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BBC: 2018 Halloween Reading Guide!

It’s October 1st, and what better way to celebrate the spookiest month of them all than with a list of books meant to scare the daylights out of you?! If you’ve been around these parts for awhile, you know that I don’t do too well with anything scary. What can I say? I’m a wimp!

stephanie

Guest Blogger, Mystery/Thriller Enthusiast Stephanie-Kaye Baker

So, I’ve enlisted a friend, who’s a fellow bookworm and she’s always reading something spooky… it’s Ms. Stephanie-Kaye Baker!

She told me she loves to read because it takes her mind someplace else for awhile. It also relaxes her – her exact quote was, “Let’s be honest, it keeps me sane so I don’t hit people. Ha!”

She also loves dogs and eating vegan food. Her favorite book is “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Bronte. Her favorite book series is Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling.

Below is her extensive list of terrorizing titles for your pleasure, with book descriptions from Amazon.com:

‘Sharp Objects’ by Gillian Flynn

Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.

‘The Blinds’ by Adam Sternbergh

Imagine a place populated by criminals—people plucked from their lives, with their memories altered, who’ve been granted new identities and a second chance. Welcome to The Blinds, a dusty town in rural Texas populated by misfits who don’t know if they’ve perpetrated a crime or just witnessed one. What’s clear to them is that if they leave, they will end up dead.

For eight years, Sheriff Calvin Cooper has kept an uneasy peace—but after a suicide and a murder in quick succession, the town’s residents revolt. Cooper has his own secrets to protect, so when his new deputy starts digging, he needs to keep one step ahead of her—and the mysterious outsiders who threaten to tear the whole place down. The more he learns, the more the hard truth is revealed: The Blinds is no sleepy hideaway. It’s simmering with violence and deception, aching heartbreak and dark betrayals.

‘Final Girls’ by Riley Sager

Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls: Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit; and Sam, the second Final Girl, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

‘Stranger in the House’ by Shan Lapena

Karen and Tom Krupp are happy—they’ve got a lovely home in upstate New York, they’re practically newlyweds, and they have no kids to interrupt their comfortable life together. But one day, Tom returns home to find Karen has vanished—her car’s gone and it seems she left in a rush. She even left her purse—complete with phone and ID—behind.

There’s a knock on the door—the police are there to take Tom to the hospital where his wife has been admitted. She had a car accident, and lost control as she sped through the worst part of town.

The accident has left Karen with a concussion and a few scrapes. Still, she’s mostly okay—except that she can’t remember what she was doing or where she was when she crashed. The cops think her memory loss is highly convenient, and they suspect she was up to no good.

Karen returns home with Tom, determined to heal and move on with her life. Then she realizes something’s been moved. Something’s not quite right. Someone’s been in her house. And the police won’t stop asking questions.

Because in this house, everyone’s a stranger. Everyone has something they’d rather keep hidden. Something they might even kill to keep quiet.

‘Woman in the Window’ by AJ Finn

Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.

‘It Ends with Her’ by Brianna Labuskes

FBI special agent Clarke Sinclair doesn’t give up easily. She’s spent years tracking serial killer Simon Cross, forced to follow his twisted clues and photographs across the country. Clarke knows that Cross selects only redheaded women and that he doesn’t target another victim until Clarke discovers the previous one.

He’s never broken pattern…until now.

A girl has already gone missing in upstate New York when a second one is kidnapped—a blonde. The killer’s MO has changed, sending Clarke back to the drawing board. The closer she gets to the truth, the deeper she’s drawn into an inescapable trap made just for Clarke. Whatever Cross’s ultimate game is, it ends with her.

‘It’ by Stephen King

Note from the author: Really, anything by Stephen King

Welcome to Derry, Maine. It’s a small city, a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry the haunting is real.

They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they are grown-up men and women who have gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But the promise they made twenty-eight years ago calls them reunite in the same place where, as teenagers, they battled an evil creature that preyed on the city’s children. Now, children are being murdered again and their repressed memories of that terrifying summer return as they prepare to once again battle the monster lurking in Derry’s sewers.

‘Ink and Bone’ by Lisa Unger

Twenty-year-old Finley Montgomery is rarely alone. Visited by people whom others can’t see and haunted by prophetic dreams she has never been able to control or understand, Finley is terrified by the things that happen to her. When Finley’s abilities start to become too strong for her to handle–and even the roar of her motorcycle or another dazzling tattoo can’t drown out the voices–she turns to the only person she knows who can help her: her grandmother Eloise Montgomery, a renowned psychic living in The Hollows, New York.

