Happy Monday! No, really, I am actually feeling good about this week. Last week, I felt so unmotivated and exhausted; I refuse to blame it on Daylight Savings, but something was definitely off.
But now I’ve had a good weekend, got some rest, had some fun, and I have been reading a TON, so I’ve got so many books from Blanche’s Book Club to review! I have also been thinking a lot about this book club. I know a few of you who are following along and/or using the club as a way to keep up with book recommendations (which is awesome, thank you), but it’s a non-committal club, so I haven’t been offering much else.
Should I? I have always wondered if I should offer book club questions or in-depth reader’s guides, or even recipes that go with the books? If there’s a desire for it, I’ll be happy to beef things up. If there was a sign up + email newsletter, would that be of interest? Just feeling things out here – so if you’re a fan of Blanche’s Book Club, let me know what you’d like to see here.
Anywho, let’s get to my latest read: “There’s Someone Inside Your House” by Stephanie Perkins. Here’s the description from Amazon.com:
It’s been almost a year since Makani Young came to live with her grandmother in landlocked Nebraska, and she’s still adjusting to her new life. And still haunted by her past in Hawaii.
Then, one by one, the students of her small town high school begin to die in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, Makani will be forced to confront her own dark secrets.
Stephanie Perkins, bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss, returns with a fresh take on the classic teen slasher story that’s fun, quick-witted, and completely impossible to put down.
Before I get too deep into this, I’ll say that I’m not one for scary stuff. It’s not entirely logical because I do like crime… I loved “CSI”, “Dexter”, and “Killing Fields”, and I devoured the coroner’s reports on Derrick Todd Lee.
But I don’t do scary movies. At all. I can’t even watch the previews on TV. When I was in high school, I loved them. That was during the time of “Scream” and “I Know What You Did Last Summer”, and I saw them all.
Once I moved out on my own, however, things were different. Scary movies weren’t so funny and I realized hey, actually some of this maybe could happen. And now I have timers on my lamps and never leave home without pepper spray.
All of that to say… I’m not entirely sure how this book ended up on my list, but I figured if I’m looking for a distraction, it may as well be murder. And this book DELIVERED.
To my delight, this book was very 90’s horror, and it’s high school setting had me feeling vibes from “The Faculty” SO HARD. Very “We don’t need no education…” – even though this book has absolutely nothing to do with the teachers being alien hosts.
I read this book quickly, but it stuck with me for days. The description of the killer was haunting, enough so to make me a tad frightened any time I entered my apartment at the end of the day. This is a goodie, y’all.
I’m recommending this to horror movie lovers, and anyone who loves a thrill and misses the 90’s. If you’re a seasonal reader, this would be a good one to read in the fall, around Halloween.
The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is, “The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son on Life, Love, and Loss” by Anderson Cooper and Gloria Vanderbilt.
Happy Halloween! I am pretty excited for today – oddly – mostly because this means I can take a break from mass-producing Holly Golightly sleep masks for seasonal costumes, and because I love hearing “Thriller” on the radio constantly.
Several months ago, I posted short reviews about cosmetic primers I’ve tried. I got such good advice on new ones to try, that here I am, back after trying FOUR new primers! I’m curious to see what you guys think of this batch.
If you aren’t big on makeup or haven’t tried a primer, it is usually worn under makeup (particularly foundation) and provides a smooth base that helps the makeup stay on longer and look flawless. A primer can come in the form of a gel, spray, powder, cream, oil… it just depends on what type of product you like.
NYX Shine Killer
I love NYX products because they are so affordable, it makes it easy to try new things. The Shine Killer primer is a clear gel and I found it really helped control my shine throughout the day (I did use it along with the NYX matte setting spray).
- Foundation primer that prepares skin for silky smooth makeup application
- Lightweight, colorless gel creates an invisible layer that acts as a buffer to the outside elements
- Helps makeup stay fresh and color-true for hours, lasting all day and well into the night
- Moisturize your skin with a daily dosage of Vitamin E
- Prep your face with this foundation primer before applying face makeup
- Maintain a matte and fresh face all day
$13.99 for .67 ounces
Laura Geller Spackle Tinted Under Make-up Primer
Over the last year, I have been trying bits and pieces of Laura Geller’s collection and her products are wonderful! This Spackle (in “Champagne”) came in a gift set I got, which are always such great deals. It has a slight glow to it, so it’s perfect to wear under makeup or alone for a dewy look.
Revive and re-texturize your skin to achieve a flawlessly smooth finish with my Spackle® Tinted Under Make-up Primer in Champagne. This formula has the same features and benefits as the revolutionary best-selling Spackle®, but it shimmers with a champagne glow!
