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

29 November, 2014

Finding Financial Peace: How I plan on saving an extra $1000 in 2015


Building up a savings account can be difficult for people in their 20s and early 30s. A lot of us are new in our careers and not earning the "big bucks" just yet, some are still recovering from student loan debt, and others are just starting to learn the intricacies of budgeting and money stuff. I've always been financially aware, but I didn't really worry about saving money in my 20s—I wanted to travel the world! So travel (and spend money on travel) I did. But now that I'm a little older I've started to worry that I don't have much of an emergency savings—I'd like to think that I'm invincible, but the truth is that emergencies (and unexpected expenses) do happen and it's better to be prepared than not. With than in mind, I'm challenging myself to save an extra $1000 in 2015 to give myself a bit of financial peace of mind, and I think I've come up with a feasible way to do it!

28 November, 2014

Review: XO Memebox Meme Mask Intensive Moisturizing Hydrogel

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I'm sure some of you have noticed this, but Memebox has been rolling out all sorts of own-brand goodies on their global site recently. When I first heard that they were releasing a line of masks I didn't pay much attention until an Instagram post by fellow Meme-fan Fanserviced alerted me to to the fact that these are hydrogel masks. I looooooove hydrogels, and these are very reasonably priced ($3 each or less!), so I added one to my last Memebox shop order for testing purposes! And then a couple days later a two more Meme-masks showed up unannounced in my mailbox for review. Whoops. I'm not going to complain though, because these masks are pretty baller!

XO Memebox Meme Mask Intensive Moisturizing Hydrogel hydrogels

Indie Friday | Review: Wiggle Perfume's Mathilde

Bought It

Happy shopping madness day, everyone! :P I thought I'd take a moment away from the insanity of holiday shopping to write about one of my favorite indie fragrances: Wiggle Perfume and Sundries' Mathilde.

Wiggle Perfume and Sundries Mathilde 5ml rollerball

27 November, 2014

My favorite Black Friday online deals

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Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! Hopefully you've had a pleasant day full of delicious food and good company.

I thought I'd share some of my favorite Black Friday sale finds—this is by no means an exhaustive list, just a few of the sales I'll be taking advantage of myself or found to be extra-tempting. Some of these deals are already live, some go live on the actual Friday. Enjoy!

26 November, 2014

Stocking Stuffer Giveaway Alert! Win an Old Factory Candles gift set

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Calling all scented candle fiends: Here's a surprise giveaway I think you might like! Meet Old Factory, makers of high-quality soy wax scented candles, available exclusively on Amazon. Awesome fragrances AND an amusing name? Sold! :D

Old Factory Candles gift set

Weekly Poll: Gobble gobble.

Happy Wednesday, everybody! And happy almost-Thanksgiving to my fellow Americans.

This glorious turkey clip art via

Since it's a holiday week, let's talk about that! My question of the week:

What are you doing for Thanskgiving? Traveling, cooking at home, eating at McDonald's, what?! Or if you're not in the United States, tell me what you think of Thanksgiving. Do you like the idea of massive celebratory meals? Let's dish.

As for me and Stanny-Stan, we'll be staying home this year and preparing a mini feast for ourselves. Our menu includes:
  • Field Roast (vegetarian protein - kind of like a Tofurky, but way tastier)
  • Homemade cranberry sauce
  • A massive sweet potato casserole with pecans
  • Green beans with ginger peanut sauce (not exactly traditional, but it goes well)
  • Bread and wine (goes with any meal, am I right?)
  • Pumpkin pie

I will make most of this stuff, except for the Field Roast (which just needs to be heated up) and the pie, which is Stan's project. This spread isn't quite as impressive as the ones from my youth, but there are only two of us and only so many candied vegetables we can eat at once, you know? Gobble gobble.

24 November, 2014

Stocking Stuffer Giveaway Alert! Win a Real Techniques Starter Brush Set

Bought It

Who's ready for another giveaway? This week I'll be stuffing someone's stocking with one of my favorite beauty-related tools, a starter set of Real Techniques eye makeup brushes!

Real Techniques Starter Brush Set eye eyes

Memebox Special #42 - OMG Box #3 Review & Unboxing

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Have you ever looked at your skincare collection and thought "Man, this stuff just isn't weird enough"? I generally don't find myself thinking that, but when Memebox OMG Box #3 showed up on my doorstep I couldn't help but get a bit excited too see what sorts of delightful oddities might be within. Living large! Living on the edge! Livin' la vida loca! Or something.

