August Favorites!

Instead of slapping up a bunch of pictures from the internet to showcase some of my monthly favorites, I will be taking my own pictures, so make it more interesting and showcase a bit of character. I've been careful about not buying as much makeup, and I think it's been helping (except for paying a hefty dental cleaning bill, and totally not looking forward to my root canal on Wednesday):

1. Too Faced Born This Way Foundation (Honey): I was a bit hesitant to try this because I already have the MUFE HD Foundation, and I had bad luck with Too Faced Amazing Face Powder broke me out, and made me look cakey...but comparing liquid and powder foundations are like apples and oranges! (Though I really liked Benefit's Hello Flawless! powder foundation). Anyway, the Born This Way Foundation is amazing!!  It has coconut water, and it's a medium–full coverage (one pump is really all I need), and perfect for dry skin types like mine. I'm really happy I bought this.

2. Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara: Like I always say, I'm not a huge mascara wearer. I always thought of it as an afterthought. But this changed my game. It's thickening, lengthening, AND curling. It's everything I could ever want. No wonder Gigi Gorgeous calls this her other lover. I've felt meh about some drugstore and even higher end foundations. This is my absolute new holy grail mascara, and I have it in my purse.

3. Becca x Jaclyn Hill highlighter (Champagne Pop): I wrote the review about it here, and I love this highlighter. I believe it suites all skin tones, and the rose gold shimmer makes me look like I baked in the sun (which I kinda did in Hawaii, lol)

4. Mongogo Lip Conditioner (Vanilla Coconut Cream): I have a lot of lip balms, but I find myself reaching for this pretty often, probably because it's so smooth and not waxy like other balms and because of the sweet smell. It's legit organic–USDA certified with no parabens, petroleum, or anything artificial.

5. Urban Decay Matte Revolution Lipstick (Temper): Before we went to Hawaii, my mom and I stopped at Ulta since she had a big haul for herself, and I was going to pay for this lipstick myself after watching it...but she offered to pay for it! Thanks Mom! I've been wearing this a lot in Hawaii, and I think it really goes well with my new beach tan. I don't care if summer's almost over, I can still see myself wearing this orange-red shade all year.

It's Kind of a Funny Story.

One thing I want to do is read more books. Fiction or non-fiction. I see the benefits of reading, such as learning more, gaining critical thinking skills, and expanding your world as you relate to the characters. The problem with me is that I have a pretty short attention span, and sometimes it takes me a long time to finish a book, or I have to start over.

Last year, Cecilio bought me the young adult novel It's Kind of a Funny Story because I talked about how much I wanted to read it after looking at the cover and reading the plot. I read it on the flight last year to Hawaii and back, I read some more of it at home, and then finished the rest of it during the flight to and from Hawaii this year.

It's Kind of a Funny Story addresses mental health issues such as suicide, depression, drug use and schizophrenia. Those are pretty serious themes, but the author Ned Vizzini writes in such a way that makes the book hilarious, and puts the reader in the characters' shoes.

It's Kind of a Funny Story is narrated by main character, 15 year old Craig Gilner. He resides in NYC, and his ultimate goal is to get accepted in the elite Executive Pre-Professional High School as a jump start to getting accepted into a high-ranking college, and ultimately live a "successful" life. However, once he gets accepted to the high school, his mental health turns for the worse. Due to the high pressure (along with an unrequited love for his best friend's girlfriend), Craig has constant thoughts about suicide, so he turns himself in a mental hospital and stays for five days. He befriends various people there and learns about their stories, how they ended up at that particular mental hospital. Despite his eagerness to leave as soon as possible, he finds that he is enjoying his stay there. While he is well aware of his own issues, he realizes that he could have it way worse like his fellow hospital mates. He rediscovers his love for drawing during an art activity, and people are fascinated with his drawings of brain maps—head silhouettes with highways, rivers, squares (as buildings), and circles as roundabouts—which is why the cover art of this book is just a head silhouette with random squares. Craig, in his own thoughts, states, "I look at the map. It's not a brain, clearly; it's a map; can't she see the rivers and highways and interchanges? But I see how it could look like a brain, like if all roads were twisted neutrons, pulling your emotions from one place to another, bringing the city to life. A working brain is probably a lot like a map, where anybody can get from one place to another on the freeways."

