March Beauty Favorites

Pretty much all of March (except for the last week) I was on a no-buy makeup for Lent, so it forced me to start using the makeup that was collecting dust. There were some exceptions though: Boxycharm subscriptions, the Benefit Porefessional (I had to use my 5x point offer from Ulta) and the NYX Micro Brow. So what were the products I kept coming back to this month?

1. Too Faced Natural Matte Palette: Even though I bought it last year and only used it a few times, I've been reaching back to it more and more. I feel like it's because it's my favorite palette for job interviews, and it's very work-appropriate without all the glitters. But I love wearing it for casual day-to-day beauty too. 

2. Too Faced La Creme "Pink Chocolate": One of my favorite neutral lipsticks at the moment. I've had this since last year too, and it's more fall-appropriate, but I love wearing it for spring too. This medium–rosy brown does not blend with my skin, and adds drama, while providing a hint of shine and moisture.

3. City Color Cosmetics HD Powder: I got this in one of my ipsy bags, and when I first tried it I felt like I looked too white in my face. I've been reading up about translucent powders and how they give your face a wonderful flawless finish, especially in long as you don't put too much. I was scared to try it though, especially when I see photos of celebrities in the red carpet that have caked on white under their eyes. And I didn't want to accentuate my pores, which is what a lot of these powders seem to do. So translucent powders how always mystified me. I was worried that it was more for people with oily skin. Well, I gave it a second chance and applied this very lightly with a kabuki brush on my face after foundation (for my nieces birthday party). It decreased the appearance of my pores and bumps, giving me a (kinda) Photoshopped look. I am going to order the Laura Mercier translucent powder next week during the Sephora VIB sale because I heard it is one of the few powders that doesn't give you flashback. Perfect for bridal makeup!

4. Benefit POREfessional:  The first time I have tried POREfessional was the 0.25 oz one in 2014 as one of the rewards. I wasn't too hot about it at first. But like translucent powder, I wanted something that made my makeup last AND give me a naturally beautiful skin. I got the POREfessional (the 0.75 oz one) for taking advantage of getting 5x the Ulta points for any Benefit product last week. I was very impressed with how the POREfessional did that before I put on my foundation. Wow, can you say #nofilter status! As much as I love my Tarte Clean Slate 12-Hour Brightening Primer feels and smells, it doesn't blur my face as much as POREfessional does. The only thing is that it it seems like mine dries up into pieces as I rub it on.

5. NYX Lingerie Liquid Lipstick (Exotic): Lately, rather than bright punchy red/orange/pink lipsticks, I have been reaching more for muted neutral shades. Even though the new NYX Lingerie liquid lipsticks are very drying, I love the shades on me. I was at first disappointed with Exotic though, because it did not look as dark on me as it did on other peoples' arm swatch or lips. But overtime, it did grow on me. My perfect MLBB (my lips but better) shade!

6. Chella Tantalizing Taupe Eyebrow Color: I got this from this month's Boxycharm, and I felt like I didn't need another eyebrow product. And plus, it's taupe, so it would be way too light for my hairs. Well, I applied some strokes on my brows, and I was very happy with my #browsonfleek. It shaped and filled my brows, while giving them a clean, natural, and not overdone look. It is not sloppy like my Maybelline Drama brow mascara. It's also the perfect lazy girl product: sometimes I don't have time or energy to pull out my ABH Brow Express, with the brush and all...which leads me to...

7. NYX Micro Brow (Brunette): I liked the retractable pencil formula of the Chella so much that I decided to get this, especially because I didn't want to shell out the more expensive dupe, ABH Brow Wiz. Like Chella, this gives my brows a clean, full shape, and it's bonus that there is a brow brush on the other side!

What beauty products have you been loving in March?

6 Lessons learned from giving up buying makeup for Lent

On February 10 (Ash Wednesday), I vowed to give up buying makeup for Lent (basically a no-buy), with the exception of my Boxycharm subscriptions. Throughout most of it, I have been able to constrain myself, no matter how tempted I was...towards the end (Easter). Last week, I bought the Roses de Chloé fragrance, and then I went back to Ulta to buy the Benefit POREfessional this past Thursday, because I got suckered into the 5x Platinum membership points for any Benefit products. Then, I found myself the next day at Target with the NYX Micro Brow Pencil in hand (along with a bridal magazine and a Star Wars decal sticker for Cecilio). Also, I purchased a couple of nail polishes here and there.

