How to Choose Healthy Yogurt

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Photo courtesy of http://www.medicaldaily.com

Are you one of those people who go for yogurt when trying to lose weight or just trying to be healthy? Well, not all yogurts are made equal, meaning that a lot of times your good intentions of being healthy might actually backfire when you’re consuming yogurt that is high in sugars.

Sometimes even yogurts low in calories are still high in sugars, which end up not being that healthy at all or contributing to inflammation for acne-prone skin.

So how can one not fall into the trap of consuming the wrong yogurt?

Have no fear, as I will let you in on a little secret.

When choosing yogurt you need to see the amount of sugar it contains (it doesn’t matter if on the front they advertise it as being Light or ‘Only 80 calories!’), what matters the most is the amount of sugars found within. Where can you check that? Usually, that is found in the back of the yogurt or in the small print at the bottom.

The healthy choice for yogurt that is to aim for yogurt that contains between 8-14-grams maximum of sugars.

The second thing you need to aim for is to select yogurts that are high in protein as they’re likely to contain less sugar as well.

The best choice overall for yogurt is plain Greek yogurt as that doesn’t contain any sugars. You can try to sweeten it up with fresh fruit such as raspberries or blueberries.

Yogurt can be a healthy meal option when trying to lose weight, but choosing the right one will make all the difference.

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Book Review: The Fade by Demitria Lunetta

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The Others meets The Cellar in this scary ghost story thriller from the author of BAD BLOOD.

Release Date: December 11, 2018

Order On Amazon

Price: $12.32

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Plot Summary:

We don’t want to disappear.
We want to be found.

Something terrible happened in her basement. Haley can feel it.

Four girls went missing several years ago, and the police never solved the case. But Haley knows the missing girls were murdered. How else can she explain the hostile presence in her house?

The ghostly girls need something from her. And unless Haley can figure out what they want…she might be next.

Grade: A

Review:

Creepy haunted house in a small town? Check. Missing girls that are possibly dead and haunting said house? Check. Creepy little boy, that sees dead people? Check. Basically, this book has all the things that a good ghost story murder mystery should have. I liked that the book started right off the bat with creepy events, it wasn’t a slow burn. And I like that some of the minor characters were right on board with the belief of ghosts, cause sometimes it gets kinda taxing to have characters go back and forth about whether or not the existence of ghosts is possible.

The mystery of what happened to the missing girls is what had me hooked, to be honest. I really wanted to know what happened to the girls, how they were murdered, where, and why. I also wanted to know who had murdered them. That mystery was the most interesting aspect of the book. I also enjoyed that the book didn’t try to force romantic relationships, or rather they were more casual, rather than insta-love. There are some events that take you by surprise, so it isn’t one of those predictable books, instead it keeps you wanting to read because I really had no idea where it was going to take me. But it was a fun, yet creepy ride!

The writing flowed very well, and if you’re a fan of YA and ghost stories, then this book will be right up your alley.

Short Q & A With the Author:

Why do you think that books about missing girls are so popular?

I think that the mystery is what really gets people. WHAT HAPPENED?! Then when it’s a young person, when there’s an expectation of care, it’s even more important to figure out WHAT HAPPENED?!

What inspired you to write your current book?

I moved into a new house and was at the top of the basement stairs thinking, “This is such a murder basement.” And the idea for THE FADE was born!

The Fade isn’t only a thriller mystery but it has a paranormal twist to it with the ghosts. What makes ghost stories and haunted homes so frightening?

Ghost stories are terrifying because they’re all about the unknown. Unexplainable phenomenon is terrifying! When reading/watching ghost stories I always think about the point of when I would leave the haunted house. It’s usually pretty soon. I could get a new house. And new stuff. And a new husband. I’d be so gone at the first spine prickle of a ghost.

Your book kind of reminded me of The Sixth Sense in the way that Haley is tasked with trying to help the ghosts she encounters. What movies do you think influenced or inspired you with the writing of this book?

Yes! Haley’s name is inspired by Haley Joel Osment from the Sixth Sense! I loved the creepiness of that movie but also the revelation that the ghosts just want help.

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and Delacorte Press for the digital ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review!

