December 11, 2016

NYX Lip Products

Wearing Soft Matte Lip Cream in Monte Carlo. Excuse the greasy hair and pimple by the eyebrow.

I am so late to the game on NYX lip products. I've used NYX before (eyeliners, blushes, eye shadows), but for some reason I was never compelled to try their lip products. Suffice to say, I held off for a long time. Every time I walked into an Ulta store, I would peruse the NYX section, look at the lip colors, and just convince myself that these lip glosses and lip creams would never work for my finicky lips - read dry and sensitive where product clings to the lovely dry patches - it's a real beauty.

For some odd reason, as soon as I was released from the hospital I had this urge to try NYX lip products. Well, to be honest, prior to getting sick, I had been on the hunt for an awesome lip gloss/ lip balm. I had taken a trip to Sephora right before I got sick and had tried the YSL lip oil tints - loved the color, hated the consistency/ texture. I'm currently on a budget (which I urge everyone to do, I resisted for the longest time and now I'm shocked at how much money I wasted), so I knew NYX was affordable and hey, if I didn't like the product, I could just return it - no loss there.

My first trip alone after the hospital was to a CVS! Exciting, I know. While picking up some necessities, I wandered into the cosmetics aisle and saw a huge NYX display. They had some lovely colors that I just couldn't resist. I grabbed a Soft Matte Lip Cream in Monte Carlo. Love love love. See below for why I love this so much.



LOVE
  • Smooth application - Wet formula so you can dab the color on with the wand, then smooth out with finger
  • Longevity - Sometimes I test how long wearing a lip product is by taking a shower. Silly, I know, but it works for me. I'll apply a lip product about 5-10 minutes before a shower. Take a nice hot shower and then post-shower look in the mirror to see if the color is still on. Most of the time any lip product I'm wearing has worn off from the heat and water beating down my lips. However, Monte Carlo (since I wore it as a stain), was still as vibrant as when I first applied pre-shower. Plus it stayed on through dinner too! That was a good 5-6 hours of wear on my lips including the hot shower.
  • Color - I absolutely love this bright red/pink color of Monte Carlo. It brightens my skin tone beautifully.

Now, there are a few things I dislike about the soft matte lip creams.

CONS
  • Application - I know, I just wrote above how much I love the application, but it is a little tricky (which I don't mind). Here's my technique in application - it takes a few minutes, which some people may find a nuisance. 1) Apply lip balm to ensure lips are moisturized 2) Wait about 5 minutes then apply NYX butter gloss (love this as well) - this just makes your lips even more moisturized and slick, which I need right now, since the medication I'm on makes my entire body so dry 3) Wait about 5-10 mins then apply the soft matte lip cream. You can then apply a couple layers for a really vibrant matte look or for a soft stain, I like to apply then dab off with a tissue, then apply another thin layer on top. Wearing as a stain makes the color last for hours!
  • Smell/ Taste - Initial smell/ taste is gross for me - not sure how to describe it but there is a definite smell to this. After a few minutes once the product dries, the smell dissipates but just as a warning this is annoying for those sensitive to scents.
  • Inconsistency with Colors - Not all soft matte lip creams are created equally. So far, I've tried 3 and I've noticed the really dark berry/ vampy colors are so hard to apply. I purchased Copenhagen, which looked beautiful from the swatches online BUT, it was so clumpy and dry in real life. I could barely get the color onto my lips without the cream crumbling off. That was quickly returned for Madrid. Madrid is a beautiful dark berry as well and not as dry as Copenhagen, but drier than Monte Carlo. I like Madrid, but it's definitely much harder to apply than Monte Carlo, which has a more fluid/ wet texture that dries matte. 
I'm excited to try more of the bright colors in the soft matte lip cream family.

Also, NYX's butter glosses are similar to the lip creams - they all seem to have the same texture/ consistency but their scents differ! Why must you do this NYX? I first bought Strawberry Parfait - I liked the shine but was a bit disappointed by the lack of pigment on my lips. I wanted something a bit stronger and more noticeable in color. I did love the scent - a creamy vanilla! I then purchased Sugar Cookie thinking the scent would be the same - creamy vanilla, however, I was sorely disappointed. The scent of this gloss is more chemically, which I'm not a fan of at all. I do, however, love the color of this gloss, but I don't see myself reaching for it that often due to the strange scent. Again, the scent goes away after a few minutes just like the lip creams.

All in all, I'm greatly impressed by NYX's lip products. I'm excited to try more of their lip creams, their glosses, and maybe even venture into their lipsticks.

What do you think of NYX's lip products?


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December 5, 2016

Life Lately


Wow...November was a crazy month. And "crazy" is an understatement. I so welcome December, especially since there are a couple special days in the month - my birthday and Christmas :)

Just as a disclaimer this is a long post about a blood disorder called Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia (AIHA). I've also sprinkled in bits of my career update as well.

...


I originally wrote about how I quit my job in September, however, I ended up officially resigning in November. I quit my job on a Monday and by that Friday (Nov. 11th) I was severely ill with a 105 degree fever. It took me 6 days with a 105 fever before I went to the ER (yeah, in retrospect, I should have gone sooner), but my doctor originally thought I just had a virus (Parvovirus B19) and there's really not much you can do but ride out the horrible symptoms.  I didn't have a virus. My doctor ran a battery of lab tests as a process of elimination and everything came back negative - no strep, no pneumonia, no mono, no parvovirus. Then she saw my hemoglobin levels and red blood cell count and freaked out. As soon as my doctor saw my blood levels, she called me immediately to tell me I needed to go to the ER and receive an emergency blood transfusion.

