Topic: Sponsored Post

Finding Great Cards for Great Grandparents This Grandparents Day #sponsored

Published in: Just For Fun, Sponsored Post

granny mom karen connor

As a participant in the Hallmark at Wallgreens Card for the Ages campaign, I received compensation in exchange for writing this review. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own. @walgreens #HallmarkAtWalgreens #CardForThe Ages #sponsored

Guess who met her great-grandmother a few days ago! Yup, Connor Claire met my glam granny — her great-grandmother — last weekend at my parents’ house in Union City.

What a trip! It brought back so many memories of my childhood with my glam granny and made me realize how lucky Connor is to have both sets of her grandparents (hi, Nana and Grandpa El Hub!) AND a great-grandparent in her life. I can’t wait for her to make her own memories.

granny karen connor 2

When I was a kid, my glam grandma was the only grandparent in my life. She came to the United States from the Philippines in the early ’80s a few years after my parents did and lived not far from us in the same town.

Up until she retired, she worked doing laundry at the local Holiday Inn. Every morning on her way to work she drove me to school in her red Ford Tempo — which she loved because it matched her glamorous hair, which she dyed red — and every day she said, “I love you!” when I got out of the car.

granny karen connor

I remember one summer she took me and my younger brother on a day trip to Lake Elizabeth, where people have picnics and parties, in the nearby town of Fremont, but first we stopped at a pizza place and grabbed a pepperoni pizza.

We brought it out to the lake and dined al fresco, and while we were eating, granny noticed that some people were tooling around the lake on paddle boats (the kind you power with your feet). She asked me and my brother if we’d ever done it before, and when we said no, she took us over to the dock and rented one for us.

We spent the rest of the afternoon paddling back and forth across that lake and having a grand old time.

Come to think about it, Grandma was always pretty outdoorsy. She loved going for long walks and also loved riding her huge blue three-wheeled bike, which was essentially a tricycle for grownups, all over town.

Granny’s bike had a big silver basket in the back for carrying groceries and whatnot, and when I was very young, she let me climb into the basket. Then she’d ride around the neighborhood for exercise.

It must’ve been a hoot to see a glamorous older Filipino lady on an oversized tricycle with her tiny little grandchild in the back, LOL!

From two Christmases ago --- my granny touching up her red lipgloss!

From two Christmases ago — my granny touching up her red lipgloss!

Yeah, my granny was always glamorous, even when she exercised. She always had her nails painted, her hair dyed her favorite color (red) and always carried a tube of Revlon lipstick.

It was a green tube — I remember — and the color was Orange Flip. I always wanted to try it but was too shy to ask.

As far as I know, she’s always been into makeup and beauty. Back when she was a young woman in the Philippines just before World War II, she competed in beauty pageants, which is where I’m guessing she learned how to pose, because she’s always been so photogenic (I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen her take a bad picture), and she still is today, even at 88 years young.

granny-connor

She even went to cosmetology school here in the U.S. to learn how to do hair and makeup.

In fact, after she learned how to do perms one day she came home and practiced on me and my mom…but that’s another story for another time, LOL!

I still have a business card she gave me years ago, and right below her name and number it says “Cosmetologist” in a scripty font.

I have a lot of great memories of growing up with my grandma, and now it’s time for Connor Claire to make some of her own with her grandparents.

This September 11 will be her first Grandparents Day, and her first time giving Grandparents Day cards, so I went to Walgreens this week to (help her) pick out her cards.

And for my grandma I looked for a card with a sweet message that also had her favorite color in it — red. This one with flowers was perfect.

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What an Amazing Moment… I Remember It Like It Was Yesterday #sponsored

Published in: Dove, Sponsored Post

"So, are the shrimp appetizers ready?"

“Are the shrimp appetizers ready?”

As a participant in the Dove Clinical Protection Amazing Moments campaign, I received compensation in exchange for creating this post. Although the post is sponsored, all opinions are my own. @Dove #DovePartner #SimplyStylist #sponsored

Thank goodness for waterproof mascara, because every single time I watch this video from Dove, I get super emo.

Part of the reason — and I still can’t believe this is real — is that my 10-year wedding anniversary is coming up (first week in July!), and this short film is about a young lady named Louisa and her proposal story with her fiancé Rob.

All of us have amazing moments in our lives, and some of them seem almost impossibly unexpected and unreal. In this short film by Dove, a real woman named Louisa surprises the love of her life with a marriage proposal and puts Dove Clinical Protection Antiperspirant to the test.

