For this month’s bookshelf, I have picked out Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park. This is Young Adult novel was one I flew through, as it was an easy and compelling read.
I am a fan of Young Adult fiction, since the books are usually quick reads and deal with universal topics that are easy to relate to at (almost) any age. In this case, the story follows the relationship of high schoolers Eleanor, who comes from a poor and dysfunctional family and Park, a sensitive boy from a loving family, both living in mid-1980’s Omaha.
The narrative deals with their budding love story in the midst of (especially) Eleanor’s family drama and is divided into sections narrated by both characters. We as the reader get to know the two kids very intimately and learn about their fears, hopes, dreams, and emotions first-handedly. This story is studded with pop culture references from music to comic books, which I personally loved as I am a self-proclaimed pop culture nerd. Though the relationship drama sometimes seems a bittrite, it does reflect what most of us had to deal with in our teenage years. Eleanor’s family story then brings in a more tragic and serious aspect that is practically a staple for any young adult novel.
All in all, I really liked this novel, even if it wasn’t the most original set-up. If you like YA, make sure to check this out and if not, maybe next month’s pick from the bookshelf might be more suited to your tastes.
I guess this post was absolutely inevitable, as the MAC lip liner in Soar is probably the most talked about lip product of the past few months.
It was also practically sold out everywhere and I miraculously happened to stumble across a MAC counter that had just got in new stock, including the liner, so a purchase had to be made.
I don’t even want to get into what this lip liner has been dubbed, as I usually don’t subscribe to hypes or trends, especially in make-up. But seeing as I tend to go for darker nude lipsticks since my lips are naturally very pigmented anyway, this was just screaming my name.
I usually apply this all over the lip (with a good helping of the Nuxe Reve de Miel lip balm underneath) and buff it out with either my fingertip or a Q-tip. This leaves a glorious stain on the lips that stays put for hours and looks very pretty and polished. I don’t have a lip color to go with it, but for now, I am happy with just the liner.
I also don’t find that it comes off TOO nineties, since it pulls very pink on me and doesn’t look too brown.
I was surprised at how much I reach for Soar, but it seems to go with the very neutral look I have been going for lately. If you manage to get your hands on it, I highly suggest you try this lip liner out. It is, in this case at least, a product totally worth the hype.
April has been a good month overall. I finished up an important project and had a bit more time for daydreaming and planning. Reading and perusing has been one of my favorite activities this month, as a very good friend of mine has opened a beautiful new bookstore. I’ve also been heavily into travel guides, since I am planning a bigger trip towards the end of the year. Record Store Day 2015 came and went without any big purchases but a huge amount of appreciation for my existing vinyl collection. I have planned to get the re-issue of Brand New’s Deja Entendu when it is released in May and I couldn’t be more psyched. And finally, this past Monday was my 27th birthday. After a more than trying year, I am ready to face 27 with a renewed sense of enthusiasm. It’s going to be a good one!
The only thing that has put a bit of a damper on the overall celebratory vibe of the month is my (ugly as hell) wrist brace. On doctors orders, I am supposed to wear this thing for six whole weeks in order to heal my inflamed wrist. I can’t be too sad about it though, since it seems to have come with copious amounts of sympathy and chocolate (Lindt Hello Salted Caramel is the bomb btw).
Also, if you want to have more regular updates on my day to day, make sure to follow me on Instagram.
With a bit of a delay, I wanted to talk about my favorite setting spray today – the Urban Decay All Nighter.
I am not very versed in the world of make-up setting sprays, since they seem like a kind of nothing step to me, but a while ago, I decided to pick up a travel-sized version of this spray and I have enjoyed every last pump I got out of it. Before, I had only used the MAC Fix+, which has a nice scent, but the pump-action left something to be desired. It never misted the face properly but instead always dispersed a bit too much product in too direct a way.
This however, is the complete opposite. It is almost scentless, which I like, since I don’t need too many fragrances floating around my face that will only give me a headache. Also, the mist offered is very fine and settles on the skin quite nicely. If you have been a bit too heavy-handed with the powder, a setting-spray is a nice way to give the skin a bit of glow back and take away any cakeyness.
Even if I don’t powder, if find that the All Nighter gives a nice bit of longevity to my make-up which would otherwise have disappeared a lot earlier.
