Necessities I Hate Doing

Friday, February 27, 2015

It use to be so simple. The things you didn't want to do, but had to do because your parents or your teachers or your babysitter made you. Homework, mowing the lawn, walking the dog. Now, there's no one to make you do it. But that's a trick, a ploy played by the universe to get us to think we have free will, when really, there's no choice at all. Now it's life.

I'm talking about this pesky things we have to do, the necessities. Sure, you can argue that most of these things are simply things we should do, but peer pressure is real, ya'll. (Besides, most of these are "you'll-be-sorry-if-you-don't-do-it" kind of things.) And these feel less like a chore and more like a requirement. Wah, adulthood is hard.

Washing dishes.

Dentist visits. 

Ironing suits. 

Using a primer. 


Untangling headphones. 

Sorting and shredding mail. 

Hanging my coat. 

Putting on lotion. 

Getting dressed to workout. 

Waiting for the next train. 

Using a deep conditioner. 

Being extremely nice to asshole waiters because I'm afraid they'll spit in my food. 

Calling Time Warner about a cable outage. 

Trying on denim in department stores. 

Folding fitted sheets.

Writing a cover letter.

Taking DayQuil, NyQuil or any other -quils. 

Getting my hair 'trimmed'.

Turning off the light or checking that the door is locked when I'm already tucked in. 

Turning around when you think you forgot to lock your apartment door. 

Repainting the smudged nail. 

What about you? Anything you wish you didn't have to do? 

A Girl Who Reads #1

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Towards the end of last year, I realized that I was struggling with how to handle books and book reviews on my blog. Unless I'm in a reading slump, I read fairly often. I read 30+ books last year. But I only reviewed a handful, with many reviews on back up. Either I didn't have enough to write a full review or I didn't want to flood all your timelines with unwanted book talk.

It dawned on me, while rethinking the direction of my blog, to do the blog equivalent of the BookTube wrap up, creating one video (post) in which I review my recent reads. Of course, I'll still review certain books individually, like I did this one (link!) and this one (link!). However, I like the idea of talking about them all in one go. Such posts, dubbed "A Girl Who Reads", will be frequent but not monthly or any other specific span of time. Just once I've read a few, I'll compile what I thought into a single post.

My True Love Gave To Me by Stephanie Perkins et. al.

A collection of holiday-themed short stories that was definitely worth the read. There were stories that I pushed through a bit and other's a flew through but hey, I feel like that's expected with various authors. Regardless, I solidified my love for some authors and got introduced to some new ones. MTLGTM was the book club book of the month for December so check out the FULL REVIEW here!

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

The perfect ending to The Mortal Instruments Series. I can't say I was nervous about it - I'm not usually nervous about final books in series and Clare's final Infernal Devices book was perfection so there was trust - yet still, it did not disappoint. Everything concluded really well. Clare gave each character the ending that was true to their character and just when I thought it was over, she had a few more twists up her sleeve. I was also damn near tears seeing some Infernal Devices characters again - the feels!
I ordered this book off BookOutlet but couldn't control myself so I read it on my iPhone. Legit read it on my phone in the bed in like 3 days. A 700+ page book. Now that I have it, I'm probably gonna read it again because I breezed through it so fast I feel like I need to.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

GAAHHH! This was technically my first read in 2015 (I was basically done My True Love Gave To Me by the 1st), and purposely so. I always hit a reading slump of sorts towards the end of the year, and I picked up the tip of rereading a favorite at the start of each year from Ariel Bissett. Of course, Fangirl didn't disappoint in the slightest. I loved it even more the second time around! Rainbow's characters are just so full and hopeful and real and magnificent. And her writing is so straightforward and relatable. I don't know what I'm saying. I need to do a full review on this eventually. Gaaahhh!

Burn for Burn by Jenny Han & Sioban Vivian

Burn for Burn was a fun read. That's the best way I know to describe it. The story centers on the lives of three high school friends, each burned (get it?) by someone somehow and each looking for revenge. It's like Gossip Girl meets Revenge, except truly not as good as either, honestly. But that doesn't mean I didn't like this novel, I just love me some GG :) I have the sequel Fire with Fire on my actual shelf and the final book, Ashes to Ashes, on my metaphorical shelf and I plan to get to them both.

