Recently Read Vol. 4

It’s that time again. Five more books read, 20 so far this year. Need a book recommendation? Check out Vol. 1, Vol. 2, and Vol. 3.

Recently Read Vol 4

1. Look Again by Lisa Scottoline

Let’s just start with this. It took me reading 70% of this book to realize that I’d already read it. For some reason I thought I had started it and never finished it, when in fact I’d read the entire book. Oops.

This book follows a mother who sees her sons face on a “have you seen this child?” flyer. Though she legally adopted her son, her instincts kick in and she winds up trying to retrace the steps of the adoption as well as the kidnapping of the child on the child on the flyer. Cool premise, right?

Even though I’d discovered I’d read it (and therefore kind of knew what was coming) I still enjoyed it. Sure, it’s no Gone Girl, but the plot twists are surprising and the desperation of the main character is totally believable.

A solid beach read.

2. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Following Gone Girl, I immediately felt I had to read Gillian Flynn’s other novels. Neither were even close to as good as Gone Girl.

Sharp objects is creepy. I heard it was horror in genre (something I’ve never been interested in) but I didn’t see it as horror.

Here’s what I realized about all of Gillian Flynn’s main characters: they are all not likable. At all. I started this book and quickly realized that I pretty much hated the main character and felt the same way about Dark Places (we’ll get to that).

Sharp Objects is about a reporter who has issues, who returns to her hometown (the root of those issues) to cover the story of a recent murder. Commence lots of creepy, bored teenagers and desperate housewives with secrets. Oh, and more murder. Of children. The book keeps you on your toes but the people you are suspicious of, who come off as the most creepy, well your suspicions are completely warranted.

3. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Convinced that maybe this would be better than Sharp Objects, I jumped in. Again, not at all like Gone Girl but this one hooked me a bit more.

Dark Places is about Libby, a screwed up low life who has every right to be super screwed up (but I still didn’t like her). As a child, her mother and sisters were murdered in an apparent satanic sacrifice at the hands of her brother Ben. Libby then testifies against Ben. Twenty-five years later, Ben is in jail but not everyone believes he’s guilty.

Again, let’s remind you that almost none (no actually, none) of the characters in this book are likable, but I guess Gillian Flynn has proved that you can write a decently likable book without a single likable character. Man, I’m really selling this one. If you read this before Gone Girl, you’d probably think it was great. After, it’s a bit of a let down.

4. If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Anytime there is a book that will eventually turn in to a movie aimed at 13 year olds, I’m bound to read it. If I Stay just came out in theaters last week. My little sister desperately wants to see it.

This book is deceptively short based on how big the book looks. Maybe it was just the edition that I bought but the font was freaking huge! I’m like, did I buy the large font version? Is this book really for 5 year olds?

That said, it’s easy to plow through this book in like 3 hours. Based on the movie trailer, you’d think it was about a girl in a coma but so much of the book is flashbacks, done in a very conversational way. Almost like the main character, Mia, is talking to herself and going through the significant moments of her life. It’s deep, for a book written for 13 year olds. I enjoyed it.

5. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

If you took my advice and read Attachments by Rainbow Rowell, read this book immediately. It’s in my top 3 favorite books I’ve read this year.

The main character, Don, had autism and the way that his thought process is written and the way the author got inside the brain of Don is truly fantastic. Sure, no two people are the same (and certainly we can’t completely compare real people to fictional characters) but I feel like I understand people with autism better after reading this.

Don decides that the only way to approach finding a wife (because after all, married men live longer) is to create a questionnaire and give it to a large sample size of women. He’d then be able to weed out the undesirable traits and then find the most compatible mate. Foolproof, right? Instead he finds Rosie, a grad student who is the opposite of what he was looking for but who has a project of her own – the father project. And so Don, a geneticist, begins to help Rosie find the man who could potentially be her father.

