The Phone Camera Every Blogger Needs

Hi everyone! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I am beyond excited to announce that I FINALLY got a new phone! Which to me means a better camera to take pictures for Beyond the Swatch! I went into Verizon and asked for the phone that has the best camera quality, and tada! This is what I ended up with! My old phone that I LOVED (LG G4) broke about a year ago and since then I’ve been borrowing my fiance Chris’s phone to take pictures for my blog.

The other weekend I got to have a little mini getaway to my fiance’s family’s cabin. I had a great weekend relaxing, taking a break from the hectic-ness of wedding planning, and spending some quality time with my future in laws.  And guess what… it snowed!! So beautiful. This was the perfect opportunity to test out my new camera!


So far I’m loving my new camera! It’s easy to use, has great picture quality, special features (panorama, lens blur, slow motion, which I have yet to try), and all the pictures load directly to Google Drive.

Excited to take more pictures of makeup and swatches for you all!

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Bridal Hair Regimen!

Hi everyone! Wow long time no see… completely my fault I know! 🙁 How is everyone doing??

I have a huge confession- I’ve never really learned how to take care of my hair! I simply never had any interest in taking care of it. Is that bad? I spend 95% of my morning routine on makeup and 5% on my hair. 5% seems a little generous. Let’s make that 98% makeup, 2% hair. My current hair routine consists of washing my hair with shampoo & conditioner (usually Herbal Essences), adding a couple drops of diamond oil to the bottom ends of my hair, and then letting it air dry overnight (don’t tell my grandma this, she’s told me over and over again never to go to bed with my hair wet).

This hair care routine is better than what it was a few years ago, when I would dye and bleach my hair using box hair dye, and then blow dry & straighten my hair every single day sans heat protectant spray. It was an understatement that my hair was hopelessly damaged. Now that I discovered diamond and argon oil, I’ve stopped blow drying & straightening my hair for a couple years now, since I found it dries naturally much smoother than it did without the oil.

And now, it’s time to get a little serious about my hair care routine! The wedding count down has begun and I have a little less than 6 months to repair my hair! Ahhh scary!

This is the hair regimen prescribed by my hairdresser, Debbie! Fun fact, Debbie has been cutting my fiancee’s family’s hair since he was 3 years old!! And now I’m lucky enough to have her to my hair too!

Here are the products she recommended me to start with:

  1. Redken Color Extend Shampoo (to be used with the conditioner every 2-3 days)
  2. Redken Color Extend Conditioner
  3. Redken Color Extend Magnetics Mega Mask (to be used as a deep conditioner once a week)

I’ll be checking back every month or so to let you know if I see any differences in my hair! I’m excited to see the results! Currently, I spend about $15-$20 every 2 or 3 months or so on hair products (shampoo, conditioner, heat protectant spray which lasts me a few months, and diamond oil which lasts a few months as well).  For these 3 Redken Products alone, I spent about $75.

If you are like me and have no idea where to start with a hair care routine, especially if you dye your hair, join me on this journey and let me know your thoughts!

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e.l.f. Aqua Beauty Blush & Bronzer!

e.l.f. Cosmetics Aqua Beauty Blush & Bronzer! $6

I’ve said it before and I will say it again…e.l.f. Cosmetics is hands down one of my all-time fave drugstore makeup brands! This new product caught my eye the other day and I just had to have it (I know ya’ll know the feeling). I get excited whenever I see any new e.l.f.products come out and because of the affordable price point, I usually don’t have to second guess purchasing it even it’s just for curiosity’s sake.

The blush and bronzer duo that I’m featuring today is part of e.l.f.’s Aqua Beauty line, which includes a new mist primer, liquid eyeshadows and lipstains that you can check out here!

This blush & bronzer duo comes in 3 different shade combos. The one I bought was Bronzed Violet. The new teal packaging of these products mixed in with the black and white packaging of the other e.l.f. products caught my attention right away, but what really kept my attention was the super bright hot pink shade of the blush! I mean look at it! That is one heck of a pink! Check out the rest of the shades here.

Quick facts about the product:
-Super creamy formula. The texture and feel of the product is similar to how Colour Pop products feel.

-The packaging says that this “cushiony color” is “infused with purified water and vitamin E.”  Fancy!

-The directions recommend applying this product with your fingertips or a small stipple brush. I found that using my fingers to swatch this product worked well, but I would recommend a small stipple brush when applying to your cheeks to blend.

