April Beauty Favorites

After giving up buying makeup for Lent, I kinda (no, REALLY) went crazy in April. There were so many products I wanted to buy, especially from the Sephora VIB sale. Now for May, it's time for another "no-buy month" (one only exception: Memorial Day sales). And then I will continue on over the next few months...unless there's a great sale going on.

My most used and loved products are:

1. Too Faced Peanut Butter and Jelly Palette: This is a new palette I have been lusting over, especially because of the packaging, scent, and the gorgeous warm tones! Though I was disappointed with the Jelly (the bright purple shade on the bottom middle) because it wasn't as pigmented as I wanted it to be, I use it over NYX white eyeshadow base and spray Fix+ on my brush. That's what gives my lid the "foiled" look.

2. MAC Lipstick "Mehr": After being sorely disappointed with the Prolongwear Foundation, I exchanged it for this gorgeous lipstick. It's a matte bubblegum light pink with cool undertones, so I was surprised to find that it actually looked good on me. It's a great spring shade and perfect for office wear.

3. Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick "Berry Rich": I've actually been reaching for this lipstick a lot: this dark rosy lipstick works beautifully on my skin tone (I really recommend this for all skin tones), and it is another great spring shade. It is nondrying too.

4. L'Oreal True Match Lumi Foundation (W6): I remember first getting this foundation in 2014, and I practically wore it all the time. It gave a flawless, dewy finish, and it's great for dry skin. Problem was that I bought it in the wrong shade (C4), so it looked ghostly on me! I am so glad I bought this again. If you have dry or normal skin, I highly recommend this. It has SPF 20 too!

5. Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation (6.5): Again, because of my terrible experience with the Prolongwear Foundation I wanted to give this a try. I've heard how well it photographs, and how it's used for celebrities and brides. If I am to DIY my wedding makeup, it would be this. It kinda looks patchy right now on my skin if it's in the mirror on my room, but it looks great in other mirrors and photographs insanely well. When I set it with Laura Mercier Translucent Powder, I look airbrushed.

What beauty products have you been lovin' this past April?

So fresh, so CLEAN: Fresh Laundry Eau de Parfum

The CLEAN fragrances have been saved under my loves and favorites in my Sephora and Ulta accounts. Not sure about you guys, but I love the smell of laundry: Charmin fabric softener, powder detergent (its much stronger than liquid), and Oxyclean. I know, I'm kinda crazy. But when I learned that the CLEAN fragrances smelled like laundry, I needed to get my hands on them. I originally wanted the CLEAN Warm Cotton, when I read a review on Sephora (a negative one) from someone who complained,"If you want people to know that you love doing laundry all of the time, this fragrance is for you." (paraphrased). I don't necessary LOVE doing laundry (I do it practically everyday), but I love the smell of it. I wish we had powdered detergent though.

So I found the CLEAN Fresh Laundry and thought, why not get the one that is actually named after laundry? So I ordered the 1 oz. for $40 at Sephora: they also have a 0.34 oz Rollerball for $20 and a 2.14 oz bottle for $72. You can also buy the 1 oz bottle and a 0.17 rollerball (in a gift set with 4 other CLEAN fragrance rollerballs) at Ulta.

Let's talk about the packaging. Since the brand's name is CLEAN, it doesn't surprise me one bit that the bottle is simple, minimalistic, with each fragrance having different shades of blue. The simple square shaped and cool colors are the design elements I think of when I hear the word "clean". It doesn't have the intricate bottles like you see in the higher-end, designer fragrances.

I was honestly initially disappointed with how light the scent was: I wanted something stronger and more earthy. I knew it had citrusy notes of Brazilian orange and Mexican lime, but I didn't realize that those were the 2 most dominating notes. It also has fresh mown grass, cyclamen, rose otto, night blooming white jasmine, petals, heliotrope and musk. So this is more of a liquid detergent with citrus scent fragrance. It does grow on me overtime though, and especially because it is a great warm-weather scent where we reach for lighter beauty products (BB cream instead of foundation, tinted lip balm instead of matte lipstick, cream blush instead of powder). And for those who have extremely sensitive noses, this fragrance is perfect. Don't listen to me, I am a sucker for strong scents, even if it turns people off.

I like it, but I am not bowling over it. Like I say again, it's lovely for the summer.

Do you guys have this fragrance?

