Trying to enjoy and live my life no matter what

Cecilio's aunt posts a lot of inspirational quotes on Facebook and I happen to come across this one and so I saved it on my phone. How often do we sit and wait for everything to have going for us in order to live the life we want?

I'm struggling with this right now. I'm paralyzed with grief about school and health. I worry that things may never get better. I'm paralyzed by my work because I feel like it's never good enough so I kinda have been evading my work. I don't know if I'm depressed or lazy.

I'm just being honest and I am sorry if I drag anyone down with my posts. I made this blog because I rediscovered my love for makeup after my face blowing up from prednisone so I used makeup as an avenue to feel somewhat pretty and contour my face. I also created this blog to kinda escape my reality and to connect with others who are going through what I am, not exactly chronic illness itself but the loneliness that comes with it and the grief of losing the life you once lived before it started to go out of hand. I don't want others to feel alone because I do feel alone a lot of times. I'm so thankful that my family has been so supportive, and that Cecilio has been my rock throughout everything even when I haven't reacted in the best ways. I'm so thankful that my dogs came this year to help stave off my loneliness. I thank God for everything in my life and all the blessings He has bestowed on me. Even if I lost many things I still have more than enough.

So why do I feel paralyzed? I read a quote on tumblr (I'm gonna paraphrase it) that goes "it's impossible to believe in the idea that things will get better when you are going through it right now. But hold on to the hope anyway". Life goes on and as much as I would rather curl up in bed and not face the world (which I tend to do) I still keep plugging along.

I hope for a better future. It's just hard to see when you're going though whatever trials you are going through right now. I believe that other people can but I can't. But then I have to remember all the times I've had a seizure, have been hospitalized for getting really sick, have gotten rejected from the graphic design program, have had my heart broken or had old friends abandon me. I was able to survive those things as earth shattering as it felt at the time. So I hope I can survive this.

Please comment or connect if you can relate, it doesn't have to be chronic illness! But whatever you are going through, you're not alone!

November favorites

To add a little spice to this blog, at the end of each month I'm going to compile a list of things I discovered and enjoyed. It could be anything, really. I've seen a few bloggers do this, such as Ashlynn from A Beauty Moment. Go check out her blog if you can, it's amazing! So here's a few things I've discovered that I really really like:

1. Chobani Bite Mint with Dark Chocolate Chips Non-fat Greek Yogurt: Yum! I found a pack of 6 of these at Target. They are small, only 3.5 oz per container. The taste is minty but more tangy than I would like, which is to be expected with Greek yogurt. Chobani is one of my favorite brands because they offer a variety of flavors, and I hate plain Greek yogurt (even though that's one of the healthiest snacks out there). It has 100 calories and 12 g of sugar (uh oh to all those watching that!) and 10% of calcium. Not bad!

2. MUFE HD Blush in 310: Sephora describes this particular shade in rosewood. It's a darker rosy pink. It looks dark on the container but once you put it on and rub it around your face with your fingers it gives you a sheer glow. That's the thing I love about cream blush. It's also perfect when you're on the go. Sometimes I put this without BB cream or foundation! Also, I've been getting dry skin so this is a godsend. It is pricy though at $26—but I bought this using the Sephora gift card Cecilio's family got me for my birthday.

3. Trader Joes Macarons de FĂȘtes: If you know me, you know I am a HUGE macaron freak. They are so cute, they look like little (sweet) sandwiches with different flavors. I liked them before they were considered a "thing" in fashion blogs. My mom has been getting these for me since there were no more Pumpkin Macarons. But wow, can you say I'm in love?! There are 12 macarons in each box, consisting 6 different flavors (all seasonal) for 2 macarons each–Chocolate Raspberry, Gingerbread, Cappuccino, Chocolate Peppermint, Pear Cinnamon, Four-Spice Caramel, and Gingerbread. I like them all, but my favorites would have to be the Chocolate Peppermint and Pear Cinnamon.

4. VANS Camera T-shirt: I got this on Black Friday for $14, but in black. It has graphics of different film cameras, such as the SLR, the polaroid, the TLR (which I haven't used before) and the dreaded view camera. I have used the view camera and the film SLR before. Although I'm not as hot about film photography as I am about digital, I thought it was a cute t-shirt to have. I do want to get back into photography though. Maybe I could pick up my Canon AE-1 or my pink Holga?

