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

27 February, 2015

Wishing For Spring: My nature-inspired favorites from ShopLately (+ GIVEAWAY!)

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I don't know about you, but I'm more than ready for winter to be over. While I wouldn't exactly describe myself as a full-on outdoorsy type, there is something to be said for being able to walk around outside, sniff the flowers, not get frostbite in your toes. Maybe I've been watching too many nature documentaries lately. In any case, I was browsing around ShopLately and started to notice tons of accessories that reminded me of springtime. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not. But I'll be sharing a few of my favorites today either way.


New to ShopLately? Here's what you need to know:
  • ShopLately is an online marketplace featuring a variety of designers and merchants. Think Etsy or eBay, except fashion and beauty-focused, plus much easier to navigate. Hooray! You'll find a mixture of handmade, indie goodies and mass-produced brands in the marketplace.
  • See tons of stuff you want to buy on the site? ShopLately has something called the Insider Program, which only costs $9 per year (with a 30 day free trial) and gets you FREE SHIPPING on all items. Think Amazon Prime for awesome accessories but way, way cheaper! (ShopLately items are only available to be shipped within the US at this time, just FYI.)
  • New customers can get $10 credit towards their first purchase of $15+ by signing up via Facebook through my referral link.

I picked up items from multiple ShopLately merchants this time, all based around one theme: Nature in springtime. Oh, to be free from dirty ice and frozen fingers.

When Dinosaurs Roamed the Red Carpet (and other fashion mishaps)

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February in Dinosaur City can only mean one thing... awards season! A time when the crème de la crème can rub elbows and show off their fanciest duds. Of course sometimes things don't go exactly as planned... today I present to you one such tale of dino-woe.


Quick & Easy Red Carpet Lips: Drugstore Edition

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Watching award shows always inspires me to up my glamor game a bit. It's not like I have many occasions to walk the red carpet myself, but when I see someone wearing a bold lip or really stunning eye makeup I find myself saying "I want to look like that!"

#BeautyQtips Q-tips Precision Tips Red Carpet Easy Lip Makeup Tutorial #CG Clever Girls Collective

Thankfully, one really need a red carpet event as an excuse to glam up. Sometimes I like to go with a bold lip for a regular night on the town, or even just for a night of staying in and watching TV if I'm feeling sassy. Today I thought I'd share my quick and easy method for achieving a crisp, bold red lip, AKA the red carpet classic. No special brushes are required—I just used a few random bits of makeup from my collection and Q-tips Precision Tips (MSRP $3.29 for 170), which are easy to find at drugstores and the like.

26 February, 2015

Indie | Fyrinnae Lip Lustre in Meloncholy: A Review

Bought It

I recently ordered a few Fyrinnae eyeshadows I'd had my eye on for a while, and somehow a mini of one of their Lip Lustres ended up in my cart too—very mysterious. Or maybe not that mysterious, since I had never tried any of their lip products before and Meloncholy was calling to me. Melon-calling to me. (Insert drum rimshot SFX.) Was it worth the impulse buy? Read on to find out!

Fyrinnae Lip Lustre in Meloncholy mini trial sample tube vial

25 February, 2015

Medicine Cabinet 101: My Cold & Flu Season Essentials

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How do you deal with nasty winter colds? I'm one of those people who doesn't get sick very often, but when I do, it hits me HARD. My boyfriend will get the sniffles and a cough for a couple of days and then be fine, but if he happens to pass it along to me, I'll be wheezing like an elderly two-pack-a-day smoker for weeks. Yay!

I've taken away an important lesson from these experiences: It pays to be prepared. You know what's worse than being sick? Having to go out shopping for stuff to make you feel better while you're feverish and/or turning into a total phlegm faucet. There are a few things that I always keep in my medicine cabinet (and pantry) for just such occasions, so I thought I'd share those today: My Cold & Flu Season Essentials!

Medicine Cabinet 101: My Cold & Flu Season Essentials Nyquil Severe #ReliefIsHere

Weekly Poll | Getting Trashed

Happy Wednesday, everybody! Are you excited that it's almost March? Am I excited that it's almost my birthday? Yes, yes I am.