What? I couldn't comprehend what my doctor was telling me. I am someone who hardly ever goes to the hospital and let alone rushes to an ER. Now I needed a blood transfusion? I just couldn't wrap my head around receiving someone else's blood.

It all started with a small infection on my finger - which I still have and I have no idea how I obtained the infection. I went to the doctor for a topical antibiotic ointment, but she just told me to apply Neosporin. The infection got worse, so I was prescribed an oral antibiotic in the Cephalosporin family (Keflex). I took it for 1 week and my finger improved, but the infection didn't completely heal. My doctor then gave me a second round of antibiotics and that Friday I took the first of my second round and 4 hours later I had a 105 degree fever.

My body was having a severe allergic reaction to the medication. At this point my body was attacking itself. It had created antibodies that were attacking my red blood cells. I had developed Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia - an extremely rare blood disorder that effects 1 in 100,000 per year - yup, I'm that statistic.

My case was pretty severe - when my doctor reviewed my lab tests, my hemoglobin was at 6.2 which is critically low and by the time I was admitted to the ER it had dropped to 5 - anything below 8 is considered potentially life threatening. It was pretty touch and go at this point because your hemoglobin carries oxgyen to all your organs and if you're not receiving enough oxygen to your organs, you begin organ failure.

I thank God for the amazing ER doctors, ER nurses, attending doctors, telemetry nurses, and my hematologist for providing amazing care and for figuring out what was wrong with me. It's a bit scary when you're hooked up to multiple IV's in the ER and all the doctors and nurses are staring at you and unsure of why you're so sick. I'm also so grateful for people who donate blood - the blood pretty much saved my life alongside the doctors and nurses :) Seriously, doctors and nurses are my heroes (not to mention my mom who is also an RN and was by my side the entire time).

Not to sound too dramatic, but I'm on the road to recovery. Every week my blood tests improve and I'm hoping in the next couple of weeks I only have to do 1 blood draw a week. My hematologist is monitoring my condition closely and I'll be on medication for the next 2 months.

This experience has shown me first hand how fragile life is...how quickly God can give and take away. He has blessed me so much through this trying experience. I am definitely slowing down more and I know for a fact that leaving the tech industry was the right decision for me at this moment. I start my new job this week as a nanny! I am over-the-moon excited about this new chapter in my life. I've always wanted to work with children, but never took the plunge due to financial reasons. I'm still not sure how I will make ends meet by taking a significant pay cut, but I know I will have so much more joy in my heart working with children.


...


I, also, wanted to mention the medication I'm taking in hopes that this will help others who are dealing with the intense side effects of this medicine - Prednisone. This is an oral corticosteroid. It saved my life along with the blood transfusion, but I see it as a necessary evil. Prednisone has so many awful side effects and I'm extremely scared about the tapering off of this medication because I've read that the withdrawal symptoms are even worse than the side effects. I trust my doctor knows what she's doing and will taper me down properly so I don't experience any withdrawal symptoms.

I know this is probably way too much information, but I'm going to share my side effects from this powerful drug below and how I manage to deal with it as I've been on this medication going on 3 weeks now and will be on it for the next 2 months, unfortunately. I started at 50 mg/ day and my hematologist is having me taper down in increments of 10 mg every 2 weeks. I'm currently at 40 mg/ day. I'm sure if you're taking this medication, you know that you should never just suddenly quit taking it as you will have severe withdrawal symptoms.

Please note, the recommendations listed below worked for me and may not work for everyone, so please do your own research and speak to your doctor if your side effects are severe.


Constipation/ Bloating/ Gas - I've never, ever in my life been so constipated or gassy :( Prednisone causes a lot of stomach issues, which is why doctors prescribe an antacid to take along with the medicine. I'm managing my stomach issues by taking a lot of peppermint oil and tea - it's proven to help with bloating and gas and it sure does help relieve my tummy! I take peppermint oil capsules immediately after I take Prednisone. In the evening I will take my fiber and some evenings I take a laxative to help stimulate things in the morning. The laxative (Bisacodyl - 5 mg) is powerful, so be very careful taking this as well. I can only take this in the evenings when I feel constipated, I would not take a laxative on a daily basis unless you are constipated everyday. You don't want to overtake this medicine as it will cause diarrhea.

Insomnia - I've been averaging 3 hours a sleep per night while on this medication, which is absolutely crazy. I've always been one to sleep forever and ever...but this drug is no joke. I will fall asleep and then wake up at 3 or 4 in the morning and am wide awake, unable to fall back asleep. Instead of taking more drugs (sleeping pills), I've found that taking 5 mg of Melatonin and drinking some magnesium gives me a solid 5.5 - 6 hours of sleep - which is AMAZING while on this drug. If all else fails, 2 Benadryls (50 mg) also works, but I prefer the more natural route. This is my favorite magnesium drink and it also doubles as a light laxative, so double duty for my situation :)

Mouth Issues - Dry mouth, thrush (yeast infection), and swollen tongue. This side effect was the first one I noticed, followed by my stomach issues. This one is challenging and I haven't really found a solution, but taking probiotics seems to help with the thrush - in the beginning when I was taking 50 mg/ day I had so much white stuff in my mouth - disgusting. Now, that I'm taking probiotics and tapered down to 40 mg/ day, the white stuff has gone down quite a bit. However, I still have really dry lips, throat, and swollen tongue. The swollen tongue makes it hard to eat food - lots of food with high sodium seems to irritate and burn my tongue and food seems to taste a bit differently.

