“Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick.” -Gwyneth Paltrow

Julep Nail Review and Nail of the Day: Amy

I'm loving taking part in the Julep Maven program, and it's done a great job of introducing me to these great nail lacquers. So much so that, despite having 5 colors at home already (and more coming each month), when I ventured into Sephora recently I still found myself reaching for more. 

This time I chose Amy, which the fine folks at Julep describe as a smoky, turquoise cream. I think that's a pretty apt description of the color, although it doesn't really read smoky on my tips. Instead, it's a mid-tone, creamy, opaque turquoise. Either way, I'm loving it. 

As with my other Julep polishes, Amy has a great formula that boasts a creamy, workable texture and great opacity. The directions instruct users to apply 2 coats (which I did), but I was happy with the finish at one coat. Wear time was also excellent, with no chips or tip wear until about 4 days in, and I'm very hard on my nails. Dry time was average, and I do recommend a good top coat for additional shine. 

Bottom Line: I've jumped on this summer's teal-family bandwagon with Amy and I'm glad I did. The color livens up my fingertips and gives me the feel of a bright summer day. While many green/teal/light blue shades tend to look less than fantastic on me, but this one somehow comes off as a very fun, summery neutral. Highly recommend. 

I've Finally Found a Bronzer I Can Love! Bobbi Brown Bronzer/Blush Duo in Pink Peony and Bahama Brown

I'm normally not a fan of bronzers for several reasons: 1) They always pull orange or muddy on me, 2) They do not make me look magically tan, and 3) Even the few that have made me look magically tan make me look ridiculous, because I have a crazy-pale body. Having a bronzey glow floating above a pasty chest and shoulders isn't my idea of pretty. And before you call me on my raving reviews of Chanel's Sable Rose and Bronze Corail, keep in mind that on me they don't read as bronze, per se, but rather as glowing blushes that liven up my pale complexion. 

So in the past, I've stuck with blush and been quite happy to do so. Since the blogging world tends to go apeshit every year when the new cadre of bronzers are released, I've learned to just focus on eye, lip, foundation, primer and skin care products during the warmer months and have more or less avoided cheek products altogether. But a few weeks ago I was wandering through Macy's and came upon the Desert Twilight Collection, Bobbi Brown's Fall offerings of color. It's a lovely collection, and I would have bought more of it except that it's very neutral and my thing these days seems to be more centered around color. 

However, what I couldn't resist was the gorgeous, spectacular, scrumdilyicious Bronzer/Blush Duo in Pink Peony and Bahama Brown. Behold: 

This is an interesting product. First of all, despite what conventional reasoning would assume, the Pink Peony is the Illuminating Bronzer part of the duo, while Bahama Brown is the Shimmer Blush. That rocked my world a little bit, but I got over it when I realized Bobbi wouldn't actually be standing in my bathroom policing how I applied the products, so I could actually take this compact home and have my way with it. 

The directions on the website instruct users to apply Pink Peony across the entire face for a sheer glow, then to use Bahama Brown on the apples of the cheeks. As expected, I found that wasn't the best method for me. Instead, I apply the Bahama Brown starting at the temples, making the shape of a "3" along the side of my face, contouring under my cheekbones and then finishing along my jawbone. I then apply Pink Peony lightly above my cheekbones and on the apples of my cheeks. The result is a warm, glowing, contoured effect that's truly beautiful. What I love most about this pairing is the very toned-down, extremely neutral (almost cool) tone of the Bahama Brown, which remains very subtle on my skin and never oxidizes orange or turns muddy on my skin, even on the hottest day. 

This duo is housed in a round, black Bobbi Brown compact that boasts a large mirror. I do not recall a brush being included (and can't find any stray blushes or applicators floating around my bathroom), so you will need your own brush. This isn't a problem for me, since this duo lasts all day with no fading, pooling, or blotchiness--hence, I won't need to carry it with me when I leave the house and won't have to deal with carrying a separate brush in my bag. I will say that I always follow application with a good HD powder to tone down the shimmer and set the color. 