Four: A Collection by Veronica Roth

I purchased this book not even a week after it released back in July 2014 and it's just been sitting on my shelf. Maybe it was the other books I was excited to read or the fact that Allegiant threw me into a reading slump (oh hey, Allegiant!), but I wasn't jumping at the chance to read it.
Four is a collection of short stories from Four's point of view. Aside from the final book, we don't get to see inside Four's head and then even Allegiant, we aren't really seeing the faction world through his thoughts. Although I can't say that I absolutely loved this book, I am glad Roth wrote it. I remember not really liking Four's POV in Allegiant because I couldn't get a clear grasp on his voice; it all sounded like Tris to me. I think that without the distraction of jumping into Tris' head every other chapter, Roth does a wayyy better job of giving us Four's story in a voice that feels unique. There were definitely times when that voice annoyed me, but still. My only criticism would be the lack of Four's POV from the series. Roth delves into Four's life before Divergent and what drove him to make the choices he made, which I liked seeing, but I also really wanted to see the relationship unfold more in his eyes and how he perceived the big moments of Divergent and Insurgent.

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

Ugly Love is the book club book of the month for February, so mums the word. The only thing I'll say is that I didn't hate it. Full review coming soon! (March 3rd to be exact.) And I hope you're reading it along with us!

Fairest by Marissa Meyer

OMG. The only way I know how to describe this novel (novella?) is to say that it's kinda 'trippy'. At least once per scene I found myself thinking "no fucking way" or "Is this real life?", which of course it's not. But still, sometimes I just couldn't believe that the character/the author went there. It wasn't a bad thing that she did, just surprising. This is the story of Queen Levana, the villain in all the Lunar Chronicles books, explaining how she came to be who she is. Teeny tiny spoiler: Meyer doesn't completely redeem Levana in Fairest by finding a way to rationalize her later villain-ness. Reasons are given and as a reader, you can see the things that made Levana who she is, but Meyer doesn't make excuses. It doesn't make it okay, but it kinda makes it better. I like that.

I'm currently reading The Assassin's Blade by Sara J. Maas. I've only got about 75 of the 300+ pages left and I already know what happens at the end, so I could include it here. But on technicality, I'll save it. That makes it seven books (almost 8!) that I read since the beginning of the year. At this rate, I'll hit my Goodreads goal, a thought that excites me more than it probably should. On the other hand, I do realize that every single one of these books is a YA novel. I should really start branching out. We'll see next wrap-up.

What have you read recently? I'm totally open for suggestions because you know, I could always use more books. (Not true. I have zero space for more books, but, you know, so what? Literature, yo!) 

Oscars 2015 Recap

Monday, February 23, 2015

One thing about me: I love award season. Sundays during the first fews months of the year are for lounging on the couch to critique outfits and eat all the snacks and admire the glamour. I usually like to predict the winners, but this season snuck up on me and I didn't see very many of the nominated movies. Still, you can bet your bottom dollar I watched the Oscars last night, and I've got a few favorites!

They say the best things come in threes. I'm not sure how true that is but let's go with it because I've got three categories of Oscar favorites, each with three moments or items. Three, three, weee! Ok, weird. Getting on with on it.
Oscar 2015 best dresses
For the record, I feel like all last night's dresses were just stunning, and everyone chose looks that worked perfectly for them. These three just slayed me.

Zoe Saldana Draped Simplicity
Let's take a moment of silence for Zoe Saldana and the fact that despite having a twins just two months ago, she showed up to the red carpet looking like that. And her figure never looked better. Wham, bam, thank you ma'am.

Jennifer Lopez's Beaded Perfection
I might have actually gasped aloud when I saw JLo in this beautiful, princess gown. No, not princess. Queen. With just the right amount of volume and the beautiful appliques cascading from the waistline, it was instantly my favorite of the night.

Rosamund Pike's Laced in Desire
I have not seen the movie (don't ask! I know, but I haven't read the book yet), but this dress seemed like the perfect ensemble to accept a first Oscar in. The cinch in the waist, rounded neckline and deep slit in the front made Rosamund a walking bombshell.
New BFFs JLo & Meryl Streep 
I had no idea they were seated next to each other until the camera cut to this moment.
My new favorite GIF. For real.
As Patricia Arquette took the opportunity to address gender equality during her acceptance speech, the two ladies showed some solidarity! I'm not sure if this was before or after the BFF selfie above but I love em both.  

