Have you heard about JULEP?

Nail art collection and 
How to get your first box free :)

    Many of you already know Julep and their Julep Maven Program.  For those who are new at this, it is essentially a Nail Polish and Beauty Products monthly subscription.  If you sign-up for this, you are then dubbed "Maven."

I just skipped this month's box :( so sad....
     How does it work? You can take a short fashion quiz at the beginning and then you are assigned a fashion style.  I took the quiz and I was dubbed the "Classic with a twist."  For the love of nail polish though, I opted instead for "It girl."  (Yes, you can change Fashion styles, lol)

From this, you are to receive either a box of 3 polishes or a box with 2 polishes plus a beauty product or a box with purely beauty products and no polishes. As of May 2014, Julep introduced a few more options such as customizing the contents of your box.

In the end, you can stick to the fashion style assigned to you based on your answers or try others styles by switching manually. Of course you can also get more than one box for that particular month or get the entire wardrobe (upgraded box)!  That means all the products in each style.  That is about 9 polishes and up to 2 beauty products.  Sometimes Mystery Boxes are also offered where as the name implies, you can't be too sure what you are going to get.  It will always have nail polishes of course. 

     Some girls had problems with being a Maven and eventually cancelled their accounts.  Personally, I love the polishes and I don't mind the subscription.  I can't always afford to get the monthly box.  So I am very glad that Julep allows you to skip a month for any number of months without loosing your membership.  Many complain that the polish does not stick well to the nails, therefore the manicure only last for a few days.  Well, this has always been the case for me even with other brands.  So I can't blame Julep for that.  Some complain about the formula or the consistency... bad frizzy brushes and the like... I must be a very good girl because I haven't had such troubles... yet :)  Seriously speaking, I think this are random occurrences which are unavoidable if you are producing thousands of polishes.  Customer service has always been accommodating as per my experience.

Smart Shopping
This is regular price $84.00
Got it only for $35.00 :)
     Price? A bottle of polish is very pricey ($14.00 or $11.20 for mavens).  This is so if you buy the polish at regular price.  My advice?  Stick to the monthly box or shop during special sales like a "warehouse sale"  or during special holidays.  You will be able to get polishes for as low as $2.50 each!  

For example, I have been drooling over Ophra's Favorite Things Collection but it cost $84.00. That's steep.  So I waited and waited and it paid off!!!  During the past "warehouse sale" it costs only $35.00 (see photo).  What do you say to that?  Other polishes were, as I mentioned as low as $2.50... Well, they were $4.99.  But when you do the Beauty-Bio quiz, you get a promo code for 50% off...  See what I mean by shopping during sales?  Now that is smart shopping :)

The three bottles on the right were from my first box ever.
I paid a penny for that :)
The rest is the Glamour Box Collection
I got for FREE courtesy of the referral program.
     Another perk that I really like is the referral program.  When you refer a friend, you get 1000 JULES (referral points).  Buying a monthly box gives you at least 300 points.  Jules increases as you upgrade your box. 

Your birthday and Julep anniversary earn your Jules as well.  This month, I had both my birthday and anniversary.  Hence, I was able to collect enough points to get me the "Party's Over" glitter remover set for free. 

What's the benefit?  Well, well... You can get a free monthly box of any style for 2000 points!  Or you can get the entire wardrobe for 5000 points! Guess what I did?  I told all my friends and family about it, showed them a couple of polishes and told them I want to earn a free box.  Then 5 of my ever wonderful, loving family and friends signed up and I got the points I needed to get the entire month's collection.  The happy, happy thing about this is... when I accumulated the points, the month's collection included the Polymer Topcoat and Oxygen Treatment.  Plus 2 bottles of polishes extra with the Lacquer Jewelry box!  How awesome was that?  Yup, I hit the jackpot, lol...

So dear, if you want to join Julep please give the referral bonus to a friend.  If you don't know anyone, uhmmm, I will be more than happy to refer you, lol... (no, really :)  O yeah, I got me the DD cream and concealer as well.  Cause you know, I had enough Jules.  Awesome huh? :)

     Overall, I love being a Julep Maven.  I wish that one day I would win a Golden box, where you get the entire collection as a prize.  Indeed, free! One Maven gets this every month.  Sometimes you can find a really great surprise on the box too like a gift card or vacation... yes vacation... I have not won any of these... but who knows?  Someday?

Would you be interested in knowing more about Julep?

Frequency & Cost: Starts from US $24.99/a month or $19.99 if you pre-pay for three months each time. Price increases with add-ons, upgrades and contents-customization.

