November Beauty Favorites (+ a few life updates)

Holy crap, did 2016 happen in a blink of an eye?! It just seemed like yesterday when we were ending 2015: I was in my last days of my internship at Make-A-Wish®, and my mom and nephew went to the Philippines for Christmas and stayed there for 3 weeks. Now, 2016 is coming to a close and there are 107 days left until the wedding. Last year, we were doing rough drafts of the guest list, booked our ceremony and reception sites. Now, I am just starting to design our invitations, buy gifts for the wedding party, and buy our rings. We have a lot more to do: Cecilio renting his tux (as well as his men), getting my dress altered, finalizing details with our vendors, more DIY projects, honeymoon planning and doing our private dinner tasting!

I didn't get a chance to post a lot last week due to being on vacation (I went to Wisconsin Dells, Milwaukee, and Chicago), but my next few posts will consist of photos of those trips.

Top 5 Fall Nail Polishes

Fall offers a wide range of shades to choose from. Unlike spring and summer, when you gravitate towards brights or pastels, anything goes in the fall. Want a vampy varnish? You got it. Not feeling it? Oh, embrace the nudes! You can even get away with bright colors too. Cool-toned colors (like blue and violet) don't come to mind when you think of fall polish, but when they're muted, they pop against the leaves and go well with that olive-green jacket. Here, I will showcase some of the nail polishes I have been sporting for the season.

The Blogger Tag

I got this tag from Katie from Beauty from Katie here and I haven't done a general beauty/lifestyle one in a here goes! Here's how you guys can get to know me better!

My first experience with eyelash extensions

Now, during my 2 years of beauty blogging, I have not done a single review about mascara. Sure, I would round up my favorite mascara in any of my monthly favorites post, but I have not gone on an in-depth review and analysis. Maybe because I find it easier to swatch a lipstick, and test it out all day. And there are so many mascara wands that it overwhelms me. Finally, I have felt like I could not take an good photo of my lashes (the selfie mode for the iPhone is terrible for detailed shots). Until I learned a trick from Youtube star Chrisspy (I can't find the video): basically, for detailed eye shots, you take a photo of your eye, but you're not doing it in selfie mode. Instead, you have a mirror in front of you, and you take a picture of your eye with that mirror. The photos above are taking with my iPhone 5C in front of my Tartelette in Bloom Palette mirror.

I don't wear false lashes either. I did one time for Halloween last year, and I think I did a good job putting them on for the first time, although it became loose by the end of the night. I'd just rather wear a really, really good mascara like Too Faced Better than Sex or L'Oreal Voluminous. I did try false lashes during my wedding makeup trial and I loved it.

As you can see, I'm not a big eyelash person. I love mascara but I don't go crazy about it the way I do with lipstick. Yet I want to make my eyes pop even more. Oh, the dilemma. So when my mom's boyfriend Bart gifted us a voucher deal to get eyelash extensions, I jumped at the offer.

Sephora Fall 2016 VIB Sale Haul

'Tis the season for the Sephora Beauty Insider sales! It's like having Christmas twice a year: one in April and one in November, where you can purchase anything for 20% off (10% if you're only Beauty Insider). The Beauty Insider sales are for those are are a Beauty Insider member: it's free to join, but if you spend $350/year you get upgraded to VIB Status, and $1000/year gets to VIB Rouge Status. Each higher up membership earns you more perks, such as early access to the sales, custom makeovers, extra points, and beauty classes. 

I have been able to pick up a lot of goodies, not just with stuff I personally bought but a reward using my points, some samples, and my birthday gift. Here's what I purchased!

My Concealer Collection

Concealer was one of the few makeup products I've been curious about since I was a child. I bought a makeup/fashion book for tweens when I was in 6th grade, and I've always wanted to use it to hide the moles on my face (until I realized that I can't hide them forever, and I still don't like them but I'm trying to embrace them). I was lucky to have skipped the acne phase when I was a teen, but it really bugged me when I did get the occasional big pimple that was on my chin or nose for everyone to see, Whatever concealer I was using did not not help. Or maybe it was because I wasn't doing the right technique. Hell, the only makeup I wore was lip gloss, lipstick, black eyeliner, mascara and brightly colored eyeshadow. 

Fast forward a few years, I've learned that there are different types of concealers that work for different purposes. I struggle with dark circles (due to my lupus, medications, and poor sleeping habits) and skin redness (due to lupus, again). I've searched high and low for concealers that would miraculously hide my blemishes. Though nothing is perfect, I have found the following that does just the job for me.

