August went by so fast, like hello and goodbye in the blink of an eye! As always, I rounded up few favorites from the prior month so without further ado, here they are in no random order.

Gucci Double GG Leather Belt
affiliate links are provided below
Let's start with this Gucci Double GG belt. I got it right around spring this year but didn't really get to wear it as often as I could until recently. I love to pair it with denim shorts and statement top and I foresee myself wearing it as we transition to cooler months which basically means moi wearing more trousers. I found a similar top at Old Navy and exact style denim shorts at Target. 

I have also carried this Botkier satchel/crossbody bag practically everyday. It's made with saffiano leather with gunmetal hardware. It has two straps which you can remove if you prefer to hold it as satchel . It has front and back slip pockets and while it can't carry a gamut of essentials, it actually made me stick to basics. After all, there is no need for me to tag along 20 bajillion lipsticks, nail clippers, lint remover, and all kinds of randomness not fit for the faint of heart, haha! I chose black for versatility but it's also available in red, dark green, yellow and cream at Nordstrom.

Botkier Cobble Hill Crossbody

In the realm of beauty, I sing but high notes for Viseart Neutral palette, not a new purchase but it's the very reason why I can't pull the trigger for any new palette releases including Urban Decay Naked Heat. I did a quick search on my blog, indeed I got it almost two years ago! Quite early for fall but if I feel like wearing berry, you know I would. Again, not a new purchase but if you're looking for a nice fancy  bullet lipstick by Charlotte Tilbury, Night Crimson won't disappoint. While my pores  and few acne scars aren't as bad anymore ever since I had laser and radiofrquency microneedling treatments, sometimes a little help from makeups do make a difference. Glad I discovered Cover| Fx Blurring Primer because it does minimize the appearance of pores especially if I am doing tight shots like below. It does not ball up and make my face greasy. It's way better than Clinique, ladies!

Fall 2017 Makeup Trend Berry Lips, Charlotte Tilbury Night Crimson Lipstick

I don't know about you but my lips are awfully drier during summertime hence my need for extra hydration and a tad of exfoliation. You can DIY it with your own concoction of sugar and olive oil but for only ten bucks, I think you will love Lather Vanilla and Argan Lip Scrub! Sunscreen is another must-have for me regardless of the season. You see me rave about eltaMD many times so yes, it can get so predictable already but really, if you're looking for a good physical sunscreen with commendable reputation amongst medical professionals, you need to check out eltaMD. I own several of their sunscreens but my pick for August was the UV Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 45. Not too long ago, I featured sets of makeup brushes from indie brand Beauty Junkees. I love all but two are most loved, the pro setting (which I use for setting concealer under the eye area) and fan brush (for highlighting). I have ongoing giveaway on the blog so feel free to enter if you haven't yet.

You can see all the products I have mentioned in my latest Youtube video. Tell me your own favorites in the comments section!

As some of you know, I appear on a local lifestyle TV show here in Hawaii featuring a variety of several aesthetic procedures/ treatments we have at our clinic (i.e laser skin resurfacing, laser body sculpting, neuromodulators, fillers, etc). When the director told me that black is a no-no on the tube (or at least the way he formatted the show), I had a bit of a panic moment scrambling for outfits because 99% of my clothes were black top-down. Long story short, I had to shop for few colorful items just to satisfy the requirements of the said show. Since then, I have been introducing few pieces that are totally out of my comfort zone, even florals mind you! But then again, I still gravitate towards black even in the thick of summer. Why not, it exudes class, mystery and power altogether. But black does not have to be boring because by introducing color to your accessories, you've just taken this mundane hue to a whole new level.

How To Introduce Red To Your Black Wardrobe, Henri Bendel Empire Tote

My number one favorite way is to accessorize with red; ultimate femme fatale whether you're wearing jeans, cocktail dress or jumpsuit. Go red on red with purse and pair of pumps (or flats just like in the photo).  

