Shawill Make-up Eyeshadow Palette

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I may have found my eyeshadow palette of the year! And guess what? It's not even a high-end brand!

Shawill Make-up Eyeshadow Palette

Human Nature's Sweep Challenge*

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Last October, I receive an email from Human Nature asking me if I wanted to participate in their Sweep Challenge. Of course, without thinking twice I answered their questionnaire and received a curated box from the brand for me to use for 7 straight days.

Mommy Mundo Journey Box

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I've received a lot beauty boxes before and loved most of them. But a few weeks ago, I received the most unique box. It's not a beauty subscription box. It's a box for mommies!

Be Sample Room's Roommate of the Month!

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Sample Room is introducing the “Roommate of the Month” as their way of featuring the people that have supported them all these years. The Roommate of the Month will be chosen based on her activity at Sample Room's website and her posts on social media.

What does the Roommate of the Month get?
- blog and social media features on Sample Room
- additional 25 purchasing points in her account
- surprise gift

Use the hashtags #SampleRoomSpotlight and #RoommateOfTheMonth in any of your Instagram posts for monitoring.

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What's In Store For November-December 2016's Commenter of the Month!

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All right, I'd like to think I'm back from a three-month hiatus!
I have a lot of backlogs and I'm hoping I'll be able to post them before the year ends.

But of course, to pump up readers who have been visiting this blog even when I was on hiatus - I'd like to say thank you! And yes, the Commenter of the Month is back! The winner will be getting these products! I also included a PhP500 GC although it's not in the photo. I might be adding more since Christmas is just around the corner!

As always, mechanics are simple but most of them are mandatory so make sure you follow them! Good luck!

1. LIKE Rare Vanity on Facebook.
2. FOLLOW RareVanity on Bloglovin'.
3. FOLLOW @rarevanity on Instagram. @raregem is my personal account. But feel free to follow the personal account.
4. FOLLOW me on GFC. It's on the sidebar.
5. FOLLOW @raregem on Twitter.
6. Comment away! Quality over quantity!

I will announce the winner on the first week of January 2017!

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Bloggers Have Feelings Too

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Today is that day of the year where I get to rant here on my blog.
I. Just. Need. To. Vent. Out. Like. Really.

Disclaimer: Oh gosh. I'm not the type to put disclaimer but apparently I have stalkers who are committed to misunderstanding every single thing I say and spread these misunderstandings as facts to gullible people. Crab mentality this 2016, yo. So, yea. This post is about my blogging life. Mostly. If you don't agree with my points in this post, I suggest you keep it to yourself.

On blogging: A lot of people have been asking why I have been on hiatus for months now. Here's the real deal - I've had enough dealing with the hypocrisy and user-friendliness in blogging. The game has changed since 2009. I've worked my way up purchasing makeup with my own money and reviewing them until brands have slowly but surely reached out to this blog. And while I do not deny the perks that I have enjoyed, the pressure has been suffocating and insulting at the same time. I have been loyal to certain brands simply because I have liked them ever since - but for them, I am just as good as my last post or probably not even good at all. It's like playing this push-and-pull game where the brands and PR companies always want to get more out of you. Bloggers are people with feelings, too. We are not robots that you expect to give your product a stellar review when it's pure crap. You do not even pay for my check up with my dermatologist when I break out. Get what I mean? For years, I have been nice to different brands and PR companies. Then I noticed how they started to treat bloggers. They act like they don't know you once they have "discovered" a new blogger. They make it hard for you before they compensate you. Excuse me, does it look like I am one of your overworked yet underpaid employees? Heck no. There are a lot of brands and PR companies that do not keep their word. It seems like they suddenly get amnesia about the word professionalism once a blogger has delivered what had been discussed. So, I decided to be very (and fully) picky starting next year. Well, I've actually started now but since I'm still on hiatus, I will be postponing it till next year. Treat me shit, I treat you like hellhole. That simple because respect begets respect regardless of age.

On PR, branding, marketing yada yada: Two particular brands have asked for my help regarding a campaign and launch. Being the nice person that I am, I didn't hesistate about helping them because I like the product. This was their punchline, too: "Alam kasi naming matagal ka ng blogger, so you'd know who and who not to invite. We really need your help on this." What they asked from me was simple (for a blogger), give a list of bloggers that would best fit the product (i.e. if this was a makeup brand, of course you'd reach out to beauty bloggers). Since the product is quite vague in a sense that there are not a lot of that kind of bloggers locally, I picked the ones that I know have at least an idea of what the product is. One of the top considerations, too, was the following of these bloggers. As much as I didn't want to rely on following (since followers can now be bought), I kind of had to for this product because they wanted the hashtag to trend. After two days, I gave a list of qualified bloggers - good number of organic following and smart enough to understand the product. Guess what, they didn't invite anyone from the list that I gave. Result, the campaign was a total failure. Okay, I'm not saying that the campaign would have been a success had they invited everyone on the list I gave. But I gave them a list of bloggers with a good number of following and they settled for the ones who only started this year with a maximum number of followers of 300. Common sense lang naman, dba. Lesson learned: never help them again when they won't even listen to one sentence you have to say.

