Comic-Con LA – Get Your Nerd On!

This was my second year attending Comic-Con LA (thank you for the Press Passes!), so I kinda had an idea of what to expect this time around. But what I didn’t expect was for the crowds to be even bigger than last year. Again, I attended only Saturday, as it seemed like the day with the most interesting panels.

One of the things that I simply love about Comic-Con is getting to see all the amazing and creative cosplays. I may have a soft spot for those who cosplay horror characters, so you may see more horror related characters than any others. In fact, one of the first booths I stopped by was that for Crypt TV. Last year, they had the LookSee creature, but this year they had one of my favourite creatures, The Birch! Not only did they have a Photo Op with the awesome Birch Forest but it was a way to promote the new series inspired by the original short. I even had a chance to attend The Birch panel and viewing of three episodes. If you’re into creepy woods, witchcraft, and a creature who gets rid of bullies, then I suggest you hope on over to Facebook Watch and check the series out. The panel followed with a short Q&A session with the creators, producers, and actors. Since my favourite character from the series The Birch was the seemingly complex bully, Thurston, after the panel was done I had a chance to chat with the actor, Dempsey Byrk who portrays him. He was really nice and I wish I hadn’t been popping cough drops like no tomorrow to keep a cough attack coming, so I wasn’t as talkative as I probably would’ve been in better spirits.

Afterwards, I attended the panel for Zombieland: Double Tap. The fans were promised a surprise and everyone thought that that meant that Billy Murray would show up. I knew that would be too good to be true, so had joked that most likely we’d be graced by Jesse Eisenberg presence instead. And well, let’s just say that Jesse Eisenberg did show up, but so did Zoey Deutch and (probably this was the surprise) Rosario Dawson. The panel was fun and some lucky peeps got to win tickets to the premiere that was happening that same night.

Once the panels I was interested in were done, I went comic book browsing. I was looking for some vintage horror comics but like always, most of the ones that were awesome were way too expensive. But I did find some vintage Archie Comics and even Joe Hill’s Tales from the Darkside. I was a little disappointed that there weren’t many new horror comic books there this year as there were last year. But all in all it was still a very fun experience. I love getting to check out all the vendors (there are so many talented artists!) and getting the chance to try out new food items (I tried this vegan ice cream from Nice Pops that was really good, and being lactose-intolerant it was a plus to have ice cream and not deal with a stomach ache afterwards). These pops are handcrafted and made from Cashew Milk. I got the chocolate one but they had other flavours too and they cost $5 a pop.

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With tired feet and famished, I was ready to call it a night once 6pm rolled around. But as always, Comic Con LA didn’t disappoint. It was a fun way to spend a Saturday in the company of creative people and getting the chance to check out new things in the world of horror and comics. If you’ve never been to Comic Con LA, I highly suggest that you book your ticket for next year (which it’ll be in late September) because I have a feeling that with each coming year, it’s only going to get bigger and better every time.

Photos by: David Hanger

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Throwback Thursday: Travel Post – Sicily

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At the piazza in Taormina, Sicily

This month’s Throwback Thursday series is going to be a little different. Usually, in my past ones I revisited old movies or songs, but this time I thought that revisiting a location I hadn’t been to for a while was enough for me to write about it for this series.

I usually try to make it out to Sicily, Italy every two years, but this time I hadn’t been back since 2016. I was in much need of relaxation and to get away for a while, so I took four weeks off of work to head out to Sicily. During my first week there, I met up with fellow Inkblotter, Phoebe who was staying in Catania. We stopped at one of my favourite bars, Prestipino (espresso and baba’ for me and Coke Zero for her).

My second week was spent going to the beach in Giardini Naxos and hanging out in Taormina with my cousin and some friends. During that time I also ate lots of thing that I don’t usually eat in California, such as gelato (sorry, just never have been a fan of American ice cream) and lots and lots of fish.

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View from my bedroom.

In between my third and second week, I decided to spend a few days at my apartment in Catania, where I just decided to sleep and relax. My usual week, while I’m in California, is always jam-packed that I’m always driving seven days a week and I never have time to sleep in, so sleeping in till 10 a.m. was an absolute luxury. Taking a break from driving and traffic felt very liberating and I also decided to unplug during my stay in Catania (no cell phone or internet for almost a week). I spent my days taking walks, eating lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, and fish. At night I would relax with various face masks. It was a very relaxing and nourishing moment for my skin, mind, body, and soul.

