Thursday, January 2, 2020


Purchased (Affiliate Links)

As I thought back to my best purchases in 2019 there were a few serious standouts that I wanted to reflect upon. My best splurges were definitely upgrading my mattress, laptop and iPhone, but of course there was some makeup that also stood out.

As you probably remember, I was on the hunt for the perfect eco-friendly King size memory foam mattress in 2019, and I ended up purchasing the Saatva Loom & Leaf 12" Relaxed Firm Mattress ($849.00-$1799.00 from Loom & Leaf or Macy's).

If you are seeking an eco-friendly memory foam mattress, I can say that my husband and I are both elated with our purchase. I tend to like softer mattresses than my husband, but somehow we are both very happy with the way that this mattress feels. It isn't too firm and yet it doesn't permit you to sink too much. It feels a bit like you are being cradled and supported simultaneously. What's interesting is that this bed seems to get more and more comfortable over time, and it has superb support. There is no off-gassing, which I am quite sensitive to, and nothing in the least bit unpleasant to report.

Unlike many of the eco-mattresses, and bed-in-a-box variants– to which the Loom & Leaf does not truly belong– this mattress can actually be tested out at select Macy's locations. This was definitely an advantage that helped sway our decision to buy this mattress rather than one that we could not test in person.

As I mentioned in my initial post, we sought a mattress without a box spring that would be paired with a modern, low-profile platform bed. This is where our decision to purchase this mattress posed a bit if a challenge because this mattress is 12" thick. This would not present an aesthetic problem for conventional beds on a box spring and frame, but it does for a wide array of minimalist low-profile platform beds. Because of the thickness, it is too bulky for the vast majority of platforms with a slender mid-century modern profile, and therefore if you are opting for something like that, then you may want to reconsider and find a lower profile mattress.

Saatva Loom & Leaf 12" Relaxed Firm Mattress is available in two levels of firmness: the Firm is quite firm, and intended for people who really prefer a very firm mattress, and the Relaxed Firm that has more give and will appeal to a far wider range of people. We clearly belong to the latter category, and that is why we purchased the Relaxed Firm mattress.

According to Loom & Leaf,

Saatva engineers took the top five features found in luxury retail mattresses and combined them to make one perfect mattress. Saatva's luxury Loom & Leaf memory foam mattresses are made in the U.S.A. with premium materials and costs 70% less than comparable retail brands. Sleep in comfort on Saatva's 12" Loom & Leaf memory foam mattress. Proprietary lumbar zone technology provides targeted pressure relief, while a cooling gel-infused top layer offers a cradled feel, allowing you to sleep in pure bliss.
- Foundation not included
- 2" Gel-infused 4-lb Memory Foam layer ensures a cool sleep surface
- 2.5" 5-lb Ultra Premium Memory Foam layer is the heart of the mattress
- Top Type: Memory Foam Tight Top
- 2" Transition loft pad allows the layers above and below to provide optimal support for a healthy sleep
- 5.5" High Density support base gives best-in-class structural integrity and durability
- Exclusive Features: Proprietary Lumbar zone technology to ensure proper spinal alignment and pressure point relief
- Exclusive all natural Guardin® antimicrobial treatment on organic cotton cover to create a healthy sleep environment and prolong the life of the fabric
- Compatible with adjustable beds
- Warranty: 15-year Non-prorated
- All foams are CertiPUR certified, made without any harmful chemicals or additives
- Made in the USA
By far two of my best purchases this year were from Apple. Since their products are expensive, I tend to hang on to my iPhones and MacBook Pros for a long time, and I tend to upgrade them to make sure that I have enough memory and speed to last a long time. I decided that it was time to purchase a new laptop and phone, and I am so glad that I did. These are undoubtedly my best purchases of the year. I selected Space Gray for both the phone and the computer because I really like the color, it was fun to match my computer and phone, and it was a nice change from the more typical Silver.
I purchased the new 15" MacBook Pro (2.3GHz 8‑core 9th‑generation Intel Core i9 processor, Turbo Boost up to 4.8GHz with 1TB SSD storage) to replace my old 15" MacBook Pro (almost 7 years old), and what an amazing machine it is. I prefer the larger screen because I often have multiple programs running simultaneously, and I definitely needed plenty of storage because I have many large files and photographs for work- in addition to all of the photographs associated with LSBB. This computer is smoking fast and it has so many upgrades that my poor old MacBook Pro seems a bit like a dinosaur comparatively. If you are considering a computer upgrade– you will be blown away by this amazing feat in engineering. I should also note that the huge new tracking pad is a wonderful addition, and the fingerprint ID to unlock the computer is very convenient. 

