Yearly Archives: 2016

2016 Reader Survey (My First Survey!) 2

December Life Updates // Being Leanna


Happy Friday and happy almost New Year!

I am so excited for 2017 to get started. 2016 has not been the best year for anyone so i’m sure we’re all ready to get it started! I’ve been reading posts like crazy lately and it seems like everyone is doing a reader survey. I have never put a survey on the blog before and frankly, it’s because i’m scared nobody will respond. It’s nerve wracking asking people’s opinions but this survey is anonymous so it’s good for everyone! I know my blog isn’t that big but i’m working on that. In fact, a big goal of mine for 2017 is to focus more on my blog. 

I’ve been starting to schedule out ideas for posts in 2017 so I wanted to get your opinions and see what you like and what you don’t like here on Being Leanna! I invested in an amazing planner for the year and I cannot wait to fill out my editorial calendar with all sorts of fun posts. So please, fill out my anonymous survey and let me know what you think!



The Best Makeup of 2016 6

The Best Makeup of 2016 // Being Leanna
Hey everyone! On Monday I posted my top skincare and hair favorites of 2016 and today i’m back with the best makeup of 2016! I’ve included everything from foundation to brows and everything in between. If you’re on the hunt for some new goodies to spend those holiday gift cards on, this is the post for you!
Favorite makeup of 2016


The Best Makeup of 2016

Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer

Everyone under the sun went crazy for this earlier in the year when it was released and admittedly, I was skeptical. It’s fantastic. This bronzer basically melts into your skin and stays put all day. The huge annoyance though is the strong coconut scent which i’m sure most people love. It’s still a good enough bronzer though where I still use it every day.

NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream- Antwerp

I bought this on a whim a couple months ago and wore it to my friends wedding. Wowza is the formula of these great. They are matte without drying out your lips and it stays on forever. There are 34 shades so there’s definitely something for everyone. I can’t wait to pick up more.

Colourpop Sculpting Stix- Dove

I am not a huge contour person. I love how it looks but for me personally, I think I look best with a bit of bronzer and some highlight. But, then I bought this sculpting stick from Colourpop. It makes contouring so easy and the colors are pretty subtle so even someone like me can do it without over-doing it. If you’re interested in learning to contour and need something inexpensive, pick this up!

Colourpop Ultra Satin Lip- Baracuda

This is a warm, rosy satin lip color and it looks amazing on my fair skin. If you’ve got lighter skin it’s hard to find a rosy color that isn’t too red on us. This is a tie for my favorite shade and the formula is lovely. The staying power is great for the $6 price tag so there’s no reason not to grab it. 

Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream

The best CC cream I’ve ever used. I wear it every day and I love it. It stays on all day, evens out my skin tone and covers up redness without being full coverage (it doesn’t even look like i’m wearing makeup!). I’m so in love that I’ve mentioned this quite a few times on the blog so i’m sure you’ve heard everything I could ever say about it. If not, check out my reviews other posts: Finding the Right Foundation for you, Summer Beauty Favorites, and Summer Staples with SPF.

Benefit Hoola Bronzer 

I love bronzer so much, I couldn’t pick one so, here’s the third. This one was my first love. Hoola is perfect in every way. If I had to pick just one forever it would be this one. The matte finish is it’s biggest selling point for me and it’s supposedly the best selling prestige bronzer in the US so i’m sure ya’ll know if it’s greatness. 

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide on Eye Pencil- Demolition

I have been buying this eyeliner since the early 2000s and I haven’t strayed. The formula is perfectly creamy and matte and there just isn’t anything better. I use this in my water line every single day and it lasts all day. I’ve got about 5 shades and they are all perfect. If you’ve never tried this than you’re missing out. 

Colourpop Ultra Matte Lip- Viper

Everyone needs a beautiful dusty rose colored lip in their arsenal and this is the best one going. This shade is one of the few from Colourpop that doesn’t dry out my lips and it literally stays on all day with no touch-ups. Through lunch, coffee and multiple cups of tea this stuff doesn’t budge. 

