My Bad Romance: The New Yorker

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It was a hot, Coney Island summer and we were headed towards the Wonder Wheel. Hands entwined as always, as I pulled off pieces of candy floss. The sugar melted in our mouths, sharing sticky kisses. We laughed feeling lucky for that moment. We had fallen in love in April, and although it was merely July (three months later) we felt like we had been together forever. We were inseparable. No one else mattered to us but each other. We lived on kisses and sugary sweets. We had no regard for day or night, we were always awake, always up to something.

“You know there’s an old gypsy tale that if you ride the Wonder Wheel with someone else, you’ll be together forever,” he said to me, his dark hair blowing into his eyes.

“Are you sure you wanna be stuck with me forever?” I joked.

But I couldn’t imagine my life without him. He was the one person I loved to talk to at any hour of the day, and even when we’d spend the day watching Asian horror movies and eating takeout I’d never get bored.

Like two enthusiastic kids, we got on the Wonder Wheel, feeling like we were on top of the world. Everyone below us was so tiny, and he kissed me at the top of the Ferris Wheel. I could’ve lived in the moment forever. I wanted to live in that moment forever. I wished the night would melt into my veins, and that I could swallow the stars.

“I love you,” he murmured. A phrase he’d tell me so often during the day, and no matter how many times he said it still managed to make me melt. I’d wake up with his uttering his love, and drifted to sleep with him declaring it one more time. I could feel his love embrace my whole being. My heart was full. It had never felt so full before.

And then one day catastrophe happened.

Because fate is unkind to lovers. Fate tore us apart, and ever since my heart has never felt full again. Like those people who can still feel their limbs after amputation, I too, feel this phantom love. Other times I’m just aching for the part of me that isn’t there because he had become so essential to my being.

I often think about that moment at the Wonder Wheel. A part of hopes that the superstition is true. That fate can be bent and he’ll find his way back to me. Or that time can be rewound and I can find myself back on the top of the Ferris Wheel, our lips sticky with sugar, sharing kisses, sharing breaths, sharing dreams.

By: Azzurra Nox

Review: Meg Rhythm Gentle Steam Eye Mask

I was recently gifted this product from the Allure Enthusiasts program. I wasn’t sure what to initially think of this product, since I’ve never considered purchasing something similar before. But alas, I figured I’d give it a shot and see what the hype was all about (after all could 500 million buyers be wrong?). This product is made in Japan and each box contains seven eye masks (one for each day of the week?). The heat generated by this eye mask is approximately 104 degrees F.

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What It Is: Relaxing Eye Mask

What It Does: Promotes relaxation through the use of warm steam and lavender scent.

Verdict: I tried this on after a particularly tiring and cold night. The scent is very potent (meaning if you love lavender then you’ll love it, but if it annoys you, then it’ll seem pungent). I personally enjoyed the scent and helped me to relax. Being perpetually cold and at times suffering from head colds, the eye steam aspect of this mask was what I loved the most. The box says that the warming effect only lasts 10 minutes, but it actually was more like 30 minutes for me. Wearing this eye mask is like being lulled in a soft cuddly embrace and makes you feel like you’re truly getting pampered. Needless to say, I quickly fell asleep soon after.

Price: $10.99

Where To Buy It: Amazon

By: Azzurra Nox

Review: Channel Zero – No-End House

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Much like American Horror Story, Channel Zero is a horror anthology series which each season differing from another. Last year, it was Channel Zero: Candle Cove, this year SyFy series returned with Channel Zero: No-End House. Unlike other series that are either based off of books, original screenplays, or graphic novels, this series is based off of Internet-borne stories infamously known as creepypasta (they’re the sames stories that birthed the legend of Slender Man). Unlike American Horror Story, Channel Zero gives a seriously dose of creepy vibes with its visceral, almost nightmare-inducing visuals.

Channel Zero: No-End House is centered upon a haunted house. But this haunted house is unlike any other you’ve ever been in as entering all six rooms will leave you emotionally disturbed (if you even make it through to the other side). The show centers around the protagonist, Margot (Amy Forsyth) a young woman who’s still dealing with the untimely death of her father (John Carroll Lynch). One night, her best friend Jules (Aisha Dee) proposes to go out for the night to help pull her friend out of her dark spot. The two end up in a bar where they meet fellow friend J.D. (Seamus Patterson) and alluring new boy Seth (Jeff Ward) who dare the girls to join them to walk through a haunted house infamous for leaving anyone who enters it utterly disturbed. The two friends agree, and once they enter the house that’s when things go awry.