2016 Wedding Floral Trends

Last week I met with my wedding florist for a consultation; we discussed my wedding vision, what I want for bouquets/boutonnieres/centerpieces, what colors I wanted, etc. The flowers have been the one section I have been looking forward to the most, because they add an extra oomph of romance and elegance to your special day. As long as I've been a Pinterest member since 2012, I've been skimming through the wedding pins, though my tastes have changed overtime. In 2014, when Cecilio and I seriously started talking about marriage, I started hardcore pinning elements I would like for our celebration, so that was then I started observing the wedding trends of the mid-2010's. I've teamed up with Paperless Post to give you an idea of what the hottest floral trends on for your nuptials!

Here are the floral wedding elements that are rising to the top in 2016:

1. Loose bouquets
My cousins' weddings in 2007 and 2012 had the tightly-packed round bouquets with white roses. I can understand that that was their style (classic church ceremony and hotel reception), and Pinterest started emerging in 2012 before it blew up big time, but I have been seeing the handpicked style of loose bouquets in recent years. I love the "fresh from the garden" ethereal look. Even though I too, have a church ceremony and a hotel reception, I have requested this style to my florist. It just gives the setting a natural vibe, and not as uptight. I have a teeny bit of boho in me, somehow.

Photo Courtesy of Style me Pretty

2. Metallic elements
Mason jars blew up big time, and I even toyed with the idea of having them as floral centerpieces at one point. However, I believe that wedding floral/event designers are seeing that they do not suite every couple (based on their personality and the location the wedding will be held at). Not everyones a Southern bumpkin with a farm wedding filled with lace and burlap. Which is why you will see mercury gold vases, like in the photo shown above, are becoming more ever-so-present. I also requested for mercury vases to my florist, and she had them even though they weren't as gold as I would've liked (no one will notice it the way I will, LOL!), they are perfect for those who like vintage glam with a modern twist.

Courtesy of My Wedding

3. Extra fillers
Let's face it: flowers aren't cheap, and you are expected to account flowers for 10% of your budget. That said, brides and wedding planners have been working together to save money by incorporating "fillers" (babies breath, greenery, berries, succulents) in the bouquets and centerpieces, rather than flowers only. The most pinned floral inspiration has been the bouquets with extra fillers and greenery, which also gives it that freshly-handcut vibe.

Courtesy of Brides Magazine

4. Smaller flower crowns
Flower crowns blew up big time, especially for those who wanted to steer clear from the veil. However, for some brides they can look and feel overwhelming, and even awkward for those who want to wear one in a church. Though flower crowns are here to stay, they have scaled back a bit so that they will complement, not clash, with a veil and a romantic updo.

Need more visual candy and inspiration? Check out Paperless Post's Wedding Invitations. They provide beautiful invitations catered to all themes, whether you want something rustic or a little more whimsical. 

What wedding trends have you been loving in recent years?

Sephora Colorful Blush in Hey Jealousy

Sephora Colorful Blush, hey jealousy, pink blush, hot pink blush, powder blush

I walked into Sephora, wanting to exchange the Cream Lip Stain in "Blackberry Sorbet" (that I got in the VIB Sale), realizing it didn't look as flattering on me as I hoped. So I went in with the mission of finding something else. In one of the sections, there were a small stack of Sephora Colorful Blushes. I was drawn to "Hey Jealousy". I also wanted to get some of the Luster Matte Lip Colors, so I got Rose Petal and Hey Jealousy.

Hey Jealousy is one of 24 shades in the Sephora Colorful Face Powders collection, consisting of blush, highlighters and bronzers. For $14 and 0.12 oz, you are getting a a great deal compared to most, if not all, of the name brand blushes in Sephora. In fact, I see a lot of the drugstore brands retailing their blushes at $9-$12 these days!

I'm always attracted into bright, hot pink blushes. You can see that in my reviews of Too Faced Love Flush (How Deep is Your Love?) and The Balm Instain (Toile). Hey Jealousy is no different, with its matte punchy magenta shade. It looks intimidating on the pan and on the swatch, but I promise that it appears much more sheer on the cheeks, and you can build it up to the amount of color you want. I love how this gives me a flushed glow.