N.B.: Apple Educational Pricing offers a discount to current and verified faculty, teachers, students and staff. The discount applies to their computers and iPads, but not on their phones, watches etc. Apple Veterans and Military Purchase Plan also offers discounts to verified veterans and people with active military status.
I was very happy that I received $200.00 trade-in on iPhone 7 Plus, and I wanted the iPhone 11 Pro Max because I knew that I would regularly use all three of the camera lenses, and since I was accustomed to the larger phone size it was clear to me that the iPhone Pro Max would be perfect for my needs. I also knew that 64GB2 wasn't going to be enough, and that 512GB2 was way more than I needed– so I selected 256GB2. Since I use my phone for projects at work and for blogging, it was worth the added investment. 
I also purchased the OtterBox Lumen Series Case for iPhone 11 Pro Max in Pink, and am really pleased with the quality. It is very sturdy, but also quite attractive, and I definitely feel as though my phone is protected.
I am a huge UGG fan, and try to purchase them whenever they go on sale. Nordstrom has a good selection on sale this year, and as a result I picked up three pairs of boots and one pair of slippers. Nothing makes for a comfy and cozy winter like a warm pair of UGG boots or slippers, and therefore I thought I would share a few of my favorites on sale (SALE UGGS HERE).
UGG Marciela II Boot (Original Price $174.95. Sale Price $119.90 from Nordstrom): Textured snap tabs secure the split shaft of a fan-favorite boot made with a waterproof finish to keep feet dry. The soft, cozy lining is made from genuine shearling and plush UGGpure, a textile made entirely from wool but engineered to feel and wear like genuine shearling. The Treadlite by UGG™ sole offers supremely lightweight cushioning, flexibility and traction on all surfaces.

Leather upper/genuine-shearling and UGGpure wool lining/synthetic sole
Shearling may be sourced from Australia, Ireland, Spain, the UK or the USA. See packaging for confirmed country of origin

7 3/4" shaft
Pull-on style with snap-tab closures
Cushioned insole
The Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Complexion Brush ($40.00 from Charlotte TilburyNordstromSephoraBergdorf GoodmanNet-A-PorterJohn LewisHarvey NicholsHarrodsBeautylish and Cult Beauty): is a wonderful cruelty-free double-ended brush that can be used for highlighting, contouring, or my preferred use– the application and blending of foundations and concealers. The synthetic fibers are densely packed, unbelievably soft and they do not absorb, and waste, your precious products.

The larger end features a flat head that facilitates a seamless, airbrushed finish effortlessly. It easily blends out foundations, softens harsh lines from contouring products and even it blends out pigmented blushes and highlighters. While this head is smaller than many foundation brushes, it is both effective and efficient.

The small end has an angled head that makes contouring easy, but it is also the most incredible tool for the application and blending of under eye concealers. Furthermore, the angled head makes it exceptionally easy to get into the small and curved, areas, of the face.

In addition to synthetic fibers, this brush features a durable wooden handle and an aluminum ferrule in a chic shade of rose gold.

