EM Cosmetics Fine Liner Brow Pencil Review

Hoping I’m not too late to the party, Michelle Phan has launched another product for EM Cosmetics! I was so excited try these because as some of you may know, I love the products that she has put out since revamping EM Cosmetics (See my reviews here and here). This time it’s for brows! Here’s my full review on the EM Cosmetics Fine Liner Brow Pencil!

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What is the EM Cosmetics Fine Liner Brow Pencil?

The Fine Liner Brow Pencil is part of EM Cosmetics Brow ID Collection – which includes the fine liner brow pencil, the micro-fluff sculpting, and brow cream. The last two, I really am not used to using so I don’t think my review on those would be valid. I have been using brow pencils though, so I figured it would be good for me to compare the ones I’ve been using to this one.

Their website boasts that the Fine Liner Brow Pencil has a buildable formula, and has an oval shaped pencil which will help with mimicking the look of brow hairs. It also states that it is cruelty free.

Now let me just say that for me, brows are the hardest to do when it comes to make up. So I’m still a noob when it comes to applying brows. However, I do find that I have more control with thinner brow pencils than thicker ones.

The Packaging

I bought 2 Fine Liner Brow Pencils – one in light taupe and one in brunette. It didn’t come in the usual box that I’m used to, but with such tiny products, it’s good to know that EM Cosmetics isn’t being wasteful. It came in a black padded envelope, wrapped in black tissue paper as always.

The boxes for each Fine Liner Brow Pencil are rectangular, much like boxes for their lip products – only a bit thinner. It’s sleek, simple and classic.

Once you take out the pencils from the boxes, they are white with black trimmings and gold letterings. Cute! You get the pencil on one side, and the spoolie on the other side. 

 

Time to Try Them On!

Ok, so I typically like to go pretty light on my brows so I’ve only tried the Light Taupe. But as I don’t have a range of colors because momma don’t have the funds, I am going to let you know now that swatches are not going to be on this review.

Here are my befores and afters!  Gimme a break!

 

The Review

I figure the best way to review this is to compare my experience with other brow pencils. Before this, my holy grail was Benefit’s “Precisely, My Brow Pencil Ultra Fine Shape & Define” Pencil. 

The Amount of Product and Price

EM Cosmetics’ Fine Liner Brow Pencil has 0.001 oz of product for $18.00. Compared to Benefit which has 0.002 oz of product for $24.00. 

The Tip

EM Cosmetics has an oval tip, while Benefit’s Brow pencil has a circular tip. The oval tip helps with filling in the brows, but also helps to create the hair-like strokes depending on which angle you choose to use.

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The Formula

The formula of the Fine Liner Brow Pencil is also nice – similar to Benefit’s in that it’s not too soft, and is pretty buildable. As you can see in the pictures, the light taupe is pretty pigmented and I was able to build it up nicely to cover the patches of my eyebrow that was not there.

The Staying Power

I had it on for about 4-5 hours the day I tried it out. And I must add that I don’t usually touch my brow area, so it stayed on pretty well. It doesn’t say on the website that it’s long lasting, but it definitely stayed on pretty long.

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The Bottom Line

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t see much difference between my last favorite and the Fine Liner Brow Pencil. Benefit has twice the amount of product but EM cosmetics is 3/4 the price (so technically Benefit is cheaper).

So at this point, it’s really just really your preference. For me, I like to support Michelle Phan’s brand. But I’m also pretty practical. So I may stick to the “cheaper” alternative but will definitely not say no if I ever get them in the mail… Just saying.

 

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the day!!

 

(All gifs are from giphy.com)

My Lolo

Since Lolo (my grandpa) passed away this past Friday, I’ve been keeping myself pretty busy and trying very hard not to think about it. To me, it’s just so unreal that someone who has constantly been in my life is now gone. I thought I had more time. I was just there two days before he left us. I told him I’d come back soon and asked him to wait for me. He said he would. I really thought I had more time…

I’ve refused to write about it until now because I didn’t know how I could possibly put into words a tribute what a great man like him deserves.  I’m not a poet, nor do I even consider myself a writer. And every time I try to start to write something for Lolo, I just feel it’s not good enough.

