January Favorites

I'm trying not to buy as much stuff this year (very challenging though), but here are some things that I have tried and liked, as far as makeup and snacks. And I'll tell you why there's an I Heart NY symbol:

1. MAC Studio Fix+ Powder Foundation: Cecilio got this for me for Christmas. This is hands down the best powder foundation I have ever used. I have dry skin, especially since it's winter, and this is a matte finish but it looks so beautiful on my skin provided that I moisturize beforehand. I like wearing this when I'm in a hurry. Too bad I can't put cream blush over it. 

2. IT Cosmetics Naturally Pretty Vol. 1 Palette: My mom got me a $50 Ulta gift card for Christmas so I ordered this online. This is an all matte palette which is pretty hard to find. Well, the bigger shade is the transforming pearl to layer if you want a teeny bit of glimmer. This is cruelty-free and the shades are so buttery and pigmented. It's extremely versatile to use. You can read my full review here.

3. Trader Joes Sweet Sriracha Uncured Bacon Jerky: So delicious, and not cheap either at $5.99 at Trader Joes. If you can handle the heat and are a big fan of Sriracha, go get it! I have some downstairs right now...debating right now whether I should open it...

4. Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream: I tried this last year and at first I wasn't a huge fan. But for some reason I decided to give it another chance. It's super moisturizing. It is a light finish but I like that because I don't always like feeling caked on. My skin looks and feels dewy. I almost wanted to get the Dream Pure BB cream but that is mostly for oily skin and has no SPF (which is extremely important especially for us with lupus, and BB creams are the only way I put SPF on my face unless and I'm at the pool or beach during summer) You do get a bang for your buck here for $7. I've been interested in Korean BB creams, and yes it's said that Western BB creams are just tinted moisturizers, but for some reason this is a keeper for me. Coupled with my MUFE HD cream blush, I have that natural "no makeup" look going on.

5. MAC Viva Glam Miley Cyrus: Can I rave about how much I love this color? And this is my first Viva Glam product by MAC. When you buy the lipstick, it goes to MAC's fund for helping people with HIV/AIDS. How cool is that? Feel pretty, do good. My full review is here, and I am wearing the Maybelline BB Cream in my pictures.

6. Cover Girl Full Lash Mascara: This mascara lengthens and doesn't clump too much. Plus it's endorsed by Katy Perry. This one is more for a natural look. This will be a keeper of mine for the next 3 months.

7. Trader Joes Pfeffernüsse Cookies: These are German Spice cookies. The name literally means "pepper nuts". It's powdered on the outside, and on the inside it is made with cinnamon and ginger (2 spices I absolutely love on my baked goods). So delicious! This is a holiday treat. I bought this a couple of weeks ago so I don't know if it's still in stock. Next time December rolls around I recommend this! I love this with coffee!

8. Last but not least...New York: I like the I Heart New York sign because it was designed by Milton Glaser, one of my favorite graphic designers I learned about throughout my education. Cecilio and I booked a trip there for March during my spring break! We are staying in Dumont Hotel which is walking distance from Grand Central Terminal. All I can say is that we are super excited. I've been there with my mom in 2009 but Cecilio has never been so he is really excited and I am happy for him too. We are going to go on the Staten Island Ferry, go to a few museums (MoMA and Museum of Natural History), chill at Central Park, eat lots of pizza and drink local coffee, watch a Broadway show, and many more I can think of. 2 more months!

MAC Viva Glam featuring Miley Cyrus

Okay, so I've never been too hot about Miley Cyrus. I'm 3 years older than her, so obviously I've never been into the Hannah Montana craze. It is mind-blowing to watch her over the years go from sticky-sweet Disney star to twerking wild child. And even though many people are speaking out against that and saying she still has many younger fans that look up to her. Problem is, those younger fans grew up as well and their tastes change. It's part of the growing process, and it's unfortunate that people are not willing to accept change.

