User review: Becoming a Julep Maven (Part 1)

Julep began in 2007 as a boutique nail parlor in Seattle.  Julep now offers a line of products promising professional results at home.  One can purchase these items at Julep.com but the special twist they offer is to shop with them by becoming a Julep Maven.

image from www.lydianflash.com

Nothing like freshly painted fingers and toes

Becoming a Maven, which is kind of like a subscription service, is quite simple.  On the Julep home page you will find a Style Profile quiz.  Taking the quiz will place you into one of several Style categories (descriptions are my shortened versions of their descriptions):

“It Girl” – a natural trendsetter, cutting-edge colors

“Iconic Beauty” – timeless aesthetic with chic, elegant colors

“Boho Glam” – a creative free spirit, a mix of earthy tones and chic, vibrant colors

“Bombshell” – bold, glam colors and anything that sparkles

“Modern Beauty” – a savvy tastemaker who wants to try the latest and most innovative products

FLOTUS Nails

Photo not meant to imply any sort of endorsement

Each month, there is a carefully selected box for each style profile.  Depending on the profile, the box contains nail colors, beauty products, or both.  Julep says that each monthly box, priced at $19.99,  contains products worth a total of $40 and up.  Each month a Maven has the opportunity to preview each box and select the one she prefers.  Once she has a chosen a box, the Maven is then presented with opportunities to add certain products to the box at discounted prices via the Secret Store.  She will also receive free shipping and 20% off at Julep.com.

This offer appealed to me for several reasons.  One, it sounded like a good deal, and I’m all about a good deal.  Two, I love getting packages in the mail!  And three, when it comes to special little treats like nail polish, I tend to either purchase very similar items (“rut”), not purchase things because I think I don’t “deserve” them, or just never get around to buying them.  Having a monthly box delivered will “force” me to a treat that I probably would not otherwise have gotten myself, along with trying colors and products I might not otherwise have purchased. Kewl.

image from www.kristendukephotography.com

A package! A package! Somebody loves me!

PS – Through the Powered by Girlfriends program Julep donates a portion of their proceeds to “organizations that support and empower women.”  These include National Women’s Sports Foundation, Dress for Success Worldwide, Girl Up, Polaris Project, and the Edith Sanford Breast Cancer Foundation.

PPS -Can’t wait to become a Maven?  Here’s my referral link to join.  Use code FREECOLOR to try it out for free!

PPPS – no PPPS

(sorry, couldn’t resist, used to always do that on my notes to friends when I was a girl!)

Coming up:  I discover my style profile and I receive and review my first order!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the First Time in Forever — Follow Up Friday

small_3397858623Why yes, it has been a while since my last post.  What better way to jump back in than with a “Follow Up Friday” post so I can follow up on previous posts and catch you up a bit on what-all has been going on with me.

First, regarding previous blog post subjects:

  • Hermione the bread starter is no longer.  I had a bunch in the freezer but ended up throwing it out in a big clean-out.  I would like to maintain another starter someday, not necessarily the Amish Friendship Bread, but right now I feel like I have enough other things to take care of!blogging word cloud
  •  I still plan to finish my series about our Barking Mad Harry Potter Weekend because it is still fresh and beautiful in my mind and something I will always remember!
  •  I also plan to finish my series about training for my first 5K.  *Spoiler Alert* – I completed the 5K, in a time I was pleased with, even!  Unfortunately I never did start to like running but for a reason which shall be revealed, last month I completed another 5K AND a Half Marathon!  What the what?!
  • We sold our cluttered house and bought what is pretty much our dream house (not necessarily in that order …).  Lots more deets to follow on all that.
  • Since we moved I haven’t been shopping at ALDI very often
  • I’m not sure where my french Harry Potter book is

In addition:

  • I am now working outside the home part-time as an inventory auditor
  •  I have become a “Hunger Games” fan
  • We adopted two cats, adorable solid black brothers we named Toby and Tolkien, aka The Chocolate Drops.  You can see a picture or two of them on my Instagram and on Crookshank’s (might as well call him by his real name now that we have more than one cat! = Teddy) Twitter account, @Teddy0605.  The kittens are so cute and entertaining that I’m working on a new blog about them that I hope to make live soon.
  • Not to brag, but I have over 1,000 Followers on Pinterest — would love for you to join us!
  • I have a precious nephew, “Teddy Lupin,” who turns two tomorrow
  • Time marches on!  Ron is now 17, Ginny turns 13 next month, and Muggle Man and I celebrate our 25th anniversary this year!

