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Swap | The story of how I was duped in a nail polish swap

As the title probably informed you, I was ripped off in a nail polish swap that started over a year ago. What stings even more is that it was by an indiepolish maker, Nastassia of Ooh La Lacquer. I would’ve never expected someone who makes her living by producing nail polish to do something so disrespectful…

In December 2012, I responded to a post on tumblr asking to do a swap. In the post, the girl, Nastassia, stated that she could swap several brands, including OPI, because she could get them cheaply at her work. This spurred me into action, seeing as I was dying for some OPI Skyfall nail polishes.

 

The request on her tumblr (click on the picture to enlarge)

When I contacted her, she told me she’d made that post a while ago, but that she’d love to swap with me regardless. She gave me her private email adress so we could communicate via mail. I started emailing her to organise the swap and she responded the next day.

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I’d never swapped before (which I told her), so I let her take the reigns. She suggested swapping 10 nail polishes, which I thought was a lot. But seeing as I’d never swapped before, I didn’t know what the usual number was. I’d also got some holiday and birthday money, so I knew I could splurge a little.

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In the beginning, everything seemed fine. She wasn’t always very quick to respond, but I figured she was busy with her other swaps. As soon as I got the list of nail polishes she wanted, I started looking for them. When I couldn’t find some in the stores of my own city, I went to different places to buy them there. I wanted to be able to get her every nail polish she’d asked for. Eventually I was able to get every single polish on her list.

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When I emailed her to say I’d been able to buy the polishes she wanted, I asked her if she wanted me to include a picture. She told me she wanted it to be a surprise. Never did she offer to send me a picture, nor did she ever instagram a picture of the package she was going to send me. Looking back, I should’ve noticed something amiss back then, but I was so excited about my first swap….

Pictures I took of the package I sent.

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Her responses became sparser as time went on, but I kept having faith. After all, I was putting a lot of time, money and effort into the swap, so I assumed anyone who was passionate about nail polish ( especially an indiepolish creator like Nastassia) would be doing the same.

Eventually she emailed me to ask for my mailing adress and told me she was going to mail the package that friday. I gave my adress and started figuring out the logistics to mail my package to her. I got tissue paper and bubble wrap to wrap everything up for the journey overseas, I bought some extras (earrings, nail care products, a mini nail polish, chocolate), I got some skin care samples and I wrote a nice letter. About a month after she supposedly sent the swap package my way (during this time she gave me her adress), I sent my package to her.

Then the waiting began… I was just not getting the swap package… In the few emails she sent me during this time, she told me to be patient and that she didn’t know what was going on. Then suddenly, on 16 April 2013 (about a month after I shipped the package), she sent me an email to tell me that she’d got my swap package and she was so happy with what I sent her. She also put pictures on her Instagram.

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In the meantime, I still hadn’t received my end of the swap… I kept mailing her because I was getting desperate I was never going to get the nail polishes I asked for. After a month of radio silence, she suddenly emailed me back. She told me the package she’d sent me had been returned to her. She was going to divide it in two seperate packages and resend the packages to me.

Reassured, I started waiting again. Months went by and again I received nothing. None of the mails I sent Natassia were ever answered. Getting very desperate, I emailed a blogger who’d previously swapped with Nastassia. She’d also had some issues with Nastassia and adviced me to do what she’s done: go on Instagram and ask Nastassia for an explanation.

When I did exactly that, suddenly Nastassia was reminded of my existence… She replied after a few days of me leaving comments on her Instagram pictures. I was told she’d stopped using the email adress she’d given me and that I needed to send an email to her professional email (aka the one she uses for her webshop where she sells her own indiepolishes.) For some reason, she calls herself Shakira on this email adress.

