Hello Pretty Bird! - A beauty and not-so-glamorous lifestyle blog: 2013

31 December, 2013

Use It Or Lose It: December 2013 Sample Edition

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I can't believe it but... this will be my last post of 2013! Whoa! It's been an interesting year for me here on the internet, so let's try to keep that up in 2014. I won't be doing an empties post for December because I'm trying to save up a bunch of interesting stuff for my next one, whenever that may be (difficult to predict when you have a thousand half-used products). As for favorites, I'm not doing that this month either. Perhaps next month.

Now onto the actual topic of today's post. Just in case you're not familiar with my "Use It Or Lose It" series, here's the deal:

"I've decided that from now on, at least once a month, I am going to force myself to try at least a few of the samples that have been lingering around in my collection for a long time, or else throw them away!"

30 December, 2013

Christmas Gift Highlights 2013

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Greetings Earthlings! How are you? I took a little blogging break this weekend. Did ya miss me? (Did you even notice I was gone?)

Today (by request) I'll be sharing some of the gifts I got for Christmas this year. I was hesitant to do so at first because I didn't really receive a lot of beauty stuff and wasn't sure if it would be interesting to the people who read my blog, but a few of my Twitter pals convinced me it was a good idea so here you go. If this post bores you then go blame the internet!

Our pitiful Christmas tree, which has nowhere to live except on top of our record turntable.

27 December, 2013

Indie Christmas: Notoriously Morbid's "A Dark Christmas Dream"

Bought It

Attention: We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to bring you Indie Friday: The Christmas Edition! A bit late for the big day, but 'tis basically still the season, right?

For this extra-Christmassy edition of Indie Friday I thought I'd spotlight Notoriously Morbid's new "A Dark Christmas Dream" collection, which I got some sample baggies of during their Black Friday sale.

Notoriously Morbid A Dark Christmas Dream sample bags

26 December, 2013

Beauty Box Five (December 2013) Subscription Box Review

Affiliate Links PR Sample

Hello everyone! How was your Christmas? Are you going insane shopping the post-Christmas sales or still recovering from that food coma? I'm just being nosy, sorrynotsorry.

Today I thought I'd get back into the (semi) normal swing of things and do a review of a beauty subscription I just received for the first time, Beauty Box Five! I've seen a few people mention BB5 as an alternative to Birchbox and Ipsy in the comments on my site, so I've been curious to find out what it's all about.

Beauty Box Five (December 2013) Subscription Box Review

25 December, 2013

Merry Christmas Everybody!

Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate, and a very merry Wednesday to those of you who don't!

Image source: photoraidz on FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I won't be doing a poll question this week because I'm sure a lot of people will be busy doing holiday stuff offline today, but if you're bored (and/or avoiding certain family members) feel free to share what you'll be doing for the holiday in the comments. Personally I'll be cooking a massive meal with my boyfriend and watching stupid movies... oh, and in case anyone was wondering, the tinsel surprise was a success. :)

Enjoy your day!

23 December, 2013

Ramblings on non-traditional Christmas traditions

Note: Buckle up, personal post ahead.

Happy almost-Christmas eve, everybody! Coincidentally it's also my sister's birthday today, but I don't think she knows about my blog... happy birthday if you accidentally found me on Google, sister!

Blurry phone-cam action of some Christmas lights in my neighborhood.

I've been seeing a whole lot of blog posts and tags lately about Christmas traditions, and they got me thinking about my own. Here's the thing though... I don't really have any. I've ended up doing something different pretty much every year since my parents split up (about 18 years ago now), and even before that, our Christmas traditions were a bit strange. Let me elaborate a little bit:

21 December, 2013

Influenster Jolly Vox Box 2013 Review

PR Sample

Hey y'all! I had planned on taking a blogging break today, but when the Influenster Jolly Vox Box showed up in my mailbox this afternoon I couldn't resist sharing it with you right away. BLOGGER 4 LYFE.

Influenster Jolly Vox Box December 2013

In case you've never heard of Influenster, it's an internet community for savvy social media folks to share reviews and opinions, and active participants will occasionally get selected to receive boxes of products or samples to try... for free! If you're a blogger or heavy social media user in the US/Canada I highly recommend signing up.

