Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Favorite Things from 2014!

I can't believe how fast this year has flown by!  I've been having so much fun experimenting with new things, buying new subscription boxes, and getting out of my makeup comfort zone.  With all the stuff I've received I decided to narrow down to my top ten favorite items from this year.

Since I get a lot of boxes, that's a lot of things to wade through but I took on the challenge and dug through my stashes.

The main thing is "Am I Using It?"  I can't love something I never use can I?  So it must have longevity.  After looking at everything it seems that I really like simple, easy to use, non-fussy items. I don't have to be a genius to use any of these. I don't have to have loads of money (with one exception) and I can easily find or get more of any of these if I need to.  Hooray for low maintenance!

In no particular order, let's begin!
1. Too Faced Natural Eyes Eyeshadow Palette- $36- This is from the April 2014 Popsugar box.  It has all my favorite neutrals in one place.  It's easy to pack up and take anywhere with me.  It's made of metal, not plastic and I like that.  It's also got a nice big mirror.  No matter which shadows I have, I always come back to this staple palette.
Maybe there's better out there, maybe there's not but I haven't found it yet.  At least not in a subscription box!
2. Hope Girl 140 SuperLash Mascara- $13-$28- I first discovered this the Memebox Office Essentials Box.  At the time, everyone was moaning about how Hope Girl was appearing in all the boxes.  No one was particularly thrilled with the quality so I didn't actually try this for awhile.  And when I did, I was scrambling to get more!  Seriously, if you have some, I will swap you for it. That is how much I love this.
It applies beautifully and delicately coats and lengthens each lash.  I like mine to look natural not clumpy or spidery.  This mascara is perfect.  Not only that but it does.not.smudge.  AT ALL!  I can sleep in this mascara and wake up with nary a fleck, flake or speck anywhere on my face.  No raccoon eyes.  Just still-perfect lashes.  I'm not saying you should sleep in your mascara but we all know it happens.  And with Hope Girl 140 SuperLash no one would ever know.
It also is easy to clean off.  It comes off in tubes and doesn't smear all over your cheek (which you then have to wash again).  Seriously.  I need a lifetime stash of this.  I love it.  Nothing else has even come close to being as good as this Hope Girl mascara.  Not Clinique, not Benefit, not Urban Decay, not Kevyn Aucoin... No one. Nothing.
3. L'Oreal Extraordinaire by ColorRiche- $10- This was actually something I was sent by Allure after I joined some program they have.  I received the color Blushing Harmony.  Later in the year I was sent another color, Ruby Opera, by Sample Society.  I absolutely love these.  The colors are gorgeous, they apply so smoothly and without stickiness.  They are so moisturizing and the color lasts forever.  This gloss makes my lips so soft I just can't live without it.  I need more colors for sure and at $10 they are reasonably priced enough for me to get three or five or ten. :)
4. Benton High Content Snail Bee Essence- $15- I have a lot of skincare products.  Well, I have a lot of makeup, too, but I have a LOT of skincare.  This Benton Snail Bee Essence is a Memebox product that I actually bought more of.  The first thing from a Memebox that I actually ended up purchasing outside of a box.  Why?  I love the way it makes my skin feel and look.  It's a light gel that my skin soaks up like it's starving.  There is zero stickiness and it just sets my face up perfectly for whatever I want to put on it next.  And if I don't put anything else?  I still have soft skin and a glowy complexion. I don't know if I can live without this.  It's the one thing that I'll put on no matter what kind of a hurry I'm in.
5. It Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Powder Brush-$48- I got this back in May from BeautyDNA.  And it changed my life.  It did!  Previously, I had been using bareMinerals brushes and I thought they were fine.  I'd never really gone out of my way to find the perfect makeup brush until I received this. Wait... Makeup brushes are supposed to be like this?!  Luxuriously soft?!  There is such a thing as application perfection!?  Yes.  And this brush provided me with an airbrushed look that I couldn't believe I'd been missing out on while using those crappy bareMinerals brushes!  I will never use another powder brush!  This is my new love!  I actually went and purchased a new brush set by It Cosmetics because I loved this one so much.  Those bareMineral brushes? Gone.  Who knew eyeshadow could be blended so perfectly.  Life changing.  Thank you, BeautyDNA and It Cosmetics! I love you.
