February Favorites

Although February was a quite eventful month for me (2 year anniversary of my dad's death, Valentine's Day, 6 year anniversary with Cecilio, getting my US citizenship [more on that]...) I have only highlighted a few things on here.

1. Doctor Love Frame Satchel (Betsey Johnson): I really love this purse. I'm happy that I bought it although when I did, it I got it for 30% off but no free shipping without a coupon (you couldn't use more than one coupon). However, since I got it, I saw Betsey Johnson having 40% off sales + free shipping! Imagine how much I would have saved! Anyway, it's such a girly but classic looking purse, a little bit different from Betsey's loud, super-pink and leopard styles (don't get me wrong, I love those too but I wanted something that could go well with anything). I reviewed it here.

2. NYX Intense Butter Glosses: Right now I have the shades Funnel Delight (what is shown up here), Apple Crisp, Orangesicle, Sorbet, Toasted Marshmallow and Banana Split. As much as I like orange lipsticks, I don't really like Orangesicle. It's too overwhelming for me. I have MAC Pro long wear lip creme in Good To Go (another orange shade) but the lack of gloss there makes it more subtle. Sorbet and Banana Split are a tad light but I can see them growing on me. My favorites are Funnel Delight and Apple Crisp. Toasted Marshmallow is more of a fall shade. I'm still on the hunt for the shades Napoleon and Chocoalte Crepe (they were not available at the Ulta store when I went yesterday).

3. Peter Pan at the Sacramento Ballet: Cecilio and I spent our 6 year anniversary watching Peter Pan. We were very lucky to get in free because of my student ID. Well...the lady let us in for free. I expected a discount, but hey we'll take it! There were lots of kids, but we both really enjoyed the show. I do like the Disney movie Peter Pan which is what this play is based off of, but I wished the music had the classic songs like "Second Star to the Right". The play was beautiful: the choreography, set design, lighting, acting, etc. I do love ballet and I have taken on and off classes, and hopefully when I have time (and my license back) I will take adult ballet classes again. Cecilio said even though he's not too crazy about ballet, he does appreciate the art.

4. Sephora Ultimate Oil-In-Gel Lipstick Remover: I've been looking for a lipstick remover and you don't really hear about them; you mostly hear about removers for eye and face makeup. Which I find too drying for my lips. Hell, I even thought about inventing one (I still do...I still sometimes daydream about owning my own cosmetics company someday...like Maureen Kelly of Tarte) until I found this one on sale for $5 online. So I bought this along with the Josie Maran Lip and Cheek Oil for $23 total (I used my VIB free shipping card) and I have to say it does work wonderfully with removing my lips. A bit greasy but that's to be expected.

5. LUSH Skin Drink: I actually bought this in January because my skin has been feeling so dry from the winter. This weather in Northern California is really weird right now. It's gone up to 72 degrees on some days (I know...humblebrag) but on other days it's only 50-something degrees (that's nothing to people in other regions, but that is super cold for us Californians). When my skin feels tight and parched, I slap this on. I was using LUSH Imperialis moisturizer but I already emptied the pot (I am trying to empty some pots to get the free face mask). This is thicker than Imperialis and more moisturizing. This is more of a night cream since it leaves quite a greasy feeling if you put too much, and it's more suited for winter than summer (though I will still use it until I run out).

6. Getting my US Citizenship: So as of February 25, 2015, I officially became a US Citizen. I was born in the Philippines but my family moved to the States when I was 2 and a half (in 1992). I've been a permanent resident for quite sometime but my mom and I applied for our citizenship in December, went through biometrics in January and I took the interview/test on February 11. I can't believe how fast it was and how bittersweet the oath ceremony was. It was an exciting event, almost like a second birthday. I loved it when the speaker had people stand up whenever he named the country they were from. There were around 600 people from 70-something countries. Mexico had about 175 people. Philippines came after, having 78 people. Even India had 72 (which I thought that was also really neat, as I am 3/4 Indian). After the ceremony I immediately registered to vote and I am going to apply for my US passport soon so I can easily travel to other countries.

