HOW TO: Create The Best Possible New Years Resolution!

Happy New Years, everyone!

Now that it’s officially the new year (hello, 2020!), it’s new year resolution time. January is often a stressful month — it feels like you have so much to catch up on after the holiday season, and you’re just thrown right back into work or school without warning. And you have to come up with the perfect New Years resolution on top of all that?

It can be super overwhelming, which really is the opposite of what you want. The best kind of resolutions should feel like they’re pushing you a little, but not so much that they feel unachievable or cause anxiety and stress. Ultimately, while it’s great to be ambitious, if your goals are too much to complete in one year, it’ll deter you from trying at all.

If you’re struggling to come up with the perfect resolution, only have a half-baked idea, or are stuck on how to make the theme of your resolution something you can stick with and achieve — don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. With these useful steps and tips, I’ll have you prepared with the perfect goals to make 2020 your best year yet!

Choose A Theme

What aspects of your life exactly is it that you’re looking to grow or improve in? The best way to set resolutions is to simply start off with a theme, instead of a statement. This way, you can be more flexible with your goals, and adjust them to fit your needs as the year progresses. You probably already have a good idea of what this theme is if you’re looking to set a resolution this year — maybe its health, fitness, studying, organizing, self care, skincare, socializing, tidying, or something else entirely. This is all personal to you, but starting off with a theme, rather than a set statement or singular goal, is a nice, simple place to start when creating your resolution. (Plus, this way you can choose more than one resolution, but set different goals for each theme — just because you have serious goals for one theme, doesn’t mean you can’t improve a little in some others as well!)

Select Specific Goals

Now that you have your theme, you have to select specific goals to help you towards achieving everything you want to by the end of the year. Obviously, just choosing “wellness” or “professional growth” is a little vague — you’re going to want to choose one or more specific goals to help clarify what you’re hoping to achieve. The best way to set goals is to think about a goal that sounds achievable, and then push it just a little further. For example, if your theme is studying, you may want to set goals about the amount of hours you’re going to study per week, or the final average you’re hoping to earn by the end of the semester. So, if it sounds like a perfectly realistic goal to study 20 hours a week and end the semester with a 80% average, try pushing your goal to be studying 25 hours a week and ending the semester with an 85%! In order to change and grow, you have to push yourself a little — if you’re completely comfortable, it means you’re not growing.

Something important when setting goals, however, is to also ensure you’re not choosing anything that requires you to be perfect to achieve them. The problem with doing this is that if you ever slip up (even just a little), you’ll likely end up feeling like you’ve failed your goal. This can be pretty damaging to your self esteem (even if you’ve already achieved a lot), and can even cause you to give up on your goal all together. So, for example, if your “studying” themed goal is to attend every single class during the semester, but you end up needing one day off to catch up, take a sick day, or just look after yourself — you may end up feeling that you’ve failed your goal even when you’ve made a crazy amount of progress. If you really want to set a goal that requires absolute perfection to execute, ensure you set a couple of margins to allow natural slip ups and days off — none of us are perfect, and we shouldn’t expect ourselves to be. (As well, if pushing your goal a little from achievable lands you in the range of needing to be perfect, you might want to consider other themes and goals that could require more work instead!)

Break It Down

The one most important thing when setting a resolution is to break it down into manageable steps, rather than one large goal to have completed by the next trip around the sun. This is important for a number of reasons — first of all, it helps you keep track of your goal, and ensure you’re progressing forward with it as the year goes on. Secondly, it makes your resolution a lot less daunting — it is impossible to make massive life changes overnight (otherwise we’d all do it all the time!). If your goal seems too large or unattainable, it very well may end up deterring you from even attempting it at all. Think about it, how many times have you set a resolution and done absolutely nothing to achieve it? You’re not lazy or unmotivated — it’s just too much to take on a massive life change in one go.

There’s two ways to break down your goals easily — you can choose one or the other, but I’d personally recommend both at once. The first one, and my personal favourite, is to make one of your goals to set monthly, or even weekly and daily, goals that fit the theme of your resolution. For example, if one of your goals for the year is to reach a certain amount of views on your blog or followers on a platform, break that number down into how many you think is achievable in a certain month and make it your goal to reach that milestone over the next 29-31 days. From there, keep track of your progress and feel free to adjust your monthly goals as you see fit. It really helps you to realize how simple your goal may actually be when you put it into the perspective of smaller goals. Plus, it helps you keep track of your progress in a much more precise way, so you can actually see change and improvement — which will only help to motivate you more!