Anyway, let's take a look at what was inside the Jolly Vox Box:

20 December, 2013

VO5 Salon Series Haircare (Review & Giveaway)

Affiliate Links PR Sample Sponsored Giveaway

*** Note: This giveaway is now closed. The winner has been selected and confirmed. ***

It seems that holiday party season is officially upon us. Whether you've got an afternoon Christmas work luncheon or a swingin' New Year's Eve party to attend in the next couple of weeks, I'm sure you've been thinking about how you can look your best. (Yeah, I said swingin'. Deal with it.)

VO5 Salon Series

Today I'll be sharing some hair tips and mini reviews of Alberto VO5's Salon Series haircare products, which are a great budget-friendly option for getting that SWINGIN' holiday hairstyle on. Oh, and the best part? One lucky reader will win a set of the styling products featured in this post! (USA only.) You can find info about the giveaway at the bottom of the page, but first let's take a closer look at some of the products...

19 December, 2013

My Weird Wishlist: Unusual Wrapping Paper

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I know most of you are probably holiday shopping and wishlisted out, but now that you've bought All The Things have you given any thought to how you'll be wrapping them?

Today I thought I'd share a few extra-special gift wrap options I stumbled across whilst internet gift shopping. Because snowflakes are just sooooo passé (cough).

Archie McPhee Creepy Wrapping Paper Book:

The product description for this wrapping paper collection says "Each [sheet] decorated with disturbing creepiness" and "Probably not good for a baby shower". Well, since it's Christmas this should be fine then, right? Nothing gets my heart racing faster than the sight of cockroaches, so of course it's a logical choice for any exciting holiday gift.

18 December, 2013

Weekly Poll: Your Top Beauty Discovery of 2013

It's Wednesday morning! Who's ready to PARTY?! No? Well, how about just partaking in the weekly poll then?

This week's question goes out to all the beauty lovers out there - yeah, you! As the year draws to a close we're bound to see "Best of 2013" lists popping up from all over the internet, which brings me to my question for you:

What is your favorite beauty discovery of 2013? It doesn't have to be something that came out this year, just something you tried for the first time!

After thinking about it a bit I guess mine is Innisfree Apple Juicy Cleansing Oil - you can read my full review here. In case you don't have time to read the review, let me summarize: It's a cleansing oil that's very effective for makeup removal and it smells AMAZING. I can be sort of fickle when it comes to skincare products, so the fact that I still feel loyal to it after several months really says something.

How about you, lovelies? What's your top beauty treasure of 2013?

17 December, 2013

Review & Swatches: e.l.f. Studio Moisturizing Lipstick

Affiliate Links Bought It

Hello holiday shoppers! Have you spent all of your money yet? Well, if you've got $3 left to spend on yourself perhaps you might be interested in a review of e.l.f.'s new Studio Moisturizing Lipsticks, which are - you guessed it - only three bucks each.

Today I'll be reviewing/swatching these lipsticks in three shades: Coral Cutie, Party in the Buff, and Flirty & Fabulous.

e.l.f. Studio Moisturizing Lipstick

16 December, 2013

Current Fave: Tony Moly Intense Care Dual Effect Sleeping Pack

Affiliate Links Bought It

Fun Fact: My apartment is ROASTING HOT right now. I'm sure I've complained about this before, but since the landlord controls the heat in our building it's often way too hot and dry in here. So here I sit in December, with the windows open and shorts on, pretending I'm at the beach and lamenting the dryness of my winter skin.

Unusually hot apartment aside, I'm sure I'm not the only one to experience dry skin in the winter, so I thought I'd talk about a moisturizing product I've really grown to love over the past year: Tony Moly's Intense Care Dual Effect Sleeping Pack.

Tony Moly Intense Care Dual Effect Sleeping Pack

15 December, 2013

Six Months of Hello Pretty Bird: My Blogging Mistakes

It's happened you guys: I've been updating this website regularly for six whole months. Well, more or less - I deleted my introductory post when I changed the name of the site because it no longer made sense (more on that later). But we're right around the six month mark in any case.

Six months is not enough time for me to claim expertise on all things beauty blogging, but it has been enough time for me to sort of get into my stride and figure out the basics. I haven't had any major problems during my relatively short time in this corner of cyberspace, but of course there have been a few small missteps here and there. Being the self-deprecating fool that I am I thought I'd share those things with you - perhaps if you're a new-ish blogger you can learn from some of my mistakes? Or at the very least you might be able to commiserate and/or laugh at me.