I can see through Craig's art is that humans are complicated beings. We have all these different aspects to our being, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Though I am 10 years removed from high school, I along with many other adults can definitely relate to Craig in the sense that we are hungry for perfection and success. Living in America feels like a rat race, where you have to kill yourself–figuratively (and literally if you're not careful)—to make it to the top of the chain. We often feel like if we settle for anything less than what we deem as successful, we might as well just cease to exist in society like Craig's hospital neighbors.

Ned Vizzini, the author, wrote this novel after spending five days in a psychiatric ward at the Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn (November 29, 2004—December 3, 2004). He wrote It's Kind of a Funny Story from December 10, 2004—January 6, 2005, and the book became published in 2006. There is also a film version that came out in 2010 (which I haven't watched). Unfortunately, Vizzini committed suicide on December 19, 2013...6 months before I read the book and found out. Despite his awareness and desire to manage or cure his depression (at least through Craig's character), he had his own demons to conquer that we will never know about.

Overall, I think anyone from the ages of 13 and up will enjoy It's Kind of a Funny Story, but those who suffer from physical and/or mental health issues will benefit from it the most because it shows that no matter what race, gender, age or socioeconomic background, no one is spared from the frailties of their own minds. We all have a little bit of Craig in us—anxious, introspective, and trying to go through life figuring out our purpose.

My trip to Maui, Hawaii!

The Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas

So all of this week (Sunday–Friday) I went with my mom and younger sister to Maui! This is my 2nd time in Maui, but my 4th trip in Hawaii overall (I've also been to Oahu and Big Island). It was amazing and relaxing, just what we needed...especially for my mom, who needed a huge getaway from her work. We stayed in The Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas, which we originally booked for a studio room (oceanfront) but we got upgraded to a junior suite! Our room was on ground level, steps away from Ka'napali Beach! How awesome was that?!

Despite the weather forecasts predicting floods, it was sunny throughout most of our trip! There were instances of rain during the night, but I am so thankful for the sun because we were able to swim at the beach...actually, it was pretty humid. But the water was soooo warm. We actually had an epic fail where we tried to snorkel but the waves were too strong for us to be able to, my mom and sister couldn't put their headgear in and I broke the flipper because my foot got stuck in it too deep! We still got to swim and the water was perfect and therapeutic.

Ka'anapali Beach, where we stayed right next to and swam.

We also got to to explore the main town of Maui called Lahaina. It has restaurants, little shops, and art galleries. We had lunch there and shopped around for gift items. I wish we could've explored it more but it was way too humid and I felt dizzy, plus on that day Miss Aunt Flow decided to visit me that day. At that point I was ready to go back to our room.

Trees and hundreds of birds in Lahaina

Lunch with my sister

Tiki items being sold in Lahaina

Can't go to Hawaii without beating the heat with saved ice! Here's mine, with cherry, coconut and blue vanilla flavorings.

I bought this little cutie...but I realized in the plane that I FORGOT TO PACK HIM in my bags when we were leaving!! I was soooo sad, and I still am :'( I'm thinking of ordering another one online but it's just not the same...I need to be more careful with my things...

My mom and I also had a 100 minute ocean side massage under a cabana. It was SO amazing. We love getting massages, but yes you can't beat one that's right next to the beach! It's also so good for us lupus patients. 

I would say the highlight of our trip was the helicopter tour on Thursday, where the guide took us overlooking West Maui and Molokai. Actually, the original package stated that we were supposed to see Haleakala Volcano but because of weather disturbances the tour guides told us we would see Molokai instead. It's funny we went with a newly-married couple on their honeymoon (they looked to be my age or younger) and the guy was pretty pissed off about that fact, going on about how they had to take a cab for $200 (to and from the heliport...our overall trip renting a car was only $173!) and if he had known that the itinerary changed at the last minute, he would've canceled the tour...we got a DVD recorded of our tour and we watched it last night and started laughing at the guy because he looked so upset throughout the tour, whereas my mom, Sarah and I were laughing and smiling. Seriously, it was so awesome. We got to see waterfalls and the Molokai cliffsides and we saw manta rays and whales on the was amazing. I took a lot of pictures on my DSLR but I didn't have a lot of nice ones due to the glass glare. So here's a good one I have:

Can you tell my family loves Hawaii? Like I said above, this is my 4th time there and it's my mom's 6th time (her first time was with my dad, and she went on a business trip one time). She talks about wanting to come back for the winter to watch the whales or buying a vacation home there. Me? I love it. I really wish Cecilio was there to experience it with me. I promised him we would go there sometime, but I'm not too keen on going for our honeymoon because of how many times I've been. I really would love to go to Mexico for our honeymoon! And he agrees, especially because it is more affordable than Hawaii. We plan to first go to Honolulu, Oahu since that's the big city there and there's many activities such as the beach, shopping, hiking up Diamond Head, and touring Pearl Harbor...

