Remembering Dolores and the Summer of 1999

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While the majority of the world became a Cranberries fan with the iconic song Zombie, I didn’t become a fan till 1999, when their fourth album Bury the Hatchet was released, preceded by their single, Promises. Something about that angry revenge anthem spoke to me (I was an angsty, angry teen) and I also loved the music video cause the wicked witch of the west resembled Fairuza Balk a little. Someone else who was equally a fan of that album was my cousin Melody.

I remember how she and I would listen to the album and daydream about living in London or Los Angeles. That we felt that maybe, in cities like that, our mutual weirdness would be better understood or at least not scoffed or poked fun at, as opposed to where we lived.

My cousin was a bigger fan than I was, to the point that she said, “I wish my name could be Dolores at least it would be better suited for me than Melody. Do-lo-res…just saying it sounds darkly poetic.”

We’d sing along to Animal Instinct whilst applying makeup and drinking conspicuous amounts of coffee and Bailey’s Irish Cream. Clouds of smoke would circle above our heads as we shared lipsticks and secrets, all the while Dolores O’Riordan’s voice at times aggressive, other times ethereal playing in the background. We’d stroll the cobblestone streets of our small Sicilian town, humming Just My Imagination, and dreaming big dreams. This was before selfies were a thing, so I don’t have photos documenting those moments of us together, but they’ve remained engrained in my mind, milk fresh as though they’ve only happened several months ago, and not years ago. How we’d lie both in bed, our long hair meshing together, her’s bleached blonde, mine strawberry blonde, and how it created the perfect sunset hue, and the notes from the songs would transport us elsewhere, somewhere we were convinced that we’d be better versions of ourselves.

On Christmas Eve of 2013, Melody committed suicide—and although I hadn’t seen her in years since 1999 (I had moved to America and she had moved to Turin), I couldn’t stop thinking of the last summer days we spent together. Of how everything seemed possible—when we were young and fearless. And we didn’t know it then, but maybe, we already were the better versions of ourselves but we were just too blind to see it.

Now, with the recent and unexpected death of Dolores O’Riordan, I can’t help but think about how Bury the Hatchet had been the soundtrack of my last days spent with Melody. And how often, these last five years, I’ve found myself listening to the familiar songs as a way to feel closer to my cousin, as a way to be transported back to those careless summer days.

And now, I’m merely left with the songs and the memories of a summer that’s gone and with it its dreams.

By: Azzurra Nox

Peels: Why does your skin need them?

 

IMG_0882With so many skincare products floating around nowadays (masks, serums, moisturizers, etc.) it’s no wonder that a gal (or even guy!) may feel stumped as to where to begin and why they even need a certain product in the first place. But have no fear! My aim is to make this journey easier for you, and today the focus is on one of my favourite skincare products: PEELS.

What are Peels?

It’s another form of mask (usually one you can leave for up to 30-minutes to overnight) that allows for deep exfoliation of the skin. Facial peels will remove the top layer of skin, meaning that it’ll get rid of any dullness or imperfections by exposing the newer skin to the surface.

Chemical peels are the most potent, and depending on the strength of the acid is how deep your skin will be exfoliated. The higher dose of acid, the greater chances of getting fantastic results.

What are Peels best for?

If your skin concerns are: aging, acne scars, melasma, and hyperpigmentation, then chemical peels are the best thing that could happen to your skin. The only downside? Do NOT sunbathe up to a week before or after a peel, and don’t forget your sunscreen!

Which Chemical Peels are best for you?

Oily skin – Salicylic acid based peel

Aging skin – Glycolic acid based peel

Dry skin – Mandelic acid based peel

Recommended Peel: Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Original Formula

This peel visibly transforms your skin in just THREE days!

Benefits of this peel are:

  • firmer, smoother skin
  • smaller, tighter pores
  • a radiant, more even complexion

Key Ingredients: Glyconic Acid, Lactic Acid, Malic Acid, Salicylic Acid, Retinol, Resveratrol, Genistein, Chamomile, Green Tea, Phospholipids, Ubiquinone, and Vitamins A, C, E

Verdict: Dr. Dennis Gross’ peels come in two steps. The first step is a surface refiner, meaning that you apply this one to prepare your skin. You leave the product on for two minutes before applying step two, which is the deeper treatment. The deeper treatment is targeted to penetrate deeper into the pores, exfoliating and removing the top layer of skin. I usually use peels at night, so I can keep them on overnight, and wake up the following morning to brighter, smoother, and supple skin. If you’re in search of having the softest skin ever without blemishes, then I truly recommend a peel! And this one, in particular, is one of my favourites because it targets the majority of skin concerns: aging, dullness, and acne! So do your skin a favour, and treat yourself to a peel!

