2015 Reflections + 2016 Dreams + Special Thanks

2015 has been an epic year for me. It started off kinda meh...but come February, everything started coming together. I want to talk about the things that have happened, because I have reached heights I never I thought I would be able to:

1. Getting my US Citizenship: Okay, so my family and I moved to the US when I was 2.5 years old and I didn't get my green card until I was 16. My parents and I have been talking about getting our US Citizenship, but unfortunately, my dad passed away almost 3 years ago so he never fulfilled his dream of being a full-fledged American. Though Filipino by origin, his heart belonged to America. My mom and I applied in December 2014, got fingerprinted in January, took the interview (and passed!) and took my oath to be a citizen in February. America is not perfect, but I am thankful and happy to be here. As soon as I got my Naturalization certificate, I registered to vote Democrat (Bernie Sanders 2016, please) and I still have to get my passport soon so I can travel to other countries (like booking our Mexico honeymoon).

2. Getting my license back: In 2014, I have talked about not being able to drive because I had seizures. It was a depressing time, especially as I watched my peers getting jobs and internships yet I was left behind because of lack of transportation. I was so thankful for my brother in law to drive me to school, but I knew it would be inconvenient for him if I added a job or internship on top of all of that. After much begging and crying to my neurologist, she agreed sign the medical form to give to the DMV so I could start driving again. I got my license back in March, and I've been unstoppable since. I've also been taking my keppra (anti-seizure medication) religiously, unlike before when I was lazy and skipped.

3. Getting engaged: On March 26, 2015, my then-boyfriend, Cecilio got down on his knees at Central park in NYC and asked me to be his wife. I was so excited and never hugged him harder than that moment, and I almost put the ring on myself! We set the date for the big day on March 18, 2017. I know that 2016 is going to be a big year as far as wedding planning, and I'm so so excited to take on this next chapter in my life, hand in hand, with my soulmate and best friend.

4. Graduated college: After 8 arduous years, with my illness flareups and the loss of my dad in-between, I kept fighting to get into the graphic design program and finish school. It was amazing feeling of accomplishment, and it made me see how resilient I am and I could go anything I put my mind to.

5. Got an internship at the local Make-A-Wish: I interned at Make-A-Wish for 4 months, and it was an amazing experience getting to know the staff, working with the Marketing Coordinator, gaining design/marketing experience, and being a part of an organization that makes a difference in children's lives. I will miss it there, and I so wish they opened up a job opportunity for me so I could stay!

So, with 2016 around the corner, here is what I want to accomplish:

1. Get a job where I am actually appreciated for my efforts, where I feel I can make a difference, so that I can pay off my bills, some of my student loans and contribute to the wedding expenses.

2. Lose weight. I never thought it was possible to lose weight on prednisone (a steroid for those with some medical conditions to suppress the immune system, with weight gain being the biggest side effect), but the weight has been falling off since I tapered down to 8 mg at the end of July! Before, I could not lose weight until I was down to 2.5 mg. Now, I went from 157 to now 149. I figure if I up my exercise routine and go back to eating healthy like I used to, I could go down to 135 pounds (125 is my ideal, but I don't think I could get down to that by the time I go wedding dress shopping in May). I want to have a fit and healthy lifestyle too.

3. Go to church more, read Christian (Episcopal/mainline Protestant/Progressive) books along with the Bible and Book of Common Prayer, go close with my relationship with God. I definitely want to go to church more especially if I will be getting married in the one Cecilio and I have been going to right now.

4. Be more organized in my life and way of thinking. I'm very messy and scatterbrained, and I get it from my dad. Of course I won't ever be the neat freak my mom is, but I understand that a neater environment gives helps you be in a calmer state of mind and be more productive.

5. Be more loving towards others...it's hard...we humans tend to be selfish, but I want to practice empathy and putting myself in other peoples' shoes, even when I get annoyed and impatient.

6. Manage my money better. It's hard having this blog, it gives me the temptation to want and want, and spend. But I've been buying impulsively less and I want to get only the things I have been researching about and wanting for a while.

7. Never stop loving and pursuing Cecilio. I understand after marriage things go stale for a lot of couples, but I don't want that to happen to us. I want us to keep pursuing us no matter what, and strengthening our bond together.

8. Practice designing and art again. I've been feeling really low and crappy at my work, especially after getting fired, and I've lost inspiration. I feel like I am not good enough. I've always felt like that especially next to my former classmates. But I gotta get back up and pick myself up, and not worry about being perfect.

I want to give a special thanks to everyone who reads and comments on my posts. It truly means the world to me to be able to connect with other bloggers all over the world, sharing our love for makeup and fashion, while also talking about serious issues. I love you all, I am serious. I am so blessed and thankful to be a part of this community, and here's to 2016 being awesome to us!

How has 2015 treated you so far? What good (and bad) things did you experience? What are your goals and dreams for 2016?

2015 Products I Regret Buying

When you have a beauty blog, there is great temptation to lust over products to wear and review. In order to grow my blog, I wanted to be able to review those products, but I also wanted to see if they looked good on me. I learned that just because they are considered a holy grail to many a blogger, does not mean they will look good on me. Here were some products I bought, had high hopes for only to get disappointed with, but returned or gave away:

NARS Blush "Orgasm"
Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick "Lolita" (I exchanged it for "Berlin")
Sephora Cream Lip Stain "Marvelous Mauve"
Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick "Double Dare"
MAC Lipstick "Whirl" (you can read my review here)

But in this post, I will be talking about the dud products featured on the photo above, all of which I still have.