I kept telling myself throughout it all, just because you are swearing off buying makeup, doesn't mean you should splurge on other beauty products (nail polish, perfume, skincare, etc). And I feel like I have garnered much more self-control, even though this was my first Lent practice and I was unsuccessful. I felt pretty bad about it, although I have Googled and looked up that maybe failing Lent was the way into succeeding at Lent, because it shows that we need God's help to see us through our struggles and temptations, and to strengthen us. Lent is 40 days long, so I am proud of myself for not buying makeup for the first 35-ish days. I wanted to do this because I wanted to be more responsible with my money and not spend willy-nilly, especially as I am embarking on marriage and have to think about how I can help Cecilio and I survive or even thrive financially and build a strong future together. I also have a lot of bills to pay, and I cannot forget about student loans: even if I signed up to be on forbearance (meaning putting off paying my student loans), the interest is adding up. I also don't want to be wasteful and keep throwing away products I don't plain like. It's okay to splurge if it makes you happy, and makeup definitely makes me joyous, but not if you can't afford it or if you are living beyond your means. I say this because I am still job-searching, and yes once I find a job then I will totally will splurge more.

Here are some lessons I learned throughout my "no-buy makeup" for Lent season:

1. I am always checking my bank account, like every other day. The 2015 Hannah would drop a few hundred a month at Ulta or Sephora, in addition to beauty subscription boxes, accidental impulse buys at the drugstore, etc. and even use my credit card sometimes. Now I am checking to see where my money went, and I am not touching my credit card, especially because I have a really high balance.

2. I don't go to the places where there are high temptations. I avoided going to Ulta all of February! And since Walgreens is my pharmacy, I usually go down and stop by the cosmetics aisle and drop more green. Lately when I need to pick up my meds, I go through the pharmacy drive-thru rather than going down and parking my car. And if I need a specific product, I will now only buy that product and nothing else, especially if it's on sale. It does get easier, but I still struggle. I have been wanting the Too Faced Peanut Butter and Jelly Palette forever, and surprisingly I still don't have it. I even was an inch close to ordering a bunch of Colourpop liquid lipsticks before Easter, but I decided to not go through with it. I have been eyeing the Dose of Colors liquid lipsticks (Berry Me, Brick, and Cork) but because those are fall shades, I will wait until maybe September to order them. It's difficult, but it gets easier and less tempting.

3. I will (for the most part) buy when I've been wanting it for a long time, it's on sale, or if there is an incentive (the 2x, 3x, 5x, 10x points at Ulta). I have a cart full of things from Sephora, and I'm counting the days until the 15% off VIB sale so I can order them. I will buy mostly from Ulta to take advantage of the point system, because the $1=1.25 points. I will check Nouveau Cheap regularly for drugstore sales going on frequently. Unfortunately, MAC doesn't have a point/reward system like Ulta or Sephora, so I have to make sure I really, really want something before I purchase it. I have been wanting the Prolongwear Foundation for a long time to use for my wedding, and the lipstick in the shade Retro (it was my absolute favorite MAC lipstick but I lost it, so I have to buy another one).

4. I am more apt to use the currents I have ignored for a while. The Too Faced Natural Matte Palette has gotten more love from me in the past 2 months. What if I had bought the Peanut Butter and Jelly Palette? The former would probably still be gathering dust.

5. I am more apt to buy dupes of higher end products. Of course I still love luxury, and there are products that are better on the pricey side, but other drugstore products that are just as good, if not better. I chose the NYX Micro Brow Pencil because it is an exact dupe of the ABH Brow Wiz, but it is $10 vs $21.

6. When I look at wedding dresses or decor, I am less tempted to buy makeup. Maybe because I am thinking of long term goals, sacrificing what I want absolutely now vs. what I want more in the future.

What are your methods for saving money on makeup?

Bridal Body Image Blues

I was planning to write a post on how I said YES to the dress this past Saturday, especially because the 26th of March was when Cecilio proposed to me. Instead, I came out empty-handed, but I'm happy that my mom bought herself a GORGEOUS mother-of-the-bride dress!

I went to Renfro's Bridal, a bridal boutique located in small-rustic-town Placerville, 45 minutes away from Sacramento. I was so excited because this boutique has almost all 4/5 star reviews on Yelp!, from former brides raving about the quality of dresses yet affordability (nothing under the store is over $1200), the service is amazing (they only take 1 bride per appointment, unlike the David's Bridal madness where the consultants manage multiple brides in a time slot). I mean, I went to David's Bridal and fell in love with a dress I have been salivating over online (and I got to try it on in January), but I booked Renfro's to see if they had a similar style and to see if there were other dresses to my liking.

