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

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

24 July, 2015

Berry Pretty! My berry beauty faves (plus enter for a chance to win some berry awesome beauty goodies from AZO)

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Thanks for stopping by, it's berry nice to see you here! (Har har har.) But in all seriousness, one trend that always seems to endure in beauty and fashion is berries: Berry colors, berry scents, berry ingredients in skincare. (I also like eating berries, but that's a subject for another day.) Today I thought I'd share a few of my most-loved berry-themed products—everything from scrumptious-smelling scrubs to luscious, long-lasting lip color. And if you've been meaning to bolster your own berry beauty collection, you're in luck—AZO is giving away three gift baskets filled with berry-themed beauty goodies from Sephora! More on that at the end of the post. But for now I present to you:

#BerryBeautyTrends #AZOCranGummies

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

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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

21 July, 2015

Unboxing | Birchbox July 2015: Go Bold

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How's that summer heat treating you? I'm melting a bit, but thankfully the contents of my latest Birchbox didn'tthey were smart enough not to send any traditional lipsticks (or other waxy products) in this the month of swampy air. Overbearing humidity aside, who wants to see what I got in my box this month?

Unboxing | Birchbox July 2015: Go Bold review


15 July, 2015

Unboxing | Influenster "I Do" Vox Box

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Influenster is like a beauty box ninja, lurking in the darkness. You never know when they're going to show up on your doorstep, but when they do, their attacks are powerful. The latest of Influenster's product mercenaries to infiltrate my home was the  #IDoVoxBox—and much like the #FrostyVoxBox that came before it, it was packed to the gills with random (but fun) stuff. Want to see what was in it?

Review and Unboxing | Influenster "I Do" Vox Box #IDoVoxBox

14 July, 2015

Summer Style: Easy Beachy Waves (for Medium to Long Hair)

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

I have a (shocking?) confession to make: I haven't had a professional haircut since 2007. And now for a less shocking confession: I've been cutting my own hair instead. For a long time, one of my early summer rituals was to give my hair a thorough chop in preparation for the scorching hot weather... usually something along the lines of a chin-length angled bob. Cute, but with limited styling possibilities.

Easy, no heat beachy waves tutorial for medium to long hair. #MyBeachBlonde #CollectiveBias

A couple of years ago I decided it was time to grow my hair out—no more annual summer chop. And I think it's finally at a place where it could be described as "long." Helloooooo new hairstyles! One look I've always wanted to try with long hair is the windswept beachy waves look—it just looks so casual and cool. Perfect for summer. I've been experimenting with tousled styles over the past couple of months, and now I'm ready to share my easy technique for beachy waves with you. This works best for medium to long hair, though with a little modification, even short-haired types could benefit. Better yet: My style doesn't require any hot tools. No melting under the hairdryer in the hot summer sun.

09 July, 2015

Tips for long-term trips: How to pack for a week (or more) in your carry-on bag

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Here's an interesting factoid for you: I spent approximately two years in my twenties living out of a bag while traveling from place to place. In other words: Backpacking! As such. I have a lot of experience with travel (including my time working as a travel agent in an honest-to-goodness brick-and-mortar agency, but that's another story for another day). Packing for backpacking trips can be a bit challenging—you need to be prepared for a variety of scenarios, but at the same time you don't want to have too much stuff, because you literally have to bring it with you everywhere.

These days I'm not going on lengthy backpacking jaunts, but I still apply some of the packing know-how I gained along the way to my regular vacation suitcase. For example, Stan and I are about to go on a four day trip, and we've decided to share a carry-on suitcase—gasp! He was a bit intimidated by the idea when I first suggested it, but packing light can actually be very easy if you're mindful about what you choose to bring. Today I'll be sharing some of my tips for packing, and how I manage to pack for a week (or more) in one carry-on bag!