When you go red on red on accessories, keep it neutral on the face. It's a preference but personally, I want the accessories to be the center of attention, neither my lips nor blush. 

How To Introduce Red To Your Black Wardrobe

Now let me talk briefly about this red purse which has been a constant fixture on my Instagram post. It's from Henri Bendel and it's called empire tote. Technically, it's a satchel to me because of the size although you can unbutton the top closure to expand it. It is structured and can hold your daily essentials. The bag itself is heavy if you carry it the way I do, by hand or arm so leave your house in your house, you know what I mean (I do carry a lot of stuff, random for the most part so those add to the weight). I love the smooth embossed leather and I think at $398 (wait, it's currently on sale for $238.80), it's a beautiful bag in the mid-priced designer category.

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Whether you're going for a job interview, deliver speech to a group of professionals, or simply spending an afternoon with friends over coffee and muffins, looking "put together" does impact your confidence, mood, the way you think, even how people perceive, react or deal with you. To me it's a mindset that attracts positive energy from inward-out. Scroll down for some practical tips that will hopefully help you look and feel your absolute best.

How To Look Put Together in Four Ways
1. Do not underestimate the power of well-groomed and nicely-defined brows. Ditch heavy-Instagram inspired brows and opt for something soft and natural. Pluck stray hairs, line, fill and slightly arch your brows with either brow pencil, pomade or powder about a third outward to create a more youthful look.

2. Simple makeup is key. While makeup is generally fun, I am all for simple and classy look. Try a nice wash of color like copper, bronze or champagne on the lids, a coat or two of mascara, subtle blush or highlight, then go nude or bright on the lips. 
How To Look Put Together in Four Ways
3. Monochromatic is effortlessly chic. Monochromatic doesn't mean all black from head to toe but by wearing colors that are in the same family (i.e. nude/blush, gray/black), it instantly creates a well polished look.

4. Pearls are a woman's best friend. Contrary to what others think that pearls "date you", to me they exude effortless class and elegance.

So I mentioned makeup above, makeup brushes play an important part in achieving a put together look. Enter below to win one of my favorite sets from Beauty Junkees (USA residents only per brand's request). Prize will ship straight from Beauty Junkees. You can also take advantage of 25% discount with code FABZILLA upon check out on Beauty Junkees or Amazon (I don't receive commission when you buy from these links). Code expires 9/30/17.

Beauty Junkees 6 Piece Duo Fiber Brush
6-Piece Duo Fiber Brush Set ($29.97)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

So you chopped your hair and regretted how you even did it in the first place. Let me guess, post-breakup blues, you saw a rad pixi hairstyle on Instagram, or overall just for a change. I had my fair share of "what-was-I-thinking" hair moment. Now unlike "Leslie" my doll who became my first "client" at a tender age of 6 (precocious moi got hold of scissors, cut her long blonde hair, thinking it will grow back), thankfully our mane does grow back. Are there tips to accelerate? scroll below for my two cents worth.

how to grow hair, tips to grow hair
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First and foremost, be patient because to grow hair naturally means setting realistic expectations. Our hair grows on average half an inch per month. There is really no hard and fast rule when it comes to accelerated hair growth because our hair dynamics are largely determined by genetics and partly our individual practice. 

Anecdotally on hair products and limited clinical studies on oral supplementation, keratin has been cited to preserve  the integrity of hair and prevent hair loss. Quite unrelated but my eyelash game is strong because the product I use has keratin in it.

I know it can be difficult under hot and humid climate but try  your best not to shampoo your hair every day because it depletes hair's needed moisture. The smell as well as texture of your hair will signal you when it's dirty and funky.

how to grow hair, tips to grow hair
After your final rinse, follow a leave-in argan oil, massaging hair from roots to tips; this process helps keep the hair hydrated and look nourished.

Trim split ends right away before they get worse which will require a bigger chop if caught too late.  

Lastly, take a break from styling tools. Frequent use and abuse can lead to fried hair which will affect the rate of your hair growth.

