January Beauty Favorites

With the New Year comes new makeup, and although I have been pretty good about restraining myself so far, I did want to treat myself with a few new goodies. 

1. Too Faced Chocolate Bon Bons Palette: When I first heard about this baby coming out, I knew I had to have it...not just for the packaging, but also for the versatility of the shades. I loved mixing the browns with the violets as creases, and the lighter shimmery shades as the lid to give my look extra "pop" and contrast. It is extremely versatile.

2. Milani Rose Powder Blush (Coral Cove): I actually got this blush last year and am rediscovering it. Yes, of course I am going gaga over the rose-shaped packaging, but it is such a pretty, feminine shade that is suitable for the spring (the weather in California is warming up, despite intermittent days of El Nino rainstorms). I would love to try other shades as well, but they are limited in my local Walmart and Walgreens.

3. L'OREAL Voluminous Original Mascara: Oh man, I thought that the Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara was the be-all, end-all when it comes to curling, lengthening, and and thickening. But this takes the cake, for a fraction of the price! Luckily I got it for free as a Christmas gift from my future in-laws (in came in a L'OREAL mascara gift set along with the Voluminous Butterfly and Voluminous Miss Manga). I have more than enough mascara to last me a good chunk of the year without breaking the bank! (Though, that's not what gets me...it's the lipsticks, lip glosses, and eyeshadow palettes)

4. NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams (Dubai and Budapest): As some of you guys may know, NYX came out with 7 new shades in their Soft Matte Lip Cream line! (They also came out with new shades for the Matte Lipsticks, Butter Lipsticks, Butter Glosses, and Intense Butter Glosses). I got lucky and was able to grab the shades Madrid, Dubai, and Budapest. Shown above is Dubai (medium brown) and Budapest (deep mauve). I never expect to like Dubai, especially because I have complained about  brown/beige lipsticks not looking good on me in the past (example: MAC Whirl), but wow I was impressed! I absolutely adore Budapest, it is like a lighter version of Copenhagen (and more wearable for everyday). Expect a review coming up for these, especially because I ordered the shades Paris and Manila.

5. OFRA Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick (Americano): I blogged about this gorgeous cinnamon-red shade, and it quickly gained many comments. I am so glad to have resubscribed to Boxycharm because I got this gem. It works wonderfully on my skin while not being drying whatsoever! Expect me to talk about this a lot.

6. Tarte Tarteist Lip Paint (TBT): This was the only shade I liked out of the new Tarteist Lip Paint line. Okay, I also adored Bae and Lovespell but how much more reds and hot pinks do I really need? TBT is a rosy mauve-nude, a Kylie type of shade. I have been toning down my makeup looks lately (but I still love glamming it up once in a while!) and this baby is the icing on the cake.

What beauty products have you loved and used this month?

27 Things I love about you.

Today is my fiancĂ©'s 27th birthday, and above compile of 27 photos throughout our relationship using 3 collages. The last collage has photos all throughout 2015 since we got engaged. On February 15, we would be dating for 7 years, and March 26 is our 1-year engagement anniversary. As I have mentioned numerous times on this blog, our wedding date is on March 18, 2017. When we first started dating, we were young and starry-eyed, but we also had our moments of weakness. We even broke up for a few days. We have gone through the pits and soared through the heights. Though Cecilio makes as a special guest in this blog, I'm not one to wear my heart on my sleeve to the public about our relationship, especially on Facebook where all of my relatives can see it (and believe me, they are ALWAYS on Facebook and post every hour or so) and tease me...it makes me wildly uncomfortable because they mostly remember me as a kid, so I cringe when I hear them squeal to me or someone else,"Hannah, you were such a babyyyyyyy, and now you're getting married!" We prefer to to keep our sappiness and whisper sweet nothings in private. That said, I do want to make him feel extra special. Although today is his day, we celebrated yesterday because he has to work. 

So here are 27 things I love about you!

1. Your eyes and smile, the light and joy in your face when you see me.

2. Your patience and kindness. Even though you are quiet, and were very much so when we first met, I see how considerate you are to others you love, and go lengths to make others happy.

3. The way you make me want to be a better person. When you slept over during the times my mom was in the Philippines, I wanted to lounge around and be lazy. While we certainly had fun doing that, I loved your upbeat can-do attitude, and also willingness to help me out (like with the Christmas decorations).

4. How smart and curious you are about the world, and have a desire to learn more, and how you inspired me to learn more about politics, science, how they tie into religion, etc. and how you don't belittle me even if I still have a lot to learn. I am more open and less lost when it comes to intellectual conversation because of you.

5. Your love for animals.

6. Even though you are very masculine in your taste and demeanor, I love that you have a sensitive and gentle spirit and a desire to love and protect me, and how you are able to pour your heart out to me.

7. Your respect, openness and acceptance of others no matter what race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation they are, which is a rarity in a country like the US that's full of bigotry.

8. The way you encourage me to never give up on me dreams, no matter how hard it is and no matter how many times I have failed, you see me as smarter and more talented than I think.

9. How much you want to travel and explore the world, and how it's something we both want to do frequently, and how much we name all of these places we want to go to and how much we dream about them.