Fragonard Belle Cherie Perfume

I know this one is hard because everyone has different scents that they love but if you’re a floral person you need this in your life. The Fragonard perfumes are perfection. I got to visit their perfumery in France in 2014 and learned so much about fragrance. This stuff is so good that you can spray it on your skin and still smell it the next day. No joke. 

Bourjois Healthy Mix Concealer

If you need a lightweight under eye concealer this is the one for you. I’ve got fair skin so every imperfection is especially visible but this concealer covers up even my darkest of circles without creasing. 

Benefit Roller Lash Mascara

It’s the best if you love a rubber applicator. The shape of the brush head really grabs at every teeny tiny lash and the formula is great. I have naturally straight lashes and I can attest to the fact that this mascara truly keeps my lashes curled until the end of the day. Plus, it now comes in brown! I love me a brown mascara. 

Benefit Rockateur Blush

Two words, rose gold. It looks great on anyone and it is so pigmented that it’ll last you forever. This has the right amount of shimmer that’s glow-y and not glittery which is the perfect amount of shimmer for me. 

NARS Blush- Deep Throat

I know you’ve all heard of the cult favorite shade Orgasm, but have you ever tried Deep Throat? It’s my personal favorite, I’ve been buying this since I started wearing makeup. It’s a softer pink with gold shimmer where Orgasm is more of a coral pink. This applies so easily and it feels like it melts right into your skin the powder is so fine. Deep Throat leaves your cheeks with a natural looking flush.

Kiko Milano Water Eyeshadow- Rosy Taupe

One of the prettiest rose colored shadows I’ve ever seen. The shimmer is beautiful and it’s specially formulated to be used either wet or dry! I often do a base layer all over my lids wet and then go over it again with a dry brush. This would be an especially amazing shade for New Years!

e.l.f. Instant Lift Brow Pencil

I know what you’re thinking. An eyebrow pencil from elf is good? Yup. The shade is perfect for my blonde eyebrows. It is such a struggle for us blondes to find a shade that isn’t too dark. The formula is even pretty good! I’m not really into doing my eyebrows but I am into filling in sparse spots and this is just the ticket. 

Phew! We’re all done. Thanks for settling in for that one, I know it was a lot but I couldn’t narrow down my favorite makeup any more! Everything I mentioned is really that good. Now, I want to know, what are your makeup favorites of 2016? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks For Reading // Being Leanna

The Best Makeup of 2016 // Being Leanna


The Best Skincare and Hair products of 2016 15

The Best Skincare and Hair Products of 2016 // Being Leanna

It’s time again for a new year and a recap of all the products I’ve been loving this year! Today I’m showcasing all of the hair and skincare products that have wowed me this year. Some are old standbys that I can’t live without and others are new discoveries this year! Don’t forget to let me know your favorites so I can check out some new products in 2017!




StriVectin Advanced Retinol Pore Refiner

This is the best product to put on top of a moisturizer. It visibly reduces your pores and it locks in hydration. This pore refiner keeps your skin matte and works as an excellent primer with the added anti aging benefits of retinol. It’s expensive but, it’s lasted me a year and become a staple in my skincare routine.

Lush Dark Angels 

Hands down the best face scrub I’ve ever used. It leaves your skin cleansed, smooth and not at all dry! The black carbon coloring is a bit scary to rub into your face but it’s extremely effective and rinses off easily. 

First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Overnight Mask

I bought this for the first time over a year ago because I heard it was amazing for your skin while flying. Airplanes are known for drying out your skin so I wanted to find the best moisturizer out there. Ever since I’ve been sleeping in this mask about once a week and I’ve noticed a vast improvement in my skins hydration and plumpness from regular usage. 

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion

I’ve heard about this product for years and never bought it. Boy was I missing out. If you have a fresh blemish this is the best thing you can put on it. It dries it right out and it will be way less visible by the morning. Pop this on all of your spots after the rest of your skincare routine and let it do it’s thing. 