My new beauty Instagram: Follow for follow?

Hello everyone,

I decided to make a beauty-related Instagram to be a part of the beauty and fashion community. Now I have a personal Instagram too and I will still post some of my stuff there. But yeah. I'd love to follow you back then we can talk girly things and be friends. Here you go!

The secret ingredient to getting oil off of your hair...

I felt that lately, my hair texture has been feeling rough, and not soft and silky, not something I can easily twirl and run through my fingers. I was looking for a solution. I went on to makeupsocial app only iPhone and asked about how I can get softer hair. Most people responded with coconut oil or Moroccan oil. I have coconut oil, but I decided to use olive oil instead. I researched the benefits of olive oil for hair: its been known to strengthen the hair and scalp, and condition and soften it. It also promotes hair growth too. I'm sold.

So I took 1/3 cup of olive oil last night and lathered it on, making sure that no section was untouched. I left it for 15 minutes before I showered it off. Then I showered using my regular shampoo and conditioner. Nope. Still feels slimy and greasy.

Had to wear a ponytail all day.

I totally regretted it. But I also researched (um...googled on 5 websites and Yahoo!Answers) on how to get rid of the oil. And then there lies...dish soap.

I usually use Cascade to clean the dishes but we ran out so I used this. It actually smells good. I like the smell of olive oil too, but for...food. It makes sense to use dish soap (as weird as it sounds) because I clean my makeup brushes combining olive oil and dish soap and it completely gets rid of all the gunk. And come on, dish soap is supposed to clean the oil!

So I squeezed a small dollop and put this all over my hair. Then I waited for 5 minutes then showered again using my Neutrogena Anti-Residue Formula Shampoo which helps with combating grease. I condition with my usual Nioxin.

This method got rid of most (I'd say like 75%) of the gunk, but I still have a section where I can feel the slime. So I'm hoping that the next shower session or two I use this method and it completely comes off. Still, I'm happy with this method so far. My tresses (that are no longer tainted with oil) feel soft. 

I guess maybe 1/3 cup of olive oil was a bit much. I've made a hair mask before using baking soda, yogurt and eggs and I was pretty pleased with the results so I will probably be open to using kitchen products in the future. I would prefer to stick with the store brought products. I don't personally believe in not shampooing (some people swear that no shampoo improves their hair and makes it healthier and more beautiful) because if I don't do it 3 times a week, it looks and feels greasy. I'm not completely knocking down olive oil for beauty either, I used to use it to remove my makeup and I noticed that my eyelashes looked longer and fuller.

You can see on my left side (or the viewer's right side) that the hair is back to normal. However, on the other side there is still some gross residue.

Review: Josie Maran Argan Infinity Lip & Cheek Creamy Oil (Always Cherry)

I like putting on makeup for school, but a lot of times I'm in a bit of a hurry so I like using no-fuss products (like BB cream). I don't have time to prime, do foundation, eyeshadow, contour, etc. Plus, I have days where I just want to sport the natural look.

Enter the Josie Maran Aragan Infinity Lip & Cheek Creamy Oil.

You can purchase it here from Sephora and it comes with five shades: Everlasting Honey (rosy nude), Limitless Pink (medium pink), Timeless Coral (vibrant warm coral), Endless Guava (vibrant poppy pink), Always Cherry (vibrant cool red, shown above), and Boundless Berry (cool rich wine).

One thing I want you to know is that is is quite expensive at $18 for its size (0.5 fl oz). It is almost the same size as my travel sized Smashbox Primer and Benefit Porefessional. But just squeeze a drop out of the tube and you will see how pigmented it is. The texture reminds me of watercolor paint (which I miss doing):

I just added three dots to each cheek below and rubbed together with my fingers, then I added a bit more dots for more color. It gives me a natural flushed look (and I am NOT talking about my lupus butterfly rash). I also added it on my lips. I will have to say it looks beautiful on my lips, but it feels a bit...drying. I'm not sure, but it feels heavy and that it sits on my lips, not really sinking in.

Excuse my eyebrows. I promise I will wax them on Saturday! I just haven't had time or the transportation to be able to go...