Sephora Colorful Blush, hey jealousy, pink blush, hot pink blush, powder blush
Top (1 Swatch), Bottom (4 swatches)

As you can see on me, it looks very natural and blends seamlessly with my skin. I could add more color if I wanted to. I find this to be very flattering on all skin tones, but especially on medium–dark skin because it shows up much better. If you are looking for a fun spring/summer blush, this is it!

Do you have this blush, or any of the blushes from the Sephora Colorful Face Powders collection?

Honor Earth Day with Peak [Biodegradable] Sunscreen

biodegradable sunscreen

There's little things we can do that add up to make Mother Earth a happier place for her and her inhabitants: recycling when needed, bike and walk rather than drive (although this is difficult if you live in a suburb), plant a tree, and support your local farmer's market by buying the produce. As beauty bloggers, I know we have researched products that are not tested on animals and are not made with ingredients that may cause harm to our bodies. Have you tried taking it to the next level by purchasing biodegradable sunscreen for your next beach vacation?

Over the past few months, Cecilio and I have been talking about where we are going to have our honeymoon, and we are 98% sure we are going to Playa del Carmen, Mexico. So I've been researching fun water activities for us to do, such as snorkeling, swimming in beaches and cenotes, going to Xel-Ha or Xcaret (Playa's natural theme parks), and all have one thing in common: you must bring biodegradable sunscreen. That means no Banana Boat or Coppertone. If it doesn't specifically say "biodegradable" on the bottle, then it most likely isn't.

The back descriptions say that this is biodegradable, even if the front label and the box doesn't say so.

All I had to do was type in "biodegradable sunscreen" on google and its associations with Mexico vacations pop up:

Though the Carribbean side of Mexico (Playa del Carmen, Cancun, Tulum, Cozumel) require bringing biodegradable sunscreen during your aquatic excursions, it's not mandated, but highly encouraged in Puerto Vallarta, which lies on the Pacific side.

Why is this important?

There are ingredients in most mainstream sunscreens that deteriorate coral reefs and feminize fish. Yes, oxybenzone, a common ingredient in sunscreen, is known to develop ovarian tissue in male fish. Oxybenzone and parabens are notorious for killing the coral reefs, that even a tiny drop can cause damage and bleach the coral reefs. According to Cozumel-Tours, 4,000–6,000 TONS of sunscreen wash off swimmers every year. So that means that during your snorkeling activity, you are probably not reapplying, thus not aware (it's okay, I had no idea before either) of the damage to the reefs.

The best solution is to look for a mineral-based sunscreen that contains titanium oxide and zinc oxide. Not only do they not risk the lives of the flora and fauna in the ocean, but they add an extra layer of UV protection. Which is why I searched high and low and found the Peak Natural Sunscreen on Amazon here for $19.99 and 4 oz. Yes, that's quite pricey for a small bottle, but it's the price to pay for protecting sea life. It has SPF of 30, offers UVA/UVB protection, and is water-resistant for 80 minutes. 

The Peak Natural Sunscreen contains no: Fragrance, parabens, oxybenzone, gluten, PABA, Retinyl Palmitate, Propylene Glycol, SLS, SLES and Phthalates.

But here are their ingredients, which contain all of the good stuff:

Active Ingredients: Titanium dioxide (6.00%) Zinc oxide (6.00%)

Inactive Ingredients: Aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) extract, beeswax, camellia sinensis (green tea) leaf extract, cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, cucumis sativus (cucumber) fruit extract, daucus carota sativa (carrot) extract, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, punica granatum (pomegranate) extract, tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E).

Although this does not have the scent of the mainstream sunscreens that I love, I know that I am better off without it. What I noticed about this has a much thicker texture.

 Also, it leaves a white cast, so it really made my legs look super ashy, especially because it is very difficult to blend. I applied this before Picnic Day (an annual event in UC Davis, where there are a lot of open houses and food stands, and outdoor activities), and once again within an hour and a half. Because I spent quite a bit of money on this and because I also want to protect my skin (people with lupus are discouraged from going out in the sun because of photosensivity, but I find that while I am a bit sensitive to the sun, it is not as bad as other lupus patients' sensitivities), this will be my go-to sunscreen for the summer. I also want to make it a habit to wear it even when it's cloudy.

Do you guys use biodegradable sunscreen when out on the beach? What efforts are you making to "green" up your beauty products/routines/habits?

