13 Reasons Why

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13 Reasons Why: Jay Asher

I wanted to talk about this book in my post because it has suddenly been everywhere due to the release of the Netflix TV show. Asher published this book in 2007 and it has been relevant ever since. I don’t think it has ever really left the Top-Books-To-Read tables that you see in book stores or been too far off the best seller lists online. For Young Adults or Adults, this is a must read book that has been a must read for the ten years its been released.

For those who don’t know what it’s about; it is a story through the eyes of two protagonists. Clay Jensen and Hannah Baker. The novel is based around Hannah’s story but the reader experiences her story through Clay’s eyes. Hannah Baker committed suicide and instead of a note, she creates a series of tapes where each side of a tape revolves around a person and a reason to why she decided to end her life. These tapes are passed in consecutive order through each reason, or person that is on the tapes. Basically, you receive this box of tapes, you better listen and see what Hannah has to say about you because you are one of 13 reasons why she made the decision she did. Clay receives these tapes and struggles through the journey that Hannah relays to her listeners because he genuinely does not understand why he is a part of these tapes and because he hears about horrible experiences that Hannah endured from fellow classmates.

I loved the book when I read it a few years ago and I still do, but readers be aware that the book and even the TV show touches on some heavy topics like suicide, substance abuse and sexual assault. The book is marked as a Young Adult novel but if you are not mature enough to handle those kinds of topics then this might not be the read for you and that is completely okay!

When I heard there would be a TV show for the book I was really excited because I think with a TV show you can add so many more details than with a movie so I had extremely high hopes that the TV would be good and I honestly think it was close to the book! Now there was some creative liberties added with a bit more of a back story which does worry me for how a possible season 2 will turn out. Will the writers be able to keep the ideas of the characters in mind? Or will everything get so convoluted like TV shows are famous for doing and the main point of the book will be redundant? I don’t know how the writers will play that but I really hope that it respects the book and stays on track.

I also want to disclaim that for those who decide not to read the book and just watch the show (as a book lover this hurts and the book is always better than the film version), there is a lot of graphic scenes. The book and show are shining a light on the sad, unfortunate, heartbreaking and soul shattering affects of suicide, rape and substance abuse. These topics are not meant to be taken lightly and the book and the TV show displayed those topics in an honest way but that display will probably horrify, embarrass or make some uncomfortable to watch and that’s okay; just be aware of what it is you are getting into and even who you are watching with! This is a heavy topic for a post but I highly recommend all of you look this book up and take a look a the show as well because it was really well done! I think the books are always better than their film counterparts and for such a heavy topic, the book was able to make it seem bearable and something that can be talked about and worked through. While some people who are suicidal may feel like they are alone and have no one to go to, this novel shows us otherwise; there is always someone who is on your side. Whether they are a part of your daily life like a friend, family member, teacher or coach or even if they are not. Maybe you reach out anonymously to a help hotline or a therapist, there is always someone you can talk to and you do have other options. It may not seem like it at the time but suicide is not your only option.

Sorry for such a heavy post but look it up! I don’t think you’ll regret it. Let me know what you thought in the comments or either the book or the TV series.

 

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The Wonder

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The Wonder: Emma Donoghue

Hello everyone! I have been gone for so long and I am so sorry!! I honestly have no excuse but I’m going to try to give you one anyways! I got busy with my jobs and trying to get some passport things figured out and life just got insane for a while. But I’m back and I’m ready to tell you about this novel.

So this book was big when it came out and I was finally able to get it from the library and I thought it had a really interesting concept and execution. So this is about a little eleven-year-old girl from Ireland who has allegedly been fasting for four months. Her story has reached the media and people want some kind of validity to this story that a person, let alone a little girl, is able to survive on nothing. For four months! So Lib, a nurse who studied under Florence Nightingale, is hired to keep watch over the girl along with a Nun to take on the alternative shifts.

This was such an interesting book in the way that the book was set up as a mystery and psychological thriller. I was interested from page one but I have to say that I didn’t get invested for a bit. The concept of this book was interesting for me that I kept pushing through the slow beginning but when the mystery really started getting serious of how was this little girl surviving?? I couldn’t put it down. I was also a huge fan of the characters too. I will say that I struggled with the intensity of the family’s religious beliefs because at some points in the story, the parents would butt heads with Lib but then again, that also kind of added to the mystery surrounding the little girl.

