Hello Pretty Bird! - A beauty and not-so-glamorous lifestyle blog: March 2014

29 March, 2014

Why Birchbox Doesn't Actually Suck: The Points System & A Haul

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Warning: This post is going to be rambly as hell.

Folks who read my subscription box reviews regularly may have noticed that I complain about Birchbox sometimes. Here's the thing - I feel like they sent me weird, shitty samples these last couple of months. Yet I've stayed subscribed. Why, you may wonder? Because their reward points system makes it still sort of worth it.


If you've been on the fence about subscribing to Birchbox you may want to read this post, as I'll be talking about some of the finer points of the rewards system. I'll also be showing off all the crap I just bought with my points, so I guess it's worth sticking around even if you just like hauls. :P

Review: Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser/Treatment Concealer

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This is one of those "late to the party" reviews where I talk about a thing that has been out for a while and most people have probably heard of by now, but I'm going to take a stab at it in case there's just the *tiniest* chance that it's new to someone out there. The product du jour is the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Erases for Dark Circles, which is - you guessed it - an undereye concealer. Here's a spoiler: I like it. Want to know why? I guess you'll have to keep reading.

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser/Treatment Concealer

28 March, 2014

Indie Friday: A few fragrances by Darling Clandestine #2- Bitsy Attack!

Bought It

Hope everybody's had a happy Friday! I'm sure most of you are out partying and dancing the night away right now, but personally I'm staying in for an invigorating session of blogging. I'm cool like that.


For this edition of Indie Friday I'll be taking a look at a few more scents by Darling Clandestine on Etsy, whom I previously wrote about here. I purchased all of the fragrance oils above in "bitsy" size, which I believe are one dram bottles. Those are larger than the "sample" vials she occasionally offers, but smaller than the full sizes. If you want some background on this perfumer I recommend reading my previous Darling Clandestine post, but for those who are already familiar, let's dive right in...

What I got in my ModCloth Stylish Surprise - March 2014

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ModCloth posted on their Facebook page last week that they were doing another "Stylish Surprise" sale, and I knew immediately that I couldn't resist.


For those of you who missed this, here's the deal:

Are you ready to take a chance? The rewards could be huge! For just $10, you might get anything from a terrific top or sassy skirt, to a dazzling dress or cute coat. There’s a beautiful bevy of mystery items with retail values from $29.99 to $299.99 - now that's what we call a real deal!


They also did one for shoes. Since I am an insane person and a sucker for punishment, I decided to pick up five stylish surprises. That's right, FIVE. Three pieces of apparel and two pairs of shoes. Was it a failure or freaking awesome? Let's find out!

26 March, 2014

Weekly Poll: Dippin'

Hope you're having a Very Merry Wednesday, everyone!


I just finished off a rather large tub of hummus, which inspired this rather simple question:

What's your favorite kind of dip?

By "dip" I mean a sauce or paste that you dunk things into, if you weren't sure. Hummus, other bean dips, and queso are really common around these parts, but I think we could include any type of substance that's meant to be dipped into. Chocolate sauce and fondue are on the menu, folks.

I suppose mine would have to be hummus, considering that I just ate a hundred pounds of it. But I'm also partial to a nice white bean and tomato dip. How about you? What dips and dippers should I have out if you ever come party at my house?

24 March, 2014

LANEIGE BB Cushion for Target - Review & Swatches


Warning: Today's post is picture-heavy after the jump. But if you like looking at pictures of makeup, that may be a good thing. :)

LANEIGE BB Cushion for Target

Those of you who read my blog regularly may have seen the introduction to the LANEIGE brand and their recent launch at Target that I posted a couple of days ago - you can read that here if you missed it. Today I'll be giving a you a little review and overview of the LANEIGE BB Cushion SPF 50+, which in my opinion is a very exciting product to be hitting Target's shelves. Want to know why? Keep on reading...

23 March, 2014

PSA: Awesome deal at drugstore.com this week - 20% off Beauty!

