Hello Pretty Bird! - A beauty and not-so-glamorous lifestyle blog: 2015

21 December, 2015

Last-Minute Gift Idea: Home spa love with Amopé (+ coupon!)

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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Amopé as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.

Hands up if you're still on the hunt for a couple of last-minute holiday gifts (me me me!) One of my favorite things to give the women in my life is pampering treatments—unlike clothing or jewelry, you don't have to worry about whether or not they will be her size or style, and pretty much everybody likes being pampered. I recently had the opportunity to test out Amopé's new Pedi Perfect Extra Coarse Electronic Foot File and Electronic Nail Care System, and I think they're absolutely perfect for "treat yo self" style gift giving: Unlike spa gift certificates they can be used multiple times, and they're small enough to travel with—perfect for the gal on the go! Today I'll be sharing a little info on what these gizmos do plus how to get a $5 off coupon.


18 December, 2015

Financial Resolutions for the New Year: How I Plan to Start 2016 Off Right

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Can you believe that 2015 is nearly over? Just two weeks left, tick-tock. For many years I shunned the idea of New Year's resolutions—if I have the forethought to come up a new goal starting January 1st, why shouldn't I just start the moment I think of it? While that may good reasoning for some goals (e.g. fitness), certain things do require a bit of planning and just make sense to start at the beginning of a new year (or a new month, at the very least!) One of my big goals for 2016 is to pay off my student loan debt faster—so today I'll be sharing a few of my strategies for how I plan to do that.

Capital One 360 Savings #LetsTalkCents

13 December, 2015

Goody Clean Radiance GIVEAWAY!

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A few weeks ago I shared some tips and tricks my mom taught me about haircare, plus my experience with the new Goody Clean Radiance hairbrush with copper bristles. I'm pleased to report that the brush is still working really well for me—the bristles just feel really nice on my scalp, like a mini massage. And coincidentally, I've been visiting my mom these past couple of days and she's been nagging me to get a haircut... but we'll save that for Mom's Hair Tips Volume 2.


Whether or not someone is nagging you about the state of your locks, I have something fun to share with you today: An awesome giveaway with prizes that will help you up your haircare game!

There are three prizes:
  • Grand prize: Chi Straightener and CROC Blowdryer (valued at $200)
  • Second prize: Goody Basket (valued at $100) - 2 winners
  • Third Prize: $25 Walmart gift card - 25 winners

Woo-hoo! Use the widget below to enter for your chance to win these amazing goodies. Including Goody goodies. (Get it?)

Beauty and Glam Giveaway

Good luck! Which of these prizes would you be most excited to win? Have you tried out any new and amazing haircare products lately?

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and the giveaway is administered by Acorn Influence. For more information, check out my full disclosure policy. #CleanRadiance

09 December, 2015

How to Get Smooth Legs for Winter (plus gift card offer)

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

When it comes to beauty and grooming, there are certain things I'm weirdly lazy about. Like I'm totally willing to spend over half an hour most nights on my skincare routine, but combing out my hair on weekday morning? Eh. Or sometimes I'll spend 20 minutes on my eye makeup, but when it comes time to finish up the rest of my face... ehhhhhh. But if I had to pick one area in which I was consistently the laziest, it would have to be body hair removal. I kid you not, I sometimes go entire seasons without shaving. The thing is, I actually like the sensation of having soft, smooth legs—just not the ongoing process of achieving them. So I decided to try something a bit different (and more permanent) this winter: Silk'n Flash&Go.


01 December, 2015

Beat holiday stress... with coloring! (+ GIVEAWAY)

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This Thanksgiving was an unusually tough one for me. I try to keep this blog on the lighthearted side so I won't go into details, but yeah, oof. Specific personal tragedies aside, I think this time of year is hard on a lot of people... the weather's bad, it's dark outside, and planning/attending holiday parties can run the gamut from stressful to awkward (depending on what you're doing and your relationship with your family, of course). One of the things I've been doing lately to beat stress and generally work out my feelings is getting back into journaling and drawing—and when I don't have the mental energy to write or make fantastical things up, coloring! That's right, I finally dipped my toes into the pool of adult coloring books.