I promptly did what she asked and sent a mail to the new adress she’d given me. It would always take days (and several comments left on her Instagram pictures) before she would answer me. She would often reply to me on Instagram that she was going to return my email that evening when she got home and lo and behold, after a few days, I still wouldn’t get an email…

Eventually (after about 2 months of me mailing her and her stringing me along) she offered to buy me 10 nail polishes of my choice online. Happy that I was finally getting somewhere, I send her a list of nail polishes I wanted, seeing as the majority of the nail polishes I’d originally asked for where no longer available.

But of course this isn’t the end of this tale… Having the list of nail polishes I wanted and my mailing adress, she found another problem: none of the webshops she found shipped to Belgium. Of course when I started looking for webshops that shipped to Belgium, I immediately found 2 that did! One of which even shipped for free!

Now you might think, well that solves it! No way she can find a roadblock now! But she did…

She emailed me to complain that she couldn’t order from Beautybay.com (which ships globally, including to the US, so bullshit, she couldn’t order) and that she couldn’t pay on prettypolish.nl because of the different currency (which is also false).

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This email adress is visible because it’s freely available online (including at her webshop). (click on the picture to enlarge)

When I (politely and delicately) called bullshit on her excuses, she stopped emailing me back and stopped replying to my comments on Instagram. Even though she’d offered to reimburse me in the last email I got from her (pictured above), I never heard from her again…

Except for a final message on a picture on my own Instagram, telling me to stop leaving comments on her Instagram:

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After she commented this, she blocked me on Instagram and took away the last method of communication I had… Needless to say, she never sent me that email.

From what I’ve gathered by looking at her Instagram, she’s bought herself at least 51 (!) nail polishes since we started the swap over a year ago (of those, 29 since she received my package), and she’s had 6 swaps/ nail mails (excluding mine).

And here I am, no reimbursement, no nail polishes, nothing to show except a lot of emails and effort put into an unfair “swap”. While she is raking in the nail polishes and experiencing succes with her indiepolish business.

But to end this post on a semi-positive note, I thought I’d leave you with some tips to help prevent you from ending up in this situation.

 

What I learned from this experience (AKA some advice):

  • Do research about the person you’re swapping with. You can also ask them for references if they’ve swapped before.
  • If you’re unsure whether your swapbuddy can be trusted, ask them to send their package first.
  • In case this is not a possibility and you can both afford tracking, ask your buddy to send the package with a tracking code.
  • In case you can’t afford tracking or don’t want to bother with the hassle, you can both take pictures of the products you’re going to send and/or the package itself and email the pictures to each other. You can also ask your swap buddy to keep their receipt from the post office, indicating they actually sent the swap package.

Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Sadly there are unsavory people out there who will take avantage of your kindness.

If standing up for yourself (and potentially being seen as rude) can stop you from ending up in my situation, you are better off ditching the nice attitude. People with good intentions will understand when you explain why you’re being careful.

And just because someone is in the business, doesn’t mean they won’t try to take advantage of you.

Lupi

 

 

 

Update: I finally received compensation from Nastassia. When I reached out to others in the nail community, suddenly I was back on her radar and after about a month of mailing her, I was finally able to get some money back.

 

Birthday | I got a lil’ somethin’

My birthday was a while ago which means I got presents! Because Lilly and Ellie don’t live near me, I only saw them again for our graduation ceremony, so I wasn’t able to receive the gifts they got me until then. I figured today I’d show you what the chicas got me.

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They pooled their resources together and enlisted the help of Ellie’s dad. They send Ellie’s dad on a trip to Ulta while he was in the US for business, which I gather had some funny results. He was a little out of his depth, apparently… 😀

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I’m a sucker for a nude eyepalette, so I was so excited when I opened the wrapping and out came this puppy: The Balm’s Nude ‘Tude!

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It’s an absolute stunner, and I love The Balm’s cruelty-free attitude.

Ellie and Lilly had also got me the Real Techniques eye brushes set. I’d been drooling over this for a long time, but I’d never gotten around to actually buying it for myself. So I’m very happy that the girls were able to amend that!

