Sunday, July 26, 2015

Your Must Have Summer 2015 Reading List

Your Must Have Summer 2015 Reading List

From the time I learned to read I've been a ginormous book worm, and I find that there isn't anything quite as relaxing as cozying up in bed with candle burning and a great read. This summer I've been reading even more than usual and I've devoured a ton of books that I've absolutely loved and wanted to share with all of you, so here we go! Just an FYI, I've used descriptions I found on goodreads because I'm complete crap at describing books, but I'll let you know my thoughts on each book after the summary. I don't even know why I'm telling you this because you'll easily figure that all out in a minute but ANYWAY....

The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins:
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

I just finished this book and HOLY CRAP. I couldn't put it down. It gripped me from the first few pages and I've honestly never read anything quite like it. This is definitely not your typical chick-lit-read-by-the-pool summer book because it's a little dark and stressful at times, but it's something you all need to read right now.

Royal Wedding (The Princess Diaries #11) - Meg Cabot
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Princess Diaries series, comes the very first adult installment, which follows Princess Mia and her Prince Charming as they plan their fairy tale wedding—but a few poisoned apples could turn this happily-ever-after into a royal nightmare. For Princess Mia, the past five years since college graduation have been a whirlwind of activity, what with living in New York City, running her new teen community center, being madly in love, and attending royal engagements. And speaking of engagements. Mia's gorgeous longtime boyfriend Michael managed to clear both their schedules just long enough for an exotic (and very private) Caribbean island interlude where he popped the question! Of course Mia didn't need to consult her diary to know that her answer was a royal ouiBut now Mia has a scandal of majestic proportions to contend with: Her grandmother's leaked "fake" wedding plans to the press that could cause even normally calm Michael to become a runaway groom. Worse, a scheming politico is trying to force Mia's father from the throne, all because of a royal secret that could leave Genovia without a monarch. Can Mia prove to everyone—especially herself—that she's not only ready to wed, but ready to rule as well?

If you read the Princess Diaries series as a kid, you're probably as excited as I am that this book was released. I had the date marked in my calendar for about a year because my childhood pretty much revolved around reading these books. Meg Cabot is finally continuing the story with Mia as an adult, which is so cool because it's basically like having your favourite characters grow up with you. This book is sweet, light, and funny. It's just the perfect summer read, even if you haven't read the rest of the series (although I strongly recommend you do because they're awesome).

The Silent Wife - A.S.A. Harrison
A chilling psychological thriller about a marriage, a way of life, and how far one woman will go to keep what is rightfully hers. Jodi and Todd are at a bad place in their marriage. Much is at stake, including the affluent life they lead in their beautiful waterfront condo in Chicago, as she, the killer, and he, the victim, rush haplessly toward the main event. He is a committed cheater. She lives and breathes denial. He exists in dual worlds. She likes to settle scores. He decides to play for keeps. She has nothing left to lose. Told in alternating voices, The Silent Wife is about a marriage in the throes of dissolution, a couple headed for catastrophe, concessions that can’t be made, and promises that won’t be kept.

Once again, this isn't your typical summer read because it's dark and definitely not light, but it was so intriguing that I couldn't put it down. Since you already know the wife becomes a killer it's so interesting to see how the plot develops and why she ultimately does what she does. Very very good book.

Remember Me? - Sophie Kinsella
When twenty-eight-year-old Lexi Smart wakes up in a London hospital, she’s in for a big surprise. Her teeth are perfect. Her body is toned. Her handbag is Vuitton. Having survived a car accident—in a Mercedes no less—Lexi has lost a big chunk of her memory, three years to be exact, and she’s about to find out just how much things have changed. Somehow Lexi went from a twenty-five-year-old working girl to a corporate big shot with a sleek new loft, a personal assistant, a carb-free diet, and a set of glamorous new friends. And who is this gorgeous husband—who also happens to be a multimillionaire? With her mind still stuck three years in reverse, Lexi greets this brave new world determined to be the person she…well, seems to be. That is, until an adorably disheveled architect drops the biggest bombshell of all. Suddenly Lexi is scrambling to catch her balance. Her new life, it turns out, comes complete with secrets, schemes, and intrigue. How on earth did all this happen? Will she ever remember? And what will happen when she does?

This is probably one of my favourite books of all time because it's hilarious and the plot is spot on. With that being said, I've read every single Sophie Kinsella book and I've loved all of them, so if you haven't checked her out yet and you're a fan of chick lit she is the QUEEN.

