Thursday, March 5, 2015

Winter 2013 - 2014 Favorites

It's been a while since I've done a monthly/seasonal favorites post. I think it's because I spend so much time frothing at the mouth over individual products that I just don't think to put them all together in a single post. But I have a ton of goodies to show you guys, including some non-makeup favorites!

Makeup and Fragrance

My two favorite fragrances this past winter have come from splits on Reddit's fragsplits community: House of Matriarch Blackbird and Tauer PHI Une Rose de Kandahar. Blackbird is an incredibly dense, dark scent that's best described as "humid." I've worn it mostly on late night trips to bars and clubs. Because I'm old and boring, I don't go to said bars and clubs often, so Blackbird was really an occasional scent this winter. But I've enjoyed it every time. The Tauer is another story. It's the kind of sensual, sweet-and-spicy rose that has plenty of weight and warmth, but remains wearable for the daytime. I think I actually prefer it to Andy Tauer's infamous L'air du Desert Marocain.

I've also been loving two very affordable products. First up is the ELF Makeup Remover Pen. We all know I'm incredibly lazy about my eye makeup, but I'm also really clumsy, and I always end up with a lid covered in mascara smudges. Instead of freaking out about it, I just remove it with this pen. I've also used it to fix mistakes on my winged liner. $3, lasts forever, worth every penny. The Maybelline Dream Lumi pen concealer in Radiant was a gift from a kind MUAer, and I unexpectedly adored it. It has a distinct salmon color that's great for reducing undereye circles.

My two favorites from MAC include a long-time staple and a new lipstick. MAC Face & Body is probably my all-time favorite foundation. It's even worked on this winter's dehydrated skin, providing light coverage without emphasizing flakes and dryness. I keep a 50/50 N1/White mix on my desk, which matches about an N10 skintone. The Viva Glam Miley Cyrus lipstick has been my bright lipstick go-to since I bought it in February.

Two items I'm not going to talk much about now: Benefit Moon Beam, because it's discontinued and I already wrote a post praising its virtues, and the Kevyn Aucoin Creamy Moist Glows, which I'm going to rave about in an upcoming post.


Like millions of people, I'm obsessed with Breaking Bad. Better Call Saul is a prequel show that follows my favorite character, Saul Goodman, as he transforms from a down-and-out lawyer named Jimmy McGill to the morally ambiguous Breaking Bad character we know and love. Some people have complained that the show is a bit slow and "not as good as Breaking Bad," but I think they're forgetting that Breaking Bad didn't hit its stride until about halfway through the second season. And what's wrong with television that takes its time?

I also spent two months casually rewatching 30 Rock. This is one of the funniest shows that ever existed; it's so funny, my brother heard a few of the lines and decided he had to watch the whole thing on his own time. It's a shame that this show didn't get the credit it deserved when it was on the air.

In terms of music, I've been loving an old album from an old favorite. I spent the better part of a year searching for Dirty Elegance's The Hero Who Fell From Her Pedestal, only to realize that the album was available directly from the artist for $5. It's the best fiver I've spent in a while. My favorite track so far: "Medium," featuring Big Pep/Rotten Peppers.

I'd also like to give a shout-out to Yodelice, a French indie artist whose music I featured in my Imaginary Authors review. Square Eyes is his most recent album, and probably my favorite thus far.


Yes, that's a tub of St. Ives Apricot Scrub. I swear, it's not for my face! I use this scrub on my body several times a month to slough off dead skin. This winter has wreaked havoc on my moisture barrier, but you'd never know it thanks to the fantastic combination of the St. Ives scrub and Haus of Gloi's Pumpkin Butter. I've raved about the latter so many times, it's probably easier to just link you to my review.

The Nuxe Reve de Miel lip balm has become one of my favorite lip treatments. I still dislike using it under lipsticks because of the waxy texture, but it's great for fixing flakes and dryness overnight. Other treatments I've been adoring include the Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream, which is the best damn hand cream ever made, and Paula's Choice Resist Weekly Resurfacing Treatment, a 10% AHA I use once a week to keep my skin even and smooth.

Other Stuff

I've read a lot of great books this winter, but my favorite was probably Susan Bordo's "The Creation of Anne Boleyn: a New Look at England's Most Notorious Queen." I have a few minor quibbles with this book, but for the most part, I found it refreshing and much-needed in the wealth of Tudor history books. This isn't the first Anne Boleyn book you should read; it focuses on how she's been represented throughout history and sometimes glosses over historical events, which may confuse readers who are new to the subject. But if you're like me and you've been fascinated by the six wives of Henry VIII for years, it's a well-researched delight.

Also in the realm of books, the Q&A 5 Year Journal! I first read about this little diary on A Model Recommends. I ordered two for Christmas: one for my partner, one for me. I'm absolutely terrible at writing love letters, but if we both fill out these journals, we can share them when we're together...and that's pretty close.

My favorite food goodies include the Bolthouse Farms juices, which I've raved about before. The new-ish Multi-V Goodness juice became my second favorite flavor this weekend--it'd take a really special flavor to topple Amazing Mango, but this comes close! The Heluva Good Roasted Garlic and Caramelized Onion dip has become my favorite chip dip, but unfortunately, it's limited edition. WHY WOULD THEY DO THIS?! WHY WOULD THEY GIVE US DELIGHTFUL ONION-AND-GARLIC FLAVOR AND THEN TAKE IT AWAY?! Make it permanent, you foul temptresses!

Last, but not least, I've been loving my Pure Guardian Cool Mist humidifier. I bought it when my partner visited for the holidays and we were both suffering from sinus infections. This little unit really helped with his nose bleeds and my dry nose and throat. Added bonuses: it's easy to clean (I just use a little white vinegar in the tank) and it comes with a night light. I know it's kinda silly to be excited about a night light, but it was nice for my pitch black 5:30am wake-up calls.

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