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

30 June, 2014

Influenster Victoria's Secret #VSSportBra VoxBox

Press Sample

Hey look, I got an Influenster box! I feel like it's been ages since the last one. This time it was the Victoria's Secret #VSSportBra VoxBox, which featured new sports bras from VS's sportswear line.

Victoria's Secret #VSSportBra VoxBox

I'll spare you a picture of the outer box because it wasn't very interesting, but there was a proper Victoria's Secret box nestled inside—classy touch! OK, now who wants to see my underwear?

29 June, 2014

Blog Tips: Staying Organized & Keeping Up With New Posts

Time to talk about the sexiest aspect of blogging: Time management!

Blogging time management

This month's topic was requested by Tracy of Fanserviced:

An excellent suggestion, so thank you! Time management and organization seem to be oft-discussed topics in blogging advice posts, because (a) balancing everything can be hard and (b) everybody seems to do things a bit differently. Hooray for keeping it simple. If you read my blog regularly then you've probably noticed that I post more than once per day on average, which obviously takes a bit of forethought, so I today I'll be sharing my methods for planning ahead and keeping track of everything. Will my insane process work for you too? I have no idea. But maybe it will give you some new ideas, at least.

Quick tip before I get started: Right click - open in new tab if you want to enlarge any of the images.

I'm starting PocketDerm. Wish me luck!

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I wrote a post yesterday that mentioned my how my skin cleared up a lot after I honed in on quality products in my skincare routine. While I am mostly happy with my skin these days, there is one product I have always wanted to try but has eluded me for practical reasons: Tretinoin. Also known by the brand name Retin-A. It's a highly effective treatment against acne AND wrinkles in some cases, but if you live in the United States (and a number of other countries) you need a prescription to get it. Crappy insurance + dermatology visits not being covered = tretinoin is too cost-prohibitive for me, boo-hoo-hoo.

PocketDerm Bottle Packaging Bag

I read about something called PocketDerm recently, which is essentially a subscription service that (a) allows you to consult with a certified dermatologist online and (b) allows you to get prescription topical creams for acne inclusive in the cost (which is very affordable at $19.95 per month). I suspect that some of you reading have already heard of PocketDerm, being the savvy internet users that you are, but I thought it might be interesting to write up a little intro and document my experience for folks who are new to it, so uh.... here you go.

28 June, 2014

Break Up With Your Makeup and Win a Trip to the Emmys!


Hands up if you've ever tried to conceal blemishes or a skin condition with makeup, only to find that it didn't really help or made the problem even more noticeable. I know I have—as a teenager I used to steal my mother's foundation (sorry mom) to cover up the persistent acne on my forehead, but it didn't really make me look any better. In retrospect I think I just looked like a normal kid with a strange glob of cakey foundation badly applied to her forehead and nowhere else. Not subtle. Live and learn, I guess.

When I started getting acne again in my late twenties, I realized that "borrowed" foundation and concealer weren't going to cut it anymore. Makeup can be a powerful tool, but having healthy skin underneath it all is what would (and did) make me feel confident enough to skip it occasionally and leave the house with bare skin. So confident that I'm even willing to post this picture on the internet:

27 June, 2014

Indie Friday: IAdora Lip Scrubs + GIVEAWAY! (via ShopLately)

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This week seems to have been all about confessions, so I'll make another one: I am often too lazy to make my own lip scrubs. I know that it's easily (the most bare-bones varieties require only oil and sugar), but they don't smell as nice as the ones that "the pros" make. Plus any activity that requires cleaning up afterwards makes me run away in fear.

IAdora Lip Scrubs Order via ShopLately

If you read my blog regularly you've probably seen me mention ShopLately in the context of buying accessories and clothing, but did you know they also have a beauty section? As with all things ShopLately you'll find a mixture of mass-produced and handmade items there, but I was pleased to discover that they actually have a few indie merchants selling beauty stuff. I was searching for fancy soaps when I came across IAdora, who sells handmade scrubs, soap, and other nice-looking body stuff. I ended up with lip scrubs instead of soaps for some mysterious reason, but hey, at least my lips are really smooth now?

Keep reading for more info about what I got, plus a little giveaway ....

26 June, 2014

Sweaty Confessions + Staying Fresh Naturally with Tom's of Maine


This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

Here's a confession that will surprise no one: I sweat. One could even say that I sweat a lot in the summertime, and I have a feeling that most of you reading do too. You know what? That's normal. It's what bodies do. In recent weeks I've been reaching for simple, natural underarm products like Tom's of Maine Long Lasting Deodorant to help keep body odor at bay. Just because you sweat doesn't mean you have to smell like you rolled around in a garbage dump, know what I'm saying?

