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

31 May, 2014

Review: Chroma Studio Control 3 Way Hairspray

Press Sample

The smell of hairspray is nostalgic for me. It reminds me of weddings, school dances, awkward holiday parties at work—basically all the special occasions in life that require your hair to look at least semi-nice, because those are the moments when I tend to use hairspray the most.

Chroma Studio Control 3 Way Hairspray

Today I'd like to introduce you to Chroma Studio's Control 3 Way Hairspray, a multi-tasking hair product that I'll be thrilled to bust out for my next special event. Want to know why? Guess you'll have to keep reading to find out ...

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

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Ay ay ay, how is May already over? Guess it's now or never for this month's Use It Or Lose It.

In case you're not familiar with my 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 five things this time—four samples and one full-sized makeup item. To the judge-o-tron!

30 May, 2014

Memebox Mini #2 Review & Unboxing (+ $10 off!)

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Busy busy. I wasn't sure if I would have a chance to post any reviews today, but I find myself with a teensy-weensy bit of time at the end of the day—when better than now to post a review of teensy-weensy Memebox Mini #2?

Memebox Mini Minibox #2 Review & Unboxing

A friend got me this box as a gift. A pleasant surprise indeed.

29 May, 2014

Memebox Global Edition #10 Review & Unboxing (+ $10 off!)

Affiliate Links Press Sample

Is ten your lucky number? Today I'll be doing an unboxing of Memebox #10, which doesn't have any special numerological significance for me, but does contain a bunch of cool stuff.

Memebox Global Edition #10 Review & Unboxing

28 May, 2014

Weekly Poll: The Reverse Poll #2

WHY IS IT ALREADY WEDNESDAY AGAIN?! Three day weekends are sort of nice because I get to spend more time with Stan, but then I lose track of what day it is and fall into a swirling vortex of uncertain time and "OH SHIT I FORGOT TO DO THAT THING" so yeah. Um, how are you?

Anyway. I've decided to devote most of my Wednesday to catching up on e-mails and cleaning up my incredibly untidy apartment, so rather than write anything complicated today, I'm opening up the floor for another "Ask Me Anything". Want to know something about me or this website? Not sure what color socks to wear tomorrow? Need advice on whether or not you should ask that cute boy to the dance? Ask away in the comments. I'll do my best to answer.

Disclaimer: Answers not guaranteed to be free of silliness.

27 May, 2014

Etude House Fresh Cherry Tints in OR202 & PP501. Limited Edition!

Affiliate Links Bought It

Etude House (the super-adorable Korean brand) recently released a couple of new Fresh Cherry Tint colors in celebration of their fifth birthday. Whether or not you care about Etude House and their birthday (or what kind of princessy pink cake is bound to be served at an Etude House birthday party), these new shades are pretty on-trend. And even if you don't care about trends, they're just plain pretty.

Etude House Fresh Cherry Tints in OR202 & PP501 lip swatch boxes/packages

Of course when I saw them online, I couldn't resist. I'll be sharing some swatches and stuff, so if you like what you see, grab them while you can! They're still available on eBay and whatnot for the time being.

Beauty Army May 2014

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Beauty Army is one of those subscription boxes that has always vaguely been on my radar, but somehow never ended up in my mailbox. Until now, that is.

beauty army may 2014

This bounty of Beauty Army was gifted to me by Karen from Unpack The Box. Thanks Karen!

26 May, 2014

ModCloth Make the Cut contest - enter until 5/30!

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

I recently got an e-mail from ModCloth announcing something kind of cool: Yet another installment of their Make the Cut contest!

Not familiar? Make the Cut is a fashion design contest. This time, contestants are provided with a blank scarf template and a very simple set of instructions: Create an awesome (and original) print pattern for a scarf! The winner will get $500 and also have their design sold on ModCloth's website. This contest is open to U.S. citizens/permanent residents and is open until 11:59 p.m. PT on May 30th—more guidelines and official rules can be found here.

Not creatively inclined but still interested in participating? On June 9th ModCloth will post their top ten picks in the Be The Buyer section of the site, and users will be able to vote for their favorite.

Personally I'm thinking of submitting a walrus-themed design. Because walruses are funny.

Will you be entering the Make The Cut contest? If you have a funny idea but are too lazy to actually design something, feel free to share in the comments as well!


25 May, 2014

Conscious Box Plus (Vegan Edition) May 2014

Affiliate Links Bought It

So I got another Conscious Box yesterday. Big fat spoiler: It wasn't very good. Or at least that's what I think—maybe take a look and see if you agree?

