November Beauty Favorites.

Winter is coming, although it certainly feels like it's already been here in NorCal. We're known for being whimps here, whereas the rest of the country has to deal with storms and heavy snow. It has been on average 30-60° F (-1.11–15.56° C), but it feels a lot colder than what we're used to! Seriously, this is supposed to be weather that's reserved for the dead of December and January. Our Novembers are chilly, but not cold to the bone. But like I said...we Californians have it easy :)

So November has been a month for a lot of sales (VIB Sale anyone?) Who can't resist Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Although I did order some stuff from Ulta (using my points which I had $33 worth of, and only spent an extra $7), I did not go crazy this time. Even though I still have been buying, I have been practicing mindfulness and not splurging. I have been using the makeup I have already bought, but there are a couple of things I have been going crazy over this month:

1. Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment (Passion): What can I say, I love this lippie and I use this a lot, even at home because it just feels so amazing for my lips! I suffer from dry lips all year round, and I am anticipating it being worse in the winter, but I know this helps keeps them at bay. I also love the color too, it looks like I bit a piece of fruit wearing it.

2. The Body Shop Coconut Hand Cream: I haven't used this a lot, but I'm glad I did when I found my hands dry as a desert. It's thick and makes my hand feel smooth, but it's nowhere near greasy at all. It has shea butter, which helps makes products more moisturizing.

3. Too Faced Natural Matte Palette: I've had this palette since May, but I haven't done a review about it yet. One of my new favorite bloggers, Carol, recently did a great review about this palette here. This was a new palette in the spring, along with its more colorful cousin, the Sugar Pop Palette which I reviewed. I have a lot of Too Faced Palettes, and I've been reaching for this a lot more when I'm not not feeling any shimmer or when I want to have something on my eyes throughout the day. I also like wearing this for job interviews too since its all matte and neutral shades.

4. NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream (Copenhagen): What can I say, I LOVE this shade! I want to say that this is one of my new favorite shades among the NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams. I never imagined myself to explore darker or more vampy shades, but I was proven wrong once again (example: I was so scared to try MAC Diva, but now I love that as well). The 2 times I've worn it, my mom and a stranger walking by complimented me on it. I wish all year was fall so I can wear this shade more.

5. MAC Lipstick (D for Danger): I just realized that this is also in my September Beauty Favorites. That's how much I adore this shade and I have been ditching my other bright and dark lipsticks for this. This has to be one of my new favorites from MAC. I have found myself wearing this a lot, and who can blame me? It's flattering on all skin tones, especially mine. I also did a review here.

5. MAC Blush (Ambering Rose): When I went to the MAC store a few weeks ago, I was bored with some of the lipsticks I swatched, so I decided to check out the blushes. My goodness this is love at first swipe! It's a warm gold sheer tone blush, but it's definitely fitting for the fall. Review to come soon!

6. Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Express: Cecilio bought this for me on my birthday, and I'm so happy he did. I absolutely love how I do my brows here, especially with the long angled brush (I had a NYX brow powder which worked well too but it was a small product and a very tiny brush, so it was much harder to control). I am happy to say they are on "fleek", and these have been a game changer. I don't use this when I'm in a big hurry though, since it takes time to shape and perfect your brows to how you want it to look like. So instead I use my Maybelline Brow Drama. But still, I'm so happy. It comes with stencils too, but I don't use that. I am lucky to have thick brows and not need it as much. Thanks so much love!

What beauty products have you been loving and using this month?

10 Things I am thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the US!

In the midst of the craziness of life, we ought to count our blessings and realize how rich our lives are. It sure doesn't seem that way in the mundane or in the turmoil, but know deep inside we are. I know I've been going through a tough time right now, bickering with my mom about finances, figuring out my healthcare options, and her nagging me to get a job...which I have been honest to God searching and applying, and I've been really really anxious and worrying about never getting a job. Anyway, lets take a moment to be thankful not just today but everyday of the year. I know I definitely need to do that more, and realize I have it great.

So here's 10 things I am utterly, truly thankful for:

1. God and Jesus dying on the cross. I know I haven't been the best Christian, and I'm not perfect, but I try. I want to live like Him in terms of loving people, even when I get annoyed and irritable (and trust me, I do a lot) because that's what He calls us to do.

2. My family. Sure we're not perfect, we argue a lot, but who doesn't? Even when it feels like my mom and I are at odds, I know deep down she cares for me and wants the best for me.

3. My sweet husband-to-be, Cecilio. I can't wait to drop the "to-be". I can't wait to spend my life with him, walking hand in hand, going through this journey together throughout the good, bad and ugly. The past almost-7 years have tested us, and our couple of years of dating was kinda rocky (because of our misunderstandings about faith/religion), and we have gone through hell and back together, but we get stronger every time.

4. My amazing friends. Sure I'm not the type that goes out all the time and posts pictures with them drinking, but when we do hang out, I always have an awesome time and leave feeling great. We always laugh together and carry each other's burdens.

5. My adorable dogs Aris and Flora. They are so sweet and loving, and I am never lonely as long as they are there. I love how Flora curls up right next to me every night in bed, and she is a small dog with a BIG personality! Aris is not the nicest dog, but he has his favorites (I am his absolute favorite), and he is very sweet to the ones he loves. They are also hilarious.