Accidental bad hair selfie: also a mistake.

14 December, 2013

December 2013 Ipsy Bag (Review & Photos)

Affiliate Links Bought It

Is it just me, or does it seem like all the subscription boxes are coming really early this month? Maybe the companies are trying to beat the holiday rush, or maybe it's just MAGIC. In any case, I got my Ipsy glambag yesterday. The theme of this month's bag is "Celebration" - wanna see what's in it?

13 December, 2013

Update to Comment System on HelloPrettyBird + Social Media Stuff

Hey folks!

This is just a quick update to let you know that I've switched from the standard commenting system on Blogger to Disqus in order to make my posts more discussion-friendly. I'm sure most of you already use Disqus on other sites, but in case you've never encountered it before here are a few pointers:

I <3 stock photography. Image source: twobee @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  • You have to sign up for an account to use Disqus, but it takes like three seconds and you don't even have to leave the page. Just click on the commenting field, click the part where it says "Register with Disqus", enter your info, hit the little arrow and you're all set! You might want to verify your e-mail address at some point for security reasons, but you don't have to do that to leave your first comment.
  • If you're also a blogger or website owner, make sure to fill out your Disqus profile so people can easily find your site info when they click on your name. To do that quickly, click the arrow next to your name at the bottom right-hand side of the widget, select "Your Profile", and when it pops up hit the "edit" button and it will open your dashboard page. Once you're there you can add a website and bio under the "profile" tab and a picture under the "avatar" tab.

The biggest change to come from all this is that you won't be able to comment anonymously anymore - though if you sign up for Disqus with a bogus name it's not like I'm going to know. :P

I've tested Disqus on my mobile devices and it seems to work, but I'm not sure how well it will play with older phones and such - if you have any problems feel free to e-mail or tweet me. The widget is in the process of importing the old comments from Blogger now, so hopefully all your old nuggets of wisdom will be back in their rightful places shortly. Hopefully.

Indie Friday: Haus of Gloi Pumpkin Butter & Perfume Oils Review

Bought It

Alrighty then, who wants to read about some delectable-smelling bath and body treats from an awesome indie company? Today I'll be writing about a few things I picked up from Haus of Gloi recently - more specifically, a couple of their body butters (aka "Pumpkin Butters") and perfume oils.

Haus of Gloi Pumpkin Butter

Review: Crown Brush 6-Piece HD Makeup Brush Set

PR Sample

I don't know about you, but one of the first things I think when I purchase a new makeup or skincare item is "Is this travel-friendly?!" I'm sure that's a result of my former career in the travel industry (or perhaps my former former "career" as backpacking bum on a semi-permanent vacation from real-life responsibilities), but in any case, I like things that are both functional and compact.

Today I'll be reviewing a product that ticks both of those boxes: The Crown Brush 6-Piece HD Brush Set. Because when you go on that next backpacking trip through Central America you're totally going to bring some makeup brushes with you, right?

Crown Brush 6-Piece HD Makeup Brush Set with mirror and Tweezers in Orange, Set 525

11 December, 2013

How I'll Be Stuffing My Boyfriend's Stocking This Christmas

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Now that I've got your attention with that saucy post title, would you like to see what I bought for my boyfriend's Christmas stocking? All of the responses to my gifts for men poll and male gift guides floating around the blogosphere lead me to believe I'm not the only one who finds their significant other difficult to shop for, so perhaps this post will provide some inspiration.

Please note: I will be using stock images in this post because I already have some of this stuff wrapped/bundled up! Also, a lot of the things I bought came from ASOS because I happened to be shopping on there anyway, but many of them have equivalents on other websites or even at a store near you, GASP.

Weekly Poll: Website Design Pet Peeves

What's up, everybody? I can't believe I'm saying this but it's already Wednesday... where has all time time gone? Anyway, Wednesday is reader poll day so get those opinions ready!

Today's question is for anyone who looks at websites on a regular basis. If you're reading this right now that probably means you, unless this is your first time visiting the internet, in which case welcome and sorry about the animals with bad grammar memes!

Does bad design ever deter you from spending a lot of time on a website? Are there any design elements on the websites or blogs you visit that you find particularly frustrating?