Trash can/woman graphic via

This week's topic is a hybrid question and challenge, and was inspired my recent urge to declutter. Over the past month or so I've been gradually getting rid of stuff I don't need or use, reading books and blogs about organization, etc. Thankfully e-books are a thing now, so they don't end up adding to the clutter. So here's the question/challenge:

  • Step one: Look through your stuff and identify something you've been meaning to get rid of or haven't used in ages. Doesn't have to be something in your home—it can be in your car, desk at work, purse, backpack, etc. What is it? Let us know in the comments!
  • Step two: I challenge you to get rid of it right now. Throw in the trash, toss it in a donation box, call up a friend and ask if they want it. Right now!
  • Step three: If you have such little clutter in your life that you can't think of anything to get rid of, congratulations! You win this non-game.

As for me... I decided to clear something out of my beauty drawer. I found a partially-used bottle of Vitamin C serum that was ANCIENT, like had been opened over a year ago, which clearly is not something I need to hang onto. I dumped the contents and rinsed the bottle so I could recycle it. Yay!

So... what did you get rid of?

24 February, 2015

Unboxing | Vegan Cuts Snack Box February 2015

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How many of you are still eating treats you got for the holidays? I polished off most of the Christmas candy in December, but the Vegan Cuts Snack Box subscription I got as a gift just keeps on coming.  There also might be a single candy cane hanging off our tiny fake Christmas tree, which may or may not still be up in our living room... ahem.

Vegan Cuts Snack Box February 2015 snacks

23 February, 2015

Review | Paula's Choice Resist C15 Super Booster (plus comparison to OST C20)

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I recently cracked open my second bottle of Paula's Choice Resist C15 Super Booster, so I thought it was about time I shared my thoughts. Major spoiler: I like it (as you may have guessed from the fact that I already repurchased it), but I still think the OST/C20 Vitamin C serum is better at providing quick-n-dirty results. There are several ways in which Paula's Choice C15 is superior though, so in addition to reviewing C15 in this post I'll also be doing a bit of comparison between the two so folks who haven't tried either can make an informed decision about which one to get.

Paula's Choice Resist C15 Super Booster vitamin c serum

22 February, 2015

Unboxing | Memebox USA Lunar New Year Mystery Value Box

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So I guess mystery boxes are now officially a "thing" for Memebox USA, because they released a new one themed around the Lunar New Year last week. And they still seem to be shipping really quickly, because I ordered this box on Thursday and got it in the mail yesterday (Saturday). Like, whoa. Should we have a peek inside?

Memebox USA Lunar New Year Edition Mystery Value Box

21 February, 2015

Remaining Organized in 2015: My Multitasking Essentials

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This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias and its Advertiser. All thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone and should not be construed as medical advice. #24HourEsterC #CollectiveBias


How are all your New Year's resolutions going so far? I only made two goals for myself this year, but both of them were big ones: One, to get (and stay) more organized, and two, to use my time more wisely and get more done every day. Those things sort of go hand-in-hand... being organized helps you plan out your time more concretely, and following a schedule helps keep you organized. The problem with working from home  is that there aren't always concrete "rules" about what to do when—I usually need to do work during the day, but taking photos for my blog in daylight is also ideal. And what about personal calls and errands? Sometimes you need to squeeze all of that stuff into a certain period of time, even if nobody's forcing you to punch a time card at 5 O'clock.

I took some time at the beginning of the year to get my work space (and mental space) organized, so today I thought I'd share a few of my multitasking essentials: Tips and products to supplement productivity and sanity while juggling... well... everything.

Essentials for staying productive in the new year #24HourEsterC #CollectiveBias

Unboxing | Beauty Box 5 February 2015: Hooray!

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Hip-hip-hooray, it's Beauty Box 5's birthday! Who wants to see what was in their third anniversary box?

Beauty Box 5 February 2015: Hooray! review unboxing

A wee review of a wee product: Bite Beauty Luminous Crème Lipstick Duo in Tangerine/Lingonberry

Affiliate Links Bought It

Last week I got myself a very small haul from Sephora in early celebration of my birthday. (What's smaller than a haul? A lug?) Amongst the goodies was one of Bite Beauty's Luminous Crème Lipstick Duos, which I've already grown quite fond of, so I thought I'd take a moment to share the loveliness of it with you here today.