6. A roof on my house, a warm queen-sized bed, food on the table, and clothes on my back.

7. My health, even despite lupus. I've gotten sick from 2010–2013, with seizures in between and in 2014, and I'm happy to report I am doing better. I remember my first mini stroke/seizure in 2011 (you can read about it here), and I remember having really slurred speech and having a hard time walking. I had to take a semester off from my university while taking speech therapy in January 2012. I'm still amazed with how far I've come.

8. My accomplishments: graduating college, getting engaged, getting my license back every time I have a seizure, and so many other little things. I mustn't belittle them or think of them so small.

9. The blogging community, and being to share my passion to everyone on here, and interacting. I love you all, truly.

10. Laughter, whether it's from a Family Guy episode, reminiscing of my crazy childhood antics, or watching Vine (my favorite videos are parodies of "Hotline Bling" by Drake)

What are you thankful for this season?

Fitness Wishlist Wednesday.

Oh boy, it's that time of year again when everyone will be stuffing their pieholes with turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie, and mashed potatoes. Then comes Christmas season with never-ending holiday parties, comforting cookies and drinks! Then, before you know it, 2016 will roll around and almost everyone in this world will vow to lose 40 pounds and sign up for a gym membership. They get pumped, going and going...then stop in the middle of January. Sounds familiar? I'm guilty too, although I'm not a gym person (although I loved my college's gym, and I would lift weights and kettelebells, I mostly went for the yoga, Zumba and hip hop dance classes). I'm more of an exercise DVD person. I have been working out here and there, although I do want to take it up a notch. I understand that weight loss is mostly about the diet, which is frustrating because I do love to eat and I don't mind exercising at all. That said, here are some things that I've been eyeing and will take me up a notch:

1. CIZE: This is a new Beachboy program crafted by Shaun T that came out this summer. He calls this program the end of exercise, morphed into CIZE: a fun and non-dreadful way to burn calories and fat. The first few weeks have the instructors break down the moves one by one, then it's all about working your heart rate to the max, toning muscles, and having a blast. You may be familiar with Shaun T's Hip Hop Abs, Insanity (which Cecilio got me, but I injured my elbow by day 5), Asylum, and T25.

2. PiYo: Another Beachboy Program, Chalene Johnson combines yoga poses, fluid Pilates movements and develops a 60 day program called PiYo. Best of all, there's no weights or no impact, so this is perfect if you have joint problems. I am a huge fan of yoga, Pilates, and barre workouts so this program would definitely would be up my alley. I am worried though because lots of people who have tried this workout says it's not good enough for weight loss...but then again, I am reading reviews from fitness fanatics and lets just say I'm way more out of shape than them, so doing this would be a breeze for them. Even though weight loss is on most people's mind (it sure is on mine), this program will give you muscles (which will burn fat), gain flexibility, and give you greater peace of mind and breathing.

3. Gaiam Yoga Block: I do yoga on and off, but I feel like a yoga block would help aid me in many poses. I am just not as flexible or as strong as other yogis (and trust me, I love yoga but not yoga culture: it is very intimidating and elitist) who don't need it...but I just have to swallow my pride and use it to help me modify, and sometimes get deeper in the poses.

4. Never Ever Give Up Jewel Timer Bottle: This is a water bottle designed by Youtube fitness instructor, Cassey Ho of Blogilates. On the front part of the bottle, it has a cute design saying "Never Ever Give Up!" and the back gives you a timer of when to drink your water and contains lines of how much you should drink. I admit, I don't drink a lot of water...I love feeling hydrated, I love the taste of plain water, but I hate going to the bathroom. But the inconvenience is worth it for healthier skin, organs, weight loss, hydrated skin/lips, right?

5. Custom Sweating for the Wedding Tank: Well, that is a big motivation for me to get in shape, right? It is a bit cheesy, but nothing wrong with wanting to look good for the big day! Although, what's more important is maintaining a healthy lifestyle to have a high quality of life with Cecilio by my side and to live as long as we can with minimal health problems. On the back of the top, it's custom made with your future last name and wedding date. And you can choose different colors. I would probably get red or pink, with the words "Future Mrs. Padilla — 03.18.17"

What are you doing to stay in shape for the holiday season or for your lifestyle? What are some health and fitness goals you want to achieve?

Sephora VIB Sale Haul.

As a Sephora VIB member, of course I had to take advantage of the 20% off sale that was running from November 13–16. I ordered the products I wanted online, and I felt like I needed to buy over $50 worth of items to get free shipping, but thankfully I only spent $45 and did not have to pay for shipping. Next year I'll definitely do the flash shipping thing. I would've wanted more items but I'm kinda tight right now. So I only got 2 items (in addition to perfume samples...)

I first got the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in the shade "Passion". It is described as vibrant yet sheer rouge. I bought it because I have been suffering from dry lips, especially when I wake up, and I have been wearing a lot of matte lipsticks lately. Here in NorCal, it's only November but it feels like winter already...I know, we're pretty wimpy when it comes to weather compared to the rest of the U.S. So the cold has been taking a toll on my lips. It is pretty thick, but I guess you need to type of treatment to heal your lips. The funny thing is, it looks darker than the shade "Cherry" (which I had but had to get rid of because I broke it, read my reviews here), but "Passion" is much more sheer and I had to apply it on 3-4 times to get the color I want. "Cherry" is much more opaque. It helps a lot that this has SPF 15 too, because our skin may be protected but our lips aren't, and they are much more sensitive.