It’s heartfelt and charming and all kinds of warm fuzzies. Now that I think about it, it’s got a touch of When Harry Met Sally in it. Can men and women really be just friends? Can the person you don’t think you’re at all compatible with actually be your soulmate? Read this book if you love romantic comedies.

On another note, I’d like to add that I think it’s sort of weird and pretentious when a book is titled [insert title here]: A Novel. Like, what did you think we thought it was? [Book title]: A Rhinoceros? [Book Title]: An Pint Glass? It’s a novel. Throwback word time: DUH.

Now’s the part where I need help. Book recommendations please! I’m thinking of reading Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. Have you read it?

Filed Under: Reading

The Impossible Girl and The Book of Mormon

I tend to not read weekend updates from other bloggers. Truth be told, I think they’re boring. But I had the most ah-mazing weekend so I wanted to document it here. Sorry if it bores you (feel free to click away), but this post is mostly for me (and maybe a little for my Mom).

Love for my Puppy

I went thrifting with my sister and found brand new Madewell jeans for $15. Score. Also found 2 new pairs of ballet flats (for work) at $6 a pair.

I did the ALS ice bucket challenge and donated. Check out my Instagram later today for the video, once I figure out how to post a video on Instagram (I know, I’m pathetic).

The Doctor Who season premiere was Saturday night. There are no words. I loved Peter Capaldi – which I was not expecting to based on my true love of Matt Smith and serious concern over the “darker” direction this Doctor is going. I liked that they poked fun at his age and didn’t just ignore it. I thought the story line was not as fantastic as I’d hoped, especially given it was written by Steven Moffatt, who has written nearly all of my favorite episodes. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Plus, Clara. I wanted to hate every companion after Amy Pond but who could hate The Impossible Girl? Fellow Whovians, what did you think?

The Book of Mormon

Sunday we spent the day in Philly where we saw The Book of Mormon. I haven’t laughed that much in a long time. I was so prepared for it to be wildly inappropriate that I actually didn’t think it was as crude as it could have been. And wow are those some talented folks!

Pizza in Philly

We had some of the best pizza I’ve had in recent years (and that’s saying something because we eat a lot of pizza). Overall it was a gorgeous afternoon date with N. Stunning weather. Charming city. I’m wooed guys, really.

Archie Being the Cutest

And last but not least, Archie is still the worlds most precious dog.

That is all.

Filed Under: Personal

Walking Alone at Night: A Man’s Perspective

Last week I posted about how I feel when I encounter a man while walking alone at night. Not surprisingly, many of you commented that you feel exactly the same way. Anxious. Fearful. Alert. And ready to run.

One comment from a reader really stuck out to me. Marybeth wrote that she wondered if every time a man encounters a woman at night, if he wonders if she’s afraid of him. Sarah jumped in and said she’d had this discussion with her husband, who said he knows when women are afraid because he’s seen women tense up or get their phones out fast and that he realizes there’s nothing he can really do to make them not scared.

I feel like this post is helped by sharing several very unscary pictures of a man who loves his golden retriever.

I feel like this post is helped by sharing several very unscary pictures of a man who loves his golden retriever.

So I asked N. Here’s how that discussion went.

Me: Do you ever worry that you scare women when you are walking and you see a woman by herself?

N: Yes, definitely.

Me: Like, every time? You always think about it?

N: Of course. You can’t not think about it.

Me: Do you ever do anything differently once you think about the fact that you might be scaring her?

N: Not really. I don’t feel like there’s much you can do. Pretty much anything you do that might make her less scared could also scare her more. Like what are you going to do? Say hi? Walk faster? Smile? All of those things might freak her out even more so I usually just keep walking. Sometimes I’ll cross the street, if I needed to eventually anyways, and hope that makes her less scared. There’s just not much you can do though. What could a guy do that would make you less scared?

[I think for a minute, and come up with nothing]

Me: I honestly can’t think of anything. You’re right, anything he might do would probably make me more scared.

[Moving on]

Me: How do you feel about possibly having a daughter someday and knowing that she’ll grow up and have these same experiences?