April 2016 Boxycharm: Cloudy with a Chance of Charms

Boxycharm is something I always look forward to every month. This month's theme is Cloudy with a Chance of Charms: I really like the printed graphic this month (that comes with all of the information of the products) with the textured rain, as it looks like it was actually rained on. 

So what about the products?

1. Anderson Lilley Manhattan Beach Butter Hand Cream ($24): Even this is labeled as a hand cream, the directions allow you do rub on your body. I love rubbing this on my knees, elbows, feet, hands...basically, the dry areas. And the texture is quite thick, and moisturizes deeply. This is my favorite product in the box, and I definitely don't want it to go to waste, especially because I have severely dry skin on my body. I'm not sure what constitutes as "beach butter", but this has notes of bergamot, citrus, white jasmine, Brazilian heliotrope and musk. The scent though is very, very mild, if nonexistent.

2. Blinc Black Lash Primer ($26): I've never used a lash primer, though I've heard about it...I guess I didn't read the part where it said "black" in the lash primer label, but I was like...wait, isn't this like mascara? I coated the L'Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black Mascara (the waterproof one)...and it was clumpy...at least because I think the L'Oreal Voluminous waterproof mascara is clumpier than the regular Voluminous one. But on it's own, the Blinc lash primer is impressively lengthening and voluminizing.

3. Pur-lisse Daily Lip Nourisher ($16): Unlike a lot of lip balms and treatments (which tend to be thick), this has a more liquid and oily texture. But it feels so soothing and comfortable on the lips. The ingredients? Mango, shea butter, jojoba, rice bran oil, and Vitamin E. I haven't tried using this under lipstick but I will for sure!

4. Your Minerals Eyeshadow ($21): This is a mineral loose-pressed brown eyeshadow that is kind of a dud to me because I don't wear loose eyeshadow. But I shouldn't count this out. I'll experiment with this and create some cool looks with it. But I'm not really going crazy over it.

5. OFRA Liquid Lipstick "Pasadena" ($19.90): This has got to be my least favorite item, which was a shame because I also got the OFRA liquid lipstick in Americano, which I absolutely adore. But this light pinky-mauve definitely does not look good on me. I mean it's pretty cute in natural sunny light, but I want to rock my lip color even under shitty fluorescent lights.

Overall, this month's Boxycharm didn't wow me like it did with the previous ones, but I have a few keepers (like the hand/body cream, nourishing lip balm, and lash primer). Unfortunately, I have to cancel Boxycharm because I recently subscribed to Allure Beauty Box (which is $10 for the first box and $15 after that), and I recently got off the waitlist for Play! by Sephora and recently subscribed. For those who don't know, Play! is Sephora's beauty subscription box, and it became so popular that most people (including myself) have been waitlisted for months, and Sephora recently opened up to the people who have been in the waitlist. Play! is $10 a month. I cannot juggle 3 beauty boxes a month until I get a job. Unfortunately, Play! and Allure Beauty Box only ship to the US, so sorry for my international beauty friends :(

The Beauty Tag

Say what, a second tag in a row?! Thank you so much Kay for nominating me! If you don't know who Kay is, check out her awesome blog Shoes and Glitter, she has some awesome makeup and fragrance reviews, along with helpful tips for blogging newbies! She is so sweet and upbeat, I just wish we met in person to chat over makeup and life for hours! I love these tags because I learn from other bloggers' answers, and I give others my insight on things beauty-wise, if that makes sense. Here are the questions!

If you could have anyone in the world do your makeup, who would it be?
I really would want Bobbi Brown to do my makeup: I love her philosophy on using makeup to enhance a woman's natural beauty and not completely change her facial structure. However, I love the glam look too, so I discovered Nicol Concilio on YouTube and I love her dolled-up face and her charisma. How can I look as flawless as her?

What's your top makeup tip?
To get perfected winged eyeliner, I use a piece of tape and place it diagonally on the edge of my brow to the outer corner of my eye. That way, any mess-ups go on the tape and I don't have to redo it. However, this means you have to do your eye makeup first before the face makeup (you don't want tape to mess with your foundation).

What one skincare item could you not live without?
Masks have been my favorite thing lately: from hydrating Korean sheet masks to my Murad Clarifying Mask: I am making an effort to put this on at least once a week to deep cleanse my skin, especially after a whole day of full on makeup. It seems to extract the little bumps and make my skin feel so soft. I even used this when my face was breaking out before Miss Menstruation came, and my face was so smooth the next day.

