Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Nails

Hello, dear readers,

I think this is post number 3 for the day! Perhaps on catching up on the lack of posts during several months this year. I just thought I would share with you my attempt at fun, plaid nails for the New Year! Not that these are particularly New Year's Eve-related, but they took me long enough. I think they came out pretty well for a first try, without any special nail art polishes. Instead, I used a nail art brush that has seen better days and regular polish. More specifically, I used NYC Uptown, Milani Bijou Bronze, China Glaze For Audrey, and Wet 'n Wild Black Creme. Some nails came out better than others, as was to be expected. 

That's it for this post.

Are you doing any fun nail or makeup looks for New Year's Eve?


Best 11 of 2011

Hello, dear readers,

As I was browsing the blogs I follow, I came across the "Top 11 for 2011" tag on Liparazzi and thought it looked quite fun. Don't worry, it's different from my Pop Culture Favorites. I'm actually morphing this one with the Top 11 of 2011 beauty tag from YouTube. The YouTube tag asks for your top 2 lip, eye, nail, hair, and face products, as well as one palette. I have to cut the eye and palette categories, because I don't use them, so I'll take that opportunity to add more to areas in which I own more beloved products. I also got rid of two categories from the blog tag, because I didn't want to go through and decide on my favorite blogs or YouTube videos. I'm also aware that the products are all different sizes in the pictures; I'm no photography expert.

Here are my answers to the best of each category in 2011 [in no particular order whatsoever]:

Top 11 Products:

This is tricky, because I have more than two favorites, but I'm limiting it to essentials only!

  • Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder I have this powder in the shade 001 Transparent [which still gives me a tiny bit of color, noticeable to no one but me because I'm so pale!], and I have to say that it keeps my makeup lasting for hours. I already have a review of it here, and I continue to be impressed by the staying power and mattifying effect of this product. Granted, I've only ever tried two other powders, but this surpasses them both in quality. 
  • Hard Candy Glamoflauge Concealer I have a review on this, but I love this concealer because it's extremely full-coverage, which I primarily need for dark under-eye circles, and it works well to cover any discoloration and blemishes.
If you read my blog regularly, or you look at the title, you may have guessed that the category I'm expanding is that of the lip products! In order to prevent listing half of my collection, I'm limiting this mostly to new lip products from 2011.

  • Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Demure Besides scoring this lipstick at a deep discount during the CVS beauty clearance sales, this happens to be the closest color I've ever found to my natural lips. I don't think I would have ever looked twice at it if not for this sale, but it happens to perfectly warm up and brighten my lips. I'm a bit concerned that it's being discontinued, simply because it is part of the sale, but I can't be sure.
  • Revlon Colorburst Lipstick in Carnation At the same sale, I scored this lipstick, which is a lovely soft, cool-toned pink that's perfect for day or night.
  • Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick in Pink and Proper See a pattern here? Think I like pink lipsticks? You're absolutely right. This one is a nice bright, cool-toned pink, but still completely wearable for daytime. I'm always the one in my group of friends with a bright lip, anyway. I love the name of this lipstick, too.
These came out a bit browner than they are.
  • Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick in Pink Peony I have to include this lipstick, because I wore it nearly every day during the time I was at college this year. It's the greatest pink for daily wear, because it's not too cool-toned or conspicuous. It's a nice, more subtle, way to wear pink lipstick to class.
  • Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick in Rose Blush This is the only lipstick that I bought last year, but it needs to be included because I wore this quite a lot towards the end of the year. It's a nice, neutral, almost brownish, pink, and could pass as a natural lip color. The funny thing is, it's not actually that similar to my lip color, but for some reason looks like it could be my lips. Maybe it's just much more pigmented than my own lips, so it replaces their color? Who knows?
With a collection of over 50, down from over 80, I'm keeping this strictly down to two new [to me] nail polishes from 2011. [Note: I'm actually wearing both of these colors again right now, in an attempt at fun plaid nails for New Year's Eve!]

  • China Glaze For Audrey Ever since hearing about this on YouTube, I felt I needed this color. I love the elegance associated with Audrey Hepburn, and what girl doesn't love Tiffany's? I gave it a mention here and a more thorough review in this post. Though the formula isn't my favorite, I love this color, and I've worn it at least three times this year. With a collection as large as mine, and growing, three wears means it must be a pretty fantastic color.
  • Milani Bijou Bronze This is probably the most unique polish I own, and it's all thanks to Harry Potter. You see, I needed bronze to complete my Harry Potter nail look for the midnight show of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 because it's one half of the Ravenclaw house colors. I ended up enjoying this color more than I expected, and wore it twice more this year.

  • Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum/GVP version I've mentioned the Paul Mitchell product a few times, and have done a more thorough review of it here, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to discover a generic version of the exact same product, reviewed here. Overall, this is a great serum for smoothing down flyaways and getting rid of frizz. It's neither too lightweight nor too heavy, so it does it's job effectively withought weighing down hair.
  • Paul Mitchell Flexible Style Reworks Texture Cream This is my current favorite product to use when I want to keep my curls intact throughout the day. I have looser curls that tend to fall into waves, especially as my hair gets longer. I use this when my hair is on the slightly wetter side of damp, combining it with my serum and scrunching my hair. It really is flexible, and my hair doesn't look crunchy or wet, two looks I loathe. If I play with my hair too much, the curls will fall into neat waves, but that's why this is called "flexible," right? 

Top 11 Things That Happened in 2011
  • My friends threw me a surprise 20th birthday party
  • I got my first "real" job over the summer, boring as it was
  • I won Funky Makeup Junkie's first [I think!] giveaway 
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 came out in theaters
  • My friends and I sang late at night onstage at a closed beach, and the security guard thought we were actually rehearsing for a performance
  • My sister came home for Thanksgiving week with her fiancé, and she brought her dog!
  • New Girl and Hart of Dixie came into being
  • I finished the 5th Harry Potter book in Spanish
  • My cousin [second? I think?] got engaged
  • I finally tried Pilates, and I love it!
  • I got this blog up and running!
Top 11 Songs in 2011
 [I promptly listened to most of these songs after making this particular list]

This is officially the last tag of 2011, so I do hope you all enjoyed. It was fun recalling all the best moments of this year.

Here's to making more in 2012!

Again: Happy New Year!


One Year Blog Birthday!

Hello, dear readers,

I'm thrilled to say that today happens to not only be the last day of the year, but the one-year anniversary of the first day I started this blog!

When I started out, I had no idea where this blog would go; I seem to have planned on talking more about self-esteem/wellness, but decided that in order to keep personal matters personal, that topic wouldn't be doable for me. I've had so much fun coming up with categories of posts to write, responding to comments, and creating post titles.

Some of the categories that came out of this year's blogging are:

  • Let's Do...A Book Review
  • Mini Review
  • Late Night Lit
  • Lately I've Been Loving...
I also absolutely love writing posts on fashion at the plethora of awards shows, as looking at the newspaper for the best-dressed actresses at the Oscars has been a favorite tradition since I was a wee child. I'm so glad I've been able to transition from avid blog reader to blog writer. Clearly, tags have also been favorite posts of mine to write.

I'm so grateful for all of my followers, and, quite honestly, anyone who has accidentally stumbled upon my blog and read a post. My blog is a baby within the world of blogging, and I'm perfectly content with that. Considering I started out as my only follower [until I realized I could unfollow myself], I'm pretty impressed. I'm glad people deign to read my rambles, because it makes a hobby of mine into something even more special and fun.

My next post will probably be a combination of "Best of 2011" tags. My goal is to take more of my own pictures in the coming year, and to post more often. There are also several promised posts mentioned in one of my many updates, so I have to go back and make good on those. I also need to get into the habit of previewing my posts before publishing, instead of publishing and then going back to edit a million more times!

This year has been extremely rough for me, but I'm glad I had this blog to keep me entertained and occupied! I'm hoping 2012 gets much better.

Thanks for sticking with me, or thanks for reading this if you're a random reader today!

I hope you all have tons of fun on New Year's Eve and a fabulous New Year!


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Lately I've Been Loving...