5. Revlon Colorstay Liquid Liner: I'm not a huge user of liquid eyeliner because it takes time to make precise and perfect and I admit to not practicing enough. But lately my pencil eyeliners have been smudging and fading a lot when I apply it on my lower lashes. So if I want to perk up my eyes, sometimes I use this liquid liner on my upper lashes. It's so easy to use and it comes in a pen form (unlike the Urban Decay 24/7 Liquid Liner which comes in brush form...that was my first liquid liner) but of course still takes practice. Unfortunately, I lost it :( so I may have to get a new one because I really like this! It's pretty good for the price!

6. MUFE Smoky Extravagant Mascara: I sometimes use mascara as an afterthought, and sometimes I could put a whole face of makeup and forget it! But this one is one of my holy grails (along with Maybelline's Mega Plush). It really thickens and lengthens my lashes. I got this as a birthday gift from being a Beauty Insider at Sephora.

7. Chestnut Praline Latte: This is the new signature holiday drink. I first tried this on campus (yes, my school just built Starbucks this semester) and wow is it delish! It is very sweet and nutty. It almost reminds me of a toffee nut latte. I think this may replace my pumpkin spice lattes! I hope they have this next year.

8. Vans x ASPCA Dogs Backpack: When I first saw this in Journeys, I really wanted it. I was using a Chrome messenger bag at the time which I hated, but Cecilio recommended because it was really functional with so many pockets and to him it was comfortable. But he doesn't have to bring a laptop, binder, a notebook and sketchbook everyday to class! It was very awkward and uncomfortable to me. So now he has a 2nd Chrome bag and I replaced it with this. How cute is it?! I wish they had Rateses and Morkies though (my bias...but at least Malteses, Yorkies and Rat Terriers!). I love how when you buy this a portion goes to the ASPCA. I totally support 100% them because I got Aris from the Sacramento SPCA. Not a dog person? There is a cat version too!

9. MAC Lipstick in Captive: There were rumors on social media that MAC lipsticks were on sale on Black Friday for $3. When pigs fly! But still, I went to the MAC store at Arden Fair Mall at 11:30 pm to check it out out of curiosity. I tested the lipsticks. I tried this and I fell in love. It's a rosy-plum shade, I would say this is my perfect MLBB (my lips but better) shade. It's a satin finish, so it feels creamy and it is a bit drying but nowhere near as drying as a matte finish (and MAC is notoriously known for having dry lipsticks). You wanna know how much I like this shade? I stayed home all day yesterday and I still wore it, admiring myself in the mirror. I also got the shade Girl About Town, which is a dark fuchsia shade which I actually happen to like a lot better than Candy Yum Yum because it is more subtle and for everyday wear. I'll do a review of these lipsticks sometime in the near future.

30 Questions Beauty Survey

One of the first beauty bloggers I've been following for a while is Well-Taylered. I first found her on Youtube when she did a exercise DVD review of Ballet Beautiful (one of my go-to DVDs when I was working out regularly last year and not on prednisone, it made me really lean and slender). I love her writing style and her sharp personality shines through her posts. She covers mostly beauty, but also fashion, food and fitness. I was pretty sad that her blog was on hiatus for a while but she's now back up! And she answered this beauty survey and didn't really tag specific people so anyone could answer. Well, I grew up as a teen in the 2000s, in the era of Xanga and I've always been a survey freak. I had so much fun answering cryptic questions about old crushes and stuff especially, haha. So without further ado, get to know me more!

1.) Do you remember your first makeup item?
Do watermelon and strawberry Lipsmackers count? I got them when I was 8! But seriously, when I was in 8th grade I started wearing makeup. I bought eyeshadows and lip glosses mostly from Claire's and then Cover Girl was my go-to drugstore brand. Don't forget Bonnebell!
2.) Describe your perfect mascara. Have you found one that fits your specifications?
I really like the Maybelline Mega Plush mascara because it volumes and lengthens. The MUFE Smoky Extravagant does the same too and works wonders. I really want to try the Too Faced Better than Sex, I've heard nothing but great things about it.
3.) What kind of coverage do you prefer from foundations?
Light–medium. I'm lucky to have fairly clear skin to where I don't need too much coverage, and I don't want it to feel heavy and uncomfortable on my face. I still want to look good in photos though.
4.) Favorite high-end brand?
MAC for lipsticks and blushes, MUFE for the HD foundation and cream blushes, and Too Faced for the Chocolate Bar Palette.
5.) What cosmetic brand have you always wanted to try but still haven’t?
Anastasia Beverly Hills for the dip brow! Only this year I started doing my brows (hardly though) so I'm a super newbie. For now my LA Girl dark brown gel eyeliner will do.
6.) Favorite drugstore brand?
Oh my gosh I'm obsessed with NYX. You can read my 10 reasons why post here. I love the butter lipsticks, soft matte lip creams, blushes, and setting sprays. I just wish they also sold it at Walgreens and Walmart since not all Targets sell it.
7.) Do you wear fake eyelashes?
I never have, except for my cousins' weddings. I should try it though and review it. They look scary. But that's what beauty blogging is about right? Trying new stuff and sharing the experience with others?
8.) Is there any kind of makeup you can’t leave the house without?
Right now it's the MUFE HD blush in 310. It gives me a natural flush, lately I've been wearing it without foundation or BB cream!
9.) What is your most cherished beauty product?
that's a toughie...I'd say the Too Faced Chocolate Bar. I have the UD Naked 3 too but I've been eyeing the Naked 2 and the Lorac Pro 1.