What are you worst at when it comes to applying makeup?
The winged liner, which is why I love using that tape hack I mentioned a few questions ago. I am still having trouble covering up serious dark circles, which is why I got the BECCA Backlight Targeted Colour Corrector in Peach from the Sephora VIB sale. I use it before my concealer, and it covered 80% of my dark circles, but I figure I need to use more eye cream to get rid of that problem. I also set it with the Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder but it seemed to crease. Hopefully different techniques (and maybe a different concealer) will help.

What's your biggest pet peeve when it comes to beauty?
Like Kay said, the "rules" for beauty and the sense that if you don't apply your makeup in a certain way then you're doing it all wrong. And when it comes to the beauty community on Youtube, I feel like a lot of the gurus are not completely honest about the products that they review and swatch, and that they have to rave about it because they are being given the product. I don't know, maybe I am being bitter because I want to roll in the cash and the free products too (though they have to deal with haters and negative comments).

What's your favorite makeup era?
If you asked me 10 years ago, I would probably say the 1940's because I read Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and watched The Notebook (which I was obsessed with like all other teen girls, I seriously thought my ex was the Noah to my Allie), both of which took place in that era. But I'm torn because I don't see much beauty inspiration pre-1970 for women of my skin tone. Like Kelly from BeautyPepTalk, I like the 80's for the colorful eyeshadow, blush, and lip colors...just not for the hair! And like Kelly, I do like the music and movies from the 80's because my sister was born in 1976 so she really influenced me to embrace the culture of that decade: I even have the exercise video (cue the leg warmers and crazy hair) from 1986 (in DVD format), The Firm Classic Vol. 1, and ohmygosh it is one of the hardest workouts I have ever done! But it gave me a big chunk of bicep muscle and a  whittled waist so I can't complain, haha.

What's your guilty pleasure product?
Lipsticks, especially hot pink ones. In fact, when I returned the MAC Prolongwear Foundation and exchanged it for the lipstick in "Mehr", I tested some of the Retro Matte Liquid Lipsticks and fell in love with "Tailored to Tease", a punchy hot pink with blue undertones. I absolutely NEED it in my life!

What's your 'underdog' product?
I haven't talked about it a lot in my blog, but I absolutely love the L'OREAL True Match Lumi Foundation. It's the perfect drugstore foundation for my skin type and gives me a flawless, dewy (but not oily) finish, and it has SPF! I discovered it in 2014 and the only problem was that I got it in the wrong shade...N4, when my correct shade is actually W6. I'll be using it more, especially now that the  weather is warming up and I'll be out in the sun more often.

What's your favorite makeup product of 2015?
Oh gosh, 2015?! That was the year I went most crazy spending on beauty products...I still kinda am in 2016 (except for Lent), but I am practicing more discipline and self-awareness this time around. But for 2015, I really loved and used the Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar to death. I took it with me to New York and Hawaii. I also loved (and still love) MAC lipstick in "Retro"...I wore it to my graduation, job interviews, my internship, everyday wear, etc. it's just that I was almost finished with it (with 1/4 product left of the tube) and I lost it, so I had to get another one! Then the MUA at MAC gave me an extra tube because she thought I wanted to return it along with the Prolongwear Foundation, and now I have 2 full tubes of "Retro" lipstick.

Anyone who wants to do this tag is free to, but I wanna especially tag these ladies:
Katie from Beauty From Katie
Caroline from Iridescent Places
Samantha from Lavender and Honey
Erin from Make Erin Over

The Disney Tag

Me in Minnie's House, Disneyland, 2009

So I'm a huge Disney fan, and I'm happy to announce I will be going to Disneyland TWICE this year!! I've been yearning to go to Disney World though, even though it's across the country. I got this tag from Roxy from The Beautiful Bluebird, a fellow beauty/lifestyle blogger. Roxy called this the Disney Princess Tag, but I just dropped the "princess" part and called it the Disney Tag. As much as I love the princesses, my love for Disney does not stop at them.

If you are a Disney freak, feel free to copy and paste this tag and let me know in the comments! I would love to hear your answers!

1. Which princess do you adore the most?
Esmerelda is not a princess but I love her and she's my favorite Disney female (she's a gypsy, btw). The Hunchback of Notre Dame has always been my favorite Disney movie. But for actual princesses, I like Aurora from Sleeping Beauty.

