October Reads

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I love talking about books over my social media accounts, so it seems logical to blog about them too! There's a little bit of everything in here to get me started. I have some recent reads, a birthday book haul, and what I plan on reading next! 


Recent Read & Audiobook

The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey - I listened to this on audiobook through the OverDrive app from my public library. I had only heard of the title of this book and had absolutely no idea what it was about. This happens to be a little bit horror and action/adventure, so it was perfect for getting into the Halloween spirit. It centers around a 10 year old girl named Melanie who loves learning and her teacher, Miss Justineau. I don't read a lot of horror, so I enjoyed this because it was something different. I know I'm being vague with my description, but I'm glad I went into it without knowing anything about the plot. This book is difficult to review without spoilers. The Girl With All the Gifts was made into a movie and released September 23 in the UK. You can watch the trailer here. I probably won't seek out the movie because, while I can read horror, I don't enjoy watching it at all. 



Evelina by Frances Burney - I picked up this novel because it was recommended for Jane Austen fans. First published in 1778, Evelina follows a young girl's introduction into society. Evelina is an innocent girl who was raised in the country by a loving guardian, Arthur Villars, after the unfortunate death of her mother. Mr. Villars somewhat reluctantly sends Evelina to London where she makes makes many social faux pas and is often downright confused by the manners of the people in London society. This takes a look at gender, class, and social customs of the day in a satirical way. I thought it was delightful! The notes in this edition where quite helpful when I didn't understand what certain things were or why exactly something Evelina did was considered a faux pas.

Birthday Book Haul

I'm a huge fan of used book stores and my public library. When possible, I try to get my reading material from one of those places. Sometimes, books that I want cannot be found in either place, and they go on my Amazon list. My birthday was at the end of September, and my mother in law sent me some books from my list as a gift. I'm very grateful and can't wait to dive in!



At the top of the pile, I have How to Sit by Thich Nhat Hanh. I attended a meditation workshop earlier in the year, and this was the book that was recommended for beginners. It's a short book about mindfulness meditation. I've read three other books by Thich Nhat Hanh and found all of them to be worth my time.

Belinda by Maria Edgeworth - Another work of English literature, Belinda was first published in 1801 and is a comic look at gender and race. I don't know much about the story, but it sounded interesting because there's an interracial marriage that's treated respectfully by the author. From what I've heard about this book, Maria Edgeworth was told to change that later on, but this particular edition (Oxford World's Classics) includes that part of the story. 

The Last Summer of Reason by Tahar Djaout - Algerian novelist, Tahar Djaout, was assassinated by Islamic fundamentalists in 1993. The manuscript for this book was found among his things after his death and is unfinished. The story is about a bookstore owner who lives in a country in which a fundamentalist group has taken over and the consequences that it has on the owner and his store. 

The New and Improved Romie Futch by Julis Elliott - Set in the American South, we find taxidermist, Romie Futch. Needing some extra cash, he agrees to become a research subject for scientists to download information into his brain, and now he knows a wealth of information. It sounds strange and funny, and it's set it the South. Sounds like a must-read to me!

Application of Impossible Things: My Near Death Experience in Iraq by Natalie Sudman - Working as a civilian for the US Army Coups of Engineers, Natalie Sudman's truck exploded from a roadside bomb. This is an account of her near death experience and miraculous survival. I think I read a little bit about this somewhere, and it sounded different from other near death experience accounts. I'm curious to learn more about her experience.

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski - This is a book that has a bit of a cult following, and I don't know that much about it. My husband isn't really a fan of reading fiction, but he recommended this book to me. It's about a family that moves into a house, and the house turns out to be larger on the inside than it looks on the outside and strange things happen. I was told that if I didn't like it at first to stick with it because it changes quite a bit. This book also changes a lot in the format. For example, a page here and there will only have one sentence or a couple of words on it, and some pages are formatted in columns. That sort of thing. I plan on reading this book after I finish what I'm reading now because it sounds spooky enough for Halloween reading.

Current Book & Audiobook



The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury - Set on Halloween night, a group of children are meeting up at a haunted house when one of their friends, Pip, gets taken away by something. The mysterious Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud takes them back in time in search of their friend. I'm about halfway through, and so far they have been to ancient Egypt and back to the time of the caveman. I don't read a lot of children's literature, but I'm really enjoying this. The story was made into a cartoon, and I plan on watching it after I'm finished with the book.



