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

31 January, 2014

Indie Friday: Notoriously Morbid's "In Camelot" collection

Bought It

Happy Friday everybody!

I'm going to make this short and sweet: I've got an indie eyeshadow collection to show you. It's a small one (only three shades), but they're all super-pretty. You like pretty things, right? Then you should keep reading.

notoriously morbid in camelot collection swatch swatches morgana kilgarrah young merlin duochrome eyeshadow indie

A New Google+ Community: Asian Cosmetics & More!

Quick announcement: I've started a new Google+ community called Asian Cosmetics & More!

A screenshot of the community page

If you read my blog with any regularity, then you've probably noticed that I like to review Korean and Taiwanese cosmetics sometimes. I'm certainly not the only blogger with such interests, so I thought it would be nice to start a community for us to share our posts on those topics! Non-bloggers are welcome too if you just want to browse or have discussions.

If you're on Google+ and a fan of Asian cosmetics/makeup trends (or even just vaguely interested) then please feel free to join up! It's going to be a barrel of laughs. Or at least a barrel of affordably-priced skincare. :D

30 January, 2014

Stan Says: Dear by Enprani "Dreams Come True" Bounce Cheese Cream

PR Sample

So today I'll be kicking off what I hope will become an ongoing series on my blog...  skincare reviews by my boyfriend, which shall henceforth be known as "Stan Says"!

But first, a little background. Before we started dating, my boyfriend owned exactly one moisturizer: A tub of Eucerin so ancient that the lid had crusted shut. When we moved in together he didn't understand why I had so many bottles of lotion, and he especially didn't understand why I insisted he use some of it when he complained about having a dry, flaky face. After several years of living together (and inheriting my reject lotions) he's finally started to admit that maybe (just maybe) it might not be a bad thing to have a bit of moisturizer around.

Now, with that said he's still not an expert on all things emollient, but he's starting to have preferences and stuff. Today we bring you his thoughts on the Dear by Enprani "Dreams Come True" Bounce Cheese cream, which I received in Memebox #3. In video format, because it's funnier that way.

Use It Or Lose It: January 2014 Sample Edition

Affiliate Links Freebies

January is almost over, and it's blowing my mind. OK, maybe that's an exaggeration. But I still haven't bothered to take down my Christmas decorations (yeah yeah, I know) so it feels like it should still be early January somehow.

Since it is actually the end of the month, that means it's time for one of my favorite monthly posts... Use It Or Lose It! In case you're not familiar with the Use It Or Lose It series, here's the gist: Each month I select a few samples I've been hoarding in my stash and vow to either use them up and review them or throw them away! This time I've selected six items (or seven, if you follow the Birchbox logic of matching shampoo and conditioner counting as separate items).

29 January, 2014

Weekly Poll: Discontinued products in beauty boxes?

So in case you hadn't noticed, I'm officially back from my blogging break. You can stop panicking now. I know these past few days have been difficult.

This week's poll topic was inspired by a couple of posts on other blogs I read recently. To make a long story short, it seems that some beauty subscription boxes are sending out discontinued items alongside the newer stuff. For a couple of examples, check out this Boxycharm review by My Subscription Addiction and this Wantable review by Brightest Bulb In The Box. I'm reserving judgment about the "mold" pictured in that second review because I have no way of verifying whether or not it is actually mold, (Wantable claims it isn't on their blog), but it seems to be a discontinued product at the very least. So here's my question for you:

Is it OK for beauty boxes to send out discontinued products?

I'm  not entirely certain how I feel about this. It seems there are two basic models for beauty subscription boxes: Number one, a box consisting of small samples for discovery purposes (like Birchbox), and number two being value-for-money (like Wantable, where you pay $36 for a bunch of full-sized products that supposedly have a much higher retail value). Obviously it makes no sense to send out discontinued stuff in a discovery box, but with a value-for-money box? I don't know. I guess it depends partially on what the items are (a discontinued makeup brush still has value and doesn't "expire", for example), and how old they are (a nail polish that's a season old might be OK, but one that's several years old might be dried out). But at the same time, I think I would end up being annoyed if I liked one of the discontinued items I got in the box and couldn't buy it anywhere.

What do you think? Would you be OK receiving discontinued products in your beauty boxes some of the time if they were still usable?

