In Honor of National Lipstick Day: My Current Favorites

Lipstick is one of my absolute favorite makeup products...I feel naked without some sort of color on my puckers. Whether I'm in a bright colorful mood, or want some subdued drama for the fall and winter, or fill them in with nudes, I'm all game. It ties in the whole makeup routine. The majority of my product reviews in this blog are about lipsticks and lip glosses.

I'm kinda embarrassed to admit, that I can't really count how many lipsticks I have, and I still have a wishlist on my head (Kat Von D liquid lipsticks, anyone?). My family and friends know I love makeup, so I might as well own it and not hide it. I, as a beauty blogger would be remiss if I didn't post about my favorite ones, the ones I have been using the most. (I think there should be a National Lip Gloss Day, I've been getting into glosses again! I'm turning 26 in a few months but I believe you're never too old for them!)

My favorites:

NARS Audacious (Jane): A soft coral. Perfect if you want an orange but not too loud, and still want to stay in your comfort zone and use for everyday.

Wet n Wild (Spiked with Rum): Reddish-brown, perfect for medium–tan skinned tones. This is a must for the fall. I would say this is a dupe of MAC Retro, only it's a teeny tad bit darker and is a matte finish (but feels comfortable). I can't wait for the fall so I can wear this everyday!

MAC (Retro): A tad bit lighter than Spiked with Rum, but also a gorgeous fall shade. Perfect for everyday, but you can also wear it for special occasions. I wore this shade for my college graduation ceremony to add some color without drawing attention to myself. The MAC website describes this as a muted pinky-peach brown.

Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick (Berlin): Sephora describes this as a warm rose, but I think it's much brighter than that. It shows up as a bright pinkish-coral on my lips. I love wearing this for spring and summer. It's funny, I first got Lolita (The most popular on my shade) and then I realized how much I didn't like it at all, then I exchanged it for Berlin and could't be happier! This is extremely matte and drying, so watch out.

Too Faced Melted (Jelly Donut): This is a bright, warm pink, and it's wearable for all skin tones. This is the shade I was wearing when Cecilio proposed to me, so this will always have a special place in my heart. But yeah, this is one of my absolute favorites among the Melted liquid lipsticks.

NYX Soft Matte (Prague): This is a blue-toned dark fuchsia. I like wearing this for all seasons, it's pink and girly enough for the spring and dark enough for the fall.

NYX Butter (Big Cherry): This is my first NYX product. It's a fun bright red that is wearable even on casual days. It is not as dramatic as other shades. So for those who are afraid of red lipstick, give this one a go! My older sister even bought her own shade after borrowing it a few times in Hawaii last year! This gives a pop of color without feeling uncomfortable.

NYX Soft Matte (Monte Carlo): I always get lots of compliments wearing this dark red shade. I've noticed that a lot of the Soft Matte Lip Creams are pretty patchy and dry, but this one has a good color payoff and spreads across the lips easily.

Too Faced Melted (Berry): This is a versatile shade. It shows up as reddish violet on lighter skin, but for me it's more maroon. I know I can't wait till fall and winter to start wearing this again.

Also, here are some reviews for most of the lipsticks I have featured here:

How are you guys going to celebrate National Lipstick Day? What are your favorite lipsticks ever?

Wedding Dress Inspiration: Long Sleeves.

Nicky Hilton on her wedding day on July 10.

When Nicky Hilton's wedding photos surfaced on the Internet, my jaw dropped. I was so enamored with her dress. Of course, being a socialite, it's not surprising that her lacy Valentino number cost $77,000.
If I could get a piece that's 200 times cheaper, I would be so happy, I thought. She looks like a princess, all the fashion and celebrity sources kept raving. A far cry from her wild-child partying sister, and a totally different look from her 2004 Vegas nuptials.

What's not surprising though is that long-sleeve wedding dresses are coming back in style. In the world of strapless dresses (that honestly, all look the same to me), it's refreshing to see the classic silhouettes again. It's definitely appropriate for church ceremonies, and fits well into a ballroom setting. 

It flatters all figures. Honestly, if I am still on prednisone by the time I start wedding dress shopping next year and can't lose weight, I will definitely consider a long-sleeve gown (though I can't guarantee it, I want it to be a surprise for Cecilio). I have always had slim arms (and upper body) that get muscled easily with exercise, and they are toned and sculpted right now...but they're still hidden under a layer of fat. The idea of getting a dress with longer sleeves would make me feel more comfortable and less insecure, while feeling like I'm in a fairytale. Plus, I can just imagine constantly pulling up my dress because of my D-cup breasts. Not a pretty sight. So if you are self conscious about your arms, definitely consider a long sleeve gown. (Wear what you want though if you feel like you rock it!)

Though long sleeve dresses have always been the norm for the 20th century, in the modern times brides have been baring more skin. Which is not a bad thing. I would love to show off my arms and back, if it weren't for prednisone. But knowing that long sleeve wedding dresses are becoming trendy again, brides who want to flatter their figure or want a more conservative look have more options. It all started with Kate Middleton's Alexander McQueen gown, fit for a royal:

And if the keywords classic, princess, conservative or feminine don't describe you, no worries! You can still rock a sexy, slinky frock! Kim Kardashian is...let's say, not the klassiest celebrity on the block, but she donned a Givenchy gown during her wedding with Kanye West last year. She had illusion sleeves and cut-outs on her waist to give her an edgy look.

The long-sleeve is also really popular with artsy, boho bride, complete with a flower crown and a botanical setting.

Stone Fox Bride

Oscar De La Renta

Monique Lhuillier

So that's an overview of my favorite bridal pieces, celebrity and runway. Brides to be, what kind of dresses are you envisioning? Don't worry, your fiancé doesn't have to know...and like I said, I'm not even sure what kind of dress I'll be wearing until I go shopping next year, just looking for inspiration :)

Wishlist Wednesday: NARS edition.