1. NYX Suede Cream Lipsticks: The shades I have above are Soft-Spoken, Cherry Skies, and Life's a Beach. Honestly, I did want to love them, and you guys know much I love NYX. But the formula was so messy, and I don't know if it has to do with the product itself or the applicator, but it makes a huge mess. I actually originally had one of the shades Pink Lust, because you know how I love hot pink shades. But this one looked so...weird on me. Maybe because it was really cool toned? I also felt like it looked better on those for fairer skin tones. I love corals and bright oranges, but Life's a Beach also did not fare well with my medium–tan skin. And I should've known better than to get Soft-Spoken, considering that it's a dupe of Whirl. Plus, at $7, these are more expensive than the other NYX lip products, which are around $4–$6.

2. Maybelline "The Smokes" Palette: I bought this on a whim thinking that it would be a decent dupe for the Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette. I don't expect $54 quality for a $12 product. However, you couldn't believe how much I had to keep watching and swiping just to get mediocre pigmentation. Plus, the shadows were very unblendable. I should've just saved my money to get the Naked Smoky Palette.

3. Anastasia Beverly Hills Cream Contour Kit (Medium): I bought this in July because it was on sale for $25 (full price is $40) at Macy's Online. I wanted to experiment with contouring more, and I will say that it does look beautiful on me. However, it does lean on the warmer side, and for contour, you want a shade to be cooler to give the illusion of a sculpted shadow. The biggest issue I have with this is that it is HARD to blend! I even used this with the Tarte Slenderizing Brush, which is supposed to be paired with cream products. I had to really, really pack it on, and really swipe it hard on my face. I watched Manny MUA's review/demo of this here, and he said in order to make it creamier and softer to use, to get the Tarte Maracuja oil (which is $48) or any other "beauty" oil. You gotta be kidding me. So I have to drop extra $$ just to get this to work better on me? What if I am in a hurry or want to bring this for when I travel? So I would have to bring an extra bottle of oil too? Ain't nobody got time for that!

4. Gerard Cosmetics 1995 Lipstick: When I first started blogging and being crazy about makeup, I've heard so many bloggers going crazy over this lipstick. The 90's trends are back, and Kylie Jenner rocks shades similar to this. Plus, this was a collaboration with beauty blogger Jaclyn Hill. I've been wanting this lipstick for months because it looked so beautiful on other people that wore it, but when Gerard Cosmetics had a sale in March, I was able to snatch it for $13. I was sorely disappointed when I swiped it and it hardly showed up on my lips. This isn't "My Lips but Better". This is "My Lips but...snooze..." I hate to say that, but I guess because I have darker lips than most. For a 90's/fall shade, I prefer MAC Lipstick "Retro" much more.

5. Makeup Academy Liquid Lipstick (Brick): I've always wanted to try Makeup Academy, since it's a UK brand and they sell them here in the US at CVS. So I tried this liquid lipstick in the shade brick. It is a GORGEOUS color, I would describe it as a dark rose pink. This is definitely my signature shade. I like the peppermint tingle upon first application. However, it is super crumbly and dry, moreso than the ColourPop Ultra Matte Liquid Lipsticks. I expect liquid lipsticks to be on the drier side since they are usually a matte finish, but wow, this crumbled and peeled my lips really fast. Plus, the applicator was a brush that was pointed and precise at first, but after a few uses, the brush got really messed up, and I couldn't bring it back to its original place, so it became really really hard to apply. It is also pretty expensive too for it being sold in a drugstore, which was $9, but I guess I should expect that from an international brand.

Here's to being more cautious and conscious in 2016 with what I buy! What beauty products did you get in 2015 that you regretting purchasing, and got disappointed with?

Christmas 2015 recap

Hey guys, I kinda have been out of the loop with blogging...I mean, I still read everyone's post through my phone, but I haven't gotten the time to comment or post myself. This Christmas season has been a bit hectic, and different. Why so?

We usually spend Christmas Eve having a formal dinner and we wait until midnight to open presents. But we decided to have Christmas Eve "linner" (the time between lunch and dinner), and open our presents around 8 pm, because my mom and nephew Nico were super busy packing to go to the Philippines on Christmas morning. So planning for Christmas has kinda been on the side for us this year, but we still wanted to celebrate.

My mom was pretty stressed out about the laglag-bala (drop bullet in Tagalog) incident going on in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, where there have been reports of innocent passengers randomly getting bullets planted in their luggage and getting fined over it. You can read more about it here. She's been frantically looking for TSA locks in the house, and Cecilio helped her with opening and closing them. Luckily, she and Nico did not have to deal with the laglag-bala upon arriving in the airport. But their whole flight took 28 hours, from SF with layovers in Tokyo and Guam in between, before finally arriving in Manila. They are staying there for 3 weeks, and I know they are going to have an awesome time. This is a much-needed trip for my mom to get away from work and to visit her mom, my grandma, as much as possible. I love seeing the pictures of her and Nico just relaxing in the patio of my Tito's house, and I'm kinda jealous of how warm it is there compared to here.