The second part of this is to start small and work up to larger steps as you adjust to the changes you’re making in your life. As I’ve said, you can’t expect yourself to make massive life changes overnight — even if you manage to stick with it for January, odds are it’ll eventually seem like too much when life starts to pick up and you’ll end up dropping your resolution entirely. It’s better to start small and adjust — it’ll help you get used to the change, so that when you have a period of time when it seems like you can’t keep up, you’ll have already made a habit of it.

To use a classic example, if your goal for the year is to exercise more, try starting off just working out one day a week for January and build your way up from there! If your goal is to start working out five days a week, but you didn’t see the inside of a gym once in 2019 (we’ve all been there), it’s a lot of stress to just jump in to a full-time workout routine. Even if one day a week seems too easy at first, it’ll help you to grow your confidence and create a habit of going regularly so that before you know it, it feels like a regular part of your life. You’ll already be used to working out regularly and feel like you know what you’re doing by the time you increase to two times a week, and you’ll reach five days a week before you even know it! This way, when you have a crazy week and have to take a step back, you’ll still be used (or even want to) hit the gym at least once, and you won’t fall out of the habit entirely if you need to take a week off.

Some goals may only work if you break them down in the first way, and some may cater a lot more to the second. However, for all the goals you set, be sure to break them down at least a little bit — and try to incorporate both methods into any goal or resolution you set! I promise, it might seem silly or unnecessary and first, but it’ll help you start and maintain your goals over the course of the year.

Write It Out

Now comes the final step — finding a way to write down and track your goals. There’s countless ways to do this — whether it’s making a mood board, writing weekly goals in your agenda, setting reminders in your phone, leaving yourself sticky notes, or just the good old notes app in your phone. Personally, this year I’ve started a bullet journal, where I’ve written down my themes, annual goals, as well as created a page for each month’s goals — as well as anything else I may ultimately end up including. It really just depends on what works best for you and what you’re hoping to achieve.

This step is incredibly important, however, as you not only might end up forgetting your goals if you don’t put them down in writing — it really helps to put them down and make them concrete. Take the time to write it out, break it down, and make it important so you’ll not only remember to check up on your progress, but track it as the year goes on. So many people give up on their resolutions after the first month — or even week — of the year, so take the time to transfer it out of your head and into your life. Make it real so you can’t ignore it or forget about it. You may not see results in the first month, but if you stick with it you’ll be amazed by how much you’ve accomplished by the time 2021 rolls around.

Don’t Rush It

(Yes, I know, this was from an earlier post but I just love it so much and it fits so well!)

This last part is less of a step and more so a reminder. You do not already need to know exactly what your yearlong goals are, or even what your theme is. It’s better to take the time to work out a well thought-out plan than to create something and stick to it simply because January 1st has passed. If you already had a plan but feel inspired to make changes to it, nothing is stopping you! You have no idea what your life is going to be like six months from now, so there’s no point in limiting yourself. The whole point of a resolution is to be open to change. Setting monthly goals also helps to adjust your goals to help improve your life as it moves forward throughout the year and keep you on track to ending up where you need to be. At the end of the day, as long as you’re happy with the path you’re on and the progress you’re making, this year is going to be a huge success.

Also keep in mind that not all progress is immediately visible. Making adjustments and serious changes to your lifestyle isn’t something that can or should be done overnight — it takes time. If in a months, six months, or even a years time, you’ve been working at it and don’t feel as though you’ve made any progress at all — take a look back to where you started. I promise you’re going to have come a lot further than you’ve ever thought you would when you started out, and you’re only going to go further from there!

I hope you all had an enjoyable and relaxing holiday and had a much-needed reset before the new year and heading back to work. New years can often be daunting and feel they carry a lot of weight — but don’t stress. Ultimately, as long as you keep your head up, your best interests at heart, and keep moving forward, it’ll all be okay. If 2019 wasn’t your year (relatable) hopefully 2020 will be, and if you had the best year ever in 2019, may this year manage to top it and be even better!