  • The holiday season. I've been to two holiday gatherings with my close friends so far, and I have another one coming up for New Year's Eve. I also loved getting gifts for friends and family, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't like receiving gifts as well. Tonight was the last night of Hanukkah, and it was the best family time I've had in a while. It also happens to be my brother's birthday as well, and we have all been in lovely moods for once! We sat together, listening to music, while the candles burned on two of our nicest menorahs.
  • Revlon lipsticks. I was able to get two very nice lipsticks during the CVS clearance sales, and I can't get enough of them. The two colors are Revlon Super Lustrous in Demure, a shade only a bit brighter and warmer than my natural lip color, and Colorburst Lipstick in Carnation, a beautiful soft pink.
  • Magazines. My sister bought me a two-year subscription to Marie Claire for Hanukkah, so I can now add that to my other two subscriptions. I also read my mom's Family Circle, and she just subscribed to Woman's Day. My friend and I lend each other our own subscriptions, as well as magazines we buy on trips, so I always have at least one of hers around the house to read. I'm only a wee bit obsessed.
  • Getting rid of clutter. I actually have the hardest time getting motivated to clean, mostly because I tend to let things get ridiculously messy in the first place. Once I finally gather the energy to get started, I really love the results! I enjoy having a clean floor and an organized dresser, though I certainly have a few fire hazard piles of junk in corners and on my desk. I went through my nail polish collection and got rid of about 30 old nail polishes. I'm now down to somewhere around 50, which is still a huge amount! Then again, this is the result of over eight years of collecting.
  • Doing laundry. Don't get the wrong idea, Mom; this is not an offer to wash all of your clothes! Now that I'm home and don't have to walk up and down three flights of stairs, or hang my clothes on a faulty laundry rack, I actually find it relaxing to do my own laundry. I know exactly how I like to deal with all of my clothes, so I can breathe easier knowing that my jeans won't be shrunken and my shirts won't get stretched! [I recently had a scare when a certain other parent wanted to put all my clothes in the dryer. Noooooooo!]
  • Music. Winter songs, alt pop music, old favorites: you name it; I'm listening to it, and most likely singing along. Singing at home relaxes me, probably because I have been out of choir for several months now, after singing for most of my life. I've lost some confidence in my voice, but I still enjoy singing around the house, especially by myself.
  • LEGO® Pirates of the Caribbean™video game for the computer. This is the only type of video game I will play, because LEGO® characters are so unassuming and friendly! Don't ask. I'm so entertained by LEGO® games, having played the Harry Potter™ one in the past, and being a huge fan of Pirates of the Caribbean, naturally love this as well. I play it with my brother, and I entirely blame him for my addiction.
That's the last "Lately I've Been Loving..." for 2011! This feature will see you again in 2012!


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

A very Merry Christmas to all who celebrate!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Winter Wonderland [Yes; It's a Tag!]


Hello, dear readers,

Today I present to you the Winter Wonderland tag, found on YouTube. Winter happens to be my least favorite season as far as weather goes, but you can read on to see what I actually like about it!
Here you are:

What is your favorite part of winter?

My favorite part of winter is that it's the holiday season for most people, meaning my friends and I are home from our colleges for winter break. There are also many cheerful lights up for Christmas, which I really enjoy seeing, and I get to celebrate Hanukkah. The lights serve to cheer me up in the winter darkness. I also get to spend more time with my family, and more time reading for pleasure. My friends and I celebrate New Year's Eve together, and, more recently, both Christmas and Hanukkah.

What do you dislike about winter? 
I sincerely dislike cold weather, and I'm a complete wimp about it. I also hate when it snows a foot or more in height, because, while it looks gorgeous from inside, it's a pain to walk through and will promptly turn into sludge. I can't stand the lack of sunlight, especially because it horribly affects my mood. Thank goodness for holiday cheer, or I wouldn't be able to stand the season!

What are your top 3 winter essentials?
I definitely need hydrocortisone, because I get horrible dry patches around my mouth and nose, and in between my brows. That's the only thing that effectively cures the dryness. Avon hand cream is also a must to prevent cracked and sore hands. I practically live in cardigans all winter long, because I don't find long-sleeved shirts terribly comfortable.

Name one thing that reminds you of winter.
Hot cocoa.

What is your ultimate product for winter?
Besides my three essentials, I have to say lip balm. I abhor cracked and dry lips, considering my favorite makeup item is lipstick. Lipstick on flaky skin is just unacceptable.

Is it snowing outside?
Not at the moment, but I'm sure it will snow again before I know it.

What is your favorite hot drink for winter?
Hot cocoa.

What is your favorite winter movie to watch on cold days?
I watch my favorite movies year round, so there aren't really specific seasonal ones. However, the Harry Potter movies are perfect for winter, as many of them are dark and the action tends to take place during wintry scenes. I also enjoy The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe as a movie that prominently features winter. Of course, Elf and classic Christmas movies are always perfect for cold weather.

What is your favorite food to eat in the cold winter months?
I do love the grilled cheese sandwiches my mom makes on the stove, for the days when comfort food is a must, along with tomato soup. Soup in general is always good for winter.

If winter was all year round, what would you always spend your time doing?
Traveling to another country that didn't have winter all year round. I wouldn't be able to live somewhere that had winter all year round. If I had to, however, I'd probably spend tons of time reading novels whilst curled up under a blanket.

That's all for this tag, and I, as always, encourage you to do this as well. At least think about the questions; I enjoy reading people's answers and seeing how my own differ.

