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

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)

Affiliate Links

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

Affiliate Links Freebies

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)

Affiliate Links Bought It

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?

11 November, 2013

What's In My Medicine Cabinet?

Hint: It's not what you'd expect.

Just a little fun for you this Monday morning:

10 November, 2013

Review: Kuan Yuan Lian Cucumber Water Spray

Bought It

It's official: The heating in my apartment is totally drying out my skin. Which is why I'm glad that I have an array of facial mists on hand, including Kuan Yuan Lian's Cucumber Water Spray. Today's review was requested by Yomi C in the post about my last Sasa haul... which I made almost a month ago, yikes. I'm a bad blogger for just getting around to it now! I will be writing up a review of the Bio-essence Lifting Cream in the near future as well for those who were interested.

Kuan Yuan Lian Cucumber Water Spray

09 November, 2013

Review: Perlier Imperial Honey Body Butter

PR Sample

For those of you experiencing chilly Autumn weather right now: Do you find that your skin gets drier as the weather gets colder? I definitely do. Even when I do my best to stay out of the cold air, the extremely hot (and dry) indoor heating gets me, so exfoliation tools and rich body moisturizers suddenly become my best beauty friends.

Today I'll be reviewing Perlier's Imperial Honey Body Butter, which is supposed to "nourish skin with moisture." Perfect for this time of year, eh? Let's see if it lives up to its promise!

Perlier Imperial Honey Body Butter

08 November, 2013

Two blogger awards/tags: The Versatile Blogger & The Liebster Award

Hello everybody! So this week I was nominated for not one but TWO blogging awards/tags by two of my fellow bloggers: Chibilaria and Insane About Makeup. Thank you so much to both of you! I'm really flattered that you thought of me.

I decided to consolidate both of these into one post... hope you don't mind! Of course I will answer both of your questions separately. :)

07 November, 2013

Giveaway: Innisfree Apple Juicy Cleansing Oil

UPDATE: This giveaway is now over. The winner has been announced below.

Hello hello hello! I have some exciting news for all you skincare junkies and fans of Korean cosmetics... I am hosting a giveaway for one of my all-time favorite products, Innisfree's Apple Juicy Cleansing Oil!

This isn't a sponsored giveaway, I just thought it would be fun to do a little something as a "thank you" for those of you who have taken the time to subscribe/follow me on my various social media accounts.

If you're not familiar with this product, I did a detailed review of it recently. Cleansing oil in general is probably one of the most effective makeup removal products out there, and this version is suitable for most skin types whilst having a very lovely fragrance. :)

Click "read more" for info on how to enter!

06 November, 2013

Review: Shills Luminous City Block SPF43/PA+++

Bought It

Put your hand up if you like BB cream! Now put your other hand up if you're entertained by confusing packaging! Now wave your hands in the air and scream if you'd like to read a review of something that fits into both of those categories!

Shills Luminous City Block may appeal to fans of light coverage BB creams and/or tinted moisturizers... assuming you're not stupid like me and know what you're actually buying.

Shills Luminous City Block SPF43/PA+++

I bought this a couple of months ago from Sasa.com thinking it was simply a suncream, but it's actually more like a tinted moisturizer. Which wouldn't be a bad thing if it weren't so terribly wrong for my skin tone. At first I wasn't going to review Shills City Block because I goofed and it isn't really what I intended to buy, but lately I've had a bunch of search hits from people looking for reviews on this, so I thought I'd at least share some basic info about the product.

05 November, 2013

PSA: Amazing e.l.f. Cosmetics sales this week online (USA site)

Affiliate Links

Hey everybody! So if you read the recent post about my October e.l.f. haul then you probably know that e.l.f. has some amazing promotions on their website from time to time. If you've had a few things on your wishlist but have been waiting for a good sale, then wait no longer! They're running two very awesome specials this week via promo codes:

My giant bag-o-brushes and makeup from my last e.l.f. order.

Sale #1 is TODAY (NOV. 5) ONLY: This Election Day, treat yourself to Free Shipping on orders of $15 or more at EyesLipsFace.com. Use coupon code VOTE, Tuesday, 11/5 only! EXPIRED

Sale #2  is on Wednesday/Thursday:
Get 40% off site-wide on purchases of $20 or more! This offer is valid 11/6 and 11/7 with coupon code CHEERS.