Xo,

Meredith

Thursday Favourites: January 2nd

Dr Jart+ Rubber Lover Masks

Happy New Year, everyone!

I hope you all had a fantastic holiday season and amazing New Years! 2020 is finally here, so it’s time to getting planning and setting goals to make sure this year is a good one. I love New Years so much because it feel like a fresh start and really helps re-energize me towards setting new goals. Plus, now that it’s 2020, its not just a new year but a whole new decade! Make sure to start it all off on the right foot and stay tuned for my new post coming this Sunday on how to make the perfect (and maintainable!) New Years Resolution.

But enough about that, let’s get into today’s content! I recently discussed the Shake and Shot masks by Dr Jart+, but today I wanted to discuss one of their face masks that I love EVEN MORE. I’m all about starting the new year off on the right foot, and part of that is making sure my skin is clear and healthy to kick off 2020. That’s why I recently invested in a couple of my all-time favourite single-use masks — the Dr. Jart+ Lover Rubber face masks!

These rubber face masks became super trendy a while back as well — but for good reason. The rubber is just a cover for the ampoule that you apply underneath. It really allows it to absorb completely so you can reap 100% of the benefits of the product. No joke, I’ve never had any sort of mask give me as immediate results as this one. As soon as you take it off, your skin looks brand new. I’m always sure to invest in these before big events or whenever I need to look my best, because I know I can count on them to completely rejuvenate my skin.

Another amazing part about these masks is that the rubber mask aspect, unlike many other sheet masks, comes in two parts. I find this helps it fit to your face a lot better, and keeps it from making a mess of the mask or wasting product. As well, the ampoule solution is a thick, creamy consistency so you don’t have to worry about it dripping off underneath.

This mask is certainly a bit of a commitment — it’s a little pricey for a single-use mask, and requires about 30-40 minutes (which is a lot longer than other sheet masks). However, its completely worth it. If I had to only use one face mask for the rest of my life, it would be this one. Seriously, if your skin is really in need of some freshening up, don’t let the price deter you — it really is worth every cent.

If you’re wondering how this mask differs from the Shake and Shot products, I’d personally say this mask has better results. While the Shake and Shot has more formulas (it has six, compared to Rubber Lover’s four formulas), this mask packs a lot more punch and does more for my skin. As well, the Shake and Shot masks are formulated to solidify — meaning they peel off and leave your skin clear and smooth immediately. As the Rubber Lover masks are formulated with a potent ampoule serum, they leave behind product (similar to other sheet masks) to be absorbed after the masks’s removal. I do love the Shake and Shot masks dearly — I tend to go for them when I’m looking for something fun and quick, or for formulas that the Rubber Lover doesn’t provide. They still have an immediate effect and show some serious results — but definitely work differently from the Rubber Lovers (which I tend to go for when I’m really ready to settle in for some serious, immediate results). As well, I particularly love the Clear Skin Lover Rubber mask — a formula not offered in the Shake and Shot — for immediately clearing up my complexion. (Seriously, try it for yourself! Nothing has ever cleared up my skin as much as this mask. It’s unreal.)

I bought a couple of these masks recently so I could prepare my skin for my vacation (posts on that coming soon, I promise!) and also to start off the new year with fresh, glowing skin. Maybe I’m a little superstitious, but I’ve always been a firm believer that having a good start to the new year is vital to how well your year goes overall.

If your skin’s been looking a little worse for wear following this holiday season, be sure to check out the Rubber Lover masks at Sephora! This mask comes in four formulas: Hydration Lover, Clear Skin, Bright Lover and Firm Lover.

Happy New Year, everyone, I hope you all had a fantastic holiday season and are gearing up to have your best year yet! Stay tuned for this Sunday’s post for the perfect, maintainable New Years Resolution if you really want to start off 2020 in the best possible way.

Much love,

Meredith

A How-To Guide On Transitioning Into Adulthood

Hey friends!

So, as we grow closer to the end of this year and to the beginning of the next decade (!!!) I wanted to do a little round up my year, since it’s been a crazy one, and share with you all my advice that I’ve learned from it.

While I am on holiday right now, it felt better to save the travel posts for a little later on and rather have a post that wrapped up this year before it ended. This year has been one of the craziest rollercoasters of my life — I’ve gone through so many changes (both positive and negative) that it honestly feels like I’ve packed three years in one.

