Ever After March 2017 Box: Lucky Charms

LuckyCharmsBox

Ever After’s March 2017 Box was themed Lucky Charms, perfect for St. Patrick’s Day. The polish, named Magically Delicious, is a “gorgeous bronze mega sparkle polish full of rainbow holo and gold flakes”. Also included was a 2 oz. container of Lip Scrub and a tube of Lip Balm. Both are scented with Lucky Charms, a blend of “mixed berries and marshmallows”. And naturally, the candy was a bag of the the little marshmallows (which are clearly the best part of Lucky Charms cereal)!

LuckyCharmsCard

Magically Delicious had a great formula that applied smoothly and provided a very even distribution of flakes across the nail. The first coat applies like a topper, with a good amount of flakes and glitter, but without significant opacity. I found I had full-coverage after the third coat. The dry time is pretty standard, and I topped with regular glossy top coat.

Magically Delicious is a very interesting polish, and I enjoyed the color. The base appears to be a relatively translucent, medium tan, but is packed to the brim with holo glitter, bronze flecks, and gold, green, and purple flakes. It’s a nude polish, but with a lot of fun elements, creating a shimmery, sparkly, metallic finish. Even with so much going on, it’s not overwhelming, but creates a beautiful shade. The rainbow of colors present in the more neutral base really is reminiscent of Lucky Charms cereal; you can see the inspiration in the polish. I’ve been wearing it for about a week now, and haven’t had the urge to change it yet. I guess you could say it really is Magically Delicious.

Being a dry person (dry skin, dry sense of humor, all that jazz), I often find my lips are on the dry side. While I try to combat this unfortunate occurance, I’m not always as diligent as I’d like, and sometimes have to deal with chapped lips. Having a good Lip Scrub on hand is always helpful, and Ever After’s is really well-done. It’s not sticky or hard, so it’s easy to scoop a tiny amount out with your finger and rub onto your lips. It provides gentle exfoliation and doesn’t leave any residue or bad tastes. I really like that they didn’t use paraffin to hold it together, so it really just tastes like sugar, not like you’re eating lip balm. The Lucky Charms scent reminds me of flavored cotton candy and berry gummy candies. If you like sweet, sugary scents, this is the one for you. And even if you don’t, this one is nice and light, not overpowering or overdone. After using, the lip scrub my lips felt much more smooth and healthy, completely refreshed. If you ever have chapped lips, this is a great product to try.

I have used Ever After’s Lip Balm before, so I was excited to see one in the box. One thing I’ve mentioned before is that I find with some lip balms, your lips feel even drier after it’s absorbed, so I tend to be very picky. This is not the case with EA Lip Balm, which provides soft, long-lasting moisture and always smells delightful. The balm is also scented with Lucky Charms, which reminds me of the many candy-scented balms I adored as a kid. The major difference being that Ever After Balm is full of natural, nourishing oils without a lot of heavy, artificial ingredients to irritate your lips. It’s often available in a variety of scents, and is great to keep in your bag, at your desk, or in your makeup stash. I don’t always want a lip color, but I do always want moisture, so Lip Balm is a go-to product for me.

As per usual, I’m very happy with my monthly box. I was really impressed with how much the polish reminded me of the cereal, turning a relatively mundane breakfast food into a shiny, sparkly delight. I also enjoyed the scent tie-in with the lip products, which were went perfectly together and will definitely be used up. I’m always excited to see what will be in the box, and look forward to sharing with you. Stay tuned to Sub-Box Sunday, as I’ll be sharing 2016’s first two boxes (the first two EA boxes ever) in the coming weeks.

-Abby

 

Julep January 2017 Color Comparisons

Julep’s January Collection featured many dark, earthy colors, as well as a new finish, sheer iridescent shimmer. While I didn’t review the collection, I was curious to see how the colors would stack up, especially after reading C’s thoughts. I expected colors in the new finish to really stand out, but guessed that the crémes would likely be near dupes, as Julep’s créme catalog is so extensive. The only way to find out, of course, was too pull out the swatch sticks and get to comparing.

Katherine

Katherine was hard to place; I couldn’t decide if it fit better with greys or browns. In the end, I found it fit better with the browns, but left Daria in as a grey reference. Katherine is closest to Rooney, but definitely not a dupe, as it leans a bit more grey and is slightly less saturated. It’s not the most creative shade, but it passes my standard for being unique.

Gabby

Although described as a ghost shimmer, Gabby really appeared as more of a créme. It’s an incredibly dark shade, even compared to other darker teal colors. Josephine is also a fairly dark shade, but leans a bit more forest green, while Gabby appears nearly black. It’s definitely a new shade, although it’s so close to black you probably won’t notice the teal except in bright light.

