2016 Faves & Fails

When you have a problem, er, penchant rather, for feeding your beauty and pop culture addictions, you’re bound to find some gems along the way! But, more often than we’d like to admit, every once and a while you get a real bad egg*. We want to feel good about everything we acquire, so here are some things we discovered last year that we really really loved, and a couple of bummers that you might want to think twice about:



MV Organics Gentle Cream Cleanser

This is sooooo pricey I’m almost embarrassed to admit I spent $58.00 on 2.4 fl.oz. of cleanser. But it works wonders for my skin in winter. I discovered this last January when my skin was freaking out….. it had become red, dry, super sensitive and very breakout prone. It was a mess. I had heard really good things about this cleanser via a couple different YouTubers and I was willing to try anything to get my skin calmed down. And it worked. So well. I chalked things up to a bad winter last year and never repurchased….. until last month when my skin started to do the same thing it did last winter. Once again this cleanser is working and I feel like things are back under control. Bonus: it smells so amazing.

Jeffree Star Velour Liquid Lipsticks

I know. Can we really talk about the Jeffree Star liquid lipsticks one more time? Yes. We can. Last year all three of us were introduced to these and as we have mentioned in previous posts, they are the best. Maybe this is too obvious of a choice for one of my “best off” picks, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t say out of everything I bought in 2016 these were one of my very favorites. So if you still have not tried one, DO IT. My personal favorite happens to be Celebrity Skin. PS. Oil cleansers or micellar water work best to remove these lipsticks…. because they really do wear forever.


Algenist GENIUS Ultimate Anti-Aging Melting Cleanser

This was an impulse purchase. I felt that it would be amazing though, based on my feelings about the GENIUS eye cream that I love so much.  I feel like for the $38.00 price tag, this was not worth the money. It’s nothing special. I did not feel or see any great differences in my skin. I have many cleansers that are just as good if not better than this one.



The Hunt for the Wilderpeople

I’m still working through the list of Oscar buzzed movies, but even as I tick them off the list, none have changed my mind on my favorite movie of 2016, The Hunt for the Wilderpeople. I hadn’t heard anything about this film but remembered my friend, Rob Thomas recommending it to me, which was enough to persuade some friends to see it on a whim. (I actually think they were talking about seeing something I wasn’t feeling and threw this one out for suggestion.) None of us knew what we were getting into–but we left completely on a high and totally smitten by this film. I think it’s best not to know too much about it when you see it, but you must see it. (Full disclosure–I’m ridiculous so there were two scenes I had to look away for–but there’s plenty of time to do so.) And it has been 100% loved by everyone who has seen it on my recommendation and brightens up the darkest day.  Be prepared to be charmed and to have a new song to sing for birthday parties.

Song Exploder

Rob Thomas strikes again! I’m not huge into podcasts. I have a few that I follow but I’m not a rabid consumer of them. So when Rob brought this one up to me on our drive back from Lollapalooza, I kinda forgot about it or filed it in the way back. But it came up again a few weeks later by my brother-in-law, Matt (or New Matt as we affectionately call him.) And I’m so glad it did. This podcast might be the greatest thing I discovered in 2016–even though it’s been around longer. Each episode is only about 15 minutes long and comes around every two weeks or so. It is definitely a low commitment podcast. Each episode features an artist breaking down one of their songs. Warning: this is serious nerd territory. They talk about samples they use, influences they were drawing from before recording, the lyrical meanings and many of the different textures that make a song great that you might not have noticed before. The first episode I listened to was MGMT talking about Time to Pretend. I am not kidding–I cried. And it wouldn’t be the last time I was so moved by the story behind the music I wept on my steering wheel. Many of my favorite songs of 2016 had episodes featured on the podcast. Would they have made the list had I not learned about the production on You Don’t Get Me High Anymore or the backstory to Your Best American Girl? Probably? But frankly–I don’t care. Because these stories give me a much deeper appreciation to the song’s artistry and all the tiny decisions that are made to put together something that seems like magic. Subscribe to this podcast today.


