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

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

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

R. 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

Affiliate Links Bought It

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

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

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

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

25 September, 2015

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


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

Unboxing | Walmart Beauty Box Fall/September 2015

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Happy fall, y'all! With the change of seasons comes a bounty of new beauty products and beauty boxes, including today's catch, the latest Walmart Beauty Box.

Unboxing | Walmart Beauty Box Fall/September 2015 review

16 September, 2015

R. 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

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.

14 September, 2015

Hey, it's the August Etude House Pink Bird Box: Swatches of the new Bling Bling Eye Sticks, Dear Darling Water Tint & More

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One of my favorite things in the world is finding new makeup that's inexpensive, works well, and isn't a total pain in the ass to use. There was at least one thing in the latest Etude House Pink Bird Box that ticked all three of those boxes—but you'll have to keep reading to find out what it is! [Insert gleeful cackle]

Etude House Pink Bird Box August 2015 review and unboxing

04 September, 2015

Add some “Zing” to your afternoon: An easy DIY iced green tea latte recipe


I have a confession to make: I’m not really a morning person. Or even an afternoon person. If I could stay up all night and sleep until 5PM every day, I probably would—but most of the world doesn’t operate that way, so I work during the daytime. Crazy, I know.

Add some “Zing” to your afternoon: An easy DIY iced green tea latte recipe #AmaZINGStevia

My number one staying awake during the day strategy probably won’t surprise you: Caffeine. Delicious, energy-giving caffeine. Strong coffee is usually my choice in the mornings, but afternoons require something a bit gentler in the caffeine department (assuming you want to eventually fall asleep at night, anyway). Lately I’ve been enjoying iced green tea lattes as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up—they’re caffeinated, cold (important during this late summer humidity), and sort of like a sweet treat and drink in one. Even better, they’re extremely easy to make—and today I’m going to share how I make mine!

03 September, 2015

At long last, the July 2015 Etude House Pink Bird Box: Play 101 pencil swatches, post office weirdness & GIVEAWAY!

Affiliate Links Press Sample

So here's a funny story that's not actually that funny: Etude House sent me this box in July (as one might expect), but it never showed up at my doorstep. After a while I contacted them for the tracking number to see if I could hunt it down, but by the time I got it, it was already listed as "returned to sender" because they had tried to deliver it so long ago. (Except nobody ever tried to deliver it, or if they did, they didn't leave one of those little pink missed delivery slips that American postal customers enjoy so much.) Don't you love it when that happens? Anyway, I thought it was long gone, but when my boyfriend went to the post office to pick up a different package a couple of weeks later it was somehow magically there. I don't even know anymore. In any case my local post office is awesome, and I finally have the July Etude House Pink Bird Box to show you!

July 2015 Etude House Pink Bird Box

01 September, 2015

6 UNDER 6: A collective review of six low-pH body washes (plus tips for finding more!)

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Bodies are weird. I spent a lot of time taking care of my face, but the skin on my body has its own issues too, so lately I've been trying to give it some extra TLC. One of the ways I've been doing that: Switching to slightly acidic, low-pH body wash instead of harsh soaps.

6 UNDER 6: A collective review of six low-pH body washes (plus tips for finding more!)

Some of you may be wondering why I care so much about the pH level of my body wash. There's been a lot of buzz in the beauty community lately about using low-pH cleansers on your face as a means of maintaining healthy skin. (Your skin is naturally acidic, at around pH 5.5.)

A couple of other bloggers already wrote really good posts on the subject, so rather than try to rehash and summarize I will leave these links below—I recommend reading them if you're curious about skin health as it pertains to acidity.

19 August, 2015

R. Asks | Eye Masks/Packs: How *do* you wear them?

Happy Wednesday, everybody!

This week's question was inspired by these bad boys:

Don't recognize them? They're under-eye hydrogel masks. Very useful for cooling/de-puffing the eye area. But their efficacy isn't the point of this post—I'm wondering if you use them, how do you wear them?