I told the consultant what particular style I liked (I can't describe it here because Cecilio reads this) and she said that they just had a dress like that shipped yesterday, and she tried it on me but it was too tight. So, she pulled out other dresses for me. Anything I hated, I immediately said "no" before she even zipped it up, and I apologized, but she told me it was good I was telling her what I didn't like. There was a dress that I tried on and really liked, maybe even loved, and considered it to be a top contender. We will call it Dress #1. My mom loved it on me, which was a good sign. But I still tried on other dresses. I specifically stated how I did not want a strapless dress. But eventually, she put a strapless lace ballgown on me anyway, and it wouldn't zip up to my chest area because she said I had generous "girls" (and she meant that in an endearing way). When my mom saw it, she fell in love with it and wanted me to get it. Let's call this Dress #2, she loved it better than Dress #1. She told me to be open to more strapless dresses because they look beautiful on me, that I have nice shoulders and arms, and that they are a young and sexy look (my mom does not have an old fashioned/gaudy/conservative style for being 58 years old). She knew how self-conscious I was about my arms and upper body because of all of the prednisone weight gain, even though I have been working out and my arms have been toning up.

So I had her take a picture of Dress #1 and Dress #2. She sent it via group text to me and my sister, Trixie (my matron-of-honor who couldn't be there), and while Trixie loved Dress #1 on me, she thought that Dress #2 suited me way more. I liked Dress #2 a lot, despite it being strapless, but I didn't love it. And I was so disappointed with the photos because I thought Dress #1 looked great on me, but the pictures...were not so flattering.

I had the same issue with David's Bridal too when I went in January. I tried on my absolute dream dress, and at first, I felt "meh" about, but I tried it on once more before I left and loved it more and more, and overtime I kept looking at the pictures of myself in it on my phone and loved how it looked on me. I kept telling Cecilio "I know I'm going to Renfro's and those other boutiques...but I can't stop thinking about that [David's Bridal] dress". I tried 3 other dresses there, and I loved this mermaid-style dress that was ruched in the waist and made me look slim...and I almost considered it over DDBD (Dream David's Bridal Dress), but I saw the pictures and it made me look really boxy.

As I left the boutiques and kept staring at the photos of myself in dress, I was so disappointed and almost wanted to cry. Are my arms and waist bigger than I thought they were? I thought. My body confidence has been getting better, but it took this appointment to bring me down.

When one of my bridesmaids came over later, I showed her the dresses, she agreed that they were not all that great. But when I showed her DDBD, she said I looked short and deformed in it (she also was trying to show me other dresses from David's Bridal), and I REALLY wanted to cry because I loved it so much and what she said hurt! But I shouldn't expect less from her because she has always been so so critical of my taste, and she watches Say Yes to the Dress and Bridezilla more than I do! I kept telling myself, I don't care if you think I look bad, I felt beautiful in it and I love it.

I know the consultants and my mom were telling me how beautiful I was. And I know the guests will say I am beautiful on our wedding day. But the important thing is if I feel that I am beautiful. I have always struggled with this, especially with my body and taking prednisone. On my engagement party, I was having severe anxiety of having tons of pictures taken (also it didn't help that I was going through my last semester of college and my mom and Trixie planned it as soon as Cecilio and I got engaged), but I was on 10 mg of prednisone and I still felt like my face was kinda puffy. Trixie and my future mother-in-law LOVE taking as many pictures as possible, which exacerbates my anxiety about pictures.

I'm really trying to fight this. The WIC (wedding industrial complex) tells brides that they have to be as slim as possible on their special day. I have a theory that the WIC, along with society in general, are subconsciously telling women that no man could possibly love them unless they were model-slim.  Cecilio proposed to me last year when I was 10 pounds heavier. I'm not worried about guests judging me, but I want to feel good myself. My fear is that I will not be happy on the day because I have all this extra flab peeking through, and that my anxiety about pictures will show. Thank goodness we booked our professional photographer, I trust that she will make us look good. I am more worried about the phone pictures.

It's really comforting when Cecilio tells me no matter what, he will think I am beautiful because he is marrying me, and he will only focus on me despite being in front of all these other people. Our day will be beautiful and perfect because we will surround ourselves with people who love us as we confess our vows to love each other for life.

Despite what society tells you, average/larger-sized women can and do find love. Despite this debacle, I am going back to Renfro's on May 7 and they get new dresses weekly, so I may be able to try on new styles. I am staying optimistic saying, at least I have more time to work out and lose weight! Yes, I am no longer the svelte 120 pounds I used to be, and I would love to go back down there, but I will try my damn best to make sure I don't cry just because I'm not society's ideal beauty and just plain love myself purely.