I got a few shades tanner, and now my lipsticks look different on me. Not that it's a bad thing! I love that bronze goddess look!

Also, I got some great news! During our trip I got an email from Make-a-Wish Foundation because I had an interview there last week for the Marketing/Communications internship...and I got accepted for it! I start Monday and I'm so excited. It's unpaid, but I am excited about the experience. Also, I applied for a graphic design job at a marketing agency for salons...I actually did horrible on the phone interview, but they still emailed me regarding the 2nd phase of the interview (a design assignment). Since I told them I was on vacation, they extended my deadline to turn in the assignment on Tuesday! How amazing is that?! Pray/think for me that I may get that job or whichever job comes my way...things are going great in that aspect. I didn't think I would get those positions or any sort of progress because it took them longer to email me, and the fact that I was horrible in the phone interview for the graphic design job...but God is good and works in ways I can't comprehend. I am excited. And I am excited for wherever the next adventure will be.

My travel makeup.

I want to talk about my travel makeup because...I am going to Hawaii tomorrow! I am really, really excited. We are staying in Maui. We (my mom, sisters and I) actually went there last year and stayed at The Fairmont Kea Lani, and this year we are going to be in The Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas. I always love swimming in the beach there. Can you say yes to pina coladas with a pineapple? This will be my 4th time in Hawaii...I'll be sure to take tons of pictures!

Anyway, my makeup collection looks...a bit excessive for a beach vacation, but I am one of those people who is like,"What if I need it?" And I won't have the heavy caked up face because I wouldn't want to have clogged pores. Plus, there will be some times where we eat out at nice restaurants for dinner. So, here what I will be bringing and I will be adjusting here and there for future trips:

For the face, I just bought the Neutrogena Healthy Skin Glow Sheers Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer (Medium–Tan) at Target. I felt like the MISSHA BB cream was clogging my thanks. I needed something light on my face with a bit of coverage. The SPF 30 gives me peace of mind when using it out and about. I am also digging cream products such as Benefit Watt's Up Highlighter, NYX Cream Blush (Red Cheeks) and ColourPop Super Shock Cheek (Quarters) to give me a more dewy, natural look. Quarters is a great contouring shade, especially with Benefit Dallas bronzer over it to give my cheeks little bit of sculpting. I also can't forget my Too Faced Love Flush blush (How Deep is Your Love?) since it is long lasting, and the hot pink shade is oh so perfect for summer.

I've been loving and using the Too Faced Semi Sweet Chocolate Bar more than the original, and the warm, golden shades are perfect for that bronzed beach bunny look. I can't wear it without a primer though, specifically Urban Decay Primer Potion. I'm absolutely loving Too Faced Better than Sex mascara, which is the absolute best mascara I've ever tried! I don't think I'll get anything else. I will also get the winged liner with Revlon Colorstay Liquid Liner (not shown here, oops), or if I'm feeling lazy I will put on the Doucce Ultra Precision Liner on my lower lashes. And for brows, instead of bringing my brow powder and a brush, I prefer to make it easier to try the Ofra Universal Brow Pencil. I also have the ugly case of under eye circles, so the Tarte CC Under Eye Concealer (Medium–Tan) has been a godsend.

For lips, I am all about going big and bright or going home. I'm bringing 3 matte lipsticks: Urban Decay Matte Revolution (Temper), Sephora Cream Lip Stain (Always Red), Too Faced Melted (Jelly Donut). All 3 are fun bright summer colors. Of course, I'm also bring my NYX lip liners (Hot Red and Pinky) so my lipsticks don't bleed or feather. Last but not least, exfoliation and balm are extremely important, which is why I am bringing ELF Lip Exfoliator and Jersey Shore Sun Lip Conditioner, with the yummy vanilla coconut scent! So I can have soft, lovely baby lips throughout the trip!

I'll post when I get back next Friday! Super excited! Hope everyone stays safe!

My favorite foods for beautiful skin.