I hope those of you who celebrate Hanukkah had a great first night, and those of you who don't are getting excited about their wintry holidays!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Hanukkah!

Happy Hanukkah!


I hope everyone who celebrates has a great first night of Hanukkah! 

!חג שמח


Monday, December 19, 2011

Tag: More of "This or That"


Hello, dear readers,

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know I absolutely cannot resist posting every tag I find on other blogs or on YouTube. Today's tag comes from this post on Tags are perhaps the most fun posts for me to write, and certainly the easiest, though the ones that take a lot of work, such as my Pop Culture Favorites, are the most rewarding!

In any case, here's the tag:

Coke or Pepsi? I don't drink soda, but I don't think I liked either of those back when I did.The last time I can remember having soda was probably three or four years ago, because the water at one of my dinners in Peru wasn't safe to drink, so it's been awhile.
Ice cream or frozen yogurt? Frozen yogurt, and I'm not just saying that because it's slightly healthier. First of all, fun fact, I used to only eat ice cream in the winter. Not sure why. Besides, whenever my mom bought ice cream in the past, my siblings and I would eat it once or twice and we'd end up throwing out the carton. I do still like ice cream, but I definitely prefer frozen yogurt.
Clothes or makeup? If you're talking about which one is more necessary, then it has to be clothing. However, if this is referring to which is more fun to shop for, then I choose makeup.
Hairspray or frizz lotion? Frizz lotion. I pretty much never use heat in my hair, so hairspray is unnecessary. Frizz lotion for a curly girl is a must-have!
T.V or book? I hate this question because TV and books are completely different mediums of entertainment. Since TV kind of kept me going, sadly enough, throughout this year, but I'm a huge book lover, I can't choose. If I had been asked this question three years ago, books would have been my answer, without a doubt. Ask me again in a few years, and books will probably be the answer again.
Pool or beach? For swimming, the pool. For lounging, the beach. So many of these questions pair things that are meant for different purposes, hence my wishy-washyness!
Water or soda? Water.
Sandals or boots? Sandals, simply because I don't own really cute boots and I much prefer hot weather.
Purse or backpack? They have totally different purposes for me, but I prefer purses in general.
Team Jacob or Team Edward? No. I'm a Harry Potter Girl, and I literally cannot take the terrible writing in the Twilight books [I only had to read a few pages of one of the books to be completely turned away] or the bad acting in the movies [yes, I was forced to see the laughable first one]. I stand firmly in the category of Stop Declaring Teams about Twilight. Sorry, Twilight fans. Don't even get me started on the plot of those books.
Wizards of Waverly Place or Hannah Montana? I don't have cable, so the only times I ever watched these shows was on vacation. I'm a little old to be answering this question, but I think both were equally entertaining in an inane way. I prefer Selena Gomez as a personality, though, despite the fact that neither entertainer can sing.
Mall or online shopping? It's more fun to shop online, but I generally can't buy clothes without trying them on first. So I prefer mall shopping. It's way more fun to shop for things like makeup in stores, as well, and that way I can spend time with friends or family at the same time!
Tennis or soccer? Individual exercise? Anyone who knows me knows that I have no hand-eye coordination, and I abhor team sports. I did prefer soccer in gym class as a child, though.
MAC or Maybelline? I've never tried MAC, as I can't justify spending more than drugstore prices on makeup at the moment. That leaves Maybelline, as I have tried and like their lipsticks.

That's all for today, folks! 

I encourage you to do tags, and not necessarily this one, if you're a blogger and can't be bothered to come up with a post idea sometimes. They really are lifesavers.

To everyone who celebrates, I hope you have a very happy first night of Hanukkah tomorrow! [Don't worry, I'll get around to the other holidays when it's time!]


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Let's Do...A Book Review: The Boleyn Inheritance

Hello, dear readers,

It's been a while since my last book review, so I think I'll continue the tradition of Phillipa Gregory reviews, this time on The Boleyn Inheritance. If you didn't get a chance to read them, here are my reviews for The Other Boleyn Girl and The Constant Princess, also by Gregory. [Side note: the links on my previous posts to the Phillipa Gregory website no longer work, as she seems to have updated the site. Her website is now here]

The Boleyn Inheritance centers around two wives of King Henry VII, Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard, as well as one of the most famous ladies at the Tudor court, Jane Boleyn.