Barb

Barb is a very blue-leaning grey, so I decided it would be best to compare it to both blues and greys. In the end, I decided to call it grey, but really it could go either way. Barb fits perfectly in the spectrum, right between Daria and Eliana. It’s a new and different shade, and I’m glad to see it added to the catalog.

Evan

Julep has plenty of dark, burgundy crémes, so pulling comparison colors for Evan was quite easy. I found it was close to both DeAnn and Aisha, although not exactly the same. I’m inclined to call is a near dupe of Aisha, so if you have one, you probably don’t need the other. Evan is not a total miss, but not really anything new or exciting either.

Yulia

 

Because of the color shift for the sheer iridescent shimmers, it was harder to place Yulia and the other iridescent shades this month in the color spectrum. I tried to focus on the dominant color. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to capture this shift in the swatch photos. Yulia’s main color, a deeper teal, has the same metallic effect as some of the other teal Julep shades, but leans a darker and has a hint more of blue tones. It’s definitely a unique shade.

Belle

Belle fits in very well with other bright magentas, so I had plenty of swatches to choose from. The dominant shade is fairly close to Jeanette, but leans just slightly more purple. They both have a similar shimmery/metallic effect, but Belle is really differentiated by the shifting effect of the finish. 

Pacita

Pacita was definitely the hardest shade to place, as it shifts from red to orangey-copper to gold. In the end, I decided it most often looks like a reddish copper, and compared it to other copper and rose gold polishes; it look very brown compared to other reds. Pacita doesn’t look anything like any other shade, and is definitely new and interesting. It’s the most unique color in this collection.

Marta

Marta also gave me some trouble for pulling comparisons, as it’s very dark and saturated, but not quite the same hue as other darker purples. In the end, I placed it with shades I largely consider to be true purples, leaning neither blue nor red. It doesn’t really quite fit here either, but it was the closest comparison I felt I had. Marta also clearly falls into the creative and different category.

Darcy

I found the Darcy fit best with some of the other greyish purples, and focused on those for comparison. I was suprised to find it’s actually quite similar to Reece and Joss, with Joss being less metallic and Reece being more metallic. Despite the relative similarities, like the rest of the sheer iridescent shimmers, the color shift really differentiates Darcy, and keeps it from becoming a dupe.

January’s Collection was quite successful in terms of uniqueness of shades. I found the eight of the nine colors were reasonably or completely creative, with only one shade being a near-dupe. It’s always great to see Julep explore a new finish, and I think the sheer iridescent shimmers will be a lot of fun to play with as toppers. January’s Collection was a strong start to the year, and I hope we’ll continue to see new and interesting shades for the rest of 2017.

-Abby

Ever After February 2017 Box: Black Heart

BlackHeartBox

After taking a week off, Sub-Box Sunday is back, and today I’m sharing Ever After’s February 2017 Box. This year, rather than doing a traditional Valentine’s Day theme, the box was themed Black Heart. Black Heart was inspired by the anti-Valentine’s day crowd, appealing to those who have been “scorned by love”. The box included two nail care products: a bottle of Cuticle Remover Gel, and a dropper of Rapid Dry. The monthly polish, Black Heart, is a “deep black satin finish loaded with red and copper flakes and just a slight hint of shimmer”. To finish it off, the box also included a Black Cherry flavored Blow Pop.

BlackHeartCard

I was very excited to try the Cuticle Remover Gel. In terms of nail care, I do not advocate cutting your cuticles, because of the risk of cutting too deep and removing live skin. However, I am pro using a cuticle remover product, as they can help you get rid of dry, dead skin without having to use a cutting tool. Ever After Cuticle Remover Gel came in a mini polish bottle, which is perfect, as the brush allows you to apply it precisely and neatly. You use a small amount along the cuticle line, let it sit for about a minute, and then use a cuticle pusher tool to remove any excess skin. Last, you wash off any extra product. I found the gel to be very effective. It applied cleanly without wasting product, helped loosen dry skin, and didn’t burn or sting. There was very little extra, which washed off quickly. I usually use a cuticle remover as part of my nail routine, so this is definitely a product I’ll be using.

CuticleRemoverAndQuickDry

Black Heart had a standard formula that applied easily and smoothly. The flakies distributed evenly across the nail, with a medium concentration. Because the base leans rather jelly, I opted for three coats for full opacity and color coverage. The dry time was standard. After testing the dry time on the first coat, I decided to test the quick dry drops. I dropped on drop on each nail, and let it dry. The drop spreads around the nail on its own, and cut the dry time significantly. Once the polish was dry, I rubbed in the extra oil. The drops will come in especially handy with a polish that has a longer dry time, or when you need less time between coats. Once I was done, I topped the mani with Ever After’s Top Coat.