Even though I would never dress or act the way Miley does, I admire her beliefs about feminism, LGBT rights and staying true to yourself. She seems very genuine, especially in this recent video from Pop Sugar, letting girls know that the way celebrities look on Instagram are totally not what they look like in real life. She also spoke about how she wears less makeup now than in her Hannah Montana days, where she did not feel like herself but was forced to keep Disney's G-rated image.

Anyway, when I found out that she was going to be the face of MAC's Viva Glam lipstick for 2015, I was pretty excited because of the hot pink shade. I am a fan of hot pink lipsticks even though I don't wear it often. But when it came out the MAC website, I became more intrigued and checked to see how it looked like on Instagram (through the hashtag #VivaGlamMiley. When I want something, I hashtag it first to see how it looks like on other people). It was extremely gorgeous on every skin tone, especially medium-dark skin. Since I am medium-tan and am NC 40, pale pink does not exactly look good on me. So then next thing you know, I started entering my info and ordered the lipstick and lipglass.

The lipstick is an Amplified finish, which is always a plus in my book because it's not as drying. It's extremely smooth and velvety. These days, I would rather reapply than suffer through painful, flaky lips. The lipglass is a sheer pearl finish with specks of glitter. Miley mentions in her video that the lipstick is geared towards her older fans whereas the lipglass is more fun for her younger fans. I would agree, the lipglass takes me back to my 8th grade years of wearing Lip Smacker lipgloss in different flavors. My 16 year old self would also love the lipstick. The lipglass is nice on days for when I don't feel like wearing too much color, and it's pretty moisturizing.

Here's how I look with the lipstick (top) and the lipstick with lipglass over it. Perfect for a night out! I'm also getting ready for the spring and summer with my pinks and corals.

This slightly reminds me of another hot pink MAC Lipstick I love, Girl About Town, which is an Amplified Creme finish and slightly cooler-toned. Below are swatches for comparison.

These are my first Viva Glam products from MAC. The Viva Glam line is endorsed by celebrities every year (in the past, it was Rihanna, Nicky Minaj, Cyndi Lauper,  Lady Gaga, Fergie, etc.) and one lipstick goes to the MAC's AIDS fund. Do you know what purchasing a $15 Viva Glam Lipstick goes to?

1 pair of school shoes for a child with AIDS
1 school stationary starter pack for a child with AIDS
1 rapid oral HIV test
1 vegetable garden starter pack for community garden
1 party pack for a child to celebrate for birthdays, Christmas, and Easter
1 hospitality kit with hygiene and grooming essentials for a client in a housing program
1 HIV prevention workshop conducted by a peer health educator
1 week’s worth of groceries (4 bags of food) for 2 clients
1 monthly medication planner to help a person manage their treatment regimen
1 counseling session for 1 client
1 month of personal transportation to and from doctors visits
2 emergency boxes with non-perishable food
2 hours of childcare during a mother’s doctors appointment
2 safe sex kits
8 nutritious home-cooked meals
14 blood glucose monitoring strips
23 female condoms (or 233 male condoms)
37 deliveries of dietetically sound meals

...and more! Isn't that amazing?! Pampering yourself while being a part of a larger cause! For more info, visit MAC AIDS Fund.

I do recommend this lipstick for all skin tones. It's better than I ever imagined it to be. I am a full supporter of Viva Glam. It has already been in stores and online for North America since January 22. For international stores, this will be available on February 12. Hope you enjoy!


New favorite shoes: Kenneth Cole Reaction ankle boots

It all started on the drive to Macy's to go shopping for clothes and shoes. My mom said in an upset tone, "You need to look for new shoes! You're always wearing those Vans (referring to the checkered slip-on Vans). You're not a teenager anymore. You're in the fashion club and you're wearing those?!" I bought the Vans in August, but I had the same exact pair my sophomore year in high school. Which was exactly 10 years ago! I like the  unique patterns...and I admit, I am a bit lazy and I like just slipping them on. Yes, sometimes I don't like shoelaces.

After I was scouting for a new pair of shoes, I found these ankle boots from Kenneth Cole Reaction for $99. I started wearing it and I really loved it!