Conscious Box Plus (Vegan Edition) May 2014

#HPBScentOfTheDay Challenge Roundup 3/4

Another week has passed and more perfumes have been chosen. I've noticed that the sweatshirt I sometimes wear to bed is developing a strange odor around the cuffs—this is what happens when the residue of over a dozen different perfumes gets rubbed against it and combined, I guess. Good thing laundry machines exist.

Want to know what's making my shirt smell so peculiar? Read on for this week's fragrant picks!

24 May, 2014

Vegan Cuts Snack Box May 2014 Review

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Warning: The photography featured in this post is not my best work. Why? Because I was so freaking ravenous when my Vegan Cuts Snack Box arrived I just had to rip it open and start noshing right away. Oh, and maybe snap a couple of photographs between fistfuls of chips. I'm really classy like that.

Vegan Cuts Snack Box May 2014 Review Unboxing

23 May, 2014

Review: Chroma Studio Aqua Shampoo & Conditioner

Press Samples

As I'm sure some of you are aware, I recently colored my hair. (And I'm a poet and didn't even know it.) The most annoying thing for me about coloring my hair isn't the actual process, but the fading. People who have ever dyed their hair red should especially understand what I'm talking about.

The Chroma Studio Aqua Shampoo & Conditioner

When The Chroma Studio contacted me about trying some of their products, I was really excited to see that they had a shampoo and conditioner for color-treated hair—that's what's on MY head! Read on if you'd like to learn more about these products and the studio behind them.

Indie Friday: The SA List - Sweet Anthem Perfume Subscription

Bought It

Have you ever thought to yourself "Man, I wish there was a subscription service for indie perfume samples!" Anybody? (Just me?) Well, thankfully for me and my need to smell everything ever, such a thing exists.

Meet The SA List, from craft perfumery Sweet Anthem. This is their summer box.

22 May, 2014

Review: NEW Masks from Montagne Jeunesse + Facebook Giveaway!

Affiliate Links Press Samples

Today I'm pleased to introduce a few new mask varieties in the Montagne Jeunesse lineup. Not familiar with Montagne Jeunesse? They make lovely (and inexpensive!) masks and body care items. They don't conduct animal testing and many of the products are vegan too - take note, cruelty-free shoppers.

Let's get our mask on.

21 May, 2014

GIVEAWAY! Win an infinity scarf from Stack 'em Modern Style Boutique

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

Hey, like my scarf? Well how would you feel about winning one for yourself?

Details after the jump. Large sunglasses and smug grin not included.

Weekly Poll: The Musical

How's your week going so far? Learn anything interesting?

I've been spending way too much time this week reading up on famous disappearances - where U at, Hereward the Wake? A Google search about home audio recording equipment lead me down this path somehow - those internet rabbit holes run DEEP, man. Anyway, at some point "research" just turns into plain old time wasting, which I guess brings me back to the original subject of my search (and the poll topic of the week in a roundabout way):

You're suddenly able to play any one musical instrument with great proficiency. Which one do you choose?

Let's assume you retain the ability to play any instruments you're already good at. I'd probably go for the violin. I actually took violin lessons for a year or two when I was younger, but I never really practiced enough to get good at it, and then my teacher randomly upped and moved somewhere in Africa one day, so... yeah. So much for that. They sure do sound nice when other people play them though.

So how about you? On which instrument will you write your ballad about Louis Le Prince?

20 May, 2014

Macy's #AmericanIcons Culinary Council Event at Herald Square NYC


Last week Macy's stores across the country kicked off their American Icons campaign with a series of exciting performances and events. I attended the part of the celebration happening at Macy's Herald Square here in NYC - read on for all the details!

19 May, 2014

Nerd Style: Pretty in Pixels (via ShopLately)

Affiliate Links Press Samples

Newsflash for anyone who thought I was cool: I'm kind of a dork. But maybe dorky is the new cool so that's OK? Anyway, once in a while I go through phases where I really, really like to play retro and retro-inspired point-and-click adventure games. What could possibly be cooler than that?! (Probably lots. Ahem.)

My latest phase has been going on since December - at what point does a phase turn into a full-blown obsession? Probably when you start browsing around ShopLately for jewelry inspired by pixel art. Yeah, that's a thing you can do. If you also want to turn your boring 3D jewelry existence into an 8-bit bauble paradise, read on. Level up!

Gold stars for anyone who recognizes this game.