Memebox Global Special #42 - OMG Box #3 Review & Unboxing

21 November, 2014

What's your beauty legacy?


What sort of "beauty legacy" do you leave for the girls (or even women) in your life? You don't necessarily need to have daughters to have an influence—some of us teach, some of us coach, some of us are caregivers in other ways, and some of us are just generally looked up to by the younger generation. You might be a role model without even realizing it!

20 November, 2014

Bespoke Post - Slate Box Review & Unboxing

Press Sample

Looking for a holiday gift idea for a dude or foodie in your life? Today I'll be sharing a review of the Bespoke Post Slate box, which I think would fit the bill quite nicely for both of those parties. Or for me. Please send this box to me, strangers on the internet. Chomp.

Bespoke Post - Slate Box review unboxing

19 November, 2014

Beauty Box 5 - November 2014 Review & Unboxing

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Poll time: Do you think oral hygiene products can be classified as "beauty" products? I've debated this myself a few times as I've reviewed or geeked out over toothpaste, but ultimately I think I'd label them as "personal care" rather than "beauty". Speaking of beauty, here's my unboxing of this month's Beauty Box 5 box! (And you'll see why I was rambling about oral hygiene in a second.)

Beauty Box 5 - November 2014 Review & Unboxing contents

Stocking Stuffer Alert! Datevitation Love Coupon Book Review & Giveaway


When you were a kid, did you ever make a "coupon book" for one of your parents or friends as a gift? Think vouchers for stuff like breakfast in bed, "I'll be good an won't argue when you try to ground me" and so on. (Yes, that second one was a real one from one of mine. Oh, my lucky parents.) If "love coupons" are nostalgic for you or just generally up your alley, then I think you'll love the service I'm reviewing today: Datevitation!

So what is Datevitation, you might be wondering? Datevitation.com is the web's first online platform to create a custom "love coupon" book. Their site is absolutely FULL of date ideas and activity suggestions, all of which are illustrated to make your coupon book gift more special and fun. And unlike premade books, you can customize the coupons and text to your liking, plus even add your own faces to Datevitation's stock characters using the "Add Your Faces" feature!  Once you are done customizing your book, Datevitation prints it out on high-quality paper and ships it out to you. Easy! The books come in a festive letter-sized envelope and look like this:

I chose a "Merry Christmas" cover because I had the intention of using this as a stocking stuffer, but they have over 100 other covers you can use for different occasions.

Weekly Poll: Planning For Planners

Happy Wednesday, everybody! Is it chilly where you live? It's already down to 30° F (-1° C) here. What's up with that?! I think I'm going to do my last "Falling For Autumn" post this week because it doesn't even feel like autumn anymore, sobcrysob. But we can talk more about that later.

This week's question was inspired by the fact that it's already November 19th. Which means it will be December soon, and then a new year. Whoa.

Do you still keep a paper calendar or planner? If so, do you take time to choose the one you want in advance or do you just use whatever's cheap or given to you as a gift?

I still can't get 100% into keeping a digital planner. I do keep my blogging calendar/schedule as a Microsoft Word document, and sometimes I will add things to my Google Calendar so I get e-mail reminders, but that's about the extent of it. I like paper planners just because they're fun to decorate... I even started a Pinterest board partially dedicated to the subject. (Not that mine look SUPER nice, but y'know, stickers. They're fun.) So with that said, I guess I'd prefer to choose my planner for next year, though as of now I don't know which one to get—gulp!

How about you? Are you a picky paper-picky or any anything goes sort of gal (or guy)? Or do you prefer all digital all the time?

18 November, 2014

Healthy Surprise Snack Box - Classic Starter Box Review & Unboxing

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Hands up if you like snacks! Unless you're in the midst of snacking, in which case please keep your hand firmly lodged in the container so you can keep eating. (Thank you.) Today I'll be sharing the contents of a recent Healthy Surprise box, which is a food subscription that promises snacks that are both healthy and tasty. Yay!

Healthy Surprise Snack Box - Classic Starter Box Review october 2014 unboxing review

FYI: I'm not sure how much the Healthy Surprise boxes vary from subscriber to subscriber, but I got this one at the very end of October 2014. So I guess it's the October box? It's filled with food in any case, and that's what matters.