I wasn't sure about it at first but my mom and the sales lady (who is also a Filipina, and she and my mom started talking in Tagalog. I guess we can all spot each other easily!) convinced me to get it because it looked so nice on me. My mom told the sales lady that I needed to retire my Vans. And the sales lady said, "I agree. You know who wears those shoes? My 10 year old son. My husband had to get rid of it because he was always wearing it. Also, you shouldn't be wearing tennis shoes all the time because overtime your feet will get wide". (don't know if that part is true) I started laughing. 

So far, I've been wearing it for the past 2 days (yesterday during my first day of school and today when I went to the DMV with Cecilio because I had to resubmit my Driver Medical Evaluation paperwork...they screwed up again). And it's pretty comfy! I mean, it is a little bit painful at the sides near my pinky toe...but nothing I can't bear. So far I've been wearing them with black skinny jeans and black leggings since that's what I feel goes best with them. I've always wanted ankle boots but had qualms about getting them because of my pear-shaped thighs. I felt like the knee-high boots (which I have quite a lot of) were better suited for my body. Until I found 20 ways to style your ankle boots from Pinterest. It made me feel better that a few of the ladies shown were curvy! (well...only #1 and #15...but that's better than nothing right?) So it's pretty versatile as well. I love wearing minidresses during spring and summer so I'll pair these boots with those once the weather starts getting warmer. But for now, I'll rely on them to keep me warm and stylish.

Moms always know best even though I resist at first. My mom LOVES shoes and handbags. As for me, I'm more into makeup. But she has repeatedly pounded into my head that shoes make or break the outfit—that you can have the fanciest outfit but the wrong shoes can ruin everything, whereas the a simple outfit will look super-polished with the right pair. And you know what? She's right. I do feel more confident rocking these! Today I just wore a simple outfit because I didn't have class.

I also can't wait to be wearing these in NYC! Did I mention that Cecilio and I booked a flight and hotel there for my spring break?! (Late March) It's going to be awesome. I'll update more on that later.

Top 6 Tuesday: Nude Lipsticks

I've always avoided nude lipsticks because I thought they were pointless: I like color. But there are some days where I'm not feeling that boldness but I still want to look put together and polished. And that's where nude (My lips but better) come in. They feel feminine and timeless, and you can wear them on a casual day or pair them at night with a smokey eye, something you can't do with red lipstick or else you'll look too over done. Instead of 5, I chose 6. They are all drugstore because I wanted to experiment with them and see if they were right for me rather than shelling out $15+ (although high end makeup has the advantage where you can test before buying). For reference, I am NC 40 in MAC so I feel that these are the best shades for me. Can you tell I love Wet n Wild? They are matte (provided you exfoliate and put lip balm under) and creamy. There are so many shades to choose from too!

Lipsticks left to right, swatches top to bottom: Wet n Wild (Bare it All), Milani (Naturally Chic), NYX (Zurich), Wet n Wild (Coming in Latte), Maybelline (Touch of Spice), Wet n Wild (Just Peachy)

1. Wet n Wild (Bare it All): This is the shade that started my love and curiosity for nudes. It is the lightest one on this list. At $2, there was nothing to lose. So I wasn't disappointed. It also seems to be a dupe for a lot of MAC lipsticks (Honeylove and Velvet Teddy)

2. Milani Color Statement (Naturally Chic): Milani's Lipsticks have different finishes, and this one is a cream finish. So it's more comfortable on the lips. I like how this shade brightens up my face. It shows up lighter on my lips than on the arm though.

3. NYX soft matte lip cream (Zurich): NYX's lipsticks never disappoint me, and this certainly was no exception. Although I had a few misses in their nude department (such as butter lipstick in Snowcap and the soft matte in Stockholm...those were too light for me) this one shows well on my skin tone. It actually is more on the warm peachy side which I prefer. With these soft matte lip creams, make sure your lips are exfoliated and moisturized because they feel very comfortable! Otherwaise, they are drying and look like a hot mess.

