May 12, 2017

Review: Marc Jacobs Dew Drops Coconut Gel Highlighter

*I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. All opinions are my own. Affiliate links are used in this post. 
Happy Friday, Friends! I posted this image to Instagram a few weeks ago and got a TON of requests to write a review about it. Well, here ya go!

Influenster is seriously top-notch lately. It seems like they are focusing more on individual products and sets rather than curating boxes, which I actually really love. While it is cool to get a bunch of products to try, there are usually one or two that don't really fit you. When you get boxes that have one product or one brand in them, it is a little bit easier to focus. 

I was a little surprised when they sent me this Marc Jacobs Dew Drops Coconut Gel Highlighter to test. I don't really talk about a lot of high-end stuff (budget probz), and I would probably NEVER buy this for myself. Which made me even more excited to try it.


PROS

  • It is light weight and pretty hydrating. This will be perfect to use in the summer.
  • Very smooth texture, and goes onto the skin easily.
  • Smells good. I wouldn't necessarily say it smells like coconuts though, but some people do.
  • It has a very fine shimmer, which is perfect for a subtle glow. No chunks of glitter here.
  • Lasts all day. I put some of this on one Saturday morning before running errands all day. When I went to take off my makeup before bed, it was still there. 

CONS

  • As you would expect, this is expensive at $44 for .8 oz. It is a lot of product though, so you do get your money's worth.
  • I personally prefer powder highlighters. I'm not a big "dewy" skin person, as I always feel like it makes my skin look a little oily.
  • Since this is a cream, it is a little bit hard to contain in one area. If I am highlighting, I like to keep it to the cheekbones, and seriously for that, you only need a tiny pin prick amount of product.

NEUTRAL

  • A little goes a long way. This product is extremely pigmented, and you need the tiniest amount. 
  • It is a golden shade, which I think looks very similar to Champagne Pop.
  • I tried this a couple of times when mixed with lotion and/or foundation and I LOVED it. This may not be the typical way to wear it, but it gives a really nice shimmer to skin when it is diluted. 

Would you ever splurge on a gel highlighter? You can pick this one up at Sephora!

May 10, 2017

What I've Been Reading... April, 2017

I'm killing it on my reading goal this year. Just killing it. I have been making sure to keep reading on my daily to-do list so that I'm sure to make a few minutes to decompress every day. This usually happens at lunch time, and right before I go to bed. 

Also, I mentioned on Monday that I started a Facebook Book Club. If you would like to join the group, please do! We are currently reading The Zookeeper's Wife.

I love to recommend books to people, so if you ever wonder what YOU should read, please tweet me @AlexYargeau. I'm always more than willing to talk about books!


She Wore Only White by Dörthe Bunkert ★★★
When I picked this out, it seemed to be right up my alley. The plot centers around Valentina Meyer, who is a stowaway on a ship headed from Europe to New York. She is a mystery to the other guests on board, especially when the captain lets her stay in a first class cabin. Valentina boards the ship in a white evening gown, which is all she has with her, hence the title. I thought that this was a great idea for a story, but it felt kind of rushed. I liked everything about Valentina's back story but would love to have seen more written about the character's interactions on board.

The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews ★★★
This is NOT a book that I would typically pick, but I'm glad that I got a chance to branch out a little bit from the norm. This was the pick for the SYBL book club, but we never found a time to discuss it. It centers around Riley Griggs, who is about to start the summer with her family on Belle Isle when she learns that her (almost ex-) husband has been murdered. She spends the summer investigating his involvement with their family business and trying to piece together who might have wanted to kill him. Personally, I thought that everything in this story was way over the top. The characters have almost no depth, and everything seems very superficial. And of course, it had to end with Riley in a new relationship (eye roll).

Gender Fall by Bella Forrest ★★★
This is the fifth book in the Gender Game series, and the story is moving along. Looking back on the previous four books, Forrest's writing is getting better as she goes. The characters are getting more complex, and even though the situations are fantastical, there is a normalcy to their interaction. The 6th book was released on Amazon today, and I can't wait to upload it to my Kindle.

Red's Untold Tale by Wendy Toliver ★★★
I love the TV show Once Upon a Time, so when my sister in law gave me this book, I was interested immediately. The plot centers around Red Ridinghood/Ruby, and her back story. There is a past episode that is similar to the plot of this so I won't go into it, but this is a light, easy read. I'm not sure if there is supposed to be a sequel or not, but it would definitely fit.

The White Queen by Philippa Gregory ★★★
In all honesty, I completely confused this with The White Princess, also by Philippa Gregory, which the new Starz series is based on. This is actually a prequel to that, and it tells the story of Elizabeth Woodville, who became queen during the war of the roses. The story consists of the plotting and planning that occurred in that era when the monarchy in England was hardly secure. This got a little bit tedious toward the end of the book, but I understand that Gregory needed to get to a good place to continue the story in the next book. I can't wait to now read the right book!