So on Christmas Eve, we ordered takeout from Peony Palace, a Chinese restaurant 5 minutes from my house. I love Chinese food, and we don't eat it as much as we eat pho, Thai, Japanese, or Filipino food, but Chinese is one of my favorite cuisines so I was happy that we got to have that. I didn't take pictures of the food, but here are some of our little get together with my sister and her family:

Me and my sister, Trixie

My doggies!

Me and Cecilio

With my mom and sisters

Cecilio's gifts for me: Matcha Green Tea, "Beloved Dog" (a coffee table book), and the CIZE Program by Shaun T. I have been hinting about how I wanted CIZE or PiYo, and I even had them in my fitness wishlist. Right now I've been doing 3 days of the beginner calendar, and I love it. I will definitely do a review next month (argh, year...) and track my progress. Once I finish the beginner program (which is 6 weeks long), I'll do the standard advanced program, which is 4 weeks long. I've been lucky to lose 7 pounds since July, despite still being on prednisone, and not having the best eating habits. Maybe because now I'm only on 8 mg? This is my favorite gift, lol.

My sister got me some notecards and a Juicy Couture keychain! Definitely gonna use this for my car keys!

My mom also got me a pair of leggings with a skirt built in because she knows I LOVE leggings...can you blame me, they are comfortable and black goes well with everything! But, they sent us the wrong size, which ended up being 3 sizes too big. So I have to call the Customer Service and have them send me the box with a return label so that I can exchange it for the right size (my mom even showed me on her order history it was the right size).

On Christmas Day, I started my Day 1 of Cize, haha. But Cecilio and his family celebrate the day, so I went over for a little get together and we had Filipino food along with some ham my mom gifted them with. I got some cool presents from my future in-laws too!

We all got scarves, and I was SO happy because the scarf I got is super warm compared to the yellow one I am wearing in the pictures! That one is is thin and more suited for spring. Whereas the plaid blue one keeps me so nice and cozy.

After the festivities died down, Cecilio and his parents watched Star Wars Episode VII, and his sisters went to see Daddy's Home. His aunt and niece+nephew left, so we decided to watch Star Wars Episode VI, because I only got to watch Episodes IV and V before VII came out. I always knew he was a Star Wars fan, but I never got into it until recently when VII came out and I watched the movies so I can understand. Now I'm pretty hooked! He is the Han to my Leia, haha. Now I need to watch the prequels! And VIII is coming out on May 26, 2017, which is 2 months+8 days after we get married, so that's another huge thing to look forward to in 2017! (Not that I'm not excited about 2016, because I am too).

Then towards the end, we decided to take a drive down the Fabulous 40s, a wealthy neighborhood in East Sacramento, which is actually close to where I went to college. Every year, all of the houses seriously decorate their houses to the max. I don't have pictures, but last year they were featured on the list of America's Best Streets for Christmas Lights. Cecilio and I kept lamenting on how much we want to live in those houses (they range from French gothic to colonial style mansions), but we would have to be millionaires! And I'm sure even the one-story houses there would still be at least $600k.

Anyway, I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas/Festivus and have a great New Year! Please tell me if you guys did anything awesome, I would love to hear about it!

December 2015 Ipsy Glambag: With Love from Ipsy

I thought I cancelled my ipsy glambag subscription for this month, but I guess I didn't go through with it since it requires an email verification too. Plus, there's a huge pink button that says "Nevermind" for if you change your mind about cancelling, whereas "Continue with cancellation" is in a smaller pink font against the white background (they really make it hard for you to cancel, huh?!) So I ended up getting this month's glambag. The theme is With Love from Ipsy.

I love the red quilted bag, as it's suited for the holiday season as well! Now let's go to the products:

First, this is the Pacifica Power of Love Natural Lipstick (Tender Heart). I'm familiar with Pacifica, because it's sold in the green beauty aisle in Target. This looks like a pretty, rosy pink shade, right? At first, I felt like it was kind of a bummer because it hardly shows up on my lips. But I realize that it is more on the nude side with pink undertones, giving me that MLBB (my lips but better) look or the no-makeup makeup look. There are slight differences with my bare lips and putting this on, but with lips as dark as mine, it's very subtle. Also, it comes with a nude liner to complement it, ModelCo. Illusion Lip Liner (only pictured above).

Since I don't have makeup remover (or toner) at the moment, I'm thankful that the Klorane Floral Water Makeup Remover is in my bag. But knowing that I have a really hard time removing makeup (even with micellar water, wipes, and toner, there's still traces), I know that this will be my most used item and it's gonna go fast.

Though I asked to not have skincare items in my ipsy survey, they still sent me the Acure Cell Stimulating Facial Mask. I can't complain though, I have been kinda breaking out a little bit (because I've been a bit lazy with my skincare, oops). I could use this mask to deep cleanse my skin and get rid of my pores.

Last but not least is the Elizabeth Mott Thank Me Later Eyeshadow Primer. While I am still using the Urban Decay Primer, I guess I will try this to see how my eyeshadow will hold up over this. Still, I would've preferred to get something else.