Great skin takes great work. And I'm not just talking about the usual cleanse-tone-moisturize route. To feel radiant and glowing from inside out, it's all about in nutrition. Just like eating for the body you want, you gotta eat for the skin you want too! Whether you're trying to protect yourself from the sun, prevent wrinkles and anti aging, and just plain glow. Here are a few of my favorite ones below: (all illustrations done by me)

1. Avocado
Ahh. the staple favorite of the fashion bloggers and the Instafamous. Why wouldn't be though, with it's taste, creamy texture and beauty properties? It's filled with monounsaturated fats (which is also great for a flatter belly), which hydrates the skin. It also has antioxidant carotenoids that protect your skin from wrinkles and fine lines. I love putting half an avocado on my toast and topping it with cheese and sriracha. And you can't forget my love for guacamole...

2. Dark chocolate
Who knew that something so rich and semi-sweet can be beneficial for you too? Studies came out 10+ years ago that dark chocolate protects your heart, but did you know that the flavonoids also absorb UV light and blood flow to the skin? Sounds pretty sweet to me. No wonder Too Faced chocolate bar palettes and cocoa powder products are filled with anti-aging antioxidants!

3. Sweet Potato
Like the other orange counterpart, carrots, sweet potatoes have beta carotene (which is also good for your eyes!) which reduces oxygen damage from other UV light and helps with various skin disorders. My favorite way of eating them is baked with a dollop of honey and cinnamon, Yum!!!

3. Olive oil
There's a tone of olive-oil based skin products for a reason. I used to even wipe it off to remove my makeup! And it seemed like it lengthened my lashes...anyway, olive oil contains Vitamin E to restore the skin smoothness to protect skin against UV rays. It also contains hydroxytyrosol to prevent free damage to the skin. I love using them as salad dressing and in some of my favorite dishes.

If you want really delicious and healthy recipe ideas, please check out ALOHA's recipes here! They have a wide range of great eats such as smoothie bowls, popcorn, healthy pizzas, etc.

Don't forget to drink water! What are some of your favorite foods to eat for beautiful skin?

How I Re-organized my makeup collection.

Yeah... I don't like other people going into my bathroom being horrified about my makeup collection. I know I have a lot, and this month I am doing a Project Low/No Buy type thing (you can read my post here). This month, I only bought 2 Maybelline lipsticks, other than the ipsy bag and the Boots Botanics All Bright Micellar Cleanser (because I ran out of my Murad cleansing oil and didn't want to send $32).

Now, I'm a really messy person naturally. Cleaning to me is dreadful. I get it from my dad. My mom always tells me to not be like him in that aspect, and that women are supposed to be clean. Well, she doesn't know that I've seen other women my age who are way way worse. Still, that shouldn't be my benchmark of how organized I want to be. Cleaning my makeup space has been looming in the back of my head, so I finally JUST DID IT.

I flipped my purse upside down to find all of the contents. While I do have cosmetic bags, you can also see that a lot of my lipsticks were just hanging inside loosely. So I looked for each lipstick and lip gloss and find out if I love it enough to wear it on a regular basis. The ones I did, I put it in that "Lipstick addict" bag above. The ones I did, I put in my lipstick holder...but if I really regretted buying it (or anything else), I threw it in the trash. I do honestly feel guilty about wasting it, but I didn't want to hold on to it if I hardly touched it. Plus, I don't want to give used makeup to family or friends because of my germs. I also looked for a local shelter to donate makeup but there is none.

I also transferred make makeup and my drawers from my bathroom to my room so I could place it on my clothing drawer. This makes it so much easier so that I don't have to go back and fourth getting ready, since I now put on my makeup sitting down on the floor in my room where I have a full body mirror. It's hard for me to get ready in the bathroom, because my bathroom is really narrow and I don't have space for a seat.

So that means...I had to get some other stuff off my drawer and dump it on my bed temporarily, such as my jewelry box, books, stuffed animals, etc.

I got this organizer from BH Cosmetics here (It's retailed at $50, but I think I got it on sale for $37 in April). The area where the pencils are in the back are divided into two, so I separated the pencil eyeliners and the lip pencils. Right next to them are the Too Faced Melted lipsticks. You can also see that I have the Benefit Watts Up Highlighter, Benefit Majorette blush (which I have been using a lot in the summer and made a big dent), and the ELF liquid blush. On the two small sections below, I have some lip balm, concealers, and black gel liner. Then the bottom two sections are filled with blush.