10.) How often do you shop for makeup? Do you like to pick up one item at a time here and there or get lots of goodies at once?
This year is the year I've shopped the most for makeup. I get a couple at a time but more frequently.
11.) Do you have a “beauty budget” or spend freely?
Is there a middle ground? 
12.) Do you utilize coupons, reward cards and sales when you shop for cosmetics?
I have been scouting out sales. Right now I want a Korean BB Cream and Missha is having a 40% off sale until the 30th so I'll look into that.
13.) What type of products do you purchase the most?
lipsticks and lip glosses
14.) Is there any brand you absolutely can’t stand?
Hmm...I can't think of anything right now. But I'll post about it if I come across a brand I don't like. But every brand has their good, bad and ugly.
15.) Do you avoid certain ingredients in cosmetics like parabens or sulfates?
I try to as much but it's hard not too. Thankfully a lot of makeup brands are doing their best to go green and be more conscious. Unfortunately the Korean products I have been eyeing have parabens.
16.) Do you have a favorite place to shop for makeup?
Ulta because they have both high end and drugstore!
17.) Do you like trying new skin care products or of you keep a certain routine?
I like trying, even though I do break out. Like I broke out when I first tried all my new LUSH products. But now they keep my face glowing.
18.) Favorite bath and body brand?
Bath and Body Works, but right now face wise I am having a good experience with LUSH and once this semester ends I'd like to treat myself with their bath bombs and shower gels.
19.) If you could only buy from one brand, which brand would you choose?
That's a toughie...even though you either love or hate MAC, I guess that is what I would have to go with. I have good experiences with MAC so far. My first foundation ever was their Face and Body Foundation and I really like how it looked on me.
20.) What brand do you think has the best packaging?
Too faced! Need the Chocolate Bar Palette say more? I also love the Melted lipsticks...and those heart shaped blushes (though I don't have that)
21.) Which celebrity always has great makeup?
 I've always loved JLo's natural glow. Ok...and even though I don't like the girl and don't agree with her values, Kim Kardashian has a great contoured face with those smoky eyes. I love contouring because it helps minimize my prednisone "moonfaced".
22.) Do you belong to any makeup communities?
makeupsocialapp on the iPhone or android (add me, my username is hannahbananacreampuff) and sometimes the MAKEUPADDICTION on reddit.
23.) Favorite beauty gurus?
Michelle Phan and Jaclyn Hill
24.) Do you like multifunctional products like lip and cheek stains?
Yeah, I love the MUFE cream blush and the Maybelline Glaze Blush Stick.
25.) Are you clumsy in putting on makeup?
Yes but I am learning through the process.
26.) Do you use makeup base/primer for the eyes?
Yes. The Urban Decay Primer Potion is a godsend. I don't know how I ever wore eyeshadow without it. My eyeshadow now stays on all day and night!
27.) How many hair products do you use on a typical day?
Just shampoo and conditioner...I'm actually extremely low maintenance with my hair. I want to try dry shampoo though.
28.) What do you apply first, concealer or foundation?
Foundation. I don't apply concealer unless sometimes for the under eyes (I use the Tarte CC Under Eye Corrector)
29.) Do you ever consider taking makeup classes?
I do, sometimes I think about wanting to be a makeup artist but I am graduating next spring and I really don't want to go through more school, I've been on the 8 year plan and I have loans looming over my head. So if I ever toy around with that idea I'd rather be self taught via books and youtube.
30.) What do you love about makeup?
It makes me feel beautiful despite my lupus. I've been feeling horrible all year because of the prednisone and because I am far from where my normal weight is. I've always struggled with my weight and my view about my body (and my face because I have lots of moles). I've never really felt beautiful and I actually have pretty low self-esteem (from lupus and being bullied when I was younger), but I am a work in progress and makeup makes me feel confident. It's also another outlet for creativity, like graphic design, drawing, painting and photography.
Feel free to take this survey if you choose :)