 2. Which princess do you like the least?
Well that's hard, because I do like them a lot and find them all special in their own ways.

3. Which princess do you relate to the most?
Looks-wise, I would say Esmerelda, Pocahontas, and Jasmine because of the dark skin and black hair. But my current lifestyle represents Cinderella and Snow White the most because I've been stuck at home helping out and doing chores (with dogs by my side, just like Cinderella's animals), since I still am in the process of job-searching. I used to be boy crazy and naive, so I would say Anna in that sense from wanting to "marry" every guy I liked or dated. But she ends up with Kristoff after getting to know him so well, just like how it took a long time for Cecilio and I to get to where we are right now.

Oh and this isn't Disney but I could relate to Nemo from wanting to explore outside the anemone, but his father, like my dad, was super-overprotective.

 4. Which sidekick do you wish you had?
The gargoyles from Hunchback of Notre Dame to give me nuggets of wisdom, just like how they helped Quasimodo out of his comfort zone and got him out of the Notre Dame bell tower, where he lived all of his life.

5. Which best friend would you like to hang out with?
The cats from the Aristocats, especially Marie.

6. Which prince would you fall in love with?
Again, not a true prince but I really like Pheobus from Hunchback of Notre Dame.

7. Which parents would raise you?
I can see my late father and I having a relationship that mirrors Belle and Maurice.

8. Which castle would you live in? 
Sleeping Beauty's Castle! And Disneyland is home to her castle whereas Disney World has Cinderella's!

9. Which town would you live in?
Paris for the Notre Dame Cathedral. I actually got to go to Paris in 2013 and go inside the Notre Dame Cathedral (so blessed!), but next time I want to go upstairs and explore the nooks and crannies. Paris is where The Aristocats take place.

10. Which dress do you wish that you owned?
Aurora's dresses, the pink one and the one she wears as she's singing "Once Upon a Dream" in the forest. The wedding dress styles I like mimics her styles. I don't like the overly-poofy Cinderella dresses.

11. Which voice do you wish you had? 
Celine Dion when she sings her version of "Beauty and the Beast". I was almost considering that song for Cecilio and my first dance for the wedding.

12. Which two princesses would be friends?
Anna and Aurora for sure, and Snow White and Cinderella

13. Which two princesses do you think would hate each other?
Mulan would be rolling her eyes at Snow White for subjecting herself to be stuck at home doing chores, while she is out there fighting for her life and family.

14. Which two sidekicks would make a good duo? 
The Fairy Godmother and the Sleeping Beauty fairies...wait, that's 4, but I can see them making a great team!

 15. Which two princes would be best buds?
I don't know...Prince Philip and Eric?

16. What scene makes you cry most? 
This song from The Rescuers.

17. Which scene makes you cheer with happiness?
When the cats from the Aristocats reunite with their owner Madame Bonfamille, an aging lady, and bringing Thomas O'Malley with them.

18. What scene makes you cringe most?
Now that I think about it, the whole thing about Frollo lusting for Esmerelda yet wanting to murder her if she doesn't become his mistress. Definitely not kid friendly, even though I first saw it when I was 6!

19. Which story do you wish was your life? 
Jasmine's, to explore around the world in a magic carpet with my love.

20. Which movie do you love most? 
Hunchback of Notre Dame. It's different from all of the other Disney movies: has Christian morals and undertones (without being preachy like a lot of modern-day Christian movies) but still has very dark and depraved mood, and a lot more mature than the other movies.

Spring 2016 Sephora VIB Sale Haul

One of the perks of being a VIB Rouge or VIB member of Sephora is the annual 15% off sale in April (and the 20% off sale in November!) Regular Beauty insiders get 10% off though.

In this haul, I wanted to get wedding-beauty related items that would give me a flawless face and photograph beautifully. Whether I get my makeup done or do it on my own, I still want to look lovely for the engagement photos and pre-wedding parties. Which is why I got the Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder. I have researched high and low for powders that would not cause flashback, and everywhere I saw this one as one of the top recommendations. I'm very weary about translucent powders because of the flashback, and I have heard the MUFE powder is notorious for that. This powder comes in 2 sizes: a 1 oz. one for $38, and a travel-sized version 0.33 one for $23. I got the travel-sized one as it comes with a puff.

