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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Because I Love a Good Romance

Ok, I know, it's not exactly classy or sophisticated to mention that you may or may not read trashy (or not-so-trashy) romance novels. But you know what I love them and it's time the world knew :)

No these are not epic pieces of literature, and you almost always know how they're going to end (hint: the guy always gets the girl), but I find them enthralling, entertaining, and a great before-bed read. These are of course adult books by their nature, there is a lot of adult content (so beware). But some of the best books also include captivating stories that hook you in.... and of course, the romance of it all!

First, I've tried to read modern romances, and I just don't like them. I'm not sure why but I really only read historical romances... they just speak to me. They are often about a broken man who meets a challenging women (in a time with too few) who changes him. I know it's sappy and not-so-feminist of me. But I'm a girl who loves some romance, love, and a little of the other stuff ;) Of this genre (sub-genre?) I have found 2 authors who are undoubtedly my favorites.

So let's take a look at my 2 favorite authors and their books:

Johanna Lindsey
Lindsey is the first novelist to truly get me into the romance genre. Before I would only read romances when there was nothing else around.

The book that started it all for me was Captive Bride - set in 1183. The main character travels from England to Egypt with her brother and is kidnapped by a desert nomad sheik, a handsome sheik. It doesn't sound like grounds for a great romance, but it is. It's a story with a few twists, turns and I thoroughly enjoyed the ride.

Elizabeth Hoyt
I've read 2 series from Hoyt so far and I'm in love with her writing. I think the best part about Hoyt is her characters; they are all flawed in some way and must overcome that to find love. Also she includes a mystery or multiple mysteries as a background to her stories that keep you interested throughout the books. Each book in her series depicts it's own main couple and their story as well as interconnecting characters from other books in the series.

The first series of hers that I read, but sadly do not own is Legend of the Four Soldiers - these books set in the 1700's in London were so well written and kept me captivated throughout all 4 books. The 4 men in the books are all affected by a battle they all took part in in the Americas and are trying to make their way back into civilian life. The women are strong and sassy and use this to heal their men. Ahhh, the powers  of love.

The next series is the one I'm currently reading and another favorite, the Maiden Lane Series - These books are set in the 1730's in London. With characters both from gentry and not, the stories surround the poorest part of London and its affect on the characters' lives... or their affect on it. The characters overcome social standing, thieves and murderers, family, and emotional turmoil to find each other. There are currently 8 books in this series (I have 6 and can't wait to get the other 2) and a 9th book is currently available for pre-order.

I am so excited to share my love of romance novels with you all, because hey when do you actually hear anyone talk about them. I really enjoy being part of these stories and these authors are great at bringing you in. I look forward to reading more and will update you with any new favorites.

Please comment below if you have any recommendations, I'd love to hear them!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Old Hollywood Cut Crease for Hooded Eyes

This last weekend was one of my cousin's Sweet 16 party. I've been helping plan the Old Hollywood themed bash for a few months now and it was really fun to see it all come together.

For my makeup I decided to try something dramatic and new, so Googled it of course! I found the cut crease look and decided to give it a try. I was worried about doing the look with hooded eyes, because they often get in the way of pristine lines and such. But I figured it out. See below for how I did it, and a party pic bonus!

First I started with an eye primer and these sticky notes to keep a straight and pronounced line in the makeup. These are great for keep a look clean and that line sharp, love it, but I look like a freak!

1) Here I had added a light brown blending color into the crease with a fluffy brush to keep things flowing and blending.

2) Then to add the cut with a dark brown color, which I went over with black. I used an angled eyeliner brush for this. I would recommend going in really lightly first to get the shape.
3) For hooded eyes, you'll want to draw the line a few millimeters above the hood, so you can see it. I know this sounds weird, and it feels weird... but trust me when you're done it looks good. Also, make sure to look straight ahead in the mirror at both eyes, because not every hood is alike.

4) blend above the "cut" line, don't blend below, you'll love the harsh line, but blend like crazy above.

 5) Pack white/off-white shadow onto the lid all the way to the line. Be careful to not smudge it. This really helps to define everything.

6) Take some of the dark brown on the outer, lower lashes. Add liner and highlight then remove the strips, you're done!

 You can see below that because of my hooded eyes, I have some funky spikes in my liner. But because I don't like to go crazy think to make it straight I leave them and I'm okay with it ;)

 Here's my final look:

Below is the makeup I used for this look

And now some party pics! We got most of our ideas from Pinterest (thank you Tara!) and I think it turned out so cute! It really was a great night! 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Thursday Thoughts: Am I apologizing for who I am?

Do I apologize too much? Am I apologizing for the things I do that make me who I am?

These questions have meandered in and out of my consciousness for years. They coming like a raging river full of questions, second guesses, doubt, and guilt. Then the river calms to a trickle and leaves as it came only to return another day with another "I'm Sorry".

I recently read an article at Refinery29 (see below) that brought up these feelings for me again, so I thought I'd share my thoughts here.

I'm Sorry

Whenever I almost bump into someone, make a mistake, think someone might take something too hard, I'm interrupting (or think I am), bothering, or asking something of someone I start with "I'm Sorry". Sometimes the person almost runs into me, or I show up to a planned meeting, or whatever but the words are so ingrained to me that they are blurted out before I have time to think. Why am I constantly apologizing?

Just and Just Joking

Then there are the times when I apologize for/retract something I've said with a "just joking" or ask for something with a "just". For example I'll say "I'd love a raise, just joking" or "I'm just asking for a minute. But you know what I do want a raise and I can ask for a damn minute. It's almost as if I don't feel I can want something or ask for things, why is that? I usually feel that I'm a capable, confident woman; so why can't I say these things up front without hesitation?

I know there's more questions in here than answers but that's what I'm thinking about now. I am trying to understand why I feel the need to censor myself and seem so unimposing or authoritative. But I am a woman in the 21st Century in a professional career... I need some authority, don't I?

I came across and read the article Don't Apologize - Saying Sorry at Work on and found it very interesting and a thought provoking read.

In the article I read that the women interviewed were apologizing when they "felt uncomfortable asserting their authority". I know this brings up all kinds of feminist questions like, why should women feeling uncomfortable with their their authority and apologize for acting in a way many of us need to.

I like to think of myself as a strong, independent, take no bull-shit kind of woman, but when I make so many apologies for myself is that what I'm portraying.

One very interesting part of this article which I appreciated was a side of the argument I haven't heard before. They state that a reason women may be more prone to apologizing is because of empathy. So as women, we think about others' feelings when we interrupt them, bump into them, or are just plain awkward.

I do like the idea that this seemingly feminine trait isn't some fatal flaw that we all must eliminate immediately. I do think I need to watch those things that I do apologize for though, because like it or not women are often judged by a male view of professionalism and authority in the workplace. So my over-apologizing may not give me the portrayal of authority. But I will also recognize that it is my "I'm sorrys" that show the empathetic woman that I am and that's just as much me as the authoritarian portion.

I know this had more questions than answers and some distinct views, but these are my thoughts for this Thursday!