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And they’re so soft! (And also cruelty-free, yay!) Aren’t they beauties?! The girls know me so well!
Thanks again for the presents, Ellie and Lilly.

I love them! Now that the weather is a bit better and the sun is shining a little more lately, I could take some pictures and do some reviews if anyone’s interested… 🙂

Lupi

 

 

 

Travel | Edinburgh Day 1 & 2

Hi Lovelies,

Warning: text heavy post!

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So for the long awaited Edinburgh report. This was supposed to be a video report. Something different isn’t it? We have been wanting to make video’s and vlogs for a long time  and in Edinburgh we finally did round to doing some properly. We had so much fun doing it and felt a bit like real bloggers. But, of course there has to be a but, otherwise you would already have laid eyes on these said videos. After hours of editing (I have a tendency to ramble), it just won’t compile, render out or however it’s called. One or two have made it onto YouTube but more about that later.

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Beauty | MAC Techniques Class

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Céline with finished makeup look

A while ago, one of my friends Céline invited me to a MAC Techniques class. Of course, I was immediately intrigued. She was quite the connaisseur already when it came to MAC products, but I had only ever admired them from afar. I decided to take the chance and sign up for my first ever makeup class.

The class cost € 50, which you could redeem for makeup at the end of the lesson. The theme of the class was Signature Look. The whole idea was to find the colours that best suited you.

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After we had got ourselves installed in the makeup room, one person was chosen as demonstration. While applying the makeup on the left side of the volunteer’s face, the Makeup Artist (MUA) walked us through the steps and techniques she used while we all wrote it down on a little notepad we’d received.

DSCN1511Once she’d finished the demonstration, we could get started. We each received a little glass plate, on which she gave us dollops of the products we would then use.

The MUA picked a day creme for everyone individually, after asking about what skin type each of us had.

After we’d treated our skin, we had to use a primer, so the makeup would adhere better to our skin. The primer also contained algae which works soothing. This serves to counteract any redness.

DSCN1517Which leads to the next product: concealer! We each got a bit of concealer to hide the problem areas on our skin.

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Then the MUA matched us with foundation. This is when they taught us you always have to match your foundation to your jawline. Though I feel my match wasn’t perfect. The foundation they had me use (NW 15), felt slightly too dark and yellow for my skin colour. Maybe all this apprehension is due to the fact that I never wear foundation. I’m very fair with a pink undertone, so it’s very hard to match my skin. I don’t tan (I lobster), so darker foundation would never get used, even during summertime. I also always worry that foundation will look too cake-y on me.

DSCN15161Once we’d applied our foundation, we moved on to bronzer (which I also never use!) Which I put in the hollows of my cheeks, starting at my ears.

Next up was blush. They gave me Margin Frost to use, which was nice, but not really a colour I’d automatically go for as it’s brown-ish of colour and has a frosty finish. I think they were desperately trying to make me appear slightly tanned. 😀 Poor them, that’s almost mission impossible.

Then it was time for highlighter. Not something I usually reach for, but it was very nice. And I like that we had to use finger application for this product. As nice as the brushes are (and they’re really nice), I mostly apply my makeup with my fingers, so this was familiar territory for me.

DSCN1519 DSCN1530 After we’d “put our face on”, the MUA looked at our eyes and deliberated on which eyelook to go for. She decided to give me brown eyeshadows to complement my blue eyes.

But first, we used a paint pot as our eye base. I used the Constructivist paint pot over my entire upper eyelid. I put Dazzlelight on the inner part of my upper eyelid and Bronze in my crease. Then I lined my upper and lower lashline with Teddy eyeliner. I finished the look off with some mascara. Et voilà, the eyelook was done!

As final touch, I put Viva Glam V on my lips. It’s such a great lipstick. I fell (a little) in love with it… ♥

 

This was the finished look:

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And that signalled the end of the class. We went down to the shop to redeem our € 50. I ended up buying some products I’d used in the class. 

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