I believe I got the two containers above at Target. My eyeshadow palettes are in one fairly large plastic container, and the one in front is divided into three: sprays (left), individual eyeshadows (center), and foundations (right).

I bought this 60-compartment lipstick holder from Amazon here for only $18.87. These are the lipsticks I love, but I don't wear often. I put the longest ones (such as Colour Pop lippie stix and their Ultra Mattes) in the back so that they aren't blocking the smaller lipsticks. In the middle, I have a LOT of NYX products...and then there's the MAC up front.

I found a container somewhere in my house (I forgot from where) where I put loose items that I use regularly, such as: Urban Decay Primer Potion, Benefit Dallas, Bodyography brow trio (and the brush), Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara (my absolute most favorite mascara, hands down), Too Faced Hangover Primer, Too Faced Love Flush (Ok, can you tell I'm a TF fanatic?!), Becca x Champagne Pop Highlighter.

An of course, my bedside table needed some TLC. I used a Birchbox container for my lotions, and another one for lip balms and treatments.

Wow! Well lets just say that re-organizing taught me a lot. Sure it's a mundane, tedious thing to do, but it does force you to really think about how much you are spending, whether it's on makeup, video games, cigarettes, etc. especially with how a lot of them are impulse buys, or "filler" buys to get the free shipping online. 

I'm a bit ashamed and remorseful, because I could be using the money to save up for the wedding, dental/medical bills, new shoes (I don't have a lot of shoes but I could invest in a few good quality ones), and travel. I still have a lot of makeup, maybe more than the average person (but not as much as an average blogger/vlogger/MUA). 

Doing this forces me to rethink and redo my spending habits: such as, telling myself, do I really need this? Have I been lusting for this for months or is it just because it's there? It's like eating junk food. If you don't have it in your house, you can't eat it whereas when it's there, you don't stop at one. All of a sudden the bag of Hot Cheetos is almost empty. That's how it is when you walk into Sephora, Ulta, the cosmetic sections at the drugstore, etc.

But I feel freer now. I feel relieved of completing a task I have been dreading, and free of the desire of wanting "more". I mean, of course makeup is still my passion and it's not like I'm gonna stop buying completely...but is it necessary for me to drop a couple of hundred every month? No. I'm not perfect. I am admitting my faults and weaknesses. Judge me or not, I am really working on it.

Ok how about you? How often do you organize your makeup collection? Do you get rid of the things you no longer use, after hoarding them for a while without using them? How do you feel afterward?

August 2015 Ipsy Glambag: Prep School

I started getting subscriptions to Ipsy in June...but I felt very "meh" about the items I was getting. Bad mistake. Whether I'm blown over something or not, it's still worth reviewing. I'm not just gonna rave about my favorite products. That said...this month's "theme" is Prep School. The bag is a houndstooth pattern, which I love because it's reminiscent of the 60s (a decade for fashion that I love, mod that is).

This month's goodies

I'll go through each product one by one:

1. Hikari Cosmetics Lipgloss (Merlot): This is a beautiful medium–deep plum that reminds me of NYX Intense Butter Gloss in Spice Cake. It's bright enough for summer and dramatic enough for fall.  It's very opaque, and the square transparent tube gives the packaging a luxurious feel. It retails for $13 on the Hikari Cosmetics website.

2. Doucce Ultra Precision Eyeliner (Black): A classic black eyeliner has always been one of my makeup staples since I was a teen. If I had nothing else, I always loved playing up my eyes by drawing it on my lower lash along with eyeshadow and mascara. Lately however, I noticed that pencil liner has been fading within hours...I guess I can attribute that to oily eyes. Even the Urban Decay 24/7 pencil liner has started to do that, whereas it stayed when I first tried it. The Doucce eyeliner is water proof, and I wore it for a few hours yesterday and it faded a teeny bit, but it was still there by the end of the night.

3. City Color Cosmetics HD Powder: I've always wanted to try City Color Cosmetics' products, but the "Free shipping over $50" turned me away. So this is my first product from them! Honestly, I don't use HD powder. I have the one from NYX, but I felt like I never needed it, and plus it's messy. But I have watched a few Youtube videos about how to use it, and I will practice using it and see if it'll give my face a smoother look.