-Definitely has a dewy, hydrating finish when swatched.

-A very important thing to note… after this product dries on your skin, it stays put. I tried smearing the product after swatching it on my wrists once it dried and it didn’t smudge away at all. Impressive staying power! However, this also means that you have to blend it right away to the amount of sheerness you want before it dries, or it will be difficult to fix after the fact.


Overall, I thought this product swatched very nicely! The product is easy to apply and is blendable. The pigmentation applies on lightly at first but is buildable, as promised on the packaging. There is a light shimmer in the shades as well which gives the product a dewy & hydrated look.

Here are some swatches on 2 different skintones. Overall, the brightness of the pink definitely toned down once applied to both skintones. This shade looked like a bubblegum pink on a lighter skin tone and rosey pink with hints of coral on the tanner skintone. The bronzer, which looked like a dark chocolate shade in the pan, applied on as lighter tan shade on both skintones. The color is buildable and you can add more layers of both for a more intense or bright look.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with this purchase and will definitely be checking out more of Elf’s Aqua Beauty products! Even though this shade of blush is a little darker and brighter than I typically use for my tanner skintone, the product blends out nicely and gives a sheer, flushed look when I apply just a little bit of product to the apples of my cheeks. The bronzer works well to use as a cream contour shade for my skin tone.

Have you tried this product?? What are your thoughts??

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Life Update!

Hi everyone! I’m feeling terrible that I’ve been behind in writing blog posts! I’m excited to get back on track :). Here’s a quick update on what I’ve been up to lately.

  • Wedding Planning! Lately it feels like every minute of my free time goes to wedding planning, but I’m loving it! I’ve been playing around with the idea of adding a separate section to my blog focused on the wedding and documenting my planning process every step of the way. I’ve been keeping track of every planning step I’ve done and kept a solid record of the churches, venues, and vendors that we’ve looked at, hoping that my friends and family members that live here will benefit from this information for their future weddings. Maybe this information will help others too!  I’ll keep you all posted! In the meantime, here are some pictures of me popping the question to my bridesmaids! This is about the highest level of craftiness you’ll get from me. Crafts are not my strong suit haha!

  • Monterrey trip! We had a little weekend getaway a couple weeks ago to Monterrey, Ca! My best friend from high school and her family (including my two adorable nephews) drove up from So Cal for a last get together before they officially move out of state(I wish I could enter a heartbroken crying emoji here). My bff/future cousin in law and her boyfriend came with us too, and I was so glad they could all finally meet (it was like my worlds clashing and it was awesome).

Monterrey State Beach. Absolutely beautiful. We even saw a whale in the distance!

Monterrey Bay Aquarium! One of our favorites!

  • Writing. As much as I love writing about makeup, I’ve been thinking more and more about expanding what I write about. I’ve touched on other topics that I feel strongly about in previous blog posts on Beyond the Swatch, such as diversity, inclusion, self-confidence etc…and I’m thinking I’ll be weaving more of types of posts here, or maybe in a separate section, or even a separate blog. We shall see!
  • Quick preview of upcoming posts!

Thank you all for reading!! I hope you’ve all been doing well and being happy! Stay tuned for more!

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2016 Makeup Hits!

2016 Makeup Hits!

Happy 2017, everyone!! Starting Beyond the Swatch pushed me to try new makeup products and brands last year. There were some makeup hits, a few misses, and a few products that I had lukewarm feelings about but I’d still be willing to give another try!

In the spirit of starting 2017 off with a positive attitude, I’m going to be focusing on my personal 2016 make up hits instead of the misses for this post.  I could go on and on all day about all the different makeup products that I like, so if I literally listed everything, this post would go on for ages. The products below are makeup items that I loved so much last year that I either: repurchased, gifted to someone else, bought additional shades/colors of, or added as a staple product in my everyday makeup collection. Here we go!

Wet N Wild MegaGlo Contouring Palette!

My absolute #1 omg I’m so glad I found you last year was Wet n Wild MegaGlo Contouring Palette. This $5 product replaced my $40 Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Palette. This is one of the few products that I have that I love so much that I buy 2 or 3 at a time just so that I have extras when I run out. Click here for my original review of this product!