What caused this sudden re-emergence into blogging?  An opportunity to write reviews for a website which required samples of my writing.  I sent a link to my blog, which of course I “keep meaning” to update.  As I looked back over old posts, I came across this one, and it was such a wake-up call and reminder of why I started my blog in the first place (I really should print it out and post it for frequent reference!).  My blog needs me, and I need it!

(All aboard The Feels Train)

feels train

Thanks for checking on me, as always please Tweet me @realmugglemom

 

 

(skeleton) photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/notionscapital/3397858623/”>Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

(blogging cloud) photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/barnett/2836828090/”>Kristina B</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

(Feels Train) http://www.funnyjunk.com added by poxitorium at Zombie Master

 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Loved the look of Shell Cottage in the movie!

Image via Wikipedia

(aka Part 1 of My Barking Mad Harry Potter Weekend)

Like all Potter fans I had really been looking forward to seeing “Deathly Hallows Part Two,’ and when it happened, wanted to do it right.  I started by watching some funny parody videos on YouTube.  Here are my faves, Tweet me a link if you know of some other good ones:

Harry Potter Friday Parody  by The Hillywood Show

Hallows Harry Potter Parody by iMandy

Like a G6 Parody (Like It’s Quidditch) by The Station (I think?)

I would have loved to have seen Part 1 in 3D immediately followed by Part 2 in 3D.  However, this option was only offered starting at 9:00 PM.  I wanted to be fully awake and alert for my viewing and preferred to go during the day.  Of course I pre-ordered our tickets — three (for Muggle Man, Ron, and myself) for Saturday afternoon.

Thursday I started a movie “countdown” by watching my “Order of the Phoenix” DVD.  Friday morning I picked up our tickets and that day I also watched “Half Blood Prince” and made sure I had all the ingredients to make Butterbeer Cupcakes.

Saturday morning Muggle Man and I watched “Deathly Hallows Part 1” on DVD.  Ron and I donned our RIPT Apparel Limited Edition ‘Horcrux Collectors Club” Tees.”  We’d been saving them to wear to the movie!  I also had some Harry Potter-shaped 3-D glasses that I had ordered from the UK off eBay. 

Cute glasses, too bad they didn't work
Purely decorative “3-D” glasses

Unfortunately, when I tried them out at home they did not work.  I stuck them into my purse just in case, though. 

Our tickets were for the 2:00 3-D IMAX show.  We arrived at the theater about 1:15 PM.   There was already a line outside the IMAX theater, but at that point it wasn’t too bad.  There were maybe 30 people in front of us?  The way the line wrapped around, we were positioned in line right outside the theater door, with the first people in line between us and and the entrance.  I heard those people say that they had arrived at 12:45.  Several people commented on Ron’s & my T-shirts, and/or asked where we had gotten them.

A little after 1:45 they started letting people into the theater.  We tried to figure out the best spot to sit.  We knew we wanted to be in the middle but weren’t sure how far up or down to go.  The people who had been first in line were slightly to the side on one row so I suggested that we sit in the middle of that row,  next to them.  I figured if they had stood in line that long to get those seats they must be good, he he.  I was very interested in experiencing an IMAX movie since I’d only seen a couple before, at science museums.