28 January, 2014

Deal Alert: Free Nu-pore Sheet Masks at iHerb?!

Affiliate Links Freebie

So I don't know about you, but I like free samples and gifts-with-purchase. Is it the excitement of getting something for free or the thrill of trying something new? I don't know. But I thought today I'd share an interesting freebie I came across on iHerb recently.

24 January, 2014

Taking a brief blogging break

Just a quick announcement: I am going to be taking a little break from blogging for the next few days so I can catch up on some important (and not-so-important) stuff in my personal life. And this cool thing I keep hearing about called "sleep".

Photo by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Just wanted to put that out there so you don't think I'm dead/a jerk for not replying to your comments or tweets in a timely fashion. I will likely be back to my normal blogging habits on Monday or Tuesday. In the meantime, here are a few fun things to check out or revisit in my absence:

*My international Etsy gift card giveaway closes tomorrow night at midnight EST! If you've already entered, don't forget that you can tweet or re-pin daily for bonus entries.

*Have you entered my giveaway to win some lovely undies from Panty By Post yet? It closes in three days and is open to residents of US/Canada. Like the Etsy giveaway, you can re-pin/tweet daily for bonus entries.

*If you're looking for a new beauty box to try, have a look at my review of Memebox #3. As of now box #3 is still available for purchase, and it's an exceptional value!

*Fellow bloggers may enjoy this Pinterest board of free blogging printables and calendars.

*Totally unrelated to my blog, but if you're a cat-lover then you may find this flash game amusing.

*Since we're talking flash games, fans of the 80s sitcom "Perfect Strangers" need to check out this one.

*You should eat some pie. Because pie is delicious. That's my expert recommendation as a blogger.

Happy weekend everybody!

22 January, 2014

Weekly Poll: If money were no object...

Happy middle-of-the-week-unless-you-think-the-week-starts-with-Monday day!

This week's question is for those of you who can't afford to buy every single thing you want. I'm guessing that's at least some of you, because unlimited money sure is hard to come by. By the way, if anyone knows of some foolproof techniques for obtaining unlimited money feel free to suggest them in the comments. Anyway, my question:

If money were no object, what beauty product(s) would you buy right now?

I think my answer would have to be Sulwhasoo's Innerise serum, which is basically just some fancy anti-aging goop. I've tried a bunch of samples and I love it, but at ~$150 for a 50ml bottle it's not really in my budget at the moment. Gotta get on that unlimited money thing.

How about you? What's on your not-quite-affordable lust lists at the moment?

21 January, 2014

Blog Tips: Get organized with free printable worksheets

Hey everybody! How's your week going so far?

I've decided that I'm going to start doing occasional posts about blogging here because I know I have a lot of fellow bloggers reading and people seem to like that sort of thing. That, and I enjoy being meta.

Image source: Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net

I noticed that a lot of other bloggers wrote "get more organized with blogging" in their posts about goals for 2014, and I'm right there with you. There are apps for that these days, but being an old-school dinosaur fart I tend to prefer keeping track of things like that on paper. Last year I just used a plain blank calendar for planning, but as my blog grows I find that there are too many things to keep track of and a regular calendar just doesn't cut it.

Thankfully, there are a number of bloggers and graphic designers out there who have been kind enough to create free some printable blogging worksheets for our old-timey convenience. I've started to compile a list of my favorites over on Pinterest here, so if you're in need of some organization yourself I recommend checking out the board and doing a little downloading! I will be adding to the board as I discover more good ones, so follow me or the board for updates. If you know of any other good resources for blogging printables, feel free to let me know in the comments and I'll add them to the board!

Do you prefer to use paper or digital planners? Are there any topics you'd like me to cover in future posts about blogging?

20 January, 2014

Panty By Post Subscription Service: Review & Giveaway!

PR Sample

***UPDATE: The giveaway is now closed. The winner has been selected and displayed below.***

So if you read my blog regularly then I'm sure you know that I love subscription services, particularly those that feature beauty products and other beautiful things. Today I'd like to introduce you to Panty By Post, a fun subscription service that sends you a beautiful new panty each month. Might be a fun thing to try out for Valentine's Day, eh?