30 November, 2015

Festive Beverage Ideas For Non-Alcohol Drinkers

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One of my favorite everyday drinks is seltzer. You know how sometimes you're thirsty, but you want something that isn't just plain water? And you don't want to get a crazy sugar high from chugging soda or pure juice? Might I suggest... seltzer! Vintage Seltzer is my go-to—it's inexpensive, sold in most of the stores around where I live, and comes in a bunch of natural fruit flavors (Lemon-Lime, Mandarin Orange, Lemon, Lime, Pomegranate, Seedless Watermelon, Raspberry, Raspberry-Lime, Wild Cherry, and of course unflavored Original). No sugar, no color, no artificial flavors. Water but BETTER! (And definitely a healthier alternative to soda.)


This Thanksgiving we kept our meal mostly alcohol-free... candied sweet potatoes and other rich casseroles make one sleepy enough as is. Instead, we mixed up drinks with various flavored seltzers instead. Refreshing! Today I'll be sharing a few of my favorite combos, which are totally appropriate for whipping up at a Christmas party or just because.

26 November, 2015

How To Have A Successful TV Binge Session (+ GIVEAWAY!)

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One probably doesn't see "success" and "TV binge" written in the same sentence often, but hear me out. I feel like a lot of folks these days (myself included) get so distracted by their phones, e-mail, etc. that it's actually sort of rare to have a good old fashioned movie or TV marathon session. You know, the kind where you're really paying attention and will actually remember what you watched later. (I'm guilty of surfing the internet whilst casually watching far too often.)

TV marathons obviously aren't a necessity of life, but sometimes when life gets stressful or a little too harsh you need to unplug your brain a little bit and let someone else entertain you. That's what I think anyway, and holiday weekends are one of the best times to veg. Today I'll be sharing my tips for having an epic TV marathon—lord knows I need it!


Happy Thanksgiving! Things I am thankful for....

To all the Americans out there reading: Hope you're having a happy Thanksgiving, whether it be with family, friends, or just sitting on your ass because you have the day off. And if you don't have the day off, I hope you get to sit on your ass sometime soon.


The past week has been sort of a tough one for me, for personal reasons I don't really want to delve into here at this point... what I will say is that one of the best ways (for me) to deal with grief is to focus on gratitude. So in no particular order, here are a few things I've been thankful for lately:

  • I'm thankful that my parents are both alive and still in great health, despite their advanced ages. (Shh, don't tell 'em I said that.)
  • I'm thankful that Stan and I have a place to live that's affordable, big enough for the two of us (unlike our former studio apartment) and not a total shithole. That combo can be tricky to find around these parts.
  • I'm thankful for Stan, period. The guy makes me laugh, you know?
  • I'm thankful for friendships that have endured despite great physical distance.

And so on. If you're reading this I hope you have a nice day, whether or not you're in the USA or even in a Thanksgiving state of mind. Feel good.

XOXO,
Rebecca

25 November, 2015

Review & Swatches | Bite Beauty Best Bite Rewind Set

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This may surprise you, but I'm pretty conservative when it comes to buying holiday beauty sets. Don't get me wrong, it's not like I'm not looking and drooling over a lot of them, but usually I manage to walk away with just a few little bits and bobs. There was one holiday set I knew I had to grab as soon as it came out though: Bite Beauty's Best Bite Rewind set. I'm a huge fan of their Luminous Crème lipstick formula, so I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to try out their lip crayons!

Bite Beauty Best Bite Rewind Set

22 November, 2015

Five things my mom taught me about haircare (and five things I'd teach my daughter)

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My mom isn't exactly a beauty guru, but she has taught me a few things over the years that have stuck with me. Thing number one: STAY OUT OF THE SUN! Thing number two: COVER YOURSELF WHILE YOU'RE IN THE SUN! Skip the next twenty or so sun-related things on the list and you'll find a slew of haircare and grooming tips, many of which I still use. Today I thought I'd share some of the most useful things she taught me over the years, plus a few I picked up on my own—if I had a daughter I'd share them with her, but since I don't, I'm cool with letting my sisters (and brothers) on the internet in on my tips and tricks.

Target Fall Beauty Box: Review & GIVEAWAY!