Post-birthday haul from Francesca's Collections

So it's been almost a month since my birthday passed, but during then I went to the Bay Area and spent time with my best friend Rebecca, since her birthday was on October 17. We (Rebecca, Cecilio, my other best friend Nate and I) all had a good time hanging by the beaches and even though we struggled to find out where we would have lunch, we ended up at a Peruvian restaurant in Pacifica. We dropped Rebecca off and she gave me a $40 Francesca's Collections gift card. It was so thoughtful and sweet and I never expected it. Rebecca, thank you so much for being by my side for 15 years (we met in 5th grade, she was new at our elementary school) and even though I moved to Sacramento after 6th grade, we always found a way to keep in contact and we started seeing each other again since 2009.

Francesca's Collections is one of my favorite stores. Ever since I saw it in Arden Fair Mall, I KNEW it would be one of my favorite stores. I adore the kitschy, bright motifs, the jewelry and other adorable knick-knacks (I got Cecilio a manatee-tea infuser AKA the Manatea). I think of it as a more colorful (and more affordable) version of Anthropologie.

I got a cream-colored satchel purse for $24.98 (originally $68). It's faux-leather with golden accents, and the size is 18" x 14" so its fairly large enough to carry essential items (wallet, phone, water bottle, makeup bag, etc.) along with other things (notebooks or camera). It also comes with attachable longer straps (not shown in picture) which is good because sometimes I like wearing bags across my opposite shoulder to add less weight. Even though I've had colored purses such as pink, violet, green, etc. it's nice to have neutrals to go well with any kind of outfit. I've been more into neutrals with my makeup and accessories. But when it comes to clothes, color is my thing.

And if you look closer, you can see I got a little piece of jewelry, which has the letter C (for Cecilio, obviously). I usually either don't wear jewelry at all or wear the chunky type, so it's a nice change to have something small and dainty that will go well with most outfits, while showing my love and affection.

C–a social animal who craves the closeness of others (sounds like me, despite being an introvert)

Last but not least is this watch. I thought it would be attachable but it's not, it's worn like a cuff bracelet. There's no numbers either, so I just bought it because I thought it was pretty and would go well with some outfits...well, ok, the main reason I bought a watch (because I usually never wear watches, why need one when we have phones?!) is because wherever I go for traveling now, I need a watch while I'm on the plan to determine what time I need to take my medications and correspond with the time zone. For example, I usually take my meds at 9 am and 9 pm PST, but in Hawaii (since it's 3 hours earlier) I would take my meds at 6 am and 6 pm. I wish I had that idea earlier. My not knowing was what caused my seizure in the Philippines. Also, I could've avoided A LOT of heartache if I didn't skip a few meds here or there, which I got away with a few times but not in June, my most recent seizure.

Thanks for reading everyone, and I hope you all have a wonderful rest of the week as we all prepare for the holidays.


Want healthy, beautiful hair? The secret may lie in your hairbrush.

Growing up, I had thick, dry hair and it was extremely frizzy, and that was when I was living in Daly City, so I don't know if it was that Bay Area fog. My mom jokes about how she chooses her favorite cities based on the condition of her hair, so she hates humid places because her mane would be a frizzy mess, but when we used to go to Reno (my dad's favorite vacation spot) she loved the way the cool air and high altitude made her hair straight and wonderful. Living in Sacramento for 13 years, I can attest that my hair has lost it's fizz and I've been very fortunate to not need a bajillion products over my teenage years for upkeep (although in high school, I had different colors...dark brown, auburn, highlights, even bleach blonde! I went back to my natural color, black before I turned 19) so yeah, I am proud to say that I have naturally sleek roots. I don't use a straightening iron (although sometimes the hairdresser I go to will straighten it when I get a trim, and I love how it looks).

It hasn't been that way in 2011–2013 though. My lupus flared about horribly during these years, along with stress. When my dad was first diagnosed with cancer in April 2011, I had clumps falling out. It was due to stress, having my first huge flare-up and hospital visit in January 2011, the pressure of applying for the graphic design program (which I ended up not doing that year, but I did in 2012 and got rejected, then reapplied in 2013 and finally got accepted). In 2012, my hair was extremely oily. I think my meds also changed the texture and the condition. Thankfully this year I've seen some improvement because of I use Nioxin 1 shampoo and conditioner (along with Neutrogena anti-residue formula once a week). But I still have moments where it feels icky.