I also wore it to school to see test the staying power.

45 minutes after application, and I didn't use it on my lips; instead I wore NYX Intense Butter Gloss (Apple Crisp)

9 hours after application.

So there you have it, it slightly fades overtime, but it's still there. If you want to make sure it stays, I recommend using a setting spray. I love NYX Dewy Setting Spray, and it gives me that natural glow!

This works well on folks with dry skin, but I read on the reviews from the Sephora website that many oily skinned women love this product. You can probably set it with translucent powder.

I know this will DEFINITELY be one of my summer staples! I know summer is pretty brutal in Sacramento and a heavy face full of makeup will not feel comfortable (except for the days I go on San Francisco dates to Cecilio where it's foggy and chilly). So if you're the type of gal that likes natural, no fuss makeup, then you should check this out! Just blend it with your fingers and it feels looks and feels like second skin. Also, the teeny size makes it extremely portable for your purse.

As far as the beauty benefits of Argan oil? It moisturizes your skin and hair, and helps combat acne and anti-aging. Josie Maran sells 100% Pure Argan Oil for $16–$96 (depending on the size you want) at Sephora, but you can also find it at a health food grocery store.

Because of the intense pigmentation, I know I'm going to keep this for a very long time. I'm not sure how long, but somewhere along the road (whether I finish this or not), I'd like to try the other shades Endless Guava and Timeless Coral.

Has anyone tried this before? What are your thoughts? Do you have other cheek/lip stains that you use? Let me know in the comments section below!

Wishlist Wednesday

Here's a few items I have been drooling over for a while (I have some of these items on my previous wish lists) but I am trying to not spend as much...who knows, maybe one of these days I will take the plunge and get it.

1. Philosophy Pure Grace: I don't wear perfume but I definitely have been wanting this for a while! It is a very clean, subtle perfume. It contains bergamot, water lily, lavender, jasmine, cool greens and musk.

2. Too Faced Semi Sweet Chocolate Bar: After a while I forgot about it until I picked up my original Chocolate Par palette the other day and wondered how this one would be like. People seem to really love it or hate it. I feel that there are more versatile shades for my skin tone and there are more neutrals. Some people say it's more pigmented the original, some say it's less. I definitely like how the names are actually on the palette instead of a stupid plastic sheet. The shade "Peanut Butter" definitely makes me crave for it! I have this on my shopping carts on the Ulta and Sephora websites. To buy or not to buy now is the question...

3. Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette: Here's another palette I've been looking at for months. I remember that this was on my Holiday wishlist. I also remember asking on reddit if I should get this or LORAC Pro 1. Despite everyone saying LORAC, I still want this. Probably because LORAC shades are similar to the original Chocolate Bar. I have the Naked 3 Palette. The shades in Naked 2 are unique and not found in any of the other palettes I have.

3. Too Faced La Creme (I Want Candy): This looks like a pretty color for the spring. I like pink but for spring this year I find myself yearning for corals and peaches (more in another blog). I have a La Creme lipstick in Spice Spice Baby. I found myself not wearing it a lot because it hardly shows up on my lips. So the darker colors are better suited for me. I will have to say that the La Creme lipsticks are one of the most moisturizing lipsticks I've ever tried so if you suffer from dry lips like I do, this is the lipstick for you!

4. Stila All Day Liquid Lipstick (Patina): This is the cult favorite among many when it comes to liquid lipsticks. This muted rosy shade looks good on ALL skin tones. Unfortunately it is sold out on the Sephora website and even the Stila website (what a shame because there's free shipping going on right now)

5. LA Girl Beauty Brick Eyeshadow (Neons): I feel that this is a decent dupe for the Urban Decay Electric Palette (which I had, but I returned). Can't be beat for only $9 (compared to $49)!

6. Sarah Potempa Beachwaver S1 iron: I am extremely low maintenance when it comes to my hair. I guess I am lucky that it's already naturally straight so I don't do much to it. That said, I do like a curl once in a while. I used to (still once in a while do) braid my hair in my sleep when it's damp. I also have a curling iron too that I used...twice for special occasions. This is really good for the summer waves and there's a button that just curls it for you! It doesn't come cheap though...at $129...yikes.