Black Heart is a unique, interesting polish. I’d describe the base as a black jelly, which dries to semi-glossy, or satin finish, just as described. The flakies are gold, orange, and red, reminding me of the flames of a fire. They catch the light, reflecting warm, vibrant color, and stand out agains the dark, vampy base. The flakies are complemented by a smattering of holo shimmer; the blue in the shimmer especially stands out, which you can see best if you look at the macro of the bottle. It’s an eye-catching look and overall a very pretty shade. I don’t own any other polishes that look like this, and that’s always a win for me.

I really enjoyed this month’s Black Heart box. It’s always fun to get to try new products, and this month’s box included not one, but two new nail care goodies. Both are likely to become part of my regular nail routine. The polish itself was one of a kind and a nice differentiation from the typical Valentine reds and pinks. The monthly box is always fun for me because it gives me a good excuse to treat myself for the evening. I loved how every item in this box could be used for my mani, and appreciate that they vary between beauty, bath, and nail care products each month. I’m excited to share March’s box next, but that will have to wait for next week.

-Abby

Watermarbling with Fair Maiden’s Electric Mayhem Collection

I mentioned in my first post of the new year that one of my goals for 2017 was to try watermarbling, and I’m pleased to say that this is one thing I can now cross off of my to-do list. With a little trial and error, and advice from friends who have done it before, I found the process to be a lot of fun, and not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. I decided to use Fair Maiden’s Electric Mayhem cream collection for my watermarbling attempt, and was very happy with the results.

ElectricMayhemCollection

The Electric Mayhem Collection consists of: Party Animal, a bold, slightly bricky red cream; Wocka Wocka Wocka, an orange leaning yellow bold cream; It’s Not Easy Being Green, a frog green cream; Mah-na Mah-na, a bright teal cream; Gonzo the Great, a deep plum purple cream; and Who, Moi?, a bold berry pink cream.

Watermarbling: The Process

MondrianTumbler

My Favorite Cup

If you’ve never watermarbled before or never seen how it’s done, I highly recommend checking out some YouTube videos, as they’ll probably be more informative than this post. I’ll do my best, though. The concept with watermarbling is to fill a glass with room-temperature water, then let a drip of polish fall into the water and spread out. You then repeat with a new color, dripping polish into the center of the cup, letting it spread, and repeat, one drop at a time. You continue to do so with a many or as few colors as you want, until you have a bull’s-eye and the polish is no longer spreading out. Then, you take a watermarbling tool, toothpick, or other pointy object and draw a design. Once the design is ready, you dip your nail in, pick up the excess polish with an orange stick or q-tip, and then pull your nail out. You pick up the excess first so that it doesn’t stick back to your finger and mess up your design. Hopefully that all made sense. Like I said, watching a video might be more useful here.

Watermarble1

For my watermarble, I dropped each polish in the cup in rainbow order to create a bull’s-eye. I believe I used 2 drops of each, for 12 total. The cup I used was probably bigger than I needed, but I was feeling the creative inspiration of Mondrian tumbler, and also figured the glass would be easier to clean as opposed to plastic. I used the watermarble tool to drag 8 equally spaced lines into the center and 8 equally spaced lines outwards. This created a really cool flower petal look, although I probably should have gone a bit more basic on the first attempt. All in all though, I was happy with how the design turned out and how the colors played off of each other.

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WatermarblingTool

Watermarble Tool

PurpleNurpleBefore creating my design and dipping my nails in, I used Ever After’s Purple Nurple Liquid Latex to coat the skin of my fingers around my nails. It applies easily and dries off quickly. Liquid latex is available from many brands, although of course I recommend Ever After’s. Purple Nurple is only $6 a bottle, and a great deal. If you don’t have liquid latex, you can use tape around your fingers to guard them, and save yourself some cleanup time. Once I’d coated my fingers, I created the design and dipped my finger in. Then I pulled up the extra polish with a q-tip, and pulled my finger out. You repeat this process for each nail, including creating a new design. I did end up redoing a few of my nails as I wasn’t always happy with the first result, but overall, I felt pretty successful. Then, of course, I had to clean up my fingers. The liquid latex pulled off smoothly and easily, and I had almost no excess to remove. What little I had I removed with a small makeup brush and acetone. I then applied Fair Maiden’s It’s Magic glossy top coat. And voila! I watermarbled!

Watermarble3

Watermarbling: The Results

I have to say, given the struggles I’ve heard about watermarbling, I was pleasantly surprised with my results. I personally love tie-dye, and watermarbling with the Electric Mayhem Collection gave my nails a truly awesome tie-dyed look. The colors really pop, complement each other, and achieve a bright, electric feel. I only have positive opinions on the look and formula of all six shades, and will definitely be using them again, as I think they’ll be great on their own, for watermarbling again, or for stamping. If you’re looking for a sold cream collection, Electric Mayhem should definitely be a go-to.

