My Favorite Things- 2019

Throughout the year, I’ve received several emails on hair products, make-up remover, and even got questions on eyelashes! So, I thought I’d compile a list of a few of my absolute favorite things for 2019. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! And if you try any of these, I’d love to […]

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December 30, 2019

Neely Roberts

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Throughout the year, I’ve received several emails on hair products, make-up remover, and even got questions on eyelashes! So, I thought I’d compile a list of a few of my absolute favorite things for 2019. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! And if you try any of these, I’d love to know what you think!

Banilla Clean It Zero– I found this make up remover/double cleanser on the SoKo Glam website. I’m a HUGE fan of Korean skincare & if you’ve got any questions about your skin, or it’s specific needs, they have answers. There is a quiz you can take to find out what works best for your skin type based on your skin needs. I LOVE Banilla Clean it Zero because it leaves my skin feeling soft without feeling stripped of all it’s moisture. An added bonus for us dry skin folks! Another bonus? It also removes sunscreen! Once I use my cleansing balm, I wash with Vanicream gentle facial cleanser. It has no fragrance, parabens, dyes, formaldehyde, is soap free, sulphate free, gluten free and oil free. Once my face is washed, I apply moisturizer & sunscreen. Because I have dry and sensitive skin, I have bounced around between moisturizers. Toward the end of this year I landed on Klairs. It’s rich and thick, and so far hasn’t bothered my skin. Plus, there are no heavy perfumes.

Skin Food Rice Brightening Scrub Foam– About once every two weeks or so, I’ll use a very gentle skin polish from Skin Food. It works well on sensitive yet dry skin, with no irritation. You can find this, and other Skin Food products (their rice mask is divine too!), at ULTA.

Sonic Facial Cleansing Brush, Cleanser & Massager Silicon Vibrating Waterproof Facial Cleansing System: Blue– I bought this a few years ago after reading about them on several facial blogs and websites. It is super easy to use, massages your face and even has a designated area on the massager just for your nose! Just wet it (take it in your shower as it’s waterproof!), squirt your favorite cleanser on it & work around your face. You can adjust the speed and pulsations using the + – buttons. It always makes my skin and face feel so good after using! The best part? It only needs to be charged a few times a YEAR!

**Mine has since been listed out of stock, so here is one that is very similar in pink!

Milani lip liner: Spice– If you’re anything like me, you love a good deal. AND…if it has anything to do with make-up, even better!! Milani Spice is a great dupe for MAC’s Spice lipliner, and just a fraction of the price! You can find this liner in CVS drugstores. I love it by itself or mixed with a berry color.

Lash Liner Magnetic Lashes– I have wanted to try false eyelashes for a while, but was always so nervous about getting any type of glue near my eyes! I would for SURE glue my eyelids shut! At least that’s what I pictured in my mind! Introducing Lash Liner! Lish Liner is a magnetic lash system that is ridiculously easy to use. Just take their patented magnetic liner formula, put two coats on your eyes, (letting them dry in between coats) let it dry for 2-3 minutes, and then apply! Super simple! They also come with individual sections of anchor lashes. I have the Seattle lashes, and will be getting Portland soon! ***Because these are magnetic, they do not need to be worn when having any type of MRI scan.

I’m wearing Seattle.

I scratched my eyelid and accidentally lifted up the lashes on the right side! OOOPS!

*Sorry, this is a long one! As I get asked about this the most!

AG Hair– Naturals line, Gel-Mousse, Plastique, Aussie Instant Freeze

I follow a *modified version of the Curly Girl Method. I say modified because in January 2018, I started out doing The Curly Girl Method. It was CRAZY just how unhealthy my hair was! The curl I once had as a teenager, had turned into a stringy, tangled mess! Too much heat, too much color processing, too much too much! There was absolutely no life to my hair, and good decent hair days seemed few & far between. What is the Curly Girl Method? In a nutshell, it is conditioning washing only, avoiding sulphates, silicones, waxes, and drying alcohols…..but it’s a bit more involved than that. There are a whole list of approved products from dirt cheap to crazy expensive! And believe me, I’ve tried a TON!!! What I found most important was NOT what type of curl I had (3A, 2B, 4C??), but more importantly what KIND of hair I had. Was it high or low porosity? Was the hair shaft thick, fine, or somewhere in between? Did I have a lot of individual hair strands, or a reduced amount?