This is a book I would recommend to people but from some of the other reviews I have looked up, it seems like there are some who liked it and others who didn’t. It has a slow beginning and very strong religious beliefs that some might not like but I do think it helps to round out the novel and really make the truth even more shocking. This book in my library was found under Adult Fiction and I agree with this placement. This has some mature content that I don’t think would appropriate for a Young Adult audience unless they were mature enough to deal with content like that. Overall, I think that this is a solid read and on the whole, I loved the book.

My Lush Spa Day

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You’ve Been Mangoed, Brightside, Mask of Magnaminty, Love and Light (From left to right)

Hey everyone! I hope you are having an awesome day so far! I needlessly went into Lush the other day just to poke around and see what kind of products they had. Now, I have been into Lush countless times but I have to admit, I only ever went for the Bath Bombs… don’t ask me why, I never make any sense. Haha. So as I was trying to get over the initial smell overload from lush, blinking away tears from the smell strength in the store (if you’ve ever been into a Lush store, you’ll know what I mean), this sales woman came up to me and started chatting up the products. I ended up walking out with a Bath Melt, Bubble Bar and two samples; one of a face mask and a hand cream.

So, that night I made it a little spa night with all my brand new products that I had just came home with. I got my Bubble Bar going and I loved the citrus smell and the bright orange that it made the bath water was a little weird and very cool. What I really liked was that the water stayed orange, you know with some of the Bath Bombs there is a really colourful presentation and then the water is grey? This just stayed orange which was a huge plus. It made me feel cleaner. I also love that I only needed to use half the bar so I have enough left for a second bath! Huge bonus!! Overall I would give this product a 10/10. The bubbles were amazing, the colour stayed bright, and the smell was amazing.

During this bath I also put in the Bath Melt. This product is supposed to contain oils that dissolve in your bath to hydrate your skin. I paired the Mango Melt with the Citrus Bar because I thought the two scents really complemented each other. My bath was not overly oily but while I could smell the citrus and mango from the melt when I held it up to my nose the Bar that I paired it with over took the scent of the melt so I don’t know how scented my bath would have been if I had just used the Melt on it’s own. Overall, this product gets a 10/10 from me. The bath felt really nice with the oils but it wasn’t a gross feeling and it dissolved fairly quickly so I didn’t have to deal with debris in my bath.

Next thing that I tried was the Mask of Magnaminty. This mask I had mixed feelings on. I loved the way it smelt at first with the strong scent of peppermint but after it was on my face, the smell changed to something I couldn’t identify but I didn’t really like the smell of. On the other hand, it felt nice on my skin and after the mask was dried and I took it off, my skin felt amazing but I didn’t know how I felt about the large chunks in my mask. I appreciate that Lush uses whole products unlike my dollar store facial masks but I was slightly put off by the chunky-ness of the mask. Overall this product gets a 7/10 from me. I liked it overall and I would consider buying it again but I was unsure about the texture of the product and the smell after the peppermint scent disappeared.

Last but not least was the Love and Light hand cream. This sample I was really excited for because I love creams and if I found one that was animal friendly then that would just be a bonus! Unfortunately I don’t think this is the cream for me. I loved that the consistency was light and more water than cream (I mean this in the best way possible). I prefer creams that are not heavy in cream and you have to pull at your skin to get the cream into your skin… I am NOT explaining this properly!! Hopefully you get my drift. I was not a fan of the smell. It was sharp and something about it I just had a hard time getting over. This product gets a 6/10 from me. I don’t think I would buy it again but I’ll finish the sample and if I was given this as a gift I would use it but I wouldn’t buy this for myself. I loved the feeling on my skin, it felt hydrated and soft but the smell really put me off and because of how not okay I found it, it was hard to convince myself to put more on.

Keep in mind these are just my opinions on these products, other people will probably feel completely different from me and that is totally okay! I love what Lush stands for and I’ll definitely have more Lush product reviews for you all in the future! Happy Saturday!

Toronto Christmas Market

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Hello everyone! I hope you all had happy and safe holidays and a happy New Year!! I have to say that I do love the holiday season when I’m doing fun things with friends and family but buying people gifts is so stressful!! This holiday season my family decided to go to the Distillery District in Toronto to look around and go on a brewery tour. I live just outside of Toronto so heading into the city is not a big deal as it takes no time at all to get there. Now, for those who don’t know what the Distillery District is in Toronto, it is this really neat place that has cobblestone streets, cute store fronts and no cars allowed so during the holiday season… or any season really, it is a huge attraction. I took some photos of the cool buildings at the centre square with the main clock as well as the green door that I passed that really shows the kind of scheme that you’ll find in this really neat place. For the holiday season it is even more impressive and special with this huge tree that is in the centre of the district that is all done up for Christmas. You can kind of see it behind the clock in the photo there. There are these little hut/shed/storefronts that are all along the road that sell things fitting the holiday season too. Things like mulled wine, hot chocolate, tea and cute useless knick knacks! If you are in Toronto or are going to visit, I would look this place up even if it’s not for the winter season. I’ve been in the summer months as well and it’s still just as beautiful then as it is in the winter.