Bottom Line: This is an outstanding combination for fair skin like mine, but has plenty of color for those of you who actually produce melanin as well. The two colors play perfectly off of each other and can be used together or alone for a variety of looks. The staying power and finish are excellent, and apply easily and quickly without the need for excessive blending. I'm considering going back for a backup before they run out. 

Phyrra shares her picks for the Best Wordpress Plugins for Beauty Bloggers.

 Ever wanted to know how to make a cheap and simple palette? Check out Midnight Violets straightforward DIY post!

 Hate purchasing without a lip swatch? Check out the Revlon Balm Stain megapost on My Lips But Better. 

Lisamarie from Beauty Crazed travels all the way to Germany to polish up her nails for the fall - okay, maybe not but she does swatch some of the OPI Germany Fall/Winter 2012 collection so check it out!

  Benefit Cosmetics is kicking class, with a slew of awesome new palettes. Check out the details, over at Krasey Beauty.

 Short and wimpy lashes everywhere can celebrate--Find out how Angela's lashes become sky-high with Marcelle Xtension Plus mascara on Do Want Makeup.

 Looking for a bright, poppy summer blush? Have a peek at Illamasqua Hussy Blusher at Adorable On Your Vanity and help yourself from falling in love!

 The Pink Sith uses the entire soundtrack from The Little Mermaid to talk about Deborah Lippmann Mermaid's Dream Nail Lacquer.

 The latest skirmish in the Makeup Wars is The Battle of the Summer Lippie. Prime Beauty's soldier in this battle is YSL's Vernis A Levres Glossy Stain in #15-Rose Vinyl. Find out how she fared and check out the other warriors entries. 

 Are you ready for festival season? Check out Rae's floral braided hair tutorial and storybook daisies makeup look over at theNotice to add a bit of colour to your summer. 

 Beauty Reflections thinks these mark. Make It Rich Lip Crayons are as good as NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencils!
It's summer giveaway time! Enter to win an Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette from Audrey Dao!

NOTD and Review of Deborah Lippmann "Razzle Dazzle" Nail Lacquer

Sorry I've been so MIA in the last week or so! I've had a few setbacks with my arm, and typing hasn't been fun. I've been trying to limit it as much as possible. 

However, today I'm feeling great, so I'm going to give you a Nail of the Day and a review of Deborah Lippmann's fun, fun, fun Razzle Dazzle Nail Lacquer. 

Make no mistake, Razzle Dazzle is pretty intense. It's described on the Deborah Lippmann site as a "darkened raspberry sizzle (glitter)," and I can kind of get on board with that. It's deep, it's raspberry and it sizzles, for sure! I don't know if I'm all over the glitter part, though. The "glitter" is microfine and gives the illusion of intense shimmer more than glitter in my opinion. Which is wonderful for me, as I already have plenty of Lippmann glitters, and could use a lacquer that's a bit more toned-down. Plus, I associate glitter with bumpy, and Razzle Dazzle is nice and smooth. 

As you can see above, the shimmer really stands out in direct light and makes this lacquer gorgeous and fun while still sophisticated. This is a great fun color for daytime, but at night in dimmer light, it's got a jewel-light quality that makes it perfect to go with your favorite LBD. 

Bottom Line: I'm loving Razzle Dazzle for the summer because it's fun and pink and sparkly and it amuses me when I'm bored. What I love even more is the fact that around Christmas time, I'll be able to apply this very festive lacquer to go with any black outfit I choose, and it will perk things up and get me in the mood to par-tay! The formula is smooth and somewhat sheer and requires at least 2 fairly heavy coats or 3 thin coats to achieve full opacity on me, but it dries down quickly and holds for days. It's the perfect consistency...not too thick, not too thin...and can be worked with easily. The sparkles make it fun for everyone, but are subtle enough to work for those of you who may typically be more reserved. Overall, this is one of my favorites from Deborah Lippmann. 

Beauty Spotlight Team

 The Pink Sith’s July Birchbox has arrived. This month's theme is the 5 senses. Does that make sense?

 Is your holo polish not holo enough? Not to worry, Jessika from polish insomniac shares with us the return of GOSH Holographic!