Overall, this month's bag is decent, and that's saying a lot because I am picky about the items I get. However, I see myself using everything but the eyeshadow primer frequently. Unfortunately, I did cancel to make room for Boxycharm (which I resubscribed to), since I am tight on $$ and can't choose both. Though Boxycharm is twice as expensive, they are mostly full-sized products and I'm pretty happy with what I get there.

Christmas tag

So it seems like I've been really getting into tags, huh? Well, they do remind me of the Xanga and Myspace surveys I used to do as a teen...but without the drama of my real-life peers. Plus, hello, it's Christmas, it's supposed to be fun, light-hearted and joyful! I got this tag from Wellemma. Feel free to copy and paste for your own blog!

Favourite Christmas movie? A Charlie Brown Christmas. I love the soundtrack! I also watch A Christmas Story. "You'll shoot your eye out kid!"

Do you open your Christmas presents in the morning or afternoon? My family and I open them on midnight of Christmas. They have always told me it was a Filipino tradition, but I think it's because 80–90% of Filipinos are Catholic so they have a Christmas Eve dinner and go to Midnight Mass. Since my family and I are not Catholic, we have Christmas Eve dinner and wait until midnight to open presents.

Do you have a favourite Christmas memory? My recent favorite Christmas memories include going to SF with Cecilio a week before and strolling around Union Square, and sitting down while sipping coffee and hot cocoa and admiring the huge Christmas tree. I want to get us to go ice skating so bad but he doesn't want it. Anyway, we walk around the shops, and then we go to Macy's (which is 5 stories high!) Then we eat at a nice restaurant for dinner. In 2013, we went to the Cliff House, a seafood restaurant on a...you guessed it, a cliff, overlooking Ocean Beach. Last year, we went to Bistro Aix, a French/New-American inspired restaurant in the Marina area.

Favourite festive food? Oh my gosh, anything minty! Tis the season for Ghirardelli peppermint bark holiday squares, which I have right now downstairs! I also ordered peppermint creams from See's Candie's for my sister's adult day program for a fundraiser...gone in 3 days.

Favourite Christmas gift? Ooh...that's a tough one. I remember when I was 7, my parents gave me a hamster. I named it Meatball, but they gave it away within a few months (I really didn't want them to) because I guess no one really took care of it (I was 7 and irresponsible), it stunk up the whole house and bit me and I cried. It was my first "mammal" pet (I usually had fish and parakeets) Now I have 2 crazy dogs that do stink from time to time, and Flora play bites me at times (and they can be hard too!), so I take care of them and love them to death <3

Favourite Christmas scent? Right now I LOVE Bath and Body Works Twisted Peppermint lotion. It smells like the peppermint chocolates I love, and it doesn't smell like much in the bottle, but when you slather it on, I guarantee it's STRONG, just how I like it! It has peppermint, sugared snow (how is that possible?), vanilla buttercream, fresh balsam and hint of musk.

Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions? Like I said, we have Christmas Eve dinner and open presents around midnight. The next day, I usually spend time with Cecilio and his family.

What tops your tree? Nothing this year. We usually have a star or angel though. It's funny because every time it's time to decorate the tree, I always recall a time when I was in 6th grade, and I threw a fit because my mom bought a ribbon as the tree topper, and it turned in a huge fight. "No one has a ribbon as a topper, I only see stars or angels!!" I would retort.

What's the best part of Christmas for you? Jesus' birthday, spending times with family and loved ones, and the fun traditions that come with it.

Perfect Holiday Lip: Sephora Cream Lip Stain (01 Always Red)

I've been trying to research holiday makeup without involving the typical gold shimmery eyes and matte red lip (applies to Valentine's Day too). But it's tried and true for a reason: it's a classic look and fits perfectly within the festive party look. As much as I wanted to try something different this season, I tried Sephora Cream Lip Stain (01 Always Red) and fell back in love.

This lip product is one among 14 shades in the Sephora Collection, and only retails for $13 for 0.169 fluid oz! This is a steal when you're comparing it to other liquid lipsticks in Sephora (Kat Von D, Stila, etc. which start at $20+). The quality cannot be beat either. It is somewhat drying, but not as painfully so as Stila's liquid lipsticks. That's because these babies contain avocado oil for smooth and comfortable wearing. Also, it is extremely long lasting, like it won't budge for hours even while eating and drinking. I would still touch up just to be sure, but even when I swatched it on my arm it still stays! It's perfect for those upcoming parties and celebrations!

Sephora describes this as a matte classic bold red, and I would say that this has blue undertones to make your teeth whiter, so feel free to flash those pearly whites during pictures! This is definitely a universal shade, so no matter what skin tone you are, you are bound to find it looks great on you. Here's a swatch:

I also have the shade Strawberry Kissed, which is a hot pink and more suited for the summer. I had Marvelous Mauve because it was so raved about and often compared to Stila Patina, but I was so disappointed to see how it looked on me, so I gave it to Cecilio's sister (my future sis-in-law), Sabina, for her 16th birthday last month.

Here's how it looks like on me above. I love the velvety look and texture. And like I said...a matte bold red, gold eyeshadow (I used Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar), highlight, and winged liner is a classic for a reason! It looks great on everyone! I'm actually in the car with my friend as we were taking our dogs to PetSmart to have a photoshoot with Santa, LOL!

What is your go-to holiday red lip?

Winter Polish: Zoya "Shawn"

not bad for not doing it on my own, right? I know I'll get better with practice.