Why did I continue to love this product? Huge pans which means the product lasts for a long time. Excellent pigmentation- a little goes a long way. Creamy smooth formula. Easy to apply with either a damp beauty blender or brush. Only downside-a lot of fall out so it can get a little messy. Also, I’ve only found 2 different shades of this product. I got lucky that Caramel Toffee works well with my skintone and my makeup preferences/style but I wish they had more shade options to match more skintones!

NYX & e.l.f. & Colour Pop Lip Products.

This year I re-solidified my love for drugstore lip sticks! My favorite drugstore lip products of this year: NYX Liquid Suede ($7 for crazy intense pigmentation…the color you see in the tube is the color you’re gonna get on your lips), and e.l.f. Moisturizing Lipstick and Matte Lipcolor (only $3 a shade and they’re always coming out with new shades). Another affordable lipstick MVP- Colourpop products! Their liquid lipsticks were my favorite in 2016! Lately it’s been tough for me to want to spend more than drugstore price for lipstick because there are so many high quality options from drugstore cosmetics brands!

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara.

I wear fake lashes almost everyday so I don’t buy mascara very often, but when I do, I spend the extra bucks to buy Better Than Sex Mascara! This product makes my eyelashes fluffy and adds a lot of volume. Doesn’t help with my lashes inability to hold a curl but it makes up for it with it’s volumizing power. I love the super fluffy brush and the pink packaging!

House of lashes eyelash glue.

I know I’ve mentioned that I LOVE lashes from House of Lashes, but I have to give a shout out to their adhesive glue ($8) which was a huge find for me in 2016! When I started to wear falsies everyday, I would use Duo Eyelash glue and started to notice my eyes would start to get irritated and itchy throughout the day. I did some research and found that lash glue that has formaldehyde in it can irritate your eyes. HOL glue does not have formaldehyde in it’s formula so I gave it a try and haven’t had any eye irritation issues since! Please note that this is glue stopped the irritation for me personally, but can still have certain affects on other people. This year I want to find and try organic, all natural eye lash glues. I’ll keep you posted! On top of this, the glue is easy to apply with it’s thin brush connected to the cap and is waterproof.

Photo via HOL Website

Paula’s Choice Skin Care Products and Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Cream.

This year I definitely started to take my skin care regimen more seriously (late 20’s will do that to ya). My favorite brand which was recommended to me by my mom: Paula’s Choice! Great quality moisturizers that make my skin feel refreshed and hydrated. The products I’ve been using and loving- Moisture Boost Hydrating Treatment Cream ($29), Resist Barrier Repair Moisturizer with Retinol ($33), and Resist Cellular Defense Daily Moisturizer SPF 25 ($33).

For my undereye area, especially when my eyes are extra puffy, I’ve been using Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with avocado ($48).

A couple bonus favorites are found in this picture below! Hey Honey 24Seven Moisturizing Cream and Cammite Castor Oil for my lahes)

And there you have it! Some of my favorites from 2016. I’m looking forward to sharing more make up discoveries this year!

Have you tried any of these products? What do you all think?

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Proposal Story!

Hi everyone! I hope you all had an amazing holiday and Christmas season with your family! I know I definitely did!

I apologize it’s been a while since I posted… I’ve been a little preoccupied celebrating an exciting event in my life….

I got engaged to my best friend!!!

He popped the question right after the World of Color show (which is one of our favorites) during our 4 year anniversary trip to Disneyland.  In this same exact spot right in front of the Mickey Ferris Wheel during our first Valentine’s Day, I told Chris “I’m so lucky!!” He must of misheard me because he responded “awww, I love you too!!” And that was technically the first time we ever dropped the “L word ” to each other ? and 4 years later, this is where he proposed! I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to be his future wife.

Even though I was definitely a little preoccupied during our whole trip, I still had makeup and Beyond the Swatch on my mind! Here’s a quick shot of e.l.f. Cosmetic’s  Baked Highlighter and Blush in Rose Gold in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle!

I even found Minnie Mouse’s makeup in Mickey’s house!

Overall, it was a weekend that we’ll remember forever. I’m glad I get to share this will all of you! I get slightly giddy every time I get to call Chris my fiancee, or as he likes to call me lately, “Feyonce Knowles” haha. I’m unbelievably happy and excited for the next chapter in our lives! Time to start wedding planning!

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Absolute New York Matte Lipstick Review!