Mirror selfie before trying on dresses. The good news is that my Lucky Brand Jeans, which are a US size 10 (UK 14) are getting baggy!

You are beautiful and created in God's image. That's what I want to tell you, and I hope I can convince that to myself.

Do you ever have body image issues or feel conscious about yourself? How have you overcome them, or what steps are you taking to make sure you can be more confident?

NYX Lip Lingerie Liquid Lipsticks

NYX Lip Lingerie Liquid Lipsticks

Damnnn NYX, back at it again with the liquid lipsticks!

The NYX Lip Lingerie Liquid Lipsticks were released as a part of the 2016 line. When I first saw them, I was not interested because they had all these shades of nude that were similar. But when I saw the darker shades such as Exotic (left) and Beauty Mark (right), I was super excited and needed to get my hands on them ASAP.

NYX Lip Lingerie swatches
Exotic (top), Beauty Mark (bottom)

Kylie Jenner lip colors are not as popular as they used to be, but they are a trend that still isn't going away anytime soon, and they define the beauty trends of the 2010's. Kylie released a lip kit last year for $29 for each shade (that comes with a liquid lipstick and a matching lip liner, with shades similar to the shades she wears), but rather than shelling out the $$ and paying an extra $7.95 for shipping, I wanted to find dupes. There have been conspiracies that she repackaged them from the ColourPop Ultra Matte liquid lipsticks, but I don't believe that to be true, but they are a great alternative for those who are budget-consious. It may or may not be a coincidence that the NYX Lip Lingeries have released shortly after Kylie released those lip kits. Best of all? They are only $7 a pop! (less than Kylie's shipping fee)

Like most liquid lipsticks, these are a matte formula. However, upon application, they have a soft, velvety feel, and they are initially not drying. They last for a very long time, which I am happy with. They still stay on even through eating and drinking coffee, but I do reapply out of habit. However, I am not too happy with how the lines of my lips are more emphasized. And they do dry out at the end of the day, so I have to make sure I put on Carmex before going to bed or else my lips become so dry, and the inner lips have peeled off. It could be much much worse though. These are nowhere near as drying as other liquid lipsticks. You should still exfoliate and apply lip balm before trying these though. It seems to me that lip liner is not needed as much because the doe applicator is a tad bit more pointed and the formula is not as messy, so I am able to apply it seamlessly.

About the shades. Exotic is a medium, reddish brown, and that was the one I was looking forward to the most. When I first tried it on, I was sorely disappointed. It looked lighter and pinker to me. I guess it shows that I shouldn't always rely on the arm swatch, especially if it's on an arm that has lighter skin than mine. However, it is one of those shades that I have grown to love overtime, and use as an everyday lip color. It is a tad lighter version than MAC Retro, but darker than Maybelline Touch of Spice or Gerard Cosmetics 1995. And depending on the light source, it does appear dark, especially under sunlight.

NYX Lip Lingerie exotic
Exotic (actually darker in real life)

Beauty Mark is a deep brown, as close as you can get to Kylie's True Brown K. It is a little bit more muted in me, but still a gorgeous color nonetheless and great for Fall. My mom said I was trying to look gothic when I was wearing it though, haha. This is definitely the quintessential 90's shade.

NYX Lip Lingerie beauty mark
Beauty Mark

I would highly recommend the NYX Lip Lingerie liquid lipsticks if you want something similar to Kylie's lip kit shades, but don't want to shell out extra money, but you also want something more comfortable and less drying than the ColourPop Ultra Matte liquid lipsticks. You can check out all 12 shades here.

Top 5 Spring Blushes

It seems like most blushes were made for spring, and why not? The sun is shining, flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, and cheeks are flushing. Whether you want a pop of color with powder or you want a sheer natural grow with cream, you know that spring is a fun time to experiment with different shades of pink, peach and coral. These blushes add extra oomph and life to your face, and you can wear them for a minimal "no makeup"-makeup look or add more color to a dramatic contoured face.

ELF Beautifully Bare (Rose Royalty): A baby pink with bits of coral, this cream blush works wonderfully on bare skin, tinted moisture or a light foundation. You can also use it for a tinted lip balm for extra sweetness. Be aware that this is a bit difficult to blend, and not as smooth.

Tarte Amazonian Clay (Fearless): This is a matte warm toned medium pink, and it works so well on all skintones. Tarte is known for having beautiful blushes (along with beautiful packaging) that have more pastel shades rather than the deep, dramatic ones made for fall or winter. Fearless is no exception.