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Target's really been stepping up their beauty box game lately. In the past they released maybe one box per season, but this fall they put out something like three or four—whoa! Today I'll be taking a look at the contents of the most recent one (which was released in October). If you missed out on this one fear not—I also have an extra box to give away! Read on for more info.

Target Beauty Box Fall 2015 review and unboxing

20 November, 2015

5 Adorable Host(ess) Gifts Under $20 + GIVEAWAY!

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Can you believe that Thanksgiving is less than a week away? The holidays, they sneak up on you. I'll be preparing my own turkey day (or un-turkey, in our case) feast this year, but other holiday dinners and "friendsgivings" and what not are likely to follow, so I've already started picking up some little hostess gifts.


Hostess gifts. You know, treats and trinkets to bring to a party hostess (or host) as a "thank you" for their hospitality. Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I feel like a real jerk showing up to dinner parties and those sorts of things empty-handed. The most traditional thing to bring to a dinner party is probably wine, but what if your host doesn't drink? Or you just want to do something a bit different? Today I'll be sharing a few choice items I found at my local Hallmark Gold Crown store that I think would make excellent hostess gifts—and all of them are under $20.

Hello Again (I'M BACK!)

Hello everybody! Miss me? I'm back from what turned out to be a much-longer-than-expected blogging hiatus. I usually try not to disappear for three weeks at a time without telling anybody because that's the sort of shit that worries people, but... oops. Sorry about that.


Anyway, now that I have a large amount of time to dedicate to blogging again, I'm excited to bring some fun stuff to you over the next few weeks, including...
  • Long overdue reviews! The good news is that if I really liked a product a month ago, I probably still like it now.
  • Gift guides! 'Tis the season to shop, it seems.
  • Giveaways! Seriously, I have a couple of really good ones planned, so keep your eyes peeled.
  • Other stuff. You know, stuff.

Thanks for sticking with me,
XOXO Rebecca

30 October, 2015

PSA: You need a computer backup system! (AKA Tales of Hard Drive Woe)

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This post was sponsored by Carbonite as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.

Did you know that October is Cyber Security Awareness Month? The month might nearly be over, but it's never too late to keep an eye on your digital life, as it were. One thing I finally got around to doing that I should have done a long time ago was installing an automatic cloud-based file backup system (in the form of Carbonite, to be precise). Here's the thing: I've had a lot of with repairing my computers when they went on the fritz in the past, but even if you have a 100% success rate with restoring files from busted drives, other stuff can happen—laptops get stolen and sometimes, if you're the same kind of special fool that I am, you intentionally hide your hard drive from yourself and never find it again.

A family photo I managed to scan again... but many others have been lost.

Yes, you read that correctly—I hid my own hard drive. There was a reason, believe it or not... I was going out of town for a week or so and was concerned that someone might steal it if they broke in, so I tucked it away in some unseen corner of my apartment. Problem is, I hid it from myself so well that I couldn't figure out where I put it when I got home! That was back in 2013 and I still haven't found the thing, despite hours of looking. Did it sprout legs and walk off?! Maybe I'll find it again someday, but in the meantime I'm quite sad to have lost it... that little drive contained a bunch of irreplaceable stuff like scans of old family photos, short stories I wrote long ago, plus what might be the only existing files of some short films I made in college. Bummer, bro.

29 October, 2015

My Fall/Winter Purse Essentials

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

True story: I used to be one of those people who carried a massive duffel bag-sized purse everywhere. The good part about carrying a gigantic purse is that you tend to have everything you could ever possibly need hidden somewhere in there. Hard candies? Of course! Sixteen different kinds of lip balm? Obviously! A small toy fish made out of flannel? AND HOW. Thing is, after a while lugging around a giant bag gets a bit tiring—especially if you're like me and rely on public transportation to commute (and are constantly shielding the bottom of your bag from the tops of children's heads on the bus). So now I carry a small purse, which means means I have to be sort of selective about what I hoard in there. Today I'll be sharing some of my purse essentials for the fall/winter season, chosen with both health and comfort in mind.

