Julep Speckled for Spring Mystery Box with Kimberly review

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Since my first mystery box (which I loved), I haven’t seen one come across my inbox that truly intrigued me. But then I saw the fun speckled designs for the Speckled for Spring Mystery box and I decided to spring for it (har har). There was one complete mystery one, one with Kimberly (the purple one), and one with Emerson (the blue one). Can you guess which one I got? My favorite color is purple… ;)

Julep mystery boxes are just under $25 per box and come with a mix of polish colors and beauty products. These are one-time orders and do not require a subscription.

julep speckled for spring mystery box email with $100 worth of products including kimberly polish for $25

julep speckled for spring mystery box contents including lengthening mascara and polishes in kimberly, catrina, lois, farrah, dakota, and karen

A very light box with nearly all nail polish. Not the most spring look.

set of julep polishes in kimberly, catrina, lois, farrah, dakota, and karen

Polish colors in Kimberly, Catrina, Lois, Farrah, Dakota, and Karen. I like the two on either end and the brilliant yellow.

julep boho glam lengthening mascara in espresso brown

Boho Glam Lengthening Mascara in Espresso Brown
My very first brown mascara!

julep boho glam lengthening mascara in espresso brown brush

The brush has firmer bristles than I’m used to. I like the shape, which makes it easier to get onto my shorter lashes.

I’m not very impressed with this box, especially in light of everything I got in my first mystery box. All I got in addition to the polishes was one beauty product. It’s a decent product and I will use it, but the lack of extras combined with the lackluster set of colors leaves me wanting more. I definitely like the speckled Kimberly I chose the box for and I’m cool with Catrina because it’s bright and Karen because the peachy glitter is certainly springy. The other three I’m undecided on. Perhaps next time I will be more careful with my purchase (and I’m certainly going to search for a discount code first, since there was an active one for 30% off that I could have used!!). What do you think of this box?

Estimated value: $108 (Nail Color @ $14 each: $84, Lengthening Mascara $24) or $86.40 at Maven prices (20% off)

Join as a Julep Maven to get polishes sent to you monthly! Use code FREEBOX or FREEMAVEN to get the first box free (you pay shipping).

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I'd be ever so grateful. :) All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box and wanted to share what I got!]

Similar songs

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Have you ever been humming a song only to find that you get it mixed up with another one? I found myself doing this quite a bit with the song “Red” by Taylor Swift – it’d start off just fine and then during one of the “lovin’ you”s I’d veer off into “Let Her Go” by Passenger. Listen to the first three notes of “Let Her Go” and then compare with this part of “Red.” Maybe I’m just a horrible singer, but those notes start off so similarly that I lose track of which tune I’m singing.

Just when I thought it was an anomaly, one of my coworkers shared this video of “The Man” by Aloe Blacc… I thought it was a joke when I first heard the opening lyric. Why? Well, have you ever watched Moulin Rouge? If not, check out this part of “Your Song” from that movie. The resemblance is uncanny, not only in the sound, by in the lyrics. This time I can’t be just imagining it, right?

Now far less clear is why this section of that new JT song “Not A Bad Thing” reminds me of TLC’s “Waterfalls.” Nothing specific here tying the songs in how they sound, but it’s more of a feeling. The first time I ever heard the JT song on the radio, I was brought back to middle school, when I was still trying to grasp the lyrics of “Waterfalls.” I hadn’t thought of TLC in ages, but the groove that “Not A Bad Thing” gets into has elements that I find similar to “Waterfalls.” Would you agree?

Kaia Naturals Bamboo Tapioca Beads & Cleansing Cloths review

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I’ve been subscribed to Kaia Naturals for awhile and saw a deal from them recently as they promoted their new Bamboo Tapioca Beads product. Since they were offering a sample for $5 and free shipping with the code “tapioca” (now expired from what I’ve seen), I decided to give it a whirl. I’ve been curious about this brand ever since they showed up in a sub box that I do not get.

brown paper envelope from kaia naturals in canada

When I got the quaint package, I was confused for a second before I saw it was from Kaia.

kaia naturals bamboo tapioca beads and juicy bamboo cleansing cloth sample with thank you note

A nice note and sample of the cleansing cloths came with my order.

kaia naturals bamboo tapioca beads sample tube

The little tube of bamboo tapioca beads.

I like the idea of having a powder you can mix when you’re ready to use some. It’s pretty clever to use different liquids as the base so you can get other benefits out of the product. I tried cleansing my face with some tea and the Bamboo Tapioca Beads. I liked the grainy beads and I might have just imagined it, but the powder smelled slightly chalky to me. I got overzealous with the amount of tea I used so my first try was way too watered down. You really just need wet hands for this one, lest the blended powder just gets wasted in a watery mess. My skin felt tighter afterwards and I’d definitely need a lotion to follow. This would be really useful for travel, since it takes up so little space.

