These are {13} of my favourite things (of 2013)

The New Year is almost upon us!  Even though the number 13 conjures up some unsettling feelings, 2013 was kind of a great year for me!  Though it started out a bit rough, with a lot of talking and support it turned around for me (a big thanks to all of you who sent kind words – and a care package! – my way!).  As always, the hardships make the good times feel that much sweeter.  I had the immense pleasure of standing in my friend’s most amazing wedding; I started dating a guy who makes me feel loved and truly content in a way I never have before; I’ve had the opportunity to work in several different positions at my work and found my niche; and I finally got to go to New York City, a long-standing dream of mine!  Not too shabby 2013, not too shabby 🙂

Over the month of December I’ve been pondering what beauty products in my collection really stand-out and get the most use.  Though I could probably add one or two more, the 13 items below really have rocked my world this year and have been very well-loved.  I would even go so far to say that I would repurchase most of them (and that’s saying something!).

Beauty Favorites of 2013

And so I present to you, my favourite (beauty) things of 2013:

1. Osha Mae Calendula Salve ($15CAD).  On it’s own, without any cortisone products, this can clear up the chronic eczema on my hands overnight – absolutely unheard of!  I first got hooked on a sample of M.J. Herbals Calendula Salve ($15CAD), but when I saw this very similar version at our local market I picked it up, as I always like to support local!

Osha Mae Calendula Salve

2. La Bella Figura Bio Active Healing Mask ($65CAD).  When LBF was introduced on the Clementine Fields website, they had a promotion for 15% off it’s pre-sale.  I ordered this mask as I was looking for something hydrating that could replace the uber-scented derma-e mask that I’d been using for a while (uncomfortably).  I didn’t know what to expect, and was completely bowled over once I tried it – its truly amazing!  It hydrates, it heals, it calms, it brightens…I honestly feel like it’s almost a one-stop shop as a mask, because my skin just looks SO DAMN GOOD after using it.  I attribute it’s awesomeness to it’s inclusion of raw manuka honey (it’s the first ingredient) which is noted for it’s therapeutic, antibacterial and nourishing qualities.  Other ingredients include kaolin clay, rosehip seed oil and calendula extract – be still my heart!  Oh, and it’s also BRIGHT PURPLE (due to the aronia berry).  I want to get my hands on the Purifying ($65CAD) version next.

La Bella Figura Bio Active Healing Mask

3. Lina Hanson Global Body Serum ($64CAD).  I really wish this didn’t cost so damn much because I just want to drown in this fantastically scented body oil for the rest of my life.  As it stands, I’m still trying to ration it, but I still fear it won’t last long as I keep using it every few days because it’s so addictive!

Lina Hanson Global Body Serum

Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille ($130US).  Yum.  And YUM.  You all know my penchant for vanilla-based scents, so my love for this probably comes as no surprise.  With notes like sandalwood, coconut milk, musk, vanilla and tonk a bean, it’s a gourmand fragrance-lovers paradise.  I was surprised however that it also contains notes like black liquorice (which I hate) and bitter almond – but I suspect they help round out the scent and keep it from being too OTT vanilla, which can get headache-inducing fast.  I have worn this and only this since purchasing it in NYC; the only gripe I have with the fragrance is that I don’t find it lasts on my skin – but I guess that just gives me an excuse to spritz, spritz, spritz!

Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille

Make Up For Ever Medium Highlighting Brush in #152 ($43CAD).  I didn’t quite understand just how much I would love this brush until I really put it into practice and had a while to play with it.  This brush is absolutely integral in my makeup application – aside from applying cream or powder highlighters like a dream, it also blends all formulas of blush or bronzer perfectly.  I don’t quite know how it does it, but somehow the fibers of the brush, its density, and it’s softness all contribute to a beautifully seamless complexion.  LOVE.

Make Up For Ever Brush #152

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal (full-size, $50CAD).  Though I only have a deluxe sample size of this product, you only need the slightest amount to get amazing, glowing skin, so it’s lasted me ages!  I usually pull this out when I am either going for a really ‘natural’ look that focuses on the skin, or if I’m looking to amp up the glow factor for an event.  Though the full-size would probably last me a lifetime – something that doesn’t appeal to a fickle beauty fiend like myself – I still think I’ll repurchase this when I DO run out, because it’s truly the most beautiful yet natural-looking illuminator I’ve ever used.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal (5)

Buxom Full-Bodied Lipsticks (full-size, $26CAD).  My love for this lipstick formula is still going strong.  I use the little sample bullets I’ve got more than any other lipstick I own, and I’m looking forward to the day when they run out – so I can justifiably buy some full sizes!  Just so, so creamy and comfortable to wear, with awesome full pigment.  For the price especially, you really can’t beat ’em!