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Awkward Photo of Both of my Hands

Although the process certainly is time consuming, I hope to get faster with practice. I probably spent two-three hours to do both hands, from start to finish. That being said, my mani lasted all week, and I had a lot of fun creating it. I’m looking forward to my next watermarbling attempt, as I feel like this first try was pretty successful. It’s definitely not an everyday activity, but I’m curious to try more shades maybe some shimmers using this technique. On to the next adventure!

-Abby

Ever After January 2017 Box: May the Force Be with You

maytheforcebewithyoubox

Ever After’s January 2017 Box was themed May the Force Be with You. In light of Carrie Fisher’s passing, Rachel and Miranda considered not releasing the box, but instead decided to donate 10% of the box proceeds to NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. I’m glad they decided to proceed with the box, and honor her memory with a donation to a cause she cared so passionately about. Carrie Fisher will always be Princess Leia in the hearts of many. She was a strong, unapologetic heroine. I remember watching Star Wars at a young age, and thinking what a great example of girl power she was (girl power was a very important concept to me growing up). Included in this month’s box was Bold  and Unwavering, a “dusty olive toned nude with silver and gold flakes, scattered holo, and antique-esque shimmer in remembrance of all that she was and all that she stood for.” Also included was a new product, Leave In Conditioner, scented with Tropical Fruit. The extra treat was a Star Wars candy lightsaber.

maytheforcebewithyoucard

Bold and Unwavering had an excellent formula that went on very smoothly, with even coverage and distribution of flakes. It was mostly opaque after the first coat, with complete color coverage in two coats. The dry time was a bit faster than normal, with a glossy finish. I topped with Ever After’s Top Coat for extra shine.

I absolutely loved Bold and Unwavering. It’s definitely going to be high up on my list of favorite Ever Afters. Depending on the lighting, the base shifts from a medium silver to a dustier olive tone, for a really dynamic and unique look. The shimmer and flakes give it a reflective and shiny finish, really catching the eye. The combination of gold and silver flakes creates a very interesting look, with the gold flakes showing more when the base appears silver, and the silver flakes really standing out when it has a more olive shift. It’s really packed with holo, which I found shows up even indoors. In the sun, it has amazing rainbow shimmer, and really catches the eye. Bold and Unwavering is a really unique shade, somehow sophisticated and fun at the same time. I’m really glad to have this polish in my collection, and think it’s a perfect tribute.


Leave In Conditioner, the beauty product this month, is inspired by Chewbacca, according to the card. I tend to have dry hair, and have dyed it a few times this year, so having a good conditioner is always important. I’ve used the Leave In Conditioner several times, now, and have been quite pleased with the results. I spray a few spritzes over my hair when it’s damp after a shower. I’ve found the conditioner makes it much easier to brush out, and makes it less prone to static once dry. The aloe and other nourishing ingredients really give your hair extra shine. Not only is the Conditioner quite effective, it also smells delightful. Tropic Fruit has strong notes of pineapple, with what I think might be mango and papaya. It’s fruity, tart, and quite frankly, delightful. I love fruity smells for hair products, so this was right up my alley.

I’m really glad that Ever After decided to move forward with this box, and to honor Carrie Fisher’s memory and advocacy by donating part of the proceeds. Not only did the box support a good cause, it also had two fantastic products that I’ll definitely be using. Bold and Unwavering is a new favorite polish for me, and I look forward to revisiting it. I have no doubt that I’ll use up the Leave In Conditioner, and my hair will thank me. The May the Force Be with You box was a strong way to start the year, and I’m excited to keep sharing my Ever After boxes with you. Stay tuned for another Sub-Box Sunday next week!

Thanks for reading,

Abby

Ever After Indie Shop Crellies

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The Atlanta Indie Shop is just a week away, and as the event approaches, many makers are starting to share sneak peaks of some of the goodies they’ll have at the event. I was lucky enough to have Ever After send me their new Crelly scents to review and share with you. Their 2017 Spring lineup includes five scents, four of which are new, and one returning. These scents will debut at The Indie Shop and then be available on the Ever After site. The Spring Collection includes fruity, floral, and fresh scents- something for everyone.