17 November, 2014

Everyday Looks: Quick Styles For Fine Hair


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

Having fine hair can be a pain sometimes. You know how big, tousled waves look sort of casual and natural? Well, I'll tell you this: They sure as heck don't come naturally to me! Thankfully, with the aid of heat styling tools and a little patience, it is possible to get a little shape and volume up in there. Today I'll be sharing a couple of quick and easy hairstyles for fine hair using two of my favorite styling tools: The Conair Curl Secret and the Conair Pro 3Q.

hairstyles for fine hair everyday looks quick styles

ShopLately Favorites: Gorgeous Handmade Rose Gold Accessories

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What do y'all think about rose gold? Personally I love it—sometimes yellow gold can look a bit "off" on my skin, but rose gold is really pretty and flattering, I think. If you're also a fan, you're in luck! This month I've combed through ShopLately's vast catalog of jewelry and picked a few of my favorite rose gold baubles to share. (Hint hint: Know someone else who loves rose gold? Holiday gift ideas!)

shoplately favorites handmade rose gold jewelry

ModCloth Holiday Gift Guide: 'Tis The Season for Funny Sweaters


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

Who's a fan of wearing crazy sweaters around the holidays? Personally I think it should be an acceptable practice year-round, but I guess it makes more sense when you've had a few servings of eggnog. Or something. Anyway, ModCloth just released their 2014 Holiday Gift Guide, so I combed through it and picked a few of my favorite heinous sweaters for your browsing pleasure!

All images above are the property of ModCloth.

16 November, 2014

"What's In My Bag?" and the Kipling Holiday Tour in NYC


I've been blogging in this space for nearly a year and a half now, and it occurred to me the other day that I've never done a proper "What's in my bag?" post. Not that this is a mandatory meme for bloggers or anything, but it's fun! I recently had the chance to pick up a new purse thanks to the friendly folks at Kipling USA, so I thought this would be as good a time as any to share the "What's In My Bag: Running Errands" edition. I'll also be sharing info about the upcoming Kipling Holiday Tour at the end of the post!

Birchbox November 2014 Review & Unboxing #shaRED

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If you follow me on Instagram you may have noticed that I've been out of town for the past few days ... well I'm back! In one piece, no less. I came home to a rather impressive pile of mail, including this month's Birchbox. And you want to know something? I liked it! Read on to see what was inside.

Birchbox November 2014 Review & Unboxing #shaRED RED AIDS HIV

14 November, 2014

Indie Friday | Darling Girl Glitter Glue vs. Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy: Which one is better?

Bought It

For this week's Indie Friday I thought I'd focus on something really basic: Glitter eyeshadow fixatives/foiling mediums. These are typically used under really sparkly or shimmery eyeshadows to make them appear more vivid and make the glitter pop—definitely good if you want to sparkle like a vampire. But which eyeshadow medium is the best? Two of the most commonly-discussed indie products of this type are Darling Girl Glitter Glue and Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy, so today I thought I'd pit them against each other in an epic eyeshadow battle. Your eyelids will never be the same again.

Darling Girl Glitter Glue vs. Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy: Which one is better? Comparison test swatch swatches

13 November, 2014

Meet First Aid Shot Therapy, your F.A.S.T. solution for relief from everyday ailments

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How many of you take pain relievers or antacids on a regular basis? If so you should check out First Aid Shot Therapy (or "F.A.S.T." if we're being concise), which is a new-ish line of single-dose, easy-to-swallow OTC medicines in liquid form.

Meet First Aid Shot Therapy pain relief upset stomach

I was really interested in trying First Aid Shot Therapy when I first heard about it because I'm one of those people who has trouble swallowing pills sometimes. You can laugh all you want at the teddy bear-shaped calcium gummies I take, but at least I'm not paranoid about choking on them when nobody else is home. Death by kid's vitamins? Not very rock and roll. Anyway, this is not an issue with F.A.S.T. because they're liquid—down the hatch they go with ease!

12 November, 2014

Review: MONAT Global Rejuveniqe Oil Intensive

Press Sample

In the market for a new multi-purpose beauty oil? Today I'll be sharing my thoughts on MONAT Global Rejuveniqe Oil Intensive, which promises to "mimic the body's natural oils." So how did it do? Read on to find out!

MONAT Global Rejuveniqe Oil Intensive

Stocking Stuffer Giveaway Alert! Enter for a chance to win a set of Sally's Box Love Recipe sheet masks

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Calling all mask addicts! The latest installment of HelloPrettyBird Stuffs Your Stocking is just for you. The prize of the week is a FULL SET of Sally's Box Love Recipe sheet masks, which some of you may have seen in past Memeboxes. These are classic moisturizing sheet masks—not the fanciest ones on the market, but very soft and comfortable to wear, plus they're available in a whopping 14 flavors. One lucky reader will win one of each variety—holy skin-softening, Batman!