Made with natural plant extracts and the powerful anti-oxidants, White Tea and Centella Asiatica. These ingredients protect the skin along with Aloe Vera Gel. Spackle also helps the skin retain moisture, feel softer and look smoother. It is lush, incredibly lightweight and suitable for all skin types.
$32 for 2 ounces
Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer Pore Minimizing
I got a sample of this in one of my Birchboxs a few months ago and have been using it over the last few weeks. I love that it has a light tint to it – my skin has some redness (which I’m currently trying to derma-roll out), so I am always looking for FULL coverage products. I also liked the texture of this – it goes on smooth and has a dry, matte finish.
Smashbox’s Photo Finish Pore Minimizing Foundation Primer is an Allure Best of Beauty winner. It works for all skin types but is ideal for oily and combination skin. It pairs best with liquid or cream foundation. This primer is non-acnegenic and ophthalmologist tested.
- Dramatically reduces the look of pores
- Mattifies shine and controls oil all day
- Smoothes and preps skin for makeup
- Won’t clog pores or cause breakouts
- Water-resistant, smooth-glide texture
- Leaves a soft, even finish
Formulated without parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, phthalates, oil, fragrance and talc. Vegan friendly.
$39 for 1 ounce
Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Oil
I got this as a sample from the Company Cosmetics Store (I. Love. That. Place!) after buying a Smashbox set that had all sorts of goodies in it. This was my first time trying the oil, and frankly, I am still trying to figure out what I think of it. It definitely does not leave an oily finish, but I might save the rest of it to use during the colder months (like, in December maybe? #Texas) when my skin is dry.
Smashbox’s Photo Finish Primer Oil is non-acnegenic and dermatologist-tested. Morning and evening application adds increased moisture in just four weeks. Not ideal for oily skin.
- Preps skin for makeup
- Moisturizes for seamless makeup application
- Instantly absorbs and adds radiance
- Reduces the appearance of dry fine lines
- Blended with 15 lipid-rich plant extracts and essential oils including moisturizing jojoba + calming chamomile
- Strengthens the skin’s barrier
What primers are you using? I am always looking to try new products!
Before I sign off, be sure to check out my Etsy SALE – today only – and you can get 15% off all items in honor of Halloween (and the Great Pumpkin, of course)! As always, there is free shipping on domestic orders.
Have a fun day, y’all!
Saturday night, I ventured to a Halloween costume party where there was a viewing of Stephen King’s original “IT” film that originally aired as a TV series in 1990.
If you know me at all, you know that it’s very rare for me to say a sentence like the one I just did. I basically hate Halloween. I’m THE definition of a scaredy cat – everything terrifies me. I’m scared every day, even in the summer.
I don’t like masks, random people knocking on my door (especially children wearing masks), and I even have to cover my eyes during scary movie previews. I know, I’m a wimp.
Truthfully, I used to LOVE scary movies…until I moved into an apartment by myself. Then, the fun and games were over. A few years ago, a guy I was dating invited me to his house to pass out candy during Trick-or-Treat. I agreed, because I liked him, but I was pretty terrified at the prospect of seeing masks all night.
I do like true crime, particularly because I like crime investigations and reporting. I know, it’s not really logical, but that’s the things about fears – they aren’t often based on reason or logic.
And so, I got invited to this “IT” watching party and I didn’t want to decline the invitation because, well, when people try and be friendly I think I should do a better job of accepting that into my life. I could use more genuine friends.
So, I put on my trusty Holly Golightly costume and headed out (I brought my pillow and blanket just in case I needed something to shield my eyes). The party house was completely decorated – even the lemon bars had little candy cleavers stuck in them!
After about an hour of snacking (jalapeno popper mummies, deviled eggs, and pumpkin-shaped Rice Krispie Treats…), we watched “IT” – which I’d been told was pretty cheesy.
I’ve seen the previews for the newly released “IT”, and those alone were terrifying: the music, the clown, all of it. But the 90’s version? I totally handled it. IT. ha.
“IT” was released as a novel in 1986, spent 14 weeks on the top-seller list, and aired on TV as a two-night miniseries, starring Tim Curry as Pennywise the clown. The story goes that surrounding a group of murdered children, a group of school kids start seeing this clown around town, particularly near the damn, in the sewer, or even in the drain of their bathroom sink.
Once they think the terror is over, he comes back to haunt them almost 30 years later (which makes the timing of the new adaptation that much more creepy).
Naturally, the movie isn’t reeeaally about a scary clown – it’s more about imagination, growing up, and a loss of innocence.
All-in-all, I’m glad I watched the movie. It was cheesy, I even laughed at several scenes… but I still slept with my bathroom light on that night.
Some things never change…
After seeing the previews several times, I saw “Battle of the Sexes” on opening night. While I’m not a sports’ buff, I AM an Emma Stone fan, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this movie isn’t reaallllly about sports.
