I think we can all collectively agree that this year has been a wild ride. 2020 has not been an easy year. I can list quite a few things that made this year difficult, painful and heartbreaking but despite all of that, this year has also been a year of discovery. I’ve learnt to slow down, make the most of every situation and try new things. It made me think of my ‘2020 Discoveries’.
These are the things, activities or places I’ve tried, discovered and liked/loved this year. I want to focus on the positive things so I thought I’d share them with you.
This post will feature a bunch of different things. It came from a braindump I did on my phone of mostly my favourite products but it developed to also include some hobbies, activities and places I’ve enjoyed this year.
I’ll start off with the products since Christmas is coming up and these might go on sale this coming Black Friday / Cyber Monday too.
I love skincare and it’s taken me a long time to have a set routine that truly works for me. I’ve introduced a few products in my routine but one of the standouts has been the Two Birds Beauty serum. It’s a cruelty-free, environmentally-friendly and the product itself works so well. It’s not too oily and it sinks into the skin easily without it being too sticky. It also doesn’t have a strong scent compared to some of the face oils I’ve tried. The product has been well thought-out as the dropper itself lets out just enough product so you’re not wasting it. I think it’s affordable for what it is too.
I discovered this because the lovely founder/owner Jessie Guru reached out to me and asked if I wanted to a part of the campaign. After hearing the ethos behind the brand which is to be all inclusive for any age, gender, ethnicities and skin types, I was on board. I was part of the campaign shoot and my face is actually on the website! Haha. The product was gifted to me BUT I have already repurchased this myself and will continue to use it.
Another skincare product I’ve discovered and loved this year is the Emma Lewisham Skin Reset Serum. I was initially sent a package containing that and their spf and I ended up repurchasing the serum. This was is on the spendy side though so if I had to choose between the two, I’d go for the Two Birds Beauty one.
The other two on the right are beauty tools I use not everyday but when I’m feeling a bit extra. I’ve always liked face rollers especially under the eyes. The rose quartz face roller is from The Gem Collective and it was sent to me a few months ago. The rose guasha stone is from Loveskin I got recently and it’s also soothing and helps relax tension in the face.
I try to be more conscious about the environment. I know I still have a long way to go but I’ve started to use more eco-friendly products. I’ve actually had a face halo since 2019 as I bought it in Sephora during my Melbourne trip. I love using the face halo to remove my makeup or face masks. Recently, I bought the Ever Eco Reusable bamboo facial pads from Oh Natural. They’ll replace disposable cotton pads and they’re soft and also great at taking your makeup off.
I was sent a lovely package from Ecostore a few months ago with their new haircare products. It included their solid shampoo and conditioner bars and two docks. I’ve only used the shampoo and conditioner for a week as I wanted to finish up my current Ethique bars BUT these docks that suction on to your bathroom wall are so great at drying the bars. It prolongs them too because they’re not sitting in a pool of water. They’re the best and I’m grateful I was sent them. If you haven’t tried solid shampoo and conditioner, I recommend giving them a go. They last so long between 6-8 months for me so I save not only money but plastic too.
I also bought the Sustainablah stainless steel razor from Oh Natural. I’ve wanted one for ages but they aren’t cheap. I finally took the plunge though and I can’t go back to anything else. No more cheap, plastic, disposable razors for me. You get such a close shave with this. I highly recommend and it’s worth it.
Another sustainable brand I recently discovered is Boody. It’s an Australian sustainable clothing company that has basics from underwear, sleepwear, loungewear, activewear and more. I heard about Boody from Jess Molina. I’ve been after a plain black pair of workout leggings with pockets and Boody has one. I also got some undies and I can confirm they’re so comfortable! I love the bra and it’s perfect for work at home days. Another big thing I’ve done this year is to basically get rid of all my underwire bras. I do not have the time nor desire to ever wear uncomfortable underwire bras again. The shaper crop bra is super comfy, has no wires or thin straps that dig into the skin and gives me enough support.
The 3/4 activewear tights are also great and I know it’s going to be my favourite. It’s high-waisted and it didn’t fall down during my walks and reformer pilates. I used Jess’ code (boodyxjess) to get 15% off my order. I’ve already made another order too and I got the activewear shorts, sports bra and more undies. For a sustainable brand made from bamboo, their prices are reasonable. I can’t wait to receive my latest order.
Long Floral Dresses
Besides loungewear and activewear, it seems like my 2020 uniform whenever I go out is a long floral dress. I’ve loved maxi dresses this year. I initially thought maxi dresses aren’t for me as I’m petite but I’ve discovered how comfortable they are. They’re easy and comfy to wear. I can style them up or down by wearing heels or sneakers so they’re quite versatile.
My current favourite one is on the left which was from Glassons. I get compliments when I wear it and get asked where I bought it from. Unfortunately, they don’t sell this dress anymore so I think I’ll be keeping it forever. My other ones are from Postie and the dress on the right was a random find from H&M. If I can’t find pieces from the opshop, I do still buy brand new clothing from ‘high-street’ stores. I do try to make a conscious purchase though and , the cost per wear for my dresses are pretty damn good because I wear them weekly in the office now. Haha
We’ve had two lockdowns this year so I’ve spent a lot of time at home. It made me want to revamp my space especially my bedroom. Now that I work from home often, one part of my room isn’t so aesthetically-pleasing so I’ve made sure the rest are. I found some digital download prints off Etsy that were quite cheap then I just printed them off at Warehouse Stationery. I got the frame from the Warehouse.
