Category: Sponsored Post

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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:)

If You’re Over 30, It Might Be Time to Get to Know Living Proof Timeless [SPONSORED]

Published in: Hair, Living Proof, Sponsored Post, Ulta

living proof timeless

In partnering with Ulta Beauty, I’ve received product samples and/or compensation for my time and effort in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. #sponsored @ultabeauty

My thirtieth birthday heralded some pretty big life changes. Like, I met my kitty soulmate (hey, that’s a huge deal, OK?), took the plunge to pursue my lifelong dream of freelance writing (this was shortly before I started the blog), and I finally got hitched to El Hub (we’d been dating a while).

Big things also started happening in my beauty-related life. For instance, my skin underwent some crazy-@ss changes. After years of oily skin, my epidermis turned combination oily-dry, and then there was that awful period of hormonal acne along my jawline and chin.

Oh, and my hair didn’t make it through unscathed. Two words: the grays.

They’d been around since I was a teenager — a few occasional gray hairs tucked away, usually on the back of my head (everyone in my family goes gray early) — but around the time I turned 30, all hell broke loose. I started seeing gray hairs where I’d never seen them before, like around my bangs and on the top of my head. Suddenly, going to the salon for a touch of color stopped being something I did just for fun when I got restless or felt like a change. It became part of regular maintenance, like going to the dentist.

And that’s not all. I also started noticing changes in the texture of my hair. “What are these random wiry Chinese noodle-like strands coming out of my head?”

Oh, that’s my hurr!

Turns out I wasn’t alone in this. Many women (and dudes) experience changes in their hair around the age of 30. It’s something that the products in Living Proof’s new Timeless collection are designed to address. They’re made to help hair cope with the age-related changes that often happen to your hair in your 30s and up, protecting it from breakage, while keeping hair looking voluminous, shiny, smooth and rich in color.

The new four-piece Living Proof Timeless line is available now exclusively at Ulta Beauty and includes the Timeless Pre-Shampoo Treatment ($26), Timeless Shampoo ($28), Timeless Conditioner ($28) and Timeless Plumping Mousse ($28).

All of them are sulfate-free, silicone-free and color safe, and they also contain UV protectors to extend the life of your hair color and protect your hair against damage from heat styling and the sun.

They’re all designed to work together as part of the system…but, of course, you can cherry pick and just use your faves. I’ve been using the whole kit and caboodle for maximum effect, and it’s been about about two weeks. So far, my long, color-treated hair is feelin’ it.

My favorite member of the Timeless fam has to be the Pre-Shampoo Treatment. I was a little wary of it at first because I’d never used a pre-shampoo treatment before and didn’t know what to expect. Mostly, I thought it would be an unnecessary step, but yeah, now that I’ve used this one, I see the point.

living proof pre shampoo

Living Proof Pre-Shampoo


Have you ever used a pre-shampoo before? Basically, they’re moisturizing treatments, like hair masks, oils and butters, that you apply to your hair while it’s wet or dry before you hop into the bath or shower to shampoo and/or condition. The extra step adds shine, and it’s also supposed to make the Timeless shampoo and conditioner work better.
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A Conversation About Brows (Plus at-Home Brow Maintenance Tips) #Beauty360atCVS [SPONSORED]

Published in: Drugstore Beauty Finds, Makeup Tips/How To, Sponsored Post

lets talk about brows

Let’s talk about brows…


In partnering with Beauty 360 and the CVS Beauty Club, I’ve received product samples and/or compensation for my time and effort in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. #sponsored #Beauty360atCVS

Girl, I don’t have much to say about green lip gloss (other than this: if you can pull it off, WERK IT), but I can talk forever and a day about brows.

Because there’s just so much to say about brows! — and not just about brows, but don’t you think that brows also say a lot about us?

They’re very expressive and revealing, like, you can tell when someone is mad, glad, surprised or sad by the angle of their brows.

Aaand they can also tell you if someone follows Instagram.

You know what I’m talking about. 🙂 The famous “Instagram Brow”? Sculpted arches with a razor sharp tail and a subtle ombre effect that transitions from lighter on the side closer to the nose to darker as it goes out?

I see so many gals who can rock that look, but man, oh, man! — I’m not one of ’em. On me, they’re a no-go. I tried them once, and I looked like an evil villain plotting to blackmail someone for a billion dollars…

It’s just not the look for me, but that’s perfectly OK because brows are so individual. They’re like fingerprints.

And just like there are dozens of different brow shapes and styles, there are also many ways to maintain them. You can get them waxed or threaded or shaped by a brow specialist. Or, you can do what I’ve always done, and take care of them at home.

Must-have brow tools from Beauty 360

My main must-have brow tools

Yup, I pluck (and I’ve always plucked) my own brows.

I’m kind of a weirdo control freak, and the thought of putting my brows in someone else’s hands kinda terrifies me. Plus, I saw a woman walk up to a makeup counter looking for help in tears once because she said that she went to a brow specialist, and they removed half of her brows!

The incident traumatized us both.

beauty 360 brow tools

At-home brow maintenance with Beauty 360! From the left, that’s the Brow & Lash Perfector ($4.99), the Ultimate Brow Definer ($4.99), the Dual-Ended Precision Tweezers ($6.99) and the Precision Razors ($4.99)


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