My fall winter purse essentials  #BeHealthyForEveryPartofLife #CollectiveBias

28 October, 2015

WORTH THE SPLURGE? Kérastase Resistance Thérapiste Bain Shampoo & Soin Premier Thérapiste Conditioner

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Since we're already talking about scrimping and splurging today, how do you feel about splashing out big bucks on haircare products? For a long time I was one of those people who would only buy drugstore haircare, but I've been trying to broaden my horizons lately and try new things. So when Influenster sent me a couple items from salon brand Kérastase's Resistance haircare line I was naturally quite curious—would they be worth the extra cost? Read on to find out!

Kérastase Resistance Thérapiste Bain Shampoo & Soin Premier Thérapiste Conditioner


Add fun to your selfies with the Fanta Freaky Foto Booth this Halloween

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Who's getting excited for Halloween? I finally came up with a funny idea for a costume that won't be too difficult to execute—I won't be dressing up as an entire five-person boy band this time, unfortunately. But I think I'll keep my idea secret for now as it's one of those things that's probably only funny if you actually see it. (Hopefully I'll take some pictures on the big night!)

Anyway, if you're itching to dress up for Halloween but don't quite have your costume in order yet, might I recommend checking out the Fanta Freaky Foto Booth? Fanta has put together a fun little app for Halloween that allows you to upload a selfie and add digital "costumes" at the click of a button!

Remember when I was a blonde? Yeah, I barely do either.

Rebecca Asks | Scrimp and Splurge

Happy Wednesday, everybody! Hope all is well and good.


I've been weeding my makeup collection lately, trying to pull out things that I don't really like or that don't work for me and get rid of them. As I was doing this I started to notice a pattern in my makeup-buying habits—there were certain items I only had cheap versions of and others that I spent a lot more on. Which brings me to this week's question...

Which items in your life are you likely to scrimp on and which items are you more likely to splurge on? If you're not big on makeup, don't feel left out—this question applies to anything one might spend money on.


Here are a couple of my somewhat rational examples:
  • SCRIMP: I almost always scrimp on mascara—drugstore all the way for regular everyday black mascara. I'm actually pretty vigilant about replacing them every few months, so it doesn't make sense to me to spend a lot on them.
  • SPLURGE: I'm willing to pay a lot more than drugstore prices for lipstick if I really like the formula. Not to say that there aren't drugstore lipsticks that deserve a place in my makeup pile, but for colors I wear frequently, I'm glad to fork over extra cash for something I really love.

Now for a couple that are slightly less rational:
  • SCRIMP: Once in a while I go crazy and buy a shit-ton of dried beans. Dried beans are usually cheaper per ounce than canned, but when you add in how much the energy your stove consumes to cook them costs, the difference is pretty negligible (at least at the rate we're eating them). Have I mentioned yet that cooking dried beans is a pain in the ass? I mean it's not like it's hard, but when time is precious it feels a little silly to watch over a boiling pot for two hours just to save ten cents on every pound of beans.
  • SPLURGE: I am weirdly particular about which brands of seltzer I buy. Some of them taste different to me than others, so I will always get one of my preferred choices, even if it costs twice as much as the other options. You'd think that all sparkling water tastes the same, but I guess not? Whatever, I can afford to be a little crazy.

So how about you? Wanna join me in an epic bean-boilin' session?

23 October, 2015

Review | Mizon Special Solution Good Night White Sleeping Mask

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Do you ever suffer from "product blindness?" Like when you have so many skincare (or makeup) products, you kind of forget that you have some of the more unassuming ones. Such has been my relationship with Mizon's Good Night White Sleeping Mask—it looks so boring that I totally forgot I had it. Until today, that is, so now I'm going to review it!

Mizon Special Solution Good Night White Sleeping Mask review and ingredients


Friday Swatch-A-Thon: Younique Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes+, eyeshadow and more!

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Happy Friday, everybody! I'd like to kick off the weekend with something a bit colorful: A makeup swatch-a-thon! So many swatches, so little time.

Friday Swatch-A-Thon: Younique Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes+, eyeshadow and more!

The subject of today's swatch-a-thon is Younique. I've got eyeshadows, eye pencils, lip stuff and more to show you! Whoa! I always see a lot about this brand on Facebook, so when Younique offered me a few of their products to try I was naturally very curious.