I realized after many, many uses that I was probably wearing mine the wrong way. I say "wrong" because the jars that have illustrations or pictures of people wearing them tend to show them pointing in a certain direction—but maybe that's not how you do things. If so, I want to know. So here's my question...

Which of the following eye mask wearing styles most closely resembles your own? Is there a reason you prefer wearing them that way?

I think method A is what you're supposed to do, but I usually feel more comfortable wearing them in style B. Maybe that has to do with the shape of my eyes. I've also seen bloggers model them in style C. I don't think there's really any way you shouldn't  wear them (except maybe on the inside of your mouth or butt). Just curious what other folks do.

Oh yeah, sometimes I stick them on my forehead and smile lines too. I'm such a wild woman.

14 August, 2015

Hair Hacks: 3 ways to get the most out of your everyday conditioner

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You might not believe this if you've ever looked at my haul posts on Instagram and Snapchat, but I'm a big fan of multi-tasking beauty products. There was a time in the not-so-distant past that I couldn't necessarily afford to try out eight thousand different lotions and potions at once, so I'm always excited when I find a single product that can fulfill multiple needs. One of the most versatile things in my bathroom is probably my regular ole, everyday Pantene conditioner—aside from all the non-haircare things you can do with it (like shaving your legs), it's actually really easy to turn one bottle into several different kinds of haircare treatments! Today I'll be sharing three of my most-used DIY hair treatments which are based around—you guessed it—my regular everyday conditioner.

#PanteneProtect #WantThatHair Pantene Protect Conditioner Hacks

12 August, 2015

R. | Lights Out!

Hey everybody, I'm back! I didn't get nearly as much done as I wanted to in my week plus off, but ain't that always the way. I have some fun posts and reviews already cooked up to share though, so I couldn't wait to get back into the swing of things!

Moving on. This week's question was inspired by recent, true-life events:

What do you do to amuse yourself during a power outage?

Last week my landlord informed me that they'd be temporarily shutting off the power in our building to do some electrical work—by temporarily I mean for a couple of hours, not days or anything like that. But of course Stan started panicking on my behalf—and I was like "Dude, I will probably just go to a coffee shop or take a nap."

In the end I ended up kind of half-dozing whilst listening to music through a little portable speaker... not a big deal. Stan's whole power outage panic brought back a bunch of childhood memories for me though... I grew up in a really snowy area with above-ground power lines, so it wasn't unusual to lose power for multiple days at a time after a bad storm. We had this massive wood-burning stove in our family room, which my mom would keep going to warm up the house and cooked canned soup and SpaghettiOs on top. We would listen to a battery-operated radio or my dad playing the guitar. It was almost sort of fun, though now that I'm an adult I can how that would have stressed the shit out of my parents.

Anyway. What do you do to keep yourself amused when the lights go out?

31 July, 2015

A look inside the Etude House Pink Bird box: Open Your Eyes Make Up Box Kit, Decoden kit cuteness and more

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Who wants to see some fun goodies from Etude House? Sorry it took me a while to post about June's box—this has been a crazy month. The contents of the box are still delightful though. Aged like a fine wine? Or something.

Etude House Pink Bird Box June 2015 review

30 July, 2015

Meet the Foreo ISSA™ toothbrush, AKA one of the weirdest things you'll find at Sephora

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I'm a little bit obsessed with oral care products. My teeth are by no means perfect, but whenever I see a toothpaste with an unusual flavor or brush with an unusual design, I have to try it. (Super cool hobby, am I right?) So naturally when I was offered a Foreo ISSA™ toothbrush to try, I couldn't resist... it looks like it's from the future! The future of TEETH! But does it actually work well? Read on to find out.

Foreo ISSA™ toothbrush #ISSAbyForeo #iFabboMember mint

Review | Botanic Farm Pearl Shining Primer

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When it comes to foundation, I'm a fan of dewy, glowy finishes. Problem is, not all foundations and BB creams are designed to look that way. So, what to do? Grab a luminizing primer to glitz things up a bit! Today I'll be taking a looking at Botanic Farm Pearl Shining Primer, which gives skin glow without being too glitzy.