Tom's of Maine Long Lasting Deodorant Sweaty Confessions #FreshNaturally #CollectiveBias #cbias #shop

I asked a few friends if they'd ever experienced an embarrassing moment related to body odor, and a few of them agreed that I could (anonymously) share their stories here. Because as long as we're confessing things, I'll admit that I sometimes find reliving embarrassing stories to be amusing. Fess up: Traumarama was one of your favorite parts of Seventeen Magazine too, right? Maybe I'm the only horrible one here. In any case, today I present Sweaty Confessions: Woeful Tales of Stinkiness.

25 June, 2014

Memebox Free From Oil & Trouble Unboxing + Discounts Galore

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Hi, how are you feeling today? Troubled? Or perhaps a bit ... oily? Then this review is for you. Today I'll be unboxing the Memebox Free From Oil & Trouble box, which is designed with oily and/or acne-prone skin in mind.

Memebox Free From Oil & Troubles Unboxing Review

Weekly Poll: Watcha Watchin'?

Happy Wednesday everybody! Find any new and interesting ways to beat the summer heat? (No, that's not the poll question. But if you have, feel free to share.)

This week's poll question was inspired by my lack of free time. I haven't had the chance to really sit down and watch a lot of TV lately, but last night I was SO TIRED that I got into bed early and watched things on my tablet until I passed out. I started watching a Korean TV series called Big Man (빅맨) and frankly ... it's pretty bad. It's like they took every cheesy soap opera convention and threw it together to make a hastily prepared bowl of Trope Salad. That said, I'll probably continue to watch it because (a) it doesn't take much brain power to process, which is good when you're tired, and (b) I like Kang Ji-hwan. Hubba hubba. But enough babbling, here's my question:

Have you watched any good TV shows lately? "Good" could mean actually good or so bad it's good.

Recommend things to your fellow internet-dwelling humans! Could be old or new, doesn't matter. If you want a free space to ramble about how much you love Quantum Leap or something, by all means, have at it.

23 June, 2014

drww. Power Lift Collection: Overview & Swatches

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Today I'm pleased to introduce you to a few products from drww (pronounced "drew"), a Korean beauty line designed by beauty guru Yu-Jin. My first experience with this brand was via the ActiGen Multi-Action Smart Cream Gel in Memebox Global #10, so it should come as no surprise that Memebox will be adding more drww products to their store in the near future! For now they've sent me samples from this line to give you a little sneak-peek. :)

drww. Power Lift Collection memebox

I've had these for a few weeks now and have had a chance to test them out a bit, so I'll be sharing my impressions as well. But given how much stuff there is I won't go too in-depth for each item, so if you have questions, feel free to ask in the comments!

Warning: This post is very pic-heavy after the jump. But in the best of ways.

22 June, 2014

FORK IT: 5 Veg-friendly Cookbooks I Adore

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I don't know if the fact that I write occasional posts about food makes it obvious, but I love to cook. I'm not a professional or anything, but my cooking skills might even be above average (insert surprised gasp). Things weren't always this way though. I won't get into my whole life history and weird upbringing RE: food and cooking (well, maybe I will another time if people want me to), but the short version is that I didn't learn to cook until I was already living on my own, and I didn't actually get good at it until I switched to a vegetarian diet (for the second time) at the age of 24.

The first time I tried my hand at vegetarianism was when I was in my teens, and it was disaster. My diet consisted mainly of pasta, cheese, and underseasoned tofu—who would want to stick with that? So when I decided to have at it again I started reading cookbooks. Lots and lots of them. Some might have even called it an obsession. These days I can whip up an appetizing meal without looking in a book, but it never hurts to have them around for inspiration, so today I thought I'd share five of my favorite veg-friendly cookbooks. Whether you're vegan, vegetarian, or just looking to do the whole "Meatless Mondays" thing, I hope you find these suggestions interesting and/or useful!

20 June, 2014

The Indoorswoman's Camping Survival Kit with 5-hour ENERGY®


I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

So I guess it's pretty much summer now, huh? Summer is usually the busiest season for my social calendar: Lots of barbecues, summer parties, vacations and—horror of horrors—camping trips. Let me back up a little bit. I don't hate camping—it's actually a great excuse to get out of the city and bond with friends or family. What I don't like is the whole being outside for days at a time part. I'm pale and prone to sunburns, allergic to everything, and know more about commuters and computers than all the little creatures in the forest. What can I say? I'm a city gal and indoorswoman at heart! Thankfully, there are a number of portable products (like 5-hour ENERGY® shots) that can make the experience a lot more pleasant.