If you've been meaning to stock up on brushes or a lot of different stuff then obviously it makes sense to wait for the 40% off code to go live on Wednesday, but if you've just been wanting to get a couple of things to try then today's your lucky day! And don't forget, if you do wait for the 40% sale you can get free shipping on orders of $35+ without a coupon code, further sweetening the deal.

Are there any e.l.f. products on your makeup wishlist?

04 November, 2013

Tips & Tricks: How To Get Yankee Candle Tarts For Half the Price

Affiliate Links Bought It

I've been on a scented candle-burning kick lately. I don't know if it's because there's a chill in the air or because the days are growing darker, but the visual "warmth" of candles is a really lovely thing to have around your home, and of course pleasant fragrances go well with any season. :)

Personally I'm a fan of small votive candles and tarts because I like changing up which scent I'm using frequently, and those massive candles in jars can last a loooong time. If you don't know what a "tart" is, I mean those wickless scented wax melts that you burn in a "tart burner" like this or this. Here's a picture of some Yankee Candle tarts to illustrate:

Yankee Candle tarts normally retail for $1.99 apiece, which isn't terribly expensive but we all like to save money whenever possible, right? So today I'll be sharing a quick tip on how to how to slice your tart budget in half.

03 November, 2013

Fun & Inexpensive Gift Idea: Etude House Alphabetical Sheet Masks

Affiliate Links Bought It

So now that Halloween is over, I'm starting to see Christmas decorations pop up around my neighborhood. While I think it's a little early to be in full-on Christmas mode (we Americans haven't even had Thanksgiving yet!), I don't think it hurts to do a bit of advance brainstorming in terms of gift-giving. Nobody likes running around crazed at the last minute, right? So today I thought I'd share something with you that I bought for myself, but could make a great stocking stuffer or even just a little "thinking of you" gift:

It's Etude House's Alphabetical masks! These sheet masks are available in 27 different varieties: One for each letter of the alphabet and a heart. :) I think it would be really fun to get a bunch of these to spell out someone's initials or name, or maybe even "I love you" or something corny like that. Personally I just went with "hi" because I bought them for myself and my full name has 29 letters in it. :P

I haven't tried either of these masks yet so I can't comment on their efficacy as skincare products, but the novelty value certainly is high. I bought mine from TesterKorea, but these are also all over eBay now as well.

Do you plan out gift ideas in advance? Do you think personalized gifts like this are fun or corny?

02 November, 2013

Halloween clearance finds at Target (& here comes the Christmas Crap!)

Bought It

What's up everybody? Today my boyfriend and I took a much-needed trip to Target to stock up on household supplies. Now, I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this on my blog before, but our local Target store is an absolute hellhole. Most of the Target stores I've visited  in general have been clean and well-stocked, but our local one is usually overcrowded with angry people hitting their screaming children and entire aisles of bare shelves. So I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there was actually still a fair bit of Halloween clearance left... though of course when I went looking for a certain Nyx product I found that the entire Nyx display had maybe ten miscellaneous leaking tubes left on it and nothing else. I'm not even exaggerating.

Anyway, here's what I ended up getting from the Halloween department:

01 November, 2013

My bad beauty habits and life to-do list for the rest of 2013

Only two months left until it's 2014... it feels like time slips away faster and faster with each passing year. Terrifying much?

I have a few bad beauty habits I've been meaning to be "better" about lately, and rather than wait until January 1st to make some sort of resolution I thought I should start doing those things now, so I can start the next year in an awesome way. Have I mentioned yet that I'll be turning 30 early next year? I can't decide if I should consider it a milestone or just another birthday, but yeah, that's a thing that's happening. 

Once I started thinking about a list of beauty to-dos I also got thinking about a bunch of other stuff I've been "meaning to do" lately but still haven't got around to. I figure if I air my dirty laundry here it will make me more accountable... and if I still haven't crossed off most of the items on my list by the end of the year you can all leave me angry comments. :)

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