ENTER FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A SIGNED ARC OF THE FADE BY CLICKING THIS LINK!
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Book Review: And We Call It Love by Amanda Vink

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Release Date: June 1, 2019

Pre-Order on Amazon

Price: $19.95

Publisher: West 44 Books

Plot Summary:

Clare and Zari are best friends. They write music together, go everywhere together, and they know everything about the other. At least they did before Zari started dating Dion. The more Zari falls for Dion, the less she has time for anything else. At first, Clare chalks it up to a new and exciting relationship, and she tries to be happy for her friend despite her loneliness. When Zari starts to show up to school with half-hidden bruises, Clare knows there’s something darker about this relationship that has to be stopped.

Grade: C –

Review:

I usually love poetry and verse, however, this book just didn’t hit the mark for me. I think my biggest issue with it, despite the fact that it was written as poetic verse, was that the writing just wasn’t that poetic. I was expecting more lyrical writing with this type of writing format. Sadly, this wasn’t the case. Another issue that I had with this book is that it was told in alternating perspectives, and I usually love the dual points of views, however, the way it was written, there was no clear definition between who was Clare or who was Zari. So it made it a little confusing to keep up with the plot because of that.

It saddens me that the execution of the story wasn’t done well because the book explored some very important topics like friendship, self-discovery, and abusive relationships. And I think those are some compelling topics for teens to read about if done well. The characters in this book weren’t very well-developed and this book just fell short.

As a writer, I honestly despise being too critical when it comes to debut authors so I won’t delve too much on the negatives. Also, since I’m not the intended audience, the writing may not resonate with me so much, however, middle-grade readers or tweens may find this books interesting.

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and West 44 Books for the digital ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review!

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Review: Kocostar Rose Lip Mask

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Sheet and face masks have been all the rage lately, and it’s no different with lips masks. In the age of Instagram and selfies, lip masks are one of the most coveted masks there are, but this lip mask is more than a mere photo prop. This mask truly leaves your lips feeling smooth and ultra-hydrated, and the best part of it all is that it smells like you’ve got a bed of roses resting upon your lips. Some say that this lip mask forces you to lie down, but it actually didn’t slip off on me, so sitting up was possible.

What It Is: Hydrating Lip Mask

What It Does: Smooth, hydrates, and plumps lips

Verdict: To say I loved this lip mask is an understatement. This lip mask was utterly amazing! Not only does this lip mask smell like you’re walking in Marie Antoinette’s rose garden, but it truly hydrated and plumped my lips in ways no other lip mask has ever done before! Another bonus is that this lip mask is free of parabens and pthalates (chemicals you probably shouldn’t have near your mouth anyhow). This mask can be used any time of day, even before a night going out, since the serum doesn’t leave your lips drenched, however, it sinks into your lips and once the mask is off, there’s no sticky residue, meaning that you can easily wear lipstick on top without wiping off any excess beforehand. Out of the many lip masks, I’ve tried, this is hands down my favourite one.

Price: $38 for 20

Where To Buy It: www.anthropologie.com

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Poetry: Mephistopheles with Scabbed Wings

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It was a blue February night

When I first stumbled in your dream.

I felt awkward swaying to your song

As you pulled off my bruised wings.

You were as persuasive as Mephistopheles,

Digging your nail in the pit of my heart.

But I wanted you to plunge into my heart

Where you could hide your ethereal song,

So that I could become your dream

And would no longer need my wings

To soar into you every night,

Like a devious Mephistopheles.

I’ve been yearning to hear your song

Because it makes the blue night

Seem less long, as I dream

Of a raging Mephistopheles,

Who craves to clip my wings

And shatter my bloody heart.

Recently I feel that the night

Passes by slowly, as I lick my wings

Alone. Because Stupidbitch has now become your song.

I now invade you in your dream.

I’m like a horny Mephistopheles

Who wants to fuck your heart.

I know you feel invulnerable when you dream

Because it’s the only place where you can break my wings.

For I’ve got an asphalt heart

Gained from a previous lover with a tainted song

Who used to beat his pain into me every night

Until I began to perceive him as Mephistopheles.

Yes, I know that I’m your dream

But I’m afraid that you’ll want to chew my wings.

You love the taste of the jasmine night

Found within their enchanted song.

You need to run before your heart

Gets devoured by Mephistopheles.

I should’ve confessed in your dream that night

That your song cannot burn my wings

Because I am Mephistopheles ready to claw my way into your heart.

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Book Review: Nick and June Were Here By Shalanda Stanley

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How far can they get on love alone?

Girl in Pieces meets All the Bright Places in this heartbreaking story of two teens who are determined to stay together in a world tearing them apart.

