For the past couple of days, I've been binge watching "2013 favorites" and "2013 top whatever" videos. For those of you who have lives and don't have 475632 hours to sit on YouTube, these sorts of videos are like recaps of a vlogger's entire year in products, books or whatever else. And because I tend to be the kind of person who finds something they love and has to tell everyone about it (isn't that at least part of what blogging is all about?), I'm going to blabber to you all about all the things I loved in 2013. Plus, it's like a favorites post on 'roids and maybe I'm not ready to give up my friday favorite posts just yet.
There are rules to this game, though; rules that I intend to at least try to follow. First, each winner must be something that is from 2013 or was introduced to me in 2013. Basically, as much as I love MAC's Rebel lipstick, I've been coveting it since like 2010 so it doesn't count (see how I slipped that in there?). Secondly, when possible, there should be only one winner for each category. Runners up may be mentioned, but, I really really tried to choose just one for the grand prize.
Jay-Z first said this in a freestyle on the radio and then included it in the song "Most Kingz", or so I've been told. I saw it written on a photo of Jay-Z, and immediately found truth in it. I chose a picture with Beyonce because, well, she's Beyonce, and it fit with the quote. Within certain circles, it's always looked at so negatively to change. It's not like we're living life to make the same mistakes and never learn a lesson. I'm gonna change, not overnight, but I'm going to evolve. Get over it.
Favorite Book: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
It's kind of embarassing but I only just read this novel this year. What is wrong with me? I've been missing out on this phenomenal story for way too long. A review of this novel will be posted within the next week or two, so I won't delve too deeply into why I love it. But know that I do, and in the meantime, check out the first webepisode of The Lizzie Bennett Diaries, a modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice on YouTube.
Favorite T.V. Show: Masters of Sex & Scandal
I tried to choose just one, but no matter how I much I tried I loved them both equally this year.
Masters of Sex is a new series on Showtime that premiered in September. The show follows the lives and work of two researchers who pioneered the study of sexuality in a university hospital in the 1950s. This seductive series is great because it's about much more than just sex. I love that it delves so deeply into the role of women as professionals and sexual beings during a time when people began to finally view women more for their abilities and accomplishments instead of as objects to be possessed.
Even though it's not a new show, Scandal was new to me this year. Somehow, I discovered the show on Netflix a few days after the holidays and watched the entire first season in 2 days. Within the first few days of 2013, I succeeded in hunting down the first half of season 2 online, and was all caught up for the new episodes. The show revolves around the not-so-secret love of two of the central characters and the strains placed upon them by the betrothed, the constant power struggle and, in some ways, the entire nation.
Favorite Movie: Catching Fire
I'm sure I don't have to say much about this movie. It was a major box office hit, the greatest book-to-film adaptation I've ever seen and the second installment into this phenomenal series. And if you didn't think Jennifer Lawrence could be any more gorgeous, she can. I saw it on opening night at 12am, and walked home in tears afterwards. A little dramatic I'm sure, but a part of me loves great film adaptations so much because it reminds me of what I've always wanted.
Favorite Song: "Heart Attack" by Demi Lovato; "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons; "Picasso Baby" by Jay-Z
Demi's vocals are amazing, Picasso Baby's video performance art film features Marina Abramovic, and Radioactive's beat is entrancing and I adore the video. Just listen.
Favorite Fashion: Versace-inspired Lion Head Necklace
I can't recall where I got this necklace or who it's by, but I've been reaching for it ever since I got it in early 2013. I've been wearing a lot of gold jewelry and really love how heavy this piece is. I also like that the chain is thick and the lion, although prominent and detailed, isn't huge. It's a statement piece for sure, but you can also hide it and make another item the focus of your outfit.
Favorite Food: French Toast (or any breakfast food in general)
For some reason, I found myself eating this so frequently last year, and my seamless order history proves it. And let me tell you, this love was not so kind to my waistline. Although Chipotle comes in as an ever-so-close second, french toast was just the perfect excuse to eat something sweet before - well, as dinner. For anyone who lives in NYC, the Hollywood Diner serves amazing breakfast foods and the french toast is slamming. That was lame, but I seriously can't find another word to describe it.
Honorable Mention: Vanilla Bon Bons with Cookie Crust from Trader Joe's. Just the perfect amount of ice cream and chocolatey goodness.
Favorite Makeup Item: YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat Illuminating Foundation; Anastasia Brow Wiz Urban Decay Naked Palette
Narrowing this down was hell, and as you can tell, I didn't succeed entirely. But considering I originally had 9 items on this list, I'm calling it a victory. Plus, each of these are just so amazing in their own right that I could choose just one.
I picked up the YSL foundation right after finals in December of 2012 as a present for having survived a hell-acious semester. (It was bad guys. I'm talking meltdown everyday for the final month bad.) The tiniest bit covers your entire face in a sheer glow, and at $55 a bottle, it damn well better! The finish is very natural, and it's buildable to a medium coverage yet feels light on the face, which is just perfect for me.