Botanic Farm Pearl Shining Primer

Review & Swatches | Butter London Bloody Brilliant Lip Crayon Collection (+ GIVEAWAY!)

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I love the convenience of lip crayons. Liquid lipsticks and tints are probably the best choice when you want bulletproof color that won't budge, but sometimes you just need something you can toss in your purse and swipe on as needed for a bit of color. I'm sure most of you are familiar with Butter London's extensive collection of nail lacquers, but lately they've been really stepping up their game with other color cosmetics—lip crayons, eyeliners, mascaras (oh my)! Today I'll be swatching the Butter London Bloody Brilliant Lip Crayon collection, which really does live up to its name. Oh, and my readers have a chance to win seven of these crayons for themselves—wheeeeee! Read on for all the bloody brilliant details.

Butter London Bloody Brilliant Lip Crayon Collection swatch swatches

28 July, 2015

How to use the Foreo LUNA™ Cleansing Brush (a review)

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Years ago I used a silicone facial pad (sort of like this one) as my primary cleansing aid. I loved how soft and gentle the silicone felt, but after a while I lost the brush and never bothered to replace it, and eventually forgot about it. But all those sassy silicone memories came flooding back when I saw the LUNA™ cleansing brush by Foreo—it looked like a silicone cleansing pad/sonic brush hybrid, and you know what? That's exactly what it turned out to be! I've been testing out the LUNA™ for over a month ago, so now it's time to discuss everybody's favorite questions: Is it worth the money? And how the hell does one use this weird-looking thing? Ooh, the suspense!

Foreo LUNA™ Cleansing Brush for Combination Skin #LUNAbyFOREO #iFabboMember

23 July, 2015

Unboxing | Scent Trunk Women's Fragrance Box - July 2015

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I'll cut to the chase: I'm a big fan of Scent Trunk. This should come as no surprise to anyone who's read my dozens of indie fragrance reviews, but for folks who are new around here, I'll say this: If you like indie fragrance, you should really check them out. What's in a Scent Trunk, you might be wondering? Well I'm about to show you!

Scent Trunk Women's Fragrance Box - July 2015

Review | A-True Real Black Tea True Active Essence

Press Sample

Toners and essences are sort of like the brassieres of skincare. Good ones provide much-needed support for the rest of your skincare routine, and bad ones can weigh down your skin, making the subsequent steps feel all bunchy and out of place. I've been on the lookout for a good hydrating essence to use in my routine, and I think I finally may have found itA-True's Real Black Tea True Active Essence. Sad, shapeless routine no more!

A-True Real Black Tea True Active Essence review

08 July, 2015

R. | Plan your fantasy vacation!

Happy Wednesday, everybody! How's life treating you?

Art via

Right now I'm in full on "ahhhh I have to get ready for vacation" mode. By "vacation" I mean my annual trip to Chicago to visit friends, which is happening at the end of this week. Wish I was going on a slightly more epic journey this summer, but hey, it's better than nothing! Which brings me to this week's question:

If time/finances/etc. weren't a consideration, where would you most like to go on vacation this summer? Or if you don't have a specific destination in mind, what would you like to do?

I have a bunch of destinations in mind, but mainly I'd like to go somewhere I haven't been before. Doesn't even have to be that exotic... I've never been to Seattle, for example. What's there to do in Seattle? I don't know! Maybe I want to find out. But if I really had a lot of time to kill, maybe I'd do one of those Alaska land/sea tours... I'm not big into cruising just for the sake of cruising, but I do like seeing amazing scenery. Going overseas is also a thing... lots of countries I've still never visited. But I can only be so many places at once!

How about you? Where would you go and what would you do?

24 June, 2015

R. ASKS | A picture may be worth a thousand words, but....

Happy Wednesday, everybody! Hope you're all fine and dandy. I haven't been sleeping well, so excuse me if this post doesn't zzzzzzzzzzzz.

This week's question is about blogs, and was inspired by a conversation I was having with somebody about blogging. Go figure.

