Finished the Veronica Speedwell mysteries and now I’m in that weird space where I can’t find a book that lives up… In the meantime, I’m trying to find the time to read Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick by Maya Dusenbery (because as a woman who has been dismissed, misdiagnosed, and chronically sick, I want all the support I can get).
A few posts ago, I gushed about how much I love the Ilia lip conditioner in Pink Moon, then I started to suspect it was causing some irritation. I stopped using it for a few weeks and wore it again last week. Suspicion confirmed, it makes my lips look like I’ve been out in the cold too long. Really dry and red around the edges. I’m debating whether I should return to Sephora or give it away. It had such promise.
Other things I’m loving:
My InstantPot! My mom gave me a mini and I’m loving the speed and efficiency it provides. Even just using the saute function speeds up my meal prep and saves me the extra time and heating costs. (Old Florida apartments were not made for climate change temperatures. My apartment is hot and the kitchen heats up like you wouldn’t believe. Needless heat? No thank you.)
Minisode 8.5: Final thoughts on Star Wars/Spaceballs (and even Howl’s Moving Castle), favorites, and an announcement
In other news: The podcast is now available on Spotify!
Yep, I had to come back for more. This series is my new addiction and I can’t wait to pick up the next book from my library. (I’m currently #4 in line)
Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu
I ordered this one for my own library collection (ICYMI, I’m a librarian). I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was intrigued by the idea of YA not-yet-superheroes and Marie Lu does not disappoint. Her Bruce reads like a real person with real doubts and these are all good things.
I tried the Tarte BB Tinted Treatment 12-hour Primer in Light and I think I finally found a color match. Not 100% green, but I don’t have a problem with the ingredients listed. It scores a 1 on the EWG Skin Deep database and feels really nice on the skin (it’s a cream to powder finish with physical SPF). I’m saving it for travel and ordering a full size.
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.
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.
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: Essaysby 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*
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.
In preparation for the next episode of the Bluestocking Circle Podcast, I re-read and re-watched Howl’s Moving Castle and fell in love anew. It’s been some years since I consumed (hehe, Howl joke) either of these works and I adore them still.
Ilia tinted lip conditioner in Pink Moon (Sephora)
I had some Sephora credit and decided to give this a try… it was well worth the impulse. The color is just the right amount of bright berry lip and it’s not too heavy or dramatic for a daytime/work look.
In which we discuss the right balance between fantasy and realism in romance, the rise and fall of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, and the legal and ethical ramifications of drugged pies. All this and more as the Bluestockings discuss the TV series Pushing Daisies.
You can also listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Podomatic. Or follow us everywhere @bluesoxcircle
(so I like making weird faces…)
I made a board for the podcast and it is a thing of beauty 🙂
Renew Life Extra Care Ultimate Flora probiotics – these are easy to find when I need something extra
Gaia Herbs – Back Elderberry Syrup – takes delicious and really helps boost my immune system when I’m surrounded by sick students
Gaia Herbs Quick Defense – this is a super dose of elderberry and echinacea (among other hers) that makes a huge difference when I feel a cold coming on (I’ve used it in the past when fighting a really nasty cold and last year’s flu)
Toiletries & Skincare
Andalou Naturals Un-tinted Benefit Balm – I use this for the SPF 30. It leaves a mild white cast but it almost acts as a primer for my makeup. It’s not my favorite, but it works for every day sun protection.
Acure Facial Cleansing Creme – I prefer the regular cleanser, but my skin was feeling a little dry and sensitive, so I decided to give this one a try. It feels like a balm cleanser and works best as a second cleanse after removing makeup.
NOW Hyauluronic Acid Firming Serum – I love this and started a new bottle as soon as I ran out. It’s very light and acts as a moisturizing serum beneath my oil and sunscreen steps.
Botanical Beauty Organic Japanese Camellia Seed Oil – there is some debate as to whether the purity of this oil (amazon comments controversy, as per usual), but I credit this with helping my hair grow and become more smooth and manageable. It is my only form of conditioner and I use it on my ends and the lower half of my scalp where I tend to have some mild psoriasis. I love it and I already opened a larger bottle.
Johnson’s Head-to-toe extra moisturizing bath – I needed some moisture and I like baths.
The Beauty Shelf green tea Konjac sponge – I really like Konjac sponges and this one comes in a three heart set 🙂
Scents & Candles
Nature’s Alchemy orange essential oil
AuraCacia Lemon essential oil
I like citrus scents. These are from my office oil collection.
Frostbeard Book Lovers’ Soy Candle sample in Pumpkin Juice – this was milder than I expected. It has a nice spicy scent and does not linger.
Wilfred Wax Steamed & Frothed – one of my favorites. It’s soooo sweet though, a little goes a long way. I will replace this when I run out of my other candles.
In an effort to make better use of the things I buy, I give you my second Empties video 🙂
Lots of products mentioned here, including health stuff, bath stuff, and some general lifestyle bits. I intended to list them all, but life happened and I lost track of time. So just watch for details and feel free to leave any questions in the comments. 🙂 I’m happy to share my thoughts on all and any products mentioned, or feel free to leave a recommendation.
Apologies for video quality issues, I noticed some blurring as I was editing, but I recycled all the products before I watched the video. Lesson learned.
So I haven’t done any real writing in a couple of weeks… turns out that the weird tiredness and lack of concentration was probably the result of a slow-growing skin infection that had been building since my tumble down the stairs. I am now one toe-nail down and many antibiotics up. I’m not one to take too many meds if I can avoid it, but this is definitely not the time to avoid it… nightmares involving Civil War style amputations aside, the infection really was caught just in time. It could’ve been much worse. Luckily, aside from the occasional twinge, and the leftover swelling from the injection sites, I’m finally starting to feel myself again. That’s a very good thing for all involved, as I was staring to get very moody and grumpy because I was barely holding it together. Trying to stay positive.
Now, back to the part about going natural… yes, you heard that right, I’m going natural. What nonsense is this you ask? Well, I’ve been transitioning towards an all-natural (or as close to all-natural) health and wellness routine. This has meant several experiments with natural deodorants, oils, baking soda, arrowroot, vinegar, organic/minimal makeup, no more hair dying (this is a struggle, I was a long time color changer), no more hair drying (though I will do some minimal styling on special occasions and when the weather turns cold–I don’t want to have a Victorian style death by cold head/pneumonia episode), natural toothpaste, and plenty of raised brows from the mother and the boyfriend, but I’m loving it all! I’ll post some details later, but I’ve mostly been scouring the blogosphere for recipes and ideas. Some of the best have come from the following natural living blogs:
The best part is that I’ve really noticed a significant change in my skin and hair, especially the little lines and spots that were starting to show up from lack of moisture and old scarring. And it’s cheap! I’ve spent less on natural products that can be eaten as much as slathered on than I have on skincare at Sephora. I may not look like a hippie, but I’m a flower child on the inside 🙂