I cannot believe I’m already saying this: Bloomin’ Beauty has turned two!

Celebration

Aside from inserting the expected pink fireworks (call me corny; I couldn’t resist), I wanted to say a HUGE thank you to each and every one of you. This second year of blogging saw some major changes: my first Youtube video, a major move to a different state and all of the changes that entailed and several weeks at a time of no posts. I know it hasn’t been easy to stick with me when I don’t post or tweet regularly and the fact that I have had to all but abandon commenting other blogs (I usually read posts on my iPhone now- but I assure you- I am still reading) that I love. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate everyone who has supported me; continued to visit my site, link to me, email me, tweet me, etc. It’s truly inspiring and uplifting. As I enter this third year of blogging I wanted to share with you some advice, and some of the favorite posts I have done along the way- including reader favorites, the posts that have gotten the most traffic in the last two years.

First, a few things I have learned. (I’m not an expert at blogging and it’s something I do as a hobby, so keep that in mind. All of this is based on my personal and individual experience)

Now, on to the good stuff. Here are the posts that have received the most traffic since I started my blog on Dec. 9th, 2010. :) (these are in order of highest traffic received to date)

Revlon Lip Butters- totally dig the packaging

Revlon Lip Butters- totally dig the packaging

  1. Revlon Lip Butters: This was a post I did with all of Revlon Lip Butters I had purchased back in November last year. I still enjoy the picture of all of the tubes! It remains my number 1 most viewed post of all time and frequently ranks in my weekly traffic a year later.
  2. Battle of the Blush: Peach/Orange/Coral Edition: Of course I would myself love any post that included that in the title, being the blush fiend that I am. It’s interesting that this ranks higher than a post I did more recently with better swatches and in pan comparisons. Whatever works :)
  3. Milani Baked Blushes: I admit I sometimes cringe a little when I view my older posts. Though I think the content is still good, I view it with an ever-critical eye. The swatches in this post are messy and I want to go all Monk and straighten them out. However, the swatches are still fairly clear and obviously popular enough to rank as #3.
  4. MAC Naturally & Iris Apfel Part 2: It doesn’t surprise me at all when MAC makes it in my top posts. It’s a popular brand that’s usually in high demand- especially with comparison swatches.
  5. MAC Tres Cheek Swatches & Comparisons: I was happy to see this post in my top 5. I spent an insane amount of work getting all of the blushes and comparisons swatches done. The high traffic is a symbolic high five for all of the effort.

Now that I have shared my top 5 traffic posts, I’d thought I’d share my personal top 5 favorite posts. Believe me, this wasn’t easy!

Number 5: NARS Mandchourie- This post is solidified in my top 5 because the eye look I created with the duo is one of my all-time favorites.

NARS Mandchourie

NARS Mandchourie

Number 4: Becca Shimmering Skin Perfectors- The reason this post ranks high for me is again because of the level of time it took for swatches but secondarily because I love looking at so many pretty highlighters in one place!

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Opal Comparisons 2

Number 3: Tango With Tangerine- It was Pantone’s color of the year in 2012 and I loved doing this color palette post.

Tangerine Tango Products

Number 2: The Look for Less- Dupe posts are some of my favorite posts to photograph and write, especially when the dupe is from the drugstore or significantly lower in price.

Chanel Mirifique vs Sephora Glitter Black

Chanel Mirifique vs Sephora Glitter Black

And…. *drumroll* my  Number 1 favorite post of all time….

Burberry Eyeshadow Collection- Comparisons and swatches galore this is probably the most comprehensive post I have done to date. I still enjoy referencing the swatches when I’m trying to remember how close a color is to another. It features most of my favorite brands for eyeshadows, including Rouge Bunny Rouge and of course, Burberry!

Burberry Pale Barley Comparisons

I hope you enjoyed these posts as much as I enjoyed making them!

To make it just a *little* more interesting I thought I’d also share some of my most favorite products of all time. I thought long and hard about what I would be really torn up about not having in my collection. As in, you go to look for something and suddenly it’s disappeared! Here is what I would desperately miss:

Guerlain Parure Up Close

Guerlain’s limited edition Parure de Nuit Pressed Powder (the peacock design!!!) It adds the most ethereal “lit from within” glow to the skin. I admit I got it for the peacock design- incidentally peacocks are my favorite bird and the current wallpaper on my phone ;)

Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Instense #19

Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Instense #19

My love for these shadows has my collection about 22 shades strong- this one is probably my most favorite shade.

