October Already???

I feel like October is shaping up to be a shitshow and it's only the first. Also, where did September go???

Hybrid learning starts on Monday... do we really want to do this?? I mean, the general public doesn't respect each other, the racists are running rampant, the President told people to WATCH OTHER PEOPLE VOTING IN THE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE (like this is actually a felony and yet no one FUCKING CARES). I'm using too many uppercase letters. I'm raging inside.

The world is currently like Quentin's shoes. They're so dirty and beat up and no one wants anything better. But I do. I want better.

I want the racists to crawl back into their holes and go away.

I want to go to the store without telling someone to step 6 feet away from me.

I want to go to Ikea to pick up a new lap desk thingy without having to wait hours in line to stay social distanced.

I want normal as much as the next person but we can't because people just don't know how to respect one another. UGH. It makes me want to scream. 

Alrighty, thanks for the vent. Back to parenting my children and re-teaching math.


Favorite Daily Summer Moisturizer

This is one of my favorite moisturizers for summer. It's light, and not only is it light but it's also SPF30 - there is another option that's SPF17, which I may try this winter too, but in general I like to use the thicker moisturizers in winter. Minnesota is so dry!

Mario Badescu Oil Free Moisturizer SPF30 can be found at Ulta - and if you shop there often, they generally have a sale on Mario Badescu products every other month or so. It's currently $28, I've seen it for up to 40% off - hopefully a sale comes soon!

Pros: It's light, doesn't feel heavy on my face, rubs in fairly easily, and the SPF is 30, which is fantastic for summer because if you forget to wear a separate sunscreen, you're semi-covered. 

To note: I have a nose piercing and so to rub in moisturizer it can be a little bit trickier, and by that I mean sometimes if you're not paying attention or the moisturizer is too thick, then it gets into the piercing or the jewelry and it doesn't look good. It looks like you have white blobs on your face.

I have used this with a Vitamin C serum and it goes on just as well - though I don't actually wear too much makeup anymore, you know.. Covid-19 and all. Though I have used eye shadow OVER this, I don't remember it making my eye shadow cake-y or wrinkled. 

Overall, this is a great moisturizer for skin like mine - that is a little oily, older, and sometimes have acne. I feel like it doesn't add to my oily skin, which is a total bonus. I do have a few wrinkles too. You don't end up with greasy, shiny skin, or feel as if you need to wipe off extra moisturizer (which honestly, I've done in the past with other thicker moisturizers).

Recommend?? Yes! Absolutely! If you don't want to pay full price, wait until it's on sale or if it's a freebie - skincare can be expensive and it can be such a disappointment if it doesn't work. I hate to throw away skincare. Love how this makes my skin feel!



Sunscreen Review: CannaCell Sun Buddy SPF 30 by Andalou Naturals

I love my Tula gel sunscreen but for the life of me, I just can't find it. I would reorder it but it's $36 for a small tube and we're close to the end of the season. I need to find some type of suitable replacement that's cheaper but still good. Something I can slather on that's not too greasy, smells good, and WORKS.

First impressions: GREASY. Oh, so greasy. I had to wash my hands almost immediately. Thank goodness I didn't put this on AT the beach, because I would have had sand stuck all over me! And then trying to wipe wet, sandy, greasy hands on Turkish beach towels is just impossible.

It does smell really good - in general Andalou's products smell really good - definitely natural smelling, not too sharp, not too strong. The scent didn't last long either, which for me is a bonus because with strong smelling products I usually end up with a headache. 

Next: It leaves me looking greasy and also, it sort of looks like I have a white-ish glow to my face. I really don't like that and now I just realized that I totally went out in public looking like a serious half-zombie. I also sweat like crazy on my nose and upper lip - that's not sweat, that's the greasy sunscreen. Good grief, that's embarrassing. 

At some point, it did sink into my skin - but we were at the beach when it did happen. Though even on the way home I itched my eyebrow and my finger came away greasy. Not exactly the best sunscreen for the beach. Or walking out in public.

Most important: I DID NOT GET A SUNBURN. It was still there on my face after being in the water, sweating, and general running after children. So there's that. It works. It stays on and frankly, if you're a busy parent and just need something in a pinch, it's not too terrible, but it's also not a lotion that rubs in really well. 

To wash off: I did have to use Dermalogica's Precleanse to melt away the greasy sunscreen to make sure my face wash worked. Otherwise, I think I might have ended up with a whole face of acne. 

Overall: do not recommend, too greasy for me. 

DAMMIT. I wonder where my Tula gel went.



Book Review - Caraval


I have been loving the easy Young Adult reads lately - especially ones like these where they're absolute dream worlds and absolutely non-realistic. 

In this, one sister is desperate to flee and the other sister is betrothed but both want to get away from their father's cruelty and leave the isle where they live, so finally one year one sister is invited to the Caraval - a world where everything is pretend...or maybe nothing is? It's a game to be played and the sisters are just thrown right in. One disappears..or is she kidnapped? But whatever happened, Tella is to be found by all the players of the game and the winner receives one wish. 

From the beginning I could tell that everything about Caraval is not what it seems. Some of the players in the game, well, performance, are actual performers and others are not. However, because Scarlett is obsessed with finding her sister and not being at Caraval purely for herself, the story takes a different turn - this teen is definitely not as narcissistic as normal and she actually cares and has feelings. Scarlet meets someone, falls in love - but then, is he a character in the game or is he a real person? Little details start to come out - such as that Julien had already played the game. 