Weekly Poll: Midnight Train to ______

Happy Wednesday, everybody! Please excuse my semi-quietness these past few days—I've had to work on some last-minute boring stuff. And travel to visit family. On a train. Choo-choo. (I'm tired, can you tell?)

This week's question was inspired by most recent (ahem TODAY) experience with Amtrak and travel delays:

What's the longest trip you've ever been on (in terms of travel time it took you to reach your destination)? Can be any transit method—airplane, bus, train, driving, and so on.

In terms of actual transit time, I think the winner for me has to be the Amtrak train between NYC and Chicago (which I have taken several times). This route is supposed to take about 20 hours, but of course with severe delays it can end up taking over a day ... fun! But if we're counting stopover times as well, then maybe NYC ---> Auckland, NZ would be the winner. Five or so hours on a plane from NYC to Los Angeles, hours of waiting, then another 12 or 13 hours on a plane from there. Fun: Now with bad in-flight movies!

How about you? What far-flung (or obnoxiously difficult to reach) locales have you visited?

10 November, 2014

Falling For Autumn | Ramblings about leaves

What's the first thing you think of when you think of fall? For me it's leaves changing colors ... they are the things that fall, after all.

Aside from the color, dry, dead leaves have a distinct scent, especially when sniffed over cold, night air. I got a whiff of that last night, maybe for the first time this season—guess I don't take enough late night nature walks? Or maybe it's something more than that.

The leaf scent reminds me of being a kid and getting really annoyed at the tourists that would come up from NYC and wander through the streets of the small town I went to high school, not paying attention to traffic, eyes agog at the trees overhead. Now that I've lived in New York for a few years I sort of understand—the trees aren't as profuse here. Fewer trees to stare at, less space to gawk. The dry leaf smell exists, but it's harder to pick up over the scent of exhaust and millions of people all doing their stuff in close proximity to each other. It's still there though, as are little pops of color where you don't expect them—like these changing leaves creeping down the wall opposite the fire escape in my bedroom. I'm not even sure where these branches are coming from—looks like they've extended far away from their roots to reach towards the sun.

So yeah, those bountiful country hills with acres and acres of changing leaves are amazing, but I'm pretty impressed with this too.

Memebox Superbox #55 - Halloween Special Review & Unboxing (+ FOTD!)

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Happy Halloween, everybody! Just kidding. You may be wondering why I'm reviewing the Memebox Halloween Superbox 10 days after Halloween—Memebox actually sent this to me as a bonus box just a few days ago. No bother—I don't really need Halloween as an excuse to play with costume makeup, now do I? Read on to see what was in the box and what I did with it!

Memebox Superbox #55 - Halloween Special Review & Unboxing contents

07 November, 2014

My New Routine for Thicker, Fuller Hair


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

I would consider myself to be a pretty confident person in general, but one part of my body that I'm not always confident about is my hair. It has always been on the fine side, but it used to be quite dense in quantity, so it all kind of worked out. Over the past couple of years my hair has started thinning though ... I won't get into the "why" behind the thinning, but I will say that it's quite alarming to brush your hair and have massive clumps end up on the floor. Whenever I sweep my apartment about 90% of what ends up in the dustpan is MY HAIR that has gone astray—what to do, knit a sweater with it? Umm, no. Every time I sweep up another massive clump of hair I look in the mirror and wonder how I can get back the "fullness" I used to have. I've wasted money on a number of volumizers and thickeners that barely did anything for me—welcome to my junk drawer, haircare frenemies. But I recently changed up my routine and am now using something that promises thicker, fuller hair from the source—want to know what it is?

Meet the new Rogaine for Women foam, which promises to deal with thinning hair at the "root" of the problem. (Get it? Har har.)

06 November, 2014

Memebox Superbox #55 - Free From Oil & Trouble 4: Review & Unboxing

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Calling all oily-skinned folks and fellow acne-sufferers! Today I have a pretty awesome Memebox to show you—more specifically, the fourth installment in their "Free From Oil & Troubles" series. Want to know why I think it's so great? Keep reading ....

Memebox Superbox #55 - Free From Oil & Trouble 4: Review & Unboxing

Stocking Stuffer Alert! Enter for a chance to win a 3-month Birchbox subscription

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The time has come for the first HelloPrettyBird Stuffs Your Stocking giveaway—ready your stockings! Or mailboxes rather, because the first prize is a 3-month subscription to Birchbox. Yeah!!!

