Review: Tatcha The Rice Wash

What It Is: A soft, cleansing wash for all skin types.

What It Does: Exfoliates in a non-abrasive way.

Active Ingredients: Japanese Rice Powder, Okinawa Algae Blend, and Hyaluronic Acid

Verdict: I’m picky when it comes to cleansers, but this one is really good. Not only does it leave your skin feeling hydrated after you wash it, but the gentle rice bits also help exfoliate the skin in a way that doesn’t leave your skin stripped. Many people love this brand and I was very excited to try it out since so many people have sung praises for their products. If you’re looking for a milk exfoliator or want a cleanser that won’t leave your skin feeling like the Sahara Desert, then this is your best bet.

Price: $38

Where To Buy It: Sephora and https://www.tatcha.com/

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Book Review: The Haunting of Alejandra by V. Castro

The creature stalked in the shadows….

PLOT SUMMARY:

A woman is haunted by the Mexican folk demon La Llorona as she unravels the dark secrets of her family history in this ravishing and provocative horror novel.

Alejandra no longer knows who she is. To her husband, she is a wife, and to her children, a mother. To her own adoptive mother, she is a daughter. But they cannot see who Alejandra has become: a woman struggling with a darkness that threatens to consume her.

Nor can they see what Alejandra sees. In times of despair, a ghostly vision appears to her, the apparition of a crying woman in a ragged white gown.

When Alejandra visits a therapist, she begins exploring her family’s history, starting with the biological mother she never knew. As she goes deeper into the lives of the women in her family, she learns that heartbreak and tragedy are not the only things she has in common with her ancestors.

Because the crying woman was with them, too. She is La Llorona, the vengeful and murderous mother of Mexican legend. And she will not leave until Alejandra follows her mother, her grandmother, and all the women who came before her into the darkness.

But Alejandra has inherited more than just pain. She has inherited the strength and the courage of her foremothers—and she will have to summon everything they have given her to banish La Llorona forever.

GRADE: A+

REVIEW:

Anyone living in Los Angeles is familiar with the lore of La Llorona, mostly because people claim that oftentimes at night, they can hear her crying. So of course when this novel popped up on my radar I knew that I simply HAD to read it. Castro’s novel is part Mexican lore and part generational curse and WOW anyone who’s a woman can relate to Alejandra’s plight as she tries to keep a happy exterior as marital pressures and her own dissatisfaction come to a head when La Llorona begins to haunt her. The novel explores the trials and tribulations that span across generations and how each woman has been affected by their encounter with La Llorona. The novel was both creepy and difficult read as women can easily see how often in marriages they’re expected to be mothers and wives first and foremost and to leave all sense of self behind. Alejandra finds herself at a crossroads when the haunting begins – she’s so unhappy with her life that death seems the only way out. I enjoyed learning more about the lore and Mexican history – that’s so rich, diverse, and oftentimes devastating. La Llorona was very terrifying in her descriptions that pale to any Hollywood version of her ever made. This book was riveting, terrifying, and utterly timely. I recommend it if you love your horror with a feminist edge.

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and Del Rey for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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Review: Huda Beauty The Overachiever High Coverage Concealer in Marshmallow

What It Is: High coverage concealer

What It Does: With 31% pure pigment it cover and conceals imperfections.

Active Ingredients: Green Tea and Rose extract

Verdict: I wanted to love this product because the quality is excellent – however, it doesn’t perform the way I need a concealer to perform. Sure, this concealer perfectly blurs dark under eyes circles and blemishes but the formula is terribly unblendable, which means that it easily cracks when dry. I even tried to use a wet Beauty Blender to ease the blending process – but nope! Maybe if one only uses this for blemishes it can work for you, but it cracks and creases way too much to be placed under the eyes. Not to mention, that I always use an eye cream prior to putting concealer, and I’d hate to see someone try to use this without eye cream prior because it would completely dry the skin out. It’s a pity because the shade was a perfect match for me. C’est la vie.