Products: at least two nail polishes and one beauty product; or three nail polishes; or pure beauty products (your choice).  You may swap and add products to customize.  Or you may also shop for individual products and deals besides the subscription box.
Perks:  New Mavens earns a "Skip" every 6 months.  You may also choose to send out your box to someone else as a gift.

Ships To: US and Canada 

Shipping Cost: FREE standard shipping (5 - 10 days) for Mavens (subscriber)

Promo Code: Use code FREEBOX or FREECOLOR to get your first box free! (small shipping fee applies for first order only; Shipping for free box is waived with a minimum purchase of $10.00) 

Point System: Referrals and Subscription purchases earns reward points called "Jules," redeemable for free Julep Monthly Boxes or add-ons.  Referrals who order for the first time will earn you 1000 Jules (2000 Jules = 1 free subscription box).  Subscription boxes earns at least 300 Jules and increases with upgrades.

Thank you kindly if you sign-up using my referral link.
Or copy/paste this URL in your browser: http://www.julep.com/rewardsref/index/refer/id/35704/

If you'd like more information, please feel free to 

email me at prettynailsandtea@gmail.com
or send me a message on my Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Pretty.Nails.And.Tea
or send me a direct message on my Instagram @prettynails_andtea
or kik me @pnat_jar

I am looking forward to hear from you...


Berry Kiwi Collada Herbal Tea (by Teavana)

It is quite exciting that this beautiful tea tin also
contained such a beautiful tea blend inside.
My dear sister in law definitely has good taste :)
I served the tea just like this.  Let the tea steep into the whole
teapot, giving the ingredients a lot of room to move around.
Not only that, I found it so pretty...
And then I used a tea strainer when pouring it into the glass.

     Yum, yum, yum!
     Not only is it so beautiful it's really good too, in my opinion of course.  Hubby says, as he often does about herbal teas: "eww, watered down juice," hahaha. Because it's herbal, it very well is. Served hot, it's a nice dessert (well, i did put quite a bit of rock sugar in there).   Served cold, I needed more sweetener.  Tastes very yummy but maybe not quite good for your health that way, lol... It is very tart without the sweetener.  I taste and smell the "berry" there most of all.  I don't know, but my taste buds does not find the coconut.  Hmmm... The citrus flavor and aroma is also quite dominant.  Overall, I am excited about this tea.  (p.s. I was quite surprised to find a carrot in there, lol)

This mug is similar to a french-press on the go.
So the tea stayed in the cup for the duration of my drinking it.
(about 2 hours)
 Because it is herbal, there was no yucky taste of over-steeping.
Not so true when there's tea leaves in there too :)

      My only downside to this tea is the price of course.  But that does not apply to this one right now because it is a gift from my ever wonderful family :) Also, to make the taste become more profound, more tea is needed.  Since this tea is quite pricey, I added some rose buds and hibiscus on my next cup.  And the flavor became even more enchanting...  Hibiscus adds a really great berry flavor.  And the scent of the tea just captured my senses. (oh really? lol) It was a very hot day but I took it out with me in this new mug.  It provided a nice, relaxed feeling while working outside.

"It's Your Avon Lady Calling" - To Be Or not To Be an Avon Lady

"It's Avon calling!" 

      Avon is a very familiar name to many households today and it has been for many years. From perfume to make-up;  clothing and shoes to kitchen stuff, name it!  It's not just about the lipstick anymore... One stop shop for women is what it is.  Browsing through the Avon catalog is surely fun. The prices are very reasonable and the products are very competitive.

      You might have met an "Avon lady," as they are affectionately called when they came to your door offering free samples and catalogs, or through a brochure from work or even through Avon-moms at your kid's school.  They might have asked: "Would you like extra income?" But no matter where you have learned about this opportunity, you wonder: "Is this right for me?" How can you make sure you can really get the extra income and not inevitably have extra expense or worse, credit card debts?
Avon Products I received as a bonus when
I recruited my first team member.
I earned a $200 bonus when reached
5 active members and we had a total of $1000 team sales.

      Here are some tidbits i have learned from being an Avon Lady myself. As in any business venture, you would want to calculate the cost to make sure what you get out of it is more than you give-up. (Sales less all expenses equals profit.) It is very deceiving to just think of the percentage discount you get or the so called profit margin the company offers. True you are charged a percentage less than the suggested price but that's not your clean profit. You have to consider the cost of:
- Shipping paid to Avon
- Delivery cost to your costumers (gas and your time)
- Packaging
- Promotion: such as brochures and samples. Some customers expect free brochures but you actually buy these from Avon yourself.   Some representatives choose to offer free products with purchase or discounts to promote their business.  Even the printing of business cards cost money as well!  All these cost must be factored in to find out if you are really gaining money or not. Or else there maybe something else that will be more worth your time, effort, and save you your hard earned money.
Some of the products I received for free
(Ordered $50 worth of products for 3 consecutive
campaigns and got these for free.)