I have serious dark undereye circles that cannot just be hidden with concealer. I have tried using the Tarte CC Undereye Corrector under my NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, which actually makes it crease and look cakey...plus I've had it (the Tarte corrector) since September 2014, so I might, no definitely, want to throw it out. Since I have dark circles as a result of poor sleep (I did graduate college last year), side effects from prednisone, genetics, and ignoring my mom's advice on wearing eye cream in your 20s, I wanted to try out the new BECCA Backlight Targeted Colour Corrector (Peach). I was kinda worried that peach might be too light for my skin tone for the dark circles, and that I should've gotten papaya instead. But I tested it under my NARS concealer and it covered my dark circles much better. I will be experimenting with this through fingers, brushes, sponges, etc. and see which method works best. It is a glossy finish and not thick and cakey.

I originally got the Sephora Cream Lip Stain in Blackberry Sorbet because I saw how beautiful it looked...but it showed up as a deep purple, almost black to me. I was hoping for more of a reddish-violet. I don't know, maybe because I also feel weird about wearing it in the spring. So I returned it and exchanged it with the Sephora Luster Matte Long-Wear Lip Color (Rose Luster) and the Sephora Collection Colorful Blush (Hey Jealousy). This lip color was kind of a let down too: it was a subtle pink at the store but turned out bright pink in natural light! It's still gorgeous and I will still wear it, but unfortunately the formula is not spectacular: it is not a true matte. It's creamy, comfortable, and long-wearing, but it feels heavy and sits on my lips, and it bleeds easily. I cannot blot this because a lot of the product comes off. It's not long-wearing at all, and a lipliner is a must. I saw the blushes and was really drawn to Hey Jealousy, a bright pink will cool undertones, so I had to get it. It's that Barbie/80's shade that I just adore and works well with my skin tone.

Top to bottom: BECCA Backlight Targeted Colour Corrector (Peach), Sephora Luster Matte Long-Wear Lip Color (Rose Luster), and Sephora Collection Colorful Blush (Hey Jealousy)

For samples, I got the Boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel. I can't really say much about it except that it's a cool, clear gel that makes me skin feel soft, fresh and clean. If I still didn't have my Murad Cleanser I would be looking into this one more. I also got fragrance samples: Tom Ford Noir, a men's eau de parfum that I still love with its strong scents with notes of bergamot, violet flower, tuscan iris, black pepper oil, benzoin resin, and opoponax. Lastly comes the Givenchy Dahlia Divin, an eau de toilette with softer, more feminine notes of Mirabelle plum, Jasmine, White Florals, Sandalwood, Vetiver, and Patchouli.

I can't wait to play around with all of these babies I got!

Are you a Beauty Insider/VIB/VIB Rouge member of Sephora? Did you take advantage of this past week's sales? What did you get?

Too Faced Peanut Butter & Jelly Palette

Too Faced really knows how to get me, huh?

When I first saw a sneak peek of the Too Faced Peanut Butter & Jelly Palette, I knew I needed this in my life. The Sweet Peach Palette? Not so much, but I am a huge fan of peanut butter, especially the brands Skippy and Lily's (a Philippine brand). I grew up on the Goober brand (the striped peanut butter and jelly in one jar), and it's only natural that I love Reese's and the peanut butter smoothie at Jamba Juice. When I learned of the nutty scent, I was sold. However, I was concerned because the shades looked quite similar to the Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar. I swatched it at Ulta, comparing the 2, and I noticed the subtle differences. When I received a 20% off coupon from Ulta, that was game over. And there goes my love affair.

Like all of the small Too Faced palettes, these retail at $36 with 9 shades, 3 of which are 0.07 oz. (and are primarily used for highlighting the brow bone or inner corners), which the rest containing 0.03 oz.   I can see why it has similarities to the Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar; this whole palette is completely inspired by the ultra-gorgeous matte burnt sienna shade, Peanut Butter, in Semi-Sweet. 

What I LOVELOVELOVE about this palette is the box! Dare I say, I like it better than the Chocolate Bars?! Who could resist a peanut butter on toast little gal?! With peanut illustrations in the background?! I haven't even thrown away the box. I wish I could stare at this palette forever. It's so small and cute, and reminds me of a mini-peanut butter toast. Perfect for traveling and takes up less space in your makeup bag, that's for sure. I'm taking it with me on my trip to Newport Beach at the end of this month.