  Pammy Blogs Beauty channels her inner "Palette Princess" as she embarks upon a new Palette Review Series with her review of Jemma Kidd's Backstage Palette.

 There’s a new natural brand on the market, Visionary Beauty looks at what the raw, pure, skin and body care range from Ambre Botanicals has to offer.

 Buying makeup online can be a tricky game. Modesty Brown tries a Shiseido Perfect Rouge lipstick and finds that, although the colour isn't perfect, the formula is!

 Is the Yves Saint Laurent Palette Couture really the star accessory for autumn? Check out her review for Perilously Pale’s thoughts on this much anticipated release for Fall 2012.

  L'Oreal Infallible eyeshadows keep getting prettier and prettier. Beauty Info Zone wants to share some of the Fall 2012 shades to see if you'll "fall" for them too.

  Prime Beauty continues her love affair with Kiehl’s. This time it’s the new fragrant Aromatic Blends that has her swooning.

  London MakeUp Girl reviews Soapwalla Deodorant Cream, an all natural blend of oils, powder, clay and essential oils that promises to keep your armpits smelling fresh. Does it work? Read her review! 

 Lisamarie from Beauty Crazed loves a tinted lip balm during hot weather - moisture and colour that won't melt off your face! Check out the swatches of what she's been sporting on these lazy, hazy summer days!

Review and EOTD: Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream #21

I'm on a sudden cream shadow kick. I've always avoided them because, well, I'm not great at applying shadow with my fingertips and my brushes never seemed to work. This summer, I had the brilliant idea of purchasing a brush made specifically for cream shadows, and my world opened up quite a bit.

I've already told you about my current favorite neutral creams from Benefit, R.S.V.P. and Get Figgy. I've had so much success with those two that I decided to branch out into more colorful options, and of course being me, I jumped right off the deep end and chose one of Make Up For Ever's most vivid Aqua Creams, #21.

Aqua Cream #21 (I must say it was nice not to have to deal with ridiculous and double-entendre names from MUFE, even though I can never keep the numbers straight) is a brilliant turquoise/teal with plenty of shimmer. Technically, it's formulated for the eyes and cheeks, as are 15 of the Aqua Cream Shades. The remaining 6 shades are formulated for lips and cheeks, so if you plan to purchase, you may want to pay attention to what you're getting so you don't end up applying a non-eye-safe product all over your lids or one that's not safe for lips all over your mouth.

The formula of Aqua Creams is outstanding. The feel is moist and extremely lightweight right out of the jar. The shadow glides easily and evenly over the lids and is a breeze to blend. Once it sets, Aqua Cream sticks like glue with no creasing or fading at all. I've worn it for up to 15 hours with absolutely no problems, even here in Atlanta with the 95-plus-degree temperatures and crazy afternoon thunderstorms. And that wear time was without primer.

As you can see above, the color is beautiful and makes me think of the beach (even though I haven't been near an ocean in years). It's very Carribean. However, as lovely as it is, it's a LOT of color. I tend to get drawn in to the pretty items and to not put much thought into how I plan to actually wear certain colors, and this is one of them. I applied #21 as a shadow across my lids and also as a contrast in my crease, and neither method worked for me. It didn't look bad, it was just a bit much for my 42-year-old eyes. Damn ageing! It's killing me. Add to that the fact that, frankly, turquoise isn't a color I'm accustomed to wearing, and I just couldn't pull this one off as easily as my typical array of purples, greens and deep blues, and I honestly felt like my eyes were completely overtaking my face, and not in a good way.

So, what to do? Here I am all excited about having a pretty shadow, yet unable to comfortably wear it in public. I chose to go the wimpy way and use it as a liner instead. It gives just a pop of color without overwhelming my entire face.

Using #21 as a liner turned out to be my perfect summery/colorful solution. It's easing me into the whole turquoise/teal thing yet doesn't overwhelm me or make me feel as if I'm trying too hard. Plus, my almost-15-yo daughter loves, loves, loves it. I'll give her an application lesson and let her have at it!

