card balance over at The Girly Enthusiast. Apparently there are approximately 8,576,903,275 of these monthly sample subscription things. I spent the day signing up for them/other wait lists. As I get them in the mail, I'll review them on here and maybe cancel as needed. Currently I'm paying for them all myself, but if someone out there (all these companies, I'm talking to you!) wants to pay for my subscriptions (or at least take me off the waiting list!) I am ALL FOR IT. Because I am a poor, poor graduate student. And I love me some cheap stuff (free is better!)

Sample Society
Referral Code:JENK2635
They will be shipping my first order on August 1. The referral code does not get me points, but does give money to charity, so definitely use this one. Share the love.
This is the one of my 2 actual subscriptions that I am most excited about. Hopefully, they won't disappoint. Also, bonus, I get a free 1 year subscription to Allure magazine that doesn't auto-renew, so I won't have to worry about remembering to cancel it. Unfortunately, this one costs $15/month, unlike all of the others which are only $10. 

The Look Bag
No Referral Code =/
They didn't exactly specify my shipping date. It kinda said today, but considering I placed my order after 3 PM EST, I'm guessing not today.
I haven't heard of as many of the brands on this site, so it may be cancelled after one month. Or, I might love it. We shall see. 

They have cancelled the service because they've been having issues. They may rehaul and relaunch, but no word on that yet. They say that they will be sending July bags to people who have already paid for them (which I have), and that they've been shipping all week, but from what I can find on the internet, no one has actually gotten one and everyone is pissed. If I get one (I'm not exactly holding my breath--but if I don't I want my frigging $10 back) I'll post a review. My bag came today, I'll try out the products this weekend and post the reviews.

(Again, the link itself is the referral code)
I'm kind of annoyed that they let themselves be featured in a national magazine (Glamour? I think? or Redbook?), but then limit the amount of people that they allow to sign up. I feel like you need to be willing to accommodate MILLIONS if you're going to do that. I also don't like that they don't tell you how many millions of women are ahead of you on the waitlist (they also have a men's line that I thought about getting for The Boy (he has expensive tastes), but I decided against it. He can look if he wants). Work on that, Birchbox. That's strike one. If they send me awesome stuff or pull me off the waitlist soon, I'll be much happier. Also, points to them for allowing you to review stuff for points which can be used toward future purchases. Boo that they have to be used in 100 point (=$10) increments (e.g. a purchase of $16.99 would require 200 points/$20 reward dollars). It should only require 170 points. Don't scam. I know you're Harvard B-School grads, but I also know what you're up to.

My Glam Bag
This one looks like it has some pretty cool stuff, but they make you put your credit card in when you reserve a spot on the waitlist, and will automatically charge it when your turn comes. I don't like that, because my situation might change and I might completely forget about this in a few months. You can opt out of the waitlist at any point before you're called, but I don't like that they can just charge me at will. I feel like they should do what Birchbox does and say "Oh, hey, it's your turn, go order your box" instead. 

No referral code
I'm not gonna lie--I think this one might be the most all-around awesome box, because they come up with themes and include all sorts of products (including food and gender neutral items) that are all good-sized and seemingly awesome. I am allergic to a lot of skincare and makeup, so having samples of other things would be pretty cool. Hopefully they open up soon.

But for reals, y'all, I need to not be dropping $55/month on samples. If I get pulled off some waitlists, other things are gonna have to go. Probably. Maybe. I don't know. I guess it depends on the type of haul I end up getting. $55/month is worth it if I'm getting decent- to full-sized products that retail for more than $55. If not though... things will be getting the axe. And I will be doing reviews.

Now I need to actually get something productive done for today/this week. Oy.

Birthday Week Shenanigans

As most of you who read this already know, my birthday was last month.

It. Was. Awesome.

It was on a Monday (which kinda sucks), and I had to work (which kinda sucked), but our Project Coordinator brought in doughnuts!

The Boy was instructed to surprise me--I didn't care what he did or got me, but I wanted him to put effort into it. I wanted the time capital. When I told The Boy and Superman that I had asked my parents for a massage and even sent them a link for a Groupon that magically appeared in my inbox minutes later, Superman accused me of being unnecessarily harsh by instructing The Boy to come up with something special. I told them that my parents had already come up with plenty of special ideas for my birthdays past. The Boy said, somewhat grudgingly, "Dude, it's a test." I don't like to think of it that way, but whatever, if it was, he passed.

He picked me up (major points, I usually meet him at his apartment and we carpool from there because it's on the way to wherever we're going 95% of the time, and mine would be in the opposite direction, which it was in this instance). He took me to dinner at a nice restaurant downtown. We had a really nice time and I was very pleased.

