Monday, April 28, 2014

A Slew o' Books Sunday!


I some how have been reading a quite a clip this past week and enjoyed several of them so I thought I'd share.  Especially because I love, love book posts on blogs!  If you know of a blog that frequently shares booknerd info let me know in the comments!

And hopefully over there on the left of this page you can see my ticker so you know what I'm reading if your interested :)


A Gracious Plenty

A Gracious Plenty by Sheri Reynolds

Synopsis from Badly burned in a household accident when she was a child, Finch Nobles grows into a courageous and feisty loner who eschews the pity of her hometown and discovers that she can hear the voices of the people buried in her father's cemetery. Finally, when she speaks to them, they answer, telling their stories in a remarkable chorus of regrets, explanations, and insights.

My thoughts:  This was a quick, interesting read.  Finch is a likable character and the story is the kind that you don't have to think about a lot, but you come away feeling better for have read it. And there are talking ghosts!

Hollow City (Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, #2)

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

This is the 2nd book in the "Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children" series - which I had such high hopes for and was just ok - so then I wanted this book to perhaps redeem it...

Synopsis from The extraordinary journey that began in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children continues as Jacob Portman and his newfound friends journey to London the peculiar capital of the world. But in this war-torn city, hideous surprises lurk around every corner. Like its predecessor, this second novel in the Peculiar Children series blends thrilling fantasy with never-before-published vintage photography to create a one-of-a-kind reacting experience.

My thoughts: It was even worse than the first.  It's just the same thing over and over again.  Kids run into bad situation miraculously get out of it, run into it, get out of it.  It gets old after like 5 times and that's not even half the book.  The only redeeming part is the cool pictures.

The House at Tyneford

The House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomons

The synopsis from It's the spring of 1938 and no longer safe to be a Jew in Vienna. Nineteen-year-old Elise Landau is forced to leave her glittering life of parties and champagne to become a parlor maid in England. She arrives at Tyneford, the great house on the bay, where servants polish silver and serve drinks on the lawn. But war is coming, and the world is changing. When the master of Tyneford's young son, Kit, returns home, he and Elise strike up an unlikely friendship that will transform Tyneford—and Elise—forever.

My thoughts: This was a bit of guilty pleasure, I am a sucker for British countryside, upstairs/downstairs-esque literature.  I love Downton Abbey and this is in that vein except for a little bit later in history.  And I also thought it had a bit of twist at the end.

That's enough for now.


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Love in a Box Swap - Reveal!

I participated in a new swap this month - the "Love in a Box" swap which is hosted by Megan of Lush to Blush and Kimberly of Kimberly Chronicle.  Each month  the bloggers who sign up will be paired up and swap boxes full of special goodies, knick knacks, notes and more. The goal is to connect with other bloggers around the world to expand your network and make new friends.  Sounds fun right click THIS to sign up!

I was paired with the lovely Carlita from Carlita's Closet.  She is a lovely young lady from PA, with a very hip fashion/lifestyle blog.  She started her blog because " I really wanted to connect with others who care about fashion and most importantly feeling good about themselves. It's also a very nice outlet for me when life gets stressful." Three words that describe her: positive, free minded, and independent, and I would say a ray of sunshine since I have gotten to know her.  

She also created a truly wonderful package for me!

Cat Chip Clips!  I love these so very much - they appeal to my inner cat lady and my love of non-stale chips :)
Then she made this darling black bean soup in a jar - and sent the recipe.  Good soup and fresh bread is literally my favorite meal that I am capable of making on my own.  I don't really know how to grill so I can't say steak :)

Speaking of making meals I also got a "Market List" that has a magnet on the back so I can write down all the things I need to get to make some delicious meals - I'm looking at you asparagus and strawberries (which are currently on the list)

And finally,

Seeds for my garden!  If you follow me on Instagram (xjasminemarex) you know I have an office garden and I love, love succulents and cacti!  I have Zinnia's in my office garden as well, but not beautiful bright yellow ones!  And I had never seen cactus seeds until this - I always had to buy mine grown and I harbor the urban legend that there could be tarantula spider babies inside so I only have one.  But if I plant these seeds I can be sure there are no tarantulas!!!  It's the little things like a tarantula free office that make me happy :)

Isn't that a wonderful package? If you would like to see what I got her, check it out Here.