18 May, 2014

Blog Tips: How to remove the navigation bar in Blogger

Hey, so remember when I said I was in the process of moving to Wordpress a couple of weeks ago? Well, I'm still working on that. It's taking me a while because I'm new to Wordpress and there are a lot of fussy little things that need to be fixed manually (blah), plus I'm posting new stuff at the same time so I don't fall totally behind. This stuff can be time-consuming, yo. Anyway, rather than whine about that endlessly, how about I share a quick tip for bloggers who use the Blogger platform?

Let's talk about the Blogger Navbar. Not sure what I mean? This thing:

Right click - open in new tab to enlarge.

Sometimes it's transparent. Sometimes it's blue. In any case, I don't like it. If have the Navbar on your site and you do like it, feel free to ignore the rest of this post. But I'm going to explain how to get rid of it for those of you who want it gone. It's very easy!

The Mudsplosion: My Accidental Home Spa Day with Adovia

Affiliate Links Press Samples

Tell me if this has ever happened to you: You're using skincare that comes in a tube, so you're squeezing hard to get everything out, and then suddenly the ass-end of the tube pops open and all of the product gets pushed out the wrong side and onto whatever is in front of you. Splat.

adovia purifying mud mask adovia dead sea mud soap box

I guess I must be a vigorous squeezer, because this is something that has happened to me more than once. And it happened again just this weekend as I was testing out the Adovia Purifying Mud Mask. But I decided to turn lemons into lemonade (rather than be a sourpuss) and incorporate that mask into a whole-body spa experience instead - and what an experience it was!

FORK IT: Easy White Bean & Sundried Tomato Spread

Affiliate Links Press Samples

Hey, do you like hummus? And crackers? And recipes that are easy? If so, you should totally read this post.

I recently got a chance to try out the new Mary's Gone Crackers Super Seed Crackers, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to share one of my favorite bean dip/spread/hummus-esque recipes. Crackers are delicious on their own, but they're even better with friends (like so many things in life), and the majestic white bean is a great friend to the humble cracker. You'll see.

17 May, 2014

Review: Bulu Box Weight Loss - May 2014

Affiliate Links Press Sample

Oh, fitness. I didn't get much of you so far this weekend (other than a bit of lost wandering in a massive cemetery). Thankfully, Bulu Box showed up yesterday as a reminder to get off my butt.

#HPBScentOfTheDay Challenge Roundup 2/4

Sorry there wasn't an Indie Friday this week - I ended up taking a short-notice journey to a cemetery in New Jersey to visit some long-deceased relatives yesterday instead. My dad was in town and wanted to go. Fun for the whole family?

Anyway, I guess I'll be skipping Indie Friday until next week, but in the meantime here's the latest installment of my #HPBScentOfTheDay challenge, which features many indie fragrances.

15 May, 2014

Ipsy Glam Bag - May 2014 review. And dinosaurs.

Affiliate Links Bought It

Another month, another Ipsy bag. But this month's delivery has brought some disturbing news to Dinosaur City...

Whoa there. Let's get to the bottom of this. (The bottom of my Ipsy bag, I mean.)

14 May, 2014

My Cotton Bunny Review & Unboxing - May 2014 (Essence Bundle)

Press Sample

Today I'm going to talk about periods. Or more specifically, a subscription box for people who get them. Meet My Cotton Bunny, your new BFF for that regular time-of-the-month supplies top-up.

My Cotton Bunny Box

People Magazine VIP Gift Box - May 2014

Press Sample

Hey, are all you bloggers/social media fiends out there reading members of Klout? If not, you should be. It's difficult to explain how Klout works in a concise way, but the basic gist is that it's a place for finding shareable social content and also a way to track your social media reach (via the Klout Score). My Klout score is currently 61 - that's 31 points lower than Justin Bieber. I feel so inferior.

Why should you care about all this stuff? Well, once in a while Klout members get offered something called "perks", which are typically freebies or discounts for something related to your area(s) of influence.

People Magazine "World's Most Beautiful" VIP Gift Box May 2014

I was recently offered a sample of People magazine's VIP subscription via Klout - that includes the magazine and their World's Most Beautiful gift box. Of course you can pick up the magazine at any newsstand, but the box is only for VERY IMPORTANT subscribers. I'll bet you want to see what was in it, right? OK, if you insist.

Weekly Poll: Endless Summer Squash

Ah, May. That special time of year where all the remaining dormant plants erupt into bloom and my allergies go crazy. Achoo. I'm already fantasizing about summer, when the sneezing will be replaced by sweaty humidity and the constant odor of charcoal grills. Sizzle.

So as my springtime haze is still drifting off into a summer dream, I ask you:

What are you looking forward to most about summer?

