September Beauty Favorites.

It's been a struggling doing "low buys", I have to admit. I am conscious about not buying as much me, throughout this blog I've been kinda going a bit crazy, but as wedding planning is kicking gear, I'm trying not to...but I bought some skincare items (exfoliator) that I needed, and it cost me $26? October is going to be a VERY hard month resisting temptation of buying because of my birthday, and Ulta gives you twice the amount of points you get on your birth month. Plus, since I have been an Ulta member for a year, they gave me an offer to purchase anything for 5x the amount of points until this Saturday. The temptation is great, but I know I can do it!

I posted a piece here about rediscovering my old beauty stash, and I neglected my Makeup Forever HD Foundation (310-Rosewood) for a long time! I guess when spring and summer came, I was more interested in corals and juicy pinks. But I tried this on again and I love the natural flush that it gave me, no clown look here! Plus, I hit pan a few months ago. The hole is getting bigger and I'm only hoping to empty it out!

Lately, I've been a bit lazy to wear foundation because of all the work involved—primer, using a beauty blender or brush, then setting spray. Which is why I've been going crazy about the Neutrogena Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer (medium–tan). While you can use a brush if you want, I prefer to blend with my fingers. It gives me great coverage and a radiant glow while keeping things simple and clean. Plus, it has SPF 30! Just because summer is dwindling doesn't mean you should ignore your skin! Read my review about it here.

I'm not crazy about MAC Matte lipsticks as they're so drying, but the shade D for Danger is SO beautiful. It can be worn all year round, but it's deep pinkish berry is made for fall. However, it's totally appropriate to wear for spring too. I've been on the hunt for a deep berry shade and this is it! I also had a review here, haha.

Now, I know I've complained about Maybelline Baby Lips being too drying, but I decided to give them another chance. Especially Cherry Me. I absolutely love whiffing the sweet cherry smell, it makes me want to eat it. And it's tinted, but not too much so. It's very moisturizing!

Finally, I want to talk about the Naobay Oxygenating Cream. It's a very light moisturizer and smells so fresh. I got it in my September Ipsy Glambag. This will be my day moisturizer and whereas the LUSH skin drink will be used for night.  I may run out soon, but who cares? I'm enjoying it as much as possible!

What makeup, skincare, etc. have you been reaching for this month?

Fall Lipstick Faves #2: The Browns

This is part 2 of my Fall Lipstick Faves.

It's easy to reach for the red and pink lipstick. It's safe, classic, and feminine. But did you know that you can make brown lipsticks feminine and work well in your favor too? They go so well with olive green jackets, mustard yellow cardigans, navy blue tops, with some scarves (just naming some outfits I have...), complemented with a simple cat eye and thick lashes!

I mean, I always thought brown lipstick was pretty out of my comfort zone. Even some nudes just don't work for me. But I do find myself leaning towards those with red or pink tones because it's more wearable. I do find myself experimenting more, and I am loving it. Of course, 90's trends are coming back, with browns being no exception...

Do not be fooled on my arm swatches, yes, some of them look light pink or reddish and these were taken under natural light, but they look completely different on my lips compared to my light arm!

I was mostly surprised by the ColourPop Ultra Matte liquid lipstick (Tulle). This is supposedly a dupe for Kat Von D's Lolita, but I would say it's darker! I was shocked with how brown it was—you can read my review about all the ColourPop Ultra Mattes I bought here. Bumble is what I thought Tulle would be. This is my brownest shade but it is beautiful and people of all skin tones can pull this off.

NYX Butter Lip Gloss (Devil's Food Cake) is supposed to be a deep plum shade but actually looks toasty brown on me. Huh. Interesting. I like how this is much more pigmented than the other NYX Butter Glosses.

Let's cut to the chase with the MAC lipsticks (Persistence, Del Rio, Retro). Persistence, I swear, is one of the only few MAC nudes I can pull off because it doesn't wash me out. It's described as a peachy cinnamon. You can read my review here. Del Rio is medium–dark brown, one that is also one that's out of my comfort zone. Though I've had Del Rio for almost a year, I find that I can wear it well with jewel-toned clothes, like an emerald green top I recently bought at Forever 21. And Retro is my all-time, favorite MAC shade. I've used it so much that I'm hoping to empty it out by the end of the year. It's brown with a warm red tone, and oh my goodness my NC 40 skin can't get enough! Wet N Wild (Spiked With Rum) is a dupe for it, although a little bit pinker. 