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blackberrymagnolia1Blackberry Magnolia, the first of the new scents, smells like fresh picked magnolias mingled with sweet blackberries. This crelly is both fruity and floral, perfectly balancing between the two notes. The magnolia is clean and light, complemented by the tangy blackberry, for a really unique and compelling scent.

georgiapeach1Georgia Peaches is scented with the juiciest peaches, picked straight from a Georgia Peach Orchard. This crelly is sweet and fresh, and smells exactly like peaches right off the tree (not over-sweetened, canned ones), with a hint of cream. Georgia Peaches is lightly scented, and smells just-picked. It’s perfect for spring and very fitting for the Atlanta Indie Shop.

twistedicedtea1Twisted Iced Tea, the returning scent, is a southern sweet tea perfectly balanced with pure cane sugar and tangy lemons. Like Georgia Peaches, I can’t help but feel this sweet tea scent is a perfect selection for the location of the Indie Shop. You can smell every note in Twisted Iced Tea, from the classic tea leaf smell, to the sweetness of the sugar, to the tart lemon. It’s well balanced and refreshing, like a cool glass of iced tea on a warm day.

raspberryvanilla1Raspberry Vanilla smells like just picked sweet and tart sun-ripened raspberries with just a hint of vanilla. This is the sweetest of the scents, and reminds me of a raspberry tart with vanilla icing or ganache. There’s also a hint of tartness to it, giving the scent extra depth, and keeping it from becoming too sugary. I would describe this scent as warm, fruity, and comforting.

southernbreezes1Southern Breezes is scented like freshly washed linen hung to dry in the breeze, scented with muguet, rose, jasmine and fresh air. There’s a good balance of the different floral notes, so no one flower overpowers any of the others. Southern Breezes reminds me dryer sheets and that warm, delightful smell of laundry when it comes out of the dryer. I don’t hang my clothes outside to dry, but I imagine the smell is exactly like this crelly.

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If you’ve never tried Ever After’s Crelly before, I highly recommend you try these new scents. Ever After Crelly is “designed to moisturize and nourish dry cuticles. Also works great as a lotion with the added vitamin E.” The crelly absorbs quickly without leaving a greasy residue, and gives you long-lasting moisture, which is critical if you have dry skin like I do. The scents are always well-balanced and never overpowering. Since I’ve started using Ever After’s Crelly, I haven’t purchased any lotion/cream from anywhere else.

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Delightful Crelly Macro!

Thank you again to Ever After for sending me these to review! Ever After Crelly is available in original and petroleum-free versions on their site, here. I’ve found both work equally well. The petroleum-free version is a bit fluffier, but otherwise, they’re quite similar. For now, the January scents are still available, and after The Indie Shop next weekend, the Spring Collection will be available on the site. Even if you aren’t going to The Indie Shop in person, you should still check these out. You won’t regret it.

-Abby

Julep January 2017: Future Fresh

As I mentioned in my last Julep post, I won’t be doing my monthly reviews moving forward, as I won’t be getting every collection. However, C has agreed to keep swatching for me, so I will still provide color comparisons, albeit a bit later than usual. In addition, she’s agreed to review the monthly collections, so you’ll still get input on the colors. I’m really excited for her to have a regular feature, and I hope you’ll enjoy her reviews. And for what it’s worth, C, I think your nails are lovely.

-Abby

Disclaimer: Since Abby is no longer getting all of the Juleps, I thought I would try to take over the color swatches for her. However, my nails aren’t nearly as nice as hers, nor am I good at cleaning up my nails. With that in mind, please don’t judge Abby for my terrible nails.

january2017collectionheader

The Future Fresh Collection included:

  • 9 New Nail Colors
  • Boost Your Radiance (a new rosehip seed oil for your skin)

January’s collection was supposed to be futuristic shades. This collection was much larger in terms of numbers of polish colors than recent collections. There were three new crèmes, one new ghost shimmer, and five sheer colors that are supposed to transform any shade you have. While I found the crèmes to be similar to existing Julep colors (which I will leave Abby to analyze in the color comparisons), the transformative shades were fairly unique for Julep. All of the transformative shades have a slight color shift to them; however, in true Julep form, it is more evident in the bottle than on the nail. It is also hard to photograph.  I did not get the Boost Your Radiance oil, so my review is strictly about the polishes.

january2017bottlebottoms

Katherine

Katherine (1) is a Boho Glam shade described as a portobello mushroom crème. It is a standard, grayed out light brown crème. It is a good neutral shade, but I don’t think I would consider it to be very futuristic. I’ve also noticed Julep likes to use the term Mushroom in their descriptions. The formula was great; it actually only took one medium coat to achieve full coverage. It had an average dry time. I then topped it with the five transforming shades (from thumb to Pinky: Yulia, Belle, Pacita, Marta, and Darcy), which I will describe later in this review.  As you can see, they do change the color.

Gabby

Gabby (2) is Bombshell shade described as a midnight teal ghost shimmer. Per normal Ghost Shimmer finishes, this one had absolutely no ghost shimmer to it whatsoever. It was a straight up dark teal crème. It was also very sheer, and needed three coats for full coverage. The first coat was very streaky. However, it did dry quickly. Once again, I topped it with the three transformative shades (from thumb to Pinky: Yulia, Belle, Pacita, Marta, and Darcy). Overall, I was not thrilled with this shade.