American Gods: the 10th anniversary edition by Neil Gaiman - I'm currently listening to this on audiobook from my public library through the OneClickdigital app . This is a more expanded version of the first release of the book. I particularly enjoy this audiobook because it has a full cast. There is a narrator, but each character is portrayed and the dialogue is delivered by a different voice actor. I've tried reading this before, but I ended up having to return it to my library before I got very far along with it. I'm enjoying it a lot more in audiobook form, and I'm really loving the entire cast of actors in this production. It's very well done. If you plan on listening to this on audiobook, make sure you listen to the 10th anniversary edition. 

That's my current book situation! Let me know if you're interested in anything in my book haul stack, and I will add it to the top of my To Be Read list. I like to read a little bit of everything, and my preferences don't have much rhyme or reason to them. I just go with whatever seems interesting to me at the time. 

What are you currently reading? 


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Veeda 100% Natural Cotton Feminine Care Products

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*Got a couple of samples, and I bought the rest!

I have been hearing about tampons that have synthetic materials and have been treated and bleached for years, but I never knew of a convenient alternative. Organic tampons are pretty expensive for a tiny box. The Diva Cup and other brands of menstrual cups have been on my mind, but having read both the positive and negative reviews, it was a purchase that I kept putting off. Then, I started reading reviews from other bloggers about a brand called Veeda that offered 100% cotton feminine care products that weren't treated with chemicals or dyes. Immediately, I investigated the website and checked the store locator to see if any products were available at my local stores. Lucky for me, two of my local supermarkets popped up in the results! 



The first store that I checked had just gotten Veeda's tampons and was selling them at a really good price. I checked the other store soon after, and they didn't have any of Veeda's products on the shelves. I'm hoping that if I go back soon I will find them there. I would love to be able to purchase the pads and liners at a store. Of course, all of Veeda's products are available on their site. If you're on the fence about ordering online, they have free shipping in the US! 


These products are a must for anyone who is sensitive to irritation that many feminine care products can cause. This is a sensitive area we're talking about here, and most of the time, I have a good bit of irritation from pads and tampons by the end of my period. These products actually help in reducing that. 

Veeda has tampons with plastic applicators and applicator-free. I have used the regular tampons with the applicator, and they are just as easy to use as others I have tried. The tampons meet the same standards of absorbency as other tampons and are FDA approved. Because these are all cotton, they don't leave behind any fibers once removed. Evidently, rayon can do that! For more information on synthetics, chemicals, dyes, etc. you can visit the Veeda FAQs page

I was lucky that someone from Veeda contacted me after I commented on another blog about being interested in this brand, and they sent me a couple of tampons, pads, and liners to try. So, I was able to try the pads and liners, if only briefly. While I don't prefer pads, I do use them at night. The couple I got to try were comfortable and more absorbent than the Always pads I had been using. I definitely felt drier when I got up in the morning than I usually do. The liners are very comfortable, and I didn't feel them at all when I used them. None of the Veeda products I tried caused any irritation at all. Like the tampons, the pads and liners are made of 100% cotton. 

I definitely recommend Veeda if you've been looking for some kind of alternative to the pad and tampon options we have now. I'm so glad that these are sold in a couple of stores where I live!


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Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge Lipsticks

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*I received the #MYARTISTROUGE Voxbox from Influenster.
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A change of lipstick is one of the easiest ways to change up a look. Lipstick can take you from everyday to glam to wild. I received the perfect shades for the very same looks in the #MYARTISTROUGE Voxbox from Influenster


The Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge Lipsticks come in 14 matte and 31 satin finishes currently available at Sephora. I received 3 of the satin formulas in C211 Rose Wood, C404 Passion Red, C502 Taupe Violet. 



All three of these shades are extremely pigmented, as all of the colors in the range are supposed to be. It does not take long at all to build up the color. The bullet comes to a fine point, making it easy to get a precise application. The formula is long-lasting and not drying. It's not moisturizing, but it's comfortable to wear. 


C211 - Rose Wood
C211 Rose Wood is my everyday shade. This neutral shade is a bit darker than the neutral pinks I've been wearing throughout the summer, making it a nice choice for fall. 

C404 - Passion Red
You know I love a glam red lip! C404 Passion Red is the perfect red shade. I love how it brightens up my face. Unfortunately, this one bleeds and feathers on me quite a bit, even though these aren't supposed to do that. I love this shade, but I can't skip the liner with this red.