The screen lit up with the first of a couple of trailers.  They were SO LOUD I could not believe it.  I would have brought ear plus if I had known.  Poor Ron, who is very sensitive to loud noises, had his fingers in his ears.  I remembered that I had some ear plugs in my purse from the Taylor Swift concert Ginny and I had attended recently so I gave them to Ron (wishing that I had more for me!).  Thankfully once the actual movie started, it was not quite as loud (or maybe my ear follicles had been dulled enough by then that it didn’t seem as loud?!).  I put on my British fake 3-D glasses just to be sure they didn’t work.  Nope.

The movie kept me enthralled the whole time (didn’t check watch, etc.).  The only distraction was the kid next to me wh osqueaked his drink straw up and down almost the entire frickin’ movie (grrrr  — Silencio!”).  The audience was pretty quiet for most of the movie, one funny incident was the first time Lord Voldemort appeared on the screen and a little voice said, “Got your nose!” 

 I was glad that I had remembered to stick some tissues into my purse as I spent at least the half hour of the movie blowing my nose and dabbing at my eyes.  I really liked Part 1 and had been worried that Part 2 would somehow be a letdown.  I think I also was worried that the majority of the movie would be a violent, bloody battle.  I was not disappointed at all and I thought that overall the battle was portrayed very well.  I really want to go see it again!

Follow-up Friday

Here’s an update on my “30 Things I Vow” post of things I want to do this summer:

1. Watch “New Moon” – Did this last night!  I’m going to do some future blog posts sharing my thoughts on each of the three movies.

2. See “Eclipse”

3. Take the kids to see “Toy Story 3″

4. Finish the book I’m reading, “Why Bright Kids Get Poor Grades and What You Can Do About It”

5. Clean out and organize our garage – A work in progress

6. Clean out and organize our attic

7. Clean out and organize our refrigerator! – Another work in progress, completed the freezer section

8. Clean out and organize our hall closet

9. Declutter every room in the house

10. Paint our bathroom

11. Visit Trader Joe’s for the first time

12. Purchase the LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4 game when it comes out  – Preordered it, hasn’t arrived yet

13. Do the “The Pilates Promise: 10 Weeks to a Whole New Body” workout for 10 weeks WIP – completed one week, then injured my back and took off a couple of weeks but will start back

14. Work out at the health club regularly (2 – 5 times a week) – Have done this the two weeks we’ve been in town

15. Have a monthly massage – Had a massage last month & have another scheduled for this month

16. Have a facial

17. Get a spray tan

18. Get a pedicure – Did this this week, I tweeted a pic of my toes, I found the exact shade of bright purple/pink I was looking for.  Name of the color?  “Nasty!”

19. Give my notice for a certain committee that I’ve been chairing – Have not done this but now I really need to because I agreed to be on another committee, ai yi yi

20. Go through the stack of papers on our dining room table – Woot!

21. Complete the scrapbook I promised someone I’d make

22. Complete the scrapbook I promised Ginny we’d make

23. Get our family web site up to date – WIP

24. Get our deck set up, and then enjoy it!

25. Visit at least one winery I’ve never been to before

26. Clean out and organize our laundry room

27. Take the children to a historical museum that recently opened nearby

28. Have the children’s friends over – Have had one of Ginny’s friends over & am scheduling more for next week

29. Take naps and don’t feel guilty about them

30. Have some lunch, dinner, and movie dates with my Muggle Man

31. See the new Tom Cruise movie (don’t judge me!)

32. Read “The Prophet of Yonwood”

33. Buy the new EA Harry Potter game when it comes out

34. Plan something special for our wedding anniversary

35. Try some recipes from “Skinny Italian”

36. Make homemade Moravian sugarcake with Ginny

30 Things I Vow

This is a list of “30 Things I Vow” that I will do this summer.  Though I thought it might be hard to come up with 30 things, in typical overachiever fashion (and after years of honing my list-making skills), I actually came up with 36 items for my list.  I’m rather pleased with it as I feel it is a nice combination of “wants” and “shoulds,” things that will benefit the family, things that will benefit my marriage, and things that are just for me.  I was inspired by this post http://angryjuliemonday.com/tag/mama-kats-writers-workshop/  from Angry Julie Monday, which in turn was inspired by this prompt http://www.mamakatslosinit.com/2010/06/writing-prompt/ from Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.  I’m looking forward to updating my progress as I check items off the list during the summer.  It’s go time!

