Thursday, March 14, 2019

The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee

The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee is the second book in the Montague Siblings series. I have done a post on the first in the series, The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, and recommend reading that first to avoid any potential spoilers if you haven't read it yet.

It's been a year since Felicity got home following the disastrous grand tour she took with her brother, Monty, and she's got big plans! The first of which is to avoid becoming a housewife, popping out children left and right. Secondly, become a physician in a world dominated by men.

Felicity learns that her idol is marrying an old friend in Germany. Following the wedding, he is going on an expedition that would provide the perfect internship to begin her medical education. Her only way there is with the company of a mysterious stranger disguised as her maid. What could go wrong?

Felicity is a very unlikable character. She is snarky, opinionated, and will step on anyone's toes who dares get in her way of becoming a doctor.

Many book reviewers I trust (and generally agree with), have rated this book 1-2 stars for this reason. I, however, read Felicity as a self-conscious young lady who is out of her depths. I read her snarky comments, and standoffish behaviour as her being incredibly insecure. There is character development throughout the book, but I do feel there should have been more.

This book also tackles some important issues. Felicity is asexual, and fighting for women's rights and stigmas.

★★★☆☆

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Monday, March 11, 2019

BEAUTY REVIEW Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Mascara

Saturday was a sad day. I finished off yet another tube of the Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir mascara.

Now, this mascara costs a pretty penny at C$33, and I would never pay that much for a mascara in my life. I have received both tubes I've used for "free",  through a subscription box and Sephora's Lash Stash To-Go. 

This mascara is flipping amazing! It gives me intense black colour, and a ton of volume. I find it has a similar wand to the Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara, but this formula is less dry and doesn't flake on me.

One con, if your eyes water, this will smear; though it does not claim to be waterproof, just thought I'd point it out.

The full-size lasted me four months of daily use, which is pretty good. The packaging is classy and sleek. Marc Jacobs Beauty is cruelty-free.

I'm typically a drugstore mascara kind of gal, but I can't deny that this product is amazing and would recommend if you're in the market for a luxury mascara.

Photo Credit: Sephora

Thursday, March 7, 2019

A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab

A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab is the third book in the Shades of Magic series. I have done a post on the first in the series, A Darker Shade of Magic, and the second, A Gathering of Shadows, and recommend reading these first so you are not spoiled in anyway for the series if you haven't read them yet.

The precarious balance that has been maintained between the four London's is now at it's breaking point. Power has been building in White London, while Red London has been quite distracted lately.

Kell is struggling to find his place within his new responsibilities. Lila needs to gain control over her magic, and learn the balance before it consumes her. Alucard needs to track down the impossible. All the while, Rhy needs to keep is kingdom from falling apart.

I absolutely loved this series as a whole. It took me a very long time to finish this last installment in the series, but that is definitely due to my mood lately; I just didn't have the same obsession.

This book solidified my love for Holland. We see a new side to him, learn about his past, and motivations. There is a lot of character development happening in this book. The ending is quite open. It wraps up the series well, while leaving a glimmer of hope for future works in this world. 👀👀 I see you V. E. Schwab!

I look forward to rereading this series in the future.


★★★★☆

Thursday, February 21, 2019

My Super Simple Budget

When I first moved out of my parents house, I searched the Internet for a starting point on how to budget. Why don't they teach you these things in school? During my years in university, working part-time, living in a small inner city apartment with my now husband, this is the budget I started with and tweaked along the way, and what I've reverted back to now, as a stay at home mom.

Before I get started, I want to lay down some facts about my particular situation, as I know this budget is not feasible for everyone.

Jeremy was working a full-time, well paying job. He 'could' handle our bills if absolutely necessary. However, at this time in our lives, we were splitting our bills 50/50 as much as possible.

Now, I am a stay at home mom to our two children. We are home owners. Jeremy is now covering most of our shared monthly expenses himself (I pay for my own phone and car etc.).

The Simple Budget
Needs (Bills) - 50%
Wants - 30%
Savings (Debt Repayment) - 20%

This is OVERsimplified, and is just a place to start. The percentages are based off your take-home pay cheque. Let's break it down a little further:

Needs - For me, my needs are all my bills and necessities. This includes cell phone, car payment, insurance, groceries, rent/mortgage, Internet etc. What do you need to "survive"? In my experience, to live comfortably (not pay cheque to pay cheque), your needs should only take up 50% of your income. Again, I was sharing these expenses with my partner. If I were living on my own, my bills most definitely would have taken more than 50% of my pay.

Wants - What things are nice to have or do, but not actually necessary to "survive"? This includes eating out with friends, experiences, makeup, books, your morning coffee, Netflix, etc. When I was in university, I would calculate this, and take it out in cash. This insured that I could not go over budget. If I didn't have the cash, I couldn't grab that coffee on my way to class, or that lipstick that was on sale super cheap. If in two weeks, when my next pay came, I had any left, I'd put it away for a bigger expense down the road. This looks a little different for me today, I set this aside for my kid's birthday gifts, home decor, upgrades for my business, etc.