The Gentleman's Promise by Frances Fowlkes ★★★
Okay, I completely missed the fact that this is the third book in a series. Which explains why I was a little bit lost and didn't get some of the references to the other books. I think I would have liked this much more, had I read the previous two. Sarah is a noble lady but is not accepted in society because she likes to do things like read. Jonathon vows that he will help save her reputation so that she will be able to find a husband. Those two end up falling in love, and there is a weird sex scene.
*This book was provided free for review by the NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

Amish Guys Don't Call by Debby Dodds ★★★
Here is a confession for you on this fine Wednesday... I used to be obsessed with the Amish and their culture. I think it began when I read Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult. I read a ton of stuff including fiction and non-fiction. When this popped up on my Netgalley account, I thought I would give it a shot, even if it was supposed to be a teen story. Turns out, it was just alright. The story was cute, but it wasn't very thought out. Some of the characters were sort of simple. Very average.
*This book was provided free for review by the NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

March 31, 2017

#Currently...

Guys, I miss you. I decided in the moment to take April off from blogging. I honestly, just wasn't feeling it, and that is totally okay. I have spent lots of time taking care of my sweet, incredibly busy husband, and snuggling with my kitten. Oh, and reading... lots of that.

I thought I would just come over today and catch-up with you guys a little bit. So much has been going on, and I have had so many ideas lately of what I want to write about. 

I think this space is going to change a little bit in the next few months. I don't feel like I fit in as a "blogger," which is totally okay. This space is, and will always be a place where I can voice opinions, feelings, tips, etcetera while engaging with friends. I am planning to do a lot less of the blogging stuff that I don't get excited about, because this is my hobby, and why am I doing it if I'm not excited about it?
  

Since I have so much in my mind that I want to get out on paper, I thought that I would just bullet for this post. Anything to make sense of the jumble in my head.

  • For the past few months, I have been carrying one of these small notebooks with me everywhere. I am sort of bullet journaling, but not really. Mostly just keeping a list of stuff to do, appointments, and then keeping track of important documents and stuff. It's really more of a list book. I love that I can keep track of my running grocery list, which books I want to read, chores that need to be accomplished, all in one place. And there is no better feeling than crossing something big off your list once it is accomplished.
  • Part of the reason for my radio silence this past month has been because I spent about a week in Rochester taking care of my mom after surgery. She is fine, but having the person who keeps the family running smoothly be out of commission for a week is tough. 
  • When I came back from Rochester, I brought my bike back! I have only ridden it once since there has been so much rain, but I bought this handlebar basket from Amazon, and I love it. Even though Pittsburgh is so incredibly hilly, I am excited to start riding more and getting some exercise. I may even try biking to work some days. We will see.
  • I started a book club! I was getting tired of going to book club every month and nobody would read the book, or we would just spend the entire time doing stupid stuff. So I decided to remedy that by creating my own. It is just a facebook group, but already it is going so well. We are reading The Zookeeper's Wife this month, and we are going to do a discussion group chat on June 7. This is a completely relaxed, come as you are group, so please join if you are interested!
  • Dave and I are about to celebrate ELEVEN years together! I can't even believe that number is real. He said to me yesterday "after eleven years together, five years of living together, and one year of marriage, I think I would know." In my mind, I was just like... holy shit that is a long time. Even though this season of life can be a bit stressful, we laugh together every day. We try to keep a weekly date night (usually Wednesday) and try not to ever cancel it. It is always nice to spend some time just focusing on each other in the midst of school, work, and other responsibilities.
  • I have been using a couple of awesome Chrome plugins for the past few months, and I HIGHLY recommend them. I use Grammarly basically every day, and it has helped my spelling and grammar immensely. I use the free version, but it cleans up all of my emails, tweets, and even blog posts. Since I do so much of our shopping online, I have been using Ebates, which makes it so easy to get your cash back. I am up to about $15 back, and I'm not terribly aggressive about it.
  • We started summer classes in my Master's program last week, and I LOVE the class I'm taking. Going back to school has been the best decision I've made in a long time that is simply for me. I love going to class, doing the homework, and making myself a better manager and employee. I am doing well so far, and I'm excited to keep this momentum going!

What has been going on with you lately? Anything exciting? I'd love to hear it!

March 27, 2017

What I've Been Reading... March, 2017

Guys, I have become one of those readers who neglects their other responsibilities because they are reading. My house is a mess, laundry is all over the place (clean AND dirty), and I don't even care, because I just want to finish the next chapter.

I read SEVEN books this month, which is ridiculous to me. Who is this reading machine? And NONE of them were audiobooks, either! 

I've been trying out some new places to find books this month, including the awesome library in Pittsburgh, and some things directly from authors! 

I love to write these posts so that hopefully you can add to your "to-read" list. Is there other information you are looking for from posts like this? What should I add/take away to make them more helpful? I would LOVE to know your feedback.