On PR and brands sending my proposals: FYI, you don't get to say how much [I'm]/this blog is worth. This year, I have been receiving emails from various brands informing me that they will send me their products. That's it. A few months later, they will make a follow up every freaking day asking for a blog post. Err, sorry but it wasn't in our agreement. You should have made it clear in the beginning if you wanted a blog post for it so I could have replied that I would blog about it if I liked it. As a thank you, it's posted on my other social media networks with the hashtag you want to trend. But to harass me daily for a blog post for a crappy product. Geebus. Then there are those emails from brands telling me they can't afford to pay me so they will just give me a GC as soon as I comply to the work they require from me. Excuse me, bangag ka 'teh? You get what you want from me while you restrict me with your merchant's GC? Unless it's Sodexo, Rustan's or a staycation at a hotel at least, eat your GC. Then another type of brand and PR sends me an email telling me they have been visiting my blog and they like it blah blah. With that, they want to place their ad on my site. I give them a price, they reply saying "your price is too high for us regardless which famous brands you've worked for." Oh honey, I thought you have been reading my blog?! I swear, ang daming makapal na PR and brands ngayon. They want everything for free.

On spending: Okay, this is probably the most personal topic in this post as it doesn't really involve blogging. But my threshold has reached its limit and really I'm already cussing specific people inside my head regarding this topic about spending. I'm currently undergoing a major life-changing event and it's actually another reason why I'm on hiatus. At the end of the day, I feel like a need a break - I want to just rest instead of sulking in my laptop typing a blog post. Going back, of course I'm talking to different people about spending. One thing I hate about conversations is when the other person is very persuasive on what she wants that she wants me to follow her recommendation like a facial regimen because she thinks it's the best out there. It's one thing to say your opinion. It's another thing to tell me my choice sucks because you have a better suggestion. Compare your lifestyle with my lifestyle, is it the same? It is annoying when people tell you incessantly that you are spending too much (even when you really aren't). It no longer sounds like you are concerned. It's beginning to sound like you are bitter because you settled for a PhP200 pork chop when I bought myself a PhP5,000 Wagyu beef. First of all, I'm not spending your money so stop being annoyed at me (or giving me uncalled for remarks masked as a joke) for settling for what I think is a better choice. Second of all, just in case your ego wants to know - we set budgets, too. It's just that your budget is different from my budget. Don't be bitter and envious cos I'm not. I was actually happy for these people. I'm not like other people that will ask for donations or set a higher limit for themselves and achieve it by hook or by crook just so they could brag about it on social media. Hindi ko igagapang ang isang bagay para ipagyabang. When I purchase something for myself, it's because I want it and not because I think my friends on my social media networks will like it. As I've said, don't be bitter and envious. Whatever Lawrence and I are spending is for us because it's our preference and not because it's what we think people on social media networks will like. Heck, Lawrence doesn't even post anything. Haha. I swear, there's really something up with envious people.

On why money can't buy class: so I guess people nowadays are so enthralled with social media that they always have to be part of the "in" crowd and be up to date with the fad. There was an article from Business Insider (I think) about what a millennial learned from using a Rolex watch for a month. It's such a good read. Sometimes, even if you have the money to purchase expensive things, it doesn't mean you have class. It only means you have the money. If you wear designer brands to a formal event, make sure that what you are wearing is fit for the occasion and not because you think a designer brand will cut it no matter what. If it doesn't, it's very obvious that you just want to show off the brand you're wearing. Honestly, masagwa tignan - ang sagwa mo tignan. Since you have the money, invest on a stylist. There's nothing wrong with purchasing designer brands especially if you can afford it. For me though, it's not wise to spend several years of your savings (then go broke for God knows how long) just so you could purchase your one and only designer bag or shoes. That looks more like social media pressure than having class. Mema - memapost lang.

On feeliing close: Lately, I'm annoyed and offended at people who think we are closer than we actually are. Let me share this short story: a handful of "feeling privileged people" that know I'm a blogger got pissed at me because they couldn't enjoy the same perks I enjoyed (as a blogger). They even asked me to hook them up with certain brands so they could enjoy the products/service for free. Here's the exact line: "Bakit ikaw sponsored, bakit ako hindi? Dapat libre rin ako kasi friends tayo." This wasn't said as a joke. The person that said it really meant it. This person wanted to try this product/service but refused to shell out money because it was quite expensive. I mean, what sorcery is this? Just because you think we are close friends, you can enjoy the same perks I enjoy as a blogger? You don't even have an idea how hard I work for my blog. Then you complain in front of my face why you can't get things for free. Eh di mag-blog ka! Seriously. Sometimes I can't believe I'm dealing with this kind of people. Then there are other people who got mad at me for not telling them something private sooner. I was even told, "hindi tayo sinasabihan ni Gemma dahil hindi na niya tayo close friends." Honestly, you are right and it is my unequivocal right who to tell these things to. Whatever I do not tell you is none of your goddamn business. It's appalling how some people react the way they do when they don't even tell me private information about them. Do you hear any complain from me? No - because I know how and when to give respect when someone wants to keep something to themselves. So, stop feeling entitled that you should be in the know about my life at all times. You are not part of my immediate family. You don't feed me. You don't even have any participation nor significance with my life-changing event. I don't owe you any explanation.

