I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays and had a great New Year’s despite everything going on. For my first post of 2021, I wanted to look back on some of my favorite makeup and skincare products, books I read, movies and tv series I watched, and video games I played. I also collaborated with Naveesha over at Perks of Being a Procrastinator and she shared some of her favorites too! Be sure to follow her on Twitter @Naveeshaaa and Instagram @naveeshaaa as well.
My Makeup Picks
Juvia’s Place The Berries Eyeshadow Palette: I bought this palette for myself for my birthday, and I love it! The palette has 6 berry shades in matte and shimmer finishes, and I used it for my Dark Alice Halloween Makeup Look. The shades have good pigment, and there is minimal fallout, which makes it a great palette.
Juvia’s Place Warrior 3 Eyeshadow Palette: The Warrior 3 Palette has 9 bright and colorful shades including 7 mattes and 2 shimmers, and I used it for my Summer Sunset Makeup Look. The shades have good pigment, but unlike the previous The Berries palette, this palette has more fallout both in the pan and on the face. However, it is still a good palette for those that love colorful eyeshadow.
OPV Beauty Rainbow Splash Palette: The Rainbow Splash Palette is another colorful palette with 20 shades including 11 mattes, 8 shimmers, and 1 metallic. I used the palette in my Draw My Makeup Challenge. The shades have good pigment and barely any fallout, which makes it another great eyeshadow palette.
Uoma Beauty Black Magic Carnival Lipstick in Trinidad: The lipstick is a bold pink shade with a shimmer finish, and I used it in my Summer Sunset Makeup Look. I love the pink shade, but it is more on the sheer side and needs to be built up to have even coverage.
Uoma Beauty Stay Woke Concealer: I needed a new concealer after my Tarte Shape Tape concealer ran out, and the Uoma Stay Woke Concealer does not disappoint. It is full coverage and comparable to the Shape Tape. The concealer also lasts all day without creasing. However, the only downside is that the concealer is a bit expensive.
Naveesha’s Makeup Picks
Revolution Forever Flawless Ice Palette: I really wanted a blue eyeshadow palette to create some icy looks and this palette looked amazing and affordable. There were a few mint toned shades which I’m looking forward to experimenting with. I’ve seen some gorgeous blue and silver looks and I really want to recreate some of my own.
Fenty Highlighter Killawat in Ginger Binge and Moscow Mule: My friend Adi bought me my first Fenty product. This gorgeous highlighter comes with two shades: a lovely rose pink colour and a dazzling glittery version. It doesn’t disappoint and started my obsession with Fenty.
Mac Liquid Lipstick in Frickin’ Brilliant: I picked this lipstick up in a MAC sale after spotting the shimmery red tones and knowing I needed to buy it. It does require a lot of touch ups as it doesn’t have long-lasting coverage.
My Skin Care Picks
Balance Me Congested Skin Serum: After I finished the Balance Me Vitamin C Repair Serum, I decided to try their Congested Skin Serum again because it is suitable for oily, acne-prone skin. I tried the serum years ago and reviewed it in an Empties post, and I love it. The serum helps control the oiliness of my skin without drying it out, and it is a vital part of my skincare routine.
The Body Shop Tea Tree Mattifying Lotion: I have been using this moisturizer in the morning for almost a whole year because it is suitable for oily, acne-prone skin. The lotion does not make my face feel sticky and instead, it helps keep my face shine-free, and it does help reduce breakouts. The Mattifying Lotion is a great daily moisturizer for those with oily and acne-prone skin.
The Body Shop Tea Tree Night Lotion: After I used The Body Shop Tea Tree Mattifying Lotion for several months, I decided to try their Night Lotion. The Night Lotion is like the Mattifying Lotion, but it is thicker and helps reduce the appearance of blemishes overnight.
The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Mattifying Toner: This toner is another tea tree product from The Body Shop that I have been using for a while because it is suitable for oily skin. I use the toner in the morning and evening and it removes any residue and prepares my skin for the remaining steps of My 10 Step Korean Skin Care Routine.
Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème: As part of my skin care routine, I also use the Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème. The main problem I have with my under eye area is with dark circles, and the eye cream does reduce dark circles and preps for under eye concealer, which makes it great to use every day and for when I wear makeup.
The Original MakeUp Eraser: In my Eco-Friendly Beauty Products post, I shared my love for the MakeUp Eraser, which is a reusable polyester cloth that removes all makeup with just warm water. The regular MakeUp Eraser is a large size, and I can use it for several days before washing it with the rest of my laundry. The MakeUp Eraser is a great eco-friendly alternative to using makeup wipes and cotton rounds for removing makeup.
Naveesha’s Skincare Picks
The Ordinary’s Caffeine Solution: I was desperate to find an affordable product that would sort out my overwhelmingly dark under eye circles and hyperpigmentation. I’ve been using this but can’t tell if there has been an improvement or not yet!
Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser: This cleanser is perfect for sensitive skin and has a lovely smell too. So far, I’m loving Glossier’s range. It’s worth noting it is on the pricy side.
Liz Earle: My friend introduced me to Liz Earle last year and I haven’t looked back. I received a set of products for Christmas and I’m looking forward to using them, especially the Skin Tonic and the Eyebright Lotion which leaves my skin hydrated and soft.
My Book Picks
The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen: I reviewed The Rest of the Story on my blog, and it is about Emma Saylor whose dad remarries and leaves for the honeymoon so she spends the summer with her mother’s family who she has not seen since she was a little girl. Throughout the summer, Emma’s identity feels divided between her father’s and her mother’s families. The Rest of the Story was a nice summer read that focused on family and identity, but I did find the plot slow at times.
Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree by Adaobi Tricia Nwauba: This book is a fictional account of a girl who was kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram in Nigeria and is forced to follow her captors’ radical beliefs. The book was emotional, and I did not know about Boko Haram before reading this book. Also, from the girl’s account, it seems like Boko Haram existed in a different time period, but in 2014 Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls in Chibok and the terrorist group is still presently active. The book also includes an afterword by Viviana Mazza who is a journalist and documented the real stories of women and girls who were kidnapped by and rescued from Boko Haram. Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree is not a light read, but it is eye-opening to the atrocities going on in the world.
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds: Long Way Down is a short read about a boy deciding whether or not to murder the man who killed his brother in a gang related shooting. Long Way Down was a good read because it is a reminder to think the next time you consider someone a thug and to show empathy instead because you do not know their circumstances.
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson: Brown Girl Dreaming is the third book I read by Woodson, and it is about her own childhood in South Carolina and New York. Brown Girl Dreaming is an insightful read because Woodson shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s after the Jim Crow laws were overruled, but racial issues remained.
My Movie Picks
Enola Holmes (2020): Enola Holmes is about Sherlock Holmes’ younger sister who searches for her missing mother. I love the cast especially Millie Bobby Brown as Enola and Henry Cavill as Sherlock, and the movie was entertaining. I hope they will make more Enola Holmes movies in the future!
The Grinch (2018): I watched the animated version of The Grinch last month with my daughter, and we both liked it. She thought it was funny, and I enjoyed the animated style. The Grinch is a great family-friendly film.
To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You (2020): I loved the book and movie To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, so I was excited to watch the sequel. In the second movie P.S. I Still Love You, Lara Jean and Peter make their relationship official, but another recipient of her old love letters shows up. Like the first book and movie, this movie has a cute plot and a great cast.
13th (2016): 13th is a documentary that explains how the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution led to the criminalization and mass incarceration of blacks. Even though the 13th Amendment abolished slavery, there was a clause that permitted involuntary servitude as punishment for a crime. Many of the newly freed slaves were arrested for very minor crimes and forced to work on the plantations again as punishment. The documentary explains other forms of suppression including the Jim Crow laws and the war on drugs that targeted minority communities. The documentary is helpful in explaining why Black Lives Matter today because there is still criminalization and mass incarceration of blacks.
My TV Show Picks
The Circle: I watched The Circle at the beginning of 2020, and in The Circle, people live alone in apartments and compete for $100,000 by communicating solely through the social media platform – The Circle. The Circle is entertaining, and it was interesting to see if the catfish would be found out and sent home. I recommend watching this series if you like reality shows.
Nailed It!: I LOVE Nailed It! and every time a new season is added, I binge watch it. If you have not watched Nailed It! it is a baking competition where amateur bakers who are not that good at baking compete to win $10,000. There are now 4 seasons of Nailed It! and 2 seasons of Nailed It! Holiday, which I would definitely recommend watching!
Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness: Tiger King is a true crime documentary that was released at the start of lockdown and I binged watch the whole series. The series follows Joe Exotic, who is the former owner of a private zoo for big cats, Carole Baskin, who runs Big Cat Rescue, and other eccentric big cat owners. The series is wild and perfect if you like documentaries.
The Umbrella Academy: The Umbrella Academy has 2 seasons, and it follows the seven children with superpowers who were adopted by billionaire Sir Reginald Hargreeves to help save the world. Over time, the members of the Umbrella Academy disbanded, but following the death of their father, the six surviving members reunite. The plot is interesting and a mix of superhero, action, and drama genres. I also love the cast including Elliot Page and Robert Sheehan.
Unsolved Mysteries: Unsolved Mysteries is a true crime documentary with 12 episodes that are about disappearances, horrific deaths, and paranormal encounters that are unsolved. My favorite episodes are “A Death in Oslo” and “House of Terror”, but all the episodes are interesting and terrifying.
