Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Year in Review: 2015 Blog Overview

Year in Review: 2015 Blog Overview

Hello, friends! Today I'd like you to come on a walk down memory lane with me. 2015 was a big year for my little beauty blog. It got a whole new name and design. I also got a DSLR camera and began really studying up on my photography. If you're new to this blog, this might be a great place to start if you're in need of  post recommendations. As for us long timers, let's look at some of our favorite moments! 

Reader Favorites

The posts below were written in 2015 and have garnered the most page views thus far:

Subscription Boxes

October 2015 Birchbox Review
October 2015 Birchbox Review

Dang, you guys love your sub box reviews! They've been one of my top sources of traffic this year. I guess everyone loves a little monthly surprise, even if they're not getting one themselves (though everyone deserves it).

Birchbox Reviews for 2015 - I've been a member of Birchbox since September 2014 and I don't know if I'll ever be able to unsubscribe. The way it rewards its subscribers with points and the availability of thousands of products for purchase in the Birchbox Shop, it's hard to walk away from that! Their boxes offer a wide variety of skincare, hair, makeup, and other extras, and it's just a great way to spend $10. (Sign up for Birchbox. This is my referral link. Thanks for subscribing!)

Ipsy Glam Bag: September 2015 (Review) - I decided to give Ipsy a second chance in 2015, and although July was one of the best Ipsy bags I'd ever received, by September I was ready to leave it behind. Ipsy still hadn't changed since I first listed my reasons for unsubscribing and although the sneak peeks may be tempting, I think I'm going to try and save my money next time.

Birchbox: Lovely Day LE Box (Review) - This is the first limited edition Birchbox that I've tried so far, but it has me wanting to get another! It included a great variety of products (skincare, hair, makeup, nails, bath & body). Since then, I've been keeping my eyes peeled for another one I really want.

Skincare & Makeup 

If you weren't looking at subscription boxes, you guys were viewing my skincare reviews, empties posts, and favorites. Surprisingly enough, my Makeup Favorites of 2014 was one of my most popular series this year (though the posts had all year to garner some love). 

Products I've Used Up: Spring Cleaning Edition, 2015
Products I've Used Up: Spring Cleaning Edition, 2015

Products I've Used Up: Spring Cleaning Edition, 2015 - This post was like a Trash Talk with a purpose. I went through all of my makeup for products that were way too old, that I never wore anymore, or had changed in texture or scent. I'll probably do this again once spring arrives. It's good to clean out the old stuff you don't use so you have room for the new! Plus, sometimes using products that are a few years old can cause irritation. When do you usually throw out your makeup products (or do you not--I won't judge)?

Brand Overview & Review: Core Clarity Skincare - Core Clarity contacted me to review their new skincare line this year. I haven't heard much about their brand since the launch, but to my knowledge they're still being sold at Walmart, and they're on Amazon now. I wasn't a fan of the products when I first tried them, but I took a really long time testing all of them in-depth and writing exactly why I felt the way I did in my post. This is a good place to look if you're curious as to how I typically write my skincare reviews.

How to: Determine Your Skin Type - This was my first informational-style post, more like a FAQ than anything else. It must have been useful to some of you, since it was one of my most-viewed posts this year. I created this blog to help others, so I plan on doing more of these in the future! What do you want to see next?

Beauty Buff Favorites of 2014: Makeup for FaceEyes, and Lips - As I stated above, my 2014 Favorites were one of my most-viewed posts this year. Sure, they've had a long time to garner up page views, but I was still surprised at the reception these got (especially since they received more traffic than their Skincare counterpart). My 2015 Favorites are coming soon, so stay tuned!

Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Makeup Remover Cleansing Wipes (Review) - Another in-depth review of a skincare product on the blog. I enjoyed testing out these makeup wipes, and apparently you all enjoyed reading about them. They're a pretty good option for a quick and easy makeup wipe, but you can read more about that in my review.

My Favorite Posts

Rather than the most-viewed or the most-commented, these posts are ones that I simply enjoyed writing. These may be ones that I'm really proud of, or maybe I just thought they would be really useful and informative to share again. Some of these are series that I would definitely like to expand upon in 2016.

Skincare & Ingredients

DIY Disaster: Lemons in Skincare
DIY Disaster: Lemons in Skincare

DIY Disaster: Lemons in Skincare - I had a lot of fun writing this--I felt like a detective! There's so much false information out there online that I enjoyed sleuthing through it all to get to the truth. I'd like to do more articles like this, especially on ingredients that Pinterest seems to think are the bomb.com (ex. baking soda?? WHY??) Stay tuned!

StriVectin Advanced Pore Retinol Refiner (Review) - I tested this for more than three weeks before writing up this review! Considering this was my first retinol product to review on the blog (besides mentioning Differin), I wanted to make sure I took the time to really make sure it worked (at least for me). This review was very time-consuming for me, but it meets all of the standards I hold myself to when writing reviews!

How to Change Up Your Skincare Routine for Winter: Part 1 & Part 2 - Another informative skincare series! I don't know exactly how I would improve upon these, except to perhaps exchange some different products out, but the information's still the same. With winter (suddenly!) upon us, check these out for some easy ideas to keep your skin healthy and happy this season. 