The movie revolves around a real-life tennis match (that turns out to be an all-out war) between Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell).
Bobby Riggs, a tennis player, but also a well-known gambler, is determined to show a newly-formed women’s tennis league what’s up when he challenges the #1 female player to a match. The winner takes $100,000.
But for the women, it’s about more than the money. It’s about getting equal pay, especially after they stopped competing against men (who were offered more than six times what women were offered). King wanted to win to show women they could earn equal pay, and to show men that women could draw a crowd and be equal-competitors.
But in 1973, more than just equal pay was at stake for King. She was falling in love with a woman behind the scenes of her big dual.
This movie was touching, and at times sad. We’ve come so far in some ways, but in some ways we haven’t. King didn’t want to come out: she was married to a man she obviously loved, and after all, what would people think of her if she admitted her true feelings?
Emma Stone does a superb job emulating King, and I’d venture to say Sarah Silverman has a breakout role as the women’s team manager, comically getting them a cigarette sponsorship.
Definitely a movie worth seeing, even if you already know who wins the big game 🙂
In other news, I’ve added two new items to the Etsy shop and will be adding more items throughout the week! I have also been making SO many of the Holly Golightly Sleep Masks – if you’re looking for a relevant, easy costume, this might just be the accessory you need for Halloween!
I’m finally going to admit it: I hate Halloween.
As a kid, I loved it (duh, free candy), and in college, it was the perfect excuse to wear fishnets and do keg stands.
But, I’m older now, and truthfully, a lot of things that didn’t scare me before, terrify me now.
I’m particularly terrified of masks. Any type of mask. Actually, it doesn’t even have to be a mask, if it’s covering someone’s face, I’m out of there so fast.
According to my mom, I’ve been scared of masks my whole life.
Honestly, who wouldn’t be? If you can’t see someone’s face, it’s difficult to tell who they are. What’s more frightening than the unknown?
In high school, a guy I dated invited me to come over. When I arrived, he was wearing the infamous white mask from “Scream”. He didn’t chase me or tackle me; he just sat there staring at me.
It was creepy as hell, and after many shrieks for him to remove the mask, he did, and everything was okay again.
But when you consider dating, there’s all sorts of things people can do to trick us into thinking they’re someone they really aren’t — and not just in October.
The last guy I was in a serious relationship with put on a very sweet façade at first. In this world, he was a good father, a hard worker, and a loyal boyfriend. But, four months into our relationship, the person behind the mask started to reveal himself.
Truthfully, he was a deadbeat, he was fired for stealing money from his job, he was arrested for drunk driving, and he was infatuated with his side chick.
It was one of the meanest tricks anyone has ever played on me.
While it’s been two years since that went down (like a razorblade in an apple), I’ve certainly come a long way, but I find myself very cautious as I attempt to step back into dating. Will it be a mean trick or a sweet treat?
Technology makes it easier for people to trick us into believing one persona, when there could be worlds of secrets behind the mask (also known as the Instagram filter).
When I use dating apps, I constantly wonder if that’s the real person I’m talking to, or if Nev and Max are going to arrive at my door and tell me I’ve been Catfished.
Even when messaging with guys, I sometimes question the meaning behind the text, or if they’re even as single as they’re telling me they are.
I recently started a new job, and everyone told me they never celebrate Halloween at the office because no one was into it.
Sweeter words have never been spoken. I was so relieved that I wouldn’t have to see masks at my office at the end of the month.
But, of course, enough people spoke up that they wanted to wear costumes, and so, a costume contest has been added to our task list. And, what’s a costume contest without a Halloween-themed potluck?
But, I don’t want to seem like I’m not a team player, and I often try to keep my mask fear to myself.
So, I need a costume. I’m toying with the idea of going as Amy Winehouse, because I can rock some ballet flats and a Bump-It without judgment.
Halloween is all about living as someone you want to be, right? Then, I should totally go as Kate Middleton, because she’s got killer style and a hot, kind husband. Or, maybe I should go as Ronda Rousey – powerful, rich, and knows how to kick ass.
Who knows what kind of costume I’ll end up putting together. But I know this: it’s time to start putting a few of these fears behind me. Sure, I don’t want to get tricked by a man in a mask, but if I’m going to find my knight in shining armor, I’m going to have to get out of the dark.
Last week, my office decided to have a costume contest this Friday. Otherwise, let’s be CLEAR: I would not have done anything associated with Halloween.
But, I’m down for a contest.
I tried to think of costumes that would be easy to assemble, comfortable to wear to work, creative, and easy on the wallet.
I thought of Amy Winehouse (good excuse to rock a Bump-It and tons of eyeliner), and my mom suggested I be Justin Bieber — great reason to listen to his music all day long (even though I do that anyway).