Urban Decay Cosmetics Blackmail Vice Lipstick Palette

This seemed like such an awesome deal–twelve shades from the incredible new Urban Decay lipstick launch–in one palette. Perfect for travel. Perfect for sampling. Perfect for expanding your collection of colors. Nope. The palette itself is really clunky. It’s too thick and heavy to stash in your purse. And while the colors look like a nice variety of options, the formulas do not work the same as in the tube. They felt really gloppy to apply and the more pigmented shades were patchy, requiring multiple coats. Maybe it’s because I’m obsessed with the Jeffree Star Velour Liquid Lipsticks so everything else has taken a back seat, but I brought just this palette and two Jeffree Star colors (Gemini, REDRUM) when I traveled to Tokyo for 8 days in September and I only touched this palette once–and I haven’t used it since. It’s only $20, but just get a full sized UD Vice lipstick in a shade you love and skip this collection.



Makeup Revolution Radiance Palette

via Ulta.com

Ok ok- this palette snuck into my basket somehow during my holi-dazed shopping at Ulta, and I have been reaching for it almost daily ever since. This is not a super glittery, shine-from-space type of highlighter, but rather, it adds a really soft, subtle, lit from within glow. I love using the lightest shade (“breathe”) as an under eye setting powder (gives me life on early mornings), the middle shade (“exhale”) for my cheekbones and brow bone, and the darkest shade (“glow”) to bump up my bronzer, or as a sheer wash on my eyelids. THIS PALETTE IS $15!!!, and it rivals the Ambient Lighting palette by Hourglass. The formula is a beautiful creamy powder, and can be applied subtly for a daytime, perfect “Snapchat filter” glow. You can get even more shine and staying power out of it if you apply it with a brush dampened with some setting spray. Bonus: the palette is made of quality plastic and comes with a nice, huge mirror.

Stranger Things

I know, it’s such an obvious pick! But in a year of really stand out television, this one really resonated with me. Maybe it’s because I am a child of the 80’s, and remember living in a world where we were latch-key kids and rode our bikes all over town. Everything has already been said about this show- it’s a love letter to the 80’s, it’s Stephen King meets Steven Spielberg, the kids (who are so freaking fantastic) actually look like real kids- it all hits me in just the right nostalgia feels. I spent a good week listening to nothing but Joy Division and New Order after devouring this series over the course of 48 hours, and you know, it just felt right. Plus Winona Ryder!! YYYAAAAASSSSS!!!

For those keeping score, I’m still obsessed with this mascara, this deodorant, and this yogurt (which is now much easier to find!)


Jeffree Star Beauty Killer Eyeshadow Palette

via jeffreestarcosmetics.com

After falling in love with the aforementioned liquid lipsticks, I had big hopes and dreams for this palette. I even set an alarm for the release, and bought it from my phone while brushing my teeth (this was expected to- and did- sell out quickly). I was excited about the quirky mix of neutrals, mattes, glitters, and electric shades. The pan sizes were huge. YouTubers were raving. The day my box arrived, I opened it up and… oh. It’s made of cardboard. But whatever the pans are huge and the colors swatched so vividly! But then I actually tried to put together looks. And tried. And tried. None of these colors made sense, at least on my face. Maybe that’s a personal failing. Of my face. Another weird thing: they did not last. Where does eyeshadow even go? It even faded under the power of a shadow primer AND a setting spray. I wanted to love this, but I’ll stick to collecting lip colors from this line.

What are some of your favorite discoveries of 2016? What products bummed you out? Let us know in the comments!

As always, we bought all of this stuff with our own dumb money. Photos are from product websites unless otherwise noted.

*Ricky Baker is our favorite bad egg.

8 thoughts on “2016 Faves & Fails

  1. Favorite discoveries:
    Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in all shades, especially Moonstone, and the Algenist Genius Eye Cream (thanks Pamela!)
    Sol de Janeiro Bum Bum Cream (thanks Lyn!)
    Stila “Glitterati” lip top coat (just discovered this and it is awesome!)
    Stila Magnificent Metals Glitter & Glow Liquid Eyeshadow (Rose Gold Retro is my favorite)
    Skyn Iceland “The Antidote” lotion
    Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder
    Urban Decay Ultimate Ozone Lip Pencil
    Jeffree Star Liquid Velour Lipsticks (of course) – my favorites are Androgyny, Pumpkin Pie and Designer Blood

    Urban Decay “Full Spectrum” palette – the colors are lovely but they go on way too lightly, even with a good eyeshadow primer.
    Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder – also goes on too lightly
    Pretty much anything with “lip plumping” – it never seems to work on me
    I LOVE the Kat Von D Studded Kiss lipsticks, but is it just me or do the caps come off REALLY easily? I think they need a redesign on that casing.