Yes To Blueberries Eye Firming Treatment

I can’t vouch for it’s fine line reducing claims but I can vouch for the amazing hydration this has been providing my under eyes for years. You only need to use the tiniest amount and you’re good to go. This is perfect for day or nice use as it absorbs quickly and your makeup won’t settle into it. 

Aromatica Rose Absolute First Serum

I will be the first to admit that i’m not always great at getting into a nighttime routine. Luckily this product is both a toner and a serum in one. It smells like roses (yes please!) and it does double duty work. Perfect for the lazy girl in all of us. While toners usually dry out my skin, this one does the opposite and it’s been great for the dry winter months. 

The Body Shop Vitamin E Intense Moisturizer

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this dozens of times on the blog but this is my all time favorite moisturizer. I’ve been buying this for years and it has yet to disappoint. It hydrates my skin so well and doesn’t leave a greasy residue. Unfortunately it no longer has an spf but it’s easy to layer one over the top because it’s so lightweight. 

First Aid Beauty Facial Cleanser

If you have dry skin this is the cleanser for your. The FAB cleanser is extremely gentile and somehow manages to keep your skin hydrated. It’s magic. This creamy cleanser is also great for sensitive skin. 

Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil

I bought this last year with a Christmas gift card and it’s been the best high end purchase ever. Worth every penny. This is a retinol oil that will make your skin glow with hydration, calm redness and reduce some fine lines. Never has my skin looked better than when I was using this regularly. Luckily, a few small drops go a long way. If you’re looking to get more bang for your buck you should check out their Power Couple Duo which I reviewed here

Shangpree Pore Tightening Mask

This is the best clay mask i’ve used on my skin. Pores are my number one concern, I’m sure they’re only visible to me but they are pretty large on my cheeks and they drive me crazy. Upon washing this perfume scented mask off my pores are left visibly reduced and somehow my skin is not dried out. How a mask can get rid of dead skin, tighten pores and hydrate is beyond me. 


Nume Curling Wand

Any curling wand will do actually. This one has just been a favorite for me because it’s the only one I have. I’ve been obsessed with curling my hair lately and I’ve gotten it down so it rarely takes me more time than straightening my hair. Adding a curl really helps to change up your look.

Living Proof Nourishing Styling Cream

If you have frizzy hair this stuff is the bomb . com. It really helps to reduce frizz (or static!) while keeping your hair from looking like a big greasy mess. It’s marketed for medium to thick hair but I’ve got fine hair and it still works amazingly. Just use less!

Herbal Essences Body Envy Volumizing Hairspray

As I just mentioned I’ve got fine hair. That means anything with the word volume in it becomes my best friend. This is the best hairspray I’ve found for fine hair because it provides hold without being sticky or clumpy or hard. It’s perfect for anything from fly-aways to up-dos.

Tresemme Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray

I’m sure everyone and their mother has tried this and I’m no exception. It’s a tried and true product that i’ll continue to buy for years because it works. My hair is healthier and shinier because I use this before putting any heat on my hair. 

Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo

Let me be honest here and say that this only beats out Living Proof’s dry shampoo because of the scent. If you have not smelled an Amika product you haven’t lived. It’s so good they have a room spray. It’s also a pretty great dry shampoo and it does wonders with giving your second or third day hair volume. 

What are your favorite skincare and haircare products of 2016, let me know in the comments below!!

Thanks For Reading // Being Leanna


The Best Skin and Hair Products of 2016 // Being Leanna


Dallas: Everything You Need To Know Before You Go 16

Dallas: Everything You Need To Know Before You Go // Being Leanna

Dallas, Texas a Detailed Guide:

Hey ya’ll! If you follow me anywhere on social media you’ll know that I packed my bags and headed to Texas for a week way back in October. Today, i’m finally prepared to tell you all about my trip to Dallas! From where I stayed, to what you need to eat, and most importantly what sights you need to see! I’ve got it all. In addition to this list, at the bottom of the post I’ve included a map with all these places so you can save  it for when you’re in Dallas!

First up, we’ve got to talk about where I stayed. 