This is my first nail blog post. Despite having 11 bottles (that's really minuscule compared to other collections I've seen), I've never reviewed nail polish because I always go to the salon to get them done. I haven't gotten them done since October, because I am trying to save money. The salon I go to, depending on whether you want a basic or spa mani/pedi can cost between $12–$30. And when I go, I usually get my whole face waxed, which is $30 ($8 if I just want to do my brows and $5 for upper lip). Yikes! Though it's not much cheaper to buy your own polish (especially because I am slowly developing an addiction to it), every little penny counts, and I do want to experiment with more colors than what is offered at the salon.

I bought the Zoya nail polish in the shade "Shawn" at Nugget Market, a Sacramento-based chain grocery store that carries conventional items, but mainly specializes mostly organic, local, gluten-free, vegan/vegetarian, non-GMA products, gourmet, etc... basically, their target audience is for the health conscious (and upper middle class, since their prices are not cheap). They have a decent-sized beauty section that contains makeup, hair products, nail products, skin care, perfume, body care, and soap. I never bought anything from the beauty section, though I would test the lip gloss or take a whiff at the soaps (they smell heavenly!), but one day last month, I found myself browsing the nail polish section, overwhelmed and indecisive about what shade to get. Nugget Market has a huge section for Zoya nail polish, and I found myself drawn to the green shades, since green is one of my favorite colors. After debating to get "Shawn" and "Hunter", I ended up with Shawn.

I would say that Shawn is a forest green shade with yellow tones. I fancy all shades of green, but I particularly love the forest/mossy/emerald shades, so of course there's no surprise I chose this. This is a festive color for the holidays or even for St. Patricks Day. The Zoya website describes this as a cream finish, which I don't know what that means in terms of nail finishes (I know there's matte, glitter, metallic, etc.) but it looks and feels glossy to me.

Because Nugget Market only carries eco-friendly beauty products, it's no surprise that they sell Zoya. They always make the list of non-toxic nail polishes. The brand was started by Zoya and Michael Michael Reyzis, who founded Art of Beauty, a spa that specializes in natural nails, skincare, and European herbal treatments. Their polishes have no:

Toluene: a water-insoluble liquid used to add to gasoline (yikes!), paint thinners, cleaning products, and adhesives. More information here.

Camphore: A white solid substance with strong odor.

Formaldehyde: A colorless, flammable gas.

DBP (dibutyl phthalate): a plasticizer, used to add long lasting power in polish.

One thing I noticed about this polish is that there is no strong smell, because they don't contain any of the ingredients above. I do admit I love the smell of strong polish (like Essie's) but I know it's not good for me or the environment.

The only thing that bugs me is that it shows up a tad darker on my nails than on the bottle, but I guess it's ok.

I used Sally Hansen Double Duty Base & Top Coat for the base, and Mineral Fusion Top Coat, which is also sold at Nugget Market.

Overall, I think this is a classy, subdued holiday shade that reminds me of a Christmas tree! Would you wear this shade, or do you have any similar green polishes you like? What kind of nail art or polish do you like to wear during the holidays?

Christmas Playlist

I am such a sucker for Christmas music and I am not ashamed to admit that I have been listening to it everyday. 9 more days! So here, I compiled a playlist of songs for you to enjoy. They are a mix of religious and secular, classic and modern, instrumental and lyrical. So if you have Spotify you have easy access to this. Enjoy!

1. "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)" by Alvin & The Chipmunks
2. "Silent Night" by Sufjan Stevens
3. "Christmas, Baby Please Come Home" by Anberlin
4. "Last Christmas" by Hawk Nelson
5. "All I Want For Christmas Is You" by Mariah Carey
6. "You're Here" by Francesca Battistelli
7. "Sleigh Ride" by Boston Pops Orchestra
8. "Hark, The Heralds Angels Sing" Vince Guaraldi Trio (This is from A Charlie Brown Christmas)
9. "Joy To The World" by Kenny G
10. "Deck The Halls" by Tenth Avenue North
11. "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" by The Three Suns

What are your favorite Christmas songs at the moment?

50 Facts About Me Tag

Hey guys! So I'm happy to find that Kay from Shoes and Glitter tagged me for a 50 facts about me post! I'm really honored, she is one of my loyal readers and she has so many cool posts about makeup, fragrance (she has a neat big collection), sprinkled with some lifestyle posts. I have tagged specific people below, but even if you're not tagged, feel free to do it anyway! I would love to get to know more of my readers, as I understand how much community is important when it comes to blogging. So the rules are, whether you are tagged or not, come up with 50 facts about yourself! Pretty easy, right? But sometimes it is hard to come up with 50 interesting things. Without further ado, here are some things you'd like to know about me!

1. I just turned 26 years old.

2. Christmas is my favorite holiday.

3. I was born in Pasay City, Philippines (Metro Manila area), and when I was 2.5 years old, we migrated to the US, where I lived in the San Francisco Bay area for 9 years before moving to the Sacramento area.

