Monthly Archives: June 2012

Greek At Home Made Easy

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If you’re looking for something different to make for dinner I highly suggest you give this a try.  I actually found the recipe for this marinade two years ago (I believe I found this on allrecipes.com but then tweaked a little) when we had been craving Greek food but weren’t willing to take a chance on the restaurant in town.  I got the idea for grilling the feta from a friend of ours and the rice I just threw together on a whim.  These three things just work really well together and remind me of the Greek food I love from the Auburn Cafe back in Michigan.  The Captain and I love having this for dinner and we’re not just bias because everyone I have made this for loves it as well.  You could always use this for pork as well and if you’d like, you can also serve some store bought Tzatziki alongside this as we sometimes do.

Greek Marinade

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/8 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tbs water
  • 1-2 small cloves smashed garlic
  • 1/2 tbs oregano
  • 1 tbs dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp  salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbs maple syrup (which I prefer) or honey
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder (this is optional, but I quite like it)

Mix these ingredients together in a Ziploc bag, then add chicken breasts, eliminate air then seal and coat thoroughly.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours al though the longer the better (feel free to marinate overnight even)  and then cook on a preheated grill.  This makes enough marinade for 2 chicken breasts or 6 to 8 chicken tenderloin strips, but can easily be doubled.  I like to butterfly my chicken breasts so as to allow them to soak up more flavor and cook more evenly and quickly.  Sometimes I will also add a small amount of roughly chopped onion for extra flavor but this is optional.

 Chicken Lemon Rice

  • 1 cup white long grain rice, rinsed & drained thoroughly
  • 2 cups chicken stock/broth cooled or room temperature
  • 1-2 tbs of lemon juice (I like to use the freshly squeezed strained juice from half a lemon)

Add all of the ingredients to small saucepan and cover with lid.  Bring to boil on high heat then turn down to low and let simmer for 12-13 minutes until all liquid is dissolved.  Immediately remove from heat.  You can also follow the directions provided on your bag of rice.

Grilled Feta

  • aluminum foil
  • feta cheese
  • olive oil
  • green olives

Slice feta cheese into individual portions, try for 2 inch by 2 inch by 4-5 inch chunks.  Cut aluminum foil into 6 to 8 inch squares (depending on how big your feta portions are) and pour a small amount of olive oil onto each before adding a slice of feta.  Lightly drizzle more olive oil over top of the feta until very well coated then top with a few slices of green olives before tightly wrapping the foil tightly around each piece of prepared feta.  Place on grill (not directly over high heat/flames) until thoroughly warmed through and softened.

I hope my instructions were clear.  If they weren’t I apologize but this is my first attempt at sharing a recipe that I do from memory. Anyhow, if you give this a try, be sure to let me know what you think of it. Enjoy!  As always, thanks for reading and check back soon.

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New favorite lipstick…I think so!

I did a swatch of Peach Pearl Diamonds on my hand in Müller a few weeks ago and my husband told me it looked too brown.  So I passed on it.  Then when I went outside into the natural sunlight I loved the color and decided to pick it up eventually.  Well that day came last week.  I was having a majorly bad foot day (I think I might just be an emotional shopper, jeez) and couldn’t even do my own grocery shopping so off Captain Canada went while I waited in the car.  Suddenly it occurred to me that my local Edeka has Maybelline products, so I called him up and asked him to make a detour to the cosmetic section.  Which he obligingly did.  I told him what color I wanted and sure enough they had it and he snagged it for me.  What a wonderful hub I have, seriously.  I know a lot of guys and I know that a large number of them would never buy lipstick all by their lonesome even if it were for their gimpy wifey.