1. Watch “New Moon”

2. See “Eclipse”

3. Take the kids to see “Toy Story 3”

4. Finish the book I’m reading, “Why Bright Kids Get Poor Grades and What You Can Do About It”

5. Clean out and organize our garage

6. Clean out and organize our attic

7. Clean out and organize our refrigerator!

8. Clean out and organize our hall closet

9. Declutter every room in the house

10. Paint our bathroom

11. Visit Trader Joe’s for the first time

12. Purchase the LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4 game when it comes out

13. Do the “The Pilates Promise: 10 Weeks to a Whole New Body” workout for 10 weeks

14. Work out at the health club regularly (2 – 5 times a week)

15. Have a monthly massage

16. Have a facial

17. Get a spray tan

18. Get a pedicure

19. Give my notice for a certain committee that I’ve been chairing

20. Go through the stack of papers on our dining room table

21. Complete the scrapbook I promised someone I’d make

22. Complete the scrapbook I promised Ginny we’d make

23. Get our family web site up to date

24. Get our deck set up, and then enjoy it!

25. Visit at least one winery I’ve never been to before

26. Clean out and organize our laundry room

27. Take the children to a historical museum that recently opened nearby

28. Have the children’s friends over

29. Take naps and don’t feel guilty about them

30. Have some lunch, dinner, and movie dates with my Muggle Man

31. See the new Tom Cruise movie (don’t judge me!)

32. Read “The Prophet of Yonwood”

33. Buy the new EA Harry Potter game when it comes out

34. Plan something special for our wedding anniversary

35. Try some recipes from “Skinny Italian”

36. Make homemade Moravian sugarcake with Ginny

My First Visit to ALDI

Technically, it was my second visit.  Because on my first visit, I didn’t realize that ALDI was “different.”  I showed up without any cash, including no quarter for a cart, so I didn’t even make it into the store (which thankfully had a sign in the window stating cash only).  It scared me and it’s taken me several years to go back.  Finally, curiosity (people seem to either love it or hate it, which would I be?) and the yearning for a good deal got the best of me, so I recently (Easter weekend) tried again.

Before getting in the car, I visited the ALDI web site http://www.aldi.com, which I found to be helpful.  Here is what I learned:

* Carts are kept outside the store.  In order to get one, I need to bring a quarter to insert.  When I am finished shopping, when I rechain my cart to the other carts, my quarter will be returned.

* The stores are smaller in size than most grocery stores.  They do not carry all the products I am used to seeing, but I should be able to do 90% of my usual shopping there. 

*Most items are the company’s own brand, although nationally recognized brand names are sometimes carried.

* There are no baggers.  If I want my groceries bagged, I need to either bring my own bags or be prepared to purchase bags at the store. 

* I cannot use a credit card or write a check, but I can pay with cash or a debit card that uses a PIN number.

Armed with this knowledge and a quarter, I headed for ALDI.  My shopping experience was underwhelming.  I know that the store has it’s own “healthier” brands of products, but I did not see many of these, and felt that a lot of the products were processed foods that I am trying to avoid.  I wouldn’t say the store was dirty, but, it didn’t feel sparkling clean, either.  Borderline grubby.  The prices didn’t totally blow me away, but I did think that overall they seemed good and in many cases less than what I usually pay at the grocery store.   Since there were less products on display, there was less opportunity for impulse purchases, which helped my wallet.

I did find one impulse buy (below!).  Seriously, how adorable is this and of course perfect for Easter.  I had the feeling it was one of those things that looks a lot better than it tastes, so we never did eat it, just used it for decoration. 

My impulse buy, adorable lamb cake!