Milani Rose Powder (Coral Cove): For a drugstore brand, these the blushes for this line are very pigmented! Also a matte formula. Coral Cove is more peachy-pink. The packaging is oh-so adorable too!

Benefit Majorette: This peach shade is so smooth and creamy, and it feels like butter upon applying to your face. It applies as cream and sets as powder. It also has a sweet smell of peach and pomegranate

The Balm Instain (Toile): I have been on a Balm kick last year, and hands down this one of the funnest and feminine shades in the collection. It is a bright strawberry pink,  and has beautiful pigmentation and staying power.

Top–Bottom: ELF Beautifully Bare (Rose Royalty), Tarte Amazonian Clay (Fearless), Milani Rose Powder (Coral Cove), Benefit Majorette, The Balm Instain (Toile)

What are your go-to blushes for the spring?

Signature Spring Scent: Roses de Chloé

The Devil made me do it.

Buy this perfume, that is.

I was strolling in Ulta in order to return and exchange a skincare product from Ulta. I usually never pass up a chance to go to Ulta, but lately I have been avoiding it like the plague because I vowed to myself to pass up buying makeup for Lent. I have been very good about self-control and I haven't bought any makeup since February 10...however, I have been buying a few nail polishes here and there. There has been that guilt in my head, telling myself, just because you aren't buying makeup doesn't mean you should be splurging on these other beauty products! But at the same time, I have been exhibiting a lot more self control by buying very few nail polishes, a body scrub I needed, and a dry shampoo. I actually was at Ulta on Sunday to buy those, and I sniffed some of the perfume samples. One that stood out to me was Roses de Chloé.

I guess seeing Kay from Shoes and Glitter's enviable collection and reviews of perfumes made me want to go out and get a bottle (and more in the future) for myself. And you know what? This bottle is so worth it.

Since my trip to Ulta yesterday to return something for my mom, I sprayed Roses de Chloé again and was in total agony of wanting to buy it. The Angel and Devil were on each of my shoulder yesterday at Ulta. With the Angel telling me, no, don't! There will be many other times to buy this! But I listened to the Devil, teasing know you want this. Come on, this is the last 1 oz. they have in stock! I guess it means we all have a bit of Devil in us, right? We are all not perfect.

Roses de Chloé comes in three sizes: 1 oz. for $70 (which I bought), 1.7 oz. for $95, and 2.5 oz. for $120. It also comes in a 0.33 oz. rollerball for $28.

What attracted me to this was the adorably-girly packaging. It's very feminine Parisian–chic, with the ridged square bottle and the pink ribbon tied to it.

As I have taken an interest to fragrances, I have been able to differentiate Eau de parfum vs. Eau de toilette. Eau de parfum has about 10–20% of the essential oil, and less expensive than Extrait de parfum (which contains 15–40%, and is honestly harder to find). Eau de toilette, however, is less expensive than Eau de parfum, and lighter. Roses de Chloé is Eau de toilette, which made me question getting this at first because I like strong, potent scents. And honestly? It is pretty strong for an eau de toilette, but it does evaporate quickly, leaving a nice, lighter scent for those who have a sensitive nose (like Cecilio). It has floral notes of fresh cut roses (mmm!), roses essence, magnolia accord, balanced with earthy white musk and amber. Also, a hint of citrusy bergamot (orange essential oil) is present.

Roses de Chloé is a gorgeous, soft-scented perfume that is perfect for spring and makes you want to run, jump and dance around in a field of roses ( I want to walk around the McKinley Rose Garden in Midtown Sacramento). As the weather warms up, flowers bloom, and clothing hems are shortening, there is also a need for scents to be lighter and more floral.

You can find Roses de Chloé at Sephora and Ulta, and at higher-end department stores such as Macy's, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and Bloomingdale's (Keep in mind that none of the department stores carry the 1 oz. bottle which is what I have).

Do you have this bottle? Or...what are your favorite scents for the spring?

March 2016 Boxycharm: Sweet Treats

Every month I get Boxycharm, which is always a sweet treat. For those who have been reading my blog, you know how crazy I am about this subscription box: for $21/month, you get 4–5 products worth $100+, with well-known brands.

So what's in the March 2016 box?