The Other Half - Sarah Rayner
Chloe, bright, hip and single, is a feature writer with ambitions to launch a magazine of her own. When she meets James, her potential new boss, she knows she shouldn't mix business with pleasure, but finds it impossible to resist. Maggie appears to have it all. She's beautiful, a talented writer, and has a gorgeous husband. But something's not quite right: his job as a magazine publisher is keeping him in the city until late most evenings, and some nights he doesn't come home at all... Told in the alternating voices of the mistress and the wife, this story of an affair is a sharp, seductive take on modern love. Who, if anyone, comes out unscathed?

This book was a nail biter for me because the idea of cheating and affairs stresses me out!! I loved how the story was told from the perspective of the wife and the mistress because it shows how there really is multiple sides to every story, and it makes it easier to route for one woman or the other if that makes any sense? Read this and you'll know what I mean!

The Pact - Jodi Picoult
For eighteen years the Hartes and the Golds have lived next door to each other, sharing everything from Chinese food to chicken pox to carpool duty-- they've grown so close it seems they have always been a part of each other's lives. Parents and children alike have been best friends, so it's no surprise that in high school Chris and Emily's friendship blossoms into something more. They've been soul mates since they were born. So when midnight calls from the hospital come in, no one is ready for the appalling truth: Emily is dead at seventeen from a gunshot wound to the head. There's a single unspent bullet in the gun that Chris took from his father's cabinet-- a bullet that Chris tells police he intended for himself. But a local detective has doubts about the suicide pact that Chris has described.

I take back what I said about Remember Me? because this is my favourite book of all time (so hard to choose but I'm pretty confident in saying that). I've read this multiple times because the plot is so gripping. Did Chris kill his girlfriend or not? Ahhhhh so good. If you're going to read one book this summer make it this one.

Dark Places - Gillian Flynn
Libby Day was just seven years old when her evidence put her fifteen-year-old brother behind bars. Since then, she has been drifting. But when she is contacted by a group who are convinced of Ben's innocence, Libby starts to ask questions she never dared to before. Was the voice she heard her brother's? Ben was a misfit in their small town, but was he capable of murder? Are there secrets to uncover at the family farm or is Libby deluding herself because she wants her brother back? She begins to realise that everyone in her family had something to hide that day... especially Ben. Now, twenty-four years later, the truth is going to be even harder to find. Who did massacre the Day family?

This is probably the darkest book I've ever read because of how morbid and sad the plot is (the main character's family was allegedly murdered by her brother) but I love mystery type novels and attempting to figure out who the murderer is on my own. Despite reading Nancy Drew novels my entire childhood I never ever guess right, but I still have so much fun playing detective. This book is written by the same author as Gone Girl so if you liked the book or the movie this one is definitely worth a try.

When In Doubt, Add Butter - Beth Harrison
As far as Gemma is concerned, her days of dating are over. In fact, it’s her job to cater other peoples’ dates, and that’s just fine by her. At thirty-seven, she has her own business, working as a private chef, and her life feels full and secure. She’s got six steady clients that keep her hands full. There’s Lex, the fussy but fabulous department store owner who loves Oysters Rockefeller and 1950s comfort food; Willa, who needs to lose weight under doctor’s orders but still believes butter makes everything better; a colorful family who may or may not be part of the Russian mob; an ├╝berwealthy Georgetown family; the picture-perfect Van Houghtens, whose matriarch is “allergic to everything”; and finally, a man she calls “Mr. Tuesday,” whom she has never met but who she is strangely drawn to. For Gemma, cooking is predictable. Recipes are certain. Use good ingredients, follow the directions, and you are assured success. Life, on the other hand, is full of variables. So when Gemma’s takes an unexpected turn on a road she always thought was straight and narrow, she must face her past and move on in ways she never would have imagined. Because sometimes in life, all you need is a little hope, a lot of courage, and---oh yes---butter.

This is a really typical summer read because the plot isn't too substantial or stressful and it's just really cute, so it's the perfect book to read while on vacation or just while laying out on a beach chair. 

Have you read any of these books? Can you recommend any to me?