N: Sad in a weird kind of way. Because it sucks that we live in a world where your immediate reaction is to not trust someone. But I wouldn’t necessarily want her to be that trusting.

Me: Do you have any other comments?

N: I love you.

[I roll my eyes and give him the "take this seriously' face, while smiling just a bit]

N: I don’t know. I would say that I wish people would be more trusting but at the same time, that’s not good advice.

I don’t really know what to do with this besides just be like, huh. I really thought that it didn’t occur to men that women were afraid. But that isn’t the case. As N said, he thinks about it every single time he sees a woman alone at night.

So I guess that in most situations, there are two people walking alone at night. One is afraid, the other is afraid that he’s making the other one afraid. It’s kind of funny but mostly sad, right?

Now here’s a little blogging homework (if you don’t mind feeding my curiosity). Ask a man in your life these questions. Report back here and leave a comment with his answers. How do they feel? Is there anything they do to try to make women less afraid? And women, what could a man do in this situation to make you less afraid?

Filed Under: Life

Today, I’m Playing Favorites

Sometimes it’s nice to tell the people who inspire you, “Hey, you inspire me! Thanks for writing! Thanks for sharing your life with the internet!” So that’s what I’m doing today.

Today I'm Playing Favorites - My Favorite Bloggers |

I follow lots of blogs (hundreds) but frequently I scroll through bloglovin and only click the posts that interest me. These ladies below are the ones who I click on every time they post. The ones who never leave me hanging and who make blog world better for me. They are the bloggers who keep me blogging. So ladies, thank you for all that you do and all that you share.

Princess Burlap, The Daily Tay, Northern Belle Diaries
Serious Writing Chops – Princess Burlap

Dayna is a damn beautiful writer. Her voice is not like anyone elses I’ve ever read. She is entirely unique. Such an awesome thing in blog world where there is sometimes a lack of individuality. Dayna has been open about her love story with “blue eyes” (possibly the first cutsie husband nickname that doesn’t annoy me), her husband who has autism.

I also never miss a Toast Post, written by her neurotic pup who happens to be waiting for the zombie apocalypse. You and me both, Toast.

Will Make You Snarf Coffee Up Your Nose – The Daily Tay

I don’t remember when I found Taylor or how but she’s probably my favorite blogger. Period. I know she’s a comedian in real life but it’s really cool when humor comes through in the written form too. Taylor nails this and somehow even when she’s talking about totally normal, daily life type stuff, she makes it fun to read. I could not get through this post without laugh/crying. I expect to see her on SNL one day.

The Blog You’ll Most Want to Pin From - Northern Belle Diaries

Lisette posts so much useful stuff! From WordPress tutorials to domestic tips (like how to remove set in oil stains or how to get that stinky smell out of towels) to delicious recipes, you’ll want to pin every post! If you use WordPress or are considering a switch, you’ll definitely want to check out her resources page.

The Other Juliette, A Blonde Ambition, Betsy Transatlantically

Blogger Who is Winning Twitter – The Other Juliette

Sure, she gets carried away with the all caps but girlfriend is hilarious. This translates perfectly to her blog where it’s basically a stream of consciousness, directly from the mind of Juliette. Basically she can ramble or word vomit or whatever and it’s still amusing as hell. Follow her on twitter and try not to laugh inappropriately at your desk at work.

Best Linkup – Confessional Friday by A Blonde Ambition

When I say “best” I mean, this linkup will actually help you grow your blog. On the occasion that I do link up with Leslie, I get more page views that day from her site than I ever have from any other linkup.

Leslie also is a down to earth momma who shares about beauty, fashion, and home decor. Plus, she’s got a ten month old and baby #2 is already on the way!

Feel Smarter for Having Read It - Betsy Transatlantically

It feels like Betsy writes articles. Her posts are thought out and intelligent and she often addresses issues that might intimidate other people. She’s mature and thoughtful and I truly enjoy reading her perspective on things.