Bottom Line: Make Up For Ever Aqua Creams are amazing. I find them to be lighter weight and easier to work with than a lot of comparable creams, and they have amazing holding power on the lids. The only caveat is that they come in a variety of very bright shades, meaning a lot of you may not find one in your comfort zone. I can recommend #13, a shimmery champagne, as a great base for fair-skinned women, as well as #16 (pink beige) and #5 (pale peach). As both shadow and as liner, these creams are easy to work with. I plan to go back for more soon, but next time I'll stick to the neutrals.

Beauty Blog Link Love

Phyrra is in love with the cult product inspired by beauty balm creams, Illamasqua Skin Base! She compares shades 1, 2, 4, and Au and dazzles you with their versatility!

 Say hello to summer. Fleurissante has swatched the new Dior Diorskin Nude Tan bronzers.

 Gouldylox finds a mascara that may permanently end her search for the perfect mascara. Looking for a product that'll create a smokey eye in under ten seconds?

Check out Rae's review of the Sephora Smoky Kohl Eyeliner on theNotice to see if it fits the bill.

 Addicted to Beauty shares her Sleek MakeUP palette collection - be prepared for palette overload!

 Shannon at Lipstick Musings is captivated by the Limited Edition Ray of Light Nail Lacquer from Deborah Lippmann. Move quickly, because it will disappear soon!

 Jenn from Spiced Beauty shows you the New L'Oreal Foundations especially for Women of Color!

 Miss Beauty Nerd is inspired to rock a little neon with OPI's Outrageous Neons Mini Pack!

 At Eyelining Obsessions Claire investigates when good liners go bad! A cautionary tale.

 Beauty Reflections thinks teal eyeshadow and Dior Addict Extreme Lipstick in Riviera is a match made in heaven!

Beauty Crazed is having a summer giveaway worthy of their name - be sure to come and enter for a chance to win enough makeup to really heat up your summer!

Beauty Spotlight Team: What's In Pink Sith's Emergency Kit?

"The Pink Sith is in the process of transferring most of her makeup to her new Helmer and purging old cosmetics to give away to her family so her makeup organization looks...well not organized at all.  However the one thing that she always has organized is her "Emergency Makeup Kit".  She carries this kit with her at all times. She figured she would show you the kit because she's always looking for suggestions on what else to carry in there!  She would love to hear your comments and suggestions at the end of her post."

Check out what The Pink Sith reaches for when emergency strikes!

NARS Eyeshadow Review: Marie-Galante

I'm late to the game with the 2012 Summer Collections, and frankly I haven't gotten too excited by most of them. I think I'm suffering from makeup saturation...there's just not much out there that I don't already have, and most of what's left doesn't interest me. I've been in a bit of a slump. But that changed when I saw the NARS Summer Collection, specifically the eyeshadow duo Marie-Galante. 

I'd not tried NARS duos before, so I was taking a gamble that the quality would be good. The color of this duo is certainly to die for: an iridescent orchid paired with iridescent regal blue? Definitely not something I already had in my drawer!

The duo is housed in the familiar rubbery black case. I have mixed feelings about these compacts because they look wonderful immediately out of the box, but if any powder gets on them at all, they look pretty rough and they're difficult, if not impossible, to clean. But if you plan to use NARS products, it's what you'll get, so I guess I need to suck it up and deal. 

As you can see, the colors in the Marie-Galante duo are stunning. I love them both, and they both look good on their own as well as paired. I don't find the pigmentation to be outstanding on this duo, though. I found I had to use a lot of product to get the look I was going for and to get the colors to show up on my eye. I need to try again with damp brushes, but used with dry brushes, be prepared to do some work. 

Under direct sunlight, you can see how shimmery these are. They also have small bits of glitter, although not overly so. However, if you are averse to glitter, take note. Also note that these swatches required quite a few coats to get to this intensity. Like, 5 or 6 passes with the brush. As I said, pigmentation is somewhat lacking.

Under indirect light, the colors show more depth and iridescence. You can actually see how the blue is slightly darker around the edges, then morphs to a lighter, more shimmery color towards the center of the swatch. It's a great color combination, and even though it requires more effort than I'd like, the payoff is great. 