I remember buying my first NARS product last year at the Sephora in JC Penny. I was looking for a cream contour stick before I went on my trip to Hawaii last year. The saleslady pointed me over to the Matte Multiple in Vientiane. While I did love the pigmentation, I felt like every time I used it, it broke me out. Plus, I felt like it was a little too warm-toned for the shadowed, sculpted contour.

Fast forward to this year. I bought the Orgasm blush, but I returned it (despite it being a holy grail) because it hardly showed up on my skin. Then in May, I bought my first Audacious lipstick in Jane (you can read my review about it here) and even though it was in impulse buy, it was love at first swipe. #sorrynotsorry but it's worth the $32. The shade flatters my skin tone without being too loud, it is between a soft coral and a nude that makes it perfect for everyday wear. I also eventually bought the "Audrey" shade.

I am falling more in love with this brand. The packaging and thin typeface logos remind me of a step up from MAC (one of my other favorite higher end brands), but the products are top notch. My wallet is crying right now. But these are the following items I'm currently lusting over (as much as I love drugstore and MAC, I should stop impulse buying from them to save up for these items):

1. Audacious lipsticks (Michiyo and Jeanne): The Audicious lipsticks were what made me fall in love with NARS. These are richly pigmented in one swipe, long-lasting and creamy. They feel so amazing and comfortable on the lips. Who would've known you could get all of those in one tube?  Not just that, I think it's cool how the packaging is a magnetic cap. They are the best lipsticks I have ever had, but obviously they come with a steep price. At first, I tried the shade Jeanne (cherry red) and while I loved it, I figured I would get it another time. Michiyo, a bright shocking pink, is another shade I am absolutely craving for.

2. Sheer Glow foundation (Stromboli): I've heard mostly great things about this foundation. I've heard it's weightless and give the natural look, with a satin finish (my favorite finish). Sephora describes it as suitable for normal-to-dry, dry, and very dry skin types, but based on the reviews it seems to work for the oily skinned people too. I would also buy the pump so that I can get just the right amount. Based on Findnation, since I wear C4 from MAC's Face and Body and 128 from MUFE's HD, Stromboli was the shade suited for me.

3. Restorative Night Treatment: I did get this as a Nordstrom sample, and oh my does my skin feel smooth the morning after. I just wish I didn't lose it, because this thing cost $85. It hydrates and softens the skin to reduce the appearance of fine lines and pores. As I am growing older (I'm still young though!) I want to be more aware of the products out there that help me slow the aging process...providing that I do other things too, like eat healthy and exercise. This is just icing on the cake.

4. Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer (St. Mortiz): On days (like right now) where I don't want to wear foundation and don't need a lot of coverage, this would great to have to give my face some life and moisture. It has an SPF of 30. I would love to compare this to the Smashbox BB Cream (which I emptied out) because that was one of my favorite higher end products.

5. ITA Brush: I kinda have mixed feelings about this, because I heard some amazing reviews about it, and the shape is perfect for contouring. But I also heard that the brush hairs fall off. Nevertheless, I would love to try this sometime.

6. Radiant Creamy Concealer (Biscuit): I've also heard amazing things about this concealer. I usually wear the Maybelline Master Prime Concealer for under eye circles and spots, but I am curious about this, as I heard it's long lasting and doesn't crease. I don't wear a lot of concealer because I have had bad experience with a few of them not giving enough coverage.

Too Faced Love Flush Blush (How Deep is Your Love?)'s a pretty long name. The actual name is Love Flush Long-Lasting 16-Hour Flush. Phew! These new blushes come in 6 shades (named after song titles with the word "love" in them) with the claim that it obviously lasts for 16 hours. You can find them at Sephora and Ulta online (unfortunately, not in stores) or Macy's in store (where I got this), for $26.

I'm not going to lie, I was attracted to the packaging. The blush comes in bright colored plastic heart shaped packaging, which totally resembles the Polly Pockets I had when I was little (90's version when they were actually pocket-sized, not the horrendous 2000's noodle-liked doll):

And come on, who doesn't go gaga over Too Faced packaging?! Everything from chocolate-scented and inspired eyeshadow palettes to heart-shaped products to liquid lipsticks in luxurious paint tube's enough to make my heart flutter. I chose the shade "How Deep is Your Love?" Because it's described as a watermelon pink, so it's the darkest and most flattering for my tan skin and it adds a pop for the summer. 

The blush even has engraved design with bunnies and heart shapes! It was too pretty to use is...but oh well...

I would say it's pretty long lasting, but I haven't worn it for full 16 hours yet. I may have worn it for 10–12 hours, so it does live up to it's claim, especially when you use setting spray like I do. 

Despite the bright colored containers and how the blush appears inside, it's actually fairly sheer, but buildable. You can swipe once for a more natural and muted look or you can keep building up until you get the desired saturation. Personally I want a pop of color, especially if I spend $26 on something that claims to be long lasting.

Left: One swipe. Right: 3 swipes.

And here is how it looks on me...excuse my bumps, my face does not look like that in real life...that was the Becca Champagne Pop highlighter (with Jaclyn Hill)...and for some reason, highlighters make my teeny barely existent pores look larger...and if anyone has advice on that, I'd love to listen! Unless I have to do Facetune:

I would say it's totally worth the price! You can always find something that suites your skintone (Your Love is King and How Deep Is Your Love is suited for my skin and darker). Here are the other shades  (pic credit goes to the Classified Chic here):

Has anyone tried these? What are your favorite shades? Don't hesitate to comment below!

Nighttime Skincare Routine.

Finding the right skincare routine takes trial and error, depending on your skin type and needs. It sometimes spending $$$ on some product that promises you free blemishes...only to be disappointed and have a breakout. I have normal/dry skin, but I still get a pimple here and there. I struggle with whiteheads and some milia, and sometimes I scratch them out or tweeze them (I know, it's gross and I know a bad habit). My esthetician from Massage Envy said that the whiteheads are much better than when I first saw her in May.

