Month: September 2012

Fall trend: cuff bracelets

Loved the cuff bracelet trend that dominated spring and summer? Good news: it’s hot for fall, too. Check out these tough-to-sweet options for your fall wardrobe.

1. Pyramid Leatherette Cuff, $9.50, Wet Seal
2. Linked Stamped Cuff Bracelet, $9.80, Vanity
3. Feathered Cuff, $6.80, Forever 21
4. Patterned Cuff, $18, Maurice’s
5. Zad Are You Up For It? Silver Cuff Bracelet, $19, Lulu’s
6. Chain Magnetic Premium Bracelet, $12.80, Vanity
7. Rock Collection Silver Cuff Bracelet, $11, Lulu’s
8. Ornate Filigree Stretch Bracelet, $6, Charlotte Russe
9. Gem Stone Bracelet, $9.50, PacSun
10. Cutout Damask Cuff, $4.80, Forever 21
11. Hammered metal cuff, $5.99, Wet Seal

Have you tried Julep Maven? (Join now for a penny!)

Have you guys tried Julep Maven yet? Julep is a Seattle-based boutique nail salon that offers trendy nail polishes in-store and online. Julep Maven is their subscription beauty box service; and right now, they’re offering a promo code that lets you try out your first month’s box for a penny! 

I couldn’t pass up such an amazing offer, and obviously I wanted to make sure the code worked before I recommended this deal to you, my readers. Before I signed up, of course, I took a moment to e-mail them and ask about their animal testing policies. Here’s what they told me:

We ABSOLUTELY DO NOT test on animals! Never have, never will! We only test on humans. One of the great things about Julep is we have 4 Nail Parlors and amazing customers that let us test and try products on them all the time! Some of our products do contain animal derived ingredients (ei: milk and beeswax and etc.) Here are some products that are completely VEGAN: Facial for Hands Glycolic Hand Scrub, Our famous Julep Essential Cuticle Oil, and any Non-Red nail polish. Another great thing our products are “4 Free”, we use NO paraben, NO sulphate phthalate, NO  DBP, and they are tolene and formaldehyde free. We like to say, we took out all of the nasty carcinogens that are found in so many other products.

That’s awesome! Now, on to Julep Maven, how it works, and that awesome penny code:

Like other beauty boxes, Julep Maven starts by having you take a quiz; you’ll get one of five style profile results: ‘American Beauty’, ‘Boho Glam’, ‘Bombshell’, ‘Classic With a Twist’, and ‘It Girl’. I got ‘Boho Glam’, and I’m pleased with how well this fits my personal style.

This is Julep’s idea of boho glam. I like it!

Every month, the team at Julep puts together a beauty box based on your style profile; you can log on and view the items they’ve selected on the 20th of each month. Each month’s box costs $19.99. You receive $40 worth of polishes and treatments, a surprise product in each box, 20% off orders from, and free shipping on your purchases. There’s also a referral program that lets you earn a free month of Julep Maven for each two friends who sign up using your referral link.

But here’s the really awesome part! If you don’t like the box they’ve selected, you can choose a box from a different style profile, or elect to skip the month entirely. (You can find the full details on their FAQ page.) How awesome is that? To my knowledge the ability to skip months is rare.You just have to log in to your account between the 20th and 24th and select “skip a month”, or call them to cancel by the 24th, to avoid being charged.

Now, I’ll move on to that aforementioned promo code. I was really skeptical when I heard that you could get your first month for a penny, so I decided I had to try this service simply to verify the code. Well, it worked for me…my first box is shipping out for just one cent! I used code “COLOR2012” at checkout. I don’t know how long this code will stay valid, so if you’re interested in trying the service, I’d suggest you hop on over there ASAP. Codes have a way of expiring in a hurry, and often mysteriously as soon as you’re ready to use them! (Or at least, that’s been my personal experience.)

Update: Julep is now also tweeting out a code to use, “TWITTER1”, so if the first code doesn’t work for you I would definitely try this new one before you give up!

One more thing: if you do sign up, I’d love it if you use my referral link. (Pretty please!) And make that if you tell your friends about this offer–or re-post it on your blog–that you give them your referral link, too! 