This probably falls under the umbrella of extremely mundane, but I'm most looking forward to zucchini (AKA courgettes, for my friends abroad.). As in eating lots and lots of it. I realize that one can get zucchini year-round these days, but in the winter they're shitty and expensive. So once they're in season I'm going to get a ton of them. Probably other vegetables too. Then I'll put them in my mouth. Gee, what an exciting life I lead.

13 May, 2014

Birchbox May 2014 Review & Unboxing

Affiliate Links Bought It

So I've noticed that a lot of subscription boxes tend to show up around the middle of the month. Fun for me, but sometimes I wonder if my mailman secretly hates me. Maybe I should give him some perfume samples to ease the burden. Anyway, Birchbox showed up today! Who wants to see what was inside?

Birchbox May 2014 Review & Unboxing

The theme of this month's box is "Freewheeling", or in other words, "tossing out the rules and taking a playful approach to everything". Well, OK then - lipstick is for feet now. Wheeeeee! There was also a discount offer in the box for Kate Spade Saturday, which I'm assuming is responsible for the yellow and black and white box makeover.

Beauty Box 5 - May 2014 Review & Unboxing

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My Beauty Box 5 arrived yesterday with a card saying "It's time for a beauty boost!" After days of feeling stressed out and crappy, I really needed a boost. Thanks, BB5! Let's see what my "boost" consists of this month.

Beauty Box 5 - May 2014 Review & Unboxing

12 May, 2014

Madison Reed Hair Color Subscription Service + Discount

Affiliate Links Press Sample

Before I start this review, I guess I should tell you that I have a long and storied history with home hair dye kits. I have been dyeing my hair at home by myself since I was twelve years old (that's eighteen years ago, for those of you who are bad at math and/or haven't read my "about me" section). I've tried temporary dyes, permanent dyes, kits, self-mixed colors, bleaching, you name it. If there's a thing you can put on your head to make your hair change color, I've probably tried it at some point.

Madison Reed hair color kit

With all that said, I'm thrilled to introduce Madison Reed, an at-home hair color subscription service. Why so thrilled? Because I had an excellent (I mean it!) experience with it. Keep reading to learn more...

11 May, 2014

Conscious Box Plus (Vegan Edition) April 2014

Affiliate Links Bought It

No need to adjust your screens - this is a review of the April Concious Box. Not due to blogging laziness or anything, but rather the fact that I didn't receive it until two days ago. Probably because I ordered very late in April. Oh well - samples that were good in April are probably still good in May. Let's see if it was worth the wait, shall we?

10 May, 2014

Stack 'em Modern Style Mystery Bracelet Grab Bag (via ShopLately)

Affiliate Links Press Sample

I'll admit it: I'm a total sucker for pretty much any type of mystery box. Well, maybe not a mystery bag comprised entirely of meat. Or dirt. (Unless it was artisanal dirt?) Anway, I was browsing around ShopLately recently when I noticed that Stack 'em Modern Style Boutique was selling a variety of jewelry mystery bags for $20 - how could I possibly resist?!

Stack 'em Modern Style Mystery Bracelet Grab Bag (via ShopLately)

Short answer: I couldn't, so the $20 Bracelet Grab Bag magically found its way into my cart. Want to know what I got? An obscene number of jewelry pics await you after the jump.

09 May, 2014

#HPBScentOfTheDay Challenge Roundup 1/4

Happy Friday everyone! I hope everyone will get a chance to kick back and relax this weekend. Personally I'll be tweaking my Wordpress site because I want to be done with it already, but I'll save my ranting about that for another post.

Anyway, in case you missed it: I started a "Scent of the Day" challenge last week. You can read all about it here. Want to know how I've been smelling for the past week? Keep reading...

07 May, 2014

Weekly Poll: Bejeweled

How's everybody's week going so far? Sorry if I haven't been as quick to reply to comments lately - I've been working on that Wordpress switch I mentioned a few days ago. Plus I'm still trying to write new posts semi-regularly while I do that. Fun stuff.

Speaking of writing blog posts, I was just taking photos of some fun jewelry (which you'll likely see posted here in the next few days) and it got me thinking about sentimentality and objects and all that. So here's my question of the week for you:

Do you own any pieces of jewelry with sentimental value? If so, care to share what they are?

As I was snapping pictures and thinking away, it occurred to me that I actually don't have many sentimental pieces. Most of the jewelry I wear is more costume-y, and on the rare occasion people give it to me as gifts it's usually more of the silly variety (like this awesome sloth ring). But then I remembered that my great uncle gave me two necklaces when I was a kid: One was a silver locket (that I lost many years ago), and the other was a small, brassy-colored key hung on a chain.