Fav Palette 2011 Chanel

Sadly, also limited edition, the  Ombres Perlees de Chanel palette is one of the best ever created in my opinion. The shimmer and the creamy/buttery texture has never been duplicated in any other palette I have tried.

Tarte Spring 2012 Amazonian Clay Blushes

The entire line of the Tarte Amazonian Clay Blushes. I believe I own every shade ever made- and that’s not a feat I have accomplished with any other brand or type of blush. My favorite.

Tarina Tarantino Sparklicity Gold Palette Shadows

Tarina Tarantino Sparklicity Gold Palette Shadows

One of the prettiest packaging designs and amazing color combination palettes ever. 2 years later it’s still a top pick for me.

EL Modern Mercury

Estee Lauder Modern Mercury- I missed out on this elusive highlighter when it initially launched but was able to obtain by swap later on. Amazing and I wish it was permanent.

Burberry Lip Mist in Feather Pink

Burberry Lip Mist in Feather Pink

Burberry is probably my top brand for designer beauty. The packaging and formulas are top notch and the colors are all wearable. The lip mist in Feather Pink is one of my most used lipsticks of all time.

NARS Spring 2012 Haul

NARS Mexican Rose Lip Pencil is probably one of the best bright lippies I own. Long-wearing, comfortable and highly pigmented. The entire Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil range is not to be missed.

Burberry Rosewood Eyeshadow

Burberry Rosewood Eyeshadow

Burberry’s Rosewood eyeshadow is one not to be missed. It was the first shade I owned and spawned a huge addiction for me.

UD 24-7 liner swatches L-R: Whiskey, Bourbon, Corrupt, Stray Dog, Lucky, Baked, Midnight Cowboy, Stash, Mildew, Covet, Electric, Flipside, Binge, Crash, Lust, Ransom, Asphyxia, Rockstar

UD 24-7 liner swatches L-R: Whiskey, Bourbon, Corrupt, Stray Dog, Lucky, Baked, Midnight Cowboy, Stash, Mildew, Covet, Electric, Flipside, Binge, Crash, Lust, Ransom, Asphyxia, Rockstar

My collection has grown since Urban Decay has released more shades, but their 24-7 liner is something I reach for on a weekly, if not daily basis. It lasts the whole day on my lids and they are constantly coming out with unique shades.

Zoya FeiFei Swatch

Zoya FeiFei polish surprised me. It’s sparkle factor cannot be denied, and it’s color-changing properties are some of the best I’ve ever seen in a polish. My other top polish pick was Butter London All Hail the Queen, but for some reason I don’t have a picture of a swatch…I must never have featured it individually! For shame. The formula and color are pure perfection.

I could go on and on….I have so many favorites but I think I need to stop here. I want to say thank you again to everyone who has made the last two years of blogging something I have enjoyed immensely, and hope to have many more of in the future. Look out for a giveaway in the next week, as well as my 2012 favorites! Cheers!

 

If you are a regular reader you know that my Blogiversary was the middle of last month. I already hosted two fab giveaways for you ladies, but I have more on the horizon. It’s my way of saying thanks for making this so much fun! On to the good stuff….

NARS has made some fabulous products and I adore several of their shadows and blushes. It’s with that same adoration that I offer this giveaway to one lucky reader:

You can pick any color that is currently available on the NARS website. Please allow an extra 1-2 weeks for delivery of your prize, because I will be custom ordering it for you :)

The giveaways continue, this time with what I would call one of the most outstanding products of 2011.

*claps* Yep, it’s Tarte’s Amazonian clay blushes!!! You can see my swatches and review of the line here. I chose the colors Dollface and Flush because I know a lot of ladies out there have already purchased some of the shades (Tipsy and Exposed seem to be the most popular from what I have seen) Dollface is a soft pink and Flush is a nice berry tone.

What Tarte says:

These solar-baked blushes are infused with Amazonian Clay, nature’s most perfect ingredient. These nutrient rich
and skin-nourishing
Amazonian clay blushes restore harmony for a flawless finish that lasts all day.

These blushes also contain Vitamin E, Vitamin C and Beeswax (an alternative to synthetic wax, used as a waterproofing agent). They are formulated without mineral oil, parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate and phthalates.