Barb

Barb (3) is an It Girl shade described as a cool slate crème. Barb is basically a grayed out teal. In my opinion, I think it is one of the more unique crème colors in this collection, as it sometimes looks more gray and other times looks more blue. It had a wonderful formula, and only took one medium coat for a full coverage. The dry time was average for Julep crèmes.  This was once again topped with the transforming colors (from thumb to Pinky: Yulia, Belle, Pacita, Marta, and Darcy). I liked this crème a lot.

Evan

Evan (4) is a Classic with a Twist shade described as a juiced beet crème. This color needed two coats to achieve full coverage, and dried fairly quickly. This color is my favorite of the crèmes, but I love colors that lean pink. This shade was also more unique when covered by the transformative shades (from thumb to Pinky: Yulia, Belle, Pacita, Marta, and Darcy). They ended up achieving completely different looks from the previous shades. With Yulia on the thumb, it almost looked like the Julep shade Ciara. In terms of Pacita, you can see its shift best when it’s on top of Evan.

Yulia

yuliamainYulia (5) is a Boho Glam shade described as turquoise sheer iridescent shimmer. In the bottle you can see this color shifts from blue to pink, however it is not as evident on the nail. It is very sheer with one coat, and even with three coats you can still visibly see the nail line. Since this color is strong under a dark color, I would suggest just using an under color and saving yourself some polish and time with coats. For the picture, I did one coat on my index finger, two coats on my middle finger, and three coats on my ring finger. This color dries super quickly for the first coat, but consecutive coats tend to have a longer drying time.

Belle

bellemainBelle (6) is a Bombshell shade described as a plum punch sheer iridescent shimmer. This color shifts from pink to darker pink. It is probably the least shift shady. It is the most opaque out of all of these transforming sheers. However, it would still take more than three coats to achieve full opacity. This color is slightly thicker than some of the other shades. Once again, I would recommend using a darker color underneath.

Pacita

pacitamainPacita (7) is a Wonder Maven shade described as a honey ginger sheer iridescent shimmer. This color has one of the stronger shifts between gold and red. Like the others, it is super thin, and needs an under color to show its true potential. Also like the previous mentioned shades, the first coat dries quickly, but each consecutive coat takes longer to dry.

Marta

martamainMarta (8) is a Wonder Maven shade described as an iced violet sheer shimmer. This one also has a bit more opacity to it, and is slightly thicker than the others. This one shifts between purple and a darker purple with a blue shimmer. There is minimal shift with this color. As with the others, an undie will make the color pop more and use less polish.

Darcy

darcymainDarcy (9) is an It Girl shade described as a baja sunrise sheer iridescent shimmer. This is by far my favorite out of all the colors in this collection. While it looks gold in the bottle, it is a denim blue shade on the nail. This color probably has the strongest shift, going from gold to blue. It is very sheer, but an undie tends to dull the blue and make the color lean gold, so this shade may be worth it to go four coats to get full opacity. This color also has a rose gold shimmer to it. This is by far the most unique shade in the collection and the one that I feel most people should have in their collection.

For fun I decided to swatch the colors on my nail mat so you can see the colors over black and white at the same time. As you can see, these sheer shades take on different color personalities depending on if they are over light colors or dark colors. Darcy once again wins for being most unique in this picture as her blue base with gold shimmer really stands out and they contrast each other nicely.

january2017swatches

Overall, this was a pretty decent collection. The crème shades had great formulas, however they are most likely similar to other shades that Julep has created in the past. The one ghost shimmer (Gabby) is the most disappointing shade in the collection. The five sheers are great colors, and three of them have gorgeous shifts to them that the camera just can’t seem to capture. Darcy is by far the most unique one in this collection, and may be one of my new favorite Julep shades. I will leave the color comparisons for Abby, so you can have her opinions on the colors as well.

-C

Joy Keyframe and Anchorage

keyframeanchoragebottlesBefore winter ended, I wanted to do a seasonal mani, and decided to use the snowflake vinyls B gave me for Christmas. I wanted to use cool, wintery shades, and had colors in mind right away: Joy Keyframe and Anchorage. Both polishes are from the Dictionary Crèmes Collection released in late 2016. The collection included eight new colors, inspired by the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. From the website:

“And finally, here’s a little backstory about the theme…I stumbled upon a few unique words from The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows several years ago. The definitions of Sonder and Xeno were among the first few that really stuck with me. When it came time to create JL’s first ever crème collection, I knew the colors would be rich, wintery and pretty straightforward, being crèmes. By using these DOOS words and linking colors to a definition, it turned a simple crème collection into something more. These names that would otherwise be…well, quite obscure, the colors now have a “mood” to match. Realizing this ‘Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows’ theme seems a bit morose at first, but it’s not meant to be “sorrowful” at all.  I’ll always think of my mom and how different my Lapyear age was from hers. And Sonder. Sonder is such an amazing concept that we rarely stop to think about. Although the words are not widely used, once you read them, you might also relate with the sentiment.”