Obviously this is YA - so as you're reading this, teen decision-making is terrible through the eyes of adults. The magic in this book is just MAGIC. And the whole thing that Legend has is just...a game...

The characters have a little depth to them but the real feature with this book is the whole world of Caraval that Stephanie Garber creates. You can feel the water, feel the mist, feel the black and white world in a scene, feel the boats, feel the rocks and cobblestone streets, and imagine the dresses and clothing. The one piece that Garber describes is a color-changing dress that changes depending on Scarlet's mood. A part of me wants her to sell the rights to the book for someone to create it as a movie or tv show and part of me just wants to be able to see what I've imagined in my head. I feel as though fantasy books are hard to create in real-life and I really don't want someone else's imagination to ruin what I have imagined - because I'm not sure if it will live up to what I picture in my mind. 

Overall: recommend

This was a seriously fast read for me, maybe 2 days total. I felt as though I was dropped into the world and came back out with a book hangover. Caraval is number one in a series of three. I have the number two on hold at the library but with COVID-19, I'm not sure how long it will take to get. It looks as though there's several copies that are checked out so I have to wait. BOO. 


Book Review - American Spy

Ooooh. I have mixed reviews, leaning towards the "yes, I recommend!"

First, the mystery storyline in this book wasn't as emphasized so I really didn't give it another thought other than "oh, her sister disappeared" which means that I didn't actually think this was a mystery novel. So when the "mystery" was solved at the end, it didn't actually surprise me. I thought what happened in the mystery had just been implied from the beginning. Maybe I read too many mystery novels?? Instead her job and job descriptions and job titles and job duties came first - then it seemed the mystery came second. I guess not as an afterthought but more as...how do we fit the two stories together to make this plot plausible? I don't see it as a big issue but it's just good to know that the mystery part of this book is bigger to the plot than what I realized.

Second, I wanted more spy material. There was lots of dialogue, travel to different countries, and descriptions of spy stories but the main character didn't do as much spying as the title implies. Again, maybe I've read too many "spy novels" and have high expectations? The main character's duty is to become the friend/lover of a ruler of a country, which seems a little unbelievable - and the relationship between the two does seem a little forced at times, but also, that's the spy's job - to make it happen!

Third, definitely wanted more spy material. More thrills, please! But the job that she had wasn't exactly about jumping out of planes, trains, or shooting at people all the time so the thrills were more calculating. 

Overall, the writing, descriptions, and characters were well-developed and well-thought and made me picture the places in the book in lovely detail. I wanted to visit each place and see everything that was described, especially ride a scooter over a bridge made of plywood. I wanted to be in the garden drinking coffee with breakfast and have a spy radio too. I wanted to show up at a business and be there for the underground business and not the cover business. All of the writing made me want to be in the story too. I really hope that someone makes a movie out of this - I want to know what someone else's interpretations are and who they choose for characters. 

Definitely add this to your to-read list!


Stack of Books

My to-read list is pretty long - but I'm going through books fairly quickly. The only one I don't have is How To Be Anti-Racist which is the book club choice for August - however, my Kindle isn't working quite right and I can't download the book. I may have to reset my Kindle.

Since the library closed in March, I've been buying books at an alarming rate and just looked at my stack. I stopped buying books so I can get through these before I buy anymore. The library just re-opened too so I've been getting books that I've requested.

About two weeks ago I flew through a book I borrowed from my sister - Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich with her Stephanie Plum series. I forgot how terrible and funny those books are. I really don't have to think much while reading them so I can get through them in just a couple days. So I requested numbers 15 and 16 (because I couldn't remember where I stopped in the series, I had to look at my Goodreads account). Finished both of those in the same week and now I just requested number 19. I don't feel as though they really go in order?? Maybe I can't remember what happened in previous books but I do know that it seems that the main character is always stuck in the same place in a relationship, the cars blow up, something is on fire, and her hamster, Rex, is alive at the end. So honestly, if you need a book where you don't have to think and you just want to read - start with One For The Money and see what you think. This series is serious brain cookies, where it's not hard to follow along and you do laugh. Just keep in mind that none of it is realistic, it's all made up, and so with that - the books make for great reads for me when I'm finished with heavy books.

I'm in the middle of Still Midnight by Denise Mina. It was slow to start and also a bit hard to follow at the beginning, which for me can be tricky because I hate to have to go back and re-read previous chapters. The book follows all of the characters, not just the main detective so you get to see the crime happen and the whole mystery unfold. The little details are currently making the investigation more interesting and definitely making this book better to read! As soon as I hit the actual investigation part, I started liking this more and more. So if you're into European mysteries written by women, this is definitely a book for you - and this is also the first book in a series about the main detective. 

Next up after this - I have to finish The Tattooist of Auschwitz to be able to give that to a friend, which I think I only have about 70 pages left. The people that survived these camps are fucking amazing. There's no other words to describe them, I don't think. I can get through that fairly quickly. Last month I was on a WWII kick and read many fictional books that had nonfiction threads wound through the stories, so I needed a bit of a break with the heavy material. In this day, you'd think that Americans would have learned from the past but since the war didn't actually take place here in America, I think it's hard for some Americans to be able to empathize and realize how terrible, and horrific the Holocaust was because there are people that are currently comparing mask-wearing to the Holocaust (right, there's absolutely NO COMPARISON. We're trying to save lives, not KILL PEOPLE). 

Happy Monday! Go find some time to read today!