Books: My first OwlCrate Unboxing

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I’ve seen so many book related subscription services popping up over the last few months, and I’ve been dying to try them out! Initially I was hesitant just because I wasn’t sure if the subscription would be worth it… if I would like the products that come in it, etc. etc.  But… I decided to give OwlCrate a shot this month, purchasing my first ever subscription! Here are my thoughts:

  • Night Circus inspired Tote Bag created exclusively by Evie Bookish – This is so adorable, I will definitely get some use out of this! This is also perfect because the book I am currently reading is Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.
  • Circus inspired Page Flags from Girl of all Work – I’m a planner girl at heart, so seeing something planner related makes my heart happy! Can’t wait to use these.
  • Mini Doughnut Lip Balm by Geek Fire Labs – I am also a beauty girl at heart, so lip balm… yes please! It smells delicious and I can’t wait to try it!
  • Casino Cards Notepad by Attic Journals – Okay… these are too adorable! I love the fact that these are recycled products, and they’re the perfect size to just through in your bag, or even keep in your car.
  • Le Cirque des Reves inspired Candle by Frostbeard Studio – This smells so heavenly, like cinnamon and popcorn… it definitely makes you think of a circus. Definitely a warmer scent, so I think I’ll hold off to use this until it gets cooler. Again… loving the Night Circus inspiration!
  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber, a letter from the author, signed bookplate, exclusive quote card, and sneak peak of the audio book – I have heard so many good things about this book, I’m excited to read it! I’ve heard it is similar to Night Circus.  The description/synopsis of the book sounds so captivating, I have a feeling this will be one I cannot put down!

All in all, I’m so excited and happy about this box! I kind of knew going into it what the book was going to be so it was spoiled a little bit but I was excited nonetheless.  In addition to the goodies, there is also a sneak peak for next months box which is “Sailors, Ships & Seas”, I can’t wait to see what adventure is awaiting with that one!

 

Ashley

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Life: Ins and Outs

Another new weeks means another Ins and Outs post!

Ins:

Himalayan Salt Lamp – There is just something so calming about salt lamps.  They’re supposed to have healing type properties where it calms/relaxes you, pulls out the humidity in the air which can help with your health, and can aid with headaches.  I get headaches so frequently, that really that is why I turn to salt lamps.  I truly feel that they make a difference, and I know that I feel different when I have one on.

Game of Thrones/Audible – Audible has had my heart this week! I purchased Game of Thrones as the first book I’m listening to in Audible, and let me say… it was difficult for me at first.  When I first started listening to this book (almost 2 years ago… no joke), I found myself disinterested in the concept of listening to a book… and listening to a book like Game of Thrones that shifts from character perspective to character perspective. That said, the past few weeks I have gravitated back towards Audible and have fallen in love with Game of Thrones! I listen to it in my car, on breaks at work… it’s just totally sucked me in.

Timeless, tv show on NBC – I have had this on my watch-list on Hulu since it first came out, and I just never found the time to start it… until this week.  I had a snow day one day this week, so I took the opportunity to start the series, and oh my goodness… it is an amazing show! It was so interesting and so refreshing, I watched the entire first season in two days.  I definitely fell in love with the main character Lucy, she is seriously one of my favorite tv characters of all time.  She is strong, determined, fearless even when she is terrified… I just love her.  I really hope this is a show that is picked up for a second season, which it has yet to be picked up.  If you haven’t watched it… watch it!

 

Outs:

Fresh Lip Balms – I want to love these, I want to be able to use them… but I just feel like they dry my lips out.  Not only that, I can’t do the taste/flavor that is put into them.  It breaks my heart to even say all of that because I love the Fresh line, LOVE.  But not the lip balms…

Acne – Yes, I still get acne… no I’m not a teenager, and it just sucks!

 

Those are my ins and outs, I know the outs is a little lacking but I don’t think thats a bad thing! Until next time.. I hope you have a wonderfully relaxing Sunday!

