Review: EMK Beverly Hills Skincare

Have you heard of this brand? I remember seeing it on social media, but I didn’t really pay much attention to it…until I got an email from local actress, Carla Abellana. After glancing through the info she sent me about the products and seeing that Reese Witherspoon also uses the line, I caved and decided to give it a try!

The first thing I tried: the EMK Bloom Toner.

Carla sent me a customized kit to help balance my skin. I was super excited when I saw that it included the EMK Bloom Toner (US$44, 200ml).

I rarely get to test toners, so I was curious to see if using one would really make a difference on my skin. Honestly, though? I think I’m still in denial about the fact that I really need to use one (probably because toners from my generation were spiked with alcohol). But let me tell you—it’s good to add one to your routine because toners nowadays are usually filled with essences and help your skin absorb your creams better.  Continue reading

A Hair Cut Before Chinese New Year Can Bring Good Luck!

A friend of my mentioned this little superstition to me, so I thought it would be a good time to post about my mini makeover with celebrity hairstylist, Jing Monis.

The obligatory before shot!

The obligatory before shot!

At this point, it had been about 7 months since my last hair cut and over a year since my last hair color. OMG, I was ready (but nervous!) for the change.

The regrowth (and my white hair!) is no joke, guys.

The regrowth (and my white hair!) is no joke, guys. Look how black my hair really is!

I usually have a peg for Jing to follow, but this time around, I just let him do his thing. I just told him that I wanted a cut that fell above my shoulders, color that can help camouflage my greys, and highlights that’ll add more depth to my strands.

Mixing, mixing! Let the coloring process begin!

Mixing, mixing! Let the coloring process begin!

Since I don’t like having my hair color retouched too often, Jing gave me a chestnut brown base so the re-growth won’t be too obvious and opted to use a tone down-slash-balayage technique for my highlights.

The waiting game! The whole cut-and-color process took about 4 hours.

The waiting game! The whole cut-and-color process took about 4 hours (I also had a treatment to help reverse some of the chemical damage).

After they were rinsed my hair, I noticed that my highlights were really light. I asked why and they said it was because they used the toning down process to lighten my hair color. Hmm…I think for next time, I will opt the usual foil and balayage painting technique though. I feel like that technique blends more naturally with my strands, but if you’re going for a more blonde effect, then the toning down process will probably be better for you.  Continue reading

Sunday Sparkle

Have you guys seen La La Land? I wouldn’t exactly call it my favorite movie (I prefer happy endings), but the story’s so good that I can’t stop thinking about it! Disclaimer: If you don’t want spoilers, stop reading!

The whole Sebastian/Ryan Gosling and Mia/Emma Stone romance is what keeps the story nice and juicy, but if you look deeper, I’d say the plot is really more about the triumphs and failures that come with following your passion. What I found interesting is how the lead characters approached what they’re passionate about. Sebastian had the confidence and ego of a “serious” musician—and he refused to compromise without a fight. Why? Probably because he knows his art, he’s excellent at what he does, and he knows it. As for Mia, she flounders. She visibly struggles with the highs, lows, and insecurities that come with being an aspiring actress.

So the big question I want to ask you is this: Which character do you find more admirable? Is it the guy who’s unapologetically great at what he does and doesn’t compromise his art? Or the girl who chooses to lay her heart on the line with each audition? For me, it’s Mia’s continuous vulnerability that impressed me. I may not be an aspiring actress, but I know what it feels like to keep putting yourself out there over and over again. Like her, I’ve been hurt, rejected, and have wondered if I’m good enough. Like her, there were times when I would have to give up on something (or someone). And like her, despite the many heartbreaks, I still continue to hope. In myself. In someone else. In just winning at life. Continue reading

What’s On My Desk

I can’t believe I’ve been away for 4 months. I’ve missed our beauty talks, you guys! How is everyone? I have sooo much to tell you about my European adventure, but for now, let’s talk beauty! There’s so much to review!

Current desk situation and the current products I’m testing.

There’s a good mix in there from makeup goodies to fragrances. I’m going to show you the products up close, so you can leave a comment and tell me which ones you want me to review first. Ready? Let’s do this!

First up: Laneige Two Tone Shadow Bar, Lip Bar, and Water Sleeping Mask.

First up: Laneige Two Tone Shadow Bar, Lip Bar, and Water Sleeping Mask. I totally need to use this mask, since the colder weather has been making my skin so dry.

As y’all know, I’m a huge fan of Korean beauty products—and Laneige is one of my favorites! I actually brought these two makeup products with me (but in different shades) when I went to Europe. The Lip Bar was amazing because it’s like two colors in one tube (it’ll save you some space in your kikay kit!). But the Shadow Bar? It lacked pigment and was way too shimmery for me. I’ll give this batch a try though—hopefully this collection will be better.

Have you guys heard of EMK Beverly Hills? Apparently, they use botanical placenta in their products!

Have you guys heard of EMK Beverly Hills? Apparently, they use botanical placenta protein in their products!

Normally, I’m iffy about trying new skincare products. I couldn’t resist giving this a try though, because Carla Abellana (she’s one of the hottest local celebs in town!) personally told me that she’s been using this. She sent me a face cream, a night cream, and a toner. Hopefully this can help my skin get back on track after all the traveling!  Continue reading

Hello Again, My Sparkly Loves!

I know, I know. I’ve been MIA on the blog…but I have a very good reason :p

I'm currently sparkling through Europe! :)

I’m currently sparkling through Europe! :)

This was taken on my first day in Paris. I arrived mid-August and I stayed in the city for a little over 3 weeks. It was fabulous, scary, exciting—and oh my gosh. You know how we rave about French women and their style? I gotta say, the men can totally hold their own, too. Ooh-la-la, they all put themselves together so well!

See what I mean? Spotted this cutie while I was in Strasbourg, France!

See what I mean? Spotted this cutie while I was in Strasbourg, France!

So basically, I’ve just been going around and trying to just live in the city (follow me on IG and Snapchat via @beautyandsparkl for real-time updates). I didn’t do too many touristy things since it’s my third time back, so I just explored on foot and had no itinerary. I’d wake up, check the weather, and see what I wanted to do. The biggest thing I loved about my trip? Just finding a random cafe to sit, sip wine, and just watch all the fantastic people walk by.

At the Paris Plages with my friend and event stylist, Beam. So much fun!

At the Paris Plages with my friend and event stylist, Beam. So much fun!

My first two weeks in Paris, I was with Beam and I was so tense-slash-paranoid-slash-uptight. I really had to push myself out of my comfort zone and it was lucky that I had someone there who had my back and not-so-gently nudged me in the right direction. Continue reading