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What follows isn’t necessarily outwardly disturbing per se at first glance, only that the final room of the house brings the group to a neighborhood, much like the one they’re from (almost like an alternate universe of sorts) only that the people who inhabit that place may look like your loved ones, but are far from being those people. (Such as the protagonist Margot seeing her father living there and he’s alive, when in her world he’s dead). At first glance, the people inhabiting the house may appear innocuous but they actually harbor a dark secret. Mere food doesn’t nourish these creatures, rather they feed off of someone’s memories (quite literally, as your memories manifest into either a person or pet and the house’s inhabitants tear into them, devouring every morsel of your past).

The show was directed by Steven Piet (known mostly for the crime mystery Uncle John on Netflix). Channel Zero: No-End House is full of long pans such as the film It Follows, not quite revealing to the viewer right away what exactly it is that we need to be paying attention to. There’s a strange sense of dread in every scene, and the suspense and terror is palpable. The viewer is filled with a terrible sense of unease throughout the whole series, and for some of you less brave folks out there, you may need to sleep with the light on once you’re through with this.

By: Azzurra Nox

My American Nightmare – Giveaway & Book Launch!

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October had me uber busy between Halloween events (I was at a new event every weekend cause I LOVE Halloween) and launching my horror anthology MY AMERICAN NIGHTMARE – WOMEN IN HORROR ANTHOLOGY.

This anthology is a bit of a passion project where I selected short stories from a vast amount of entries to bring readers the very best of horror (and all the nuances of the genre) and incredible new voices that I wish to showcase.

For two weeks now the book has been featured on Amazon’s bestselling list in short stories, and I couldn’t be more proud of these ladies that helped my dream of compiling an anthology come true!

So support women writers by purchasing a copy of the book: HERE (or if you have Amazon Kindle Unlimited you can read the book for FREE!).

ALSO: Don’t forget to enter the giveaway I have for my book launch HERE (where you have a chance to win a $15 Amazon Giftcard & amazing book themed swag!)

P.S. For a limited time my book DOLL PARTS: Tales of Twisted Love is being offered FREE HERE!

By: Azzurra Nox

Review: Bath & Body Works Bath Fizzy

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What It Is: Fragrant Bath Bomb

Scent: Warm Vanilla Sugar

Verdict: Honestly, I expected a lot more from this seeing that I love Bath & Body works handcream and hand soaps. But sadly, this bath bomb just doesn’t deliver. It doesn’t do much for your skin (you don’t feel as though it has allowed your skin to be moisturized). Nor were you engulfed in a sweet scented embrace. I barely smelled the warm vanilla sugar fragrance (to the point that I wasn’t even sure it was vanilla, it could’ve been anything). I don’t know if their other scents are more potently scented, (as their handcreams deliver a crazy amount of aroma), but this warm vanilla sugar was truly weak.

Price: 6.95

Where To Buy It: http://www.bathandbodyworks.com

By: Azzurra Nox

Book Review: This Darkness Mine – Mindy McGinnis

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Mindy McGinnis has been delivering badass (sometimes unlikeable) but definitely strong female protagonists since her early works. This Darkness Mine is no different from her previous novels in that regard. Sasha Stone is the epitome of perfection: first chair clarinet player, straight-A student, and also comes equipped with a “perfect” boyfriend who’s handsome, well-dressed, and doesn’t pressure her into sex. All of this slowly begins to erode once bad-boy Isaac Harver enters the scene. Soon, she begins to feel feelings towards him that she never did and recalling events she’s never taken part of. Or has she?

Some light begins to shed when we find out that Sasha had a twin that she ultimately ended up absorbing whilst in the womb (known as Shanna). Unlike Sasha, this twin despises control and perfection and begins to wreck havoc into her life once she starts to take over Sasha’s psyche. But is Shanna real or merely a figment of Sasha’s imagination?

