Happy Easter! Here’s what I used up in March.
- avatara wipe out nose pore strips: first time using these and it was quite a nice experience. I picked them up at Target and definitely noticed a difference.
- elf Ultimate Blending brush – Probably my favorite elf brush, but I had it for years and it gave up the ghost
- Juice Beauty SPF 30 Tinted Mineral Moisturizer in Sand – One of my favorite sunscreens. It just matches my skin tone without turning orange. Currently using the un-tinted one in an effort to simplify my makeup look.
- fresh Rose Face mask – sample from Sephora. Just a lovely mask that leaves my skin feeling soft and refreshed. I’d be willing to buy a trial size in future.
- Dr.Bronner’s Pure Castille Soap in Peppermint – a classic. This is a trial size because I like to rotate the scents and even the small size goes a long way.
- Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides – My favorite collagen supplement for skin and joints, but it’s pricey and I can’t always justify the cost. I splurge when my knees are feeling particularly achy, or I want a skin boost.
- Rainbow Light Just Once Iron-Free – The best multi I’ve tried and one I continue to purchase.
- Jarrow Formulas Femdophilus – Probiotics for ladies. ’nuff said. I can’t say I noticed a difference, but it was on sale and I thought it worth a try.
- Gaia Herbs Quick Defense – This is one of those products that I try to push on people. I keep a bottle on hand for colds and flu and it WORKS. It speeds up a cold like you wouldn’t believe.
- A pen – Because every pen is a success.
- Re-Boost decongestion spray – picked this up a few months ago and it’s come in very handy. It’s a natural product that actually works to clear things up.
- Nature’s Bounty thrive blend – It smells strongly of clove but I like to think that it works to clean the air during cold season. At least it helped when I was stuffed up last month.
March marks a small milestone for my current project: I’ve completed the first two parts of my three part rewrite plan! 7 more chapters to go before edits (and maybe [finally] querying prep).
- Words (re)written in March: 11,024
- Words (re)written in 2018 (to date): 31,692
I’m sticking to my weekend writing schedule and it’s working well for my mental state. My goal is to finish the last section before I leave for a conference in mid-May.
The Sheriff of Babylon by Tom King and Mitch Gerads
The boy says I’m having a weird literary affair with Tom King. He may be right. I enjoy his writing and this is an incredibly compelling story set during the so-called War on Terror. A hard read, but a good (and important) one.
A Duke Like No Other by Valerie Bowman
I needed something light after a series of emotionally heavy reads (see above) and this sweet romance about second chances fit the bill. Rather than the classic Duke meets lady (or other bold female) trope, the novel reminds me of Persuasion–or Persuasion if Wentworth married Anne before misunderstandings ensued. There is a heavy dose of mystery and plenty of flashbacks, which set this apart from the typical Duke romance.
(This review is based on a ARC from NetGalley)
A Curious Beginning (A Veronica Speedwell Mystery) by Deanna Raybourn
Long on my TBR list, I was inspired to check out the first in the series after listening to an excellent interview with Deanna Raybourn on the Smart Bitches Trashy Books podcast. I read it in a day. That should tell you something of my enjoyment. Mystery, banter, and serious, slow-burn tension.
- After my 3+ year old elf flawless face brush came apart mid-sweep, I decided it was time for an upgrade and picked up the IT Cosmetics airbrush buffing foundation brush. While not strictly a cream foundation brush, I like the flat top and it’s soft and fluffy. All good things.
- Spring has reignited my love Red Apple Lipstick’s Hollypeno. Sadly, they just recently discontinued this shade.
- In “project use it up” news, I hit pan on my glossier stretch concealer (I use the medium shade).
We just recorded Episode 8, but you can still catch up with Episode 7.5, where we wrap up our thoughts on Howl, share more recommendations, and hatch our evil plot to make Bee watch Star Wars for the First Time(!) via a carefully orchestrated comparison to Spaceballs.
You can find the episode on Podomatic, Apple Podcasts, or Google Play.
I’m very selective about PR that I’ll accept, but when VienneMilano reached out to me to try a pair of luxury thigh highs, I was intrigued. As a fan of tights in general, and thigh highs in particular, I was curious about the brand and selection. VienneMilano is an Italian, luxury hosiery brand headquartered in Boston. Their products are made with high quality materials and lace, and they look and feel like they will be well worth the investment. As they note, “Only love can last forever, but VienneMilano stockings will last quite a bit longer than ordinary hosiery.”
