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

31 December, 2014

Weekly Poll: Happy New Year edition!

Happy (almost) New Year! Or for those of you on the other side of the globe, Happy (actual) New Year!


This week's question was inspired by today's date on the calendar. A modern invention, but I like it.

Do you have any New Year's resolutions, goals or plans you're willing to share? What do you hope to improve on or change in 2015?

For me, my #1 goal/resolution is to get organized. Both my physical space and digital space. Would you believe that I have over 2,000 unread emails in my blog inbox? A lot of them are newsletters and stuff that can probably just be deleted, but when your inbox gets to that level of disarray it's easy for real e-mails to get lost. So if you wrote to me recently and I didn't reply yet... uh... sorry.

As for physical organization, we do have a spare room that I use as a home office/makeup/dressing room, but oh maaaaan is it in chaos right now. Too much stuff, not enough space. In the short term my goal is to get rid of some stuff and put everything back into order, but my long-term goal is to come up with a system to ensure that clutter won't stick around for too long. Shredding junk mail right as I get it? Hurling empty shipping boxes out the window with a scream? Something.

With that said, I'll be taking a mini blogging break for the next few days to get a jumpstart on my new life of orderliness. I'll still be checking comments and e-mails (and working my way through the old ones), plus maybe popping in on social media, but don't expect any new posts here until the 4th or 5th of January or so.

So! Here's wishing all of you a happy (and safe) new year, whether you choose to comment on this post or not. Thanks for reading, and I'll see you on the other side! :)

30 December, 2014

Giveaway Alert! Win an Oracle Labocare Foot Soft Peeling Mask

Bought It

How about one last little "stocking stuffer" giveaway before the end of 2014?


The final stocking stuffer of the year is an Oracle Labocare Foot Soft Peeling Mask, which is a treatment designed to help your feet shed dead skin and become baby-soft. (Check out my review of a similar product here.) Not a Christmas stocking stuffer, but something to keep the appendages stuffed inside your stockings at their loveliest! Get it? Hahahaha. (I kill myself.)

28 December, 2014

A look at the new Dry Spray antiperspirants

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One of the things I like least about antiperspirants is their tendency to leave unexpected white streaks on clothing. There's nothing more fun than trying to make yourself look presentable by putting on a nice top, only to look down a few minutes later and realize that there's a massive, gross white streak across the side. Yay! Well, there's a new antiperspirant game in town with a formula that's designed to prevent those sorts of problems: Dry Spray!


Dry Spray is a line of antiperspirants from Degree Men, Degree Women, Dove, Dove Men+Care and Axe. These sprays are dry as soon as you spray them on, so you're not left with a bunch of residue that's going to smear everywhere or a gross wet feeling in your armpits. Yum. I was given a couple of varieties of Dry Spray to try out, so I thought I'd share my thoughts.

Review & Swatches | Pony X Memebox Shine Easy Glam Season 2 Palette

Affiliate Links Bought It

Who wants to see some swatches of a brand new eyeshadow palette? Today I'll be sharing the Pony X Memebox Shine Easy Glam Season 2 Palette, which is the second eyeshadow palette collaboration between Pony and the ever-growing Memebox own-brand makeup line.

Image source: Memebox

26 December, 2014

Review | Primary Raw Seoul DoYou Soy Facial Cream (plus bonus candle-making session!)

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Calling all K-Beauty fans: I have a review of a facial cream with lots of interesting ingredients for you today! Meet Primary Raw Seoul DoYou Soy Facial Cream, a skincare treat made with soy bean extracts, soy milk ferments, rice water, galactomyces and other nice stuff. Mm-mm good!

Primary Raw Seoul DoYou Soy Facial Cream memebox

Some of you may have seen this product before—it was one of the items featured in Memebox Special #61 Green Food Cosmetics. But it's now available for purchase on it's own in the Memeshop, so probably worth of a review, eh?

24 December, 2014

Weekly Poll | It's the most wonderful time of the year... to watch movies!

A happy Wednesday to all, and happy Christmas Eve to those of you who celebrate!