I have been wearing Maybelline Color Sensational The Shine Lipstick in Peach Pearl Diamonds exclusively since I purchased it and I think I am in love.  I have a small collection of lipsticks and lip glosses, mostly Catrice products, but this is by far hands down my favorite now.  This lipstick feels so incredibly smooth and creamy and it smells fantastic.  It kind of has a subtle lemon scent with a hint of sweetness, which I personally don’t mind and in fact quite like.  For those of you ladies who do not like shine or shimmer, then run fast and run hard away from this color.  While it does have a shine to it, it’s not overwhelmingly shiny.  As for the shimmer, I mean it does have the words “pearl” and “diamonds” in the name so you can probably imagine that it is packed with a good helping of shimmer as well.  Do not fear though, it’s not crazy shimmery and you will not walk away looking as though you tried to suck up a jar of glitter off the floor or anything equally as distasteful. While I admittedly would never usually go for a lip color this shimmery ordinarily, somehow I just feel like the shimmer combined with the color and shine works.  In fact my lipstick collection consists mostly of similar nude colors that have a matte or creme finish.  This is a peach lipstick but not a vibrant one by any means.  Peach Pearl Diamonds give more a wash of color that is buildable, just be aware that each layer comes with more of that lovely golden shimmer.  I feel as though this color is pretty universal and would flatter a vast majority of skin tones, I for one am incredibly fair and it works really well for me.  As far as wear time is concerned, I think it’s fair to say that this isn’t super long wearing.  On average I would say I get about two to three hours of wear out of this before I begin to notice that it’s time for reapplication.  For me, that’s not a deal breaker though because I don’t want my lipstick to require industrial strength remover nor do I mind reapplying.  I actually like reapplying it because I feel as though it ensures that the color is vibrant and shiny rather than looking dry, bedraggled and hanging on for dear life.  That’s just my personal preference though and to each their own.

I am so in love with this lipstick and I will definitely repurchase it, God willing it is still available when I begin to run low.  Is it crazy if I just go ahead and get a backup in case?  Seriously, let me know.  Anyhow, if I’m not mistaken Maybelline lipstick ranges in price from €7,95 to €9,25 here in Germany.  One more thing that I feel I should mention is that I am not sure if this exact color is available worldwide.  I did check the US Maybelline site as well as the UK Maybelline site and was not able to find this color listed on either of them unfortunately, this might just mean that it’s simply not listed on the site or perhaps it masquerades under a different name.  Please, if you have any information regarding this lipstick and any possible alias it may assume elsewhere, let me know by commenting down below.  Be sure to check out the slideshow below for more photos and for swatches.  Danke!

On a side note, does it drive anyone else bonkers when cosmetic companies change the names and numbers of colors, not to mention product availability between countries?  I can understand the product availability to a point but changing the color names and numbers..really…WHAT THE SHIZZ!?!?  Okay my rant has commenced, my apologies but I had to get it out there.  Thinking happy thoughts now…and calm.  As always, thanks for reading and check back soon.

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I have Mrs. Slocombe from Are You Being Served hair…and I love it!

Workin lavender hair since 1972 – Mrs. Slocombe

If you follow me on Twitter or know me IRL then you know that I got my “hair did” this past Saturday.  First of all I think I should share with you a little of my hair history.   My hair is naturally a darker medium brown with red highlights (thanks a bunch dad).  I quite like to be a little more bold and adventurous when it comes to my hair.  In fact in the past I have done just about everything you can imagine to my hair at one point or another.  I’ve done everything from shaving most of my head to coloring it every color of the rainbow.  For the past year or so, I feel as though I’ve been in a bit of a hair rut.  For a while I had grand plans to grow my hair out long (which was a bad bad plan), then last September I came to my senses and after seven long months I finally cut it shorter again.  I had also kept my hair it’s natural color throughout this time as well in spite of the fact that I received a plethora of grey hairs when I turned thirty.  Ugh!  Well the past few months I have been itching for a change.  Perhaps it sounds silly but I just wasn’t feeling like myself.  Instead I was feeling kind of dumpy and boring.  So alas, I finally came to a decision and booked an appointment with my hair stylist extraordinaire, Julia.

Upon arriving at the salon, I explained to Julia roughly what I wanted and showed her a picture I had on my phone to give her a better idea.  When I showed her the picture, her face lit up and she seemed so excited to do the cut and color, which was nice to see to be honest.  I had notified her ahead of time that I wanted to lighten my hair and therefore warned her that I’ve had difficulty in the past because of the red tone in my hair so that she would be prepared.  Well let me tell you, it was quite the process to get my hair blond.  I was at the salon from 10:00 am to about 1:15 pm and it hardly took her any time to cut my hair as it was short to begin with and just needed a bit of trim and minimal reworking.  What took so long was bleaching the hell out of my hair…not once…but twice.  I am just so glad I brought my Kindle along.  The first round of bleaching pretty well pulled all of the color out of my hair.  Unfortunately though my hair was still really yellow so they rinsed me and did one more round of bleach.  Boy did that do the trick!  Julia was able to get my hair the most blond it has ever been.  Then it was back home to finish the job.