C502 - Taupe Violet
More and more brands are making these wild colors, and the Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge Lipsticks have a few. C502 Taupe Violet doesn't look as crazy on me as I thought it would. That said, I don't think that wild shades are for me, but I'm so glad I have this right before Halloween. What kind of costume could I build around this lipstick? I ended up making this work for me by mixing it with C211 Rose Wood to get a cool taupe shade that I think will look great this fall. 

Overall, I really like the Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge Lipsticks. I like that they're pigmented and have so many colors available in this range. If there's a specific color you have been looking for, then you should be able to find it!

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Beauty Empties | August 2016

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Happy September! It's still early enough for me to say that, right? As someone whose birthday is in the month of September, I am happy when it rolls back around. I have been showing my empties on Instagram and Snapchat, but there were items that I wanted to talk about a little more this month. 


I have been using up samples and half empty products in an effort to clean out my stash. I know, it's brought up in every blog post now, but it's a process that's taking quite a bit of time to accomplish. Simplifying my space has become a new goal, and I am loving it so far. It's not just my beauty products either; I've been getting rid many unused items around my home. It feels great to have more space and less clutter!



GlamGlow Supermud Clearing Treatment - I really like GlamGlow masks, but the Youthmud is my favorite. This one is good for oily and acne-prone skin, and my skin does feel clearer after I use this mask. It's pretty expensive, so I won't be repurchasing anytime soon. 

Nerium Age-Defying Night Cream - This night cream is touted as a miracle product. And while I don't think it's bad, it's not a miracle for me. I will say that I did notice that it had a bit of a tightening effect on my pores and a tightening feel. I say you can skip this, unless you're curious and want to help out a friend selling it. For more info, read Paula Begoun's (of Beautypedia and Paula's Choice) review HERE

GÖTZ Bad Ischl Oxygen Facial Tonic* - I just reviewed this (HERE), and I've already finished the bottle. I really like this facial spray. The toner I'm using now doesn't compare!

Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser - I got a lot of use out of this sample! This is a really good scrub, and I would buy this in a full size. It's strong stuff, so you can't use it daily, though.

Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer with SPF 30 - This is very moisturizing and a bit heavier than what I normally use. I'm not going to buy a full size, but I do recommend it for dry skin.

Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Original Formula - I've used samples of this peel before, and I like it. Unfortunately, this gets a terrible rating on Beautypedia for irritants, so I will be looking for another peel to try.

Caolion Premium Hot & Cool Pore Pack Duo - This is a set of 2 masks that are meant to be used consecutively. The Hot mask is supposed to cleanse the pores, and then the Cool mask tightens them. I got three uses out of my Glossybox sample. It was really fun to try, but I don't think I have the time to devote to this mask duo on a regular basis. Also, I'm not entirely sure about the hot and cool feelings that happen on my skin when I use this. Do check this one out if you're a mask junkie, though! It's neat and different, and I'm glad I got to sample it!




Kirkland Signature Daily Facial Towelettes - This is the last small pack in a 150 count box from Costco. These are really great wipes, and I highly recommend them if you have a Costco membership!

Bath & Body Works Dark Amber Body Wash - This is one of my husband's empties. He used up this shower gel along with another one from Bath & Body Works -- I think it was Noir. I like the men's scents from Bath & Body Works, but my husband thought that the shower gels were too strong. He's currently using one of the Adidas shower gels and likes it a bit more.

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Conditioner - I didn't like this conditioner because it didn't moisturize my hair at all. This would be great if you have thin hair and need something that won't weigh your hair down at all, but this is not for me. I love the styling cream, though!

Eucerin In-Shower Moisturizer Body Lotion - This didn't do anything to moisturize my skin, so I won't be getting this in a full size. 

Borghese Creme Cleanser - My skin never felt clean when I washed it with this. It felt like there was some kind of residue left afterwards. I didn't like this at all.

Crabtree & Evelyn La Source Ultra-Moisturising Hand Therapy - I got this hand cream in a Glossybox. It's very moisturizing, and the scent reminds me of the ocean.

It's a 10 miracle Leave-In for Blondes - I've used a few of the different leave-ins from It's a 10, and I like all of them. They do a good job of making my hair soft but not weighing it down. I've also tried the original and the keratin, and I would like to try the silk formula. 