Which matters more to you on blogs: Good writing or good photography and design?

Please don't say "it depends"—there's obviously a greater need for nice photos on a beauty blog than on a blog about self-publishing e-books, for example. Think about the blogs you really, really, really love: Do they excel more at the written word or at taking gorgeous as f**k pictures? Is it possible to be equally good at both?

I find myself seeking out interesting writing over photography most of the time. Not that I don't appreciate beautiful imagery, but beautiful imagery without a story or compelling information to accompany it just doesn't intrigue me as much. That said, I really, really, really appreciate bloggers who try to provide both. But I will read blogs without pictures. (Remember when that's all there was? Yeah.) It's a bit different with beauty blogs because visual appeal is a big part of the whole beauty thing, but a really vivid description is more likely to make me run out and buy something than a nice photo. Talk of scents and textures, scintillating recollections of how the blogger used the product, personal anecdotes that I can relate to (or at least react to). But that's just me.

There's no wrong answer here—if you value amazing photos more than amazing writing, let me know in the comments! I'm curious about what other people think.

Introducing Mishibox, a new Korean beauty box

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I don't know if you've noticed, but Korean beauty products have become really, really popular lately. This is great news for folks like me who have been using this stuff for years—at long last, some of our favorite products are available for purchase without weeks of waiting time! (International shipping is slow, yo.) But one thing I've really been missing is a good subscription K-beauty box. There are several non-subscription options out there (I'm sure I don't need to name names), but companies that will send you good boxes of surprise stuff each month. And not just samples—a mixture of samples and full-sizes. Luckily, new subscription box service Mishibox offers just that—and they ship from right here in the USA! They were kind enough to send me their first box for review, so let's take a look and see if it fills that K-shaped hole in my heart.

Mishibox June 2015 review and unboxing

23 June, 2015

7 Oil Cleansers You Can Find at the Drugstore

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There's a new(ish) trend happening in American skincare, and I like it: Well-known budget brands are adding cleansing oils to their existing product lineups. This may not sound like much of a big deal to my readers in Asia, but up until recently, domestic brands had been very lacking in the cleansing oil department. ("Lacking" as in pretty much nonexistent.) A lot of mainstream drugstore brands have finally started to take the cleansing oil plunge though, so today I thought I'd share all the ones I've discovered so far!

Unboxing | Walmart Beauty Box Summer 2015

Affiliate Links Bought It

For the second time in a row, the Walmart Beauty Box managed to show up on my doorstep without any warning. A quick search of my e-mail reveals that they did in fact send me tracking info, but it came from "auto-notify" with the subject line "Unregistered Demo". Who knows how I managed to overlook that. Anyway, it's here now—want to see what's in it?

Walmart Beauty Box Summer 2015 review unboxing WMS T1

22 June, 2015

Butter London Ladybird/Shine Out Loud (Review & GIVEAWAY!)

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I'm sure most of you reading are familiar with Butter London's nail lacquers, but did you know that they also now make a variety of other color cosmetics? I've been seeing a lot of bold, graphic eye looks lately, so it stands to reason that Butter London would be on board with products to help achieve that look. Add to that classic red nails and lips but amped up with extra shine, and you've got Butter London's Shine Out Loud collection!

Today I'll be looking at a few of their non-nail polish cosmetics, and even better, I've got extras of all the products in this review to give away to one lucky reader! Keep reading for details.

Review | Kicho Sheep Oil Cream

Press Sample

This review originally appeared on HelloPrettyBird.com.

This may sound weird to some of you, but I'm sure all of the true skincare addicts out there can relate: I can't commit to just one cream. It's not because I'm fickle (well, not just because of that anyway)—my skin feels drier on some days than it does on others. You can blame seasons, hormones, or phases of the moon, but regardless of the reason, drier skin days call for richer creams. Today I'll be taking a look at a cream that fits the "help, my face is going to crack into a million pieces if I don't smear some serious s**t on it" bill nicely—Kicho Sheep Oil Cream.

Review of Kicho Cosmetics Sheep Oil Cream with lanolin and 8 berry complex.