10. How you didn't run away even with all of my baggage (exes, insecurities about my past, my health issues, etc.) Instead, it grew us closer. Remember how upset I was about not driving throughout 2014, but since you drove me around everywhere, we bond a lot more?

11. The way you hold me and make me feel safe and secure, and make me wish for you every night before I go to bed.

12. How even though we have arguments and moments of weakness, we never belittle or insult each other or say things that hurt us to the core. I could never do such a thing either. And even after an argument, we are able to come together and be stronger, and laugh at the end of the night.

13. How you use your faith as a source of strength but do not see yourself as holier-than-thou.

14. How we can make the best days even just by vegging around, cuddling, and watching TV (Simpsons, Family Guy, Cosmos, Anthony Bourdain, etc.)

15. The way you make me laugh so much. Forgive me when you tease me and sometimes I take it way too seriously, that's just me being overly sensitive.

16. The way you make up names or make fun of names of friends/acquaintances of the past. Our inside jokes. Well, if they didn't want to have their names butchered like that then they should've treated me kinder.

17. How you hold women in a high-regard in a society that demeans them and treats them as less human than their male counterparts.

18. The way you can make running errands so fun and less of a drag. Thanks for our Starbucks runs after my doctor appointments!

19. Your honesty (even when sometimes I don't like it, but you say what you feel with grace).

20. Your desire to work harder and be the best you can be, and fulfill your passions.

21. The way we can be spontaneous. As in, remember the first year of dating, we decided to go all the way to San Francisco on a whim because it was too unbearably hot in Sac? Or when we were in Vancouver and decided to break out of my relatives' circle, we explored Robson and ate delicious street sausages? Or when we explored and walked around Seattle (before arriving back home) when my mom and her friends, and my sister wanted to just sit down and have lunch? I had so much fun walking around Pike Place and checking out the cool little shops around the area! Or taking the subway in NYC, and even though we got lost a few times (and how worried I was being late to the Liberty Island Ferry and ended up in Brooklyn Bridge, but we managed to arrive just on time), we were so in awe of everything? And how we somehow ended up in Rockefeller Center, and how magical our whole trip was? Or just last summer, we decided last minute to drive to the Cosumnes River Preserve and decided to take a nice stroll, taking in the beautiful plants and creeks.

22. How you see me as beautiful even when I have insecurities about my weight, moles (you love them so much even though I consider them to be flaws), having to wear glasses sometimes, and comparing myself to women who I think are way more beautiful. In turn, it makes me feel so special and amazing that you feel that way about me and inspires me to work on my inner beauty as well.

23. How similar you are to my dad in many ways: introverted, loving, protective, lovers of sports and politics (only he embraced fiscal conservative values whereas you are far-left leaning, but those differences didn't matter to him, he just admired how much you loved me and how kind, soft-spoken, and smart you are)

24. How family-oriented you are.

25. How you stick to your guns about not drinking, and I respect you so much for that.

26. How you go above and beyond for me.

27. Honestly? I can't really wrap around or pinpoint why I love you. I just do. It was God and destiny that orchestrated it together, from the very moment we knew each other existed on MySpace and at Sacramento City College. I'm so thankful that things didn't work out between me and Austin. I look back and can't help but smile with how much we have grown and how we will continue to grow.

Happy Birthday love. I can't wait to watch you grow over the years and decades.

Date Ideas in Davis (on a budget)

I know that I have posted about life in Sacramento, but today I want to talk about the cute little college town 20 minutes away where my fiancĂ©, Cecilio grew up in his whole life, Davis. I was inspired Personal Capital to help give you creative ideas on how to have fun on a budget! It can be confusing and difficult to manage money at times, but with the help of their financial tools, budgeting becomes a breeze! Wise way to start out the new year, huh?

A population of approximately 65,000, Davis is home to UC Davis, one of the campuses in the University of California system. Did you know that UC Davis originally started out as the barn for UC Berkeley? Did you also know that it is the largest  campus in the system, boasting 7,309 acres? UC Davis is well-renowned for their medicine, veterinary medicine, agricultural science and engineering programs. Their School of Veterinary Medicine is the largest and ranks as #1 in the US! They also have an amazing medical center in Sacramento, which is the hospital for my family and I. They have been a major blessing during difficult times in terms of our health issues.

I almost transferred there from community college and got accepted (there was no way I would've been accepted out of high school with how horrible I did), but I ended up at CSU Sacramento for the graphic design program, and it all worked out due to my health issues and needing to take help take care of my dad while he got diagnosed with cancer. Cecilio obviously applied there (along with CSUS, UC Berkeley, and UC Santa Barbara) and ended up attending there, by going to the campus via bike or Unitrans (the Davis bus system), and graduating with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science.

The city of Davis has SO much to offer as far as dining, coffee shops, bookstores, bars, entertainment, and nature preserves. And because the city caters to college students and families, there are so many fun things to do without breaking the bank! You don't need to drive to a big city to have a blast, Davis is a mini cosmopolitan town on its own. And you know what? Some of my most fun dates with Cecilio have been in the little town he grew up in, driving around and discovering all of the schools he went to, his favorite places to eat (and trying out new places), going to Picnic Day, walking around the arboretum and the campus (which is that big and beautiful to walk around in itself), and strolling the farmers markets. Here's some of my top suggestions for places to go to!