But I want to try. I want to express how much Lolo has impacted my life. He’s more than just my grandfather… he’s THE grandfather. The one and only grandfather I’ve ever known.

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I don’t know what face I’m making, but that’s me! In my Lolo’s arms =)

Lolo has been a huge part of my life growing up. Ama (my dad) passed away when I was only 7 and though most of the male figures in our family had a part in helping fill that void, Lolo was the one and only constant in our lives.  He (and Lola) came to the US when my mom’s visa finally got approved to come here. He (and Lola) came to live with us when my mom saved up enough money to buy our own house. He (and Lola) kept my mom company when all her kids got married and moved away. He’s been the one constant in our lives. And now that he’s gone, now that he and Lola are both gone, I feel like we are all kind of a little lost… at least I am.

When Lola and Lolo moved here, he was already 68 years old. Most of his friends and extended family still lived in the Philippines. But they knew my mom needed their help and they came willingly. Who would do that? I mean at 68, that’s normally the retirement age right? Where one would be reaping the rewards of their hard work?

Lolo came here and became a janitor at Wheaton Plaza mall. At 68 years old. To help our family out with the bills. I remember going to the mall feeling like I owned the place because my Lolo worked at the mall. Did I know that being a janitor isn’t necessarily the same as being a CEO? No. Because Lolo made everything look cool. I was like “Look at that janitor! That’s my Lolo!” Lolo had swag, man. He wasn’t just a janitor, he was THE janitor.

Everyone knew him there. He’s probably one of the most social guy that you will ever come across. He loved to talk to people and ask them about their lives, their cultures, their religions. He loved to take everything in and really get to know them. He could strike up a conversation with just about anyone. He really was one of the warmest, most welcoming persons that you could ever meet.

When I got into PT school, Lolo would be my best patient. He would actually listen and do the exercises I told him to do. Let’s not lie, most family members would ask me how they can make their pain go away, and when I would show them an exercise, they’d nod and never do it again. With Lolo, he would do all the exercises and show them to me when I came to visit. He made me feel that what I was doing was pretty cool.

 

After I got engaged, I would visit Inay and he would make it a point to talk to A or if A wasn’t with me, Lolo would ask about him and his family. He always asked about my future in laws even if he’s only met them once or twice. A’s dad really admired Lolo. They can’t even understand each other because A’s dad doesn’t speak much English, but Lolo made him feel like they were the best of friends. They would literally sit by each other, say something to each other, and laugh like old buddies. I was so confused as to how they could do that. He just had a way with people.

 

When I got married, Lolo and Mikey walked me down the aisle. He was 86 years old. At the time, I didn’t think anything of it. I thought it was pretty cool. But now I realize, that at the time when I would be missing my dad the most, Lolo was there. Instead of the overwhelming sadness that I would’ve felt – not being able to experience walking down the aisle with my dad – I remember feeling honored and happy that Lolo supported me and made me feel invincible that day. Lolo was there. Just like it has always been.

When I had kids, I would try to visit as much as I can so that they could be with Lolo and Lola and feel the love that he’s given so many people. I’m so happy that the kids did get to meet them both. E especially loved seeing him. Every time we would facetime my mom, E would always ask for Lolo.  That was just the type of person Lolo was – he appealed to all ages.

I know that life is short. And this year has really reminded me of that – losing both Lola and Lolo. Both of them lived their lives to make our lives the better. They literally gave up their lives for their kids and their grandchildren. Lolo was selfless, kind, lovable, charismatic, and just a pure joy to be with. I will miss him and Lola so much.