You’re probably wondering what I mean since my hair was now a rather nice shade of blond.  Well that was not exactly the color I had in mind and trust me, blond hair just does not suit my my red splotchy ghostly complexion anyhow.  I had in fact decided to go with lavender.  Friday I had gone into town and purchased some shampoo and conditioner for lightened blond hair as well as some violet hair dye.  If you’re wondering why I didn’t just buy lavender hair dye (there is a much lighter lilac color available by the way), it’s because I wanted to have more control over the color and the jar of violet will go much further since I”ll only ever be using a small amount of it.  I will provide more information on these products below if you’re interested by the way.  So what I did was mix just a little of the violet hair dye with a substantial amount of conditioner until I achieved the desired color.  I intentionally went really light just to be safe.  I figured that if it turned out lighter than I wanted then I could always go back and do it a bit darker.  It’s best to apply with a hair color brush as this helps ensure more even and thorough coverage, but I didn’t have one so I slapped on with my gloved hands.  I then let it sit for a little over thirty minutes before rinsing thoroughly until the water ran clear.  Since my hair had just been lightened I didn’t use shampoo as I normally would have.  Instead I went ahead and gently towel dried my hair and  added a tiny amount of my new conditioner to leave in before allowing my hair to dry naturally.  In fact I do not plan to wash my hair, use heat or any product on it for the first few days to allow the ph levels normalize as well as to allow the natural oils to return not to mention to give my scalp well needed rest.  So now that all is said and done, I am quite happy with the results.  I will be putting a little more violet hair color on later this week though as I would like it to be just a tad more vibrant and to even things out a bit.  As always, thanks for reading and check back soon.

FYI: Toners are typically used by stylists to tone down the yellow or brassiness when lightening hair.  There are also special blue or purple tinted shampoos on the market that you can purchase to use at home to achieve this same effect.  However there is yet another option, perhaps a less costly and more effective one at that, which is essentially the method I used to achieve my lavender hair color.  You would of course use a much smaller amount of purple or blue hair color and significantly more conditioner.  With that said though, it is always best to be sure to do some research or better yet, consult a professional before giving this a try just to be on the safe side.

If you live in the Coburg area and are looking for a great salon then I would highly recommend Friseur Julia Göring.

Products I purchased:  Tigi Bed Head Dumb Blonde Shampoo & Conditioner  and La Riche Directions Hair Colour in Violet

*Mollie Sugden, “Mrs. Slocombe” image courtesy of Aveleyman

By the way, I will post a better picture later this week once I intensify the color and style it better.

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Products I Regret Buying

I’ve done a few posts about products I love, but I feel like I should be honest and also share with you some of the products I haven’t been so fond of.  I generally don’t end up with so many regrets when it comes to personal care products.  Actually I think I have more regrets about different food products that I’ve purchased, especially the first few years living in Germany.  Maybe I’ll do a post on that as well down the road.  Anyhow, back to the business at hand, in this post I will be focusing more on personal care and cosmetic products.

Benefit Some Kind-a Gorgeous:  First of all, I bought this ages ago when I lived in Canada and for some reason I have hung on to it, probably because it was a little pricey.  I was looking for a product that would give me a bit of coverage without feeling so heavy that would also work with my combination oily skin.  The girl in Shoppers was incredibly friendly and helpful.  She applied this perfectly and even suggested a primer by Duo that wasn’t so pricey to use with it, which I also purchased.  So far so good right?  Well when I tried applying this product at home I was shocked, no more like horrified by how awful it looked on me.  For one it looked way to dark for my corpselike skin tone, and it was so cakey looking.  I even tried numerous different application techniques in hopes that I could make it work, but it just wasn’t in the cards.  Another thing I noticed was how unpleasant it smells, kind of like oil pastels.  I don’t know about you but I don’t want to put anything on my face that smells bad, so that’s why I have to smell things.  So yeah, it was all kinds of bad. I also feel as though you receive very little product for the price.  I suppose if this works great for you and turns out to be one of your holy grail products then it might me a tad more justifiable.  Retails for: $29 USD, €31,95 Germany, £23.50