Glory wins Best Original Song
I thought I was a puddle of tears after the performance, but then Common and John Legend won the Oscar for "Glory". And then Common delivered this line an stage with the Oscar in his hands: "...built on hope, welded with compassion and elevated by love for all human beings." Not only is Common a lyrical genius, a talented wordsmith... here I go crying again.

A Plea for Being Different
After telling the crowd that he tried to commit suicide at 16, Graham Moore (Best Adapted Screenplay, The Imitation Game) pleads with any kid listening to "stay weird, stay different". It reminded me of one of the most important things a creator needs to hear: the world needs to hear your story; don't give up.
Oscar 2015 weirdest moments
Everything is Awesome performance
It's really not. To preface this, I really like Tegan and Sara. But this was just weird. It was like the lego store exploded on the stage and all I could think was "save the children!" Just weird, man. And not that weird-but-awesome Lady Gaga kind of way. (Her performance was wonderful by the way).

Creepy John Travola 
First there's this picture of him creepily photobombing/kissing Scarlet Johansson and if that wasn't enough, he got really hands-y with Idina Menzel on stage as he apologized for mispronouncing her name last year. Just, no.

Awkward Annie joke
Now I love Neil Patrick Harris - his Oscar opening performance this year made me all kinds of happy - but what was with the Annie joke? NPH claims that everything sounds better in an accent and after announcing that the year said goodbye to movie franchises we love, he had British actor David Oyelowo read: "We saw the last ever Hobbit movie, the last ever Night at the Museum movie, and the last-ever attempt to remake Annie." It just felt like a low blow.

I guess you could say those were my most memorable Oscar moments from this year's award show. Did you watch last night? Leave your thoughts on it in the comments below!

If You're Reading This, It's Too Late

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Were you browsing twitter last Thursday night? I happened to be scrolling in time to watch the link to Drake's new mixtape get tweeted out, and unceremoniously deleted from Soundcloud, where it was posted, in the middle of track number 4. Whomp. I went to sleep, and woke up to a treat on Spotify. And I've been listening to the mixtape ever since. Dancing around the apartment to it. Using it as background music while I comment on blogs or clean. I don't talk music here on the blog often, at least not single albums, but sometimes (and for Drake) exceptions must be made :)

With the mixtape, If You're Reading This, It's Too Late released officially on February 13th, Drake takes a page out of BeyoncĂ©'s playbook, dropping an album seemingly out of nowhere. And my overall impression of it is love. Granted, that might need to be taken with a grain of salt. In high school, I was obsessed with Aubrey 'Drake' Graham during his Degrassi days and well beyond. I feel like I'm inclined to love anything he creates. That said, I really do think this mixtape was exactly the collection he needed to release.  
if you're reading this it's too late

As much as Drake would hate me saying this, If You're Reading This reminds me of "old Drake". A lot of his lyrics are delivered over beats that have a chill, old school vibe, similar to the sound of his earlier music (think more sophisticated versions of "Don't You Got A Man" and "Comeback Season"). And lyrically, he's simply phenomenal. It's the kind of music you throw on in your car and just cruise to. I love music like that. And because of that, I have quite a few favorites.

"Know Yourself", forever known as the song I was listening to when the mixtape got deleted, has been stuck in my head for days. This could greatly be attributed to my boyfriend, who sings the lines randomly and showed me a hilarious video of Wayne bopping to the track. Regardless, I love the way the beat drops in and find myself rocking back and forth to it for the whole four and a half minutes. I probably look like I'm on something but whatever I like it.

Sadly, that's not the only song that gets me moving me like a crazy person. As soon as "No Tellin'" or "6 God" starts, I can't control the moves I bust out. I'm not proud of it, but you should probably never draft me for a dance battle You Got Served style. And the beginning of "Star67" gets me embarrassing-ly hype. Like "what is she, having a seizure?" hype. *Ducks head*

"You & the 6" is a heartwarming tribute to his mother, which I didn't grasp at first, until I heard "I mean I kill 'em every time they do a song with me momma, I sing the hooks they sing along with me momma, what more they want from me momma." I think proceeded to rewind the verse approximately seventeen times. In between lines that play like an open letter to his mother, he launches into asking his mother to forgive his father, who abandoned them when he was young. "Look how we livin', I'm content with this story, who are we not to forgive him?" There's something about this track that reminds me of "Dear Mama" by 2Pac (tall order, I know). It's gotta be my favorite track on the mixtape, maybe one of my favorite Drake songs.