Chanel Le Blush Creme de Chanel in Revelation ($43CAD).  I have been on a cream blush kick for a while now, as I find it just looks so darn natural, which fits my makeup M.O. these days.  The newish Blush Cremes dry to an almost powder-like finish, so they don’t have quite the same effect; nevertheless, this natural-looking apricot shade gets a lot of regular use because it goes with just about every makeup look I wear.  The only downside is that its a touch too light when my skin is tanned – but at the moment it’s just right 🙂

Chanel Blush Creme in Revelation

MAC Eyeshadow in All That Glitters (pro-pan, $12CAD).  Though I have lessened my use of this shadow recently due to switching up my makeup routine, this baby got some SERIOUS love for months after I bought it early last spring.  It gives my eyes the most subtle yet beautiful sparkle I’ve ever seen, and accompanies a bright lip look beautifully.  The hype is TRUE, you guys.  BUY IT.

MAC All That Glitters

Burberry Sheer Eyeshadow in Trench ($30CAD).  Even after owning this shadow for a year and a half, I’m still amazed at how perfectly it blends and melds on the brow bone to give the perfect level of highlight to the eye.  As I have a lot of shimmering shadows, it keeps them grounded without making me look too ‘show dancer,’ but also isn’t so flat that it looks dull.  On top of all that, it’s HELLA soft.

Burberry Sheer Eye Shadow in Trench (2)

Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof in Noir Intense ($29CAD).  I wasn’t big on black pencil eyeliner until I purchased this early in the year – I didn’t have one and thought I should at least have one in my arsenal.  I don’t use it as a traditional liner, but rather as a tightliner on my upper lash line.  It a nice, dark black that gives great definition when I’m doing a more natural look (see a theme here?) and doesn’t budge – in fact, it’s difficult to remove at the end of the day, so keep that in mind.  But as I find a long-wearing liner hard to come by, it’s far from a deal-breaker!

Chanel Eyeliner Noir Intense

MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack ($19CAD).  Black pencil liner may never have been my thing, but I can’t say the same for black cream/gel/liquid formulas, which have always been a staple in my arsenal.  When I ran out of my last black liquid liner, I decided it was about time I tried the cult fave Blacktrack.  It’s nice and dark, and its creamy texture makes creating a winged look (a regular go-to for me) incredibly easy.  I’m not convinced I would repurchase, only because there are several black cream/gel liners that I’d like to try, but it’s been a faithful staple for me since I purchased it.

MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack

XLash Eyelash Enhancer ($59).  You’re all probably sick and tired of hearing me trumpet on and on about my love for this lash serum, but seriously, just get some and then get back to me – I promise you’ll be converted!  I won’t repeat my gushings yet again, but I will say that I am actually planning to buy more of this when I run out (still haven’t!).  SO. GOOD.


That just about rounds up my year in beauty in a nutshell!  I’ve tried many things, some duds, some *pretty good*, but this collection here have been raised to the level of HG status for me.  As I learn and grow I find my selections have become more and more curated to the point where I rarely have a miss (at least if they’re purchased by me) and I’ve grown quite fond of my collection, to which I’ve whittled and culled to include *almost* only products that are a pleasure to use.  I still have a bit of work to do (which I plan on laying out for you in a future post), but overall I’m quite pleased and have passed the ‘GAH! My-stash-is-overwhelming-OMG-the-anxiety!‘ stage that I was in for a long time since starting the blog.  Which I deem a HUGE success 🙂

So say farewell to 2013 and welcome in the New Year with a bang!  I appreciate each and every reader of my little beauty haven, whether you’ve been with me or a while, or stumbled upon my ramblings by accident.  You’re the only reason I keep on writing!  I wish all of you a very excellent finale to the year soon past and hope that the very best is yet to come in 2014!!!  Let’s make it all sorts of great, yea? 😀

happy-new-year-2014-wishes-2880x1800Image credit:

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  1. #1 by thinklovemakeup on December 31, 2013 - 8:10 am

    Some lovely products, one of my best friends has really bad eczema, so I will tell her about the Osha Mae Calendula Salve. Thanks for sharing. Happy New Year. Steph x

    • #2 by Latoya on December 31, 2013 - 9:20 am

      Happy New Year to you too, Steph! I hope your friend has success with the Calendula salve *fingers crossed*

  2. #3 by yourfairygodmother on December 31, 2013 - 11:19 am

    This is why I love the Bloggers! I find out about products I had no idea existed!!! Your post is full of goodies 🙂 I think I’m sold on that mask, hehe

    Have a fantastic new year!