Brunch: Delta of Venus

Photo Courtesy of Delta of Venus

While there are many nifty, small cafes to have a decadent brunch, if I had to choose one for you to go to, this place would be it. Breakfast is served from 7:30 am–2 pm everyday, and they specialize in egg-based dishes such as omelets, scrambles, breakfast burritos, or just plain eggs with potatoes or bagels if that's your preference. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you can substitute the eggs for tofu or order a mushroom scramble. There are also light options such as granola and yogurt or oatmeal. Each dish on the breakfast menu is no more than $10. To me, a breakfast or brunch meal is not complete without a cup of joe, so do order their house coffee, espresso, or lattes!

Taking in Mother Nature: UC Davis Arboretum

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

Our first date at the Arboretum in 2009.

Burn those calories from Delta of Venus by walking around the glorious 100-acre arboretum located on campus. It is open to the public everyday, with no admission. Just step in and enjoy! Parking is free on weekends, but cost $9 on weekdays. However, on our first date, we parked at the Davis Commons, a shopping center, which provides easy and free access to the arboretum. It loops about 3.5 miles long for walkers, joggers and cyclists. The arboretum houses 22,000 trees and plants that adapt to the Mediterranean climate, and is located around the banks of Putah Creek. There are 17 gardens, and you can meet different critters such as squirrels, geese, ducks, swans, butterflies, egrets, frogs and rabbits. You feel like you were transported to a secluded forest. Don't forget to grab a blanket and some sandwiches for a frugal and laid back lunch!

Fun Times @ Memorial Union

Another on campus facility, the Memorial Union houses a bowling alley and an arcade/game area. Right now it's being renovated and will not open until Fall 2016, but this is the hangout spot for dates, birthday parties, or hanging out with friends. It is the only bowling alley in Davis, and costs between $1.75–$3/game and $1–$1.50 for shoe rental (the lower rates are for students). My first time here was with Cecilio and his best friend Carlos right after Christmas in 2008, 2 months before we started dating. We had a blast bowling and playing games at the arcade. We have also gone a 2nd time on a double date, and a 3rd with some of his friends from high school.

Photo Courtesy of Davis Wiki

Jonseing for a slice of pizza? Check out Village Bakery for a large, juicy slice, costing $2.25 for cheese, $2.50 for pepperoni, $2.75 for vegetarian and $3 for veggie/meat combo. They also offer different slices such as Greek, Hawaiian, Chicken and Eggplant. 

Boba, Games and Fun: Teabo Cafe

One of our favorite places to get dessert is at Teabo Cafe, where they serve slushies, milk tea, and blizzards of different flavors. My favorite flavors are the non-fruity ones such as almond, hazelnut and vanilla. You can also add regular boba, different flavored jellies, and even chia seeds! The milk teas and slushies are $2.50 and the blizzards are $3.50. There are also finger foods available like popcorn chicken or garlic fries (my mouth is drooling as I am typing this). This is a super popular place for teenagers (Cecilio's 16 year old sister Sabina is a regular) and college students because of the affordability of the drinks, the fact that it's open until 2 am, and because it's a fun hang out spot where you can talk, play Jenga or other board games, and watch Korean music videos played on their TV.

Almost all of my sources and information came from Davis Wiki.

I hope this gives you ideas in your own hometown on where to go to have fun and save money! Also if you live or plan to visit NorCal, I highly recommend a pit stop to Davis and to check out these cool places!

Recent ELF Haul.

Yesterday, I needed to go to Target to buy some dish detergent, pads, and an iPhone 5C USB charger (I broke one of mine, well, it's actually used between me and my younger sister for her iPod and iPad, but I have another charger of my own)...and as usual, I always somehow make my way down the cosmetics aisle. I needed moisturizer, but I wanted to check out the ELF products, especially because I primarily wanted a contouring brush. I figured I needed a decent contouring brush without breaking the bank, and I've heard so many good things about their brushes (I actually have a blush brush). Some ELF products are hit or miss, but for the most part I am happy with a lot of their products, and they are decent for the prices they are. Here's what I got!

1. Contouring brush ($3): I've been using angled blush brushes for contouring, which I guess isn't bad, but I would like to create a more sharp, sculpted contour on my face and I figured with this. I recently bought the NYX Contour Palette and I can't wait to play around with it using this brush!

2. Small Tapered Brush ($3): Definitely a brush I want to use for highlighting, especially on the nose area since it's teeny tiny and won't end make me look like an oily mess. So it allows me to be more controlled.

3. Lip Exfoliator ($3): I've had their lip exfoliator before, and I have to be careful to not apply too hard because my lips end up looking and feeling more dry and painful. It's like a lipstick tube, so you can just bring it in your purse and use it anywhere.

