My 2015 Favorites

myfaves2015 copy

I know that I have not been the most consistent blogger this year, and I apologize. If you’ve followed my blog since the beginning (5 years ago omg), then you’ll know that part of the reason why I started The Wanderlust Project was to have a place to talk about my struggles with depression.

Despite this year being great – new job, lots of money, great boyfriend, super cute dog, the best friends I could ask for, I’ve been struggling. I’ve been busy with work, yes. But the real reason my posting was so sporadic this year was me feeling like crap. Zero motivation. I gained weight (but lost 10lbs so YEAAA). I was slowly becoming a shell of my former self. That’s what depression does, girl. It does not care what cool shit you’ve got going on. It’s that little voice that tells you why even bother. Why bother writing? Exercising? HAAAAA GIRL PLEASE. But things are looking better. The first step to dealing with depression is realizing that’s what’s wrong with you in the first place. I’ve been eating better, working out, and writing in my journal. Things are shaping up to be a great 2016. I have a trip to Thailand planned in February, where my HS BFF is coming to meet me, one of my best friends from college is coming to Vietnam for a month. Yay! I’m still thinking about the whole grad school thing, and mostly likely won’t start until 2017. I still have to finish my contract here in Vietnam, plus getting Sophia (my puppy) out of the country is not an easy task, and will take at least 6 months. She’s worth it though!

Even though I haven’t been blogging consistently, I have been testing and using and loving a lot of bomb ass products. A lot of the things I’m going to mention I’ve never reviewed on the blog because hashtag depression, but hey! At least it’s here now, and I do have plans to blog about most everything in detail later.

One good thing that happened this year is that I started wearing makeup again. Last year, I was not down with the whole makeup thing. My skin was fucked, and I still hadn’t gotten used to the weather here in Vietnam. Basically, I realized I just didn’t have the right products for hot, humid weather, so every time I went home, I’d stock up on stuff. Makeup has always been my one true love, way before skincare, so I’m glad that I started taking the time each day to pretty myself up. It definitely makes me feel better!

Grab some coffee or a drink and get ready. This post is hella long, haha!


I tried a lot of new makeup this year, but kept coming back to the same stuff over and over again. So without further ado, let’s take gander at my 2015 makeup favorites!

  1. Becca Champagne Pop Highlighter and Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector – GIRL. GIRL GIRL GIRL. Why didn’t I know about Becca sooner? That’s the struggle with living in a city that doesn’t have a Sephora. Champagne pop is heaven, and will last me pretty much my entire life. A little goes a looooong way. It’s SO pretty at night and in photos. The Becca primer is the first, and only primer I’ve used that’s actually, really helped my oily ass skin. It’s not a miracle product, I still get oily 6+ hours later, but it makes my makeup look flawless. I want to buy it in bulk.
  2. COLOURPOP EVERYTHING FOR EVER – Like. I can’t even tell you how much I love ColourPop lipsticks. They are everything. I love the Ultra Matte lippies too. They are slightly drying, but I always make sure to exfoliate and hydrate my lips before wearing them. What’s better is that I’ve started seeing girls at the Saigon Flea Market and on Instagram selling ColourPop lipsticks in Ho Chi Minh City. GET YOUR LIFE. My favorite shades are Limbo, Beeper, and Tulle Ultra Matte Lipsticks, and Ellarie, Creature, Poison, Dazed, Brink, and Grunge Lippie Stix.
  3. Makeup Geek Pigments – I’m so grateful that most of these brands don’t ship overseas because I’d be so broke. I’ve always wanted to try Makeup Geek pigments after seeing so many gorgeous Instagram tutorials using them, so I scooped some up when I was home. Bless. They are incredibly beautiful and versatile. I have Insomnia, Poker Face, Enchanted and Utopia. Insomnia (pretty much an exact dupe for MAC’s Blue Brown pigment) and Poker Face are my favorites, but they are all amazing.
  4. NARS Tinted Moisturizer and Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Waterproof Full Coverage Foundation – I stopped using the NARS tinted moisturizer for a while because it didn’t last on my skin and would just melt off in the heat, but after finally getting a great primer, it’s been my go-to for lightweight coverage. The Tarte Amazonian Clay foundation is the GOAT for full coverage. It looks so natural and pretty, and doesn’t get all cakey and gross. It literally lasts ALL DAY. It’s waterproof for sure, so make sure to use an oil cleanser and realllllly massage it in to remove it. It won’t come off with a cleanser alone!
  5. I’m Eyeshadow from Memebox in Brown Brick – Memebox sent me a bunch of awesome eyeshadows and lipsticks earlier this year, and they are all great, but by far the color that I’ve used the most often is the Brown Brick eyeshadow. It’s a beautiful, warm, brown matte shade that’s a staple for me. I use it all over the lid with a bit of eyeliner on lazy days, or I use it as a transition shade when I do a smokey eye or something more complicated. I am not exaggerating when I tell you I use it every day.
  6. Morphe Makeup Brushes – The biggest thing my makeup game was lacking was quality brushes. I have a great selection of MAC brushes I’ve had since college (like…seriously MAC is totally worth the money), but I was missing a few major keys like a great foundation buffing brush and a solid collection of eyeshadow brushes. I bought Morphe brushes when I was back home and I’ve been in love ever since. I bought both the 18 piece Professional Brush set and the 6 Piece Deluxe Contour Set and they’ve transformed my makeup application. They are soft, don’t shed, and are extremely affordable. The round buffer brush in the contour set has replaced my beauty blender as my favorite way to apply foundation. I LOVE it.
  7. MAC lipsticks and lip liners. MAC Whirl, Taupe, and Velvet Teddy have been my go-to nudes for 2015. Mixed with a bit of Cork or Bittersweet lipliner, they pretty much go with every makeup look. I’m usually wearing one of these three to work.
  8. Kat Von D Ink Liner Pen and Benefit They’re Real Mascara – I can’t find the Clio pen here in HCMC (apparently the Clio kiosk doesn’t exist anymore at Diamond Plaza, sniff) , and nothing really filled that void until I tried the Kat Von D Ink Liner pen. It’s pretty much the same thing, but maybe even blacker than the Clio pen. It glides on easily and lasts all day. I love it! Benefit They’re Real Mascara is a long time favorite, and was my most used mascara this year.
  9. The Charlotte Tilbury Dolce Vita Palette – I know, I know. It’s $52 for an eyeshadow quad. But hear me out! This eyeshadow quad is LIFE, girl. The shadows themselves are smooth and buttery, and richly pigmented. They are just beautiful on the skin. The brown shade in the top right is my everyday go to, on top of the I’m Eyeshadow color to give it a bit of shimmer. The gold glittery shade is gorgeous for a night out, and the dark brown is great for smokey eyes. It’s so versatile and even though I cringed when I bought it, it’s been well worth the money for me.
  10. Honorable mention – any and all oil blotting sheets. I’ve come to terms with the fact that my skin will never not be oily. That’s fine. The Becca primer helps, but inevitably I still get oily during the day. Thank goodness oil blotting sheets exist. I keep them everywhere: my desk at work, my purse, my backpack, at home. My favorites are the cheap Japanese ones you can get at Guardian drug store.