On travelling: I saw an article on Rappler about this foreigner commenting about a Filipino being well-travelled or something. That article that trended the past week. The article was alright. But man, it was the comments that are unnerving. There was one man that commented to focus on the article and stop commenting about people's travels as others might have been there, too. I so agree on that comment. There are people that are lecturing me about cities and countries they've been to once even when they know that I have been to those cities/countries several times. I have actually lived in those other cities/countries they lecture me about. Shut up na lang ako cos I don't want to humiliate them. But I tell you, it really gets irritating. There was even this one person that lectured me about LA and said this, "Gem, wala ka sa LA ganto, ganyan.. Tapos sa ganitong street nga nag shooting yung Fast and the Furious eh. Tapos sa Glendale ganto, ganyan.."  Oh, gosh. Please tell me something I don't know yet. I lived in Glendale, biatch. But I had to be nice so I just nodded. Then there was this person who asked for recommendation on where to eat in Tokyo. When she came back, she was like "ano ba yan lahat ng recommendation mo mahal. Kahit yung Ichiran mahal ne isa di ko na-try." Whoa, sorry! But was that supposed to be my fault that you didn't have budget to eat ramen for JPY1,000 or PhP roughly around PhP400 converted? [Okay, I forget the price in Tokyo but it's more or less JPY1,000. In Osaka, it's JPY790.] From what I know Ichiran Ramen is almost the same price with the ramen here in Manila. This is why I'm not particularly comfortable sharing my stories about my travels. It really depends who I'm talking to because - well, it's a personal preference because I don't do budget travel unless needed or something came up. I also don't appreciate people telling me incessantly to stay at AirBnB places rather than booking hotel rooms. I know AirBnB is cheaper but my preference is to stay in a hotel. There is nothing wrong with that just the same as I do not reiterate to you to not stay in an AirBnB place. Just so you know, I've stayed in a hostel before. As I've said, it's a matter of preference. So, I'm very careful on this topic so I don't offend unintentionally. What works for you might not work for me and vice versa. Kelangan pa ba memorise yan? If you travel just so you could brag about being "well-travelled," then you got it all wrong. But hey, to each his own so it's up you. I really don't care as long as you don't say uncalled for remarks to my face.

I guess this is the end of my post. Regular programming resumes in November!

The Only Two Things You Need To Capture The Best Wedding Pics*

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No, it doesn’t include wedding filters. But, these two requisites pump up those pics to perfection.

There are a lot of elements that come into play when it comes to executing wedding shoots, from finding the right location for the prenup shoot, to making sure you look radiant (note: not stressed!) in your wedding pictures. Swish always wants to pump up your confidence for life-defining moments like your big day, so they talked to top wedding photographer Oly Ruiz to know what he does to get the best out of the couples he’s shot.

One look at Oly Ruiz’s work, and you know that it’s a major production. There’s a lot of drama and art that goes into what he does. Oly shares, “I’ve always wanted to be different. Throughout the years, my photos have become more refined, but still different. I fused elegance and uniqueness together.”

When couples approach him, it’s a common story that they say that they love his photos, but they don’t know if they can do it. “That’s understandable,” Oly says, “But all I’m asking for is their willingness. And the fact that I was approached by the couple, that shows that they’re willing.”

Being willing to do the shoot is different from having the confidence to go all out on it, though. It’s a good thing Oly has become a master in getting some of his couples to do what they thought they couldn’t do. Capturing a perfect photo largely depends the couple having these two crucial things: 

Comfort. Oly says that even if they have the best location and all the elements click together, if the couple doesn’t look comfortable in the photos, it will ruin the shoot. The couple has to be prepped and ready, feeling and looking their best so that their comfort levels can aid in eliciting the best shots. Their breath should be fresh (a spritz of SWISH Breath Spray in between shots will work wonders!) for those extreme close ups, their stance comfortable, and their minds free of worry. When the couple feels comfortable, they’ll open up and be more willing to pose for the camera.  “It’s about easing them into the shoot, and gauging the extent of the couple’s willingness. Like if I ask them to do something and they don’t want to, I ask them to do another thing until they look like they want to. The poses then progress to become harder and harder, but they didn’t notice because I eased them into it as slow as possible.” Taking it one step a time seems to be the secret to feeling comfortable in front of the camera. 

Confidence. Through the years, Oly has learned what poses make the couple look good on camera, and when he shows the shots to the couples, it pumps up their confidence. It helps to get the bases covered, of course. Make sure hair and makeup are on point with a proper style team, get a stylist you trust, and have a shoot plan ready. Super pump up that confidence with readiness, so that when the camera is clicking, you’re only thinking about your partner and the emotions that should cut across to photographs. Oly adds, “The photos are proof that they look amazing, so I keep on encouraging that until it warms them up and make them want to do more.” There hasn’t been a couple that Oly has shot that didn’t come out looking like they were made to be in front of the camera, perhaps it also because Oly takes extra effort to ensuring the couples are comfy, and every couple knows that they’re getting a completely unique shoot from Oly. “Every couple has a signature shot where they can say, ‘That’s us, and we did that.’ It’s a challenge all the time, but it builds their confidence knowing that each shoot I do for them is different from the rest. It’s a win-win situation.”

** article provided

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Commenter of the Month Winners Plus an Update!

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Hi, everyone! I've been on hiatus for more than one month. I thought I would get back to shape by September but as it turns out, I need more time. Hopefully, I'll be back by October.

I'll make this short and sweet! I'm announcing the 2 COM winners today! Winners are:


Please send me your full name, mobile number, and shipping address to so I could send your prices! You have until October 31, 2016!

See you all in October!

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L'Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation

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I have found my HG foundation from a drugstore brand!

When I heard about L'Oreal's Infallible line last year, the first thing that got my attention was the foundation. This foundation is very gutsy because of their claim. Since the price was around USD12, I decided to buy one!

L'Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation

Unboxing Glamourbox's Special Edition Box - Perfectly Pixi

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Decided to get my hands on this curated box from Glamourbox when I saw this online! I've always wanted to try Pixi by Petra but it's quite expensive. This box retails for PhP1,290 with 4 full-sized products and 1 deluxe size. I was ha;f expecting they'd give a full size of Glow Tonic! LOL. I bought this box mainly cos of the toner.