Etude House Pink Bird Box: Mini reviews of the ugraded Collagen Moistfull skincare line, Precious Mineral Cover & Bright Fit BB Cream + GIVEAWAY!

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Who's ready to hear about some new makeup and skincare goodies from Etude House? Pink Bird Box powers activate!

Etude House Pink Bird Box September 2015

22 October, 2015

Unboxing | Rakuten Affiliate Network Bonus Box (Q3 2015)

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You know what I like? Surprises. So when Rakuten Affiliate Network e-mailed me last month and asked if I would like to review their latest Bonus Box, I was pretty excited! (And I may or may not have stalked Instagram for sneak peeks until the box arrived.) I've had a bit of time to test most of the things in the box by now so I thought I'd share my thoughts today... who knows what surprises lie in store? EEP!

Rakuten Affiliate Network Bonus Box (Q3 2015)


19 October, 2015

My "No Makeup" Makeup: A FOTD + Tips & Tricks

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Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FalsiesPushUpDrama #CollectiveBias

I've been really into natural-looking makeup lately—in other words, "no makeup" makeup. Don't worry, purple eyeshadow is still on the menu for me sometimes... but these days I often find myself wanting to enhance my natural beauty rather than transform it, if that makes sense?

Over time I've developed a pretty consistent "no makeup" makeup routine, so today I thought I'd share how I do it, plus a couple quick tips and tricks for adding "oomph" to your look without making you look like you've totally piled on the slap.  Even better, the whole look can be achieved with the few super-affordable Maybelline products pictured below!



14 October, 2015

Totally Rad: LISTERINE® gone PLAID! (Plus Target Cartwheel offer & the easiest plaid nail art design ever)

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

I don't know about you, but I am *LOVING* the fact that plaid is trendy right now. There are few things more cozy than soft flannel shirts—I've been wearing mine a heck of a lot since the weather started to cool down. And if wearing plaid on your body isn't enough for you, it seems like like it's also popping up in home decor and personal care items too! One of the most novel things I've seen get the plaid treatment lately is LISTERINE® as part of Target's Mad for Plaid collection—how fun are these bottles?


Rebecca Asks | What are your plans for Halloween?

Happy Wednesday, everybody! It's that special time of year already, oooooh spooky.

art via

In case you hadn't already guessed, this week's question was inspired by a certain upcoming holiday. I'll keep it simple:

What are your plans for Halloween? Costumes, parties, solo movie marathons and candy? Spill it!

For the past couple of years I've been kind of boring on Halloween—stayed in, maybe watched a scary movie or two. This year I've decided to get off my lazy butt though and actually go to a friend's party—which means I need to come up with a costume! So far I haven't decided on one for sure... a lot of my ideas are silly and probably require more time to execute than I actually have (like making a bunch of puppets so I can go as an entire boy band). I should really start planning these things farther in advance. (Forget I said that if I post some incredible 11th hour costume on Instagram come October 31st though.)

5 Tips to Help You Wind Down At Night

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A couple of weeks ago I shared my tips for waking up from a non-morning person. I have learned over the years that stress is often a big part of the cause of sleeplessness for me, so it's essential that I take time to relax and wind down so I actually have a fighting chance at falling asleep. Today I'll be sharing a few of my favorite relaxation techniques—they're a great way to just a great way to help yourself feel good and maybe get a better night's sleep.



13 October, 2015

Taking Pasta Night on the road: Easy date night idea + a chance to win a Buca di Beppo gift card!

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Buca di Beppo®. All opinions are 100% mine.

Here's a fun fact: Did you know that October is World Pasta Month? As I mentioned in my recent fall traditions post, Pasta Night is a bit part of our eating routine once the weather cools down—but just because it's cool enough to turn on the oven doesn't mean we want to cook every single night! Luckily, Buca di Beppo is in on the global pasta fun and running a very special promotion this month—Create Your Own Pasta Bowl! Stan and I decided to head over there last week for a little impromptu date night... read on to find out how we pasta'd it up!


12 October, 2015

Review | Miraclear Adjustable Facial Cleansing Tool

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Poll time: Do you prefer to use a brush/tool to cleanse your face, or just go in with your fingers? I go back and forth: I like not having to worry about cleaning my cleansing tools, but sometimes I want a little more exfoliation than my bare hands can provide. And thus my quest for the perfect cleansing tool continues! Today I'll be looking at the Miraclear Adjustable Facial Cleansing Tool, which combines the convenience of silicone with the scrubbiness of well... silicone.