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Fun fact: I get at least a hundred e-mails about online sales EVERY SINGLE DAY. The curse of being an online shopper, I guess. Anyway, I rarely share those deals because there's just too darn many of them, but one popped up today that was too good not to share:

drugstore.com: Get an extra 20% off EVERYTHING in the Beauty department - ends Saturday, 3/29


Drugstore.com can be sort of hit or miss in terms of prices - some things are REALLY cheap on there, others aren't. But they carry a lot of popular brands and hard-to-find items, so the 20% off sale is a very good excuse to at least browse. If you've been thinking of picking up some Real Techniques brushes, this is a good time to do it, just as an example!

Aside from searching out specific items, here are a few things you should check out:

  • Check here for clickable coupons - they're often available for P&G products!
  • Check here for free gift-with-purchase offers.
  • Check here for buy more, save more discounts - great for stocking up!
  • Be sure to browse their "hard to find items" section - it's a great source for things that are hard to locate in physical drugstores, plus it's just fun to browse.

You will likely see a banner at the top that says "20% off beauty - click to redeem" when you visit the site - click on that to add the offer to your bag. If the banner doesn't appear for some reason, you should be able to find the offer here. Orders $35+ are eligible for standard free shipping, or if you have a ShopRunner account you can get free shipping on any order containing ShopRunner-eligible items.


Drugstore.com shoppers, have you spotted anything especially interesting or cheap in this sale?


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. For more information, check out my full disclosure policy.

19 March, 2014

Weekly Poll: Worth Re-reading

Hello hello! Is everybody out there having a pleasant Wednesday? Personally mine got off to a groggy start, but that's nothing a few dozen pots of coffee can't fix.


This week's question is for the literary types out there, or at least for the people who sometimes read books, which I'm guessing is a fair number of you:

If you had start re-reading any book you've already read RIGHT NOW, which one would you choose?

I'm not sure what my answer to this question would be, which is probably why I'm asking it - suggest good books for me to read! Ones that are so good you'd be willing to read them twice! Could be fiction, non-fiction, mostly comprised of pictures of squirrels, whatever. Help me enrich my mind. :)

14 March, 2014

Indie Friday: 5 fandom-themed collections worth checking out

Bought It

In case you hadn't already figured it out, I love indie cosmetics. The prices, the colors, the creativity, the formulations... there are a lot of seriously underrated gems out there. But there's also another, more superficial reason I love them: Geeky themes. It seems like there are more and more collections popping up all the time inspired by different fandoms, and I totally love that.


Today I thought I'd share a few of the fandom-themed collections I've been thinking about the most lately. Some of them I own, some of them I'm coveting, but all of them seem awesome.

12 March, 2014

A Scrumptious Adagio Teas Haul + Some Shopping Tips

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I haven't done a haul post in ages because (a) I haven't really done any major hauls recently and (b) I'm mostly using Instagram these days to share my gloatpiles of loot. But hey, guess what? I like tea. If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen me rambling about tea last week. Guess what happened? I went on the internet and bought a whole bunch from Adagio Teas. Want to see what I got?


It's a pile of tea, in resealable bags! That doesn't look so exciting. Way, way back in the day, Adagio used to include little tins with your purchase, but now you have to pay extra for them. Insert fist-shake at the passage of time. Anyway, I thought I'd share what I got with a few notes on the ones I've already tried, plus a few tips for shopping Adagio's site should you choose to purchase from them yourself. And a couple of macro tea shots I just took because those are fun. :)

Weekly Poll: Dinner & A Movie

Happy (happy?) Wednesday everybody!


This week's "poll" comes to you not in the form of a question. Sorry, Alex Trebek.

Suggest an excellent movie for everybody reading out there to watch, and a meal to go with it.