Savings (Debt Repayment) - I put this in one category because I believe it's a personal choice on how much you allocate to each. Some feel putting it all towards debt repayment is best, others do a combination, or put it all towards savings until they have a safety net. While I was in university, I put 5% in savings, 10% on my credit card, (the 10% of your pay check is above your monthly payment), and 5% on my student line of credit. Today, I'm putting the full 20% towards debt repayment.

I hope, if you are looking for a place to start, this was helpful. Again, this worked for me as a student, and now with the extra income I'm bringing in on the side while I stay at home with my kids. I do have a finance degree and would love to share more money related content on this blog. Leave me your feedback in the comments!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Static Solutions

←←← This is me. The cold, dry winter air is killing my hair vibes this year!

Today, I'm sharing a few easy fixes, to keep you from looking like you've just been electrocuted:

Adding Moisture
As the main culprit to static is the dry air, both outdoors and inside, it's important to add that moisture back. You can do this by switching your shampoo and conditioner to a more hydrating formula, or adding a leave-in product to your routine. Try: ArtNatural Shampoo + Conditioner ($23) or OGX Hydrating Tea Tree Mint Shampoo ($5.49)

Dirty Hair
Trying washing your hair less often. Each time you shampoo, you're stripping your hair of its natural oils. If you have a greasy scalp, like I do, and find it hard to extend the time between washes, trying putting your hair up more often - it's harder to tell it's greasy if you're rocking a slicked back ponytail. Speaking of up-do's:

Put It Up
If your hair is long enough, pull it into a ponytail as I mentioned above, or experiment with cute braids and buns. Not only is it fun to switch up your hairstyle every once in a while, you hair won't be standing on end if it's tied back! You can twist it into a loose bun to be undo once you get to your destination, or use a strong hold hairspray to make sure it lasts all day. Try: Paul Mitchell Hairspray ($17)

Has your hair been standing on end as well?

Photo Credit: Guzer

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill

The Girl Who Drank The Moon by Kelly Barnhill is a middle-grade fantasy novel.

Every year, the youngest baby in the Protectorate is taken from their mother and left in the forest as sacrifice for the "evil" witch.

Every year, the witch comes to rescue the baby that these horrible people from this village just left in the woods.

Xan, the witch, nourishes these babies with starlight on her way across to forest making them healthy and strong. The people on the other side of the forest await her arrival every year, wishing to adopt the special child and give it a loving home.

One year, Xan "accidentally" feeds a child moonlight, which gives the baby magical abilities. Xan is then "forced" to take this child home and raise it herself.

This book took me awhile to really get invested; it was a rocky start. I think it was because I am a mother myself, with parental separation anxiety, and the thought of having my new baby ripped out of my arms to give as sacrifice to an evil witch in the woods is my worst nightmare. However, once we meet all the characters, and get a feel for the magic, this story really is cute.

This book was written with a fifth grader in mind. I definitely need to expand my knowledge of middle-grade books, especially because Maxwell is in the second grade now, and is quickly approaching this reading level. If you have any recommendations, I'd love to hear them!

★★★★☆

Photo Credit: Goodreads

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Go Faux | False Lashes

I've been learning more and more about what it takes to produce a mink lash, and am not too impressed by this being passed as "cruelty-free'.

While I understand the different between vegan and cruelty-free, I feel on this front they're blurring the lines.

Mink are not friendly, sociable animals. I can guarantee they are not happy sitting in their cages, and the manufacturers are not snuggling and combing them to retrieve the hairs.

There are three brands in particular that I wanted to draw attention to today, while I am sure there are many more. These brands boast about their cruelty-free status all over social media, while producing mink lashes.

Even looking at it from a business standpoint, not an ethical one, with the cruelty-free "trend" becoming more popular, I honestly cannot see how selling a handful of mink lashes, is more profitable than excluding a huge group of potential consumers. Maintaining a mink farm must be costly, factoring that along with the lost potential sales from consumers like me, I don't see the benefit.

Huda Beauty is the one that gets to me the most. Huda sells 6 pairs of mink lashes. I am interested in almost all of her other products, and have loved the handful I tried before transitioning to CF beauty. Her products are not tested on animals, and are not sold in China. The catch, those 6 pesky pairs of mink lashes.

The same can be said of P. Louise. She sells ONE pair of lashes, and they are mink. Her artistry is amazing, and everyone has been raving about her eyeshadow base. She has also started selling a course which I think would be amazing!

Lastly, Sample Beauty. My eyes have been drawn to their eyeshadow palettes many times, but alas, their lashes are mink.

You may have noticed I did not link any of these brands, and that was not an oversight 😊

Stephanie Lange has altered her CF standpoint and has started purchasing from brands like these, just not buying the mink lashes themselves. How do you feel about that? I feel myself leaning in the direction, but have stopped myself because the mink lashes just don't make sense to me, especially the "business degree me".

Others, like Angelica Nyqvist, who is not a cruelty-free beauty vlogger, has stopped supporting the mink lashes, which I applaud.

The technology today has made synthetic hairs pretty much the same. Gone are the days when false lashes felt like literal plastic. In my opinion, there is no need to continue making mink lashes. Just stop selling them!

Photo credit: Veganmakeupshare
 

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