She also has shared every step of her expatriation love story that I just know is going to end in a really happy ending one of these days. Her recent post on the subject broke my heart, so I truly can’t imagine how her heart feels. I will be so thrilled for her when her husband Jon is finally in the US!

What Dress Code?, Love Woke Me Up This Morning, Mr Thomas and Me

Fashion Blogger Who Is A Real Human – What Dress Code?

You know when you see a fashion blogger and you just know that they wore the outfit just for the shoot and then took it off and put on yoga pants? I know Liz in real life and she is just as stylish on a day-to-day basis as she is on her blog.

The cool thing is though, she’s stylish in an attainable way. Check out some of her recent outfits and see for yourself. She also happens to be the first person I saw really pull of a crop top, so there’s that. I aspire to be as naturally stylish as Liz. She also throws in some delicious recipes and is a beautiful photographer.

Where I Get Book Suggestions – Love Woke Me Up This Morning

Emmy is an avid reader and I’ve gotten more than a couple of great book suggestions from her. I love reading them and then discussing them with her later via comments or twitter.

Emmy attended a small, Christian college and her post How Small Christian Universities Messed Up My View of Marriage and Happiness is a post you cannot miss. We couldn’t have had more different college (and really, life) experiences but I love how obvious it is that Emmy’s heart is in her writing. Get caught up with Emmy here.

Blogger On Team Jesus Without Being Pushy - Mr. Thomas and Me

Amber and I share opposite beliefs on lots of things (starting with Jesus). She’s one of those people who talks about her faith in an inspired way that isn’t pushy. I’ve really enjoyed following along with her Milking Stool Ministry vlog series. I have never read the bible but the way she talks about her faith really fascinates me. Add on the fact that her faith seems to make her more open instead of more closed, and it leaves me wishing more religious folks were like her. Plus she is genuinely one of the most likable people in blog world. And I’d also give her an award for best eyebrows. Just sayin’.

Read More

Filed Under: blogging

Everyday Makeup Routine

Since starting my new job, the number of people I see per day has gone from one to hundreds. And that’s not including all the people I just pass in the halls! Hospitals are busy places and so I’ve tried to step up my game and look presentable and put together all the time.

I also love reading about beauty products and I love when bloggers share their makeup routines. Here’s what I’m using these days:

Everyday Makeup Routine | #beauty #makeup #foundation #mascara

Sunscreen  |  Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture SPF 35

Since I’m inside all day now and not out and about, I’ve downgraded from SPF 55 to SPF 35. I know, this was a big step for me. I think what I like about this lotion is that I don’t notice it. It’s there, it does its job. I let it sink in for about 10 minutes before applying makeup.

Foundation  |  Revlon Colorstay for Normal/Dry Skin in Buff

I’ve tried so many foundations and this is absolutely the only foundation that you can apply to dry skin and it doesn’t emphasize it. Since dry skin is something I struggle with, I’m glad I found this stuff. It also really does stay on and doesn’t break me out.

If I wake up and I feel like my skin is looking really good, I skip foundation and just opt for concealer and powder.

Foundation Brush  |  Eco Tools Buffing Brush

Easiest way to apply foundation flawlessly. Period.

Concealer  |  Maybelline Dream Lumi Concealer in Ivory

I’d been a longtime user of the Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer that so many of us love. On a whim, I bought this one instead because, well, looking luminous sounded really good to me when I was standing in the aisle at Target in gym clothes. I like this every bit as much as the Age Rewind although it has significantly less product in the tube. It does a good job of making me look very awake in the morning.

Powder  |  E.L.F. Studio High Definition Powder

I’d heard that this is a dupe for Make Up For Ever’s HD Powder, which I’d always wanted to try but was too cheap to buy at $32 a pop. I’ve only ever bought the E.L.F. version so I can’t confirm the dupe (although Meg O. did!) but I can say that this is a great product.

