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

31 March, 2014

ShopLately Haul: Crazy Leggings & More

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I need to make some confessions about my personal style today. You know how sometimes you see clothes with an insane print and think "Wow, this is kind of cool, but I'm not sure if I could pull it off?" Whenever I see something like that I take it as a PERSONAL CHALLENGE to make it work. Especially with leggings and tights - I LOVE THEM SO HARD. Sometimes small children stare at me when I go grocery shopping. Somehow I feel OK about that.

shoplately haul

I recently discovered ShopLately, an online marketplace featuring fashion and beauty items. Much to my delight there is a HUGE selection of fun and colorful stuff... dresses, leggings, shoes, jewelry - pretty much anything you could want. I picked up a couple pairs of fun leggings and a top, so I thought I'd share those with you today.

30 March, 2014

Vegan Cuts Snack Box March 2014 Review

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At long last we reach the end of the subscription box road for March. My boyfriend gave me a gift subscription to Vegan Cuts Snack Box last month for my birthday, and I continue to be thankful because I LIKE FOOD. Let's see what they sent me to munch on this month, shall we?

Vegan Cuts Snack Box March 2014

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

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It's nearly the end of the month, which means it's time for... wait for it... 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! I chose six things this time - five samples and one full-sized product. To The Reviewmobile!

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!

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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...

Vegan Cuts Beauty Box - March 2014

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Hey, it's Vegan Cuts time! My boyfriend and sister gave me mini-subscriptions to Vegan Cuts Snacks and Vegan Cuts Beauty (respectively) for my birthday last month, so the veggielicious unboxings continue. Since the beauty box showed up a day before the snack box let's take a look at that one first, shall we?

Vegan Cuts Beauty Box - March 2014

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!

27 March, 2014

My experience with the Olay Regenerist Luminous skincare line

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Previously on Hello Pretty Bird: A few weeks ago SheSpeaks contacted me and asked if I wanted to give the new Olay Regenerist Luminous skincare line a whirl and document my experience. I've been using the products morning and night for the past two weeks, so this week's episode will feature my impressions of the products - my oh my, what will happen next?!

Olay Regenerist Luminous skincare line

26 March, 2014

Box Wars: Bulu Box vs. Bulu Box Weight Loss - March 2014

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Today I'll be reviewing a new member of my subscription box lineup: Bulu Box! Bulu Box has been around for a while, but it's new to me, so I'm excited.

Bulu Box March 2014

Bulu Box is a subscription sampling service based around supplements and heath/nutrition/wellness products. The box comes in two "flavors" - regular Bulu Box (a broad mixture of different stuff) and Bulu Box Weight Loss (with samples targeted towards people wanting to lose weight). Speaking as someone who has been trying to eat more healthfully (well, besides the epic levels of hummus consumption today) and actually get some exercise lately, this box is right up my alley. This month I'll be giving you a peek at both the regular box and the weight loss box so you can get an idea of what type of things to expect in each.

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.

22 March, 2014

Review: Memebox #7, Global Edition

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Hey, it's Memebox! It's been a while since the last time I reviewed a Memebox, and I actually didn't know that I would be getting box #7 until a couple of days ago - a pleasant surprise, certainly! I have been keeping up with other people's unboxings and whatnot in the meantime though, and there are a couple of things that have changed with the company since I first wrote about them a few months ago. I'll elaborate a bit at the end of this post, but I'm sure you want to know what goodies I got first, right?

Memebox #7, Global Edition

21 March, 2014

An introduction to LANEIGE at Target USA plus GIVEAWAY!!!

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

Greetings all! Today I'm going to do something a bit different - I'd like to talk a bit about the LANEIGE range that recently arrived at Target stores in the USA. I'm sure that those of you who first found my blog by searching for Korean skincare reviews are already aware of LANEIGE, but I figured I'd post a little information for the people who aren't. Also, LANEIGE has offered up two of their most popular products for me to give away to one lucky reader - hooray! More about that at the end of the post. But first, some background...