Dry Skin/ Thinning Skin - I was shocked at how dry my entire body has become. Not only my mouth, but the skin on my body. On my birthday, I wore my skinny jeans for the first time and when I took my pants off, I was shocked to see marks on my stomach that looked like dry stretch marks. What happened was that my jeans rubbed the front of my stomach and my skin started peeling :( I can't even put lotion or oil over it because that causes a rash. Right now my stomach is just flaking off skin and has some exposed areas of pink. If anyone has any great lotion recommendations I'm all ears! Right now, if I apply anything (lotion, moisturizer, oil), I develop a rash, so I'm still on the hunt for a solution for my severe dry skin.

Water Retention - When I first came home from the hospital and was taking 50 mg/ day, I developed cankles! All the water went to my feet, ankles, and legs. They were so swollen, sore, and tender. I have noticed that forcing myself to walk more and moving around has relieved me of this issue. Sometimes I have water retention in my face where my lips feel swollen (duck lips, anyone?) as well as my cheeks, but as I've tapered down to 40 mg/ day this sensation has gone. I haven't experienced the "moon face" thankfully!

Shakiness/ Loss of Balance - I'm not sure if my slight shakiness or loss of balance is due to the drug or if it's mainly my condition (anemia), but I've noticed at times a bit of instability in myself. I'm hoping as I taper off the drug, I'll get stronger and stronger.

Acne - Yup, my acne has returned. I currently have 4 active breakouts on my face, but honestly, this side effect is one of my least concerns. I'm hoping it'll just dissipate as I taper down on the drug.

Blurred Vision - This is one side effect my sister warned me about. She told me she was prescribed a low dose of Prednisone when she was all inflamed from mosquito bites but quickly stopped taking the medication due to blurred vision. This one comes and goes and is not as severe or prominent as my other side effects, but it still exists for me.

Increase in Appetite - HUGE increase in my appetite. My friends were shocked at how much I ate for my birthday dinner. The thing is - I'm not gaining any weight - and no, I'm not bragging about how much food I can eat and not gain weight. I WANT to gain weight - 10-15 pounds would be ideal/ healthy on my frame. It's just so strange that I'm constantly eating but not gaining a single pound...yet. I guess everything I'm eating is going to the production of my red blood cells.

Suppressed Immune System - Of course, this is one of the biggest side effects. It frightens me that this drug masks infections - you could basically have a huge infection and not realize it until it's been developing in your body. I'm constantly washing my hands and avoiding large public areas as much as possible. I'm currently awaiting a few tests my doctor ordered since I'm on a such a high dose of Prednisone - I'm nervous for the results and hoping everything comes back negative.

So far, I have not experienced and I hope I will not experience any of these common side effects - moon face, excessive facial hair growth, joint pain, dizziness, mood swings, anxiety, or depression.

If you made it this far, I congratulate you! Also, if you are on this medication, I hope my tips help you with the never-ending side effects of this drug. Prednisone is a necessary evil for some of us as it has saved our lives, but dealing with the side effects can be so brutal on the body.

...


I promise the next post will be more fun - lots of talk about the NYX lip products :)
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November 9, 2016

Beauty Review// YSL Lip Products


You could say I have a little YSL lipstick obsession. The YSL Rouge Pur Couture lipsticks are my absolute favorite lippies. They are the only lipsticks I've found that don't dry my lips, are ever-so pigmented, fade evenly to leave a light stain, and feel so comfortable like you're wearing nothing at all. I love how I can just lightly swipe on a bit of color and it'll stain my lips all day...without causing my them to peel. The formulas are a dream on your lips - pigmented, light, non-drying, and have such longevity. I'm not a fan of scented lip products, but I don't mind the fruity scent/ flavor in YSL.

I also enjoy their Rouge Volupte lipstick, although, this is a thinner formula and seems to fade more quickly than the Rouge Pur Couture lipsticks. Their glossy stains are also a nice addition for some shine, but I would say the all stars here are their Rouge Pur Couture line.

The lip products I own and love are listed below. No swatches here, but there are lots of swatches from other bloggers online, so definitely check them out!

  • Rouge Pur Couture 01 - Le Rouge - blood red (satin finish)
  • Rouge Pur Couture 07 - Le Fuchsia - pure saturated fuchsia (satin finish)
  • Rouge Pur Couture 13 - Le Orange - bright orange (satin finish)
  • Rouge Pur Couture 20 - Rouge Enamel (satin finish) - I wasn't able to find this color anywhere, so I think it is now discontinued.
  • Rouge Pur Couture The Mats 203 - Rouge Rock - matte rich red (matte finish)
  • Rouge Volupte 12 - Forbidden Burgundy - I wasn't able to find this color anywhere, so I think it is now discontinued.
  • Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain 9 - Rouge Lacque
  • Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain 11 - Rouge Gouache

You can find the YSL lip products at my favorite retailer - Sephora.


