Monday, January 20, 2014

All of My 2013 Favorites!

Greetings from beautiful Massachusetts!!!!! I am back in Ye Olde Bay State for a visit with my family and friends, and I'm probably basking in the warmth of some of my favorite Boston buddies as you read this. I hope that's what I'm doing right now anyway... I wrote this last week ;)

So I know we're getting armpit-deep into January at this point, but FORGIVE ME because I haven't yet finished reflecting on 2013! One "bonus" aspect of keeping a blog is the ability to look back at and reflect upon what the past year has brought me. Here are some of the things I loooooved throughout 2013:


- Justin Timberlake. Y'all. JT came back with a vengeance in 2013! After not having released an album since 2006, he released not one but TWO albums last year. The 20/20 Experience, Parts 1 and 2, were both such fantastic additions to my 2013.  And to keep that theme rolling into 2014, I just got to see him in Vancouver on January 16! (If you're new to my blog, I highly recommend that you acquaint yourself with my long, storied history with Justin Timberlake here.)

- iTunes Genius. My homeboy iTunes Genius helped me further appreciate my music library this past year by pulling together playlists that make me say UHHHHHH. If you're not familz, Genius is a free feature in iTunes that acts like Pandora, except it uses your own iTunes library to build its playlists. So you choose a song in your library (preferably a good one) and Genius creates from your music a list of songs that are similar in style/sound to the song you've chosen. It's brilliant, really. Guess that's why they call it Genius.


- Forever21 sports bras. If you've got big boobs, this will not apply to you, sawry. But if you've got a less-substantial chest that doesn't require a ton of support, the selection of sports bras that Forever21 started releasing in 2013 are SO CUTE.  I've got a handful of these low-impact sports bras in all different colors - they're all super bright and cheerful, and they make me feel extra sassy when I wear them on a hike or to the gym. They're only about $10.80, to boot! So if your fitness routine needs a boost with some boob swag, try these sports bras.

- My Nike In-Season TR2 sneakers. Just like the fun-colored sports bras, buying these trainers in February 2013 just made me feel a little bit more put-together at the gym. They are more stream-lined in their design than the bulky Nike running sneakers I'd been wearing prior to these - not to mention they're better on my knees when I'm strength-training.

- These mountains! Fitness doesn't really get more fun or fulfilling than hiking up a mountain or through a beautiful forest... or doing both at the same time. I got to do it a TON in 2013! The mountains around BC/Vancouver offer endless possibilities for trails and adventures.
.  click for a larger view!  .


- Chicken tacos from LOCAL. LOCAL is a neighborhood bar and grill - just a stone's throw from my Vancouver apartment. Its proximity makes it a go-to on nights that we are feeling lazy and don't want to cook. The chicken tacos at Local are BONKERS, guys. So good! They use crispy chicken tenders, shredded cabbage, a DELICIOUS pico de gallo, sour cream, and finish it off with a lime wedge. Just delish. I'm a little embarrassed at how often I'm at LOCAL for a pick-up order of chicken tacos...

- Ben & Jerry's Phish Food Ice Cream. Dave got me into this one. I've obviously always been obsessed with ice cream in a sort-of-problematic type of way, but Phish Food was never a go-to choice for me. That's all changed - we definitely pick up a pint of it once every few weeks now. Here's the description from the Ben & Jerry's site: "Chocolate Ice Cream with Gooey Marshmallow Swirls, Caramel Swirls & Fudge Fish." The fudge fish are the best part, if you ask me! #NOM!

NAIL CARE & POLISHES (I thought these deserved their own section!)

- Beware by Pure Ice. If you've been following my nail polish blogs for awhile, you might have noticed that I use Beware a lot. It's a wonderfully glittery silver polish that goes great with/over so many other polishes. You can use it as a silvery top coat, or make it really opaque in 3-4 coats for a totally blinged-out look. I'm actually running low on mine and need to find a place around here to buy Pure Ice polish - stat!