18 June, 2015

Review & Swatches | Shiro Cosmetics Battle of the Boy Bands: Tearin’ Up My Heart (NSYNC-inspired collection)

Bought It

Have you ever thought to yourself "Man, I really wish I could rub some Justin Timberlake all over my mouth right now?" Well, now's your chance! Today I'll be taking a look at Shiro Cosmetics' Battle of the Boy Bands: Tearin’ Up My Heart indie makeup collection, which unless I'm hallucinating, seems to be inspired by the members of NSYNC. You're welcome?

Shiro Cosmetics Battle of the Boy Bands: Tearin’ Up My Heart (NSYNC-inspired collection)

17 June, 2015

R. Do you still follow a beauty routine when you're ill?

Happy Wednesday, everybody! Hope you're all fine and dandy.

art via

This week's question was inspired by the er... not-so-glamorous start I had to my week. I'll spare you most of the gruesome details, but let's just say that Aunt Flo and some sort of stomach bug decided to visit me at the same time—and this was not a hospitable mix of guests. I spent a fair bit of time lying in bed on Monday and Tuesday trying to pretend that I wasn't having excruciating stomach and abdominal cramps at the same time, which I guess sort of worked, because I feel mostly fine now. Anyway, I found myself feeling (a) bored and (b) in need of a little pick-me-up, so I started having a little at-home pamper session... easy stuff like foot masks, sheet masks, a bit of makeup even though the rest of me felt like crispy fried death. Which got me wondering...

Do you stick to your usual beauty routine while you're ill? Are you more likely to shorten your routine or pamper yourself extra when you're laid up?

I will say this: If I had bronchitis or something like that instead of stomach flu, I probably wouldn't have been sheet masking. Focusing on trying to breathe takes up a lot of energy, so I'm not sure how often I'd even wash my face during that type of illness. But for a stomach bug... taking a few minutes to put on a mask was a welcome distraction, and made me look less disheveled than I was feeling, which I guess made me feel slightly better in a way? Mentally, anyway. I still had to make a couple of mid-mask trips to the bathroom. (Whoops, guess this post turned out to be TMI after all.)

How about you?

16 June, 2015

Etude House Precious Mineral Any Cushion vs. Pearl Aura Any Cushion: A review and comparison

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Cushion foundations are hardly a new thing in the K-beauty world, but to be honest, it took me a while to warm up to the trend. They generally contain less product per volume than traditional foundations/BB creams in tubes or bottles, so at first I was like "Why?" But once I realized how wonderfully portable they were, I was fully on board, and lately I've been in "Try All The Cushions!" mode (including some old, some new, and some DIY). Today I'll be comparing two affordable cushions, one old formula and one brand new: Etude House's Precious Mineral Any Cushion and Precious Mineral Any Cushion Pearl Aura.

Review, swatches and comparison of Etude House Precious Mineral Any Cushion in W13/Natural Beige and Etude House Precious Mineral Pearl Aura Any Cushion in Natural Aura

11 June, 2015

10 Tips For Taking Better Product Photographs With Your Phone


One of the biggest challenges I faced when I started blogging about beauty was how to take decent product photos. In the beginning, I had zero photography skills and nothing but a cell phone camera and ancient point-and-shoot to aid me along. If you look at some of my early posts, the photos are... well... bad. I may not be an expert photographer or anything now, but I've come a long, long way since then.

These days I'm lucky enough to have a DSLR camera, but there are still times when I reach for my phone instead. Let's face it, DSLRs are kind of heavy, and therefore not ideal for throwing in your bag when you travel or when you want to take 800 selfies. And truth is, while having a full-featured camera is nice, you don't have to have one to take nice pictures for your blog. Today I'll be sharing a few tips for taking better product photos with your phone—most of them are easy and can be done with stuff you already have around the house!

