January Beauty Favorites

Oh man, I can't believe January is over already! I've bought a lot less makeup than usual for obvious reasons (wedding in 45 days), but there have been moments where I splurged. I am a lot more cognizant though. And I've been hitting up the drugstores rather than searching for the latest high end beaut.

I remember when I started Floraful, my monthly favorites included some lifestyle stuff (workout DVDs, food, travel, etc.) and I would like to incorporate that again. The only difference was that when I started moving to only beauty favorites, I started taking my own photos, whereas in the past, I just found the photos on the internet and made it into a collage. Even though this is primarily a beauty blog, I have other topics here too. I even changed my instagram username from hannaheunice.hearts.makeup to floraful_blog (someone already took the name floraful) since this blog is not exclusively about beauty (though it does make up 95% of my posts).

Without further ado, here were some of my favorite beauty products this past January:

Book Review: The Whole Health Life by Shannon Harvey

"I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company."

The Whole Health Life by Shannon Harvey, The Whole Health Life, Shannon Harvey

I've honestly never understood before the link between mind and body health, until my lupus started flaring up in late 2010. I transferred to a university from community college, was working at the DMV headquarters as a student assistant analyst, and I was just starting to take prednisone from a bad flare up and severe joint pain. I was prescribed to take prednisone for 40 days, 40 mg for the first 10 days, 30 for the next 10 days, etc. I stopped at 20 mg. I thought to myself, I don't need this, I'm better now! That was when my lupus started taking its toll and overcame my body. Mind you, I was 21 and also very ignorant. I was ignorant about the fact that stopping prednisone abruptly can harm you.

I was diagnosed with SLE in 2007, but my early twenties (2010–2014) were a time of turmoil for me. My first stroke/seizure was in December 2011, after going through extreme stress of being in university: though my grades were decent, I had academic probation the semester before. I had failed 2 classes due to my health issues, low energy, low self-esteem, and my dad's lung cancer diagnosis. I felt like my world was crashing down. And because of my academic probation, mediocre grades, and a low possibility to get into the graphic design program at my university, I faced an existential crisis. What if I don't get into the graphic design program? What would I major in, and why is it taking forever? I should have graduated right now, all my peers have graduate or will graduate next year, what's wrong with me? Why am I falling behind? Am I disappointing my parents? 

After a final, I hit an all time low (physically, mentally and emotionally) and my dad found me on the floor convulsing. It was after that seizure that I needed to focus on my health and take a semester off.

This wouldn't be my last incident though: I've had subsequent seizures and a kidney biopsy in Fall 2013, that detected my nephritis (lupus that affects the kidney) worsening, so I was forced to go back on prednisone. I was extremely frustrated and stressed out about it. In addition, I wasn't driving at the time because of a seizure months before. I was also starting my first semester in the incredibly challenging graphic design program, and I was not sleeping well. I loved 2013 for the good memories (getting accepted in the graphic design program, and going to Europe for summer vacation), but I also had a dark time with my dad passing away and the health issues I was going through. After the biopsy, I was getting more and more sick. As my fevers were getting higher everyday for a month, my prednisone dosage upped to 80 mg. 

When Chronic Illness Bloggers notified me of the opportunity to read and review The Whole Health Life, I was intrigued. I was also skeptical of any sort of hippy-speak or claim that there is one magic pill that will heal your body from chronic or terminal illnesses. While my lab tests last year say that my lupus was inactive and that I've been having negative protein in my kidney, I still have lupus. It's still a part of me, and I still have to take medications to maintain my good health and not risk getting another seizure. Thankfully, this book is not the be-all end-all to cure you, but it takes a holistic approach to improving your health.

January 2017 ipsy Glambag: Metropolis

January 2017 ipsy Glambag: Metropolis, ipsy, january 2017 ipsy glambag

It's now the end of January and I still have yet to review the January 2017 ipsy Glambag. Well, now here I am!

This month's Glambag's theme is Metropolis. The bag is a light silver-tinted blue with mesh holes. Definitely not my favorite bag, especially compared to last month's fuzzy pink bag

But it's what's inside that counts, right? I love getting a balance of indie products and products I can find in the store. Let's dive right in!

Finding the perfect dog breed with PuppySpot

Flora, my Morkie (Maltese/Yorkie mix). Well, she's more of my mom's baby.

I am not shy about my love for my dogs on this blog. In fact, I named it after Flora, our 3-year old Morkie photographed above. I had a few other blog names in mind until I found out that they were already taken.

3 years ago, my mom decided she wanted a puppy. It was pretty shocking considering that she was a neat freak and that my dad REFUSED to have cats or dogs. He grew up in the northeast countryside of the Philippines where his parents owned a lot of farmland, and he had a lot of pets (cats, dogs, horses, cattle...you name it). But they weren't the homebody companion type of pets as we know of. They were all outdoors. So his idea of having pets inside the home (with the exception of fish, parakeets, and hamsters, which were the other pets I used to have) made him feel squeamish.

However, my mom and I were searching on the internet for Shi Tzus and other small dogs that she was interesting in. My sister suggested that we go to the local shelter. Thank God we went out the same day, because I found and fell in love with Aristotle "Aris". He was a really shy pup and did not want to leave the bed in his kennel. I almost got his next-door neighbor, Cowboy, a long-haired chihuahua. But another couple wanted him, so minutes before the shelter was about to close, I decided that I wanted to meet Aris first. And my mom, nephew and I were placed in a small room to meet him and see if we were a match. Aris was jumping all over me and licking me. It was love at first meet.