- Snow Me White by Sinful Colors. This is my go-to white nail polish. I love it because it's got no shimmer in it whatsoever - just straight up white, no bull. Sometimes I go through long periods of using white polka dots in my nail art (like here, herehere, here, here, here, and here), and sometimes I need a nice white to use as my base when I use neon polishes. Snow Me White is super helpful for all of these things, and I recommend that you keep a few bottles of it on-hand yourself.

- Revlon Cuticle Softener. I picked up this blue bottle back in the spring and am running out of it at this point. It helps to soften up my cuticles before I push them back, and it's just a nice start to my weekly manicure routine.

- Sally Hansen Cuticle Cream. I bought this waxy "cream" during the same shopping trip as the cuticle softener. It's been a nice enough product that there's been no need for me to try another brand yet, and I'm finally hitting pan on the bottom of this tiny pot as well. This particular cuticle cream was a great help for me in 2013, as I learned how to take better care of my cuticles. I consider it my "beginner" cuticle cream because it was so accessible and affordable. If you have a favorite cuticle cream, I'd be interested to hear about it below!


- Davines Mellow Anti Breakage Lustrous Conditioner.  I first posted about this conditioner in October, but I actually tried it much earlier in the summer of 2013 after receiving a sample of it from my hairdresser. Guys... this stuff is my new secret weapon in hair care. It makes my hair smooth, soft, touchable, shiny, healthy and - MOST importantly - hydrated! Before buying this conditioner, my hair was really shitting the bed. Super dry, breaking, dull. NO MORE. This conditioner was definitely worth the $30 price tag - especially since I only use it once or twice a week, so it's nowhere near being done yet. Get some yourself. Right now.

- Maybelline's The Rocket Volum' Express Mascara. The Rocket became my everyday mascara in the latter half of 2013. While it is a bit hard to remove, the chunky shape of the brush makes it a decently clump-free mascara. This product made it onto a LOT of people's favorites lists in 2013... I'm definitely not the only one singing its praises!

- Revlon ColorBurst lip gloss in Sunbaked. This gloss was in my swag bag at #blogvancity in September, and it's a standout product from that huge bag of goodies. (I wrote more about it here). It's a flattering, natural-but-better color on me and makes my entire face look more "put together" when I wear it. The formula is creamy and nicely pigmented, and I'm also a fan of the doe-foot applicator.

- St. Ives Green Tea Scrub. There might be mixed reactions to this because some people swear that any type of St. Ives exfoliating scrub is going to rip up your delicate skin with its harsh/sharp exfoliating grains. However, I've found this particular scrub to contain much smaller/finer exfoliating grains than the other St. Ives scrubs, so it's become the go-to exfoliating scrub for my fragile little face. As a bonus, this green tea scrub also contains salicylic acid for blemish control.


- Sony CyberShot DSC-WX50 16.2 MP Digital Camera. Technically I got this in late 2012 (a birthday present from David!), but I used the bejesus out of it in 2013. My little digital camera comes with me just about every time I leave the house nowadays, and it's a great tool for helping me improve my photo composition skills. It's got lots of different settings to help you take juuuust the right kind of photo - whether it's landscape, food, water, snow, black & white, hand-held, low-lighting, moving/action... If you're like me and aren't savvy enough to have a DSLR, this CyberShot camera is a nice way to get a grip on your photography game.

- FaceTime. Living across the country from my family and best friends, I'm ultra super thankful for FaceTime. It's infinitely more reliable and user-friendly than Skype, and it's allowed me to chat with my young nephew and niece in Massachusetts much more frequently. My sister Mallory probably gets irritated at the amount of times she sees an incoming FaceTime request from me, but being able to see and hear the kids has really made it a bit easier for me to be so far away from them.

- Hola app for Internet browsers. My coworker told me about this and it's been a serious game-changer the last month or two. Yeah that's right - I learned about it at the tail-end of 2013, and it STILL made a 2013 Favorites list. That's how amazing this is. Hola is a browser add-on that allows you to change your browser's "country," so to speak. For example, here in Canada there are a ton of websites that don't allow us to stream certain content. You know the old "The uploader has not made this available in your location" type of problem. Hola allows you (in most cases) to bypass that block - essentially allowing you fuller access to the Internet. It's opened up all sorts of options for us, including way more streaming Netflix options!