The box comes with:
Book of Beauty Minimal Makeup - PhP1,290
Lash Boosted Mascara - PhP840
Shea butter Lip Balm - PhP420
Makeup Melting Cleansing Cloths - PhP499
Glow Tonic - PhP390

If you want to try this brand, it's nice if you purchase this box instead so you can save some money.

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Sleek Matte Me Lip Cream

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The rave about liquid lipstick has not died down until now. 2015 was definitely liquid lipstick's year. And it continues in 2016.

While on the search of looking for other liquid lipsticks, I got a notification from Beauty MNL last year that they have liquid lipsticks from Sleek MakeUP. The brand used to be available in Manils thru online sellers until it died down. So, I decided to try it.

Sleek Matte Me in Petal and Birthday Suit

Nivea In-Shower Body Lotion*

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Today, I'm showing you my current bathroom staple. Kasi, wala lang!

I received my Nivea In-Shower Body Lotion* early this year or probably late last year from Sample Room. Lucky that I was sent a sample because I've been meaning to try this and I was just waiting for Nivea's annual 50% sale.

I mean, come on. How often can you see a lotion that's meant to be used while showering?

I admit that I don't get to use this daily even if I wanted to because I'm always in a hurry in the morning. This is an extra step to your usual routine. You apply this after you wash off the body wash from your skin. Leave it on your skin for about 2 mins then rinse off. You will immediately feel your skin to be smoother. If you're not used to this, you'd feel sticky.

I ove the smell of this - it's the usual Nivea scent which smells refreshing. The sticky/slippery feeling goes away once you dry your skin with towel. Only a bit of smoother feeling stays making your skin moisturised like how a normal lotion would.

I like the concept of this in-shower lotion but honestly, it's not for me. I don't have the luxury of spending too much time on the shower on weekdays. I only get to maximise this lotion on weekends or when I wake up extra early (which is rare).

Nivea is available at all leading department stores nationwide. You can also try this for free at Sample Room!

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ColourPop Lippie Stix in Polite Society

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ColourPop broke the internet and makeup industry when they launched in 2014! Their price range is so affordable and their collaborations with bloggers, Youtubers, and celebrities are always a hit.

When I found out they collaborated with Jaime King, I made sure I would be able to get the entire collection. Until I decided not to get the entire collection. I decided to get all the eyeshadows, blush and bronzer, lipstick, and their latest product which is a contour stick.

ColourPop Lippie Stix in Polite Society

I adore Jaime King. She is very beautiful! I got one of the lipsticks with hopes I'll look like her! Charot!

Swatch & Shoot with L'Oreal

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Donna and I did a collar on this video for L'Oreal! Please watch! I might just revive my Youtube account and start vlogging!

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June was a crazy month! Barely had time to blog!
Let me make it up to you by this July starting with this giveaway!

Yup, for July-August's Commenter of the Month, she will be getting these products!

As always, mechanics are simple but most of them are mandatory so make sure you follow them!

1. LIKE Rare Vanity on Facebook.
2. FOLLOW RareVanity on Bloglovin'.
3. FOLLOW @rarevanity on Instagram. @raregem is my personal account. But feel free to follow the personal account.
4. FOLLOW me on GFC. It's on the sidebar.
5. FOLLOW @raregem on Twitter.
5. Comment away! Quality over quantity!


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Last week, SM Woman had a 3-day event showcasing their new collection of clothes. This was an event I couldn't miss because I wanted to be updated with the latest trends on clothes as I'm planning to change my entire wardrobe this year. I was hoping there would be office clothes as I'm always wearing those!

#IamSMWoman Teresa Herrera
Models wearing the latest collection of SM Woman
Terese Herrera and Amina Aranaz in front as the new face of SM Woman.

Unboxing the (2016) June BDJ Box Elite: Summer Love*

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BDJ Box Elite is back, guys! They recently released their May boxes on the last week of the month. I got mine last week.

The box is an exclusive BDJ Box Elite of Revlon that has 9 full size items!

Belo SunExpert Tinted Sunscreen*

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During our family's summer trip last April, I brought with me the whole range of Belo sunblocks - face, body, body mist, and spray! I also brought with me their latest addition to the family which is the tinted sunscreen.

Come to think of it? I don't remember if I've ever tried a tinted sunscreen before.

I'm Going Nude with Maybelline's Rosy Matte Lipsticks!*

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If there is one thing very consistent with this beauty blog is that never a week goes by without me reviewing lipsticks. That's how much I love lipsticks!

I was so thrilled when I got home and saw a pink box from Maybelline! I knew in an instant that it contains lipsticks because of the images! What got me even more hyped up was the fact that it's their latest lipstick collection which is the Rosy Matte. They are all nudes!

Maybelline Rosy Matte Lipsticks

L'Oreal Color Riche Collection Star Velvet Pinks*

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Last year, L'Oreal ended every makeup enthusiast's quest of finding the perfect shade of red lipstick. This year, L'Oreal launched a new collection showcasing 7 blooming shades of pink lipsticks - Star Velvet Pinks (La Vie En Rose)!

L'Oreal Color Riche Collection Star Velvet Pinks

Beauty Budget Series: Bifesta Bright Up Cleansing Lotion*

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Cleansing lotion? What cleansing lotion? If you have heard of water based makeup removers, Bifesta's cleansing lotion is Japan's take on them. Just a little bit of information, Japan refers to their toners as lotion. That's just how they call it. As for Bifesta, not only is is a water based makeup remover, it's also a skin care (toner at that).

I'm still pretty tan from my beach trip last April. Even my facial skin is uneven. It's like I contoured my face badly. When I came back from Manila, I decided to use my new bottle of Bifesta Bright Up Cleansing Lotion* because brightens and whitens skin.