The book flirts with the notion of unreliable narrator, much like Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan did with Natalie Portman’s character. Is what is happening real or is it all just a sign of Sasha’s ultimate madness?

McGinnis breathes life into the “dead twin” Shanna, allowing her to be the personification of Freud’s ID (meaning being a person who only lives for their own passions and don’t allow their brain to control their emotions). Sasha on the other hand is Freud’s EGO end of this yin-yang duo, the brain and captain of the ship. But what happens when the emotion-driven Shanna takes reins of the situation and how will that effect Sasha’s “perfect” world?

This book isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s dark. It’s gritty. It’s gory. (Yes, I L-O-V-E-D it!). And just when you think you know where it’s leading you, you’re completely blindsided by yet again another improvised detour that will leave you questioning your own sanity and judgment. McGinnis delivers a punch to the gut with her sharp writing and often ruthless character interactions.

So take the plunge, cause it’s one hell of a crazy ride.

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Short Q & A With the Author:

When I started reading This Darkness Mine I realized that the book was based off of the short story that appeared in Among The Shadows, entitled Phantom Heart. When did you decide to further explore Sasha’s world and what was it about this character that compelled you to do that?

Great question, thanks for noticing! Yes, DARKNESS is based on my short, “Phantom Heart.” Originally, I had no intention of taking this any further. Then my fellow editors for Among The Shadows – Demitria Lunetta and Kate Karyus Quinn – insisted that there was a whole novel there. I wasn’t sure, but I pitched the idea to my editor at Harper Collins, who was like – Yes! Write it!

Sasha Stone is the typical overachiever. Do you think that her mental illness derives from expecting perfection out of herself and the pressures that come along with that, or does she suffer from multiple personality disorder?

I worked in a public school for 15 years, and I always thought it was interesting how black and white rules and programs were. Drugs are bad. Sex is bad. Smoking is bad. Period. In some ways, we’re telling the kids that even curiosity about our “darker” inclinations are plain wrong, and need to be smothered, not investigated. Perfection is impossible, yet many strive for it. I wondered what would happen if you took an already strained teen, trying to be the “good” kid, and had her repulsed even by any interest in doing “bad” things. Would she be able to accept that such urges can be normal? Or is that so far outside of what we’ve taught her is “good” that she has to come up with an alternative explanation?

For many years I’ve been very fascinated with the creepy phenomenon of Fetus in Fetu, where a twin ends up absorbing the other twin in the womb, and in some cases doctors have later found the missing twin inside of the living twin, usually mistaken for a tumor later on in life. When did you become interested in this strange phenomenon?

It’s actually not a rare event, it’s something that usually goes completely unnoticed. I can’t remember the first time I ever heard of it, because it is pretty pervasive in pop culture, but I did have a student years and years ago who had absorbed his twin. It’s something I collected in my lint trap of a brain, and it became paired in my mind with the mirror therapy that they use for phantom limb syndrome, which is how “Phantom Heart” came about.

In the novel, Sasha is a clarinet player. Were you ever in band in high school and how did that help with writing the novel from a musician’s point of view?

You bet!!! Trombone since 4th grade!!! I tell everyone this is my band geek book. I also took piano lessons throughout most of my childhood, so music has always been a part of my life as both a consumer and a producer. This was a chance to work that into a book.

This novel was exceptionally dark. It explored the trials of mental illness as well as what it means to be a successful girl. Which actress could you see in the role of Sasha if this were to be made into a movie?

Oh, I have no idea. I don’t ever do any fan casting.

(Editor note: I asked that question because I could totally see Emma Roberts portraying stone-cold crazy bitch Sasha to perfection.)

I often use music to get into a certain mood depending what scenes I’m writing. Since your novel was about a girl who was obsessed with music, did you use music as a way to aid you in the writing of this book? And which music/artist/or song did you listen to when immersing yourself into Sasha’s world?

I actually don’t listen to music when I’m writing because while it can be helpful to get you into one mood, it can also end up controlling you mood so that when you need to flip to something else when you change scenes it can be hard. Instead I have a white noise app that I keep on while I’m writing. It’s a back ground noise that lets my creativity be in control, not someone else’s.

Get your copy of This Darkness Mine here today!