Naveesha’s TV Show Picks
The Queen’s Gambit: A show about an award-winning chess player doesn’t sound that interesting but I couldn’t take my eyes off this show. Orphan Beth Harmon navigates her life after being struck down with tragedy at a young age. As she battles addiction, her love of chess helps her to come alive again as she meets an assortment of people on her journey to becoming a world-famous chess champion
Black Mirror: There’s nothing like a bit of satire to help you escape. However, it doesn’t help that 2020 was a bit like a full season of Black mirror complete with the horror fantasy elements. This show is perfect if you want to unwind and travel to the future, but be warned each episode will leave you with a nasty taste in your mouth after it ends
Bojack Horseman: An adult comedy about a cartoon horse who suffers from addiction and being both a narcissist but also relatable? This show is incredibly real about mental illness and worth a watch if you want to both laugh and cry at the same time.
Ratched: Think American Horror Story vibes. A dark drama about Nurse Ratched who is played by Sarah Paulson. The hospital she works at is famous for trying out new experiments on the human mind. There’s something about psychiatric hospitals in the mid-1900s which screams both fascinating and horrific.
My Video Game Picks
Animal Crossing: New Horizons: I have been playing ACNH since March, and it is still one of my favorite games to play. In ACNH, you move to a deserted island where you can decorate your house and the island, DIY and customize furniture and clothing, visit friend’s islands as well as mystery islands, fish, plant, catch bugs and sea creatures, find fossils, and complete quests. I love all the new updates and events that have been added, and I am looking forward to the next update. Also, my daughter has her own home on my island, and we have been playing together, which has been fun. ACNH is a great casual game to play.
Life is Strange 2: Life is Strange is one of my favorite game series, and like the previous games Life is Strange and Life is Strange: Before the Storm, this game is episodic in that there are 5 episodes to play through. In LiS2, you play as Sean Diaz who runs away from home with his brother Daniel after a tragic incident, and throughout the episodes, you make decisions that impact the brothers and the ultimate ending of the game. I finished playing all episodes of the game, and I loved it, but I do think the previous two games were a bit better. With that said, LiS2 is worth playing. Before you play LiS2, I do recommend playing The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit. This game is a free short game where you play as a 9-year-old boy and his super-hero alter-ego, Captain Spirit, and it ties into LiS2.
Nancy Drew: During the summer, I replayed and ranked Every Nancy Drew PC Game by Her Interactive, and there are a lot of great games. In the games, you play as amateur detective Nancy Drew, and you solve different cases including investigating a ghostly horse in The Secret of Shadow Ranch and investigating a fashion designer in Danger by Design. The games are fun, and I loved playing them.
Planet Coaster: In Planet Coaster, you build and manage your own theme park. There are different modes to play including Career mode that provides you with pre-established parks and you complete challenges in that park. My favorite mode is Sandbox because you can create the theme park of your dreams with no limitations on money. I recommend playing Planet Coaster if you enjoy tycoon games.
The Sims 4: I have been playing The Sims since the original game, but I have never played with mods or custom content until 2020. I have made a list of My Favorite Sims 4 Mods and Custom Content, and they really do make the game more fun. I especially love the Slice of Life mod because it adds realism including more emotions, skincare, and sicknesses to the game. As far as expansion packs, I recently bought Snowy Escape, and I love the Japanese-inspired setting and all the new items. If you play The Sims, I recommend playing with mods and custom content and checking out the latest expansion pack!
Naveesha’s Video Game Picks
The Last of Us 1+2: If you haven’t played this amazing video games series, then you’re missing out. The graphics are amazing and what could be more cathartic than taking out your lockdown frustrations on some zombies and villains? In post-apocalyptic America, Joel and Ellie fight off cannibalistic creatures in their quest to smuggle Ellie to safety. This isn’t just an ordinary zombie killing game though, expect to have your heartstrings tugged as secrets come to life. The second installment is just as gripping as the first and gives us the plot through two main protagonists. You won’t be able to put it down.
Spiderman: If you’re a Marvel fanatic, then you’ll love this game. Spiderman has always been my favourite superhero! You get to play against all the old villains such as the Kingpin, Rhino, the Shocker, etc. The graphics are visual perfection. I recommend playing this game to let off some steam because there’s nothing like KO’ing some bad guys to cheer yourself up.
Any Super Mario Game: I don’t care if I’m over ten, these are the Holy Grail of gaming. Yes, you have a man but would he ever fight literal dragons in hundreds of castles to save your ass? If you didn’t play these games you definitely didn’t have a childhood because there’s nothing better than some good old platform gaming.
Be sure to check out my previous Best of Beauty + Books posts!
- Best of 2019 Beauty + Books
- Best of 2018 Beauty + Books
- Best of 2017 Beauty + Books
- Best of 2016 Beauty + Books
What were your favorites from 2020?