This reminds me of a poster I designed for Cecilio in 2012 on Valentine's Day...

While it has the peanut butter smell, I am happy to report that there are NO peanuts contained to create the scent, in case of those with Peanut allergies. Thank you Jerrod Blandino! It does contain the cocoa powder used in the Chocolate Bars.

Like all Too Faced palettes, they come with a guide:

The shades are so warm and bright, making it a fit for summer and fall. You can definitely play around and experiment with the pops of violet and orange (they complement each other), and you can also play it safe with the neutrals. I just wish there was a darker brown, to contrast the bright shades...maybe it would be called Nutella? Anyhow, here are the shades:

Top to bottom: Spread the Love (glimmery peach), Peanut Butter (medium orange brown), Peanut Butter Cup (metallic golden bronze), Bananas (shimmery champagne gold), Peanut Brittle (metallic burnt orange), Jammin' (metallic deep red violet), Extra Creamy (matte off white), Jelly (vibrant violet), and Nuts about U (matte reddish brown).

These shades are super-pigmented with one swipe, especially the metallic ones. My favorite shades are Peanut Butter Cup, Bananas, and Peanut Brittle. Before purchasing this, I have read reviews about how the Jelly shade isn't pigmented enough. I found this to be true and wasn't surprised, because the Chocolate Bars had shades with pops of color (that stood out among the neutrals) and weren't pigmented enough. So in order to get that pop I want, I use Jelly over NYX eyeshadow base and spray my brush with MAC Fix+. Here's a demo:

And finally, here is the look I have been practicing and perfecting:

Browbone: Bananas
Transition: Peanut Butter
Crease: Peanut Brittle
Outer V: Jammin'
Lid: Jelly (with NYX eyeshadow base and Fix+ spray)

I have never been so passionate about a beauty product in a while. I'm definitely going to be using this more. I highly, highly recommend this if you are into warm neutrals with fun colors. I feel like I am betraying the Chocolate Bars, but I think I will like this one more.

Do you guys have this palette, or want it?

Fall Fashion for Spring

Jacket: American Eagle Outfitters
Striped Sweater: H&M
Pants: Champions

Despite boasting about warm sunny weather last week in my floral dress post, it happened to rain again a few days ago. Thankfully it did't rain yesterday when I wore this outfit, but I happened to bring this military jacket just in case. But even though it was cloudy, it was quite warm. Even though it's springtime, I do miss fall fashion: knit sweaters, scarves, boots and dark vampy lipstick are my jam. But so are minidresses and straw hats.

I have noticed that olive green military jackets have been "trendy" lately, but I actually got this at TJ Maxx in 2010! I love it, it gives me a casual, no-fuss yet hip vibe without trying too hard. 

Also, I am wearing yoga pants! Yoga pants: most people love them or hate them. I'm in the former category. I also dress them up with a cute top or sweater and shoes to make them seem less casual. They are super-comfy to me: I am pear-shaped and curvy on the bottom, and it's unfortunate that most pants were not made for my body type in mind (I have been working out and doing squats and lunges with weights, which have been adding muscle and bulk, but I am now jogging on my treadmill to lean them out). I have always had a hard time finding jeans and pants because of it. So black yoga pants slims my legs, lifts my booty, and doesn't constrict me. I also feel super-stylish when they are paired with boots, like these Kenneth Cole Reaction ankle boots I got last year.

Where were we, you ask? We were strolling around Crockett, a small town with a population of 3,000 in between Sacramento and San Francisco and just right off of the Carquinez Bridge. It is also home to the C&H Sugar manufacturing building. Every time we come home from San Francisco, we always see the C&H Sugar sign light up at night. Our hands squeeze every time we see it, because it's our initials. We have always said that we wanted our engagement photos in front of the sign. Now that we just booked our photographer, we are planning the logistics of where, when, and how we will have our engagement shoot in July. The sign is so high, so we found a parking lot where we can take pictures in front of where the sign is visible (thankfully like most of the Bay Area, Crockett is hilly). Unfortunately, the building and its surrounding areas are private property so we could not go inside. However, Downtown Crockett is so cute and quaint! There are lots of art galleries, antique shops, painting classes for children, and sandwich shops. There are a lot of greenery too, like lush, long grass, flowers sprinkled in some areas, and sweeping trees. Despite its small size, Crockett has no shortage of unique backdrops for photo opportunities.