Visit the author’s site http://mindymcginnis.com

By: Azzurra Nox

My Bad Romance: The Romantic

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The first time I saw you, you walked right past me and I felt my heart leap out of my chest as my gaze followed you and I said, “Who’s that hot guy?” And my then-boyfriend merely laughed and told me how it was a friend, and called after you. Once you returned, your eyes met mine and just like in some lame rom-com it felt like time had stopped for a moment, minus the cheesy pop song as the soundtrack. We spent the night drinking coffee and talking, and something I’d just look over at you as you spoke animatedly with your friend. When my phone rang, you said, “We’ve got the same ring tone,” later showing me how you too, had the same Franz Ferdinand song. You were on my mind for days after that night. It was impossible for me to fall in love with the boy I was with, because you had eclipsed him completely. How can one love the moon, when you were the sun?

The second time we met, it was a cold December night. I had broken up with my boyfriend. Two Capricorns were never meant to be together, our stubbornness clashing in the most violent ways. We met at a coffee shop, one of the few still open at the dead of night. We drank conspicuous amounts of coffee and tried several cakes. You kept drawing me comic strips of myself. It was bliss.

Then you insisted you’d walk me back to my hotel. It was snowing. Music flowed out from a pub down the street. You grabbed me, insisted we dance. I laughed, telling you it was too cold and you pulled me to saying, “I’ll keep you warm, pretty girl.” The stars lit up your eyes, and I smiled giving in. I still was uncertain in regards to your feelings for me. But then you kissed me, and any doubts I had vanished.

Like most wonderful, charming men, you were taken. Of course, I didn’t know that until after. After many kisses and after my heart was already yours. It was too late then for me to try to pull myself free of this twisted love.

You sent me so many letters after we parted. So many roses that I could’ve adorned a flower shop. You made me so many mix CDs filled with your own music and The Beatles, The Smashing Pumpkins, and various other artists.

The fourth time I saw you, three weeks had passed since our last encounter. But I immediately knew that something was amiss. The THE END was written all over your pale face by the way you grimaced when I hugged you. I knew that you were about to hit me with bad, TERRIBLE news.

I couldn’t stay. I had to get away.

You kept calling me afterwards. Leaving messages, saying how we should still be friends. That we were friends before lovers.

Another month went by before I saw you again.

By then my heart was shattered. But you kept telling me how much you loved me. I was reeling on x to truly understand any of it. I only wanted to smash your heart in smithereens just as you had done with mine. I just wanted to burn anything that you had ever given to me, till there was nothing left but ashes.

“I love you,” you kept repeating, like I was a child who couldn’t understand. “I care very deeply for you.”

I kept shaking my head. It wasn’t true. It couldn’t be true, or else I wouldn’t feel so awful. I let go of your hand.

“Where are you going?” you said, as tears blinded me. I walked aimlessly away from you. I wanted so much to stay. But I knew I couldn’t.

You were never mine for me to keep.

By: Azzurra Nox

Review: L’Oreal Infallible Pro Matte Liquid Lipstick

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What It Is: Highly Pigmented Liquid Matte Lipstick

Verdict: I bought this lipstick because I was looking for a matte liquid lipstick that was a blood red hue, and so I ended up getting the Roseblood shade out of this collection. I wasn’t sure what to expect since I haven’t been impressed with too many liquid lipsticks from other brands, except for Jeffree Star (my absolute favourite brand for liquid lipsticks). What I can say is that I’m pleasantly surprised by how amazing this product is! First of all, the colour is highly pigmented (albeit that you have to slick on about two layers of it since the first layer is more sheer than dark), but the best thing about this liquid lipstick is that it’s NOT drying AND it looks amazing (meaning it doesn’t play up the lines in your lips but rather comes out looking very smooth-looking an uniform). Bonus point: This lipstick doesn’t come off even after a serious makeout session.

Price: 9.99

Where To Buy It: CVS, Target, and www.lorealparisusa.com

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By: Azzurra Nox

My Bad Romance: The Artist

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I met you in the City of Love, or most commonly known as Paris. I was heartbroken and crying my eyes out along the Seine when you stopped me and asked me if I needed help in any way. “Are you capable of fixing a broken heart?” I said with a slight embarrassed laugh in between the tears. You were gentle and kind, and although your eyes are of the lightest shade of blue, they were the warmest color in that cold winter day.