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My final week was spent back in Taormina for a few final days of beach and shopping. I didn’t do a whole lot in regards to going out at night, although I occasionally did, I mostly wanted my stay in Sicily to be about recharging, spending time with my family and friends, and above all taking a moment to appreciate the little things in life. Like befriending a couple of feral kitties, or savouring all my favourite dishes.

I really enjoyed my stay in Sicily, and can’t wait to go back. Because as all Sicilians know, no one ever leaves Sicily forever. It’s always a ‘See you later,’ never a farewell.

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Review: Erno Laszlo New York – Multi Task Eye Serum Mask

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Eye-catching instant results!

A silky, all-in-one hydrogel eye patch formulated with a powerhouse of ingredients to tackle major signs of under eye dark circles, fine lines, and wrinkles.

This multi-tasking eye patch is a high-powered serum infused with algae extract, vitamin B3, and allantoin to deliver immediate results under the eye area.

What It Is: A hydrating eye serum gel mask

What It Does: Hydrates and nourishes the eye area, diminishing dark circles and fine lines

Verdict: It’s not always easy to find an eye mask the truly delivers. Most feel like a waste of time. Others tend to slip off, but this gel mask stays put meaning that you don’t necessarily have to lie down in order to keep it on you. I decided to pop this eye mask in the freezer for a few minutes prior to using it. I think that that truly added an element of extra relaxation. I really loved how the mask felt on my eye area. I left it on for about 30 minutes so all the serum had time to soak into my skin. I really loved how the serum felt on my skin while I had it on. It just felt very soothing and relaxing. When I removed the mask, my under eye area felt incredibly smooth and hydrated. I have hereditary dark under eyes, and this mask truly helped reduce the appearance of it. I used this mask before going to sleep, but I can see how it could also be used to prep the eye for makeup in the morning. This serum would truly make the perfect eye primer for concealer. I suggest you try out this eye mask if you want to pamper under your eyes and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and stress.

Price: $35 (pack of 6)

Where To Buy It: www.ernolaszlo.com

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Throwback Thursday: Nelly Furtado – Try

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Full disclosure; I’m not a fan of Nelly Furtado (musically speaking, don’t have anything against her personally) and really loathed the song that made her famous, I’m Like A Bird. But, since the winter of 2004 was still a time when MTV played music videos (at least in Italy), I came across her video for her second single from her second album called Try.

The video was directed by Sophie Muller who just happened to be one of my favourite music video directors (she’s directed a lot of videos for Garbage, No Doubt, Gwen Stefani, The Kills, Mika’s amazing Grace Kelly, Hole’s Doll Parts, and a bunch of other awesome bands). In other words, in typical Sophie Muller fashion, this video is simply stunning.

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Now, I don’t know if Muller was inspired by the 2003 film Cold Mountain for the colonial vibes of the video (Nelly Furtado is seen decked out in a traditional Portuguese dress as she faces various hardships), but it did seem to have the same wintery pioneer rural life aspect of the movie.

But apart from the stunning video, what really drew me in were the lyrics. There’s something fatally tragic in the lyric, “Then I see you standing there/Wanting more from me/And all I can do is try.” Nelly stated that apparently it was a song about true love (although it’s very dark to me) and for me, it seemed more like a song about wishing you could please someone you love, but also knowing that you’re incapable of doing so for a myriad of reasons.

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Revisiting this song kinda took me back to that winter of 2004, which felt very dark and lonely. There were so many things in my life what I was uncertain about, and love was one of those uncertainties. Sure, I was in love with someone back then, but if you’ve read My Bad Romance series, you kinda get the drift of how most of my loves have played out (Spoiler alert: unhappy endings). The strange thing about music and scents is that they can take you back to places at times that you had purposely pushed back in the forgotten zone of your brain. And let’s just say, there’s a reason why your brain had pushed those memories back.

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But the song is still tragically beautiful, as is the video, and even fifteen years later I fell in love with it all over again. For the record, I never became a fan of Nelly Furtado’s music, but I can admit that this one was a little masterpiece.

