Wednesday, December 28, 2016

What I Got For Christmas in 2016

Hello, beautiful - and welcome back to Haley Marie! I hope you had a merry everything and enjoyed spending time with friends and family over the holiday.

After Christmas, I always love being nosy and finding out what other people got as gifts. It's not that I'm looking to compare myself to others - it's just that I'm genuinely curious! Everyone is different, and everyone's family celebrates the holidays differently, so I like the insight into how friends and fellow bloggers spent their Christmas morning. Plus, seeing some of the cool items that others got helps me start writing a list for my birthday/next Christmas!

So, in case you're like me and love to see what other people got for Christmas, I'm sharing some of the highlights of my holiday in this post. I won't include unnecessary items like pajamas, candy, etc., but I'll show you some of my favorite beauty, fashion, and just generally thoughtful presents from this year and share some of the stories that go along with them.


(As pictured from left to right) 

e.l.f. Cosmetics Contouring Blush & Bronzing Powder in St. Lucia

Ryan and I agreed on a set of rules early on for Christmas this year: we would each buy each other one gift, costing no more than $30.00, and make one gift from scratch. Well, when it came to the store-bought gifts this year, we were both incredibly lazy; we each picked out our own gift for the other one to order on Black Friday. He chose a pair of gaming headphones from Amazon, while I asked for $30.00 worth of makeup sets from e.l.f. - a drugstore beauty brand I'd been dying to try!

Anyways, that long-winded introduction leads me to my main point, which is that this beauty brand is a steal for the value you get for your money. This blush has been compared to NARS' coveted Orgasm shade, but at $4.00, costs only a fraction of the price. I've already had a chance to use this product and personally, I love the way this shade looks on my fair skin. More than that, the slight shimmer and the peachy sheen make this product ultra-flattering for all skin tones. I can totally see this shade working on almost anyone, from dark skinned to light.

e.l.f. Everyday Smoky Eyeshadow Palette 

This palette is another steal. For just $10.00, you get 10 shades of shadow for a subtly smoky sheen. Even though it's not as great as e.l.f.'s lip or cheek products, I definitely think this palette is worth its price. I've used some of the nude shades already, and while they aren't as heavily pigmented as pricier shadows (such as my favorites from Urban Decay's Naked 3 and Naked Basics palettes), they're great for someone like me, who prefers a touch of color over a dark smoky eye. 

Too Faced Natural Eyes Eye Shadow Collection

Today I bought this palette at my local Sephora using some gift cards I got from my aunt and cousins in Arkansas. While I haven't had the chance to use it yet, I'm in love with the shimmery nude shades. (In case you couldn't tell already, I'm a big fan of natural eyeshadow!) One of the coolest parts about this palette is that you can either use the shades to create one of three recommended looks, for absolutely zero guesswork involved - or, if you're feeling a little more on the wild side, you can combine them in any way you want. 

While I'm honestly a bit sad to be ruining the pristine, untouched look of the shadow pots (yup, I'm weird like that), I can't wait to use this palette for the first time tomorrow or later this week. Since Urban Decay's Midnight Cowboy is one of my go-to favorites, I'm especially excited to try the more glittery shadows like Silk Teddy, Push-Up, and Honeypot.

e.l.f. Complete Coverage Concealer in Light

I picked out this concealer palette because it reminded me of Benefit's Bo-oing concealer, which I used to love but simply can't afford to keep buying now that I'm in college. Having tried it a few times already, I definitely think this product could be considered a fair dupe for the Benefit one. The coverage with the e.l.f. one is comparable, if not better - I especially love the fact that I can use a lighter shade of concealer for my under-eyes, a darker one to cover up acne, or blend them together to create my own custom shade. The only downside to this concealer is that the texture is a bit greasy to apply, especially compared to a creamier formula like Benefit's. However, for the inexpensive price of $3.00, I can honestly say I was shocked by how well this product performed!

e.l.f. Velvet Matte Lipstick in Berry Bordeaux

Honestly, when Ryan and I picked out our own presents on Black Friday, I was most excited to get my hands on this sexy shade of lipstick from e.l.f. Now that it's finally mine, I can't stop raving about the color! I have wanted to get in on the dark lip trend for quite some time now, but just couldn't find the perfect affordable product. For fair-skinned girls like myself, I can honestly say that Berry Bordeaux is the flawless shade I was looking for. I've already worn it twice since Christmas Eve, when Ryan and I exchanged gifts, and I'm sure the tube will be worn dry by next Christmas!