I definitely need more consistent work in the skincare area. Sometimes I get lazy, and during my time at school I would be up so late (2–4 am, only to have to wake up at 7 am) that I neglected my skin. I mean, yeah I would remove my makeup with a wipe. But sometimes I didn't have time for 4 different products when I just wanted to sleep. But of course I still cleansed, toned, and moisturized with the occasional LUSH Mask of Magnaminty. Another bad habit I have is not putting on sunblock (on my body). I have BB cream which covers my face, but I am extremely careless with sunblock, not just for skin cancer but for lupus! (A lot of lupus patients are extremely sensitive to the sunlight, but not me...I just hate any temperature over 95 degrees)

So I recently created a routine in the evening of the following skincare products, and I've been consistent for 2 weeks it has given me a glowing face. Of course, overtime I may change it up a bit, but right now I am happy with it.

When I have makeup on, I like to remove it with the Murad Renewing Cleansing Oil. It makes my face feel supple and soft afterwards. I especially like using it in the shower so I make sure that all of the makeup comes off, but when it doesn't I wipe off the excess with the Neutrogena oil free makeup remover wipes. I'm almost out, but when I do, I will buy the Neutrogena light cleansing oil since it's a fraction of a price of this $32 baby.

Then, I cleanse with the Murad Time Release Acne Cleanser. It's a cream form. At first, I thought it was causing me to break out more, but when I saw the esthetician last week, she told me to damp my face first (which I already do), dab a small amount and rub it around my hands until the water until both the water and cleanser emulsify and then I rub it over my face. I've been doing that technique rather than just pat it on my face and wash away, and I have been noticing a difference. It has a 0.5% salicylic acid to help with blemishes. You can have dry skin with acne. I have extremely mild acne, if any, but this is also known to help with anti-aging and fine lines. My esthetician said that this also exfoliates.

I haven't used serums until I started getting facials and then I bought the Murad Sensitive Skin Soothing Serum. I've noticed that ever since I started incorporating this into my skincare routine, my face has been bright and glowing a lot more. It has helped with the redness on my face too, which is my lupus butterfly rash. It feels so amazing and cooling.

For moisturizer, I've been using LUSH Skin Drink since January. This is the most hydrating moisturizer I have ever purchased. This is the answer to the dry person's prayers. In fact, if I over-slap it on then I end up feeling too greasy. I still get dry skin in the summer, but this softens it. It contains rose petal infusion, avocado (which eating is also great for skin and hair do to the fatty acids), almond oil and fair trade organic cocoa butter!

I then dab on the Benefit Puff Off! eye gel on my under eyes. This has been a godsend. Honestly, I was put off from buying it because it does have some negative reviews. I guess it doesn't work for everyone, but I've had some good luck with it. It has de-puffed my eye bags, which I had from lack of sleep when I was in school. It has a lovely cooling, tingly sensation, especially when you use the iron shaped tip applicator.

Last but not least, I apply the Fresh Lip Sugar Serum Advanced Therapy and then lock it in to Sugar Advanced Therapy Lip Treatment for moisture and fuller, more supple lips. I don't do it as much as I should, especially because I've been wearing matte lipsticks more.

So this is it for my nighttime skincare routine! I am really happy with the results from using these products so far :)

<3 Hannah

Throwback Thursday: Embarrassing Pictures

Here's something different. I love looking back in time at old pictures, seeing my old demeanor and comparing and contrasting to the woman I am today. I actually am inspired by Zoella's video of her old embarrassing photos here. Love her or hate her, but she is one of my many influences when it comes to blogging. Granted, I've only done one Youtube video and I'm a few months older than her, so I'm not really a crazy fan girl (her target audience is comprised of teenage girls).

For the most part, I don't like pictures. I feel like I'm not photogenic or pretty enough, especially because of taking prednisone and gaining weight and having that moonface. Even when I was thinner, I felt like the camera just wasn't my friend. So I would get irritated when my older sister or someone else would force me to get into a picture. But at the same time, I love them. I love reminiscing. That is why my sister is a huge fan of memorabilia; it's fun to see yourself visually 5, 10, 20 years ago. It's also funny looking back, wondering what the hell was I thinking?! when it came to style and hair choices. I actually had numerous Myspace accounts back in the day that I deleted...and I regret not keeping the pictures. Sure they were extremely embarrassing, and I wouldn't be caught dead in bleach blonde hair anymore...but lets just say I had a lot of different style phases.

Me and my friend Bernadette in middle school. It was the thing (especially for Asians) to take photos in a studio with different types of backgrounds, then wait for your prints to keep in your wallet.

My freshman year in high school, 2003–2004

I went to my friend Jamie's junior prom in 2005 (she is a year ahead of me)

My junior year. I only stay in touch with Nina on the far left, which is very rare as an acquaintance. That's what happens. People drift away. But she was/is one of the people who tolerated my craziness.

My senior pic

With my cousin Arjay in Vancouver, Canada

Christmas 2009 with my sister. That is my old cheer skirt I was wearing!

This was my old room. I've had it since we moved to our current house (I was 16), so yes it's definitely a teenager like room. I was 20 in this picture though. Since it's downstairs, I gave it to my dad when he was diagnosed with cancer because there were times when he was too weak to walk up and down the stairs (but he was strong enough to once in a while). He redecorated with his western movie and classic rock posters, and Native American souvenirs. When he passed away, my nephew was living with us for a year and a half and he filled it with anime posters and figurines.

I remember this. I just got my first Macbook 5 years ago. I was so happy and excited, so I kept taking pictures using PhotoBooth! This isn't so embarrassing. I would love to be that thin again.

My 21st birthday. Those brows though. Zoella had a picture of her in prom with super thin brows, horrified. I'm lucky to have thicker eyebrows...but now I am obsessed with filling them in, even just a little bit. My face feels bare without them! And those glasses hid my eyes...I had a fun time there though...a bit too much fun with Sapporo and my friends buying me more drinks...haha

If you want to laugh for a little bit, go look back at old pictures. I actually had a "punk" phase my freshman year of high school. It was embarrassing. I can't find pictures at the moment but when I do I'll post them. I put quotation marks because I just wanted to shop at Hot Topic and Pac Sun (yeah...that's so punk...) and wear fishnets, jelly bracelets, Converse and Vans. I LOVED AFI and Linkin' Park (even though they're more alternative). I hated Avril Lavigne but was a fan of Good Charlotte, which doesn't make sense. And sometimes I used safety pins as earrings. Yet sophomore year, I was all about Abercrombie, American Eagle and still PacSun. How weird is that? We all go through our phases, especially in our adolescence when we're trying to figure out ourselves.