I also got the NARS Blush in shade "Seduction", which is described as sangria (it also has flecks of gold shimmer). It is as intense as it looks in the photo, probably even more so. It definitely shows up as one of the darkest shades among the NARS blushes in the Sephora product website here. It is very pigmented, so you have to be very careful about applying too much in your brush. I would rather apply lightly and build up to get the right amount of color I want on my cheeks. It's dark enough to give you a contour-effect. It is more suited for medium–dark skin tones, I thought it was even dark on me until I started blending it better. It is a gorgeous fall blush shade.

I have $40 more to retain my VIB status for 2016, but I have to order my products online because I somehow have 2 beauty insider memberships (I don't know how that happened, but whenever I go in the store, the one on my old email address shows up, and it's not the VIB one). I really want to get another NARS blush, "Outlaw" (Before I made my order, I was debating between Outlaw, Dolce Vita, Sin, and Seduction), the Audacious lipstick in "Olivia", and the Kat Von D Studded lipstick in "Prayer". Can you tell though I'm now a full-fledged NARS fanatic?

Are you a VIB member of Sephora? Did you get anything from their sale? What are the items on your next wishlist?

November 2015 Ipsy Glambag: Beauty Blast

Last week I received my Ipsy Glambag for November. The theme was Beauty Bag, and I was so excited checking out the sneak peek for this month's bag! It's a galaxy, starry pattern with patches of blue, magenta and violet. It is nothing like the other glambags I have seen, and it is my favorite so far.

I'm happy to say that I didn't get skincare products, which I didn't want, because I retook the ipsy survey and unchecked my interest in skincare. So here's the goodies in my glambag:

The first item I tried was the Absolute New York Nano Liner, which I eventually lost (nice try, Han). It's called Nano for a reason as it's described as an Ultra-Fine Precision Liquid Liner. The line is super thin which is great for creating versatile eyeliner looks, whether you want to just tightline your upper lashes or give yourself an edgy wing. It is easy to use, and I would recommend it for those who are starting out in the liquid liner game.

Here's my favorite item in the bag, the Jelly Pong Pong Cosmetics Liquid Gossamer. I'll be honest, I thought based on the name alone that Jelly Pong Pong was a Korean beauty brand (and it's not surprising since Korean beauty is all in the rage and they have cute packaging). But no. This brand is based in London and they sell lipsticks, eyeshadows, liners, blushes, etc. in the most adorable and whimsical packaging. It is also 70% natural and 100% cruelty-free too! This is a rose-gold liquid highlighter, and I recently read a blogger's post (can't remember who) that this is the liquid version of BECCA's Champagne Pop. I would say that this has a more bronzy tint though. I love how it gives me a natural, subtle glow with light-refracting coated mica. I use this like I would any other highlighter: above my cheekbones, on my nose, forehead, chin and cupid's bone.

Of course, the most mainstream brand is featured: the Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara. I would say it's OK, but I'm not going ga-ga over it. Probably because it's just lengthening, it doesn't have a curling or thickening effect. I COULD curl my lashes, but I get lazy, haha. I'll just stick to the Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara, which does all 3.

Then, here is the tre'Stique Mini Matte Lip Craying (Chili Red), which I'm not bowling over because I have the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil (Cruella) as a Sephora Insider birthday gift.

And last but not least is the Coolway Stronghold Spray. I don't use hairspray that much, so I'm not used to having my hair hard. But I have been having flyaway problems, and this helps so much keep it in place. Actually, I need to get a trim soon, and more frequently to get my long, beautiful hair back.

Overall thoughts
I'm pretty satisfied with this bag, especially because I didn't get skincare products anymore (I don't want to mess with my skin of different products). I am in love with the bag, and plan on using it for travel. Unfortunately, I cancelled my subscription after this one as a means to save money (though that didn't help because I still bought stuff from the Sephora VIB sale and a MAC blush (Ambering Rose). When I do get back on my feet with a job, I will probably resubscribe to Boxycharm which I like much better, but it's $21/monthly. That or I will renew my barre3 online membership, which is $15/monthly, to start sweating for the wedding.

Are you guys subscribed to ipsy or any other beauty subscription program? What are your thoughts?

Me in 25 Questions

Hey everyone! I thought I would get this tag from Meghan as a fun way to get to know me, and for me to get to know you if you decide to do this survey. I guess I like these type of posts because they remind me of the (sometimes not so) good ol' times when I had Xanga or Myspace and posted every single survey, sometimes with an answer regarding a crush or an ex in a really cryptic way. I know I know, but my friends and I would laugh about it, and looking back, it's kinda ridiculous and funny. I do wish though I didn't delete my Myspace. I deleted my last one in 2010, which I had since 2005. I could've gone through my old comments, blog posts, and messages! And I had my first Xanga in 2003, when I was starting high school. I was able to take a peak back in 2010, but now I no longer have access to it, especially since I forgot the email and password. Anyway, here are the questions and I hope you guys participate!

1. What is your middle name? Eunice

2. What was your favorite subject in high school? Japanese, I took levels 1 and 2, I didn't really pay attention to my level 2 class during sophomore year because that was a horrible year and I wasn't at all focused. I did take it again my senior year. I wish I could've taken more levels because I know I would've been eligible to not have to take a foreign language class at college. It is an interesting language to learn. I hope to learn it again because I do want to go to Japan. I also liked Mythology and Creative writing.

