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

30 September, 2014

Checking out the Bigelow #BigTeaBar at NYC's Hester Street Fair


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

This past Saturday, I paid a visit to the Hester Street Fair (located in Manhattan's Lower East Side). If you've ever been to the fair you might recognize this intersection, except there was something a bit out of the ordinary parked at the entrance this time ... an Airstream trailer serving Bigelow Tea! Ooh, shiny.

29 September, 2014

Falling for Autumn | Easy Apple Pie Spice Flavored Coffee

Fun Fact: Did you know that today is International Coffee Day? Not exactly a major holiday, but any excuse to celebrate is probably a good one, I say. Since I declared Monday to be "Celebrate all things autumn" day last week and there was also discussion of coffee preparation, I thought I would share a quick way to fall-ify your cuppa joe without visiting Starbucks. It's easy and uses stuff that you probably already have in your pantry.

Easy Apple Pie Spice Flavored Coffee homemade diy

It's hard to make friends (until you say hello)


Let's face it: It can be hard to make new friends as an adult, especially as you get older. Not impossible, but difficult, especially once you're out of school and settled into a routine that doesn't necessarily involve going out and partying every night. Where does one get new friends? Friends-R-Us? (Oh, the hilarity.)

Despite the social roadblocks, it is possible to meet new people by chance ... if you're open to it. Today I bring you a brief tale from my own life of social awkwardness, serendipity, and unexpected friendship. The kind of thing that only happened because I decided not to be a hermit and say "hello" to a stranger. Weird, but it does work once in a while.

26 September, 2014

Indie Friday: My most-used indie beauty products

Bought It

Indie beauty stuff, I have lots of it. I thought it might be interesting to look through my collection and share which products I've been using the most often lately. Sometimes I'll give products a good review but they don't necessarily achieve OMG MUST-HAVE status, so I thought it might be interesting to look at a few of the things that have ascended to that level. Some of these are perennial faves, some are seasonal faves, but what do they all have in common? I like them. I mean like-like them. Swoon.

24 September, 2014

Deal Alert: Awesome beauty savings at Target + great deals on Laneige!

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I'm sure some of you have heard about this already, but Target has an awesome coupon deal going on right now: Save $5 off beauty purchases $20+ or $10 off beauty purchases $35+ (includes haircare, cosmetics, skincare, and fragrances). I wanted to point this out because (a) it's just an awesome deal in general, and (b) I know many of you are fans of Laneige, which of course is sold at Target stores and online in the USA ... so this would be a great time to stock up if you're a fan!

Images courtesy of the Target website

Not sure what to get? Here are a few of my favorite Laneige products:

There are three ways you can get the discount:
  • Visit the Target coupons page and print a physical coupon to use in-store.
  • Use coupon code BEAUTY5 (for $5 off $20) or BEAUTY10 (for $10 off $35) when placing an online order.
  • Text BLUSH4 to 827438 for the $5 off coupon, or BEAUTY4 to 827438 to get an in-store mobile coupon sent to your smartphone.

I believe that all of these coupons expire on 9/27 (this Saturday), so don't put off using them too long! If you're a RedCard holder, I think you can use your usual 5% discounts on top of this as well. You can also "subscribe" to certain beauty items for 5% off even if you're not a RedCard holder.

Have you picked up anything awesome with these beauty coupons? Share in the comments!

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

Weekly Poll: Cawfee Tawk

Happy Wednesday, everybody!

This week's weekly question was inspired by two things: One, finding the silly picture you see above on my hard drive, and two, sleep deprivation plus lack of caffeine. So excuse me if this post only makes marginal sense. Giraffe lemon skate park.

How do you prepare and/or take your coffee? Or if you're not a coffee-drinker, what beverages do you enjoy as a pick-me-up instead?

When at home I typically prepare my coffee in a French press. We had a drip coffee pot, but got rid of it to save space when we lived in "The Submarine" (referenced here). I will usually put a small amount of sweetener in (sugar or agave syrup) and a healthy splash of almond milk. Mmm, creamy. Then I put it in my face hole. Mmm, warm. When I have coffee out I tend to skip the milk and sweetener though—not really sure why, as a lot of cafes in New York seem to have non-dairy options (soy milk at the very least), but they just don't seem as appealing out in the world somehow.