<3 Hannah

(Attempting to) overcome dental fears.

"Do one thing that scares you everyday."

Everyone has their own fears and crippling anxieties, especially when it comes to their health. I should know first hand; I go to the doctor every month (or every 2 months). When I used to flare up, I would actually go a few times a month! How crazy is that?!

Yes, I still get scared and anxious of the doctor, especially with the phrases "Your labs are good, except for the protein in your kidney...we can't take you off of prednisone yet." but what I have never mentioned before is my absolute crippling fear of the dentist.

When I was a kid, my parents tried to get me to go to one (My dad's best friend from childhood was and still is a dentist in the Bay Area). I hated it, I would scream and cry, and nothing got done. Until I realized in middle school how crooked my teeth were (and I saw a lot of girls wearing them) and I begged my parents to get me braces. So I got my braces at the end of 7th grade, and slowly those fears went away. I loved my orthodontist: he was so funny and we chatted a lot. I even loved looking at his high school yearbooks in the waiting room. I loved the flavored waxes and choosing the color every month (my favorite were the pinks and the glow in the dark ones). I had those braces for 2 years.

My family and I went to a new dentist when I was 16. He was this really funny Filipino guy and his daughter went to my high school (though I didn't know her I saw her a lot). I would have a cavity here and there, and he would fill it up. 2008, I didn't have any cavities! But my mom eventually didn't like him because she felt like he was incompetent and didn't do his best. So we found another one.

This dentist (and the last one I went to) was also funny, but he was pretty condescending. Even though he always did a great job cleaning and filling, he made me feel super guilty. The first time I went (when I was 20), I had an x ray and check up. Yes, it was pretty bad. And I am absolutely the first to admit that I didn't take care of my teeth. So when my mom got her teeth filled the next day, he told her how bad mine were and how in 10 years I'm going to start losing it, I brush like a 5 year old, etc. Of course my parents were pretty upset. 

I would still have some issues here and there throughout, but 2013 was a good year for my teeth. I am sure there is a correlation with prednisone. Up until October 2013, my teeth were fine. I just needed a filling or two and I got a wisdom tooth extracted. But when I started going on 80 mg on prednisone, I one time chipped my front tooth from eating a persimmon. So I had to get it filled. I had a cleaning and filling last year, but it was pretty difficult to go because I wasn't driving due to my seizure in the Philippines in January 2014. And yes, he guilted me again. So I haven't gone in a while. And plus, my mom and I switched insurances in December. She found a new dentist.

I knew I've been needing to go, but I was and am absolutely terrified. I know how much my teeth need work. And my mom and Cecilio have been bugging me to go. So I eventually mustered up the courage to call one near my area, because I received a coupon in the mail from them for $48 for an X-ray and check up. And based on all of the reviews, the patients loved how this particular dentist specialized in patients with dental fears like mine.

I went into their office last Thursday for my X-ray and checkup. I filled out a slew of paperwork regarding my information, my health history, and my previous dental history and fears. So when I sat on the seat for my X-ray, the assistant kept asking questions about my medications and my lupus, and how long I've had it, etc. and this made me feel at ease that they asked so that they would know why my teeth were the way they were. I felt at peace with them. They had Pandora and Netflix in the rooms to keep their patients comfortable. They also had coffee in the waiting room. So I met with the dentist who is this sweet, funny, young Indian lady (it's funny how my neurologist, nephrologist, and new optometrists are all Indian ladies. I love it even more because I'm 1/4 Indian) and she asked me about my health and stuff. I told her about my seizures. I told her about how my dad passed away from lung cancer, and she said her friend's mom died from lung cancer too and had only 2 months left after her diagnosis (my dad had 2 years). She felt so bad. She and the assistant totally made me feel comfortable.

Then the bad news came. Turned out my gums are extremely swollen, and I need to get a root canal along with other fillings. What she told me, that no one else did (neither my doctors nor my former dentist) was that it was caused by keppra, the seizure medication I am taking. I take 2 grams a day (I had to increase my dose from the seizure in the Philippines and the one I had in Mimi's Cafe on June 2014). I knew that prednisone causes gum swelling, but keppra? She also said that I grind my teeth (which I have been noticing recently), which is caused by the seizures I've had. 95% of seizure sufferers experience teeth grinding. So I need a deep cleaning, but before that she had to send a medical release form to my neurologist to approve it. And I also need to call the insurance company to see if they cover this particular dentist, but I really adore them a lot.

I was supposed to have a cleaning on Friday, but I resecheduled it because we have new couches coming in since we changed our living room floor from carpet to laminate wood. It gave me so much agony to just call them half an hour ago, I almost felt sick to my stomach. That's how horrible it was.

I have time before my wedding because it's not until 2017. But I feel horrible about it. Part of it is my fault too for having bad habits in the past, plus drinking coffee and eating candy (which I'm trying to cut down on, not the coffee). It's bad enough that the prednisone affected my weight, but also the teeth. But yes, they are pretty bad. I asked her, "would you still be able to reverse the damage?" and she responded,"I can't reverse it, but I can prevent it from getting worse. It is really good you came right now before it got worse"

I just have so many emotions, like guilt, fear and remorse. I texted my best friend Jamie after, because she has epilepsy and I was wondering if she experienced grinding teeth and swelling gums from her seizures and medications. She experienced the same thing and had to get a root canal, and she gets a cleaning every 3 months.

I want to be able to smile and have pearly whites especially as I walk down the aisle to meet my love. He understands my fears, and felt sorry when I didn't like how he kept bugging me to call them. Even though I hate when he does that, I am thankful because I know it's what I need to do. I also want to be able to maintain them for life because it's a small part of overall health. When my mom was my age, her teeth were a lot worse than mine. She actually lost some teeth. I only had an extraction from the wisdom tooth in 2013, and extractions from my braces. 