Let me know what little things make you happy below!


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My VIB 15% off ticket Sephora Mini Haul!


So as I'm sure ya'll know, Sephora recently had a sale that you could access at different times based on your "ranking".  VIB Rouges got in first , then VIB's, then Beauty Insider's.  I don't know how much stock they had on the "good stuff" but so many things I wanted were sold out.  No Pantone blush trio for me :(

But I was lucky enough (and I had a long enough list) that I was still able to find stuff!

So onto the goodies...

Here is a link to post I did about other lip tars I own.

It's the OCC All Star Mini Lip Tar Set - and mini's a perfect  a little goes a LONG way.  Here are some awesome swatches from Warpaint & Unicorns - awesome blog, and her swatches are far superior to mine.

Here's the clear

Divine, Clockwork, Psycho, Stalker & Strumpet (I have Strumpet in the full size too - its a great fall color)
Pris, Lovecraft, Yaoi, Super NSFW, Electric Grandma & Authentic
Fun right!  Great for mixing and making ombre lips and really something for every season!
The set is regularly $58 and is still available.

I also got the Lip Tar Primer -

From the Sephora website: "Formulated with super hydrating dry oils that moisturize lips without leaving behind a sticky or overly moist finish, this primer can be used to refresh your Lip Tar throughout the day without having to apply more color. Use it anywhere else on the face or body where intense hydration is needed. " $18

And finally...

Here is the description from Sephora:"Embrace Ole’s philosophy for gorgeous, healthy skin with daily exfoliation, hydration, and protection. These three multitaskers work in synergy to brighten, resurface, and hydrate using the most potent antiaging powerhouses: vitamin C, essential fatty acids, and alpha hydroxy acids—the three pillar ingredients of Ole’s skincare. By expertly blending potent actives balanced with nurturing and soothing botanicals, skin can achieve maximum youthful results. These three little wonders with indulgent textures and aromas make treating your skin a daily pleasure." $70

I really like the truth serum, I had gotten a deluxe sample before and I put it on in the morning before my moisturizer and my skin looks brighter and glowy within 2 days.  So I also wanted to try the day and night cream as well.  Plus once again, travel sizes are awesome right now as I have 3 trips coming up.

Well that's all - but I already have my eye on something else:

It's the Monarch Eyeshadow Palette by Kat Von D - $48.  It's currently out of stock :(  

So what's on your Sephora wishlist? 


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Thought Provoking Tuesday


I am back again following on the coattails of one of my favorite bloggers Martha, from Quick, Cheap & Pretty I am going to do a weekly round up of some "thought provoking" questions. These questions come from (a blog with practical tips for productive living!).  Martha answers a question everyday and so far I have thought they were very thought provoking!  I'm just going to do mine weekly, so here we go!

Is it possible to lie without saying a word?
Yes oh yes.  Lie of Omission anyone?  Think of all the times you haven't said something and felt bad about that.  I think there are more ways to lie than to tell the truth.

If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow this person to be your friend?
Forever!  I am hard on myself - but I am honest and realistic.  If I had a friend like that I would really appreciate it - plus it would re-affirm my own doubts and dreams.  Also sometimes I say nice things to myself  so my friend would reinforce that as well.

Which activities make you lose track of time?
Napping - obviously.  Reading, working on crafts.  Binge-ing on Netflix shows (I mean technically you know each show is a certain amount of time - but that time just slips by like the smoke from Don Draper's cigarettes).  Hiking in a beautiful setting, or relaxing at the beach.  

If you had to teach something, what would you teach?
Interviewing!  I have always been wicked good at interviews, and then when I used to be a senior staffer I had to interview a couple people a day - so I saw it from both sides.  I also saw that people do some CraZy stuff during interviews, and were letting their nervousness overwhelm them.  I love being interviewed and I realize a lot of people don't - it's my secret calling! 

Any thoughts on mine? ;)


April Ipsy Bag reveal!