Powder Lipstick Alert from L'Oreal Color Riche Tint Caresse

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Yup, you read that right. Powder lipsticks! I'm probably late to this news as a lot of bloggers have reviewed this product already. I felt the need to wait though because the shade that I always wanted to try was out of stock for months. That is the reason why I ended up with 6 shades when I was planning on purchasing only 1 for review purposes.

When I found out that one of L'Oreal's latest lipstick is in the form of a powder, I couldn't believe it. I couldn't imagine how powder could stay on the lips.

L'Oreal Color Riche Tint Caresse
It doesn't look like your ordinary lipstick.

Cleaning Made Easy by*

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For the longest time, I have been doing this thing called condo living. From our flat in Hong Kong to out flat here in Manila. If you live alone or if you're working from 8am-5pm, condo living is the way to go because you're almost always not in your home.

L and I decided to live in a condominium first instead of purchasing a house. It's just the two of us anyway and we're hardly home. It worked out fine until we found ourselves worrying on when we should clean our place. I mean, we're busy. On weekends, we prefer to rest.

Then I found out about It's a professional cleaning service for your home.

Lash Em Colour Strokes Brow Tint & Lift*

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Last month, I received to brow products from Lash Em c/o Digify - brow tint and a lash enhancing serum.

I have tried lash enhancing serums before so I decided to try Lash Em's brow tint first. Yes, brow tint is nothing new BUT Lash Em's brow tint in particular has enhancing serum in their formula that promise to thicken your brows with continued use.

Lash Em

My PRK Eye Surgery Story

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As some of you may know (or not know), I have myopia [nearsightedness] and astigmatism. I don't wear glasses for fashion's sake. I wear contact lenses and eyeglasses to see clearer or else everything is a blur.

Funny thing is, I wanted this - not having blurry vision but to be able to wear eyeglasses for all the right reasons. When I was around 4 years old, I wanted to wear eyeglasses because I thought it was cool. So, I started to stay as close as possible to the telly when watching. I read books at night and during low light. I think saying that it was a dream to wear eyeglasses was an understatement. I didn't know wearing eyeglasses would be a lifelong misery.

It might be an exaggeration but people who wear eyeglasses will agree with me that wearing eyeglasses could be a pain in the ass. Everything is a blur without it. During 6th grade, I was introduced to contact lenses and I love it. Imagine having purple eyes. For vanity reasons, I preferred coloured contact lenses.

Fast forward to 25 years, I find it ridiculous on how I found wearing glasses cool to begin with. The joy of being a kid.

Since 2008, my ophthalmologist has been telling me that I've been experiencing cornea ulcer. Every now and then, my eyes get allergic to contact lenses until I couldn't really wear coloured lenses. It's either I wear plain contact lenses or stick with my glasses. I was also told that I needed toric lenses but it wasn't until 2013 that I finally gave in to toric lenses and stopped wearing coloured lenses. Stubborn much? Definitely.

Then in 2014, my ophthalmologist told me to consider eye refractive surgery aka LASIK. It answers my eye problems. I no longer need to wear eye glasses ever and no more eye allergies! I am not denying that I highly considered this for cosmetic reasons. It was the main reason actually because I'm tired of wearing eyeglasses and my eyes have practically given up on contact lenses.

It took me two years to finally accept the fact that I have to undergo LASIK eye surgery. Why two years? I was that scared. I know a lot of people have done it and they said it didn't hurt at all because they didn't feel anything etc etc. But I was still scared. What if I was that 1 out of 10,000 patients that has an eye surgery mishap? What if, right?

So early this year, I finally decided to do it. I had my eyes screened one Saturday hoping I would pass the eye exams. A part of me though kind of knew that there was a high chance of me not qualifying because I am not a very healthy person. Lo and behold, one of the eye exams (I think it was the eye topography) measured the thickness of my cornea and thickness was at 497. To qualify for LASIK, cornea thickness has to be at least 555. What? It took me two years to prepare myself for this LASIK thing just to find out that I don't qualify! I was tearing at the Lasik Centre and I honestly lost hope for a good ten minutes because "paano na?" Will I forever have blurry vision?

Then my ophthalmologist told me that I can consider PRK. PRK Laser Eye Surgery. Photo refractive keratectomy. Say what now? It's the first type of laser eye surgery for vision correction. Yes, it's the predecessor of LASIK. But hey, at least it's still laser right instead of blade? I asked how it differs and I was told that with PRK, cornea will be thinned out or in layman's term - it will be peeled. No need to create a corneal flap like with LASIK. Healing time is the major difference. With LASIK, it is expected to see 90% clearer right after surgery and 100% 20/20 vision after 24 hours. With PRK, I was told that it could take 2-3 days to heal. I asked if I could report back to work and the doctors said yes.

So, I did it. Last February 27, 2016. It was a Saturday.

And I think I just made one of the biggest mistakes of my life.

24 hours after surgery. There was an immediate check up to see if my cornea was healing just fine. And yes, my doctor said I was healing just fine. My vision was better without eyeglasses but it was still majorly blurry.