3. What is your favorite drink? Coffee...yumm...I need the taste and pick me up, every single morning.

4. What is your favorite song at the moment? Right now it's "All I Need" by Mat Kearney, it reminds me of whenever Cecilio and I will take our engagement pics, but also because there was a Youtube video playing the song with an engagement pic of Mat Kearney and his now wife. (I can't find it) I feel like our love story is kinda similar to theirs, and his wife is sooo gorgeous! (a lot of commenters were talking about how weird her knees look though...weird) Here is the song:

5. What is your favorite food? I love Mexican! I am marrying a half-Mexican, half-Filipino. I also love Hot Cheetos and pasta.

6. What is the last thing you bought? At Walmart: Dream bones for the dogs, Hot Cheetos, Cheez-its, Peach candy rings, and ELF lip balm for myself, gummy bears and Jarritos (Mexican soda) for Cecilio, and then I ordered pizza

7. Favorite book of all time? I need to read more >_<; I know I know, I really enjoyed The Fault in Our Stars and It's Kind of a Funny Story, I did a book review here, and check out my TFioS themed playing cards I designed for a class project:
8. Favorite Color? I usually like pink or green, but right now I am obsessing over marsala/deep wine red. I know it's the 2015 Pantone Color of the Year, and I don't care, but it's one of my main colors for my 2017 wedding!

9. Do you have any pets? Aris(totle), a 3.5 year old Maltese/Rat Terrier mix (Ratese) and Flora, a 1.5 Maltese/Yorkie mix (Morkie). My blog name is dedicated to Flora.

10. Favorite perfume? Oh man I don't wear perfume, but there's a few I've been eyeing, I did have Clinique Happy and I really liked it!

11. Favorite holiday? Christmas! I love getting in the holiday spirit with the music, tree decorating (we always used real trees and I love the fresh smell, but last year we purchased our first fake tree), gifts, the holiday comfort treats, and getting together on Christmas Eve with our family (our tradition every year, and we open the presents at midnight, then on Christmas Day is really really easy and chill)

12. Are you married? March 18, 2017 (487 days to go, according to The Knot)

13. Have you ever been out of the country? Yes, I was actually born in the Philippines lol. I did go back last year in January. I have also been to Canada, France, Switzerland, and Italy.

14. Do you speak any other languages? Very little of Spanish, Japanese and Tagalog.

15. How many siblings do you have? 2 sisters: Trixie (older) and Sarah (younger)

16. What is your favorite shop? Well this is a beauty blog so I am bound to say Sephora, LOL! For clothes, I like Macy's, TJMaxx and H&M. I need new clothes and to stop being so damn insecure about my body (which is why I've been taking a liking more to makeup than clothes)

17. Favorite restaurant? Hmm that's a tough one especially because I eat out a lot...I do love a lot of Mexican and Italian restaurants though.

18. When was the last time you cried? The day after my birthday, about being let go from that job, but whatever, let's just put that in the back burner, ok?

19. Favorite blog? I can't choose...I love you all!

20. Favorite movie? I don't have a particular favorite, especially because it's been a while since I've sat down and watched movies, but I did like Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist! Well, Cecilio and I are going to watch Star Wars next month and I have to watch the whole series with him beforehand so I can understand it better

21. Favorite TV show? Family Guy, hands down. I also am a huge Anthony Bourdain fan.

22. PC or Mac? Once you go Mac, you never go back!

23. What phone do you have? iPhone 5C, but I want a 6 so bad

24. How tall are you? 5'4

25. Can you cook? Yes, I just haven't in a while out of laziness and it's usually my mom who wants to be in charge of the cooking, although I need to suggest that I want to do so sometimes

Intro to Primers

makeup primers

I'm not sure how long primers have been around, but I do remember my first one. It was a Neutrogena one with SPF 15 that I got 3 years ago along with my first foundation, MAC Face and Body. Since then I have been experimenting with primers and setting sprays to help my makeup last longer. There are so many primers out on the market depending on your skin type and needs. Do you need your makeup to last from morning to the wee hours till midnight? Do you need to minimize appearance of pores and create a flawless canvas? Are you looking to lubricate dry skin? You're bound to find a primer that fits your needs.

Although I only have 1 full-sized primer and the other 3 are samples, I want to compare all of them:

1. Too Faced Hangover Primer: I picked up this sample at a Too Faced makeover event in Ulta I went to in August. I've been looking up how much the travel-sized version would cost, but couldn't find it (maybe it was just available for those events?) It claims to hydrate, smooth and brighten your skin for a dewy finish. It contains coconut water and probiotics to back up these claims. And you know what? I believe it. This primer feels amazing and cooling on your skin. Let's just say that your skin was like in a drought. Yeah, that dry. This is the primer you need to replenish. It is also silicone-free, which is also another bonus for dry-skin types. I just don't feel like it helps my makeup stay all day though. It has a fairly weak staying power, which is why I haven't been reaching for it lately.
Full-size: $32 for 1.35 oz