4. I LOVE Flaming Hot Cheetos.

5. I'm also 1/4 Indian.

6. Before I started getting really into makeup, I was collecting exercise DVDs, searching high and low for the ones that would give me the best results (weight loss, strength, tone, etc.) Some of them didn't work out (30 Day Shred, Insanity), and I got amazing results from some of them (Ballet Beautiful, yoga, Blogilates). It sucks being on prednisone making it really, really difficult to lose weight, but I'm only on 8 mg right now and I have been able to lose 6 pounds. Right now I love Physique 57.

7. Speaking of prednisone, I have 2 forms of lupus: SLE and lupus nephritis, which I have talked about in this blog. I am prone to high protein in my kidney which is why i have to be on prednisone.

8. I met my fiancé, Cecilio at our community college newspaper because we were both on each other's respective high school newspaper senior year. He loved the writing and reporting aspect carrying the little stenopad and interviewing people, I loved writing and designing layouts on InDesign. As much as I loved writing, I realized that I didn't like reporting that much, which was why I switched from journalism to graphic design.

My friend Christina, Cecilio and I, in December 2007. We were just friends and I was with someone else...here the story of how we met

9. I've daydreamed about having my own makeup line, as I think of Marlena from Makeup Geek (I JUST found out she is a Sacramento native!) and Maureen from Tarte. Whatever I do, I do not want to end up like Doe Deere from Lime Crime.

10. I have been to Vancouver 3 times, twice for being a bridesmaid at my cousins' weddings. All times, I have visited Whistler (Canada's Lake Tahoe) too.

11. I did want to be a cheerleader in high school, but I was afraid of getting scrutiny from my rocker friends, and I didn't want my peers to think "What is she doing, she's not cool or popular to be doing that" (yes, the people in my high school were assholes) so I tried out for the team in my community college...which was fun but I didn't jive well with the other girls, and there was no stunting (a girl from previous years fell off a stunt, broke her neck and almost got paralyzed which was why they got rid of it)

12. I really loved my art history classes, especially the Renaissance period. I really wanted to go to Florence after that. And I did get to go to Florence in 2013, but only for 1 night (we spent the rest of the trip in Rome, which I absolutely loved as well)

Me in front of the Colosseum, Rome, 2013

13. Even though I've always been a cat person, I have 2 dogs that I absolutely love. Well I love both, but I've always preferred having a cat, we just never got to have cats or dogs until last year (my dad wouldn't allow them), and my mom prefers dogs.

14. I'm really, really picky when it comes to Filipino food, and it's kinda hard when you're at a Filipino party and there's a ton of food, and when you decline or only eat a little bit, you get pushed to eat more. I appreciate the hospitality though.

15. Cecilio and I will be getting married in the Episcopal Church (known as the Anglican Church in the UK) because I grew up evangelical/Protestant, and he grew up Catholic, so this meets us in the middle that way as far as the Christian faith.

16. I am an INFP.

17. I have a lot of moles on my face which I have always hated and have always felt ugly because of them. I have 2 on my nose. I have thought about getting them removed, but Cecilio loves them and says they are a part of who I am, and he says they remind him of Jupiter's moons (he's a big astronomy fan). You know you've found the one when they love the things about you that you hate about yourself.

18. My first makeup brands I have tried were Bonne Bell and Cover Girl.

19. I think Cecilio and I are pretty set on going to Playa del Carmen, Mexico for our honeymoon. My only concern is that our wedding is in March aka Spring Break Season (aka college students getting wasted and trashing everything). But it does comfort me to know that PDC is not the concrete jungle that Cancun is (it is an hour down south from Cancun).

20. After looking at how much student loans I owe, I'm kinda cringing and am wondering why I spent to long in my university. But then I realized that I was having my own issues with lupus and my dad was dying.

21. I really want Bernie Sanders to be President because he cares about those type of issues (education) but also the environment, women, minorities, low-income people, etc. He does not have an agenda like the Republican candidates or even Hillary Clinton to an extent.

I want the "Bern Down For What?!" t-shirt

22. When it comes to wedding dress advice, I've heard over and over that the dresses you DON'T want to have are the dresses that end up being "The One". A lot of the times. I hope that doesn't happen to me: I don't want to get specific on what type of dress I want (because Cecilio reads this), but I know what I don't want: satin, strapless, and/or the ones with pickups. I'm worried that I'll get a dress exactly like that, that it'll end up being "The One". I'm particular about what silhouette, fabric, etc. of dress I want, but I guess I should let that notion go and keep an open mind. I hope I will be one of those lucky ones that gets "The One" dress that she actually envisioned in her head. But I'll love what I'll love, right? I'll probably go shopping for it in April or May.

The type of dress I don't want. I'm sure it looks beautiful on some people, but it's just not me. But I will never know unless I try, right? But I'm probably like, 6 inches shorter and 40 pounds heavier than this model.

23. Growing up in the SF Bay Area, I got spoiled going to many cool places for field trips: The Exploratorium, Gold Rush Oakland Museum of California, Museum of Modern Art, etc. I can't remember everything, but I had a ton of fun going to all of them.

24. I have always wanted to drive and I would be so jealous of all of my peers who would drive in high school. I didn't get my license until after graduation, because it took me 4 attempts to get my permit (I passed on the 3rd try but it expired) and I barely passed the behind the wheel test with the skin of my teeth.