I am a lot better now about brushing and flossing. I brush 2-3 times a day, and I floss whenever I can. How did I not floss before and not feel uncomfortable? I am crazy about flossing. But yes, I know I need to go. And a lot of it is caused by things out of my control, such as the medications and the past seizures.

I've been agonizing over this all morning and yesterday yet I'm supposed to be preparing for a job interview tomorrow morning (pray for me and wish me luck!)

Whew! This was a really long drawn out comment. It's been on the back of my mind a lot, looming over me. Cecilio tells me I have courage and strength to just call them, even though I am absolutely terrified. I know it's not a big deal to others, but to me it is.

Has anyone had fears of the dentist? It could be anything from mild anxieties to full blown ones like mine. How did you overcome it, and overcome the struggle of fixing bad teeth? If anyone has advice for me on how to cope, please let me know in the comments. I would really love advice, input and encouragement. Thanks for reading!

<3 Hannah

MAC Whirl Lipstick

You know one of those popular, have-to-have products people keep raving about? And then when you try it on for yourself, you see that it's not necessarily for you?

That's what I feel about MAC Whirl lipstick (not to be confused with the Whirl Lipliner). This came out last month as a part of the new Matte Lip collection (You can see my review on the shades Persistence and Studded Kiss here). Whirl in lipstick form came out due to the super-popular lipliner when it was found that Kylie Jenner uses that lip liner. So of course, the Whirl lipliner has been sold out on the MAC website.

I was on the hunt for it though. Yesterday I went to the mall with Cecilio. I went to the MAC store and looked for it there. Didn't have it, but Nordstrom did. I bought both the lipstick and the lipliner. 

Now that I have it, I remember why I bought Persistence instead last month (I tested out both). Don't get me wrong, I want to love it like I do with Persistence and Retro (even though that's a satin lipstick). But just because something is popular at the moment and associated with Kylie doesn't mean it's suited for everyone. Of course, something that looks good on her will look completely different on me, I'm a lot darker!

On Instagram, I see a lot of females rocking Whirl, and it either looks dark mauve or reddish brown (which is what Retro is to me). But it looks like a grayish brown to me, almost like Stone. And it's more cool-toned than Persistence, which is described as a peachy cinnamon. Here are the comparison swatches of all 3 below:

All 3 shades are perfect for the fall. And these are known as the 90s shades, which are really popular right now. And if you like Whirl, go ahead and buy it! What may look awful on me might work perfectly on you. And that's the beauty of makeup. Everyone has their own unique look and preference for products depending on their skin type, skin color, style, etc. What is popular won't look good on everyone and will probably be a passing fad in 5-10 years from now. But I am digging the 90s lipstick shades (as long as they are warm toned, darker reds or reddish-nudes, if that makes sense) because I grew up as a kid in that decade. Don't force yourself to like the hot thing.

Whirl on me, no other makeup on.

Luckily I still have the Nordstrom receipt and box so I can return it! And I will probably exchange it for Velvet Teddy. I actually tried it yesterday to give it another chance and you know what? It actually does look good on me, especially with the right foundation, bronzer, blush, etc. Brick-o-la is another one of my other lusted after shades.

Do you have this shade? How do you like it? What are some of your favorite nude shades? Please feel free to comment below!

ColourPop Ultra Matte Lips (Bumble, Tulle, Avenue, Sundae)

Boy are these babies revolutionary.

When ColourPop released their liquid lipsticks aka Ultra Matte Lips on June 25, 2:00-ish PST, all hell broke loose. Every beauty junkie agonized for hours just to get their hands on these treasures, even despite that pesky broken link about the crash, or the cart being empty. Some people were lucky and took them between 20 minutes–1 hour. Me? Not so much. I kept refreshing and refreshing. Then I went out to dinner with my mom and sister a few hour later. When I got home, I tried to place my order again. Yay, success! I'm so thankful that I didn't give up: now all 25 shades are currently out of stock.

Liquid lipsticks are the 2010's beauty staple: when I was a teen, you basically got either just lipstick or sheer, or slightly tinted lip gloss. It's amazing how you can now get that bright, opaque pop from a doe foot applicator that used to be only known for sheer tint product that makes sticks to your hair in the wind. Now, liquid lipsticks are in so many different brands such as Stila, Anastasia Beverly Hills and even NYX. ColourPop is the latest brand that jumped on the liquid lipstick bandwagon. This is actually my 2nd time ordering from them: I never even heard of them until I started blogging. They are very well-known for collaborating with vloggers to develop new beauty products at affordable prices. They are also just as high quality, if not more, than some department store brands.

They also send cute personalized notes to their customers. On my first order in April, they called me a muggle!

I also got the Super Shock Cheek blush in Quarters.

I mean, come on, who can resist these at $6 a pop?! The higher end hippies can go up to $20! I don't know, but I'm not made of money.

Based on these swatches I found on Instagram, I knew I wanted Tulle and Bumble. I wanted Oiji too but it somewhat reminded me of Kat Von D's "Berlin" which I already have. So I decided to get Avenue and Sundae. And here's how all four look on me (I have no other makeup besides these, I just had a facial when I took these pics):

Bumble, on the website is described as a dusty warm terra-cotta. This is the perfect rosy shade I have been looking for. It is WARM TONED. I find that Stila's Patina and Sephora's Marvelous Mauve look odd on me because they are slightly on the cooler toned side. This one is my favorite, and I love how it shows up as a dark pink on my lips, but not too dark or bright. I have been searching for a medium–dark muted rose and here it is. I thought based on the swatches it would be too light. But this is going to be used regularly.

Sundae is a bluish-violet bright pink, that reminds me exactly of MAC's Candy Yum Yum (which I haven't used in a long time). I usually go for bright pink coral, and I would've ordered the shade Highball (but I have A LOT of hot pinks Too Faced Jelly Donut, MAC Girl About Town, etc.) so this is a bit out of my comfort zone. It is a fun, summery shade and reminds me of 80s Barbie.