Left to Right: Beautifully Bare Blush (Rose Royalty), Matte Lipstick (Cranberry)

4. Matte Lipstick "Cranberry" ($3): I had high hopes for this, especially because it was a newer shade. But I would probably have to give this a pass. It's not really a "true matte", as in it's not super opaque and looks more like a stain. 

5. Beautifully Bare Blush "Rose Royalty" ($4): This caught me eye, probably because I have never seen it. I've been into more natural looks these days, and I love a pop of color on my cheeks even if I'm not dolled up. It's not super pigmented, but you can build it up more to be more so. 

I wanted to get the powder blush palette, but they only had the light palette available (they have light and dark, and I prefer the shades in the dark palette). I recently found out from Nouveau Cheap that they came out with a cream blush palette! G said that there were some spotting in Target, but I couldn't find them at the local one. I would love to try that as well.

What are your favorite products from ELF?

Wishlist Wednesday: ColourPop edition

There's a reason why ColourPop has a huge following among beauty bloggers, Youtubers, Instagrammers, etc. They have adorable packaging and names with high quality pigments at affordable prices! And since they sell exclusively online, they rely heavily on social media marketing and collaborating with beauty gurus to create exciting new shades and collections! Yahoo created an article here about why ColourPop won't be selling to brick and mortar retailers (despite it's fast-growing popularity). I wouldn't call them indie or secretive though, because [almost] every beauty lover knows about them. 

Oh, sometimes I do wish they sold in person, it would be so much easier to get my paws on them! Here are a few items I have been lusting after:

1. Super Shock Cheek (Cheerio, Pegacorn, Cruel Intentions): As the weather is warming up, it makes sense to opt for a naturally flushed look with pinks. Due to my skin tone though, I prefer the darker pinks, cranberries, and roses. Baby pinks just don't do it for me.

2. Highlighter (Electric Slide): I've been on a highlighter fix. While I don't pack it on, I do love a soft glow. As you all may know, I have primarily been using BECCA Champagne Pop or Benefit Watts Up! I also have a ColourPop highlighter (Wisp), but I would like to try this warm gold shade, especially as the sun hits my face.

3. Super Shock Shadow (Porter): I have always been a fan of purple eyeshadows. I find that I can never have enough of them! I've never had the ColourPop shadows, and I just find that this would be a gorgeous crease shade with all of its glittery glory.

4. Ultra Matte Lips (Left: More Better, Right: Scrooge): As much as I complain about the formula of the first set of the Ultra Matte liquid lipsticks, I have been dying to get these shades! I'd be willing to go high and low to give my lips TLC for More Better, the deeper cranberry shade on the left.

Do you guys have ColourPop products? What are your faves?

Lunch at Cafe Plan B

Yesterday I had a wonderful interview for a job I have been hoping and praying to get. I applied in November and got invited for an interview a few weeks ago, and now I'm just waiting and waiting, hoping and wishing, especially because I have almost all of the qualifications for the position. Since the interview was at the public library in Downtown Sacramento, Cecilio and I decided to have lunch afterwards at this casual French restaurant called Cafe Plan B, located in Lavender Heights (a LGBT neighborhood in Midtown Sacramento). Cecilio is a French food fanatic, so of course when he found out about this restaurant, it sparked his curiosity. Before Cafe Plan B opened, there was a little hot dog diner called the Capitol Dawg that sadly closed down (they had amazing variations of hot dogs).

Actually, Cafe Plan B 2 locations. This one we went to in Midtown is a smaller, more informal version of the Plan B Restaurant located in Arden/Fair Oaks area (a wealthier and more suburban neighborhood).

We went inside and were greeted by the waitress who let us sit wherever we wanted, because it was a Monday and we beat the lunch hour rush, and there were only 2 other people in the restaurant. So we decided to sit close to the front next to the windows to enjoy the beautiful sunny weather (it's been dreary and stormy for the past week, I can't imagine how the East Coast dwellers are going through...)

The interiors have a modern and minimalistic motif going on with black walls, silver accents, and hanging ball lights.

The greenery added some life to the interiors.

Me in my interview getup!

The service was quite slow (we didn't mind though because we had a lot of fun talking), but of course that was because it was practically empty, and there is an art to French cuisine and the French lifestyle in general. I don't know about the pace in other European countries (do educate me please!), but I know that the French have an easier, more relaxed approach to their day-to-day lives. I remember when I first went to Paris in 2013 and observing the white-collar workers, donned in suits and ties, taking it easy while smoking, having lunch and great conversation in little cafes. This is a stark contrast from the GO GO GO life in the US, where you are worked to the bone and everyone is extremely stressed out (to the point of sickness, unfortunately). I'm dreaming of going back to Paris, and bringing Cecilio with me (not for our honeymoon because it's going to be too cold in March).

Anyway, our appetizers came, escargot! It was slathered with parsley pesto sauce, garlic butter, and in between a flaky pastry puff. I loved dipping the puff into the pesto sauce.

I ordered a shrimp salad with chopped butter lettuce and romaine, celery, chickpeas, bacon and Bleu cheese. Yum! It was absolutely delicious, but it was very light. I was starving within hours, so I snacked on a Clif bar and had a home-cooked Filipino dinner from my sister.