Here is the official description from Gregory's new website:

The Boleyn Inheritance

From the bestselling author of ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ comes a wonderfully atmospheric evocation of the court of Henry VIII, and the one woman who destroyed two of his queens. The year is 1539 and the court of Henry VIII is increasingly fearful at the moods of the ageing sick king. With only a baby in the cradle for an heir, Henry has to take another wife and the dangerous prize of the crown of England is won by Anne of Cleves.
She has her own good reasons for agreeing to marry a man old enough to be her father, in a country where to her both language and habits are foreign.
Although fascinated by the glamour of her new surroundings, she senses a trap closing around her. Katherine is confident that she can follow in the steps of her cousin Anne Boleyn to dazzle her way to the throne but her kinswoman Jane Boleyn, haunted by the past, knows that Anne’s path led to Tower Green and to an adulterer’s death.
The story of these three young women, trying to make their own way through the most volatile court in Europe at a time of religious upheaval and political uncertainty, is Philippa Gregory’s most compelling novel yet.

This novel is disturbing in many ways, and rightly so. Anne of Cleves is a young woman who speaks only German and is chosen by the king and his advisors to be the newest queen of England, following the death of Jane Seymour. The king dislikes her instantly, and the Duke of Norfolk conspires to push Katherine Howard, his 14-year-old niece, at Henry in the hopes that the Boleyn family will once again have one of its girls on the throne. Katherine is beautiful and charming, but despises the old, sickly, king, and doesn't understand the danger she is in until it is too late.
Jane Boleyn is the sick and twisted lady of the Tudor court whose testimony put Anne Boleyn and her brother George, Jane's husband, to death. She expertly schemes with the Duke of Norfolk to help Anne of Cleves, and just as easily pushes Katherine towards the king when the opportunity arises. It's made quite clear from the narration that she is not in her right mind.
The best thing about this novel, for me, is that Gregory writes it in first person, alternating among Anne, Jane, and Katherine. Their personalities are really strongly developed as the novel advances, and their differences emerge with great clarity. Gregory masters the art of getting into the heads of historical figures about whom we know very little. Katherine Howard and Anne of Cleves were, in fact, the wives of Henry VIII about whom historians have the least information. 
The novel is around 500 pages, and it took me perhaps four or five days to get through it. Considering I'm not the fastest reader, that's lightning speed for me. It reads very quickly and the descriptions of court are very vivid. Most poignant, as I said before, is the way we can see the thoughts turn in the minds of the characters and wonder the same things they're wondering. Even if you're a history buff and know all about what happened, you will probably still feel the suspense and tension experienced by the characters as they're lives are played out for them by those in higher positions.

The only problem I have with this novel, and I may have mentioned this in my other reviews, is that Gregory has a really annoying habit of inserting the title of her novel several times throughout. We get it. Anne of Cleves says that her fate is her "Boleyn inheritance." In case you forget the title 20 pages later, Jane Boleyn is here to remind you that current events must be her "Boleyn inheritance." Oh, and Katherine Howard? She mentions that she has a "Boleyn inheritance," too. It's fine once or twice, clever even, but since I've seen this pattern in each of the three Gregory novels I've read, and the titles are repeated around eight to ten times per novel, it's way too much.

Besides that one irritating authorial habit, I have to say that I enjoyed this book just as much as The Other Boleyn Girl. It was a much quicker read than The Constant Princess, which is probably to be expected, keeping in mind the time it took for Katherine of Aragon to oficially become princess.

This is probably marketed as a young adult book, but I think any historical fiction aficionado will love it. I'll definitely be picking up more of Gregory's novels in the future.

That wraps up the review, so I hope it helped you decide whether to read this book, or you at least didn't fall asleep reading this.

Let me know what books you're loving at the moment, or even what you think of this one!

Hope your weekend is going well!


Friday, December 16, 2011

Pop Culture Favorites of 2011 (a.k.a. "The Master List of Mini Reviews")

Hello, dear readers,

Just recently I promised a post on my non-beauty-related favorites of 2011, seeing as it's coming up to the end of the year. I bet you're shellshocked that I'm posting this so soon after I told you about it! I'll try to limit my descriptions to a sentence or two, but if you've been reading my blog for any amount of time, you'll be shaking your head and rolling your eyes at me right now. So, if you can spare some time, sit back, grab a nice cup of tea, and start browsing!

[For the record, I've made the titles and headings pretty obvious, in case you don't want to read the descriptions. This is also very picture heavy to break up the content.]