      On the positive side, you may get free products too depending on your purchases from Avon. You may choose to sell these for profit, or use as promotion items (samples, gifts or prizes) to attract more customers, or use it for yourself.  Avon gives such incentives for a certain quota. For example: order $50 or more for three consecutive campaigns and get $100 worth of free products :) But please keep reading...

      Self-discipline is very important specially if you employ the online ordering system. Online shopping can be very addictive and there are so many promotions and offers online that can push an impulse buyer into a deep pit of unsold inventory. Not to mention the more you order, the bigger discount ("profit") you may get. So it is very tempting to order more products than what your customers actually ordered just to reach a certain level of discount, thinking: "oh I can sell this later." It's good if you do, but what if you don't? It's good to put your thinking cap on and determine how you can sell extra orders before you actually order them. Otherwise, you will soon find yourself drowning in inventory. Overflowing unsold inventory not only means no income, it also means no cash to pay Avon. Consider: if you fail to pay Avon, they charge administrative fees of 1.5%. So you use your credit card to cover the cost. Consider again: credit card interest rates are enormously high and unforgiving.  In the end, if an Avon Representative is not careful, she will soon find herself in debt.  ouch!
Bubble Bath is my most favorite Avon Product.
These sell for at least $5.00 each
But I was able to get them at 50% less through
a daily deal promotion. Deals like this can help you earn more.

      It takes skills, perseverance and a lot of effort to run a business. This is a good example of a "people" business. You need to build a good connection - a network of customers to keep a consistent business. So you would need to set aside that shyness and be ready to approach others with your products. It would almost form an integral part of your conversations which can be a little awkward. This is no problem if you're a natural extrovert :) If you are really determined then there's nothing you cannot learn, including mustering the courage to do the  door to door prospecting or speaking the "Avon" lingo wherever you go.

      Another source of money in this business is "leadership." Avon pays incentives to those who recruit others to be a part of Avon. Commissions are also paid according to your "downline's" sales. Remember though that recruitment is not the only requirement. One must maintain a certain amount of sales so as to qualify. Added to that, your "team" must also reach a certain threshold. You need a minimum of 5 "active" team members (that means each of them must place an order every campaign) and $1,000 total team sales per campaign in order to get commissions. And of course, you need to maintain a certain amount of sales yourself. You must have a personal sales of $125 in order to get the recruitment bonus. The $1000 thresh hold includes your own purchase. So it's cool because you can cover the lacking amount if your team is close to the $1000. But the sad thing is, again, it may mean a mountain of unsold inventory for you.  So please ask your "Avon lady" about these details before signing up for leadership.

     I am happy to say that although I have quite a bit of inventory on me right now, I did not loose money in the business. I love some of Avon products and most of the time, the profit I gain from selling covers the cost of my personal orders.  Of course, like I said before, self-discipline is key.  With my personal orders, I only get what I can pay for "up-front".  And when I order more products to reach a certain level, I order customer favorites to make sure I can sell them later on.   I was also able to earn the first stage Leadership bonus.  Well, I had to order more products to reach that goal.  If you sell a lot of products, then this should not be a problem for you.     

     Well in short, here are what I think to be the advantages and disadvantages of being and Independent sales representative for Avon. These can be applied to Mary Kay as well as other personal selling business too.  Let me know if you have any other thoughts on the matter.
My most favorite Avon Product is the Nail Polish
When I get them on Demo, I can save the tax
and also get my regular discount.
It's a good deal! :)

Some Advantages:
- Additional income
- Meet new people
- Be motivated to overcome shyness
- Get personal use products at a discount or even for free
- May help with your taxes at the end of the year (Some expenses can be deducted from your taxable income)
- For young ones, it provides good money management training....
- It may even be a good training ground for running your own business in the future
- Easy return and exchange procedures. But be wary of the shipping cost.
- Demo products are tax-free plus you get your regular discount.  So It's a great way to get your favorite products!

Some Disadvantages
- Time consuming
- Finding and keeping customers may be difficult. Your friends and family are not always going to buy from you.  It may involve door to door search (prospecting). Or basically, it will be the center of most, if not all, of your conversations.
- It's hard to derive profit unless you have a big order every campaign. After all the cost is considered, many end with a loss instead of profit.
- Unless the products are damaged when received, shipping for returns and exchanges are covered by the Avon Representative and not the company.
- If you are not careful, your house will be full of Avon products you can't sell.  (Self-discipline!!!)