e.l.f. Moisturizing Lipstick in Party in the Buff

I love a light pink nude lip with long lashes and a flirty cat eye. Honestly, I think this lipstick might be a touch too light for my skin tone (I'm pale, but not translucent), but even so, the creamy, moisturizing formula makes this product worth it. I won't go so far as to say it's my new "my lips but better" shade - nor do I like it more than the Berry Bordeaux color - but I do admit that it's well-formulated and flattering, even if it makes my lips look a bit pale.

e.l.f. Cream Eyeliner in Black

Having never used a cream eyeliner formula before (I'm more of a pen gal myself), I was eager to try this product and see what everyone had been raving about. Honestly, now that I've tried it, I'm not sure I'm jumping on the bandwagon just yet. Maybe it's just the e.l.f. formula, but I found the cream to be more gray than black, and much less richly pigmented than the liquid formulas I'm used to. Admittedly, I haven't quite gotten the hang of using the little angled eyeliner brush yet, so I'm going to have to give this product a bit more practice before I give it my full review - but for now, I'm feeling decidedly meh about giving up my Milani liquid eyeliner in favor of this cream formula.

e.l.f. Lip Exfoliator

e.l.f.'s lip exfoliator was another product I'd never tried from any line, not just theirs - and I have got to say, I think it's one of my all-time favorites now! I wasn't sure how well I expected this product to deliver on what it promised, but I can honestly say that this exfoliator gently scraped away all my dead, chapped skin. The lip exfoliator was simple to use, hydrated as well as exfoliated, and didn't hurt. Plus, I'm pleasantly surprised to add, it tastes like brown sugar, too! Overall, this product is an amazing everyday treat to use right before you apply a richly pigmented lipstick - such as my new favorite, e.l.f.'s Berry Bordeaux.

e.l.f. EX-tra Lip Gloss in Michael

First of all, can I just say that it's adorable that they named these lip glosses after men, instead of the usual hackneyed girls' names like Ashley and Bridget? I definitely think it's awesome that e.l.f. is one of the first cosmetics companies I've seen to acknowledge that girls aren't the only ones wearing makeup anymore! Secondly, I haven't had the chance to try this lip gloss out for myself yet, but I'm super excited about this dark, rosy shade. The only thing I can think to compare it to is Urban Decay's Naked Lip Gloss in Beso, which I got as part of the limited edition Naked on the Run palette that was available not too long ago - we'll see how this one stacks up as a dupe!

e.l.f. Lip Lock Pencil

To be completely honest, I've tried this lip lock pencil a few times already - each time I've worn one of my brand-new e.l.f. lipsticks - and I'm not completely convinced I'm using it right. However, this product seems to do what it claims, which is to keep your lipstick locked in place and prevent it from feathering into the fine lines around your lips. According to the website, you can use this clear pencil to fill in fine lines and trace the outline of your mouth before putting on lipstick. Additionally, I've found that it's helpful as a sort of makeup eraser, for cleaning up some of those mistakes after you've put on a dark shade of lipstick. For just $3.00, I definitely think this product is well-worth the price of a flawless bold lip! 

Too Cool for School 1/2 Dozen Egg Cream Mask Set

Embarrassing for a beauty blogger, but 100% true: I'm only just now getting around to trying some of the Korean beauty products I've heard wonders about. This isn't the first time I've used Too Cool for School's products before - I bought their Egg Mousse Soap at Sephora last Christmas, to use with my Clarisonic - but it is the first time I've tried any of their sheet masks. In fact, I've only really used sheet masks one other time, like, ever! However, I'm definitely excited to sample Too Cool for School's egg cream masks. 

The gift set comes with two of each variety: Hydrating, Firming, and Pore-Tightening, all of which will serve me well given my oily-dry combination skin. Ryan and I love to do face masks together, so I imagine these will come in handy the next time we want to throw on a movie and pamper ourselves over break.

Not pictured:

Bath and Body Works Fine Fragrance Mist in Warm Vanilla Sugar 

Bath and Body Works' Warm Vanilla Sugar is my go-to fragrance for everyday life - so you can imagine how stoked I was to see that Ryan's family had bought me tons of Bath and Body Works goodies for Christmas this year! Sadly, I left these gifts at my dad's house, so I wasn't able to photograph them for y'all - but as college girls, I'm sure we're all familiar with that shiny gold packaging. 