At the beginning of this year, I was still in university full-time, living in my on campus apartment, an active (non-alumna) member in my sorority, and fully adjusted to university life. Then, April came, and my whole life was upturned — I had to move out of my apartment to a temporary summer residence before moving into my new place downtown, began working full-time, and started my life from scratch.

I feel like I’m heading down the right path, sure, but no one ever tells you really how strange the months following university are; when I finally opened up about it to others, however, I learned we’re all in the same boat. It’s stressful and scary, you feel lonely and alienated from your university friends, unsure if you’re in the right career or ever going to be successful, and it feels like you’re going to be stuck in the premature ages of adulthood forever.

Slowly, you adjust though — I’ve found comfort in blogging, which I think I’m finally starting to get the hang of. I have my close friends and a semblance of a routine (hard to maintain, however, when you’re working in a restaurant without set hours). I know I’m on the right track now, and I’m looking forward to the fresh start of a new year and a new decade to help realize the next part of my life and where I’m headed — and finally getting settled and even finding success.

So, basically, the point of this whole rant is that I’m ready to wrap this year up and kiss it goodbye — it’s been an important time full of monumental changes, but I won’t miss it. While I’ve made good choices and silly mistakes, at least I can guide you all (for now!) on the right path and make all of your transitions into adulthood just that much easier.

Remember To Keep Moving Forward

Everyone always talks about how you need to “appreciate these years, they’re the best time of your lives.” And okay, maybe this ends up being true, but this mentality leads so many people to get stuck in the past, when you never know what amazing things could be just around the corner!

At every stage in my life, I’ve seen so many people get caught up in the past, whether it be High School or University, that they can’t let go — and it really does suck to watch. Transitions can be scary, but the best thing to do is embrace them, or else you may miss out on opportunities that are right in front of you because you’re too busy thinking about what’s behind you. Keep your memories and treasure them forever, but remember that it’s never fun being the last one at the party, and it’s best to let go when it’s the right time as to not tarnish what you had by drawing it out to the point that it’s just not the same anymore. Just because people say these years are meant to be the best time of your life doesn’t mean you need to peak at them — keep going forward, and you’ll have amazing times ahead of you as well.

Keep A Close Circle Of Friends

Something I’ve come to realize recently is that while it is great to have a huge amount of friends and a large social circle, your close friends are really all that matters. Knowing all kinds of people wherever you go is fun and rewarding in the moment, and certainly has some benefits — but your real friends are the ones who’ll be there for you during the tough times and difficult transitions. It’s important to know who these people are, and keep them close. You guys are all going to need each other for mutual support during your transition into adulthood — its a rough time, but you’ll all make it easier for each other.

Work On Self-Improvement And Validate Yourself

The best way to set yourself up for success for the next period of your life is to ensure you’re always improving yourself. Just make sure you’re doing it for YOU, and not for validation from others. If you’re working out, eating healthy, focussing on how to present yourself in a way that makes you feel good and being happy, your own confidence will grow — and people will notice. People are drawn to confidence — it will make you more successful in every single aspect of your life in the long term (and there’s no better time to start than right now). So keep up with your skincare routines, hit the gym regularly, practice your makeup, curate a stylish clothing collection — whatever it takes to make you feel good! It doesn’t matter what other people think of it, because all they’re going to notice is how confident you are.

Keep A Balanced Schedule

This one can be a little challenging, I know — I’m still working on it too. But the best way to truly feel like an adult and that you have your life in order is to keep track of your schedule. Not only will this help guarantee you’re on top of all your tasks — but it helps you make time for other important things as well. For instance, it’ll help you keep on track with important aspects outside of deadlines and goals — such as exercising, cooking, and cleaning. Even more importantly, it’ll help you make time for yourself and your friends. If you budget your time, you’ll have more time available to socialize or keep up with your hobbies — or even find new ones! No matter what, keeping track of your schedule is beneficial in all kinds of ways.

I hope that this list is helpful to those who are finding themselves struggling or overwhelmed by a transitioning period in their times, or who are about to go through a transition and are already nervous about it. Just remember you’re not alone — even if it feels like it, you still have a support system and everyone around you, no matter how together they seem to have it, is going through the same thing.