There are a ton of blogs that I enjoy thoroughly and read multiple times a week, but I've noticed that my very favorite blogs are the ones that stimulate my creativity - the ones that inspire me to think outside of the box, to notice the beautiful things around me, to create something myself. The ones that make me wish I owned a house and a bottomless bank account to make all of my creative dreams come to life. The ones that inspire me to purchase Photoshop or cover a canvas with thick, dimensional acrylic paint. The ones that make me want to compose better photographs... and maybe even be in front of the camera more myself.

- A Beautiful Mess. This blog (and the next one) are not "news" to anyone, really. They're staples in the "amazing, successful blogs" category these days. Emma and Elsie (and their expanding team of contributors) do not live the same life that I live - they don't do the same things or drink the same drinks or eat the same food that I do. They're two of the most adorable hipster sisters you'll probably ever find, and (most importantly) they've got quirky handwriting. Everyday is a new creative adventure for these two, and I'm happy to tune in to anything they pull out of their Internet hats... even if there's no chance in hell of me being able to ever bake/cook/host a party like they do.

- Young House Love. You don't need to own a house in order to find this family lovable and inspiring. Injecting some life and love into each house they live in, John and Sherry Petersnik have vision, people. They can somehow look at a space that's covered in old rugs and retro blue trim (SO MUCH BLUE TRIM)... and see all of its potential for beauty. You've GOT to see how they've been renovating/re-envisioning the house that they moved into mid-2013. I'm perpetually astounded at the improvements that they can make to their home with some white paint and some careful saving. Please, please, please - for the love of god - go look at what they're doing. Spend a few months with these guys and you'll NEVER be able to walk into an old house and look at it the same way again.

- D E S I G N L O V E F E S TI found this blog quite late in 2013, but it's quickly become one of my favorite visual stimuli. It's like color juxtaposition pornography. Every single thing that gets posted on this blog is just... beautiful and creative and so inspiring. It makes me want to study design more seriously... and be friends with everyone who is involved in this website.

- The Nail Files. This is actually a linkup party, not a blog. I participated in this Friday nail polish linkup for most of 2013 and intend to continue participating until someone pulls the plug on the thing entirely. It's helped me to meet some really lovely women across the Internetz - like Jennie (the hostess!) and Joey - and kept me on track with posting a nail polish blog every single Friday - come hell or high water.

PHEW. Well we got through it, guys! Those are all of my favorites from 2013... or at least all the ones I could think of.

Did any of your favorites make the list?

Do you ever look back at your old blogs to remember and reflect on all of the things you were up to a year ago?

If any of the above items tickled your fancy or piqued your curiosity, you can browse through them here:


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{Linking up with Beauty Buzz and What I Learned Wednesday}
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  1. You are so cute! I love the nail files link up too (I've been totally slacking, though)! I love that we got to "meet" each other through it! My favorite cuticle cream is the Burts Bee's lemon butter cuticle cream. Oh man it works wonders. And it smells DIVINE (well, if you like lemon scented things that is)! I'm also going to have to get my hans on that St. Ives green tea scrub. I've also heard the claims that it's too abrasive, but to each their own!

    1. Thanks for the recommendation Joey! I'm a big fan of Burts Bees products, so I will definitely keep an eye out for that cuticle cream. I like the sound of "lemon butter".... definitely something I would like to rub all over my fingers ;) I used to use St Ives apricot scrub when I was younger, but that one was DEFINITELY very sharp/harsh. The green tea scrub is much gentler :)

  2. Girl, I've been a fan of phish food since 7th grade. It's the best!

    beck daily

    1. I don't know why it took me so long to go for it! I guess because I'm so busy being obsessed with mint chocolate chip to browse elsewhere for flavors ;)

  3. So many great product reviews here! Loved this post. I'm in need of a good cuticle cream too. Winter does that to your nails. Thanks for linking up with #BeautyBuzz this week!


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