Tarte Clean Slate Eye Primer - I liked this eyeshadow primer, but I have a couple of other ones that I'm using now. Tarte used to make an eyeshadow primer that I loved, but they discontinued it. This one works just fine, but it's nothing amazing.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water - I'm surprised by how much I like this sample. I don't like primers that feel heavy, so a primer water turned out to be a good solution for me. I plan on getting a full size in the future. 

Clinique Stay-Matte Sheer Pressed Powder 01 Stay Buff - This was in my Spring Favorites post. I loved using this as a setting powder and as a powder foundation. 

L'Oreal Voluminious Power Volume 24H Mascara - This became difficult to close after just a couple of weeks, so I gave up on it. I liked what I was able to use of it.

Physicians Formula Sexy Booster Cat Eye Collection Mascara - I liked this mascara, and I reviewed it in this post.

That is everything I used up in August! What did you use up and love last month? 



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Glossybox | August 2016

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I received my August Glossybox a few days ago, and I'd like to show you what I got. In an effort to declutter my life, I have cancelled my subscription. Next month's box should be my last one, that is if Glossybox comes through on cashing in on my Glossydots. I've had a bit of trouble getting that done through their customer service, so this box may be my last one. I'll have to wait and see! That being said, I have enjoyed subscribing to Glossybox. Most of time, I want to keep more items that I receive than give away.

I noticed that Glossybox has switched from having an information card to a larger booklet this month. I never paid much attention to the card, but I really like the booklet. It's an improvement.


Wella Oil Reflections Smoothing Oil - This is a hair oil with macadamia seed oil and avocado oil. I have frizzy hair, so I like to use smoothing products and oils. I can't wait to try this!

De Bruyere After Sun Lotion - I don't tan, and I try not to go out in the sun without sunscreen. It's very moisturizing and smells great, so I'll keep it around to use like any other lotion.

Invisibobble The Traceless Hair Ring - These are spiral hair bands that won't rip out your hair, give you a headache, or leave kinks or creases in your hair after you take it out. I got a set of three, and I really like them! They work!

Trifle Cosmetics Lip Parfait Buttery Lip Cream - I was so happy to see both a natural and cruelty makeup item, but unfortunately, this is not my color. I like a nude lip, but this shade is too light for me. It feels great on the lips, so I would love to try this in another color. I'll be passing this along.


Borghese Fango Brillante Brightening Mud Mask for Face and Body - I've used Borghese products before, and some are better than others. The main issue I have is that all of their products have parabens. While I'm not completely paraben free in the products that I use, I try to keep it at a minimum. I know that seems like a small thing, but I already have a ton of masks. I may pass this one on to someone else.

Too Faced Mascara Melt Off Cleansing Oil Mascara Remover - This is a mascara remover that's supposed to work on regular and waterproof mascara. I'm so happy to see this in this month's box because this is the kind of product I want to sample before buying a full size. Has anyone tried this?

This was a pretty good box overall. I've been using the Invisibobbles every day, and I'm really excited to try the hair oil and the mascara remover. It's a bit of a bummer that the lipstick shade doesn't work for me because I really like the formula. Have you tried any of these products? What are your thoughts on this box?


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GÖTZ Bad Ischl Oxygen Facial Tonic

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PR Sample


I've never really given much thought to facial sprays, tonics, and toners. If I use them at all, it's more of an afterthought. At best, I've used them off and on over the years. This is definitely one area of my skincare routine that could use a little improvement. The GÖTZ Bad Ischl Oxygen Facial Tonic intrigued me so much that I agreed to review it. 


You're probably thinking the same thing I was. What is this exactly?

Product description from company:


Specially formulated for oily or blemished skin, oxygen facial tonic balances excessive oiliness, soothes redness and minimizes the appearance of blemishes, blackheads and enlarged pores. 
The laboratory concept of dr. Josef Götz skincare is a natural act, usage of natural and safe product ingredients to simple and effective solutions are the most important standards and commitments. 
All raw materials are taken from nature, choose the best quality of raw materials worldwide, and manually processed, firmly opposing to using of synthetic harmful chemical ingredients. 
Containing unique Bad Ischl thermal water ( containing oxygen , minerals and trace elements ) combining a certain ratio of Edelweiss, daffodils , grass and other natural plant see month fermentation extraction. 
Double cleanses skin, minimizes pores and restore skin's natural balance, improve blood circulation, enhance skin immunity and natural resilience 
Effectively moisturize, soothe and calm skin, promote wound healing and subsequent absorption of nutrients. 
Continue usage of 28 days, morning and night will result in significant skin resilience, smooth skin complexion, anti-acne and balanced moisturized skin. 
More effective for oily and oily-combination skin. 