Here’s to a stellar 2020, hopefully the new year treats all of us well! Before I go, I just wanted to remind you all to try to leave whatever baggage from the 2010’s you can in the past in the new year. Obviously, dropping all your past traumas isn’t easy, and some things are just too big and heavy to be put down simply. Take this time to reflect and reexamine your feelings about events from the past. I saw a quote recently that said “Just because things could’ve been different, doesn’t mean they would have been better.” This quote really struck me, because I think I personally spend a lot more time than I should dwelling on things in the past that didn’t go my way, and how much happier I would have been if they did.

The truth is, we’ll never know what would have happened if those things came to be. Would things have been better? Maybe. Would it really have had a huge impact in the long run though? What would have happened if say, things went your way initially but ended up worse after all? The truth is you’ll never know, but overall things really may have not been that different. Whether it was failing a class (or multiple), losing an award, a bitter break up, not even getting into a relationship you wanted, losing a job, whatever happened or didn’t happen, try your best to take the lessons you learned from it and leave the rest of it in the past. It can’t be changed, so there’s no point dwelling on it to the point you miss out on opportunities in the future. Everyone has suffered through their own personal rejections and failures — I for one am certainly no stranger to it. But 2020 is a new decade, and it’s going to be our time to shine! So don’t let what happened in the past hold you back in the present. It’s time to move on and make the best with what we have. (And for those of us who can’t, who’s problems are a little more challenging to unpack and live with — I hope 2020 brings everything you need to make the load a little lighter to carry.)

Peace out 2019,

Xo,

Meredith

2019 Round-Up: The Best And The Worst!

Hey y’all!

2020 is quickly approaching, and I’m not sure about you guys but I am SO ready for it. I love fresh starts, and New Years is the ULTIMATE new beginning.

To wrap this year up, I wanted to do a little round up of all my favourite and least favourite products of the year. I love discussing all the products that worked best for me on my blog — but until now I’ve avoided discussing what didn’t. I was trying to avoid being too negative in my reviews and content — but at the same time, I feel it’s important to discuss what doesn’t work. If nothing else, hopefully I can save others from learning from mistakes I’ve made.

So before we get into it, this is going to be a two part post: the first part is going to cover my ten favourite and five least favourite products of the year, and the second is going to be my top five favourite skincare and makeup brands, as well as the top five brands I’m excited to try in 2020!

One last little disclaimer — all my reviews, obviously, are personal to me. If one of my “least favourite” products is a product you use and love, or were hoping to try, don’t let my opinions stop you! Some things work better for some people than others, and just because I didn’t like something doesn’t mean it is inherently bad. As well, I do not have any bad will for the brands I’m discussing — many of them are brands I love, and while they’re other products are absolute favourites of mine, some just didn’t cut it for me, and that’s okay! The brands I’m discussing, overall, are still wonderful.

So, let’s get into it!

The Best (And Worst) Of 2019

The Best: Biossance Squalene + Vitamin C Rose Oil

Biossance Squalene + Vitamin C Rose Oil

This product single-handedly changed my skincare. Not only is this the most mega-hydrating serum OR product I’ve ever seen — the squalene content in it really helped to rebuild my skin’s protective barrier. The amount of clogged pores and breakouts I’ve had since starting this product has gone down so significantly that this is officially a staple in my nighttime skincare routine until the end of time. While I do find it a little too heavy to apply in the mornings, I do find applying it before bed and letting it sink in overnight is perfect — my skin feels so soft the next day AND there’s no residue. A lot of heavy moisturizing products won’t absorb fully and leave behind traces the next day, but not this one. Plus, you know that feeling you get when you’re using a new skincare product for the first time and you’re always excited to apply it? A year later, and I still get that feeling every night.

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Best: Peter Thomas Roth FIRMx™ Peeling Gel

Peter Thomas Roth FirmX Peeling Gel

There are very few products, no matter how much I love them, that I would deem “perfect” — but this one is one of them. I love everything about this exfoliator; from how gentle it is, to how easy it is to apply and remove. No harsh scrubbing or long mask wait times required — this stuff exfoliates your skin instantly and effectively, and leaves your skin soft and clear.