2. Tarte Clean Slate Flawless 12-Hour Brightening Primer: This is another hydrating primer that feels more like lotion because there's no silicone. This has been my go-to primer since it's full sized, but sometimes I just pat it all over my face and use the Porefessional on my nose. It helps my makeup say pretty well and makes my skin look and feel smooth, which is why I've been using it a lot (also, I'm trying to put it to good use with the amount of money I spent). It has a strong plant-y smell though because it has Aloe Juice and Grapefruit Seed Oil as some of the ingredients, which I personally don't mind (I love strong scents) but you might be put off by it.
Full-size: $31 for 1 oz

3. Smashbox Photo-Finish Foundation Primer: Now we are getting to the heavier-duty primers that offer more coverage. The Smashbox Photo-Finish Foundation Primer helps fill in the pores for the more flawless looking face. It is thicker in texture than the other 2 I just mentioned, but has a smooth silky feel. It's thick enough for oily-skin types. I just learned that this was one of Smashbox's first products, and they developed a formula that diffuses light, blurs and softens imperfections. Also, did you know that the Smashbox makeup was created from the Smashbox Studios (for photography/videography) in LA? That is why a lot of their cosmetic products are developed and inspired with the lens in mind.
Full-size: $36 for 1 oz
Travel-size: $16 for 0.5 oz

4. Benefit POREfessional: This is similar to the Smashbox Photo-Finish Primer in terms of color (both are flesh) and texture (thick but creamy and silky). This is a godsend for those with oily skin. I've seen before and after pictures with women incorporating this, and it makes a huge difference! It minimizes the shine on one's face too. Even I like wearing this on my nose under foundation (the part of my face that is oily), because I kinda have a Rudolph-red nose, and this gives me extra coverage. Keep in mind that it is pricy for it's size, as it is smaller than the other ones I mentioned.
Full-size: $31 for 0.75 oz
Travel-size: $10 for 0.25 oz

To give you an idea of how the primers look and feel on your skin, here's the swatches:

Left-right: Too Faced Hangover, Tarte 12-Hour Brightening, Smashbox Photo-Finish, Benefit POREfessional

Not sure what primer to get? If you have dry skin, look for silicone-free ingredients, and ones that have a lotion-texture for a more moisturizing feel. I highly recommend the Too Faced Hangover or the Tarte 12-Hour Brightening if you have thirsty skin. Now if you want more coverage and a more mattifying look, then Smashbox Photo-Finish and Benefit POREfessional are your best bets.

Now I know only Benefit sells the travel-sized version on its own, but there are many ways to get a sample sized ones of the other brands. Most of the primers are part of a gift set, so I recommend you purchase if if you want to try it among other products of that specific brand. If you are a Sephora Beauty Insider member, sometimes it will show up as one of the 100-point rewards (or 500 points if you're planning to buy a gift set), so spend and take advantage of that! Also, I haven't tried this, but you could also go to Sephora and ask the employees if they can give you samples. Other people have had good experience with this.

Have you ever tried any of these primers? Or which ones are your holy grail, if not featured above?

Urban Decay Vice 4 Palette

When I took my many trips to Ulta last month and saw the Urban Decay Vice 4 Palette out on the stands, I lusted for the shades. I really wanted to get it. Actually, I was debating between getting this palette and the Kat Von D Mi Vida Loca Remix Eyeshadow Palette. Both offer bright, fun shades with rich pigmentation and kick-ass pigmentation, and they are similarly priced (Vice 4 is $60 and the KVD Palette is $59). I loved the shades of the KVD Palette, especially the greens, but I found that the Vice 4 Palette to have more wearable shades (Seriously, I don't think I'll touch a firetruck red eyeshadow like I see in the KVD Palette). I bought the Vice 4 Palette using my 20% birthday discount last month. This is my first Vice Palette, and I unfortunately can't get my hands on the other ones because they are all limited edition.

Before we delve in the shades, let's talk about the packaging. This palette is an embellished plastic design on top of the cover, with gorgeous rainbow gradiation. While it's really unique, you have to be careful to not break the little lines. Because of that, it's not travel friendly and adds extra bulk. This palette does come with a nifty bag though if you really DID want to travel with it, or if you want to put other makeup products.

Like all the other Urban Decay palettes, this comes with a mirror and a double-ended brush (well, except for the Naked Basics, they're too small). Because there are 20 shades, the mirror is large and easy to use.


The Urban Decay Palette consists of 20 shades with 4 mattes, and the rest of being shimmery metallics and chunky glitters. I was worried about the fallout problems that come with glittery shades, but surprisingly I didn't have that problem. There are a mix of neutral and bright shades, which is why I say it is more wearable than the KVD Palette. You can wear it on a day to day basis but definitely go all out at night.

Here are all 20 swatches on my arm (starting from the 1st row on the left):

1st row: Bones (shimmer champagne), Framed (matte peach nude), Discreet (matte cool-toned light mauve), and Bitter (matte terra-cotta)

2nd row: Grip (glittery silver), Fastball (glittery coral pink), Grasshopper (glittery Kelly green), and Flame (glittery orange).

3rd row (top half): Deadbeat (glittery charcoal), 1985 (shimmery magenta), C-Note (shimmery light green), and low (glittery dark silver). 4th row (bottom half): Beatdown (shimmery blue-violet), Underhand (shimmery burgundy), Arctic (glittery aqua blue), and Crowbar (glittery cool-toned gold).

