Eight reasons #ProjectVanity8th is our best one yet!

Like many of you, I met Liz through Project Vanity. It was 2012, I was an active commenter, and somehow that was enough for Liz to invite me to write for her. We worked on a few articles for a different publication together, then in early 2013 she sent me a message on Facebook about an exciting new project.

When I wrote the project proposal for Five Years of Vanity, the first ever Project Vanity anniversary celebration, I had no idea that there would be several more or that I would be involved in each one! Hands down though, the best one yet has got to be the whole-day event we held last March 19 in Commune, Makati. Here's why:

The Crowd

When Project Vanity held its fifth anniversary celebration as the first one of its kind, we could only accommodate a handful of people (40, to be exact). That number only grew by 40 more for the seventh anniversary (80 people came), and we threw a bigger party in Beauty Bar, Central Square Fort.

We wanted more readers to get the chance to join an anniversary event this year, so we offered 120 slots for the beauty and blogging workshops. All slots were fully booked by Day 2! Liz and I were absolutely floored by the overwhelming response, and it made finally meeting these girls even more special. They were no longer just another number in our website data, but a real community of Project Vanity readers.

Image via @lightsandlatte on Instagram

Image via @lightsandlatte on Instagram

The Massive Loot Bag

As beauty lovers, one of the highlights in any Project Vanity anniversary is the loot bags. This year's was our biggest one yet! We had a total of SIXTEEN brand sponsors, count them: Catrice Cosmetics, Marie France, Facial Care Center, INGLOT, Olay, Pantene, Zenutrients, Etude House, Leaders, Tony Moly, Pink Sugar, Nivea, Happy Skin, Burt's Bees, K-Palette, and Kanebo Lunasol.

I saw the excitement in guests' eyes when they spotted the huge bags during registration, and the surprised smile that crept up when they first realized how heavy it was. There was a great mix of both makeup and skin care in there, which we spent an entire morning packing into branded paper bags, courtesy of Ellana Minerals! Which brings me to my next reason...

From left: Me, Jordianne, Kim, Rae, Paul, Liz, Marielle, Stacie, Katsy, Kisty and Angela (missing M.R.!)

From left: Me, Jordianne, Kim, Rae, Paul, Liz, Marielle, Stacie, Katsy, Kisty and Angela (missing M.R.!)

The Team

The first two anniversary parties were fun, but also incredibly tiring for Liz and I as we had to do everything ourselves. Luckily, we had an incredible team of eight writers (I'm beginning to think this is a legit lucky number), a photographer, videographer, and an intern to help us out for this year's celebration!

Without my usual job of taking the registration, giving out the loot bags, making sure food was served, coordinating the sound system, modeling for the makeup demo, and occasionally snapping photos taken over, I had the time to chat with some special guests who played an important role in our successes.

with Cheryl Tan Chua (Beautybox Corp.)

with Cheryl Tan Chua (Beautybox Corp.)

with Laveen and Rohit Mirpuri (Pink Sugar)

with Laveen and Rohit Mirpuri (Pink Sugar)

The Special Guests

Though I've only been with Project Vanity for a short time, I know how crucial brand support has been to its success. We have long-time partners like Cheryl Tan Chua of Beautybox Corp., who has been to every one of our anniversary parties and ensures that K-Palette is a staple in our loot bags. She's a life/business mentor to Liz, and one of my favorite local Girl Boss pegs!

It was my first time to meet brothers Laveen and Rohit Mirpuri of Pink Sugar, and I was just blown away by their knowledge of makeup and dedication to creating a great quality brand with affordable prices. Also, I now know two straight men who have a bigger lipstick collection than Liz does.

Katrina Chu (seated)

Katrina Chu (seated)

I had so much fun chatting with NJ Torres of Marie France and Facial Care Center, who was very excited about working with Project Vanity for the first time. We're so glad that Katrina Chu of Catrice Cosmetics graciously reached out to us after hearing about our experience with a faulty product, as we've since discovered so many great performers from the brand!

The Talks

In the morning, Liz talked about and demonstrated the hottest beauty trends right now. That's flawless matte skin, bright eyeshadow, smoky eyebrows, and monochromatic makeup! In the afternoon she discussed how to make it as a professional blogger.

Of course, no Project Vanity anniversary would be complete without the special participation of our beauty blogger friends! There was no Lip Sync Battle this year (sad, I know) but Donnarence Masilungan and Julia Arenas shared their own inspiring stories during the blogging workshop.

Donnarence is a busy lawyer who started blogging for fun, right about the same time as Project Vanity first started. She never thought that My Lucid Intervals would be such a hit! Meanwhile, Julia of Bless My Bag shared how Liz was her first beauty blogger friend and how she inspired her to study makeup seriously. She went to school, got her diploma, and now loves her job as a professional makeup artist!

The (Sur)prizes

While I was setting up earlier that morning, Liz arrived with a huge smile on her face and something big and boxy in her arms. INGLOT had sent a massive 40-pan Freedom System Palette (you can see the swatches here!) and 10 cherry-red mini loot bags for some very lucky attendees!

The biggest prizes though, were awarded post-event. Marie France and Facial Care Center gave away two gift cards, each one loaded with P30,000 worth of credits that could be redeemed for their beauty services! 

The Stories

Even though I've heard many of them before, I still get so inspired and humbled whenever a reader shares her story of how Project Vanity has touched her life. Many of those who came joined because they wanted to personally thank Liz for helping them gain confidence in how they look and in what they could do. Readers also took advantage of the live meet to interact with fellow readers as well as the team of writers. A lot of hugs were shared that day, and I hope that many new friendships began as well.

The Photographic Evidence

Having our Creative Director Paul and his friend Mel to cover the event ensured that we had plenty of photos to choose from for this recap post! And more importantly, the happy faces serve as a reminder for me and Liz of why we do what we do, and work all that much harder to keep those smiles on.

Thank you to everyone who joined us at #ProjectVanity8th! We hope to see you all again next year. <3