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Worst: Biossance Squalane + Bamboo Deodorant

Biossance Squalene + Bamboo Deodorant

It really hurts me to add anything by Biossance to this list, they’re one of my all-time favourite brands. Sadly, this product was a serious let down. I bought it on a bit of a whim in the Sephora check-out line, thinking that a) Biossance could do no wrong and b) I should really switch to natural deodorant anyway. When reading up on reviews after I purchased this product, there were a lot of fairly low ratings, however, there were also a lot of people saying that these comments were from people who didn’t wait out the two week “detox period” you have to go through when switching to aluminium-free deodorant. So I waited out the two week period, smelling absolutely terrible but waiting to love this product once my detox was over. And then the two weeks were up, and I kept waiting. However, I kept sweating through this product within an hour; as well, the scent — which I can only describe as very weird and a little earthy — only made me smell worse when mixed in with my natural body odour.

Finally, my manager at work literally had to confront me about how bad I smelt — which was incredibly embarrassing but also a wake up call that after a month, it was time to call it quits. This deodorant simply did not work for me (and honestly, actually kinda made me smell worse). I wasn’t quite ready to give up on natural deodorant, however, so I switched brands and now find aluminum-free deodorant works better than any other I’ve used in the past. Plus, as Biossance’s product was $17, I was saving a lot of money by switching, so win-win, right?

My recommendation? Instead try: Tom’s Of Maine Natural Deodorant!

The Best: Herbivore Botanicals Crushed Amethyst Exfoliating Body Polish

Herbivore Botanicals Crushed Amethyst Exfoliating Body Polish

Okay, I know I’ve already discussed this product so, so many times before, but it really is amazing. First of all, it smells like lilacs — one of my all time favourite scents. Second of all, it does a fantastic job of exfoliating, and unlike many other exfoliators, the grains do not melt away as you scrub. One of my largest pet peeves with salt- or sugar-based exfoliators is how quickly the exfoliating elements of the product simply dissolve as you use it, meaning you use a lot more product. With this product, I guarantee you, you won’t have that problem. Not only that, but it exfoliates evenly and isn’t too harsh — plus it’s packed with all kinds of hydrating oils, leaving your skin feeling soft as every when you’re done.

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Best: Function Of Beauty Shampoo + Conditioner

Function of Beauty Custom Shampoo

You guys already know how much I love this product. After years of bleaching out my hair, I had resigned myself it would likely be damaged beyond repair until I grew it out. I already put so much effort into caring for my hair that I couldn’t imagine what else I could do to revive it. Function of Beauty totally changed that. Not only is it super fun getting the chance to totally customize your own shampoo and conditioner — but it shows real results, too. My hair is SO shiny and smooth now, seriously, it feels healthy for the first time in years. I actually can’t remember the last time, if ever, my hair felt this healthy. Give this product a shot, healthy hair or not, and trust me — you won’t regret it.

Read more about this product in my reviews here and here!

The Worst: Lancôme’s GRANDIÔSE Extreme Wide-Angle Extreme Volume Mascara

Credit: @lancomeofficial on Instagram

As I’ve discussed before, I rarely branch out from my select few favourite mascaras, and when I do — I tend to regret it. I’ve made this mistake one other time this year with Milk’s Kush Mascara, however, nothing has ever been as much of a disappointment as Lancôme’s GRANDIÔSE Extreme Wide-Angle Extreme Volume Mascara. It’s advertised as some kind of magical all-in-one product that will lengthen, curl, and volumize your lashes — but I really didn’t find this to be the case. Frankly, not only was this the clumpiest mascara I’ve ever tried, but it hardly did anything to accentuate my lashes whatsoever. With it’s fancy curved applicator and incredibly steep price, you’d think this mascara would be a godsend. I really hate to say it, but I found it the complete opposite — it was honestly the worst mascara I’ve ever tried at any price point.

My recommendation? Instead try: Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes or Dior’s Diorshow Iconic OverCurl Mascara!

The Best: Huda Beauty Obsessions Palettes

Huda Beauty Neon Obsession Palettes

My idea of “living my best life” would be owning one of each colour of all of these palettes. They are hands down THE most beautiful and pigmented eyeshadow palettes I’ve ever tried. They’re creamy instead of powdery, allowing them to blend seamlessly. My favourite aspect is how they cover every shade you’d need to blend out a full look in each specific colour set in only nine shades. I’ve seen a lot of people who get offset by how “small” these palettes are for their price — but they’re absolutely worth it. Not only are they pigmented enough to give you enough bang for your buck — but they also contain just about as much shadow as any nine pot palette. They’re just arranged in a way to make them purposely compact — making them perfect for travel.