Price: $27.98 (5-count on amazon.com)

Frequency of Use: It’s usually recommended to do a peel at least once a week if you have problematic skin, but if you don’t, then even twice a month or once a month is enough to reveal brighter softer skin.

By: Azzurra Nox

My Skincare Routine!

If you have combination or oily skin like me, then this routine will best suit those who have a similar skin type as myself. Many of the products I use are intended for combination to oily skin, so they won’t be necessarily helpful to those that have dry skin.

My skincare routine is pretty simple, but I’ve decided to break it down into two sections: Morning and Night.

Morning

Having oily skin means that I absolutely CANNOT skip washing my face in the morning, as I often wake up with an oil slick all over my face. I know most people prefer to use cold water in the morning to wake themselves up, however, I actually need to use hot water in the mornings to wash my face in order to break down the oils. Another thing that I absolutely cannot do without is facial cleansers!

Here are some of my faves:

Purity by Philosophy

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Burt’s Bees Radiance Facial Cleanser

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Clean & Clear Morning Energy Cleanser

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After washing my face I apply Smashbox’s Photofinish Primer under my eyes to keep that area hydrated throughout the day. I also apply a thin layer of Perfectly Posh’s My Hero sunscreen before applying makeup. And that’s it. No moisturizers, or any other creams or serums, as my skin is too oily and any sort of cream will either increase my oiliness levels or break me out.

Night

I always – always – remove my makeup before hitting the sack. It doesn’t matter how tired I am, or how late I return home, I JUST DO IT. Falling asleep in your makeup is one of the worst things you can do to your skin! Not only will it clog your pores and be the breeding ground for breakouts, but it’ll also cause pre-mature wrinkles! So ladies, if you value your skin, REMOVE THE MAKEUP before bed.

My go-to makeup remover for the past fifteen years or so has been Olay’s Daily Deeply Clean 4-in-1 Water Activated Cleansing Face Cloths (33-ct. $14.19 on amazon.com). Now, there may be some better removers out there, but I’ve been happy with these for so long that I’m not really itching to change it up. But if you have any suggestions, leave them to me in the comments!

Now, once I’m done removing my makeup I use a toner. My currents faves are:

Thayer’s Alcohol-free Rose Petal Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera Toner ($7.99 on amazon.com)

rose water

Everyone Face For Every Day Tone ($4.79 on amazon.com)

everyone

Tip: When choosing a toner, opt for alcohol-free, as any of the toners that contain a high alcohol content or smell like rubbing alcohol will dry out your skin.

After toner I apply an anti-acne cream (my favourite for years has been Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Spot Cream).

Once I’m done applying a thin later of that, I’ll use top it off with a thin layer of either Clinique’s Even Better Spot Serum (I love this because it moisturizers without being greasy AND it helps eliminate any past acne scars or dark spots) or a thin layer of Isabis Formulae Vitamin C with Vitamin A & E Serum (available on amazon.com for $25.97). I’ll usually use the Vitamin C serum more often when my skin looks like it’s about to breakout, or during moments when I know it’s more prone to breakout (like when I’m getting closer to my period) as this serum is a MIRACLEWORKER when it comes to keeping your skin not only incredibly smooth and soft, but pimple-free!

Last, but not least, I use an eye cream. I’m always changing these up (you can check out some of my favourite eye creams here). At the moment I’m currently using Honest Beauty The Younger Eye Cream ($28 at Target) and so far I’m satisfied with how it leaves my undereye feeling incredibly hydrated and smooth.

This pretty much sums up my skincare routine. It’s nothing too complex but works for me.

What are some of your skincare rituals?

By: Azzurra Nox

Review: KISS Polish Pop

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Remember when a few years ago when Sally Hansen came out with their Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips? Well, these are essentially more or less the same thing. At the time, I LOVED the Sally Hansen Strips cause they truly lasted a very long time (for me about a month) and there was no wait time (I can’t tell you how much I detest having to wait the 30 minutes to dry my nails!). I don’t know if the Sally Hansen Strips have been discontinued, but I haven’t seen them around so when I saw these at the shop the other day I knew I needed to try these out.