#PocketPearlatTarget

08 July, 2015

Unboxing | Splendies Underwear Subscription - June 2015

Bought It

Heyyyyy so it's July and I'm still catching up on a few unboxing posts from the end of June. It happens. But good things are often worth the wait, yes? Today I'll be showing you what I got in June's Splendies box, AKA a surprisingly adorable assortment of undies. I was little on the fence about Splendies when I first subscribed, but I'm clear off it now!

Splendies Underwear Subscription - June 2015 review unboxing

REBECCA ASKS | 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?

06 July, 2015

Unboxing | Vegan Cuts Beauty Box: June 2015

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One of my favorite things about the whole subscription box trend is that it often caters to niche interests. Like knitting? Mystery books? Cats? There's probably a box for you! In that vein, the Vegan Cuts Beauty Box is a very good thing, because it's a bit harder to come by samples of 100% vegan brands than your standard Sephora fare. Vegan Cuts was kind enough to send me their latest beauty box—and I think most of the items in this one would appeal to vegans and non-vegans alike!

Vegan Cuts Beauty Box: June 2015 review unboxing


It's picnic season! Introducing the new (and portable) Gevalia Iced Coffee with Almond Milk

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Disclosure: I participated in an Ambassador Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Gevalia Iced Coffee with Almond Milk. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

For someone who's really into food and drink, I can be awfully lazy about the preparation sometimes. I mean yes, I've cooked holiday dinners for 30 people before and attempted to make soy milk from scratch and all other sorts of time-intensive stuff, but sometimes I have days when I just want food to magically appear in front of me. Poof! I especially feel this way when it comes to my morning coffee. I am not a morning person. Making a drink that gives you energy when you have no energy? Tough, bro. So naturally when I heard that Gevalia was making a new Iced Coffee with Almond Milk drink, I got very, very excited. So excited that I actually e-mailed my boyfriend Stan to tell him about it in the middle of the day, to which he replied something along the lines of "WHERE DO I GET SOME NOW?!" We pretty much keep a dairy-free household, so finding a ready-made coffee drink with almond milk and delicious sweetness was pretty much the best thing ever.

Gevalia Iced Coffee with Almond Milk #GevaliaIcedCoffee

I was lucky enough to be able to sample these new coffee drinks, so today I'll be sharing some basic info and my thoughts on them! Your future groggy self can thank me in advance.


01 July, 2015

Recent graduates, it's OK to get career help: Invest in the Brand Of You

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Thanks to Fifth Third Bank for sponsoring this post, and hosting the incredible Brand Of You contest!


I was one of those people who almost didn't get a college degree. For a while after high school I was perfectly content to work retail and receptionist jobs, reading and learning on my own time to enrich my mind. That is, until I decided to enroll in a couple of community college classes—after that I realized that I might actually be able to learn something from the experience. Go figure. It also didn't hurt that friends of mine who had just graduated college were basically earning twice as much money as I was for doing jobs that actually sounded cool. Stacking shampoo bottles for eight hours a day suddenly didn't seem as worthwhile to me, so I enrolled full-time, determined to get a degree.

My college ID photo. I was smiling on my first day, but I didn't realize how difficult things would be once I graduated.



REBECCA ASKS | Dear Rebecca....

Happy Wednesday (and July), everbody! My apologies for being blog absent this past week—been having some issues with migraines, which of course makes it hard to stare at the computer. Things seem better now, thankfully.

art via

My unintentional period of computer avoidance got me thinking:

When's the last time you hand-wrote a paper letter? Not a Christmas card or postcard, but an actual letter.

I was super into pen-palling and stuff like that up until my early twenties or so, but now I'm hard-pressed to think of the last time I wrote a proper letter. I still send out holiday cards and "thinking of you" cards, but a letter? With multiple pages and stuff? Hmm. I can tell you that I definitely wrote some paper letters to my boyfriend in 2010, because I was staying in New Zealand at the time and missed him terribly (and somehow e-mail didn't seem like enough). Since then... I'm not so sure. My handwriting is terrible now, by the way. Probably because I type instead of writing everything by hand. Go figure. Perhaps I should get a pen pal and revive those skills?

How about you? Got any long letter friends?
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