Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Function of Beauty Review

Facebook marketing is going to kill me/my wallet.  About 4 months ago, I fell prey, once again, to repeat sidebar ads and bought into Function of Beauty, a customized shampoo/conditioner company.  I'm pretty sure I filled out the quiz at like 11pm on a bus back from a softball game, so I should probably stop carrying my credit card with me...

How it Works // FoB is a company that lets you personalize your hair care products, to an impressive level of detail. The quiz you take is pretty in-depth, and allowed me to address some of my unique hair needs (super thick, straight-ish hair that I need to volumize). I liked that I could choose up to 5 goals, but didn't need to, I really felt like they were listening to what I wanted.  

And obviously, I liked that I could make it ridiculous colors and choose my scent (grapefruit hibiscus)

What I Thought // I have pretty easy-to-manage hair, so I didn't have high hopes for this stuff.  Almost anything can clean my hair well enough, so it's hard to impress me.  This stuff, however, did.  My hair is volumized and soft, and my clean hair lasts longer (2-3 days, instead of 1-2). The only additional product I use is this, and I have consistent, easy good hair days.  I travelled recently and brought samples of other shampoos, and I really regretted it, my hair didn't look nearly as good.

Overall, I am thrilled.  It's definitely worth paying a little extra for me, considering the rest of my hair care routine is very low maintenance, and I love that I can buy more shampoo than conditioner, because now I run out at the same time.  If you're interested in trying it out, 5 dollars off here

Monday, July 24, 2017

What I Would Buy At the Anniversary Sale if I Wanted to be Destitute

Probably a more eloquent way of putting that, but here we are.  This year, I'm not planning on actually shopping the hallowed Anniversary sale at all - I don't really need anything and doing some crazy travel this summer (cross country road trip and safari), so it doesn't make sense.  That being said, if you are in need of some stuff for your closet, now is absolutely the time to shop.  In case a sugar daddy materializes in the next few weeks, here are my picks -

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Book Review

I haven't written one of these since February, and have read 20 books since then, so we're going to do a greatest hits.  Including one of my top 5 favorite books ever.

Exit West // As previously noted, the Amazon Best Books of the Month is my literary north star (and you, mother).  Exit West received rave reviews and made it onto their Best of 2017 so far list, so it was a must for me.  I, unfortunately, thought it fell flat.  The basic plot is that the world falls apart (not too much of a stretch, tbh) and magic-ish doors start popping up, allowing people to travel to different locations by stepping through them.  I was expecting adventure and intrigue, and instead, spent a whole bunch of time marooned in a London mansion.  Beautifully written and an interesting concept, I didn't fall in love the way the rest of the world did.

Killers of the Flower Moon // Add this to the list of books interesting to people with forming inane and deep knowledge.  I LOVED this book, but wouldn't say it's a literary masterstroke.  If, however, you are interest in the FBI, or in Native American history (white people suck), I couldn't recommend it more highly.  Basically, the Osage were treated unbelievably cruelly by their white neighbors, which eventually escalated to a rash of murders, which was solved by the early FBI.  The history is incredibly detailed and interesting, but this is definitely not for the faint of heart or anyone expecting a John Grisham adventure.

The Hate U Give // Required reading, in my opinion.  Told from the perspective of a black teenage girl in New Jersey (I think, it's unclear) who witnesses police violence on her black friend, I was so impressed by the authors ability to connect with her teenage protagonist, make a strong stand on police violence, and tell a mesmerizing story at once.  The author does a beautiful job of helping the reader both understand white privilege and what it feels like to not benefit from it.  Far from a angry/preachy dialogue, I felt like her combination of stark criticism of our current social situation and humor (these families are just families who love each other) made an enormous impact.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine // Spoiler alert, Eleanor is not fine. She is, however, witty, delightfully odd and a deliciously flawed main character. I had a tough time in the very beginning, in that I didn't immediately connect with her. Eventually, though, she wore me down, and I devoured the rest of the book.  Light on plot, the character development is superb, and I was pleasantly surprised by the twists and turns, and by the ending.  I would definitely recommend it.

Beartown // The aforementioned new favorite book.  I started it on the bus ride back from a softball game and stayed up to an unprecedented 2 am to finish it. Guys, it's so good and so hard and so lovely.  It's not a feel good story, but I think Fredrik Backman tells a better story than almost anyone else. It's about a hockey-obsessed town moving through the end of a phenomenal season, told from the point of view of the players, their coaches and other people in their orbit.  There is a sexual assault story line, as a warning, but it that doesn't deter you, I couldn't recommend it more highly.

Monday, July 17, 2017

FabFitFun Review

Hellloooooo from the other sideeeeeee. Guys, this spring kicked my butt. And also, I didn't feel like blogging.  This summer has been all about getting myself back on track, which included rekindling the writing flame, so here we are. With a riveting review of a subscription service. Woot.

I subscribed to FabFitFun in a moment of instragram induced weakness.  My least favorite thing about the service is that everyone and their mother promotes them (not me, fwiw), which means that I am inundated with pictures of the boxes. It did, however, work.  I bought in on the month that one of my favorite skincare products (this) was in it, and cost more than the subscription did, figuring that even if I hated the rest of the box, I got a thing I knew I would like for cheaper than it retailed for.