What It Is: Nail Polish Strips

Verdict: The design is gorgeous, and the application was simple, HOWEVER, I applied the strips around 3PM by 7PM I had one strip literally jump off of my nail, and by the end of the night 3 had fallen off. Also, each packet comes with only 8 strips, meaning that you need to buy 2 packs in order to complete both hands. I guess the plus side of purchasing two packs was that I had extras to apply on the fingers where the strips had fallen off. I applied these on Saturday and today’s Monday, and since the new strips there haven’t been any other strips coming loose, so we’ll see how it goes. Would I repurchase? I can’t state this now, but for me to actually consider to repurchase these they should be able to last about two weeks (that’s the length I’m capable of keeping nail varnish on whenever I put it on for) seeing that the price of two packs was almost the price of a whole nail varnish bottle.

Price: 3.82 per pack

Where To Buy It: https://www.walmart.com

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Left Hand

nails 2

Right Hand

By: Azzurra Nox

2018 Goals

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Happy New Year, peeps! This week I’ve read so many posts on New Year’s Resolutions. Usually I don’t do resolutions because I feel like if there’s a change that needs to be made then you should change it asap, and not wait till New Year’s Day. However, I do believe in setting goals for the year, and here are a few of mine:

Writing

  • Publish a collection of poetry
  • Complete my novel Wicked Game
  • Write a screenplay
  • Participate in Pitch Wars in August
  • Stick to a consistent blogging schedule (I update my blog twice a week but not always on the same days so I’m going to try to pick 2 days during the week and stick to those only)

Beauty

  • Try new eyeshadow or eyeliner colours
  • Sleep more

Reading

  • I plan to read 40 books in 2018. Last year my goal was for 24 and I ended up reading 39.

What are some of your goals for 2018?