Then, the real kicker--he had gotten us tickets to see the live stream of "One Man, Two Guvnors" from the London National Theatre (featuring the original, Tony-winning cast) that was playing at a local theatre. He took the time to find something that was so me that I would really enjoy. The show started out a little rough--we weren't sure it was going to be good for the first 5-10 minutes, but it picked up pretty quickly. It ended up being hilarious, and we were really glad we got to see it. He did so well, and everyone was so impressed that he did such a good job planning something that worked so well for me.

The day after my birthday, Bestie came and spent almost a whole week with me! It was awesome, and I was so glad she did. She and Superman had planned a sunset hiking adventure for me that was so beautiful (even if I almost died...twice) and included a lovely (if illegal?) swim and a picnic with margaritas. They took me to this lake that was so pretty, but had gates around the main beachy part, so we just decided to take a little detour through the woods and get in on the "wilder" side. After that, we hiked up to this beautiful observation tower that gave us the most amazing, breathtaking views of the mountain and nearby town, and the last vestiges of sunset. We would have seen more of sunset if I wasn't SUUUUUUPER out of shape and if it wasn't a mile and a half of stairs straight up the mountain (and maaaaybe I have sports-induced asthma. I don't know because I don't do enough sports to really notice, but all I know is that when I do a lot of cardio, I feel like I'm breathing through one of those tiny coffee straws, even for a while after I stop doing cardio). On the way down, Bestie, The Boy and I all walked within less than a YARD of a baby rattle snake and completely missed him. Could have stepped right on him and not even noticed. We were all shocked when Superman stopped us to point him out. It could have been disastrous because 1) We had all left our phones in the car, assuming that someone else had one 2) We were at the very top of the mountain (and let's face it--I certainly couldn't have carried any of them down) 3) It was very quickly getting dark, and 4) It was a baby, and if it hadn't just eaten, it would have dispensed a whole crapton of poison into whomever it might have bitten. BUT! We were all fine.

After we finally made it off the mountain (just as it got too dark to really see), we tried to leave the campsite where we may have been parking illegally. I say "illegal" in the loosest sense of the word, because, really, it was just frowned upon. Unfortunately for us, they had locked up the campsite before we had made it down the mountain, meaning we were locked in. Right as we were getting out of the car to see if we could somehow bust out, some hic state trooper pulls up behind us and gives us this big lecture about reading the signs. We read the signs, Mr. State Trooper, we just chose to ignore them. It was ridiculous. 

Bestie threw me a birthday party the next night, which was awesome and included delicious salsa (mine and Ms. Congeniality's*), delicious hamburgers (courtesy of The Boy and Superman), and delicious, if inappropriate, Funfetti cake, ala Bestie. I may have had too much tequila. Maybe.

The next night, Bestie and I met her mom in Myrtle Beach for her high school reunion. She went to school in Germany, because her dad was in the Air Force, and all of the Military Brats that went there have these annual reunions, which seem to me to just be a weekend of drunken debauchery and older people feeling like they're 18 again. Bestie's Mormon mother didn't drink, nor did she engage in the debauchery, but she did shake it on the dance floor and sing Hot in Here (which was HYSTERICAL).

I got to see/swim in the Atlantic for the first time, which was pretty cool. Also, the Atlantic is approximately 80 degrees warmer than the Pacific. I do not know how this is possible, but it is. It was lovely.

I had a great birthday week, and I really appreciate all of my family and friends who made it so great!

*The nicest girl in our program. Who may rank among the nicest people in the world.

Friday, July 13, 2012

More subscription madness

Hey y'all...

If you go to Julep and use the code COLOR2012, you get the first month of your subscription for A PENNY. DOOOO IT! You know you want to.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Future is So Bright, He has to Wear Shades

Or some such cliched, inspirational nonsense.

Brother graduated from high school this year. It makes me feel old, having a baby brother who will be starting college in the fall.

He wants to major in Special Ed and minor in ASL, because he wants to work with the happiest kids on campus. I feel like this makes him a pretty good (if naive) person. I admire him a lot.

He's been working like a boss lately--he just got a job installing fire alarms in local schools and he has been doing such a great job that he got promoted after like a week. He's one of the hardest workers on the team and consistently gets the most done. He seems to really like it and I'm really proud of him.

I think he's going to do well. I think I will try to convince him to not live with Mom and Dad all 4 years, like I did, because I think I missed out on a lot of the "college experience" that I hope he gets. I want to convince him to do a study abroad, because I didn't, and everyone I know who did, said that it was the best thing they ever tried. I hope he grows. I hope he learns, and doesn't just get an education. I hope that he meets people who will challenge him and change him. I hope that if he meets a girl, that I will like her (don't judge--you all know you want to like your in-laws, too). I hope he will find something that he's looking for. I hope he remembers who he is, even through all of the changes. I hope he has to work hard, but that he finds joy in that. I hope he loves it.