Cover Girl Outlast Lip Stain in 435 Flirty Nude:  This is another old product I bought with such great hopes, have kept kicking around and recently gave another try.  Well it was just as crappy as I had remembered it being.  I know it’s a lip stain and not a lipstick but it was so damn drying and therefore emphasized any dryness already present on my lips.  I have tried using a lip scrub and using a moisturizing lip balm pre-application and it really didn’t seem to make a difference for me.  Also, I think the name “Flirty Nude” is deceiving.  The only person with a skin color that this would look nude on is Spongebob’s lackey, Patrick.  How this constitutes as a nude is truly beyond me.  In fact I find it surprisingly colorful especially for something with the word “nude” in it’s name and I feel as though that is saying a lot considering that I have what I would consider rather pigmented lips.  Personally I think this looks more like an orangey red coral (if that even makes sense).  Major waste of money for me.  The only thing that didn’t suck about this product was the scent.  Go figure.

Essence Smokey Eyes Brush:  I picked this up back in March after reading good reviews on it.  Initially it wasn’t quite so horrible.  As with most relationships, there was a honeymoon phase of sorts.  The bristles felt reasonably soft, and although it didn’t do a stellar job of blending, it did okay.  However, once I washed this more than once it just got more and more rough.  That’s about when I knew this brush and I just were not meant to be.  I wash my brushes carefully and have tried using different shampoos in hopes it would help with the scratchiness of this brush, but sadly nothing helped.  Quite honestly, this thing actually began to hurt my eyelids.  If you want to exfoliate your eyelids though, then this brush will certainly do the trick but do so at your own risk as I will not be held responsible for chaffed eyelids the world over.

P2 Paradise Dream Eye Pencil in 060 Charming Gold:  I bought this in hopes that it would make a good highlighter for the inner corner of my eyes and brow bone.  The color is actually rather nice but it has major shimmer fallout.  Not to mention the disgusting smell.  Yep, I really do smell everything, it just can’t be helped.  Anyhow, in case you’re wondering, it smells like burning rubber and seriously makes me gag.

P2 Nail Varnish in 510 Virgin:  This white is so incredibly sheer and to achieve even a little opacity you have to apply numerous coats.  If you’re looking for a sheer white then by all means give this a try.  I for one was hoping for a much more opaque white polish and this just didn’t do it for me.

P2 Matte Dream Eyeshadow in 040 White Connection:  I wanted to like this because I really needed a matte white shadow and you can’t beat the price. When I did a quick swatch of this in the store it looked pigmented enough and felt incredibly smooth and silky.  However, when I got home and tried applying this to my eyelids it basically had no color payoff what so ever.  Granted though, I am incredibly fair.  So perhaps someone with a darker skin tone might find that this totally works for them.  This product also claims that it is long wearing.  I can’t say for sure since I didn’t ever wear it for more than ten minutes, but I suspect that it isn’t since I was able to wipe it easily off with a dry finger.

Essence Nail Art Magnetic Nail Polish in 02 Hex Hex!:  I was all for giving this a try and I came across this quite a while before the whole magnetic nail polish craze took off.  Sadly this simply disappointed me.  I gave this product multiple tries but I just couldn’t get it to work very well.  I found that this was incredibly thick, gloopy and difficult to apply.  I’ve never bothered with any other magnetic polishes after using this one so I’m not sure but perhaps that is just how the formula is.  I will say this though, the color is really nice.  So I suppose if it weren’t for the difficult application I  could just wear it sans magnetic effect.

Essence Nail Art Stamping Kit & Polish:  I wanted to try these out because I had seen the Konad plates and they definitely caught my interest.  So I thought this would be a good way to give nail stamping a try before making a more significant investment.  After giving this kit numerous tries, I can honestly say that it was not worth the money.  Granted, it was only a few dollars but I just didn’t feel that it worked well and the results were incredibly sloppy.