Release Date: February 19, 2019

Pre-Order On Amazon

Price: $17.99

Publisher: Knopf Books For Young Readers

Plot Summary:

Nick and June were best friends for years until their relationship suddenly turned into something more. Now, June is coping with a new diagnosis of schizophrenia, a secret she asked Nick to keep for too long. Between managing her symptoms and her parents, June is just trying to keep it together. Nick is a reluctant car thief, supporting his aunt with the money and focusing on his art whenever he can. But when June’s condition sends her to the hospital and Nick’s latest crime threatens to land him in prison, the two decide to run away. When the world is trying to tear them apart, can Nick and June find a way to stay together?

This emotional lyrical novel will tug at your heartstrings and make you think twice about what you would give up for love, even if it’s a piece of yourself.

Grade: A

Review:

I really felt bad for these star-crossed lovers. Unlike Romeo and Juliet, Nick and June’s relationship was an enduring one, as they were best friends since fifth grade, and sometime in high school, the two decide to become a couple. I always felt like whenever Nick and June were together, the best of them came through, it was when they were apart that the worst of them came out.

The two characters had a strong and passionate bond, and when you’re a teenager you truly believe that true love is forever. But Nick and June have so many things going against them, from Nick’s car thievery occupation to June’s recent schizophrenia, it’s almost a bad idea for these two to even be together. However, the two truly believe that love can be all for them, although at times June acknowledges that forever doesn’t have to mean forever in a physical sense, but that her love for Nick will live forever in her heart.

Despite the odds, the reader can’t help but cheer for these two. You truly want their love to endure and hope that nothing will break them up. The fact that these two characters are likable and relatable makes you wish that somehow, in the end, they can have their happy ending.

This is definitely a journey you won’t want to miss and one that will surely pull on your heartstrings.

Author-Photo-Shalanda-Stanley

Follow Shalanda Stanley on Twitter!

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and Knopf Books for Young Readers for the digital ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review!

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Recipe: Maple Glazed Brussel Sprouts

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Photo courtesy of hotdinnerhappyhome.blogspot.com

Happy Thanksgiving, Peeps!

Are you one of those people who never know what to bring to a Thanksgiving gathering? This year, bring something that is both a crowd pleaser and doesn’t pack on the calories. I actually made this dish for a Friendsgiving gathering and it wasn’t long before it was all gone! This recipe is super easy as it doesn’t have that many ingredients and once it’s put together, the oven does the rest of the work!

Ingredients:

1 – pound Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and cut in half

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

3 Tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup

4 Slices bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces

½ Teaspoon Salt

¼ Teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper

Prep Time: 10-minutes

Cook Time: 35-minutes

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (200 degrees C)

Place the Brussels Sprouts in a single layer into a baking dish (preferably glass).

Drizzle with olive oil and maple syrup, toss the sprouts to coat.

Sprinkle with bacon and season with salt and black pepper.

Roast in the preheated oven for about 35-minutes, or until the bacon is crispy and the sprouts are caramelized. Every so often, stir so they don’t get stuck or burned.

Calories:175 per 1-cup serving

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HAUL: TonyMoly Korean Beauty

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Korean beauty products have become the biggest trend in the U.S. lately. One of the biggest Korean beauty brands is TonyMoly, who has everything you can imagine from face masks, peels, sheet masks, lip balms, creams, makeup, etc. They have skincare products for every skincare concern be it wrinkles, acne, dryness, redness, or sensitive skin. This brand recently launched in Sephora when the Korean beauty products became a popular thing. I hadn’t tried this brand till now. The packaging is obviously ultra adorable (it’ll make you feel like you’re thirteen all over again).

Egg Pore Care Set

Price: $28

Key Factors: Egg-powered ingredients such as Egg Yolk (lots of Vitamin A!) and clarifying Egg Shell Powder.

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I’m Red Wine – Gel Eye Patch

Price: $6

Key Factors: Helps tighten and purify skin.

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Mini Fruit Lipbalm Peach

Price: $10

Key Factors: Shea Butter and Witch hazel, helps lock in moisture and hydration.

I’m Hand Cream – Cherry Blossom

Price: $6

Key Factors: Rejuvenates skin.

Where To Buy It: https://tonymoly.us

Are you a fan of Korean beauty products? Which ones are your faves?

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Review: Medusa’s Makeup Witch Lash Mascara Bebe Travel Size

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It’s no secret that mascara is one of my fave beauty products and also one where I’m willing to try out any new one that comes out (reason why you’ll notice way more mascara reviews on this blog than any other beauty product). One of my favourite mascara products is Medusa’s Makeup Witch Lash Mascara, so when they included a travel size in November’s Beauty Box, I was thrilled.