You were in the city with your brother because he had a film meeting, and I was there to see “The Soulmate” (brooding musician that made any girl sigh as he walked by) only to find out that what should’ve been a getting back together weekend turned out to be a breaking up for good when he admitted that a girl he was casually seeing was impregnated with his baby. Somehow that cemented the fact that I needed to walk away for good.

My infatuation for you was both sudden and fleeting. I loved the way you held your paintbrush as you went on a painting frenzy, mixing the colours till they transformed into magic. Your kisses were warm, but my heart was cold. I’d touch you hoping that I’d feel something inside of me stir, but my heart was too wounded to even find a weak beat in its dark crevices.

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We shared cappuccinos and croissants in Florence, admired Botticelli’s art, and walked along the bridge over the Arno River. You held unto my hand as though you never wanted to let it go, and yet I always walked a step ahead of you, as though I wanted to disentangle from your affection.

And yet the months went by and I kept living in old black and white photographs whilst your world was in technicolor. You didn’t know how dark my world had become, I was so good at smiling in your presence. But tears would plague me the moment I was alone. I didn’t even know what I was crying over. The end of a relationship? Losing the soulmate? Or was I merely devastated that I couldn’t feel what you felt for me?

Love for you was eternal Spring, whilst I was living the most dreadful winter. When it came time for me to tell you the truth and let you go, I watched your heart crack leaving dreadful red marks down your chest and I wished that I could repaint a better picture. I yearned so much that I could distort the world to make it appear as beautiful as you saw it, because I wanted to much to be a part of it, but I don’t think I ever was.

The stars had abandoned me. There was only darkness in my road and you deserved the light.

By: Azzurra Nox

Makeup Tutorial: Zombie Prom

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With Halloween right around the corner, it was obvious that I was going to share a makeup tutorial. I recently went to a Zombie Prom this past weekend, so I ended up having to do a zombie makeup for the very first time. For being my first time, I think that I did a decent job (good enough to be somewhat creepy).

It actually was very easy to achieve so read below on how to get this terrifying look!

Base

Since I needed to look dead, I decided not to use any concealer under my eyes, and actually accentuated my dark circles even more so. But I first prepped my skin with Smashbox’s Photofinish Primer before applying Manic Panic’s Dreamtone foundation in Virgin (Whitest White) shade. I set the foundation using LunatiCK Cosmetic Labs High Definition Microfinish Pressed Powder.

Eyes & Lips

For my brows, I used my go-to Medusa’s Makeup Brow Wow Wow. For the lids, I applied Siren Song from Notoriously Morbid all over and applied Urban Decay’s Crave eyeshadow along the crease and along my lower lashes. I then accentuated my dark circles by blending Urban Decay’s Crave and Faint eyeshadows.

To glam things up (and since the event was an 80’s Prom theme) I applied one of Nicka K’s Shimmer Eyeliner in Cyan and then using lash glue applied Medusa’s Makeup Glitter in Mystique all over my lid. I finished up my eye-look with three generous coats of Lancome’s Definicil’s Mascara in Black.

The lips were simple, I applied Jeffree Star’s Velour Liquid Lipstick in I’m Nude to cancel out my real lip colour and make them appear more washed out. I then dabbed some Lime Crime Velvetines in Cement in the center to give a “decayed” look.

Zombie Makeup

For my major “gash” I glued some tissue paper on my cheek using lash glue and then dabbed some of the foundation I used prior to make the paper appear like my skin. I then mixed Urban Decay’s eyeshadows in Crave (a matte black hue) and Faint (a matte brown hue) I dabbed it on the wound. Finally to complete the look I used Blood FX Gel around and on the wound.

Then using only the two Urban Decay eyeshadows (Crave and Faint) I placed random wounds along my face and then using the FX Blood Gel I applied it on top of that and near and around my lips.

Using a liquid eyeliner I then created broken veins along my forehead and down my eyes.

Let me know what you think of this Zombie look and if you’ve created other Zombie looks yourself!

By: Azzurra Nox