Alverde Kajal Eyeliners in 10 Shimmery Silver & 30 Shimmery Green:  These were from a limited edition Alverde did around Christmas (sorry but I can’t recall the name).  I tried these out on the back of my hand quickly in the store and once again they seemed pretty good.  Yet upon trying them out on my eyes at home I found that they were really quite hard which made applying it to my upper and lower lash lines incredibly difficult.  When I saw that they were kajal liners I thought they would go on a lot nicer and perhaps they went on my hand more easily because of the warmth of my hand, I’m not entirely sure.  I was really bummed though because I really liked the colors and Alverde really is a great reasonably priced natural cosmetic brand. I also feel it’s worth mentioning just how cute the packaging was on this particular limited edition.  Everything, with the exception of the eyeliners, had adorable little Russian nesting dolls on the packaging.  After I tried these out I felt especially awful because a few weeks before I had sent these two colors along with the a third gold color to my friend.  I so wish I had tried them first, but I am hoping she was able to make them work for her.  Luckily I found these weeks later on markdown for €0,75 when I purchased them for myself.

Alverde Eyebrow Kit in 02 Brunette:  I had originally intended to pick up the Essence brow kit, which I had heard rave reviews about, but for some reason grabbed the Alverde one instead because I like that their products are all natural.  Bad idea.  Firstly, the color just didn’t seem quite right on me.  It does come with a brown and a creamy beige color so that you could potentially blend them together but that just didn’t work either.  Secondly I just felt as though this was too powdery, if that even makes sense since it is in fact a powder.  This product produced some major fall out, rubbed off super easy and just looked really unnatural.  The compact did also come with a wax and two small brushes, a flat one and and angled one, which I quite like and use with other products.

Manhattan Cover Stick in 01 Naturelle:  I purchased this in hopes that it would help cover up blemishes and other redness.  This was just so so wrong.  It wasn’t a good color match and I assure you that there was nothing “naturelle” about the color at all.  It doesn’t blend well and it’s greasy as all get out, kind of like an oil slick.  It kind of has a faint musty book smell mixed with a slight waxy crayon smell also.  I don’t see how this would work for anyone to be honest.  Just don’t buy it.

Bebe Young Care Facial Wipes for Normal Skin:  I picked these wipes up in order to help remove makeup.  While they do the job well enough, I just find them really rough and harsh on my skin.  Also, as with the Bebe moisturizer, I experienced a slight burning sensation on my skin and especially around my eyes.  Perhaps these aren’t meant for eyes but even if I just got anywhere near my eyes with them they would burn.  I don’t know about you but I feel as though if I can’t actually clean my eye makeup off that I should at least be able to get around my eyes with a product like this without causing such discomfort.  Another thing I did not care for was the smell, these have an unpleasant perfume scent.  This is was also a product I sent to my friend before testing out myself.  In my defense though I had heard these were nice and I had previously fell in love with another Bebe product before trying this and the facial moisturizer.  For those who may not know, Bebe is actually owned by Johnson.

Fanta Lip Smacker & Paul Frank Coconut Lip Smacker:  I figured I would just group these two together since I found the same faults in both of them.  When I was younger, much much younger, I loved Lip Smackers and used them along with cherry Chapstick exclusively for years.  In fact I had amassed a rather impressive collection of them at one point.  I guess that’s proof that my lip balm addiction goes back even further than my love of nail polish.  However, these Lip Smackers were nothing at all like the lip balms I once adored.  Don’t get me wrong, they still smell amazing.  However, they were so waxy and you will have to excuse me here, but these both tasted like shit.  I just have no other words for how awful these things were.  Maybe I was just young and dumb or perhaps my flavor palette has simply become more refined, but I just don’t recall Lip Smackers being so damn horrible.  I think I will be sticking with my old stand by Labello lip balms, and my current favorite Aquafina lip balm (thanks again for that one Leslie).