My Holy Grail Drugstore BB Cream: Maybelline Dream Fresh

I remember buying this BB Cream last year and I wasn't too happy with it at first. Then I decided to give it another chance this year and now I find myself using it almost everyday.

I've been more interested in Korean BB Creams because they offer anti-aging benefits, heal your skin, have just as much coverage as a foundation, etc. and Western BB creams are usually just considered tinted moisturizers with SPF slapped on. I recently bought Missha Perfect Cover BB cream in shade #27 on Amazon, and while it looked gorgeous on me, I noticed getting red spots on my cheeks and pimples in between my eyebrows afterwards. So I'm not going to use that for a few days to see if that is the culprit, then try it again. I hope it's not fake because I also have the shade in #23 which I ordered from the Missha website but I didn't break out afterwards (it turned out that #23 is too light for me).

Anyway, back to the topic.

Maybelline's Dream Fresh BB cream claims to have 8 benefits:
  • Blurs Imperfections
  • Enhances
  • Brightens
  • Adjusts to skin-tone
  • Smoothes
  • Hydrates
  • SPF 30 protects
  • 0% oils and other heavy ingredients
Now some of these claims might be a little bit over exaggerated. It is a very sheer coverage so if you have a lot of acne you might want to pass this up. But if you have normal/dry skin this is great. This has been keeping my skin smooth and soft during the winter months. It does make my skin look dewey. I like this for the natural, no makeup look and it's so light that I sometimes forget I'm wearing it.

The differences are subtle but on the left, I have redness. This covers up just that. It's also a bit more yellow-toned. It's only 1 oz, so you can easily throw this in your purse when you're on the go or traveling. I wear this during school, walking the dogs, doing errands, etc. It's perfect for not wanting to put on a lot of makeup but still looking and feeling fresh.

It comes in 5 shades: Light, Light/Medium, Medium, Medium/Deep, and Deep. I am currently using Medium but in the summer I will get Medium/Deep. Or I will probably get a more matte BB cream since this one is so dewey that it will probably slip off of my face. 

The high SPF is a great factor too. BB creams are my way of protecting my face from the sun, which I need because us lupus patients are very sun sensitive. I'm not as photosensitive as other patients, but I also want to be more careful so I don't get flares in the future. Although I acknowledge that even in the summer it will still be heavy for me so when I'm out by the beach or going swimming I'll just wear good ol' sunblock.

This is more for dry/normal skin. If you have oily/combo/acne prone skin then I would recommend you look into Maybelline's Dream Pure BB Cream:

It is the exact same packaging except the cap and the typography are blue instead of pink. But this has 2% salicylic acid to combat the acne. It also has the 8-in-1 benefits too: clears acne, minimizes and conceals pores, conceals imperfections, adjusts to skin tones, hydrates and smooths, and enhances and clarifies skin. The only downside to Dream Pure is that there is no SPF.

For only $8, the Dream Fresh is not too shabby for a fresh, light look. I totally recommend it and the Dream Pure for the oily skinned gals!

To have and to hold: celebrating our 6 year anniversary

6 years has gone by this fast?! I can't believe it. Cecilio and I have been on a roller coaster, we've seen each other at our worst but yet I still want to be with him. Our relationship has been getting better and better each day. I will admit, we kinda started off rocky at first. Of course I loved him but I wasn't sure about the future at first. We had some misunderstandings and I had some friends from the young adult church group I used to go to that didn't approve of him...but I don't want to get too into that. We've had so many adventures together. He is my absolute best friend. I could be having a horrible day but seeing him light me up. I love how silly we can be together one moment but have a deep conversation the next moment.

I would like to recall about how we first met.