 

Ashley

Beauty: February Ipsy

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All beauty lovers are aware of the monthly subscription service Ipsy.  It costs $10 a month and you get 4-5 full/deluxe products AND a makeup bag! I’ve been a subscriber to Ipsy for probably 3 years now and I love it! It’s the perfect subscription service for people who are just starting to get into makeup and beauty, because you get to try some amazing products that very from high end makeup or skin care brands, to drug store and affordable brands.  I can’t tell you how many full size products I’ve received through Ipsy, how many products I’ve fallen in love with and continued to purchase, and how many products I had been eager to try and was able to….thanks to Ipsy.  Plus as a bonus, they have a points system where you can earn points by reviewing products, and then you can redeem for one of the bonus rewards offered.  Like the subscription, the reward can vary from beauty to skin care, and even hair products.

My February bag came with the following:

NYX Cosmetics Butter Lipstick in Ripe Berry –  I love NYX lip products, they’re amazingly pigmented and feel so comfortable on the lips.  Now as a disclaimer, NYX products are in these bags every few months, so if you subscribe be prepared to try this brand. This color is so beautiful, I can’t wait to try it out!

BellaPierre Cosmetics Volumelash Waterproof Mascara – BellaPierre is another brand that is in Ipsy every few months, and honestly I have not yet tried a product that I didn’t really enjoy from this brand.  I don’t know that I have ever had a mascara from this brand, but I’m excited to try it, especially since I have been struggling with mascara lately.

True Botanicals Resurfacing Moisture Mask – I have never heard of this brand, but I can’t wait to try it! It smells SO amazing, like roses, and it just sounds like it is going to be a great skincare item.  The claims are that it will make your skin glow, while exfoliating and moisturizing.  I can’t wait to try this!

Hikari Cosmetics Cream Pigment Eye Shadow in Latte – I LOVE LOVE LOVE this color! Oh my goodness, the picture doesn’t even do it justice! I absolutely love bronze/copper eyeshadows, I feel like they make my eyes just pop. Now the name of this product is a little confusing because it implies it is a cream pigment but when you swatch it it is definitely not a cream pigment, I don’t think anyway.

Luxie Beauty Blush Brush 514 – I love Luxie brushes, they are so soft and just work so beautifully.  I have received a few Luxie brushes in past Ipsy bags, and I welcome more! They just work. Can’t wait to start using this one!

Thats everything that came in my Ipsy bag this month, I’m so excited to try everything! Most of these are brands that I’ve tried before in Ipsy, but they’re great brands and I have no complaints at having the opportunity to try more products from them.

I hope you are having a great Sunday, until next time!

 

Ashley

Life: Ins and Outs

With another week down, I present to you another Ins and Outs!

Ins:

Audible – I have been a member of Audible for almost a year now, and in that time I have never fully utilized the service.  I’ve downloaded a ton of books, but I just haven’t found myself drawn to listening to books as I would much rather read a book… until this week.  I started listening to Audible this week during lunch and I’m obsessed! Right now I’m listening to Game of Thrones, which is intimidating to listen to, but I love it! It took me a long time to get into the story because of the shifting view points, but so far I’m loving it.

Tea – I love tea… I love coffee… really I just love warm beverages, but this week tea has captured my heart! I’ve really been gravitating towards a earl grey black tea that I picked up from a local bed and breakfast, so delicious!! Perfect for a morning coffee substitute or an afternoon treat.

McVities Milk Chocolate Biscuits – A coworker of mine brought these into work this past week and I’m obsessed! They’re an English biscuit, or cookie, that taste kind of like an animal cracker/graham cracker, and have a chocolate coating on top.  I have never had anything like them, nor did I know such a thing existed, but I’ve fallen into serious “like” with them!

 

Outs:

Weddings – I like weddings as much as the next person… and I like being a part of weddings as much as the next person….. I’ll just leave it at that.