I like it over foundation as a setting powder and I like it alone. It really makes your pores disappear and even though it’s white, doesn’t make you look like a ghost (take that with a grain of salt though, as I’m the palest shade in almost every face product).

Eyelash Curler  |  Revlon Eyelash Curler

Putting mascara on without a good curl just feels wrong.

Eyeliner  |  Revlon Colorstay in Charcoal

Black eyeliner looks too harsh on me to use everyday (and is less forgiving when you maybe aren’t super good at eyeliner, like me) so I opt for charcoal. This eyeliner goes on smoothly and stays on all day. I’m not committed to using this brand forever but I definitely like it.

Mascara  |  Physicians Formula Organic Wear Fake Out Mascara

HOLY GRAIL PRODUCT. I’m obsessed with this stuff. This mascara is a fabulous dupe for Benefit’s They’re Real Mascara, which I love but am also too cheap to buy all the time. This is the only non-waterproof mascara I have ever found that holds my curl in place all day, makes my eyelashes look way longer than they actually are, and doesn’t flake. When you wash your face at night and it washes off SO easily, you’ll think it’s magic. Because it is.

Blush  |  Flower Glow Baby Glow Blush Bronzer Duo in Beachy Keen

Flower is the brand started by Drew Barrymore that is only sold at Walmart (blah). Their philosophy is that you should not have to spend a lot of money to get the quality cosmetics you want and deserve. You can read more about their philosophy here.

Once I knew they were really going to focus on quality products, I had to try it. I’ve been very impressed with the products I’ve tried so far. This blush is a beautiful pinky coral and the bronzer is, well, bronzer. The finish is satin without significant shimmer. I’m not a bronzer fan but I’d keep buying this duo just for the blush side!

Blush Brush  |  E.L.F. Studio Blush Brush

I’m still confused as to why people pay so much for brushes. This works.

Lips  |  Almay Liquid Lip Balm in Blooming Balm

I’m surprised I don’t hear more people raving about these. I’m on a never-ending quest to find the perfect shade of pink for my lips. And in this product, I may have found it. This is a lovely, natural looking light pink that is a bit like my-lips-but-better although a little lighter. It feels divine on (like a lip balm, just like it says) and lasts quite a while. Unlike many similar products, it actually does really moisturize the lips. I have these in several colors but this is my favorite.

Nighttime Face Treatment  |  Acure Argan Oil

You might have read my review of Josie Maran Argan Oil a while back. Argan Oil did wonders for my skin. When I ran out, I struggled to take the plunge to buy the big bottle. I just couldn’t do it. So I did some reasearch and found that Whole Foods carries Argan Oil (a variety of high quality brands). I popped over there and found Acure Argan Oil. To put it in perspective, Josie Maran is $48 for 1.7 oz (that’s $28 for 1 oz.!). Acure Argan Oil is $14.99 for 1 oz. SOLD.

Acure Argan Oil is very slightly thicker than the Josie Maran version, but feels pretty much the same on the skin. It is also certified organic and harvested sustainably. This does not break my skin out, in fact it has drastically reduced the number of break outs I have! I also have many less dry skin patches than I used to and overall my face is much more balanced. After a decade of fearing oil as the enemy, I now slather my face in it every night. I’ve heard it works well on fine lines too.

The Thing About Cosmetics

I’ll change my mind 100 times about which products are my favorites. One day I cannot live without the L’Oreal Pore Vanisher, and then I’ll skip it all together for weeks on end. Sometimes I’ll completely adore a product but then decide that for what it does, it’s a little too pricy. That’s how I felt about this one now that I’m inside most of the day. And here’s what I was using back in February – my whole routine has changed!

The thing is, it’s fun to try new products. I could find the absolute perfect product and I’d still buy something else eventually. Although, truth time, I cannot imagine me cheating on my Physicians Formula mascara with any other brand anytime soon. Seriously. Holy Grail.

What are your holy grail products? Please share! 

Filed Under: beauty