Merri Gleason is a woman at the end of her tether after a ten-month-long search for her missing daughter, Abbey. With almost every hope exhausted, she resorts to hiring Jones Cooper, a detective who sometimes works with psychic Eloise Montgomery. Merri’s not a believer, but she’s just desperate enough to go down that road, praying that she’s not too late. Time, she knows, is running out.

As a harsh white winter moves into The Hollows, Finley and Eloise are drawn into the investigation, which proves to have much more at stake than even the fate of a missing girl. As Finley digs deeper into the town and its endless layers, she is forced to examine the past, even as she tries to look into the future. Only one thing is clear: The Hollows gets what it wants, no matter what.

‘The Haunting of Ashburn House’ by Darcy Coates

The ancient building has been the subject of rumours for close to a century. Its owner, Edith, refused to let guests inside and rarely visited the nearby town.

Following Edith’s death, her sole surviving relative, Adrienne, inherits the property. Adrienne’s only possessions are a suitcase of luggage, twenty dollars, and her pet cat. Ashburn House is a lifeline she can’t afford to refuse.

Adrienne doesn’t believe in ghosts, but it’s hard to ignore the unease that grows as she explores her new home. Strange messages have been etched into the wallpaper, an old grave is hidden in the forest behind the house, and eerie portraits in the upstairs hall seem to watch her every movement.

As she uncovers more of the house’s secrets, Adrienne begins to believe the whispered rumours about Ashburn may hold more truth than she ever suspected. The building has a bleak and grisly past, and as she chases the threads of a decades-old mystery, Adrienne realises she’s become the prey to something deeply unnatural and intensely resentful.

Only one thing is certain: Ashburn’s dead are not at rest.

‘Interview with the Vampire’ by Anne Rice

Here are the confessions of a vampire. Hypnotic, shocking, and chillingly erotic, this is a novel of mesmerizing beauty and astonishing force—a story of danger and flight, of love and loss, of suspense and resolution, and of the extraordinary power of the senses. It is a novel only Anne Rice could write.

‘Helter Skelter’ by Vincent Bugliosi

In the summer of 1969, in Los Angeles, a series of brutal, seemingly random murders captured headlines across America. A famous actress (and her unborn child), an heiress to a coffee fortune, a supermarket owner and his wife were among the seven victims. A thin trail of circumstances eventually tied the Tate-LeBianca murders to Charles Manson, a would-be pop singer of small talent living in the desert with his “family” of devoted young women and men. What was his hold over them? And what was the motivation behind such savagery? In the public imagination, over time, the case assumed the proportions of myth. The murders marked the end of the sixties and became an immediate symbol of the dark underside of that era.

Vincent Bugliosi was the prosecuting attorney in the Manson trial, and this book is his enthralling account of how he built his case from what a defense attorney dismissed as only “two fingerprints and Vince Bugliosi.” The meticulous detective work with which the story begins, the prosecutor’s view of a complex murder trial, the reconstruction of the philosophy Manson inculcated in his fervent followers…these elements make for a true crime classic. Helter Skelter is not merely a spellbinding murder case and courtroom drama but also, in the words of The New Republic, a “social document of rare importance.”

‘Hallowe’en Party’ by Agatha Christie

At a Halloween party, Joyce—a hostile thirteen-year-old—boasts that she once witnessed a murder. When no one believes her, she storms off home. But within hours her body is found, still in the house, drowned in an apple-bobbing tub.
 
That night, Hercule Poirot is called in to find the `evil presence’. But first he must establish whether he is looking for a murderer or a double-murderer…

‘Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder’ by Joanne Fluke

Author’s note: More funny than scary but there are murders. This entire series is hilarious!

No one cooks up a delectable, suspense-filled mystery quite like Hannah Swensen, Joanne Fluke’s dessert-baking, red-haired heroine whose gingersnaps are as tart as her comebacks, and whose penchant for solving crimes–one delicious clue at a time–has made her a bestselling favorite. And it all began on these pages, with a bakery, a murder, and some suddenly scandalous chocolate-chip crunchies. Featuring a bonus short story and brand new, mouthwatering recipes, this new edition of the very first Hannah Swensen mystery is sure to have readers coming back for seconds. . .