My boyfriend has the next few days off (including today), so we've started binge-watching Christmas movies. Of course when I asked him to pick one he chose Die Hard... not exactly a film about Christmas, but it takes place during Christmas so I'll allow it. Anyway, here's my question:

What are your favorite Christmas films that you can watch over and over? They can be fully about Christmas or very loosely connected to the holiday. Your choice!

In addition to Die Hard, I think there's a good chance we'll be re-watching Bad Santa and Elf, plus enjoying the numerous made-for-television cheesefest films that Netflix has to offer. Five star taste in this household, all the way.

How about you? What's at the top of your video playlist this holiday season?

22 December, 2014

Ring in the holidays with a custom #MotoX

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Gift shopping can be hard sometimes. Not the physical act of picking things off a shelf (or a website) and paying money, but figuring out what to get for certain people. Some folks are easy to please—I know that giving my boyfriend chocolate for pretty much any occasion will put him into a blissful sugar daze, for example. But what about ultra-picky people or those who buy everything they want for themselves before you have a chance to get it for them? Argh! Well, I have a top-notch idea for you: If you're still scrambling for a gift that's pretty much guaranteed to impress that hard-to-shop-for person in your life, look no further than the Motorola Moto X smartphone. Why the Moto X? Because it's highly customizable, making it the perfect choice to reflect any taste and style. And it has some nifty features too!


21 December, 2014

Unboxing | Vegan Cuts Snack Box December 2014

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Looks like Christmas has come a little early for me this year! My boyfriend subscribed me to the Vegan Cuts Snack Box again as a holiday gift, but the first box in the subscription showed up a little early. Not complaining (she said with a mouth full of food).

Vegan Cuts Snack Box December 2014

19 December, 2014

Stocking Stuffer Giveaway Alert: Win a Nest Rollerball Fragrance Trio!

Affiliate Links Bought It

Christmas may be less than a week away, but the stocking stuffer giveaway elves here at Hello Pretty Bird are still working hard to bring you a couple more treats before the holiday season is over! The prize of the week is a Nest Fragrances EDP Rollerball trio, which was one of the special sets offered during Sephora's Black Friday sale. If you missed out on getting one of these sets yourself during the sale, now's your chance to win one!

Nest Fragrances EDP Rollerball trio

3 Healthy & Easy Veggie Appetizers for your Holiday Party

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True story: I like eating food. I try not to overindulge too much over the holidays, but with all the extra snacks and sweets on offer it can be hard! Today I thought I'd share a few "triple-threat" appetizer recipe ideas in case you're still tweaking your holiday menu: They're all easy to make (yay!), healthy and waistline-friendly (yay!), and will even please the vegetarians in your crowd (yay yay yay!) A solid trio of yays!

3 Healthy & Easy Veggie Appetizers for your Holiday Party vegetarian

18 December, 2014

Review & Comparison Test: Tosowoong Makeon Professional Nothing Is Impossible Makeup Liquid Lip & Eye Makeup Remover

Affiliate Links Bought It

One of the staples in my "makeup diet" is a good eye makeup remover. I know some folks like to use their cleansing balm or oil as an all-in-one solution, but when I'm wearing massive amounts of waterproof eyeliner and mascara I feel like it really helps to get in there with a little something extra first. Same goes for really stubborn lip tints. Triple cleanse power! Today I'll be reviewing a remover I started using a couple of months ago: Tosowoong Makeon Professional Nothing Is Impossible Makeup Liquid Lip & Eye Makeup Remover. But first I need to take a nap after writing out that name. Zzzzzz.

TOSOWOONG Makeon Nothing Is Impossible Professional Makeup Liquid Lip & Eye Makeup Remover WishTrend Memebox kbeauty korean beauty products

Unboxing | Beauty Box 5 December 2014: Merry & Bright

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'Tis the season for beauty boxes! Oh wait, that's every season. But that doesn't mean I wasn't excited when my December Beauty Box 5 showed up in my mailbox a couple of days ago!

Beauty Box 5 December 2014: Merry & Bright review unboxing

17 December, 2014

Weekly Poll | Flash Beverage Round

Happy Wednesday, everybody! How's the week before Christmas treating you? A more relaxed or more stressful time? Probably depends on where you work, I guess.