4. Wet n Wild (Coming in Latte): This one is limited edition so I'm glad I snagged it before it was no longer available! This looks like a mix between Bare it All and Maybelline's Touch of Spice. You can see it on me here.

5. Maybelline Color Sensational Creamy Matte (Touch of Spice): Ok, so this is the darkest of all the shades...but it is one of my new favorites and HG lipsticks. It's also a dupe for Gerard Cosmetics' 1995. It almost matches my skin tone but is a little bit darker. It's more of a fall shade but I will still wear this any time of the year. This is also the most popular shade in Maybelline's Creamy Matte collection.

6. Wet n Wild (Just Peachy): I like this shade for the spring or summer. It's subtle but bright. I would love to pair this with a coral brush or a bronzer.

If anyone has more suggestions for nude lipsticks based on my skin tone (drugstore or high end), please leave a comment! And let me know what your favorite is and why!

My most used non-powder blushes (and why they should be your winter best friend)

...or any other year for that matter.

I've been crazy about non-powder blushes (liquid/cream/gel) lately for a number of reasons. They feel more natural and not as caked on, and I can get away with it better without foundation or bb cream and I can still get that natural flush. They are also portable for traveling if you don't have space in your bag or don't want to lug around a brush. On days where I'm in a rush to go to school or don't want to put on the whole she-bang but still want to look put together, I just use my fingers and rub them on my cheeks. Viola! They are also perfect for dry skin (a winter struggle) they don't cling on to dry patches on your face.

I like wearing them in the summer too because obviously wearing a full face of makeup (especially during Sacramento summers where it can get up to the 100s) feels heavy and overwhelming. Dabbing it gives you an extra pop of color and glow!

These non-powder formulas are more recommended for dry skin types whereas powder is suited for those with oily/combo skin. If you are of the latter, don't worry! You can still pull them off if you set it with powder, and of course it's very important to moisturize beforehand! I recommend getting a matte and oil-free one. Clinique's Chubby Stick Cheek Color Balm is oil free. I also recommend the NARS Matte Multiple and the Tarte Cheek Stain.

Here are my 3 most used non-powder blushes:

Top to Bottom: MUFE HD Blush (310), Maybelline Master Glaze Blush Stick (Coral Sheen), ELF HD Blush (Superstar)

Maybelline Master Glaze Blush Stick (Coral Sheen)
Finish: Gel
Form: Stick

-Very easy to use, all you have to do is swipe the stick on your cheeks and rub a little bit.
-This shade (pinkish coral) is perfect for the summer. It's suited for fair-tan skin tones.
-This is portable for travel or throwing in your purse.
-It's super buildable. You can swipe once for a sheer glow or build up more swipes for more color.

-It's quite expensive for a drugstore blush at $8.99. But this is one of my favorite non-powders and I always come back to it.
-Not as long lasting. It can slide off the cheeks during summertime. But you can use a primer beforehand and a setting spray afterwards to keep it on. But since it's the easiest to use and most portable of the 3, you can touch up a bit during the day.

ELF HD Blush (Superstar)
Finish: Liquid
Form: Glass bottle with pump

-It's only $3, but is extremely high quality. I think this can compete with some of the more expensive drugstore and the high end blushes.
-It's super pigmented. You only need half a pump and you get a lot of color and product to spread all over your cheeks. Which means it will last you a very long time.
-The pump makes it easier to control how much product you want.

-It's super pigmented. I think there's such thing as too much of a good thing. Half a pump is more than enough and even then i really half to rub it on my face a lot so I don't look like a clown.
-It only comes in 5 shades (and they're only various shades of pink). I would like to see more nudes and corals here.
-Not as portable because you could drop the glass bottle and break it and using the pump on the go is a bit inconvenient

MUFE HD Blush (310):
Finish: Cream
Form: Pot

-Comes in 16 shades! No matter what your skin tone, you're guaranteed to find one that suites you.
-Looks very natural. This is also called "Second Skin" blush. It seriously melts in your skin. I sometimes wear it without BB cream!
-This shade, 310, is named "rosewood" and it is perfect for the fall. But I also really like this shade (and I'm also trying to hit pan) enough that I will use it for all seasons.

