Posts in “Beauty”

Makeup tips before going on a date

Tuesday, February 13, 2018


I wanted to share a checklist with makeup tips for you, that might help before you go out on a date tomorrow or this coming weekend. Makeup is fun to do and can enhance your skin and facial features, but only with the right application and technique. It also helps to finish your look with the right wardrobe. For example, something like this pretty floral wrap dress from Pink Blush, would be great for Hearts Day. Whether you’ll be wearing makeup for the first time on your date or you’re trying a new look on Valentine’s day, here are some tips to help you with makeup application.

Avoid foundation with SPF

If you go out for a date night and are planning to take some pictures with flash, try to skip foundation with SPF so you don’t have the appearance of white-ish skin in photos. I like to use a good coverage foundation. Something that will give your skin a natural look and doesn’t feel heavy at all.

Less glossy lips

Use a matte or satin finish of lipstick to get a long-wearing lip that lasts throughout the day/night. A lipstick that is too creamy tends to come off easily and may transfer to your teeth (Problematic for when you say “Cheese!”) I also advise to limit the use of lip gloss. If you’d like to have a long-wearing lip application and smooth lips before applying lipstick, exfoliate your lips before applying those products. Here are some gorgeous colors of lipsticks that you can try.

Lash Out

Lashes are gorgeous! Even if you don’t wear eyeshadow, good lashes make your eyes flattering. If you are planning to use false lashes, I recommend natural false lashes that look like this. If you are comfortable applying individual lashes, that will be the best way to achieve natural looking lashes that don’t look fake. Let’s be honest though, many of us don’t have time to put on false lashes, especially when you have little kids or are always on the move. You can opt to use mascara with primer to volumize and lengthen your lashes as well.

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Good Base

I never forget to apply moisturizer to my face before applying foundation. It makes such a big difference with the application and finish of your foundation. I like to massage my face for a few seconds with moisturizer first. Make sure you choose a moisturizer that is lightweight and non-greasy.

Keep it simple

Keep your makeup simple and clean; no glitters, not too much contouring, nor excessive powder layered on your foundation. Don’t use mirrors with magnifiers to check your makeup because obviously it will just show all the imperfection of your skin. It’s better using a normal mirror and looking from a distance showing your whole face and neck.

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makeup tips for going on a date shop pink blush

My Valentine’s date. He got the memo! Haha! Be sure to check about our cultural differences (when Filipina meets Kano) 😉

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“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11


XOXO Banner (FREE Printable)

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

hello island mama x pink blush valentines day hero

Do you ever use “xoxo” at the end of your emails or messages? I barely use it, but I thought it’d be cute to use for this Valentine’s Day banner decoration. I used this banner in my previous blog post titled Cultural Differences (When filipina meets Kano). I added my kids on that post’s images as cupids! This banner is now hanging on my workspace to get into the Valentine’s Day spirit! Today, I wanted to share this easy and cute “xoxo” banner, that is a perfect addition for your decorations. Whether it’s for a Valentine’s Day party with friends, or to surprise the special person you love, it’ll add a nice touch to your decor. Scroll down for a FREE printable!


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Printable XOXO


Colored Pink Paper (Dark and light)


Style of string you prefer


First, download this free printable of XOXO letters and print it. You may print as many as needed depending on how long you want your banner to be. Cut out the letters. Tape string behind the tops of the letters, to connect them. Leave some slack between each letter so that when you hang them, they won’t overlap. If you want your banner to have a more rigid design, paste the letters on top of cardboard and cut them out again. That’s it! It’s so easy and fun to make for your upcoming Valentine’s Day.

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Off Shoulder Black Dress from Pink Blush and it’s on SALE!

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day?


3 helpful tips for maternity shoot

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

houston maternity photographer newborn lesley lastufka pearland alvin friendswood galveston john o'quinn nature preserve-10a

A good friend of mine,Caroline, had her first baby girl (she is adorable!). I had a chance to do her makeup for her maternity shoot, here in Galveston Island. I also had the chance to work with one of the photographers in Houston, Lesley. Today, she wants to share three tips for those who are expecting and how to be ready for memorable images that you can share with your child, family, and friends.

houston maternity photographer newborn lesley lastufka pearland alvin friendswood galveston john o'quinn nature preserve-9a

Schedule Your Session Early

Maternity portraits are captured ideally between 6-9 months of pregnancy. Your photographer will be able to help you determine the best time based on your weight gain, previous pregnancies, and if you are having a high-risk pregnancy. Start searching for a photographer early to ensure a spot and have adequate time to plan. Once your baby is almost here, you will have so many other things to think about!