  3. #4 by Liz (@Reductionista) on December 31, 2013 - 11:57 am

    You in that mask — a vision of true beauty and grace! LOL I love mask pics and you still look hot. 😉

    Did you know that Serge Lutens is now at the Eaton Centre Sephora????? I haven’t gone yet but you make me want to snatch up this bottle without even sniffing it.

    Happy new year, Toya, and here’s to another year of great discoveries!

  4. #5 by BeautyReflections (@BeautyReflectTS) on December 31, 2013 - 1:44 pm

    Love your picks! that body serum sounds AMAZE. And yay for Trench! That’s my fave too. It’s just perfect.
    Happy New Year Toya!

  5. #6 by Larie on December 31, 2013 - 5:16 pm

    I need Une Bois Vanille!

    And I’m glad you’re comfortable and happy with the products you have 😀 It’s sa good place to be! Happy new year, Toya!

  6. #7 by Eugenia on January 2, 2014 - 11:34 pm

    VANILLA! I can slather anything vanilla all over me! And that mask; would it be odd if I said it made me hungry? lol! Loved your choices and thanks for creating some new lemmings! I wish you tons of love, laughter, great health and even more beauty adventures for 2014, Toya love!

    • #8 by Latoya on January 14, 2014 - 8:03 am

      Thank you Eugenia, right back at ya!! I hope 2014 is a wonderful year for you and your family and is filled with happiness (and smells like vanilla!! :P)

      Sent from my iPhone


  7. #9 by Becca @ The Beauty Sample on January 8, 2014 - 10:02 pm

    Ok, I want EVERYTHING in this post! That calendula salve seems like it would be really great for my dog, who has the most sensitive skin of anyone I’ve ever met–poor thing :/ I can’t seem to find a moisturizer or salve that calms and moisturizes her dry, sensitive skin very well but this sounds lovely! Hopefully I can find it at a health food store somewhere close by! Also that mask…sounds beautiful! And of course the pretty purple color=WANT! Let’s see what else…ooh, MAC All that Glitters–I wasn’t aware that it’s a thing but now I want it! Looks so pretty in the swatch! 😀

    Hope you had a happy New Years, Toya!! ❤ ❤ ❤

    • #10 by Latoya on January 14, 2014 - 8:01 am

      You too Becca!!! I hope 2014 is your best year yet 🙂

      Sent from my iPhone


  8. #11 by Denise on January 9, 2014 - 1:01 am

    I am REALLY interested in this Osha Mae Calendula Salve now. My hands are out of control dry right now with eczema sprouting randomly and often (to the point where my hands crack and bleed and I am wearing bandages all the time). I will have to check out a natural foods/nutrition store ASAP.

    All That Glitters is my most used eyeshadow of all time. 😀 I’ve hit pan on nearly THREE of them!!! This post is also making me think I need to finally acquire Burberry’s Trench and check out some of Buxom’s lipsticks…

    Hope you had a great start to the new year!!! 😀

    • #12 by Latoya on January 14, 2014 - 7:55 am

      Thanks Denise, you too!

      ATG really is a gorgeous shade, it will definitely be one I repurchase as well. And YES you need Trench, so good!!

      I hope the calendula salve is a life saver for you Denise, it’s really fantastic 🙂

      Sent from my iPhone


  9. #13 by BooBooNinja on February 4, 2014 - 8:05 pm

    What a great mix of products in your top 13 of 2013! You’ve put Burberry Trench back on my radar (grrrr… heh heh) even though I already own highlight/blending eyeshadows. I’ll put it on my wish list. If I still want it after I use up what I have, off to Holt Renfrew I will go! Like Denise, I’m going to a natural foods store soon to check out calendula salves. My fiancé suffers from severe eczema on his hands and can use cortisone only sparingly because it thins his skin. Hopefully I can find one without formaldehyde-releasing chemicals. And, hopefully I can wrangle him into using a “girlie” product. 🙂

    • #14 by Latoya on February 5, 2014 - 5:31 pm

      Haha well as far as girlie products go, a calendula salves isn’t too bad! And re:Trench, at least the good thing is highlighting shadows seem to get used the most frequently (in my experience, anyway) so you might actually have an opportunity to try it out! 🙂

      Sent from my iPhone

      On Feb 4, 2014, at 8:05 PM, Beauty Obsessed wrote:

  1. Empties abound! | Beauty Obsessed
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