One week after. I was on leave for about 3 days. The first three days were crucial. My eyes felt very uncomfortable/uneasy. My eyes felt very heavy like how your eyes are when you have colds. They were closing uncontrollably so I had no other choice but to sleep every now and then. I tried to watch TV for a bit and while I can see quite clearly, letters were blurry. On the fourth day though, my eyes were perfectly fine. They didn't feel uneasy. But my visual acuity was nothing close to 20/20. If anything, it's as if I'm looking at things without eyeglasses on. While I can't deny that I can see better without my glasses (within arm's length), most of the things I was seeing was blurry. I can't even distinguish people. I had my one week post-op check up and I was quite worried that there was grade left as per that Huvitz machine. But when they do the actual eye testing on me, the doctors were telling me that my left eye is 20/40 while my right eye was something like 20/100. I was refusing to believe it because I swear, things are blurry from my point of view. I had to enlarge the text size of my computer to the largest size because it was blurry. I couldn't function properly.

Two weeks later. Went back for check up and there's still grade left on my eyes. I was starting to get worried. Did something go wrong with the procedure? I thought I would have 20/20 vision after three days? It's been two weeks! But no, still blurry vision. I had to tell my boss that I can't do presentations to client events because I can't see clearly. I've never felt so useless.

Six weeks later. I gave up and asked for temporary eyeglasses. I couldn't drive at night. I try to drive in the morning but I can't call it safe driving. Oftentimes, the mister had to bring me to work and wait for him till he picks me up at work. Or I take Uber. I still can't recognise people that are more than 1 meter away from me. I have accepted the fact that I might not be able to see clearly again and that maybe this eye surgery went wrong. 

I could blame my eye doctor for totally downplaying the actual healing time for PRK because trust me, you do not heal in 3 days' time. When I say heal, I mean 20/20 visual acuity. Your cornea grows back fully after one week. I partly blame myself because I never searched anything about PRK. That's how much I trusted my eye doctor. He's been my doctor since 2008. I fully trusted him. At the end of the day, I was the one that wanted this.

Eight weeks later. I went to my doctor last weekend for my monthly check up and to my surprise, my left eye already has 20/20 vision - at least, for high contrast when distinguishing the letters from the projector. I still have a hard time recognising people from afar but my doctor said it's because of the low contrast. My right eye is still healing rather slowly. The machine says, there's still a grade of -100 left with astigmatism of -75 but the actual eye test says my right eye has 20/60 vision.

I went to McDonald's for late lunch and I was surprised that I was able to see and read the menu! The last time I looked at their menu, it was just a blur. My officemate had to dictate the prices to me because I couldn't read them. I swear, I stopped for one minute and savoured the moment. It felt like an achievement unlocked - being able to read the menu that was more than one meter away from me without eyeglasses and without the help of my officemate!

My next schedule is in August and while I'm still a bit sad that my right eye is still blurry, my hope was renewed when I was able to read the menu at McDonald's today. I can't wait till my right eye fully heals!

My eye grade last February 2016 was -4.5 with astigmatism of -2.5. It was that high. I'm grateful for the little things. I can wake up and look at my phone for the time without needing my glasses or contact lenses. I no longer have feel bothered with my heavy eyeglasses. No more wearing of contact lenses. It's easier to run/jog without eyeglasses!

Will update this post in the upcoming months and I hope that I won't need an enhancement on my right eye.

To those who are considering LASIK or PRK, search the pros and cons. While PRK is cheaper than LASIK, they are still both costly. If you are okay with wearing eyeglasses then stick with your eyeglasses. As for me, I practically grew up with eyeglasses so being able to move without eyeglasses is very liberating to me. I wear eyeglasses occasionally like at night when I have to drive, in the afternoon or during lunch so that I could recognise people clearly. Other than that, I don't wear my temporary glasses. It's really up to you but what I can tell you is that you have to be very patient if you will have PRK done to your eyes. Be extremely patient.

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I was supposed to blog about another #AskGem post. It's about elections. Then I realised I haven't announced my March-April Commenter of the Month yet! Apologies for the one day delay!

But hey, for May-June Commenter of the Month - she will be receiving everything on the first photo!

A always, mechanics are simple but most of them are mandatory so make sure you follow them!

1. LIKE Rare Vanity on Facebook.
2. FOLLOW RareVanity on Bloglovin'.
3. FOLLOW @rarevanity on Instagram. @raregem is my personal account. But feel free to follow the personal account.
4. FOLLOW me on GFC. It's on the sidebar.
5. FOLLOW @raregem on Twitter.
5. Comment away! Quality over quantity!


Now, for March-April's Commenter of the month, it's:

Sandrah Araja

Congratulations on winning the loot above! Please e-mail your full name, shipping address, and mobile number at with subject March-April 2016's Commenter of the Month.

Vote wisely!

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Pamper Yourself with Lux Soft Touch*

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I'm not very particular between a body wash and body soap so long as they work and smell good. Over the years though, I've been using bar soaps as they seemed the be the practical and common choice. I have the tendency to apply more body wash than needed because it's liquid. Thus, emptying a bottle faster than bar soaps.

When Lux was re-launched in Manila though (the brand was pulled out years ago and made a come back last 2015), I could't help myself but try their body wash. I mean, I've been using this back in LA when I was still living there and the smell was amazing. I wanted to see, smell rather, for myself if the ones they brought here smell as good.

The Healing Power of Vaseline*

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Vaseline is popular for their petroleum jelly. It's called a wonder jelly because it can heal cuts, bruises and the like while it can also moisturise your chapped lips and dry skin. To be quite honest, I never really knew what it does to the skin (until recently) but my parents always had a tub of this at home particularly when we were still living in the states. My relatives have a tub on Vaseline's petroleum jelly on their powder room.

Now, the healing power of petroleum jelly can be found on Vaseline's latest body lotion - Petroleum Jelly lotion!

MNY HyperSharp Power Black*

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During the early stages of my makeup "addiction", I used to say that I can not live without an eyeliner. It was true. I always had an eyeliner with me. I switched between gel and liquid eyeliners. I was so into cat eyelines, too!