The Anastasia Brow Wiz is like magic for your eyebrows. This thin, retractable brush does a much better job at filling in my sparse eyebrows than any powder I used before it. I love how easy it is to use and how natural the result is. Oh, and the spoolie on the opposite end is very convenient.
I got my Naked Palette later in the year (September, I think), but it quickly became my favorite because, well, it's phenomenal. I don't wear eyeshadow often, especially not a variety of colors, but this palette is full of super pigmented, warm-toned neutrals that are creamier than expected, and an excellent way to simply swipe a bit on the lid or as a highlight in the inner corner.
If you twisted my arm and forced me to choose, I guess I'd give the title to the YSL foundation, but please, don't make me!
Favorite Skincare Item: L'Oreal Youth Code Texture Perfector Serum
Although I've been loving my Clarisonic Mia for the past few months, it was the L'Oreal serum that did a number on my skin for most of this year - in a good way! My face has quite a bit of hyper-pigmentation that made finding the perfect foundation color really frustrating. Certain parts of my face are literally an entire shade or two darker than others. Slowly, this serum has corrected my complexion, lightening those darker sections and evening out my skin tone. Makeup application has become so much easier and I'm much more confident in baring my face sin-makeup because of this little gem.
Favorite Nail Polish:
I've rocked a wide variety of different colors on my nails this past year. The only consistent ones were either clear polish for when I was in between manicures or "Blanc" by Essie (see above, although not my hand), which is a stark white polish. Ever since the late spring/early summer, I've been digging white nails. The contrast makes my hands look golden like I just got back from a tropical vacation, and it never clashes with my wardrobe.
Favorite Hair Product: Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Masque
I've already reviewed this, so you know what it is! This deep treatment has been my hair's saving grace for 2013, and even though I've got my eyes open for new treatments, it will probably be my staple for 2014 also. It smells delicious enough too eat, and leaves your hair feeling soft but strong. And months down the line, you'll love it even more for how healthy your hair has become.
Favorite Body Care Product: Tree Hut Scrub in Brazilian Nut
I've raved about this already in a blog post, too. Since then, I've continued to use this scrub once a week, and I'm always perfectly happy with how smooth my skin is afterwards. It's the only scrub I've reached for in the past two months and the scent gets better and better every time. Better yet, I've barely gotten through half of the tub so I expect it to last a few more months easily. I still haven't gotten the body butter to match, but it's on my list.
Favorite Scent: Coco Chanel Mademoiselle & Chanel No.5
I think it's clear from the practically empty bottles above that I've been using these two perfumes non-stop. Coco Chanel Mademoiselle is perfect for the spring and warmer months, while I wore Chanel No.5 in the cooler months (although I think it's suitable whenever). They are both pretty pricey, yet I bought them in early 2012 so they lasted for quite some time. No.5 is a more mature, classic scent, and no, not because Marilyn Monroe famously announced it was the only thing she wore to bed. In a way, it reminds me of my mom, who I'm totally okay with smelling like because she's the most stylish, vivacious and prettiest woman I know. I love spraying a bit of this when I have an interview. It makes me feel sophisticated and smart - you know you want me, Mr. Law Firm Partner. Mademoiselle is much more playful and flirtatious, which lends itself better to the springtime. Something about the scent is sharper as opposed to the softer No.5. I've been asked about this scent in many a bar as I leaned over the counter to grab the bartender's attention. One guy actually asked if I'd care to roll around in his sheets because he'd love for the scent to linger there. I kid you not, these words were drunkenly uttered to me :\ Flattering? Sure. Awkward? Hell yeah. But also true - this scent does linger on sheets, clothes, people. I plan to repurchase Mademoiselle first as the warmer months are on its way (hopefully!).
Again, if I absolutely had to choose one, it'd be No.5, because I've got so much class, duh. (Not really.)
Favorite Candle: Pumpkin Caramel Latte
I'm not very good at describing candles, at all. But you can trust that this one smells yummy. The label reads: "Gather friends and celebrate the season with this warm, rich blend of creamy pumpkin, spiced caramel and sweet cream." After burning 2 ½ of these, I still have 3 left. I stocked up, and for good reason, because they sell out of stock quicker than the Christmas Jordans on Saturday morning (okay, maybe not). I don't sense any pumpkin when I burn the candle, just a hint of spice and lots of latte goodness.
Favorite Moment: Graduating Law School
It was an extremely difficult choice between graduation and passing the bar, but looking back on it, the commencement ceremony won out because of how long-awaited it was (click here to read a little about it). Every late night of studying in the library (or crying) paid off at that moment, and the vision of getting my J.D. got me through some of the toughest days. I spent three years working towards that goal and it was a pretty sweet moment, made even sweeter by being able to share it with the 3 people who love me most in the world, my dad, my mom and my boyfriend. Lucky girl :)
So, there's my very lengthy list of 2013 favorites. What were your favorites of the year?