While I don’t have every shade in this collection, I did purchase a number of them, including Keyframe and Anchorage. Keyframe is “a rich thermal that transitions from deep charcoal gray to dusty eggplant.” It is defined as “a moment that seemed innocuous at the time but ended up marking a diversion into a strange new era of your life—set in motion not by a series of jolting epiphanies but by tiny imperceptible differences between one ordinary day and the next, until entire years of your memory can be compressed into a handful of indelible images—which prevents you from rewinding the past, but allows you to move forward without endless buffering.” Anchorage is “a very subtle, stormy blue,” defined as “the desire to hold on to time as it passes, like trying to keep your grip on a rock in the middle of a river, feeling the weight of the current against your chest while your elders float on downstream, calling over the roar of the rapids, “Just let go—it’s okay—let go.”

keyframeanchoragemain

I really love the bittersweet inspirations behind these shades, and have been waiting to use them for a mani. I felt like the colors were perfect for the end of winter while waiting for spring to come. I started my mani with two coats of Keyframe as my base. It had a very smooth application and good color coverage. It was fully opaque after two coats, which dried in normal time. Once Keyframe was dry, I topped with Joy’s 3…2…Oh! Quick Dry Top Coat. I then applied snowflake vinyls to my nails, and painted on one thick layer of Anchorage. Anchorage also had a good formula, and was opaque in one thick coat. I used tweezers to immediately pull up the vinyls, and it dried quickly. I then applied a second coat of Quick Dry Top Coat for an extra glossy finish.

I was quite pleased with my mani, because I love the sophisticated sense a crème polish gives me, and felt like these colors achieved the semi-somber, wintry feel I wanted. I found Keyframe to be a strongly cold-activated thermal, so even my tips were mostly the deep grey, warm state the majority of the time. Running them under cold water or touching ice enabled me to achieve the deeper eggplant shade that you can see in the cool state in the bottle. The grey is very dark and saturated, much more charcoal and cool-toned. It’s a great background color for nail art as well as a classy neutral shade on its own. The eggplant is a rich, earthy color with tones of red and purple, leaning purple overall. Both states are lovely, and I enjoyed the deep color pairing here. Anchorage is a very cold, pale blue, with tones of green. I might describe it as a barely saturated robin’s egg blue. Anchorage has an inherently wintry feel to me; it’s a shade you would expect to see in winter landscape, cold and serene. I think the two shades contrasted nicely, and loved how the light snowflakes stand out against the darker base. I’d definitely repeat this pairing another time, and will be using my vinyls again next winter.

Although I only used two of the eight polishes in the collection, I’m impressed with the Dictionary Crèmes so far, and can’t wait to try the rest of the colors. I had no application issues, and really enjoyed the smooth, crème finish. Both colors were gorgeous, and really evoked their bittersweet definitions. I’ll definitely be using these crèmes again, and can’t wait to try watermarbling with them later this year. Even though spring is just about here, I’m glad I gave winter one last chance.

-Abby

Ever After December 2016 Box: A Christmas Story

achristmasstorybox

For December, Ever After’s box was themed for the classic Christmas movie, A Christmas Story. The polish, named I Can’t Put My Arms Down is a “gorgeous burgundy red with UCC flakes, scattered holo, and golden shimmer”. The product was a new product for EA, body splash. A number of scents were included in the boxes; I received Berried Treasure, “a treasure of blended raspberry, cranberry and pomegranate with citrus including yuzu, citron and neroli”. Also included in the box was a pink marshmallow peep- just like the fabulous pink bunny costume in the movie!

achristmasstorycard

bodysplashWith such an extensive scent catalog, it seems only natural for Ever After to expand their body product line into body spray. The body splash is available in the current seasonal scents, and I imagine it will continue to be available in new scents as new collections come out. It comes in a 1.5 fl oz bottle, which is a perfect size for travel or to keep at home. It has a nice, light spray that doesn’t drench you in too much product, and doesn’t have a strong alcohol smell like so many other perfumes. Berried Treasure smells absolutely delightful. It strikes the right balance of sweet and tart berries, complemented by citrus notes that give it dimension and keep it from being too sugary. It’s a great scent for everyday wear or for a special occasion, and I’ll definitely be using mine regularly. Just remember to be careful when applying, or you’ll spray your eye out!

This month’s polish, I Can’t Put My Arms Down, had a very standard formula that applied evenly. You won’t find yourself saying “oh fudge” while putting on this shade. It has great color coverage, with complete opacity in two coats. I found the dry time to be average, and topped with Ever After’s glossy top coat.