Favorite Films [aka the majority of the films I saw in theaters this year]:
  1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
         Two words: Alan. Rickman. His performance as Snape was as compelling as it was heartbreaking. I am ashamed to see I initially hated the film, simply because it was nothing like the book. The first of the Deathly Hallows movies was just like the book and equally slow-paced. Once I realized this part wouldn't be nearly as effective as a motion picture if it moved as slowly as the book, I fell in love. I saw this twice in theaters, and twice more on a big screen in my former university's auditorium before the film hit stores.

    2. Midnight in Paris

         First of all, I saw this four times. In theaters. After not wanting to see it at all. I'm not going to go into detail, for once, because you can read my review . For those of you uninterested in reading my ramblings, I can sum up by saying that the cast was incredible; the direction brilliant; the plot whimsical, charming, and [dare I say it?] innovative.      

    3. My Week with Marilyn

       As soon as I read the reviews of this film, I knew it would be great. It didn't disappoint. The cast was spectacular in this film as well, really a great ensemble, including the brilliant Michelle Williams, and hilariously overdramatic Kenneth Branagh, as well as an unknown to me, Eddie Redmayne, who plays the main character. For those of you who don't know what it's about, this is based on the diary of a young man named Colin who gets to work on the set of The Prince and the Showgirl with Marilyn Monroe and Laurence Olivier. He chronicles the work there, as well as the week he spends with Marilyn while her husband Arthur Miller is away. 

    4. The Help

       With wonderful performances by Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Jessica Chastain, and the recently unstoppable Emma Stone, this movie was poignant, touching, and deep. It takes place during the 1960s and centers around a wealthy college girl [Stone] who wants to write a novel from the point of view of the help, otherwise known as the African American maids in white households. Contrary to advertisements for the film, the book doesn't center on Stone's character, and that is as it should be.

    5. The Descendants

       I had a feeling I'd like this movie before I saw it as well. I only happened upon it in a magazine and an online trailer a few weeks ago, and it seemed to be getting a lot of buzz, particularly for the performances of George Clooney and Shailene Woodley. It's about Matt [Clooney] learning to cope with being a parent to his two daughters while his wife is in a coma, as well as spreading the news that she won't make it to those who knew her. He also has to reconcile with the news that the wife he loved, even throughout their imperfect marriage, cheated on him. Running alongside this plot is the subplot that deals with Matt's family owning a great deal of land in Hawaii and his attempts to decide whether to sell it. The only complaint I have about this movie is that the older daughter's [Woodley's] friend Sid really didn't need to be in the film. I'll leave it at that.

    6. Hugo

       A brilliantly directed film about a boy named Hugo [Asa Butterfield] who lives in the clock tower at a train station after his father [Jude Law, shown in flashbacks] passes away. He wants to fix the automaton that he and his father were working on, and, with the help of a new friend [Chloe Grace Moretz], discovers a connection between his father and the great filmmaker and pioneer of special effects, George Méliès [Ben Kingsley]. The use of 3D served to enhance the film and not dizzy the audience. A bonus for me was that the film showed clips from the earliest films ever made, by George Méliès and filmmakers, many of which I had seen and studied in my film class earlier this year.

Favorite TV Shows:
  1. New Girl
        Can you say "hilarious"? Zooey Deschanel's in this comedy about a quirky and awkward girl named Jess who moves into an apartment with three guys. Throw in Jess's model best friend and hilarity ensues. I don't think I can adequately describe this show and give it due credit. I'll just say it's my absolute favorite show and I honestly cannot stop laughing when I watch it. I'm surprised and thrilled that it got so popular.

2. Hart of Dixie

         After an anticlimactic first episode, this show, starring Rachel Bilson as Zoe Hart, slowly grew on me. It's about Zoe's attempts to fit into Bluebell, Alabama, after being told she couldn't do her medical residency in New York. Her task is to grow more of a heart when dealing with patients, and when she finds out she's inherited half of a medical practice in Bluebell, she tries to do just that. Of course there are impossible love triangles everywhere, and Zoe doesn't get a warm welcome. She's still trying to fit in, and the show grows more lovable with each passing episode.

    3.  Castle
       Oh, what fun a show this is! Nathan Fillion stars as author Richard Castle, who shadows Detective Kate Beckett [Stana Katic] on the job and helps her solve crimes. I think this year is the fourth season, and, though I've only seen the third season beforehand, it's getting unbelievably good. Seamus Dever and Jon Huertas costar as Detective Ryan and Detective Espinoza, providing just as many laughs as Fillion. This season, they actually have substantial roles. I really recommend this show to everyone, because even though I hate murder mysteries, I still love this show. Whether you like mysteries or not, I bet you'll like the show.