Price: $30

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

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Review: Acure Brightening Vitamin C Jelly Mask

What It Is: A brightening face mask

Active Ingredients: Vitamin C, ferulic acid, and brightening banana flower extract.

Verdict: This jelly mask is meant to be put on for only ten minutes and then rinsed off. However, I left it on as an overnight mask. I liked how my skin felt the following day – smooth, soft, and supple. My only tiny gripe with this mask is that since it’s jelly, it’s incredibly watery, meaning that it’s difficult to grab hold of it to put on your skin. I’d like a mask that’s a bit firmer to grasp. But other than that, the ingredients are incredible for your skin.

Price: $19.99

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

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Book Review: Family of Liars by E. Lockhart

Telling this story will be painful…..

PLOT SUMMARY

A windswept private island off the coast of Massachusetts. 
A hungry ocean, churning with secrets and sorrow.
A fiery, addicted heiress. An irresistible, unpredictable boy. 
A summer of unforgivable betrayal and terrible mistakes.
 
Welcome back to the Sinclair family. 
They were always liars.

GRADE: A-

REVIEW

We Were Liars – a book published in 2014 became a TikTok phenomenon in 2020, shooting it up to the bestseller’s lists. Since I received an ARC of the prequel – I ended up reading We Were Liars in a day, after the author warned that the prequel contained a major spoiler for book one. Now, I breathlessly tread through book one – We Were Liars. The mystery, the allure of the Sinclairs – it all aided in me needing to know answers right away. The prequel is set in the 80s and we meet the aunts as teens.

Although this book had more twists and secrets than the first one, I somehow wasn’t as compelled to rush read – but I still enjoyed the journey and spending time with the very wealthy but dysfunctional family Sinclair. I’d love to see another book but from another Sinclair, Yardley, the cousin whose family eventually falls out of touch with the rest of the Sinclairs in the first book.

If you loved We Were Liars, then you’re going to love Family of Liars. It has the same type of writing style and mystery and it’s basically just a very fun, dark time.

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

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Review: Osea Essential Hydrating Oil

What It Is: Hydrating Oil

What It Does: Age-defying oil for dry and sensitive skin

Active Ingredients: Seed Oil, Flower Oil, Lavender, Rosewood, Vitamin E, and Chamomile

Verdict: This hydrating oil smells sooo divine thanks to lavender and bergamot. I’ll be frank, this hydrating oil is one that you will want to use at night, because it wouldn’t do well beneath your makeup (as in it really makes your skin ultra glowy/oily). However, it really packs in the hydration that you wake up to incredibly soft and supple skin. It says that this oil works best for those with dry or sensitive skin, however, my skin is on the oily side and it doesn’t break me out, so I think it’s safe to say that even those with oily skin would benefit from using this hydrating oil. All you need is a dime size amount to spread along your face and neck. The scent is so calming that you’ll be sleeping your way to beauty in no time. If you’re looking for a cleanser to amp up your skincare routine, I highly recommend Osea’s Ocean Cleanser.

Price: $68

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

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Review: Kinship Brightwave Eye Cream

What It Is: Energizing, brightening eye cream

What It Does: Brightens and hydrates eye area

Active Ingredients: Red Algae, Chaga Mushroom, and Vitamin C Ester

Verdict: There are three things I look at when judging an eye cream – Is it thick and nourishing? Is it hydrating? And most importantly, is it fast absorbing? Kinship’s eye cream hits all three of those requirements and exceeds my expectations. I love how hydrating and smooth this eye cream is but the fast-absorbing component makes it possible for this cream to be used during the day under concealer and makeup with no problems. If you’re looking for an eye cream that can multi-task as both day and night cream, then this perfectly fits the bill. Soft, rich, and incredibly restoring – you’ll easily find yourself grabbing this cream as your go-to for your skincare routine. Does it actually help with banishing dark circles? Well, I’m plagued with hereditary dark circles, so for me, I didn’t really notice a difference, but it probably works for everyone else out there that only has mild dark circles. But I’m not at mad about it because I still love how it feels on my skin.