Now, as I’ve said, this market is in the Distillery District so it only felt right that when my family showed up, that we go to the Mill St Brewery for a tour of the facility and a beer tasting. All my siblings and I are of age in Canada and the family has been talking about going to some wine and beer tastings in the future so this day trip seemed like the perfect opportunity. It was so much fun!! Even if you’re not a beer drinker, learning about the history of the Distillery District was really cool and understanding how beer is made is so neat to learn. After we had our little history lesson with the guide, we then got to go and try out four different beers that were made in the building. All of them were different with the level of hops or percentage of alcohol and all were amazing!

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Here is a photo of what the flight of beer looked like that we got. Everyone got to try the same beers on their own paddle and before each taste, the guide would tell us a little bit about the beer. Even if you’re not a huge beer drinker it was a really fun thing to do with the family, especially to cap off a great day in an amazing part of the city. I hope you had a cool or special moment with your friends and family this holiday season, it always seems important to keep up those relationships and do something different to keep your bond strong.

When Breath Becomes Air

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When Breath Becomes Air: Paul Kalanithi

When Breath Becomes Air is an extremely moving memoir of a man who has always been intrigued with the idea of death but, at the age of 40, is forced to suddenly come face-to-face with death when he is diagnosed with lung cancer. What is so interesting about this book is that the author is a neurosurgeon so he writes on the topic of death as a physician and a patient. This book about his very personal path of dealing and coming to terms with his own mortality and his looming death, but he does write as a loose guide to everyone about how this experience was for him but allows for the realistic possibility that the path to death will differ for everyone. I thought this book was fantastic as it was heartbreaking.

The author explores a concept in the book that I loved which was, death is something that is inevitable for everyone. For those who are young, death is something that seems so far away that we don’t concern ourselves with it; for those who are older, it is something that seems more pressing, or something that is considered so your assets and dependents can be sorted and documented, that they can be safe when you pass. The author was at the height of his career with a loving wife and a future they had planned out together when he made his own diagnoses. The feelings that the author takes the readers through when he confirmed that devastating discovery is so real and I found that this book does make you think a little more about death. While I am young, that does not make me exempt from death. Today, tomorrow, a week from now or years from now, anything could happen to me that will put my perceived future, as I know it, into question. This book makes you think about big questions that I know some people don’t like to consider that that is totally fine. I loved this book, I thought it was so well written and so vulnerable; I was gripped until the very end. I would highly recommend this book to anyone especially those like me who love reading and talking about those big questions.

Rimmel Mascara

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Accelerator Endless Mascara by Rimmel

Hello everyone and happy December! I think I’ve mentioned this in a previous post that I’ve done but basically, I don’t really spend too much money on makeup. This is partly because I don’t wear a lot of makeup anyways so when I need to replace anything it’s not a huge haul that I’m doing and also because the things that I run out of the fastest (my mascara) are things that I’m not particular on that can be found at the drugstore. Don’t get me wrong, I love makeup– I love that I can wear it casually and for a more dressed up occasion but I have never been interested in wearing a ton of makeup. Well that and my skin can be sensitive so covering it with foundation all day, everyday would irritate it and probably make me break out or something. I love the look of foundation on some people when it’s done well but I honestly do not have the patience for that!!

So when I finally made it out to hunt down some more mascara I was only really concerned with two things. One, that the tube came in black or ‘blackest black’ (by the way, what does that even mean??). And second, that the brush would be straight. I don’t know if anyone else has a thing about this or if you’re particular about something else when getting your makeup but for me, if a brush is curved or spiralled or doing something weird I always seem to poke myself in the eye with it. Honestly, I bought mascara that had a bended brush that was supposed to hug the shape of your lashes but everyday I ended up poking myself in the eye. It was so annoying! I went to school with bloodshot eyes for a week before I threw it out and bought something else. So that’s me… alright, moving on. I liked the look of the mascara when it dried; my eyelashes looked really long and they kind of fanned out nicely but I found that the product was unusually wet or something. I would swipe it on and look down to see what I was doing and every time I blinked or looked down there were black specks all over the tops of my cheeks.