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Exploring Maryland

I often get excited when we go out of state. Especially now with kids, we rarely get to do much when it comes to traveling. So when we do get a chance to go away, it’s always a big deal to me. But I realize lately that Maryland has tons to offer and I’ve been taking my state for granted. So I’ve decided to do a series on exploring Maryland!

Actually, this may be more like a new tab in my blog because I just want to be able share my experiences in Maryland-DC area. I’ll also put in my input as to whether the places we go to are good for kids because that’s my life now.

I’ve been struggling with blogging lately because I feel like my life has been “boring” just doing normal parent things. But then again, I think other parents would be interested in what may be happening in Maryland or the DC Metropolitan area that could be something fun for their kids as well! Or something just for just the parents to do for date days or date nights ;).

So here we go!! Join me as I explore Maryland!

Here are some previews of what I’ll blog about soon!!

Places to take the kiddos

Before kids, I had no idea that Maryland had all these places specifically for kids to run around in. Whoever thought of these places are geniuses. Yes please tire my kids out so they will pass out when we get home! Yassssss!

Badlands is great! We love going here 🙂

Rockville Town Center is also great for kids!

Places to eat!

I used to yelp a lot. I mostly wrote reviews on places I liked though, because what if the restaurant was just having a bad day? There were exceptions…. Anyway, I figure why not write full blown experiences on here? Maryland (or the DC metropolitan area) has many wonderful places that I want to write about!

I’ll write about whether or not these places would be good for kids or if they are more for adults only.

Yuraku

Cameron’s Seafood

SlapFish

Ambar

Other Things To Do In Maryland

Although I am a parent, I also want to make sure that I have my own life. I had a life before marriage and before kids. So I want to make sure that I explore Maryland (and the DC metropolitan area) for myself as well.

Ambar – Capitol Hill

Ocean City, MD

Ocean City, MD

Frederick, MD

La Casita Pupuseria – Takoma Park

Escape Room – DC

Exploring DC – Subway =P

So come join me as I embark on this new blogging adventure! I am excited to have a little bit more direction when it comes to blogging.

Thanks for reading and have an awesome rest of the day!

Traveling With E For the First Time

This one is a more personal blog post. When I started blogging in 2013, it was a way to let family and friends know about my life as a mom. I wanted to share all my adventures with E and then when baby bro was born, with him as well. I loved it because I felt like even if I don’t get to see some people in my life that often any more, they can still sort of catch a glimpse of what’s going on if they decide to read my blogs.

Then I took a break from blogging for a bit but when I decided to come back to it, I thought I should publicize it to also share these adventures with others who could be strangers but who could be going through the same things and we could laugh or commiserate together.

However, I had trouble personalizing my blogs without divulging too much information to protect the privacy of my children and to an extent, my husband. So here’s my first attempt at trying to be more me while also protecting my kids’ privacy.

A New Adventure

I’ve never gone on trips by myself with any of my kids. It’s always been a fear of mine that I would not be able to “control” them and they would run around and get themselves hurt, hurt others, or my worse nightmare, get taken away from me. I know, I always think of worst case scenarios. You don’t?

But E is now 4, about to turn 5, and I really wanted to go visit a friend of mine whom I haven’t seen in such a long time. I felt bad leaving A with two kids, so I chose the lesser of two evils at the time. Terrible twos or 4 going on 16?, I chose the latter, thank you very much.

E can now entertain herself pretty much. Give her a coloring book, and she’s quiet for at least 30 minutes to an hour depending on how new the coloring book is. Toys entertain her still. And if ever in desperate situations, yes, the iPad will come out. Don’t judge me. I honestly really don’t care too much about screen time as long as they’re not on it all day, every day. I grew up on TV and I think I turned out ok… not that I needed to defend myself, but sometimes mama bear comes out and well, there you go… sorry… again I digress.

Packing for Our Trip

Ok, so I only decided to drive 4 hours away, and only stay the night. One small suitcase would suffice. I did manage to fill it up though.