Hannah already has her hands full trying to dodge her mother’s attempts to marry her off while running The Cookie Jar, Lake Eden’s most popular bakery. But once Ron LaSalle, the beloved delivery man from the Cozy Cow Dairy, is found murdered behind her bakery with Hannah’s famous Chocolate Chip Crunchies scattered around him, her life just can’t get any worse. Determined not to let her cookies get a bad reputation, she sets out to track down a killer. But if she doesn’t watch her back, Hannah’s sweet life may get burned to a crisp.

‘Amityville Horror’ by Jay Anson

The classic and terrifying story of one of the most famous supernatural events–the infamous possessed house on Long Island from which the Lutz family fled in 1975.

‘The Exorcist’ by William Peter Biatty

Originally published in 1971, The Exorcist is now a major television series on FOX. It remains one of the most controversial novels ever written and went on to become a literary phenomenon: It spent fifty-seven weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, seventeen consecutively at number one. Inspired by a true story of a child’s demonic possession in the 1940s, William Peter Blatty created an iconic novel that focuses on Regan, the eleven-year-old daughter of a movie actress residing in Washington, D.C. A small group of overwhelmed yet determined individuals must rescue Regan from her unspeakable fate, and the drama that ensues is gripping and unfailingly terrifying.

Two years after its publication, The Exorcist was, of course, turned into a wildly popular motion picture, garnering ten Academy Award nominations. On opening day of the film, lines of the novel’s fans stretched around city blocks. In Chicago, frustrated moviegoers used a battering ram to gain entry through the double side doors of a theater. In Kansas City, police used tear gas to disperse an impatient crowd who tried to force their way into a cinema. The three major television networks carried footage of these events; CBS’s Walter Cronkite devoted almost ten minutes to the story. The Exorcist was, and is, more than just a novel and a film: it is a true landmark.

Purposefully raw and profane, The Exorcist still has the extraordinary ability to disturb readers and cause them to forget that it is “just a story.” Published here in this beautiful fortieth anniversary edition, it remains an unforgettable reading experience and will continue to shock and frighten a new generation of readers.

‘Cross her Heart’ by Sarah Pinborough

Lisa lives for her daughter Ava, her job and her best friend Marilyn.

But when a handsome client shows an interest in her, Lisa starts daydreaming about sharing her life with him, too. Maybe she’s ready now. Maybe she can trust again. Maybe it’s time to let her terrifying secret past go.

But when her daughter rescues a boy from drowning and their pictures are all over the news for everyone to see, Lisa’s world explodes.

As she finds everything she has built threatened, and not knowing who she can trust, it’s up to Lisa to face her past in order to save what she holds dear.

But someone has been pulling all their strings. And that someone is determined that both Lisa and Ava must suffer.

Because long ago Lisa broke a promise. And some promises aren’t meant to be broken.

‘The Chalk Man’ by CJ Tudor

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code: little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.
 
In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he’s put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank . . . until one of them turns up dead.
 
That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago. Expertly alternating between flashbacks and the present day, The Chalk Man is the very best kind of suspense novel, one where every character is wonderfully fleshed out and compelling, where every mystery has a satisfying payoff, and where the twists will shock even the savviest reader.

‘Double Whammy’ by Gretchen Archer

Author’s note: Another funny book but has crime.
Davis Way thinks she’s hit the jackpot when she lands a job as the fifth wheel on an elite security team at the fabulous Bellissimo Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. But once there, she runs straight into her ex-ex husband, a rigged slot machine, her evil twin, and a trail of dead bodies. Davis learns the truth and it does not set her free—in fact, it lands her in the pokey. Buried under a mistaken identity, her hot streak runs cold until her landlord Bradley Cole steps in. Make that her landlord, lawyer, and love interest. With his help, Davis must win this high stakes game before her luck runs out.

‘All the Missing Girls’ by Megan Miranda

Like the spellbinding psychological suspense in The Girl on the Train and Luckiest Girl Alive, Megan Miranda’s novel is a nail-biting, breathtaking story about the disappearances of two young women—a decade apart—told in reverse.

It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched.

The decade-old investigation focused on Nic, her brother Daniel, boyfriend Tyler, and Corinne’s boyfriend Jackson. Since then, only Nic has left Cooley Ridge. Daniel and his wife, Laura, are expecting a baby; Jackson works at the town bar; and Tyler is dating Annaleise Carter, Nic’s younger neighbor and the group’s alibi the night Corinne disappeared. Then, within days of Nic’s return, Annaleise goes missing.