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Review: Mario Badescu Dermonectin Eye Cream

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So I’ve been dealing with some serious itchiness on my eyelids since May. I thought that maybe it was an allergic reaction to something new so I stopped using any of the newer products, and still so no relief. I invested in Aquaphor and it soothed my problem for a few days, till it came back up. I’ve been Googling possible skin conditions, and finally, at the end of May, it became so unbearable that I made an appointment with my eye doc to find out what it is that’s been causing this itchiness.

Fast forward to July when I finally have my eye appointment only to find out that my doc can’t prescribe any eye creams, only eye drops. He didn’t think I needed eye drops. By then the rest of the month was consumed by ongoing dentist appointments for a root canal that I couldn’t fit in a derm appointment. SO….yet again I tried to self-medicate and just wanted a very nourishing eye cream that could help curb the itchiness as well as be non-allergic. So that’s how I ended up purchasing said eye cream.

Packaging: Simple and sleek

What It Is: Super hydrating Eye Cream for extremely dry skin

Active Ingredients: Vitamins A & E, with a special blend of vegetable, peanut, and coconut oils

Verdict: Emollient, soothing, and rich are three words to describe this cream. It feels very refreshing and moisturizing the moment you apply it, and for my recent condition, it even soothes the itching and doesn’t burn (which seems to be the norm with most creams right now). Did it stop the itchiness? Not entirely, but that’s not what this cream is designed for. Did it provide incredible moisture and calm the dryness? Yes, it sure did! I really recommend this eye cream if you’re looking for something that’s rich and intensely hydrating (it will quench any dry skin’s thirst for moisture). I’ll probably be repurchasing this eye cream again, whilst I still try to figure out exactly what it up with my odd skin condition (at least it’s not unsightly, just a tad bit bothersome).

Price: $18

Where To Buy It: Amazon

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Lionel Richie: Hello Tour Review

When I was proposed to go see Lionel Richie, I knew that I had to seize this opportunity to see a living legend perform live. For the younger generation he may be known for being the father of Nicole & Sofia Richie and recently as judge of American Idol, but for the older generation, the four-time Grammy Ward Winner was the soundtrack of their dancing youth and makeout sessions.

I don’t watch American Idol, so I only know Richie for his music, but the performance at the Santa Barbara Bowl proved that he not only can sing but is a mighty funny showman too (he could’ve had a whole other career in stand-up comedy, the man is hilarious!). At 70, Richie still commands the stage and can work the crow like very few performers can.

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With iconic hits like Penny Lover, Say You, Say Me, and Easy, the crowd couldn’t help but relive happy memories linked to those songs. By the time he belted out Dancing on the Ceiling and Stuck On, the audience was heated up to dance like it was 1977. And if you ever wondered if women in their sixties and seventies can still bust out some crazy moves, then let me assure you that they can and then some!

By the time the evening came to a close, I knew that the king of glittery jackets would be back for an encore, when the only song he hadn’t sung from his Greatest Hits was All Night Long. And sure enough, the charming crooner returned to give the crow just what they had been waiting for. And for one night, we all felt that we could’ve danced all night if given the chance.

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Book Review: She’s the Worst by Lauren Spieller

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One Day. Two Sisters. All the Feelings.

Release Date: September 3, 2019

Pre-Order on Amazon

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Price: $18.99 (hardcover)

Plot Summary:

Sisters April and Jenn haven’t been close in years. Jenn’s too busy with school, the family antique shop, and her boyfriend, and April would rather play soccer and hang out with the boy next door.

But when April notices her older sister is sad about staying home for college, she decides to do something about it. The girls set off to revive a pact they made as kids: spend an epic day exploring the greatest hits of their childhood and all that Los Angeles has to offer.

Then April learns that Jenn has been keeping a secret that could rip their family—and their feuding parents—apart. With only one day to set things right, the sisters must decide if their relationship is worth saving, or if the truth will tear them apart for good.

Grade: A

Review:

After weeks of reading very dark books, I decided that I needed something a little more light-hearted (meaning no deaths, destruction, gore, or overall chaos). Being an only child, I’ve always daydreamed about having siblings, and so I was very excited to read a book that focused on the relationship of these two very different sisters, overachiever Jenn, and sporty April.