I packed her two sets of pajamas – she doesn’t wet the bed anymore, but hey, new territory means new game plan. Packed extra clothes in case anything happens. Her teddy bear is a must if traveling over night. And lastly, her hair stuff because girl has got a lot of hair. (Yes, I did forget her toothbrush, but thankfully, my friend has three kids so her house is well stocked.. phew!)

For me, just a pair of jammies, and a change of clothes would suffice. That and all the chargers that I needed for my phone, my hot spot, and my iWatch. This was also in the middle  my 10 step korean skin care, so yes I brought all of it with me!

Our Trip to Jersey

We left around 9am because in my head, that means we would miss all the traffic. Wrong. For some reason there was crazy traffic in the Baltimore Tunnel… then when we finally reached Delaware, we were stuck.

E took it like a champ! “It’s ok mommy, I’ll just sleep.” She didn’t even want the iPad. She literally sat there and just looked out the window. I dreaded the moment that she would get bored and start crying because that is what I remember would happen when we were traveling as a family.

That moment never came. She was in and out of her sleepiness. When she did finally wake up, we were finally on the Jersey turnpike after 3.5 hours of driving in traffic! She was a little grumpy but grumpy in a way where she didn’t want to talk to me so I’d take that over whining grumpy.

I decided to stop for some food because I realized that maybe E was just hangry. Sure enough, we got to the stop and as soon as she smelled food, girl perked up like “hey, I’m about to get fed!” We opt for a burger and salad and she was as happy as can be because she didn’t have to share with baby bro or A! Ha!

After filling up, we start back on our way and we still had 1.5 hours to go! I was in shock! But E was fed and she was happy. The last 15 minutes was the only time she kept asking “how far away are we” and “are we almost there?” questions. That, I could handle. We just turned on some Disney songs and belted out like there’s no tomorrow. Disney songs?? Yaassssss!

Being with Friends and Staying the Night

As soon as we got there, my friend and I had a happy reunion. E took some time to warm up but she loved the girls in no time! They were playing and laughing and I was so happy that I decided to make the trek to visit. There’s nothing like feeling at home at someone else’s home. That’s just how it is when you go to through PT school together. Friends for liiiiifffeee.

I was nervous about sleep time. But E was so busy with the girls that I don’t even think she had time to get nervous and worked up about sleeping. My friend did give her a light up pillow which helped tremendously. I was able to go have some alone time/mom talk with my friend when our girls fell asleep. That was well needed.

The next day, E and the girls played all morning until we decided to go home right after lunch. I figured it would be the perfect timing because then E would nap on the way home a little.

Our trip home

E fell asleep 15 minutes into our drive.  I was able to listen to some of my own music while she slept for about 1.5 hours. Yes N’SYNC, Britney, and Backstreet Boys, yasssss… go ahead, judge me.

When she woke up, I knew she would have to go pee, so I made it a point to keep on a lookout for an exit. I also needed some caffeine because driving could really suck the life out of you sometimes.

She was very excited when we stopped because she thought we were going to have a burger and salad again. I had to remind her that we already ate lunch and that we were just stopping to go to the bathroom and to get a drink.

We were at Starbucks so I got her a strawberry frappuccino without the syrup and without whip cream – essentially milk and strawberry puree. She felt sooooo special when she got that. I don’t think I’ve seen her smile wider. Ha!

The rest of the trip was uneventful. We sang some songs, ate some snacks, she watched a little bit of the iPad but got bored pretty fast, then she colored on her coloring book.

All in all, it was a pretty easy trip and I think I will take her on more trips like these because it was so easy! Did I just jinx myself? Maybe I won’t take her on so many trips?? hehe.

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What I Took From This Trip

This was the first time, E had me to herself for longer than a couple of hours after baby bro was born. She seemed content and loved telling me stories. Part of what I loved most about this trip is that I got to ask her some questions regarding home life.