My final thoughts are on this beautiful Volupte Tint-in-Oil (Red My Lips 15). The color and finish are so gorgeous...and I was so sad to return it. My main issue is that this actually dried out my lips when it should have moisturized them with all the oil. The color is so perfect - it looks like I've just eaten several strawberries with such a luscious shine. However, my lips soon became very dry and even my throat dried out from this gloss (from some of the gloss that I inadvertently licked).

Have you tried these? I truly believe these lipsticks (not the oil tints) are worth the price. They are that good!

Here I'm wearing Rouge Pur Couture in 20 (Rouge Enamel)
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November 1, 2016

My Trip to New England // October 2016

Happy first day of November!
I hope you are well. It's been quiet around here as I was gone for a week visiting my sister in the North East then to Lake Tahoe with friends - but it sure is nice to be home now.

Boy, was the weather and the vacation gods not in my favor for my east coast trip. My adventure started off pretty stressful - with a missed flight where I had to purchase a brand new ticket - then to my sister's apartment flooding right as I landed into Boston, so I had to stay in a hotel my first night - to crazy cold, windy, rainy weather, so my sister caught the flu - this delightful little trip was turning into a vacation from my worst nightmare. However, the visit wasn't a total loss and there were happy moments that crept in between times of craziness.

A little recap of my trip :)

Newport Mansions - Newport, Rhode Island


I never really thought of going to Rhode Island, but since it's just a short bus ride/ train ride away from Boston - my sister and I hopped on a bus to checkout some mansions from the Gilded Age. The weather wasn't the most ideal for mansion hopping with lots of wind, however, the sun was out allowing us to walk from mansion to mansion. We also did a bit of the cliff walk before the coastal wind got to us.

My sister and I did a quick day trip, however, I suggest doing an overnight trip to have more time to peruse all 5 mansions (we only had time for 2 - Rosecliff, where The Great Gatsby was filmed, and the infamous Breakers) and enjoy the cute downtown in Newport.

The photos above are from the Breakers Mansion.

Harvard Square - Cambridge, MA
My sister has always lived right around Harvard Square (she actually lives in Cambridge and not in Boston proper), so I love visiting this cute little area. There are so many nice boutiques and restaurants and weather permitting, it's a lovely place to walk around.

We headed to Harvard Square a couple of times during my trip. The first was to see the Head of the Charles Regatta - again if the weather had been a bit warmer, we would have stayed much longer at this event. My sister has gone plenty of times, but this was my first time. This event is a race for rowers from all around the world and there are several vendors promoting their products at the event, so you get a lot of free samples and goodies.

I definitely got my caramel apple fix here as well :)

We also had dinner in one of the cute restaurants the last night of my trip - Alden & Harlow. The staff here is so accommodating when I informed them of my gluten and dairy allergies - why am I allergic to life?


Fall Foliage - Salem, New Hampshire


Of course I had to take a picture with the big cut-out pumpkin!

My main reason for visiting my sister in the fall - other than to spend time with her -  was to see fall in New England! I've visited my sister a couple of times in autumn, but it was always after the peak of leaf peeping season. However, this visit, I was just in time to see all the vivid colors. There's really no one specific spot for viewing fall foliage as it's all around New England, but there is a famous highway that people recommend in New Hampshire, Kancamagus Highway. We didn't have enough time to check out this famous highway, but we did get a glimpse of the leaves in Salem, NH.

Some other quaint and cute places to visit in Boston are: Newbury Street, Boston Commons (I think it's so beautiful with the water and trees), and Charles Street.

If the weather had been permitting (i.e. no crazy wind and torrential downpours), I would have done a lot more outdoor activities, but the unpredictable New England weather did not work in my favor this time. I still had so much fun catching up with my sister and hearing about her crazy summer travels to South East Asia and Europe.

Hope you had a fun, safe, and happy Halloween! My night was spent indoors - recuperating from my trips - boring, yes, haha.


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October 16, 2016

What Have I Been up to...


Last week was my first week of freedom and it sure felt nice. I slept in, worked out, made appointments (dentist and doctor), went to said appointments, prayed, hiked, enjoyed walks in the park, and spent time with family and friends. Oh, and there was a little shopping involved...I couldn't help it :)

During this time off, I'm really focusing on healing my body. I am someone who is prone to stress (and anxiety) and have always let stress overrun my life, but now as I get older, my body cannot take the abuse. I'm really focusing on healing my gut by taking supplements, trying to eat healthier, exercising, and sleeping more. I feel that most of my issues stem from my digestive tract. I've grown up with a sensitive digestive system (thanks, dad) and with years of abuse (copious amounts of soda not enough water, dairy, gluten, coffee, etc.) - I have now developed heart burn, allergies to dairy, and sensitivity to gluten. I'm not sure I'm seeing any major results just yet, but I am trying my hardest to make this a lifestyle change.

This coming week I will be sleeping in (just a little more), meeting a friend for lunch, hiking in nature, and flying to Boston! I can't wait to see my sister and spend time exploring more of New England. I love the charm of New England and spending time with my little sister. After that I'll be headed to Lake Tahoe with friends to spend Halloween and celebrate some October birthdays!