And, for the grand finale, here are a couple of shots of my eyes wearing Marie-Galante! I love that the colors really bring out the brown in my eyes. Paired with relatively subtle lips and barely-there cheeks, the effect is gorgeous and perfect for summer. I'm adoring this duo!

Bottom Line: I have fallen hard for Marie-Galante, but I truly wish the colors were denser and easier to build. I don't feel it should take 4-5 layers of color to get a decent amount of intensity, and by decent I'm not talking drag queen, I'm just talking enough to allow these amazing shades to actually shine. However, even though I'm disappointed with the pigmentation, I feel the uniqueness of the colors goes a long way towards making up for the additional work I have to do to get to my desired end. Wear time was good over primer with no fading or creasing, but I'm not usually prone to creasing. I'm going to be wearing this duo on days and nights when I feel like putting some effort into my eyes. However, for a quick and easy look, these aren't going to be my choice. 

Deborah Lippmann Review and NOTD: Ray of Light

I'm a recent convert to Deborah Lippmann nail lacquers, and I've purchased quite a few of them recently. I'm having a blast with every single one of them! I've already shown you Ruby Red Slippers, one of my new all-time favorites. Today, we're going to take a look at Ray of Light, which is one of the most beautiful and unique lacquers I've seen. 

Ray of Light is described as an "electrically charged indigo with 3-D holographic glitter." I think that's a very apt description. It's got a cream base that's a gorgeous blue/purple, and it's infused with coppery holographic 3-D glitter in varying sizes. 

The texture is thick but not goopy, and it's easy to manipulate onto the nail. I find it takes 2-3 coats to get the coverage I like, but I like heavy coverage. Dry time is average, and the lacquer lasted well on my nails for several days with only minor tip wear. 

My favorite aspect of Ray of Light is the glitter. It's infused throughout the creamy base and there are 3 sizes, which gives a lot of visual appeal on the nail. The best part is the changeability of the glitter. Viewed head-on, it's a pretty coppery gold. However, when you tilt the nail, it shifts to a green metallic. It's sort of like having copper flashes along with some of the green patina of ageing copper. I'm easily entertained, and get a lot of mileage out of watching the color shift as I turn my nails this way and that. 

Copper glitter

Shifting glitter

Bottom Line: Ray of Light is Limited Edition, so hit the site or the stores soon before it sells out. It's an adventurous color, but still highly wearable depending on your job. I find it very flattering against my fair skin, but I think it would be equally so on darker tones. The quality, as usual with Lippmann lacquers, is outstanding. Definitely worth a try!

A Quick Update

Remember Joan Cusack in "Sixteen Candles?" You know, the poor geeky girl in the huge neck brace? I thought it was all kinds of funny when I saw the movie back in 1986. Now...not so much.

To make a long story short, I went for an MRI of my cervical spine and they discovered that I have a ruptured C7 disc. On top of that, I have chronic issues at C4, 5, and 6. To add insult to injury, C4, 5, and 6 all have bone spurs growing in them.

Soooo, they gave me a week's worth of steroids (which made me a bitch on wheels), followed by physical therapy. I go back to the doctor on July 24 to see how things have progressed. Depending on how well the rupture has healed and how the degenerative discs are doing, I will hopefully be able to continue with non-surgical treatments for several years. However, at some point in the future, sooner or later, I will have to have surgery on my neck, which scares the heck out of me.

In the meantime, for now I've been told to try to stay off the computer as much as possible to minimize the natural "hunching" that takes place when typing. I'm doing my best, limiting it to an hour or so every other day.

So I won't be posting as often as I'd like, which is frustrating because I have a whole box of products to tell you about, products you simply MUST know about and probably need, right? I'll shoot for 2-3 posts per week until this gets sorted out.

In the meantime, thanks for your patience and understanding. I love all of my readers, and I'm so glad you're all sticking by me! I appreciate you more than you know.


Happy 4th of July!

I hope all of you are having a great 4th of July! We're out and about attending parades, eating lots of barbeque, and looking forward to a massive fireworks display. 