I asked her about baby bro and how she feels about him and she told me straight up, “Mommy, I love [baby brother]. I will always love him even when he does bad things to me.” I can’t. So I ask her how she felt when baby bro hits her. She says she gets mad at him but that she still loved him.

I asked her about mommy and is she ok with me working. To which she answered, “Yes Mommy, you have to work so you can get money so we can have food. So go work.” Ha! I mean I did tell her that once, but I didn’t think she would keep remembering it. Oops… whatever, that’s real life man.

I asked her about A and how she used to be so mean to him because she would only go to mommy. She tells me she will be better and not be mean to A.

This trip was tiring. I never drove this long by myself before. I also didn’t sleep too well because E had to pee in the middle of the night and when I wake up in the middle of the night, it’s hard for me to sleep again.

BUT my heart was full. I was able to spend some time with my friend which is always a great time. And most importantly, I was able to have some one on one time with E. I could tell she appreciated it. She was so grateful and just kept asking me if I could take her on other trips as well.

I know I won’t have that all the time. I know she will grow out of the phase when she wants to hang out with me. So what I took out of this trip are the memories. Memories of E wanting to spend time with mommy, E wanting to talk to me about her toddler life, and E smiling the whole trip to and from Jersey (except when she was sleeping and when she just woke up from her naps).

There really are no words to describe how much I loved this trip. To me, this is a trip I will definitely always hold so dear to my heart. They are only so little for so long. I gripe all the time about how tired I am, but I know that this too shall pass. In the meantime, I think I’m ok being a bit tired in exchange for all the memories with my loved ones.

Thanks for reading and hope you have a great rest of the day!

(All gifs are from giphy.com)

Clarisonic Product Review

A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog that talked about the things I wished people told me about pregnancy and post-pregnancy. There were many other things that I forgot to add on there, but one of the things I’ve been struggling with lately is acne-proned skin. Yay for motherhood! Not only do our whole body change, our hormones have to also join in on the fun. I was breaking out all the time! I wanted to do something different from my normal routine that could help me – enter Clarisonic.

Before I get started, I have to go with the whole “this is not sponsored” thing. So, this review is not sponsored in any way, nor am I affiliated with anything I mention in this blog.

Ok, back to our regularly scheduled program.

Before I had kids, I was lucky enough to never really experience breakouts. I had a pimple or two here and there, but it usually went away after a couple of days or so. My nightly routine consisted of mild soap and water, toner, and then lotion. If I had a break out, I would use Avon Clearskin Blackhead Eliminating Daily Astringent for spot treatment. That would be it and my face would be clear of acne.

Here I am before kids (that’s my cousin’s baby I’m holding):

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Only wearing eye makeup

After Ella (my first), my skin was a little more prone to acne but it got really worse after Isaac (my second). Before, I would get some pimples right before my period, but after Isaac, I found no pattern as to when I would get acne. My forehead, near my nose and chin would be where the pimples would pop up. Classic “T-zone” I guess.

The first pic is after Ella – see chin area. The next pic is after Isaac, see forehead, cheeks, and under the nose area.

For whatever reason, the hormonal change caused my skin to either get dryer or oilier (is that even a word???). So that’s when I decided I needed to change up my routine.  I’ve heard about Clarisonic before but I didn’t really look into it until after I started having more skin problems.

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What is Clarisonic?

Clarisonic is a brand that sells mostly skin cleansing tools and tools that improve your skin. Supposedly, the website claims it is the #1 dermatologist recommended skincare tool.

From what I can tell from their website, there are a couple of different bases that come with many different attachments to either cleanse, uplift, or even put on makeup.

For my purpose, I chose the Clarisonic Mia 2 with the cleanser attachments because I had to get my skin under control. The website states that “Clarisonic cleanses so thoroughly yet gently,” and to “cleanse daily to fight excess oil and acne.”

Where to Buy it?

Clarisonic has their own website, or you can get in stores like Sephora and other makeup places I’m sure.

