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

28 February, 2014

30th Birthday (ish) // 200th Post (ish)

What's up, everybody?

If I was a bit quiet on the blogging front this week it's because I was doing a bunch of stuff to celebrate my upcoming birthday. Which finally came today... sort of.

Bit of a candle vs. frosting mishap there, but it'll do.

I was actually born on February 29th, but since that day doesn't happen every year you kind of have to pick a day to celebrate and go with it. Or just celebrate all week because it's approximately birthday-time (which is how I like to do it). Most of my family and friends seem to wish me a happy birthday on February 28th, so that's when the cake happens (though I suppose legally I won't turn another year older until tomorrow...)

Coincidentally, this is my 200th post on this blog... sort of. I deleted the first-ever post on this blog when I changed the name because it didn't make sense anymore, but close enough. Anyway, I just wanted to thank everybody who reads my blog regularly - your comments make my day! No other point to this post really, just saying hi and recording a couple of numerically significant things for posterity.

Cake? Cake.

27 February, 2014

Use It Or Lose It: February 2014 Samples (& More!) Edition

Affiliate Links Freebies

Welcome to the sixth edition of one of my favorite monthly features, Use It Or Lose It!

In case you're not familiar with the Use It Or Lose It series, here's the deal: Each month I select a few beauty/personal care items 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 five things - four samples and one full-sized product. In past UIOLI's I've only included samples, but I have a few things rattling around my collection that I received as gifts and never got around to using, so I thought it might be nice to tackle those too. Onward!

Colgate Total Advanced Pro-Shield Mouthwash Peppermint Blast SebaMed Liquid Face & Body Wash for Sensitive Skin Etude House Wonder Pore Corrector L'Oréal Studio Secrets Magic Lumi Light Infusing Primer Mally Beauty Lip Magnifier Lip Color in Punch

25 February, 2014

Blog Tips: Photo Editing When Photoshop Isn't An Option

Get your tiny violins ready: Today I'm going to tell you a blogging tale of woe.

Photoshop has been my go-to photo editing software for years. Living and breathing those Adobe commands, yo. But a couple of weeks ago it just... died. For some reason Photoshop won't run anymore, and because I'm a disorganized jerk I can't remember where I put the installation discs. Perhaps it suffered exhaustion from all resizing all those extreme moisturizer close-ups? RIP, Photoshop.

Background image by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I'm still looking for those install discs, so in the meantime I've been using a few free bits of editing software for my blog photos. I figured I'd share 'em with you, since I'm sure there are plenty of you who also need to edit your blog photos and don't have the cash for Photoshop.

24 February, 2014

The Magic of Nexcare Acne Patches

Affiliate Links Bought It

Hey everybody! Sorry if I've been a bit quiet here and on social media this week - sometimes I get busy with stuff outside the internet realm. Strange but true. Things will likely be back to normal by this Wednesday, but for today I thought I'd dive into the product vaults to ramble about something that has been - dare I say it - A GAME CHANGER for me in the unfortunate world of adult acne.

Pictured above are Nexcare Acne Absorbing Covers, AKA Nexcare Acne Patches. I suspect that those of you who are not already familiar with this product are wondering why they're so magical, so here's the deal:

21 February, 2014

Indie Friday: 4 Current Beauty Favorites

Bought It

Rather than show you a specific collection this week, I thought I'd highlight a few indie beauty items I've been reaching for extra-often. No theme or anything, just stuff that I like a lot or that's grown on me recently.

20 February, 2014

Vegan Cuts Snack Box February 2014 Review

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My boyfriend surprised me with an early birthday gift this week: A six month subscription to the Vegan Cuts Snack Box! I love snacks and I love subscription boxes, so I'm impressed with his gifting decision. I thought I'd do a little review and unboxing for you, since those sorts of things seem to be popular around here.

Vegan Cuts Snack Box February 2014 Review unboxing

19 February, 2014

Weekly Poll/Stan Says: Vacation Nightmares

It's Wednesday, so it's time to get our Weekly Poll on! This week I thought I'd let Stan (my boyfriend) come up with a topic, because he was fascinated by all of your responses to the PB&J question I posed a couple of weeks ago.

Here's Stan's question for you:

What's the worst trip you've ever been on and why?

I've gone on a couple of vacations that ended up being less than ideal, but the first one that springs to mind is a trip I took several years ago with an ex-boyfriend, who I shall refer to as "M" for the purposes of this post. Anyway, M and I had been dating for about eight or nine months when we decided to take our first-ever trip together to go visit some family. Our first-ever trip ended up turning into our first-ever argument during the journey, which was quite intense because new-ish relationship + no previous arguing/fighting + being sleep-deprived and trapped on various airplanes/trains is a rather tense combo. We did make up a day or so later, but then I randomly got pinkeye (Why?! How?!) so I spent the rest of our vacation with one of my eyes crusted shut and my listening to my sister urge her children (who were really little then) not to touch me. Fun.

