Sunday, November 23, 2014

Audible.com: Worth the hype?

I gave in. I finally cashed in my Audible "one-month-free".

If you don't know, Audible.com, a subsidiary of Amazon, is a subscription website (kinda like Netflix), where you have access to hundreds of thousands of audiobooks. Every month you pay $14.95 and you get 1 credit that you can use to purchase an audiobook, most of which cost at least $20 otherwise. If you're not keen on using Audible for a certain month, you can bank the credits and use them later on.

I was skeptical about using Audible for a multitude of reasons. First, every YouTuber and their mother seems to be sponsored by them. I was like, "What is this fail service that requires so much advertisement from YouTubers?" But then I realized, I think the company puts almost all of their advertising efforts into YouTube because I haven't seen commercials for it on TV or anything like that, which is pretty cool that they generate most of their business using YouTube primarily.

Another reason I was skeptical is because I wasn't sure about audiobooks in general. It felt like a lazy way to read a book, but then I thought, well I'm not reading any books at all... So it has to be a step up from that, right?

Overall I'm really pleased with my experience. To-date, I've listened to a total of three audiobooks. I think it's a great way to feed your brain on the drive to work/school (that's when I use it). I get so annoyed with stupid radio station banter and sometimes I get tired of listening to music, so it's perfect for me to have an audiobook on-hand. Also, if you get anxious driving alone it's like having someone there with you. It's also great for keeping your mind off mundane tasks like doing chores or exercising at the gym.

You can find "first month free" coupons for Audible all over the internet, so really, there's no reason not to try it.



The book I used my free month on is "Is everyone hanging out without me? (And other concerns)" by Mindy Kaling. I was drawn to this book because Mindy actually narrates it herself, and that's pretty special since she knows all the inflections and intonations to get the sarcasm just right. Also, I love love love the Mindy Project so I knew I was going to enjoy this book. The humor is very similar to the show, obviously, so if you like Mindy Kaling, this is great audiobook to start with.

But honestly, even if you're not on the Mindy train like I am, it's still a good read (/listen?). She's so relatable and witty that it doesn't even matter if you're unfamiliar with her career. She has a whole portion of the book dedicated to her time at The Office, a show I don't watch, and I still found that part enjoyable.

She guides us through her childhood, her teens, her time at college, and her career as a comedy writer. She talks about what it's like to be a female writer in a male-dominated industry, and growing up as a chubby girl (keeping it light and funny throughout, even though these issues can be heavy!). Overall this book remains my favorite audiobook of the three I've listened to so far.

And then I forgot to cancel my membership since I totally meant to take advantage of the free book and then quit. I was charged $14.95 with one credit to use, and it was about the time Lena Dunham's autobiography came out so I figured, why not. Lena Dunham also narrates this so I figured it would be in the same vain as Mindy's.

I ended up enjoying this book as well. Not as much as Mindy's, but still. Lena has a lot of interesting stories to share and it was cool to hear her reflect. She's been getting a lot of criticism over a certain portion of this book, and I think it's all bogus and should not deter you from reading/listening to it. I feel like people love picking on her and, yes, some of the criticism is well-deserved, but most of it is not.

Like Mindy, she talks about largely feminist issues, which is always interesting (to me at least). Lena isn't a perfect feminist (again, she is problematic in many ways), but she has fallen victim to certain injustices as a woman and speaks about them in a frank and honest way. In this sense, her candor is appreciated.

Are you sensing a pattern with my book choices? I responded really well to the feminist undertones in Mindy and Lena's books, and I guess I wanted something more substantial to chew on, so to speak. "Bad Feminist" by Roxane Gay was perfect for me. It's a collection of essays and it talks about her experiences with feminism and racism. If you're trying to keep your feminism intersectional, this is the book you need in your life. 

She discusses so many contemporary feminist issues (including Lena Dunham and her show "Girls"-- how fitting) and provides honest and well-founded insight. Her tone is both critical and sarcastic, which makes it enjoyable to listen to, and Bahni Turpin (the narrator) does an incredible job at capturing it. 

If you're looking for some brain food, this is precisely the book you need. Instead of listening to inane radio chat on your way to work, listen to Bad Feminist. It's educational and fun.