Dallas: Everything You Need To Know Before You Go // Being Leanna

Magnolia Hotel- Downtown Dallas

Wow. The Magnolia is probably the most beautiful hotel I’ve ever stayed at. I found a great deal through Expedia and jumped on the chance to stay at a fancy hotel for a few nights. The Magnolia was the first sky scraper in Dallas and it was the first high rise ever in the United States to get air conditioning. Plus, it’s got a giant Pegasus on top which makes it easy to see from basically anywhere in the city. The amenities are fantastic; big, clean bathroom, exceptionally comfortable beds, high ceilings and a gigantic bathtub. The included breakfast was better than a lot of restaurants, there were 2 complimentary drinks per evening and the best part? Cookies and milk. You heard that right, free cookies and milk and every evening. 

The location is perfect for all sorts of sights and it’s only a two block walk to the DART. The picture above is the back side of the hotel from the DART station. Another bonus? The flagship Neiman Marcus is right next door. Shopaholics, you’ve been warned! 

Dallas: Everything You Need To Know Before You Go // Being Leanna

Dallas Arboretum

The most beautiful arboretum I’ve ever been to. They had everything. I even made friends with a lizard. We could have gotten lost there for hours. I highly suggest bringing some snacks and sunscreen! We walked around for a few hours and were starving and exhausted. It was in the 90s even in October so be prepared! I loved all of the water features the most. Something about water is just so relaxing to me. Even if you don’t have a car this place is a must see, you can easily get there by bus (like we did!). 

Dallas: Everything You Need To Know Before You Go // Being Leanna

They were setting up their Christmas exhibit while we were there which looked phenomenal so if you’re near Dallas now you’ve go to go. In the fall, when we were there, they had pumpkins and gourds galore. So beautiful.

Dallas: Everything You Need To Know Before You Go // Being Leanna

Steel City Pops

So good, we had two. Not at all ashamed and i’m really mad that we don’t have one of these in New York. I was on a mission to find one after hearing Leigh Ann of LeighAnn Says on YouTube rave about them on one of her vlogs. Luckily there is one a short ways up from the Arboretum when I was in dire need of a snack. Look at those faces, we were not disappointed. If you’re ever in any of the areas that have Steel City Pops I would suggest you head there asap. I’ve never had a tastier popsicle, ever. 

Dallas: Everything You Need To Know Before You Go // Being Leanna

Sixth floor museum

I didn’t realize how little I knew about JFK until I went to this museum. It was the first thing we did upon getting to Dallas besides sleep (we arrived late at night). I may have eaten a few cookies firs too.

I knew that JFK’s assassination has always been a hot topic but I never really realized why. It’s amazing how many conspiracy theories there are and how much is still unknown about the event. The museum is set up exceptionally well and the audio guides are free and they take you around the entire museum. The only complaint I had was how busy it was. Sometimes it was a bit too crowded at some of the audio guide stops so i’d have to stay back and not see the pictures or videos. But, I guess that’s a testament to how important JFK was. My tip? Show up as soon as it opens in the morning. 

Dallas: Everything You Need To Know Before You Go // Being Leanna

Texas State Fair

I’m going to write an entire post about this once it becomes fair time again. Totally slacked and didn’t get one up while the fair was still going on. Next year! I will say that a huge reason I picked October to go to Texas was for the fair and it did not disappoint. A huge shout out to Sarah for encouraging me to get to Dallas! I wrote a post back in June about wanting to go and it was booked before July.

Dallas: Everything You Need To Know Before You Go // Being Leanna

I’ll leave you with this, the most awkward, inappropriate picture I’ve ever taken. A corn dog in front of Big Tex. This was my first corn dog ever and it was amazing. I could have spent every minute I was in Dallas at the fair there was so much to see!

Dallas: Everything You Need To Know Before You Go // Being Leanna

Deep Ellum

My new favorite neighborhood in the USA. I felt right at home in Deep Ellum the second I stepped off the DART. The street art was amazing, the people were amazing and the places we stopped into were fantastic. Plus, it was only 2 stops from our hotel! Fun fact, it was originally called Deep Elm but with people’s southern drawls it always sounded more like Ellum so, the name stuck! Below are some of my favorite stops in Deep Ellum.


