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Showing posts from 2016

Beauty: It's Your Brush Love!

I gotta spill. I really hate cleaning my makeup brushes. It's so tedious, and time consuming, am I right?

When I was in Makeup School, we had to clean our brushes between each makeup application. So, I definitely used a professional grade brush cleaner which I was able to buy at a discount in the school's store. I also got a discount at two local professional beauty shops, and that was awesome, but once I stopped doing makeup on the reg, I stopped shelling out for the professional grade stuff. For a long time I would use baby shampoo, and then I was a fan of Beauty Blender's cleaner in both the solid form and liquid form, because it was pretty easy to use without over using product. However, both of those, and even sometimes the professional cleaner would take a bit to dry (I used to use Burman Industries Cleaner, and it was quick drying). Plus, it felt like it took FOR-EV-ER to get all the makeup out, and rinse the brush clean, then fix the bristles, and then I'd hav…

An Ode to Celaena Sardothian

"And then, I'm going to rattle the stars." - Sarah J. MaasHeir of Fire
Celaena Sardothian is the famed Assassin of Adarlan. When we meet her, in Sarah J. Maas' Throne of Glass, she is imprisoned in a salt mine, serving a sentence for her crimes. At times, Celaena can be a bit difficult to like. She's short tempered, and violent, and doesn't like being told what to do. She can be impetuous, and rash, and often, especially in the first novel, does things that might make you shake your head and say, "Oh, Celaena. Why?" She's also incredibly smart, fiercely loyal to her friends, and basically an overall badass. Her fighting skills reminded me a bit of Katsa from Kristin Cashore's Graceling. 
There are currently five published novels, and four novellas that help fill in some background information on our lovely assassin. I think one of my favorite things about Celaena, and this series is the depth of character development we get to see in Celaena…

When The Waves are Sorrow

I know the lyric to Across the Universe goes "pools of sorrow, waves of joy," and I understand the meaning. Sorrow can feel like a deep and endless pool, but for me, lately, the waves aren't of joy so much as sorrow and grief. Life lately has been survival and attempting to get back into what is the new "normal." The challenge is, I feel like I'm standing in the ocean, waist deep. Most of the time I'm floating in those pools, or at least along with the calm ebb and flow of the tide, but some days, like on Saturday, I am knocked over completely by a wave so big and powerful it pulls me under and holds me there. It hurts, and I can feel my lungs burning as I strain to hold my breath until the current releases me. This overwhelming ache of loss and sadness.

I miss my mommy. I know it never goes away. I know this, and I know that eventually the waves are less powerful, either that or I better learn how to dodge them, ride them. There doesn't seem to be …

Books: The Beauty of Darkness (The Remnant Chronicles #3) by Mary Pearson

I started this series a while ago, and was hooked. Lia is a princess who is set, by her parents, to marry a prince from a neighboring country. She's less than thrilled by this edict, and instead of submitting, runs away with her lady-in-waiting, Pauline. The first book sees them on the run, and hiding out from bounty hunters they've been told were sent by Lia's father. Assuming new identities, they find work at an inn, and when they meet two young men at the inn, things go from bad to worse. Neither men is who they seem, and this spells trouble for everyone.

I don't want to spoil anyone, so I won't go into what happens in the rest of the book, or book two, but if you're a fan of badass ladies, who are fiercely loyal, and like to buck tradition, this is a great series for you.  I will say, in parts of the book, I think the author is alluding to the fact that the Remnant (those chosen after an apocalypse wipes out all of society,) is the United States, and menti…

Friday Friday Friday

Hello friends, I'm so sorry I fell off the face of the earth for almost a month. Turns out, healing and grief truly are processes that take time and energy. Anywho, I have been reading, and definitely owe you some book reviews, but those are all still turning gears in my brain right now. So, I've put together a list of some of the articles, recipes, things that I've been looking at around the interwebs recently, and hope you enjoy it as well!

Runner's World: The Problem Is Not Women Running Alone I no longer run due to IT Band issues (ugh) but I used to run alone almost all the time. With the exception of a majority of my long runs when training for half and full marathons, I ran on the streets of my neighborhoods. This article really struck a chord with me, and I think it makes really great points. Women endure this kind of harassment on a regular basis, and it's unacceptable.

