Friday, 30 January 2015

Nudestix: Review

I haven't posted a makeup review on here in a while, so I thought I'd break up the book reviews with one. I just received a package from Sephora in the mail containing, amongst the pile of freebies and testers, some Nudestix products! I read a blog post on Sephora and thought that using pencils/crayons was such a cool way to apply makeup. There are already eye pencils and lip products, but Ally and Taylor (shoutout to these Canadian girls!) have taken it to a whole new level. There are eye pencils, contour pencils, lip and cheek pencils, coverup, and lip gloss pens.

I was very intrigued (especially since it's a Canadian brand) and thought I'd give them a go! Unfortunately, they're not available at my local Sephora so I had to order them. They are available at certain Sephora locations, Amazon, Beautylish, Cult Beauty, Lipstick Republic, Space.NK, Urban Outfitters, Veer and Wander, and 27 Pinkx. There's also a map on the website so you can find a store near you that carries the product.

First of all, let's talk about the packaging. I think these black matte tins are such a cool idea. There's a massive mirror in there and lots of room so you can use them to carry your makeup around with you or travel with. I also really enjoy the little slip of paper that tells you about the product and gives you little tips and tricks on using them. I think that for one product the tin is a bit wasteful, but so long as you reuse it it's great.

Eye Pencil in Pewter; Sculpting Pencil in Light/Medium
The packaging of the product is so sleek and simple. I love how streamlined and simple the pencils look. There's nothing crazy fancy about them or anything which is great. I like how the eye pencils have a little smudger on the other end, and the sculpting stick has the highlight on one end and the contour on the other.

Eye Pencil in Pewter, Sculpting Pencil in Light/Medium

Eyes: Pewter and Sculpting Pencil in Light; Cheeks: Hourglass blush in Incandescent Electra and Sculpting Pencil in Light/Medium
Now let's get to the product! The eye pencil is fabulous. It goes on really nice and smooth and has really great colour payoff. It's really easy to smudge out, which is one of the reasons I bought it, but dries and sticks on your eyelid after. I found that applying a primer works best to minimalize creasing. I've seen people complaining about the amount of creasing of this eye colour, but I found that there was next to none with the primer. A little bit of creasing is fine by me, so long as the colour isn't pooling in my crease and smudging off the lid. I think the fact that it's a pencil is great because it's really easy to smoke out and get that effortless wash of colour. I also like to line my bottom lash line and smudge it out for a wearable everyday smokey look. Pewter is a greyish-brown kind of colour with a very slight shimmer, which I really like. It reminds me of MAC paint pot in Groundwork. It works with pretty much everything, making it a great everyday colour.

The sculpting pencil in light/medium is also really neat. I like how the highlight and contour colour are in one pencil, making it really easy. The light is a good highlight for me. It's nice and creamy, but not shimmery. I like to pair this with my Hourglass blushes because the blushes are already shimmery. Now, here's where I have to give a bit of criticism. The contour colour is my exact skin tone, which makes it great as a cover up, but not that great as a contour. I'm wearing it in the picture and, as you can see, it's not obvious. I do like it as it's still nice and creamy and I'll definitely be using it as a concealer, but not a contour. The concealer sticks provide better options so that you can mix and match for contouring and highlighting, but I do like how the sculpting pencils have both in one. It would be great if there was a way to mix and match and snap them together so you could create your own sculpting pencil. Just a thought.

Over all, I love these products. They're fabulous. Price-wise? It's a bargain at $28 Cdn. You would find similar products of similar quality for higher prices in Laura Mercier and other brands. I would highly recommend these to anyone trying out makeup for the first time, or even someone who is already a veteran makeup user.

Quote of the day: Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious. - Ruth Reichl

Friday, 23 January 2015

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

Here is yet another book review! Let me know if you guys want a bit more variety in posts, I've just been loving some good books recently and want to post my reviews while I remember what happened still. Today, I'm reviewing Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. This is another book that I picked up on Boxing Day at Chapters. I started reading this and wasn't really taken in right away. It took some time and I would pick it up and put it down. However, like The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan, I was sucked in as soon as it started to get good (about 1/4 of the way through the novel). Not that that first quarter was uninteresting, it was just a slow start setting everything up. It was interesting how you didn't find out everything at once, but slowly eased into things through "memory pearls". I also liked that you learned things as Seraphina learned them, there was very little dramatic irony going on here. The love story is nothing spectacular. It's the most predictive thing ever, but it's still sweet to see how Seraphina and Kiggs deal with it at the end of the novel, especially since a princess is involved.

I found this to be very reminiscent of Kristin Cashore's work. I was very much reminded of Graceling with the whole "am I a monster, am I not" argument. The writing was very similar too. Maybe a mix of Graceling and Fire regarding the monster aspect and mental stuff that goes on.

I really enjoyed how Seraphina was someone who went from hiding all the time to becoming more accepting of what she was and her role. I also really liked the father-daughter relationship and how it resolved itself at the end of the novel, it was a nice touch.

The characters in general are really great in this novel. They're very well-rounded and their development is really well done.

I also really liked how independent Seraphina was. She went through this huge thing thinking she was alone and came to understand so many things about herself and those around her. It's definitely a coming-of-age novel, or bildungsroman if you're a literature person (have to use my school for something!), but it's done so well that you're not getting hit over the head with it or wondering when it's going to happen.

All in all, this was an amazing novel and I can't wait for the sequel! For those wondering, it comes out this March.

Quote of the day: We were all monsters and bastards, and we were all beautiful. - Rachel Hartman, Seraphina

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Sora's Quest by T. L. Shreffler

Sora Fallcrest always dreamed of adventure, but as a member of the nobility, she learned the ways of a Lady instead. Now seventeen, she is expected to choose a husband and marry. She plots to run away, but just as she is stepping out the door, she runs into a mysterious man--and is kidnapped.

Abducted from her manor, Sora is plunged into a world of magical races, arcane jewelry and forgotten lore. She finds herself at the mercy of a dangerous assassin, haunted by an even darker past. She yearns for freedom, but he won't let her go--not when her Cat's Eye necklace is the only thing that can save his life.
But the necklace itself presents a problem. It is an ancient device from the long forgotten War of the Races, and its magic has the ability to steal souls. Can Sora learn to wield its power -- or will the power wield her? 

Hello hello! I thought I would post another book review for you guys here. I have been reading so many good books recently so be prepared for a storm of reviews. Today, I'm reviewing Sora's Quest by T. L. Shreffler. I found this book on the Kobo store for free and thought I'd give it a read as it sounded interesting. For anyone wondering, yes, this book is free in all ebook online stores. Boy was that an understatement! This book is incredible. I read through it so quickly that I was sad it ended (always a sign that you've just finished a good book).

First off, the characters are amazing. They're so well fleshed out that they feel like real people you could connect with. I really liked Sora and Dorian, and I also really liked Burn. He just seemed like a big teddy bear. Crash is also a very interesting character. He's dark, but also has a soft side which is shown at the end. These characters become like friends, they're that great. Even Volcrian, the antagonist, is relatable. I really liked the Preface, so that we can understand his motives a little better.

AND THAT ENDING. I love how the love story wasn't the focus of the plot, but rather a subplot. Sora's quest was the main focus, and her development and connection with the cat's eye necklace. I found this so refreshing. Sometimes a love story can just take over and it can be so annoying. This was more a friendship-type beginning. You can see the beginning of a romance, but it's not blatant. It's nice and subtle. Sora's relationship with all the characters is very important, and I feel like this sets up the rest of the series with a really good set of characters with really good relationships.

I liked how facts were kind of revealed as the story went on. The backstory of Burn, Dorian, and Crash is slowly revealed to the reader, not blatant or right at the beginning. It was like you were learning things as Sora found them out so you weren't being hit over the head with dramatic irony every page. I cannot wait to get a hold of the next book, Viper's Creed.

Have you guys read Sora's Quest? What do you think of ebooks vs. hard copies? Let me know in the comments below!

Quote of the day: "I'm not fooled, assassin. You may think you are removed from us - that you have come to terms with your own mortality - but I still had to drag Sora out of your arms." - T. L. Shreffler

Thursday, 1 January 2015

New Years Resolutions

Happy New Year everyone! It is officially 2015 and I can't wait to see what this year will bring. I spent last night ringing in the new year with friends, and random drunkards, as is typical in one's twenties. I think next year I'll do something at home, where I can actually hear what my friends are saying and not worry about anyone spiking my drink.

Of course, with the new year come the New Year Resolutions. I am determined to pick a few resolutions and really focus on making them come true.

1. Stay active. I'm doing pretty well right now following Cassey Ho's Blogilates videos 5 days a week, which is easy since she puts out a calendar for each month. I would recommend this if anyone is looking to get into working out but doesn't necessarily want to pay to go to the gym. It's a great way to work out at home and stick to resolutions. This month I'm going to follow Adriene's 30 Days of Yoga and do Cassey's 30 Day Ab Challenge to get into fitness again after all those holiday meals.

2. Write more. This is something I really want to dedicate myself to. I have a WIP that I've been working on for three years now. This year and last year I really got out of the writing groove. I just haven't been in the mood and I seem to be stuck. But I really want to finish it by the end of the year by working on it a little at a time.

3. Work at Disney. This has become such a huge goal of mine since discovering the Walt Disney Company on Linkedin and seeing all the job opportunities available. They have internships and seasonal jobs so I'm just going to apply to everything. This is something that I'm not going to kill myself over because I know there's so much competition and I'm still trying to finish school.

4. Graduate. This is something that will inevitably happen since this is my last year. The struggle will be really trying and making sure I keep up my grades for my last four months. I'm so ready to be done school, so this is something I'll be so happy to finish.

5. Blog more. This needs to happen. Whenever I get an idea for something, pick up products, or finish a book, I'm going to try to blog about it and maintain my presence here.

What are your New Years Resolutions? Do you think you'll be able to keep them? Are there any steps you're taking to keep them? Let me know in the comments below!

Quote of the day: You have everything needed for the extravagant journey that is your life. - Carlos Castenada