Avenue is another favorite of mine. Don't you see how it looks velvety on me? It is a dark red, perfect for fall and winter. But I can totally see myself breaking that rule and wearing it this summer because it's so beautiful.

Tulle is the shade I absolutely wanted the most but was the most disappointed in. I thought it would be like how Bumble was on my lips (I was making my decisions based on the lip swatches). But it is actually much darker, a burgundy brown. It is the quintessential 90's grunge shade (along with Avenue). I know that a lot of people would love this shade, but I feel like it's not for me. Nevertheless I'll still wear it once in a while!

As far as the formula: They weren't kidding when they said Ultra Matte! That is the key word! I really, really struggled to wipe these off when I wanted try another shade. That's how dry they are. And yeah it may be quite uncomfortable, but you'll love the fact that these last all day. When I drink my water bottle, my lips touch the tip. Other lipsticks and glosses I wear will bleed onto the bottle, but not these! That's how you know you'll be able to wear these all day.

Let's just say that beauty junkies went bat shit crazy over these because each and every single shade is sold out. But! When they come back, I would love to get the shades Highball, Oiji and Donut.

SO! Have you guys bought into the craze of these lippies?! What shades did you get?! Please comment below!

My internal struggles with introversion and forgiveness.

I wouldn't say I have social anxiety disorder. I am slowly getting out of my shyness shell and compared to some of my friends, I can talk to strangers easier (especially when I'm walking dogs). But in a society made for extroverts, it's been a struggle. I'm not very charismatic, I don't light up a room coming inside. I'm eloquent in the written word, but I struggle in speaking. I don't know if it's because of the bullying, or because my dad was somewhat like that too. He was fairly quiet. Don't get me wrong, we always talked a lot and we had so many interesting and funny conversations (he had a really dry sense of humor) that I will forever cherish. But we would have moments of silence together and still enjoy each other's company. I guess he didn't feel the need to spend every moment with chatter.

But that was also a struggle for my mom too. She on the other hand, is the extroverted one. So the communication styles clashed between them at times. I guess it is also a gender thing, since it's known that women are always the talkers whereas men don't really bother (okay, I know it's a stupid stereotype...and I am so thankful that Cecilio always wants me to talk and work through disputes).

Maybe it's because I also just graduated college too. I know the next step is find a job and getting married. But when you've been in school for most of your life, and now you left that phase of your life, you're kinda in a rough transition. Like I'm applying for different jobs. In school, it's easy to see your classmates and go talk to them. Even if you're not super close to them. But now that it's over, I do kinda miss that.

I don't know. I guess I'm posting this because taken the wrong way, introversion is seen as a sign of rudeness. Especially by my mom and older sister. Why am I even posting this? Well yesterday, we had a 4th of July get together and my older sister's house. My younger sister, nieces and one of my nieces friends went swimming. Our family friend's came (the parents of my niece's friend). Well, they're in their mid 30s now, and we've known the lady, N, way far back when I was 3 or 4 years old because her family was involved with the church my uncle pastored. But her family broke off from that church and moved to Canada. But she moved back and married her middle school sweetheart. So she grew closer to my sister again. Anyway, her husband, J, is pretty cool. I don't know what became of me though. I've had a sour couple of days arguing with Cecilio and having negative thoughts. J was trying to make small talk with me, asking me "How is your summer?" and "How is the wedding planning?" And I gave vague answers. I just said, "I'm not doing much..." "The wedding is not happening for a while.." I didn't think anything of it, but when I left, my mom and sister eventually reprimanded me a couple of hours later. I felt so horrible. My mom reminded me that she wasn't upset, but I did come across as rude and standoffish. Why didn't I answer that I was just home resting, helping my mom with chores and younger sister (who has autism)? Why couldn't I have said I was in the process of searching for a job? He wasn't going to judge me for not having one yet. I guess in the back of my head, I am still pretty ashamed about that. And why couldn't I give a little more detail about the wedding?

My mom said she wasn't upset. But I could tell by the tone of her voice she was disappointed. Then I felt like a freak that couldn't talk to anyone. She said she expected more from me because she knew I usually don't answer like that. But when she said stuff like, "Why couldn't you make small talk with J, you need to learn to know how to talk with adults, even kids could've given a straight answer" it took me straight back to feeling like a loser who can't even do what looks easy for most people. And I had to remind her that I eventually DID make small talk, such as bringing up the cloth diapers N and J use for their kid (because N is a huge advocate for cloth diapers).

I felt like she forgot about all the other times where I would talk to them or have my friends come over to our house, and I talk to them all the time. So I got defensive. She didn't like that, and I responded,"I thought you don't like it when I just take it. I thought you want me to reason out. I feel like you look down upon me." Which I do sometimes. But she told me she could never look down upon her own children, and what she said was meant to help me next time with communication.

I guess I project on to people the idea that they judge me and look down upon me, which is why I sometimes struggle whenever they try to make small talk with me. Are they thinking my voice is stupid? Am I too quiet? I project that idea on to my mom too. She always says that if I can't take criticism from her, how will I be able to do well in a job? I tell her that whenever my teachers or bosses gave me constructive criticism, I took it well because while they knew me in the classroom or work setting, they didn't know me on a personal level. There's no emotional connection. So of course, whatever my loved ones tell me I'm going to take it to heart.

But what they said did make me think though. When someone goes out their way to talk to me, I shouldn't brush it off. And I usually don't. I've just been pretty emotional lately, despite my time of the month ending a few days before! I am used to feeling like I'm being judged or ignored. I couldn't let go of how my mom said it though. I love her, but I know her words and tone of voice are very piercing to the point where I do get depressed. And I have a hard time letting it go. I guess that's my struggle too: when someone wrongs me, even a loved one, and they don't mean to...I let it stick with me for a while. Even when the matter is resolved. I want to be able to forgive freely. Love keeps no record of wrongs. Cecilio reminds me that, and I'm so thankful he says that because I always wanted us to connect spiritually in our relationship. But I do wear my heart on my sleeve.