Here’s what I’m apparently getting in my introductory box…

According to the website, my first order includes:

  • Toni – Boho Glam: Greige with a hint of lavender crème
  • Sasha – Boho Glam: Fresh cantaloupe melon crème
  • Best Pedi Crème Ever! exfoliate, hydrate, and nourish your feet

I’m so excited! It looks my polishes will be vegan, since they aren’t red. And this is a pretty pricey deal for a penny–the polishes retail for $14 apiece, and the pedi creme is $22. Yikes! That’s a $50 value!

I’m not sure that I’ll stay signed up for this service–it’s kind of pricey per month, at least for my budget, though I do love that the products are chemical-free. I guess it will depend on how much I love the polishes they send, and of course, what polishes they pick for me each month. The beauty of it is that you can skip a month without obligation, so I might stay signed up for a while and just skip months I don’t adore, and see how it all works out before I cancel altogether. 

Once I get my box I’ll be sure to post swatches and reviews, so watch for those! And let me know if you decide to sign up for Julep Maven, or if you’ve tried them in the past. I’d love to know what other beauty junkies think of them!

Something different! Boyfriend (husband!) Q&A post

I thought it’d be fun to try something a little different today! This lifestyle Q&A post has really been making the rounds on the web–I found it on Nykki’s Mane Blog, Nykki borrowed it from Jessica at GirlBooklet, and Jessica tried it after seeing it on All Things Pink & Sparkly.Whew!

The goal is to ask your BF a series of questions to see how well he knows you. I tried it with my husband–see how he did, after the jump!

Q: She’s sitting in front of the TV, what is on the screen?

He said…Ellen Degeneres.
I said…Yup! That’s the only TV show I watch anymore.

Q: You’re out to eat, what kind of dressing does she get on her salad? 

He said…Italian.

I said…The only kind I ever get!

Q: What is one food that she does not like?

He said…Broccoli.
I said…Ham. Yuck.

Q: You go out to eat and have a drink, what does she order?

He said…It’s that fruity alcoholic drink…
I said…Yes! Strawberry daiquiri!

Q: What size shoe does she wear?

He said…Nines!
I said…Yes!
He said…I remember because I’m always buying you new shoes! And you always complain about your feet being too big.

Q: If she was collecting anything, what would it be?

He said…Cats. (He says flatly)
I said…I was thinking nail polish or shoes, but cats is a good one also!

Q: What is her favorite type of sandwich?

He said…Tuna melt.
I said…If it’s homemade, yes.

Q: What would she eat everyday if she could?

He said…Pasta.
I said…I do eat that a lot. I would say pizza or chocolate.

Q: What is her favorite cereal?

He said…The flake stuff.
I said…Wheaties?
He said…Yes. Whatever is in the cupboard right now.

Q: What’s her favorite music?

He said…Coldplay.
I said…That’s in the top five. I can’t pick just one! I’d love to see them in concert.

Q: What is her favorite sports team?

He said…Green Bay Packers.
I said…I don’t have one, actually.
He said…You always ask how they did in a game.
I said…That’s because I grew up in Wisconsin. Cheese head country!

Q: What is her eye color?

He said…Brown.
I said…BROWN? They’re hazel!!

Q: Who is her best friend?

He said…Jaidyn.
I said…Yes.

Q: What is something you do that she wishes you wouldn’t?

He said…Yell.
I said…Or mistake my eye color.

Q: What is her heritage/where she is from?

He said…Italy.
I said…Yes. Also German and Scandinavian.

Q: You bake her a cake for her birthday, what kind of cake is it?

He said…An ice cream cake.
I said…You do know me well!

Q: Did she play any sports?

He said…No.
I said…No. I’m not athletic.

Q: What could she spend hours doing?

He said…Reading and writing.
I said…Reading and writing. I can lose track of time with a book.

Q: What is one unique talent she has?

He said…Putting up with me.
I said…I don’t think I have any!

That was a lot of fun! I’d say he did pretty well…though I’m surprised that he got my shoe size and not my eye color! LOL!

Product review: Nail-Aid Ultra Rapid Growth

I’ve always had issues with peeling, splitting nails. Part of this, I suspect, is an unavoidable side effect of working at a manual job and basically abusing my digits all night long; I have to keep my nails very short, and it’s tough to make a manicure last. Still, the promise of stronger nails is always tempting, and I needed a new base coat anyway, so I thought I’d give this one a shot.