If you are a beauty blogger or makeup enthusiast, you and I know that the amount of beauty products we own will probably last us a lifetime. No kidding, I de-stash mine every few months, give mostly to my equally vain mom or niece, sometimes I exchange unused or partially used to my fellow bloggers, other times I donate, other times they go straight to trash.
So when my fellow vlogger and ex-colleague from corporate pharma hundreds of moons ago, Joel from The Skin Care Addict, reached out if I can help spread the word regarding a skincare and cosmetic drive to support the beauty scholars from the Philippines via the Baclaran church, I enthusiastically agreed (by the way, he produced and directed the video below). I know I have readers and subscribers in the Philippines who can likewise help, either by word of mouth or donation or by simply re-sharing this post. Please watch the video (closed caption in English for international audience) to learn more about this wonderful cause. I am truly touched with the life story of one of the beauty trainers named Mylene. 
You can send donations to: 


Richville Corporate Tower,

Alabang-Zapote Road,
Madrigal Business Park, Alabang
Muntinlupa City, Philippines 1750

Call it cliche but sometimes the most mundane gives me utmost joy and satisfaction. For example, for the last two weeks I have been cooking nothing but healthy meals, making my own smoothie, baking bread, and even making dairy-free mango gelato. Quite a feat for someone who works a daily 10-hr job .
Fall Makeup Trend
You can see my vegan chili on this video. I have also caught up with Season 1 of Queen of the South on Netflix, I can't believe I finished all of 13 episodes in two days! As soon as I am done writing this post, I will start watching Season 2. I can't get enough of Alice Braga and Peter Gadiot, the emotions they evoke on-screen make my weekend binge-watching a truly pleasurable one. I am not going to spoil it for you but if you like action with a bit of drama doused in between, this series which was adapted from a novel detailing the rise and fall of drug cartel, will be worth your while. *PR sample below*
Cruelty-Free Beauty, Derma E Illuminating Rosehip & Cranberry Face Oil
I have been particularly careful when it comes to introducing new skincare products to my simplified regimen, that is after a nasty breakout brought about by my never-ending "try this and that, blogger-induced skin irritation". I'm glad to say that my skin did not have any untoward reaction to Derma-E Illuminating Rosehip and Cranberry Face Oil. I use it two ways: either as final step to skincare (after moisturizer) or mix a drop or two to either of these moisturizers, Sulwhasoo or eltaMD Barrier Complex. I prefer to use it at night for extra hydration. It's vegan and cruelty-free, plus it is decently priced for less than $20.
how to make zucchini bread
Husband is currently feasting on leftover of this vegan zucchini bread. You will see how I made it in the upcoming video so please subscribe to my Youtube channel if you haven't yet.
Lastly, I have also been incorporating more colors (to my predominantly black wardrobe) and dresses (to my otherwise boring same-ole-pants style). Talk about mundane because I derived inspiration from my lipstick stash, what on earth woman?!
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Effortless, that's how I describe my preference for makeup and clothing, especially on weekends when my morning beauty routine is basically composed of sunscreen, tinted moisturizer, a pop of highlight and nude lipstick. 
beauty junkees makeup brushes review
beauty junkees makeup brush review
*press samples and affiliate links below*
Perhaps an antithesis to someone who's a certified makeup junkie. But really, what makes a makeup look effortless and chic? To me, it all boils to three main components: nicely-shaped and groomed brows, lashes and glowing skin.
beauty junkees makeup brush review
beauty junkees makeup brush review
Effortless makeup also calls for easy-to-use tools and brushes. Each time I get asked by friends if I can recommend quality brushes that won't break the bank, my top of mind answer is always Beauty Junkees. Sold on the company's website and Amazon, these synthetic brushes have the same quality as mainstream brands sans the hefty tag. For example, the new duo fiber collection which has 6 brushes in it only retails for $29.97 while the pro powder set with 3 brushes sell for $19.97. Both come in faux leather zip-up bag. Each brush is labeled to guide a makeup beginner, I like the attention to detail like this because it makes everything fool-proof.
beauty junkees makeup brush review
beauty junkees makeup brush review
shop my effortless look