Cecilio ordered a croque monsieur (ham) sandwich, where the bread is fried with Gruyere cheese. I tried a bite of the ham, and the toasted cheese (it almost tasted like pizza) and it was delicious! Sometimes, I end up getting bits and pieces of his food because he always gets the really amazing tasting dishes.

I could see us coming back here or checking out other French restaurants in Sacramento. Every time we have a nice, French meal, we usually go to San Francisco, but we don't go there as much as we used to so we are trying to scope out the restaurants closer to home. Like most French restaurants, it is on the pricier side: the escargot was $10.95, my salad was $12.95 and Cecilio's sandwich $9.95, but much more affordable than the more fancy restaurants. Also, as far as the ambience: don't expect cute, feminine French motifs. The atmosphere here is more industrial. It was nice to beat the crowds, but maybe we just got lucky, especially because we went on a Monday. I am totally sure it would've been completely different on a weekend.

If you're planning on visiting Sacramento, I would definitely hit this place up and see how you like it!

Cafe Plan B
1226 20th Street
Sacramento, CA 95811

OFRA Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick (Americano)

What made me resubscribed to Boxycharm again was when I got an email last month saying that they were running out of their December 2015 box fast, and it had the OFRA Liquid Lipstick in Americano. That was the main thing that attracted me to the box, since it was a shade I definitely saw myself wearing. I got my December 2015 box on the beginning of this month, and I could not contain my excitement when I saw this! Especially because this is worth $19.90 and a part of the whole set (Boxycharm cost $21/month for a $100+ value).

When it comes to nude or neutral lipsticks, I find myself drawn to toasty cinnamon reddish-brown shades. It's made for fall and winter, but is something I can see myself wearing all year round. This sure did not disappoint, especially because it is long-lasting but not drying at all. It lasts throughout heavy meals. It really felt light on my lips. I would reapply out of habit though and to be sure that the color is fresh and new. Also, no feathering or fading! However, to be extra careful, OFRA advises that "Color will last in a perfect condition up to five hours without eating or drinking. For best results do not eat or drink for 15 minutes after applying."

Honestly, I can't think of anything I don't like about this. That is a good thing! If anything, I do want more of the OFRA Liquid Lipsticks (Especially Havana Nights from Kathleen Lights) but right now I am trying to be more sensible with my money.

This is my type of everyday color. 

Have you ever tried OFRA's liquid lipsticks or other products?

January 2016 Boxycharm: Eyes on 2016

Towards the end of last month, I got an email from Boxycharm (I subscribed to them for 3 months, but eventually cancelled it) about how their December 2015 boxes were going fast, and I resubscribed because I really found their items appealing. I feel like it's too late for me to do a whole review for December 2015, but I will review the items in the box individually (such as the Ofra liquid lipstick in "Americano", Jelly Jelly Pong Pong Luminzer Gel, etc.) but for now, I will talk about this month's box.

The January 2016 Boxycharm's theme is Eyes on 2016, so what better and more clever way to kick off the new year with some sweet new eye makeup products?! Every month, you get a box of 4–5 items worth over $100 (this month's box is worth $108.92) for just $21. I've had Birchbox and ipsy, and I have expressed my disdain for them in previous posts, and I know it's not fair because they are only $10...but honestly, I've had Boxycharm items that I have used regularly. I used ipsy mainly for the bags and I sadly tossed some of my Birchbox products on the side :/

What did I get? Find out!

Coastal Scents Revealed Smoky Palette: A dupe of the Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette (but not terrible like Maybelline's "The Smokes), this baby is worth $19.95 for 20 shades! The Coastal Scents Revealed palettes are known for being great dupes for the Urban Decay Naked Palettes. Since I don't have the Naked Smoky, this will be perfect. As you can see, there are a mixture of browns along with cooler-toned and darker shades to achieve that smoky look. However, if you want to stick to the neutrals and warm tones, this palette offers that too for everyday wear. I will do a review on this alone someday. The main problem I have with the Revealed Palettes are that they have a ton of fall out. But their beautiful pigmentation makes up for that.

Blinc Mascara Amplified: The top picture makes it look like it's a curling wand, but that's because this mascara comes in a metal tube. Pretty cool and retro looking, huh? To me, this mascara is lengthening and thickening without being clumpy. It doesn't curl that much, which is okay because I an curl my lashes before using this. I will switch off between this and the L'Oreal Voluminous Mascara (my new holy grail mascara!)

Ardency Inn Modster Smooth Ride Supercharged Eyeliner (Grey): Sad to say that this is my least favorite item of the bunch. I was disappointed about how it is not pigmented enough. It shows up darker on my arm than on my eyes, but that could be because of my skin tone. This would suit fairer skin-toned gals who don't want the harshness of a black eyeliner, I also feel that this fades really fast.

Royal & Langnickel Brush Set [R]evolution: You can never have too many eyeshadow brushes, especially when you're in the process of cleaning your other ones. I haven't opened these yet, but I am really excited to try them. The set comes with a detail, crease, and smudge brush, costing $7.99 each. What a great way to save some money and distract me from the MAC brushes I've been lusting after!