I also love the travel-size version, since it lasts forever and is so much more convenient than a big bottle. It also makes it easy to carry around for a quick refresh on the go, which will be nice in the upcoming warmer months.
So here we have my evening skincare routine, which is a bit (but not much) more extensive than my morning one. As I have talked about most of these products before, this will be a sort of round-up post, linking to more in-depth reviews. Some of these products are on the verge of running out, so I’ll be sure to tell you about the new stuff I’m using as I introduce it to my routine.
1. Cleanse – I double cleanse in the evenings in order to get my make-up off and really clean my face before going to sleep. First up is an oil-cleanser, the Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil, which is so lovely and effective. Then, I go in with my second cleanse, a cream (Body Shop Tea Tree Cool & Creamy Wash) or a balm (REN Rosa Centifolia No. 1 Purity Cleansing Balm). I take both cleansers off with a warm damp muslin cloth and then rinse, which makes my skin feel incredibly clean.
If I do have a LOAD of make-up on, I do go in with Bioderma in order to remove every last trace. I don’t like smearing lipstick or heavy eyeliner all over my face, so I usually take care of that separately.
2. Tone – it’s a double whammy here as well, using an exfoliating toner (FAB Facial Radiance Pads are my absolute favorite) and then a soothing, hydrating one, usually in spray form (my weapon of choice right now is La Roche-Posay Serozinc for its blemish-fighting properties).
3. Serum – nothing new here, still in love with the REN Vita Mineral Omega 3 Optimum Skin Oil.
4. Moisturize – Sadly, my tube of the FAB Ultra Repair Cream has bit the dust since I’ve taken this photo and I still mourn its loss every day. But I have picked up something lighter for the warmer months. Expect a post on that soon!
And that’s it. My evening routine as of now. This is a great selection of products for normal/combination skin with a lot of uneven tones and dehydration and it has seen me through the winter quite nicely. If I could recommend anything from this line-up, it would probably be the REN and First Aid Beauty products, which I wouldn’t want to miss.
Since running out of my beloved Hourglass Brow Pencil, I’ve been trying out a few different products on my brows, including the Maybelline Brow Drama.
This is a tinted brow gel from the drugstore with an interesting twist to its design. I picked the shade Dark Blond, as my hair is a bit lighter right now than usual and the darker colors looked a tad intimidating (and warm toned).
I actually like the product – it’s not too tinted but gives a nice tone and shape to the brown without making them crispy. However, the ‘interesting’ shape of the wand makes it a strange experience to apply this. I don’t feel like I can get into the nooks and crannies of my brows completely, so there are always a few bald patches left at the end of the process. I’ve been tempted to just cut off the little sphere and try it that way, so I might do that and tell you how I get on in a future post.
Maybelline probably thought they were being innovative with this brow gel, but I find it to be too gimmicky and awkward to really be a hit. On the other hand, there are reviews that really praise this gel, so I guess it comes down to preference (and level of clumsiness, which in my case is really really high).
Aaaand… we’re back!
Let’s jump right in – Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly was probably the most anticipated hip hop album of the past few months (years?) and boy, did it deliver. It came out in mid-March and instantly made a huge impact.
First off, I have to say, as an English major, I do appreciate the reference in the title but what I do appreciate most are the current and so so important themes Kendrick covers in his lyrics. The first few singles already hinted at the topics on this album and I am glad that Kendrick Lamar has contributed in his uniquely concise and well-informed voice to the discussion of race relations and police brutality that are all over the news nowadays. I love his lyrics a lot, from the enraged The Blacker the Berry to the timidly hopeful Alright, he covers pretty much every emotion that comes with disillusionment at the current state of the world.
His sound has definitely evolved too, with a lot of Jazz elements to the instrumentation that make a beautiful change from the more beat-driven hip hop that’s around a lot in the mainstream today. And still, there are great hooks and danceable beats, and most definitely a few hit singles. However, they are interspersed with spoken-word pieces that are eloquent and insightful (and directed at Tupac Shakur, nonetheless) which I think make this record so important and impactful.
I even like the album version of I, which in the past, I shrugged of as too poppy and far away from Kendrick’s usual true-to-life style.
I really do love this album, which is a relief, because I hate when a release get hyped up only to disappoint. But yes, Kendrick did deliver and all is well, at least in the music world…