This topic has been on my mind lately because I've noticed a lot of people asking questions like "Is good design important?" in blogger chats on Twitter (yes, I'm doing those now). Obviously there are varying opinions on that as a general concept, but personally I value good writing and interesting topics over fabulous designs and magazine-perfect photos. That's not to say I don't appreciate those things, but for me the quality of the writing will always win out in the end. However, there are certain design choices that can turn me off even before I get into the meat of the written content: Just as an example, I find "handwriting" fonts sort of difficult to read when they're used on large blocks of text, so when entire blog posts are written in that sort of typeface I kind of want to give up as soon as I see it.

How about you? What design elements (if any) will put you off a website from the get-go?

10 December, 2013

Review: Save The Blow Dry (The *Queen* of Shower Caps)

PR Sample

I have a question for you... how many of you use shower caps for activities other than dyeing your hair?

I'm one of those crazy people who doesn't wash their hair every day. Wacky, I know. While my hair doesn't always need a bath my body usually does, and thus shower caps come into play. Combing and blowdrying hair can be a chore, so it's better to just keep it dry whilst showering, right? Here's the thing though: Most shower caps are not awesome. Many of them are flimsy and allow moisture to get in, making your hair frizzy and damp and leaving you wondering why you bothered with a shower cap in the first place.

Today I'll be reviewing Save The Blow Dry™, a product that professes to be the "Moisture eliminating QUEEN of shower caps!" Well hello, Your Majesty.

Save The Blow Dry

09 December, 2013

December 2013 Birchbox (Review & Photos)

Affiliate Links Bought It

Today's scheduled review has been preempted by the arrival of an unexpected guest: December's Birchbox! According to various people I've chatted with on the internet (always a reliable source) this is unusually early, so... thanks Birchbox?

December 2013 Birchbox

Just in case you're like "WHAT'S A BIRCHBOX?" let me explain: Birchbox is a monthly beauty subscription box. Every month you get 4-5 "generously sized" (their words) beauty and lifestyle samples, which seem to be mostly from mid-range to high-end brands. It costs $10 (shipped) for the women's box and $20 for the men's box.

I found last month's box to be a bit lackluster so here's hoping they do better this time... let's take a look, shall we?

08 December, 2013

Four Weeks of Munchit: A Review

Bought It

So how many of you beauty box addicts out there also love snack subscription boxes? Because I know I do. What can I say, having food sent directly to my mailbox appeals to my overdeveloped sense of laziness. Today I thought I'd review Munchit, which is a budget-friendly weekly snack box I've been receiving for about a month now. Since four weeks = four boxes I thought I'd show you what I got in each of them, in case you're thinking of subscribing and wondering what to expect.

07 December, 2013

Review: e.l.f. Studio BB Cream SPF 20 (Fair)

Affiliate Links Bought It

I don't know about you, but I'm a sucker for novelty. Whenever a company I buy makeup from regularly releases something in a new format I'm like OMGMUSTTRY. Which is great for blogging material, but not so great for my wallet. Anyway, between e.l.f.'s regular low prices and frequent 50% off sales I felt like I didn't have much to lose by trying their new BB cream, so I thought I'd share my results with you... for science!

e.l.f. Studio BB Cream SPF 20 fair

06 December, 2013

Indie Friday: Portland Black Lipstick Company (review & swatches)

Bought It

So today I'm really excited to introduce a new series on HelloPrettyBird: Indie Fridays! I haven't decided yet if this will become a weekly or fortnightly feature, but going forward I'll being doing regular posts focusing on smaller, independent purveyors of goods and their wares (or just general information about indie cosmetics). You can expect to see a lot of makeup and fragrance in particular because that's what I tend to buy for myself, but perhaps I'll branch out a bit if another type of indie company strikes my fancy. :P

For my first-ever Indie Friday (yay!) I'll be talking about Portland Black Lipstick Company, which makes "All-Natural Makeup For That Un-Natural Look."

05 December, 2013

Review: Shara Shara Fresh Girl's Heating Pore Clear (Mask)

Affiliate Links Bought It

Today's review was requested by YOU! Well, some of you. When I posted a picture of my last TesterKorea haul a few people suggested that I review Shara Shara Fresh Girl's Heating Pore Clear, so review I shall.