Last but not least is Too Faced La Creme (Pink Chocolate). I bought the shade "Spice Spice Baby" and I really did not like how sheer it looked on me, it almost matched my lips. Pink Chocolate however, is the perfect MLBB (My lips but better) shade, with a darker oomph. It is a gorgeous everyday wear shade. Best of all, it's so balmy, comfortable and moisturizing.

Be sure to check out my 1st series of Fall Lipstick Faves: The Reds! Final coming up: The Plums.

What is your favorite brown lipstick?

Ballet Beautiful Classic 60-minute Workout

I took a month-long hiatus from working out, so now I am back at it. I have exercise ADD, and I'm not even the fittest gal you'll meet! But seriously: I've tried Zumba (love love the live classes, but too expensive and I don't like the DVD sets), Insanity (I injured my elbow with that), 30 Day Shred (quit halfway through), yoga (love it, but I can't seem to make a commitment on it as much as I'd like), kettlebells, barre, weights, etc. but the one thing that has stuck with me were the Ballet Beautiful workouts, from former NYC Ballet dancer Mary Helen Bowers. She is also known for training Natalie Portman for Black Swan and she helps prep the Victoria's Secret models before they bare all and strut the runway every year for their fashion show.

This is not a ballet class where you do moves on the barre or chair. This is mostly the floor exercises ballerinas do to condition their bodies with a pilates-twist.

I've had the Classic 60-minute workout since 2012. It has served me well as I started tapering down prednisone, and I credit this DVD as a huge part of my weight loss from tapering and not taking it during that period. I mean, of course I was also doing the treadmill, yoga and eating well but this was the DVD I was doing the most.

June 2013, I was primarily working out with Ballet Beautiful...this is me at a fitting room in TJ Maxx. I bought this dress in a medium but had to return it because there was a big hole, and when I returned it, they only had the small ones left so I bought the small and it still fit!

Now, the Classic Workout is an older version of the Total Body Workout DVD. Both are exactly the same, but the newer version was bought out by Lionsgate. The only difference is that the newer DVD only breaks down the sections (bridge, abs, inner thigh, outer thigh, arms, standing) without playing it all the way, whereas the older version (the one I have and am talking about) gives you the option to play the whole workout or to choose which section you want to work out.

Here are the breakdowns of the DVD:

Bridge series: 15 minutes of different variations of bridges, such as with legs together or apart, butterfly bridges, one-legged bridges. This is painful!

Abs: A short 6-minute ab series with roll-ups and oblique twists.

Inner thighs: Variations of inner thigh leg lefts, going straight up and down, and circles.

Outer things: More leg lifts, but targets the hips and butt.

Arms: Tricep dips and flapping arms...not the trademark Swan arms in the Blast DVD. Don't think these are easy, gravity works against you and your arms start to burn!

Standing: The last 3 minutes of ballet-type moves like plies.

I just want you guys to know that this is one of the best exercise DVD's I have owned, and the moves are SO simple compared to some tricky yoga, Pilates or even other dance moves. It's really low impact which is perfect for those with medical conditions or injuries. HOWEVER, these will slay you  and burn your muscles. You will ache for a couple of days. But whatever chronic pain you have will eventually go away because these work your core like no other, which helps prevent injuries and increase your day-to-day activities. Don't be afraid to take a break. Mary Helen Bowers encourages breaks. And don't worry if you're not as flexible as her. Flexibility will be built here.

You may not look like a prima ballerina or a supermodel, but you will develop long lean muscles. I know that's a bit of a stretch, but many other people who have done Ballet Beautiful have tried other workouts that have bulked them up, but Ballet Beautiful leaned and toned them out. I can totally attest to that. Of course, the key is to mix it up with other activities too.