I am a long time fan of Lather products because they only use pure and natural ingredients that are not tested on animals. Everything that I have tried so far makes me yearn for more, add the fact that their products don't cost an arm and leg, yes they are pretty reasonable with aesthetically pleasing packaging, take a look! *pr samples*

Lather Bath and Body Products
As a recap, Lather sells natural and organic bath and body products, most of which are also found in posh hotels and Lather spas around the US. I also admire their sustainability initiatives such as using soy-based ink in their packaging, supporting community garden, you can see the corporate's summary of achievements here
Lather Bath and Body Products
It's not true that you only get dry lips during the winter time because summer also brings out the worst in our skin, including lips. In fact, I get dry lips more during this time of the year so a good scrub always comes in handy. This vanilla and argan lip scrub retails for only $10, you can get one for yourself, sister and mom. I have a friend who shops early for Christmas so this is a nice idea to add to her list. It provides gentle exfoliation and hydrates my lips just the way I want it, a little minty but it doesn't sting. Quite a new approach but deodorant in a jar ($14)? I have the same mixed reaction. I love the idea of going natural but dipping my fingers and rubbing on the pit? well I know I am a total clean freak so I use this immediately right after shower when everything from top to bottom is squeaky clean. Rapplication is an issue especially if you're out and about so hopefully the brand will come out with a traditional roll-on in the future.
Lather Bath and Body Products
I have already reviewed both the body scrubs ($22) and body creams ($22) here but to reiterate, their scrub is my favorite by far out of all the body scrubs I have tried out there. It foams while providing gentle exfoliation. You can use it alone as a body wash, just rinse per usual. The body cream renders adequate moisture without feeling greasy or heavy especially this summertime.
Lather Bath and Body Products
A repeat appearance because both have been featured already, but there is a reason why you see them constantly on the blog. I only recommend products I really enjoy! Quick hack during summertime. Store your mist in the fridge and spritz after a long day out, it's the most refreshing feeling ever (Cucumber & Ginseng Facial Mist, $17. Coconut Creme Body Wash, $18).
Lather Bath and Body Products
I'll tell you a funny story. When my family visited me last month for my birthday, I was kidding my 66 year-old mom because her feet happened to be the most visually attractive compared to me, my sister and my teenage niece. Take note, we are all "vain" but my mom clearly won in the pedi category, she has serious nail art skills, you guys! And then I started to tease everyone, look at our yucky toes and dry feet and look at mom's! In her words "women should never neglect their feet, they deserve the same TLC as your face"! I agree, thankfully I had the chance to try this combo delight from Lather, foot scrub ($18) and foot creme ($18). Both have eucalyptus which is cooling and soothing at the same time. Being that I am on my feet practically whole day, they are definitely a nice treat after a long day at work. I am stocking up for sure.

You can buy Lather products here (unaffiliated).

This month of August marks Popsugar Must Have Box fifth year of bringing joy to their subscribers! If you're unfamiliar how this awesome subscription box works, let me just say that this is one of the best box out there because what you receive on a monthly basis is a smorgasbord of well-curated beauty and lifestyle products meticulously chosen by Lisa Sugar and her equally fabulous editors. How it works is pretty straightforward: For $39.95 a month + free shipping, you get full-sized products from beauty and lifestyle brands, some you might be familiar with, some new and upcoming but nonetheless exciting. It's like receiving gifts from friends who know what will make you smile from ear to ear. Scroll down for this month's box including a $10 coupon code and a chance to win their weekly giveaways if you sign up! *PR Sample provided*