Cup clip art via

Speaking of Christmas, this week's question was inspired by seasonal drinks....

If you could have any beverage in the world delivered to you right this moment, what would you choose? Could be something ordinary, could be something rare, could be something discontinued, could be something that doesn't actually exist. Sky's the limit!

I heard someone talking about peppermint lattes yesterday and that sounded really appealing to me, hence the question. I don't think I've ever actually had a peppermint latte before though, so here's hoping my fantasy drink isn't gross? I'd ask for it to be made with soy milk and served with a candy cane on the side. I love destroying my teeth.

How about you? Coffee? Absinthe? The tears of unicorns?

16 December, 2014

Unboxing | Influenster Frosty Vox Box

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Where are my fellow Influensters at? It's been a while since I last received an Influenster Vox Box, so I was really excited when I got an e-mail saying that I'd be getting the #FrostyVoxBox. Yay! Want to see what was in it?

Unboxing review Influenster Frosty Vox Box #FrostyVoxBox

Giveaway Alert! Win a New Year's Eve look featuring COVERGIRL Colorlicious Lipstick & Rent the Runway

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Do you usually dress up for New Year's Eve? I'd like to say that every day is the perfect day to wear head-to-toe sequins and other fabulousness, but let's face it: People will probably stare at you. Especially if you wear them on a Wednesday. Or on a public bus. Unless that Wednesday and bus ride are happening on New Year's Eve, in which case the sky's the limit for fabulousness!


COVERGIRL recently launched a new product line, Colorlicious Lipsticks. These pretty babies come in a whopping 36 shades— think smooth nudes, rich reds, yummy plums, luscious pinks. Whether you're planning on glamming it up for New Year's Eve or just chilling at home in your pajamas, there's bound to be a Colorlicious lippie that will suit your look! Look for them at your local Walmart.

Speaking of glamming it up, have you heard of Rent the Runway? It's a website that allows you to rent designer dresses and accessories for four or eight days. My collection of glitzy designer duds is relatively small because (a) I only attend formal events once in a while, and (b) OMG, student loans are crushing me. Thus, Rent the Runway is perfect for someone like me—it's an easy way to grab something awesome to wear just for a special occasion (like New Year's Eve... hint hint.) Today I thought I'd share a few of my favorite New Year's Eve gown picks from Rent the Runway and give you all a chance to win a Colorlicious Lipstick AND a Rent the Runway gift card to help you complete your own NYE look! Woo-hoo!

Baking For Those Who Don't Bake: One Man's Holiday Cookie Journey

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Stan, my main squeeze, is a nervous cook. He likes the end result of trying new recipes (i.e. delicious food), but the interim steps of learning the recipe and making it often result in stress and swearing. The first year we lived together I made the mistake of asking him to bake me lemon bars from scratch on my birthday, and he cursed out the baking pan in a way that probably would have gotten him punched in the face if the pan had arms. Poor, defenseless pan.


We had talked about making holiday cookies for Stan to take into work this year, but I didn't really want to bake them (or watch Stan swear at my baking sheets). Luckily, there was a solution: Pre-made dough in the form of Nestlé Toll House Rolled and Ready Cookie Dough Sheets! I picked up a couple packages and some other baking accoutrements and left him to do whatever he wanted. No stress for anybody this year, woo-hoo! I've documented the results of his baking experiments in this post for your reference and amusement.

Review: Paula Dorf Aztec City Eyeshadow Palette

Press Sample

I'm one of those weird people who loves eyeshadow, but doesn't usually buy big palettes. (That's why I love indie shadows so much—you can buy them solo AND often in sample sizes!) I'll admit though that there are times when it's more convenient to have a palette with a bunch of different colors on hand. Powder shadows aren't the most travel-friendly thing, after all. Today I'll be reviewing the Paula Dorf Aztec City Eyeshadow Palette, which has five 1.7g shadows: Enough for variety's sake, but not so many that you wouldn't be able to easily fit it in your purse.

Paula Dorf Aztec City Eyeshadow Pallete review logo

14 December, 2014

11 December, 2014

5 Tips for a Perfect Holiday Smile

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I like going to holiday parties, but I always feel a bit self-conscious about them because people tend to take tons and tons of photos. My solution? Use it as an excuse to dress up and put on my best face!