6.  Paula's Choice Ultra Light Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum-$34- I received a tiny sample tube of this in a Birchbox.  It might have been my second Birchbox ever.  I think I may have just started writing up reviews on my blog and was researching information on Paula's Choice because I'd never heard of it.  What a wealth of information!  Her Beautypedia is an absolute life (and money) saver!  It's funny because once I started rummaging around on her website, I realized that I'd actually checked out one of her books on cosmetics at the library.
She has a section of her website where she rates products from other brands based on their ingredients, packaging and claims.  Who knew Neutrogena would be a "Best" and Shiseido a "Poor"!?  Intrigued by all her ingredient information, I purchased a full size Ultra Light Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum (what a mouthful!) and have been using it ever since.  It's so light that it's great for summer use, but so moisturizing that its also excellent for use now, in the winter. With my Benton and this, my skin has never been smoother and more moisturized.  It's worth every penny.
7. Tarina Tarantino EyeDream Hyperlight-$22- My first Boxycharm contained two Tarina Tarantino products.  I'd never heard of her and I didn't really know what to do with this flashy silver tube with pink ooze inside of it.  Highlighter?  What?  Who uses a clickie tube and waits for the stuff to goosh out into the brush?!  Lots of people, apparently.  It was a whole new world to me, though, and I put off using it for awhile.
Finally, when I was digging through everything and trying things on a "I'm going to experiment" day, I used it.  I've been using it ever since.  It blends so nicely and makes my dark circles less noticeable.
It's really great at brightening up my face and it doesn't crease like other highlighters I've used.  It's so easy to use, too, and I wasn't expecting that.  It's a very forgiving color and formulation.  Plus I don't even need to use an undereye concealer!  Woohoo!  One less step is always good.
8. Lioele WaterDrop Sleeping Pack-$15- This was my first introduction to Asian beauty.  I had received a tiny sample from Beauteque and loved it so much I bought a full size bottle.  This is the sleeping pack to end all sleeping packs.  I've received a lot from Memebox since I purchased this but none have compared to Lioele's WaterDrop.  I put this on at night and wake up with the smoothest, babysoft skin.  It keeps oil  production under control so you don't wake up with a greasy face (my problem).  It's sort of a strange consistency but it has hyaluronic acid in it so I think that contributes to it.
Seriously, one more thing I don't ever want to live without.  It's still the best, nothing has beat it for a night time moisturizer.  And who doesn't love waking up with ridiculously soft and irresistable skin!?
9. Beauty Protector Protect and Detangle Leave In Conditioner- If you've read my blog at all, you know I'm pretty adverse to hair stuff so seeing this on my list should surprise you.  Hey, it surprised me too!  I hate hair crap.  Except I *love* my Protect and Detangle.  This has shown up in my Birchboxes a few times and I've traded for more so I always have enough.  Actually, this is my last bottle so I need to get on swapping for more.
It started because I loved the smell SO MUCH! I mean, this stuff smells so so so good.  And it makes your hair smell good.  It makes your hair smell so good that OTHER people say "Wow! Your hair smells SO good!" Haha! True story, bro.  Anyway,  it also is a wonderful detangler which I've needed for a long time.  This makes drying my super long hair so much easier because I can actually comb through it and eliminate rats nests as I go.  Plus... it smells good.  So yes, there is one hair item on my top ten for 2014 list.  It can't be helped.
10. Sonya Dakar Flash Facial-$95- So this totally isn't worth $95 and I would never pay that.  But I did get some in my FabFitFun box and that *was* worth it!  I also got two smaller tubes in my Sample Society boxes back before they did the rebranding.  So I've got a lot.  For now.  I'm going to be sad when it's gone.  It works wonderfully well and I really like the results.
This is a 1 minute mask that uses lactic acid to slough off the dead skin cells that have been left on your face even though it seems like it's clean.  This consistently leaves my skin ultra soft and smooth and in only one minute.  I've got that kind of time and I put it on while the shower water is heating up.  One minute later, hop in, massage the mask off and rinse my face clean.  Perfection.