When I watch it my insides turn to goo. It also brings back memories of my wedding day…

I know that everyone says this, but for reals! — it seems like it was yesterday. El Hub and I got married on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, which is where his family is from. It was at a resort on the North Shore called Turtle Bay, and I’ll never forget how nervous I was about everything going smoothly because we decided to do the planning ourselves instead of hiring a wedding planner (note to self: it was MUCH harder than I expected).

On the actual day, literally as I was getting my hair and makeup done, I was also on the phone making sure the musician got paid and that the caterers were remembering to put the toppers on the wedding cake — basically handling all of those little last-minute wedding details — and this was going on right up until the instant I put on my shoes and my veil!

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Finding a Father’s Day Card for My One-of-a-Kind Dad #sponsored

Published in: Just For Fun, Sponsored Post

Dancing with my dad

Dancing with my dad at my wedding

As a participant in the Hallmark at Walgreens Card for Dad campaign, I received compensation in exchange for writing this review. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own. @walgreens #HallmarkAtWalgreens #CareWithACard #sponsored

Um…who’s that girl taking silly selfies in the middle of Walgreens?

Oh, hello chocolate!

Oh, hello chocolate!

Yeah, that would be me. Hey, when the urge strikes, you’ve gotta go with it. 🙂

I credit this particular “no shame” moment to my dad, who’s quite possibly the biggest goofball in the entire world.

My dad on a typical Tuesday

My dad on a typical Tuesday…

My dad is one of just a handful of people who can make me laugh so hard that my side aches, and I have tears streaming down my face! Sometimes he does it with his funny nicknames, like how he calls Tabs “Mister,” as in “Hey, Mister! How’s it going Mister? What are you doing Mister?” He nicknamed all of my stuffed animals (like Andolini the teddy bear…who sends me random texts all the time), and he’s a pro at making up nonsensical song lyrics (something I also do on a daily basis).

Dad goofing off during my wedding, LOL!

Dad goofing off during my wedding, LOL!

I think I also look a lot like my dad. Whenever I would meet a distant relative or family friend for the first time, they’d invariably say, “WOW! You look so much like your dad.”

Back in the day with my dad!

Back in the day with my dad!

Of course, I didn’t believe it at the time, but now when I look at old pictures of him from the ’70s around the time that he and my mom immigrated to America, yeah, I see the resemblance, and sometimes I also see it when I look at Connor Claire! — which is kind of magical and freaky at the same time.

My dad’s very outgoing too. He’ll talk to anyone. Seriously, anyone! He can walk up to a complete stranger and within 10 minutes get that person to tell him their life story (this happened A LOT on family vacations). I don’t know how he does it, but he always seems at ease in social situations.

I remember one of the company picnics when were all sitting and eating at a table. I got up to get a scoop of ice cream, and when I returned five minutes later, my dad had joined a random volleyball game. Even though he isn’t athletic and had no idea how to play at all, he was high-fiving his teammates like they’d all been playing together every Sunday for years.

My dad with some of his Navy buddies in the '70s

My dad with some of his Navy buddies in the ’70s

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Graduation Day Done Right: Hair, Makeup and Nail Tips for a Long-Lasting, Camera Ready Look to Take You From the Ceremony, to Your Post-Grad Family Fetes, to the Big Festivities at Night #sponsored

Published in: Makeup, Makeup Tips/How To, Nails, Sponsored Post

graduation-day-done-right-1

This post was sponsored by imPRESS Gel Manicures. Designed for every mood, every moment. Check out imPRESSmanicure.com for more colors and designs!

Aren’t graduations the best? They’re one of my favorite milestone events, because not only do they commemorate a major life success, but they also herald the start of a new adventure.

I dunno… I just love that feeling of endless possibilities. It’s like, “the future’s so bright, you gotta wear shades.” (Extra big ups if you actually get that reference.)

If you’re graduating this year, first, congrats, babe! Second, when you get to the end of the ceremony and everybody is throwing their caps up into the air, please throw yours as high as you can! — because I never got to do it at my graduation ceremonies (don’t know why, but it wasn’t allowed). And this way I can live vicariously through you.

Third, we gotta talk pre-grad hair, makeup and nails (of course), because graduation days, in my experience, tend to be looong.

There are the pre-parties (more on these in a sec), then the actual ceremony, then the post-ceremony celebrations, and then, if you’re a champ, the post-post-celebration parties at night.