5th row: Pandemonium (glittery dark violet), Harlot (shimmery lilac), Robbery (shimmert silver), and Delete (matte brown).

My favorite shades in this palette are Grasshopper, 1985, Underhand, Crowbar, and Robbery. This palette is the epitome of the Urban Decay rockstar look, before their Nakeds were a thing. I loved playing with color eyeshadow when I was younger, so having this palette is a way for me to practice and experience with cool looks. And of course, I love the fact that there is a brush, because lets be honest: sometimes I'm too lazy to get out my other brushes, haha. I recommend cleaning the brush after each use so whenever you use it the next time, you don't get color stains or glitter (especially if you're using a matte shade). I love using MAC Fix+ spray to give the shimmers and glitters and extra pop! Here's a look I did with this palette:

I used: Bones for my brow-bone, Framed for the transition, a combo of Bitter and Delete as my crease, and Grasshopper for the lid (well I actually tapped in C-Note in the middle of each lid)

Do you have this palette, or do you want it on your Christmas wishlist? What do you think?

My "no-makeup" makeup look.


"I like girls who don't wear any makeup."-Your average Joe Schmoe.

Oh, if only he realized that those models he sees in magazine ads, billboards, commercials, etc. sporting the "natural look" have had 10+ products in order to look that way. Primer, dewy foundation? Check. Translucent powder? Double check. In addition, dudes don't realize the skincare regimen required in order to have a good base to begin with, to feel even more glowing. Oh yeah, let's not forget, there's lighting and Photoshop.

But we're not here to impress guys. You know the saying,"I didn't own 72 MAC lipsticks to impress a douche who doesn't know the difference between Myth and Snob?" Yeah...I'm lucky that Cecilio has been so supportive of my makeup obsession even though it's been fairly new to him. New as in...I've always liked makeup but I started really getting serious about it for 3 years. So throughout the course of knowing him, I never wore a lot of makeup until recent years. And yes, he says he loves me without it, but I revel when he recognizes that I take time to doll myself up and he calls me beautiful. I'm just so so lucky he loves me regardless. I don't need to impress a bunch of guys when I have one I'm going to marry in 16 months.

Anyway, back to the topic of this post. Luckily, we're not models and our faces aren't going to be plastered all over media anytime soon. So we don't need a bajillion products to achieve that au naturale look going on. We can use however much or however little products we want for this look.

For me, sometimes I'm not in the mood for a bold lip, sparkly shadow or a strong contour, but I still want to look brightened up. So here's the products (most of which I have talked about in previous blog posts) I use for a no makeup, yet no fuss thing going on:

I love the coverage and flawless finish of foundation, but sometimes it feels high maintenance (with having to prime, use setting powder and spray, etc.) but on days where I want to look and feel radiant without trying too hard, I whip out the Neutrogena Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer (medium–tan). Seriously, I love this thing and have been using it on a regular basis. I even brought this with me on my trip to Hawaii in August, because I couldn't bear the thought of foundation melting off of my face. It has teeny specks of shimmer to give the glow. Best of all, it has SPF 30, which of course protects your skin. Win win!

Even though I love the pop of color powder blush gives, a natural look calls for cream blush to blend seamlessly with your skin. Which is why I love the Makeup Forever HD Blush (310–rosewood) and just use my fingers. Rather than rubbing around the apples of my cheeks, I prefer to add it on the line of my cheekbones for a more sculpted look. Then I use the Benefit Watts Up! highlighter above the blush and a bit on my nose, forehead and chin. I use it sparsely, first I pat it a little then lightly draw it. I don't want to use a heavy hand since there's a lot of shimmer and I want to have a more natural glow.

Now for the eyes, even though Cecilio gave me the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Express (and I love it), I opt for the Maybelline Brow Drama (deep brown) for some definition without too much drastic change. Seriously, the wand here makes it so easy to use. You're finished within less than a minute!  Then, since I won't wear eyeliner for a "no-makeup" makeup look, I rely on my lashes to "beautify" my eyes. Which is why the Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara is been my holy grail mascara for the past few month. It adds serious volume and length that I haven't seen in other mascaras. Then, for my dark circles, I dab the wand from the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer (Ginger) and make it into a triangle shape, and I either use my fingers or brush. It doesn't cover everything though because I have a serious problem with my dark circles, because of poor sleep from my previous days at school and the side effects of some of my medications, but I need to work on that and get a good eye cream. If anyone has any recommendations, please comment below.

And finally for my lips, I rediscovered one of my NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams (Cannes), which a warm pinkish nude. I usually don't like light pinks, but this doesn't wash me out and gives me a feminine and natural pucker.

Here's the final look with all of the products I used:

natural makeup look

And finally, here are the most important tips for beauty inside and out (that I need to follow myself as well):
-Eat well
-Develop a good exercise routine and sweat those toxins away (I've been going back on my treadmill)
-Hydrate yourself with H2O
-Don't stress and enjoy life!

Paint Nite @ Pete's Restaurant and Brewhouse

Last night was my good friend Nalee's birthday, so she decided to do something fun and unique: Paint Nite! What is Paint Nite? It's an event hosted by art teachers or professional artists to teach people how to paint a specific scenery. Usually they take place at a restaurant or bar. No, you don't need experience because the teacher will break it down to the most simple forms! It's all about bringing your friends and having a blast. Plus, there's alcohol involved (we didn't have any though since we all drove)

We went to Pete's Restaurant and Brewhouse in the Natomas area of Sacramento. We were taken in a small room with 25 seats available, with canvases, paints, brushes and aprons supplied for us.