After doing some research, I started finding out which products worked for me, and which ones didn’t. I was SO SAD that some products didn’t work for me! I wanted to love them, I mean, they made other people’s hair look fabulous! Just not mine. And some caused a ridiculous amount of build-up. YUCK! No one wants that! After about 15 months following the CGM, I stumbled upon Stephanie Mero, AKA, The Curl Ninja. Stephanie is a curly haired stylist that knows the in’s and out’s of curly hair. She has devoted her life to it. She understands the chemistry involved in hair products and why your hair porosity and density matter! Stephanie and her husband recently released their book Cracking the Curl Code: A Simple Guide to Healthy, Effortless Hair. You can purchase it here.

I eventually switched from exclusively CGM- Conditioning only washing, to sulphate-free, salt-free, silicone-free shampoo, plus approved conditioner. I have really been loving the AG Naturals line of products. I love their Boost & Balance shampoo & conditioner. They are great for color treated hair and won’t strip anything out. You can find the Naturals line, and most AG hair products at your local ULTA. Because this is a Canadian company, the mousse-gel has to be ordered from Canada. If you like mousse, they do carry a Cloud Mousse, but I found it didn’t give enough hold to my hair. I have also recently fallen in love with Plastique! It’s listed as a volumizer, but I find it to be a great curl-holder (is that a word??) Lastly, my gel. I wished my hair could go without gel, but sadly, it needs it! You know what works best for me? Good ‘ol Aussie Instant Freeze! It doesn’t take much, and it give may hair great definition.

Before, I had been leaving my hair with too much water (and product) in it, and it would take forever to dry! Stephanie (The Curl Ninja) emphasizes squeezing a lot of the water out. Especially if you want volume! I add my products in the shower, then take an old cotton t-shirt, or microfiber towel (no cotton towels please!), and wrap up my hair. Sometimes I let my hair air dry for 30 min or so, and sometimes I have to go straight into diffusing it. Some days if my hair seems too flat, I’ll just grab a hair pick, give it a little floof, and off I go! For those that need some hair spray, I recommend the Pantene Air Spray in #2 or #4. I also sleep on a satin pillowcase and/or wear a satin bonnet at night. During this time, I also had three professional Deva cuts. What’s a Deva cut? This is a haircut designed for curly headed folks. Each curl is trimmed or cut dry as to see what the hair will look like. If you have curly hair, you know about getting a wet cut, where the stylist pulls your hair straight, then cuts it. What started out as just a 1/2 inch trim, turns into you losing almost 4+ inches all around your head! #shrinkage

If you do decide to get a Deva cut, make sure you find a reputable one in your area. Be advised, they aren’t cheap! At least in my area of Nashville, TN. (I only get one about 1-2 times a year, so it does even out if you typically were getting around 3-5 haircuts a year). Do your homework, read reviews, and contact the salon to see if you can get a tour and meet with the stylist.

Crazy before & afters. You can see the heat and color damage that my hair had. I also did a big chop! I got rid of over six inches of hair, dead ends and weight, making my curls curlier!

16 year old me! My hair was so thick, and the curls were so tight, that my hair grew OUT instead of down. It took FIVE YEARS for it to get this length! That’s also my natural hair color. While it always got lighter in the summer, my true hair color went from golden blonde, to a reddish-brown.
SO MUCH DAMAGE! Bleach and heat to straighten it!
Sad curls, which look more like limp spaghetti noodles.
Bleach really is so, so damaging!
Oh the many shades of hair color.
I seriously need about 8 inches cut off! Look at all of that damage! I used to braid my hair frequently, as it was just limp and unmanageable back then.
Long but unhealthy and unmanageable.
One of the last times it was straightened. Look at those serious split ends!
This would be considered a good hair day.
After my big chop! You can actually see curl definition!
Big chop!
My hair’s length & weight stretches out the curls, so my curl isn’t quite as tight as it was back then, but it is better shape for sure!