How about you? What's a travel memory that makes you cringe?

18 February, 2014

PSA: LANEIGE now available at US Target stores and Target.com!

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I mentioned this on Facebook and Twitter yesterday, but in case you missed it: Laneige is now available at Target (US stores) and Target.com!

For those unfamiliar, Laneige is a mid-priced Korean skincare and makeup brand with a big emphasis on hydration. If you're already a fan and are tired of waiting for stuff to be shipped from Korea, then wait no more! A number of Laneige's most popular products will be available in select Target stores, plus you can buy all of them on Target.com. I was relieved to discover that the range is reasonably-priced too - there doesn't seem to be much of a markup (if any) from Korean retail prices!

If you're never tried Laneige and are unsure where to start, I'd recommend taking a look at their Water Sleeping Pack. It's an extremely popular product and is suitable for most skin types.

Right now they're is hosting a giveaway to promote their new Facebook page, so check that out if you're interested in winning some Laneige products! You can also follow them on Twitter if that's more your thing.

Are you excited about Laneige coming to Target? What are your favorite Laneige products?

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

17 February, 2014

Second Chances: Innisfree Green Tea Pure Sleeping Pack Review

Affiliate Links Bought It

Here's a fun little tidbit of Hello Pretty Bird history for you: The most-viewed post on this site to date is a crappy review I did of an Innisfree Green Tea Pure skincare sampler set that I wrote in August, all the way back when this blog wasn't even called Hello Pretty Bird (link here if you're curious). At the time I wasn't especially enamored with the Green Tea Pure Sleeping Pack sample that came with the set, but since then I've had a few people comment and reach out to me via Twitter saying that they absolutely LOVE it, which made me wonder if maybe I hadn't given it a fair shake. What to do, what to do? Well, why not get a full-sized tub of the stuff and give it a more thorough try?

Innisfree Green Tea Pure Sleeping Pack

15 February, 2014

Birchbox February 2014 Review & Photos

Affiliate Links Bought It

I love the middle of the month because that's when my beauty box subscriptions usually come. New beauty boxes, new things to play with. Especially useful on a dreary winter day like today.

Today I bring you the contents of my February 2014 Birchbox. The theme this time was "Step and Repeat", as in step/pose/repeat on the red carpet. You know, for awards season.

Birchbox February 2014 Review Photos unboxing values

14 February, 2014

Ipsy Glam Bag February 2014 (Review & Photos)

Affiliate Links Bought It

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Today I came home to a self-given Valentine, in the form of February's Ipsy bag. Just in the nick of time too, since this month's theme is "The Look of Love" and today is the most lovey-dovey day of the year.

Mr. Dinosaur certainly loves this month's Ipsy bag.

12 February, 2014

e.l.f. Studio Makeup Mist & Set review

Affiliate Links Bought It

So today I'm going to be reviewing something kind of boring. Boring, but useful. I've really got your attention now, right? When I posted about the e.l.f. 50% off sale yesterday it occurred to me that I have a bunch of e.l.f. stuff in my collection that I never reviewed simply because I didn't think it was interesting enough. At the same time, I get a lot of search hits on my website for the few e.l.f. products that I *have* reviewed, so clearly people do care about their products enough to seek out information about them. Today I'll be talking about e.l.f. Studio Makeup Mist & Set, which comes in the most uninteresting-looking bottle ever:

e.l.f. Studio Makeup Mist & and Set review

Weekly Poll: Regrettable Beauty Purchases

Hey hey hey, it's Wednesday! (Again. Strangely enough, I feel like this happens all the time...)

This week's topic is for all the beauty lovers (or at least the beauty users) out there:

What is your most regrettable beauty purchase in recent memory?

Could be something that looked awful, smelled awful, tasted awful (I won't judge), came with terrible customer service and so on. I feel like I've had pretty good luck recently, but the new-ish e.l.f. BB cream is something that springs to mind... it's not an awful product, but the color is oh-so-wrong for me and I had a feeling that would be the case going in. Some higher-end brands allow "I just don't like this" returns, but not ELF. It's OK though, I'm only out a couple of bucks.

How about you? Any disastrous results? Return attempt nightmare stories? Things that looked surprisingly orange once you put them on your face?

11 February, 2014

Deal Alert: e.l.f. 50% off sale plus 15 nail polishes for $6?!

Affiliate Links Bought It

Hey everybody! Sorry if I've been MIA from the bloggy world for the last couple of days. The winter blues have been sapping away a lot of my creative energy - I'm sure you know how it is. Anyway, I've been online deal-hunting whilst moping so thought I'd share an interesting one I came across!

Image from the e.l.f. website

Right now e.l.f. Cosmetics (US) is having one of their 50% off sitewide sales (on pre-discount orders $30+, valid until 11:59 PM PST on February 12th), and while I was browsing around to stock up on essentials I noticed that their 15-piece holiday nail cube was marked down to $12, so after the 50% off discount it comes to a mere $6!