5 tips for a perfect holiday red lip/smile Crest 3D White Luxe Supreme FlexFit Whitestrips #CrestSupreme #CleverGirls

Confession time: I sometimes feel a little embarrassed to bare my teeth in photos because they're so darn yellow. My extreme fondness for coffee and red wine may brighten my mood at times, but it sure as heck hasn't brightened my smile. There are some easy ways you can "perk up" your smile for photos though, so today I'll be sharing a few tips for rocking a bright holiday lip and getting your smile into tip-top shape!

10 December, 2014

Weekly Poll: Party on, Wayne!

Happy Wednesday, everybody! It's snowing here. I'm one of those bitter people who hates snow, so I'm hiding indoors right now. Sobcrysob.


This week's question isn't about snow, but it is about the current season...

Will you be hosting a holiday party this year? If not, would you enjoy hosting one if you had the space and resources?

I actually love throwing parties. Not massive ones, but little get-togethers with a dozen or so people and tons of food. This isn't something I do often due to space constraints, but if I had more room? I'd totally be throwing a small holiday party. I was talking to my dad the other day, and apparently his partner REALLY wants to throw a party this year. He was telling me this with a serious grimace on his face—what, don't like hosting? I guess it's not for everyone. I'll admit that I don't like cleaning up after a party, but that's why I make all the food and tell Stan his job is to clean up afterwards, buahahaaha.

How about you? Would you rather host a party, attend someone else's, or hide indoors like I'm doing at the moment?

The Holidays Are Calling: Give the Gift of Staying in Touch

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

How do you keep in touch with your loved ones over the holiday season if you can't actually be together? I love seeing my family, but sometimes it can be hard because everyone lives so far apart. My parents live in two different states and my sister, who is the closest to me geographically, lives over and hour away by train. Yikes! I've been meaning to get a new phone plan with a bigger data package so I can call and share photos more often with my family over the holidays, but I usually held back because of the price. Luckily I discovered Walmart Family Mobile, which has an unlimited talk, text and data plan for just $34.88 per month. Yowsa!

Walmart Family Mobile Holidays Are Calling Samsung Galaxy Exhibit #HolidaysAreCalling #CollectiveBias #cbias

09 December, 2014

Stocking Stuffer Giveaway Alert: Etude House My Castle Hand Cream Set

Bought It

Hand cream is a classic stocking stuffer. It's small, portable, and pretty "safe" for most recipients. So I thought to myself, when better to give folks a chance to win a set of four ultra-adordable Etude House My Castle Hand Creams than in the midst of a stocking stuffer series? Split up the set and stuff other people's stockings, or keep them all for yourself—it's up to you! :)

Etude House My Castle Hand Cream set

The packaging on the My Castle Hand Creams might not be the most practical thing ever for travel, but they'll sure as heck look nice sitting on your vanity! Here's an overview of the various scents available in this set:

Target Beauty Box For Her Winter 2014 Unboxing

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Hey beauty box fans: How do you feel about the recent wave of drugstore-themed boxes popping up? Personally I love them, because the products are accessible and sometimes full-sized (especially in the case of lip products and mascaras.) But what do you think? In any case, I've got one of the latest Target Beauty Boxes to show you today, and I think it's an amazing one!

Target Beauty Box For Her Winter 2014 Unboxing review $10 box

How I'll Be Stuffing My Boyfriend's Stocking This Christmas: 2014 Edition

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It's the most wonderful time of the yeaaaaaar! Is it just me or are the number of pre-Christmas special shopping days increasing every year? Did you participate in any pre-Black Friday week sales? Or perhaps Green Monday? (What the heck is Green Monday?) Happy Shopping Year! Argh. I find the present number of "shopping holidays" a bit overwhelming at times, but I can't deny that they're really good for picking up gifts on the cheap, which means that most of my holiday shopping is DONE.