I am also giving away their new gifted Amazonian clay smart mascara.

What Tarte says:

tarte’s biggest beauty breakthrough, Amazonian clay, is now exclusively available in this hydrating, replenishing and reparative mascara, clinically-proven to increase lash volume by 121% instantly!

The mascara also contains Vitamin C and rice bran wax (a natural wax that helps lengthen lashes). It is formulated without mineral oil, parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate and phthalates. Tarte is also a cruelty-free brand so you can trust that nothing was tested on animals

I can’t comment on the claims of the mascara as I haven’t tried this one. But, I know their Lights, Camera, Lashes formula is amazing, so I bet this one will be too.

You can find tarte cosmetics at Sephora, Ulta, QVC.com and tartecosmetics.com. Oh, and if you visit their website through 12/12/11 they are having their 30% off friends and family sale! Use code FFDEC here. (not an affiliate link, I am not earning anything by telling you about the sale, just a friendly PSA ;) )

Now, on to the giveaway! Good luck! :)

Time to start the celebrating! This is the first giveaway, but stay tuned for more over the coming days! :)

The rules are a bit different this time. It used to be mandatory that you follow with Google Friend Connect. Since next February that service will be discontinued for all non-blogger.com hosted sites (like mine), I want to start a new option way (it’s mandatory for these giveaways) that will allow you to still get a “feed” version of my blog, and others like it. It’s a website called Bloglovin’. It’s free to sign up, only takes a minute and you can keep up on all Blogger and Non-Blogger sites alike. I have a button for this in the right sidebar, just click to follow. :) I personally never used Google Friend Connect to read blogs, only to follow them in spirit. I have only used Bloglovin’, and quite like it. I hope you will too! You don’t have to use it if you prefer Google Reader, but you do have to be a follower of mine on there to be eligible for this, and all future giveaways. I realize this is a pain if you have been following my blog already, but it’s a small step and I would greatly appreciate it.

The Prize:

Giveaway #1 Prize Package

Lots of awesome goodies in this one. Just follow the steps below to enter! Good Luck!

09. 12. 2011

*Photo credit: The Boy, who so lovingly gave up his time to make it for me =P

Two milestones all in one day. Both of which I am incredibly honored and grateful to share with you lovely ladies. This is my 200th post. It is also Bloomin’ Beauty’s first blogiversary today! I have so much to celebrate in the month of the December already, but these two reasons alone make me thrilled to pieces.

Why I’m Grateful

To say that I feel like my first year of blogging was successful doesn’t do what I actually feel any justice. I feel proud, but I also feel extremely grateful. Grateful for all of the wonderful ladies (bloggers and non-bloggers alike) I have “met” this past year. You have made this feel so special, and made this infinitely more fun. From random twitter conversations about banning rice and all of our pets/children, to making each other buy things we never knew we wanted, it’s been an absolute blast.

I am also thankful for all of the support from various brands and public relations firms I have gotten to know this year. Everyone that I have worked with has been incredibly generous and sweet. I never expected that kind of support, and it is incredibly humbling for me to have gotten to work with them.

What I’ve Learned

I have learned a lot about blogging in the past year. I thought I might pass on some little tidbits to new bloggers, or ones who are thinking about starting. The most important thing is to be yourself and be original, because you will always fail at trying to be someone else. The other thing that tops my list is to be honest. People appreciate your honesty more than you know and it will keep them coming back to you for your opinion. Your blog is your space and you can do what you want with it; don’t let someone try to tell you how to run your rodeo. One last thing, blogging should be fun. If it starts feeling not so fun, something is probably out of balance. Figure out what it is, and carry on. :)

On the technical side I have learned a lot about hosting your own site, a little about code and design and feel like I am really honing my photography skills–evidenced by taking a peak at the archives from last December…eep! xD

The Future

I don’t have a working crystal ball, but I’d like to say that I will be here same place, same time 1 year from now. Only I hope I’m armed with even more knowledge, even more beauty friends and even more memories.

Reason to Celebrate

Now on to the good stuff. Over the next few days you will see some surprises coming your way..ok..giveaways! I wanted to give back to all of you who have stuck in here with me, through bad puns and jokes and countless swatches. To many more! Be on the look out for those and good luck to all of you. :)

Also, if you have been a silent reader, feel free to say hi! I love love love hearing your feedback!