“What’s in the box?!” Julep Maven Box, May 2014

whats-in-the-boxOne thing about developing an interest in various subscription services (and occasional purchases from people’s swap boards) is that the daily mail delivery has gotten much more exciting. On May 1, I received my first shipment from Dollar Shave Club (more on that in the next post) and my monthly Maven box from Julep.

Julep is a subscription service that primarily pimps nail polish, although other makeup- and skincare-related products are available. To become a “Maven,” you fill out a little quiz that categorizes your color preferences as belonging to one of four profiles: Classic with a Twist (that’s me), Bombshell, Boho Glam, or It Girl. Around the 20th of the month, you find out what the next month’s theme is and get previews of what your profile-determined Maven box will have in it, although you can always switch to one of the other boxes if you prefer the color selections it includes. You can also upgrade and get a box with all the colors for that month, or you can skip a month if nothing really grabs you (I think — apparently the skips have to be “earned,” maybe one every six months or so, but I’ve heard that customer service will make exceptions for people if need be). If you accept shipment of a box, about a week later you’ll also get access to a 24-hour “secret store” on the website that offers special deals on various products, usually including at least one polish color that isn’t available in the sets (for instance, a new polish correlated with that month’s birthstone). And throughout the month, you’ll get emails with different deals, etc. (There’s also a “Jules” rewards program for keeping your subscription going, but I don’t know much about that yet, either. I’m not a paid spokesmodel.)

This month, in the spirit of OTYS, I opted for the Polish Lover’s Upgrade — I earned double Jules or something for doing so, which means that my monthly box should be free next month, I think. I dunno, I just liked the pretty colors, okay? Don’t judge me, you don’t know my life. (Note: Had I stuck with the standard CWAT box, I would have received two polishes — Maddy and Ramona — and some crazy wand thingie that the company just released.)

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Goodies lie within!

As shown in the photo above (click to expand), the box always includes a card showing all the choices for that month, a discount code to use on the site for later purchases, and an inspirational thought. I like to keep mine taped to the wall next to my face so I can glance over and feel reinvigorated when I need a mental pick-me-up. (Snerk — I couldn’t even type that with a straight face.)

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My precioussssssssssss…

The name of each color is always a woman’s name (I’ve labeled them in the photo). Sometimes it has some nebulous connection to the color — for instance, the May birthstone polish (a sparkly green emerald) is named “Priscilla” after Priscilla Presley, born May 24, 1945. I looked on the site once to see what “Heather” looks like, and it’s kind of a weird grayish color, which I don’t get — shouldn’t it be some shade of purple instead?

Because of some unfortunate recent nail breakage, I haven’t gotten to try any of them yet, although I swatched each on a nail stick while watching Investigation Discovery the other night, so that was fun. And Sam had a good time poring over them the next day, because he gets very excited about pretty colors, especially if they sparkle. (No sparkles this month, although several have shimmer finishes that are pretty.) I also haven’t tried the Luxe Repair Skin Serum, because I really loathe the word “serum” and therefore don’t want to gunk up my face with it. But hell, maybe for kicks I’ll try it one night and report back on the effectiveness of its “Power Cell Complex (TM).” That should be good for a laugh, right?

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Operation Treat Yo Self

Welcome, gentle readers!

Whither this blog? Let me set the scene: I am a nub, perpetually frazzled and overworked (purely my own fault), and let’s just say that my sartorial style is a few levels below that of the average eight-year-old boy. I also have a tendency to deny myself things that I might want because I can’t “justify” the “expense” (and by expense, I mean things that are usually $10 or less — I’m not a high roller by any means). It drives Chris, my husband, insane.

At our neighborhood’s annual Halloween festival, a vendor was selling homemade soaps and lotions, and I splurged on a bar of Earl Grey soap (when Chris said that no, really, the $6 soap was perfectly okay to buy). Earl Grey is one of my favorite scents, and I absolutely fell in love with this soap, using it until it became a translucent sliver. After hemming and hawing for much longer than mere BAR SOAP warrants (seriously, you don’t want to go inside my brain), I finally broke down around Christmas and ordered more from the vendor’s Etsy page, and thus sprouted the seedling that would become Operation Treat Yo Self (OTYS) in the new year.

The purpose of OTYS is to get me to loosen up a little and sample small indulgences without feeling like I’m The Worst for doing so. Over the last few months, this has taken the form of subscription boxes. I stumbled onto the Julep site (I honestly can’t remember how), and then investigating it led to the Ipsy site. (More on both sites in upcoming entries.) Julep is mostly devoted to nail polish, but Ipsy is a total wild card in the sense that I don’t know month to month what I’ll be getting, so chances are pretty high that I’ll end up with items that I am clueless about using.

And that’s where you come in — feedback in the form of helpful tips or flat-out instructions when I post a photo and say, “WTF am I supposed to do with this?” would be most appreciated. Or you can just sit back and laugh at my feminine ineptitude — I don’t know your life, so whatever. But I think reviewing the contents of said boxes and other things that catch my fancy seems like fun, so here I am. And if you want to play along by issuing OTYS challenges, I would love it! (Okay, I should qualify that — I will not play along with things like suggested bungee jumps, but I would consider buying a freaky nail polish color and reviewing it. This isn’t Fear Factor.) So slather on your favorite face mask and let’s dive in, shall we?