25. I used to daydream about being a Sacramento Kings Dancer or SF 49er Gold Rush Cheerleader, but it may be a farfetched dream since I don't have the dance experience they want, plus with all the insane weight standards and having to look perfect at all times, performing under bad weather conditions (not good for my lupus), and let's not forget about the low pay! Plus, I don't want people from elementary to high school finding out that I were to become one. (I also used to watch Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders: Making The Team)

26. My first concert was Britney Spears when I was 10 years old in Mountain View, CA.

27. Cecilio and I have seen the band Anberlin 5 times. We want to have our first dance to the song "Inevitable".

28. I am a peppermint addict. I love mint ice cream, treats, etc. I just bought the Bath and Body Works lotion "Twisted Peppermint" because I loved how strong it smelled when I slathered it on. I also ordered Peppermint Creams (Peppermint Patties) from See's Candy from my younger sister's adult day program, and it's been gone within 3 days. Tis the season for Minter!

29. I have always wanted to go to Japan, since I was 11.

30. My first job was being a tutor for my community college's computer lab and helping out the graphic design students with their homework (we all had specific classes for the Adobe Creative Suite: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, etc.) or I would lend out headphones. During their final projects, I would man the large format printer and print out their projects for them. Pretty cushy for a first job huh?

31. I experimented with so many different styles in high school. Freshman year, I wore Forever 21, then I all of a sudden had a punk rock/poser phase of wearing Hot Topic, safety pins, striped leg warmers, Punk Hello Kitty, PacSun, all the time. Then sophomore year, I wanted mostly stuff from PacSun, American Eagle and Abercrombie (although I hardly wore Abercrombie because it was/is too expensive). Junior year...I tried to wear 80's inspired outfits with a modern twist. Senior year, I was more simple with a boho/artsy style, and I also liked the classic peacoats from the 60's. Yeah I was all over the place with my style.

32. I love Mexican food. Cecilio is half-Mexican so he started taking me to authentic taquerias. Before I started dating him, I only knew of Taco Bell, Del Taco, and Chipotle.

33. I would love to branch out to Youtube, and I even did a review of NYX Butter Intense Glosses here (this was in March), but yeah I'm a bit nervous and too lazy to edit, haha. Plus, I would be so afraid of negative comments. I don't know how the big names handle haters.

34. I was Team Playstation growing up, but Cecilio was Team Nintendo 64.

35. I never cared about college until my senior year, and by the time I wanted to apply to a university, it was too late because I had bad grades (except for my senior year) and I never even took the SAT, so I had to go to community college first.

36. I have been as low as 115 pounds and as high as 158 pounds. 115 is about low normal according to my height and BMI, but when I reach there I look really scary, especially because that's when I have my bad lupus flareups. Thinner does not always mean healthier and better looking (some people are naturally very tiny though and still healthy)

37. My younger sister, Sarah, who is 23, and my 15 year old niece, Abigail have autism. It's kind of a thing I'm scared about when I have kids, especially because there is a connection between a mom with lupus having a child with autism (just look at Toni Braxton as an example). But Cecilio says no matter what, we will love and cherish them because they are ours.

38. My favorite shoes are Converses and Vans. I'm pretty lazy when it comes to shoes.

39. I want to get back into yoga again, and I have DVDs but I love classes. It's just a bit expensive, and the closest studio right next to me is a Bikram (Hot) Yoga studio, which I don't think I can handle. I would rather do Vinyasa, Power, or Ashtanga.

40.  I used to play a lot of Neopets when I was 10–12.

41. I almost got kidnapped when I was 16. It was super scary. These were the type of things my dad used to warn me about and why he was a bit overprotective of me.

42. I wanted to be a fashion designer and contemplated going to FIDM in San Francisco. They had graphic and interior design programs too, which I also wanted to do. Well, I ended up majoring in one of those at my university.

43. I love to draw, paint, and do photography (I better like doing all of those things if I majored in graphic design) and I want to get back into it.

44. My older sister and I are 13 years apart, and she's turning 40 next year (good thing she doesn't know about this blog because she would be pissed) but she honestly doesn't look it. She looks like she's in her late 20s/early 30s.

45. My first time in Sephora was when I was 13 years old. I remember looking for MAC there and was sorely disappointed to not find it there. LOL!

46. I've contemplated being a wedding photographer, makeup artist, or invitation designer. I even got an interview to help assist a wedding invitation studio here in Sacramento, and it was contractual job. Unfortunately, I didn't make the cut, even though my portfolio was good enough to garner an interview.

47. I have been to Hawaii 4 times: Big Island in 2005, Oahu/Honolulu in 2007, and Maui in 2014 and 2015. Check out my experiences and photos of being in Maui this year here!

Where we stayed, The Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas

Ka'anapali Beach

48. This just popped up in my head: My dad used to tell me when I was 4, I stole an angel figurine at a Christian gift shop, and he made me take it back and apologize to the clerk.

49. I was also into Pokemon when I was younger, I wanted the Charizard card so bad, but my dad was not willing to pay $50 for a piece of paper (but it was holographic and rare! And I'm so sure it's worth a lot now!)

50. I'm still trying to find a job, and I didn't realize how hard it would be even with a Bachelor's degree. I had that huge fail at that job I had in October, so I'm back to square one, at least I have my internship (Make-A-Wish®) but it's ending on the 21st. So keep me in your thoughts and prayers.