The painting we were supposed to recreate: "Summer to Fall"

The Birthday girl and I

Me and my other friend Nerrizza

I've taken numerous drawing classes before, and I did take a painting class 2 years ago, but it's been such a long time so I was still nervous. But the teacher was so hilarious and calmed our nerves: she kept saying comments like,"if you're going to cry and have a meltdown, you need to leave the room!", "I don't recommend you leave your job tomorrow and move to Paris to sell your art!", "You can add elements to the painting, and you don't even have to paint the subject shown, you're not going to hurt my feelings", "you need the alcohol to calm your nerves and loosen up".

We were just given the basic colors: yellow, red, blue and white. With those 4 paints, you can mix them into whatever color and shade you want. We used acrylic paint because that is the easiest to start off with for beginners: easy to mix, dries fast, and you clean and paint with water (with oil paint, you have to use turpentine. And did I mention how SLOW it is?! Think of dewy foundation as oil paint and matte foundation as acrylic).

The teacher told us how she loved art growing up and took art classes in high school. However, in her 20's, she worked in a bank and stopped creating art all of a sudden. Then, her mother got diagnosed with breast cancer (and is a healthy survivor), which inspired her to get back into art. So she took classes at a local community college and absolutely loved it, and now she gets to teach "drunk adults" (in her words).

For the past few months, I kept saying that I want to start drawing and painting again but I never got around to it. I even bought some paints, brushes and canvases at Michael's! This class has given me that creativity mojo back. Even Nalee, who has never painted before, loved it towards the end and kept saying,"we should do this more often!"

My final painting

The girls' final masterpieces! Think we can be the next Monet? Oh yeah, and I accidentally brought the apron home with me.

I highly recommend going to a Paint Nite for a fun night with your friends, to try something new and get your creative juices flowing! Who knows, you might pick up a new hobby? If you're interested, please click on the website here, click the "Find Events" button, and you can choose the amount of miles radius near you. It is primarily located in the U.S., but Paint Nite events are also available in Canada, Argentina, South Africa and the UK. Hopefully it becomes more popular that it expands in many other countries! I recommend not buying the tickets through the website though because it's full price. For this event, it would've been $40, but I used Groupon and bought my ticket for $25.

And remember:

"If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced."-Vincent Van Gogh

Why I started getting back into beauty + blogging.

As I'm scrolling through the photos on my iPhone, I check out all the selfies I took recently and years ago. It is one of those rarer times where I'm proud of how I look, and I believe I am gaining more self-confidence. I reflect on how far I have come when I see these selfies.

My blog has now a handful of faithful readers, but before, I didn't have a lot, but I kept posting away anyway. I haven't talked about this recent posts, so if you've read my blog for a month or less, I have posted about my struggles with lupus. I have 2 forms: SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus) and lupus nephritis (which affects the kidney). This year was the least amount of times I've had to see my rheumatologist (the doctor who specializes with lupus and arthritis conditions: I've only seen her 4 times this year, and I'm going to see her before the year ends) and my nephrologist (the doctor who specializes in kidneys...I've only seen her 3 times). Previously, I've had to see my rheumatologist practically every month and my nephrologist every 2-3 months.

I'm happy to report I am getting and feeling better, and I would say yes, it does suck being in the hospital for 4-7 days. It sucked getting seizures and not driving for a long time. I vividly remember my high fevers, feelings of constant fatigue, joint pain, etc. and I am so thankful I haven't had those in  a while. But the one thing that has stuck with me throughout my lupus journey was prednisone.

What is prednisone? It is a type of steroid, most commonly taken in pill form to suppress the flare-ups and symptoms in one's body. It's usually taken for those who have lupus, asthma, Ulcerative Colitis, etc. After taking it, you feel immediately better. But the one thing that has really, really bothered me was the weight gain and the swelling of the face (aka "moonface").

I remember when my sister was diagnosed with lupus when she was 24 and I was 11. She was in severe joint pain and had other symptoms, and she had to go to the hospital and her face and weight ballooned to 180 pounds.

Little did I know, a decade later, I would be going to through the same issues. Though I have never been as heavy as my sister was, I know the pain and the helplessness of eating well and exercising vigorously but still packing on the pounds. I know how it feels to look in the mirror and feel disgusted and feel like you're not seeing "you". I know how it feels to no longer be able to wear your favorite pairs of jeans because they don't fit. I know how it feels to reminisce longingly over the old pictures of yourself, and refuse to take pictures when at a party or family function. I know how it feels to look at other females my age and long for their toned bodies, flat stomach and long lean muscles from running or yoga.

I've had to take prednisone on and off since I was 21. I remember taking it from December 2011–November 2012, starting from 60 mg. Yes, I went up to 143 pounds and my face was round, and I did not feel good or confident as a bridesmaid in my cousin's wedding. But I was able to taper with ease and I lost 25 pounds within 6 months of completely getting off of prednisone.