I got mine from Sephora because they had a deal that it would come with TATCHA one-step Camelia Cleansing Oil.

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I bought the Mia 2 Facial Cleaning Brush. It came with 2 brush heads – the Deep Pore Brush Head and the Radiance Cleansing Brush head. I also bought the Acne Cleansing Brush Head because that was mainly the reason I was buying it for. The hardness or softness of the bristles are the differences between the brushes. They also have one for really sensitive skin if that is your skin type.

I also bought the Clarisonic Pore and Blemish Gel Cleanser because acne. Okaaaaay?

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Nightly Routine

Ok, so if I wore make up during the day, I started off using the TATCHA one-step Camelia Cleansing Oil. Then I used a makeup wipe to wipe off all the make up. The cleansing oil really helped because it broke down all the makeup so I didn’t have to rub my face too hard to get the make up off. (Oh just in case you wanted to know, I use the Neutrogena Make Up Wipes).

Then I would use the Mia 2 with any of the cleansing brush heads (damp) with the Pore and Blemish Gel Cleanser.

After that, I would use a toner (Neutrogena for me), then lather my face up with lotion. I used Cetaphil because I have sensitive skin.

Results

How did it feel?

The first time I used the Mia 2, I did feel like my face was cleaner. How did I know? Before the Mia 2, I always applied the toner with cotton on my face and there would always be residue on the cotton after I wiped my face. After the Mia 2, I found that the cotton didn’t have that residue anymore. My face just also felt very refreshed afterwards. I mean I wasn’t mad at it.

This was after the first wash so of course, no changes.

Did you feel any changes in your skin after a while?

I did notice that my skin felt tighter and dryer. Because I have eczema, I realized that I definitely have to lather on lotion after I cleaned it with Mia 2 because otherwise, my skin would be so dry.

Did you see any changes?

After the first two months, I noticed that I wasn’t breaking out as much as before. I did still break out a little when it was nearing my period but I’ll take that over breaking out all year long.

However, by the third month, I realized I started breaking out again. I read on the site that you are supposed to switch brush heads every 3 months. But me being a cheapo tried to find hacks on the internet so I didn’t have to. I read that boiling the brush heads helped make them last longer. So I did.

I also decided to just use the  brush head with the softest bristles (the radiance cleansing brush). I know I have sensitive skin so I wanted to see if that made the difference. Sure enough, my pimples started to go away again. Here are some of the side by side comparison if you’re interested.

March (when I started), April,  May, and then now:

HA! I did not mean for my shirts to match when I took these photos.. but oh well. So as you can see, in May, my skin cleared up a bit.. but the last pic shows me right before my time of the month so I did have a bit of a breakout on my forehead. The rest of the face, I was ok with though!

Would I recommend this product?

To be honest, I don’t know if it’s Clarisonic that helped decrease the occurrence of my breakouts or if it was because of the actual change in cleansing my skin (adding the gel cleanser and the cleansing oil in my routine) that did the job.

What I can say is that the Clarisonic Mia 2 definitely does the job in cleaning my face. I never see residue on the cotton anymore after applying the toner. So it does make me feel better knowing that my face is clean before I go to bed.

The fact that it did dry out my skin more was a problem that could be solved by just putting more lotion on my face afterwards and I was ok with that.

I think I would recommend this product if you feel like your nightly routine isn’t enough to clean your face.

I would not recommend this if you have overly dry skin though, as it could irritate your skin more. There are other cleansers out there that are even more gentle than the Clarisonic, so I would go for those if you have really really sensitive skin. But I haven’t tried them. I’ve just heard from friends who have sensitive skin.

Overall, I did like the Clarisonic. I am going to continue to use it daily unless I’m trying out other skincare products. Next on my list, the 10 step Korean Beauty regimen! Ha.. stay tuned for that one! =)

Thanks for reading and hope you have a great rest of the day!

(all gifs are from giphy.com)