Miraclear Adjustable Facial Cleansing Tool review and how to use

Tips & Tricks: How To Make High Heels More Comfortable

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

Fashion-wise, I think my favorite season is fall. I love being able to cozy up in flannel and boots without being so cold that I have to bundle up in puffy outerwear that makes me look like a marshmallow—plus fall colors are fun. I haven't been super into all things Marsala this year, but I just bought an inexpensive pair of heels in the color and I'm really digging them. Problem is, getting used to a new pair of heels can be a bit uncomfortable—but I want to wear them NOW! Luckily I have a few tricks up my sleeve (or I guess my pants leg?) for making high heels more comfortable to wear as soon as possible—and today I'll be sharing them with you.


09 October, 2015

Six of my not-so-traditional fall traditions (+ GIVEAWAY!)

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For some reason, I always find fall really inspiring. Maybe it's the beauty of the changing trees, maybe it's because there are always new people moving into town around this time of year, or maybe it's because the summer humidity is no longer stifling my brain. In any case fall is definitely my favorite season. While I enjoy leaf-peeping as much as the next person, I have a few slightly more personal habits and not-entirely-traditional traditions I carry out every year... are they strange? I'll share them and you tell me! ;) I'll also be giving a little prize away at the end of this post so a lucky reader can share in one of them with me.


05 October, 2015

Review & Swatches | Allure & Butter London Arm Candy Nail Lacquer Collection (+ GIVEAWAY!)

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Now that fall (and jacket weather—brr!) is in full swing, I thought this would be a good time to share my swatches of Butter London's recent collaboration with Allure Magazine, the Arm Candy Collection. Arm Candy consists of six fashion-forward, fall-tastic shades in a variety of finishes, so there's something to please everybody. Even better yet, Butter London has provided me with an extra set of nail lacquers to give away to a lucky reader—yay! Read on to find your new favorite shade for autumn.

Allure & Butter London Arm Candy Nail Lacquer Collection review swatches

30 September, 2015

Rebecca Asks | A quick poll of sorts about social media and blog-reading habits

Happy Wednesday, everybody! I've been immersed in some crazy non-HelloPrettyBird projects this past week, but I have some really fun stuff planned for early October (hint: giveaways!) so keep your eyes peeled. :)


Speaking of keeping your eyes peeled here's my question of the week:

How do you prefer to experience blogs and blog-like content in 2015? Do you spend the most time: 
  1. Reading traditional blogs/articles (text and photos) 
  2. Watching user-generated videos (like YouTube)
  3. Browsing short-form social media sites (like Instagram or Snapchat) 
  4. A balance of all three... or something else?

Just to clarify, by user-generated video I mean things like vlogs and and/or clips with commentary, not full films or television shows on Netflix, Hulu etc. For me it's #1 or #3—though for the past couple of months I've been so busy that it's been harder for me to do #1, sobcrysob. Which makes things like Instagram and Snapchat an appealing choice—it's easy to scroll through a bunch of photos and leave quick comments while I'm waiting for water to boil or something. But I wonder if my habits aren't part of a larger shift towards short-form media—not sure if that's a good thing, but it is definitely a thing.

Anyway, what do you think? Do you prefer consuming media via one of these methods over the others? Or do you think it's better to have a balance of all three? Or eschew technology in favor of other activities (in which case, why are you reading this?) Let me know in the comments.

25 September, 2015

An introduction to UNT Cosmetics (Taiwan): BBs, CCs, eye stuff (oh my!) Plus coupon code & GIVEAWAY!

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A week or two ago I reviewed the Pore Minissima Super Anti Shine Oil Control Serum by Taiwanese skincare brand UNT, and now I'm back with more! UNT is perhaps best known for their skincare products, but did you know that they also make a ton of makeup? Well even if you didn't before you're going to now, because I'll be swatching not one but FOUR of their products today. Hold onto your pretty little hats.

An introduction to UNT Cosmetics (Taiwan): BBs, CCs, eye stuff (oh my!) Plus coupon code & GIVEAWAY!