Clearly, it will take some consideration whether you would join the business or not.  How about sitting down with a cup of tea and paint your nails pretty while you think about it? ;) 


Glam Up My Nails Serries: My Julep Obsession

"Sweet Alicia"
with Oscar accent nail

 ~~ Glam Up My Nails ~~

     Very modest as I am when it comes to fashion and accessories, I do like to glam up my style once in a while ~ a simple yet sophisticated look.  Nail art specially captured me.  It's very fashionable, yet it can be as demure or as outgoing as you want it to be.  What wonderful things you can do with your nails!  Express creativity, moods, and enhance well-being through those seemingly unassuming finger tips...  In other words... I developed a craze for Nail polish and nail art paraphernalia.

I painted this one while watching "Roman Holiday"
Did I capture some of the romance?

       Julep Nail Polish form an integral part of my nail polish and nail art collection.  Thanks to their program called "Julep Maven."  Although there are some kinks along the way with regards to my product experience, my enjoyment of the program and the products themselves still outweigh any troubles.  In a few of my articles, I wish to share this experience with you - from colors to designs even emotions :)  You can decide for yourself whether or not you would like to be a part of this program as well.

      For now, I want to share with you this two designs I made and have enjoyed using Julep Polishes.  To carry out the company's tradition, I named these designs in honor of the polishes' titles :)  What is your favorite nail art design?


"Bubbly Sandra"
I think a strip of Glitter can make any design 'sparkle', lol.
      *I used the ever raved about "polymer top coat" in this design and loved it.  My manicure held on for a week!  It was just allowed to air dry (No UV lamp used and no reapplication of top coat done, although recommended.) There were visible signs of wear on the tips as well as lifting on the cuticle part but no chips.  Thoroughly pleased :)

You may find more of my nail art designs here: facebook.com/nail.arts.by.jem
Up next: I'll tell you how it is like being a "Julep Maven" for me.


Disclaimer:  The products discussed in this article are private purchases and  not company-gratuities.

For Julep Polishes:

Use code FREEBOX at checkout to get your first box free (value of $19.99)

Fingerpaints Gel Polish and LED Lamp

and LED Lamp Review
sold at Sally's Beauty Supply

Starter Kit includes: Cleanser, Acetone
Full size bottles of Bonder, Basecoat, Topcoat and Cuticle Oil
The LED Lamp (sold separately) comes with AC/DC adaptor.
I used the Konad set to place some designs. 
The other 4 bottles of polish were bought separely.

        This is my first experience when it comes to gel polish.  I have heard many things about gel polish, not only wonderful things about it but also regrets. Add the salon price in the equation and there I run away saying, "I'll go home and do my own nails with regular polishes."

     Then why now? Well, my ever wonderful mother, and sister-in-law gave me this lovely set as a gift! (There's my Disclaimer, winkie, winkie ;) Having my own set and being able to do it at home made all the difference in the world.  Yes, I got to try gel nail polish finally.  And how do I feel about it?  Let's get down to business, mohohaha...

     This kind of gel polish applies like regular polish.  Yay!  That makes it super easy.  And with the Konad Stamping Set, it became even more enjoyable.  But you will need the LED lamp in order to cure/dry it.  UV Lamps work too.  Here's a brief list of pros and cons I enjoyed or encountered with my first experience with gel polish, specifically, the Fingerpaints brand sold exclusively at Sally's.

Here are some of the designs I did with my girlfriends using FingerPaints
gel polish and Konad Stamping Nailart set.

     1.  Since it applies like regular polish, it is super easy to use.
     2.  It does last for a long time without chipping!  So you can enjoy your hard-worked nailart longer.
The gel is very durable. (Super-PRO)  My only thing was, my nail growth was very visible, a blank space between my polish and my cuticles which is in my opinion very unsightly. (hmm isn't that a con? winks... that could only be avoided if the nail does not grow... so it's not a con, lol)
     3.  Cheaper than most gel polishes in the market.
     4.  I can't get over how there's no more waiting for it to dry!  Zero dry time. No smudges and chips! (You do need to cure each layer with the LED lamp for 30 seconds, but that's it.  A total of 8 minutes to cure all fingers! You can instantly enjoy your nails or work with your hands.  How do you like that compared to almost an hour dry time with regular polish?)
     5.  If you have dry nails, the gel polish really stays put beautifully.  (If you have oily nails like those of little girls, the gel polish will peel off prematurely.  But that's ok, just do it again with a different color and design, hahaha)