-I personally find it a bit hard to blend initially, but rubbing my fingers before dabbing it on works to make my fingers warm and melt into my skin easier.
-The price is steep at $26. I was able to buy this from the Sephora gift card Cecilio's family gave me for my birthday.

So there you have it. I may look for different shades and do a review here. And don't get me wrong, I love powder blushes too! MAC Peachykeen and NYX Terracotta are my most used ones. I just wanted to share the amazingness of gel/liquid/cream types too!


Review: ELF Lip Exfoliator

Do you suffer from dry lips in the winter? Scratch that...all year round? Well, I do. I'm always, always searching for lip exfoliators, treatments, balms, etc. and I think I hit the jackpot when I got the ELF Lip Exfoliator.

I've heard of this product through beauty bloggers and gurus on Youtube. But every time I went to the cosmetics section in Target it wasn't there. I felt like I was looking hard enough, or it was possible that it was always sold out. I know that at the end of last semester, I was in the bookstore in my university and they started selling ELF products! I was super excited, and I was looking for this, and it was in stock (it even had the sign) but was sold out. So when I finally found it at Target 2 weeks ago, I snagged it!

Can you believe that this is only $3?! And it works better than the LUSH lip scrubs I've been using (I ended up eating most of the Mint Julips because it tasted that delicious to me). It comes in a lipstick tube form, which I find really neat because you can get into the parts of your lip where the skin is peeling and you want to get rid of it. It hits those parts better than a lip scrub in pot form, in my opinion. And it's more convenient than having to use a toothbrush in addition. I like using this before I go to bed, then protecting and treating my lips with the Clinique Superbalm Lip Treatment. I especially love when I get the dead skin out before I want to wear a matte lipstick.

Just be sure you don't scrub too hard because lips are extremely thin and sensitive, and you might end up bleeding a little bit (it almost happened to me, so I have to be gentle).

I can't wait to hit pan (or should I say tube?) on this baby! I can see myself doing so pretty quick (and I'm not one that goes through makeup quickly!) because dry lips have always been a problem for me. I am loving ELF products, and the fact that they have products on campus at the bookstore is exciting but tempting! Now I'm eyeing for their moisturizing lipsticks!


Review: IT Cosmetics Naturally Pretty Vol. 1 Palette

I think I found my holy grail eyeshadow palette. Sorry to my Too Faced Chocolate Bar and UD Naked 3, I have to take a break from you guys for a while.

I've been looking for an all matte eyeshadow palette for a while and it's extremely hard to find. So when the Tartelette Amazonian Clay eyeshadow palette came out in Sephora, I was planning on saving up and buying that. Until my mom got me a $50 Ulta gift card for Christmas. I was searching for different things on the Ulta website and I came across the IT Cosmetics Naturally Pretty Vol. 1 Palette. Cool! Another all matte palette, I thought. The shades looked similar to the Tartelette palette and I felt that I could use each shade for everyday wear. I even searched #itcosmeticsnaturallypretty on Instagram to see how it looked on people. Yup, that was also a deciding factor on whether I needed to buy it or not.

When I got this in the mail, I opened it up and immediately I was so happy to have purchased it. Okay, I know I'm a sucker for packaging. The case is a light rosy color AND it's velvet. Not just that, the logo is gold. How much more luxurious does that feel? (touching it makes me feel like a queen) And it's extremely light so you could easily fit this in your purse and it's perfect for traveling. The opening is magnetic.

Now on to the eyeshadows. They are not tested on animals, which is always a plus in my book. The bottom of the palette says that it's anti-aging because it contains peptides, collagen, silk and antioxidants. Now, I'm not sure if that would automatically reverse the years in your eyes (only a quality eye cream can help that) but it couldn't hurt, right? It Cosmetics infuses anti-aging properties in their makeup and skincare, and they work with dermatologists and plastic surgeons to develop their products! Isn't that cool? And all of their products are chemical-free and cruelty-free.