Another reason why I was drawn to this book is that it takes place in Los Angeles, and it promised a road trip through the city so these sisters could reignite their bond. Living in the Los Angeles area myself, I liked to see what memorable places these girls would go to and if I had been to them myself. First off, I wasn’t aware that there were actual canals at Venice Beach, despite having been there many times (mostly at the boardwalk and beach area), so next time I’m there I’ll have to check that out.

What I enjoyed a lot about this book is that it did provide me the levity I needed, but that’s not to say that this book is fluff, cause it isn’t. This book very realistically portrays a family dynamics and the guilt you feel to try to keep your parents from killing each other when fighting (I probably related to Jenn’s referee role between her two parents a bit too much).

It was interesting to see how two sisters that used to be very close began to drift apart as they got older to the point that they no longer feel like they can even be friends. But the book explores ways how sometimes all you need is to find reasons why you loved that sibling in the first place and how it takes that first step to want to bridge the gap to have a good relationship again.

Everything and anything you can imagine does occur during this 24-hr. Span (the whole book takes place in just one day), and although it’s not a book that deals with mysteries, there are still several surprises that spring up that you didn’t imagine would. That’s to say that, this is a page-turner despite it not being a thriller. There are secrets that are kept hidden and revealed major life-changing decisions that take place.

I recommend this book if you’re into some light reading or love romantic comedies/sister bonding books. Because this novel has it all, especially a ton of feels.

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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Launching: Nox Girl Cosmetics!

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Shades Ophelia & Juliet pictured above.

My love of beauty products is no big secret if you follow my blog and look at the many beauty product reviews I have written, or if you know me personally and see the staggering amount of cosmetics I’ve accumulated over the years. And since I cannot beat my cosmetics addiction, I’ve decided that the next best thing would be to join them. How you may ask? By launching my very own line of cosmetics!

This idea came to me a few years ago but I had trouble executing it right away for various reasons (funding, finding the right lab, etc.). Recently, I found a lab in Canada that will make my products in the way that I envisioned them to be, high quality, cruelty-free, and vegan.

Why vegan?

Well, the main difference between vegan and traditional makeup is the use of animal by-products which are never used in vegan cosmetics. A common side effect and bonus to vegan products is that they are often gentler and safer all around, not only leaving out animal products but also toxic chemicals, parabens, gluten-containing products, and heavy metals.

I know there’s a ton of beauty brands out on the market and there’s a new one coming out of the woodworks every day, so you may wonder, what makes Nox Girl Cosmetics stand out? First of all, all my items will be LIMITED EDITION, meaning that every few months I will be selling a certain number of cosmetics that will encompass a theme. And since my other great love right next to cosmetics is books, each limited edition products will be inspired by literary characters.

For my launch, I decided to go with a classic, Shakespearean heroines. The ones I selected were some of my faves, and creating liquid lipsticks inspired by them was so much fun!

So without further ado, allow me to present you the amazing shades:

 

Tamora (taken from Titus Queen of the Goths) $20

Tamora is a berry-purple matte shade. The character is strong and bold and you can let your inner queen shine through with this imperious shade.

 

Ophelia (taken from Hamlet) $20

Critics believe that Ophelia is weak because she goes mad and drowns herself in a brook, but the truth is, she’s not afraid to stand up against the patriarchy, letting her brother know that he shouldn’t chide her to be chaste when he isn’t and how she hates the double standard that exists.

This shade is a pale peach with mandarin hues. Ophelia is sweet, but she’s no pushover, and if in the end, she cracks, it’s the patriarchal society and crazy boyfriend that are to blame, not her. That’s why this colour is both light but bold. Your lips will be sure to stand out in the crowd.

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Swatches of Ophelia & Juliet 

 

Juliet (taken from Romeo & Juliet) $20

Juliet is a rose pink shade. The character of Juliet is a hopeless romantic (who isn’t at the age of 14?) and I wanted this shade to reflect the excitement and intensity of first love.

 

Titania (taken from Midsummer Night’s Dream) $23

She’s Queen of the faeries, and what better way to celebrate this beautiful creature than to create a shade of nude-glittery lipgloss? It’s the perfect lightweight non-sticky lip gloss formula that will have you unleashing some serious faery vibes.

 

Lady Macbeth (taken from Macbeth) $20

It’s due to Lady Macbeth’s brutal ambition to become Queen, that leads Macbeth to murder the current king while he’s visiting his home. And although she’s viewed as a villain, no one can negate how badass and progressive she is for her time. What better way to celebrate her boldness than to imagine her wearing this blood-red shade? Choose this crimson lipstick if you want to channel a true leader (albeit a ruthless one).