Girl Scout Cookies – Not because girl scout cookies are awful or anything like that, but mostly because they suck you in and then you realize that you literally bought a years worth of cookies.

 

Alright, I think that about sums up my ins and outs for this week! I hope you all had a wonderful week… Until next time!

Ashley

 

Beauty: Products I’ve Used Up

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It’s always nice to look back on products to decide whether you’ll repurchase it, if it worked for you, and whether you would even try a product like that out again. So, here is my recap on some products I’ve recently used up!

  • Bath and Body Works Twisted Peppermint Body Lotion – I LOVE this scent, I love the way this lotion feels, the cooling sensation… it’s just amazing. I’ll definitely repurchase this seasonal scent every year!
  • Blow Pro Blow Heat Is On Protective Spray – I liked this product, I didn’t find that it was extraordinary though.  I’ve purchased something different that I really like, but I would purchase this again in the future, if anything for familiarity.
  • Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil – I wanted to like this product, I want to like this line… but it breaks me out! I liked the product itself, and have found that oil cleansers work really well for my skin, but I don’t think I’ll repurchase this specific one again.
  • Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Cream Cleanser – Another product I wanted to love but just didn’t work for my sensitive skin.  I broke out like crazy when I used this product, and I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of the scent. While I won’t repurchase this particular product, there are other products in this brand that I love and are products I will definitely repurchase.
  • First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Purifying Mask with Red Clay – A total “YouTube made me do it” purchase! I liked the mask, I liked the way it made my skin look, but I learned that I’m not a huge fan of peel of masks. While I liked what it did for my skin, I can’t say I will repurchase this again, but I’m eager to try some other products in this line!
  • Nyx Dewy Finish Makeup Setting Spray – I really liked this product, I liked the way it made my make up look, and it felt good on my skin! It definitely makes your skin look dewy, not oily, which is important.  I would definitely recommend this to others!
  • Macadamia Nourishing Moisture Masque – I hate that I love this insanely expensive conditioner, but I do! It makes your hair feel like silk after you use it, and it smells amazing! I will definitely repurchase this baby!
  • Rohto Eye Drops – Love these eye drops and use them every morning! They take some getting to used to, and even now I struggle with how much they burn…. boy do they burn! But they feel so refreshing on the eyes and really make a difference in how my eyes feel throughout the day.
  • Pixi Correction Concentrate – I really liked the way this looks, it does a great job at covering dark circles, and looks great under makeup! I definitely recommend this to anyone looking for an under eye correcting product.
  • GlamGlow Supermud Clearing Treatment Mask – This is definitely a holy grail product… it just works! There is not enough good words I can write about this product, it just works wonders! I have already repurchased this!
  • MAC Painterly Paint Pot – I used to use this every single day as an eyeshadow primer and eventually noticed that my eyelids are too oily for it to be used in the same manner in the future… which is sad, I loved this product! It looks so good on the eyes, but I find myself gravitating towards actual eyeshadow primers now.
  • Bath & Body Works PocketBac Sanitizer in Island Margarita – I LOVE this scent and I love this product! I will always purchase bath and body works hand sanitizers!
  • Chapstick in Watermelon – The OG of lip products, I will always gravitate towards this brand, no matter how many other fancy products I try! It just feels great on your lips, keeps them moisturized and soft.
  • Nameless Black Eyeliner – I got this in an Ipsy bag and through the years the name has worn off of it.  I liked it, it was a decent eyeliner.
  • CoverGirl Lash Exact Mascara – I love CoverGirl mascara, there is just something amazing about the formulas and wands.  This particular one was an excellent mascara and was one I loved to layer with other mascaras, it just worked!
  • Bath and Body Works Pearberry Body Lotion – LOVE this scent! It is so fresh and so amazingly sweet… I just love it! I already have a backup!
  • Almay Oil Free Makeup Eraser Sticks – Obviously I didn’t use these all up, but I really did like them! They remove makeup so easily, and with the convenience of the product within the q-tip, its great for traveling! I will definitely purchase these again in the future.