We both graduated from high school in 2007. He lived in Davis, I in Elk Grove. We both had something in common: we were interested in writing and journalism and wanted to be apart of The Express newspaper at Sacramento City College. I was in my senior year of high school writing and designing layout pages for our school newspaper. He did the same thing for his (well except the designing part). So during 2007, Myspace was the thing and not Facebook. So he went and wrote on the bulletin boards for the Sac City page on Myspace asking about The Express and I responded and said I was going to be a part of it. So he added me as a friend and we kinda talked for a bit about it. He also congratulated me a bit when I announced on the bulletin that I got my license (God, I hope to get it back again...I hate seizures). I found him on Facebook too then I added him and we talked for a bit there.

First day of college came, and I was looking for him in our 2 classes together: an AP style journalism grammar class and The Express newspaper class. I was late to the classroom because they switched it but when I came in I found him. The class ended and he walked out and I was slowly walking behind him because I guess I just wanted to make new friends...I had a boyfriend at the time so I wasn't interested in anything more. I just hated high school so I wanted a new start. (That's why I went to Sac City and not Cosumnes River College, which is another community college that was actually a lot closer to me and where most people from high school went to)

Someone drives by me and asks me for directions somewhere.

I tell them the directions, then Cecilio looks behind me and sees me. He knew it was me who he was talking to online. So we started to talk a little bit. It was very awkward at first because ok, here we are finally meeting in person after kinda sorta talking on Myspace and Facebook. Then we went to our newspaper class and sat next to each other. Then after the class went we went said goodbye each other.

The next class meeting was a little bit better. He started opening up a bit more to me. Then one day he and his friends were hanging out at the student center and I invited them over with my friends. Then we all started hanging out a bit, taking the light rail during lunch break and going to downtown Sacramento or getting pizza. I even invited him to my 18th birthday party here (it was also a costume party since my birthday is close to Halloween):

Also with my friends Nate and Christina. I was a pinup girl. Cecilio was Zorro. My dad nicknamed him Zorro or "Z" ever since.

Sac City days with Christina

Throughout all of this, my boyfriend at the time did not like him. I could see why but I never thought anything more of it. Mind you, this guy was 2 grades below me (so when we were freshmen in college, he was a junior in high school). I would gush over him, but we played a lot of mind games because...well, he was very immature for his age even though he was younger than me. It was very volatile. Now whenever Cecilio and I reminisce, he said he would barf whenever I used to gush "Oh Austin is so mature for his age!"

Then one time, the ex had it and texted Cecilio to leave me alone and then it blew up into this huge fight. I got so embarrassed to be caught in the middle of the drama. I loved the ex and I thought we were going to be together forever like promised. Months later, he breaks up with me and Cecilio had to find out through Myspace that he started dating someone else less than a week later. I was so heartbroken because we were together for 2 years and 3 months. But rather than wallowing and pining for him, I blocked him so I could recover faster.

Cecilio felt so bad for me. Later on he told me he wanted to hug me and comfort me to let me know everything would be ok. I started recovering by going to church again, getting an on campus job at the Mac computer lab, and finding myself. We started getting to know each other better. We would talk on AIM until the wee hours of night. We even talked on Thanksgiving until 3 am when I went to Reno with my family!

At the In Flames concert in SF, 3 months before we started dating

Then on Valentine's Day 2009, he showed up across the street from my house at night. He left a bag of Hot Cheetos and a teddy bar at my doorstep. I wasn't there at the time because I was out with friends. But I came home at 1:30 am and I called him, and I asked if it was him. He told me to come outside. There he was with his guitar, playing "True Love Waits" by Radiohead. We talked inside my living room and decided that we did like each other and wanted to be together. The rest is history. Well, we did break up for a few days, but my mom and older sister knew I still had feelings for him even though I resisted, they convinced me to go back out with him. So we decided to give it another chance.

So here we are. We have gone through so much together: our trips to SF, going to Canada for my cousin's wedding, coping with each other's health issues (when I first had my stroke/seizure in 2011, I was unconscious for 3 days then I woke up to him, my dad and pastor from church), watching my dad pass away 2 years ago, etc. I just love and admire how patient and loving he is towards me and supporting my dreams. When I reapplied to the graphic design program 2 years ago, I had another seizure 2 weeks before the portfolio submission date was due. So I couldn't drive for another 6 months. So he came to my house at 6 am to help me go to Kinkos, go to campus, etc. He has helped me so much and I apologize and constantly show him how appreciative I am. He always says,"I do this because I love you". He has been there to take me to my doctors appointments and has coped with me being always upset in the clinic.