How to use:

After cleaning in the morning and evening, spray the facial tonic on cotton pads, and wipe evenly onto the face and neck, then gently press into the skin. 
The most effective way to use is by soaking the pads and leaving them on your face for a few minutes, once they have dried, you can re-spray them. 




My skin has been absolutely mental lately. Between the crazy heat, going on vacation and eating whatever I want, and having a head cold my skin has understandably lost its mind. I've had a lot of breakouts on my chin, and I've had dry, irritated skin around my nose at the same time. A traditional toner or spray with alcohol isn't going to cut it.

This product comes in a 2 oz/60 ml spray bottle. It has an herbal scent because of all of the natural ingredients, but it isn't strong at all. I spray some of this on a cotton pad after I wash my face in the morning and the evening. Then, I tap in what's left on the cotton pad. I let it dry before applying any other skincare. You can also use this like a sheet mask, leaving the cotton pad saturated with the product on your face for several minutes. 

I have been using this for just over a month now, and I love how gently this treats my combination skin. The big breakouts have calmed down, but I still have the occasional small blemish appear. My favorite thing about this is how gentle it is. When I had a cold, my nose was very red and irritated. Almost every skincare product I used on my nose would sting and make it even more irritated, but not this. It does a great job of calming skin irritation and gently reducing oiliness. Many oil control products I have work for me at first but end up causing irritation over time. This is extremely gentle.

Ingredients - Click on photo to enlarge
I'm pleasantly surprised with the GÖTZ Bad Ischl Oxygen Facial Tonic. I definitely want to transition to using gentler products on my skin because I've been prone to more irritation lately. I think this is a step in the right direction. The GÖTZ Bad Ischl Oxygen Facial Tonic can be purchased for $35 on Amazon

Have you used anything like this? What are your gentle skincare recommendations? I would love to hear what you use!

I received this product for free for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I no longer want to buy stuff I don't need or want, and I wish the same for you!

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3 Deep Conditioners

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I've always had the odd issue of having an oily scalp and dry hair. If I address the oily scalp, then the length of my hair gets dried out beyond belief. It was really dry when I had super long hair, and I thought it would drastically improve once I cut my hair, but nope, still dry. Thank goodness for strong deep conditioners that can keep the dry hair crunch at bay! Here are three of my favorites.


Joico K-Pak Color Therapy Luster Lock* - This was sent to me in a PR package, but I will buy this when I'm out of it!

  • Price: $19.99 full size; $4.99 travel/trial size (50ml/1.7 oz)
  • For color treated hair
  • Leave on 3-5 minutes as a typical conditioner or use on dry hair as a pre-shampoo treatment. I love it as a conditioner, but I haven't tried it on dry hair.
  • Provides shine and smoothness without weighing down my hair. This is a good choice for fine, thin hair.
  • My hair has way less frizz when I use this.
  • I love that they have a small size available at Ulta. I recommend giving that a try if you're curious!
Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Moist - There's so many versions of this now! They have Moist, Strong, Smooth, Color, and Shine in this product. Remember when there was just one 3 Minute Miracle?

  • Price: $2.69 at Target
  • Deep treatment for damaged hair
  • Leave on for 3 minutes
  • Hair feels softer and more moisturized when I use this.
  • I still notice quite a bit of frizz, so I think I'll get the 3 Minute Miracle Smooth next time!
  • Great product for the price! Recommended for those with hair and money troubles.
Matrix Biolage Hydrasource Conditioner - A hair stylist recommend this to me ten years ago, and I've been using it off and on ever since. 

  • Price: $18 400ml/13.5oz (shown above); $26 1L/33.8oz
  • Also comes in a $5 travel size at Ulta
  • For dry hair
  • Leave on 1-3 minutes
  • This is the most moisturizing and emollient conditioner I've ever used. It will moisturize seriously dry hair, but it can weigh it down a bit because it's so strong. It even says on the bottle that it's recommended for medium to course hair. 
  • This is one to try if nothing seems to moisturize your dry hair.
Do you use deep conditioners? Tell me your favorites below!

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