I also tried the bamboo cleansing cloth, which I really like. The size of the cloth is not too big and the saturation of the essential oils and honey is perfect. It smelled somewhere between fragrant and medicinal. Since it claims to remove waterproof mascara with ease, I had to test that out. With a little extra focus rubbing my eyes, the mascara came off just like that. Great performing product that I totally need to get my hands on once my current pouches of cleansing cloths runs low. I’m really liking this brand, though it’s definitely a more premium product than I usually spring for. I’m a sucker for something eco-friendly though.

I had no idea they were in Canada, so online ordering is probably out of the question unless they happen to be offering free shipping one day. Instead, I’ve found some stores within 20 miles or so that I can go visit sometime. It’ll be a fun adventure!

Bird calls

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Whenever spring rolls around, I always look out for the emergence of birds. Last year they were everywhere! I’m finally starting to hear them again as the weather warms up. It’s supposed to get over 80 tomorrow!

birds swarming tree from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

symphony of birds from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

birds galore from Mary Qin on Vimeo.

Photo A Day Challenge March 2014

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The #ontheroad theme started off easier because I was traveling quite a bit for the first third of the month, but then things slowed down and I wasn’t out and about nearly as much. I found I ended up looking at the same kind of things and it felt a bit repetitive. For April, I decided to go with #fun since the month kicks off with a silly holiday.

24ClearIt Acne Therapy review

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In lieu of the April Beauty Box 5, I opted for the 24ClearIt kit that they were offering. I received it today and I’m ready to see if this is a solution that will work for me! I’ve tried a bunch of products before and various things have worked better than others, but none have truly calmed my skin for that long. Part of it might be that I moved on to other products. I’ve never been very good at committing to one set of skincare. I just like variety too much!

Beauty Box 5 is $12 per box (or as discounted as $99 for an entire year, with an option in between) and comes with 5 cosmetic products. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. You also have the option of buying it as a gift your box to a friend. They offer a referral program that earns you points towards products or boxes. This was a special promotional box in partnership with 24ClearIt.

24clearit box with beauty box 5 sticker 24clearit instructions including quick start guide, clear facts guide, and product booklet 24clearit kit with exfoliating cleanser, clearing toner, clarifying treatment, recovery treatment, and treatment maskStep 1: Cleanse. Active exfoliating cleanser to be used in AM and PM. This is a more liquidy cleanser than I expected, so I accidentally squeezed out more than I wanted to. I like the scrubbing feeling of the beads – just enough without feeling too rough on my skin or too weak to do any exfoliating. It had the slightest scent that was vaguely medicinal. I massaged it in until it started to get sticky from all the water evaporating.

Step 1a: Target. Advanced treatment mask to be used as spot treatment or full mask. A few times a week, there’s the option to add the mask to the regimen. It is very thick and smells a bit of the sulfur that is in it. I tried a little spot of it and it tingled a bit. It sure feels like it can help zap away trouble spots. I’m going to have to see how the entire face mask feels and I’ll probably only do it once a week.

Step 2: Clear. Essential clearing toner to be used in AM and PM. The toner was very watery as expected and smelled quite nice. Once again just a very light scent and it felt very refreshing on my skin. I patted it over my face and let it dry. It felt really good!

Step 3 AM: Treat. Clarifying treatment to be used in AM. I tried this for the first time at night, so I just tested a little bit of it to see what it was like. It felt tingly and I think this is the harshest of the products and might have the potential of drying out my skin. We’ll see when I apply a full face of it tomorrow morning. It definitely awakens the skin and I feel like bacteria is being killed off right then and there.

Step 3 PM: Restore. Recovery treatment to be used in PM. This is a really nice lotion that is far more soothing and healing than the daytime one. I can see how it would be perfect to restore the skin while you sleep. My skin felt wonderful after this and completely hydrated for the night. I felt no need for any other products, which I like.

So based on first impressions, I am liking this line of products. I took a picture of my skin before and I’ll compare it to how things are looking in a week or two. At the least, these products feel good on my face, which is nice. Only time will tell how effective they are for their purported use. I’m really glad I decided to try this and skip the standard box Beauty Box 5 sent out for April!

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I'd be ever so grateful. :) All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box and wanted to share what I got!]

Homegrown Collective March 2014 review

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You know, I’ve been wondering about the dry spell in sub boxes lately and I thought this GREENBOX should have arrived awhile ago. Whatever the case, I’m pleased to have received it today. This month’s cheese theme is very intriguing.

The Homegrown Collective GREENBOX is $39 per box + $9 shipping (or as discounted as $429 for an entire year, with options in between) and comes with fun and easy projects to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral program you can apply to join.

inside of slice 'o cheese homegrown collective box with the info sheets on the inner lid contents of the homegrown collective march 2014 box with slice 'o cheese themethe homegrown collective march 2014 spread the word social media and sharing info card

Project #1, knife sharpening: I love this! I’ve never sharpened my own knives before, but I’m sure I could use them better if I did. It’s also nice to get another knife since sharing one with Panda can get tricky when we’re both trying to cook in the kitchen. I’m going to have fun with this one. For some reason it makes me feel like a Japanese sushi chef. I’m sure the gloves and goggles will also come handy in other work around the house in the future.