Popsugar Must Have Box August 2017
Since this month is particularly special, the theme revolves around a "birthday party", with a total retail value of $151.45. Here's the breakdown and description of the items:
(1) Pastel Cheers Lacquered Tray, $28, fringestudio.com
(2) First Aid Beauty 5 in 1 Bouncy Mask, $38, firstaidbeauty.com
(3) Dogeared Friendship Bracelet with Small Open Heart, $34, dogeared.com
(4) Meri Meri Gold Glitter Candles, $7.50, merimeri.com
(5) Fringe Studio Free Spirit Journal, $16, fringestudio.com
(6) Goodie Girl Cookies, $2.95, goodiegirlcookies.com
(7) Shoptiques.com, $25 gift card, shoptiques.com
Popsugar Must Have Box August 2017
I didn't plan it but my dress matched this nice journal. I need a new notebook for work so this comes in handy. You can also see me wearing the friendship bracelet (adjustable strap) on the above photo.
Popsugar Must Have Box August 2017
This is a beautiful all-purpose tray. If you're a blogger, you know that this is going to be a nice backdrop for your flatlays.
Popsugar Must Have Box August 2017
If you're a mask junkie like me, you know you can never have too many masks in your stash, much like lipstick! I tried this mask from First Aid Beauty as soon as I opened the box, and it is that good, girl! It feels cool on the face for the first five minutes and since we are in the thick of summer, it's a nice facial treat for sure!
Popsugar Must Have Box August 2017
Get $10 off on your first box when you sign up now, use code PARTY, sign up here. Expires 8/31/17.

Weekly Giveaway Details 

All current Must Have subscribers are eligible for a chance to win! If your fanbase is not already signed up, they can simply sign up before the end of August for a chance to automatically win a *major* surprise each week from following brands: 
Week 1: Limited # of lucky subscribers will win something from Pehr Designs 
Week 2: Limited # of lucky subscribers will win something from First Aid Beauty 
Week 3: Limited # of lucky subscribers will win something from Kendra Scott 
Week 4: Limited # of lucky subscribers subscribers will win something from Tarte cosmetics 
Week 5 (8/31): 5 Grand Prize! Limited # of subscribers something from Cambridge Satchel Co + 1 year Must Have 

How's your August so far? I have been seriously lagging in beauty-blogging as I struggle to juggle work, family, personal business, add filming and editing Youtube videos, I really do need to re-organize my schedule again! But please hang in there for me, I know there's simply too much on my plate right now but once I stabilize, we'll get back to the swing of things much like before. Meantime, I want to briefly fill you in with a weekly roundup featuring some of my recent favorites as well as videos you may have missed this past week.
lace embroidery top
This beautiful black lace top with floral embroidery is part of my July favorites video. It has beautiful bell sleeves which add sophistication and mystery. The onyx pair of earrings was a birthday gift from my mom, you can see all my makeup and fashion faves in action right here.
Henri Bendel Empire Tote Sundried Tomato
Red pairings don't need to happen only around Christmastime. As a lover of black outfits, my effortless way of infusing pop of color is to rock red shoes or purse or both, such as the case lately. I am in love with this pair of suede flats from Cole Haan as well as this beautifully-crafted Henri Bendel satchel. I will be doing an in-depth review of this bag pretty soon so stay tuned for that.
Elf Blush
And in case you missed, I did a full-face first impression video using mainly drugstore products and guess what, I fell in love with a $2 blush
Zac Zac Posen Eartha Satchel
Petite moi! Do you struggle finding dresses with the right length and fit? I do so I shared some styling hacks in this video. Technically it's a dress haul but I mentioned few tips on the side. I plan to do a separate post on petite styling pretty soon! I am also loving this satchel from Zac Posen, beautiful silver hardware and sleek structure, quite Celine-like but in my humble opinion, it's more visually appealing sans the hefty tag. Yes, a review is also looming!
Lips-wise, I am loving this stunning nude liquid lipstick from Marc Jacobs (Truth or Bare). Not holy grail status but it's an easy shade to rock at any given day. I have also picked up new makeups from Sephora, a full face first impression is scheduled to go live this week on my Youtube channel, stay tuned for it.

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