I have washed this brush a couple of times and it has neither shed a hair, not has it lost its shape. Though rather obvious, I suggest storing this brush flat rather than upright– since that isn't good for the bristles. Therefore, I store mine in a drawer where I keep most of my brushes.
According to Charlotte Tilbury,

2-in-1 cruelty-free makeup brush. Darlings, this has luxurious application & a premium look! My Hollywood Complexion Brush is a fabulous 2-in-1 multi-purpose makeup contour brush with advanced synthetic fibres, perfect for effortlessly blending your contour.
• 2-in-1 makeup brush
• 100% animal cruelty-free synthetic fibers
• No hair fall-out
• The large flat-top head will allow you to achieve a flawless base quickly & effortlessly, perfect for contour blending & softening harsh lines
• The angled small head is perfect for precise contouring, as well as concealing under the eyes, around the nose or small curvatures of the face.
This product is made with synthetic bristles. It is vegan-friendly, gluten-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, and not tested on animals.
Hair: Synthetic Fibre
Ferrule: Aluminum
Handle: Wood
100% animal cruelty free 3-tone fiber
I wanted the Sephora Collection Pro Airbrush Perfector #51 ($34.00 from Sephora) for about a year, and finally purchased it. I love that the brush itself is quite compact, it measure a little under 4" inches in length, and that it comes with its own plastic case to protect it while traveling. In fact, between its compact size and plastic case, it is the perfect travel companion.
This brush has densely packed cruelty-free synthetic bristles with a beveled edge, making it a perfect blender brush that can efficiently get into hard-to-reach places. The bristles are soft, but not so soft as to be ineffective. It picks up, lays down and blends out products to perfection, and it truly does achieve an airbrush finish– as the name suggests. It can be used to apply foundation, bronzer, highlighter and finishing powder, and I have found that it works equally well with cream, liquid, and powder formulas. That said, I tend to use it the most to apply foundation, and because the bristles are synthetic it does not waste foundation by unwanted absorption. The dense plastic handle is comfortable in the hand, and the brush is quite well-balanced and user-friendly.
According to Sephora,

A multi-use, multi-formula precision brush that can be used all over the face to achieve flawless results. This brush allows you to apply any of your complexion products from foundation to contour products to highlighter and blush. It's the perfect universal complexion brush that fits in your makeup bag. It can be used with creams, liquids, powders, and translucent powder formulas.
This product is not tested on animals.
Suggested Usage: Place product on one side of the brush. Blend in one direction for fuller coverage. Use the clean side to buff off any excess product or sheer out coverage. To use as a contour brush: Place product on half of the tip of the brush and blend in an angular motion in one direction. Can also be used to apply bronzer our highlighter to décolleté.
Note the extent to which the bristles are densely packed.
Kosas Wet Lip Oil Gloss in Malibu, $27.00 for .15 oz. from KosasSephoraNordstromShen BeautyNeiman MarcusCredo Beauty and Verishop): which is described as a Surfy Pink,  is a wonderful hybrid lip oil and gloss that is covet-worthy for people, like me, who love nourishing lip oils and glosses. This plumping and deeply moisturizing Lip Oil Gloss is filled with ingredients such as Hyaluronic Acid, Peptides, Evening Primrose Oil, Avocado Oil, Shea Butter that nourish and condition even the most chapped lips.

The texture is lightweight, and emollient, with a slightly oily texture, but it is not so oily that it slides right off of the lips or sinks into them and disappears. It is very smooth and silky without the least bit of gritty texture. Instead, it moisturizes, but it also wears like a hybrid lip oil gloss, and I find that it lasts on me for a couple of hours. It is very comfortable on the lips, with the perfect amount of cushion, and has quickly become one of my favorite things to wear. The "Surfy Pink" is a mid-tone rosy pink that is punctuated by tiny multi-colored shimmer, and while the color can be built up or sheered out, the lips always show through. Therefore, this is neither a clear gloss, nor is it opaque– instead it offers a nice middle ground with some lovely pigmentation that allows the lips to show though. It has a light fruity aroma, but that fades nearly immediately, and therefore it should pose no problem for people sensitive to scented lip products.
According to Kosas,

Buy your lips a drink. This hybrid lip treatment + gloss is packed with peptides that plump and hydrate, all while providing a juicy slick of color.

