Reviewing Valentia Natural Pure Glow Brightening Moisturizer

Hi all! Today I’m reviewing a new moisturizer by Valentia Natural, the Pure Glow Brightening Moisturizer. I have had skin issues and acne my whole life—chronic dry skin, a field of blackheads, oily skin, the works. Recently, a combination of cold cream, twice-daily moisturizing, and a couple of dermatologist-recommended products have made a huge difference, but because I’m perpetually on a budget, I hardly stray from drugstore moisturizers. Until Valentia Natural. Keep reading to hear more about their Pure Glow Brightening Moisturizer.

valentia natural
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Beauty Review // DevaCurl Delight, styling cream, Deva Towel

In case you didn’t know already, I am ALL ABOUT the DevaCurl. I credit DevaCurl and a dearth of heat styling with transforming my hair when I decided to stop straightening it circa 2011, and again last year when I fried my hair by dying like seven colors into it. Recently, I was gifted a new range of DevaCurl products called “Delight”—a shampoo and conditioner. I also received a styling cream and a microfiber towel, and here’s what I think about them!

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‘Frenchman’s Creek,’ a romance novel by Daphne du Maurier

If you’re like me, then you know Daphne du Maurier from two things: her story “The Birds” and Rebecca, that freaky book you had to read in high school. But recently, I came across her romance novel!!!! in a secondhand bookstore in the city, and I had to have it. It’s called Frenchman’s Creek, and it will give you feels. I have to say, this has automatically become one of my favorite works of literature; it has almost everything I look for in a great story. Read more about this recommendation!

frenchman's creekWhat it’s about: Frenchman’s Creek is about a noblewoman named Dona St. Columb (a perfect romance-novel name, IMO), who feels stifled in her life in London. It takes place in Restoration England, and the entire narrative is a kind of flashback through the eyes of a modern-day yachtsman visiting the place in Cornwall where Dona flees to when she can’t take her life anymore. The framed narrative creates a spooky atmosphere that is definitely characteristic of du Maurier’s other works.

When Dona arrives in Cornwall at her house called Navron, with her two children in tow (but not her husband), she is consumed by a feeling of freedom she’s been craving all her life. Eventually, she meets and has an affair with a philosopher turned pirate named Jean-Benoit Aubéry, who teaches her that even though she craves escape, it’s almost impossible for a woman to have the same freedom as a man does. Their relationship becomes a metaphor for societal expectations placed on women, and the whole metaphor is couched in the language of a high romance novel with plenty of passion. Oh, and the writing is utterly breathtaking, so you don’t have to feel bad about reading romance!

Through her experiences with the pirate, she tests her strength, her courage, and finds herself outside of her constructed “proper” persona. She becomes her own person, someone whole and fulfilled in both life and love. She finds freedom and happiness.
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Beauty Review // A new straightener from Irresistible Me

Today I’m really excited to bring you something that may just be a game changer: This review of Irresistible Me’s Diamond Hair Styler. As you may know, I don’t straighten my hair flat very often (the last time I can remember is October, for my Kendall Jenner Halloween look, and before that? Drawing a blank) but I do style my hair once in a while with “flat-iron curls”—straightening the root of my hair and then flipping the iron to make a curl on the ends.

Sadly, the flat iron I was using since 2006 recently broke in London because of the power conversion (RIP, old friend) so when Irresistible Me offered to present me with one of their irons for review I was like, “yes, please!” Here’s what I thought.

irresistible me

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Current Classics TBR

A long time ago, I spent a lot of money on Barnes & Noble classics—those pretty, multicolored paperback editions that tend to be dirt cheap and last forever. But as everyone knows, classics are hard to get into. Enter my recent audiobook obsession!

I’ve started listening to audiobooks on my absurdly long commute, and since it’s a lot easier than I’d thought to pay attention to a book while driving, I’m really excited to finally get around to some classics I’ve been wanting to read for a while:


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My new commute and my need to read

Last week, I mentioned here that I’ve started a new job. Prior to this, I had worked from home and so I basically went to bed whenever I wanted, woke up with just enough time to start a shift, and had zero commute, obviously! But this new job is over an hour away and so my schedule has changed drastically.

I’m such a night person, but now I wake up at 6 and I don’t usually get home before 7:30, and sometimes even around 9 o’clock. Since I really like the job, I don’t mind the hours, but it’s the fact that I don’t have time for much else that bothered me in the beginning. I’m used to my hobbies: reading, writing, obviously writing this blog, and doing creative things. So in an effort to multitask on my hour-and-a-half long drive, I’ve started listening to audiobooks.