Girl Code: Unlocking the Secrets to Success, Sanity, and Happiness for the Female Entrepreneur by Cara Alwill Leyba ★★
I have to say... I didn't love this. It seemed really pieced together, and not cohesive at all. While I do appreciate a good personal development book, this one fell flat for me. I actually stopped reading it about 2/3 of the way through, because it just got so repetitive. There is only so many times that you can be hit over the head with the message of "be positive, help each other, be confident" before it starts to feel really preachy.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood ★★★
This was recommended to me on my Kindle Unlimited subscription, and when I saw that it is coming out on Hulu, I knew I had to read it. I was terrified by this book. If you look at what is happening in the country right now, and how women's health is handled by our government... you'll realize that this hits very close to home. 

I really liked the character of Offred, and that we got to see what was happening through her point of view. Her memories were a little confusing at first, but when I figured out what was happening, I felt really bad. I definitely recommend this to anyone who has an interest in dystopian literature.

Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica ★★★
I've read a couple of Mary Kubica's books, and really liked them, so I immediately picked this up at the library. It was a very quick read, as most of her books are, and I constantly wanted to figure out what happened. 

The story is written that you think one thing for almost the entire book, and then at the end the truth is revealed. I don't want to spoil anything, but I hated Esther until almost the end of the book. 


The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett ★★★
Guys I FINALLY finished this! There were some dry parts, but once I got into the story of Jack and Aliena, I was hooked. This could have definitely been two books, but I think it is tied together so well, almost like a braid of story lines. If you like Game of Thrones or Outlander, I think you would like this book a lot.

Thank you Katie for lending this to me! 

The Otto Digmore Difference by Brent Hartinger ★★★
This story was just not my cup of tea. I thought it moved really fast, and I kept getting confused by the different details in the plot lines. Maybe because this is part of a series, and things will wrap up (such as the random car chase that doesn't really ever come to anything?). Even though the resoution of the main conflict is not what you think it will be, I still liked how it was a learning moment for the main character, and leads him to be a better person.

I did really like the characters, which is so important for me as a reader. They seemed so REAL, and their personalities were very different. Also I was glad that the romances ended the way they did.
*This book was provided for review by the author. All opinions are my own.

The Circle by Dave Eggers ★★★
This was our book club pick for the Month of March. Talk about being relevant / dystopian societies / social media taking over the world. What happened with the Circle could TOTALLY happen to us. 

I felt bad for Mae for almost the whole book. She was constantly being criticized and mansplained to, and was made to feel that she wasn't enough. When she went transparent, I knew it was over. She was sucked in. She had been broken down so much that she was willing to believe EVERYTHING that the Circle told her. 

I didn't understand what the marine life meant, until the very end. That scene was incredibly creepy.


The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien ★★★
Another pick from my Kindle Unlimited library, and this is such a classic that I had to read it. I didn't realize that I have seen the first half of this story as a movie, but not the second half. I love the way that J.R.R. Tolkien writes, but I could see how it might be a bit confusing. This is the first book in the Lord of the Rings universe that I've read, and I can totally see myself reading more. (#nerdalert)

March 6, 2017

Why I Broke Up with my Stitch Fix Subscription

I love subscription boxes. It is so fun to get them in the mail and takes away a little bit of the hassle of shopping for yourself. Stitch Fix was no exception. I loved getting my boxes every month, and seeing what my stylist had chosen for me. A personal shopper? Yes please.

But I gave up my Stitch Fix subscription a few months ago. It wasn't something that I HAD to have anymore. If you ask people whether they love or would leave Stitch Fix, you get a pretty mixed opinion, which is why I wanted to share my view.


Stitch Fix isn't cheap. I guess to some people this might be affordable, but to buy the whole box, the totals were in the $200-$300 range every month. And I know that is on the low end. I personally don't spend $200 every month on clothes, so it didn't really make sense for me to continue requesting boxes. I also wrote in my reviews MANY times that the quality of the clothing was not worth the price.

There wasn't anything unique coming in the boxes. There were very few times when I HAD to have what came in my fix. Most often it was all stuff that I had seen online or at stores (like TJ Maxx and Burlington). I felt like I was just picking what I liked best and buying it so that I wouldn't waste my styling fee.

I had to choose between needs and wants. Dave and I are in a time of our life right now where we don't have a lot of extra cash. As much as it sucks to have to choose between your needs, wants, and investments for the future, it has to happen. I would rather spend money on the supplies needed (and fees, tuition, etc) for us both to be in school right now, than to buy clothes that I will probably only keep for a year or so before giving them to my sister. Is this #adulting?

I would love to hear if you have tried Stitch Fix, and what your opinion is! Do you love it, or could you leave it? This service is definitely something that I would love to revisit again in the future!

See my past fixes here; number 1, number 2, and number 3.