Catrice Colour Show Colour & Stay Lip Gloss in 140 Peach Boy:  This one actually pains me to admit that I don’t like it.  For those of you who don’t already know, I absolutely love Catrice cosmetics, especially their lip products.  I picked this up about two months ago while picking up some items to send a friend of mine.  Orange is the color of the season and she had actually requested some orange products to try so this lip gloss seemed perfect so I snatched one up for her.  Then while continuing my shopping I was really loving this color.  It’s looks beautiful in the tube.  It’s such a nice orangey color with a lovely shimmer.  So I decided to pick one up for myself as well.  Sadly this is not the color for me.  I have tried applying it lightly to just give a wash of color as well as layering it over other colors, but it’s just no use as it simply does not suit me.  I also did not care for the smell of Peach Boy either.  It kind of has an artificial cherry smell reminiscent of the cough syrups that were a source of torment in my child hood.  I will say that I have heard that my friend is enjoying it though, which I was happy to hear.  On a side note, this product claims to be long wearing, up to four hours in fact.  Since I wasn’t really able to wear it I will try to get in touch with my friend to see if these claims are true.

I don’t want to sound as though I’m hating on more cost friendly drugstore brands and or products, in fact I love products that are widely available and easy to find at discount and drugstores that don’t have such hefty price tags.  With the exception of my nail polish collection, the majority of the products I use on a daily basis are from my local grocery store and drugstores.  With that said though, I do not think I will ever bother with P2 or Manhattan products again, nor will I give Essence nail art products another go.  I personally have not had any success with these products and I just don’t feel as though I can bring myself to waste any more money on them.  If they work for you then that’s great though and I am well aware of the fact that what doesn’t work so well for one may work wonderfully for another.  These are just my opinions based on my own personal experiences with these particular products.  So please keep that in mind.  As always, thanks for reading and check back soon.

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Julep Maven

Well I finally took the plunge!  I joined the Julep Maven program.  I had first heard about Julep not long after I joined Luuux back in December.  Ever since then I keep coming across more and more posts and reviews about Julep and the Maven program on various blogs, and YouTube channels.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with Julep, it is a boutique nail salon with their own ever expanding line of high end nail enamels and other beauty products.  Julep products are available in their salons and on their website.  However, you can also get access to Julep products via their Maven program which is basically a monthly subscription service similar to Birchbox or Glossybox, but the difference with Julep is that you receive nail products specifically with the occasional extra thrown in.  The cost is $19.99 USD per month although you actually receive over $40 worth of products and Julep also ships to Canada (my apologies to my readers located elsewhere). I have included a discount code below though so that your first box will only cost $0.01, and yes, it’s legit, in fact I used it yesterday when I signed up.  There are also three, six and twelve month prepay plans available.

If you’re interested in joining, you will first be prompted to take the “Style Quiz,” to determine which of the five style profile best suits you, this is how Julep determines what products you will receive each month.  On the 20th of each month you will receive an e-mail with a preview of what the boxes for the following month will contain.  So, if at any point you decide that you like what will be available in another style category you are always free to change your preference and receive a different box.  You even have the option to skip a month (you can do this as often as you like) or you can have your box sent to a friend.  It is just key to login into your account and make these changes between the 20th and 24th of each month.  Some other benefits Maven members have access to is a 20% discount on any purchases made via the Julep Maven Boutique, free shipping, occasional extra discounts, bonus items (July boxes will include a special edition nail polish), as well as easy returns and exchanges. Keep in mind that you’re never under any obligation to stick with the service and you are more than welcome to cancel at anytime.  In order to cancel you just have to be sure to login into your account between the 20th and 24th of the month to make the cancellation in order to avoid being billed on 27th and having another box shipped to you.

As I mentioned before, I have read many reviews on Julep and the Maven subscription service.  So to be fair and completely honest, I have read the occasional less than flattering review.  The complaints I tend to come across seem to be more about color selection than anything else, which really is no surprise to me.  I’ve also read about how some people were unsatisfied with what they have received in “Julep Mystery Boxes,” which are made available from time to time and contain a surprise selection of products.  Mystery Boxes can contain anywhere from the standard issue of three to four products or many more depending on the luck of the draw.  Julep is up front about this fact though so that is just the chance you take when ordering one of these.  In general I have heard wonderful things about Julep’s products as well as their customer service.  Although I’ve not received any products just yet, I did have a good experience with their customer service department when I had some questions during registration.   I will be sure to let you know what I think once I receive my items which will take some time considering my lovely mommy will have to ship them to me once they arrive (too bad they don’t ship to Germany directly).  As always, thanks for reading and check back soon.

If you would like to join Julep Maven you can do so by clicking here.

Be sure to enter the following discount code in order to get your first box for a penny:  COLOR2012

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