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Find Your Style

Indoor or outdoor? Your home or a studio? Spontaneous or guided? What kind of images do you enjoy looking at and envision on your wall? Lesley is proud to offer portraits that she design together from the beginning, bringing your vision to life. Starting a Pinterest board is a great way to help select elements that you love.

houston maternity photographer newborn lesley lastufka pearland alvin friendswood galveston john o'quinn nature preserve-12a

Make It Last

Portraits of timeless moments are meant for so much more than ‘likes’ on Facebook. Let your children know you’ve loved them from the very beginning. Consider asking your photographer for a photo album, wall art, or other printed portraits that you can show off or easily access. She is pleased to offer both maternity and newborn photography sessions. You can book both sessions together for a bundle savings, and select photos from both sessions for one lovely photo album!

houston maternity photographer newborn lesley lastufka pearland alvin friendswood galveston john o'quinn nature preserve-14a

Lesley specializes in customized portraits both outdoors and in-studio. She also does newborn photoshoots and is trained in newborn safety by industry leaders.

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This is behind the scene for our makeup session.

What’s your favorite tip for having a maternity shoot?




My current makeup routine for dull weather

Monday, January 22, 2018

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Today, I wanted to share the makeup products that I’m currently loving to use for this icky and dull weather. Winter is not my favorite season, but instead of keep focusing on how ugly and difficult it can be to live in a country with cold weather, I just spend a few minutes to myself for pampering and putting makeup on. Sometimes, it’s better to do something for myself to change how I feel and how I view things, since I obviously can’t change the weather and bring the Philippine weather here. 😉

1) Nourishing Day Cream – My skin easily dries in the winter and this moisturizer is keeps my skin moisturized. It’s not heavy on the skin. It is super lightweight! I love to use moisturizer every time I put makeup on. At night, I love to use night cream and mix it with coconut oil if my skin is really dry.

2 Dew Skin – I love this product because it gives a dewy sheer and healthy glow after I put it on my face. This is totally worth the buy! Plus, there are no toxins in the ingredients used for this formulation.

3) Touchup Concealer – I super love this concealer!! It’s buildable and easy to blend. What I also love about this is that it doesn’t make my eyes feel itchy or irritated. I use this under my eyes, around my nose, and a few areas that need to be evened out.

4) Eyebrow Pencil – It’s easy to apply and this pencil totally gives a natural brow look! It comes with a soft brush that I use, before I apply brow makeup to groom my hair.

5) Duo Eyeshadow – I keep my eyeshadow simple by putting a neutral brown color on my eyelids. I then use the dark eyeshadow on the lash line area for a simple, defined eye look. If you are concerned if you have sensitive eyes, I recommend this eyeshadow because it has a flower extract, that helps to moisturize delicate skin around the eyes. Better check out their other gorgeous shades on their site!

6) Honest Truly Mascara with Primer – I like to try different mascaras and so far I’m loving this mascara with primer, from Honest Beauty. Not only are the ingredients all-natural, but it definitely helps my lashes to give some good length. Plus, it doesn’t smear!

7) Matte Bronzer – This weather can make my skin look very dull, so I always find a matte bronzer to do the trick and give my skin a natural, healthy sunkissed look! One important tip I can share in choosing bronzer, use 2-3 shades darker than your skin tone. Avoid a color that makes your skin “orangey.”
I also use a lipstick that keeps my lips moisturized and soft for this cold weather. I love this lipstick brand that has several gorgeous options for colors! Hope this helps! :)


3 Favorite Hairstyling Hacks For Busy Moms

Thursday, January 11, 2018

3 favorite hairstyling hacks for busy moms

Ponytail and bunny hairstyles are my everyday hairstyles, as a mom of two toddlers and a baby. They’re quick to do and don’t bother me and my baby during nursing time. I honestly don’t give any effort to my hair sometimes. I prefer to use my limited time to do my makeup first, when I go out. However, I found some hairstyling hacks that totally helped me as a busy mom. That is why today, I wanted to share 3 of my favorite hairstyling hacks that I’ve been using lately. Have you tried any of these?

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Double Ponytail

Use this hack to make your hair look full or longer, by dividing your hair into a double ponytail. You can adjust the bottom of the ponytail depending on how long you want your hair to look.

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Spray Bobby Pins

Use a hairspray/dry shampoo to spray bobby pins, before styling and using it on your hair. This makes the pins sticky and allows for a good grip, keeping them in place in your hair.