Dallas: Everything You Need To Know Before You Go // Being Leanna

Traveling man sculptures 

This guy is currently the background on my computer. And, if you follow my Instagram I’ve got a picture with his buddy that I love so much that I broke my Instagram theme. That’s how much I love these sculptures. How could you not?

Dallas: Everything You Need To Know Before You Go // Being Leanna

Emporium Pies

Okay, I know this is very polarizing and I won’t be mad if you think i’m crazy but, I don’t like pie. 

Phew, what a weight off my chest. So, how did I end up in a pie shop you may ask? Well, my buddy Ben loves pie. We happened to be strolling by and we just had to go in. We don’t have anything like this in Albany, NY. Ben gives it the seal of approval. Especially after he found out that he could get a glass of milk with his pie. Here’s the picture to prove it. 

Dallas: Everything You Need To Know Before You Go // Being Leanna

Dallas: Everything You Need To Know Before You Go // Being Leanna

Deep Ellum Brewing Co.

I’m a beer girl. I’ll take a beer over any kind of alcoholic drink any day and I love going places where they brew their own. Deep Ellum Brewing was a necessary stop and I was not disappointed. The laid back feel is perfect for a late lunch and a flight of beer. You can buy Deep Ellum beer all over the place but there’s something special about hanging out where it’s born!

Needless to say I could have spent my entire week long vacation just Exploring Deep Ellum and I really want/need to go back.

Dallas: Everything You Need To Know Before You Go // Being Leanna

The Rustic

This place was high on my list when I started researching Dallas. It’s an awesome bar/restaurant with a huge outdoor stage. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to eat the restaurant’s food because it was shut down for a concert but there were vendors all over the place and it was super cool. I’m not a huge country fan so I left my friend behind and made my way downtown to explore the night life.

Dallas: Everything You Need To Know Before You Go // Being Leanna

The Eye

If you’re a fan of art or just strange things you must stop by the eyeball in Dallas. Why is it there? Not a clue. Is it worth the Instagram photo? For sure.

Dallas: Everything You Need To Know Before You Go // Being Leanna

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science

Is one of the coolest Museums I’ve ever been to. There are 4 floors full of interactive exhibits and each floor has its own theme. I’m 27 and I may have been having more fun than the school groups there. It’s that good. I strongly suggest getting there early or getting tickets online as it is incredibly busy and you’ll want to be one of the first to arrive. If you go, listen to the story of how the universe was formed all the way on the top floor and tell me that voice isn’t familiar.  It’s Owen Wilson. How? Why? I don’t know but, it made me and the other adults around enjoy the presentation even more, ha. Oh, PS: the building itself is a work of art, even if you can’t make it in, at least do a lap around the building.

Dallas: Everything You Need To Know Before You Go // Being Leanna

Klyde Warren Park

It’s a park. Over a freeway. Right next to the arts district. Aka the best spot to grab a lunch in between museums. We stopped at one of the food trucks (Greek for me) and lounged in the park to relax before hitting our next museum. There is so much open green space and for being in the middle of the city, it’s pretty darn serene!

Dallas: Everything You Need To Know Before You Go // Being Leanna

Dallas Museum of Art

While I will say that the Perot was my favorite of all the museums on my trip, I really loved the Dallas Museum of Art. There is SO MUCH to see that you definitely need to grab some lunch before hand. Did I mention it’s free? This is a great, free way to explore. We were a bit museum-ed out after this. Fortunately, we didn’t get to to to the Nasher Sculpture Center as we had originally planned because it was closed for some reason? Very strange but like I said, museum-ed out. I suggest pacing yourself! I hope to hit this place up the next time i’m in town!