I absolutely loved I Can’t Put My Arms Down. It’s a true red packed with chrome flakies in a rainbow of colors, along with a strong holographic finish. The multicolor flakes remind me of the classic multicolor Christmas lights, as you can probably see in the macro. The blue and green flakies are especially noticeable, contrasting against the base. Depending on the lighting, it shifts from an orangey brick red to a true red to a deeper berry red. It looks especially gorgeous in the sun, which really brings out the holographic effect. This polish is simply gorgeous, and I wouldn’t change a thing about it.

The inspiration for December’s box was pretty iconic, and whether you like the movie or not, the box was definitely a win. I loved the scent of my body splash, and the polish was the ideal Christmas red. Right down to the Fra-gee-lay sticker on the bag, even the packaging paid homage to the A Christmas Story theme, showing the careful planning that goes into this box every month. This post is the first in a series of “Sub-Box Sundays” on the blog, as I pay catch-up on my Ever After boxes in the coming weeks. I hope you’ll join me, as I think it’s going to be a lot of fun!

-Abby

 

Julep in 2017: What I’ve Decided

So, we’re well into the month of February, and if you follow my blog regularly, you’ve probably noticed that I haven’t done a January or February Julep Review yet. With all of the issues Julep had last year, I was definitely on the fence about what to do in 2017. Julep got me started in the indie world, and I have every color made through the end of 2016. At the same time, they’ve experienced significant issues in the last year, aren’t always transparent with their customers, and often lack originality in their collections, compared to what the indie world has to offer. So, as 2017 approached, I had to decide what to do about my Julep collection.

Like any list-loving, organization-obsessed person would, I decided to make a pro/con list to help me decide. Here’s what I came up with:

The Pros:

  • My Julep collection is complete, including some really hard to find shades. Adding on the new colors as they come out is quite simple, and lets me keep my little claim to fame for having every shade.
    The Julep catalog is extensive, even excluding retired colors. They have a créme, shimmer, and glitter in just about every color you could want (expect maybe yellow).
  • I still love a lot of Julep products. I use Eyeshadow 101s and WPMG Eye Gliders every day, and am a big fan of a number of the lip products.
  • Maven boxes are the most cost effective way to purchase Julep products.

The Cons:

  • Quality control is a major issue for Julep. Product packaging is often faulty, including Eyeshadow 101s, Lip Gloss, It’s Whipped and Your Lip Addiction applicators. Along with poor product testing, the warehouse regularly messes up orders. Three of my last four maven boxes were missing items, including one where I only received 2 add-ons, not the main box or other add-ons.
  • Julep isn’t always transparent with customers. From the Lip Shade fiasco to advertising mystery boxes as containing more value than they actually have, they aren’t always honest and up-front, which really bothers me.
  • More and more colors lately have been duplicates, and Julep doesn’t always pursue new finishes and shades.
  • Despite being a social media oriented beauty company, Julep doesn’t support bloggers at all. I’m not saying they need to send me a thing, but sending new collections out to bloggers for advanced review would be a huge benefit to customers. If indies can afford to do it, Julep certainly can. The never update their own blog, and despite creating a facebook group, don’t monitor it, enforce their own rules, or participate in it.
  • While the maven box is a good value, getting 6-10 polishes every month, not to mention sometimes beauty products, can really add up.
  • My helmer is full.

In the end, I realized I had more cons than pros, so my decision was pretty much made for me. I feel like Julep had become more of an obligation than a joy for me, and that’s not a good use of my money or my time blogging. So, I won’t be getting every single shade in 2017. My collection will remain intact and complete through 2016 for now; I’m not ready to give up polishes yet. I also won’t be canceling my subscription. There are still a lot of products I like, and while I might not take a box every month, I will take one when there are products or polishes I really want to try. I’d like to see Julep be better and overcome their current issues, and I’m willing to stick around part-time a bit longer.

What does this mean for the blog? I’ll continue to blog my indie shades, the many, many Julep colors I have, as well as any new shades I might choose to get this year. I’ll also continue to do swatch and reviews of my Julep beauty products. While you won’t see monthly collection reviews anymore, I do plan to continue to do color comparisons, and have C on board to keep swatching the new shades for me. They’ll probably happen a bit later than usual, as there will be extra mailing time, but the feedback seems to be that people really like this blog feature, and I’d like to continue it.

Overall, I’m hopeful that this will be an opportunity for me to refocus on blogging what makes me happy, and trying new and interesting shades from other brands. I still have lots of Julep colors I want to share in the future; I’m just stepping back a bit from purchasing more. I really hope you’ll continue to join me on my Journey in Color, and explore what else the polish world has to offer.

-Abby