On a side note, I've been having horrible migraines lately...I think it's due to my flu transforming into a sinus infection (yay) so, I wasn't able to attend church this morning. However, my church is doing a heartfelt series on it's ok to not be ok...which is so true. I watched this beautiful sermon today online and it resonated with me so deeply as I live in anxiety. I've never been prescribed any medication and I'm not sure my anxiety is severe enough, although, at times, I think I should be on something :/ Anyway, I hope you have a chance to watch this sermon and that it ministers to your heart and soul.

I hope you are enjoying your fall! Xoxo
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September 26, 2016

I Quit My Job

Get ready for a long post. If you're not in the mood to read about quitting jobs and starting all over again - you probably don't want to read this post. Otherwise, grab a cup of coffee or tea and get comfortable.


I've made it very clear to my family and friends how I despise my current job. I think they could just see the misery written all over my face - when I went bridesmaids dress shopping, one of the girls who is a momma and works part-time said to me "you look exhausted". Yes, a working mom told me, a single girl with no kids, I look tired.

I take the long 2 hour commute in the morning (that's just one-way mind you, so 4 hours total commute time) and just become angrier and angrier by the time I arrive into the office. Angry because of my long commute, angry because I have to deal with so many rude people, angry because there are so many inconsistencies at work, and so on and so on. Now, I've never loved any job I've held. I've been grateful to the Lord for always providing me with incredible opportunities and an income, but I've never been that passionate about what I do. Please don't think I'm a stuck up millennial that just throws away a career, work, and an income just because I'm not happy while there are millions who would love to have my job - it's so much more than that. I know the value of hard work...to a fault. I'm what you can call a workaholic...with the unfortunate outcome of being burned out.

At the moment, I'm currently at a crossroads - which direction do I take? Do I quit the adtech industry that I've worked in altogether...but then what? I have no special talents - no artistic abilities, no hidden talent. I have no idea as to what my next move is when I leave my current role. The only thing I'm certain of...is quitting. I need to quit for so many reasons - my health, my sanity, and a hope for something better and more meaningful. Quitting allows me to make room for something great - what that "great thing" is, I have yet to discover.

This decision has been weighing heavily on my heart for the last few months. I've always been the overly cautious, worry-about-every-miniscule-thing type of person. Me 5 years ago would never ever leave a job before having another job ready and waiting for me to fallback on. I've never been a risk-taker or throw caution to the wind type of girl - I'm the exact opposite. And here I am...writing this post in my bed after having made 2 difficult career decisions today.

ONE - I officially put in my 2 week notice at my current work place with no future opportunity waiting for me as a back-up.

TWO - I officially told a previous manager that was scouting me to join her team at another advertising & marketing company - thank you, but no thank you...now is not the right time.

Quitting and saying no - these are both scary things. I'm currently terrified, excited, hopeful, and overwhelmed. I've never done anything like this before and it is very uncharacteristic of me. I'm hoping that my story helps others who feel trapped in a career that gives them anxiety and overwhelming stress to courageously move forward - whether that's quitting their current job or taking the path less traveled.


I still have 2 more weeks at my current job, which is going to be filled with lots of questions from coworkers, stressful moments of transitioning accounts, and having to tell my clients I'm leaving. Amidst all the stress, I am so grateful to God. I'm so thankful for all the experiences he's given me. I've been blessed to work at some incredible large companies as well as small, nimble start ups. I've met some of my best friends at these companies and have been so blessed to have had a chance to work alongside them. I will cherish those experiences and still cannot believe I can say I've worked at both Google and Yahoo.

I hope you will follow me on my unconventional journey as I discover my next chapter in life. I feel that I've done what I was always "supposed" to do and what was expected of me - attend a 4 year university (which was amazing & I would never change that experience), graduate, and work in business. I've done that for the last 10 years (unhappily). Now I'm ready for something different, for something more.


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September 19, 2016

BECCA Cosmetics Luminous Blush // Currently Wishing

I went shopping with a friend yesterday and helped her pick some goodies as she starts her journey with makeup. While walking through the aisles, we stopped by the BECCA station and I could not keep my hands off the blushes.
I honestly fell in love with them all...especially Snapdragon, Dahlia, and Foxglove. They are so beautifully glowy and pigmented. Just a light tap of the blush on my finger was intense color. They're also so creamy for powder blushes (dare I say, even creamier than Nars powder blushes?). I love BECCA's Champagne Pop highlighter, so I know I will absolutely love her blushes.

Which color should I choose? Which one would you choose?


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September 14, 2016

My Favorite YouTube Family // The SacconeJoly's


The SacconeJoly's

I've been watching this family for the last 3 years now. They are just the cutest! I fantasize having their life, lol. Emilia is the most charming little girl - she's no longer a chubby baby and has grown so much! Their videos always put a smile to my face and make any sad day a little brighter. Thank you for sharing your life with us, Jonathan, Anna, Emilia, and Eduardo :)


Ahhh, Anna - I miss you making videos...especially your vlogs and OOTDs. They were like the behind the scenes version of Jonathan's videos! I also miss your styled outfits post-baby, so I'm so excited you're pregnant again!

Happy Wednesday!

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September 12, 2016

How to Use Dry Shampoo

Have you been using dry shampoo the right way?