Now I do realize that there could have been a few reasons why this happened; I could have put too much on and it was excess flicking off. Or I blink too vigorously and should calm down. Or I have extremely long eyelashes, in which case good on me. I hope if anything it’s the last suggestion but I still feel cautious when I use this mascara and when I’m getting ready in a rush. It’s not fun having to be careful of how intensely you blink or stopping by the mirror to wipe all the black specks off your face before you leave the house. Now that being said, it doesn’t take ages to dry, just a minute or two but still, that can be annoying. Overall, the finished product looked really good. I tried using this product with just one coat and it still had nice results. Personally, I usually do two coats to give more volume to my eyelashes but the mascara held up nice and doesn’t smug throughout the day but the application is a little shady to me. I would recommend this product with a slight warning to all but, it also could’ve just been me!!

Pomegranate Lavender Green Tea

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Hi everyone! Wow I am so sorry! It’s been ages since I last posted. Truth is, I have had a lot going on that’s gotten in the way of me putting anything up. I have had appointments, interviews and I even landed a seasonal job for the winter holidays that’s in retail so if any of you have ever worked in that industry, you know that the hours are crazy and unpredictable! I’m trying to keep up with it all but having never been in retail before it’s a bit overwhelming! Haha. If you guys have any tips for how I can make it easier please let me know- I can use all the help I can get.

Anyways, I have a little back story for you before I tell you all about this tea… I don’t know if you like my little back stories or not but I’ll keep adding them until someone tells me to stop! Okay so my sister, (who is a few years younger than me but that’s really not important so I don’t know why I added it) always had really sensitive and bumpy skin. It was almost like her skin was dry and cold to create the bumps but that was never the case. Her best friend at school also had something similar on her legs and they were doing some research and found some convincing evidence that they both might have an intolerance to gluten. Just for the record, this research was not backed up by a doctor; it was all self diagnosed. Haha. And they can have some gluten but they have decided to create and stick to a diet that basically omits gluten unless they want a beer or over the holidays there are so many baked goods that they decided holidays are when they will break their strict no gluten streak and have a dessert.

So I was visiting my sister at her school and I decided to bring up some brownies that were gluten free. I was really chuffed that I was being so considerate to this new diet before I realized that my all-purpose flour was not gluten free and that I had to go on the hunt for almond flour, brown rice flour, flaxseed and arrowroot powder. I mean, where is this stuff?? So my mum made a good suggestion of going to the Bulk Barn; for those who don’t know, it’s basically a place where you can buy all kinds of different products at a crazy low price from what you’d find at the grocery store. So I was there shopping away like I do and I noticed the tea section where there is a huge collection of loose teas and I decided to pick up a few and one of them was the Pomegranate Lavender Green Tea. I love pomegranate, I want to love green tea and I love the smell of lavender. Can you see how this is a nice little recipe for disaster? Yep. The smell was incredible but the taste… personally, it just wasn’t for me. I think I might need to add more tea to my infuser and let it sit longer so it gets a bit stronger or… ugh, I don’t even know but I was back to that hot water, grass and hint of flavour!

But it’s okay. We’ll get it next time! Let me know if there are any teas that you absolutely love!

Darkfever Series

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Darkfever (Series): Karen Marie Moning

Happy fall everyone! I know, I’m a little late seeing as fall started last week or whatever but I said it and that’s what counts, right? And I don’t know how many of you non-Canadians are aware but we just had our Thanksgiving this past weekend and it was so much fun! So Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to all of you! I was up at my cottage with my family for the weekend and while it was a bit windy and cold, there were campfires, games, dessert and tea so the whole cold factor- totally worth it. I have to say, I think fall is probably my favourite season because it’s just a bit cool so we get to wear fun, cozy sweaters out that don’t need a jacket; scarves start to come out middle to the end of this season and honestly, who doesn’t love a good blanket scarf? Most of all, and I do realize that I’m playing into every cliché, but I love the pumpkin movement that comes out in the fall. Pumpkin pies, lattes, cheesecakes. You name it, I’m all over it! Haha. But mostly I’m loving that the fireplace starts to come on and the books are being read by the fire; how many of you love to just sit with a book, a hot drink and some cozy socks and read the whole day?