If you have this DVD, or you're more curious, you can also check out her Blast DVD which has 4 15-minute blast videos of her workouts, and I would say that these are harder than the whole 60-minute workout. She also has streaming workouts on her website that last about 10–15 minutes long (so if you can't do a 60-minute session, it's totally ok if you can only squeeze 15 minutes a day), or you can get unlimited access to them with her Custom Workout for $39.99/month (I don't do this though because I only want certain videos). Moms, you are in luck: she has a toddler and another one on the way, so she has created a whole slew of pre- and post- natal workouts!

She also has Bridal package streaming videos, and I bought this one (which has 3 videos: Bridal Bridge Blast, Bridal Core, Bridal Posture). I wanna psyche myself up for the big day!

I guess I am feeling pretty encouraged because I lost a few pounds after getting weighed to see my nephrologist. And I am on 8 mg of prednisone right now. Here's to hoping that it keeps getting lower and that my kidneys don't act up again (Lord please don't let it happen...) I have 18 more months till my wedding, but Cecilio and I want to start practice healthy living for life. I can't wait to see how I look and feel after a few months of this.

Eventually I'll do a review on the Body Blast DVD and the Bridal package streaming videos.

Have you ever tried Ballet Beautiful? Or are you curious about it?

Neutrogena Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer

I love foundation, especially when it evens out my skin and gives me a dewy look. But let's face it, wearing foundation can be pretty high maintenance, especially with needing the essentials: skincare, primer, the beauty blender, etc. Sometimes you're in a hurry but you still want to look radiant. Sometimes you want to feel more natural girl-next-door rather than all glammed up (though I'm all for both!) And of course, though it's now fall, you still can't escape the heat and don't want to be bothered with a heavy layer of foundation. Which is why I'm currently digging the Neutrogena Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer (medium–tan 40).

I bought this at Target a few days before my Hawaii trip because I knew it was going to be humid there and I did not want to have my foundation sweat off my face. I almost went to Ulta and wanted to get the Smashbox BB Cream (which I used to have, has great coverage but feels light on the face), but I did not want to spend $39. Having the SPF of 30 is a bonus too. It is not sheer like the Maybelline Dream Fresh BB cream, but not as heavy as the MISSHA Perfect Cover BB Cream.

This retails at $12.49, so it's fairly expensive for the drugstore. But you get a lot out of it for it being 1.1 fluid oz.

They are not kidding when they said this was illuminating. There is teeny specks of shimmer to make you look radiant and glowing. Want proof of my arm?

Because this gives a dewy finish, I'm not sure that I would recommend it for oily skin types. My skin is dry (though oily on the nose, but that's another story). But if you still want to try it, maybe you can wear a mattifying primer before, and a translucent powder after?

When I started using it, I was afraid to use up too much because I didn't want to look too cakey or run out. But I squirted less a penny size, dabbed little by little all over my cheeks, nose, chin, and forehead and rubbed it with circular motions. That gives me just the perfect amount of coverage, enough to cover my tired skin and my redness. Here's a before and after!

The only dud about this product is the limited shades of range—there are only four available the one I am wearing is the darkest. The other ones are ivory–fair, fair–light, light–medium. So sorry to my darker skinned readers :(

This is definitely a holy grail product of mine, one that I have been using almost everyday. These days, I've been taking a more laid back approach to my beauty routine. I will use this until it empties. This is perfect for everyday wear! It will help you look more awake. This is a must for those with dry, normal or sensitive skin and suffer from red patches. It has been taking the place of my foundations and BB creams. But of course I won't ditch them.

Wishlist Wednesday: The Balm Edition.

The Balm Cosmetics is one brand I have never tried. It is very much like Benefit Cosmetics with their vintage-inspired packaging...I would actually say that look much closer to the 1950s illustrations. And I think people want to have some sense of going back in time. Oh, and did you know both of them are headquartered in San Francisco?! The Balm is less mainstream though, as it is only sold in store at Kohl's and their website, or they have some great deals on Hautelook (actually, they have one tomorrow...but I am really gonna have to skip this one for now)

There''s a Kohl's 5 minutes away from my home, and I have gotten a chance to see their products, oohing and ahhing over the packaging, names of shades, and of course, and products themselves. So here's what I am lusting over:

1. Balm Jovi Rockstar Face Palette: Inspired by famous classic rock bands (If you have Spotify, you can also listen to a classic rock playlist I posted here), this palette has shade names such as Lead Zeppelin, rem, Blink 1982, Metal-lica. These shades are a mix of matte and shimmer. Also, they have 2 blushes and 2 lip creams called Milly and Vanilly.