1. Makeup Geek Pressed Eyeshadow Pans: Cocoa Bear and Cosmopolitan ($6): I have heard of Makeup Geek and I know it's super popular in the blogosphere due to its affordability, collaboration with YouTube gurus, and variety of gorgeous shades...I like to think of Makeup Geek as ColourPop's rival (also because both brands are only available online. But I cannot believe that I have never bought anything from MUG, especially considering that the CEO, Marlena is a Sacramento native! Not just that, they actually were hiring a graphic designer, I saw the posting on during Christmas. I totally would have went for it in a heartbeat, I just didn't because I felt like I didn't have enough experience, especially in the package design part. Yes, MUG's office is in Sacramento! It's so amazing because Sacramento is the little sibling of SF and LA that doesn't get much perks (the other 2 have beauty brand HQs established all over). Also, I have been eyeing the MannyMUA x Makeup Geek Palette for a while.

Anyway, back to the shadows. I was treated with 2 eyeshadows, Cocoa Bear (left, a matte warm brown) and Cosmopolitan (right, metallic copper with rose). the pans are so tiny and cute, but that's probably because I have never had an eyeshadow in a loose pan before, so it's time for me to get a few more shades along with a Z-palette to fit them in. Both shades are very pigmented and smooth for the price they are. They remind me of the shades in the Tartelette in Bloom palette, which I don't have.

Here are the swatches below:

2. Luxie Rose Gold Small Contour Brush 512 ($16): I am always over the moon when I get a brush in my box, and every month, I seem to get them in Boxycharm. I can't say that about ipsy or Birchbox. Brushes are so useful because if I have other brushes of the same kind that are dirty and need to be cleaned, I can use a backup one. This baby pink brush is so adorable with a gold-engraved label on it, and the bristles are so soft. It is cruelty-free too, with synthetic bristles coated with antibacterial solution. I would say based on this type of brush, it's best for light contouring. If you want a sharp, Kim Kardashian look, you are better off using an angled brush.

3. Catherine Malandrino Style de Paris Perfume ($20): Oh this scent is so clean with subtle fruity notes! I don't like overly sweet scents, and this mini perfume has the right balance between fruity, warm, and fresh. It contains ruby red grapefruit, nashi pear, orange blossom, gardenia and patchouli. Great for the spring and summer!

4. Clark's Botanical Anti-Puff Eye Cream ($87): I have quite a bit of eye creams now: 2 from Murad (a sample my esthetician gave me, and a bottle my mom gave me hers), the Freeze 24/7 Anti-Aging Eye Serum from last month's it doesn't hurt to try a new one. Since this is worth $87, it better erase the lines and puffs under my eyes magically. This is loaded with Vitamin A and E to soften and smoothen the skin, and Vitamin K to lighten the dark circles. I have a huge eye circle problem that even orange corrector and my NARS concealer can't hide everything. This is a huge amount of eye cream, so no more needing to buy for now (if it's good enough for me).

5. Chella Tantalizing Taupe Eyebrow Color ($18): When I first saw an eyebrow product in this month's box, I groaned. Another one? Well, this one has proven me wrong because as I drew some strokes on one of my eyebrows, it gave me a very natural yet full, clean and defined brow. Best of all? It's so easy and convenient to use, for those moments where I am too much in a hurry to whip out my ABH brow powder and wax. It is not sloppy like my Maybelline Brow Drama either.

Another box, another moment of satisfaction. I am so happy I have resubscribed my Boxycharm because I put most of the products I get to good use. I really would love to get another subscription box next month or in May. I am torn between Allure Beauty Box or Glossybox. I am leaning towards Glossybox because I love the products they give out and my best friend Rebecca has it, so she can get points if she refers me. Hell, when I get a job I can subscribe to both. 

Weekend getaway to Lake Tahoe

On Saturday, I got to go on a mini trip with Cecilio to Lake Tahoe. Since his sister, Carmela, recently got hired there, she moved out of their parents' home into an apartment, so the past couple of weeks for the whole family have been helping her move her furniture, driving each time into the steep mountains! It's also funny because last week, there has been a pretty bad rainstorm in Sacramento, and Tahoe (which is a 2 hour distance from Sacramento) has been snowing heavily too. A week prior, Cecilio and Carmela drove to her apartment to help her get settled, and getting back home was a nightmare because they had to deal with chaining Cecilio's car (a 2004 Honda Civic that has survived many trips and locations) and taking it out because of the noise it was making. All while being covered in snow in the dark. This time around when I came, pretty much all of the snow has melted except for some dirty spots on the floor and the gorgeous snowcapped mountains. And driving back was a breeze.