Have you checked out the mixtape? What do you think of it?


Monday, February 16, 2015

In case you haven't noticed, I'm really, really excited about my short story. And I'm completely over the moon and overwhelmed by all the love you all have been showing me surrounding it. So thank you to every single person that read it <3 I feel like I've been walking this fine line all week between promoting as I should promote my work and going overboard. (Forgive me if it's the latter.) I'm just really proud to have finished something at all, and sharing that something is a really important step as a writer. A step I'm ecstatic to be making.

So... I'm just gonna leave this here. The first few paragraphs of Glacier, here on the blog. Just in case, you have yet to read it. And who knows? Maybe you'll read on to what happens next :)

glacier, a short story

My hand stung and I bent over, placing it tightly between my knees as if that would quell the sensation. I hadn’t thought I’d slapped him that hard. Surely, he was just overreacting, over acting the flop to draw the foul, Shaq-style. I leaned over the counter to access the damage. The first thing I saw was a rolling tall paper cup, its contents splattered across the tiled floor. I followed the trail to legs splayed as if they’d been swept, and then to his hands cupping the side of his face protectively. When he pulled his hand away, I could see the blood blooming beneath the skin of his cheek and then spreading to his ear and neck. Before I pulled myself away from the lip of the counter, I watched surprise chase embarrassment across his face. 

Even from behind the counter, I could see her clearly. The girl, who’d walked in with her arm looped loosely through his, was now cradling his head in her lap. Her perfectly coiffed blonde hair slipping from its pins and hanging across her face. Her mouth hanging open. It was a little dramatic, but I guess I could understand it. She probably had no idea what was going on. For all she knew, her —what was he? Her date? Her boyfriend? Oh God, her husband?— had simply ordered a double espresso when he was slapped by the barista. What she didn’t know was that she was the other woman. (Or maybe I was the other woman?) That for the past few months, he’d showed up daily during my breaks, shared his hopes and dreams with me over white linens and whispered wishes of whisking the girl he loves around the world. She didn’t know that he was a no good bastard that deserved to be face down on the floor. The sting in my hand was receding and so was the guilt.    

Except that’s not how it happened at all. 

9 Sexy Things Guys Do

Saturday, February 14, 2015

I mentioned the Twilight movie marathon that happens occasionally in Casa de Kari to one of my friends the other day. And after she professed her Team Jacob-ness, I make the most disgusted noise I could muster followed by a "umm, no. Edward. All Day." We then proceeded to look at each other like we were from different planets, which for all I know we probably are - all things considering.

But it got me thinking about what I find attractive in guys (probably prompted mostly by her "Ugh, you actually find all that super protective, I-can't-like-without-you stuff attractive?" response). Like aside from physical looks, what makes me say "ooh, I like this guy" or "Wow, he's hot." Some of them may be purposefully but many of them are probably things guys do without even noticing. And I figured, what better day to favorite things that boys do, then Valentine's Day, when they are pretty much obligated to do all our favorite things like dote on us and feed us chocolate and champagne. (Eep! That sounds a little suspect but you know what I mean!).
sexy things guys do
Yes, that is Jacob, well, I never said the boy wasn't hot! [Source: EOnline]
Bite their bottom lip.
Not 50 Shades of Grey lip biting every .7 seconds (nothing is ever 50 Shades of Grey anything 'round these parts, fyi), but that super hot lip biting that guys sometimes do when they aren't thinking about it but are usually thinking about something NSFW. It's like when a guy is totally unaware of how hot they are and how much hotter that genuine ignorance makes them. Come on! Even if you're not that into it, you know what I'm talking about!

Looking you in your eyes, but then glancing elsewhere.
A surprising one I know, considering how much we hate when guys look at our assets instead of our eyes. But I'm not talking oogling my goods here. I mean, when a guy actually is looking into your eyes as you speak but steals "secret" glances at your lips, figure etc. It's like he knows what he should do but kinda can't help himself.

Laughing genuinely when you're trying to be funny.
I absolutely love it when my boyfriend cracks up over something I've said when I'm trying to be funny or have said something clearly comical. Perhaps this stems from the fact that I'm not very funny at all, so it feels good to have my lame attempts at jokes laughed at when I'm trying. I have literally kissed my boyfriend in the middle of laughter simply because it makes me so happy that I can make him that happy.

