2014 Favorites

It was fun scrounging through my cabinets (drawers/desk/purse, etc.) and methodically determining what items have stood out from the past 365 days of life. True, not nearly as important as the lessons, heart-changes, treasured sights and sounds and tastes and people but nevertheless a fun list to generate. A year encapsulated in things…favorites_of_2014_title



Halfway through the year I got serious about switching to natural and cruelty-free makeup. And by serious, I don’t mean zealously gathering all my offending products in a pile and lighting them on fire 😉 It’s been been/is a process.

Still strange to me that, though I’ve been passionate about natural/DIY skincare since forever age 11, natural makeup (let alone cruelty-free) wasn’t on my radar. Probably due to:

  1. My concept that natural makeup doesn’t work, or, at best, is inferior
  2. Isn’t worth “tracking down”
  3. Inundation from constant/pervasive advertising for mainstream products

Here’s the incredibly basic, yet pivotal thought I had halfway through the year: I can choose were I spend my money. Example: I’m probably going to keep buying mascara for years to come…so where will that money go? Products that lack harmful ingredients? Companies with questionable ethics? Supporting cruelty-free brands? Supporting small business and artisanship?

I digress


The chicly packaged Vegan Cream blushes above hail from The All Natural Face, and have, quite simply, stolen my heart. They are beautifully pigmented, offer vast color selection, are affordable and, hands down, are the longest wearing blushes I’ve ever had (and since my face eats blush that is saying something!). Favorites: (L) Peachy Rose & (R) Really Red.


I pretty much exclusively (with but a handful of exceptions) wore these two shades in 2014. They are (1) Revlon’s Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in the shade Romantic. (2) Red Apple Lipstick in the shade Audrey.
2014 favorites

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No contenders, my favorite foundation was Revlon’s Nearly Naked (in the shade 120 vanilla). Looks like skin, but still has good coverage. Again, another dear favorite that I will have to find a substitute for.


Bareback (from Silk Naturals another super affordable, natural, cruelty free company) became my BFF this year.

Most often I want a simple no-makeup-makeup-look, and this gives the perfect definition to my eyes as an all-over lid color, or just blended into the crease so my eyes don’t look “sleepy”. Beautiful and simple. Just a coat of mascara, and I’m ready to take on the world. It also works well as a base color before other colors, and would work well to lighten up the inner half of the eye on darker skin tones. (It’s vegan and gluten-free, yay!)



This product was a game changer for my skin. Suffice to say it is a balm cleanser – so it nourishes as it gently cleanses. My semi-dry but highly congested skin has been sighing with relief since I started using this two months ago. It is the Butter Cream Face Wash Cleansing Cream from Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve (wonderful family owned company out of Ohio making outstanding products with excellent ingredients.)

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I am always swept away by the glorious botanical and essential oil scents when I use this mask, which Leahlani Skincare (based out of Hawaii) describes as “superfood for your skin“. It is FULL of skin-loving nutrients and is a vibrant green color (due to the spirulina and the chlorella). And did I mention it’s called the Mermaid Mask? Love the name! Basically I use this mask whenever my skin is freaking out (dry, congested, irritation, acne, sensitive, black heads etc.) and it fixes the myriad of problems! It’s like pushing the reset button for my skin.


I have been using the Kimberly Sayer Ultra Light Facial Moisturizer Spf30* for over a year now and it continues to trump all others. It’s kind of a “neutral” consistency (not too heavy and not too light) and smells like lemons (mm!) And it’s a physical sunscreen which is very important to me. (6 scary sunscreen ingredients is a short article that may be a good place to start if you’ve never thought a lot about SPF)


DSC_0764_2My hairdresser introduced me to the Wet Brush*. I thought it was going to be gimmicky, but now I can’t imagine detangling my hair without it! Conventional teaching is DON’T BRUSH WET HAIR! But this brush is a totally new beast, it’s bristles are suuuuuuper flexible and the nobs at the end massage your scalp. I have also tried the Tangle Tease and this far exceeds it.

Several things drew me to this Ecogarden Botanical dry shampoo/volumizer. 1) It’s powder form, meaning it’s clean/simple ingredients and no crazy preservatives. 2) It used arrowroot powder instead of cornstarch. Important to me because, while evidence is yet inconclusive there is cause to think that the fungus Malassezia (along with other yeasts and bacteria) which is the leading culprit of dandruss may fee on cornstarch due to its high carbohydrate content. I’d rather just avoid it. 3) It has the unique ingredient of Bhringraj Powder which has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine for a long list of hair and scalp goodness. 4) It works, girl. I can talk more about how I use it if anyone is interested. 


DSC_0813_2Collecting vinyls = happiness. Too extreme? 😉 Oh but I love them…the sound, the physicalness of them, the artwork, and they almost all come with a free .mp3 download to go on my computer/ipod so what’s not to love??

My two most listened to artist of 2014 are quite different from each other: Lily & Madeleine (listen to Sounds Like Somewhere, In the Middle, Back to the River) and Kishi Bashi (listen to Philosophize In It! Chemicalize With It!, Carry on Phenomenon, The Ballad of Mr. Steak). I won’t go into their sounds because it will make this post far too long!

This may seem silly but I have found I drink more water daily if I drink it from a straw. It’s true, finding out how you prefer to drink water can help you consume more per day. (do you like it hot? cold? from a ceramic travel mug? with cut lemons/cucumber/mint in it? etc.)

DSC_0839_2DSC_0851_2And lastly, what a massive difference it’s made collecting all my recipes in one place! I enjoy asking friends to hand write the recipe I’ve asked for (if they don’t mind) so that it becomes a scrapbook of friendship and food. I finally have a place to put the recipes I’ve gathered from friends and Pinterest (huzzah! no more scrolling/clicking endlessly to get to my fav recipes!)

If you made it through this monster post, thanks for sticking around! Hopefully you found some inspiration.


6 thoughts on “2014 Favorites

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  4. I really must try The All Natural Face, Silk Naturals, and the Leahlani Skincare Mermaid Mask. I’ve also gotten a few recommendations for the Kimberly Sayer Ultra Light Facial Moisturizer Spf30, so I’ll have to check it out.


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