I clearly have not.

When I recently highlighted my hair, the stylist asked if I used dry shampoo. I said I had used it before, but hated how my hair felt afterwards. Dry shampoo has always left a weird residue on my scalp that just never felt good. She immediately told me I was using it the wrong way. I wondered, "there's a right way to use it"? I had always thought there was only 1 way...apply to your roots when your hair is greasy. Nope. You're actually supposed to apply dry shampoo before your hair starts feeling greasy...this way the dry shampoo extends the clean feel on your scalp.

I tried this right before my Lake Tahoe trip and it worked perfectly!

My current favorite is the drybar's Detox dry shampoo...what's yours? Xoxo
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September 8, 2016

Life Isn't So Bad


Days like today have me feeling so low and emotional. It's the first day of my time of the month and I'm still recovering from my flu, so I've got all sorts of emotions going through my sleep deprived and food deprived mind (thank you, all night coughing and lack of appetite). All I can think are negative thoughts...how much I hate my day job (and that I will never find a job I am passionate about), how I can't stop coughing, that I'm still sick and can't enjoy this beautiful weather, how my life is not as glamorous as a famous blogger, and so and so on. Honestly, I could keep going.

I remember reading an article on depression a few years ago. This article mentioned that people who were grateful had less depression. One way to implement gratitude was to write down a few things you were grateful for before you went to bed. Writing down what you're thankful for made you focus on the positive and less on the negative.

I used to write down 5 things I was thankful for and 5 things I wanted the Lord's help on...and yes, this truly helped eradicate my depression and low moments. Then I got lazy and stopped doing this activity. Tonight I began writing in my beautiful shabby chic notebook again...to remind me of all the positives in my life and the abundance I have from God.

I took my negative thoughts and turned them into positives. Here's a quick snapshot of what I'm grateful for today.

Today I praise God for...
*Having a job - it may not be my dream job, I may not enjoy the people I work with, but it allows me to have food in my belly, a roof over my head, clothes to wear, and a warm and comfortable bed to sleep in. It also allows me the flexibility to work from home when needed. THANK YOU LORD.
*His Healing - my flu is not completely gone, but I no longer have a fever and I'm able to have a conversation for a few minutes without it turning into a violent cough. The Lord is healing me from this awful flu.
*Flowers - just looking at them brings an instant smile to my face
*Vacations - this weekend I plan to take a trip with friends! Excited to take time off work, relax, and have fun.
*Friends and Family - those closest to me know that I've been unhappy with my job, so they have been helping me look for new opportunities. I have amazing loved ones!


Have you tried this approach for your depression or even those ugly moments when negative thoughts try to invade and tell you lies? Focusing on the positive is such a great way to give thanks to the Lord and boost your mood. What are you grateful for today?

I hope you are having a joy filled night with lots of love, gratitude, and positive thoughts! Xo
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September 6, 2016

Fade Hair Dye Quickly

A few days ago, I had my hair highlighted and stressed to the stylist the importance that my highlights must be ashy...not brassy. Anytime I mention "golden" highlights to a stylist, my hair comes out orange and brassy - nowhere near gold. Every girl with dark hair like me will understand most of the time the end result of highlighting your hair means orange stripes rather than sexy sun-kissed goddess hair.

I emerged from the salon with a head full of white hair...at least the highlights were ashy and not orange? The results were an odd mix of zebra and old lady...not a good look. I went home and immediately dyed my hair with a box of Palty hair dye in Bitter Cappuccino. Then I had that "oops, did I just make things worse" moment. I didn't mind how the top of my head turned out, the highlights were a bit darker and more warm, which is what I wanted - to add more warmth back in. However, the lower half of my hair was now a weird gray-brown...again, not attractive. I knew the dye would eventually fade over time, but I'm impatient, so I searched online...how to quickly fade hair dye.

I soon found that vitamin c works similarly to lemon juice in lightening hair. I didn't follow any step by step instructions, which I probably should have to avoid irritation. Since, I already had a bottle of vitamin c powder at home, I poured a lot...and I mean a lot...I literally dumped the powder into my shampoo. Then left it on for about 20-30 minutes and rinsed. And voila, most of the dye was stripped from my hair. To avoid making mistakes like me (I used so much that even after I rinsed my hair, hands, and face - my face was left with a mild vitamin c peel...no damage, but definite irritation for the entire evening, following onto the next day). I recommend measuring out how much vitamin c you're going to use and wash it out of your hair, hands, and face...thoroughly.

Bottom line - vitamin c mixed with your shampoo works! Try it out but be cautious with how much you use and for how long you leave it in your hair. Some people mentioned they monitored the vitamin c concoction in their hair every 10 minutes to ensure they achieved the lift they were looking for in removing the dye. I do have to mention the highlights that were not originally covered by the box dye became even more ashy after the vitamin c treatment...so just be careful if you're like me and haphazardly covered your hair with dye. Also, it is drying, so make sure to follow up with a deep conditioner.

Before

After

P.S. If you're looking for a cute, flowy, layered cut - I found this amazing stylist's YouTube video on how to cut your own layers! I cut just a small bit of my hair and gave my choppy layers a more refined look. I may also have to set up an appointment in the future since she's located in the bay area.