It was actually kind of hard to narrow it down to just these.  There are so many wonderful products that I've only recently been introduced to that might have made the list but they didn't have the longevity factor.  I really wanted to find things that I've been using for awhile and had passed the test of time and use.

It's been a great year and I've been loving getting my boxes and blogging about their contents.  I've even been loving all the organizing sessions that have had to happen because of all my new goodies.
I still think I need some more shelving and a whole new bathroom but until that happens, I'll have to keep paring it down and sticking to my favorites when I find them.  It's hard not to hoard but if I'm not using it (and I've tried it) then it needs to go.

All the things on this list will not go until it's time for a new one!  I'm glad I made this list because I'm really curious to see what next years list might have on it!

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!!

*affiliate links were used in this post

16 comments:

  1. I love, love, love Beauty Protector! I hoard all of their products. I'm like you, I normally don't care too much about hair products, but theirs smell SO good that I just can't get enough!

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    1. Yes! You know just what I mean then! I'm debating using my points to get the big one because I go through these little ones pretty quickly...

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  2. This is such a great idea! I'm still trying to get my hands on the Benton essence because I've heard soooooo many good things about it. *sigh* I may just have to suck it up and buy it and pay an arm and a leg for shipping :( Now I want to make one called "My Dogs' Favorite Things from 2014" There'd be de-stuffed animals galore!

    Happy New Year!

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    1. The link I used for the Benton is from Amazon :D It has free shipping (hopefully Hawaii counts?). Get it!
      Oh man... I don't know if I could do a dog favorites post. I'd have to use old pictures for some of them. Or show off the drool crusted, misshapen current state... Bugsy still loves his Thanksgiving cornucopia. I even bought him a new one to add to his fruit stash :D

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  3. Ohhh this is an awesome idea! :D If I have time to do a compilation like this, I'm totally stealing your idea. ;) The Beauty Protector is definitely one of my favorite Birchbox discoveries!

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    1. Do it! I'd love to see what your favorites are!

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  4. I love that Beauty Protector spray. I have a full sized bottle in my bathroom and a mini one stashed in my office. Mmmm! I have a sample of that Paula's Choice stuff, guess I should give it a shot soon. I've tried a whole bunch of PC products and it's very rare that I'm disappointed!

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    1. I like Paula's Choice, too. I have a ton of her stuff now but the Ultra Light serum is my favorite for sure. Just a few more BB points and I should snag myself that full size bottle, too!

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  5. Sarah, Thank you, I just ordered the Benton snail essence from memebox and used the coupon you provided for the crayon lipstick and the shipping was free since I ordered 2 or them, yay!

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    1. Hooray! Saving money is always good and so is free shipping! I hope you love it as much as I do :D

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  6. I got a Hope Girl mascara in one of my Memeboxes and I also feel this is one of the best mascaras I've ever used. It's wand is small but it works wonderfully, adds length, volume and never smudges on my bottom lashes

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    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks it's excellent! I really was surprised by it!

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  7. OK, be honest with me, um, does "snail" and "bee" have anything to do with snails and bees? Particularly snails? If so I cannot put this on my face.

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    1. I will be honest! It has snail ferment filtrate (EW, GROSS! It's sanitized snail slime! Blech!) and bee venom along with propolis (what bees use to keep their hives clean). It took me a LONG time to actually try a snail product but I did some research and there are actually some studies that indicated the enzymes in the snail slime encourage collagen production and cell regeneration so I grit my teeth and tried it. And I loved it so much I just got over the snail thing. At least it doesn't feel or look like it or else I'd have a bigger problem.
      I totally understand your hesitation! It's not for everyone but if I don't think about it, it isn't as bad.

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  8. That Too Faced palette looks nice! I have really liked every Hope Girl product I have tried so I don't mind that Memebox includes a lot of their products!

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    1. I think I ended up with only two mascaras and a lip balm by Hope Girl because I avoided makeup boxes. I got the waterproof mascara but I still like the 140 SuperLash the best.
      I love the Too Faced palette. I didn't take a picture of the inside because I was too lazy to clean it up and make it look nice after all the use it's been getting! Haha!

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