As I get older though, I noticed that my attention diverted to brows and lipsticks. I can finally let a day pass by without using an eyeliner. Not because I no longer needed it, it was because I wanted to keep a bare face. Later on, I switched to using brown eyeliner for a more natural look. But I make sure that I still have a black eyeliner in my makeup bag in case I want to look made up.

Maybelline HyperSharp Power Black

But the other struggle with eyeliners is pigmentation. I always preferred the blackest black. Why? Because I will only need to line my eyes once et voila! What do you know, Maybelline has us covered in that department because they recently released a liquid eyeliner that is intensely black!

A Note to PR Agencies

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digital marketing

All right, I'm not addressing this to Customer Service. I'm addressing this to some PR agencies that have contacted me regarding their products or their client's products.

This PR agency PerCX-Perfectly Creatve X-tras Advertising Services sent me Fashion 21 products for a sponsored post. They said they will be sending products that are perfect for Summer. Beyond that, there really isn't much info. No campaign whatsoever. Since I wanted to feature local brands here on my blog, I agreed.

Things started to get nasty though when the products were delivered to my shipping address. They were expecting to see the write up the following week (during Holy Week)! Apparently, they had a timeline on their mind but only informed me after receiving the products. They were also telling me to inform them once the post is up so they can SEND the payment. Take note of the word SEND.

After sending them the link, they replied almost two weeks after telling me to get the payment at their office in Quezon City! I thought they were going to send it to me? I mean, wasn't that the point of reminding to send them the link of the blog post so they could immediately send the payment? Now, you want me to personally get it from your office that is at least an hour away (without traffic) from me?! I asked them if they could just deliver it to my shipping address because their office is too far. I made a follow up one week later because I never heard from them again. They replied 2 days later telling me to still get the payment in their office because the couriers did not accept it as it may get lost in transit. While that may be true, seriously though, who the heck are you kidding? I have received products, GCs, payments etc that were delivered to my shipping address. Whether the other PR agencies used a courier service or not, the point is, they were able to deliver. Why? Simple. Ethics. It was what was agreed upon.

So, I told them that the payment won't be of any value if I go all the way to Quezon City. My gas and time wasted on traffic won't be enough for that payment. I told them to be more transparent with their terms and conditions moving forward because they clearly belittle bloggers. I also told them that I will be blogging about this incident instead. So, they replied saying that they will ask their driver to send the payment to my shipping address just to prove that they acted on good faith and that they are being transparent. Excuse me but the moment you told me you'd send the payment and retracted it insisting I should claim it in your office is a clear sign of not acting in good faith. And how ridiculous is it that they only thought of using the company car after I have complained? 

So, they sent the payment a week later but I told our helper not to accept it. Sa inyo na yan. Hiyang hiya ako sa abala. When they said they were going to send it thru their company driver, I never replied to them again aka-seenzoned. Hindi lang kayo any may karapatang mang-deadma.

Why am I posting this? It really ticked me off how this agency treated me as a blogger. So, I posted a product review for you. You were supposed to work with me equally not boss me around. I deal with PR agencies on a daily basis and majority of them are professionals. They reply fast on emails. At times, I end up apologising for a late reply because of intermittent internet access. Heck, I can even honestly say that they love their jobs. This whole blogging thing is very simple - PR agencies reach out to you to pitch their product to be featured on your blog. They usually ask for your term and conditions and once you both agree on it, they send the product and the payment once everything has been completed. Honestly, I've never encountered a PR agency insisting that I get the payment in their office just because. Actually it's the PR agency that goes out of their way to send the products and payments.

Another PR agency that as ticked me off is this PR agency that handles NYX. First, she cancelled our meeting 2-3 hours before the agreed upon time. She said she had a Skpye meeting that was moved to a our meeting time. Then I never heard from her again. I told her to just send the products since she cancelled on me. Nada. Now, that's just plain out rude. Patricia could have at least e-mailed me saying that they have changed their mind collaborating with me.

I get that Digital Marketing is a whole lot cheaper than the traditional advertising but please treat bloggers with equal respect. If you don't want to be treated rudely, then don't be rude to bloggers. If you can't do that, then you're probably in the wrong industry.

Pink Sugar Cosmetics Sugar Tint Lip & Cheek Tint*

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Pink Sugar Cosmetics is a local makeup brand that was launched last year. I was excited to try their lipsticks as they were the ones that trended the most on social media. Apart from their matte and creamy lipsticks, they also released a lip and cheek tint! Honestly, I haven't used a lip and cheek tint in a while. I was too busy hoarding liquid lipsticks.

I was able to score 2 out of 5 shades from their lip and cheek tint range. 

Liquid Lipstick Craze with Colourpop Ultra Matte Lips

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You know you've been waiting for this.

I've had these Colourpop Ultra Matte Lips since July 2015 but I've been delaying this post because.. I don't know really. I love them too much to share. Kidding!

Colourpop Ultra Matte Lip

The Face Shop Oil Control Water Cushion*

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BB/CC cushion was all over the makeup blogosphere last 2015. I was able to try this last year during Spring when my mom gave me one as her pasalubong from South Korea.

When I got this cushion BB cream from one of my BDJ Boxes, I immediately used this out of excitement. Also, I wanted to compare this with my Missha BB cushion.

Make Your Summer Even More Perfect with MNY Vivid Matte Lipsticks!*

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Summer is here! It's so hot especially in the morning! When I was young, Summer was my favourite season because it was that time of the year where beach resorts became our second home! Growing up though, I still like Summer [probably not as much as before] although for a different reason.