24 September, 2015

18 September, 2015

5 tips to help you wake up (from a non-morning person)

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Here's a personal factoid that's a bit of an understatement: I am not a morning person. Even when I'm not suffering from insomnia, there's something about getting out of bed that's just really, really challenging for me. Maybe I should invest in scratchy, horrible blankets? Or try to give myself nightmares so I don't doze back off once I wake up? I don't know. In any case I do actually have to get up and work most days, so today I'll be sharing a few of my coping strategies for surviving the morning and escaping Bed Mountain. (It's not nearly as treacherous as it seems once you're fully awake.)

5 tips to help you wake up (from a non-morning person)


Review | Too Cool For School Egg Mousse Pack

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How do you feel about food having food on your face? One thing I've noticed with K-beauty brands is how popular food-based skincare is—there's an entire brand called Skinfood, for Pete's sake. This post isn't about Skinfood, but it is about another K-brand that's made with food meant to be put on your skin: The Too Cool For School Egg Mousse Pack, which contains actual egg extract!

Too Cool For School Egg Mousse Pack


17 September, 2015

When Couples Can't Agree: Meal prep made easy with Suddenly Salad (+ GIVEAWAY & COUPON!)

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My main squeeze Stan and I are coming up on our fifth anniversary of living together pretty soon (bust out some balloons!) I think a big part of the reason we've managed to live together for so long without killing each other is that we're on the same page about a lot of things—our habits aren't identical, but they mesh well together. Curiously though, one of our most frequent sources of conflict for a long time was what to have to dinner—we managed to pick out furniture for our new apartment in a day, but somehow deciding which food to cook on a Wednesday night required hours of intense debate? Eventually we settled into a pattern that seems to work for us: I cook 90% of the food, and Stan cleans up the dishes 90% of the time. Apparently cooking was a major source of stress for him, hence the epic "discussions."

Suddenly Grain Salad Harvest Grains #MealPrep #SuddenlySalad

I like cooking and absolutely loathe cleaning so I'm 100% happy with this arrangement, though like most people, there are nights when I'm too busy to make an elaborate meal that matches everybody's culinary desires. Lately I've been using Better Crocker Suddenly Grain Salad to help me out on those crazier nights—it's ready in less than half an hour and we can customize our own individual plates however we like. Win-win!

16 September, 2015

Rebecca Asks | How far in advance do you start saving for the holidays?

Happy Wednesday, everybody! How you doin'? I'm tired.





This week's question was inspired by all of the holiday beauty sets that started appearing over these past couple of weeks—it is still summer, right?

How far in advance do you start saving and planning for your holiday season shopping? (That includes gifts for others and holiday splurges you might make for yourself.) Do you have a special system for keeping track of the funds?


In 2014 I made a separate savings account with the boring name "gift fund"—every month I put a bit of money aside in it to be used for holidays, birthday gifts etc. So thanks to that I'm saving a little bit for gifts year-round, but I still always find myself overwhelmed when it comes to my wants—there are so many pretty things that come around the holidays that nobody's going to buy for me but me. Obviously I can't purchase every single thing that looks awesome, but giving yourself a gift or two during the holiday season isn't so bad, right? So I just set up yet another savings account called "fun fund", hahaha. Now what to spend it on....

On a related note: If you don't care about financial planning at all but have been paying attention to the holiday collections, I'd love to know what's on your wishlist! Nosy nosy me.

15 September, 2015

#LifeHacktoBoredom: 5 Fun Things To Do with Fun-Sized Candy Bars (+ $20 giveaway!)

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So here's a weird little story for you: My main squeeze Stan had an unexpected day off work today because an exterminator found a single bedbug in his office, and they shut the whole place down to fumigate. Adult version of a snow day? Anyway, he's been home all day getting up in my business, so I've been keeping him at bay with the promise of mini chocolate bars if he leaves me alone, hahaha. But that got me thinking—what are some other ways to beat boredom with fun-sized candy bars? That are maybe slightly less anti-social? Let the wacky brainstorming commence!

#LifeHacktoBoredom: 5 Fun Things To Do with Fun-Sized Candy Bars

Zarbee's at Target: Where to find it + get $4 off in September!