Price: $34

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

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Review: Ofra Liquid Lipstick in Canyon

What It Is: Liquid Lipstick

Active Ingredients: Vitamin E

Verdict: Initially I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy this shade because I’m incredibly pale and in the tube, the lipstick looked dark brown. However, I’m pleasantly surprised by the shade did not appear dark on me when I tried it on. In fact, it gives a very ’90s terracotta/brick feel to it and it actually flatters my skin tone. Now for the formula, it’s lightweight and non-drying, and long-lasting. However, it does leave lipstick traces on glasses when you drink or if you kiss someone. But it doesn’t bleed or smudge otherwise, and since it has a doe foot applicator, it means that the application is precise. For everyday lipstick, this is ace.

Price: $20

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

Wearing the shade Canyon
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Review: Sunday Riley Pink Drink Firming Resurfacing Peptide Face Mist

What It Is: A peptide-infused essence.

What It Does: Visibly firms and resurfaces the skin while supporting its natural microbiome.

Active Ingredients: Fermented honey, green tea, sea water, kelp, chlorella, and botanical extracts.

Verdict: It’s no secret that I’m a HUGE fan of Sunday Riley skincare products. There’s something about these products that are both effective and feel so luxurious when applied to your skin. You don’t have to wait long to see results. After using the Pink Drink for a couple of days I could quickly notice how my skin’s texture vastly improved and has helped with keeping any acne spots away. I know the intended purpose of the Pink Drink is to be used as a spray, but I found it to work best for me as a toner, and then once I go about completing the rest of my nightly skincare routine, I’ll then also spray the mist too. If you’re looking for a face mist that will control the level of germs/bacteria on your skin and help support your natural microbiome, then you absolutely need this in your skincare routine.

Price: $48

Where To Buy It: Sephora, Ulta, or https://sundayriley.com/

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Book Review: Suburban Hell by Maureen Kilmer

A Chicago cul-de-sac is about to get a new neighbor…of the demonic kind.

Order on Amazon!

Release Date: August 30, 2022

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Price: $17 (paperback)

PLOT SUMMARY

   Amy Foster considers herself lucky. After she left the city and moved to the suburbs, she found her place quickly with neighbors Liz, Jess, and Melissa, snarking together from the outskirts of the PTA crowd. One night during their monthly wine get-together, the crew concoct a plan for a clubhouse She Shed in Liz’s backyard—a space for just them, no spouses or kids allowed.
 
    But the night after they christen the She Shed, things start to feel . . . off. They didn’t expect Liz’s little home-improvement project to release a demonic force that turns their quiet enclave into something out of a nightmare. And that’s before the homeowners’ association gets wind of it.
 
    Even the calmest moms can’t justify the strange burn marks, self-moving dolls, and horrible smells surrounding their possessed friend, Liz. Together, Amy, Jess, and Melissa must fight the evil spirit to save Liz and the neighborhood . . . before the suburbs go completely to hell.

GRADE: A

REVIEW

If you love your horror with a pinch of comedy, then Suburban Hell is the book for you. Written in a manner that’s evocative of Grady Hendrix, the pace is fast and hella funny. Amy is convinced her good friend Liz is possessed after a hole in the other woman’s yard unleashes a foul odor and brings about unexplained incidents. The possession is slow, and at times one can’t tell whether it’s true or if Amy is overreacting, as she herself questions if she’s jumping the ship like in the 80’s Satanic Panic. But after a pivotal incident, Amy now knows that something sinister and supernatural has overtaken their suburban lives and she is dead set on proving her suspicions to her friends Melissa and Jess. Often while reading the book I wasn’t sure what was more hellish, having a possessed friend living next door to you or dealing with the ridiculous suburban wives that Amy had to deal with on a daily basis. The writing flows well and is pressed on a fast tempo, only slightly slowing down for a few moments to only pick up right away. The winning point of this novel is that sure, it’s a fun read, but when the horror sets in, it doesn’t disappoint, as it is dark and extremely creepy!

I recommend this book if you love your horror to have a dash of comedy to it. This book is a mashup of The Exorcist and Desperate Housewives.

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and G.P. Putnam’s Sons for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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