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. :)

18 March, 2014

Review: Mexican Candy Box - March 2014

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I don't know if you guys knew this, but I really like things like snacks and candy. Now that I know that you know that I like snacks and candy, how about a review of a candy subscription box I discovered recently? That way I'll know that you know why I know that I love it. Whoa. The subscription box du jour is Mexican Candy Box, which features - you guessed it - delicious Mexican candies.

Photo of the info card with sugar-rush filter applied

17 March, 2014

Great deal on Suave® Professionals products at Rite Aid this week!


This may be a terrible thing to say as a beauty blogger, but I hate having to spend a lot of money on my hair. I try to keep the number of products I use at a minimum, but since my hair tends to break easily and develop bizarre knots I need to put in at least a BIT of effort to keep it looking good. Conditioners and leave-in treatments are a must, as is dry shampoo so I don't have have to put my hair through the trauma of washing every day.

One of the things I love about Suave is that they make great products at VERY reasonable prices. So reasonable that I'll let my boyfriend use them, even though I know he'll inevitably dump half the bottle down the drain by accident. Both of us are fans of the Suave Professionals Almond + Shea Butter shampoo and conditioner, so I was very excited to learn that they have a NEW "Natural Infusion" haircare line. These products contain no parabens or dyes, and of course are available at the affordable prices you would expect to see from Suave.

Sound interesting? Well, Rite Aid is having a GREAT special this week: From 3/16 – 3/22 you'll get $2 on your Wellness+ card (good towards your next purchase) when you buy $6 worth of Suave Professionals products. Might be a good time to try the new products, eh?

If you want to learn more and have a chance at winning a $50 Amazon gift card, be sure to check out the #RiteAidSuaveHair Twitter party hosted by Resourceful Mommy on 3/18 (that's tomorrow!) at 8 PM ET. Click here for more details and info on how to RSVP.

Have you tried out any of the new Suave Natural Infusions products yet?

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. While I was compensated for my time, the thoughts and opinions expressed above are still honest and my own. For more information, check out my full disclosure policy.

16 March, 2014

A look inside the Target Beauty Box - March 2014

Sorry if I've been MIA for the past couple of days - a friend of mine from out of town was visiting. We ate some dinner then did some sleep. Then ate some brunch and took some naps. Good times. Anyway, while I was hibernating the spring Target Beauty Box showed up - whoa! Want to see whether it was a good value or not? Keep reading, I'll break it down for you...

Target Beauty Box - March 2014

14 March, 2014

Indie Friday: 5 fandom-themed collections worth checking out

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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.

Ipsy Glam Bag - March 2014 Review & Swatches

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And the battle of the March subscription boxes continues! In this corner of the ring we have Ipsy, weighing in at... uh... I don't know.

Ipsy Glam Bag - March 2014 Review & Swatches

Since the presence of Mr. Dinosaur was so popular last month, I thought I'd have a couple new little friends help evaluate this month's bag. Let's burrow on in, shall we?

13 March, 2014

Birchbox - March 2014 Review & Unboxing

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Hands up if you got your Birchbox early this month! Mine actually came yesterday, but I didn't get a chance to post until now. No complaints about that - never too early to get goodies in the mail, I say.

birchbox march 2014 spring forward review

This month's theme is "Spring Forward" and seems to be based on the idea of getting the most out of days ahead. I do like a bit of optimism with my tiny tubes of moisturizing goo, so I guess that's nice. But what's in the box is probably more important than what's printed on the silly little info card, right?

Beauty Box 5 - March 2014 Review & Unboxing

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And with this post we kick off the subscription box unboxings for March!

march 2014 beauty box 5 five

First out of the gate is Beauty Box 5, with the very timely theme of "spring cleaning". I am definitely on board with getting clean, gorgeous skin, though it may take a bit of coaxing to get me to throw out some of my old makeup... but enough about my poor organizational habits. Let's look at the box, shall we?