Xtava Pro Hair Dryer & Black Orchid diffuser– Y’all! This hair dryer and diffuser have been amazing!! The diffuser is MUCH bigger than my old one, and it has these long “teeth” that can really get down to the roots of your hair. You have various settings on your dryer including a cool setting! It really has made a difference when drying my hair.

Elta MD Clear Broad Spectrum UV 46– Because I have Rosacea, I have to be pretty careful what goes on my skin. I have found Elta’s clear sunscreen to be the absolute BEST! I wear this every single day! It’s white, but goes on clear, and doesn’t leave any weird streaks on your skin. It also comes in a tinted moisturizer for those that want a little touch of color. Thankfully, there is a local beauty boutique that carries it near me, but if you can’t find it, you can order it directly from their website, or you can purchase it from Dermstore. Also check with your dermatologist, as many also carry skincare lines. *Amazon does carry this, but with all skincare products, they can be hit or miss. Keep this in mind when ordering.

IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Redness– Another face-saving product!!! I’m not really sure what happened when I turned 30. I think my whole body said “ok, revolt!” That’s when I started having rosacea flare ups, and they are particularly dreadful in the summer! This stuff is practically a miracle worker! It goes on under my foundation at ALL times in the warmer months, and especially during 10+ hour wedding days! The foundation really neutralizes the red and your make-up glides seamlessly over the top. Be aware, the container is small and it isn’t inexpensive. But, it doesn’t take much. A little goes a long way! You can find it online, at Sephora and ULTA stores. I wear the porcelain shade, but there are three to choose from.

Pure Beech Bedding Jersey Knit Sheets 100% Modal– About a year ago, Jason & I were looking to purchase new sheets. We headed over to to Bed, Bath & Beyond to look for more eucalyptus sheets that we purchased almost 10 years ago even though we were skeptical we’d find the same exact ones. While we didn’t find our favorite sheets, we did stumble upon these absolutely divine jersey knit sheets! These sheets are so soft & comfy! And there is no better feeling than climbing into your bed (we LOVE our Loom & Leaf mattress!!) with freshly washed soft sheets (especially after shaving your legs! Am I right?!)

Vitamix– Y’all! This is my tried and true, workhorse of a blender. But it’s not JUST a blender! It can make super creamy green smoothies, hot soup, ice cream, pudding, hummus, baby food, etc…The motor is crazy powerful, and it comes with a tamper to push any food down. We love this so much, that it has even gone on a few vacations with us! Almost 10 years ago I started following a food blogger & was fascinated by all of the things she made in her Vitamix. I could not get enough of how she took raw, soaked cashews and turned them into a smooth, creamy pudding…in LESS than 90 seconds!!! No grit, not texture, just smooth pudding like you’d buy in the store! Only this one had four ingredients, and everything you could pronounce!

While I know these machines are quite pricey (they seriously last FOREVER!!!), they do have refurbished ones in their stores, which help to cut down on the price. QVC, Costco and other retailers sell them. And don’t forget to look in places like Goodwill, as this is where we found ours! Y’all! We paid TEN DOLLARS for the base!!! All we had to do was order the pitcher and tamper & we had a fully functional Vitamix! Once we got that ordered, they registered the product to us.

This company has been around for 70 years! They are built to last and are excellent in not only making yummy dishes, and healthy meals, but are fantastic in making whole-food smoothies for someone needing liquid nutrition, thicker liquids due to swallowing difficulties, or someone who is tube-fed, and needs smooth foods without any chunkiness. Here is information about their product donation program. Yet another reason we love them!!!

I hope you all have enjoyed a few of my favorite things for 2019! If you own any of these, or purchase any of these things, please let me know!

Cheers to 2020!!




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