My 15 Favorite Products & Discoveries of 2015

2015 was such a full year for me! I struggled a lot with my job at school. I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree. I spent the summer traveling all across the United States, including visiting 8 states for the first time (Alaska, Washington, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky,  and Tennessee). I attended the first funerals I’ve been to since I was 9, and unfortunately that was funerals in the plural. This means I’ve been so, so incredibly lucky not to have lost anyone close to me since then, but it made this particular year really rough. I started graduate school and managed a 3.82 GPA last semester.

It was so hard to develop my “best of” list for this past year. In 2014 I discovered a lot about the basics of beauty, but while I did learn a lot in 2015, this year was more about delving in and figuring out what I liked most. I still don’t have any true holy grails (I haven’t tried quite enough products for that!), but I’m getting there. After all, isn’t that what this whole process is about?

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1. Serums & Oils

This year was the year I discovered the wide world of serums and oils. My interest in serum-type products started back in the summer of 2014 when I purchased the Nutriganics Drops of Youth Concentrate, but this year I expanded the number of serums I own by a huge amount through sampling and started using serums regularly in my routine. Now I have too many serums, and am struggling to get through them at a fast enough pace. Oops!

In March I received an oil from Paula’s Choice in my Birchbox and liked it so much I ordered a full size. Then I tried out a rosehip oil and a serum-in-oil, as well as transitioning to using a body oil and starting to test out hair oils. I even started using a cleansing oil!

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Valentine’s Day Outfit Ideas

This Saturday is Valentine’s Day, which is traditionally a day spent with your partner. However, there are plenty of other great ways to spend it — with friends, on a first date, curled up reading a good book, at a party… My goal today is to bring you looks suitable for any of these situations.

My first look is for attending a party with friends — I focused it around a short lacy dress and bright red accents. The second look is meant as something you could wear to a fancy dinner with someone you’ve been going out with a while — a stunning long dress and classic makeup. Next up, an outfit for a stroll through the woods or hanging out in the park; this outfit is a basic sweater and jeans, with red-tinted lip balm as the makeup focal point. My final outfit is for a more casual dinner with your date (this is closest to my own Valentine’s Day plans!).

Regardless of what your Valentine’s Day looks like, you can never go wrong with a great scent. From romping through a field to going ice skating to a fancy dinner, perfume is something that is appropriate for every situation. My current favorite, and one especially suited for Valentine’s Day, is Chloé Love Story. Another current floral and feminine favorite is Yves Rocher Comme Une Evidence.

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day?

Perfume Review: Chloé Love Story

Storytime: Back in December my uncle wanted to buy me some perfume, but since smell is such a particular thing, he took me with him to pick it out. The trip was unexpected, and so I hadn’t given any thought to what I might want. We ended up going to Macy’s, which has a lovely perfume counter. An employee took us in and gave us the complete tour, taking the time to figure out what I might like and letting me smell pretty much every perfume they have. I ended up indecisive between two perfumes, one by Chloé and Daisy Dream by Marc Jacobs. It was only after I had selected the Chloé fragrance that I learned it was brand new, just released last September. Another perk of shopping at Macy’s: since I had loved Daisy Dream so much, our tour guide threw in a rollerball of it for free with our purchase! Along with a mini of the new Bottega Veneta perfume and a sample of J’Adore by Dior. 

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I fell in love with Chloé Love Story because it somehow manages to smell both lightly floral and deeply sexy. The main note is orange blossom, with jasmine at the heart and cedar as the grounding note. I think orange blossom is a pretty unique choice to focus on — I certainly own nothing else like this. The smell isn’t quite as long-lived as I would like, and I find that I have to refresh it about halfway through the day. However, it’s so amazing of a fragrance that I don’t mind at all. I can imagine myself wearing this throughout the year, this single scent carrying me through both night and day of every single season.

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