Not all of these are absolutely have-to-have products, but most of them I would definitely repurchase and recommend! After all, the fun part of beauty is getting to experiment and try new things, thats definitely the purpose a lot of these products served.

 

Ashley

Life: Ins and Outs

A few years ago a blog I really enjoyed reading started an In and Out type post that recapped things that were in and out for their life.  For example, in- chocolate, out-school.  Obviously awful examples because, well, duh… chocolate is amazing and school is not!

Anyways…. I thought I would try my hand at this style and see if it suits my ideas for this blog! So, to start:

Ins:

Reading – I seriously forgot how much I love to read!! I’ve spent the last 8 years faithfully and 100% devoted to college, which means I had pretty much zero time for reading for pleasure.  Now that I am officially done with school (forever) I have had more time to grab a book and just get lost in it.  Knowing I would have more time on my hands this year I set a Goodreads goal of 52 books this year, or a book a week, and set out to read some books that have been collecting dust on my shelves for years! I am so glad I made this challenge for myself, because I’ve reminded myself how important reading is to me.  There is just something about being able to pick up a book and transport yourself to a whole other realm, world, and plot.  I love it. The book I read last week has been my favorite book I’ve read thus far and I have already ordered the sequel!

Lattes – If you read my January Favorites post than you know that I have become obsessed with the milk frother I purchased, and I don’t see that obsession going anywhere any time soon! I just love it… coffee lattes, tea lattes… I love them both! I’ve been drinking tea a lot more recently, so it has just been a nice treat to turn it into a latte.

Bath & Body Works Aromatherapy Stress Relief Line – I seriously wish I could just live in a cloud of the Eucalyptus Spearmint line… it is that amazing! I’ve been battling a migraine this last week, and for me this line really helps.  The scent truly is a comfort zone for me, where it can immediately just put me at ease. I can’t say enough good things about this line, it’s my favorite!

 

Outs:

Mascara…no, makeup really – I LOVE LOVE LOVE makeup and beauty, but this past week I have found myself really disliking all of my products and have had trouble using many of them.  Mascara for instance, no matter what I use (drug store or high-end, or drug store layered under high-end, or high-end layered over high-end) my mascara looks awful! I’m pretty sure every morning I’ve had the urge to wash my face after getting done with my makeup, and if I didn’t have to go to work, I probably would have! I’m just going through a phase, but I hope it passes soon… there is nothing worse than just feeling uncomfortable all day long.

Football – For obvious reasons! I’m a HUGE football fan, and now that the season is over I just don’t know what to do with myself! I’ll be counting down the days until pre-season starts… and watching baseball and basketball in the meantime.  Now if only my region had some contenders…..

Migraines – I’m prone to headaches, and for as long as I can remember I’ve suffered through migraines pretty regularly.  I used to get a migraine every single day when I was a kid, but I overcame that and would only get them occasionally up until a few years ago.  Now it seems that a few times a month I’m suffering through so form of a headache… they suck.

Those are my ins and outs for the week! I hope you all had a wonderful week… until next time!

 

Ashley

Books: January Reads

Beauty is not my only love, reading is also something I absolutely love to do in my spare time, and have created a challenge for myself to read 52 books this year (1 book a week).  To start the challenge off, the books pictured I have read during the month of January.

Bare Bones: I’m Not Lonely If You’re Reading This Book, by Bobby Bones is a memoir/biography.  I loved this book, it was so honest and relatable, which who doesn’t love being able to relate to an author?? The book is written by radio dj Bobby Bones, and covers his life and the experiences he has had so far.  I love reading biographies, there is just something about reading about someones life and learning things you didn’t know about them… it’s one of my favorite types of books to read.  This one did not disappoint.  Bobby (after reading this book I definitely feel like we’re on a first name basis) discusses his childhood, college, his first job, love, and everything in between.  I don’t want to give too much away, so I won’t go into detail, but I hands down recommend this book and give it ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ .

Matched by Ally Condie is a young adult-dystopian style book.  The idea is that Cassia lives in a perfect society where everything is chosen for you, from occupation to life expectancy, to love.  At 16 everyone is put into a Matched Ceremony where they are shown who their perfect match is.  For Cassia she is Matched with a good friend of hers, Xander, but then she sees another face flash on the screen, Ky’s.  The book goes through her emotions of trying to fall in love with Xander knowing the practicality of the match, but wanting to explore her own feelings on love with Ky and life as someone who gets to choose her own destiny instead of one being chosen for her.  I thought it was a good book, but I found myself disengaged from the concept and storyline.  I liked it, but I definitely won’t finish out the trilogy by reading the other books.  If you like the dystopian style books I would recommend it, but I only gave it ⭐⭐⭐.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith is a historical-horror/fiction book.  The book follows Abraham Lincoln and his encounters throughout history, including how it impacted his grandfather, mother, and former girlfriend.  As a young man he embarks on a journey to rid the world of vampires and after paring with Henry, a vampire himself, he does just that.  The book follows Lincoln’s political life, inserting vampire excursions throughout, up until his death.  This was honestly a book I would normally not choose and I’m not sure why I picked it up to begin with, but I loved it! It was so entertaining and kept me pulled into the story throughout, it was a good surprise.  The only thing I did not like was that the story jumps from Lincoln’s personal journal to the authors interpretation, it made it hard to read for myself personally.  However, I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical-ficton type stories, I gave it ⭐⭐⭐⭐.

The Time-Traveling Fashionista On Board the Titanic by Bianca Turetsky is a youth fiction.  The book centers around Louisa, a young fashionista, as she traverses through time thanks to a vintage dress.  She finds herself on board the Titanic in the body of one of more glamorous first class passengers.  Upon learning that she is onboard the Titanic she attempts to divert the tragedy, so the majority of the story follows her attempts to thwart the sinking.  I’m not even going to lie, this book I picked solely because of the cover, it’s beautiful and sparkly.  That said, while this was a cute story, it was way too young for me, and I found myself bored.  I am definitely passing this on to my young nieces, who are more age appropriate for this story.  I gave this story a ⭐⭐⭐.

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco is a historical teen fiction book.  It follows Audrey Rose, a Lord’s daughter, who is fascinated with forensic medicine, and despite a disapproving father joins her uncle in the morbid hobby.  The story quickly picks up on similarities in a few murdered women that have come into her uncles lab.  While trying to figure out the motives behind these disturbing murders, Audrey Rose and her love-interest Thomas decide to follow suspects and women to see if they can solve the murders.  All-the-while, Audrey Roses’ family members are falling victim, while not in life-ending terms, to the Jack the Ripper character.  In attempt to fix her family and solve this murder Audrey Rose makes it her mission to figure out how her family and these cases are connected.  I honestly LOVED this story! It was so captivating and enchanting.  I don’t normally like historical/time-period type stories (despite having read two this month), but this book was amazing.  It was a pick from Paige from Creating & Co (the etsy shop) for her book club/monthly reading, which is why I read it.  It did not disappoint and I highly highly recommend it! I gave it ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐.

Those were my reads for the month of January.  Feel free to follow me in this challenge through Goodreads (Ashley Torres).

Happy Reading!

Ashley

Beauty/Life: January Favorites

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With the start of a new year I’ve decided to try my hand at a blog full of things I love, beauty, books and life! To start it all off, January favorites! *Insert cliche, I can’t believe it’s February, January flew by!*…. but seriously, January flew by!!

Based on the picture I obviously did not have a lot of favorites in January, and honestly it’s because I tend to use the same products every single day.  Not all of those products are favorites, most of them are things I have been using to get rid of them, or I just use them without thinking.  However… I tried to branch out a little and found myself falling in love with these babies!