It's getting real—Our wedding invitations!

wedding invitations, sacramento wedding

wedding invitations, sacramento wedding, reception card

Hey ladies! How has everything been?! I've been trying to make room for blogging but now that Cecilio and I are less than 2 months out before our wedding, we've been crazy busy.

February will be packed with paying our final dues for our vendors, more DIY projects, private tasting for the food we will serve, buying gifts for our entourage, getting our marriage license, private dance lessons for our first dance, meetings with vendors, waiting for RSVPs to roll in (our deadline is on February 15, our 8-year anniversary!), picking up my dress from alterations, and my bridal shower. Oh yeah, and finding a place to live. 

But first, I want to show you guys the invitations that I've slaved over since last month, and we just mailed them today (YAY!)

Top 10 Beauty Brands for Women of Color

As an NC 40 Filipino/Indian gal, I find it a bit of a challenge when I fall in love with a blush (or lipstick shade) that simply just doesn't flatter my skin tone. Even if it looks gorgeous on a woman on the internet with my skin tone, it somehow looks better on her. Oh, I also know the frustration of trying to look for a foundation that would best match me. When I reviewed the L'Oreal Pro Glow Foundation, I had to mix 2 shades in order to match me perfectly, and the majority of their shades were mainly for those with fairer skin. Lets also not forget about the models of color who have to bring in their own foundation because the makeup artist doesn't provide such a shade.

What constitutes as a beauty brand that caters to ethnic women? (Asian, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, Hispanic, African, etc.)?

Do their foundations carry a wide variety of skin tones, from porcelain to ebony? Do they have cool, neutral and warm undertones?

Do they have a wide variety of blushes, eyeshadows and lipsticks that would show up on a woman's skin and not make her look muddy?

Do they use ethnic models in their marketing and promotional materials?

Do their mission and vision statements embrace diversity?

Now, when I refer to beauty brands catered towards women of color, I am not trying to exclude fair-skinned women. In fact, all of the brands mentioned below have shades for lighter skin. It is just that while the beauty industry has been embracing diversity in recent years, there is always room for improvement. 

That is why I have researched, tested and picked the best 10 beauty brands for WOC below.

LUSH Luxury Pud Bath Bomb

I don't pamper myself in the bathtub that much, but when I do, I am in a state of euphoria.

5 Things I hate about the Wedding Industrial Complex (WIC)

Yay! I can't believe I am getting married in over 2 months. I am so very blessed to be spending my life with Cecilio. We met 10 years ago, and little did we know we would end up together. And to boot, we are going to have a gorgeous and fun wedding. As my friend Nalee said, it's going to be "lit".

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil, smash box primer oil, smashbox

I don't like it when my makeup looks cakey. You can have the most expensive primers, foundations, and powders, but if you don't use proper skincare, there's no point of spending all that money on makeup. This year, I am trying to focus more on taking care of my skin. But when I read about the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil, I was intrigued. A skincare and a makeup product rolled in a bottle?! Wow!

Wet 'n' Wild Liquid Catsuit Lipsticks (Give Me Mocha, Berry Recognize, Video Vixen)

Wet 'n' Wild Liquid Catsuit Lipsticks (Give Me Mocha, Berry Recognize, Video Vixen)

Love it or hate it, the liquid lipstick trend isn't going away. In fact, several brands have started to release their own versions: Urban Decay, Morphe, Makeup Geek, and Burberry. I did not want to splurge on any of the above, but when I found out that Wet 'n' Wild was releasing their own set of liquid lipsticks with gorgeous shades (and a reasonable price), my interest piqued.

Winter 2016 Beautycon Box ft. Dulce Candy

Winter 2016 Beautycon Box, Beauty Con, Dulce Candy, Luxie Beauty Rose Tapered Highlighting Brush #552, ColourPop Beautycon LippyStix, Rimmel The Only 1 Pink a Punch, Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer, Artist Couture Illuminati Diamond Glow Powder, loreal voluminous lash primer, loreal voluminous female mascara, skinvolve body karate cream, kate somerville exfolikate intensive exfoliating treatment, biobelle botanic fiber facial mask

Although I am makeup-obsessed, I'm pretty particular when it comes which YouTube guru I follow. I find some of them a bit wacko or overly-perky. There is one exception, and that is Dulce Candy. She is one of my favorite Youtube gurus, so when I found out that she curated the Winter 2016 Beautycon Box and saw the products, I knew I had to get it.

My wedding shoes: Adrianna Papell pumps

Adrianna Papell, Adrianna Papell Jamie evening pumps, Adrianna Papell shoes, Adrianna Papell Pumps

So I have my first wedding dress fitting on Sunday (I'm nervous because of how much it's going to cost, especially because I lost 10 pounds since purchasing the dress. And I lose weight on my upper body really fast). For dress fittings, you have to bring your shoes and undergarments. I have a skirt slip that I will wear under the dress to give it more body. I also recently bought a backless bra that tapes to the side of your boobs. And I figured that I would share with you guys my gorgeous shoes.

Kylie Cosmetics Leo Lip Kit (Review + Swatches + Demo)

Kylie Cosmetics, Kylie Jenner, Kylie Lip Kit, Kylie Jenner Lip Kit, Leo Lip Kit, Kylie Leo Lip Kit, Kylie Cosmetics Leo Lip Kit, leo liquid lipstick, leo lip liner

Guys, I finally got one of Kylie Jenner's lip kits and I'm so excited to share it with you!

My 2017 Blogging Goals

My 2017 Blogging Goals

Happy New Years everyone, and I am welcoming 2017 with open arms!