    So, lots more faves than bummers! thanks for all the advice!

    • Ooooh I might have to go try that Stilla liquid eyeshadow!! (Actually, I just noticed ELF came out with something along those lines…?) I also find the KVD studded lipsticks to be a bit of a bummer, but they are soooo pretty so I keep rooting for them.

    • Oh, one more in the “bummer” realm because I think people need to know: an acquaintance recommended OnlineLeggingStore.com to me and the experience has been terrible. Firstly, their sizes run so terribly small that a 4X is more like a Large. Secondly, trying to get a refund out of them for a return has proved a major hassle – they received my return a month ago and have yet to refund me. They send reassuring little messages to put you off….I’m probably going to have to put in a chargeback request. So, buyer beware!

      • Yikes! Thanks for the heads up–although I don’t really wear leggings much–I know others who do!

        I have also tried the Ambient Light powders by Hourglass a few times and always end up returning them. I’m at a loss as to why people rave about them so! But yes to your faves–and I really need to look for my Ozone pencil and give it a go–you and Jess are both crazy for it and I trust your opinions lots and lots!

  2. Pingback: High vs Low: New Urban Decay vs Wet ‘n Wild Liquid Lipstick | Everything and Nothings

  3. Faves:
    I’m sure not all of these things came out in 2016. That’s just when I discovered them.
    – Black Mirror on Netflix. So scary because any of it could be our future.
    – Ofra liquid lipsticks. I now own a pathetic number of them.
    – ABH’s Mario, Modern Renaissance, and SunKissed Glow palettes. These are truly fantastic.
    – Wayne Goss brushes. Almost every other kind of brush is scratchy on my eyes. These are expensive but feel like silk.
    – This blog! You ladies are my heroes.
    – Hair texturizers. Not sure how someone like me with thin, fine hair never before discovered this amazing realm of hair products. They have changed my life!!!
    – Physicians Formula. I love so many things from you! Eyeliner, Butter Bronzer, highlighter, YW powder…
    – e.l.f. Also you. So many awesome things and SO CHEAP.
    – Makeup Geek. Their eyeshadows are phenomenal.
    – MAC pigments. Never used them before. They are GORGEOUS.
    – All things duochrome. ❤
    – BoxyCharm. Pretty impressed with this service. The boxes have not disappointed for the price so far.

    – Have to agree with Jenni. The UD Full Spectrum palette is severely lacking in pigmentation. Very disappointing.
    – UD’s eye primers. Everyone raves about these but they make my eyelids super crepey. It’s weird.
    – YouTubers who are now just in it for the money. Your reviews can’t be trusted anymore and it sucks.
    – Morphe. Can there be a more shitty yet over-hyped brand?
    – Jeffree Star. I LOVE your liquid lips but why are you such an insufferable, racist douchnozzle? You make it an internal conflict every time there’s a new color I want for your line.
    – Speaking of insufferable, racist douchnozzles, the 2016 election cycle. It goes well above “bummer” status but there you go.
    – All of the cosmetic companies that farm out their holiday releases to other labs thereby giving different formulas than their regular lines. Super lame. I’m looking at you Tarte and Too Faced.

    Wow. Guess I had more to say than I thought. I could go on (seriously) but will end it here!

  4. I am working my way sloooowwwwwly through Black Mirror- I think it’s great, but whew!! Each episode takes a while to unpack!

    I was so tempted to buy that UD full spectrum palette, but just wasn’t impressed by it! I hear their old electric palette is much better (it’s pressed pigments) and it’s still available (and on sale!!) on Sephora’s website. Hmmm… do I need to buy it right now?? I also totally agree with you on the holiday products!! So many sub-par products this year!! The Too Faced ones and the Tarte were all crazy scratchy or glittery. Not cute. Also: do you watch Wayne Goss’s YouTube channel? He’s amazing.

    Thank YOU for joining us on this crazy blog adventure!! <3

    • I do watch his channel. Love him!

      I thought about that electric palette but the colors just aren’t very wearable for me. I still use FS but it’s just not very impressive. At least I got it on sale plus another 20% off so it wasn’t a huge investment.

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