And now it’s time for SKINCARE. YAAAASSSSSSSSSS. I’ve tried so many things that I haven’t gotten around to reviewing properly, but let me know in the comments if you want to see something specifically and I’ll get to it!

  1. ALL THE ACIDS. I’m going to start off this section with the products that have completely transformed my skin this year – BHAs and AHAs. Like I mentioned earlier, my skin last year and the beginning of this year was a nightmare. It wasn’t until I started incorporating acids into my routine that I started seeing dramatic results. Stand outs from this year include my all time favorite beauty product, Biologique Recherche lotion p50, the Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid, the Mizon AHA 8% Peeling Serum, and my new favorite, the Vivant Skincare 8% Mandelic Acid 3-in-1 serum. I’m definitely going to do full reviews of the Mizon and Vivant Skincare serums, because both have been wonderful for making my skin look and feel soft, smooth, and even.
  2. Hada Labo love. I fell in love with a lot of Hado Labo products this year. The Gokojyun Alpha Milk and Cleanser are two of my all time favorites. The Gokojyun lotion is a holy grail for a lot of people, and it didn’t disappoint. I love using it after my acids at night. I got the Gokojyun cleansing foam in Hong Kong earlier this year and I love how gentle it is. Plus the foam is fun!
  3. ACWell Bubble Free pH Balancing Cleanser – Along with another fave, the Son and Park Beauty Water, this has been my go-to morning/after gym cleanser. It’s so gentle and soothing, and smells great.
  4. Biore UV Aqua Rich Sunscreen – Literally this is the only sunscreen I’ve used this year and I’ll never buy anything else. Even Johnny uses it! It leaves my skin feeling soft, and wears extremely well under makeup. There’s no white/gray cast, and even though it does have a lot of alcohol in it, it doesn’t dry my skin out. I plan on buying this in bulk whenever I leave Vietnam.
  5. WHAMISAAAAA – Everything I tried this year from Whamisa was a solid favorite. The organic flowers oil, the eye essence, the hydrating toner, the sheet masks…they are all fantastic. Honestly I haven’t felt this way about a brand since I discovered my bae su:m37. I guess fermented ingredients are really my ultimate jam.
  6. Cosrx Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask – YASSSSSSSSS! This quickly became my go-to night cream. I have the honey one as well, and I like it, but I LOVE the texture of the rice mask much better. It feels super luxurious, isn’t greasy, and leaves my skin glowing in the morning.
  7. Blossom Jeju Pink Camellia Essence is THE serum/essence of 2015. Hands down. Obsessed. In Love. Never want to use anything else on my face again type love. It smells like jasmine heaven, feels luxurious and beautiful on the skin, and the packaging is to die for. I use it alone after my hydrating toner, or sometimes I mix it with my night cream/overnight sleeping mask. HEAVEN. I have the hydrating toner too, and haven’t used it nearly as much as the essence. The essence is where it’s at folks! Treat yoself to a late Christmas gift girl, and thank me later.
  8. Goodal Phytorain Murumuru Seed Gel Cream and Missha Near Skin All-in-One Smart Cream – These have both been my go-to daytime moisturizers this year. Gel creams are my jam, and both of these are lightweight, hydrating, and non-greasy. I also love the fact that they are unscented. Johnny loves the Missha cream, and wants me to buy another one for him!
  9. Son & Park Beauty Water – This has been a godsend product for my pre/post gym face routine. I started breaking out a few months ago (I think) due to me washing my face so much, and this has taken care of that. It’s pretty, gentle, effective, and smells great. I wrote an entire review about it here.
  10. Every single su:m 37 product in this Instagram post.

If you’ve lasted through this entire post, kudos to you! Thank you all for sticking by me. I love you to pieces.

Have a Merry, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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