Top 5 books of 2016 (Mid-Year Edition)

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How is it the end of July already?! There are only a few months left to tackle my Goodreads reading challenge (faints, but gets right back up to type this out). I only have 16 out of 30 books left to read (yes yes I feel the pressure too), and it’s always cool to look back and see which books stood out in my mind after finishing them. I listed my 5 favorites from the first half of the year in case anyone reading this needs inspiration on what to read next. Currently, I’m making my way through Victoria Schwab’s This Savage Song and let me tell you IT. IS. SO. GOOD. AND. SO. ORIGINAL. GO. OUT. AND. READ. THIS. BOOK.

I have links to all the books mentioned below as well as a little (who are we kidding here, biggish) gush about them.

Also, have you joined the Goodreads reading challenge? How many books did you pledge and how are you getting on?

*Disclaimer: the pictures for Red Queen and Room are taken off of google. I checked them out from the library and returned them way before I had the intention of writing this post.*
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo


Wrote an entire post about this, but basically this and  Red Queen By Victoria Aveyard is what got me back into reading young adult again. This book is about 6 criminal outcasts trying t pull of what seems to be an impossible heist. Finished this book in about 2 days. I can barely wait until the sequel comes out!!

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin


The movie was great, and the book was even better! I loved how normal this book was.Save the dramatics for another read. Again this book and movie got it’s own post, but it’s about a girl named Eilish. She moves from Ireland to Brooklyn New York and we follow her journey and how she adapts to american life.  Book & Movie: Brooklyn

Room by Emma Donoghue


Every once and a while, I think it’s good to read a haunting book to put life into perspective. This is what Room did to me. Such a great book, such an incredible movie.

The Book of Speculation  by Erika Swyler


Dove into the world on regular fiction and it was great! I enjoyed how this book is two stories in one, and how they fit together so well. I loved how the story is about finding yourself as well as knowing who your family is. Be it your actual blood related family, or friends that have become a part of it.

Red Queen  by Victoria Aveyard


If you have read the selection series by Keira Cass, it’s like that but sooo much better. If you haven’t, the best way I can describe it without ruining the story is by taking the little blurb off of amazon

“Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the Silver-blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. There, before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess, and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard—a growing Red rebellion—even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays the only certainty is betrayal”

 

 

A Dupe for the Clinique Moisture Surge


I love the Clinique Moisture surge extended thirst relief gel-creme. The hydration it gives my dehydrated, yet oily skin without leaving a greasy feel, is what makes this one of the best moisturizers I have ever used. It feels refreshing and cooling on the skin, leaving a soft, smooth base ready for makeup (and/or bed). The only drawback I have found is that for 1.7 ounces, you pay almost $40, and as much as I want to repurchase it, I don’t have the money.

Now, Garnier seems to know when I need an affordable replacement for a beloved high end product. I saw that with their skin active range (which has incredible face washes) included a new moisturizer. It is a gel-cream, there are options for normal and dry skin, and it is $6 tax included. The Moisture Rescue gel-cream seemed too good to be true, and the only way to see if it compared to Clinique was to get myself a jar.


Cliniques Pros

  • has more natural extracts
  • no scent
  • claims to help rebuild the skin’s natural moisture barrier with continued use
  • beautiful glass packaging

Cliniques Cons

  • hefty price for such little product
  • It has a preservative that can irritate the skin
  • is only available online, stores that have a counter, or carry Clinique in general

Garnier Pros

  • Basically the same product
  • widely available at all drugstores, Walmarts, targets, and online
  • Super Affordable 
  • beautiful glass packaging
  • claims to help rebuild the skin’s natural moisture barrier with continued use

Garnier Cons

  • Has the same preservative that can irritate
  • highly scented (goes away once rubbed in)
  • did need a little more product than I would normally use

They both are really great moisturizers.  I don’t feel like I’m skimping on my skincare at all. When I have an actual job, hopefully I’ll be able to afford the Clinique, but right now I’m so glad that there is a drugstore option that is just as great as the high end.

 

Six of Crows

It’s been a while since I’ve read a good young adult book. To be honest, I’ve been avoiding them. In the past few years, all I’ve seen when searching for young adult is sappy sappy romance and or a dystopian novel and I was over it. So I gave it a few months and then at work we got this all black, aesthetically gratifying book. It was Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, and it looked too cool to not check out. At first, I shamefully thought it was part of the Raven Boys cycle (silly silly me). As I read, I remembered how much I loved books like these. There was suspense, adventure, and just enough tension between certain couples that the hopeless romantic in me started shipping characters together from chapter 2 (where most of the characters were introduced) . I loved it enough to stay up until 4 am to finish it and by the end, I sat in silence processing what just happened. If that’s not a sign of a good book I don’t want to know what is!!! In each chapter, we follow the viewpoints of  different characters. It’s usually one of the main 6 characters. All chapters are also told in third person so it’s not as confusing as it sounds.

It’s good to see a book where all the characters have so much strength. Nina, Inej, Kaz, Matthais, Jesper, and waylan are all so strong despite their heart breaking backgrounds. It’s kind of inspirational to see them “defeat” the odds. Also, there are main characters of color which makes this little brown chika very happy. 


If you are like me and haven’t read Leigh’s other series the Grisha trilogy, which is the world that SoC is set in, it won’t ruin the plot of the other books, but it is a lot to keep up with along with the main story lines. I have heard that there is a major spoiler from the Grisha trilogy, but I’m not reading it for a while.  Also, this isn’t a part of the review, but the song Heathens by Twenty One Pilots, matches this book SO WELL.

Have you read Six of Crows? Are you excited for the sequel  Crooked Kingdom? Let’s talk about it!