Hi everyone! I received this little beauty in my November Ipsy Glam Bag! As I do every month, I’ll be posting my first impressions of everything I received in my Glam Bag soon!  But in the meantime, I wanted to share a quick review and some swatches of Absolute New York Cosmetic’s Matte Stick in Dark Red. This is the first time I’ve tried any products from this brand…actually now that I think about it, this is the first time I’ve ever heard of this brand before!  As soon as I opened this lipstick and swatched it, it easily became the MVP and highlight of my November Ipsy bag.


The name of this shade gets right to the point- Dark Red. If I could rename this shade I’d name it Snow White Kiss, Candy Apple Red, or Rudolf… ok so maybe I shouldn’t quit my dayjob and become a make up shade namer. But really, if you wanted my opinion, I think this is more a bright red than it is a dark red.

One of my favorite things about this lipstick is that it is super creamy and feels soft and silky on the lips. This matte lipstick didn’t make my lips feel overly dry like matte liquid lipsticks tend to do. It doesn’t necessarily feel hydrating, but definitely not drying. This lipstick has a slightly shiny finish at first, and then dries matte.


Here is this lipstick swatched on 2 different skin tones! As you can see from the swatches below, the pigmentation of the shade is thick enough that it stays a true beautiful red shade on both skin tones. On my tan-ish skin tone, the shade looks like a darker hued hot pink when the light hits it in certain angles. But overall, this shade stays a true red!


As far as how long this lipstick lasts, I tried to blot it away on the back of my hand and after 4 or 5 pats, my lipstick print on the back of my hand started getting lighter and lighter, but surprisingly, the shade still looked bright on my lips. Even though the shade stayed on my lips, it is definitely NOT smear proof. A couple of good rubs and the lipstick turned into a hot mess. I don’t anticipate this lipstick to stay put during a meal. When it was time to take this lipstick off, I tried my very hardest to wipe it off with a tissue and the shade noticeably stained my lips and I was left with a light pink tint.

Overall, I was super impressed with this lipstick! Because this lipstick is such good quality, I assumed that this would be around $30. To my surprise, this lipstick is only $4.99! And there are 18 shades to choose from! Check em out here!

Have you tried this lipstick? Let me know what you think!!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope you all have a wonderful day with your families!

Between my boyfriend’s family and mine, we have 4 Thanksgiving dinners/lunches to go to! The first one starts in t-minus 45 minutes 🙂

I’m thankful for a lot this year! For my amazing family and friends all over the world, Chris, my puppy, my little turtle, my job.. the list is endless.

I’m also extremely thankful that I finally brought my vision and blog to life this year. Thank you to everyone who has shown their support for Beyond the Swatch! It’s been a great experience so far. I’ve met a lot of incredible new bloggers and fellow makeup enthusiasts and reconnected with friends & family members that I haven’t talked to in a long time by bonding through our love of makeup! This blog has also given me the chance to revisit my love for writing, not just writing about makeup but about everything and anything!

So if you’re reading this right now… THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart! Have a great Thanksgiving!!




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Lip Product That Lasts Up to 18 Hours?? I Put That to the Test!

Yup! A lip color that is said to last anywhere from 4-18 hours! Dream come true or just wishful thinking?

Here is my review of Lipsense Liquid Lipstick in shade Praline Rose! ($25)

This product was sent to me by The Lipstick Guru! Check out her website and IG page for more Lipsense products!

I wanted to share with you all a breakdown of my first day using Lipsense to show how this product lasted throughout a typical day. Here we go!


November 6th 2016!

10AM: First Impression! Woke up on this beautiful Sunday morning sans alarm clocks (gotta love that feeling) and got ready for the day!  I applied 3 layers of the Lipsense color, waiting 3-5 seconds in between each layer to let it dry, as advised on the directions. Not gonna lie, when I first read that I need to apply 3 layers and wait for them to dry in between applications, the impatient lazy girl in me cringed a little. But 3-5 seconds goes quick and the layers dry fast! Heres a swatch of 1 layer of shade on my wrist. You can see how light the formula is. Notice the lovely, subtle shimmer as well.

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The formula felt watery & light when I applied it and immediately made my lips feel sticky. On a random note, I thought that it smelled really good!  Warning- the first layer definitely stings when you apply it.  The stinging feeling is similar to how it feels when you use a lip plumper. The stinging stopped when I applied the next 2 layers. With each layer I could feel the product cling onto my lips and sink into every crevice and fine line. It felt like the product was actually seeping into my lips instead of just layering on top of it. And finally, after the 3 layers of color, I sealed the lip color with the clear glossy gloss ($20).