Told backwards—Day 15 to Day 1—from the time Annaleise goes missing, Nic works to unravel the truth about her younger neighbor’s disappearance, revealing shocking truths about her friends, her family, and what really happened to Corinne that night ten years ago.Like nothing you’ve ever read before, All the Missing Girls delivers in all the right ways. With twists and turns that lead down dark alleys and dead ends, you may think you’re walking a familiar path, but then Megan Miranda turns it all upside down and inside out and leaves us wondering just how far we would be willing to go to protect those we love.

‘Murder by the Slice’ by Mary Maxwell

Author’s note: Funny!
At this year’s school carnival fund-raiser, the obnoxious president of the Parent Teacher Organization is found stabbed through the heart with Phyllis Newsom’s own knife, with traces of incriminating frosting. Clearing her name will be no piece of cake…

‘Glazed Murder’ by Jessica Beck

Author’s note: The entire series is a fun read. There are murders and a donut maker helps solve them.
Meet Suzanne Hart, owner and operator of Donut Hearts coffee shop in April Springs, North Carolina. After her divorce from Max, an out-of-work actor she’s dubbed “The Great Impersonator,” Suzanne decided to pursue her one true passion in life: donuts. So she cashed in her settlement and opened up shop in the heart of her beloved hometown.

But when a dead body is dumped on her doorstep like a sack of flour, Suzanne’s cozy little shop becomes an all-out crime scene. Now, everyone in town is dropping by for glazed donuts and gruesome details. The retired sheriff warns her to be careful—and they’re all suspects. Soon Suzanne—who finds snooping as irresistible as donuts—is poking holes in everyone’s alibis…

***

There it is – 21 books to get you in the Halloween spirit! Which ones sound good to you? Are there books you’d recommend that aren’t on this list? I think I might pick up a few of the lighter ones… but I also have a copy of “The Final Girls” on my shelf waiting to be read. Happy reading, y’all!

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BBC: ‘There’s Someone Inside Your House’.

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.

Comparing cosmetic primers, II.

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).

Details:

  • 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.

Details:

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.

Details:

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.

Benefits:

  • 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
  • Cruelty-free

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.

Details:

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.

Benefits:

  • 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

Formulated without parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, phthalates, oil, fragrance and talc. Vegan friendly.

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!

Watching: ‘IT’ (original).

Saw this movie almost 30 years later.

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…

Watching: ‘Battle of the Sexes’.

Just saw this movie!

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!

Removing the Mask.

I actually LOVE this idea!

I actually LOVE this idea!

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.

Pic of the Week.

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?

Hey, Halloween: Drop dead!

Where's my stationary?

Where’s my stationary?

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.

Pic of the Week.

Upping our carving game.

Upping our carving game.

Every year, my friend Marcy has a Pumpkin Carving Party (BYOP), and this year was pretty special because it was the 5th Anniversary of the party! So, Sunday night, we all gathered at Marcy’s, equipped with pumpkins and carving ideas.

As a kid, Halloween was a big deal. My parents really got into decorating the house, and lots of thought went into carving pumpkins — my parents would buy the most difficult templates to complete, even if it meant creating a toothpick-suture to make things looked perfect in the end.

Truth be told, I always get really pumped to carve a pumpkin, but when it comes time to actually scoop the guts out, and get serious about poking all the holes and carving tiny pieces, I’m not really big on it. I only like the part when I light the candle and turn the lights off to see my creation.

Call me lazy, but I admitted to Marcy that if it weren’t for her party, I probably would retire my sad collection of orange plastic carving tools.

This was my third year at the party, the first year I had no idea what to expect, although I heard it was a little competitive. That year, I painted my pumpkin white, and carved Jack Skellington’s (The Nightmare Before Christmas) face… it was easy, but it looked pretty cool.

Last year, I jumped on the Hash Tag craze and shaved “#Pumpkin” into my pumpkin… needless to say, it was a hit on social media. This year, I wasn’t sure what to carve.

I wanted to do something current, and relevant to pop culture, and then I realized, DUH, I’ve been watching The Fault In Our Stars nearly every night before I fall asleep, so why not do a tribute to the book and movie via pumpkin?

There is a line in the book, and a scene in the movie, that revolves around champagne: “Come quickly, I am tasting the stars.”

In the movie, the waiter tells Augustus and Hazel, “We have bottled all the stars for you tonight.”

I love it!

So, I created my own template that features a set of champagne glasses clinking, several different sizes of five-pointed stars, and letters to spell T-F-I-O-S.

While no one at the party really understood what my pumpkin was all about, I love it! I can’t wait to light it up on Halloween night!