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September 4, 2016

How to Feel Better When You're Sick

I've been sick this Labor Day weekend. No fun at all. While everyone is out and about in the beautifully mild weather, I've been coughing my head off with chills (oh, the joys of a mild fever) and a runny nose. Here are a few tips I found to help while I'm feeling ill.

I am no doctor, so please do use your own judgement with any of these items I've listed. They help me with the common cold/ flu symptoms, but I know what works for me does not always work for you.



1) Fluids - It's true...drink tons of water, herbal tea, lemon water plus honey, and Apple Cider Vinegar (diluted in water) plus honey. It's crazy how fast you become dehydrated when you're ill. Once I started drinking the ACV plus honey, my body started to expel the trapped mucous, which helped lessen the sore throat and coughing. Also, take vitamins! I try to load up on vitamin C while I'm sick.

2) Sleep - This is also an old but true adage. While you're sick, get more sleep than normal because your body is fighting to heal and return to its normal state. You will feel more fatigued than usual, so it's important to add in those extra Zzzs. I force myself to get more sleep during this time because I know this will help me recover more quickly. Yay for naps!

3) Do things you love - Of course this is limited to indoor activities because I wouldn't say you should go swimming while you're sick if you love being in the water...but watching your favorite shows (I've been having a Law & Order: SVU marathon) or online shopping or even blogging can help you feel better and distract you from all the fun your friends are having during the holiday.

4) Squeeze in some Jesus time - Sometimes, the last thing you want to do is read when you're sick, but praying, reading the word, and spending quality time with the Lord will boost your mood :)

5) Eat - Again, the last thing you want to do is eat while you're sick. My appetite greatly decreases when I'm not feeling well...mainly because it's hard for me to breathe and eat simultaneously when I'm coughing my head off. However, it is important to get some nutritious meals so your body can fuel up and fight whatever is causing you to feel ill. Some of my favorites are oatmeal and soups - these are so soothing for those with sore throats and gentle on your stomache.

6) Take Medicine - If all else fails and you must go out as we all have responsibilities and obligations - take some over-the-counter meds to help alleviate some of the symptoms...my favorite is Mucinex..it works really well for me. Taking over the counter medicine is my last resort because I try to go the holistic route of taking vitamins and herbs. However, taking medicine is a quick fix that works when you must function as normal..it's like placing a bandaid over a wound...it's only temporary. Please do your own research and make sure you're not allergic to any of the ingredients or medicines before taking and always follow the dosage instructions on the box or bottle. I will be taking some Mucinex before I go out tonight to a friend's place. Also, if you must go out, carry a few cough drops with you just in case you have a coughing fit.

7) Hot Showers - I enjoy taking hot showers, because the steam helps to open up my sinuses and also helps to alleviate some of the soreness in my throat - this means I can breathe from my nose and swallow for a short period of time. It's also very relaxing and will help lull you into getting more rest. I'm doing that just now...took a hot shower and about to take a nap :) During this time, I like to inhale peppermint essential oil as it clears up my sinuses even more, providing temporary relief.

I hope you are enjoying a healthy Labor Day weekend and not ending summer with a cold like me! Xo
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September 2, 2016

Gilmore Girls // A Year in the Life

I know it's only just September (and not even Labor day has passed yet), but who's excited for the return of Gilmore Girls (on Netflix)...this girl!

Growing up I didn't have access to cable and wasn't able to watch a lot of mainstream TV shows due to my strict parents, but as an adult when I signed up for Netflix (and cancelled my cable as I was paying an arm and a leg for it), Gilmore Girls was one of the first shows I watched. It did not disappoint. I imagined living in a quaint little town like Stars Hollow, drinking coffee all day, and working in a cute inn! Also, the mother-daughter relationship in the storyline is just the sweetest.

After tough days at work, I'd come home and watch a few episodes...I'd be swept away into Lorelai and Rory's fun yet complex life in their New England home. Gilmore Girls was definitely one of my ways to decompress after stressful days at work.

I can't wait for the girls to return on November 25th - I'll just have to re-watch episodes until Thanksgiving weekend :) Once released, I will be binge watching the new episodes all weekend long!







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August 28, 2016

Weekend Love

A weekend filled with a little yoga (mainly stretching), fall decorating (and cleaning), Murder She Wrote, church, and some organization per Spark Joy. What more can you ask for? It might have been made perfect with a visit to the ocean, but I'll have to save that for another 2 weeks :)

Celebrate! Banner - Paper Source  (similar)
Fall Decor - Michaels & HomeGoods
Yoga Mat - HomeGoods

I'm fascinated by Marie Kondo's method of organizing and tidying. Her method makes you re-think everything you've been taught on how to organize - you must follow the right order for tidying - not by location but by category (start with clothes, books, and so on), ask yourself if the item sparks joy, and stop telling yourself "it might come in handy" - I'm majorly guilty of repeating that statement. This weekend I slowly started implementing her method of organization in my humble, little apartment. I'm excited to continue her method next weekend!


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August 24, 2016

Kate Middleton // Fall Style Inspiration

If you couldn't already tell, I'm so excited for apple picking season and everything that it entails - apple cinnamon flavors & scents, pumpkin spice - candles and baked goods, riding boots, scarves, and beautiful red, orange, and yellow leaves! I know everyone says California doesn't have seasons, but my parent's neighborhood has some incredible fall foliage - at times the leaves look so picturesque.