10:01AM: Praline Rose in particular matched my natural lipcolor almost to the tee. The shade of the lipstick looked matte and dry by itself and then looked glossy after applying the clear gloss top coat. Little traces of sparkle shined in the lipcolor which I really liked. One thing is that I had to get used to was the way the product made my lips feeling so dry and sticky.

See the swatches below of the Praline Rose under inside light and under natural light!

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11AM- Coffee and Breakfast at Starbucks! See my lipstick mark on my Pumpkin Spice Latte? Me either! I was extremely impressed at the staying power and that I didn’t see any trace of my lipcolor on my cup or on my sandwich while I ate. I typically avoid putting on lipstick or lipgloss if I know I’m going to be eating soon or I have to spend a couple minutes blotting my lipstick away on a napkin before eating a meal. So overall, the fact that the lipcolor stayed where it should (on my lips) even after drinking and eating was super exciting to me.


1PM/2PM:   In between grocery shopping, running errands, and basic adulting, I checked a mirror and noticed that the lip color was slightly faded in the inner parts of my lips. Not noticeably, just enough for me to notice if I was really paying attention. But overall, the lipcolor was still in tact.

4PMish: Wasn’t hungry for lunch this day so I snacked on a granola bar & triscuits and checked my lipcolor after. By this point, my lipcolor was noticeably faced in the inner parts of my lips. I tried rubbing my lips with my hand to see if the rest of the color would smear, and it stayed put! I also noticed that the lip color was less shiny as it was before.

5PM:  The product completely disappeared in the inner part of my lips and only a ring of color on the outline of my lips was still there.

7PM:  After dinner, the lipcolor was completely gone.

Overall thoughts:

This lipcolor is said to last anywhere from 4-18 hours. I can personally vouch for the first 4 hours. Overall I was impressed to find a lipstick that lasts through a meal without having to reapply, which immediately categorized this product as a winner… even if it didn’t last the entire 18 hours.

The day that I wrote about in this post was a pretty light eating day (very rare for me), so this may have been a reason the color lasted as long as it did. I wore Lipsense today to a party where I ate (a lot), and after about an hour or two, I felt the lipcolor flaking off my lips.

Long story short…. Lipsense has impressed me enough that I will most definitely be purchasing more products! I’ve found it pretty difficult to find a lipstick that stays put throughout the day without reapplying, even with lipcolors that are said to be “long lasting”. Each lipcolor is $25, which is typically a little more than I spend on lipstick. But, the fact that I can eat and drink without worrying that my lipstick is going to get everywhere, makes it easy for me to justify the cost. Praline Rose is a subtle shade against my skintone and natural lipcolor, so I am looking forward to trying more shades!


Let me know what you think! Have you tried Lipsense before? How long has the product lasted for you? What are your favorite shades?

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Love, Love, Love…..


Hi everyone! First off, thank you from the bottom of my heart to all the Veterans out there for your service and sacrifice! We will be forever grateful. Happy Veteran’s day!!! Secondly, I’ll be logging off for the weekend to let the events of this week sink in and give myself some time to process everything. A central theme of my blog is embracing diversity in the makeup industry. But outside of my blog- diversity, inclusion, and showing compassion for everyone regardless of their background is something that I take very seriously and that I’m extremely passionate about every day. I’m taking the weekend off to spend some much needed quality time with people that I love. ?
Be kind, show empathy, spread some love and have a great weekend!”

I wrote this last Friday while my boyfriend and I were on our way to visit my little sister. At that moment, I was feeling a little down and I’ll admit that I let myself drown in my thoughts, sadness, and anger for a couple days.  Sometimes all it takes to ease a burdened mind and a heavy heart is some quality time with your loved ones, fresh beach air, California sunshine, and a break from reading posts on social media. Oh yeah, and wine… can’t forget the wine! All these things don’t solve everything, but it definitely helps to feel and give a little love and light.

Here are some suggestions on how to spread some happiness today!

  • Hold the door open for a stranger
  • Smile at anyone and everyone
  • Leave positive comments on someone’s blog or Instagram
  • Compliment someone!
  • Text/reach out to someone you haven’t talked to in a while
  • Assume positive intent in people… this one is harder said than done
  • If you see someone who seems sad or having a hard time with something, offer some support
  • Do something to make yourself happy too! Go shopping, treat yourself, relax, write, sing, dance, laugh… whatever makes you feel good!


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