I got 6 prints in total. Three of them were a set and I just printed them off in different sizes. I think they came out great. My gallery print wall is much better than before and all the colours go well together. I’ve ended up having a blush pink theme in my room and I love it.
In case you’ve missed it, one of my cats Mouse passed away back in June. I wrote about my grief over here. To remember him, I got an Etsy shop ButtersDayDream to create custom cat portraits for both Mouse and Turbo. I love them so much. I wish I did them sooner. The portraits are on the wall behind the TV and they make me happy. Mouse was so cute and at least when I see his face up there I get to smile instead of cry. If you have pets or have friends who do, I think pet portraits are a great gift.
The prints were also sent digitally and I just got them printed at Warehouse Stationery. The A3 frames were also from the Warehouse.
Selling my pre-loved/used items
I’ve done so much closet clearout this year. I named my blog ‘A Style Collector’ back in 2015 because I was basically a hoarder of all things like clothes, shoes, jewellery, beauty products etc. I loved collecting items but over the years, I’ve realised I don’t need nor want all these things and I just want to keep the items I’d actually wear. So, I started selling some of my stuff on Instagram: shopastylecollector.
I did initially plan on selling my stuff at a secondhand market but covid lockdown happened so I just did it online. There is some admin time involved in reselling but I’ve gotten the hang of it now and I’ve priced my stuff super cheap so they sell quickly. I’ve actually enjoyed selling my items, hoping they’ll get more wear and it’s also nice to have some extra cash.
Buying pre-loved bags
With the extra cash from above, I developed a tiny obsession with finding and buying pre-loved bags. I’ve always loved handbags. I remember saving my pocket money / allowance back in the Philippines so I can buy more bags. I used to switch my bags every week for school. I had to let go of most of my collection when we moved to NZ. Then my interest in bags kind of waned until recent years when I got Michael Kors and Kate Spade. This year, my attraction went to Coach bags. I’ve found Coach a reasonable entry-level designer brand. Their bags are great quality but not exuberant in price.
I now have 4 Coach leather goods. (One I got brand new and 3 second-hand). The black bag on the top right is probably my best pre-loved purchase. I’ve used it so much since buying it off Trademe. The other two (Coach wristlet and Mulberry tote bag) are also Trademe purchases. I love opshopping and the thrill of finding a bargain. Perusing on Trademe and Designer Wardrobe is basically the same thing but online. I’ve slowed down now as I’ve built a good collection of small to large tote bags. I still occasionally look but what I’m after from now on is a good vintage designer bag.
Auckland Library Books
One of the best things I’ve done this year was to get a new library card and borrow all the books! I decided at the start of this year that I won’t buy any new books as they just end up gathering dust in my shelves and to just borrow books from the library. This decision has ignited my love for reading again and in 2020, I’ve read 51 books so far! I’m pretty proud of this achievement and that I’ve read and discovered so many good books this year. I think I might do another blog post of the best books I’ve read so watch out for that.
Borrowing from the library is free and I make sure I pick them up and return the books before they’re due so I don’t get any fines. I love it. The library service is amazing. As much as I’d love a whole room or shelves full of books, I simply don’t have space and budget for it.
Couch to 5K
If you told me years ago that I would enjoy running, I’d tell you that would never happen. I used to always say that I can’t even run to save my life but but this year I ended up running! Lockdown 2.0 made me start Couch to 5K which is a programme to ease you into running. I use an app and eventually I was able to run 20minutes! At the start, running 3 minutes straight was daunting to me but over time I was surprised that I was able to do more. I found running therapeutic. It was a time I had just by myself, for myself. The endorphins afterwards were pretty awesome too.
Fitness-wise, I switched it up this year. I enjoyed boxing classes at my gym but after a while I wanted to try something different. I’ve had a few reformer pilates classes before but this year was the year I finally committed to a studio. I cancelled my gym membership and I now go to Reform Fitness. I love the reformer. It’s both relaxing and challenging for me.
As much as I liked the high-intensity training body combat and boxing classes have, reformer is so much slower but really targets your muscles. Plus it’s nice to work out while lying down and gently going back and forth in the carriage. I find it hard and I feel like I’m the only in the class that struggles and sweats during it but I enjoy the accomplishment I feel after every class. I work out not to lose weight or to really see definition in my body (although that’s a nice bonus) but for my mental health. It’s not cheap but it’s an investment to myself and it’s worth it to me.
My last discovery is a place. I’ve already posted about our Rotorua trip and I’ve discovered some awesome places over there too. However, for this last one I thought I’d add Scandrett Regional Park.
My friend Kendel and I had a spontaneous trip to Matakana one weekend. We went to the Matakana markets then drove down east to Mahurangi and we ended up at Snells beach and Martins Bay. After Martin’s Bay, she took a swift turn and we ended up at Scandrett Regional Park. I’ve not heard of this place before but it’s a serene and beautiful place. It was like a hidden gem and I want go back there again.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you! I know it’s a lengthy post and I got a bit carried away but I’ve enjoyed putting this together. Since my Rotorua blog post, I’ve missed blogging. This is my little space in the internet and although I don’t post as often as I used to, this little blog of mine has given me joy over the years.
Anyway, I’ll end this blog now and I hope you enjoyed knowing about some of my favourite things and discoveries this year. 🙂