That all adds up to a long day and a long night, and seeing as how everyone’s a photographer these days (hello, camera phones!), it doesn’t hurt to be camera ready for all of it.

First, let’s start with your makeup. 🙂

Makeup

One word: primer. Before you paint that face, prime that skin.

Two of my go-to primers by Make Up For Ever and NARS

Two of my go-to primers by Make Up For Ever and NARS

Makeup primers work a little like paint primer…except they’re for your skin and not the walls. They fill in uneven areas so that any products you apply on top of them — like your concealer, your foundation, etc. — look smoother and last longer.

I’ve taken roughly 10 gajillion pictures for le blog (give or take), and I think primer makes a HUGE difference, especially when it comes to face products like foundation and concealer.

Primers also help your makeup apply more evenly, so you don’t get any of those funky patches where your blush or your eyeshadow look darker in some spots than others.

But the main reason I suggest wearing primer on graduation day is longevity. That’s primer’s superhero power — the ability to grab makeup and not let go — so if you’re having a long day, which then goes into a long night, your makeup stays intact longer and doesn’t fade as quickly.

I’d do a face primer, and then also an additional eye primer for your lids. For face primers, I love the Make Up For Ever Step 1 Primers ($37), because a little goes a long way, so I don’t have to use very much (which means that it doesn’t feel like you’re wearing an extra layer of spackle), and they help my makeup last a good 12-14 hours.

I use the Smoothing Primer For Large Pores & Fine Lines on my combination skin, but if you have oily skin, try their Mattifying Primer.

For eye primer, NARS Pro-Prime Smudge-Proof ($26) is the best one out there in my opinion. It will hold onto your eye makeup like Tabs clutches his Chanel purse filled with cat treats! — and it won’t let go until you wash it off.

Here are a few more grad day makeup tips…

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My Mom, My Angel: Finding the Perfect Mother’s Day Card #sponsored

Published in: Just For Fun, Sponsored Post

I get it from my momma!

I get it from my momma!

As a participant in the Hallmark at Walgreens Signature Mother’s Day campaign, I received compensation in exchange for writing this review. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own. @walgreens #HallmarkAtWalgreens #CareWithACard #sponsored

If you happened to be cruising the Walgreens on Third Street in San Rafael, California a few days ago (among all the places in the world!) and saw a teary lady standing by the Hallmark Mother’s Day cards…yes, that was me, in all my sniffly glory, LOL!

Oh, didn’t you know? I cry in all public places now, and I’m especially susceptible to it when a holiday like Mother’s Day is involved, because I get all the feels, man!

I was there picking out a Mother’s Day Hallmark card for my mom, and as I stood there looking through the cards and reading them, I started thinking about my baby girl standing there in an aisle someday looking at Mother’s Day cards for me… Next thing you know, the tears are pooling up, and I’m on the next nonstop train to Emo Station.

That’s one thing having a baby has done (other than make me cry at the drop of a hat in public spaces). I have a whole new appreciation for my mom and how strong she’s always been.

She was born in a village in the Philippines and moved to the U.S. with my dad in the ’70s. She was in her mid-20s at the time, and I can’t imagine how hard it must’ve been to move halfway around the world to a place where she didn’t have any family or friends, and where the customs and culture were so different from where she came from.

My mom and Dad in the '70s

My mom and dad in the ’70s

This was when keeping in touch with people was much harder than it is now. You couldn’t just jump online to find the answer to any question, or Skype your family when you felt homesick, or wanted advice on babies, or job searching, or fitting in.

When I think about how it must’ve been to live and work here and raise two kids without help from any family, while also holding down a full-time job, it hits me — really hits me — how hard it must’ve been, and just how strong she is.

But yet, whenever my mom came home from work, even when she was tired after a long day, she was usually in a good mood and happy to see me and my brother, which brings me to another thing that I think of when I picture my mom — kindness.

She’s always there when I need a caring word, or a little bit of sympathy, or some encouragement. She has a sweet and tender nature about her, and she’s always there with a hug if you need it.

Me and mom on my wedding day

Me and mom on my wedding day

And even though I joke with her sometimes about how she loves to pinch pennies (she’s a retired accountant, after all!), I have to give my mom mega props for being so darned practical when it comes to finance-related things, especially when it comes to planning for the future. It’s one of her many superhero talents!

Just one example: my mom wanted me to go to college, and she didn’t want me to worry about having to take out loans or be in debt after I finished, so she planned and saved enough money while I was growing up to put me through school. My education is a gift from her that I don’t ever take for granted.

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