Shara Shara Fresh Girl's Heating Pore Clear sample sachet

Fresh Girl's Heating Pore Clear claims to be a self-heating, blackhead-busting treatment. I got a bunch of sample sachets of this product, but the full size looks a little something like this:

10 Holiday Gifts Under $50 I'd Actually Want to Receive

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Hey guys - I don't know if you heard, but the holidays are coming up. Yeah, really. Have you bought all the stuff yet?

Image source: Grant Cochrane @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Personally I'm still second-guessing some of my gift ideas. I have no trouble thinking of stuff that I would want, but I'm not shopping for myself, now am I? Well, sometimes I am. But not right now. Today I thought I'd share a few things that I've been coveting, because if I'd enjoy receiving them as gifts that means somebody else probably would too, right?

04 December, 2013

Weekly Poll: Your Desert Island Makeup Brand

It's Wednesday... do you know where your children are? (Do they still use that tagline in PSAs? If not, I probably sound really creepy right now.)

Aaaaaanyway, Wednesday means it's time for another reader poll!

This week's question goes out to anybody who wears makeup - I'm guessing that's most of you?

If you were allowed to buy one and only one makeup brand for the rest of your life, which one would you choose and why?

Personally I would choose Revlon, which is interesting because they don't usually crack my list of HG or favorite products. But if we're talking about products for the ENTIRE FACE (and nails) they have reasonably good offerings throughout their line, including foundation that doesn't make me look ridiculously orange. And it doesn't hurt that they're affordable - if I'm stuck on this hypothetical deserted makeup island I'm still going to be watching my pennies, because that's just how I am.

Which brand would you guys choose? There can only be ONE!!!

03 December, 2013

Review: em Michelle Phan Lash Gallery Dramatic Volume Mascara

Bought It

Today's review may be of interest to those of you who have eyelashes you wish to accentuate! I received em Cosmetics' Lash Gallery Dramatic Volume Mascara in my last Ipsy bag, and since em is a relatively new brand I thought it might be helpful to do a review.

em Michelle Phan Lash Gallery Dramatic Volume Mascara

Coming To A Blog Near You: The Dreaded 60-Day Spending Ban

Warning: Personal post ahead. Take the necessary precautions.

So if you read through the "30 Before 30" list I posted the other day you might have noticed that #17 was "Do a beauty spending ban for 60 days". Since my 30th birthday is less than three months away I guess I should be starting that soon... how about right now?

I "needed" to buy this hat.

02 December, 2013

Review & Swatches: Studio Gear Cosmetics Holiday Smokey Eye Palette

PR Sample

This may shock you, but I like eyeshadow. A lot. So naturally I was delighted when I got the opportunity to try Studio Gear's Holiday Smokey Eye Palette.

The net weight of this palette is 0.42oz and it currently sells for $25. Here's the official product description from Studio Gear's website:

Be radiant on any occasion with this sultry, shimmery palette of dramatic shades – perfect for creating a classic smoky eye look, with a hint of unexpected golden glimmer. This collection of four complimentary eye shadows with matching blush deliver several day to night options that are both seductive and wearable. With pure color, pigment-rich formulations, you’ll be sure to smolder all night!

Ooh, steamy. Let's take a peek inside:

Cyber Monday Beauty Deals 2013 (sorry in advance to your wallets)

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Just in case your wallet isn't totally exhausted from Black Friday, I've compiled a list of some of the Cyber Monday/online holiday beauty deals I found especially interesting. Most of these deals run through today only, but I'll make note of it if they have a later expiry date.

Image source: OpenClipArt

Personally I'm eyeing the deals from Ulta and Wantable pretty hard... how about you?

01 December, 2013

30 Before 30: Lightning Round

Note: This is a personal post. If you don't like that sort of thing then... well... don't read it.

OK guys, fun fact: I'll be turning 30 at the end of February. Well, sort of: Birthdays can get a bit confusing for us leap year babies. I've come up with a little list of interesting things to do before my birthday because doing interesting things is... interesting.

I feel like most people tend to come up with these "30 Before 30" things a few years before they actually turn 30, but I guess bucket lists aren't really my style. My 20s has been quite a time... I've received some semblance of a formal education, traveled a lot, and made some poor decisions that thankfully didn't kill me. So please excuse me if this list seems rather tame: Time is running short and I've used up all my Grand Adventure vouchers at the moment.