PopSugar: Hate Your Muffin Top? - I do actually hate my muffin top, and while I do actuall…

Books: Thoughts on The Girl at Midnight and The Shadow Hour by Melissa Grey

Ah, Young Adult novels. Is there anything more traumatic than finishing a novel, and realizing it's got a second book? How about finishing the sequel and realizing this series is actually a trilogy. This is what happened to me with The Girl at Midnight and The Shadow Hour by Melissa Grey. I picked up the e-book of The Girl at Midnight recently because it had been recommended to be by Amazon, and it was $1.99. I have to be honest, I was not expecting to be completely drawn in immediately, let alone so broken hearted at learning I would need to wait until Summer 2017 for the final book, The Savage Dawn. *le sigh*

I want to hold off on doing a true review until I've read all three, but, I can absolutely tell you that I adore the world that Melissa Grey has created, and the main character, Echo reminds me in the best ways of Karu from the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor. Both are strong if somewhat reluctant warriors with difficult childhoods who find family and …

Books: The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood

Margo "Grots" Oppenheimer has had a rough year. The previous Fall, her grandfather passed away suddenly, her secret boyfriend dumped her, her brother moved away to university, and her father, already a quiet man, became even more withdrawn. So, Margo did her best to push through, and follow all the steps laid out in a pamphlet from the hospital on what to do after someone dies. Cleaning out of possessions, organizing the funeral details, etc.
Somehow, though, she still finds herself losing hours, and conversations. Margo is a smart girl, off the charts smart, so when she begins to notice experiencing "wormholes," "screen wipes," and "reboots," in her daily life she takes her math and science and attempts to solve for x, so to speak. Using her grandfather's diaries, and her own scientific notation, Margo spends the summer skipping through timelines and realities in some pretty charming, if sometimes confusing, examples of magical realism. Th…

Bling: Stella & Dot Engravables

Full disclosure: I am a Stella & Dot Independent Stylist. So, a lot of the Bling I feature will very likely be Stella & Dot - since it's most of what I wear on a regular basis.  With that being said, should you choose to place an order for anything I feature (or anything otherwise,) I do earn money from that sale. That is not why I feature or talk about these pieces though - I will share and talk about whichever bling I write about because I genuinely like it. :) 
All that being said, the Engravables are some of my favorite pieces - and this new thin bar, which comes in gold and silver, is so delicate and lovely. I wanted one the minute they were released, but didn't know what I wanted it to say - so I missed out on getting it at my stylist sample price - and instead just used my regular discount. 
It's been a very difficult three years for me, and my family, and I've really tried to cling to a number of pieces of literature, and music, as sort of mantras to he…

Beauty: Saving Your Skin

It's no secret the sun causes major damage to your skin. Thankfully over the years, more and more information has become available to us about skin cancers, and overall prevention and protection from the sun. Even if you have darker skin, or tan instead of burning right away, you need to look out for your skin and the harmful UV rays that cause long term damage.

I'm not a doctor, and I'm not an expert in skin cancer or sun damage, so if you're looking for more detailed information a good resource is or The Mayo Clinic. Both sites are able to provide you with medically based information on sun protection, and how to check yourself for signs of skin cancers.

All that being said, I'm here to talk about the best way to really save your skin and prevent signs of aging, especially on your face. That way is by using sunscreen on a daily basis. I know, ugh, sunscreen. It can get into your eyes, and feel greasy, or make you break out. I know, as a super pale gi…

Fiction: Breathe

I used to write fiction all the time. I couldn't seem to stop myself. It would happen in the middle of classes, so my notebooks would be one part algebraic equations, one part poetry. I've gone through a definite dry spell in my writing over the last few years - I don't force myself to make time for it, like I used to. So, when I find things I wrote in the past, things I remember coming easily, I want to share them to remind myself to keep pushing. It may not be as easy anymore, but by working at it, it can get closer to easy again.