In the midst of all the fun, don't forget to stop for a moment and think about the men (and women) who have made so many sacrifices to create our incredible country, from the Founding Fathers who drafted our Constitution to the brave troops who have served fearlessly for more than 2 centuries to protect our rights and freedoms.  As you wave your tiny American flag, think about what we're all celebrating...the Land of the Free, the Home of the Brave, and the greatest country on earth!

Review of Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow/Liner in R.S.V.P. and Get Figgy

I have an odd relationship with Benefit Cosmetics. I've loved every product I've tried from them, yet I tend to forget about them when I'm on a makeup binge, eschewing them for higher-end lines like YSL or Chanel or artier lines like Make Up For Ever. Somehow, despite my success with Benefit, I neglect them. They're my red-headed stepchild of makeup. 

Despite my fickle nature though, I tend to return to Benefit about once a year and am reminded of just how good the line can be. For me, the best items I've used from Benefit aren't the kitchsy, fun-filled items like Benetint, Highbeam, and Sugarbomb. No, the awesomeness of Benefit, for me, lies in the staple items like the Velvet Eye Shadow in Leggy, which was my go-to base eyeshadow until it ran out (and, typical of me, I didn't replace it with another but moved on to new things). 

So when I returned to the Benefit section at Sephora the other day, it's no surprise I was looking for a great cream eyeshadow that would give me the perfect no-makeup look for summer. I'd been using Make Up For Ever's Aqua Cream #13, but it's a little too shimmery for wear outdoors, in my opinion. It's also very light, even against my pale skin. So another color was in order. I also wanted a good neutral to wear on my lids or in the crease for those times when I'm motivated enough to get a little more detailed with my makeup. 

R.S.V.P. and Get Figgy completely met my requirements. R.S.V.P. is a perfect match for Leggy, only it's a cream that swipes on smoothly and dries down to stick like glue. There's some shimmer, but it's satiny, not frosty. Get Figgy is also perfect for me: it's a bronzy plum that pulls fairly brown on me, but with some depth to keep it from getting boring. 

As you can see, it's smoothly shimmery with no large chunks of glitter. Perfection as a base!
R.S.V.P. blends perfectly with my skin to make it luminous without being obvious. 

Get Figgy is another great choice for an understated summer look. It's plummy, it's bronzey it's subtle; in other words, perfect for summer. 

This angle is the best representation of the color of Get Figgy that I could capture. You can see the plum undertones here. 
Here, you can see the subtle shimmer that brings light to the eyes without being frosty. 
On my skin, more of the bronze comes out. 
Here I used R.S.V.P. as a base from lashes to brows. I then applied Get Figgy over the lid and up into the crease. 
Believe it or not, this photo was taken after about 8 hours of wear on a 95 degree Georgia day with a lot of humidity. I was in and out of the car all day. Pretty much everything else on my face melted off, but not my Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadows!

Bottom Line: Once again, Benefit has done me proud. The Creaseless Cream Shadow/Liners are beautiful, smooth and creamy to apply, and dry down to a bulletproof finish. Nothing, and I mean nothing (short of eye makeup remover...even a gel cleanser didn't do the job) will get these off your eyes. There's truly no creasing, even without a base underneath. The color selection is lovely, although I suggest you purchase in person, as the swatches on the Benefit site leave a LOT to be desired. So head your happy little self to your nearest Sephora, Ulta, or Macy's and stock up on these!

Julep Maven Review: My Introductory Box

You may have heard all the buzz recently about Julep's Maven Program. With all of the sample boxes circulating the beauty world these days, I was a little skeptical about this one. Really, it seems too good to be true. For $19.99 a month, you get a minimum of $40 worth of Julep products. Since that's obviously a fantastic value, and since I'd seen and read about Julep polishes but never actually used them, I decided to cave and give the program a try. 

My introductory box arrived last week, and I'm thrilled! To sign up for the Maven Program, all I had to do was create an account for myself and take their Beauty Quiz, which put me into the "American Beauty" category. Each month, Julep will send me a preview of my box. I can choose to take it, or I can choose a box from a different beauty profile. If I don't like any of them, I can skip a month. If I see something else I like, I can add on to my box at a discount of 20%. Like I said, this is a awesome deal!