Without further ado, here's my list:

Giveaway: Korean Beauty Sample Mystery Pack

**ATTENTION: This giveaway is now closed. The winner has been announced below.**

Happy December, everybody! First things first, I have a quick announcement: The winner of my Innisfree Apple Juicy Giveaway has been selected and confirmed. Congratulations, Brittnee! For those of you who didn't win, don't be sad, because I'm launching another giveaway today and the winner could be YOU! Woo-hoo!

If you've been following my blog for a while you probably know that I like picking up 10-packs of Korean skincare and BB cream samples on eBay and TesterKorea. It's good to try before you buy, right? Anyway, rather than hoard all of them for myself I thought I'd share the love and give away a mystery pack of some of the various samples I've collected. Read on for info on how to enter!

30 November, 2013

November 2013 (not just beauty) Monthly Favorites

Bought It

I can't believe it's already the end of November - where has all the time gone? I won't be doing an empties post this month because I didn't use up a ton of stuff... the curse of being a skincare hoarder. But here are a few of the things I've really been enjoying this month - perhaps you might be tempted to try them and they'll become your favorites next month. :)

My sister's cat: Always a favorite.

Holiday Gift Idea: STEAMCREAM Moisturizer

PR Sample

I completely forgot to say this yesterday, but happy Hanukkah to all of you who celebrate it! My sister's kids took great delight in wishing anyone and everyone a "Happy Thanksgivikkah" at Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, so it's quite silly of me to forget.

Anyway, now that Thanksgiving is over it's time to get serious about Christmas gift shopping. I recently got to try STEAMCREAM moisturizer and thought I'd share my thoughts, as STEAMCREAM tins would likely make an excellent gift or stocking stuffer for the skincare junkie in your life.

STEAMCREAM moisturizer moisturiser Shu tin

29 November, 2013

Some Black Friday online beauty deals worth checking out (2013)

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Hey everybody! Hope all of you who celebrated Thanksgiving had a good one. Personally I went to my sister's house and watched her three sons wrestle each other and eat turkey legs larger than their heads, though getting there wasn't as simple as it should have been:

Always a blast when that happens. Anyway, I thought I'd write up a list of some of the juicier Black Friday deals I've seen advertised lately, because I'm sure many of us will be hitting up the sales for our holiday shopping needs. I've done my best to provide accurate info and links - if you spot any mistakes let me know!

27 November, 2013

Weekly Poll: Do Beauty Bloggers Require Solid Makeup Skills?

Today's Wednesday so it's time to have your say! Come join in the weekly poll, Awesome Patrol!

I'm a POET.

OK, so I'm a bit nervous about posting today's question(s) because I worry that they will be a bit controversial for some. Maybe. Probably not. But YOLO or something, right? This week's topic is for anyone who reads beauty blogs (so all of you):

Do you think bloggers posting makeup looks, FOTDs and tutorials should have a high level of makeup skill? Why or why not? Does your opinion change if it's a professional blogger?

Personally I would say no, because there are people who excel in other areas of makeup blogging that are valuable to the community (like swatching or writing interesting reviews) so having perfect eyeshadow technique or whatever in their FOTDs isn't necessarily that important. And I'm including pro beauty bloggers in that assessment, because there are people who have built hugely successful niche blogs mainly off reviews and whatnot.

As for tutorials, if I saw one that didn't look good I probably would just pass over it without spending too much time thinking about it. Of course you may feel differently than I do - what say you? When do you see a blogger with no makeup skills do you run for the hills? (Okay, the rhyming needs to stop NOW, Rebecca.)

26 November, 2013

Use It Or Lose It: November 2013 Sample Edition

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So, I know I said I was going to do Use It Or Lose It a bit earlier in November, but... I didn't. Oops. You'd think that it wouldn't take that long to test out a bunch of tiny sample packets, but I really put my heart and SOUL into it. Well, that or I forgot. :P

Just in case you're not familiar with my "Use It Or Lose It" series, here's the deal:

"I've decided that from now on, at least once a month, I am going to force myself to try at least a few of the samples that have been lingering around in my collection for a long time, or else throw them away! Fellow sample hoarders, I encourage you to also Use It Or Lose It and write about it on your blog if you have one. Or tell me about it in the comments!"