I did crappy little post last year called "How I'll Be Stuffing My Boyfriend's Stocking This Christmas" and it ended up being one of my most-viewed posts of all time, so I guess men's gift ideas are a subject of interest, huh? Today I thought I'd share how I'll be stuffing my boyfriend Stan's stocking this Christmas, since I've already made my list and checked it twice (and had the contents of it shipped to my house while I hid indoors from the Black Friday shopping crowds).

08 December, 2014

Looking for a way to tweak your diet? Check out foodtweeks™

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I don't know about you, but I always find myself looking for ways to eat a bit more... er... modestly after Thanksgiving. Maybe it's because I ingest more sugar at that one meal than I probably do most weeks out of the year, or maybe it's because I sometimes find myself with a surprise "food baby" after the holidays and don't really want it to grow. In any case, I have something to show you that I think you'll be interested in if you're in the same boat: Meet foodtweeks™, a free mobile app that helps you make sensible eating choices AND give back to people in need.

foodtweeks™ app logo

foodtweeks™ isn't your usual weight loss app—rather than tracking the minutiae of everything you eat, it simply recommends small ways to cut extra calories from meals you were thinking of eating anyway. Even better, the calories that you've "saved" go towards donations made to a participating food bank. Pretty cool, right?

04 December, 2014

Stocking Stuffer Giveaway Alert! Win a NYX Butter Gloss Sugar Rush Trio

Bought It

A good Thursday to you all! The stocking stuffer elf is back, and this time has brought tidings of great lip gloss (and a chance to win). Pucker up and enter for a chance to win a NYX Butter Lip Gloss trio!

NYX Butter Gloss Sugar Rush Trio lip gloss cherry pie cupcake sugar cookie box packaging

03 December, 2014

Weekly Poll: Homemade Gifts

Happy Wednesday, everybody!


This week's question was inspired by the recent Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping mania...

How do you feel about getting homemade/handmade gifts? Love them? Hate them? Begrudgingly accept them? In this case let's say that "homemade" means made by the person giving you the gift, not an Etsy seller or professional indie crafter or something like that.

Personally I've always been cool with homemade gifts—I think it's actually sort of touching when somebody takes the time to create something to share with their loved ones. But I was at a family gathering around the holidays last year or the year before when I heard an extended family member (I won't say who) ranting about some co-worker giving them a "shitty homemade present" and I was like whutttt? That seemed like a bit of an overreaction to me (unless the present was actually made of shit, in which case... yeah.) But maybe there's some aspect of the situation I wasn't aware of. Maybe my relative gave their coworker something really expensive. But in that case, is it still OK to complain? Are there situations in which homemade gifts would never be acceptable? Complicated.

01 December, 2014

Use It Or Lose It: November 2014 Sample Edition!

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Whoops, so it's December already. Darn those shorter months without 31 days (says the person born in February). I did manage to select a few samples for Use It Or Lose It reviewing purposes before the end of the month though—let's take a look at what I chose!


New to my Use It Or Lose It series before? 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 products this time—all samples, all the time. Let's see if any of these samples coaxed me into buying bigger sizes!

Give Extra Special Surprises: Movie Night Gift Bag Idea

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

I've been trying to think of a fun little way to surprise my mom lately. She's done a lot for me over the course of my life (like giving birth to me, for example), but recently I feel like she's been going out of her way to do extra nice little things for me and Stan. For example, I got a package from her the other day filled with dried nuts and fruit—why? "It's your Thanksgiving fruit!" she exclaimed proudly over the phone. Is Thanksgiving fruit a "thing"? I'm not so sure, but it was thoughtful nonetheless. My mom and I have pretty different taste in general, but there is one thing that both of us could always agree on: Watching movies. Lots and lots and lots of them. So I decided to give extra back and make her a little surprise "Movie Night" gift bag—a nostalgic treat she can enjoy even though we live far apart now.

Movie Night Gift Bag idea #extragummoments #collectivebias

Three new Target beauty boxes available for Winter 2014!

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Happy Monday everybody! I was just browsing around the Target website when I noticed they added three new beauty boxes for purchase—not sure if they just appeared today, but they're still available and a pretty good deal so I thought I'd share! In traditional Target Beauty Box fashion, all of the box contents are disclosed on the product page(s). You can read my reviews of some of the past Target beauty boxes here.


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