Product: Nail-Aid Ultra Rapid Growth, $7; drugstores

Claim: “Longer Nails In Just 5 Days. Harder, Thicker Nails Instantly. Powerful Protection Against Splits, Peels And Chips. Fills In Ridges For Smoother Nails. Dries Fast To A High-Shine, Hard Finish.”

I tried it: You can wear this clear coat alone or as a base/top coat with colored polish. As a base coat, I have nothing but praise for this product: it creates a smooth base for the polish, makes removal easier, and seems to help protect against staining as well as any other base coat I’ve tried.

The brush is medium-sized, not thick and fat but not so skinny that you have to stroke and stroke to cover the nail. The formula is also a nice density, not too thick or too thin. I should also note in parting that this formula seems to dry fairly quickly, which is always a nice attribute in a base coat.

As a top coat, I’m a little more iffy. It does protect the color against chipping, but it just isn’t as shiny and glossy as I’d like it to be. However, it won’t “streak” your manicure like some cheap top coat formulas, which is a huge bonus. I tried it as a top coat over nail art to protect and prevent streaking, then finished with a coat of cheap clear glossy top coat for a shinier finish. It’s a two-step process, but I always apply two coats of top coat anyway, so I’m happy enough with it until I can find a different top coat to suit my needs.

As far as growth and strength: I would say that my nails are a bit stronger after using this product for a few weeks. A couple are still peeling, but they’re much stronger overall and do seem to be growing a bit faster.

My vote: A winner! Non-toxic base coats are hard to come by, and when you do find them, they’re typically rather expensive. This is a lovely formula that I’ll definitely purchase again in the future.

Me, Myself and I link party #3: September 2012

Well, this is something new! If you’re unfamiliar with the link party check out one of the lovely hosts to find out more.

Without further ado, here are the September link-up questions…

1. When you’re feeling down, what do you do to pick yourself up?

I usually listen to music to put myself in a better mood. And snuggle with my kitties!

2. If you had to live in a different time period which would you prefer?

That’s a toughie. The sixties always sound like they’d appeal to my hippie self. But to be honest I don’t know a lot about the different time periods so I’m not really sure–I just know I wouldn’t want to live in an era with corsets!

3. What is the most creative Halloween costume you’ve ever worn?

Last year I found out everyone at my workplace would be allowed to dress up for Halloween, so I dressed up to the hilt as a pirate. I was the only one who arrived in costume!

4. Five weird things we wouldn’t know about you without being told?

  1. I was home-schooled.
  2. I tend to wear either head-to-toe black or very colorful outfits. There’s no middle ground for me!
  3. I adore penguins.
  4. I’m super-shy when you first meet me, but if we get to know each other well you’ll find I have a wicked and often inappropriate sense of humor.
  5. I used to swear up and down I wouldn’t get married, ever, period. Look who got hitched early!

5. What would you tell your 16-year-old self?

  • Don’t be so shy, and don’t be so hard on yourself. People will like you even if you’re not perfect!
  • That boy isn’t worth it. Someone else will come along who is, though, so don’t let all of your hurt prevent you from being happy again.
  • It’s okay to go out of the house without makeup on!
  • Don’t change anything about yourself to make other people happy. You’re insecure right now and want to fit in, but you’ll wind up unhappy in the long run if you don’t stick to your guns. Don’t worry, though, you’ll eventually figure it out and then life will get awesome.
  • Please stop wearing so much eyeliner. And learn to use the lash curler properly!

The cheapie nail art tools you already own

Sure, you could spend tons of cash on nail art pens and other goodies designed to help you recreate the fancy nail art patterns of your dreams…but chances are, you’ve already got quite a few “tools” at home that can help you create beautiful nail art without breaking the bank. As a bonus, if you have the right tools on hand, there’s no need to buy special nail art pens–you can just use regular polish.

Here are some of the tools I use when I’m creating my nail art designs:

  • Bobby pins, Q-tips, toothpicks, an old pencil (or a Bic pen that’s run out of ink)…all can be used to create dots and fine lines on your nails. You can create dots with a pencil eraser, too!

  • Cheap, disposable makeup sponges can be cut down to size and used to create an ombre effect on your nails.
  • Cheap eyeliner brushes are great for nail art–I love the ones from E.L.F. for $1 to $3.