You can check out previous months of UIOLI here. This is what I chose this month:

24 November, 2013

Review: Etude House Alphabetical Sheet Masks (H & I)

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I posted a picture of Etude House's Alphabetical A-Z masks on my site a few weeks ago and a couple of you requested that I do a review. I've had a chance to test both of them now so here you go! I'll also be sharing a full list of the Alphabetical Mask varieties and their benefits after the jump for reference purposes. :)

Etude House Alphabetical Sheet Mask H - Hyaluronic Acid I - Immortelle

23 November, 2013

November 2013 Birchbox (Review & Photos)

Affiliate Links Bought It

OK guys, so I finally caved and decided to try Birchbox. I'm sort of amazed that it's taken me this long, seeing as it's one of the older and more well-known subscription boxes.

Here's the thing: Whenever I'm thinking of buying something I look up photos and reviews online, and the contents of Birchbox often didn't seem that interesting to me. Until recently, that is. Last week I decided I would subscribe for three months to see if it's worth it - happy early holidays, me! And much to my surprise the first box came yesterday - whoa! Here's hoping it doesn't disappoint.

Birchbox Novemeber 2013 Women's Box

22 November, 2013

Review: Skinfood Platinum Grape Cell Essential BB Cream SPF45 PA+++

Affiliate Links Bought It

Over the past week I've been testing some of the many samples I got in my last TesterKorea haul. Exciting, no? Well, I'm excited. It's like a buffet for my face!

I thought I'd start out with a review of SKINFOOD Platinum Grape Cell Essential BB Cream in shade #1 (light beige) because it will take me a bit longer to really test out the skincare stuff. Want to know if this is the BB cream to rule all BB creams? Keep reading!

21 November, 2013

3 Things That Don't Suck: Roses, Roses, Roses

Affiliate Links Bought It

It seems like rose is one of those scents that people tend to love or hate. Personally I'm in the "love" category, but I've had many a friend tell me they thought rose perfume smelled old lady-ish. But they're wrong I tell you, SO WRONG!

Today I thought I'd show you three of my favorite rose-themed beauty products. I realize that this is not seasonally appropriate at all, but I've been using all three of these things on a daily basis lately so that must count for something, right?

20 November, 2013

Weekly Poll: Holiday Gifts for Men

Hey hey it's Wednesday! Guess what that means? It's time for another weekly poll!

This week's question is for those of you who are buying holiday gifts for men this year:

What sort of holiday gifts do you typically give the men in your life? Or if you are a man, what sorts of gifts do you like to receive?

I ask this because I'm sort of stumped for ideas and my boyfriend is a pain in the ass to shop for. And he probably wouldn't appreciate getting one of the million makeup holiday sets that I think are pretty, believe it or not. He likes surprises, but when I ask him what general categories of things he might be interested in he always gives me a sassy answer. For example, earlier today I asked him what his favorite gifts were last Christmas and he answered "Chocolate, chocolate and CHOCOLATE!" and then he laughed like a giddy little schoolgirl. NOT HELPFUL, DUDE.

This topic was actually inspired by a post about manly soaps over at A Beauty Product A Day, and I wrote about Dollar Shave Club yesterday, so those are a couple of ideas. But soaps and razors just don't seem that exciting on their own... and don't even think of suggesting socks, because my mom sends him enough to outfit ten people every year.

So what say you, holiday shoppers? Do you have some gifts in mind for the men in your life? Or if you just want to complain about people who are hard to shop for in the comments that's fine too. :P

19 November, 2013

Review: Dollar Shave Club Subscription Box

Affiliate Links Bought It

Hello hello hello! Today I'll be reviewing an American subscription service that's marketed towards men, but contains something that many women use. Even better, they ship to Australia and Canada without a ridiculous markup on the postage. Sounds interesting, right?

The service I'm talking about is Dollar Shave Club. Perhaps you've seen their amusing marketing video making the rounds on the internet? Basically, it's a razor subscription club with plans starting as low as $3 a month shipped - cheap cheap cheap! Now, I don't have a beard, but I have been trying to be less forgetful about shaving my legs so I thought having razors sent to my house on a regular basis might help me with that.

Dollar Shave Club membership card

18 November, 2013

My Weird Wishlist: Quirky Storage Containers

Affiliate Links

It has been way too long since I did a Weird Wishlist! These are some of my favorite posts to do because trawling through the murky depths of eBay and other shopping websites is among my favorite hobbies. :P

Moving right along... the theme of today's Weird Wishlist is quirky storage containers. Let me rephrase that: Storage containers in quirky designs/shapes, not storage containers for quirky stuff. Well, maybe both if you have a lot of weird crap lying around. Ready to see some fun ways to corral your stuff? LET'S DANCE.