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Swatches of Tamora & Titania

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Midsummer Night’s Dream Eyeshadow Palette $30

Creating a palette is difficult, especially when you’re trying to create a cohesive look. When creating these shades I tried to envision what someone like Titania would wear, and that made me decide to go with various shades of green. Because nothing shouts woodland faery like these ethereal shades.

You can shop these shades for a limited time at the Nox Girl Cosmetics Shop! These shades will be available till the end of September. In October I’ll be launching new shades (I’ll give you a hint, they’re going to be inspired by famous vampires).

*There’s international shipping for all your orders!

I’m also looking for some influencers (within the U.S & Canada for now) to receive some samples for reviews. If you’re interested please contact me with your platform info (blog or Instagram account).

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Shades Tamora & Titania pictured above 

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Review: Pat McGrath Labs FetishEyes Mascara

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Pat McGrath is one of the most famous and influential makeup artists in the world. She has done makeup for runway shows, editorials, and ads. Many people love the bold looks she creates, especially when it comes to the eyes. So when I was sent this mascara to review* I was really looking forward to it!

What It Is: Volumizing & Lengthening Mascara

Distinguishing Factors: Conditioning Peptides help keep lashes long and healthy!

Verdict: I am very conflicted when it comes to this product because I do love the formula, however, I really HATE the brush! The formula is clump-free and it has intense pigmentation, but then the brush was designed too big that even a person with the steadiest hand is bound to create a mess, let alone someone who’s running on little sleep in the wee hours of the morning attempting to get ready for work. I think that this mascara would 100% improve if it had a smaller brush that will help lift lashes without smudging the product on your eyelids. I’ll most likely pop in another brush and still use the mascara, but if you’re looking to purchase this item, I think you’re better off with something else. Life’s too short to waste your money on mediocre mascara.

Price: $28

Where To Buy It: Pat McGrath website

*Product was sent to me free of charge from Allure Magazine for an honest review

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Book Review: Squad by Mariah MacCarthy

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A Cheerleader loses her squad but discovers herself.

Release Date: March 12, 2019

Purchase on Amazon

Price: $12.88 (hardcover)

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Plot Summary:

Jenna Watson is a cheerleader. And she wants you to know it’s not some Hollywood crap: they are not every guy’s fantasy. They are not the “mean girls” of Marsen High School. They’re literally just human females trying to live their lives and do a perfect toe touch. And their team is at the top of their game. They’re a family.

But all that changes when Jenna’s best friend stops talking to her. Suddenly, she’s not getting invited out with the rest of the quad. She’s always a step behind. And she has no idea why.

While grappling with post-cheer life, Jenna explores things she never allowed herself to like, including LARPing (live-action role-playing) and a relationship with a trans guy that feels a lot like love.

When Jenna loses the sport and the friends she’s always loved, she has to ask herself: What else is left?

Grade: B+

Review:

After embarking on a creepy, twisty journey with Will Haunt You, I decided I needed a moment of respite from all things horror (at least in books) so I decided to give this book a try. Although when I told a friend of mine that I was reading a book about cheerleaders he said, “Why would you do that? They’re scary!” So I wasn’t sure what to expect. From the first page, I was hooked. Not because anything compelling was really happening (there wasn’t much action throughout the whole novel), but I just loved Jenna’s voice and her way of telling a tale of friendship gone awry. How one single social misstep can instantly make you the outcast of your own group (which I’m sure most of us can relate to, to some extent if you’ve ever been in high school or ya know, just been a teenager).

So Jenna finds herself having to learn to navigate school life without her best friend Raejean, and not being part of the cheerleading squad anymore (something dramatic happens, that’s all I can say as to why she’s no longer in the squad). But I love how this novel explored bullying in a way that wasn’t so over the top, but rather how ignoring someone can in itself be its own form of bullying too. Also, kudos for the author for including a transgender (female to male) character. I haven’t seen that many transgender characters in YA novels, so that was refreshing. The book overall was an easy read and although it wasn’t one of the best I’ve read this year, I did enjoy it, mostly for the realism of teenage relationships with their parents and siblings, dating, and friendships.

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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