Bite Beauty Luminous Crème Lipstick Duo in Tangerine/Lingonberry

20 February, 2015

A Grown-up's Snow Day in Brooklyn

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When you're a little kid, there are a lot of little things you take for granted. Things like having someone else buy food for you, having the freedom to spend entire summers inventing languages and roaming around outside without an obligation in the world, getting a fiver in birthday cards from distant relatives, and if you grew up in a cold climate, the gloriousness of getting snowed out of school and being able to romp in the snow all day long. Of course unexpected snow days were likely very stressful for your parents, but that's the beauty of being a kid—you probably didn't notice at the time!


Unfortunately snow days are far and few between once you hit adulthood, but strangely enough, Stan and I found ourselves having one last month. The folks on the news were calling Winter Storm Juno the blizzard of the century, so lots of businesses (and even the New York City subway system!) shut down in preparation. As it turns out, Juno wasn't quite as epic as it was predicted to be... but there was quite a bit of snow on the ground, and there we were with a whole day off. What to do? GO SLEDDING!!!

19 February, 2015

Stan Says | Review & Unboxing of the Wet Shave Club Starter Box

Press Sample

He's ba-aaack! I was recently offered a chance to try out a month of Wet Shave Club, and who better to help me review it than my main squeeze (and daily shaver) Stan? Don't be fooled by that wan smile, he was damn excited to try out this box.


18 February, 2015

Weekly Poll | Combing Attractions

Happy Wednesday, everybody! Is it freezing where you are? The internet tells me that the low temperature for tomorrow in NYC is 4°F/-16°C. Oh joy of joys.

Woman illustration via

Speaking of the cold, today's question has to do with nature's hat: Your hair!

What's your favorite hair product at the moment and why? It can be a styling product, shampoo, treatment, whatever. List a couple if you can't decide on just one!

I think mine is the Ryo Anti-Hair Loss Treatment that popped up in a couple of Memeboxes. Supposed hair loss benefits aside, it seems to be making my scalp less gross and flaky, and when I use it in conjunction with a regular conditioner it makes my hair SUPER shiny. Like so shiny that Stan even said "Hey, your hair is shiny!" (This is a guy who didn't notice when I chopped eight inches off my hair, so yeah. Impressive.) If I have to choose a second product, I'd probably go with Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle spray (which I first sampled through Birchbox). Everybody seems to love this stuff, and with good reason—it smells delicious and works really well as a detangling spray.

So, how about you? Got any hair-raising favorites to share?

17 February, 2015

Unboxing | Memebox USA Leaders Mystery Value Box

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When Memebox shut down international shipping I wasn't sure if they'd stop making mystery boxes. I hoped not, because mystery boxes are lots of fun. Well I have some good news: They did release a mystery box last week, which I ordered, and already received! Whoa! Hopefully this means they'll do more in the future. But for now, want to see what was in my first USA-based mystery Memebox?

Memebox USA Leaders Mystery Value Box review unboxing

How to use CoSign: A new app for monetizing your OOTD/FOTD photos

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One of the most-frequently asked questions that seems to come up in blogger forums or chats is "How can I make money?" The question itself is simple enough, but the answer can be sort of complicated depending on what you blog about, what sort of platform you use (text blogging vs. vlogging) and whole slew of other factors. One thing is for sure though: A lot of folks are using social media these days to promote their blogs (or even just as a form of standalone micro-blogging).

Today I'll be showing you how to use CoSign, a free app that allows you to tag products in your photos, share them on social media, and earn a commission if your readers/followers purchase items through your tags! You can use CoSign to tag all sorts of stuff, but I think it lends itself especially well to beauty and fashion photos as a lot of us tend to list the items used in our FOTDs/OOTDs anyway.


16 February, 2015

Unboxing | Memebox Korean Beauty Starter Set #2: Sampler Kit

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The last of my orders from the now-not-so-global Memebox Global has finally arrived: Korean Beauty Starter Set #2. A bittersweet box... so awesome and cheap, but in retrospect, probably a sign that they were clearing their inventory before switching to US-only shipping. Oh well, it's still a good box! Let's have a look at it.

Memebox Korean Beauty Starter Set #2: Sampler Kit Global #StarterKit

12 February, 2015

Unboxing | Birchbox February 2015: Friendship

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Birchbox seems to be getting really creative with their box designs lately. I like that. Of course it's creating a problem for me: Which ones to keep? If I retain them all, I'll turn into a crazy hoarder. Real world problems. Anyway, who wants to see what I got in my box this month?