I'm not a fancy perfume kind of gal, so nothing makes me happier than a little bit of Bath and Body Works! Among the collection they generously gifted me was the Fine Fragrance Mist in Warm Vanilla Sugar. When it comes to Bath and Body Works, I tend to prefer the fragrance mists to the perfumes because they're cheaper, less heavily concentrated, and don't assault your nostrils quite as strongly. Plus, this is my usual everyday scent anyways, so it just goes to show how well his family knows me after all this time :)

Bath and Body Works Body Lotion in Warm Vanilla Sugar

The body lotion came as part of the gift set from Ryan's family. When it comes to total body hydration, I tend to prefer creams to lotions; however, Bath and Body Works lotion is the perfect thing to keep in your backpack for school or at your desk at work or home to slather on your hands or feet when they're feeling a bit dry. Bonus points for sticking with the Warm Vanilla Sugar theme - I love when people buy all their products in the same scent. It just makes me feel so put together to smell like Warm Vanilla Sugar from head-to-toe! 

Bath and Body Works Shower Gel in Warm Vanilla Sugar

I went through a phase when I was in middle and high school where all I would wash my body with was shower gel from Bath and Body Works. Now that I'm in college, that habit is a bit too pricey for me to sustain (not to mention that it costs $5.00 extra to get from campus to the Bath and Body Works in downtown Boston and back). That's another reason why it was great to get this basket of goodies from Ryan's fam: it was a total throwback to one of my favorite things from when I was younger, as well as an awesome way to treat myself after a long day!

Bath and Body Works Ultra Shea Body Cream in Warm Vanilla Sugar

When I said I got a lot of stuff from Bath and Body Works, I seriously wasn't kidding. I spent the morning after Christmas in and out of the bathtub testing a wide array of products in every shade of Warm Vanilla Sugar you could possibly imagine. I'm pretty sure I walked out of the bathroom smelling like a Christmas cookie. Wet hair, don't care.

Anyways, of all the products I tested, this body cream is one of my favorites. My dry skin is always in need of a hydrating, soothing body cream during the harsh winter months. Often I neglect to moisturize my body until the damage is already done, so I always need a skin cream that can absorb quickly and work double-duty on my dry, cracked skin - particularly around problem areas like my elbows and knees. This Ultra Shea Body Cream does exactly that, without leaving my skin overly sticky or shiny - making it the perfect, hardworking moisturizer for tough New England winters.

Bath and Body Works Luxury Bubble Bath in Warm Vanilla Sugar

Taking a bubble bath is one of the most luxurious pleasures on the planet, as far as I'm concerned - and as a college student who's been doomed to a life of shower shoes for the past few months, it's a pleasure I'm eager to enjoy while I still have the chance. Thankfully, I got this Luxury Bubble Bath from Bath and Body Works for Christmas this year, so I was able to treat myself to a long, relaxing bath on Christmas morning. 

While the scent of this bubble bath is heavenly, and the creamy formula left my skin smooth and soft (not dry or dehydrated at all), my only complaint is that the bubble bath doesn't stretch as far as I'd like it to. I had to use about a third of the bottle to froth up just one bath, meaning that your $14.00 bottle doesn't last more than a handful of uses. I guess you could say that this bubble bath truly is a special luxury!


Hunter Original Tall Gloss Rain Boots

In case you couldn't tell from their sneaky appearance in my women's gift guide, these boots were the big ticket item on my Christmas wishlist this year. I've never owned a pair of rain boots before, but quickly discovered how desperately I needed a pair with all the walking I've done to and from classes back at BU. Honestly, given their hefty price tag, I wasn't expecting to find them under the tree - so it was an awesome surprise to unbox these glossy, gorgeous boots! While they're a bit tall on me (I'm only 5'1"), I love everything about them, from the sassy heel to the practical waterproof rubber. I predict you'll have a hard time tearing me away from these boots during the wet New England winter.

Abercrombie and Fitch Women's Color Block Puffer Jacket

Fun fact: this jacket claims to be an online exclusive, but I bought it in-store for the same price! For Christmas this year, my dad bought me an Abercrombie and Fitch gift card for $50.00 instead of trying to pick out clothes for me himself. So, on Monday, when Ryan and I went shopping with our brand-new gift cards, I discovered this adorable $144.00 jacket on sale for just $56.00 and knew I had to spring for it. Because I'm short, the bomber style worked perfectly for me - it was just the right length, which is a rare find in a jacket, and warm and downy without feeling too bulky. If you're taller than I am or have an especially long torso, I imagine this jacket may leave your midriff feeling a bit chilly; however, as a short gal, I loved the cute crop and look forward to (finally) wearing a warm jacket that doesn't make me feel like a tiny marshmallow.