  • You can buy an artists’ palette from a craft store (they’re pretty cheap), or just save and wash a lid from a yogurt or Cool Whip container and use it as a cheap “palette”. In a pinch, a sheet of wax paper works great, too.

  • Scotch tape is great for sectioning off your nails to create geometric designs, or just for taping off the tips for a modern French manicure.

 What are your favorite tools to use when creating nail art?

A chic and easy way to fix chipped nail polish

If your nail polish is chipped but you aren’t ready to switch shades yet, here’s a chic and easy way to fix your tips and get a fun new mani all in one.

See my chipped tips? I’m going to give them a quick fix with a modern, metallic twist on a French manicure. Find out how after the jump!

Start by applying nail tip strips or Scotch tape to mark off the tips of your nails…

…then brush on two coats of nail polish. I used metallic gold, but you could go tone-on-tone or try a funky contrasting color, too!

When the polish is dry, very gently peel off the tip strips. I can’t stress this enough–DON’T rip them off, or you’ll pull up your base polish, too!

Now add a coat of glossy top coat and you’re done!

No more chipped tips!

Beauty website to bookmark: Coterie (MASSIVE intro promo code+Butter London deal! Hurry!)

Have you heard of Coterie? It’s a beauty sale site that’s currently offering both a mind-blowing intro promo code and a deal on Butter London nail lacquer, and I could not wait to share it with you.

I have to give huge props to blogger Sparkle Girl’s Life for posting about Coterie, because while I’d heard it mentioned in passing, her post was the one that sent me to the site to see exactly what the buzz was about. (Check out her awesome blog here!)

Coterie is a members-only flash sale site dedicated to beauty. From the website:

Coterie is an exclusive, members-only site featuring an ultra-selective collection of the newest and most sought-after beauty products. In collaboration with top makeup artists, stylists and industry trendsetters, Coterie provides the woman on-the-go access to everything she needs to know, all in one place.

It’s basically the best of beauty deals, online shopping, social sharing, and flash sale alerts, all in one place! It’s free to join and the site is planning to offer a host of new features like a virtual vanity, personalized sale alerts, and rewards points for referring friends.

Now, on to the really good part (and the massive intro promo I mentioned in the title!). The first deal available on Coterie is a trio of Butter London nail lacquers, plus your choice of a P.D. Hardwear or Matte Finish topcoat. There are six Butter London shades to choose from: West End Wonderland, Wallis, Pillar Box Red, Knackered, Bluey, and All Hail the Queen.

The Butter London deal costs $36 and is listed as a $60 value, so you’re already saving money there. But here’s the really really amazing promo deal: Coterie is offering a limited code for new members only. Enter the promo code “VIPMEMBER” at checkout to receive $25 off your order!

Yep, do the math! A $60 package cut down to $36, minus the $25 promo, plus $4.99 for ground shipping = $15.99 total. That works out to $4 per polish, which is jaw-dropping considering that the polishes retail for $14 apiece and the top coat retails for $18. In other words, these super-pricey, high-fashion colors, from the lacquer known for creating exclusive fashion week shades, cost less than a drugstore polish.

I simply couldn’t pass up this deal, so I signed up for Coterie. It’s super-fast, super-easy, and free. You have to enter a valid e-mail address and password; that’s it. Go to your account to add your name, shipping address, and birthday; you can choose whether or not to keep credit card info on file, or simply add it when you’re ready to checkout. (I always prefer that sites NOT remember my info, so I loved that feature.) I think the site looks really clean and lovely and is easy to use, and I’m very impressed.

Remember when you get to the checkout to choose the $4.99 shipping option and enter the promo code! You’ll kick yourself if you don’t! And don’t wait to order–while I was placing my order both packages were listed as available, but when I went back to the site ten minutes later to double-check my account the “matte” package was already listed as sold out!!

I can’t wait to get my Coterie order and will definitely share swatches and reviews when it arrives. I ordered the Hardwear package with Wallis, Knackered, and Bluey. This will be my first experience with Butter London and I can’t wait!

Do you like members-only or sample sale sites? Any good ones to share? Any you tried and hated? Let me know in the comments, and let me know what you think about Coterie!!