the homegrown collective march 2014 project knife sharpening info card the homegrown collective march 2014 products for knife sharpening

Project #2, mozzarella cheese-making: I’m generally not that into cheese, but I’ve been getting into it more. This is a perfect chance to explore that type of food and feel like a scientist in the process. I’m also really glad to have a thermometer I can use for food, so I can check the temperature of meat I cook in the future! I’ve never owned this pen-looking type of food thermometer before and I feel so professional just having it. I also had no idea herbs can go into mozzarella cheese, so I’m curious how that will affect the taste.

the homegrown collective march 2014 project mozzarella cheese-making info card the homegrown collective march 2014 products for mozzarella cheese-making

No third project this time (a first). I wonder if it was because it was hard to keep with the theme or if the costs of all this was already reaching the value they could afford to send. No matter! Onto the info card talking about cheese for this month’s theme:

the homegrown collective march 2014 slice 'o cheese info card

To get your own awesome green projects, subscribe to the Homegrown Collective today. You’ll feel so much craftier!

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I'd be ever so grateful. :) All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box and wanted to share what I got!]

Free cone day

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I’m getting a little antsy with no new box recently. I do have some on the way though! I ordered a Julep spring mystery box (I had skipped March, but it looks like I got sucked in to getting something anyway :-P) and I got a notification that my Beauty Box 5 is on its way. In the mean time…

Today was free cone day at Ben & Jerry’s locations across the nation! For lunch, a bunch of my coworkers and I went to claim a freebie and I donated $5 to the charity that was there – apparently each location has a local charity for the day. I got a scoop of Liz Lemon, which is a lemon frozen Greek yogurt with blueberry swirl. I think I’ve found a refreshing fav! I really enjoyed the slight tartness and lightness of this flavor.

ben and jerry's ice cream free cone day april 8th 2014 sign

hands holding ice cream cones from ben and jerry's

“Hurry up with the picture, I want to eat my cone!!”

No more date nights

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Tonight, Panda had a Groupon that was expiring and needed to be used, so we arranged to have a date night dinner. As I headed home, I let him know to get ready and when I arrived, we eagerly headed out. We were both hungry and looking forward to the meal. When we got on the on ramp, Panda commented that he hoped he brought his wallet… and when he went to check, he found he didn’t have it!

plates of dishes from california pizza kitchenWe were instantly brought back to the night when he forgot his wallet on one of the earlier “date nights” we had out here. So there we were, waiting for our food at CPK when Panda realized he hadn’t brought his wallet. At that point, I wasn’t carrying around any sort of purse or wallet with me, so all I had was my phone. We stared at each other in disbelief as it dawned on us that he’d have to drive back to the apartment to retrieve said wallet. I then sat at the table as dish after dish came out. Pretty soon, the waiter started to look at me funny. Where was my dinner partner? Had he just left me?

It was a good 40 minutes before he finally made it back. I’d eaten some of the food, trying to go slow and wait for him. Meanwhile, our date night had become a singles night as we had to spend it apart. So this time when he forgot his wallet again, we were glad that at least I brought mine. Still, I’m never having a date night again. It always seems to mean a missing wallet. :-P

Cherry Blossom Festival

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Rather last-minute, Panda and I decided to go check out the Cherry Blossom Festival today. Most of the trees aren’t quite ready yet, but a few early bloomers were there to greet visitors and it was a lovely day out to walk around. We got stuck in traffic all the way around the Tidal Basin and eventually got a parking spot at West Potomac Park. It was so crowded there were even a line of cars parking on the shoulder of an on ramp. Luckily, we were able to find a spot to park in legally. We then walked from the FDR Memorial all the way to the booths set up for the festival and then kept going to the MLK Memorial and back to the car. It’s the first time I’ve worn sneakers this year, after the crazy winter weather we’ve been hit with. I’m ready for the warmer months to finally kick in!

electronic traffic sign sharing message with drivers

We arrived to blocked off roads and I noticed that the dots on these signs are actually three dots in a triangular configuration. Never knew that before!

police k9 canine car parked on grass by cherry blossoms as lady stops to ask question

As we were stuck in traffic, I got to see this K9 police car complete with fan in the back window for the dog.

view of washington monument from across tidal basin with reflection in water

I don’t come to the Tidal Basin much, so it was a treat.

looking into interior of hollowed out tree trunk

A random tree trunk had been hollowed out from two sides.

tiny purple flowers growing in grass

Before we really even saw cherry blossoms, I stopped to admire these flowers.

edge of tidal basin by jefferson memorial

A ton of people were out enjoying the day.

view of cherry blossom festival booths and washington monument across tidal basin

Across the way were all the booths for the festival.

police patrol on horseback near tidal basin

Patrolling on horses. Not a bad way to spend the afternoon.

white blossoms on tree near tidal basin

One of the few trees that was a-blooming.

dozens of people on paddle boats in tidal basin

Every single paddle boat was out on the water.

cherry blossom buds on tree

Most trees looked like this.

bloomed cherry blossoms on tree by tidal basin

Some of the cherry blossoms had opened up. Spectacular.

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