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Best: Fenty Beauty Match Stix Matte Skinstick

Fenty Beauty Match Stix Matte Skinstick

This year, I finally got back into contouring. I fell out of favour with it back when it was hugely popular, as I often found that powder contour did not give me a natural look — it fact, it often looked muddy. However, after seeing enough videos watching artists use cream and stick contour instead of powder, I felt inspired to try again.

This contour stick is absolutely perfect for getting a seamless blend and natural look. I’ve not once had it look muddy or fake, it applies SO easily and flawlessly creates contour anywhere you apply it. I’m so glad I took the leap to get back into contouring with this product, it’s really upped a lot of my makeup looks!

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Worst: Kylie Cosmetics Glitter Eyes

Kylie Cosmetics Glitter Eyes in “Eat Cake”

After my first ever Kylie Cosmetics haul earlier this year, I was incredibly impressed with the quality of so many of the products I tried. This one, however, was incredibly disappointing. I absolutely adore liquid eyeshadow products for their incredibly pigmented look and easy application — but this product did not live up to others I had tried. It was dry and flaky; it didn’t even last until the end of my eyeshadow application before it had managed to flake off entirely. Not only that, but it took absolutely ages to dry and washed off with only the smallest amount of water. Even if you manage to apply this product well, it would never last a day without flaking or melting off in rainy weather. I’m sad because it was so beautiful, but definitely not at all worth it.

My recommendation? Instead try: Stila Glitter and Glow Liquid Eyeshadow! (You can also read my review on this product here).

The Best: Lilly Lashes

Lilly Lashes in “Miami”

Lilly Lashes, along with Sephora’s Luxe Lashes, are one of my two all-time favourite lash brands. If you know me, you know no look is complete without lashes — I literally feel naked without them. While Sephora’s lashes do give an incredibly flawless and real look, Lilly Lashes are bold and long-lasting. Seriously, so long as you take good care of these lashes, they’ll last you forever. For something as delicate as lashes, that’s pretty impressive.

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Best: Cover FX Custom Beauty Drops

CoverFX Custom Enhancer Drops

I’m sure I’m not alone in this when I say dewy skin > matte skin makeup. For the ultimate dewy skin look, I love Cover Fx’s Custom Beauty Drops! Not only do they give THE most natural yet blinding highlight — they’re extremely versatile. These drops can be added to foundation for a natural glow, applied underneath or on top of your makeup for a subtle or bold look, used as an eyeshadow, inner corner highlight, mixed into gloss and more! The possibilities are pretty endless — you can really use this product however you want. If you ever get the chance to test this product out, you’ll be sold in a heartbeat — they have so much depth to their colour and blend so flawlessly. They’ve become an absolute staple in my makeup routine.

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Worst: Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint

Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint

This might be a hugely unpopular opinion, but I’m not crazy about Glossier. While some of the products I’ve tried have been pretty great, it’s certainly not my all-time favourite brand or anything. While I do adore the Balm DotCom, and I do find the Cloud Paint/Haloscope duo gives me a great little glow if I’m in a rush to do my makeup — I really was not a fan of their skin tint product. This product really doesn’t do anything at all for your skin — I honestly couldn’t even tell where I had applied it or not as it made such a little difference. Nothing else about it is inherently bad, per se, but I feel like I would have been better off saving my money and just not wearing any kind of product on my skin, as it looked the same either way.

My recommendation? Instead try: Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer! (You can read my review on this product here).

The Best: Urban Decay All-Nighter Setting Spray

Urban Decay All Nighter Pollution Protection Setting Spray

Urban Decay has been my go-to setting spray since I started even using setting spray at all. Seriously — I’ve never used another brand. I have, however, tested out just about all their setting sprays (and even some of their spray-on primers) and I have to say, this one is the best. While their other setting sprays are all wonderful — there’s a reason All-Nighter is their most well-known (and yes, its because this product will literally make your makeup last all night). However, when I decided to branch out and try their “Environmental Protection” spray instead, I was pleasantly surprised. It lasts every bit as well as the original All-Nighter spray, but I did notice an improvement in my skin after use. This product is designed to help keep out harmful pollutants in the air we all come into contact with every day — and based on my skin’s appearance alone, it definitely holds up to that promise.