What It Is: Super thickening waterproof mascara with a fuller bristle brush

What It Does: This mascara helps thicken and define lashes.

Verdict: If you’re looking for a mascara that can offer lift and volume in one easy swipe, then this isn’t the one, purely because it takes multiple swipes to achieve the look. That’s not saying that the mascara isn’t good, quite the contrary. Just like the other Witch Lash, this version’s brush is simply smaller meaning that it won’t fit your whole eye in one sweep, BUT the small size allows it to reach the usually difficult nooks and crannies (such as the inner corner and outer corner of the eye). But unlike the previous Witch Lash, these bristles differ (the others are more rigid which helps separate lashes, whilst these create more of a feathery lash look). One of the major pros of this product though is the size. You can pop this small mascara in your handbag, pocket, or even phone carrier! You’ll never have an excuse to not have amazing lashes with this product on your hands! It’s a mini-miracle worker (step aside ), creating length and volume on even the thinnest and smallest lashes. I absolutely recommend this product if you’re into the whole lash extension look (without the damaging effects that actual extensions cause). And for just $10, it’s definitely worth a try!

Price: $10

Where To Buy It: https://medusasmakeup.com

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Book Review: The Favorite Daughter By Kaira Rouda

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The perfect home. The perfect family. The perfect lie.

Release date: May 21, 2019

Pre-Order on Amazon

Price: $26.99

Publisher: Graydon House

Plot Summary:

Jane Harris lives in a sparkling home in an oceanfront gated community in Orange County. It’s a place that seems too beautiful to be touched by sadness. But exactly one year ago, Jane’s oldest daughter, Mary, died in a tragic accident and Jane has been grief-stricken ever since. Lost in a haze of anti-depressants, she’s barely even left the house. Now that’s all about to change.

It’s time for Jane to reclaim her life and her family. Jane’s husband, David, has planned a memorial service for Mary and three days later, their youngest daughter, Betsy, graduates high school. Yet as Jane reemerges into the world, it’s clear her family has changed without her. Her husband has been working long days—and nights—at the office. Her daughter seems distant, even secretive. And her beloved Mary was always such a good girl—dutiful and loving. But does someone know more about Mary, and about her last day, than they’ve revealed?

The bonds between mothers and daughters, and husbands and wives should never be broken. But you never know how far someone will go to keep a family together…

Grade: B-

Review:

I’ll admit that I really struggled reading this book for the first 45 pages or so. The main reason is that I really couldn’t stand the protagonist of the novel, Jane. She was the typical vapid bitch that one would imagine a rich Orange County housewife to be. I know that the author was trying to vividly depict a narcissist who’s also an unreliable narrator, but I suppose I like my narcissists to be more charming than annoying.

Jane is a total control freak who can’t stand that her daughters don’t follow her rules, especially her biological daughter Betsy, whom she keeps referring to being the lesser daughter, and going on about how her deceased daughter Mary was her favourite because she was beautiful, smart, talented, and above all popular.

Maybe it’s a personal pet peeve but I really dislike protagonists (especially those that are written in the first person) who are prone to criticize other women and pretty much be the sort of mean girl you try to avoid in real life. Honestly, there’s a reason why I avoid those reality shows like the Real Lives of (insert city) Housewives, cause all those women are shallow, manipulative, and just plain horrid human beings.

Now you’re wondering, what made you continue to read if you hated the protagonist so much? Well, the writing itself was flowing and easy going (although it lacked the descriptive writing I’m more of a fan of) and I did want to find out if my hunch on what had really happened was true.

Spoiler alert: I was right, so the grand twist was no true twist. I don’t know if this book was the best representation of a psychological thriller, but it was entertaining. I just wish that the other characters in the book were a bit more likable, as I would’ve actually felt some compassion for the terrible things that were happening to them. But ironically, as much as I disliked Jane, I kinda sided with her, cause her family members truly treated her poorly that they kinda deserved her ire.

I think women’s book clubs and fans of cozy mysteries would actually be the best fans for this novel. There’s not much gore or thrill, so fans of thrillers seeking a chilling tale won’t find it in this book, but if you’re hoping to be entertained and spend the afternoon with a delusional rich housewife and laugh at her expense, then you’re at the right place.

 

kaira

Follow Kaira Rouda on Instagram!

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and Graydon House for the digital ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review!

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