The Indoorswoman's Camping Survival Kit with 5-hour ENERGY® Five Hour Energy  #ThisIsMySecret #CollectiveBias #cbias #5HourEnergy

I mention energy shots first because caffeine is a VERY important part of my outdoor survival method. I am a grouchy, non-functional subhuman beast without it, and 5-hour ENERGY® shots require neither heat nor refrigeration to consume, so it's a quick way to get your caffeine fix on the go. No need to bring the cowboy coffee pot along, guys!

I suspect that some of you out there reading are like me, so I thought it would be fun to put together a list of all the wonderfully portable things I'd bring with me to make a weekend of outdoorsiness more tolerable. And even if you are the outdoorsy type, maybe some of these suggestions will be useful to you.


Affiliate Links

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

Exciting news, guys! This week I'm teaming up with Memebox to bring you an extremely awesome giveaway with some extremely awesome prizes. Because extremely awesome things are ... extremely awesome. And yes, there will be multiple prizes this time around—five winners in all! Holy whoa. This is open to both new and existing Memebox customers, so whether you're trying it for the first time or just can't get enough, this giveaway is for you!

Read on for more info ....

19 June, 2014

Review: Chroma Studio Sculpt + Sculpt & Tone Styling Creams

Press Sample

They're ba-aaaack! The styling line by Chroma Studio, I mean. Last time I reviewed their Control 3 Way Hairspray and mentioned how hairspray (in general) was a very nostalgic scent for me. Sculpt and Sculpt & Tone (Chroma's styling creams) also bring back scent memories for me, but for entirely different reasons. Want to know why? Better keep reading ...

Chroma Studio Sculpt and Sculpt & Tone Styling Creams

18 June, 2014

Review: Bulu Box Weight Loss - June 2014

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One of the reasons I like Bulu Box is because they usually send you supplements AND food. I was ferociously hungry earlier today, when I remembered that my box had a little packet of granola in it—nom nom nom! Mmmmmm. Food. Hunger feelings go away.

June 2014 Bulu Box Weight Loss box

Wait, what were we talking about? Oh yeah, unboxings. Want to see what else I got?

Weekly Poll: Blogiversary Bash

Happy Wednesday everybody! This week's silly Weekly Poll graphic is adorned with birthday hats. My birthday was back in February, but today is my blog's one-year birthday, so put on a funny hat and sing it a song.

Since it's my blogiversary, I'm going to be selfish this time and ask a question about my website:

What are your favorite types of posts to read here? Is there anything you wish I'd do more of?

I ask because my blog has sort of shifted forms over the past year. It started out basically just as a general review blog, then soon transitioned into mostly a beauty/beauty review blog, and then beauty + subscription box unboxings, but lately I've been doing a lot of posts about other stuff—accessories, lifestyle, food etc. That's sort of how I wanted it to be in the beginning, but it's taken me a while to head in that direction for whatever reason.

Anyway, tell me what you like! And if you can't think of anything to say feel free to share cute animal pictures in the comments. My blog wants a kitten for its birthday.

17 June, 2014

Graduation Gift Ideas For Your #GreatestGrad at Best Buy


I've never blogged about this before, but my extended family is sort of large. Each of my parents had three siblings, and all of them have kids, and now many of their kids have kids ... you get the picture. Anyway, the youngest of my cousins are now at the age when they're about to graduate from high school and college (or at least move out of the house), so I thought this would be an appropriate time to talk about graduation gifts.

I had already been living on my own for several years when I graduated college. I wish there was some sort of "Hey! You finished your first year of university!" interim celebration in which people gave me housewares and small appliances and stuff, because I ended up furnishing my apartment with hand-me-downs and thrift store scores and even dumpster finds in some cases (no joke). Keeping that in mind, I'm highly inclined to give the recent grads in my life housewares and electronic gizmos, because those ALWAYS make life easier. Luckily, Best Buy has a ton of gifts that are perfect for the recently graduated (or moved out), including a number of picks under $50 and $100.

16 June, 2014

Delicate Hardware: A Jewelry Story (via ShopLately)

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I'm a total sucker for themes. Themed parties, theme outings, themed anything. It upsets me slightly when the contents of my monthly beauty boxes don't match up with the theme listed on the info card. Yeah, I'm crazy.

Lately I've been obsessed with silver jewelry that looks like hardware. That might sound silly, but think about it: Many hardware bits are silver anyway, right? And shoving a screw in your ear isn't the safest thing in the world. Hardware jewelry is a bit edgy, but still way more subtle than dangling a paper clip chain from your nose. I like it.