Grey Mossimo Cardigan

One of the most creative Christmas gifts I got this year was actually a bunch of Target gift cards from my mom - and here's why. Instead of simply handing me the gift cards or awkwardly wrapping them and putting them under the tree, my mom created a scavenger hunt with clues that she hid all around the main floor of the house. So instead of unwrapping my Target gift cards, I had to go searching for them! I found them in creative hiding places like the back of the Christmas tree, taped inside one of our Christmas cards on the wall, and even buried beneath the bowlful of red and green m'n'ms we always keep on our kitchen table this time of year. 

Most of the gift card cash I'm saving for when school comes back around, but I had a couple of errand-type things to pick up the other day, so I decided to have a look through some of my favorite sections. I found this cute cardigan buried inside the women's clearance rack and just couldn't say no. Actually, I'm wearing it as I type this post! I love that this cardigan is long and warm without feeling overly-bulky or overwhelming my small frame. Plus, at less than $15.00, the sale price was a steal I couldn't turn down! 

Lacy Green Socks

Having spoiled the surprises of our big gifts this year, Ryan and I decided to do a stocking challenge for each other this year, where we each bought $20.00 worth of stocking stuffers to surprise the other with. Ryan cheated, because he added a $20.00 Dunkins gift card to my stocking, but I was more than excited to unpack all the goodies he gave me. Among the mix were these adorable socks from Five Below, which, as you can see from the photo, are military green with a sweet lace hem. I love socks like these  - not to mention, they're even more appropriate since we saw ones just like them watching Shark Tank together the other day. Even more than that, I love that I'm dating such a sweet guy who understands my love of style all too well! 


11.6 in. MacBook Air

This was the major item on my Christmas list this year, and the one thing I wanted more than anything. As a college student and a blogger, I'm generally pretty glued to my laptop. The problem was, my old one was getting way too heavy to heave across campus. This MacBook Air solved all of those problems for me. It's light enough and small enough to throw in a tote bag. Instead of having to carry around a big, bulky computer in my backpack, I can now simply carry my handbag around campus. Plus, being a blogger, I'm especially excited about learning all the cool software and add-ons I can use to optimize my laptop for blogging! Hopefully you guys will soon start to notice the difference that having a high-tech, portable laptop will make for Haley Marie :)

Dabney Lee Ink Pen

Stationery is my one true weakness in life. Clearly, my dad knows that, because he bought me this adorable pen for Christmas this year. This pen is a little bulky to write with, if I'm being completely honest, but I love the cute navy polka dots and how fancy it feels. Having such a high-quality pen that writes in rich black ink truly makes me feel like an adult, once and for all. Plus, it comes with a matching magnetic case, so I'll never have the problem of having to fish a working pen out of the dark abyss that is my handbag...

Harry Potter Miniature Coloring Kit

Real talk: this item was a total impulse buy from Target. I had been eyeing it on the shelf for as long as I could remember (seeing as I'm the kind of gal who likes to ask restaurants for a kid's menu and an adult menu, so I can fill in all the word searches and stuff), so when I discovered it was 20% off the other day, I knew I just had to have it. Needless to say, I went for it, and I look forward to slipping this tiny coloring kit in my bag and using it to bust boredom at restaurants, in waiting rooms, and all those pesky situations with nothing to do.

Color-Your-Own Greeting Cards

My dad bought me this set of color-your-own greeting cards for Christmas this year, and I'm obsessed. I've already started to fill in some of the holiday designs to write thank you cards for my grandparents and for Ryan's family. I especially love that all of the greeting cards come with matching, color-your-own envelopes to make snail mail all the more exciting. I love getting mail, so hopefully I can use some of these cards to write to some of my friends at school (or maybe start a penpal program with some of my fellow bloggers?) and start getting some cute 'n' quirky mail back in return! 

Felt-eez Felt Tip Markers

Last but not least, these cute felt-tip markers were another one of Ryan's stocking stuffers from Five Below. I haven't had the chance to write with them yet, but I love the rich variety of colors and can't wait to start using them in all my creative pursuits. I plan to use them to fill in color-your-own greeting cards, accentuate my scrapbook (if I ever get around to finishing up those scrapbook pages I've got planned), and maybe even to add a little color to my brand-new planner.

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