09 June, 2015

Review | Pure Heals Propolis 80 Cream

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Today I have another entry in the "Propolis Mania" diaries to share with you! Korea-based e-tailer ibuybeauti let me pick some stuff from their site to review a couple of months ago, and I selected PureHeals Propolis 80 Cream on a whim. I was really embracing honey as a skincare ingredient at the time, so I guess propolis felt like a natural extension of that? In any case, I've gone a bit wild sampling different propolis products (including PureHeals' propolis ampoule), and this cream is in serious competition with the LJH propolis ampoule for being my favorite. (I should probably review that too someday, eh?)

08 June, 2015

Scents of summer: A wee Darling Clandestine fragrance haul (and first impressions)

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I've got a little Darling Clandestine haul to share, y'all! Normally I prefer to test things out for a looooooong time and write individual reviews, but most of the items in today's haul are seasonal, so I wanted to write about them while some of them are actually still available for purchase. Wild, I know.

Darling Clandestine Etsy haul

Editorial note: There were actually three pieces of candy thrown in as a gift with my order, but I ate two of them before I managed to snap a picture. Whoops.

03 June, 2015

Guess what? I'm a Pink Bird! (A look inside the May 2015 Etude House Pink Bird box)

Press Sample

Psst, guess what? I have some fun news to share: I'm now a part of Etude House's Pink Bird program! I got my very first Pink Bird box a couple of weeks ago, so I've had a bit of time to test all the goodies and I'm excited to share.

May 2015 Etude House Pink Bird box

What's a Pink Bird Box, you might be wondering? It's a special bundle of new and classic products that K-beauty brand Etude House sends out to select bloggers and vloggers each month for review. Unfortunately you can't buy or subscribe to these boxes, though it would be really cool if you could... hint hint, Etude House. :) In any case, it means that I'll be able to share reviews of more Etude House products with you in the coming months—yay!

01 June, 2015

Review | Mizon Correct Combo Pink Radiance CC Cream

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This may or may not surprise you, but about 50% of my beauty-related internet browsing has to do with foundations, BB creams, and CC creams. For whatever reason I have a really hard time finding base makeup that both matches my skintone and has an appealing texture... but I haven't given up yet! When I see something that's affordable and looks like it might be a winner, I try it. Today I'll be taking a look at Mizon Correct Combo Pink Radiance CC Cream—not a brand new product, but I haven't seen too many reviews of it in English, so I figured I'd give it a shot.

Mizon Correct Combo Pink Radiance CC Cream review 미즈온 코렉트 콤보 래디언스 CC 크림

20 May, 2015

Share a Coke with friends (and your legs): A DIY Cola Body Scrub Tutorial

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

One of my favorite things about summer is being able to spend time with friends outside. Things like picnics, barbecues, or even just lazy days hanging around the beach at Coney Island. Of course warmer weather means showing a bit more skin—and sometimes I feel like I'm still not prepared for that. I was talking with a friend of mine the other day about post-winter grooming rituals and exfoliation, and she complained that her legs were still super-dry and scaly because she hadn't had a chance to really pay attention to them lately. So what to do? Make her a delicious-smelling, summer-themed moisturizing body scrub, of course!

#CokeHappyHour #CollectiveBias  Share A coke DIY cola body scrub tutorial and recipe

When I think of iconic summer scents and flavors, one of the first things that comes to mind is Cola-Cola. Refreshing Coke to wash down tasty food at family cookouts,  to cool off after nearly sweating to death on the boardwalk, or to perk you up in the midst of a slightly-too-long family road trip. So naturally I wanted to share those memories with my friend—both as a body scrub and in the form of an actual Coke!

R. | Do you keep a beauty (or style) budget?

Happy Wednesday, everybody!

art via

This week's question was actually inspired by fellow blogger adordee, who posted an article earlier this week called How to Beauty Haul responsibly. Speaking as someone who usually plans out beauty purchases instead of just impulse-buying everything in sight, I can relate to a lot of what she says—but it got me wondering:

Do you keep a specific budget just for beauty or style purchases? If so, how do you ensure that you stick with it? If not, do you wish you did have a budget?