100% treatment, 100% lip gloss. Hyaluronic Acid, Peptides, Evening Primrose Oil and other botanicals work to hydrate, plump and protect the lips. The non-sticky formula slides on smooth to give you a soft, comfortable feel and slick, vinyl look. Fully wearable day or night. Slide. Smack. Shine.
Directions: Wet Lip Oil Gloss was made to ride solo or perfectly layer with other lipsticks and lip balms. Hot tip: Apply LipFuel first, then swipe on Weightless Lip Color and Wet Lip Oil Gloss for a long-lasting, super slick finish.
Highlighted Ingredients and Features: 
- Hyaluronic Acid: Attracts water and locks in hydration. 
- Peptides: Protect collagen. 
- Evening Primrose Oil: Maintains plumpness and protect against environmental stressors. 
- This product is also vegan, cruelty-free, and gluten-free.
Ingredients: Oleic/Linoleic/Linolenic Polyglycerides, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Caprylic Capric Triglyceride, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract (and) Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract (and) Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Extract (and) Tocopherol, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Ethylhexyl Palmitate (and) Trihydroxystearin (and) Sodium Hyaluronate (and) Glucomannan, Ethylhexyl Palmitate (and) Tribehenin (and) Sorbitan Isostearate (and) Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Vanillin, Citrus Auranium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, [+/-: Red 28 Lake (CI 45410)].
Kosas Color & Light Pressed Powder Blush & Highlighter Duo-Longitude Zero High Intensity ($34.00 for  0.28 oz. from KosasSephoraSephora in JCPenneyNordstromCredo Beautyb-glowing and Neiman Marcus): is one of those gorgeous blush/highlighter duos that I simply couldn't resist getting. I have most of their shades (Reviewed and Swatches HERE), and am a true brand devotee.

This mid-tone ultra-pigmented rosy-pink blush, punctuated by a shell pink highlighter, boasts an extraordinarily-finely milled consistency that is creamy and silky to the touch. It glides across the skin effortlessly, deposits color evenly, and never emphasizes fine lines, and it doesn't settle into pores. The highlighting powder, which can be used alone or mixed with the blush, is a glowing cool-leaning shell pink with a gorgeous luminous finish. Longitude Zero High Intensity is definitely in the same color family as the earlier Longitude Zero (shown and swatched below), but the latter is far more demure and understated than the more assertive High Intensity version. Therefore, if you love both, as do I, there is a justification for owning both. However, if you are seeking just one– let the swatches below help you decide which variant best suits you.
According to Kosas,

An iconic pink rose powder blush and highlighter duo for classic blush and a just-kissed flush. High pigment intensity, double color payoff. A skin-conditioning, easy-to-apply, blendable blush paired with a complementary highlighter to wake up and balance your look.

An ultra-blendable powder blush and highlighter palette in versatile duos of balancing, brightening, foolproof, clean, and skin-cushioning formulas.

Soft, controllable, and buildable, this reimagined formula combines finely milled, optically blended pigments with active botanicals to deliver silky, even color and a skin-cushioning sensation. Each duo has two levels of intensity for color that compliments every skin tone. High intensity duos have double the pigment for double the payoff. Each palette pairs the perfect pigment with a coordinated highlighter to pick up on the undertone of the blush.

Highlighted Ingredients:
- Jojoba Seed Oil: Soothes and balances.
- Moringa Seed Oil: Brightens and provides vitamin C.
- Rosemary Extract: Supports natural circulation and promotes glow.