Lake Tahoe is the largest freshwater lake in North America, bordering California and Nevada. It is the 2nd deepest lake in the US after Crater Lake in Oregon, and the 5th largest lake (by volume) in the US after the five Great Lakes in Michigan. I'm no stranger to Lake Tahoe—I grew up once in a while playing in the snow during family trips. My dad loved the drive to Reno, because of the majestic scenery of the mountains and pine trees. I always feel like I'm in a woodland fairy tale whenever we drive through the Sierra Mountains of Tahoe. So while my dad was still alive, most of our trips consisted of staying in Reno for a few nights. It reminded him so much of growing up in his Isabela, Philippines, where there were beautiful mountain ranges as well. Lake Tahoe boasts so many tourists, especially for outdoor activities: skiing, snowboarding, hiking, parasailing, kayaking, fishing, biking, or just throwing snowballs at your relative (lol). Also, Nevada is definitely known for their casinos!

Since my dad passed, I have only gone to Reno and Tahoe once, and that was a few weeks after. Cecilio drove my mom, sister, aunt, cousin and I. Since it was so fresh, I started tearing up while passing through the mountains, knowing that this was his realm.

It's been 3 years, and I visited again. Though we mostly stayed with Cecilio and his family, he and I broke off a bit and walked around a small portion of the beach area (don't underestimate how huge Tahoe is), took in the beauty and of course, took pictures. Since Carmela has moved, we will definitely be coming to visit more. Cecilio and I have been wanting to hike more and learn to snowboard. I'm not a "snow" type of gal because I get really cold easily, but it would be fun to learn.

Here are some pics I took of the trip:

Carmela's neighborhood

My fine fiancé!

My awkward attempt to be a fashion blogger. Okay, the lilac gloves don't match my outfit but my hands were cold and they were made so that I could still use my phone!
Beanie: H&M
Coat: Calvin Klein
Scarf: Something my future mother in law gave me for Christmas
Jeans: Wit & Wisdom
Purse: TJMaxx, not a designer label
Shoes: Kenneth Cole Reaction

But lastly, let us take a selfie!

Also, I am happy to say that we have hit the 1 year mark (as of the 18th) before we say our "I Do's" and become husband and wife! It still feels so surreal to me. It's a huge life change and I am scared, but excited for what the future has in store for us with my love and best friend by my side!

This won't be the last visit, so expect to see more posts about Lake Tahoe and all of its glory!

St. Patrick's Day Nails: OPI's I'm SOOO Swamped!

I love St. Patrick's Day because it's an excuse for me to wear green, one of my favorite colors. Yes I know I can wear it any time of the year, but it's extra fun when the rest of the population partakes in the festivities. I love all shades of green: mint, forest, lime, olive, jade, teal, sea, etc. I bought the OPI Nail Lacquer: I'm sooo swamped! for today.

I'm sooo swamped! one of 12 shades in OPI's Spring/Summer 2016 New Orleans Collection ($10). This collection takes various shades and is inspired by the lively culture and spirit of New Orleans. It's funny because Cecilio and I were going to go there last December but it became too late for us as the tickets kept going up. With names like Spare Me a French Quarter?, Let Me Bayou a Drink, and Take a Right on Bourbon, New Orleans is truly one of a kind in the US. It marries The South and French culture.

I am impressed with how the color turned out exactly as it shows on the bottle. When I first brushed this upon my nail beds, it honestly reminded me of Kermit The Frog or Kerropi. So what will I describe it, frog green? haha. Okay, so it's more neon-ish. It is also bright enough to wear for summer.

I've never painted my own nails with an OPI bottle, but I usually go to the salon and pick one for the manicurists to paint it for me. I am SO glad that they have a wide, flat blush, which makes it insanely easy and smooth to apply. That is one of my frustrations with the Essie polishes.

I have to say that I am pretty impressed with this shade, some of the others in the New Orleans collection, and OPI polishes in general. I will be coming back for more.

Do you guys have this shade or any OPI polishes? And what are you doing for St. Patrick's Day? My mom's boyfriend is cooking up some corned beef and cabbage. I can't wait to try it! Although, I have to admit, I do looove the canned corned beef as well!

Pretty in Peach: Spring Lip Colors

Spring has [not yet] sprung, and while I'm not ready to let go of my vampy lip colors (a part of me wants to say just SCREW it and wear NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in "Copenhagen" anyway!), I am embracing more nudes and lighter, softer shades. When spring comes to mind, we think of minidresses, sandals, dewy skin, flushed cheeks, and feminine lip colors. While pink gets all of the spotlight, it's safe to say that peach comes by a close second. Like pink and nude, peach comes in a variety of tones. Whatever your skin tone is, or your preference for matte or gloss, you are guaranteed to find something in some of my list of favorite peach lip colors.