My (great) uncle passed away when I was sort of young so I always wondered about the significance of the key - did he make it? Did it go with some treasure-filled locked box in his apartment that we somehow didn't find after he passed away? I guess I'll never know. In any case, I still have the key necklace, and ironically enough, it's locked inside a jewelry box right now. Where's the key to that box? Also inside. Oops. At least I know it's safe, I guess.

06 May, 2014

Memebox Global Edition #9 Review & Unboxing

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A wild Memebox appears!

Memebox Global Edition #9 Review & Unboxing

I'm sure some of you have been totally overwhelmed by the number of Memeboxes that have been coming out recently, but I have to say, I think #9 is my favorite of all the ones I've received thus far. So if you haven't peeked into box #9 yet do read on to have a look!

05 May, 2014

Review: Crave Naturals Glide Thru Detangling Brush

Affiliate Links Press Sample

Today's post is dedicated to the subject of frustrating hair and a product that helps me deal with one of my many hair frustrations. Got hair frustrations yourself? Well then come commiserate with me.

Crave Naturals Glide Thru Detangling Brush box

The product of the day is the Crave Naturals Glide Thru Detangling Brush, which promises to vanquish knots and tangles on all hair types. But does it work? Keep reading to find out...

04 May, 2014

No FORK IT this weekend - I'm packing up my internet boxes

I think the title of this post is pretty self-explanatory, but in case you weren't sure: I won't be doing a FORK IT (foodie) post this weekend. So sad. The reason why isn't sad though - I've decided to pack up and move my site over to self-hosted Wordpress, and I need time to get that all set up!

Your consolation prize: Go For Pie.

I've never worked with Wordpress before, so this process has been... interesting. Also, I'm also really glad I have some knowledge of CSS, because otherwise I'd be completely freaking lost. Hooray?

Anyway, my posting/commenting frequency might be a bit more sparse over the next week (or however long it takes). And if anyone has some awesome Wordpress tips for me please do feel free to leave them in the comments. In the meantime... GO FOR PIE.

02 May, 2014

Indie Friday: Notoriously Morbid Douglas Firs Eyeshadow (it's magical!)

Bought It

Happy Friday! I hope it's starting to feel like spring wherever you are - I was NOT a fan of the sudden temperature drop earlier this week.

Notoriously Morbid Douglas Firs indie eyeshadow lost in the lodge jar

Enough whining. This week's Indie Friday is about a very special eyeshadow - Notoriously Morbid's Douglas Firs. A whole post dedicated to one eyeshadow?! That may seem like overkill, but it really is that special. Want to know why? Keep reading...

01 May, 2014

#fmsphotoaday April 2014 Challenge - Photo Roundup - 4/4

April is now over, so I guess it's time for me to post the final batch of photos from the April #fmsphotoaday challenge. Aww shucks.

#fmsphotoaday April 2014 Challenge fat mum slim

I will admit that I got a bit lazy with the challenge towards the end of the month - no reason really, I guess I just wasn't as inspired by some of the prompts. That's OK though - I still managed to capture a few things for you guys to snoop.

Scent of the Day Challenge - JOIN ME! (One of us, one of us...)

Hey, it's a different month now! How about a brand-new beauty challenge?

If you're anything like me, you have billions dozens of perfume samples tucked away in a drawer somewhere. Or hell, maybe even full bottles. My fragrant hoardpile comes from an unyielding love for testing out indie fragrance oils and signing up for beauty sampler boxes - and thus the vials piled sky-high.

Now of course there are certain fragrances in my collection that I love and wear all the time, but there are plenty of others that I tested maybe once or twice and forgot about. I was organizing my collection when it hit me - why not do a Scent of the Day challenge?

Here are the rules:
  • Challenge participants must wear a different fragrance every day in the month of May - no repeats!
  • Things like body sprays and heavily scented lotions count.
  • The challenge should be documented some way - in a blog post, on social media, whatever. I'll probably write my daily choice on Twitter or something and then write a weekly blog roundup.

I have no idea if a similar challenge already exists, so please excuse me if this idea isn't terribly original. But I'd love it if y'all also wanted to participate - use hashtag #HPBScentOfTheDay so I can stalk your choices on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc. And if I'm the only one who ends up doing this... homeschool high-five.

Will you be participating in the challenge? Am I the only one who has more than 31 individual perfume samples? Maybe I need help.

PS If you're wondering about my final post for the April photo challenge, I'll be putting that up at some point later today.
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