How about you? I think I need to giraffe lemon skate park myself a cuppa now or else I'll lemon.

22 September, 2014

Apartment Life Tips: Shopping for small spaces on a budget (+ grocery coupons!)


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

Random confession of the day: I don't have cable, but whenever I visit my mother (who does), I like to watch Extreme Couponing. There's something oddly satisfying about watching people swoop through the stores with an armful of grocery coupons then leaving with 7,000 bottles of hand soap. I realize that certain aspects of the program are probably staged, but the truth is that you can save money by buying household products in bulk and using coupons.

Apartment Life Tips: Shopping for small spaces on a budget Henkels A plus A+ Values #aplusvalues #collectivebias #cbias

Bulk-buying gets a bit tricky when you live in an smaller home though. My boyfriend and I share a modestly-sized two bedroom apartment in New York, a city that isn't exactly known for its spacious domiciles. Before that we lived in a one-room studio apartment that was roughly 7' by 20'. We called it "The Submarine", and boy oh boy was that a tight squeeze. Despite the lack of space, I've still always found ways to stock up at least a little bit and save, so today I thought I'd share a few of my apartment-friendly shopping tips!

Falling For Autumn | 4 fall films to get you in a leafy mood

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OK, for real this time: Happy fall, y'all! Well, fall doesn't technically start until 10:29PM EDT tonight, but close enough.

Despite my ambivalence for pumpkin spice and certain other pumpkin-related things, I think fall is actually my favorite season. The weather is tolerable, the changing leaves are pretty, and by the end of it you start to see some pretty epic sweaters and jackets out on the street (well at least here in New York, anyway). I feel like last year I was too preoccupied with stressful things (oh, life) to really enjoy the season, so this year I'm putting my foot down: I will be celebrating fall, damn it. And I've decided that I'm also going to do a blog series about fun and/or interesting autumnal things—let's call it Falling For Autumn! (Sorry about the cheesy name. Wait ... I'm not actually sorry. DEAL WITH IT.) Check back every Monday between now and Thanksgiving for a new seasonal tidbit. Today we'll start with something relatively simple ....

19 September, 2014

Indie Friday: The Sweet Anthem/SA List - Fall 2014 Fragrance Anthology

Bought It

At long last, my SA List fall box is here! There was a bit of a shipping mix-up which resulted in me getting this waaaay late, but the owner was super-fast to rectify the situation once I noticed it was missing, so kudos to her for that.

Walmart Beauty Box Fall 2014 - Review & Unboxing

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I don't know about you, but I always get excited when I see new beauty box subscriptions pop up in the sub-$15 price range. I love a good mystery box, but the higher the price gets, the more it starts to feel like a "risk", you know? Today I'll be showing you my very-first Walmart Beauty Box, which cost a mere five smackers. I have yet to see a beauty subscription that cost less than $5 per box, so I think this is about as low-risk as you can get without actually buying mystery boxes, eh?

Walmart Beauty Box Fall 2014 - Review & Unboxing

I'm sure I don't need to tell anybody what Walmart is, but their beauty box subscription is a new thing. It is a recurring subscription (unlike the Target Beauty Boxes we see pop up occasionally) and is shipped quarterly, around the beginning of each season. Walmart's box costs a mere $5 per quarter and includes surprise samples and/or full-sized products from drugstore brands. Sound good? Well it sounded good to me, so I signed up! Read on for all the deets on what was in my first box.

17 September, 2014

Meet Vain Pursuits, your personalized skincare service

Press Sample

Hey skincare junkies, do you ever wish there was a magical elf living in your medicine cabinet who knew all your skin woes and could magically make you products that were perfect for your needs? (Deep breath.) Well today I'd like to introduce you to a skincare service that's sort of like that: Vain Pursuits. Except they're not elves (that I know of, anyway) and they're from Montréal, not the magical land between your medicine cabinet and the wall. But they will send you highly personalized skincare products, and that's what really counts.

Vain Pursuits personalized skincare discovery service

Weekly Poll: Sweater Weather (almost)

Happy Wednesday, everybody!

Not sure how it is where you live, but it has cooled down a LOT here in New York. Not quite "chilly" yet, but I've found myself wanting to actually put on long-sleeved shirts or sweatshirts whilst hanging around the house. (Note: This will change in October when the heat comes on for the season. Then I will be wearing shorts and tank tops and flinging the windows open and gasping for breath until the end of winter.) I was asking my boyfriend the other day what some of his favorite things about fall were, and he said "Wearing sweaters!" Which made me think of today's question ....