I've been pretty happy with my 2 recent Boxycharms overall and I will keep my subscription as long as I can. Since this was an "eye"-motif box, it would've been cool to include an eye cream or an eyebrow product (For my May 2015 Boxycharm, I received the bodyography Essential Brow Trio and the brush that came with it, and I was using it for a while). It also forces me to not go out and spend as much on makeup (although, I do have a wishlist in mind...hehe) since I am getting a bang for my buck here.

Do you have Boxycharm? If you don't, I would highly recommend it! Or do you use any other beauty subscription box? What do you use?

Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Scrub

I've been on the hunt for a body exfoliating scrub to get rid of my dry, dead skin (especially during winter) and soften it. I was planning on getting the Pacifica Kona Coffee & Sugar Whole Body Scrub, because I love the smell and texture of coffee! Ok, well it's actually made of sea salt, but it's caffeine infused. But I opted out of it because I take showers at night and I didn't want for it to keep me awake. So I saw (and smelled) the Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Scrub, and was sold. It was $15 (compared to the Pacifica Coffee Scrub, which was $28) for 10.1 fl oz.

Soap & Glory is a UK beauty brand that primarily focuses on skincare and body, but they have makeup as well. Their appeal is having yummy, sweet scents with girly retro-inspired branding/packaging, akin to Benefit or The Balm. A lot of the UK beauty bloggers I talk to love Soap & Glory, and thankfully they have some products available at Ulta in the US.

If you've ever tried LUSH Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub, the Sugar Crush Body Scrub smell almost exactly similar. They have a super tangy, fruity scent that makes you think of the beach. Lime is the main ingredient for both of these babies, but Sugar Crush also contains sparkling lemons, sweet vanilla musk, smashed brown sugar, glycerin and macadamia oils. Ocean salt has coconut, avocado, and vodka. For a more detailed list of ingredients for both:

S&G Sugar Crush: Glycerin, Maris Sal (Sea Salt), Sucrose, Polysorbate 20, Glyceryl Stearate, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Chloride, PEG-100 Stearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Macadamia Integrifolia Shell Powder, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Dioctyl Adipate, Parfum (Fragrance), Benzyl Alcohol, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Stearalkonium Hectorite, Talc, Propylene Carbonate, Propylene Glycol, BHA, Propyl Gallate, Limonene, Linalool, Citral, Citric Acid, CI 77492 (Iron Oxides), CI 77499 (Iron Oxides), CI 77491 (Iron Oxides).

LUSH Ocean Salt: Fine Sea Salt (Sodium Chloride) , Fresh Grapefruit Infusion (Citrus Paradisi) , Coarse Sea Salt (Sodium Chloride) , Stearic Acid , Fresh Organic Lime Extracted in Vodka (Citrus aurantifolia) , Sodium Cocoamphoacetate , Glycol Cetearate , Triethanolamine , Avocado Butter (Persea gratissima) , Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (Cocos nucifera) , Lime Oil (Citrus aurantifolia) , Seaweed Absolute (Fucus vesiculosus) , Violet Leaf Absolute (Viola odorata) , Glycerine , Lanolin , Cetearyl Alcohol , Limonene , Linalool , Fragrance , Blue 1 , Methylparaben , Propylparaben . 

While Ocean Salt has more of a dry texture, Sugar Crush is a lot more moist, thus giving it a sticky feel:

I have been using this every time I hop in the shower on my legs, knees, waist, arms, shoulders, and neck. Let me tell you, I had white knees. They were that dry. I have a bad habit of not putting on lotion as much as I should. But after using the Sugar Crush Body Scrub frequently, I find that my legs feel more silky and smooth. On the back label, it says to use once, twice, or three times a week. You can even use it everyday if you've been called "lizard legs". I'm a part of that group, haha. Seriously, I love wiping the grains against my body.

The thing I am wary of is the ingredient Polysorbate 20, which is also a carcinogen. So if you're all about green beauty or are becoming more aware and concerned about the ingredients going in your body, this is something to consider.

I also feel that the packaging it a tad bit flimsy because whenever I open it, the liquid tends to come out from the cap. and gets all over the container.

I will keep using this until my legs go from desert to tropically smooth. :D

Have you guys ever tried this? What is your favorite Soap & Glory product? And what are your holy grail scrubs?

MAC All Fired Up

Why does it seem like most of my lip products are hot pink? Why do I find myself so drawn to them? So it's no surprise that I splurged on the MAC All Fired Up lipstick. I knew that when I saw this shade I had to get it, despite having multiple shades similar. What though? They all have different undertones, shade ranges, formulas, finishes, etc. I knew how beautifully it would set against my lips. There was only one caveat: It is a retro matte finish, which means for MAC it's more matte (yes it's possible) than their regular matte lipsticks, therefore more drying BUT longer-lasting. I bought Russian Red (matte) over Ruby Woo (retro matte) for that reason. 