I like Summer because I get to wear bright colours and I don't get weird stares from people. Be it from clothes, nail polish, to lipsticks!

This Summer, Maybelline got us covered with their Vivid Matte lipsticks*!

These lipsticks can definitely make that Perfect Summer!

Beauty Budget Series: Pinkies Collections Smooth Silky Long Liner Pencil

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I got several requests regarding local brands of makeup and if I have tried SG authentic makeup. I will tackle SG authentic makeup on a different post. For today, I'll talk about another gem in a wide array of local brands of makeup.

Pinkies Collections, if I am not mistaken, is a sister company of Jazzy Cosmetics. Its packaging is baby pink and by the looks of it, the target is college students and beginners in makeup. 

Since my blog posts are mainly about lipsticks, I got several requests to try Pink Collections lipsticks. I already have two in my stash and I'm reviewing them soon. It's so hard to catch Mr. Sun because I almost always wake up late on weekends. 

Today though, I'll be talking about lip pencils. Yes, lip pencils. This is one product you hardly see on my blog.

I have never been a fan of lip pencil because I never aimed to have fuller lips ala-Angelina Jolie. That's how I always thought a lip liner is for. Lipsticks do not usually bleed on me so I don't need another layer of protection on my lips. Color combination? I'd rather combine two lipsticks on my lips than a lip liner and lipstick. That's just me.

While swatching lipsticks though, the Pinkies Collections SA cross-sold me their lip liners. Amazed at how long their lip liner was, I left SM department store with 4 lip liners from the brand.

Heroine Make Quick Eyebrow*

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I was restricted to wear makeup since February. No need to go into details why but as soon as I was cleared to wear at least brow makeup, I didn't think twice. Here's the caveat though: if I can avoid brow powder, avoid. I had to use eyebrow pencil as it has a lesser tendency particle fall out.

I opened my last Heroine Make Quick Eyebrow* in #01.

Heroine Make Quick Eyebrow

Hooked on Zalora!

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That's what I've been up to lately! Since, I can't play too much with makeup due to my eye surgery, I diverted my attention to only shopping. Haha!

My package arrived today - well, 3/4 of my package because there are still 4 items on the way. I'm just too happy with my purchases because they all fit! Bought a few clothes for Summer and for work.

Sharing them today here on the blog because why not! Besides, it's Summer, It's too hot to go out so I'd rather shop online. At least for now!

Here are the items I got from Zalora:

Fashion21 Perfect Stick, Two-Way Cake with Papaya Extract and Color Bar*

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Here's my first local brand review for this year!

Fashion 21 Cosmetics has been around since 1985 in the local market - for 31 years now! When I was starting with my makeup collection, I bought several products from this brand. My favourites were the lipstick [Little Mermaid and Bronze], eyebrow powder and mascara. They're cheap and they work!

Fashion21 Cosmetics

The brand was generous enough to send three of their products to try - Perfect Stick Concealer, Two-Way Cake with Papaya Extract and Color Bar [eyeshadow and blush palette].

Celeteque Make-Up Remover Cleansing Facial Wipes*

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Yep, that's a hamburger throw pillow!

During our recent trip this Holy Week, I brought with me a pack of make-up remover cleansing wipes instead of a facial wash. It was a quick trip anyway and I wasn't really in the mood to pack and bring my usual toiletries. 

Not that I had a lot of makeup on. Heck, I'm not even really allowed to put on makeup while I'm healing from my surgery a month ago. But since I have lots of makeup removers to review, might as well road test them already!

Belo Intensive Whitening BB Cream*

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A few weeks ago, I received Sample Room's latest product run which was from Belo Essentials. I got excited when I saw that it was a Belo PR kit because hello, it's Summer! I need all the whitening products I can get because I don't wanna be sporting tan lines for a long time. I was honestly stoked to see a BB cream - Belo Essentials' latest product! I've been waiting for the brand to eventually venture into makeup and this may be the start! 

Belo Intensive Whitening BB Cream

Okay, a BB cream is not exactly makeup since it leans more as a skin care because of its properties. But still!

How to Look the Best at Everything by Benefit

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Benefit Cosmetics is one of those makeup brands that I have a love&hate relationship with. Let's be honest, most of their products are either a hit or miss. Mostly for me, they are misses. But I'm so drawn to this cosmetic brand because of the packaging. It's enticing enough for me to spend thousands and getting disappointed after the first use.

When I saw their "How to Look the Best at Everything" set, I knew I had to but it. It had minis of their face products which allows me to try them for an ample amount of time. If I didn't like it, I wouldn't feel so bad about it because I didn't have to spend PhP1,900 for a bottle of foundation that's another miss.

Benefit Cosmetics

Look at that book. It can also serve as a good display at home. How can you not like it?

Get Cash Rebate by Shopping Online with ShopBack!*

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Every woman loves to shop. There’s no denying that. I remember during my younger years when me mom and went to malls early in the morning and got home after dinner. We love to look around and shop!

But when internet shopping was out and about, I find myself always online checking e-mails for the latest coupon codes to use. My trips to the malls were lessened because I stayed home and shopped online instead!

If shopping makes you rich, then I’m probably a millionaire by now! Okay, so shopping makes our wallet thinner and decreases our credit limits but gives a certain percentage back to us when we shop online!

Alright, so what is is a website that has tie-ups with thousands of merchants worldwide. Their merchants give them commission for referrals [successful online purchase if clicked through ShopBack] and in return, ShopBack gives back a certain pertain to us online shoppers.