Speaking in a lower register when talking about something important or serious.
Sah-woon. Hold my face so I look into your eyes and you get bonus points. Say my name while you're at it and we are off the charts! It's like I'm being glamoured. Like seriously, you've got to know what you're doing right?
You jump, I jump, we jump :)

Complimenting you on something you never even noticed.
It's easy to say I'm beautiful or sexy or that my hair looks nice. And don't get me wrong, I dig all of those compliments. But getting a compliment on something you're not secure in or something you never really notice means either he loves your self-diagnosed flaws or he really pays attention to you. I ain't mad at either of those. An "I love the way you laugh" or "You're cute when you get excited" will get me every time.

Running a hand through their hair or at the back of their neck.
It doesn't matter if they have totally perfect hair or none at all. It gives the impression that they are brooding or deep in thought and automatically channels the part of every woman that just wants a tortured soul to nurture and love.

Their voice when they just wake up. 
They don't even know. They just don't even know! If they spoke in that super cute, groggy, half-asleep voice all the time, they could probably get any damn thing they wanted. Wake me up in the middle of the night, tell me to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge for a Junior's cheesecake and I'd probably do it. Truthfully, sometimes I've woken my boyfriend up from a nap inadvertently and kept him talking for longer than necessary on the phone just to squeal on the other end of the line.

Listening to me rant about something and getting pissed off with me.
For real, do this and my eyes will light up. It's one thing to listen, I appreciate that. But when I'm complaining about something some pseudo-friend had the nerve to say to me and you chime in completely disgusted by said pseudo-friend's audacity, you become my best friend, except I can kiss you, so it's the best of both worlds. It's like you get me, and it feels amazing to connect with you over mutual hatred of pseudo-friend that I will probably be ok with in like two days, but so what? You. Get. Me.

Pulling you in for a kiss after you started walking away or just when you're about to say something. 
It's spontaneous. It stops you in your tracks. It's The Notebook circa 2004. Need I say more?

I missed the Blogmopolitan quiz yesterday, but glad Kay posted it today to remind me!

What do you think? Did I miss anything? Leave it in the comments below. Also, if you haven't read my Valentine's inspired short story yet, check it out here and I'll love you forever! Oh and,

Happy Valentine's Day!

I Wrote A Short Story!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Eep! I don't think I've ever been this nervous for a post to go live before. I've probably redrafted this post five times. But at the end of the day, nothing is going to be juussttt right, so we beat on :)

Cutting right to it - I wrote a short story! Last year, I began writing a novel and although I love it, it's a long process and I found it frustrating that I couldn't share my writing sooner. After reading My True Love Gave To Me, I was inspired to write holiday-themed short stories of my own, an idea that has evolved into simply writing and publishing short stories in general. The aim is to publish a few throughout the year.

This short story began as a ode to the holiday of love, but quickly morphed into something else. It's kind of a Valentine's Day story, but not. Kind of a funny story, but not quite that either. Truly, I'm horrible at synopsis writing and hopefully I'll improve by the time I publish a book (fingers and toes crossed!). I have no idea how to describe this short story without spoiling it. I hope you'll read it anyway :)

Big thank yous go out to everyone who supported this project and me during the craziness that was drafting, editing and not-scrapping this short story, a group of people that include my family, my friends that are family, and my boyfriend. But a very special thanks goes out to Mae - for believing in my words before having read a full sentence and for beta-ing all my sentences with enthusiasm and so much love :)

Annnddd apparently, nervous Kari writes impromptu acknowledgements? Well on that note, I hope you enjoy my short story. Please do like, comment, and share it here, on Wattpad, Twitter, Instagram - wherever your heart so desires because my heart desires for people to read (and hopefully love) it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Marsala Only, Hold the Chicken {& Giving Things Away}

Friday, February 6, 2015

Before I begin! I'm really excited about the new year because I'm taking on a few new projects, projects I was inspired to begin and am willing to share completely off the strength of this wonderful, supportive blogging community. Please check back here ON THE BLOG ON MONDAY FOR A SPECIAL SHORT STORY WRITTEN BY YOURS TRULY! I'm excited and nervous all at once, but I can't wait to share it with you all <33

The mauve-y, nude Kylie Jenner lip has taken on a mind of it's own! Enter Pantone's Color of the Year for 2015, Marsala, darker in color with with a similar feel. Considering I love anything rose-colored, -smelling, or -tasting, I'm ecstatic about this announcement.