You can definitely feel the difference when you wear these. The knit feels like silk and the band reaches way up, high on the thigh and stays there. I wore these out on a humid afternoon and they stayed on without slip. Can’t wait to see how they wear over time. They come in two sizes, and their website offers an easy guide. I requested mine in large and they fit just right (I’m 5’6”, 150ish lbs, and all legs – as the boy would say)
I am loving my purple thigh highs, and am currently eyeing a couple of pairs in Mustard and Olive (I love brightly colored leggings with a black dress for work and play).
Watch the video for more of my thoughts and to see my awkward strut as I try to show them off.
I am wearing a limited edition, Claudia pair in purple, but these are pretty similar.
For more information on the brand, visit viennemilano.com
Disclaimer: I received a pair of thigh highs in exchange for an honest review.
I’ve managed to keep a fairly streamlined collection since my first round of KonMari de-cluttering, but times change and things that sparked joy no longer spark. Rather than hold on to every thing, I’ve learned to let go and edit on a regular basis.
Here are the results of my latest round:
A quick review of my closet revealed a few items that I failed to reach for this winter, or which no longer fit as I prefer. The two smaller bags are items from my makeup collection that I cannot donate or share, and a few bits of paper and miscellany clutter that needs to go.
A review of my unmentionables revealed some items that no longer serve, whether because the fit is off or the fabric is too worn.
I use a diffuser to scent my home on most nights, but sometimes I just like the look and feel of a candle. Because candles come with jars, I’ve amassed a fair number of them. I’m getting rid of these, but looking to rehome or recycle where possible.
Decorative pillows and stuffed toys from the ikea bin. I have a weakness for cute pillows, but these serve no purpose beyond gathering dust. I traded them in favor of the toys and pillows that I do use (mostly to prop my arm up while I sleep).
Not pictured: the freestanding mini elliptical machine I bought two years ago in an effort to move more during writing days and have an alternative to outdoor walks during the rainy season. I used it for a few weeks and found that I didn’t like it, but it was too late to return it. It’s too large for me to try to sell it, and I can’t stand seeing it gather dust. I set it on the curb and hope someone picks it up. It’s wasteful, but a lesson learned.
Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson
Part of reducing my consumption and learning to live simply is my desire to live a more sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle. I have a long way to go, but this book provides practical, tested advice from one of the top advocates of the Zero Waste Movement.
Beauty (aka. on my face)
Nothing new, but I am appreciating a nude pink lip now that the season is changing. Current rotation: MAC Mehr and Patisserie (obvs. not cruelty free or eco, but I’m not a purist), and Kosas Undone.
Between writing and life, I shoved recording to the side, so no videos for the moment. Instead, I give you the latest installment of The Bluestocking Circle Podcast — lady nerds on popular culture.
I got to play host for Episode 7: Howl’s Moving Castle, so if you love Howl as much as I do, give it a listen. Follow us on twitter and instagram for updates and plenty of fangirling.
- Nature’s Gate Revitalizing Jojoba + Sacred Lotus shampoo – I returned to Nature’s Gate after several failed forays into low poo options. NG works for my hair and doesn’t weigh it down.
- ACURE pore clarifying facial scrub – this is a very mild, red clay scrub. I like alternating this one with the regular green scrub from the same brand.
- alba acnedote astringent – my go-to acne treatment for hormonal (re: PMS) breakouts. Non-drying and just the right amount of salicylic for my sometimes sensitive skin.
- Nature’s Gate whitening toothpaste – I meant to order the Kiss My Face but this one was just as good. Sometimes too minty for me.
- Eden’s Garden Breathe Easier synergy blend – a blend of citrus and mint that really clears up a stuffy nose. This is my third bottle and I will be repurchasing.
- Laneige water sleeping mask – not an empty, but I’ve noticed that I break out every time I use it. No noticeable difference in my skin. I’ve had a similar reaction to other K-skincare brands. I’m not sure what upsets my skin, but I’ll stick to my regular routine.
- Solgar B Complex “50” – Just a good ol’ b complex blend. I like this particular line. Effective and affordable.