I guess this all stems from how I view myself. I struggle with confidence. And I feel that it does show to others. I view myself pretty lowly and I assume others do too. And that's a horrible feeling. I hate how yeah, I am pretty shy. And I have been a bit more outgoing and confident over the years, but it's always an internal struggle. And despite my mom's criticisms, she never fails to remind me that she does love me and whatever thoughts I have that she doesn't that it's not true at all, and that those thoughts aren't from God. And that I have to pray about it. I have to see myself the way God sees me, miraculous and wonderful. And maybe if and when I do, I will start seeing the beauty in others and not be so judgmental myself. I know deep in my heart she does this because she loves me and wants the best for me.

I am trying though...but trying isn't enough. That incident from yesterday was a mistake, and there's no use of dwelling on it like I did all day. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with being introverted. I love people, it's just that I do better in smaller groups and I recharge my energy alone. And even though I was overwhelmed with the thought of a large wedding, I'm more open to it now and I am excited to celebrate it with family and friends.

Okay, I noticed that a lot of bloggers and vloggers (like Zoella, Kathleen Lights and Dulce Candy) do struggle with anxiety and depression. And even though it seems like their lives are glamorous, it takes a lot of guts to spill their internal struggles to the public. Blogging appeals to a lot of introverts because they can really say what they truly feel through the written word whereas it's a struggle to speak about it. Does anyone have that struggle? How can you overcome it? When your loved ones give you constructive criticism, how do you react? I am trying to tell myself not to take it so personally, and that that advice is good for me even if it hurts at the time. I will eventually thrive from it in the end.

Fitness Review: Barre3

I've been working out on a regular basis to gear up for my wedding in 20 months. Yes, I still have a lot of time, but I am still on prednisone. I am thankfully only on 9 mg right now, but I would like to lose the extra 35 pounds I gained from it when I started retaking it in October 2013 (on 80 mg!), so I can start dress shopping around the 7-9 months left mark. Here's to hoping my kidney will stop acting up.

Even though I get frustrated about prednisone and my extra flab, I know deep down that by keeping a regular exercise routine I am doing great things for my body. I am gaining strength, endurance and flexibility. I am fighting more diseases coming my way. It's important for us lupus patients to stay active to avoid joint pain, fatigue, and depression. Exercise has done such amazing things for my mind. I am mentally kicking and screaming at first about not wanting to do it, but after I do I feel like I am ready to take on the world.

I've always been into yoga/pilates/barre workouts, the ones that promise you "long lean muscles", "dancer's body", "lengthen and strengthen". I know that those claims can be farfetched, and that it's mostly marketing. I know, I've heard that lifting your butt 100 times and nothing more than 5 pounds is ineffective for toning and strengthening. But I'm here to tell you that almost exactly 2 years ago, I was not on prednisone. I was around 120 pounds. I did Ballet Beautiful DVDs to lose the extra prednisone weight from 2012. I've never felt so sleek, and I should trust that the trainer, Mary Helen Bowers trained Natalie Portman for Black Swan and Victoria's Secret models! Okay, I totally have totally different genes from them, but I felt like the leanest I could be.

Me in Rome, July 2013. I was doing Ballet Beautiful, yoga and some kettlebells. Can I please go back to that size?

Anyway, I have been on a barre kick, using Phyisque 57 and Bar Method DVDs. These methods come from Lotte Berk, a dancer developed an exercise system incorporating ballet, yoga and Pilates. There's a lot of small pulses with 3-5 pound weights (although Physique 57 allows you to progress to heavier weights) that make your muscles burn.

Right now I am using Barre3's online streaming workouts which are only $15 a month. This is perfect because there are no barre studios in Sacramento except the Dailey Method and U-Barre. Plus, live classes are extremely expensive, almost up to $200 a month! But...if you've been interested in fitness, you know the stereotype of barre clientele: rich, teeny tiny white women decked out in Lululemon head to toe. And I guess it's true, especially in the Physique 57 and Bar Method DVDs where they always talk about "looking good in skinny jeans/bikini/running into your ex/etc." What makes barre3 interesting is that even though their clients want to lose weight and tone up as their goal, they hardly talk about that in their videos. Instead, they emphasize their mission statement: "Our workouts are designed to transform the body to one of equal balance, strength and flexibility" (which represents the "3" in barre3). In fact, I have seen some of the instructors that seem larger than a size 2, which totally makes me feel like I can aspire to be as fit as them too.

The main thing that actually sets barre3 apart from other barre workouts is that it is a lot more yoga focused. It's not uncommon to find yourself down cat/cows, tree poses, downward dogs, etc. Also, while you still do small pulses, there are more exercises that incorporate larger range of motion than in Bar Method. Barre3 also emphasizes neutral spine, whereas other barre workouts emphasize tucking your spine.

Barre3 was created by Sadie Lincoln (who by the way, almost looks exactly like my former pastor's wife. They are both short with blonde hair and similar facial features) in Portland Oregon. If you're a mom, you will love Barre3 because the studios provide childcare. Sadie created the system with moms in mind, knowing that they barely have time to take care of themselves, so the childcare is available for those who are unable to hire a nanny. In addition, there are a vast number of pre-natal and post-natal videos.

As for my results? I can't say I have seen a dramatic change, especially because I'm still on prednisone. But I can slightly feel my waist getting tighter and my upper body looking more toned. It's the little things that add up. I always get sore everyday, despite other barre aficionados saying it's easier than Bar Method, Pure Barre, Physique, etc. Also, Madonna has hired Sadie as a trainer before. Everyone knows that Madonna is the exercise queen in Hollywood, so if it's good enough for her then it's good enough for me!

I definitely still want to keep trying this system, as long as I can...although, I do have exercise ADD and I always want variety to keep me from getting bored. I will also incorporate heavier kettle bells so I can be functionally stronger and help other pick up heavy items. I also just need the weight bearing moves especially because prednisone weakens your bones, making you at risk for osteoporosis. I also love the way yoga makes me feel too, especially the power and vinyasa styles.