05 November, 2014

Weekly Poll: There She Is....

Happy Wednesday, everybody! Hope you're adjusting well to New-vember.

This week's poll question is loosely inspired by a dream I had about being in a beauty pageant. Really, really loosely.

If you woke up one morning and discovered that you could only wear one type of attire for the rest of your life, which would you choose: Swimwear category or heavy, sparkly evening gowns?

I realize that this would never, ever, ever actually happen, but humor me here. And let's assume that weather/temperature isn't an issue. It's actually a tough call for me—on one hand the swimsuit is probably more comfortable, but on the other, it's hard to look elegant when you're basically wearing nothing but underwear all the time. Tough, tough choices. I'd probably go for the swimwear in the end because comfort is important to me, man.

How about you? Comfort or elegance?

5 Fun Holiday Photo Card Ideas


I don't know about you, but I take my holiday cards seriously. And by "seriously" I mean that I try to come up with silly, one-of-a-kind themes that will make my friends and family laugh and laugh and laugh. For example, in 2012 I Photoshopped our faces onto gingerbread men and constructed a word puzzle, the solution to which was "Please don't eat our feet." Chomp.

Funny holiday cards are I thing I've been doing for TEN YEARS—last year was actually the first time I didn't make a card just because I was too busy and forgot to do it in time, and several people called and e-mailed me to ask why I didn't send a card! Oh boy.

Let this serve as a reminder: You still have time to get custom cards for this holiday season printed up, so do it now! And it doesn't have to be a hassle. Today I'll be sharing a few of my favorite photo card templates from Paper Culture, plus some amusing photography ideas to go with them. You're welcome?

04 November, 2014

Falling For Autumn | Dealing With Seasonal Depression

If you're in North America, chances are that you noticed the clocks turning back one hour this past weekend for Daylight Savings Time. (And if you didn't, that's why you were early for work on Monday!) I've always had mixed feelings about "falling back" as it were: On one hand, getting an extra hour of sleep is GLORIOUS, but on the other, falling back = it gets dark earlier and more darkness = more gloomy feelings.

Image source: Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you feel more depressed or lethargic than usual in the dark fall/winter months, you're certainly not alone. This is an "official" condition that is aptly named SAD, short for Seasonal Affective Disorder, and it affects many people—including me. Today I'll be sharing a few of my tips for shaking the seasonal blues—aside from reminiscing about that extra hour of sleep, of course.

01 November, 2014

Something special is coming to HelloPrettyBird.com this holiday season...

It's November now, and based on what I saw being pinned on Pinterest today, it's time to get full-on into CHRISTMAS! Let's put up the tree and make majestic-looking snowman out of toilet paper tubes!!! (I kid. Sort of.) In all seriousness though, a lot of people tend to start planning out their holiday gifting now, so in the spirit of giving I present to you a very special event ... Hello Pretty Bird Stuffs Your Stocking!

What's that, you ask? Regular readers of my site have probably noticed that I host one or two giveaways per month—I think they're fun and people seem to like them, so yeah. I'll try to keep doing for as long as I can. But between now and Christmas I'll be revving it up a bit and doing one giveaway per week—eight in total! Whoa! May your stocking be forever stuffed.

What will these giveaways entail, you ask? I'm not going to spill all the beans just now, but here's a bit of what to expect:

  • Prizes will be small to medium in value. Think stocking stuffers! Useful/cool ones, not "here's an old pack of Tic-Tacs and VHS tape of Steel Magnolias" style stocking stuffers.
  • Many of the prizes will be beauty-related, though at least one or two won't be.
  • At least half of the giveaways will be open internationally.
  • You don't have to celebrate Christmas to participate in these giveaways. Just imagine me leaving the prizes in your regular shoes instead of a Christmas stocking while you sleep. Because that's normal.
  • These events will launch on different days of the week, so make sure you're subscribed or following me somehow for updates! The first one will kick off sometime next week.

And that's all I'm going to share for now. I've had fun planning this event so I hope you enjoy it!

Convenient links for your following pleasure:

RSS - E-mail - Bloglovin' - Twitter - Facebook - Instagram - Google+ - Pinterest

Have you started making holiday plans yet?

Memebox Sales, Deals & Coupon Codes - November 2014

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New month, new Memebox coupons! As usual, I'll try to keep this list updated throughout the month, so if you don't see anything you like just now please check back later for more deals.

Update: This page is now defunct! Bookmark my new static 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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