There are 14 matte shades and 1 transforming pearl shade to mix with or layer on if you want to have a pearl eyeshadow. Isn't that cool? Heres the swatches:

Top to bottom: sheer joy, soft light, warmth, soulful, mocha, violet, midnight, noir

Top to bottom: love, sunrise, all heart, java, iconic, transforming pearl

I don't care for Soft Light too much because you can hardly see it on my skin, since it blends in my skin tone a lot. I would say that my favorite shades are Mocha, Violet, Sunrise, Sunrise, All Heart and Java. I especially love Violet because most violet eyeshadows I have are too dark and don't have enough pigment. This is very pigmented and the perfect medium shade.

The textures are extremely rich and buttery. I could only imagine what a buttery texture felt like since that's what a lot of beauty junkies describe the shades from LORAC Pro. I'm so used to chalky textures that aren't as pigmented. But this...wow, it just feels amazing. And it makes it so easy to blend.

I followed a tutorial from BeautyBuzzHub here on how to use it for everyday wear. I had my own spin on though (with the eyeliner and mascara). Don't use a shimmer primer or else it defeats the purpose of a matte finish: I accidentally used the Urban Decay Primer Potion in Sin (which is shimmery) and I had to remove it and then use the original primer!

Makeup I also used:
UD Primer Potion (original)
LA Girl gel liner (dark brown) for my upper lash line
Pacifica Eye Pencil (fringe) for my lower lash line
Cover Girl Full Lash Bloom mascara
Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream (light/neutral)
Maybelline Master Glaze Blush Stick (coral sheen)
Wet n Wild lipstick (Wine Room)

If you're tired of shimmers (because at 25, I feel that I should cut back on using shimmers except for nights out), this or the Tartelette palette is perfect for you! It is $42 at Ulta (in store and online) and the It Cosmetics website!

Thanks for reading!

MOTD: Casual and Classic

So I guess here's my first MOTD post. Just because. I'm waiting for my mom to come home while she picked up my younger sister for her music class since we're going to have dinner at Mimi's Cafe. So I decided doll myself up but with not too much fuss.

I'm still learning how to master the winged liner. I actually like doing it especially when I don't feel like wearing eyeshadow! It just takes a bit of time and a steady hand, so when I go back to school and I have to rush out the door I won't be able to take time to draw the wing. I'm also digging the MAC Studio Fix + Foundation. It's low maintenance, finishes matte and provides sheer-medium coverage, though you can build it to full coverage. I had the Benefit Hello Flawless! powder foundation before but I like this better. It doesn't cling to my dry patches as bad as the Tarte BB cream does. I also have been getting into nude lipsticks a lot! Who knew?! All pictures were taken with my iPhone 5C. When I have more money I'll get a tripod and maybe one of those lights to take selfies with (maybe a selfie stick too? Just kidding, that would be a bit much)

Products used:
MAC Studio Fix + Foundation (C4)
Revlon Colorstay Liquid Liner (Blackest Black)
MAC Studio Fix + Spray
Wet n Wild Lipstick (Coming in Latte)
MAC Blush (Peachy Keen)
Cover Girl Full Bloom Mascara

2015 Hopes, Goals and Dreams

I've been wanting to write this post for a while and I figure I might as well do it right now (it's 4:15 am right now, PST). But I wanted to design an illustration along with this...since I have terrible insomnia right now and don't want to take up a chunk of time to illustrate (I want to be able to go to sleep after this, I'm on my 3rd cup of Well-rested Trader Joe's tea!) I just decided to create a little moodboard with symbols and images based on what I want to accomplish. I don't have every image here based on what I want to achieve though, but here's what's on my mind:

1. Get in shape and get healthy (physically, mentally and emotionally) And yes that includes losing weight. That's a big chunk of my health plan but it's not the main thing. Yes, I know, everyone wants to lose weight for the New Year. I do too. I seriously hope this will be the year that I will be able to get off of prednisone to lose the 30 pounds I gained from it. Right now I'm starting to run and get back into yoga (I was doing yoga most of Spring 2014, I even did my 2nd web design project about yoga!) But I also want to not be discouraged if my doctors don't taper my prednisone right away. I want to keep going. If I can endure 6 months of being on 15 mg prednisone then taper, then that means they will take extra measures so I can taper while keeping my kidneys in check! I want to exercise and eat right to be in remission and to avoid other health complications down the road. And I want to feel good about myself. I hope you don't necessarily have to be thin to feel good about yourself. Another point about that: I need to work on my mental health and my confidence. I've never been the most confident about anything, whether it be my looks, intellect, talents, accomplishments, etc. I always feel like I am lacking in every area. While it's good to always strive to be better, it's never ok to beat yourself up and get discouraged. And that's what I felt like a lot last year, almost to the point where I sometimes wanted to give up. But I want to kick that attitude in the curb and start 2015 in a clean slate!

2. Get my driver's license back. After 2 seizures last year (one in January and one in June), I think it's high time. Don't get my wrong, I am so thankful that my brother in law and Cecilio have been able to take me to school and pick me up. I'm thankful for them along with my mom, Trixie and my nephew to drive me around to Kinko's and my doctors appointments. I had my neurologist fill out the California DMV DS 326 form (the form where you need medical permission to drive) and she filled it out and I turned it in to the DMV and I'm just waiting for their approval in the mail (which takes 3–4 weeks). Here's the thing though: there was a question in the form that asked "Do you recommend a test for this patient?" And she checked "yes". It is really freaking me out because that means another obstacle and another hassle. What if I don't pass? But then again, prior to my seizures I was driving around a lot so I should be able to remember everything. It's just that my other 2 doctors never needed me to take a test when I gave them that same exact form. I hope there's still a chance that I still won't have to take that test.

3. Graduate college. This is a huge thing for me, and I really need to pat myself on the back for it. I'm on the 8 year plan. I know most people would scoff at that, but with my lupus flares, my dad passing away and me persisting my way to get into the graphic design program, I'm still here. And I'm still trying. Most people would've given up. I certainly had moments where I wanted to do so. But I know it'll be all worth it. I'm the first person in my family who will have a degree...

4. Find a job/build a career. But first, I have to keep improving my trade. Good thing it's winter break right now so I have time to rework on some of my projects for previous semesters, that way I can end strong on my last semester, especially as I go job hunting. Plus, I have a portfolio class where we have to gather all of our projects...and we have mock interviews. That's good so I can brush up on all of that.

5. Not spend so much money. Ok maybe it is a bit vague, but I have to admit I did spend a lot of money on makeup (I was able to become a VIB at Sephora this year!), exercise DVDs, Starbucks, and Panda Express on campus. But in the back of my mind are all the student loans I have to pay off, especially with being at Sac State since Fall 2010 (with a semester break in Spring 2012). I also have different bills to pay and I can't neglect my school supplies! My major is very expensive. Plus, I want to save up for traveling and building my future with Cecilio. I want to be smarter with my expenses. Do I really need that Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar Palette or another lipstick? I guess that's why I've been scouting the drugstore makeup aisles more. It's all about sacrificing instant gratification for long-term desires. Patience and self-control are virtues.

6. Nurture and grow this blog. I started in August 2014 and I want to continue growing this. It'd be nice to have more followers and comments but in order to get that I must write more and create more awesome content. And I do that not necessarily by imitating other bloggers but looking to them for inspiration. Plus, I need to start designing the logo for this blog (if there's one thing I learned, logo design is HARD!) and little parts of the layout. I will start promoting this blog...but there's a fear of negative comments from others. But there's always that risk, even among the most popular bloggers. I take things very personally, but negative comments are ALWAYS gonna come on the internet. Especially on the internet, said by the same people who wouldn't dare to say those things in real life.