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Colourpop Lippie Stix/Pencils Swatches + Review

Colourpop Lippie Stix/Pencils Swatches + Review

In my most recent post I talked to you guys about my experience with Colourpop Cosmetics in terms of shipping and whatnot, but now comes the fun part where I get to share with you my thoughts on the actual products I picked up. I thought I would start with the Lippie Stix and Lippie Pencils because let's face it, lip products are always the most exciting part of any haul. So let's get right into it!

Colourpop Lippie Stix and Pencils retail for $5 USD each which a freaking steal, and each shade comes with its own matching pencil.

Colourpop Lippie Stix/Pencils Swatches + Review

The shades I picked up are:
  • Tootsi, a cool toned grey beige in a matte finish.
  • Brink, a warm dusty nude with a brick red undertone in a matte finish.
  • Lumiere, a gorgeous mauve colour in a matte finish. This shade reminds me so much of the Nars Audacious Lipstick in Anna and I'm IN LOVE!!
  • Clique, a really bright orange red in a matte finish. Peeeeerfect for summer if you're into a bold lip.
  • Frenchie, a bright but warm neon red in a matte finish.
  • Topanga, a very wearable coral if you're afraid of neon lipsticks in a satin finish. If I'm being completely honest, I bought this shade on impulse because of the name. Boy Meets World is one of my favourite shows of all time (I own all the seasons on DVD) and I'm so happy I did because it's the perfect everyday summer shade. It isn't too bold, but it adds a little somethin somethin for days I want to look like I'm in a summery mood.
Colourpop Lippie Stix/Pencils Swatches + Review

The Lippie Pencils I picked up are:
  • Bound, a mid-tone nude that pulls very brown on me but I'm completely obsessed. It reminds me of how Mac Soar and Mac Whirl would look if they had a baby.
  • Clique, which is once again a bright orange red. I picked this up to match the Clique lippie because bold shades are always a trillion times easier to apply with a lip liner, and I don't have anything like this in my collection. It also pairs really well with Mac Lady Danger.
The really cool thing about these Lippie Pencils is that they aren't all identical to the Lippie Stix they're paired with. For example, bolder shades such as Clique and Frenchie have matching liners to make application easier and to increase wear time, but lighter nudes such as Bound have completely different liners that are often darker to enhance the colour. The Bound Lippie Stix is a glossy formula and is a really sheer pinky nude, but the matching pencil is a dark almost brown shade. You can see the comparisons between the two on Colourpop's website here

Colourpop Lippie Stix/Pencils Swatches + Review

Swatches from top to bottom: Tootsi, Lumiere, Clique (lippie), Clique (pencil), Bound (pencil), Frenchie, Topanga, Brink.

The formula of the matte lippies are spot on. They're creamy, insanely pigmented, and last foreeeeeever. I wore Lumiere today and it lasted 6 hours on my lips without any fading, smearing, or patchiness. I love matte lipsticks but I hate how they tend to stay on in some areas and completely fade in others, especially towards the center of the lips, but these don't do that. My only complaint is that after a few hours I noticed my lips started to feel a little dry, and it became pretty noticable because the lip colour sort of clung to my dry patches. This isn't a huge deal for me though because I usually reapply my lipstick as well as some lip balm throughout the day (which I didn't today because I was insanely busy at work and didn't have time), so this wouldn't have happened if I had done that.

I can't speak for all the satin lipsticks Colourpop carries because I only purchased one, but I was a little disappointed with Topanga (I never thought I would say that because we all know Topanga is a goddess). It was reeeeeeally drying, which I didn't expect at all and felt almost minty on my lips but not in a good way. The colour is beautiful though and the formula is incredibly pigmented, so do I regret buying this? Nope. I'm just gonna need a lot of lip balm.

Overall, I'm so in love with every colour I bought and I can't wait to buy more.

Have you tried anything from Colourpop? If not, WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

My Canadian Experience With Colourpop Cosmetics

If you're at all into makeup it's almost a guarantee that you've heard of Colourpop Cosmetics. The brand is all over, and I mean ALL OVER, blogs and YouTube because the products are fun, great quality, and super cheap (or so I hear). The blogger and beauty lover in me had to see what all the fuss was about, but being in Canada and not the USA, I was really hesitant to place an order for a lot of reasons. The first being that shipping is not free, and the cost is assessed depending on how much you order, meaning the more you buy the more your shipping cost will be. Second, the website says orders can take 10-21 business days to arrive if you live outside of the USA, which is absolute agony for an impatient girl like me. The third (and biggest) reason I was hesitant to order was because I've heard that Canadians have been nailed in duty fees, so I was worried I was going to be charged an additional $60 or more on top of the pricey shipping fees and conversion rates. ANYWAY, as you can obviously see from my photo I let my curiosity get the better of me and I placed an order! EEE! I'll save the product reviews for another post, but instead I wanted to let all of you know my experience with the shipping process and let you know if I would order from the brand again.

First let's talk numbers. Colourpop eyeshadows and lippie stix/pencils retail for $5 USD, which right now with the conversion rate totals $6.33. Not sure if it was a little bit more or less than this when I made my purchase because these rates are always changing, but you get the idea. With everything that I bought (4 eyeshadows, 6 lippie stix, 2 lippie pencils and 1 blush), my subtotal was $63 USD (79.97 CAD) with a $5 discount code. Shipping cost $14.92 USD ($18.88 CAD) which sucked. Seriously, you Americans have no idea how lucky you are. Anyway, my total was $77.92 USD (98.62 CAD) meaning I roughly paid $7.58 CAD per item. When you break it down like that what I paid really isn't bad at all, so I was happy!

I placed my order on June 24 at around 10pm, and received an email almost instantly from Colourpop with a breakdown of my order, how much I spent, and a warning that orders usually take 3-5 business days to process. I received my order on July 2, which is only 6 business days after I placed my order, and 5 considering the fact that July 1 was a holiday and nothing gets delivered on holidays. So basically, instead of 10-21 business days my order took only 5 which I was blown away by. So so so happy!

The best news of all is that I was charged $0 in duties. NOTHING. Literally over the moon happy and excited because shipping rarely goes that smoothly in Canada unless something is getting shipped within Canada. I'm pretty sure the reason I didn't get charged is because my order was under $100 CAD, so if you're Canadian I would keep your order under $100 and you should be totally fine in terms of customs/duties.

Lastly, everything came packaged individually in a really pretty white box with layers of foam to protect the products. Nothing was damaged, and everything came perfect. Overall, I'm so happy with my experience with Colourpop and I can't wait to order from them again. Stay tuned to find out what I bought in another post!

Probably the longest blog post ever but hopefully this was helpful! What are your experiences with Colourpop?

Monday, July 6, 2015

My Thoughts On | Simple Skincare

Simple Skincare Review

It's that time of the month and my skin has been acting up like craaaazy! I've been getting pimples in the most random spots like smack dab in the middle of the little indentation under my nose/above my lip, and right under my brow bone. It sucks and having pimples in general just lowers my confidence and makes me feel poopy.  I ran to Shopper's to buy something that would hopefully calm my skin down and this brand caught my eye because the products are targeted specifically for sensitive skin (ME!!), and they don't contain any artificial perfumes or dyes which looked promising.

Simple Skincare Review

The first thing I picked up is the Simple Moisturizing Facial Wash. I expected the consistency to look and feel like a cream, but it's somewhere between a gel and a cream because it's only semi-opaque and not too thick. I've been using this cleanser for a few weeks now and overall I'm not overwhelmed by its awesomeness. It's good because it doesn't irritate my skin, it doesn't make my skin feel too dry, and it hasn't caused any extra breakouts... buuuuut I haven't noticed a huge difference in how my skin looks/feels since using it. I guess in short if I had to describe my thoughts on this cleanser in one word it would be "meh....". 

Simple Skincare Review

Next I picked up the Simple Protecting Light Moisturizer with SPF 15. I've been really liking using this as a daily moisturizer, especially now that it's summer, because it contains SPF, absorbs into the skin instantly, and isn't so thick that it clogs my pores or breaks me out. When I feel my nose starting to get a little dry or if my skin starts to peel (which it always does) I put some of this on and almost instantly my skin looks glowing and healthy. Usually I'm more into gel creams but I really really like this!

Simple Skincare Review

Last is the absolute star of the show, the Simple Cleansing Micellar Water. This is a complete and total dupe for Bioderma's Micellar Water. It has no smell and it feels exactly like I'm cleansing with water except it removes all of my makeup instantly. Normally I apply some of the micellar water to a couple cotton rounds and remove all of my makeup (even waterproof mascara which it mostly removes) before I wash my face and I've noticed that my skin looks so much smoother and cleaner after I properly cleanse. It's extremely gentle on the skin but so effective. If you haven't tried this micellar water yet you need to!

Have you tried any Simple skincare products?
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