Whether you're new to exercising or have been for a long time, or want to try something new, then barre3 is perfect! They accommodate to everyones needs. Each video has modifications for beginner and advanced. You can try the online streaming or the DVDs. Also, there are studios around the US, Canada and the Philippines (I'm totally giddy over this. When us Filipinos hear anything related to our country, we go super-ballistic in an excited way. Our country is a super nationalistic one. Why else do we go crazy about Manny Pacquiao, other than the fact that he's an world class boxer?)

The Barre3 website is here. (NOTE: I am not compensated for this post. This is all purely my opinion and experience).

Maybelline Color Sensational Creamy Matte Lipsticks (Clay Crush and Nude Nuance)

When I first learned that Maybelline released 10 new shades for their Color Sensational Creamy Matte Lipsticks line, I was thrilled. I found out through Nouveau Cheap (where I find out all of the up and coming beauty products and sales. I also follow trendmood1 on Instagram). The swatches of the new and old shades are here. The shades that piqued my interest the most were the nude shades, Clay Crush and Nude Nuance. I got lucky with Clay Crush the first time I was searching for it, because it was the last one in stock at Rite-Aid. Nude Nuance, not so much. They had 1 of it left at Walmart last week, but the lipstick was already used and smashed (gross!) They ran out at Target, and didn't have it in stock at Walgreens. Then I was looking for it at Walmart this morning and I got lucky again! Woo-hoo!

Let me tell you, these shades are the answer to the tan skinned girls' prayers in search of a nude lipstick.

With my skin tone, I have a hard time finding a nude lipstick I wow over and flatters my skin tone. They either are too light and make me look washed out or they hardly show up on my dark-ish lips.

Clay Crush (#656) is a warm-toned peach, great for an everyday color. Even though it is fairly on the light side, it's not so much that it makes me look ghostly. And Nude Nuance (#657) is not to be confused with Nude Nuances (#865), a baby pink shade in their limited edition Color Sensational Porcelains line (which was only available in 2012).

I am really happy with the Nude Nuance shade because it's actually medium reddish-brown, but not too dark. If you're medium/dark-skinned, this is perfect! I am always on the search for a nude lipstick to not only flatter my skin tone but to share with my readers what I have found. Nude Nuance is definitely a fall color (but I don't care, I'm wearing it all season long) and has that 90s vibe. In fact, I am a bit shocked to see that it's slightly darker than Touch of Spice!

Have you bought any of the new shades from Maybelline's Color Sensational Creamy Matte line? Which one appeals to you the most? Please feel free to comment, and let me know what your favorite overall nude lipstick is!

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments (kind of a letdown)

To put it bluntly: it feels like hell here in Sacramento. Temperatures rose to 109 degrees! The heat makes my lips just as uncomfortable as the blistering cold days (as you can tell, I hate extreme temperatures. I love milder, 70–80 degree weather). So even though I'm not ready to get rid of my bright lipsticks, I recently have days where I just want to go au naturale with a pop of color on my lips, just to brighten up my face and provide moisturizing. Enter the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments.

(Left to Right: Tulip, Coral, Cherry and Rose)

The Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments have an SPF of 15 which protect your lips from the heat (also during the winter when they are vulnerable to dryness. And just because there is no sun in the winter doesn't mean the UV rays aren't there!). They are available at Sephora for $22.50 a yeah, this pretty much hurt my wallet. I bought the shade Cherry in May (my first one!) and then I ordered Tulip and Coral to get the mini Rose shade and the Fresh Advanced lip treatment balm and serum as a part of being a VIB member. These babies come in 12 shades. While I love the intensity of color, I can't help but me disappointed about other aspects. Okay, well Cherry and Coral are my favorites. Coral is actually more orange reddish, and just a tad less intense than Cherry, but still almost just as red. Tulip is a flirty pink, but if I wanted more pink intensity I would have to give my lips 3 swipes (and this is supposed to be described as a sheer hot pink tint). As for Rose? Biggest disappointment ever, it's so sheer and hardly shows up. I guess you can call it a MLBB (My Lips but Better).

(Top to Bottom: Tulip, Coral, Cherry, Rose. All are just one swipe)

What I love about these are how soft they are on my lips. I've tried other lip balms and they felt waxy and dry. But these? They are so slippery and feel amazing. They contain black currant oil (which softens the lips), grapeseed and Vitamins A, C, and E to protect from wrinkles and UV Rays. It also smells sweet.

Why am I mad when I had Cherry on my lips, especially because I loved it so much? Well...I broke it. That's how soft these are. you have to be extra careful, especially in this heat. I had my air conditioning on and it still melted. And when I was swiping Coral, I felt that it was starting to melt. Well, it has been the hottest time of the year so far. No wonder all of the tester tubes for these were empty in Sephora! It's not because they were used a lot (Other lipsticks and glosses are heavily used, yet still on the tube). Oh no. It's because these are so fragile.

I will still wear it as much as I can!

I am torn. Coral and Cherry are beautiful, and I like Tulip because it is a cute, flirty pink, and Rose was a big letdown because it was too sheer. But the fact that this is prone to break kinda dropped MAJOR points for me, coupled with the cost. Will I still keep using these? Yup (except for Rose). Will I keep buying? Depends. If I run out of Coral then yes! It's definitely an everyday lip color for me, especially in the summer. I also would have wanted the shades Berry or Passion as well. But am I going to drive 30 minutes to the mall or spend $50 online (for free shipping) over these? I guess the key is to not mess around with them so much (like I did for this post), and don't twist it up all the way. So yes it's soft which feels amazing on your lips, but are prone to breaking. And don't get me started on the $22.50 (Okay, well I paid $32 for NARS lipstick, but those literally are one of the best and most high quality lipsticks I have owned). So I guess it's not worth it for the price.

Do you guys have any of these? What shades? Did you notice how soft and fragile they were? Let me know in the comments!