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

Introducing Olay Regenerist Luminous - the game is afoot!

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Special news bulletin: I just turned 30. Those of you who are younger than me are probably thinking "Oh no, that will be ME soon!" Those of you who are older are probably thinking "THAT'S NOTHING!!!" In any case, I'm at an age where I'm starting to get some dullness and fine lines on my face, so skincare is obviously on my mind.

I was recently contacted by the folks over at SheSpeaks asking if I wanted to give the new Olay Regenerist Luminous line a go and document the experience. What is this Regenerist Luminous stuff, you may be wondering? Well, here's the deal:

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?

09 March, 2014

e.l.f. Essential Custom Eyes Compact & Refill Pans (Review & Swatches)

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Oh, ELF. You always lure me in with your bargain-basement prices and ridiculous sales. Sometimes my impulse buys from them yield great treasures and sometimes they yield utter mediocrity. Today I'll be writing about their Custom Eyes compact and refill pans, which offer a little bit of both.

e.l.f. Essential Custom Eyes Compact & Refill Pans in Wisteria Moondust Pink Ice and Ivory review

07 March, 2014

Indie Friday: A few fragrances by Solstice Scents #1

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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

06 March, 2014

How to #WinTheDay in 3 Steps + Try Clearasil Free Offer!

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Here's a question for all you productive members of society out there: When the grind of work or school calls, how do you start your day to ensure that it doesn't suck?

I work from home, so mustering up the motivation to get started can take a bit of extra discipline. Even if you don't have a set starting time, you still have to start work at some point, y'know? I was recently challenged by the folks over at Clearasil to share how I #WinTheDay, so I thought I'd share my three-step morning (OK sometimes afternoon) routine for ensuring that I behave like a productive human being.

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

Review: The Shampoo +Plus Natural Waterless Shampoo (Outdoor)

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Once in a while I come across a product that confuses me in every way. Back in the days before I had a beauty blog, I would just mutter "WHY DOES THIS EXIST" to myself and be on my merry way. But since I do have a beauty blog now, I can do my muttering publicly. Aren't those of you reading this lucky?

The Shampoo +Plus Natural Waterless Shampoo Outdoor

The confusing product of the day is The Shampoo's Natural Waterless Shampoo Plus, which I received in my Memebox #4. Want to know why it vexes me so? Keep on reading!

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.

02 March, 2014

Review/Giveaway: Fashion First Aid Shoe Kit & Book

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

This post is about a topic that's not usually at the top of people's "exciting things to think about" lists: Garment care. That's right, I'm talking laundry. The big clean. Out, damned spot! I will fully admit that I tend to choose clothing that's easy to care for, because keeping track of how to not ruin all of my outfits in the wash confuses me. And apparently I'm not alone, because the folks over at Fashion First Aid have come up with a humorous and easy-to-understand book all about garment care, plus numerous products and ready-made kits to keep wardrobe malfunctions at bay.

Today I'll be reviewing their book, The Dirty Side of Fashion (by Kim Castellano), as well as their "Shoe Done It?" shoe care kit. Also, Fashion First Aid has graciously offered up a second book and shoe kit as giveaway prize for one of my readers in the US or Canada - info on how to enter is at the bottom of the post! But first, let's take a closer look at the goods:

01 March, 2014

Vegan Cuts Beauty Box February 2014 Review

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So this week has been full of surprises... I got one of those dreaded "Sorry We Missed You!" slips in the mail earlier this week, and when I picked up the package I was surprised to discover that it was the Vegan Cuts Beauty Box. But I didn't subscribe to the Vegan Cuts Beauty Box, so I was rather puzzled... who would have sent me such a lovely thing?

After a bit of sleuthing I figured out that it was my sister, who got it for me as a birthday gift (thanks sis!) Perhaps she didn't think it would show up before my actual birthday. In any case it's here, so you get a review.

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