I even sifted through lots of online postings that were clever, DIY, costumes for women. My friend suggested I go as Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and while I do love that character, I felt like it was outdone.
BUT WAIT. No one goes as Holly Golightly in the scene when she wakes up and answers the door in her tuxedo shirt and eye mask — the best scene in the movie!
That was the perfect costume. Not only was Breakfast at Tiffany’s written by my favorite author, Truman Capote, but the costume would be fun and simple, all while not appearing like a major slacker.
So, I spent most of my Saturday scouring the city for all of the supplies. I started at Goodwill, where I bought a 2X men’s white oxford (for $8) that would serve as the main part of my outfit.
Next, I hit up Big Lots and found bejeweled, tassel earrings — in the movie she’s wearing purple tassel earplugs — and a perfect pink lipstick, all for $7.
Then, I went to Michael’s and found turquoise felt, black rhinestone buttons, gold glitter paint, and gold trimming.
My final stop was a different Goodwill where I found a pair of vintage gold heels and a stuffed orange cat, all for $10.
I started my crafting with the shirt. I cut the collar, removed any extra buttons, and glued the black, rhinestone buttons over the originals. Voila — tuxedo shirt!
Next, I got to work on the eye mask. I had one that I never use, so I glued the turquoise felt onto the existing mask. Then, i used hot glue to apply the gold trim. Next, I cut “eyelids” out of the felt, and glued faux eyelashes to them. Next, I painted a thick strip of gold where eyeliner would go. I glued the eyelids to the mask. Last, I applied “eyebrows” with the gold trim.
Lastly, I cleaned up my stuffed kitty with some organic, all-purpose cleaner, and I had to sew his arm back on (poor cat). And there you have it! I’m ready for my sleepy, glamorous look on Friday!
What are you all dressing up as?
After much thought, I decided to forgo a Fresh Friday post, since it’s Halloween — even though I pretty much despise this day… or do I? If you know me personally, you know I’m a scaredy-cat all year ’round.
I’m terrified of someone breaking into my apartment, scared of being attacked in a parking garage (or anywhere, for that matter), getting caught up in a mass shooting, etc.
But most of the time, I’m able to hide my fears and live a normal life (although I always search for the exits in movie theaters, and I stopped going inside banks)… until Halloween-time rolls around. Then, it’s really difficult to avoid the scary movies on TV, previews at the theater, people in-costume, and invitations to haunted houses.
Seriously, when did I get so scared?
As a kid, I enjoyed Halloween — dressing up in a costume, and joining my neighborhood friends down every street to see just how much candy we could get (I remember having to make pit stops to dump candy from our buckets, in order to fit more). While I enjoyed trick-or-treating, there were those few houses in the neighborhood that really went all out, and if it weren’t for peer pressure, I probably wouldn’t have gone to the front door.
At the end of the night, my friend Emily and I would sort through our piles, dividing the candy (sorting it by name, or “like” and “don’t like”), and eating as much of our loot as possible before morning.
In middle and high school, I actually loved going to SEE scary movies! Imagine that! I loved the thrill, I screamed and then laughed at myself for being so scared.
In college, I wore slutty costumes, partied, and probably drank a cauldron full of witch’s brew every Halloween.
But it wasn’t until I graduated college that I started to realize just how scary this time of year is. I remember the night it happened, I went with a girlfriend to see a scary movie. And when I got home, I spent hours pacing my apartment, looking under the bed, checking the closets, and I couldn’t sleep.
All of the sudden, scary stuff wasn’t so silly.
And sure, I do realize that the things in movies aren’t likely to happen. But, if I’m being honest here, I have nightmares at least once a week. Not little scary dreams about Casper, actual nightmares that wake me up in sweat, and it takes a snuggle with my kitty and an hour of QVC to get back to sleep.
It’s been this way for years. I’m not sure what causes it, although I’m sure stress is most of it, or perhaps it’s just a random string of thoughts that scares me shitless. Either way, I know that a haunted house or a scary movie just might send me into a weeklong bout of insomnia.
A few years ago, my office really wanted to celebrate Halloween. Someone suggested a haunted house, and I quickly opted out. One coworker simply could not believe WHY I wouldn’t want to go to a haunted house.
“I’m actually terrified of that kind of thing,” I told her. She was appalled, and said I seemed like “the kind of person who would be into it.”
Well, things aren’t always as they seem, right?
I wish I were more into Halloween, but I’m just not. And, as my mom told me a few years ago, I was even scared of costumes and clowns as a child. So, perhaps this is just me, finally admitting that stuff is scary out there… so if it’s okay with you, I’ll just stay in and watch Countdown to Christmas on the Hallmark Channel.