What's your favorite sweater? Describe it to us! Does it have sentimental value? Sweatshirts, shawls, and other cozy garments of that type count too.

My most-worn sweater-esque garment is a large, green Carhartt hoodie my boyfriend got me as a gift a couple of years ago. He asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and I said "a sweatshirt", but I don't think he realized I meant a women's sweatshirt, heh. While the Carhartt hoodie isn't exactly super-feminine or stylish, it is nice and cozy, so I wear it around the house a lot, or as an extra layer under my coat when it gets ridiculously freezing. Hooray for warmth!

How about you? Tell me about your favorite cozy garments!

16 September, 2014

Beauty Box 5 - September 2014 Review & Unboxing

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In a not-so-surprising twist, my September Beauty Box 5 has arrived! Hooray! Who wants to see what's in it?

 Beauty Box 5 - September 2014 Review & Unboxing

Memebox Special #26 - Hand & Nail Care: Review and NEW Coupon Codes

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Hey look, it's a Memebox! Bet you weren't expecting to see one of those around here ... NOT!!! (This wit, it's killing me.)

Memebox Special #26 - Hand & Nail Care

The box of the day is the Hand & Nail Care Box, which promises to "put your best hands forward." Full box description:

Our hands and nails are so neglected! From washing loads of post-dinner dishes to picking open lipstick packaging and applying and removing nail polishes, our hands and nails go through daily abuse that will eventually lead us to have withered zombie fingers. At Memebox, we believe that healthy and pretty hands are a girl’s best accessory, that hands should be as smooth as a baby’s bottom and that crazy manis are the best pick-me-up for any crappy day! So, treat and moisturize hands and nails to prevent early signs of aging, strengthen and pamper nails to perfection to create that impeccable nail salon-done look!

You forgot the bit about how typing all day can also mess up your nails. Oh this modern existence! I don't think I'm quite at the "withered zombie fingers" stage yet, but I certainly don't want to get there, so we best get cracking and dig into the contents of this box.

15 September, 2014

Keeping Unnaturally Red Hair Vibrant with Nexxus Color Assure


I have a not-so-secret secret to share with you: I dyed my hair bright red again a few weeks ago. I didn't document the experience because it came out a little different than I expected (hellooooo Ronald McDonald meets a carrot) and needed a bit of after-care to not look ridiculous, but I look semi-normal now! Hooray! This post isn't about dyeing hair though, it's about maintaining dyed hair. If any of you reading have ever dyed your hair bright red before, you know that it is the MOST impossible color to maintain. Washing your hair less often helps, but eventually you're going to need to wash it if you don't want to look greasy. Society and their demands, man.

I recently had an opportunity to try out the Nexxus Color Assure haircare system, an oil-infused line that promises "2X longer color protection and vibrancy." I agreed to test the products for at least three weeks, and naturally I couldn't wait to see how they fared against my newly-found Ronald-ness.

Nexxus Color Assure system product line

There are four products/steps in this system. I'll go through them in the order of use for clarity.

14 September, 2014

Insta-pamper with scrumptious-smelling body care by Nubian Heritage

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I am (and always have been) a sucker for good-quality scented body products. I have become sort of picky with my fragrant choices over the years though: I tend not to like products if they smell sort of artificial, and in the case of lotions and whatnot, they also need to be pretty darn emollient. Call me crazy, but I want my body moisturizers to actually moisturize. Today I'd like to introduce you to some lovely body products by Nubian Heritage that fit the bill in both departments. Insta-pamper session, no reservations required.

Nubian Heritage Body Care

13 September, 2014

Birchbox September 2014 Review & Unboxing

Affiliate Links Bought It

Like any good online shopper, I've been stalking my Birchbox tracking number diligently ever since they sent it. According to that tracking number, my box is in New Jersey. According to me, both the box and myself are in New York right this moment. Which do you think is accurate?

Birchbox September 2014 Review & Unboxing

In any case I've got a Birchbox to show you, and it's a pretty good one. Read on for all the (Viva La) juicy details! (Yeah, they can't seem to stop sending Juicy Couture perfumes. WHAT IS THIS.)