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Puff It Up

Use a pen, pencil, or chopstick to puff up the top of your hair for some volume. Then, use hairspray to set it.

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It sounds simple, but these hacks totally make a difference! Hope everyone has a great weekend.

By the way, make sure to follow me on Instagram to watch my makeup tutorial/tips every Monday. On Thursdays, have fun watching fellow moms take over my Insta story! So many fun things are happening this month! See you all!
Top sponsored by Pink Blush


Gift Guide: 7 Pretty Gifts For Her

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

7 pretty gifts for her gift guide pink blush (2)

7 pretty gifts for her gift guide pink blush (1)

Top sponsored by Pink Blush.

I made a list on my blog post today about some of the gift ideas for the women in your life. These are great, whether they’re for your wife, mom, best friend, sister, or in-laws! There are many products popping out this season and I know it can be overwhelming. That’s why I wanted to help by giving you some ideas for your shopping list, to surprise the special women in your life.

7 pretty gifts for her gift guide


  1. Sleek Petite OrganizerThis a 12-month planner, spanning from January to December 2018. It comes with a gorgeous golden metallic pen and pen loop. It is sleek and would be perfect to hand-carry and easily fits inside the purse or bag.
  2. Best of brushes set  – These brush sets are perfect for gifting, including yourself (Why not?! You deserve good brushes too!). It comes with a powder brush, angled brush (to contour some bronzer), and two kinds of eyeshadow brushes. Most brushes are expensive when you buy them individually, so the set is a good deal, as you get four brushes for under $60! It’s a limited edition release, so they are only available this Holiday season.
  3. Photo Clip Firefly String Lights – If you want a gift that involves pictures, this is a great way for gifting printed photos. String together memories from the past year with these fun Photo Clip String Lights. These can be use on the living room wall, a workspace, or even bedroom wall.
  4. Poppy lip duoThis set is a perfect lip duo of lipstick and lip gloss, that are just in time for  the Holiday season.The shade of pink-red is good for every type of skin tone.  All products contain natural ingredients and are safe to use, so you are not only giving gorgeous makeup this Christmas, but are also sharing a clean and safe product for your loved ones.
  5. Fringe Boots – Neutral colored booties are easy to style and match for this season. If you have someone who loves to dress up, from casual to flowy dresses, this is fun to wear because of its boho style fringe! I like how the heels aren’t so high and can be worn by moms with little kids.
  6. Bubble Wrap Calendar 2018 – A clever and fun idea to mark each day. This poster-size Bubble Wrap Calendar allows you to pop dates throughout the year. A fun gift for women who love unique Christmas gifts.
  7. White Marble Phone CoverMarble has been so popular, and this white marble cover gives your phone a sophisticated look!

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What’s your favorite product from the list?



How-to apply lipstick for the Fall

Monday, November 6, 2017

This shop has been compensated by Schwarzkopf. #FashionColorExpert #sponsored how to apply dark lipstick hair color schwarzkopf (2)

Anyone here love wearing dark lipsticks for fall? Are any of you hesitant to wear a darker shade? Well today, I’ll be sharing how to apply dark lipstick like a pro, and how to enjoy this look without looking gothic, but fab! Wearing a dark shade of lipstick can be intimidating and messy, especially if you don’t wear it often. However, with a few simple steps you’ll love wearing it, and with confidence! Below are some simple steps to follow. I’m also sharing on today’s post how I colored my hair at home, with the help of >Schwarzkopf Color Ultime. Scroll down for tutorials!

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1) Exfoliate and Moisturize – Before applying your dark lipstick, make sure to exfoliate your lips to get rid of flakes. This gives you a smooth surface and even base before applying your lipstick. I like to use a simple mixture of sugar and some olive oil. I then rinse with warm water. Don’t forget to moisturize your lips afterwards with your favorite lip conditioner.

2) Pick your dark lipstick – Choose the right shade by focusing on your undertone. I like to use lip brush when applying dark lipstick so I can control where to apply it. I blot with a tissue and reapply again. Lipliners are optional.

3) Balance the look – When wearing dark lipstick, it’s better to opt for a simple look by having a clean eye makeup look, adding a touch of blush or bronzer (to compliment your dark lips), and filling up your brows. However, if you are going for a more dramatic look at night, you may go for a different eye makeup look.