Anyway, ShopLately has a ton of hardware-inspired accessories, so I maaaaaaay have picked up a few things—want to see what I got?

Stan Says: Adovia Dead Sea Mud Shampoo & Balsam Conditioner

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Stan (my boyfriend, for those of you who are new around here) is back with another mantastic "beauty" review! It's been way too long since the last one, but since today's his birthday I thought now would be a fun time to publish another one. (He turned 32 today, in case anyone is curious.)

Adovia Dead Sea Mud Shampoo & Balsam Dead Sea Salt Deep Hair Conditioner

Stan will be reviewing Adovia Dead Sea Mud Shampoo and Dead Sea Salt/Mineral Balsam Deep Hair Conditioner.. I was originally going to test these myself, but I chickened out at the last minute because I wasn't sure if they'd have a negative impact on my (artificial) hair color. Plus I like watching Stan review things because he's wonderfully awkward about it. Does that make me evil? >:)

15 June, 2014

Beauty Army - June 2014

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My latest Beauty Army box showed up a couple of days ago, and since then I've been pondering the meaning of the name. Beauty Army: An army of beauty products? Of beauticians? Of beautifulness? I don't know. They sent me some samples in any case—want to see if they brought an army of beautifulness to my side?

Beauty Army - June 2014

13 June, 2014

Indie Friday: An Indie Beauty Wishlist

Happy Friday, everybody! I've been out of the indie loop these past couple of weeks because other things have been distracting me, so I thought it would be fun to get back into the swing of things by sharing a few of the indie beauty products I've been coveting lately.

If only Etsy gift certificates grew on trees ....

Beauty Box 5 - June 2014 Review & Unboxing + Free Box Offer!

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Beauty Box 5 is ALIVE!!! (Have I made that joke before? I feel like I have. My brain is broken.)

Beauty Box 5 Five - June 2014 unboxing

OK but seriously, my June Beauty Box 5 is here! And it has nice-smelling stuff in it! Best keep reading to find out what's producing that delicious odor.

12 June, 2014

Meet Revitarest, the skincare ... pillow?!

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I don't know how many of you reading use Pinterest, but I've been wanting to start a new board for a while. A board for all those things you didn't know you needed or wanted until you saw them because there's no way you could have even conceived of them on your own. If anyone knows of a way to summarize that feeling in a few words, let me know. But in the meantime, let me introduce you to a product that would surely get pinned to that board: The Revitarest Skin Care Pillow.

Revitarest Butterfly Plushie Skincare Pillow

Yes, a pillow for skincare. That's plush and blue and shaped like a butterfly. Curious? I certainly was.

Birchbox June 2014 Review & Unboxing

Affiliate Links Bought It

Heigh-ho, it's Birchbox O'clock!

Birchbox June 2014 Review & Unboxing

This month's theme is "Away We Go". Makes sense. Traveling is a lot more fun when the streets aren't blanketed with ice and snow.

11 June, 2014

Memebox 10 Minute Box - Review + discounts for old and new customers!

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Here's some juicy gossip for you: My boyfriend and I went on a DATE to the movies last night. (Insert "oooooooohs" here.) Being the disorganized slob that I am, I found myself scrambling to get ready at the last minute. Thankfully Memebox 10 Minute Box had showed up earlier that day, so I had a bevy of new (and sassy!) products at my beautifying disposal!

Memebox 10 Minute Box

Curious which things I used? Keep reading ....

Weekly Poll: Royal Flush

Happy Wednesday all! I'm still working on my crazy organization project so forgive me if my comment replies are a bit slower than normal, but I figured I should get back to posting. These blogs ain't gonna write themselves, after all.

Today's poll question is about something I think pretty much all us have: toilets. I like to keep things classy around here.

Have you or anyone in your household ever flushed anything "unfortunate" down the toilet by mistake? If so, what was it and how did you get it out?

Let's just say that this topic was inspired by a recent incident in my own life. An incident that occurred at 3AM and involved a 6oz spray bottle accidentally falling into the toilet as it flushed. How was the toilet able to suck it all the way down? I'll never know. In the end we had to call for a plumber, who showed up equipped with a snake and plenty of poop jokes.

09 June, 2014

BRB - I'm Filthy.

Just a quick announcement: I'm going to take a little blogging break (or more accurately, I have been taking a break since Saturday). I figured I'd announce it here so folks don't think I'm dead. (I'm sure y'all were really worried.)

Random placeholder photo I took: A couple embracing against the Fijian sunset. Because I'm creepy like that.