Dallas: Everything You Need To Know Before You Go // Being Leanna

Reunion Tower

The best view of Dallas, hands down. On a nice day you can even see all the way to Cowboys stadium (ew). The tower is 470 feet up and you get to be outside! Talk about feeling free. The tower itself kinda reminds me of the Universal Studios ball and it lights up in a variety of colors. The weekend we were in town was the Longhorns v. Oklahoma game and it the tower even had special lights for that! Plus, I totally fit right in by wearing an orange sweater. Let’s pretend I had planned that one ahead of time.

Dallas: Everything You Need To Know Before You Go // Being Leanna

Cattle Sculptures

I knew nothing about this before going to Dallas but, i’m so glad we checked this out. There are dozens of life sized cattle herding in the park that you can walk through. It’s so beautiful. Plus, if you’re heading to Reunion Tower like we were, it’s a quick walk!

Dallas: Everything You Need To Know Before You Go // Being Leanna

The Mitchell

Now, i’m not a big “going out” kind of person. Yeah, I like going to bars and having a good time, but i’m not a big partier. Especially when i’m out by myself in a strange, new city. I went here by myself, had a quick bite to eat and chatted with the bartenders while I had a couple beers before strolling around downtown to see what what else was going on. I loved the swanky, 1920’s vibe I got from the place.

And there you go! Everything you need to see, do and eat in Dallas! Leave me some comments below with your recommendations for anyone who plans on going soon! And for me, because lets be honest, i’ll be back to Dallas as soon as I can. 

To make things a bit easier for your upcoming trip to Dallas, Texas, here’s a map of everything I just mentioned! Just save it yourself and you can find all these places through Google Maps!


Russian Tea Cakes- The Best Holiday Cookie Recipe 15

Russian Tea Cakes Recipe // Being Leanna

Russian Tea Cakes Recipe

Russian Tea Cakes, or butterballs as we call them, are some of my absolute favorite cookies. They’re filled with walnuts and are in nice little bite sized pieces that melt in your mouth. What’s not to love? I’m sure you, or your mom, or your grandmother or all three(!) have a copy of the Betty Crocker cookbook. It’s  staple in any home and it contains some of my favorite cookie recipes of all time. However, I like to put my own little twist on the Russian Tea Cake recipe and I wanted to share it with you all today. They take almost no time at all to make and they’re perfect for the Holidays! 

Russian Tea Cakes Recipe // Being Leanna


12 tbsp salted butter, softened

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 tsp vanilla

2 1/4 cups flour, sifted

3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

powdered sugar to coat

Russian Tea Cakes Recipe // Being Leanna

Russian Tea Cakes Recipe // Being Leanna


// Preheat your oven to 400°F

// Combine powdered sugar and butter until smooth and creamy. Be sure that your butter is room temperature for this, otherwise it won’t get as smooth and you’ll have chunks of butter in your cookies. Not fun!

// Stir in vanilla. My secret to almost every recipe? Add more vanilla. The original Russian Tea Cake recipe from Betty Crocker (found here for reference) only calls for 1 teaspoon. 

// Slowly add in flour and walnuts, stir until one large ball forms.

// Roll into 1 inch or smaller balls and place on a cookie sheet. They don’t expand so don’t worry about them being too close to each other!

// Bake for 10-13 min. check for the bottom to get golden, they may need more time based on your oven. Mine took 11 minutes.

// Let cool for a couple minutes and then coat in powdered sugar while warm, but not hot. 

// Let them cool and then coat again in more powdered sugar. I prefer to put them all in a bag and shake them up but be gentle! 

// Eat to your little hearts content!

Russian Tea Cakes Recipe // Being Leanna

Russian Tea Cakes Recipe // Being Leanna

ta da!

These babies are perfect for sharing or for gorging on yourself. And, what’s more festive than a cookie that looks like a snowball! I recently made them for a work party and they went like hotcakes! 

Let me know in the comments what your favorite holiday treats are! We’ve still got a little time before Christmas and, i’d love to try a new holiday cookie recipe! If you’re interested in another holiday cookie recipe, check out these Italian cookies!

Thanks For Reading // Being Leanna

Russian Tea Cakes Recipe // Being Leanna