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2018 Favorites

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2018 was a strange year. There were some high highs and some low lows, but PLOT TWIST: I ended the year in a pretty happy place!

2018 also introduced me to a new crop of favorite things, so here are some of my most-loved buys and tries:

1. Lavendaire’s Artist of Life Workbook: Aileen Xu, the creative force behind Lavendaire, has these gorgeously filmed, self-helpy YouTube videos that I watched a lot in 2017. So I bought her workbook… and then didn’t start it until late January because I was in such a negative headspace to start the year. The monthly exercises? Yeah, didn’t start doing those until March! But once I got going, I really enjoyed having that space to reflect on my wins each month. Even when I felt like I wasn’t accomplishing anything or growing, I was—just maybe not in a huge, dramatic way. I now have Aileen’s 2019 workbook, and I started its exercises on New Year’s Day! #progress 🎉

2. Agate bracelet: In yoga teacher training, each of us gave small gifts to the other trainees when we taught our first class. One of the other gals made us these beautiful bracelets, and I’ve literally worn mine every day since! Besides being pretty, it’s such a nice reminder of the girls and that wonderful experience. 💕

3. Roller Chain Fidget Toy (Amazon): I tend to be very fidgety with my hands, especially at work, so I ordered a few fidget toys from Amazon this year. This one was by far the winner—I just fiddle with it endlessly while sitting at my desk at work!

4. Pop-Up Pill Organizer: Remember when I found this pill organizer at Marshall’s? Yeah, I’m totally in love with it (and I’m also 100 years old!). It’s so nice to be able to set up a week’s worth of pills but then just take one day with you at a time, thereby avoiding having said week’s worth of pills spill in your bag (something that used to happen to me all.the.time).

5. Aurora Bar Ring in rose gold (GLDN): My Rebirthday ring! It’s so pretty and dainty and personal GAH, I just love it! And I think it arrived pretty quickly too, especially for being a custom piece!

6. Five Below iPhone 7 Case: I love this case so much! I tend to switch up my cases, but I’ve been going strong with this one since April! (Unfortunately for you guys, that means it might not be in stores anymore.) I love the geometric pattern, the soft colors, the gold details, the whole faux-marble vibe, and the super-slim profile. For $5, it’s perfection.

7. Timer Tab: I easily lose track of time when I’m working on something, so this site has been a godsend at work. Otherwise, one hour balloons into three, and I’m like, “I’ve been going through my inbox for HOW long?!” I think it plays a video of a chiming grandfather clock when time’s up, which may be annoying (or hilarious, depending on your view!), but my work computer doesn’t have speakers, so the flashing visual in the toolbar is perfect.

What are your favorite buys and tries from last year?

2017 Favorites

JessComment
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January really got away from me, so let's look back at some of my Favorites from 2017 before it's 2018!

(These first few items I’ve had since the end of 2016 but hadn’t had long enough to consider them favorites in 2016.)

  • Y'all know I'm obsessed with Lipsense, especially with Bombshell, which is my ideal "my lips but better" shade. I've already gone through two tubes of Bombshell and Glossy Gloss since fall 2016!

 

  • I like these Sketchers Go Step sneakers because they are comfy without being bulky and so can go with anything! (At least in my mind they do!)

 

  • I seriously agonized for months about buying this fidget ring from Etsy and am so glad I did. It's so cute and fits perfectly--in addition to being there for the fidgeting. I wear it every day!

 

 

  • I bought Glossier's Balm DotCom in Original after seeing Fran rave about it, and I have not been disappointed. It just melts into your lips and doesn't seem to wear off as quickly as other balms do, which is exactly what I want as a lip-biter! Since then, I've also gotten the Cherry flavor, and I love that one even more. The Original can get a little oily, not to mention that the tiny pop of color that the Cherry has is just 💯.

 

  • These Primark skinny jeans are super soft and stretchy, while also being $15. SOLD. I now own two pairs!

 

  • I had been coveting Lanolips forever (curse you, primarily European beauty brands!), so I nearly shrieked when I spotted it at Ulta over the summer! The multibalm has not disappointed! I use it every night before bed.

 

  • I bought this $10 phone holder for my car on a whim while in the checkout line at Nordstrom Rack and have not regretted it one bit. It keeps my phone in place even while driving over the cobblestones in Chestnut Hill, so you know it's legit!

 

What are your faves from 2017 that I've got to check out?!

 

 

Empties

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I always love reading about other people's "must-have" products, so I finally got my act together to write about a few of my own! Granted, they're not all "empties" in the picture, but I have repurchased all of them before. Also, I only started wearing eyeliner/mascara regularly three years ago (at age 26, mind you), so the fact that I love both so much now cracks me up! :)

Some of the following links are affiliate links, so I get a few pennies if you click on them! Just FYI!

Cover Girl Lash Blast Volume Mascara : Being a pale redhead, I really like brown mascara, and Cover Girl is the only drugstore brand I've found that makes a legit brown (not black/brown). I've tried a few of different types by Cover Girl, but I always come back to the Lash Blast. I just really like the brush and how it separates your lashes, while giving them a little curl. 

Poshe Super Fast-Drying Top Coat : My friend Piper introduced me to Poshe a few years ago, back when I was barely painting my nails because I hated how quickly they would chip or get all smushy. OH MAN, has Poshe been a game-changer! I have no patience to wait for my nails to dry, and Poshe really does dry in minutes. Not to mention that it makes your nails look super-shiny and amazing. It was a disappointing day when they stopped selling it at Ulta, but you can still find it in a few random stores, and of course, on Amazon, along with everything ever!

EOS Ulta-Moisturizing Shave Cream : I have pretty sensitive skin, so shaving often irritates it. But this EOS stuff is fantastic for me and doesn't turn my legs into a literal hot (as in, burning) mess!