Which brings us to this series. Darkfever was a book that I first read when I was 18 for my English class. I loved the book so much that I ended up reading the rest of the series (the books above). My classmates found it shocking that I had so much spare time but really, they were just so good that I was reading one book a day! This series is a paranormal, romance, adult fiction book. It’s about this woman, MacKalya Lane, who’s life is perfect for a 22-year-old. She has amazing parents, a loving older sister and great friends in her comfortable Georgia home until her sister, Alina is murdered abroad in Dublin. Her sister gives Mac a voicemail that leaves so many unanswered questions that Mac decides to go to Dublin to figure out who killed her sister and have justice served. As the story goes on, Mac enters a world that is full of Fae, deamons and creatures that she doesn’t know what to do with. The first book is the introduction to the rest of this amazing series so it might seem a bit slow but keep with it and I promise you will love it- the fast paced nature of the book, and all the romance thrown in as well. This book does have obvious sexual content in it so use your discretion if that content is not appropriate for you or not something you enjoy reading about.

I loved these books, they were honestly amazing and the level of paranormal activity that went into this series is not overwhelming because the author does such an amazing job of introducing new things and explaining storylines to the reader through her characters. I actually thought this series only had five books to it but I found out that there are at least another four to the series!! So, I recommend that you spend some of this fall curled up by a fire with a cup of tea and explore this series and I will do the same with the rest of the series that I didn’t know existed!

Can You Keep A Secret?

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Can You Keep A Secret?: Sophie Kinsella

So this post I wanted to talk about one of my favourite books which is Can You Keep A Secret. I don’t know how well known this book is but I think it’s fantastic. Every time I read this book (yes, I have reread it. It’s that good!) I find myself grinning like an idiot and laughing uncontrollably. The way Kinsella writes this novel is really well done. She’s managed to get all the comedy across to the reader and you can’t help it but to imagine the setting and what that would be like if it happened in real life. I think what makes her humor so effective is that she brings situations that could happen in real life. We all have those moments where we don’t know what to say in an important meeting, or when we’re just trying to fake it through a presentation or whatever the case may be, but Kinsella is able to bring us the humor through those classic situations.

This book is about Emma Corrigan who has many secrets that she would rather die before spilling to anyone. Even her best friend Lizzie. So it becomes a bit inconvenient when Emma is in a situation where she thinks she going to die and spills all her deep secrets about her boyfriend, and her embarrassing dream about her best friend to a stranger on a plane. But she never expected that that stranger who now knows everything about her, would be the head CEO of the company she works for! This is a hilarious book that I really recommend for any one. It’s an adult fiction book so there is a bit of swearing and a few sexual references but overall it’s just a great light, funny book that you can pick up and read on a weekend.

Eau De Parfum

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Xo, Victoria by Victoria’s Secret

Pure Cali by Hollister

Happy Sunday!! Hopefully you’ve had an amazing weekend so far. I wanted to share this post with you because recently (well a year ago but who’s counting?) I was wearing this great perfume by Aeropostale that had everything. A cute bottle, great scent and best of all, it was around $15 CAD!! How great is that?? Apparently it was too good to be true. I wore this fragrance for years until it went out of production when the store was doing a huge overhaul to revamp all their products and this perfume didn’t make the cut. I won’t even being to tell you how much my world turned upside down at this new development. I was stuck with only a few spritz left in the bottle and no new perfume! It was quite the dilemma, let me tell you. Haha. Anyways, I was looking for months to find a fragrance that had a nice scent, a cute bottle and that was not too expensive. I came across these two beauties not too long ago and they are perfect!

Xo, Victoria has a pretty bottle and a really nice floral scent. It said on the card in the store that it has notes of Victorian Rose and English Ivy but apparently my nose is not good enough to sniff those out so I’ll have to take their word for it! I just love that it’s a light scent but it smells mature… I mean, if a child was wearing this you might give a bit of a raised eyebrow but if a young adult and up were wearing it, there would be nods of approval all around, do you get what I mean? Yes? Maybe? Alright, let’s just move on. The only thing is that for my little rollerball perfume bottle here, the price is $24.50 CAD. Kind of pricey for what you get but I just use it on occasion so I don’t waste it all in one go.

The Hollister perfume, So Cali, is also a floral scented perfume that has an even lighter scent than the VS perfume so I find it’s a nice one to use as a daily perfume. I love the cute bottle and price, $27 CAD I find is reasonable for the size of bottle I purchased. I love these perfumes and if you’re looking for a new floral scented fragrance and a reasonable cost I don’t think you can go wrong either of these scents. They also can go on sale around special holidays so if you are looking to buy these, I typically wait until they are marked down a bit.

Also, just a little side note here, how cute is my sparkly owl ornament?? I got him from Pier 1 and I’m in love with him. I just have him propped up in my bookcase as a decoration instead of a holiday ornament but isn’t he cute? 🙂