Favorite Songs/Albums:
  1. Forever if Ever by Jon Mclaughlin
         I was thrilled to hear that Jon Mclaughlin came out with a new album earlier this year, and even more thrilled when I fell in love with all but maybe one or two of the songs. Standouts include "Summer is Over," "What I Want," "Without You Now," and "A Little Too Hard (& A Little Too Fast)." Mclaughlin's voice is a good mix of soothing and soulful, even if he occasionally tries too hard to be raspy. Most of the songs deal with love, a subject not unheard of, but they're written in new ways with smart lyrics. The only really bad lyrics take place in the song "My Girl Tonight," a song that's pretty to listen to but not so brilliant. Also, the guy plays keys, tambo, guitar, and possibly another instrument, as well as writing all the songs and performing. Even if you hate him, you have to admit he has talent. This is starting to sound like a review now, so I'll stop.

     2.  "Rolling in the Deep" and "Someone Like You" by Adele

         Despite the fact that the first of the two was overplayed until I literally couldn't take the sound of it, it was one of my favorites of the year. Adele is just so talented. Enough said.

     3.  "In Your Arms" by Kina Grannis

         Incredibly cute song with an accompanying video made of stop motion with 288, 000 jelly beans. Look it up on YouTube. Grannis was discovered in some sort of competition but ultimately became popular through her YouTube channel. 

     4. "Gonna Get Over You" by Sara Bareilles [not a new song, but a new video was made for it]

         I love the amount of spunk that Bareilles continues to show in her songwriting, and the music video made for this catchy song is just so much fun.

     5. "Skyscraper" by Demi Lovato

         This song was written about the struggles Lovato went through over the past year, and all I can say is that I can relate.

Favorite Books:
I didn't actually read nearly as many books as I would have liked this year, but here they are:
  1. Harry Potter y la orden del fenix by J.K. Rowling, translated by Gemma Rovira Ortega
          You've got me; this is by no means a new book. However, I finally finished the fifth book in Spanish this year. You can read about my excitement here.

2. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
         I heard of this book years ago when it was made into a movie, but I never remembered to pick it up at the library until this year. Written from the perspective of Mary Boleyn, it makes for a compelling read about one of King Henry VIII's most famous wives. I wrote a review of it here.

    3. The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory

        After reading the aforementioned Boleyn book, I decided to pick up another novel by the same author, on the same subject. I plan to review this, so I won't elaborate too much, but essentially it's about two more of his wives, Anne of Cleves and Katherine Howard, and the lady who advised them, Jane Boleyn. It rotates among the three of them as they all tell their parts of the story in first person.

Favorite Websites:
  1. Beautypedia
         I've gone into great detail about this site before, right here, in fact. I reference it quite a bit for scientifically based product reviews.

     2.  Real Beauty
        I've mentioned this before, in this post, and I still enjoy reading about products and beauty tips.

     3.  Tumblr
        I talked about this in my last post, explaining that I've begun to appreciate the ease of posting pictures I enjoy without having to brainstorm ideas. It's highly entertaining, so have a peek at the link above, if you like.

     4. My Blog
        I don't feel the need to link to this, because, if you're reading this page, you're already on it. It's been loads of fun posting on here since I started it at the very end of last year.

Alas, we've come to an end. If you actually read this whole post, I am so proud of you and give you a hearty pat on the back and shake of the hand.

Those were my favorites of pop culture from 2011, and I imagine I shall continue to enjoy them!

Let me know what some of your favorites were!

Have a lovely weekend.


The Incredible Vanishing Blogger


Hello, dear readers,

It's been just about forever in the blogging world since I've last spoken to you. It's only fair to let you know that there has been, and will continue to be, a lot going on in my life that has been preventing me from blogging. Hence, my frequent absences have nothing to do with a lack of interest in writing!

In the meantime, I'm enjoying seeing some very good movies and getting the scoop on the Screen Actors Guild nominations, the winners of which tend to predict the outcome of the Oscars. It's funny because over the past year, my friends have started to call me a "major cinephile," which is true, but I think it's because I never actually talked about how much I get into movies and the Oscars until recently.

As a child, I always read the movie reviews as soon as I opened the newspaper, and I always looked forward to the special movie sections. I loved watching old movies at home almost every week with my family, and eagerly awaited the Oscar nominations at the end of every year. Watching the Oscars on TV always was, and still is for the most part, a family event. I guess I just never talked about it that much!

Coming up, I will have my favorites of pop culture from 2011. I know I often tell you all about the posts I plan to write, and I publish them on here months after I mention the ideas; in fact, I bet you're probably still waiting for some of them. This one, however, is planned out; the names of everything I want to share are typed up in a neat little list. All I have to do is actually write about them. This will include favorite movies, TV shows, books, music, and websites.