And it’s awesome! I’ve never been an audio “reader,” and I never thought it would be easy to concentrate while driving, but it turns out that listening to a book is not only a great use of my three hours/day commute, but it’s also much more calming than listening to music is. I’ve made it my mission to stay as focused as possible on my hobbies despite the long hours of the job, and I feel like listening to books rather than reading them is a great compromise, and as an added bonus, there were so many resources I found online that offer free audiobooks.

Right now, I’m listening to Great Expectations, a book I have had on my TBR for years. I “read” about 200 pages (according to a corresponding physical copy I already owned) during my commute this past week, and I’m going to make it my mission to “read” the big classics like this.

It’s twofold: listening to books sort of takes away the effort of getting into a difficult novel. It’s more passive than reading since it’s being read to you and so it’s sort of mindless—in a good way. After Great Expectations, I’m going to read Charlotte Bronte’s Villette and then maybe War and Peace, both books I’ve been meaning to read forever but never had the time to devote to getting into it. Audiobooks and my commute turned out to be a perfect combination.

Here are some free resources if you want to listen to the classics on your downtime, and finally get around to reading those books you always meant to:, (where I found Great Expectations), LibriVox, and I considered an Audible account at first but the $14.95/month price tag put me off. Trying to be economical here!

Note: none of this is sponsored; I just like to read books. 🙂


Reads & Recs: Books about ballet

I have a mini obsession with ballet. It’s mesmerizing to me, from learning about the craft of it, the history of it, and watching it. And since I’ve always wanted to do ballet but never took a class, I also would like to do that. But in the meantime, I’ll do what I like to do best: read.

Here are some books on my TBR list, about ballet:


Misty Copeland’s Life In Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina

Misty Copeland is one of the world’s most successful and recognizable ballet dancers, but she’s been through a lot to enjoy the position she’s in now. I’m reading her memoir now, and am blown away by her strength and passion.

Ballet Shoes, by Noel Streatfeild

I watched the film adaptation with Emma Watson in it a few years ago, and now I want to get my hands on the original book! It’s an eccentric book about three orphaned girls adopted by a mysterious traveler named Gum. The three girls eventually enter acting school, and learn who they’re going to become.

Bunheads, by Sophie Flack

Bunheads is about a 19-year-old dancer at the Manhattan Ballet Company, who has to decide between her commitment to ballet and a potential love. (I say—why choose? 😉 )

Can’t wait to get into these! Have you read any and would like to give feedback or any recommendations of your own? Let me know below.


Summer Reads & Recs || Plane & Beach Reads!

We’ve all seen the displays at our bookstores: whole tables weighed down with books with a placard that says “Beach Reads” or “Summer Reads” (not to be confused with summer reading). The general idea is that beach reads are fun, easy to blow through and frivolous. Plane reads are similar: something like a romance or a thriller that will help melt away those long, uncomfortable hours spent on a plane. And that’s true, but why should plane or beach reads be limited to easy reads?

During summer, I like to re-read, or challenge myself with something more difficult or a classic, because I know I have more time to devote to it. But I’m also one of those people who plonks down on a beach chair and talks to no one for hours. But if you’re like me, check out these stellar beach/plane/summer recommendations!

90619Little, Big by John Crowley

This book was recommended to me by my sister, who has been pestering me to read it since I can remember. Since she also recommended I Capture the Castle to me, which is one of my Top 10 Favorite Books of All Time, I tend to trust her.

Little, Big is magic realism, about a man called Smoky Barnable who travels to another world to marry a woman named Daily Alice Drinkwater. According to my sister, it’s both elegantly written and strange, filled with unexplained magic. Sounds like just my type.



7190The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

Of course I want to read this one! I also have the sequel, Ten Years Later that I thrifted for like a dollar last year. Score.







7603Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi 

Ever since I actually read Lolita, I’ve wanted to read this book. It’s pretty well known and it’s tucked away in one of my shelves, but I want to take the time to read it. It’s about a teacher who secretly teaches this book to her students in Iran, and a true story. 




103575751Q84 by Haruki Murakami

Ach, I’ve been wanting to read this one for over a year, but it’s daunting. I also didn’t much care for Murakami’s Norwegian Wood, the only other novel I’ve read by him, so I’m strangely reluctant.

One of these days I’ll pull this one off my shelf and hunker down, and what better time than the dog days? Long, warm nights and long books go so well together!




17262100The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

I was a big fan of Lahiri a few years ago and even though I much prefer her short stories (especially Interpreter of Maladies) to her novel, I have to read this one. It’s also somewhere in my bookshelves ready to be dusted off and read.

So what are you all reading this summer? Sound off in the comments!