Happy New Year from Florida! We had a few days of sunshine the last week of the year and today I woke up to rain and cold weather. A first for us since moving to Tampa Bay! I wrote months ago wondering if I was ever going to wear a leather jacket again and here I am wearing layers, jackets and more. The past year I have been all over the place (literally) and my one true constant has been this beauty blog. Thank you for following along on my weekly beauty discoveries and testings. Being able to share what I love and having your support means more than I could ever express. A few highlights I wanted to share from the past year and some thoughts looking forward for 2018.
Your Favorite Blog Posts
The top five posts of the year were about bases and lips:
Giorgio Armani Power Fabric Foundation
NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer vs Radiant Creamy Concealer
Chanel Le Rouge Crayon de Couler Jumbo Longwear Lip Crayon
Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Matte Revolution and Valentine KISSING Lipsticks
Chanel Rouge Coco Gloss Review + Swatches
I’m currently testing a few new bases that many of you have been e-mailing me about. It’s quite a process to test these but I’ll have them up as soon as possible! Stay tuned for reviews on Estee Lauder, Dior, Erborian, Tarte and more.
Your Favorite Instagram Posts
You girls went nuts over my #shelfies! I had no idea these would be so popular. I hope once we find a more permanent place to live that I’ll be able to do a beauty setup and organization post. The past few months I’ve been living out of bankers boxes and suitcases. I was lucky to have a good shelf in our last place.
Moving and Travel
This has been the year of moving and it’s been very stressful for me. In August we no longer had a home and since then we still haven’t found one. Details why we moved so much in my Six Months in Florida post and yes I’ve had a couple melt downs in the process. Since August we’ve made a move every month and this year we moved a total of six times. We had no idea how BIG Florida was! Each area has it’s own unique character, pros and cons. The beach areas are very different from the places closer to city center. Then there are suburban places which are quite dense with huge homes but traffic is pretty bad. We’re not quite ready to buy as we have plans to travel and possibly move again in the next year so finding a place to rent has been a huge challenge. We have pets and the areas we would like to live places go really fast. We’ve come close to finding a place several times but others have beat us to it! Right now we are in a temporary place (yet again) and hope to find a more permanent place soon. Fingers crossed! For those who have asked, our moves this year:
San Diego Home
In Florida we first stayed at our in-law’s home in Apollo Beach. They bought their home to retire in within 1-2 years and asked us to rent it so they wouldn’t have to find strangers to rent. We thought we’d have plenty of time to settle in, explore and find our own place. They changed their plans, decided to retire early in July of this year and gave us a week’s notice that they were moving. This is one of the Apollo Beach neighborhoods – in a canal district where houses all have their own dock!
St. Pete Beach – such a cute beach house with pool and near the beach! We found all our places on VRBO and Airbnb. In general we had better luck finding places with VRBO although for the beach areas there are a lot of added fees which can add up. We also used a property manager to rent one of the places below and we will probably never do that again. The process was such a hassle and they had an inconvenient application process even though we paid everything up front.
St. Petersburg Cottage – the smallest place we’ve ever stayed at with only 740 sq ft, surprised we survived in this with out pets but it was so well put together and super cute! The location was so good, our favorite restaurants and coffee shops are all in Saint Petersburg!
St. Pete Beach – house on the water which was SO amazing, we would have stayed here permanently but it was booked solid for months! We were lucky to find it when we did. The owner of the property was so nice, she restocked us the day we moved in with all the basic living essentials. New towels, sheets, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, laundry detergent etc. With some of the vacation rentals they will have living essentials stocked, others are on the more sparse side as it’s really meant for short term like a vacation or getaway.
The last house of the year was a cute beach house, also in St. Pete Beach – beach house away from the water but still central to everything in the beach town. We stayed here for a couple of months.
This year alone from the time we left our home in San Diego we went from San Diego, California to Tuscon, Arizona to El Paso + Houston, Texas, Pensacola, Florida. Once in Florida we were in Apollo Beach for a few months, then moved to St. Pete Beach, St. Petersburg and South Tampa. For travel I did trips to Dallas, NYC, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Miami and Los Angeles. When we evacuated we made stops in Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky. Perhaps this isn’t a lot for those who travel, but it’s the most I’ve ever traveled in a single year!
Most Impressed By
The most impressive thing this year has been the box of Venus Et Fleur roses Andrew gifted me on Valentine’s Day. They’re supposed to last an entire year (and yes they stay IN the box – details are all on their website). I’ve been documenting how they held up and they still smell fragrant and look incredible. They lasted the entire road trip in the back of a hot moving truck from San Diego to Tampa. Starting in the fall I haven’t been photographing them as they’ve been in storage with all of our other belongings. I just checked on them and they’re still good!
Best Beauty Finds of the Year: Sunscreen
I’ve never been as diligent with sunscreen as I have this year and it’s all due to the Florida sun. I should have been better in San Diego but the climate is mild and I felt like I stayed indoors so much. Even indoors I know we still need it. I am excited to test more this year. Body Sunscreen Testing here. Face Sunscreen Testing here. My favorite sunscreen brand review on Supergoop! here.
Most Disappointing Beauty Buys
I’ve been a long time die hard Diptyque addict and this was a very disappointing buy. They came out with a car diffuser called Diptyque Un Air de Diptyque. I was so excited I ordered it immediately. For me it was a total fail. For one it comes with just the case for $60 and you have to buy the scented refills separately for $38 each. I tried two scents in Baies and 34. Lasting power is probably good for only a week at best . The back has a rubber grip to insert into your vents and it warped into an odd shape so it would not hold it’s grip. I do understand the Florida heat can be intense but there are many things inside the car part of the actual design that do not melt, I felt Diptyque should have made a better grip. Ranked second biggest fail was the Jouer High Pigment Lip Gloss. These are so popular on the web, if you like these keep on loving them. For me I had such high hopes but they were all pretty much streaky with really bad lasting power.
I’m looking forward to the new year. I’m personally glad 2017 is over because it was the most exhausting year of my life. Hours have been spent trying to maintain this blog, quality content, respond to e-mails, read and reply to comments and the past two months I’ve been running on very little sleep. There have been many weeks where I’ve been up until 2:00 AM editing content, writing, etc. Often times I wake up super early to try and get a head start on e-mails. What you see as a reader is the finished product which may take 2-3 minutes to read, but countless hours of testing, photographing, organizing, swatching, editing, pulling comparisons, looking for links, responding to brands and PR companies, e-mailing back readers etc. But it has been a labor of love! I hope you can understand when any of you ask for more comparisons or swatches, it’s not something I’m always able to do. Looking forward I hope to start video this year – I’ve held off for so long for a number of reasons but am going to try and venture into it this year. Let me know in the comments what you’d like to see more of! I tried to mix it up this year – focusing still on beauty and skincare, but also adding some more of my life and travels.
Happy New Year to you! New beauty posts and reviews to resume very soon!