Today I got my Ipsy bag!  yea!!!

This month's theme was "Beauty Rocks" it's Coachella season and no one, I mean no one wants us to forget.  Some of of us are not big Coachella fans ok!  There I said it - now everyone can know how uncool I am :)

None the less, there was lots of fun stuff inside...

Some Big Sexy Hair "Root Pump" - it's more voluminizing hairspray - in a travel size and with my new hair ambitions - this is perfect :)  Value $6.00

Dr brandt microdermabrasion - also great for travel and I have few trips coming up and at $78 for 2 oz I would really want to try before I buy anyways!  Value $9.75

And for all the Urban Decay Junkie's - a 24/7 "Velvet" pencil in Black Velvet -  "Ideal for smoky-eye fanatics, this perfectly plush formula has extra powder, making it ideal for blending into a soft, smoky, matte finish. It glides on precisely, adding rich definition for rimmed eyes. It’s waterproof for long-lasting wear."  This is actually perfect for my easy smokey eye technique!  Watch the vid HERE.  Value $8.

I have been searching for a nude for pale girls - so I was excited  to see the Mary Kay @ Play lip gloss in "Teddy Bare":

It's rather opaque surprisingly.  It does make a nude lip - I don't know how I feel about it - I'm so pale so I would need to wear it with a lot of bronzer - but I want to make it work.  Value $10

And finally a Coachella worth nail polish...
It's the lighter blue swatch - I just wanted to see how it stacked up next to Orly "Macabre Masquerade"

It's a Rainbow Honey polish from their Midnight Garden Collection called "Midnight Fountain". 
It's a blue tinted base with Teal, Blue and silver glitter - I don't know that I would wear this alone - I am pale, pale, pale and blue nails of this sort make me look like I have hypothermia!  But it would make a fabulous accent nail, or glitter tip!  Value $5.00

So all in all another great bag of stuff!  Total Value -> $38.75, and as you know Ispy's only $10 a month.  Join me on ipsy and subscribe to the Glam Bag! You get 4-5 beauty products every month delivered to your door ->Check it out here: HERE!

Let me know your thoughts below!


Sunday, April 13, 2014

One Good Hair Day!


Along with my all my nail polish I brought home a bunch of hair product last week - because I am going to have at least one good hair day this summer! My hair has been a B*tc# to work with since I was about 28.  It just lost it's beautiful natural curl, got thinner and mega frizzy.  I tried growing it out for the last 5 years - yeah, 5 YEARS. I wanted hair like Blake Lively so bad.


But it's not going to happen.  First of all I bet she has extensions, I have a very nice set of clip in extensions but I can't keep that up every day!  And my hair is literally like dealing with a head full of spiderwebs - it's so fine I can an elastic pony tail holder almost 4 times around it and the frizz makes it stick out like a fine halo.  So I have to give up the dream.  Most of the time I wear my hair in a bun and when I wear my glasses (which is a lot) I like like a 1890's school teacher.  So 2 weeks ago I had 6 inches cut off and more layers cut in - and then I bought a bevy of hair products to attempt some new styles.

First up Christophe Professional Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner - from their site: "Adds body & volume to limp, lifeless hair. Cristophe Professional Volumizing Shampoo adds fullness to fine, limp hair and helps you create a full-body style! Special thickening ingredients deliver long-lasting volume without weighing down your hair. This salon formula nourishes and adds body to eliminate flat & lifeless hair."
This of course sounds wonderful to me and it was buy one get one 50% of at Ulta, plus I had my 20% off coupon and it has a mail in rebate!  Score! I also got some shaping hair spray and the Volumizing Spray tonic:
"Cristophe Professional Volumizing Spray Tonic adds fullness to fine, limp hair and helps you create a full-body style. Special thickening ingredients deliver long-lasting volume without weighing down your hair. This salon formula nourishes and adds body to eliminate flat & lifeless hair."
I figured I need to try something else besides my usual - which is just an attempt to fight frizz.  I think I need to fight frizz AND attempt to make my hair bigger like these lovely ladies:


Both Kate's are rockin relatively "natural" hair, Kate Hudson's even has a bit of frizz - so I think I can make it happen.  Also these two ladies pop up when you google "Hairstyles for round faces" and I have a big fat round head!  I must be moving somewhat in the right direction :)

It was also time to renew my Sally's Beauty Club Membership so I made a stop there.