Pantone describes it as an "earthy wine red" ('Marsala' is actually a type of wine) but the earthy-tones seem to give it a pink hue at times. It seems an estranged sister to the lighter Terra Cotta, another favorite shade of mine. This deep, almost dusty, rose wine color is just so soft, feminine, sophisticated, natural and luxurious. I can guarantee I would've rocked it this year anyway (I was obsessed with it for most of last year too!). But now I can say I'm right on trend.

By now you've got to be wondering why I'm blogging about a color. For one, to highlight a shade that I really love. But mostly, to segway into a list of Marsala-colored things I'm coveting, beginning with some of the items in the Sephora collection. Sephora always has a collection in combination with the Pantone Color of the Year, and while I passed on 2014's Radiant Orchid as it was too, well, radiant for my tastes, certain items are just too good to pass up this year. The collection is sold out in stores but I'd love to get my hands on the lipstick and highlight/contour palette. Despite how downright gorgeous the packaging of everything is in all its rose gold splendor, I plan to limited myself (thankfully).

Sephora's made it easier for us to spend our money on Marsala-colored things we probably don't need :) There are, however, a lot of other products in the shade of Marsala that aren't Pantone or Sephora affiliated. I'm sure you'll find you have plenty to go with this trend just lying around. So if you're digging the earthy color trend but not trying to spend too much, here are 3 gems that you either already had or will only pay very little for:

  • Wet N' Wild 'Undercover' nail polish - I just love this shade! It runs a bit deeper/browner on me but it's still at the lighter end of the Marsala spectrum if you ask me. It's so natural and chic. I predict I'll be sporting this shade and it's darker sister, Under Your Spell, for most of the year. 
  • Maybelline 'Touchable Taupe' lipstick and 'Untainted Spice" - I had to order both of these Maybelline lipsticks online because I couldn't find them in any store near me :( However, I do have a different shade in the line, and let me tell you, I love it. The formulation is silky without being slick and lasts for a decent amount of time (it's a nude don't expect all day!). The pigmentation is great and the price is more than reasonable. 'Touchable Taupe' is lighter but I think 'Untainted Spice is dead on!
A month later but still, I hope you all welcomed in the New Year with the highest of spirits, the widest of eyes and the fullest of hearts! It feels like a special year, and not just because of it's perfect color choice. By the way... would it be too much if I added Marsala to my blog design? *Takes a seat*

And now, a giveaway, because Pam over at A Little Glitter is the best & because it's the loving season. Enter to win $150 from Victoria's Secret!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hosted by: The Sequin Notebook, Jessi's Design, Martinis and Bikinis, A Little Glitter, Martin Manifesto, The Kari Diaries, Pink and Fabulous, Make Me Up Mia, Green Fashionista and Meet @ the Barre

May the odds, be ever... :)


Saving Your Winter Skin

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

It's cold. Really cold. Every time I step outside I feel like the cool air is dragging every ounce of moisture out of my skin. By the time, I get to my destination, my lips feel freezer burned. I'm gonna need at least a few more degrees of warmth, Big Man.

Considering that good ol' Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, it looks like winter and the colder temperatures will be around for a while longer. And I can boo-hoo all I want, it won't change anything. All I can do for now is try to prevent scaling up like an alligator. I'm teaming up with my boo Deb to talk about skincare today, specifically tips for combatting winter temperatures, because good skincare is so frequently overlooked for it's prettier cousin, makeup. The truth is no amount of makeup can remedy unhealthy skin. And although maintaining is so hard during these months, here are a few of my tips for healthy, glowing winter skin.

Water, water everywhere. And all the drops to drink. So drink them! Water intake is almost directly correlated to skin health and hydration, at least in my experience. I find that when I'm drinking an adequate amount of water my skin gets clearer and more plush and vibrant. It's like a glow.

Change pillowcases frequently. A tip so frequently overlooked but so necessary for any time of the year. Think about it. We sleep on our pillowcases every night. We sweat, shed skin cells (gross) and some of us even drool (eep!). Pillowcases can get cruddy pretty easily and spread bacteria to our faces and vice versa.

Exfoliate with scrubs. It's strange. I feel like most people exfoliate in the summer because it's when they show the most skin, but really, it's in the winter when you need it most. Exfoliating your entire body once a week will do away with those dry cells and reveal soft, beautiful, new skin.