We just get each other in many ways. I forget what a life was like without him, and I am just amazed how our relationship gets better and better each moment. We still have our weak moments and arguments but we don't insult each other, cuss each other out, hurt each other (physically or emotionally) or disrespect each other. It's not worth it. I sometimes go on and on about something (it's a woman thing) but we bounce back.

I've always wanted that true love since I was little. I guess the Disney movies corrupted me but as I grew older I realized that there's more to it than that...we have something better. And I was broken from past relationships and I am just forever thankful that being with him gives me that hope. It's never too late for love ladies! Find someone who loves you, respects you and treats you like you're the world. And someone who is your best friend. Someone you can be serious with but also have fun with. 

I can't wait for our future endeavors and for many moments to come. I love you.

First date walking around at the UC Davis Arboretum

My 20th birthday party

Express Days

tender moments

His UC Davis graduation in 2012
Stanley Park in Vancouver, Canada

At my cousin's wedding in Canada

The Oakland A's vs SF Giants Game

California State Fair 2013

Inside the ferry boat to SF

Here's a bonus pic of us in SF exactly 2 years ago...he hates this picture but I am absolutely obsessed!

Valentine's Day MOTD and Brunch Date

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer
MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation (C4)
MAC Blush (Peachykeen)

Too Faced Chocolate Bar Eyeshadow Palette
Maybelline Lash Sensational
Revlon Colorstay Eyeliner (Black)

NYX Lip Liner Crayon (Hot Red)
Wet N Wild Lipstick (Stoplight Red)

I know, it's the typical Valentine's Day makeup (gold eyeshadow/red lip combo) but I liked it, and I just had a nice brunch with Cecilio at Cindy's Restaurant in Davis, CA. He ordered an omelette and I ordered scrambled eggs with bacon and pancakes. Yum! We didn't do much else because we had to work later. But we are celebrating our 6 year anniversary tomorrow! It's going to be super special. I don't know where he is going to take me, but I am sure excited.

His present for me: flowers and macarons! I devoured them all. Except for the raspberry (red) one. It was too tart for me.

My gifts for him: Russell Stover chocolates with a whale and a corgi (he loves both), pizza keychains, The Hundred Foot Journey DVD (I watched in theaters last year and I loved it, and I figured he would too since French cuisine is one of his favorites), and a bone comb he said he needed.

My Valentine

The secret to anti-aging and no wrinkles: Not smiling?

I've been noticing a phenomenon of women coming out and saying that they do not smile in order to avoid wrinkles as they grow older. It all started out with Kim Kardashian saying that here. Of course, the article states that you'll see her smile occasionally in pictures but not too often. Then, another article came out (well, it was more than a week ago, but News10 Sacramento announced it yesterday which is how I found out) here about a 50 year woman, Tess Christian not smiling since she was 10. Seriously?! When I was 10, all I cared about were Pokemon and having fun with friends. I started dressing a little nicer and started buying clothes from Rave or Delias. I didn't even wear makeup until I was in 8th grade!!!

Have we gotten so shallow and vain that we can't even express the goodness of life? What was even more disturbing that she states that she didn't smile when she gave birth to her daughter. Sure she was overjoyed, she states, but did not express it.

She could explain all she wants that she is a happy person and she just doesn't like to express it. Even if it were true, other people might interpret it the wrong way and might be turned off, resulting in not wanting to be her friend since she comes across as stuck up.

I'm not perfect either. When I'm sad, I show it. I also have a poker face a lot too. I am trying to work on my facial expressions too (but as in not frowning as much, I don't want people to worry and ask if I am okay).