I can't attest to the quality of e.l.f. polishes since I haven't tried them before, but for $6 I'm willing to take a gamble so I picked up a cube for myself. If that set doesn't appeal or sells out there's also the 14-piece nail cube priced at $14, so $7 after the discount. Not to mention the numerous other things worth getting at the 50% off price - I'm thinking Studio Line brushes, Moisturizing Lipsticks, the Lip Exfoliator etc. Orders over $35 (after the discount) ship free, so keep that in mind when planning your hauls.

Have you tried e.l.f. nail polish? What are your favorite e.l.f. products?

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

09 February, 2014

Giveaway Alert: Win an ASOS gift card! (International)

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

Who likes giveaways? I heard that people like those. I don't know, maybe I'm wrong. But I've decided to host one anyway, just in case. :)

One of my favorite things about living in the internet age is having the ability to find obscure stuff with the click of a mouse. For example, beauty brands that are difficult or impossible to find in the United States. I'm sure most of you are familiar with ASOS for their fashionable fashion things, but did you know that they also have a beauty section? Which has some of those aforementioned hard-to-find objects? And international shipping? Because they do. Plus lots of other cool stuff. Whether you're into UK makeup releases or wacky tights, ASOS is bound to have something to delight you!

08 February, 2014

5 Random Juices/Sodas: A Tasting Session

Bought It

Hey, do you remember that 30 Before 30 list I made a couple of months ago? Well if you forgot I don't blame you, because I've been really negligent in blogging about it. I have done a bunch of things on the list, though my birthday is less than three weeks away so some of the tasks may end up being added to a "31 Before 31 list"... shh, don't tell. Anyway, last week I completed #21 on the list ("Get 5 juices/sodas I've never tried before from the supermarket and conduct a tasting session") so I thought I'd share my results with you! Behold the beverages:

07 February, 2014

Indie Friday: A few fragrances by Darling Clandestine #1 (review)

Bought It

Attention: Who likes to smell good? Well, today I'll be sharing a few ways you can do that in my favorite (semi) weekly feature... that's right, it's Indie Friday!

darling clandestine solid fragrance perfume tins oil bottle sample vial size

The indie du jour is Darling Clandestine, an Etsy shop featuring a variety of wonderfully smelly things and the occasional piece of handmade jewelry. I've collected a number of her scents in various formats over the past few months, and rather that overwhelm you with all of them at once I'll just be focusing on a few of the solid fragrance tins today.

05 February, 2014

Weekly Poll: This Is My Jam

Happy Wednesday everybody! If you can call Wednesdays happy. (Seriously though, I hope you're happy.) Time for another exciting question to stimulate the mind!

This week's question was inspired by an argument discussion I had with my boyfriend recently. Picture this: You want to have a PB&J sandwich. You get out the bread, get out the peanut butter and jelly, and then...

Do you use a separate knife for each condiment, or do you use the same knife to scoop and spread both?

Personally I use two separate knives because I don't want my jam to have random brown smears in it, but more knives = more dirty dishes and that's no fun. So how about you? Are you as fussy as me or is your jam jar a brown and cloudy mess? These are serious issues, guys.

04 February, 2014

Memebox Global Box #4 Review (Korean Beauty Box)

Affiliate Links PR Sample

At long last, I have Memebox 4th global edition in my clutches. It may seem like I reviewed box #3 just a couple of weeks ago (because I did), but Memebox has been putting out new boxes rather quickly lately, so box #4 went out about a week later. Unfortunately my local post office is not so expedient or efficient with delivering things, but I won't bore you with the details of that. Anyway, Memebox 4th Global Edition has arrived! Let's take a closer look, shall we?

memebox 4th edition 4 package packaging

03 February, 2014

January 2014 Favorites: The Lazy Gal Edition

Affiliate Links Bought It PR Sample

So January has come and gone. At the beginning of the month my blog feed was flooded with resolutions: Vows to be more productive, more active, better at sculpting topiaries etc. I wrote up my own goal list, and I have been working on those things, but let's be honest: I've also spent a lot of time sitting on my lazy, lazy ass. So don't be shocked if some of the things and activities on my favorites list seem rather sloth-like this month... it is winter, after all.

Uh, yeah. So without further ado, I bring you my somewhat lazy January 2014 favorites!

01 February, 2014

Spending Ban: The Conclusion

My spending ban, it's over now. Let the reckless buying begin! (OK, I'm kidding. Maybe.)

For those of you who are new to Hello Pretty Bird, let me quickly recap: I started a 60-day spending ban in early December (documented here) and wrote in update in early January (here) recapping how "good" I was for the first half of the spending ban period. So how well did I do in the second half? I'm sure the suspense is killing you, so let's break it on down!

Image source: suphakit73 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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