Since I can't contain my excitement for autumn, which is just around the corner (it's already feeling like fall in San Francisco), I am mentally preparing for all the cute outfits I will be wearing. I thought I would share some of my all-time favorite fall pieces...and honestly, I wear most of these year round since commuting and working in SF can be very chilly...especially in the summer! And of course, I'm always so inspired by Kate Middleton's effortless and simple but always elegant looks. These are my fall staples inspired by the ever graceful and beautiful Kate Middleton.

1) Barbour Jackets

I first discovered Barbour in Nantucket while shopping with my sister. We were in the cutest New England shop that had a wide selection of the brand. To my sister's disbelief - I had never heard of this brand or their jackets before...so, of course, she had to fill me in and even exclaimed the jacket she was wearing on our trip was Barbour! I currently own 2 pairs and feel that they match with almost everything. I would love to purchase more Barbour jackets, I just need to save up for them as they are quite expensive, but I see them as an investment as they will last for years and years to come.

Waxed Cotton Morris Utility Jacket - I was fortunate enough to purchase their limited edition Morris print while in Nantucket. Side note, Nantucket is the cutest and most picturesque New England coastal island! Will have to do a post about Nantucket very soon.


2) Le Chameau Rain Boots

I don't have Kate's exact pair that she's wearing in the photo, but I will say the pair I have endured quite a bit! I wore them to freezing-cold Iceland and they held up through lots of ice, slush, and snow...but I definitely wore these rain boots with a thick pair of socks to keep my toes from freezing. I've also worn them in NY winter-weather, so I'm confident in saying they will keep your feet nice and dry while being extremely cute! I own a pair of Hunter's which are very cute as well, but not as comfortable or light as the Le Chameau's.


3) Plaid - in all forms

This deep hunter green plaid outfit is just gorgeous. I would love this print in a long sleeve shirt! Plaid always reminds me of Scotland :) For now, I'm patiently waiting for my plaid blanket scarf from Shein. This is the first time I've ordered from this site, so I'm a bit nervous, but have read great reviews and seen cute photos of the scarf online.



4) Fitted Coat

We all need an elegant yet warm fitted coat. J.Crew makes the perfect coat for petite gals. This coat pairs perfectly with jeans or a dress. Of course, I have to attribute this amazing find to my sister once again. She's always on top of all the latest styles and trends living on the east coast.

I got mine on a super awesome sale last year (it was pretty much 50% off) in navy with Thinsulate to keep me extra warm! The vintage champagne color is what I want next, which my sister already owns!

What are you looking forward to this fall? Xo

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August 21, 2016

Michelle Loves

1) Nars Blush 

I've rediscovered my Nars Orgasm blush and am finally enjoying it. This is the 3rd pan that I've purchased and the only time I've actually appreciated it. First time I purchased was way back in college after I saw how beautifully, glowy my sister's cheeks looked - she told me it was Orgasm! I bought it, dusted it on my cheeks, and nada - you could hardly detect I was even wearing blush. A few years later, post-college, I purchased it again due to my obsession with blush, and again nothing, so I gave it to my sister (she's done pretty well with my unfortunate Nars Orgasm blush purchases). A couple years ago as I was perusing the makeup section at Nordstrom, the Nars sales assistant convinced me to try Orgasm even though I told her it does nothing for me. For some reason when she applied it, my face looked so glowy. I bought it and tried it at home, and yet again it just looked strange on my cheeks, however, I was not giving up. I placed it away in hibernation for a few years and finally, just yesterday, I tried a little bit of Orgasm, and my face looked so nice with pinky cheeks! I think it's due to the fact my face is so pale now, the color finally has a chance to show up on my cheeks :)

2) Old Navy Dress

Seriously, the most comfortable dress! The Ribbed Knit Halter Midi dress fits like a glove, is affordable, and perfect for those warm summer days and evenings. Another benefit is that you don't have to shave your legs due to it's midi-length. Just throw on a chambray shirt and you're good to go! The dress is currently on sale at Old Navy, so I'd grab them in all the colors!

3) Jo Malone Body Cream


I'm currently enveloped in this luxurious scent - it's my favorite! I don't normally indulge in fancy-schmancy body creams - I honestly love my Dove Cream Oil lotions, but I recently ran out, so I was forced to use my Jo Malone Nectarine Blossom & Honey Body Creme. This is my ultimate favorite scent in the eau de parfum and I've received so many compliments! When I pair the fragrance with the body creme - it's just heavenly. I also love the Red Roses scent - this was actually my first Jo Malone purchase :) Plus, Nordstrom provides generous samples, so I always love asking for a few in my favorite scents as they are so convenient when traveling.

4) My Saturday Outfit of the Night - #OOTN

My comfortable yet warm outfit for Saturday night! So easy and effortless, but still chic for a birthday celebration.

Abercrombie & Fitch Jeans
JCrew Factory Shirt
JCrew Bauble Necklace
Barbour Quilted Jacket
Tory Burch Miller Sandals

5) Brooklyn - the Movie

I just watched this film for the third time with my friend today! I'm obsessed to say the least. My friend and I were both tearing up while watching - this is such a sweet story and the costumes are just so beautiful. I am loving the name Eilis Lacey. I can't wait to read the book next!
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