I’m making an effort to use up my packaged tea before I try any new blends. These are the blends I used up in February.
- Tea India Chai Moments Milk Tea – instant milk tea. picked these up at an Indian festival as a treat.
- Traditional Medicinals Weightless blend – I have issues with water retention and this helps move things along. This is not a *weightloss* tea. It is an herbal blend to ease water retention and a sluggish liver (I don’t have a gallbladder, so it helps).
- Traditional Medicinals EveryDay Detox Lemon blend – again, not a weightloss tea. Mostly dandelion to ease water retention and clear up a sluggish bile tract.
- Bigelow benefits radiate beauty blend – a very nice berry blend with skin-loving herbs. I’m not sure it cleared up my skin, but I like the flavor.
- Triple Leaf Chrysanthemum tea – just a classic tea. Sometimes helps when I have tummy trouble. My Chinese coworker says Chrysanthemum tea is used in Chinese medicine to balance an off system.
- Noveltea Oliver Lemon Twist – a lemongrass scented tea. Lovely, mild taste and cute packaging (it comes in a book-shaped box).
- Zhena gypsy tea sampler – Egyptian Mint (green and mint) and Italian Chamomile (chamomile and rose hip) – classic flavors, just a nice sampler set.
I konmaried the house nearly two years ago, but it’s time for a review. I’m not engaging in a full-blown konmari declutter, but I am looking to eliminate/donate items that no longer serve.
I started with a review of my kitchen storage (not my pantry). This picture was taken half-way through the process. There were a few more items added to the pile, but it’s a modest selection compared to my first konmari declutter.
An unexpected addition was my microwave (not pictured, obvs). It started to burn out (I could smell the wires burning), so it was time to toss. I am not replacing it. I didn’t use it enough to justify a replacement, and I’m finding alternatives to meet my heating needs. I’m also loving the amount of counter space it freed up 🙂
If you’re new to the blog, Hi! If you’re not, you’ll know I’m in the middle of revising Draft 6 of my main writing project. My goal is to finish this draft by April, but my slightly more realistic goal is May…
In February, I revised Chapters 20-23, or 9,981 words. As usual, life has a way of getting in the way, but it didn’t stop me from meeting my goal 🙂 🙂 🙂
What I’ve learned so far:
This draft has shown me that I get as much work done if I schedule two solid, 4-5 hour weekend writing sessions, as when I squeeze in 30 minute to 1 hour sessions after during the weekdays. These shorter sessions also have a way of breaking up my thoughts and making me lose focus, resulting in the mess I made of the last two drafts (sigh). Adjusting my schedule has allowed me to focus on those weekend sessions, and use the weekdays to review chapters and consider revisions. This also grants me more head-space and allows me to enjoy my evenings after work, rather than strain my eyes for another hour. v. good.
Live Lagom: Balanced Living, the Swedish Way by Anna Brones
I admire the Swedes, almost as much as I admire the Japanese. There’s just something about a slow, simple lifestyle that resonates with me and this book does just that. I purchased this on a whim because it had a pretty cover, but what I found is an inspirational and incredibly smart ode to slowing down and living with just enough.
How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays by Alexander Chee
I review for Library Journal and my editor (shoutout to Stephanie!) has a knack for sending me just what I need when I need it. This is a prepub, and I’m still thinking how I’m going to review this, but the essays are excellent and Chee won me over when he revealed that we have the same tarot deck. *love*
I feel like I should title this “on my face”
RMS Lip2Cheek in Beloved (the Detox Market)
The website describes this color as a “true red with just a hint of poppy to suit all skin tones” and boy does it suit my skin tone. In the pot this is red but on my cheeks it is the perfect, natural flush. I bought a sample of this through the Detox Market website and will be upgrading to a full size as soon as it’s empty.
The Bluestocking Circle Podcast just celebrates it’s very merry half-birthday with Episode 6.5! If you love me, have a listen 🙂 We gush about all things geek with a theme every month.
Minisode 6.5: Feedback, Favorites, and First Impressions (with OTPs!)
Episode 6: Pushing Daisies
You can also find us on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and follow us everywhere @bluesoxcircle
Morning pages, tulips for color, and greenery for life. (with a kitty cat cameo from Friday)
My DSLR has ceased to be and I need a new camera.