By: Azzurra Nox

My Life In Books: All The Books I Read In 2017

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The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker – This is the novella that later inspired the movie Hellraiser. Chilling and dark.
The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood – Two eleven-years old girls meet one fateful summer day and by the end of the day, both girls are charged of murder for the death of a younger girl. Twenty-five years later their paths cross again in the most unexpected ways.
Revenge: Eleven Dark Tales by Yoko Ogawa – Truly dark and macabre short stories that will continue to haunt you after the last page.
The Merciless by Danielle Vega – The Exorcist meets the Mean Girls. Disturbing for those that don’t like gore.
The Merciless II by Danielle Vega – Sequel to The Merciless. More exorcisms and gore. Not as compelling as the first.
Pet Sematary by Stephen King – The nearby woods holds a chilling secret about an ancient Indian burial ground and the powers found there that are much more of a curse than a blessing.
Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland – Henry has never fallen in love till he meets Grace, a girl who walks with a cane wears men’s clothes and hides a dark and painful secret.
The Moth Diaries by Rachel Klein – A girl is convinced the new girl Ernessa is a vampire. Is it true, or is she simply losing grip of reality?
Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? By Henry Farrell – A has-been former child star Baby Jane lives with her disabled movie star sister, Blanche. Things begin to escalate when Blanche decides to sell their Hollywood home, unleashing Jane’s cruel streak.
Whatever Happened to Cousin Charlotte? By Henry Farrell – A southern belle refuses to leave her manor where a hideous murder took place years ago.
Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa – A young girl begins an illicit relationship with an aging translator.
Survive the Night by Danielle Vega – A rave turns into a nightmare for three friends who go out for a night of fun.
How To Hang A Witch by Adriana Mather – The Crucible meets Mean Girls, when a modern-day witch hunt unfolds in the heart of Salem after descendants of the women who had been tried for witchcraft.
All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven – Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him. Violet Markey lives for future, counting the days until graduation when she can escape her small town and her past. When the two meet, their lives are changed forever.
Milk & Honey by Rupi Kaur – Poetry that is both lyrical and short.
Palo Alto Stories by James Franco – Short Stories inspired by life and people James Franco knew growing up in Palo Alto.
Actor’s Anonymous by James Franco – A study about the actor as an individual and amusing anecdotes.
Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow – An ex-cutter who tries to piece her life back together, despite being in a dozen million pieces herself.
The Fireman by Joe Hill – A highly contagious deadly spore spreads across the nation. No one is safe from the infection and the healthy try to eliminate the infected before the whole world goes down in flames.
The Reminders by Val Emmich – A girl who can’t forget befriends an actor who has recently lost his significant other who wishes not to remember. Read book review here.
Ten by Gretchen McNeil – Ten teens. Three days. One killer. Inspired by Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, now a Lifetime Original Movie.
Among the Shadows: 13 Stories of Darkness & Light – Even the lightest hearts have shaded corners to hide the black thoughts that come at night. Experience the darker side of YA as 13 authors explore the places that others prefer to leave among the shadows.
Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven – When a boy who suffers from face blindness meets America’s Ex-Fattest Teen, the last thing he expects is to fall in love.
The Host by Stephenie Meyer – The world has been invaded by an alien species that take over human minds while leaving their bodies intact, but things get strange for Wanderer, the invading alien, when her host Melanie refuses to give up her body.
Follow Me Back by A.V. Geiger – Eric Thorn is a sexy musician afraid of stalkers that falls in love with obsessed fan Tessa over Twitter, only she doesn’t know he’s Eric, because he’s been hiding under the name Taylor. A suspenseful tale of love gone wrong in The Catfish era.
The Merciless III by Danielle Vega – The origin of the evil that possesses Brooke is finally explored in this chilling prequel of the series.
How To Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell – At twenty-six, Cat Marnell was an associate beauty editor at Lucky, one of the top fashion magazines in America—and that’s all most people knew about her. But she hid a secret life. She was a prescription drug addict. She was also a “doctor shopper” who manipulated Upper East Side psychiatrists for pills, pills, and more pills; a lonely bulimic who spent hundreds of dollars a week on binge foods; a promiscuous party girl who danced barefoot on banquets; a weepy and hallucination-prone insomniac who would take anything—anything—to sleep.
One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus – The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars in this thriller told from four points of view of a murder that occurs during an afternoon detention.
3:59 by Gretchen McNeil – Josie discovers a parallel universe and jumps at the chance to live in that new world till she finds out that the dangers of the new universe are far more worse than the horrors she left in her previous life.
The Sun & Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur – Poetry about how to be a woman in the modern world.
This Darkness Mine by Mindy McGinnis – Sasha Stone’s world turns upside down when she discovers that she had a twin that she absorbed in the womb. Now her twin, Shanna wants to take reigns of her life back, even if it means eliminating Sasha’s in the process. Read the book review here.
The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena – A couple goes to a dinner party next door, leaving their infant in the crib, when the couple returns, the child is gone. Who has taken baby Cora?
All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda – Ten years ago Nic’s best friend went missing, now a decade later another girls missing and the only way to find out the truth is to uncover the past.
Turtles All The Way Down by John Green – Aza and Daisy pursue the mystery of what happened to missing billionaire Russell Pickett in hopes of winning the ransom money. But Aza begins to feel differently when she starts having feelings for the billionaire’s son.
I Wrote This For You by Iain S. Thomas – Love poems for the heartbroken.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Vol. 1-7 by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa – Terror is born anew in this dark re-imagining of Sabrina the Teenage Witch’s origin. On the eve of her sixteenth birthday, the young sorceress finds herself at a crossroads, having to choose between an unearthly destiny and her mortal boyfriend, Harvey. But a foe from her family’s past has arrived in Greendale, Madame Satan, and she has her own deadly agenda.
Afterlife with Archie Vol. 1-10 by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa – When Jughead’s beloved pet Hot Dog is killed in a hit and run, Jughead turns to the only person he knows who can help bring back his furry best friend—Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Using dark, forbidden magic, Sabrina is successful and Hot Dog returns to the land of the living. But he’s not the same… and soon, the darkness he brings back with him from beyond the grave begins to spread, forcing Archie, Betty, Veronica and the gang to try to escape from Riverdale!
Snowblind by Don Roff – When four Army Rangers are stranded in the woods due to a snow storm, they seek refuge in an abandoned chalet, not knowing that a sinister evil awaits them. Soon to become a major motion picture starring Ashely Greene.
A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis – Grace finds herself in an asylum, and a quirky doctor fakes a lobotomy to help her escape and employing her as his assistant in his new endeavor of criminal psychology.
*I read 39 books this past year. I enjoyed the majority of the books read, and probably the only two I didn’t enjoy that much were The Wicked Girls and The Couple Next Door.

What are your book resolutions for the new year? I always aim to try to read 2 books a month (roughly 24 books a year, and this past year I surpassed my goal).
By: Azzurra Nox

Poetry: Hollywood Summer

Hollywood-sign

We got high at Griffith Park

Looked up at the Hollywood sign

and felt alive.

We shared kisses in Venice Beach

You strummed your guitar

and sang to me.

We danced along the streets

of Sunset Boulevard

While people watched with smiles.

It was summer,

The height of our love.

When winter came,

It took you away.

And I drove alone at

night in the lonely streets

of L.A.

Crying over our hapless Hollywood love

that no longer was.