2. How 'Bout Them Apples?: This is a lip/cheek stain palette that is circle shaped instead of square, because of apple graphics and inspiration. The name of the palette itself is funny, and has shade names such as Cider, Cobbler, Pie, Crisp, and Caramel. I can see myself wearing all of these shades, especially Pie and Caramel.

3. Meet Matt(e) Hughes liquid lipsticks: Liquid lipsticks are in the rage in the 2010's, and The Balm is no exception to succumbing to it. The shades have names of characteristics of the fictional Matte (Hughes), and I chose Adoring (merlot) and Honest (warm coral).

4. Bahama Mama: This is a bronzing/contouring powder that flatters all skin tones. Definitely want to try this and see how it compares to my other bronzer powders!

5. Instain: Honestly, these were the first things that caught my eye when I see The Balm section at Kohl's. I always love long wearing blushes! These look very pigmented and give a healthy flush of cheeks. My favorites are Houndstooth (Mauve), Swiss Dot (Peach), and Toile (Strawberry). Can you tell that the names and packaging are inspired by popular vintage fashion patterns? I LOVE houndstooth clothing!

6. Nude 'Tude Palette: Now this palette has some controversy due to the negative shade names associated with it (Sassy, Stubborn, Selfish, Stand-offish, etc. but I don't think Sophisticated is a bad one!) and the fact that it has illustrations of women, where it's men-inspired palette, Nude Dude has positive names (Fabulous, Faithful, Funny, Friendly, etc.). You can read the article here. However, The Balm president stated: "Nude 'tude is about attitude and being able to express yourself however you want (as that is the name of the palette). Nude Dude came two years later (the name came about primarily because it rhymes with 'Nude 'tude'), and this is more about qualities we feel naked men should have." All controversies aside, I am in love with the shades, especially Sexy (a matte deep violet). It reminds me of Urban Decay Naked 3 with more versatility.

Fall Lipstick Faves #1: The Reds

fall red lipstick

MAC Studded Kiss Diva D for Danger
Left to Right: MAC Studded Kiss, Diva, D for Danger

Too Faced Melted Berry, L'OREAL Cinnamon Toast, Maybelline Divine Wine

What I and many other beauty bloggers love about the fall season is the ability to wear dark makeup colors. During fall and winter, you can get away with a variety of reds: from the classic bright red to dark pink berry to wines. The possibilities are endless. No need to limit yourself!

So I decided to write up a 3-part series of my favorite Fall Lipstick Faves: soon I will do a theme for the browns and the plums. Here's the swatches:

Maybelline Creamy Matte lipstick (Divine Wine) is a shade I really fell hard for. I would go as far to say that it is a dupe of MAC Diva, only a tad bit redder. Just a tad. Also, unlike the MAC matte lipsticks, these are really comfortable to wear!

Everyone loves MAC for their wide variety of shades. For the reds, I am falling hard (no pun intended) for Diva, Studded Kiss and D for Danger. Diva is more on the burgundy side whereas Studded Kiss is warmer. D for Danger is becoming a favorite of mine: It's dark enough for this season but pink and feminine enough to wear for spring. I wrote a recent review about D for Danger and Diva (along with Maybelline Divine Wine) here, and Studded Kiss here.

You can't go wrong with Too Faced's variety of shades, but my favorite is is Melted Berry. It dries matte, but leaves a gorgeous stain. It shows more plum on people with fair skin, but for me it's also reddish.

Now there is the L'OREAL Colour Riche (Cinnamon Toast). It shows up as brownish on my arm but it's actually red on my lips. In fact, before I went to Hawaii and had lighter skin, it was almost similar to Maybelline Divine Wine in terms of darkness, but just a little bit warmer. This is actually the most comfortable to wear among all the lipsticks posted. It almost feels like a balm/stain. It totally makes sense because it has Omega 3, Argan Oil and Vitamin E.

NYX Soft Matte (Monte Carlo) is dark red, and it's one that I get compliments on a lot whenever I wear it. It also has a strong staying power.