I also want to share with you all how I colored my hair using Schwarzkopf Color Ultime in Cinnamon Brown, available at Walmart. I just had a haircut a few weeks ago to get a new look for this new season. It was also because it was hard to maintain my long hair with my three little kids around… I often color my hair at home and my mom would help me out. Since she wasn’t visiting the United States this year, I had a chance to color my hair on my own. I actually felt nervous not having assistance, but surprisingly, it wasn’t as hard as I thought! Schwarzkopf has a ready to mix color cream and application bottle with developer lotion. It’s convenient to use and you can see the results beforehand! Here’s how I did it.

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Prepare these items above before coloring your hair so they’re easy to grab. Don’t forget to wear your gloves. Cover your clothes with an old towel and grab a watch so you can time the process. To start the application, unscrew the application bottle and pierce the tube of the Color Cream tube. Squeeze this Color Cream inside the application bottle and close the lid firmly. Then, start shaking it to mix all the creams together. Make sure you hold the bottle away from you, so that when removing the cap it won’t squirt out on your face. Unscrew the upper cap and start applying directly from the Application Bottle onto your dry, unwashed hair.

For a full head application, apply the cream throughout all of your hair thoroughly, strand after strand. I focus more on my gray hairs. I used a dye brush that my mom left here at home. Allow the hair color mixture to work for 30 minutes.

After the process time, rinse your hair with warm water until it runs clear. Afterwards, shampoo and rinse well. It also comes with Intense Conditioning Treatment to massage into your towel dried hair. Wait for 2-3 minutes after massaging, then rinse your hair thoroughly.

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Here are the before and after shots of the process, with Schwarzkopf Color Ultime in Cinnamon Brown. I love how it’s still vibrant even though it’s already been a week now. It leaves my hair softer and has beautiful shine too!

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There is a Try Me Free Rebate where you will be given a rebate to cover your purchase with your original receipt. You can also go with another option of earning up to $5 on Ibotta when you purchase any shade of Schwarzkopf Color Ultime.

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What new look are you planning to try this season?



Instagram Filter Inspired Makeup Tutorial (VIDEO!) + DIY Golden Leaf Crown

Thursday, October 26, 2017

instagram filter inspired makeup look tutorial video

Today, I’m excited to share my first makeup tutorial video. Thanks kids for taking a nap, so that Mommy could put this together. 😉 This look is inspired by Instagram Filters. I know some of you are enjoying these filters, like I am. That’s why I wanted to do a pretty makeup look and also share an easy DIY golden leaf crown, that you can wear for Halloween. As some of you know, I liked creepy Halloween looks before and I’ve been slowly trying to stuff on pretty side rather than the scary side. I have kids around me now and I don’t want to scare them. I also conducted a poll on my Instagram Stories asking friends if they prefer “something scary” or “something pretty” for Halloween looks. Most votes went for something pretty. With that being said, here’s a video on how I created this look. Scroll down for product details and a step-by-step tutorial for the DIY leaf crown.

Products I used:

Foundation (My shade is Honey) 

Concealer Pen (I used Medium 1)

Matte Bronzer (I used No.1)

Eyeshadow / Eyeliner Powder /Highlighter Palette (Love this palette with its removable mirror!)

Eyebrow Pencil (I used a medium shade)

Lengthening Mascara

Lipstick Sheer (I used the shade of Brunch from this Holiday lip set. I also used this lipstick on my cheeks.)

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Artificial Flowers in gold (I got mine from a Dollar Store)

Glue stick and glue gun


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STEP 1 While waiting for the glue gun to get heat up, remove all the golden flowers and cut off all the petals individually. I only used the petals of these artificial flowers for this crown, and I kept the rest of flowers to use for something else. These petals will be used as our leaves.

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STEP 2 Apply hot glue to the center of the headband. Carefully, put two leaves on the top, facing in opposite directions (as the image shows).

STEP 3 Continue to put the leaves on until it covers the headband. You may also add small details like artificial nectar to customize your crown.

That’s it! It’s easy and will complement your pretty makeup look for Halloween parties.

instagram filter makeup tutorial diy golden crown leaves

(This is my DIY Marble Makeup Brush Holder, tutorial here)

instagram filter inspired makeup look tutorial

What do you want to see on my next makeup tutorial?

Disclosure: I’m part of the Beautycounter company to promote safer ingredients for beauty products like makeup. I only share these products because I love to use them, and I believe in Beautycounter’s mission. If you have questions about products, email me directly at If you want to shop for these products, please use my personal Beautycounter website Thank you for your support!


Hello Island Mama is a makeup, DIY, design, and lifestyle blog by Em Smith. She is the mother of three boys and a wife, who loves to inspire and encourage others through her works and stories. Originally from the Philippines.

"I can do all things through him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

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