So upon strolling around the MAC booth in Nordstrom, I was debating whether or not to get the shade All Fired Up or Flat Out Fabulous (a cooler-toned magenta), which is just as beautiful as well. I ended up going with what I originally wanted—the former, because it is a lot warmer toned and suited my skin better. I asked one of the MUA's if I could get the lipstick, and she went looking for it for me and asked if I wanted a lip liner (Brick) and the Prep+Prime Lip. She had me sit on the stool, and applied the Prep+Prime on me before filling in the lipstick and lip liner. I figured that I had nothing to lose, and if it will help minimize the dryness and appearance of fine lines, that I might as well purchase it. So I ended up getting all 3.

Trust me when I say that the Prep+Prime Lip is a game changer. I honestly don't know how I would be able to wear All Fired Up without it. It is dry, but it is more bearable and comfortable to wear with the Prep+Prime. It was primarily made for MAC lipsticks. And this lipstick is nowhere near as dry as a lot of my liquid lipsticks (which apply smoothly but dry and crumble quickly). I've tried Prep+Prime for other brands, and it did not seem as effective.

I swatched All Fired Up on my arm and noticed that it tugs on my skin, and does not glide on as smoothly as the regular matte lipsticks. But you honestly cannot beat that POP of color without shine. I feel like a sexy siren wearing it.

MAC All Fired Up with lip liner, Brick

Me wearing it, just a few minutes after 2016 rolled around. I love this photo of us.

All in all, I would say it is a BEAUTIFUL jewel-toned pink and I know it would flatter just about ANY skin tone. I know it's still brutally cold and grey in January, but take heart! Spring is coming soon, and what better way than to add some color to your dreary days? I may just get Ruby Woo after all.

Have you ever tried this lipstick or any of MAC's other retro matte lipsticks?

The Lip Product Lover Tag

I was recently tagged by Carol for the The Lip Product Lover Tag, and I like how she changed it from the original Lip Product Addict Tag. I guess to her, it has a negative connotation. To me, lipsticks and lip glosses have always been my favorite beauty product, and they are always in my arsenal (purse, drawers, etc.) Most of my product reviews for this blog are lip products. However, I may be an addict because you would not believe how much money I have been spending on makeup last year, ESPECIALLY lip products I hardly use...you won't believe how remorseful I am. That's why for 2016, I want to start anew and be wiser with my finances. However, I do want to treat myself from time to time, just not go crazy like I did in 2015. That said, I want to talk about my favorite lip products I keep coming back to!

What is your favorite lip balm or treatment?
I use plain Vaseline before bed, not sure if it works completely or not but my lips would be in worse shape without it. I also like Aquaphor and the Clinique Superbalm Lip Treatment. Also, I LOVE the Mac Prep+Prime and I recently bought the lipstick All Fired Up, which is a retro matte finish (drier than regular matte), and the P+P helps make it so much easier to wear!

If anyone has more suggestions for lip balms and treatments, I would gladly love to hear it!

What is your favorite eye-catching red?
Like Carol, I really like Sephora Cream Lip Stain (Almost Red), which I posted about last year here as the perfect holiday lip. It's so velvety and smooth, and it really lasts throughout eating! I also like MAC Russian Red, but also want Ruby Woo.

Best luxury and drugstore product?
Although Carol does not believe that NARS feels luxurious despite being high end, I believe it is. Their sleek packaging, high quality products, and the fact that it's sold in Nordstrom (one of the most luxurious department stores in the US) vs. Macy's or Sears (JC Penny doesn't count because they have a Sephora booth and NARS is sold there) has lead me to believe otherwise. Sure, they're no Chanel or YSL, but they do have that luxurious feel to me (the former two are more classic whereas NARS feels more fashion forward). Anyway, I LOVE the NARS Audacious lipsticks, especially the shade Jane. I remember doing a review here about it last year, and it is one of those impulse purchases I don't regret. It's a light coral shade that is PERFECT for the spring! I was amazed with how it works on my skin tone...also, it glides on SO smoothly. I also have the shades Audrey and Michiyo, and I wish I had more, but my wallet would be crying, haha.

As far as drugstore, NYX takes the cake. I love their Soft Matte Lip Creams, but I fell in love originally with the Butter Lipsticks. I just wish they made new shades there like they did with the Soft Mattes, Intense Butter Glosses and Matte Lipsticks.

I also really like Maybelline Creamy Mattes! My favorite of all time is Divine Wine, which is a dupe of Diva.

Best MAC Lipstick?
Retro, hands down. It's my to-go everyday lip. If you've followed my blog for a while, you will see that I don't stop talking about it. I even wore it for my college graduation! Other shades I like are Diva and D For Danger. I recently bought All Fired Up and I am in love!

Most disappointing lip product?
As much as I love the shades of the ColourPop Ultra Matte liquid lipsticks, I have to give them a pass. I was seriously about to buy more shades around the holiday season, but on Christmas Eve, I wore the shade Avenue, and as long-lasting and beautiful as it was (it was a deep red), my lips started peeling and crumbling and then I remembered why I don't use them.

Lip Liner: Yes or No?
Definitely yes, but there are times when I am lazy or in a hurry. I can see how effective it is though to keep the lipstick defined and not feathering.