Unboxing | Birchbox February 2015: Friendship review

11 February, 2015

#MaxYourTax Return: Staying ahead of the curve for next year

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


Yep, it's that time of year again: Time to start getting your tax returns in order. A total thrill ride for most of you, I'm sure. There is one silver lining though: The possibility of a tax refund! So here's my question: If you're getting a refund this year, what are you going to do with the money?

#MaxYourTax Return: Staying ahead of the curve for next year #CollectiveBias

Today I'll be sharing what I usually do with my refund, as well as a few tips for keeping your finances organized for next year. It may seem a bit silly to plan that far ahead, but trust me, starting now will make your life easier when it comes time to file all that paperwork!

Weekly Poll | Still Life with Fruit.

Happy Wednesday, everybody!


This week's question is about fruit. Mmm, fruit. Stan's father signed us up for the Harry & David Fruit of the Month Club as a holiday gift, and it's been a real treat because we don't buy a lot of fresh fruit for ourselves around this time of year. Last month we got a massive pile-o-pears, and yesterday a ton of tangelos. Aww yess. Anyway, here's my question:

What's your favorite kind of fruit? Feel free to choose two or three if you can't decide on one.


Simple as! I think mine must be grapefruit, though I certainly don't consume it all the time out of respect for my stomach lining. I also grew quite fond of feijoas when I was staying in New Zealand, but I haven't had one in several years. I don't think they grow anywhere in North America? (If I'm wrong and you have a feijoa tree, please invite me over for a fruit party.) Lastly, avocados. Didja know those were technically fruits and not vegetables? Either way, I want to eat them. A LOT.

09 February, 2015

Memebox Boxing Day Box #2: Unboxing & GIVEAWAY!!!

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Hey look, it's a Memebox unboxing! It's been a while since I did one of these. I managed to grab Memebox Boxing Day Box #2 during the big restock that happened last month, and guess what? I also managed to snag a second one to give away to one lucky reader. Woo! More info on that at the end of the post. But first, an in-depth look at the many wonders contained in Boxing Day Box #2. (Say that three times fast.)

Memebox Global Boxing Day Box #2 review unboxing info card

04 February, 2015

Valentine's Day Idea: "Sweet Nothings" DIY Gift Basket

Weekly Poll | In Dreams

Happy Wednesday, everybody! Are you enjoying February so far?

Image source: Stuart Miles @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This week's question was inspired by sleep. Mmm, sleep.

What's the strangest or funniest dream you've had in recent memory?

Simple enough. I had sort of a funny one a couple of mornings ago... I kept hitting the snooze button on my alarm (in reality) because I was way too groggy to get up, and in my half-asleep state I started thinking "Maybe I could sell these little 10 minute nap sessions. People would pay for that. What should I call them though? I know... TATER-TOTS!" And then I fell completely asleep for ten minutes and dreamt I was trying to sell tater tots to a disinterested public, which is such a silly concept by itself that I can't even. Who doesn't love tater tots/naps?!

Anyway, yeah. Naptots. How about you?

03 February, 2015

Review | Paula's Choice Lip & Body Treatment Balm

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Hands up if your lips get really dry and chapped in the winter! I feel like I have to go out of my way to keep from kisser from getting parched around this time of year. Curse you, cold wind and aggressively hot radiators. I recently picked up Paula's Choice Lip & Body Treatment Balm in the hopes that it would perk up my withered pout, and it actually exceeded my expectations! Whoa! It's definitely worth checking out if you're in need of an intensive balm for winter. But for now... more information!

Paula's Choice Lip & Body Treatment Balm jar packaging

02 February, 2015

Project Low-Buy 2015: Introduction

Yep, it's that time again: Time for a little bit of sexy budgeting action. Last year I did a no-buy/spending ban that ended up turning into what could more appropriately be called a "low-buy"I think I ended up spending about $50 on non-essential items over the course of two months, which isn't totally nuts. One of my New Year's goals/resolutions was to save more in 2015, so it seems logical for me to do an exercise in extreme budgeting again this year. Except I'm kicking it up a notch this time and low-buyin' for three months instead of two. THREE!!! Will I make it this time? Check out the rules I've set up for myself below and make your wagers in the comments.

Piggy bank art via

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