Makeup & Nails

Greek Goddess Makeup Challenge #4: Demeter
Greek Goddess Makeup Challenge #4: Demeter

Greek Goddess Makeup Challenge Series - My debut makeup look series on the blog. Filled with five different Face of the Days inspired by Greek goddesses. This served as a good reminder for me that makeup should be fun! I saw my makeup skills and creativity improve as I went, so if you want a before-and-after, start at #1 and come back to #5 last!

Jamberry Nail Wraps (Review)
 - My first real experience with Jamberry Nail Wraps (not counting that time I used a sample on my pinky in this NoTD). I explain the pros and cons, the ups and downs, of these vinyl nail stickers in this review. These definitely have a learning curve to them, and although I certainly haven't mastered using them, I think I learned a lot as time went on (as you'll see in my first failed attempt and later, more successful 2nd try).

My Lipstick Collection: The Reds - As much as I love skincare posts, makeup is more colorful and fun. And colorful. This is the first post in a series I plan to continue in 2016--a sneak peek into my makeup collection. Starting with my sexy red lipstick collection!

PUR Cosmetics Cameo Contour Dual-Ended Contour Sticks (Review) - This was a more recent review, but due to the growing popularity of PUR Cosmetics (no longer PUR Minerals), I can see why this post got a good chunk of page views! I put a lot of effort into this review, more than I usually would for a makeup product review, so I hope that shows! Even though I wound up giving these a thumbs down, I made sure to say exactly why.

Favorite Bloggers

I'm always chatting with fellow bloggers! These are the blogs that I follow most closely. Many of them are mainly beauty blogs, but a few of them deal with fashion and lifestyle as well.

20 Something Plus - Bethany's life and style blog is an A+! She posts about a good variety of topics on her blog, so there's something for everyone. I'm a big fan of the conversational tone she uses when she writes--it feels like talking to one of my girlfriends back home.

Being Melody - I originally started reading Melody's blog for the beauty posts, but lately I've been all about her Broke on Purpose series, where she tackles her debt one month at a time. Broke on Purpose actually has its own website now! It's good to look through for some money-saving inspiration.

Buttons & Birdcages - I mostly lurk Miche's fashion blog, because after awhile, saying "Wow!" to everything she posts gets old. Her Refashions and Thrift Style Thursdays make me wish I could sew. She's always photographing in different locations, so her outfit posts fresh every time. She can be boho one day and classic the next, but she always looks stylish.

Collective Beauty - Julie runs her beauty blog like a pro. Her photos are so clear and bright that you'll be convinced she has a secret photography studio somewhere (and maybe she does, I don't know her life). Her makeup always looks spot on in her Face of the Day posts  and she's really just pretty but that's not important. She's also super sweet and was a big help to me when I was transitioning my blog from the old College Beauty Buff brand!

The Feminine Files - Kristina is the lipstick queen we all need. Her blog is great for browsing makeup reviews, and she always posts swatches on her social media. She also recently got a new camera like me so we're on this DSLR journey together!

Glamorable! - Anastasia's blog is incredibly sleek. She posts about everything, from favorite products to reviews to a whole slew of subscription boxes. Her photos are always gorgeous and if there's something you want to know about a Korean skincare brand, she's probably already reviewed it. 

Little Blushing Birdie - Lauren's blog is so cute! Her photos are seriously on-point and well-crafted and her posts are always an enjoyable read. She's also recently kicked her YouTube channel into gear, so you should check it out if you're looking for a new beauty channel to subscribe to. Oh and we're also beauty blogger twins.

Never Say Die Beauty - Allison is the beauty authority for women over 40, but that doesn't mean 20-somethings like me don't learn something too! She reviews a ton of makeup, skincare, nails, and hair products, and even some vitamin supplements so you'll feel beautiful and healthy on the inside, too.

Simply Stine - Stine, short for Christine, shares her best beauty tips on her blog, but my favorite ones are where she writes right from the heart. Her Fitting Room Confessions is probably one of the best posts I've ever read from her. It's so real and her writing really resonates with her readers.

Best Resources

Beautypedia - Paula Begoun is called the Cosmetics Cop for a reason. Her team has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to ingredients and skincare. If I want to get a second opinion on a product, I'll be sure to check here. If I want to know how a certain ingredient works, I'll be sure to look it up in their dictionary.

Cosmetics Info - Another good site for the geeks like me who want to know the science behind products. They also have a whole page practically dedicated to what parabens really are and why people need to stop freaking out about them. Good to browse through if you have some free time.

Makeup Alley - Before I buy just about anything beauty-related, I look it up on Makeup Alley first. They have more than 2.5 million reviews for over 150,000 products, so there's a good chance you'll find the information you're looking for. It's always good to get a second opinion before buying (or 2.5 million of them).

The Beauty Department - Lauren Conrad is a jack of all trades, and one of her trades is being a beauty expert. I especially like her hair posts, since I am basically inept at hairstyles other than a side braid. 

Phew! I hope you enjoyed going on this journey with me. Who knows what 2016 has for us? Until next time!

What was the best thing that happened to you in 2015?

Year in Review: 2015 Blog Overview

Want to see last year's Year in Review? Or perhaps more New Year's posts

Let's be friends!

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Disclaimer: Some affiliate links included. This post is brought to you by The 2015 Fan Club.