First, the Ulta Beauty Rose Gold palette, I’ve had this for years and I used it a lot when I first got it, but as ironic as it sounds, I stopped using it for that reason.  I didn’t want to use it so fast that I hit pan right away, weird right?  So it’s just been sitting in my collection, hanging out… until this month. I pulled it out on a whim and absolutely fell back in love with the colors and the make up brush (not pictured obviously).  I use it to create a semi-smokey eye using the color sweetheart (the second color from the right) and dessert (right next to sweetheart), and it comes out so beautiful and soft.  I just love it! I highly recommend it, you can pick it up at Ulta for $20.  They also have a matte and a gold palette similar to this one.

Next is the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Waterproof Eyeliner in the color black.  I used to use eyeliner everyday but over the last few years I actually stopped lining my eyes and only tight lined them.  This was a product I picked up in a Sephora’s Favorite collection and thought I would give it a try.  It is honestly so pigmented and applies so amazing! I don’t do a wing or anything, I really just use it to enhance my lash line, but it is so beautiful, I’m really glad I had the opportunity to try it.  I got mine through Sephoras, so you can pick this beauty up at there for $22 in a few colors, including black.

Next is the Revlon Ultimate-All-in-One Mascara in Blackest Black.  I tend to use two different mascaras, one for top lashes and one for bottom lashes, and this is the one I’ve been using on the bottom.  That little brush is just perfect for the bottom lashes, it separates and targets each lash individually, I just love it! I have used it on the top lashes as well and I felt that it really lengthened them, which I loved as well.  I don’t use it regularly for the top, but it is definitely a favorite for the bottom lashes.  I picked mine up at Target for around $7 or maybe $8, and this particular range has several other types of mascaras to choose from.

Next is the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter in Moonstone.  I’ve always loved this highlighter, and only pushed it aside to use up another product.  I pulled it out in January to mix it up a little bit and I couldn’t put it down! These highlighters look so beautiful on the skin, they make you look like you’re glowing versus an actual pop of glow/sheen.  I love it and will continue to repurchase Becca highlighters.  I purchased mine at Sephoras for $38, again they have other colors that you can pick up that are equally amazing but Moonstone has been my favorite this month.

Last in the beauty category is the Dior Creme de Rose Soothing Plumping Lip Balm. This was another product that I loved when I first got it but to avoid using it all up I put it away.  I can’t even describe how wonderful this lip balm is, it is so creamy and it feels amazing on your lips.  I don’t notice any plumping, but it makes my lips feel smooth and hydrated, it’s honestly hard to describe how amazing this lip balm really is.  It is really pricey, but it’s a luxury I recommend if you’re ever looking to pamper yourself! I picked mine up at Sephoras for $30 — I did hear that this was a product being discontinued, but it has remained at Sephoras so I’m not sure how true that is.

First up in lifestyle/fashion are the Le Specs The Prince Aviators in Matte Black.  I first saw these sunglasses on a Kristina Braly YouTube vlog (which if you have never watched her, you should, she’s amazing and a January favorite as well!) and fell in love with them! They not only look amazing but they are so comfortable to wear, they go great with any outfit, and to be honest I feel like a total badass wearing them! I purchased these from Amazon for $89.

Last in this picture is the Mind Reader Milk Frother.  I have been obsessed with making my own lattes at home and it is all because of this tool! Normally when I make coffee at home I use some kind of creamer, but with this baby I don’t feel the need to use creamers or really even sugar.  I just froth some milk and use a little bit of sugar, and I get the perfect at home latte.  I’m obsessed, and I think any coffee or tea lovers should get this! I purchased mine from Target for $6.99.

I hope I was able to do these products justice, because they were honestly amazing for me in the month of January.  These favorites also reminded me to branch out a little and try new things, or re-try old products, which I think is the fun part of makeup/beauty. Hopefully next month I will have even more amazing finds to share!

Ashley