4. Briogeo Blossom & Bloom Ginseng + Biotin Volumizer: It's high time I use some sort of hair product besides the usual shampoo and conditioner. Seriously, I'm really low maintenance when it comes to my hair. That said, my lupus also causes hair loss. I had a thick mane growing up, now I struggle to give it more oomph. Definitely will use after the shower. It contains vitamin E, Ginseng, and lemon extract to break down oils (thin hair also means oily). The maltodextrin is to give the volume and separate the strands.

5. LATHER Ultra Mild Face Wash: A cleanser for those with sensitive skin, like mine. It smells very clean, and I think I'll use is as my morning cleanser.

Overall thoughts: This isn't a bad bunch, and I am really loving the lip gloss. I can't wait to try everything else too, especially the Briogeo volumizer for my hair. The products I have been getting are better than the ones I had last year, and I will make use of it as much as possible. 

Do you have any subscription boxes? What is your favorite? I had Boxycharm for a while, and while I loved was getting more expensive. But the glam bags are getting better and better!

Becca x Jaclyn Hill Highlighter (Champagne Pop)

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How could I have had this for over a month and not have written a review about it?! Anyway, the Becca x Jaclyn Hill Shimmering Skin Perfector in Champagne Pop (that's it's full name, but for all intents and purposes for this review, I'm just gonna call it Champagne Pop) came out online on July 2 and in Sephora stores on July 16. Well, of course I got it July 16, I headed over to the mall after my job interview! (Which I sadly ended up not getting...oh well better luck next time)

This is my first Becca product, and I have heard so much good things about their highlighters. They don't come cheap though. Champagne Pop, along with the other powder Becca highlighters (such as Opal and Moonstone) cost $38!! And I had to get Champagne Pop because it's limited edition, due to the collaboration with none other than the famous beauty Youtube Guru, Jaclyn Hill

I watched my first Jaclyn Hill video last year, it was a drugstore makeup tutorial. Towards the end of the video, she talked about how upset she was because commenters were accusing her of only featuring expensive brands in her videos. She got pretty emotional, reminding people that she was in their position once, how she got married at 19 (she's 9 months younger than I am!) and they were pretty strapped for money at the time, and she really wanted the Benefit Watts Up highlighter but couldn't afford it. Well girlfriend doesn't need it anymore, she's making huge bank from Youtube and collaborations with Becca and Morphe brushes and the eyeshadow palette! (Which I regret not getting...)

So yeah, I admit that I partially did buy it for the name, but I also wanted to see if the Becca highlighters were as good as the people or price tag claimed. Sephora describes this shade as soft white gold with pinky peach undertones. At first...I swatched it on my hand and found that it was pretty pigmented. 

Top: One swipe. Bottom: Three swipes.

But when I tried it on my face, I felt like I had to really put a lot of it on because it seemed like it didn't show as much. I really wanted to like it and I really wanted it to be worth the $38. I was wearing it on top of the MUFE HD foundation, and it seemed to make my tiny pores look larger. In addition, I was using my Coastal Scents fan brush to swipe but it didn't seem to pick up as much product. But when I switched to the Too Faced Born This Way Foundation (my absolute new favorite's perfect for my dry skin, gives me medium coverage in no way exaggerates pores) and used an angled blush was like night and day! Now I really saw the "pop". I looked like I had that beach babe glow, coupled with my olive skin. Champagne Pop is supposed to be universally flattering for all skin tones, and I agree. As a tan lady, I would think that really white pearl-ish highlighters would wash me out or make me look ashy. Not with Champagne Pop! It gives me the illusion of more sculpted cheekbones.

The best part abut Champagne Pop is that it's not too glittery! I have the Benefit Watts Up Highlighter  (yes, the one Jaclyn cried about) and while it's a beautiful shade and I love the cream texture on my dry skin, I look like a glitter bomb exploded on my face. Hard Candy Tiki is pretty pigmented for it being a Walmart Brand, but it does fall out quite a bit.

So is it worth the $38? I would say yes. I've never been a huge highlighter person until now...I'm a believer! Every other highlighter has been a disappointment until Champagne Pop. If you don't have it, you better get it soon because it's limited edition! And here's how it looks on me:

Jolted into Reality of Makeup Addiction + Project Low/No Buy

Okay, so impulsively buying makeup (or whatever vices you have) is not a new phenomenon, especially if you're a beauty blogger. I started getting into makeup a little bit 3 years ago. But before that, I only had eyeshadow, mascara, some blush and lipstick. I only had a few lipsticks I could count on my hand. I bought my first foundation, MAC Face and Body in December 2012. I didn't really buy much in 2013, maybe just a Benefit product here or there. 2014, I bought my first Naked palette (Naked 3), I started, subscribing to Birchbox and ipsy (I canceled them, but I got ipsy back). Now? I don't even want to count how many lipsticks and glosses I have.