Travel Essentials

Traveling with friends is always a fun thing to do. Cheap travels ( if possible), a cool destination, great memories, and tons and tons  of pictures!! Question is, what do you bring with you on the traveling part of the journey? My trip is Wednesday and I finally got a good list of things to keep me entertained.


Camera: For some people, It can be a fancy dslr, it could be that Polaroid you thrifted not too long ago, it could be your phone. Story is that I need a camera, those pictures and the  memories they bring with them, will last for forever and it’ll be great to stick in a scrap-book, or frame around my house (room.)


300 writing prompts:I like to write, but sometimes it’s a little difficult to come up with inspiration. I got this notebook in Books A Million the other day. It has 300 different topics to write about. I also have a separate notebook in case the inspiration really takes hold.


Books: Because I am me, and I also want to use as little data as possible, I’m bringing two books with me. Girl Online: On Tour by Zoe Sugg: From reading the first girl online book, I’m going to assume that it’s another easy read and  I’ll finish it before we get to where we are going. I got This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab for my birthday and I am SO EXCITED to read.


Headphones:  Headphones are essential for anything travel related. Weather going international or making the long trip from the bedroom to the kitchen.


Essential Oils: I like to take a more natural route when it comes to dealing with my anxiety. The chamomile and lavender oils help calm and soothe in a stressful situation.


Facial Spray: Because no one smells good or feels good after being cooped up in a car for hours.

So yes, I’m going  on a trip to go see 5 seconds of summer tomorrow!! I’m super excited! I’ve been trying to see them for YEARS, and the day has finally arrived. I’m traveling to Jacksonville Florida with a few friends, because it’s always better as a group.

Are you traveling soon? What are your essentials?

19 Things I Learned at 19

  1. There is nothing wrong with asking for help
  2. Even though life feels like a race, it isn’t
  3. Stop comparing yourself to others so much (still working on this one)
  4. Leaving the house is half the battle
  5. If you never ask, the answer will always be no
  6. Do your school work so you don’t feel bad about it later
  7. It’s okay if you still don’t know what to do with your life, you’re 19
  8. Spontaneity looks good on you
  9. Words and how they are delivered are everything
  10. Your attitude towards situations sets up your experience
  11. People aren’t watching you as much as you think
  12. Love is love is love is love is love
  13. Hamilton is great, 10/10 would recommend
  14. Having friends outside of school is hard, but so so so worth it
  15. VOTE
  16. Your mental illness is real and valid
  17. If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all
  18. Fear isn’t going to prevent what you don’t want to happen from happening (work in progress)
  19. You don’t have to tell everyone every detail of everything everyday


July 14th, 2016 I turn 20. twenty. XX. years old. Two whole decades, 20 revolutions around the sun. To me this is monumental because in that time, I have graduated high school, made it halfway through college (sort of), learned to drive, figured out how to make friends, learn how to be a decent human being (I hope) etc… It’s been great!  I want this age to be the age where I start making memories to tell my kids about. Cliche as it sounds, I want to fall in love, or at least catch someone’s eye. I want to get lost on purpose, not freak out and traveling would be nice too. An enormous list I know, but I’ve got 365 days to do as much as possible. If I don’t get to it, well, there’s always 21,22,23,24 etc.. you get the point

So here’s to the last post I write being 19,turning 20, and everything that will come along with it. I’m ready for you this time.

 

Summer Beauty Favorites

It’s been few weeks into the actual summer season and I have beauty favorites!!!

Urban Decay Deslick setting spray : switching to a bb cream for summer without this was once impossible because I get oily QUICK.

Maybelline dream BB fresh:Coverage. Lightweight. SPF 30 . Need I say more? 

L.A. Girl pro conceal: There will never be a time where this won’t be included in a favorites

Becca highlighters in Opal and Moonstone : highlighter is everything right now and because these are so beautiful , I’ll risk getting extremely oily for the day if I get 2 hours of these looking incredible

Nars Isolde eyeshadow: I feel like these will be great  for anytime of year for me

I don’t have specific lip favorite because I haven’t tried anything new. These will carry me straight through fall because Florida never cools down. What are some of your summer favorites?

 

Herschel Supply Co Backpack First Impressions

One of the trendiest backpacks around, and I finally bit the bullet and got one. I’m basing my pros and cons off of the Retreat style backpack because it’s the one I have.

Pros:

  • Beautiful to look at
  • padded shoulder straps
  • tons and tons of room
  • padded, fleece lined slot for a laptop (or electronics) that doesn’t go all the way to the bottom for added protection
  • Complements from people who want one but don’t plan to get one
  • feeling so on trend
  • when packed up, everything seems to fall into place, and nothing is sticking out weirdly and poking you in the back
  • goes with most outfits
  • it doesn’t look like you’re off to class, more like a weekend of backpacking
  • you can get them off amazon, who I trust for all my online buying needs


Cons:

  • Drawstring closure can leave you feeling some with uncertainty about your items being safe
  • They are a pricier than other backpacks
  • Tons and Tons of room. Sometimes it can be a con if you aren’t carrying much
  • No added zip pouch for smaller items, just an open sleeve

Overall: I’m happy with this choice. I was very skeptical about it at first, because $80 is a lot for “just a backpack”. While this isn’t the life changing Mary Poppins bag we all wish for, the retreat style does hold a lot and looks great while being functional and comfortable. It’s fits my 15 inch computer like it’s another note book, and the charger. Right now, I use it for school and work, but I have a few trips coming up before the fall semester starts, where I’ll really put it to the test.

Do you have a Herschel Supply Co. bag? It’s officially back to school season, are you planning on getting one? What’s your opinion, I’d love know!!