In November, I also caved in and created a Tumblr, thinking it would last perhaps a week. I'm still posting. If you're interested in seeing photos, posters, and stills from movies I like, as well as makeup photos, cute sayings, and whimsical pictures, feel free to browse. It's called Dizzy Daydreams. It's easier for me to look for pictures and post them than it is to come up with ideas and write posts at the moment, so that's one way you can see what I've been up to.

In any case, I hope you're all enjoying preparing for the holidays.

Happy December!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Beauty Rules I Break

Hello, dear readers,

I hope everyone that celebrates had a wonderful Thanksgiving last week. My sister, her fiancé, and her wonderful little dog came to visit from out of state. Last week was also my 20th birthday [yikes!], and my lovely friends threw me a surprise party; they really are the best!

This week I've been thinking about what to write today, and it occurs to me that there's a post I've been meaning to do for at least a month now. There have been various tags around YouTube under several different monikers centering around beauty rules that people may often preach but fail to practice.

Here is my take on the beauty rules I break:

1. You should always wash your face morning and night.
    This is something I do most of the time, but, because of my current situation, I don't always practice. I'm   at home at the moment, so I'm often doing things around the house and not going anywhere until later in the day, if at all. In that case, I'm not wearing makeup anyway, so I'll sometimes go without washing my face at night. Then, the next day, because I usually work out in the late morning or late afternoon, I don't want to wash my face beforehand. Therefore, less face washing occurs. It hasn't caused me to break out, so I can get away with it. 

2. You should always moisturize your face before bed.
    The acne treatment I use, which I'll talk about in a long overdue updated skincare post, remains slightly sticky and can get a bit diluted with an added moisturizer. If my skin is really awful, there is no way I want to dilute the medication. It will obviously leave my skin drier in the morning, but, as far as I'm concerned, the faster the breakout is gone, the better.

3. Be very, very, gentle with wet hair.
   I really should practice this one, but I am incredibly impatient. I know wet hair stretches and should be treated with utmost care, but I just don't have the time! Recently I've been getting a large knot at the back of my hair after every shower that I simply cannot gently comb out. I have to use my fingers, and breakage will occasionally occur. No amount of leave-in conditioning and detangling spray can solve this problem for me.

4. Get frequent trims if you want your hair to grow longer.
   First of all, this is a misconception. If you get regular trims, and the same amount trimmed each time, your hair is not going to grow much. Most likely, it will simply retain its length. I understand cutting off the damage before growing your hair out, but you have to go longer between trims if you want it to grow. I've probably had only two trims all year, and this is the first time anyone has noticed it growing longer, including me. I'm sure it's somewhat damaged from daily wear and tear, but I have used heat a grand total of one time all year, and I tend to wear it in braids to bed. There's no way it will grow if I get it trimmed every six to eight weeks.

5. Never, ever, fiddle with blemishes.
   I'm usually pretty good about this one, but if I have a zit right smack between my eyebrows or on my nose, you can bet that if it's not gone in a few days, I'll do something about it. Yes, I have been known to pick a pimple to get it out of my sight, if temporarily. I do know that this can cause scarring, but I've never had any permanent scars from this, so I'm going to keep right on at it when I have to.

6. Stay away from sulfates.
   Besides the fact that this is pretty difficult to do, not all sulfates are actually harmful. Sodium lauryl sulfate is the one to watch out for, and it's the one I avoid. Sodium laureth sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate, and ammonium lauryl sulfate are actually benign and won't harm you. Therefore, I don't avoid them, despite all the claims from various beauty sources. I'm sticking with science here.

7. Never use mineral oil or petrolatum.
   This one is relatively recent, and I'm not sure where it stemmed from. Since when is Vaseline bad? Haven't we all read countless articles on the multiple uses for it? If you're unsure, you can read about petrolatum here and mineral oil here. I promise you, neither of them are actually bad for you. I use Vaseline, or petroleum jelly, for extra chapped lips and flaky skin. It also works wonders for removing long-lasting lipstick. 
8. Always use a separate base coat and top coat for your nails.
   If I can save some money and use one product to do both jobs, you can bet that I will do just that. I use the Wet 'n Wild Shine Clear Nail Protector, reviewed here, and it works just fine.

Those are all the beauty rules I break, at least all those that I can think of right now. Some of them are rules I really should practice, and others are simply myths that turned into law somehow.

What beauty rules do you break?