Finally, there is NYX Butter Gloss (Red Velvet). Yeah I know it's a gloss, not a lipstick, but it has way more pigment than the other NYX butter glosses. I would say the paler ones are much sheerer. It packs a punch enough to wear on your own, or you can put over your lipstick. Just be careful with the wind and your hair!

Be sure to stay put for my next Fall Lipstick Faves soon for plums and browns!

What are your favorite red lipsticks to wear?

10 Things I love about Fall.

Okay, so it still feels like summer here in Northern California, and the weather has been so inconsistent...we've had temperatures up to 100-something one day, then back to the 80's the next, with some rain in-between. No bueno! I really hate the heat as I am super sensitive to it.

Okay, let me be real...Fall has always been my favorite season before these "basic girls" started gushing over pumpkin spice lattes, Uggs, and North Face. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE me a PSL! I've always loved the cinnamon taste, cinnamon anything (mmm...Cinnabon). And I'm not a coffee snob: I can get Starbucks one day then happily hop over to the local coffee shop in Midtown Sacramento the next. Like I said, summer is too hot for me to bear, winter is way too cold, and spring is beautiful but brings me horrible allergies. So that leaves me to the "ber" months!

pumpkin carving

pumpkin throwing up
Halloween 2011

1. Pumpkin Carving with Cecilio. It's been our tradition since we started dating. We carve on Halloween, and we save the guts to make pumpkin pie or bread. On our first year of dating, he wanted to look for pumpkins and said we were going to go to a local patch. I love looking at all the variations of gourds and squashes, especially the different colored ones, the odd, asymmetrical shaped ones, and the ones with warts. Don't forget the little cute mini pumpkins!

2. Wearing deeper lipstick, such as deep wines.

3. The cooler weather. I'm sorry but I cannot stand when it gets to 90–100 here in Sacramento. I think part of it has to do with my lupus and sensitivity to the sun (but thank goodness it's not as bad as other's), but I also don't like winter because I'm sensitive to cold weather and get Raynaud's (a lupus symptom where your hands and fingers get really numb).

4. World Series season...who am I kidding, I only care when the SF Giants play and win, which they did in 2010, 2012, and 2014. Cross our fingers that 2016 will be another year too!

pumpkin macarons

5. Delicious goodies. Don't call me basic, I've always enjoyed the sweet but spicy treats in the "ber" months. Like these Trader Joe's Pumpkin Macarons. I also love pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, ginger cookies, butternut squash goods, etc.

6. Thanksgiving! Kinda like #5, I also look forward to the turkey, mashed potatoes, pie, stuffing, etc. Did I mention I make mean green bean casserole? I get the recipe here. But also, I love sitting down with my family and spending time with them.

7. The fall fashions! My favorite staples include cardigans, pants, boots, scarves, mini-dresses with tights, and long sleeves!


8. Coffee. Okay, coffee can be enjoyed all year. But there's something about the cooler months that make you wanna curl up in bed or in the couch with a cup of java (or hot chocolate, I love that too) in your hand. Okay that sounds cliche but so true. But seriously, what other year can you get pumpkin spice or salted caramel flavored things?

9. The absolutely red and golden gorgeous leaves and sunsets.


10. Last but not least, my birthday on October 26. Here's a picture of me blowing out candles on my 20th birthday in 2009.

What are your favorite parts about this fun season?

Rediscovering my makeup stash.



The meme above might be funny, especially if you are a self-proclaimed makeup addict/artist/blogger/vlogger/whatever. But it's no laughing matter when dealing with real life finances and "adulting", especially for me as I am still job hunting. I have an internship, but it's unfortunately unpaid, and I need to pay for my bills, medical/dental expenses, student loans, and wedding. Honestly, it's pretty daunting to think about, and part of me feels remorse for impulse buying a lot. Especially when I'm not using a lot of it. So what better way to keep from spending...than actually use the products you have?

Raise your hand if you are a beauty blogger and you buy something impulsively, justifying it by saying, it's for the blog! You're laughing because it's true. It's always fun to try new products and provide new content, but it's not fun knowing your funds are running low...which is why I've been trying to be more creative with my blog post topics.