I can't imagine not holding it in when Cecilio or a family member or friend makes me laugh. AND LAUGHING IS GOOD FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH AND ABS. I can't help but gush with joy when my dogs are right beside me. When Cecilio comes over, my eyes light up. Sure, I get depressed because life is hard. Life has been hard for me for the past 4 years coping with my lupus, seizures and losing my dad. I actually do want to get help because my thoughts can be dangerous. But despite all of that, I KNOW that life is beautiful and that there are so many reasons to smile.

My grandma (mom's mom) is 93 years old. She is just like any other woman: she kept her skin clear and youthful but rubbing papaya on it. She dyed her hair and wore full on makeup even into her 80s. She reveled in the compliments from people at church about her outfits. She even gave clothes to my older sister. A few years ago, she got a stroke. She has been thankfully recovering through God's touch, my uncles helping her out, and the caregivers. She has wrinkles now. So what? How did she get to live this long? She always had a positive outlook in life. She is always laughing and having a good time. She doesn't take life seriously (my mom would say, sometimes to a fault). When she was living with us, she would share the bed with me when I was 7 years old. We would spend all night talking and laughing in bed about stories she told me about myself when I was a baby. She would tell me stories about her life during World War 2. Her children (my mom, aunt and uncles), grandchildren (my sisters, cousins and I), great grandchildren (my nephews and nieces) all love and admire her for her beautiful soul.

My grandma and I when I was about a year old.

My grandma last year, someone was probably telling a joke to her and this was the expression on her face.

I know that many women want to avoid aging and wrinkles and stuff like that so they try creams, serums, botox, etc. in order to prevent it. I'm taking care of my skin as much as possible and I want to eat healthier and exercise more. I am even looking for eye creams too. I don't agree with Botox but I'm not going to chastise anyone if they want to get it either. But not smiling? That is taking it to a whole new level, a whole new universe. All the nice clothing, beautifully applied makeup, slim figures, etc. will mean nothing if your soul is dark and your smile is non existent. It's not wrong to look good and be a little bit vain. That's why I have this blog. But, enjoying life and all its gifts is way more important. A few wrinkles? Who cares? We are all going to have wrinkles and sagging skin when we grow older. And we are all going to die. As morbid as that sounds, it's true. So you might as well enjoy the things you were blessed with, without worrying as something as petty as a line on your face.

Ultimate Ulta Haul (including NYX Butter Intense Glosses and High Voltage Lipstick)

Last month, I received a 20% off coupon from Ulta and I wasn't planning on buying anything...until I found out that the NYX Intense Butter Glosses and the NYX High Voltage Lipsticks came out the last day to use the coupon (January 31) I knew I was going to go and add stuff to the bag on the website. Ever since I found out that these new products were coming in the spring, I was watching them like a hawk. I kept checking and looking for when they were coming. It came out sooner than I excepted! Then I also bought other items to get free shipping over for $50.

Let's talk about the NYX Intense Butter Glosses.

Apple Crisp, Orangesicle, Toasted Marshmallow

When I first saw these announced on the interwebs, I immediately thought, "Oh my gosh, if Butter Glosses and Soft Matte Lip Creams had a baby, it would be these!" And I was right. The packaging is exactly the same as the Soft Matte Lip Creams, except for the cap color (these are a shiny plastic dark grey cap, whereas Soft Matte Lip Creams have a no-shine black cap...maybe to reflect that it's a matte finish?) And they are opaque and glossy at the same time. I bought a few of the regular Butter glosses in the past and I would get so disappointed because they were sheer on my lips whereas they looked super pigmented on other people on Instagram (possible because it shows up more on fair skinned tones). I do like Cherry Pie and Peach Cobbler because they actually have a hint of color without being loud.

Apple Crisp is my favorite one so far. It is a true bright red, and I know that if I left this on for a while it would life a pretty stain. I feel that I can wear this all year, whereas the Toasted Marshmallow is more suited for the fall. I actually wanted Chocolate Crepe (a browner, lighter shade) instead but that was out of stock so I ordered this instead. It definitely counts as one of the 90s lipstick shades, which has been back in style for a while. And Orangesicle...is one of the brightest orange lipsticks/lip glosses I have owned. This is more electrified than the Too Faced Melted Lipstick in Coral. Anyway, I can see myself wearing this frequently with my tanned summer glow.