I was nervous about checkout.  What if the online information was wrong and they only took cash?  I made a couple of sweeps past the checkout area trying to see how people were paying but couldn’t see much.  Finally, I took a deep breath and went for it.  As the person in front of me was rung up, I saw that there was a point-of-purchase machine for a debit card.  *Whew*

I also noticed that the cashier scanned each item and placed it directly into the cart. I had brought two reusable shopping totes with me, and I opened them up in my cart.  I figured either she could place the items into the bags, or she would place them in the cart and then I could put them in the bags.  However, “the system” is that the cart of the person in front of you is pulled up next to the cashier and she loads the items directly into that cart (So, the items of the person in front of me were placed into a cart that was already there, and then that person’s cart was pulled up next to the cashier when I got there).  After paying for my purchase, I removed the bags from my cart, pulled the empty cart up for the next person’s items, then pulled the cart with my items over to a nearby ledge (which seemed to be just for this purpose) where I was able to load my shopping totes.

I put the totes into my cart and headed out for the last step – returning the cart and getting my quarter back!  As I was approaching the cart area, I saw a customer approaching from the parking lot.  I figured proper etiquette was probably for me to offer her my cart.  Next time, I’ll do that.  However, today I was determined to see the process through from start to finish, see how the gadget on the carts actually works, and to get my quarter back!  So, pretending not to notice the oncoming person, I hurriedly pushed my cart up to the other carts.  There is a little grey box on the end of each cart handle.  The quarter is inserted into the box.  Attached to the box is a chain with a red plastic piece on the end.  When you push two carts together, you take the red plastic piece from the cart next to yours and snap it into the grey plastic box on your cart.  This attaches your cart to the others, and pushes your quarter back out to you.  Voila! 

I put my quarter in my pocket, grabbed my shopping totes, said “excuse me” to the person eyeing me for being so rude, and hurried to my car.  I had survived my first ALDI shopping experience!  I’ll go back again, but, probably not very soon, and it’s not going to become my “go to” store.

Follow-up Friday

I’ll admit it.  When I started this blog, it was with Big Dreams, the idea of becoming A Brand, a well-known blog —  followers, endorsements, magazines, TV, blah de blah.  While I had read a lot of “mom blog” posts before here & there, I didn’t really keep up with any one blogger or “follow” anyone.  So, I’m not sure that I even really knew what I was getting myself into.  Once I started this blog I figured it’d be a good idea to keep an eye on some other blogs to see what I liked, didn’t like, etc..  To my surprise, once I did this, I realized that, I did not want “all that” after all.  Or at least, I didn’t want to do what was required to get there.  I don’t want to be scrutinizing statistics,  scheduling blog posts, searching for sponsors for conferences, etc.  I just want to write.  When I feel like it.  What I feel like writing.  I realized that if I am the only one who ever reads my blog, that’s OK.  I think writing is a helpful and healing experience, and that it’s an experience I need.

However, I haven’t been writing in my blog.  Mostly because I’m having a hard time dealing with my mother’s Alzheimer’s.  Watching her decline is so hard.  Beyond hard.  There really aren’t words that describe it. 

I’ve realized that when I am upset about her I tend toward self-destructive behavior.  Not that I’m trying to hurt myself, but, the things I do (or don’t do) are all ways of distracting myself or avoiding thinking about Mom/my feelings.  I’m not “a drinker,” but I do like my glass of wine in the evening, usually I can take it or leave it but when “things are bad,” I NEED it.  I haven’t been exercising.  I haven’t been staying on my Medifast program.  I’ve been shopping compulsively.  And, I haven’t been writing.  I’ve been telling myself I didn’t have time to do these things, but, I realize that, whether or not that is actually true, I’ve got to Make Time.

I need to reach out, not withdraw.  Both online and IRL.  I’ll be hitting the gym again.  I’m making dates to get together with friends.  I’m going to schedule a massage.  I’ve got to hold myself accountable for what I’m eating.   And I will be writing about it all.  Even if it’s just talking to myself, it will be good for me.