So here are a few products I found in my makeup kits that I haven't used in a while, or have hardly used at all:

too faced chocolate bar

First is my Too Faced Original Chocolate Bar. I'm so sorry for abandoning it in favor of the Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar, it must be so sad! Yes, this was my holy grail eyeshadow palette until the Semi-Sweet came along, and I started using that one more. The Semi-Sweet palette has more golds and bronze shades that are more fitting for the summer, whereas the original Chocolate Bar has more deep browns and plums. I wore this last week eating out with my family, and what can I say? I miss wearing it, so it's going to be a regular staple of mine again. If the Semi-Sweet is a summer palette, then the Original is the fall palette. I have a review of the Too Faced Chocolate Bar here. In fact, it is one of my first blog posts!

nyx blushes

Next are the NYX powder blushes (Cinnamon, Desert Rose, Terracotta). My my, I dusted a sweep of Desert Rose on my cheeks and I forgot how pigmented these were! Right now, Terracotta is too light for me since I got pretty tan from going to Hawaii, but I'm excited to see how it'll look on me in the winter. Now I am tempted to go to my local Ulta and get another blush or 2 from NYX...I know, I'm keeping my spending to a minimum, but this is better than spending $20-$30 from Too Faced, Tarte, MAC, right? These blushes are just as high quality with their pigmentation and staying power.

mufe hd blush

Here is the MUFE HD Blush in #310 (Rosewood), that I was using practically everyday last fall and winter! But when the warmer months started rolling around I ditched it in favor or bright pink and coral blushes. I'm really happy that I was using this enough to hit pan, and I hope I can empty it out soon.

wet n wild lipsticks

Wet n Wild are known for having great lipsticks for just $2 but with amazing pigmentation and strong staying powder. They are also known for being dupes of higher end lipsticks. My favorites above are Wine Room (left) and Spiked with Rum, especially because Spiked with Rum is a dupe of one of my favorite MAC lipsticks, the shade "Retro".

tarte cc undereye corrector

Finally, for a while I have been using the Tarte CC Undereye Corrector, in the shade medium–tan.  Here is another one I hit pan on. This has been pretty good at hiding my dark circles, and I have them pretty bad...thanks to poor sleeping habits I'm trying to correct.

If you are a beauty blogger/aficionado and you are trying to minimize your spending (which is a challenge), I highly suggest you take a look at your current stash, and check out some of the products you haven't used yet! You'll be surprised and scratching your head wondering, "why did I abandon this for a long time?!"

September 2015 Ipsy Glambag: Face Fashion

September 2015 Ipsy Glambag

Oh yeah, it's the middle of the month, which means...the Ipsy glambags are rollin' in! This month's theme is "Face Fashion". For those who are not familiar with beauty subscription packages, Ipsy is one of the many that offer 4-5 mini products for $10 a month in a shiny pink bubble wrap envelope. Unlike other beauty subscription companies that have boxes, Ipsy gives you a cosmetic bag you can re-use over and over!

ipsy cosmetic glambag

The bag is a blush pink/flesh color with chevron patterns...I have purses and clothes in this similar color. You can tell I really like this shade huh? Haha.

Now on to the products:

J.Cat Beauty #MOTD Waterproof Slide-on Pencil

First is the J.Cat Beauty #MOTD Waterproof Slide-on Pencil (Bronze). It's really creamy and a pretty, golden bronze with shimmer. I could also use this as an eyeshadow.

Then here is the ipsy x NYX eyeshadow palette! I had to do a double take on this: I thought it was the NYX Love in Rio palette since that too has 3 colors! Then I read that they did a collaboration with Ipsy. This has 2 shimmers in light beige and brown, and a matte dark brown. Honestly, I have similar shades in my other palettes so this didn't really blow me over.

The NAOBAY Oxygenating Cream is all-organic and contains rosehip oil and sweet almond oil to soothe and calm skin. It's also described as a great base for your makeup. I'm running out of my LUSH Skindrink moisturizer so I may try this out, even though I'm a bit weary because I saw a few of the negative reviews on the website.

Another skincare product, here is the Vasanti Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator. It's supposed to be an Exfoliating cleanser, which is what my Murad Time Release Acne Cleanser is. Again, I'm weary about trying another skincare product, as I have sensitive skin, and during my first few months of beauty blogging I kept breaking out from trying all these new products all at once.