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Planning a trip to Target in the next couple of weeks? As I mentioned in yesterday's post about self-care tips for the self-employed, Zarbee's Naturals Vitamin Drink Mix is on sale at Target until the end of September as part of their Made to Matter program. If you're not familiar, #MadeToMatter is Target's special curated collection of organic and non-toxic products, so it makes perfect sense that Zarbee's would be included—they specialize in cold remedies and supplements that are free of drugs, alcohol, gluten, artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners and artificial dyes.

Zarbee's at Target: Where to find it + get $4 off in September! #DrinkForYourself #Zarbees #MadeToMatter

The past 31 years of life have taught me one very important thing: If I'm not careful, I will always get sick in the fall. I'm serious—I can think of a few years in my late teens/early twenties where I got bronchitis three or more times during fall and early winter. That kind of sucked to be frank, so now that I'm a responsible adult I take extra preventative care (like hand-washing and immune-boosting supplements). And where better to stock up on all of those things at once than...

Review | RE:CIPE by Slowganic Detox Rose Petal Cleansing Oil

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Calling all rose lovers! Today I'm reviewing a cleansing oil that not only smells like roses, but also has actual chunks of rose floating in it. All rose, all the time. Like whoa. Meet RE:CIPE Rose Petal Cleansing Oil, your new favorite floral friend.

Care Cara detox RE:CIPE by Slowganic  (Recipe by Nature) Cleansing Oil - Rose Petal review.

UNT Skincare (Taiwan) now available in the US! Coupon code + a review of their Pore Minissima Super Anti Shine Oil Control Serum

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I have some good news for all the skincare fanatics out there: UNT Skincare now has a US/global website! UNT, for those of you who aren't familiar, started in Taiwan in 2004 and specializes in results-driven products at reasonable prices. For example, one of their most popular products is EX White Laserwave brightening serum (which contains 5% Mandelic Acid and 3% m-Tranexamic Acid), but they have a wide variety of products addressing other skincare concerns (not to mention a whole line of makeup and nail products!)

UNT Pore Minissima Super Anti Shine Oil Control Serum #UNTbeautytalk

I recently got my hands on UNT's Pore Minissima Super Anti Shine Oil Control Serum to try, which promises to blast shine and control oil. Here's the thing: I don't have oily skin all over my face, but I do have classic combination skin. I tend to treat my face mostly for dryness because having tight, dry skin drives me insane, but my nose gets about 10x oilier than the rest of my face by the end of the day even if I don't moisturize it as much (as do my forehead and chin, to a somewhat lesser extent). As I'm sure anyone with oily or combo skin knows, this can be a problem because makeup tends to melt off those spots faster, which looks... odd. I've been on the lookout for an anti-shine serum I could use as a spot treatment of sorts, so on my face Pore Minissima went! Here are all the juicy (but not oily) details.

Unboxing | Olfactif Fragrance Box - August 2015: Earth, Wind, Fire

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If you've been reading my blog for a while, I'm sure you know by now that one of my biggest weaknesses is niche fragrance. Scent subscription box Olfactif has been on my wishlist for a while, so when they reached out to me last month with a box to review, I was delighted to accept! What makes Olfactif unique to the all of the other fragrance subscriptions out there, you might be wondering? Read on to find out!

Olfactif Fragrance Box


14 September, 2015

Self-care tips for the self-employed (and just really busy people)

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For those of you who don't already know, I'm fully entrenched in the self-employment lifestyle. For the past two years I've worked 100% from home, by myself (except for occasional meetings and events here and there). That may sound amazing to some of you—working from home does have its perks, like the 24 second commute from my bedroom to my home office and pajama Tuesdays (and Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays should I so desire). In a lot of ways it can be more challenging than a regular 9-5 job though—both in terms of motivation and self-care. It's hard to teach self-motivation (otherwise, wouldn't we all be superhumans who speak ten languages and can break bricks with our bare hands whilst still blazing through a 40 hour work week?) What I can share is a few of the health and wellness-related challenges I face working from home, and how I deal with them. Heads up: A lot of this advice applies to workaholics too, self-employed or not!

Self-care tips for the self-employed (and just really busy people)


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