Taken in January this year, before I bought a few more palettes. Aris is not impressed.

Now my collection is massive, and overwhelming. Well, maybe in the beauty world it's not that much. But I'm not Dulce Candy or Jaclyn Hill. Plus, they get paid to do their videos. I'm just an amateur blogger who just started up a year ago. My family doesn't know I have this blog, which is why I haven't been promoting it as much. They don't know that this blog is partially why I have been buying more makeup. I don't want them to know about this blog because I do post some personal stuff.

I guess my love and curiosity for makeup started off from insecurity. I've always worn it since 8th grade, but I just had the basics. I never even heard of the Naked palettes until 2 years ago! Brows? I had thick brows, I didn't need them! But I've always been insecure about my looks. It's better now. But I remember 2 years ago when I had to go back on prednisone because the protein leaked in my kidney. And every "spoonie" (someone with a chronic illness) knows that prednisone alleviates symptoms and makes you feel better, gain weight as a side effect. Around that time, I was really skinny. I was 116 pounds at 5'4", which sounds normal...but everyone was worried about me. I was worried for myself, I don't look or feel good being that thin. All of my pants were loose, not even the belts could help me. (I look and feel best around 125) I was having really high fevers too. I was starting my first semester in the graphic design program, and I was stressed out about the fact that I couldn't drive, and my dad's death was still fresh. All of that culminated into me being on 80 mg of prednisone after my 24th birthday (I was supposed to only start at 40 mg), which stopped the fevers, then came the tapering. I had the biggest and roundest face ever in my life. I was so embarrassed. And I've had that moonface before too.

My 24th birthday in October 2013

New Years Eve 2014 (I'm on the right)

So what does makeup have to do with all of it? Well, learning about contouring to sculpt your face has piqued my interest, especially with my moonface. But when you're at 50–80's kinda hopeless. But I loved how makeup made me look and feel, and learning to put on a full face gave me that boost of confidence. I hated how the clothes I loved no longer fit me. I was and still am still hesitant to buy clothes. Last year and this year were the least amount of times I bought clothes. 

That's why I started this blog. To learn more about makeup, to engage in the beauty/fashion community, and to also share my story about having lupus. Makeup was and is a way to make me feel beautiful despite what other people have said about me in the past, and despite the challenges and insecurities I feel about my looks and weight. I weigh 156 now, but thank God, my face has gotten smaller (I'm on 9 mg!) and I am getting more muscle tone from working out. I think my waist has shrunk by 1/8".

My insecurities lead me to my passion for makeup. But I realize it is getting out of hand with the money I am spending. Today, I got a package from NYX and Sephora. My mom took a day off today since she had an interview for her US Citizenship. And she called me out on it. I reminded her that she used to spend $200 on shoes when she was my age. But she was working full time as a flight attendant at the time.

I knew in the back of my head I needed to stop spending since I have a disgusting amount of makeup.  My mom can be a very tough love type of parent, but I needed that, even though I was extremely embarrassed. I used to be more modest when it came to my shopping and grooming choices...

So I guess I'm going to start doing Project Low/No Buy. I am just coming up with these rules for myself, so bear with me. I'll be doing the following:

1. No more lipsticks and lip glosses. That is my favorite product, and I have more than enough.
2. I'll wait for my birthday to get the Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette.
3. Use my blushes, highlights, contours, eyeshadows, etc. until I hit pan and empty at least one of it.
4. Review products for this blog I bought recently but haven't written about yet.
5. Come up with more creative blog topics besides reviews (ex: dupes, OOTD's, top 5–10 lists, seasonal looks, etc.)
6. Only get skincare products when I run out. Not experimenting since it will break me out anyway.

Does anyone want to do this with me? I've been wanting to do Project Low/No Buy for a while, but since I haven't officially started, it's easier to get sucked in and impulse buy. Has anyone done it? I definitely want and need the accountability. I know that I have a wedding to save up for and I have student loans looming over me. It's always good to save for a rainy day. I know how hard it is to not spend, especially when you're blogging. If anyone has any words of wisdom for me, I would love to hear some advice in the comments! I need help. A lot of it. We are all in this together.