I do keep a budget, mostly out of necessity (hellooooo student loans that I will be paying off until after the end of time). I'll admit that some months I don't stick to it to the cent, but for the most part I'm keeping my spending within a certain range. I also try to keep a list of what I've bought recently on a spreadsheet so I'm not like "Oops, forgot about that $50 I spent on squirrel nail decals last week."

I actually got in the habit of keeping separate budgets for separate spending categories a few years ago when I had a "normal" job with regular paychecks—a friend recommended some budgeting software to me called You Need A Budget. It's a bit trickier when you have freelancer income (not the same from month to month), but I still think is an excellent resource if you're trying to pay off debt or save up.

Anyway, this post is not meant to be judgmental towards folks who don't keep a beauty budget—there are plenty of reasons why it might not be necessary. Either way, let me know in the comments!

18 May, 2015

Review & Swatches | Memebox X Pony Blossom Lipstick Collection

Lately I've been on a bit of a budget lipstick-buying craze. I blame the change of seasons—nicer weather calls for brighter colors, I guess. So naturally when Memebox released a collection of spring lipsticks in collaboration with famous makeup artist/YouTuber Pony, I knew I had to have it!

Memebox X Pony Blossom Lipstick Collection: Shades #01 Rose Garden, #02 Spring Romance, #03 Orange Dahila, and #04 Blooming Love 미미뷰티 미미박스 [포니x미미박스] 블로썸 립 컬러 4종

13 May, 2015

R. | One (body) lotion or lots of potions?

Happy Wednesday, everybody! Hope life is treating you well. I'm eating Skittles right now. Mmm, Skittles. Aren't I exciting?

drawing via

This week's question was inspired by cleaning, strangely enough. I spend a little time this past weekend cleaning up my mess of a bedside table, and weeded out all the skincare products I don't really use... but of course there were still a million left. What can I say, I'm a multi-stepper. But that got me thinking:

A lot of folks have a multi-step skincare routine for their face (e.g. cleanse/tone/serum/cream), but do you have one for your body? Or do you just slap lotion on and call it a day?

I never really thought about writing a post dedicated to my body routine, but when I think about it, I do actually use a bunch of different stuff. For example:
  • Cleanse with body wash (or sometimes even just my face wash)
  • Sometimes exfoliate in-shower with a rough cloth or sugar scrub
  • If I'm not exfoliating in-shower, use Paula's Choice RESIST AHA body lotion
  • Lately I've also been alternating the AHA lotion with Paula's Choice 2% BHA body treatment, in the hopes of killing the scant amount of acne and KP that remains on my body
  • Sometimes follow up with another, more occlusive moisturizer (like body butter)

 Geez, that's actually kind of a lot of steps. Or is it? I don't know, maybe some of you do more. Let me know in the comments!

12 May, 2015

Review | Pure Heals Propolis 90 Ampoule

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So I while back I tried the LJH Vita Propolis ampoule and immediately fell in love. It made my skin look super-glowy without feeling heavy or greasy... problem is, that stuff ain't cheap. American retail prices are around $38 for a 15ml (yes, just 15ml!) bottle, and even if you have the patience to order from Korea with slow/cheap shipping, you're still looking at paying around $30. What's a gal on a budget to do? Try out cheaper propolis ampoules, of course. Today I'll be taking an in-dept look at Pure Heals Propolis 90 Ampoule, which is loaded with a whopping 90% of propolis extract and costs less than half the price per volume of LJH. But does it measure up? Read on to find out!

Pure Heals Propolis 90 Ampoule review 퓨어힐스 프로폴리스90 앰플 30ml

New at Target: Pacifica "The Power of Love" Eyeshadow Palette & Wipes (+ GIVEAWAY!)

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Calling all natural and cruelty-free beauty lovers! Pacifica recently launched two NEW (and adorable) products at Target: The Power of Love Coconut Infused Mineral Eye Shadow Palette and Coco Pure Makeup Removing Wipes Facial Towelettes. I've got the details on both—and there might be a chance for folks to win one of the eyeshadow palettes too. Just sayin'. :)

Pacifica "The Power of Love" Eyeshadow Palette & Wipes