Image from the Panty By Post website

And I have some great news: Panty By Post has offered to give away a pretty panty to one of my lucky readers in the US or Canada (more info below). But first, let's take a closer look at the particulars of this subscription:

19 January, 2014

Review: Memebox Global Box #3 (Korean Beauty Box)

Affiliate Links PR Sample

Today I have something to share with you that I'm really excited about. I mean really, really *really* excited about. If you read my blog regularly then you probably know that I'm a big fan of both beauty boxes and Korean cosmetics. Well, what if I told you that there was a Korean beauty box that shipped overseas, and that it was an exceptionally good value to boot? Holy savings, Batman!

Memebox Korean Beauty Box Birchbox

The thing I'm talking about is Memebox, and and today I'll be reviewing their third global edition box.

17 January, 2014

Indie Friday: A Nicolas Cage-themed lip gloss collection?!

Hey everybody! Today's Indie Friday post will be brief because I didn't have a chance to do any swatch photos this week, but I wanted to bring your attention to some new and very silly lip glosses by indie company Shiro Cosmetics: The "Cages Through the Ages" collection.

Image from the Shiro website

Ipsy Glam Bag January 2014 (Review & Photos)

Affiliate Links Bought It

It's the middle of the month, and that can only mean one thing... beauty box overload! First Birchbox, now Ipsy. This is a very amusing time of the month for me, but perhaps slightly less fun for my mail carrier.

ipsy glam bag january 2014 review unboxing
January's bag - what treasures lie within?

15 January, 2014

Weekly Poll: Makeup at bedtime?

Is it Wednesday already? Geez. Well, you know what that means: Time for another fascinating topic for you to ponder!

This week's question is for anyone who likes to paint pretty colors on their face:

Do you ever apply makeup right before bed?

This may seem like sort of an odd query, but I have come across posts by more than one blogger confessing to such acts recently, so I'm wondering if this a "thing" I'm just unaware of. Personally I tend to sleep with my face buried under every pillow and blanket within reach, so a face full of makeup would equal a pillow full of mess. But I do often apply perfume right before bed - not sure how logical that is since I'm probably not "appreciating" it whilst I'm snoring into my pillow, but it's a thing I do.

What about you? Do you ever apply makeup or other non-skincare cosmetics right before you go to sleep?

14 January, 2014

Birchbox January 2014 (Review & Photos)

Affiliate Links Bought It

Today was sort of a dreary day: Rain rain rain and cold cold cold. Nothing like blah weather to put you in a blah mood. Thankfully my Birchbox arrived today, and that cheered me right up! You've gotta love getting a hot pink parcel full of beauty goodies - it's certainly better than the 8,000,000 pawn shops fliers that are dumped in the lobby of my building every day, at least. Want to know what I got? OK, if you insist.

Birchbox January 2014

13 January, 2014

My Weird Wishlist: Unusual Lip Balms

Affiliate Links

I don't know about you, but my lips get super-dry in the winter. Naturally, I've been scouring the internet for the next new (and awesome) lip balm discovery to moisten up my dessicated mouth. (Ew?) With the internet being a big weird place and all, I came across some lip balm flavor options that are... shall we say... unexpected. Whether you're looking for a little bit of hydration or just for a quick way to make your face smell weird, today's Weird Wishlist is for you!

Assorted "Savory" Lip Balms from Claire's
unusual weird gross strange quirky food foodie novelty lip balms

11 January, 2014

Montagne Jeunesse Crushed Artic Cloudberries Glacial Clay Spa Mask

Affiliate Links Bought It

Do I have any fellow sheet mask enthusiasts reading this post? If you're also in North America and anything like me, you love the experience of using sheet masks, but don't necessarily love the waiting times involved with ordering them from Asia or paying inflated import prices at a local beauty shop.

Lately it seems that a few American and European brands have been coming out with their own sheet masks, though they're still not as ubiquitous here... yet. Anyway, I was browsing a pile of trial-size masks at a drugstore a while back when I spotted a couple by Montagne Jeunesse that appeared to be sheet masks - well, color me curious! Since they were only $2.49 apiece I decided to give 'em a try. Today I'll be reviewing the "Crushed Arctic Cloudberries Glacial Clay Spa Mask" variety.