My introductory box contained 3 full-sized products: 2 nail lacquers and a pedi creme. Together, they're worth $50 retail. Yay! Finally, a subscription that really pays off!

My lacquers were both lovely. Renee is a slightly greyed, subtle lilac that's actually suitable for work. Eva is a brilliant raspberry creme with high shine, suitable for any skin tone. Let's take a look at them: 

Here they are side-by-side. This shot is probably the best color representation I can give you. Renee is up top, while Eva is below. 

I have to say, I'm in love with both of these colors, but Eva was the one that initially drew me in. It's a lovely raspberry shade that really complements my fair skin. However, it wasn't the color alone that got me, it was the texture. I have to say that Eva, hands-down, is the loveliest texture I've ever worked with. It's thick enough to give 1-coat coverage (although I always go with 2 coats), yet smooth enough to manipulate easily around the contours of the nail. It doesn't go running off across my nails the way most thinner polishes do, yet it never remotely approaches being to thick or goopy. It was truly a pleasure to work with, and it applied with almost no effort at all. 

I was a little less certain about Renee for a couple of reasons, the primary one being that (as you all know by now), I'm more into the brighter colors, and this is a muted pastel. However, once on my tips, I have to say I love it! I've also gotten a lot of compliments from complete strangers while wearing this one. It's light but not chalky, pastel yet flattering even to my very fair hands. I will say that the texture wasn't quite as perfect as Eva...it was thicker and took a little more work to achieve the OCD perfection I expect of my manicures. However, once I got it on, it was lovely and wore quite well. 

Finally, there's the Best Pedi Creme Ever!, a thick, shea-based creme that fights dry feet and callused heels wonderfully. My poor feet are a mess (and you will never see them), and this creme is making some serious headway towards fixing my dry heels. 

Bottom Line: I'm hooked on Julep! The Maven program is definitely worth the investment. It's a great value and offers total flexibility...you can basically choose whichever box you want each month, add on additional products with ease (and at a discount), and even skip a month if nothing suits you (which I can't see happening). Plus, all of the products are full-sized, meaning you get enough product to actually use, instead of tiny samples too small to really evaluate. Of all the "boxes" I've tried thus far, this is definitely the winner. 

**Referral links are included in this post. 

Beauty Blog Link Love 7/1/12

Beauty's Bad Habit tries a gentle way to remove unwanted dye with Decolour Remover. Check out her results!

Sophie checks out the new L'Oreal Miss Candy Collection, over at melovemakeup.

What's In My Travel Makeup Bag? Bun Bun Makeup Tips shares the amount of makeup she brought to Okinawa, Japan! 

The Body Shop launches a new and cruelty-free makeup line with Model/Activist Lily Cole. Pammy Blogs Beauty checks out this super cute collection! 

MM finally falls in love with a bronzer (or two). Head over to Makeup Morsels to see her summer picks!

Looking for inspiration? Visit Handmade Reviews to be inspired by Design Seed's color palette concept.

Looking for a perfect, natural looking bronzer that doesn't gleam, shine or sparkle? Gouldylox found it! Discover it for yourself here.

Visit Beauty In The Mirror to see what's in Sherrie's new makeup bag.

Whitney from Pretty Me Up shows off her Monthly Obsessions including Lorac's Palette Unzipped, Hermes Voyage Parfum, Josie Maran Cosmetics, Murad Skincare and more!

Check out Makeup, Beauty and More's review of one of her favourite nude lipsticks by MAC!

Anyone remember the 60’s? Senna Cosmetics has a collection called Mod Muse and Beauty Info Zone wants you to join the 60’s revolution with them.

Angela is totally mesmerized by the shifting colours in Essie's Shine of the Times. Find out what nail colour she paired with this flakie polish at Do Want Makeup.

At Lipstick Musings, Shannon's having a blast with Deborah Lippmann's Ruby Red Slippers

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