Favorite gloss?
I bought Anastasia Beverly Hills lip gloss in Petal, which is a hot pink, perfect for spring and summer. I would love to buy more because this packs a punch of color for it being a lip gloss, and the staying power is strong!

Anything else?
I just got the Ofra liquid Lipstick in Americano from the December Boxycharm (I resubscribed after canceling ipsy) and I love it! It's a beautiful natural brown shade. That said, I do want the darker brown shades, like Kylie's Lip Kit in True Brown. I wonder when they will go back in stock, but they run out fast easily.

Also, I tested some of Tarte's Tarteist Lip Paint. I don't like the shade names because it sounds too try hard and too much...social media references? I know some people think it's cute, but I think it's annoying. But I tested TBT (a pinkish nude) and Bae (red) and I love them! I did not get TBT because they weren't available at my local Ulta or Sephora (I'm guessing it's a popular shade) and I figured I will get Bae another time. The formula is so thick and creamy, and comfortable. I can't wait to get my hands on them!

I tag 5 loves:

Shannon from Shannon Sage

Becky from star violet

Sam from My Beauty Cloud

Angelina from Angelina is

Too Faced Chocolate Bon Bons Palette

When I first started Floraful in 2014, I ordered the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette (original). In 2015, I got the Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar Palette. Now, 2016 is the year of the Too Faced Chocolate Bon Bons Palette (although I ordered it on Christmas Eve because of the 20% off sale on their website along with getting 2 Melted Chocolate lipsticks...couldn't pass it up!). But...they are really try to get me, I swear. Did you know that they are coming out with Sweet Peach AND a PB&J-themed palettes this summer?! I'm like...why you gotta play me when this is a time when I'm trying to pinch my pennies hard?! I will more than likely get the PB&J Palette, but the Sweet Peach Palette looks similar to my NYX Love in Paris Palette in "Merci Beaucoup", so as adorable as the packaging is, I'll have to give that a pass.

Anyway, when I first saw this, I was debating whether or not to get it. I liked the idea of heart-shaped pans, but others may disagree and said it was too kid-like. But after looking closer at the shades, and OOH! That pink case! I knew I needed it!

Inspired by the 2 Chocolate Bar Palettes, the Chocolate Bon Bons Palette is its own unique thing without straying too far away from Too Faced's chocolate motif going on. Yes, the case is pink, which is different from the 2 brown cases, and the pans are heart-shaped (with the exception of 2 rectangular pans). And it still equals to having 12 shades.

What I noticed is that this palette does not smell as chocolate-y as the other 2 palettes. I actually read the reviews about it on Sephora, and one of the customers brought it up, and said that it was probably because Too Faced listened to the requests of those who were turned down by the strong scents. For me personally, I loved that, and I was kinda disappointed to take a whiff realizing that they toned it down.

The original Chocolate Bar had deep browns and plums, whereas the Semi-Sweet had gold and bronze shades. This one, however, had a mix of both with pinks and plums in between, along with more cool-toned shades you don't see in the other 2 palettes. Check out the swatches:

Top Row, Top to bottom:
Almond Truffle (matte light brown)
Satin sheets (Frosty champagne)
Sprinkles (metallic baby pink)
Molasses chip (Shimmery bronze)
Malted (matte tan–dark brown)

Middle Row, Top to bottom:
Cashew Chew (metallic light peach)
Cotton Candy (metallic candy pink...hence the name)
Cafe au Lait (metallic light taupe)
Bordeaux (matte burgundy)
Mocha (matte medium brown)
Black Currant (shimmery dark plum)

Bottom Row, Top to bottom:
Dark Truffle (shimmery dark brown)
Pecan Praline  (matte taupe with cool undertones)
Totally Fetch (metallic bright pink)
Earl grey (metallic charcoal with cool undertones)
Divinity (matte cream, almost white)

As you can see, the most pigmented shades usually are the deeper browns such as Malted, Bordeaux, Mocha and Dark Truffle. Personally, my favorite shades are Molasses Chip and Cafe Au Lait for the lids, and Bordeaux or Black Currant as my crease. I use Satin Sheets under my brow bone. I particularly don't care for Divinity because it is the most chalky of the shades and the least pigmented.

On my picture below, I used Satin Sheets for my brow bone, Almond Truffle & Mocha for the transition, Black Currant for the crease, and Molasses Chip for the lid. I definitely need to experiment with other looks, especially with the pinks. I also want to try a smoky eye look with the shade Earl Grey.

Other makeup I am wearing:
Tarte Clean Slate Flawless 12-Hour Brightening Primer
MUFE HD Foundation (128)
NARS Creamy Radiant Concealer (Ginger)
Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Express (Brunette)
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Eye Pencil (Zero)
L'OREAL Voluminous Mascara
MAC Blush (Peachykeen)
Becca Champagne Pop
Ofra Cosmetics Liquid Lipstick (Americano)

For $49, this gem provides a wide variety of shades, moreso than the other too chocolate bar palettes...with both warm and cool tones with a few fun shades mixed in. I highly recommend it!

Do you have or want this palette? Or are you waiting for the new palettes (PB&J or Sweet Peach) palettes that Too Faced is coming up with?