Montagne Jeunesse Crushed Artic Cloudberries Glacial Clay Spa Mask

10 January, 2014

3 Things That Don't Suck: Bird Is The Word

Bought It PR Sample

This may or may not surprise you, but I'm fascinated by birds. Always have been. When I was a kid I was seriously obsessed with learning about the kiwi bird - this was of course before everybody and their grandma had access to the internet, so I drove my local librarian nuts with obscure interlibrary loan requests.

As an adult living in the 21st century I can easily google things like "cute penguins" or "cassowary kick" to get my fix. And so can you (if you want to). But rather than bore you with links to YouTube videos about the peculiar pūkeko, I thought I'd show you a few of my favorite bird-themed items that I happen to have around the house.

TEAMCREAM moisturizer tin Ume Ni Uguisu design owl necklace chicken earrings

09 January, 2014

e.l.f. Studio Blushes in Blushing Rose & Twinkle Pink

Affiliate Links Bought It

I feel like I end up asking this question a lot, but... got $3 burning a hole in your pocket? Well, today I'll be reviewing some $3 makeup that might coax you into parting with your hard-earned cash: e.l.f. Studio Blush in the shades Blushing Rose and Twinkle Pink.

e.l.f. studio blush

08 January, 2014

Weekly Poll: The Reverse Poll

Well, this has been a weird week for me blogging-wise. Not weird in terms of subject matter, just more irregular than usual in terms of posting frequency and responding to comments and stuff. It happens to all of us sometimes, I'm sure. Anyway, since this has been an unusual blogging week I thought I'd do something a bit different for the weekly poll this time around.

This week's question is for everybody:

Is there anything you'd like to ask me?

That's right, it's "ask me anything" time. Want to ask a question about me? Or my blog? Or about your blog? Or for advice about what kind of sandwich to have later? Use your imagination. If I can answer your question, I will!

06 January, 2014

Spending Ban Update

Note: Personal post ahead. Batten down the hatches!

Hey everybody! Sorry if I've been sort of absent from the blogging world these past few days. I've been feeling kind of crappy because I'm trying to cut down my caffeine intake, which means lots of severe headaches and grogginess... fun. Anyway, I thought I'd give you an update on that self-imposed 60-day spending ban I started about a month ago. Might be interesting if you're also doing a spending ban or are just feeling nosy, haha.

03 January, 2014

Indie Friday, Giveaway Edition: Win an Etsy gift card! (International)

***UPDATE: The giveaway is now closed. The winner has been selected and displayed below.***

So I've been thinking lately about what might make a nice prize for an international giveaway, and after I did my Indie Friday post earlier today it hit me - why not give away an Etsy gift card so somebody can experience the indie magic for themselves? :)

Background image by Naypong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Indie Friday: Wiggle Perfume and Sundries

Bought It

Happy Indie Friday y'all! This week I thought I'd focus on a few scents by Wiggle Perfume and Sundries, a purveyor of delightful perfume oils. Since fragrance is a highly personal thing (what with subjectivity and different body chemistries and all) please bear in mind that what smells awesome to me may not smell awesome to you and vice-versa, but maybe this will give you a general idea of what some of these perfumes are like.

Wiggle Perfume and Sundries sample vials

02 January, 2014

Review: HOLIKA HOLIKA Holiday Vita A Daily Sheet Mask

Affiliate Links Bought It

Hey, remember when I posted about a bunch of stuff I got from TesterKorea in November, and asked if anyone wanted to see reviews of that stuff? Well, I haven't forgotten about it, I'm just working my way slowly (but surely) through the pile. It can take a while sometimes for me to review skincare products because I want to have time to test them out fully, know what I mean? Anyway, today I'll be digging into the pile to review Holika Holika's Holiday Vita A daily mask pack.

HOLIKA HOLIKA Holiday Vita A Daily Sheet Mask pack

01 January, 2014

Weekly Poll: Resolutions & Goals

Happy New Year!!! Did you celebrate by dancing the night away? Personally we stayed in - it's 2 AM and Stan is already passed out on pineapple juice and prosecco.

I <3 clip art. From openclipart.org

I'll keep this week's poll question short, sweet and timely:

Do you have any goals/resolutions for 2014? Share if you like!

I tend to set goals year-round, but here are a couple that I've been thinking about lately:
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