Some reflections on my year, and some favourite products of 2017!

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This year was a bit odd for me because I actually took a 5 month blog hiatus where I stopped blogging regularly and instead focused on “real life” things. I’ve been life blogging since the old days of Xanga, and then I started beauty blogging in 2008, so my blogging journey has changed as I’ve grown as a person. I started this blog because I wanted to write about all the products I’ve tried, whether they were good or bad. Over the last few years, blogging has completely exploded and it’s become more methodical, where people were blogging as their full time job and PR relationships were more prominent.

While working with PR people gives me a ton of opportunity to try out different brands, some of which I never imagined that it’d ever happen, it also has some downsides in that I feel like my blog has lost a lot of authenticity. I feel more obligated to write about things I don’t necessarily care about just because I have that PR relationship. If I didn’t write about it, I’d feel bad for accepting samples. The cycle went on for probably the last few years, and it was both stressful and made me unhappy about the content I was pushing out. Another issue was that blogging became so competitive, people were getting jealous of other people for receiving things and them not getting the same things, and it became also vicious between people and fellow bloggers.

Lastly, while it has been a blessing to work with PR, it has also been a bit of a curse. Some PR people are amazing and really take the time to develop a relationship with you, others almost treat you like a beggar. It’s all too common that I’d get a press release in my email offering to work with me because of my “creativity,” or “engagement,” but then when I respond, there’s no response back from them or when I do get a response, it’s very curt like as if I was the one asking them to grace me with the blessing of working with them. I don’t think brands or PR people realize that bloggers are consumers too and that these types of actions make me think negatively of the brand they represent in a way that I would think twice about buying the products.

So this year, through my blog hiatus, I’ve decided to be more grounded in my blogging approach. I’ve stopped checking out what other bloggers are doing, and I’m also pickier about who I want to work with and what I want to cover. I write when I feel like writing, instead of when I need to get something out. I also don’t feel like I need to push myself as much when it comes to stats, or creating new PR relationships. Selling myself is stressful, and especially because I don’t depend on this for my livelihood, and I never plan on making this a full time thing. I would rather spend the energy and effort on something else that gave me fulfillment in life.

Anyways, enough rambling. Here are some of my favourite products for 2017! I did not have a very big year in terms of product discoveries, and there wasn’t much that really stood out to me as a “must-have,” but there were quite a few classics in here.

My favourite lashes of 2017 (and basically ever since I tried them) are from Kiss Lashes! I have a whole drawer at home dedicated to false lashes and these definitely dominate that drawer. I love the invisible band, the soft hairs. They are super comfortable to wear, and also very affordable.

My favourite blush for the year is Tom Ford Sheer Cheek Duo in Bicoastal. I bought this over 2 years ago and I stopped using it for a while, favouring other blushes over this. Then I rediscovered it because I was packing a travel makeup bag and wanted something two-in-one. This gives me the most natural flush with just the right amount of glow. The downside is that it was ridiculously priced to begin with, and now it is even more ridiculously priced – I purchased it originally at $92 but I believe prices are now $100. You can pick up Tom Ford at Holt Renfrew.

My favourite serum discovery was by Cle de Peau, the Concentrated Brightening Serum. I received two small sample vials from Beauty Court, which was enough to last me around a month. I honestly saw a huge improvement in my skin’s radiance and evenness after using this for even just a few days. It’s very pricey at $230 for 40mL but it really works. It does contain a high concentration of alcohol (CdP is a Japanese brand), so a hydrating serum layered on top is recommended. You can purchase Cle de Peau from Beauty Court.

Another serum that I’ve really enjoyed using is the Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Gel. I was told you can actually use this as a moisturizer as well, but my skin is so dry that I need to layer more products on. I use 2 drops on my face, and another drop on my neck, and it immediately absorbs for nice, plump skin. It works wonderfully layered on top other serums and also underneath moisturizer and foundations. It’s essentially a very quick and effective drink of water for your skin. This is available at Project Skin MD.

A long-lasting favourite of mine continues to be Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser. It’s such an effective yet gentle scrub, and smells amazing! I also love the Tata Harper Purifying Cleanser for a detoxing morning cleanse, or when I am off to somewhere with more pollution than home. You can pick yours up at Beautymark in Vancouver.

I feel kinda bad for saying this because it is so unaffordable for most people, but I still love the La Prairie Skin Caviar Concealer + Foundation. It’s a staple on my bathroom vanity and I use it whenever I need a long-wearing, flawless-looking base. It just gives my skin the most amazing soft focus glow that isn’t really replicated by anyone else. A close second is my Guerlain Parure Gold. You can pick up both La Prairie and Guerlain at Holt Renfrew.

In terms of body care products, I have two that I have been inseparable from this year. The first is the L‘Occitane en Provence Almond Shower Oil. I go through this stuff SO MUCH because I love how it nourishes my skin and does such an effective clean at the same time. I also love that it has refillable bags, making it very eco-friendly. It’s great to take with you on beach vacations because it will remove all of your body sunscreen (yes you gotta remove sunscreen like you would makeup!). The other product is Laura Mercier Souffle Body Creme, which is the most luxurious body cream I’ve ever bought for myself. I picked up the holiday mini set that comes with six minis in different flavours, and then I fell in love so I had to pick up the full size one too with my Sephora VIB gift card discount in November. In addition to being super moisturizing, it also comes in the most delicious scents, and absorbs quickly so I can put on my PJs right away instead of standing around in the cold.

My favourite nail brand this year is CND, their Solar Oil and Rescue RX are staples in my manicure kit. Solar Oil I keep everywhere – on my desk at work and at home, on my bedside table, and in my bag when I travel for those drying flights. My favourite nail polish formula is CND Vinylux, and this year I discovered the colour Mystic Slate which is a beautiful grey with a tinge of green that I have been obsessing over.

I hope you guys had a wonderful 2017 and talk to you in 2018!

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2 thoughts on “Some reflections on my year, and some favourite products of 2017!

  1. Thanks for sharing your insighted into the dilema of PR / free products. I feel the same and limit them. I’m fully with you about blogging being a hobby.
    This is the 2nd time today I read about CND Rescue RX being a favourite… maybe their PR is just out in full force but I’m intrigued now.

    • I received my bottle from PR but I actually didn’t get any push from them to feature it, just one email when it first came out and then that was it (not like other PR people who send you 10 emails about a single product with different story ideas…). I really like it, but if you had to pick between Rescue RX and Solar Oil, I’d still pick Solar Oil 🙂

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