Why the break? I've been spending most of my free time this week reorganizing my massive mess of a home office. Seriously, it's a disaster area, and my productivity is suffering because of it. My goal is to make it (a) tidier and (b) set up in a more functional way without buying a ton of new furniture. So far all I've had to get is a better office chair (yay!) and one set of plastic drawers—not too bad. I don't know that the final result will be Pinterest-perfect, but as long as things actually have a place to go and are not on the floor that's probably fine.

Wish me luck! And if you have any awesome motivational articles about organization, feel free to share them in the comments. I'll probably be back to posting normally on Wednesday or Thursday.

06 June, 2014

RosaPacific 19 Real Neck PT Sheet Mask Review & GIVEAWAY!

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***UPDATE: The giveaway is now closed. The winner has been selected and displayed below.***
Just a quick heads-up: I've been a bit busy this past week, so the next "Fork It" and "Indie Friday" will be postponed until next week. Just in case anyone was wondering. Even if you weren't, you know now.

RosaPacific 19 Real Neck PT Sheet Mask

Anyway, what I do have time to post today is a quick review and giveaway, thanks to the kind folks over at Memebox! The product of the day is RosaPacific's 19 Real Neck PT Sheet Mask (which was featured in Memebox Hair & Body #1).

05 June, 2014

Review: Arvazallia Argan Oil Hair Mask & Oil Treatment

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I feel like it's impossible these days to flip through a beauty magazine (or website) without a thousand argan oil hair treatments jumping out at you. Where did they all come from? Why now?! Maybe it has to do with the fact that argan oil is an awesome, multi-purpose moisturizer. That must be it. In any case, I'll be reviewing two argan-tastic products from Arvazallia today: Their hydrating Argan Oil Hair Mask and Premium Argan Oil Hair Treatment.

Arvazallia Hydrating Argan Oil Hair Mask Arvazallia Argan Oil for Hair Treatment

Will they stand out from the competition? Read on to find out!

04 June, 2014

Weekly Poll: Retro Roadshow

Today's poll question comes to you from the offices of "What do you think?" and "That's just like your OPINION, man!!!"

I was having a conversation with somebody recently about "retro" stuff in makeup and fashion and even video games that's making a comeback, and it got me thinking:

How old do you think something needs to be before it's "retro"? What about "vintage" or "antique"?

Before you answer, I want you to consider something—certain mediums age more quickly than others. Most people would probably describe a computer game from the early 90s as retro at this point, but what about ... a chair? The design of toothpaste tubes? And by the same token, is there such a thing as an "antique" computer game? You tell me.

(By the way, there are numerous articles about this online. Don't look at those. I want to know what you instinctively think. Because like I value your opinions and stuff, man.)

03 June, 2014

Ramblings on fitness, the #SCSBC14 challenge, and mailboxes

It's rare that I do posts comprised entirely of random chatter, but I'm in that kind of mood today. Let's blame the heat. Heat makes my brain melt. Brrrbbl.

I took this picture a while ago and now I don't remember why. Random enough for you?

02 June, 2014

Review: Memebox Hair & Body (plus coupon codes!)

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Are y'all Memebox-ed out yet? I have another one to share with you today, and in my opinion this is one of the best ones they've sent out to date.

Memebox Hair & Body #1

The Memebox du jour is Hair & Body (1st edition), and it's filled to the brim with items that are both practical AND pamper-tastic. Want to see what all the fuss is about? Keep on reading!

#HPBScentOfTheDay Challenge Roundup 4/4 - final

May is over so I thought I'd check in for the final roundup of my scent-of-the-day challenge. Many vials were opened, many perfumes worn, many scents were described as "fresh" or "neutral" (my boyfriend's default words to describe things with inoffensive odors). At last, this challenge has come to an end.

01 June, 2014

5 Simple Uses for Rosehip & Argan Oil

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I don't know about you, but I really like using oils as part of my moisturizing routine. I've found that it actually makes a huge difference in my skin, and there are a number of oils that don't seem to exacerbate my acne, so I'm totally on the oil bandwagon at the moment. I recently found myself in possession of two ENORMOUS bottles of rosehip seed oil and argan oil thanks to InstaNatural, and wondered "How am I going to use this all on my face before it goes bad?"

Instanatural rosehip seed oil and argan oil

I have a not-so-secret secret to share with you—oils can be used for more than just rubbing straight on your face. So I thought I'd share a few of my favorite uses for rosehip and argan oil with you today. These ideas aren't really groundbreaking, but maybe some of them will inspire you to use oil in new ways.

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