7. Practice my makeup skills. This is mainly a beauty blog (and sorta lifestyle-ish too, I don't like calling myself a lifestyle blogger because my life is not super glamorous or enviable and I'm okay with that, I'd rather be real and relatable) so yeah I have to practice what I'm weak in! I'd like to master the winged eye with liquid or gel eyeliner. That's always been a struggle but I acknowledge it takes time. I also don't want to be afraid to experience with different eyeshadow color combos (like I used to in high school!) and practice on my brows more. I want to perfect my contouring skills and find my perfect skincare routine.

8. Travel. I love to travel, and maybe I'll go somewhere after I graduate. I'd like to go to London or Japan (somewhere I've always wanted to go to) but I also want to be frugal and stay somewhere in the States. Cecilio and I talk about taking a short out of town trip to Portland, Seattle or New York during my spring break. I totally gotta start saving to make it happen!

Phew! I could think of more but I want to attempt to sleep now. Let's create an amazing book out of 2015. What do you want to accomplish this year? Let me know on the comments below!

2014 highlights in pictures

Even though I was super depressed during 2014, I can't deny that there were some amazing moments. I don't want to remember the times I felt so hopeless about my lupus and how I couldn't drive or how I hated the way I looked because of prednisone. Because even though those things are the case, I want to remember the sweet memories that came along the way. Here's to hoping that 2015 will be a better year...my breakthrough...after all, I'm going to finally graduate college in May :)

In the Philippines (SM Megamall) with my dad's relatives. This is my first time meeting my grandma on his side. I'm on the bottom right next to her.

Poignant moments with my other grandma and my mom :)

During my dad's 1 year death anniversary, we (family and friends) decided to hold a little celebration of life party for him. Our pastor came in and did a little devotional about life, death and God.

Imagine Dragons concert with my love on February 13 at the SAP Center in San Jose.

My friend Nate's graduation from Sacramento City College. Now we are going to Sac State together!

Me at Sac SPCA meeting Aris for the first time. I was lucky; I signed up to meet him in the small rooms right at the minute before they closed the meeting appointments. I initially wanted his kennel neighbor, a long-haired Chihuahua (Cowboy) who seemed really friendly but his paperwork said he didn't like other dogs. Plus, there was a couple who was very interested in him. I thought Aris was cute but really shy and didn't want to come towards us. Good thing I signed up to meet him (I signed up to meet Cowboy after) and when I did, he was all over me! I knew I had to get him. The volunteers said he got dropped off 2 hours before we met him. Now he is sleeping in is bed right next to mine. I have a friend for life who loves me unconditionally and expresses it through licks and following me everywhere :) He also makes a great guard dog; just a few little noises outside and he runs to the door and barks like crazy!

Usually I see my best friend Rebecca 1–3 times a year whenever Cecilio and I visit the Bay Area. We've been solid since 5th grade! Here's us at Toppings, a Filipino-Chinese restaurant in South San Francisco.

Me with a coconut-cherry snow cone in Maui. We took a tour through Hana Road. It was so much fun, but I was also miserable at times because I had a horrible sunburn the day before from lying on the pool chair (I had sunblock but I didn't apply it later on). My back was killing me with the itching all over.

My friend Nate's birthday at Seasons 52!

Our new little baby, Flora! (Who I named this blog after) She was 8 weeks old in these pictures. My mom felt bad for Aris whenever I would leave the house and wanted a playmate for him. They are together a lot of the times...but there is a lot of fighting and rivalry, because she wants to be the boss.

Cecilio and I love going to the Bay Area a lot during our free time as a getaway and for dates. We went numerous times during the summer. Here's us at the Pacifica Beach! We also went back a month later and took the ferry here.

Anberlin's final tour at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco. It was a very bittersweet times for all of us fans. We're all so thankful for the wonderful music they made that impacted us so dearly.

Halloween/my late birthday party with my near dear girls, Christina, Jamie and Sabrina!

I want 2015 to be my year. And I will make it so. I can't let depression and hopelessness prevent me from achieving all that I want to achieve. Maybe when I come across a situation where I feel those horrible feelings (like a flareup or a seizure) I may go see a counselor or a support group like I used to. But as I look back these pictures, I smile because I know that 2014 brought me so many precious memories I wouldn't trade for the world.