Left–right: NYX Butter Gloss (Peach Cobbler), NYX Butter Gloss (Peaches and Cream), Too Faced Melted Chocolate Milkshake, MAC Lipstick (Mocha), NARS Audacious Lipstick (Jane), NYX Matte Lipstick (Sierra)

NYX Butter Glosses–Peach Cobbler and Peaches and Cream: Warmer callers call for glossy lips for a more airy and girly feel. I am usually not crazy about the NYX Butter Glosses (except for the darker shades because they are more pigmented), but I really really like these two because they add subtle color with kissable shine. Peach Cobbler and more of a medium coral, and you will like Peaches and Cream if you don't want to stray away from pink.

Too Faced Melted Chocolate Milkshake: I'm learning to embrace nude lip colors, and this particular shade helps me. It has warm hints of peach that does not wash me out, looks like nothing is on my lips or blends with my skin.

MAC Mocha: The reason I got this was because I have been searching high and low for the perfect nude lipstick for my skin tone, and Mocha has been regarded as the holy grail for those with olive/Asian skin. This also has warm yellow undertones, making it a lovely everyday shade for spring.

NARS Audacious Jane: This is a marriage of nude and coral, calling it a "terracotta rose". It feels great and smooth with wonderful pigmentation!

NYX Matte Lipstick Sierra: Don't want to spend $32 on NARS Jane? Well no worries, NYX Sierra is almost an exact dupe for $6! And don't let the matte scare you: this is very comfortable and not drying at all.

Do you have any of these shades? What are your favorite peach lipsticks for the spring?

Too Faced Natural Matte Palette

Last month on Buzzfeed, there was an article dedicated to horrid 2000's makeup with photos to match, one of it being super-juicy lip gloss. I made a Facebook comment by simply saying "2000s=year of the gloss, 2010s=year of the mattes". You wouldn't believe that I got 630+ likes! I was mostly referring to lip glosses and lipsticks, but I guess you could say the same for eyeshadow. The 2000's (especially for me as a teen) was all about glitter, glam, and sparkle. Don't forget the bright colors! I thought MAC was the be-all-end-all for rainbow shades. My favorite go-to shades were bright green and purple. However, in the 2010s, we have subdued our eye looks (with the exception of cut creases, brows on fleek, and luscious lashes. We have set aside our neon sparkly shades in favor of neutrals, especially in matte form.

The Too Faced Natural Matte Palette came out last year with its ultra-girly, colorful sister, the Sugar Pop Palette. It doesn't get as much spotlight as its cousin, the Tartelette Palette (another all-matte palette). But I think it deserves more recognition and praise, especially for those with warmer tones. For $36, you get 9 shades (Heaven, Lace Teddy, Nudie are .07 oz; Cashmere Bunny, Sexpresso, Strapless, Risque, Honey Butter, and Chocolate Cookie are 0.03 oz).

I call this my "job interview" palette. As you can see, I haven't used it a lot even though I bought it last year in May, but it's becoming more and more a staple of mine these days. I have been using this a lot when going to job interviews, when I want to look groomed and more put together without overdoing it. It is very workplace-appropriate, because I know it will feel silly sometimes to come in with shimmer all over.

Swatches are below:

Heaven (creamy white)
Cashmere Bunny (medium beige)
Sexpresso (dark cocoa brown with warm undertones)
Lace Teddy (peachy-pink nude)
Strapless (Muted rosy brown)
Rique (dark cocoa brown with cool undertones)
Nudie (light beige)
Honey Butter (medium peach)
Chocolate Cookie (warm caramel brown)

What do I like about this palette? Well for one, it's very creamy and blends well. There's a bit of fallout with the larger shades like Heaven, Lace Teddy, and Nudie. But it's not so bad that I will write it off. I also feel that this is such a versatile palette: you can use it for interviews/work (like I mentioned above), class, casual days, or you can use it for a night out if you use a darker shade for a crease or outer "V" (using the shades Sexpresso or Rique). I can also see this as a "bridal" palette if you don't want to go shimmery on your big day. It's also compact enough to take with you for traveling. If you're medium/tan skinned or darker, you may have a hard time with working with the shades, as some of them may not show up. Notice that the shades Cashmere Bunny, Lace Teddy, and Honey Butter blend with my skin. This is where a primer comes into play.

Here's a look I created 2 weeks ago for an interview:

This may be for you if:

  • You love more subdued shades, and want to forgo shimmer and glitter
  • You're into classic beauty
  • You have warmer undertones (The Tartelette Palette seems to suit those with cool undertones)
  • You are a beginner at eyeshadow and want to start creating easy, no-fuss looks

Do you have this palette, or any other matte palettes? Please comment below!