There you have it! Here, I will tag:

Overdue Ulta Black Friday Haul.

I really tried not to go crazy over Black Friday since I am a bit tight on money, but after seeing a few items I have been eyeing, having $33 worth of points from Ulta, and them having free shipping over $35 during Black Friday, I knew I had to splurge a bit. I realize that this is overdue, but that's because Ulta does take a while delivering, and for some really, really weird reason, they decided to ship the LORAC lipgloss separately. Seriously, it was one tiny lipgloss filled with bubble wrap in a huge box. Really now, Ulta?

Check out what I got!

I got the NYX Eyeshadow Base (White) because I wanted to give some vibrancy to my eyeshadows, and it did deliver. I noticed how much the colors came alive on my Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar Palette when I wore it. It does swatch a tad bit darker, but that's because of the overcast lighting, but there's no denying that it appears more pigmented. Here's an example:

Left to right: NYX White Eyeshadow Base, Too Faced Semi Sweet "Peanut Butter" (alone), Too Faced Semi Sweet "Peanut Butter" (under eyeshadow base)

Since I have been enjoying NYX matte lipsticks, and purple lipsticks in general, I decided to go ahead and get NYX Matte Lipstick (Aria). I underestimated how bright and punchy this purple would be, but I love it. I've been branching out into purples, since it's definitely one of those shades that are out of my comfort zone. I have also been enjoying NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream (Copenhagen).

I wanted to try something new, so I also purchased the LORAC Alter Ego Lip Gloss (Flower Child). It is a pinkish coral shade, beautiful for the spring and summer, but I am still wearing it because it's so comfortable and moisturizing on the lips. I would love to get more of the lip glosses from LORAC such as the shades Show Girl and Dominatrix.

Here's the swatches for both lip products:

NYX Matte Lipstick (Aria) and LORAC Alter Ego Lip Gloss (Flower Child)

NYX Matte Lipstick (Aria)

Finally, I've been wanting a curling iron for a while even though I hardly curl it as much as I used to. But I wanted a more expensive type, like the Beachwaver S1, but I did not feel like saving my points up to $129 for it. So instead, I opted for the Bead Head Curlipops 1" Tourmaline Ceramic Styling Iron, which I got on sale for $15 (original price was $30). Since I haven't curled my hair in a long time, I figured this would be a good place to start, especially because it was already reasonably priced to begin with. I also read some pretty good reviews about it. I guess I shouldn't always be in the school of thought that more expensive=better quality. I also like the packaging of this because it's made to look like a lollipop, hence the name "Curlipops".

What other sweet deals did you get from Black Friday or Cyber Monday?

Urban Decay Revolution Lipgloss (Quiver & Liar)

One of my favorite things about blogging is rediscovering my old products, wondering why I bought them and hardly used them, and realizing how much I actually DO like them and end up wearing them on a regular basis again. That's the case with the Urban Decay Revolution High-Color Lip Gloss. At $22 (for 0.17 oz), these babies came out this summer in 14 shades: I got Quiver (top: rosy cool-toned pink) and Liar (medium nude).

Here is a chart of the other shades, according to Temptalia:

As you can see, the shades are fun, intense, and pack a punch! I like how Urban Decay is going back to their roots of saturation. While I love their Naked lines, I do first remember Urban Decay as the punk-rock, retro brand. But if you like nudes, don't worry! There are 2 in the line: Liar and Kinky.

What I like about this product is the packaging and the flattened barrel tube rather than the standard cylinder one. It's pretty unique, and makes for great blog photos since it won't roll around! But the doe-foot applicator is also a bit sharper, making it easy and precise to apply. Unlike most lip glosses, which tend to be sheer, these are super intense that you don't need to put it over lipstick (you could for extra oomph!)

One thing I noticed is how super hydrating and amazing it feels, especially during the winter when lips and skin tend to dry out. I love pursing my lips together and feeling how smooth it is. It is not sticky at all. Most lip glosses' shines give the illusion of fuller lips, but the Hilurlip in these glosses add that extra volume.

I first got the shade Quiver, which is described as a medium rose pink. To me, it's darker and more cool-toned...let's say...more berry-like?

A few months later, I decided to get Liar. Now I've mentioned in this blog that I don't do well with nude lippies very much. But I am proud to say that Liar is one of those rare ones that matches my skin tone very nicely, and doesn't blend with it. It doesn't wash my face out, and it's a shade I can see myself wearing regularly, or for day-time. When I am not feeling a bold lip, this would be my go-to lippie.

Liar, Quiver

I would say that the staying power is decent, but not as strong as I want to be. But I guess the tradeoff is the moisturizing formula. But if I really like a lip product and other aspects about it, I am willing to go through the hassle of reapplying after eating or drinking.

Wanna see how they both look on my lips?

If you don't mind reapplying but you absolutely love intense shades, I totally recommend this! I also would encourage you to get it if you have dry lips and want to feel comfortable. I unfortunately have encountered lip glosses that were drying too (I guess I just have really, really dry lips), but if I can say this feels painless and comfortable, you will be able to enjoy this too. I hope I can get my hands on the shades 69 and Brickhouse.

Do you guys have any of the Urban Decay Revolution Lip glosses, or any of the Urban Decay Revolution lipsticks? (matte or regular) What is your opinion about these?