Finally, I got a cute little nail polish called the Formula X Nail Color (Ignite). It's a darker red shade I've been digging since it's the fall, and that is going to be one of my wedding colors (for a March 2017 wedding). I would love to try this, I just usually get gel manicures...but this one is so beautiful.

How do I feel about this glambag? I'm not too crazy about it, except for the nail polish, the eyeliner and the bag itself. I'm debating whether to keep my Ipsy subscription or to cancel it, to save a little bit.

Do you have this month's Ipsy Glambag? What items did you get? Overall, were you impressed?

Wedding Moodboard: official colors.

This week, Cecilio and I are going to visit the hotel we are having our wedding reception to tour one more time, put down a deposit for the venue and secure the date. So I'm pretty excited about letting the planning begin. 

One of the most exciting yet agonizing thing about planning a wedding is figuring out what the color theme is going to be. Since I got engaged in March, I kept going back and forth regarding what colors I want. Initially I wanted powder blue and pink, which I created my first moodboard here. But eventually I wasn't feeling it: it doesn't really match the setting of the ceremony (church with lots of warm gold lighting) and reception (a 1920's-inspired hotel with a modern twist). How can I not know what colors I want, I'm a graphic designer?!

No matter what color scheme I wanted, I seemed to lean towards pink. But I didn't want it to be sickenly sweet, and plus my cousin Ara had a lavander/pink theme going on at her wedding. My family friend Nicole? She had green and pink, which was a shame because green is one of my favorite colors. Red and pink? Forget about it, it looks too much like Valentine's Day, especially for a March wedding (March 2017, that is...)

Until I re-discovered marsala, the 2015 Pantone color of the year. I fell in love, especially combined with pink and gold. It's a deep red/burgundy shade that complements the warmth of our wedding ceremony and reception sites, and it's a classic all year long. This jewel-toned shade gives off an elegant and luxurious vibe, but pink softens it and makes it more romantic. It's attractive to both the boho and city-loving types. Like the link says, marsala goes well with all skintones.

I'm a fan of art history and Italian Renaissance, and I see marsala in paintings, clothing, patterns, interiors, etc.

Best of all, it's not that bright red we think of as the Valentine's Day color. Although you can still use marsala if you ever dream of February 14 nuptials to give your day extra drama.

So this is our official wedding colors: marsala/burgundy, blush pink with gold and cream accents. Let the fun planning begin!

MAC D for Danger and Diva (plus, Diva's dupe!)

MAC lipstick boxes

MAC D for Danger, MAC Diva

Fall calls for deeper, warmer colors when it comes to fashion, food, and interiors. Makeup is no exception. It's time to trade in our pastels in favor of wine shades, which is why I ordered MAC lipsticks in D for Danger and Diva. Both are matte finish, so yes minimal shine. 

MAC Lipstick swatches
D for Danger (left), Diva (right)

D for Danger is a new shade added to the MAC The Matte Lip Collection 2015. It is similar to MAC's Heaux (an Amplified finish, described as "berry" on their website). To me, it is a deep pinkish-red berry. While I LOVE Fall (and how can I not?! My birthday is next month!) I can't seem to let go of my pink lipsticks and glosses that are suited for spring and summer. D for Danger is deep enough to carry into fall, but feminine enough for warmer months. It goes well with all skin tones and  outfits. I'm in love. This will be one of my signature fall lipsticks.

MAC D for Danger
MAC D for Danger

Diva is a very popular shade, and it's one that is a bit out of my comfort zone. I love red lipsticks, but I'm talking about the classic red shade, such as Ruby Woo or Russian Red (I have Russian Red). I saw photos of people wearing Diva, and I was afraid it was going to look vampy on me! Plus, I was debating between Diva and Rebel (another popular MAC fall shade, but a satin finish and more violet). Well, I'm so glad I got Diva! Though it's not a shade I would wear on a day to day basis, it is really flattering on my Hawaii tan skin tone. It may show up darker and more vampy in the winter when I am paler. It's got that 90s vibe going on, which is why it's so popular: something I can see Jane in Daria wearing (remember the 90s are making a comeback! Just like 80s trends and bright colors came back a decade ago)

Don't want to spend $17 on MAC Diva? Don't worry, I have a GREAT alternative: Maybelline in "Divine Wine" from the Creamy Mattes collection! For only $7! My heart is pitter-pattering over this shade! I dare to say...I may like this version even better! It is softer and creamier than some of my Maybelline Creamy Mattes, and of course more comfortable than MAC matte lipsticks, which can tug on my lips. A slight difference is that Divine Wine is more reddish and warm, and Diva has more blueish tones.