In the boxes since, I have been impressed with the variety of high quality products that get sent.  It is a deeply random assortment, but it feels a bit like getting a Christmas stocking once a season, and I do love stockings.  So far, there have been no products that I chuck outright, knowing I won't use them, and there have been several that I have repurchased (including gummy vitamins I ate like they were fruit snacks).  I really appreciate that the samples are 'real' products - I've heard of the brands, and it doesn't feel like items that were leftover in some warehouse for years until they decided to send them to us (cough*birchbox*cough).  Winners from the pictured box were the BKR water bottle I've been lusting after for years and a favorite sunscreen.

Overall, it's a fun investment for me.  The box is more expensive, around 50 dollars, but only comes  out 4 times a year, and the value is off the charts.  I would definitely recommend it as a fun treat for yourself.

Purchase here, with 10 dollars off

Monday, April 10, 2017

Roomba Review

At Christmas, my little family grew by 1.  Tallulah and I were thrilled to welcome Ben, an 11.8 pound, 13.4 inch robot vacuum.  He has settled in beautifully with our family, and improved my life immeasurably, though I still can't get my dog to ride him.

But seriously, my Roomba has changed my life, which is a little bit hyperbole, but also kind of true.  Getting him set up and ready to go was a piece of cake - plug in, charge, vacuum. I use it two or three times a week, and it makes me insanely happy every time I hit the clean button and leave the house, knowing it will be sparkly when I get back.  I have almost exclusively hardwood floors, which are completely pet hair free by the time Roomba is done.  Most impressive for me is the vacuum's ability to get the gunk out of the tricky spots (against door jambs, corners).  Cleaning him out after the job is done is about as easy as possible, and I love that the brushes pop out, so that I can go to town on them.

So far, the only con is that Ben doesn't always make it home to his base.  Sometimes that's user error; I do some basic pre-cleaning for him, picking up Tally's toys, moving some furniture, but sometimes it's his.  There are a few high doorways in my apartment, and he'll get stuck if he doesn't approach at the right angle.  I don't love playing the where-is-Ben game, but he makes it back to his base 9 times out of 10, so it could be worse. I also do not take advantage of the scheduled clean function, mostly because of that dog poop disaster story, so I can't really comment on how well it works.

Will happen at the next party

To be honest, I think everyone deserves a robot vacuum, even if they are an investment.  The ease of pushing a button and having clean floors is happiness on the same level as baby elephant videos and that first really good spring day.  Treat yo self.

Buy here

Monday, February 27, 2017

February Budget

Light shopping month!  Not really intentionally, but there's that. I actually didn't end up ordering a piece from Brass, which leaves me with an extra code that I can use later (I'm doing the Edit, which gets me a piece a month for 6 months).  If you've never ordered from them, they are doing 25 dollars off here, I can't recommend them enough!

Both pairs of shoes are delightful. Sneakers fit true to size, the heels are comfy enough that they lasted me 6+ hours of making some weird choices!  I wore the AT top for Valentine's Day and got all the compliments, the draping is gorgeous!

Ann Taylor Blouse // $14
Target heels // $35
Disney Sneakers // $18

Linking up with Fran

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Book Review

Okay, well, it's been 6 months since my last book review, so that's realllllll embarrassing.  I have read books in between then and now, though not nearly as many as I would have liked.  Over Christmas, I read about 3 books and bought 8 more, but have barely touched them since.  Part of it was that I started Swing Time and never got into it, but also felt like I couldn't give up on it (so much love for it!) so I basically just ignored books altogether... And then last night I read all of Commonwealth in one sitting, so lets hope there's some traction.

Commonwealth // Ann Patchett is a forever favorite, and Commonwealth is no different.  The characters and detail are so engrossing, it's a book that can make you forget where you are.  Again, I read it cover to cover in one night, not on purpose, but because I got stuck in the one more chapter/one more chapter/one more chapter cycle.  Following the lives of two families that come together in an unexpected way, it's a beautiful book for just about everyone - just real enough, without being a huge downer, plus some exceptionally funny moments.

The Sun is Also a Star // Young adult fiction is one of my favorite ways to get back into reading if I've taken an unexpected hiatus, and this novel was the perfect thing over Christmas.  A story told over a single day, it's definitely YA romance, but also a lovely story with interesting characters.  I found the premise (deportation imminent, girl and boy wander around NYC together) a bit trite, but loved the variety of view points, especially the secretary of the immigration attorney. It never got sappy, but this is absolutely a John Green style book.

The Underground Railroad // I had a bit of an existential crisis after reading this book, which presents the Underground Railroad as a literal railroad under the ground.  I might have spent some time googling, just to make quite sure that was a metaphorical railroad, not an actual one.  Apart from that tiny breakdown, this book is extraordinary.  It's not exactly enjoyable - any book that tells a story about slavery with this level of detail and rawness isn't going to be, but the writing is transportive and the characters are presented in such a way that they seemed three dimensional.  I was floored by this, just like literally everyone else.

Lily and the Octopus // Do not read this book is ASPCA commercials are too much for you.  Lily and the Octopus is a beautiful examination of the relationships we have with our pets, and I absolutely tried to force my dog to cuddle me for a while after I finished it.  One of my favorite aspects of this novel is Lily's voice - literally and figuratively. She is smart and delightful, and her relationship with her human is lovely. The story moves quickly, and the ending was about as good as it gets.

A Torch Against the Night // The second in the Ember in the Ashes series, I loved this book just as much as it's predecessor, which I read like a crazy person, wandering through an airport.  Part fantasy, part adventure, part romance, this is not an adult book, but that's cool.  What it is interesting, many layered, frequently unexpected and exceptionally well-written.  The plot moves very quickly, but balances a number of story lines very well.  A perfect option for Game of Thrones fans sick of George R R Martin's shit.