Ingredients: Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Isononyl Isononanoate, Micocrystalline Wax (Cera Microcristallina), C10-18 Triglycerides, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Wax, Sclerocarya Birrea (Marula) Seed Oil, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Commiphora Myrrha Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Extract, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethyhexylglycerin, Silica, Iron Oxides (Ci 77491, 77492, 77499), Mica (Ci 77019), Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Red 7 Lake (Ci 15850), Red 30 Lake (Ci 73360). This product is cruelty-free and gluten-free.
Note the inherent luminosity in the blushes and highlighters.
As I have previously said, if I had to choose a single makeup item that I use the most, and that I would never want to do without, it would definitely be a great eyeliner pencil. This has been the case since I was a teenager, and I don't imagine that this will change. My most reached-for eyeliner pencils are definitely the Charlotte Tilbury Rock 'N' Kohl Iconic Liquid Eye Pencils ($27.00 for 0.04 oz. from Charlotte TilburySephoraNordstromBergdorf GoodmanBloomingdale'sBeautylishSelfridgesCult Beauty and John Lewis): and I have four shades that I use all of the time (Elizabeth Violet, Marlene Midnight, Barbarella Brown and Bedroom Black. More swatches HERE).

This wonderful formula is so creamy to the touch and easy to blend, and it glides across the skin without any tugging or pulling, and it deposits color evenly and effortlessly. It allows you to create a very clean crisp line, but gives you enough time before setting to make a smoky smudged line as well. Once it does set, it is completely budge-proof, and lasts on me all day long, and without a primer. I do not experience any transfer, smudging or fading, but I do not have very oily eyelids, and your wear-time may vary if you do.

I recently repurchased Charlotte Tilbury Rock 'N' Kohl Eyeliner Pencil in Elizabeth Violet because it is one of my most used pencils, and I didn't want to miss out on wearing this gem of a purple eyeliner. While I have been coveting Elizabeth Violet since I began using it, I found myself mesmerized by the beauty of Charlotte Tilbury Rock 'N' Kohl Eyeliner Pencil-Marlene Midnight– which struck me as the perfect deep purplish blue, and I fell madly in love with it from the first moment that I saw it in person. Both of these shades can be built up for greater pigmentation and saturation, but they can also be worn more sparingly, and therefore less intensely.
The four shades that I own (more swatches and reviews HERE):
Elizabeth Violet is a gorgeous slightly muted violet purple.
Marlene Midnight is a sunning navy kohl.
Barbarella Brown is a deep and blackened brown without red undertones.
Bedroom Black is a deep black.

According to Charlotte Tilbury,

Darlings, my Rock ‘n’ Kohl eyeliner in Eye Cheat is the universal nude tone to create the optical illusion of wider, fuller and more awake eyes. Line around your waterline miraculously makes your eyes appear bigger & brighter!
Left to Right: Elizabeth Violet and Marlene Midnight
Swatches Top to Bottom: Marlene Midnight and Elizabeth Violet
Overall Assessment: These are definitely my best purchases from 2019, and I am so happy that I will be enjoying them in 2020. What were your best purchases of 2019?

Purchased. All views expressed are categorically my own.
Copyright © 2020 All Rights Reserved,


  1. You've got a much better memory than I do! I have to agree with you on the CT Complexion brush. When I went to the counter for an event the MA did my entire face with this brush. It was first on my list to buy. We have the Avocado mattress and my husband has contacted them because he doesn't think it's as nice as when we bought it, it will be interesting to see how they respond.

    1. Those were definitely the real standouts for me! The CT Complexion brush really is incredible. Everyone should have this wonderful brush in their collection! I am so sorry to hear that you and Marty are less than thrilled with your Avocado mattress. That's a lot of money to spend, and you should be 100% satisfied with your purchase! If you return it, I highly recommend the Loom & Leaf Relaxed Firm Mattress. It just gets better and better!

  2. What a wonderful list of faves! The mattress sounds terrific. I have a 7 year old MAC Air, 7 yr old MAC desktop and a 7+ iPhone that could stand to be updated. But instead I have to buy a new gas furnace ☹️😢 Love all the CT & Kosas makeup: shades that I would love too

    1. Thanks, Allison! I am definitely very very happy with all of these purchases! It was definitely money well spent. I would definitely say that your gas furnace is far more important– specially to get through a New England winter! These CT and Kosas products are definitely fantastic, and these colors would definitely be perfect for your complexion. Thankfully none of them are LE, so there is certainly no rush to get them– especially when you are needing to replace your furnace!


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