12 September, 2014

Indie Friday: Etsy Wishlist + Gift Card Giveaway!

Hey hey, it's Friday! Have you got fun plans for the weekend? Or will you be glued to your computer like me? Today I thought I'd share a few of the items on my Etsy lust list. For enabling entertainment purposes. Even better yet, every single thing on my list is $10 or less! Hooray for not breaking the bank. I hope this whets your indie shopping appetite, because I'll also be giving away a $25 Etsy gift card to one lucky reader! Woo-hoo! (Giveaway details/Rafflecopter widget below.)

11 September, 2014

Review: Pennie Post Stationery Subscription - September 2014

Press Sample

Calling all cute stationery and snail mail enthusiasts: This review is for you. It's no secret that I love sending cards and letters through the post just for the hell of it—it's a dying art, man. Today I'd like to introduce you to Pennie Post, a subscription service that sends you cool new cards and stationery each month. If you send or give cards with any regularity, this sub is definitely worth a look.

Pennie Post Stationery Subscription

10 September, 2014

Weekly Poll: It's Pumpkininny!

Happy Wednesday, all!

It's not technically autumn yet, but I'm already seeing scores of blog posts pop up dedicated to dressing for fall and eating for fall and just generally falling for fall. (See what I did there?) Which brings me to a very hard-hitting, topical question:

How do you feel about the pumpkin/pumpkin spice craze?

It seems like everybody and their grandma is already stocking up on pumpkin candles and pumpkin lattes and whatnot. What do you think—totally delicious and worth the hype or kind of bleh? I've always been a big fan of pumpkin pie and pumpkin as an ingredient in other recipes, but I'm not sure where I stand on the latte issue. And pumpkininny candles either smell good to me or give me a headache, depending on the manufacturer.

So where do you stand on the pumpkin issue? Pumpkin all the way? Sometimes? Never? In space? Deep thoughts.

09 September, 2014

SAVE THE UNDIES! - or - How I'd Spend $19.14


Here's a fun little factoid that I'm sure will fascinate all of you: I just bought nineteen dollars and fourteen cents worth of new underwear. (Weird number, but that's really how much they cost.) Buying undies wasn't at the top of my priority list this month, but I ended up needing to because of some damage caused to my old ones during ... er ... that "special" time of the month. You know, being unprepared for a visit from Auntie Flo. Vicious attacks during Shark Week, if you will. (How many more euphemisms for getting your period do you think I can come up with before the end of this post?) I don't know about you, but I'm not a big fan of having to replace clothing due to an unexpected "red dot special" (hey, I did it again!), so today I'll be teaming up with U by Kotex® to talk about how we can "Save The Undies" from future mishaps, and other, more fun things you could do with $19.14.

This is my underwear. Fresh from the package and still wrinkled. Impressed?

08 September, 2014

10 Favorite Foodie Uses for Coconut Oil

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Ah, coconut oil. My Pinterest feed is inundated with posts professing its muli-tasking, beautifying abilities: You can use it as conditioner! As makeup remover! As a natural mouthwash! And so on. While some of those things are definitely true, I still tend to think of coconut oil as a cooking ingredient more than anything else, so today I thought I'd share a few of my favorite foodie uses for the stuff. (And if you want to steal a spoonful for your hair every now and then I certainly won't oppose.)

06 September, 2014

FORK IT: Frozen foods from Trader Joe's I have eaten recently

Bought It

As promised in my monthly favorites post, here's a recap of some of the frozen foods from Trader Joe's I've eaten recently. Before I begin I would like to apologize for the incredibly poor quality of photography present in this post: Most of these snapshots were taken in a frenzy as I was about to tear into my food. (This may also provide some unintentional insights into how awesome I am when I'm hungry?) In any case, I'll describe these foods to the best of my ability and tell you if I think they're tasty or disgusting. Helpful, huh?

Frozen food #1: Trader Giotto's Authentic Italian Penne Arrbbiata ($2.99)

05 September, 2014

Indie Friday: A few tidbits from the Haus of Gloi Autumn 2014 Collection

Bought It

You know it's almost fall when you start contemplating picking up pumpkin scented bath goods. I've been able to resist the pumpkininny-ness of this seasonal transition so far, but I did find myself browsing the Haus of Gloi autumn release and ending up with some Halloween candy-scented items instead. Oops. Yay? I didn't go totally wild with my purchasing this time, but I thought I'd share my thoughts on the few items I did get for future reference and posterity.