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick, Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick Warm Neutral, Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick 4.5, Bobbi Brown, Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick, foundation stick, cream foundation, cream stick foundation, makeup, dry skin foundation, oily skin foundation, sephora

Sometimes I just want to take a more laid back approach to my makeup routine. Not that you can't do so with liquid foundation, but usually you apply it with a brush or a sponge. With a cream stick foundation, it's actually preferred that you apply it with your fingers. And when you're traveling, it's so easy to stick it in your toiletry kit without worrying about the glass breaking or liquid spilling all over. If you want to put it in your purse or carry-on, you're free to do so without needing to put it in a 3 oz. ziplock bag. I'm thinking about my upcoming vacations (Milwaukee, Wisconsin Dells and Chicago next week, and Mexico honeymoon in March!!) and how I can make packing my makeup bag as easy and light as possible.

I've been wanting the Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick for a while, and I added it to my birthday wishlist last month. It was one of the many gifts Cecilio gave me for my birthday (thanks love!) This cream foundation stick does not come cheap: it is $46 for 0.31 oz. in a small, retractable tube. It comes in 24 shades, with different undertones. I rely on Findnation to find the best foundation shade for me based on the foundation shades I already used. The shade 4.5 (Warm Neutral) suited my skin tone best, and they were not at all far off.

Why I finally (and reluctantly) created a Facebook page for my blog

There's no doubt that blogging is a lot of hard work and grinding. If your goal is to have your personal diary, you can do what you please and write whatever and whenever you want. But if you are serious about growing an audience, fostering a sense community, and even working with brands or earning money, you have to go the extra mile. And that mile includes being active on social media.

Style Tribute to Michelle Obama

fashion, Michelle Obama, FLOTUS, President Obama, politics, FLOTUS style, First Lady

It's time to say farewell to President Barack Obama after his 8-year tenure. 

The 2016 Election has been a huge deal in the US because Donald Trump is officially the 45th President. I am heartbroken. As a woman of color with a medical condition, I am the exact type of person that Trump would marginalize. Thank goodness I grew in California, especially in ethnically/racially/religiously/socioeconomically diverse areas such as the Bay Area and Sacramento where I didn't experience discrimination for my skin color. I hurt for those that live in different regions of the US (such as the South and ultra rural parts of the Midwest) that experience mistreatment and discrimination.

I try not to talk about politics here, especially because it's a sensitive topic and I'm still learning. Okay, I have to confess: I didn't pay too much attention in high school. I have been learning a lot more thanks to being engaged to a former PoliSci major and to experiencing the one issue that is extremely important to me: healthcare. I honestly don't know how I would be able to thrive health-wise or even graduate college if it wasn't for Obamacare. As someone who is suffering (and has love ones who suffer as well) from a medical condition, it was extremely important to me to elect someone who advocates free (or low cost) healthcare for those with pre-existing conditions, mental health issues and low-middle incomes.

Okay, enough of my political rambling...that's not the point of this post. This post is to pay homage to First Lady Michelle Obama's style over the past 8 years. (much more positive and lighthearted than this circus of an election, isn't it?!)

Fall Favorites Tag

A huge thanks to Shelleen from A Blushing Beauty Blog for tagging me in this! It's been a while since I got to participate in a fun tag, and I especially like fall and all of the cliche things that come with it: pumpkin spice, cinnamon everything, clean crisp air, fresh rain, leaves, diffused lighting, fall fashion...and of course, my birthday happens to be in the fall (which was a week and a half ago).

Anastasia Beverly Hills Master Palette by Mario

Anastasia Beverly Hills Master Palette by Mario, ABH, ABH Master Palette, ABH Master Palette by Mario, ABH Mario, Mario Dedivanovic, makeup, beauty, ABH palette, eyeshadow palette, Kim Kardashian

I've been crushing hard on Anastasia Beverly Hills products this year (except for the Cream Contour Palette). They have some of the best liquid lipsticks and lip glosses. Cecilio got me the Brow Express kit for my birthday last year, but it's been a while since I touched it. I have never tried any of their eyeshadow palettes, and I missed out on the Modern Renaissance palette (unless whenever it comes back in stock!) So when I found out about the Master Palette by Mario being released, I needed it. ASAP. As soon as it came out on September 29, I rushed to the ABH website to order it.

The ABH Master Palette was created in collaboration with Mario Dedivanovic (my cousin got to take a makeup workshop with him in Chicago—super jealous!) He is known for being Kim Kardashian's makeup artist. He also has clients such as Chrissy Tiegen, Jennifer Lopez, Ciara, Christina Aguilera, and of course, the Jenner sisters.