Then I realized the problem could also be the same thing my mom has been nagging me clean my brush.

Yikes! How did I even let it get to that level?! I know this is gross, and I promise I will never let it get to this..ever. And if you look at the bottom, I spilled some BB cream...

I know that cleaning up makeup brushes and hairbrushes can be a really annoying, tedious task. But you have to do that. It gives me the creeps thinking about all the germs that you could be putting back in your face or hair that build up from previous use. I am more aware of this now. So here's what I did to clean it all off.

I got mixed a few drops of shampoo and a container of hot water together (not boiling though, you don't want melted bristles)...yes, that Neutrogena one I mentioned. If you have problems with oil and build-up, get that shampoo and use it once a week. I think after using it for a few months I started to see and feel improvement. Before you put your brush in, use a comb to take out all the gunk in the brush. Then dip the brush in the water/shampoo mixture for about 15 minutes. 

Afterwards, take it out and use the comb to take out the remaining gunk. Since I spilled BB cream and it dried up, I tried to use a makeup remover but it didn't work. So I used a bit of coconut oil (which is also good for removing makeup, cleansing the face, moisturizing body, etc. coconut oil is a godsend for beauty and food) and it removed most of it.
Viola! It's not completely perfect...but it's 100x better than what it originally was.

I know there's different techniques of cleaning your brush, such as white vinegar and dish soap. The same can be also used for makeup brushes. I personally haven't tried those but I will for future reference and to see how different techniques make my hair look and feel.

Thanks for reading, and I hope my first picture grosses you out enough to make sure to clean your brush, no matter how annoying!


My new lip care routine using LUSH Lip Scrubs!

Hey guys! I haven't posted in a few weeks because school has been crazy for me but luckily there's only 4 weeks left! Woo hoo! I really need this year to be over. I am going to see my neurologist on December 10 for a follow up from my seizure in June. I really need to drive. Whenever I get a seizure and I can't drive, I get so depressed and miserable, deprived of my independence and freedom. I also feel held back because I can't apply for jobs or internships because of transportation issues. Since my seizure in June, I have not skipped my keppra. At all. Before I would miss a dose here and there...but it only took that one time in June to realize it was a HUGE MISTAKE.

Anyway, back to the actual post topic. I love lipsticks and lip glosses. They give me a boost of confidence and make me feel sexy. But I suffer from horribly chapped lips. There could be a number of factors: I don't drink enough water (but I drink lots of coffee and I love salty food), the meds I could be taking, the lupus in general, etc. I've searched high and low for the perfect lip scrub/exfoliator/balm/etc. I went to LUSH last month for some skin care items that I ended up loving and I was eyeing the lip scrubs too. So on Monday, I went to LUSH in Arden Fair Mall looking for that Mint Julips scrub I've been eyeing forever. I also ended up getting Popcorn.

The lip scrubs are 25 g and come in cute little pots. They're not really meant to moisturize but to take off excess dead skin. Warning: watch out if you love minty sweet stuff. I'm a huge sucker for peppermint patties, mint chocolate chip ice cream, etc. I ended up eating half the pot of Mint Julips. It's that delicious. The Popcorn flavor has a sweet and salty flavor that I love too. Both flavors contain castor sugar and organic jojoba oil which softens the lips. I lick the scrubs after I apply it on my lips (since it's edible) and I brush off the skin with a toothpaste (before I go to bed or go out and want to wear lipstick). Then I apply the Bite Beauty Agave Mask. I wake up with soft smooth lips! I tried it yesterday morning and the night before and I wore the NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Monte Carlo (my new holy grail lippie. I am absolutely in love with it. I also have Prague, Sao Paulo, Zurich, Stockholm, and Antwerp but Zurich and Monte Carlo are my favorites. I'm looking to get Morocco, Copenhagen and Cannes soon). I was in school from 9 am to 7 pm and my lips did NOT get as dried out and flaky as they usually would. And you know how drying matte lipsticks get. And I have a lot of them that I haven't used yet.

When I first wore the NYX Soft Matte lip cream in Monte Carlo, I got at least 3 compliments. I would love to wear this on a regular basis but I'd feel too bold?

Does anyone else have suggestions for other lip balms to go well with the scrubs? Like lip tints for days when I don't feel like having full color on? I like color too but with a tint...think of a 60-75% opacity (sorry, that's my graphic design nerd coming out. haha)