By: Azzurra Nox

Review: Dior Diorshow Mascara

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I was very excited when I received this product in Allure’s December Beauty Box! I’ve always wanted to try out Dior mascaras, since many people rave about how amazing they are and how much better your lashes will look. But I also never was willing to shell-out the money needed because, what if it was just all hype ya know?

What It Is: Lenghtening/Voluminizing Mascara

Distinguishing Factors: It was specifically designed to grab the right amount of mascara product from the tube and position it on the bristles in a way that each and every lash gets coated with the same amount of product. Absolutely no clumping!

Verdict: This mascara DOES deliver, there’s no doubt about it. And I can see why many celebrities and beauty gurus swear by it. However, as much as I do love it, for the price, I don’t think it’s that amazing. The mascara does lengthen lashes and give them volume (always a bonus!). And the brush itself is the shangri-la of mascara brushes (no clumps and perfect product distribution throughout the lashes). But I don’t know if the mascara itself (meaning the actual black goop) is that revolutionary or radically different from a drugstore brand. All in all though, I would recommend this product and am enjoying it very much.

Price: 28.50

Where To Buy It: Dior.com

By: Azzurra Nox

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Poetry: Siren

girl

You were devoured by her eyes.

I saw how you allowed her to grasp your heart.

She reeled you into her world.

Persuaded you to fall into her bed.

You prayed for that moment to never end.

I could sense her in your mind,

While you slithered in my bed.

I could hear her voice while you slept.

Slipping her name from your tongue.

She bore her power into your mind.

She swims in your veins.

I could smell her scent on your flesh.

That mixture of musk and peony

It clung to you so well.

I saw how she held onto you.

How you followed in her steps.

You prayed for time to stop

As she kissed your silky lips.

I knew it all along,

The reason for your neglect.

You were devoured by her eyes

As I hid behind a veil of icy lies.

All I wanted was to reject, the burning truth.

But her presence was ever more in flesh

And there was nothing left for me to do.

But to give into the murderous truth.

By: Azzurra Nox

 

3 Easy & Awesome Last Minute Gifts!

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There are two kinds of people when it comes to the holidays, those who have all their holiday shopping done before December hits, and those who are still scrambling around last minute looking for the perfect gift. I’m a combination of both those people, because for the friends and family members that I don’t have trouble buying gifts for, I usually get those early on, but for those people that I don’t know what to get, I end up procrastinating in hopes that I’ll be illuminated with an amazing idea (usually it comes, most often times, it doesn’t). So, if like me, you’re sitting there three days before Christmas panicking on what to get that certain someone that’s hard to shop for, then have no fear! I’ve compiled five ideas that will be sure to make your shopping experience less stressful!

Fandoms

Does your friend or family member love a certain TV show or book series very much? Then there lies your answer for the perfect gift! If your bestie can’t get enough of those trouble-making rascals on Stranger Things, then how about getting her a Stranger Things mug or T-Shirt? Is your dad a big fan of Game of Thrones? Then how about getting him a beer mug in theme with the show? The awesome thing about fandoms is that if the person you know is a huge fan, they’re bound to love anything you get them that is related to it, no matter how expensive or cheap it may be!

Monthly Subscriptions

Don’t know what to give someone? Well, there are so many monthly subscriptions out there for all interests! There’s a monthly subscription box for any interest and hobby! With so many boxes to choose from, you’re bound to find one that’s perfect for the person you’re wishing to purchase a gift for, and the amazing thing is that this gift will be year-round! Here’s a small selection of some amazing boxes out there!

For the book lovers: https://www.bookofthemonth.com

For the health freak: https://naturebox.com

For the sock lover: https://www.lootcrate.com

For the tea obsessives: https://www.cratejoy.com

For the coffee addict: https://beanbox.co/?promo=MYSUBADD16

For the makeup guru: https://medusasmakeup.com/pages/monthly-box

Charities

If the person you’re trying to get a gift for is the sort of person who has everything, then how about donating an x amount of money to one of their favourite charities? After all, for the person who has it all, they may appreciate your token of generosity on their behalf! Find out what charities or causes your friend or relative is most passionate about and donate to that. Below are some of my favourite charities:

Oceana: http://oceana.org/ (a charity that focuses on keeping the oceans clean & helping preserve marine life)

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Program: https://afsp.org/ (a charity that helps those with mental illness/suicidal tendencies)

Write Girl: http://www.writegirl.org/ (a charity that helps empower teen girls in Los Angeles in their writing endeavors

I hope this short list was helpful in any way to jump-start some brainstorming ideas for gifts! Let me know what you think!

By: Azzurra Nox