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Best: Tarte Cosmetic’s Creaseless Concealer!

Tarte Cosmetic’s Creaseless Concealer

This concealer has been my holy grail under-eye product since I first ever started using it. I chronically suffer from dark, baggy under eyes — seriously, no matter how much sleep I get and how much stress I avoid, they always look like I haven’t slept in weeks. Not only is this concealer super pigmented, it has a thick yet creamy formula that helps to hide all discolouration and dark circles — no colour corrector required. On top of that, this concealer does a MUCH better job of not settling into fine lines and creases than any other product I’ve tried. It lasts all day without wearing off even a little, so once you’ve got this applied your under eye area will look as flawless as if you’ve just gotten back from a month-long uber relaxing spa get-away. Seriously, this stuff is that good.

Read more about this product in my review here!

The Worst: Kat Von D Tattoo Liner

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner

Liquid eyeliner is another trend I’ve really started to get back into this year. Back in high school winged eyeliner was literally my “thing” — my friends even coined a nickname for me because of it. (It was “Nike” if you’re wondering). I kind of stopped with the liner for a few years, but this year I was ready to give it another shot. Back in high school, I had two go-to liner brands — Stila and Kat Von D. When I went to Sephora, however, they were out of Stila’s liquid liner, so I went for the latter. I know Kat Von D may not be the best role model, but I honestly didn’t even know which other brand to try. The result? I honestly cannot remember why I loved this liner so much in high school. It’s strange brush-type tip makes it incredibly hard to achieve a sharp point at the end of your wing, and it easily gets overwhelmed with eyeshadow — causing it to apply unevenly, dry out, and appear more of a dull grey rather than a nice, black line. Maybe I just wasn’t good enough at makeup in high school to really notice, but this product was a major let down.

My recommendation? Instead try: Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner (or, my new favourite — Gel Liner and a brush)!

My Top Five Skincare Brands

Biossance

Credit: @biossance on Instagram

Herbivore Botanicals

Credit: @herbivorebotanicals on Instagram

Ouai

Credit: @theouai on Instagram

Fresh

Credit: @freshbeauty on Instagram

Dr. Jart

Credit: @drjart on Instagram

My Top Five Makeup Brands

Anastasia Beverly Hills

Credit: @anastasiabeverlyhills on Instagram

Huda Beauty

Credit: @hudabeauty on Instagram

Kylie Cosmetics

Credit: @kyliecosmetics on Instagram

Nars

Credit: @narsissist on Instagram

Tarte

Credit: @tartecosmetics on Instagram

Top Five Brands I’m Most Excited To Try In 2020

ColourPop Cosmetics

Credit: @colourpopcosmetics on Instagram

Glow Recipe

Credit: @glowrecipe on Instagram

Charlotte Tilbury

Credit: @ctilburymakeup on Instagram

Jeffree Star Cosmetics

Credit: @jeffreestarcosmetics on Instagram

Farmacy

Credit: @farmacybeauty on Instagram

And that’s a wrap on everything from 2019! It’s crazy to think we’re officially two days away from the new year and a WHOLE NEW DECADE. I, for one, could not be more excited to see what the new year will bring. This upcoming year should be one of new beginnings, and it’s definitely for the best! I can’t wait to see what goals I accomplish and what changes will be made by this time next year.

Do you agree or disagree with my reviews? I’d love to hear it — especially if you love something I didn’t. As well, I’d love to hear all of your favourite brands of 2019 and what you’re hoping to try in 2020 — I’d love a little extra inspo!

Stay tuned next Sunday to hear all about how to make the perfect, maintainable and achievable New Years Resolution! A lot of people feel all kinds of pressure to completely redo themselves come each new year — which can have a lot of negative impacts. If you’re interested, I’m going to be sharing next week how I set attainable goals for each year that help push me in a positive direction towards being the best version of myself.

Happy end of December, y’all, hope the holiday season has been treating you all well!

Xo,

Meredith