Haus of Gloi autumn fall halloween 2014 collection

Everything came wrapped up in tissue with fall leaves printed on it. Aww.

04 September, 2014

Deal Alert: Suave Split End Rescue on Rollback at Walmart


Split ends, man. Nobody likes them. For whatever reason my hair seems to be extra super-duper prone to getting them, to the point where I've been known to attack random ends of my hair with scissors in an attempt to be rid of them. (Note: This is not recommended unless you want to give off that "Recently Gone Insane" vibe.)

Where does Hair Creature end and Rebecca begin? And thus begins the descent into madness.

Thankfully, there are somewhat less drastic measures one can take to get their split ends under control: For example, using haircare products designed to help strengthen hair and reduce split ends, such as Suave Split End Rescue Shampoo & Conditioner. Even better yet: Both of these products are currently on Rollback at Walmart for a mere $2.50 each! Prices that definitely won't drive you crazy. That's less than a cup of coffee most places, guys.

How do you deal with split ends? Do you ever just randomly snip them off and then regret it?

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Global Influence, however any opinions expressed above are honest and my own. For more information, check out my full disclosure policy.

03 September, 2014

GIVEAWAY!!! Enter to win a mystery prize pack of Memebox products

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Beauty box addicts, I'm sure you've all experienced this at one point or another: Intense product overload. Especially ever since Memebox, purveyor of beauty boxes containing large or full-sized products, came on the scene. More stuff than you could ever know what to do with. What to do—take a bath in all that extra hand cream?

I've made some amazing beauty discoveries through Memebox, but I've also accumulated quite a few items that I'm just not going to use. Rather than hoard all my rejects forever, I thought I'd put them to good use—as a giveaway prize! Meet "NoNo Box", AKA my "One man's trash is another man's treasure" box. And one of you will win it!

Weekly Poll: Share the (Linky) Love

Happy Wednesday, everybody! It doesn't feel like a Wednesday to me,  but that's often the case after a holiday weekend. Is it still hot and humid where you are? I feel like mentally cooling off a bit, so today you get a picture I took of some penguins swimming instead of the usual silly Weekly Poll graphic.

Whooooosh! Anyway, today's question is for all the social bloggers out there:

What are your favorite blog link-ups/link parties to participate in? Share the details (i.e. links and the subject) below!

I used to participate in the Share Your Subscription link party every month, but that hasn't been happening recently. Boo-hoo-hoo. Anyway I'd love to find some new ones to participate in (or just browse, if the topic is interesting!) Sharing is caring. Social blogging is ... social.

02 September, 2014

Recent (not-just-beauty) favorites

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Hey, so it's been MONTHS since I did any sort of "favorites" roundup. I just don't always feel motivated to write one, even when I've tried lots of things I liked. What makes this time different? I don't know. Probably unicorns. In any case, I have several recent (not-just-beauty) favorites to share with you today!

Since I do tend to write about beauty products more often than anything else, let's start with that.

Maybelline Dream Wonder Fluid Touch Foundation Review & Swatches

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It's almost fall, y'all! Weird. I actually just bought a bunch of summer clearance clothing in preparation for winter, but that's a weird topic that should probably wait until later. Um, anyway, who wants to hear about a new (ish) and awesome foundation? The product du jour is Maybelline Dream Wonder Fluid Touch Foundation. Some of you may remember this popping up in my Walgreens summer beauty post, but I wanted to give it a more detailed review.

Maybelline Dream Wonder Fluid Touch Foundation 10 Porcelain Ivory 15 Ivory

I own this foundation in two shades: Porcelain Ivory (10) and Ivory (15). These are the lightest options in the range and there are 10 additional, darker shades. Not a bad selection.

01 September, 2014

Memebox Deals & Coupon Codes - September 2014

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Happy September, everybody! Just like last month, I thought I'd compile a list of all the Memebox coupon codes and extra-special deals I could find. This will be updated throughout the month so check back if nothing tickles your fancy just now!

Update: This page is now defunct! Bookmark my new Memebox Deals and Coupons page, which is updated multiple times per month.

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