2014 Beauty Favorites

Happy 2015! I'm excited to bring you my annual favorites for a FIFTH year! It was neat to look back on my favorites from 2010, 2011, 2012, & 2013, then compare them with the products I've used (or continued using) this year.

(The products marked with - means it is a type of product that I do not use, or I just didn't find a miracle product for the year.)

These are all products I have used continuously throughout the year.  I have repurchased most of these or I will in the future.  I have recommended them to friends and family, and I recommend them to you.

beauty favorites

Blush: Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Tipsy
Bronzer: Benefit Cosmetics Hoola
Brush: Sigma F35 Tapered Highlighter
Concealer: Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Concealer Treatment
Eyebrows: Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Caramel
Eyelash Curler: -
Eyeliner: Kat Von D Tattoo Liner
Eyeshadow: Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette
Eyeshadow Primer/Base: NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base
Foundation: -
Highlight: Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette - shade: Bootycall
Lipgloss: -
Lipstick: Revlon Lip Butter in Pink Truffle
Mascara: Maybelline The Rocket Volum' Express
Powder: -
Tool: Beautyblender

High-End Brand: Urban Decay
Drugstore Brand: Maybelline

Bath Product: LUSH Sex Bomb Bath Bomb
Body Exfoliator: LUSH Ocean Salt Facial & Body Scrub
Body Lotion: Coconut Oil
Cuticle Cream: Dr. Lipp Original Nipple Balm for Lips
Nail polish: German-i-cure by OPI
Top Coat Polish: Seche Vite Dry Fast Top CoatNail Tool: Glass Nail Files
Nail Polish Remover: Zoya Remove Plus
Fake Tanner: -
Foot Cream: Coconut Oil
Hand Cream: Soap & Glory Hand Food
Perfume: Stella by Stella McCartney
Shower Gel: -
Soap: Dove Sensitive Skin
Teeth Whitening: Plus White 5 Minute Maximum Whitening Speed Gel

Conditioner: Joico K-Pak
Electrical: Clairol Hot Rollers
Hair Dye: -
Hairspray: -
Dry Shampoo: Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray
Mask: Macadamia Deep Repair Masque
Miracle Product: It's a 10 Miracle Leave-In Spray
Shampoo: -
Tool: The Wet Brush

Exfoliator: Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Exfoliating Cream
Eye Product: -
Cleanser/Makeup Remover: Clinique Take the Day Off & Neutrogena Make-up Remover Cleansing Towelettes
Facial Mask: -
Lip Treatment: NUXE Rêve de Miel
Moisturizer: Origins Vitazing
Toner: Clinique Clarifying Lotion

here's to the best,

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Holiday Haul / Gift Ideas

Christmas tree with wrapped presents

I thought about posting this before Christmas, but I didn't want to give any spoilers for gifts of loved ones. I hope these gift ideas are helpful throughout the year or for next Christmas!

I can not rave enough about Amazon wishlist; they even have a toolbar button so you can add anything to your wishlist, not just Amazon items. I use this all year long and it's great for others to know exactly what you want for any occasion.

Holiday Haul

christmas gifts - makeup, Friends boxed set, kitten

A kitten was all I was really expecting but Brad gifted so much more! Brad gave me many things from my wishlist but a lot of thoughtful surprises, too:

Friends Completed Boxed Series  - I kept saying I wanted to watch Friends from beginning to end. I feel like there's always so many Friends references that I never understand. I figured I would just stream it, but now I have physical DVDs and no excuses.
Kitten - I have wanted a kitten for the longest time. We finally found a perfect match from New Beginnings Animal Rescue.
Waiter's Wine Opener - I've always found these intimidating at restaurants or parties. Now I have one to learn! 
Wine Rack - I kept mentioning I wanted to build or buy a wine rack. I'm excited to finally have a home for bottles of wine.

new makeup

(pictured: wishlist beauty items, Winter Walmart Beauty Box, & December Pinchme Box)

BCBG Landon Floral Pants  
• Beautyblender blendercleanser solid
• Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Moonstone
• Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette 
• Sephora Favorites: Superstars 
Urban Decay Naked On the Run Palette 

sephora favorites

Sephora Favorites: Superstars had the highest priority on my wishlist. This is the ultimate gift for beauty lovers. This would be a great gift for someone transitioning from drugstore to high-end makeup, too. A few of these products I've already tried but the majority are new-to-me and I cannot wait to try. The Superstars gift set retailed at $75 and it included $225 worth of product - totally worth it! The products included are:

- Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Dark Brown (full size)
- Benefit Cosmetics POREfessional (1/3 size)
- Benefit Cosmetics They're Real Mascara In Jet Black (deluxe sample)
- Bumble And Bumble Surf Spray (half size)
- Chloè by Chloè Rollerball
- Formula X Nail Color in Ignite (full size)
- Fresh Sugar Rosè Tinted Lip Treatment (deluxe sample)
- Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil (deluxe sample)
- NARS Cosmetics Blush in Orgasm (full size)
- Smashbox Cosmetics Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 35 in Light (full size)
- Stila Cosmetics Stay All Day® Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner In Intense Black (full size)
- Urban Decay Eye Shadow in Sin (full size)

unwrapped Christmas presents

My parents got me:
• Candy 
• Gift Cards
• Hue Boot Socks in Oxblood
• Lisa Frank Pen
Minnetonka Gray Three Layer Boots - (wishlist item) I bought the Minnetonka black ankle boots years ago and have worn them so much. These have been on my wishlist for the longest time. I'm so happy to have a pair of shoes that aren't black.
• Old Navy Fleece Pajamas
Purex Mini Casserole Dishes - (wishlist item) I love casseroles but they always produce so much food for just two people. I wanted these to cook half the casserole immediately and then freeze the half for dinner in a week or two.

My sisters got me:
• A kitchen towel: "Cat hair - both a condiment and a fashion accessory."  
•  C.O. Bieglow Lemon Lip Balm - (wishlist item)

For the Man

When I asked Brad want he wanted, he told me 'screwdrivers and socks'. Brad uses Amazon wishlist, too - but he doesn't update it too often. Brad has been talking about an iPad forever but didn't really 'want' one...

Birchbox Man, iPad mini

I gave Brad an iPad mini. (There were plenty of deals Black Friday!) He hasn't put it down since.

I also gave Brad the 'Sweat the Small stuff' gift set from Bircbhox. Luckily, there were socks in here. (haha.) I've been wanting the KOR water bottle since last year. (Yes, I stole it back from him right after Christmas.) All the other stuff in the gift set is super nice, too! The gift set retailed at $54 and has $110 worth of products! The gift set included:

-Bálla for Men Body Spray
-Baxter of California Deodorant
-Bombas Ankle Socks
-Bombas Calf Socks
-KOR Aura Water Bottle
-Quirky Wrapster
-Under Armour Trance Sackpack


My parents got Brad a complete screwdriver set and a carwash set (not pictured.)

The Gift Card Debate

gift cards

Personally, I love gift cards - they're essentially cash to use at your favorite store. However, I know some people think they're impersonal or lazy.

Tips: If you don't know where the recipient shops, go with a gas card or a gift card to your local grocery store. Add a personal item to go with the gift card - like a DIY project, your favorite candle, or your favorite food.

Christmas gift basket

Brad's mom gave us gift cards in a super cute basket filled with food, a candle, kitchen items, and personal ornaments. We can't wait to use the gift cards but trying out so many new foods and items has been so neat, too!

Gift Ideas:  

For the Beauty Experienced: I got my mom and Brad's mom a beautyblender. The beautyblender has so many good reviews of people stating the way it changed their makeup routine. I figured both of our moms have been using regular makeup sponges for years - why not give them a new tool?

For the Beauty Lover: Sephora Gift Sets (mentioned above)

For the Man: Sweat the Small Stuff Gift Set (mentioned above)

makeup for beginners or a teenager

For the Preteen or Friend: a makeup kit. My youngest sister has started to get into makeup. (She even knows how to apply it - she watches as many YouTube tutorials as me.) I made her a "makeup starter kit." This would be a great idea for a friend too - give them some of your current favorite products or stuff they occasionally 'borrow' from you!

For the Teenager: techie gifts or eyeshadow palettes. I gave my younger sister an iPad cover. She really liked mine, so I got her a similar one. I also gave her the Coastal Scents Revealed palette. She wears very minimal makeup. With so many saying this is a dupe for Urban Decay's Naked palettes (my favorites), I figured it would be a great way to introduce her to more eyeshadow and create multiple looks.

For the Wino: waiter's wine opener / wine rack / wine saver  (mentioned above)

presents & ideas,

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December Favorites

'Favorites' posts/videos discuss the products (and other misc things) you loved for that month. The products can either be purchased that month or (old) 'rediscovered' items. Favorites are published at the end of the current month or at the beginning of the following month. 

beauty favorites & Bear Naked Granola

Surprisingly, I didn't purchase any new beauty products this month. I received a TON of makeup around Christmas, but it doesn't feel right calling them monthly favorites when I only used them for a week.

Bear Naked Maple-icious Pecan Granola
I purchased this on a whim and it has become my new favorite. I'm already on my second bag within less than a month. I've been eating it with yogurt and fruit for lunch, with oatmeal for breakfast, and I'm looking into making my own granola bars with it.

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner 
(sample) This has been in the bottom of my makeup drawer for forever; I'm not very good with liquid eyeliner but this makes application super easy.

Jordana Best Lash Extreme Volumizing Mascara
Nouveau Cheap raved about this mascara a few times. I decided to try it out for under $3.00. I'm impressed. It gives big, volumized lashes and doesn't flake too bad. (Although avoid wearing when baking - I felt my lashes melting getting something out of the oven...)

Laura Geller GlamLASH Mascara
I picked this when I built my own Birchbox in SoHo. This mascara has gotten a lot better with age. The formula has thickened up and makes my lashes look more volumized. I really like the wand, too.

granola & big lashes,

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