MAC Diva Maybelline Divine Wine

Maybelline MAC Swatches
Maybelline's Divine Wine (top), MAC's Diva (bottom)

Do you have any signature wine/berry/deep red lipstick shades are you excited to try for the season?

Bridesmaid Gifts: Chinese take-out box full of goodies!

bridesmaid gifts
For my future sister in laws, Carmela and Sabina.

When I was a bridesmaid of my cousin Ara's wedding in 2007 (I was 17 at the time), there was no cute creative way of her asking me. There was no Pinterest. Plus, how could she? She lives all the way in Vancouver, Canada whereas I'm in good ol' Sacramento. So how I knew that I was going to be a bridesmaid was through my dad (he and his sister/Ara's mother, my Tita Gigi would always keep in touch in the phone).

Fast forward 2012. I also became a bridesmaid for my cousin Guia's (Ara's sister) wedding, and Pinterest was emerging, but she just messaged me on Facebook asking me. Now that I am getting married in 2017, there is a plethora of "wedspiration" on Pinterest. Sure, they have always had it in websites such as The Knot or bridal magazines, but now you can just search what you're looking for, and its as easy as pressing the "pin" button and refer back to your board. Though I still have fun with the old-fashion cutting and pasting pics, or making my own wedding mood board through Adobe InDesign (I created another one, I had an old one here but I changed my mind about the colors, and Cecilio and I are putting down the deposit and securing the date next week).

One thing I have seen in recent years that I haven't seen before (hey...I've been dreaming of a wedding and marriage since I was younger, so sue me) are bridesmaids gifts. Proposing to your bridesmaids. Some ideas include a balloon with a note that says "He popped the I will pop one for my bridesmaid?" Some have a ring pop. Some have notes that say "Will you calm me down during my bridezilla moments? Will you help me pee?"

Then there are those that put notes and little goodies in a flip-top box. I was going to do that, but I did it with a twist: using a Chinese takeout box. I incorporated the wedding colors, marsala (aka burgundy, just fun to say marsala because it's the 2015 Color of the Year) and pink with gold and cream accents.

Here's what I bought at Michael's for the materials:

  1. A pack of Chinese Takeout boxes
  2. Gold ribbon
  3. Burgundy cardstock paper
  4. Labels
  5. Paper Crinkle
And for the goodies, I bought them:

  1. Nail Polish (Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Extreme Wear in the Shade "Mauve Over", but for my sister Trixie, the maid of honor, I gave her an extra polish with the shade "Red Carpet")
  2. Starburst Reds (strawberry, fruit punch, cherry, watermelon flavors—I put each flavor in the boxes
  3. Godiva Strawberry Cheesecake Truffle
chocolate starburst nail polish

Here's how I did it:

  1. I cut the gold ribbon and wrapped it around the box, and either glued it or double taped it.
  2. I took out the labels and using an X-acto knife, I cut the burgundy cardstock paper a little bit bigger than the labels. I put the labels on top of the paper since they were adhesive.
  3. I wrote the names on the label.
  4. I double taped the label on the box on top of the ribbon.
  5. I added the paper crinkle and the goodies!
  6. The labels came with a glossy gold paper, so I wrote in pen asking them to be my maid of honor or bridesmaid.
maid of honor gift

maid of honor gift 2

bridesmaid gift 2
Excuse my smudged handwriting, I'm a lefty :)

wedding party gifts

I am so excited to have these women as a part of my day! My bridal party consists of Trixie (my sister, the Maid of Honor), Jamie and Rebecca (2 of my closest friends), and Carmela and Sabina (Cecilio's sisters). The planning process will be fun, crazy, and chaotic but I will at least have them by my side as I walk down the aisle to my love, and best friend :)