The meal doesn't necessarily have to do with what's in the movie, but if you want to play it that way I'll laugh all the harder. (Hint: I already thought of Finding Nemo and fish fingers, so don't even.) Be creative. :)

11 March, 2014

Review: Radical Skincare Age-Defying Exfoliating Pads

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I am one of those people who strongly believes in the power of chemical exfoliation. Not to the point where I'm out in the streets handing out fliers, but I do incorporate AHAs and BHAs into my regular routine. Not sure what I mean? I'm talking hydroxy acids, people. The most common ones are probably salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and lactic acid, so if your products contain those ingredients then you're experiencing the power too.

Radical Skincare Age-Defying Exfoliating Pads box

Today I'll be doing a review of Radical Skincare's Age-Defying Exfoliating Pads, which contain both BHAs and AHAs. Holy cell turnover, Batman.

10 March, 2014

Review: Whiplash Eyelash Curler by Crave Naturals

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Put your hand up if you're one of those people who has yet to discover your ideal eyelash curler. Now put your other hand up if you only began to think about what your ideal eyelash curler might be like recently. If both of your hands are up, wave them in the air and scream (just because it's fun).

Whiplash Eyelash Curler by Crave Naturals

Today I'll be giving you an in-depth look at the Whiplash Eyelash Curler by Crave Naturals. Will it hold up to my newly-found standards? And do your arms hurt yet?

07 March, 2014

Indie Friday: A few fragrances by Solstice Scents #1

Bought It

Happy Friday everyone! I had planned on taking some swatch photos today, but the light is sort of grey and terrible right now so I thought I'd share another mini-batch of indie fragrance reviews instead. This time, we'll be taking a look at some offerings from Solstice Scents.

solstice scents full size 0.35oz 10ml sample vial size comparison
A 10ml/0.35oz-ish full-sized Solstice Scents perfume bottle pictured with several sample vials

05 March, 2014

Weekly Poll: Puzzling Gifts

Well what do you know, it's Wednesday already. Time for the weekly poll!


If anyone out there was traumatized by the lack of a poll question last week, my apologies. The day sort of got away from me with all the birthday-ing. But I'm back to my boring routine now, so you can breathe easy. This week's topic was suggested by Karen from Unpack the Box:

What's the weirdest or most puzzling gift you've ever received?

This topic originally came up in a comment thread RE: one of my boyfriend's strange gift-giving choices (an ill-fitting poncho), but I thought of something weirder. My mom likes to send out "care packages" around birthdays and holidays - usually they consist of things like socks and chocolate. Pretty typical gift-y stuff. But once in a while she'll put together a package for no reason that makes me go "Huh?" The best example I can think of was the time she sent me a box with the following contents:

  • A region 1 DVD of "Three Amigos" (extra-funny because I was living in the UK and couldn't play it)
  • A pair of pastel blue flip flops (March in Scotland... probably not going to be wearing those much)
  • An enormous quantity of large, metallic star-shaped confetti (????)
  • A note that said "YOU ARE MY SHINING STAR" and nothing else (I was a grad student at the time... was this in reference to my unpublished academic achievements? I'll never know.)

Don't ask me to explain, because I have no idea. I guess it's the thought that counts...

But anyway, how about you? Got any strange or puzzling gift stories you want to share?

04 March, 2014

Video: Blogging Fails & A Bus Ride Through Brooklyn Chinatown

So lately I've been meaning to write more "Hey look at this cool stuff out the real world" posts. I do live in New York City after all, and some people consider that to be an interesting place - go figure. A week or two ago I went to Fei Long Supermarket in Brooklyn Chinatown with the intent of documenting the experience, but when we got there it was like this:


Packed to the gills, yo. Who wants to be the jerk in everybody's way just because they're trying to take pictures of bread with funny names? Not me. We did end up buying groceries (always a good thing to do in a supermarket), but alas my photography efforts were a fail. So instead I took a rather melancholy video of the bus ride home:


Those rain stains on the window represent my TEARS. (OK, maybe I'm exaggerating.)

Have any of your recent blogging/photography efforts failed? Should I try to visit Fei Long again and document the experience? Is rain how the sky expresses its feelings? THINK ABOUT IT.
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