Bought this cute ice cream print dress from Forever 21 (May 2013), I was around 118 pounds at the time, and I haven't worn it in ages)

Me on the far right in Zurich, Switzerland, July 2013

Just when I thought things were going great in my health and lab tests, I got a notification from my rheumatologist from my trip from Europe in 2013 that my labs looked alarming. I was due to see my nephrologist, so when I took my lab tests for her, she saw that I had some high protein in my kidney and had me undergo a kidney biopsy in September 2013 and stay in the hospital overnight. A week later, my rheumatologist calls me and tells me I need to go back on 40 mg on prednisone.

I was pretty distraught in 2013. My dad passed away, and I stressed myself out so much by trying to get into the graphic design program at my university (and got accepted). I'm so forever thankful for that for that Europe trip during the summer. But I was in such agony over missing him and not being able to drive for 6 months because of having a seizure before my graphic design portfolio was due. I wanted to do so much but I was limited in where I could go, but throughout all the times I couldn't drive, I owe it to Cecilio and my brother-in-law, George. I was bombared with the workload during my first semester as an upper-division graphic design major, and I was hardly sleeping. All the stress snowballed into constant high fevers, a 2 night hospital stay, tests, and spiking up to 80 mg of prednisone. I was always eating, all the time. My younger sister loves this container of mini chocolate chip cookies from Trader Joe's, and I would devour them, although I usually hate them (and I hate them again now that I'm on a lower dose).

The 80 mg stopped my high fevers, and I was able to taper by every few weeks. However, I had the worst, roundest face I have ever seen in my life. I went to the Philippines in January 2014, and I loved my time there but I hated seeing how I look and hated pictures.

My first day in the Philippines in January 2014, by this time I was on 50 mg.

Same hat, different face shape. Left: Me in Paris, France, July 2013. Right: Me in Borocay, Philippines, January 2014.

When I came home from the Philippines and started a new semester in school, I was starting to taper even more. Sweet! By March 2014, I was down to 15 mg of prednisone, and my doctors said I could be done taking it by August. Until they found that I started getting high protein in my kidney again. They did not want to taper by then, and put me on lisinopril (a blood pressure medication) to counteract the protein. I was coughing horrible everyday as a side effect of lisinopril, so they switched me to losartan, another blood pressure drug). On losartan, the protein in my kidney started going down. By December 2014, I tapered down to 12.5 mg and then on 10 mg on New Years.

August 2014, I was down to 15 mg of prednisone by this point.

So what does this all have to do with me blogging? Well, I've always liked makeup, but I started getting more into it 3 years ago. I bought my first foundation, MAC Face and Body, and eyeshadow palette, Benefit Big Beautiful Eyes. I really loved how dewy and fresh the foundation made me look, and the flawless coverage when I would set it with Clinique powder. 

Growing up, I've always struggled with confidence: I hated the moles on my face (I still do but Cecilio loves them) and I was bullied a lot. I guess you can say that I was decent looking enough to still be able to get boyfriends in high school, but I still felt so inadequate and always compared myself to the thin white girls who always showed off their bodies at the beach or in parties, and could wear anything. Even throughout my 20's, I still struggled with comparing myself. I always worried about whether people think I'm ugly or pretty, and I always wondered if my peers treated me badly because I was ugly (It's a horrible feeling, and a lie). I started this blog because I started falling in love with makeup more and more, especially bronzers and highlighters thanks to the contouring trend. Oh yeah! During my time on the highest doses of predisone, I watched videos on Youtube on how to contour to make my face slimmer. I watched the videos from girls who also had to take the drug and shared their contouring techniques, and they also had encouraging and kind words so it made me feel less alone going through that.

So I started blogging to share my love of makeup, fashion, etc. and to also show that whoever is reading can feel beautiful too even if they don't fit society's standards of beauty. I wanted to connect with others in that aspect. I wanted a safe community where I can talk about my struggles with lupus and body image.

Me now on 8 mg of prednisone.

I'm now to taking 8 mg. Whenever I taper, the protein comes back a little but so it takes time to go back to a "trace" level (or at least 30 mcg or less) to be able to taper. I really really cannot wait until I taper down so I am able to lose more weight. I have been able to lose 4 pounds, which doesn't sound like much, but is a HUGE feat for someone who is struggling with a medical condition or has to take medications and has a difficult time losing weight. I weigh 152 now, which is 10 pounds heavier than how much I weighed almost 2 years ago, but thank goodness my face has "de-puffed" and I can take more selfies with confidence. I would love to lose weight when I start shopping for my wedding dress, but it does make me feel amazing that Cecilio reminds me that he loves me and finds me beautiful and sexy, regardless. 

It does make me feel bad that society considers only a size 0-2 woman to be beautiful. But I read an Instagram post from someone who watched a video from Chisspy, a famous beauty Youtube star, about her issues with confidence and weight loss. I was amazed because Chrisspy is one of the most well-known beauty gurus, her makeup is on-point, she has so many creative tutorials and an exotic look to her. In her video, she talks about how she lost a lot of weight and is now a size 10 (US size, the UK size is equivalent is 14). A size 10! That's the size I am right now! Yet even with the size she is, she is still strutting her stuff at Turks and Caicos. Even though she mentions in the video about struggling with confidence, and building confidence like a muscle (it takes time), I know if she can do it, I can too.

If you're ever feeling low about yourself, know you're beautiful and unique. Here's Chrisspy's video for a little pick-me-up: