Read and Review: May Reading List

Finally May! Feels like the year is going quick but also not at the same time? It’s technically spring but I’m still freezing my butt off in NYC otherwise known as the arctic tundra. Hope it’s all warm and sunny wherever you are, but don’t rub it in.

Read a bunch of stuff recently and figured I should share my yes and no’s for the month’s reading list!

The Death of Mrs. Westaway

The GistTarot Card reader down on her luck receives a letter claiming she is to inherit a fortune, however,she immediately finds out they have the wrong person.

Thoughts and Feels: I got about half way through this book before I was like “I can’t.” I hate not finishing books, but this one was just so boring. The characterization of the main girl was bad, so I really wasn’t invested in what happened to her. If I don’t care about the main character, it’s a really hard read. I would say she was better at describing scenery than characters. I also kept getting confused on the time period because it sounded like the early 1900s but it was actually the 90s.

Rating: 0/10 just skip it. nothing interesting about it

The Proposal

The Gist: Girl gets randomly proposed to at a baseball game by her boyfriend on the jumbo tron and rejects the guy. It’s a love story, don’t worry.

Thoughts and Feels: This one I liked! It was cute, but predictable. Sometimes you just need a good rom-com after all the thrillers and murder mysteries

Rating: 8/10 cute, but like not the best thing I’ve ever read

The Outsider

The Gist: A boy is brutally murdered in a small town. Police think they have the suspect, but that’s just the beginning. 

Thoughts and Feels: I’m embarrassed to say this was my first Stephen King. Also embarrassed to say it did freak me out for a couple nights trying to sleep. It starts off like a normal murder mystery, but he adds a supernatural element towards the middle. Not gonna give anything away but it’s pretty creepy stuff. As I assume with all Stephen King novels, it was very well written. Switches between a few character perspectives, fantastic character development and just all around good story. Longest book I’ve read in a while, but worth it. 

Rating: 10/10 creepy in the best way

The Lying Game

The Gist: Woman goes back to her childhood boarding school in order to help her friend.

Thoughts and Feels: If you think that description is weirdly short, you’re right. There’s no other way to describe it without giving anything away other than saying very little. Managed to finish this one, but really wasn’t super into it. Ruth Ware books have a way of jumping right into the story, but not making it a very interesting one. The main character also brings her 6 month old baby everywhere which seemed very unnecessary? Not great, but the idea was pretty okay-ish.

Rating: 5/10 probably just skip it

Where the Crawdads Sing

The Gist: For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens

Thoughts and Feels: Had to copy and paste the actual summary because my “gist” was going to be something along the lines of “girl who grows up utterly alone find love. Also someone dies?” which sounds like a stupid book. Not gonna lie, when I saw this on the best seller list, I rolled my eyes. I hate the word “craw-dad,” but since its not based in Louisiana, I let it slide. I’m glad I did because this book was phenomenal. Reads almost like a biography, switching from the past to the current state A.K.A the murder. Couldn’t put it down and loved the ending.

Rating:10/10 devoured it

The Woman in Cabin 10

The Gist: Woman goes on a luxury trip on a yacht for work that turns into a possible murder mystery.

Thoughts and Feels: Here we are with another Ruth Ware. Went on a kind of rampage reading them. This one I’d say was the best one. Didn’t hate the main character, although there were times where I wished she’d kept her damn cool–if that makes any sense. Not predictable and went through it pretty quickly.

Rating: 6/10 no Karin Slaughter, but pretty decent

 

My Favorite Things in 2018

Does that title rhyme slightly? Just me? Great.

I wanted to do this wrap up of the stuff I really loved this year that I didn’t talk about and/or barely talked about. Sort of like a giant Sunday Summary, A.K.A that thing I don’t do anymore (but can still be viewed if you’re into that).

Best Hair Product of 2018:

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The Tragic Before

Technically, this isn’t a product. HOWEVER, I discovered this dry shampoo blow drier trick and it is a game changer. Had bun hair all day and then someone wanted to hangout (and i did not want to have bun hair) so I tried this trick. Here’s the post I did and how it ended up going for me, but spoiler alert, it works.

Best Book in 2018:

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If you need to know anything about me, it’s that I love to read. I’ve been slacking slightly with how much, but I’ve been picking up major speed with it lately. I’ve read roughly 20-ish books this year, which is kind of a lot. Trying to narrow it down to the best was hard, but some of the books I read just sort of ran together. Really thinking about doing a monthly post about the books I read the month before (mostly just to push myself to read more). OKAY on to my actual pick: You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero. I know what you’re thinking “Self-help book? That’s for sad weirdos.” Here’s the thing: You’re right! BUT, I’d argue that everyone is kind of a sad weirdo sometimes! I read this when I really needed something to give me things to do after I quit my job and when I needed a distraction from going down the “what if I have to move home because I can’t find a job” hole. I would honestly read it again, that’s how much I liked it. If you’re stuck in place in your life where you have no idea what you’re doing, read this. If you wanna make a crazy change, read this. It’s 2019, the year of making goals and gettin’ bread—as the memes say, so read it!

Best Makeup Product of 2018:

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Okay I almost put something else for this that was expensive and to be fair, very good. I feel that I should instead pay homage to a brand who had my back when I was too broke to go to Sephora and get new stuff. That’s right I’m talking about ELF. You wouldn’t think with $1 brow pencils and $3 concealer would be worth putting on your face. I’m here to tell you, your assumptions are wrong. My brows are perfectly filled and my pores CONCEALED! Was actually not a fan of the bronzer cause it was too glittery for my tastes but that doesn’t mean it’s not quality! Okay done with my spiel.

Best Skincare Product of 2018:

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Spoiler alert it’s like 2 dollars. Spoiler alert again, it’s lemon juice. I started using it and it felt like a miracle. Then I stopped for a few weeks recently, because I’m skeptical person and sometimes I don’t feel like buying lemons ya know. Started using them again and wow I forgot how good they are. My skin just has so much less redness and blackheads! It’s so great and so cheap.

Best Movie of 2018:

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I know you all want me to say A Star is Born, but I’m sorry I can’t. The music is amazing, yes. Bradley Cooper is hot, yes. I absolutely knew what was gonna happen at the end and so I didn’t like it as much. Maybe if there was a world with no spoilers and people wouldn’t have talked about how amazing it was and subsequently ruining it. I also really don’t watch movies in theaters that much. I’ve seen maybe 3 movies this entire year, so I fell like I can’t say what the best movie this year is. I can say what the best movie saw this year. It’s not new, it’s just new to me. Okay, it’s Steel Magnolias. This is a weird pick for me, since every time anyone would bring this up I’d immediately think “How can that be good? It sounds so corny.” It was on Netflix a few months back and it was a rainy Saturday, so I thought I’d give it a try. It’s set in a small town in Louisiana—hence the name. The thing about movies centered around the South is they’re always over exaggerated. Every other word is “crawfish” or “gumbo” or “pea-can pie!” I get it, its a movie, but that why I never really like them. This one doesn’t do that. Overall, its pretty reflective of life in smaller southern town and I loved it. I cried, I laughed and now I know why it wont so many awards. It’s not on Netflix anymore, but find it somewhere because it’s so good.

Best Show of 2018:

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Okay this is so hard because I’ve seen so many good shows this year, but there’s only one that filled me with the most joy every time I turned it on: The Great British Baking Show. Am I late to this game? I really don’t know but this show is so good. I really loved watching to the point of watching two seasons in a about a week. I did it in a weird way where I watched seasons 5 & 6 first and in my humble opinion, those are the best seasons. After that, they change the hosts and Prue isn’t one of the judges and I need her color coordination in my life. I love the accents, the stuff they come up with and  Paul Hollywood is a cutie, I’m just gonna throw it out there. Really into shows that make me laugh and aren’t super dramatic lately and this one definitely fill that for me. I even watched it twice, so if you haven’t yet, here’s your notification.

Best Clothing Purchase of 2018:

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This was the year I bought so many clothes, it’s obnoxious. Trying to “re-vamp” my wardrobe and also buying things for a 9-5 job was tough. I think the best purchase and the thing I got the most use out of were my Lululemon leggings. As you know, I’m more of a quantity over quality gal. Trends come and go a lot for me to be buying something that I may not wear in a few years that costs an arm and a leg. Also let’s keep it real, I’m still washing my clothes in a laundry mat for god’s sake. I’m in no place to be buying anything over 50 bucks. I completely believe in a good splurge for things that may be expensive, but you’ve been lusting after for a while. Hence, my purchase of these leggings. I really wanted to see if they are so different from the $20 Forever 21 leggings and I’m here to say yes they are. They fit like a glove, the length is always perfect (aka no bunching at the bottom) and they stay in place when I’m running. I still only have one pair so far, but 2019 I’ll be getting some more and really coming into my basic white girl form.

Best Workout of 2018:

 

So, I’m splitting this up by home workout and workout class, okay great:

Best home workout is always Tabata with Raneir Pollard hands down. He’s so fun and at the same time, the workout is always intense. It’s always my Monday go to for a good strong beginning to my week. Also, they just uploaded a new one!

Best workout class I’ve been to in the city is Yoga sculpt at Corepower yoga. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, If I were a richer woman, I’d be doing yoga twice a week at minimum. This particular class is not only yoga, but a little bit of cardio to satisfy my needs. They have them all over, so check them out if they’re near you!

 

Cheers to 2019! Can’t wait to make many more posts and let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see more of on the blog 🙂

The Sunday Summary

Talking about some realness on this Sunday summary. All about putting lemon juice on my face, what to do when your running day doesn’t workout because the weather is horrible(or maybe you just don’t wanna run because who really likes that shit?) and what book I am loving right now(and how to get a free book)!!

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Beauty

Okay I touched on this a little bit in my last post, but I wanted to go a little bit more in-depth about it. I’ve always had “problematic” skin and I will try anything once if it will help in some small way (and doesn’t cost my left arm). I just started putting lemon juice on my face randomly one night and I got say, I love it. My skin is naturally super oily, uneven and I have dark marks from my time with cystic acne. I’m so serious when I say, I’ve never had my skin look so even and bright when I wake up in the morning. And this is just using a lemon. A LEMON. I highly recommend if you have skin like mine. I just squeeze a little on my face where I have the most issues and sleep with it on (kinda sticky, but worth it). 

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Style

The newest trend among the fashion conscience people is, the mom jean. Basically loose-r fitting jeans that are super high-waisted and usually light-washed. I love anything high-waisted to cover the *ahem* problem areas and suck that crap right in. However, I can’t help but wonder if I would actually think these were cute if half the world wasn’t wearing them? Probs not. All the fancy people are wearing the 501 Levi’s (you know which ones) and ya girl was on the hunt for cheaper ones (NOLA trip coming up and also wanted Steve Madden strappy heels). After going to Levi’s in Brooklyn for a wear test, I set off to find similar fitting ones for cheaper. I found these babies and after trying on several decided they were my closest match. Keep in mind they are crazy tight when you first put them on, but they stretch out after a couple wears and aren’t meant to bounce back(no spandex or stretchy material). I thought about going a size up, but ultimately stuck to my true size and I’m glad I did. if you wanna be trendy, but not spend a cool 100 bucks, these are for you.

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Food baby

I was nervous to try this because usually with certain dairy-free ice creams they like have a drier texture and just aren’t as delicious as regular ice cream. I swear, this brand puts out the best dairy free stuff cause this tastes creamy and ah-mazing. I literally come home and eat it immediately after work(don’t @ me). This is the best flavor, 10/10 you won’t regret it.

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Fitness

In this endless winter NYC calls “normal” and “not a big deal” and “a livable place,” some days I don’t wanna go outside. I’ve committed to two days of running, but some days, when its 30 degrees or snowing in March, I don’t. I love the feeling I get after I run, (not the actual running cause who actually likes that), so I needed to find a cardio routine I could do in my apartment that gave me a similar feeling. In comes PopSugar Fitness to save the day. This is one of those cardio videos where you are constantly moving the entire time, which are my favorite. I feel pretty much as winded as I do when I run when I finish this video. The best part? Only 10 minutes. Quick and a great workout!

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So I read a book…….

I don’t know if I’ve talked about this yet, but I signed up for Book of the Month in January and I am in love with it. For those who don’t know what it is (which I didn’t either) basically they have a list of amazing books and you pick one for them to send you! It arrives in maybe two days, tops, and I haven’t gotten a book I didn’t absolutely love, yet. The book I chose for this month was Other People’s HousesI’m normally a murder mystery gal, but I decided to branch out for once and see if I liked this book since it wasn’t something I would normally get. I gotta say, I loved it. I binge-read(is this a word????) it in a literal week any time I had a few minutes. It’s mostly just about the lives of these people in this one neighborhood in L.A. Sounds boring, but the characters are so funny and relatable I couldn’t put it down. Here’s my link to get a free book! 

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So I listen to this podcast

Podcasts are slowly becoming my favorite things to listen to at work and they’re fabulous for long flights (NYC—>NOLA). “Keep it!” is a new podcast from my faves at crooked media which stars Ira Madison III, Kara Brown and Louis Virtel. They talk mostly about celeb news and the occasional politics. The most current episode talks about Cynthia Nixon’s run for governor of New York (Mirandas everywhere rejoice!) and the Donald Trump Jr./ Aubrey O’Day scandal. To be honest, Louis could probably do a dramatic reading of my to-do list and make it funny. 10/10 look forward to these every week.

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I did a thing in NYC and you should too™

Okay on Saturday I finally did something I’ve been wanting to do for like two weeks. I had an entirely vegan meal at a Mexican restaurant. Yes you read that right. Thrillist did a piece on the owner talking about his amazing new creation. I went, mostly because I really wanted the nachos and didn’t wanna feel bad about eating crap (trying to save my calories for my trip to NOLA next week). I highly recommend the nachos , as they were the best part. I also had the quesadillas, which are my favorite at any Mexican restaurant because of my love of cheese. They were pretty good, considering I absolutely hate vegan cheese of any kind. Also had margs of course, which you can’t go wrong with. Definitely something to try and I’ll probably come back just for the nachos. 

The Sunday Summary

Talking about this new dry shampoo hair trick I tried, my new favorite pants (cause I’m all about pants lately), the best Galentine’s ever and the best workout for your abs!

Beauty

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As a blogger, I follow a ton of bloggers on Instagram (duh). I recently started following Brighton Keller who lives in Dallas. She super sweet and one of the more genuine bloggers in my opinion. I saw on one of her stories recently about a dry shampoo trick she does with her hair and then mental made a note to try it out one day. Well Friday I was struggling with some day-3-hair-bun-action and this guy was like “let’s have drinks!” My motto is to just say yes to everything so I was like I guess I gotta figure out how to make this work and then I remembered her trick and was immediately over-joyed. I’ll link her video here, but the gist is to take a round brush, hair drier, dry shampoo and basically act like you’re drying your hair with a round brush even when its dried. Sounds very weird but my hair was super flat and gross so I figured I’d give it a shot. I used Not Your Mother’s Texturizing Dry Shampoo, but you can use whatever you have.

 

And there you have it! Definitely not something I have time or energy for everyday since I barely have time to dry my hair, but definitely something to do on day 3 hair that just the grossest it could possibly be (aka my hair).

Style

I never in my wildest dreams thought I would like pants that look like these, but New York has changed me (kinda). These are some that I got from work that aren’t available yet (coming soon I swear its on the website), but you really can get these anywhere. Super comfortable and have like a denim-feel without looking it straight up jeans. Here I dressed them up with booties and a black turtle-neck:

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Then I dressed them down with a t-shirt and sweater with converse:

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Fitness

I love me some Tabata because its short bursts of working out, which makes it go by quicker. To me, it’s the best new way to do a HITT workout. My new favorite is this super quick ab workout I just discovered. As I’ve said in my workout routine post, I run every other day and do abs. This is great because its quick and by the time I finish running, I’m over it (cause running kinda sucks lets be real).

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So I watched this show………

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This honestly should just be titled “I binged this show in a day because it was so good.” I don’t know if you guys remember Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, but me and my mom LOVED that show when I was a kid and we watched it all the time. Well Netflix has done a re-boot with all new people and it is the best reality show I have seen in a while. The guys are ADORABLE and fun, I have a huge crush on Antoni like zamn. It’s just like the old one where each guy is in charge of different aspects of life like food, style, and design. Besides this show being hilarious and fun, it’s also so important and they touch on some really serious issues. They talk about police brutality against black men (Karamo is black), what it means to be gay and religious and the struggle to define yourself as a black and gay man. I laughed, I cried and I cannot wait for next season

So I read this book…….

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I subscribed to Book of the Month, which is a great way for me to push myself to read more and I get a gorgeous hardcover book for 16 bucks! I just finished this book and wow, it was insane. It’s all about this woman living with Agoraphobia (fear of the outside) because of a drama she experienced about a year ago. Of course it’s a murder mystery romance-y thing because that’s all I read now.

 

So I did a fun thing in NYC and you should too

If you’re a human being, you know that Valentines Day was this past week (barf). However, you might not know that the day before Valentines day is Galentine’s Day! Coined by the beautiful and fictional Leslie Knope of Parks and Rec, it is a day of celebrating gals! I decided to take my gals to this beautiful restaurant Café Medi. I’ve been wanting to see it girl because the pictures I’ve seen are unreal.

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They were having a Galentine’s event, 3 courses AND a bottle of wine for 50 bucks. Basically a steal for NYC and I love any excuse to drink on a weekday. The place was gorgeous, and the food was unbelievable. I ate way too much and had way too much fun. No complaints from me.

A Read and Review -The Good Daughter

If you know me, you know that I absolutely love reading. Fun Fact: I was the #1 sixth grader in ALL of sixth grade with the most AR points. I got to go to Kart Ranch or some fun zone shit and yes I was teased endlessly and for some reason did not care. I had thicker skin back then. Anyway, point is I read a lot. I couldn’t even tell you how many books I’ve read in my lifetime but it’s a long list. I also studied English in college which means I got to read more stuff (sometimes awful shit) and discuss meaning!!!!!! College was fun.

One thing I wanted to do more with this blog is talk about books more, since they are such a huge passion for me (ask me for recommendations because I could talk about books for hourssssss).

That being said, I am going to start reading more and trying to sort of review books. The one I’m gonna talk about in this post I won’t spoil, but my next book I will be going more in depth with it and talking about my favorite parts. Planning on doing this every now and then, hopefully bi-weekly, and I’ll post what book I’m reading next on every post! So excite to talk about my love affair with books more!

The book I finally just finished is The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter. It wouldn’t have taken me so long, but I rent my books from my library for free (a blessing) and sometimes I have to return them before I finished. I’ve been waiting for this one to become available again for at least a month and lemme tell you it was worth that month wait y’all. 

I’ve read a couple of her books before that I’ve briefly talked about on some previous posts. Her novels are murder mysteries and are so twisty and amazing.

This particular book is about two sisters who went through something horrific as children that changed them forever. One sister moved to New York (holla @ me) and is a corporate lawyer. The other stayed in her hometown and works with her father doing criminal law. Their father is known around town for getting sleazy people off of really awful charges so he’s not super well liked.

The book literally starts with the dramatic event that happened to them as kids in the first chapter which is a crazy way to start a book, but I so love that we didn’t have to go through the usual character development. The rest of the book is a rollercoaster where we sort of go back and forth through time to the tragic event and then back to present day.

Present day, one sister, Charlotte, gets caught up in a school shooting (y’all might think this is a spoiler but ITS NOT I SWEAR). Her father is the first to volunteer to be the lawyer of Kelly, the shooter. This leads to a whole mess of trouble that I won’t get into, but wile trying to solve this, you ALSO get new info about the tragic thing that happened to the two sisters. So its like two murder mysteries in one and its so not one of those, okay duh this person did it I’m just reading this till the end to prove myself right, NO. You are so blissfully unaware until the end where its just like WHAT??!?! 

A huge thing I loved about this book is that the characters are so dynamic. There’s a grey area for good people and bad people that I feel like is so much more realistic. These characters are good people, but they also make some huge mistakes (some more than others as you’ll see).

Okay I could talk about this book all day, but seriously read it. Such an amazing book and tell me what you think!!!!

 

Next book I’m reading: Alias Grace by Margret Atwood. Mostly because the show has been sitting in my list for forever on Netflix and I’m dying to watch it (and compare of course).