Lego Head Storage Containers

Lego head storage containers
Image source: The Container Store

17 November, 2013

Candle Mania & A Pitfall of Internet Shopping

Bought It

Today's post is dedicated to all you internet shoppers out there, especially those of you who like to buy candles online, which is something I've been doing a lot of lately.

Yankee Candle recently had a $1 votives and tarts sale, so I decided to stock up for the season and get some old favorites and new scents to try. Those of you who follow me on Instagram may have already seen this, but for those of you who don't, this is what I ended up getting:

Yankee Candle votives

15 November, 2013

November 2013 Ipsy Bag (Review & Photos)

Affiliate Links Bought It

It's that time of the month again... time to clog everybody's blog feed reader with pictures of another beauty subscription box! Buahahaha! Today I bring you a little review of November's Ipsy glambag, and it's actually a pretty good one.

Ipsy Glambag November 2013

14 November, 2013

November TesterKorea Haul: What would you like to see reviewed?

Bought It

I have a confession to make: I received this order from Tester Korea a couple of weeks ago but I have yet to actually use any of these things. Why, you might ask? Because I had originally planned on recording a video about shopping on TesterKorea and was "saving" them for that, but I suddenly find myself struck with a bit of stage fright.

TesterKorea Haul

Theoretically I shouldn't feel shy about being in front of the camera: I used to act in plays and student films and stuff when I was in high school and college. But that was sort of a while ago, and I guess it's different when the part you're playing is you? Anyway, I bought this stuff because I actually want to use it, so I'm not going to wait any longer! Let's take a look at what I got, and if there's anything from this list you'd like to see a review on feel free to let me know in the comments. :)

13 November, 2013

Cheap Sasa Finds: Simply Aqua Moisture Mask

Bought It

It's been a while since I did one of these, hasn't it? It seems that Sasa is running a free shipping on orders $29+ special right now, so I thought this might be a good time to share another inexpensive Sasa tidbit with you. If you're placing an order and find yourself a couple dollars short of the free shipping minimum, I recommend checking out the other Cheap Sasa Finds posts I've done for filler item ideas.

Today I'll be doing a brief review of Simply Aqua Moisture Mask, which sells for US $1.20 per piece on Sasa and is a product of Taiwan. You can find Simply's official website here.

Simply Aqua Moisture Mask

New Feature on HelloPrettyBird: The Weekly Poll

Hey everybody! How's your week going so far? If you've been reading my blog with any regularity lately you may remember that I posted a few poll questions for my readers on various topics last month (and no, I still haven't thrown that ancient eyeliner away for those of you who responded in the "oldest makeup in your collection" poll). I really love reading your comments and opinions, so I thought it might be fun to turn the reader polls into a weekly feature!

So what does that mean? Each Wednesday I'll post a new question for you guys to answer and discuss in the comments. Possible topics may include beauty, blogging, or just life in general if I'm feeling real wacky. Ready for the first question? Here we go:

For those of you who blog, do you share your online presence with your "real life" family and friends? If no, why not?

Personally, I haven't shared this blog with a single person I know in the "meatspace". A few people know that I have a blog (like my boyfriend), but I won't show it to them because I'm a big old meanie. Haha, no, there are actually two real reasons for my decision:
  1. I feel like I can write more openly if I keep this space separate from my normal life. Not that I've said anything especially controversial or shameful on here, but I don't really want my cosmetics purchases or fondness for pickle jewelry to become a subject of gossip at the next family reunion.
  2. I started this blog as a hobby, and I was curious to see if people would actually find and read it without me using any of my pre-existing social influence (like my real-life pals or personal Facebook network, for example). If you're reading this right now then the answer is apparently yes, which is awesome but also sort of nuts! In the last four months I've gone from having one reader (me) to several thousand unique visitors per month. I realize that's relatively small potatoes in the blogging world, but it still kind of blows my mind.

I figure that someone I know will eventually stumble upon my site via Google, but until then it will remain my not-so-dirty little secret. So tell me: Do you share your blog with your loved ones? Or are you a sneaky meanie like me?
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