I like these a lot because of the moisturizing feel of the gloss but with an extra punch of color. It also smells sweeter than the regular Butter Glosses. I already have the shades Chocolate Crepe, Napoleon, Banana Split and Sorbet in my cart. I think I would love Banana Split because it's a more peachy shade and a tad lighter than Orangesicle. I've been looking for a pigmented peach shade that is not too nude.

Then we have the NYX High Voltage Lipstick. There are 22 shades! At first I wasn't interested but I decided to get the shade Hollywood because I saw the swatches and liked that shade the most. It looked sheer on other people but it is very pigmented on me. This is a true cherry red. It's a satin finish and glides on creamy and comfortably, almost like a satin finish. I think it might not be too long lasting because I tried this on last night then had pizza and I would accidentally touch my mouth with my nail and some of the lipstick went on my nail.

Then I bought more NYX items. Such as the Hot Singles Eyeshadows in Epic and Dank. Dank is such a funny name for obvious reasons. I've been mostly getting neutral palettes but I wanted to get these for a change because I do like green and violet eyeshadow. It pops my dark brown eyes. I actually used to have a sparkly bright green Milani eyeshadow and a lavender Sephora eyeshadow (I can't remember the names) that I used almost everyday. So Dank and Epic reminded me of those past eyeshadows I used to have. 

I also bought the Cream Blush in Orange. I've been into cream blushes lately because they give me that natural dewey flush. Don't get me wrong, I love powder blushes too, especially because of the intense color. But cream also feels so amazing on my dry skin. In fact, I'm wearing the cream blush on my lipstick swatches above. It's more sheer than other cream/gel/liquid blushes I have but still buildable. The colors look intimidating on the pot but it's not at all like that once you apply it to your face.

Finally..my last NYX item. (can you tell I'm obsessed with them?) I got the eyebrow powder. Now I have a confession: I hardly do my eyebrows. I know, horror. Especially with the "eyebrows on fleek" trend. But I do acknowledge that I have been blessed with naturally thick eyebrows that I don't do much to them except use brown eyeshadow as powder (or my LA Girl dark brown gel eyeliner). In fact, my mom has told me numerous times, "You don't need to do your eyebrows! You have gorgeous thick eyebrows! I need to draw mine because I over plucked them in the 70s when having thin eyebrows where the thing, then it was beautiful to have them thick in the 80s" But I still would like to give them some oomph to frame my face better.

Now I got the Revlon Colorstay Eyeliner. The package claims it stays on for 16 hours. I've always worn pencil eyeliner since I was in 8th grade on my lower lash line. Yes I would reapply at times, but lately, whenever I would wear it it would fade within an hour. I'm not sure if it's because my eyes have gotten oilier with time, but I know that that is why I have been wearing gel or liquid eyeliner. But sometimes I don't have time to perfect that wing, or I don't have time to set my pencil liner with powder under (a good technique to make it stay). So I bought this in hopes that it does what it claims (the 16 hour wear).

For skincare, I ran out of the LUSH Tea Tree water toner so I was went ahead and got The Body Shop Vitamin E Hydrating Toner. It is 6.75 fl oz which is not bad for it being $12.50. I tried this last night with a cotton ball after cleanser and before moisturizer and it does leave my skin feeling clean in the morning. And it doesn't sting at all. Vitamin E is known to hydrate and moisturize the skin. Oregon State University has more in-depth information here about the benefits of Vitamin C. 

And last but not least...since I will be traveling to NYC next month and I would like to bring my makeup brushes, I figured that a cleaning spray would suffice for 4 days and 5 nights. I clean my brushes with olive oil and dish soap mixture but I really do not want to put that in my suitcase for the sake of convenience, plus I worry that it might open up and spill. That's where the Japonesque Brush Cleaner comes in. It is teeny tiny, only 1 oz. and $6. Not bad at all for travel and need to give your brushes a quick mists rather than deep cleaning them (which is super inconvenient).