Written sometime in 2004/2005
"You know I breathe too much anyway, I can do that anyday." - Ani DiFranco "Anyday"

The weed hit rough, and she held back her cough the best she could. the boys were barely coughing at all, and somewhere in the back of her mind, that voice that always pressed into her "you must keep up with the boys." nagged.
she took another hit from the blunt, holding in the smoke, feeling it pulsing t…

Books: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

It has been a difficult few days, emotionally. With the passing of my mom on Sunday (which I wrote about here,) and the aftermath that follows, it's been hard to stay focused on much. I began reading this novel, Passenger, by Alexandra Bracken, on June 30th, and finished it the evening of the 4th. I immediately attempted to purchase the sequel, Wayfarer, only to discover it is not released until January 3rd. So, now I have a book hangover to deal with.  For some reason I kept confusing this novel in my mind with Salt to the Sea, by Ruta Sepetys, I think because of the similar coloring on the covers. I still have Salt to the Sea on my wishlist, so I can't yet comment on subject matter.

I digress. I really loved this books, and Bracken had be sucked in almost right away. The character of Etta is fierce, and bold, and driven. All things I love to see in strong female lead characters. I must not have read the dust jacket description, or if I did, I must have forgotten, because mu…

Watching Cancer Take My Mom

I’ve been snooping around my parents house, looking for old photos. I know we have them, my dad loves photography, and I know we have boxes of pictures around here somewhere. Snooping is probably too strong a word, really I’m just searching around. I’m trying to find as many photos of my mom as possible. Most of the photos that are around the house are studio portraits, or other photos of me, from school, from dance. There are few adult pictures of my parents that don’t also include a younger version of me. I want to find these photos because I want to have as many visual reminders of who my mom was, physically, before the cancer came. I want to remember her holding me while I suspiciously suss out Donald Duck, or holding me on her lap in a blue chair that’s almost just as much a part of my childhood memories. I want to remember her smiling, and vibrant, and sometimes, clearly annoyed with the photographer (my dad.) I want all of these as a constant reminder that my mom is so much mor…

Beauty: Younique Cosmetics Foundation & Concealer

I am a makeup and skincare product junkie, but on a day-to-day basis, I frequently go makeup free. Sometimes, it's all makeup, sometimes I wear eye make up and no foundation. There was a time, in my early 20s when I wouldn't think of leaving the house without even a little bit of makeup, but the older I get, the less I care, and it's actually done a couple of things for me. One, it's made me realize that you don't *HAVE* to wear makeup every day, nothing really happend when I wasn't wearing a full face of makeup, and two, my skin got better. I don't know if some of my skin getting better also came with age, or was in part thanks to not putting stuff all over my face,and then removing it each night. The world may never know.

That said, I do keep face makeup for those times when I want a flawless face to start with. A friend of mine from childhood is a Younique presenter, and I have tried the mascara - which I found to be mostly great, so when she invited me…

Books: Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

Stories like Wolf Hollow are so fantastic because the remind us that while we hold to nostalgia that other times were "simpler," times, life is never simple, and the truth, when held back can sometimes be more complicated than anything you could imagine. Comparisons have already been made to Harper Lee's classic To Kill a Mockingbird, and rightfully so. This novel has a similar feeling in its beautiful, and easy prose and in, Annabelle, and it's earnest and charming narrator. What's so wonderful about Wolf Hollow, and is another echo back to Lee's incredible work, is, you can feel that it is timeless. Yes, it is set in 1943, but the experiences, the life lessons, and the heart are true in any era. Annabelle's clear-eyed naivety, but overall desire for good are tempered by her independence, and wilful insistence to seek the truth at any cost. This is a novel I can see easily becoming a new classic, studied and loved in classrooms around the country.


Books: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

I've been staying at my parents' house in Phoenix for the last few weeks while my mom is in hospice care at home. She's battled cancer like a champion for the last two years, and over Mother's Day weekend, after being hospitalised due to chemo treatments, made the decision to cease treatment, and go into hospice. This has been an incredibly difficult time for my dad and me, even though I'm grateful to have the time to be here with her in what is left of her time here with us.  That being said, I had started another book earlier in the week, and my heart just wasn't in it. I needed something that was going to allow me to escape my own reality for a while, and when I saw the description of The Star-Touched Queen, I immediately ordered it for my Kindle. 
"Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you're only seventeen?Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has…