So you always get a free Ion product when you renew your membership so I got some Shaping Plus fine mist hairspray. It has a 5 star rating on Sally's website - and I am going to need it to keep my hair looking like the gals above right?
They also had a deal where if you bought 2 Ion Solutions products you got $3 off - so I got a thickening spray and an Anti-Frizz Gel Mist.  With the $3 off and the free hairspray I walked out Sally's with these three for just over $10.

I also spotted a mini straighter of clearance:

I have a regular straightener but I was like for $9 - this would be great for getting closer to my head and I gave in.

All in all, my Hair Haul came in under $40!  That's less than a haircut (at least in Chicago!) So now I just need to stop being lazy and make it a good hair summer - hopefully I'll have some decent pics soon.

What do you love/hate about your hair?


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Nail Haul!


What is wrong with me - do I really need more polish? NO.  But I saw the shiny things - and they ended up coming home with me. ;)

 So first I was at Walmart to get Chobani (Key Lime flavor-love) - and of course I had to see what was going on in the cosmetics department...

First I saw some nail foil kits - I think they were $5.49 they are not available on the website only in the store.  I really like the idea of a foil manicure, but the only other place I've seen the supplies is Amazon and the Born Pretty Store.  So it's nice to see it for real, before I order something.  I also found a lovely shade of blue polish that I think will look fab with the silver foil.  It's "Blue Me away!" by Sally Hansen Xtreme wear.

I also found nail bling!
The kit on the left has a fuchsia polish, fuchsia powder (to do a "velvet" manicure) nail glue and fun rhinestone bits.  I also got the Embellish me! set from Fingers ($3.48) with 12 different designs of mini rhinestones.

Then I went to Sally's Beauty Supply...and I found a few polishes.

OPI "Push and Shove"(Gwen Stefani Collection) which you need to use with the Lay down the Base little mini next to it.  Orly FX in "Be Brave", OPI "4 in the Morning" (Gwen Stefani Collection) and Orly "Cheeky".  All of them except "Cheeky" I got on Clearance for $4.99.  Score!

Here they are swatched.  "Push and Shove" is amazingly chrome, it's a "specialty" polish that you can't put top coat on and they warn it will only last a day... but it would be worth it.  In the picture it just looks metallic but it is the most realistic "metal" polish I have ever seen. The black one is "4 in the morning" and it dries to a matte "leather like" appearance that is pretty cool.  I need to do silver foil or studs with this.  The Orly FX shreddy glitter is prettier in real life and "Cheeky" has a light sparkle in it.  

So do I need all the polishes?  No... but hey at least I'm not addicted to crack.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thought Provoking Thursday


I am back again following on the coattails of one of my favorite bloggers Martha, from Quick, Cheap & Pretty I am going to do a weekly round up of some "thought provoking" questions. These questions come from (a blog with practical tips for productive living!).  Martha answers a question everyday and so far I have thought they were very thought provoking!  I'm just going to do mine weekly, so here we go!

What is the difference between living and existing?
Oh gooodness, these question make one think!  Existing to me is just going through the motions, I think we all can think of a time when we were so sad or having a rough time where for a bit we just existed. Living is taking it all in and giving it all you got. Making each day count towards the next and letting the good and bad enrich you. 

If not now, then when?
I don't just do things to do things - so now might not be the right time.  So if not now then when I am ready or the  time is right or when it happens naturally.

Have you done anything lately worth remembering?
I think most days are worth remembering.  Do I need to climb a mountain to make my life worth remembering? In my opinion, there are a lot of little beautiful things worth remembering along with the big accomplishments.   

What does your joy look like today?
Well after this winter it looks like a sunny day, seeing the flowers start to pop up, finding a good book to read, having a kitty cuddle next to me at night and looking forward to visiting London in the fall.

Those are my thoughts for now...share some of yours with me :)