Maybelline Define-A-Line Eyeliner : To be honest, I haven't tried many eyeliners, but I love how soft and easily smudgeable this one is. So I was like "hey, this works!" and never looked back, haha! Now, in eyeliner, I do like a black-brown, go figure.

Make Up Forever Sens'Eyes : The only eye makeup remover that doesn't bother my eyes!

Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Soap in Lavender : I usually shower at night, so the lavender scent is perfect before bed. (I also really like Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Soap, but because it's so cooling, I only use it in the summer.) It may seem weird to just have the little travel bottle, since I like the product so much, but I get intimidated by the other size, which is roughly a ten-gallon drum! (If you've seen it, you know what I mean!)

Zoya Remove Plus : I tried to go back just regular drugstore nail polish remover recently, and I couldn't do it; after about a month, I broke down and bought the Zoya again! The top on it is awesome because it's so minimally messy, and it has a pretty unoffensive scent too. (To me, it just smells like a cleaner you'd use around the house, which is clutch since my dad hates the smell of nail polish and traditional nail polish remover! I used to paint my nails sitting next to an open window, like the stereotypical person smoking in secret!)

 

So, what are your faves? What beauty products do I need to try like yesterday?!

 

Best buys and tries of 2015

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How do you feel about trying new things? Personally, I hate it about 97% of the time, but when something new does work out, it's like "how did I ever live without this?!" with a choir of angels singing in the background. The following were those items, groups, and methods for me in 2015. :D

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Camera tripod: While it's super helpful to have a human behind the camera, telling you where to stand and how to position yourself (and letting you know if you're barely in the frame, haha!), having a tripod is AWESOME. I love being able to just set it up and take pics whenever I want. Sure, there's a lot of misfires... and accidental scenic shots when Pops interrupts me, but it's a fantastic option to have in the ol' blogging arsenal. I linked to the exact tripod I have (although mine is red, randomly!), which is lightweight, inexpensive, and easy to set up.

Blogilates water bottle: I'm really bad at drinking enough water in a day. I like water, and it's the main thing I drink, but it takes me forever to finish any drink, water included. Enter the Blogilates bottle with its timer on the side. I'm still not getting enough water, but now I can't totally ignore it! In fact, seeing just how little I've drunk during the day (thanks to the timer) often motivates me to drink more water than I would otherwise!

Target watch: This is for my fellow tiny-wristed girls out there! Finding inexpensive and cute watches that actually fit me out of the box is almost impossible. (Do I own a leather punch so I can add more holes to a watch band? No, not at all...) So I fully expected this one from Target to be ill-fitting, look clunky on me, and get dirty easily (being white and all). I'm happy to report that I have had none of these problems! There is space in between the woven part of the band, so I simply use that as extra holes to customize my fit. Perfection! (See below for an illustration of that sentence that otherwise makes no sense LOL)

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Exposure therapy: Full disclosure: exposure therapy is one of the most terrifying and rewarding things I've ever done in my life. The results speak for themselves: I went from not driving in two years (not even around the block) to driving 45 minutes on two highways to work regularly. And driving alone, something I hadn't done in roughly five years. As a stubborn person who was absolutely petrified of getting behind the wheel, I'm still a bit in shock that exposure therapy produced such extreme change... but I guess big change is possible when you finally face your fears. I'm incredibly grateful that my therapist pushed me to do it and so proud of myself for accepting the challenge. I would highly recommend exposure therapy to anyone with a major fear/avoidance issue around something, like I had with driving. You can read more about my experience (as it was happening!) here, and I linked to the program I used (at UPenn), if you want more info about it.

H54F link-up: I think I first stumbled on H54F because I fell in love with Katie's blog. And then I found out that she ran this weekly link-up. I had A LOT of reservations about joining in--like, why would people care about the random little things going on in my life? But I pushed through those anxieties and am so glad I did. I've made so many friends from H54F (Tif, Ashley, and Nicole, to name a few!), and writing my H54F posts is so much fun! Plus, it's become like a weekly gratitude practice for me. Even in weeks that are less than awesome, it's usually not too hard to come up with five good things that happened!

Bullet journaling: One of my friends from grad school, who's also a blogger (hi Kel!), posted about Bullet Journaling last summer, and the concept blew my mind. While I haven't embraced all aspects of the bujo process, writing down all my tasks for the day, and especially breaking down a task into all its smaller ones has been tremendously helpful in keeping me focused, organized, and less stressed. I honestly don't know how I kept anything straight before adopting my bujo-esque process!

Battery Buddy: As you saw in my Day in the Life post, I spend a lot of time of public transportation. Having a back-up battery for my phone, ESPECIALLY one that I don't have to charge constantly (because I never remember to do it), is clutch. Bonus that this one is super cute! It can give your phone five full charges before needing to be charged itself, AND it can charge two phones at once! Dream.come.true. 

DevaCurl Heaven in Hair: I have super thick, coarse hair, and this product actually makes it feel SOFT, which is a miracle. It works amazingly, even if I put it on a minute before getting in the shower. (This is fantastic since I'm the worst at remembering to shower pre-game with masks and deep-conditioners.) Mind=blown.

White board: I got the idea for a white board while at the Hay House Writers' Conference last March. Maybe one of the speakers directly suggested it, I don't know. What I do know is that I ordered one from Amazon in the middle of someone's talk at the conference! (Oops.) I'm a visual person who needs reminders in her face all the time, so adding a white board to my bedroom has been hugely helpful. I write my weekly tasks on there (mainly upcoming posts and appointments), as well as my monthly goals. (This has been a total game changer in terms of getting shit done!) It's also a great spot for inspirational quotes.

 

What are your favorite things you've bought or started using in 2015?! Fill me in--I love to hear about what other people love!