Use body oils instead of basic moisturizers. In high school, I also regularly used Vitamin E oil as a moisturizer. And as much as I loved the Bath & Body Works and Victoria's Secret body butters (still do!), I have to admit: my skin has never felt softer or more hydrated than back then. You can check out body oils like L'Occitane's Skin Oil and Philosphy's Living Grace Body Oil. But for the past couple of years, I like combining a natural oil, like almond oil, with a little bit of an essential oils for fragrance and using that as a moisturizer. It absorbs easily into the skin (a lot easier than Vitamin E) and hydrates brilliantly, and I've taken to making my own little concoctions :)

Love lip balms especially those with menthol in them. That tingly feeling on your lips after apply certain products is the menthol, and it can be really soothing on dry or chapped lips. You can go for drugstore brands like Blistex or Carmex or you can spring for my Sephora fav, Jack Black's Intensive Therapy Lip Balm or C.O. Bigelow Mentha Lip Shine. I even apply some under any other gloss or lipstick I wear just for extra moisture.

Got any tips for preserving your skin during the winter months? Have you checked out Deb's post? You should!


To Fill Up & Live | Orange Is The New Black

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Title: Orange Is The New Black

Author: Piper Kerman

Publication: 2010

It's well past midnight on the day this review is suppose to go up and I just can't write this review. I've never experienced this before, and I have no clue how to handle it. I respect the art of writing so much that I always try to support anyone endeavoring into the craft. And I hate the act of bashing a book. But, guys, I really did not like this book. I've rated it a 3 stars out of courtesy because honestly, it was probably more of a 2.5. Grr! I hate to do this. Normally, if I read a novel and really didn't like it, I'd just bypass saying anything negative about it and just won't review it. But, alas, this was the book club book of the month and so I must. 
Despite my rating, I must say that this book had two things going for it (only one really, but I'll get to that in a bit). The writing. Piper Kerman's writing is actually quite good. In terms of technical writing skill, this book gets high marks. It was well written and the author had a very clear writing voice that she employs from beginning to end. Secondly, this book made a wonderful t.v. series. I don't think that's very attributable to the author or the book itself (considering how different the show is), but then again, without the book, there would be no source matter to go off of. The show Orange Is The New Black is outstanding. It's hilarious and the characters are multifaceted and charming. The setting is jarring yet not so foreign to the viewer that we can't relate. I cannot say enough good things about this show, which I think is why I disliked the book so much. In fact, I wonder if I'd known it was a book and read it first, would I have liked it more? Perhaps, having watched it first, I ruined it for myself. It was kind of like when you read a novel and love it and then see the movie and think "the book is always better than the movie". Except well, the opposite.

I don't want to dwell too much on the negatives of this book, because like I said before, I don't like book bashing. But... I think my major issues lie with the execution and characters which combined to make the book quite boring. I really, really disliked Piper. I found her quite offensive and ignorant, and not in that endearing way. And not in that "oh, she'll grow through this experience" kind of way, because, umm she doesn't. Piper enters the prison as a spoiled, educated, priviledged woman who doesn't belong in there and leaves the same way. I didn't see change or growth. I continued reading in large part to see my favorite characters from the show, and they were pale comparisons to the vibrant women of the screen. And because we see them through Piper's narrow view, they are diminished to stereotypical characteristics. For instance, Piper refers to a transgendered character simply as "almost all woman" and another inmate as a "bulldyke", both kinda surprising coming from her character. As Holden Caulfield would say, she's a phony.

What I'm left with at the end of the book is "look at me, I was a good girl and make friends, even though I didn't think such nice things about them and that's how I made it through prison". It began with an interesting premise, but it needed more depth, more something.

So, that's all I'll say, as I don't want to spoil or bash it. But do link up below if you read along with us this month. And tell me,  if you read this book, did you like it? Any thoughts about the show?


Seeing as February is the month of lurrvveee, I'm really excited to jump into our next book: 
Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover!

I've been wanting to read a Colleen Hoover novel for a while now. I'd heard such amazing things for her novels Maybe Someday and Slammed, and then I heard about Ugly Love and the movie that's coming soon and the fact that this guy would be playing the love interest, and... >>>>>>>>>>>

OMG, can you say sold? Ugly Love, our book club's first NA read, is about two characters who don't have time for love so they settle on a purely physical relationship instead. But of course, it's never as easy as that, is it? I hope you'll join us this month! We'll be reviewing the novel on March 3rd. Happy Reading!

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