Here's a comparison of the freshly painted gel polish nails
and at the end of the 7th day (1st week)
It's in perfect shape!  No chip nor signs of wear.
Just the visible growth of the nail bed.
Constant use of the cuticle oil maintained my fingers health.
     1.  If you have oily (healthy nails) the gel polish does not stick very well. You may be able to just peel it off after a few days.  (Some would consider that as an advantage given the next con :)
     2.  It is a royal pain to remove it.  The very advantage you have of being able to wear your gel manicure for 2 weeks is your very own nemesis during removal.  It is recommended to soak your nails in Acetone for 15 minutes or more to remove the gel "without damage."  So get your favorite show on TV since this will force you to relax (PRO)
     3. Following the removal instructions will preserve your nails.  The Acetone is harsh and it can leave your nails dry and brittle.  So you need to give your nails a break from gel polish now and then to recover.  Apply plenty of moisturizers or the cuticle oil that came with the set.  And drink lots of water to keep your nails flexible and healthy.

     Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the gel polish.  I did my laundry, dishes, cleaned the house, cleaned my yard... just to test its durability.... and woa!!! The nails are in perfect shape! I look forward to using it when going on vacations or when I foresee a very very busy 2 weeks ahead. I would totally wear it on a very special weekend when you want to have fancy nails and don't want to worry about its upkeep.  To enjoy such would be worth the trouble of removing it after :)  Wohooo!

I removed my gel polish after 1 week out.
Yes it was early, I just wanted to try out the process of removal.
My nails were in good shape even after soaking in Acetone for
15 minutes.  See how shiny it is here?  Buffed it good and applied cuticle oil.
  More tips:  Use lint free cotton pads or paper towel to cleanse nails.  Lint can ruin your manicure and contaminate your polish. If you have more tips and suggestions, kindly leave a comment below.  Have a great and beautiful day everyone!
Make sure you apply the polish only on the nail bed and nothing on the skin.  If there are any booboos, cleanse first before curing.  Excess polish cured on the skin or cuticles will cause lifting and peeling.

All the designs you see here I did with my girlfriends with this same set.  Some of them just peeled off the gel polish after 10 days without damage :) Cool huh?

If you have any questions or suggestions, kindly leave me a comment and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.  Ciao bellas!

To watch my haul please follow this link:

Disclaimer:  The products discussed in this article are private purchases and  not company-gratuities.

Pretty Nails and Tea

    Each of my days start and end with a cup of tea. A rejuvenating, stimulating blend in the morning I like to call "wake-me-up" tea, then a relaxing, soothing one in the evening I love to call "sleepy" tea.  Then anytime in between, for any reason at all.... there's tea!  Before I do my toe and finger nails-routine, I also make sure that I have a comforting cup of tea, mostly a blend of floral and fruity flavors.  The floral tones provide a relaxing feeling, while the fruity flavors seem to enhance my creativity.  So there you go, relaxed clarity equals productivity (for me at least...)

     These are my passions at the moment - nail polish and tea.  Pretty sure I have made many of my friends happy by hosting a couple of tea parties in the past, nail art themed :)   What a pampering delight!  Their tummies are warmed by teas of different kinds and origins while they stare with great pleasure at their beautifully polished nails! It's suppose to be a design your own nail kind of party but most of the time, that would be me doing it, hahaha.  Oh well, the pleasure is mine.

     Two simple things in my life, I'd say. But no, not a token journey.  Each has a story to tell, each holds a special place.  There are moments when I hold a cup of tea with both hands and savor the delightful aroma of steeped leaves and wish I am able to share it with the best girls in my life.  (Yeah, that's you Mama, dear Baby-sis and one-and-only niece who lives many, many miles away...) Even when I paint my nails pretty.  My memories would traverse years of being away from home back to that sweet spot in our old home, sitting by the floor with my Mama as she painted my nails pink and gave each finger a silver quarter moon to finish... Ahh... I tell you, pretty nails and tea are bridges from my heart to my far away home. 

     So here it goes, a narrative-review type of a tale brought to you to recount memories of Pretty Nails and Tea while crossing new horizons to the ever expanding world of new product ideas and blends nowadays.  Please join me in this dramatic.... uhmmm I'm getting carried away, haha... Oh well, hope you join me in this nail art design and tea memento.  You'll also find reviews and storytelling about some products that strike my fancy.  I hope that you would join me on this amusing trip... Now, now... How about a cup of tea?

Hmmm, yummy and comforting chocolate-orange milk tea :)

Disclaimer:  The products discussed in this article are private purchases and  not company-gratuities.