So that's it! To recap, Audible is worth the hype! Definitely give it a shot, and if you have any book suggestions similar to these, be sure to let me know because have no clue what to listen to next. :)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Marcelle Sale Haul: Fall 2014

Over the weekend I had a chance to go to the Marcelle and L'Oreal warehouse sales, and I have to say, Marcelle blows L'Oreal out of the water. Over the years, the L'Oreal sale has become more and more pathetic. The prices are going up each year, and in the end, you don't save as much money as you think. It's not a blowout warehouse sale so much as a small discount. The items L'Oreal offers at their sale are pretty terrible too. I don't like Maybelline mascaras, and they're still $4 anyway - chances are you can get that on sale at Pharmaprix. The blushes and eyeshadows they have are usually bad quality (low color payoff, barely pigmented). The only thing the L'Oreal sale is good for is Essie nail polish, and even at that, they still go for $4.50 each. You can buy Essie at TJ Maxx for $3.99.

So, needless to say, I won't be doing a L'Oreal sale haul because all I bought were 3 Essie polishes and some shampoo. Onto the better stuff: Marcelle. Marcelle is a Quebec-based makeup brand that I've truly grown fond of. It doesn't get as much love as the massive American brands, but the quality is great. They're also the makers of Annabelle products, and you can buy their makeup at most Quebec pharmacies.

The Marcelle sale discount prices are incredible. Every makeup item is $2.50. Nothing more. Skincare items are more expensive, which makes sense, but the makeup is cheap. On top of that, you don't need to have a ticket to be able to access this sale (whereas the L'Oreal sale is invitation-only).

The two items I beeline for at the Marcelle sale are the foundation and mascara. I used to adore their Hydra-C foundation, but then they discontinued it (which I'm still upset about!). Luckily, they had their New-Age foundation on sale at $2.50 and the shade range is exactly the same as the Hydra-C so I knew which color I had to get. As you can see, I bought a grand total of three of these foundations... Why, you ask? They cost $20 at the pharmacy. Yep. $20. That's a $17.50 discount.

I'm also obsessed with the Annabelle Big Show mascara, so I picked up two of them. The formulation is perfect. It's not too wet, and the brush is just the right size. It reminds me of a slightly smaller version of Benefit Bad Gal. I can use one tube for months and months because it retains its quality really well.

The next thing I wanted to pick up was a basic black kohl eyeliner, which they were selling individually for $2.50.. Until I realized they were selling sets of four for $2.50 that included black in them, so I picked up the set for blue eyes and the set for green eyes. I already own the set for brown eyes.

The last two items I picked up are the Annabelle Skin True foundation and a Marcelle velvety powder blush. The good thing about Annabelle foundation is that it's only $8 in-store, so the Marcelle sale is a good time to try out different shades. I like knowing that there's a cheap foundation out there that I can go to in case I ever run out, but it's definitely crucial to know your shade. As for the blush, I have this exact blush in the shade Blossom and I'm obsessed with it, so it was only natural that I picked up another.

I don't think I'll go to the L'Oreal sale next time. Marcelle all the way!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

MaskerAide Sheet Mask Review

A little while back Tiffany from ObsessedCanada.com reached out to me, asking if I would test out & review three sheet masks from the Maskeraide range. Of course, I said yes! I'm always willing to promo Canadian shops, and Obsessed Canada is Nail Polish Canada's sister site, which made me all the more excited. They have brands like Batiste, Macadamia, The Balm, Sigma, and many more. I highly suggest checking it out :)



Overall I really enjoyed using these masks, and the best thing about them is how moisturizing they are. Basically, you smooth out the mask over your face and rub all the extra serum down your neck. Let me just say, my skin drank it up! The mask went on moist and gooey (see pic below), and by the time it came off it was almost dry (i.e. my skin absorbed all the moisture). I can definitely see how great this would be when the winter comes and my skin starts to get dry and patchy.



Another thing I really enjoyed about these masks is that you can keep them on for up to 20 minutes, meaning you can lounge around, watch an episode of Mindy Project or a couple YouTube videos, and only then will you have to remove the mask. It's a pet peeve of mine when I go through the effort of applying a mask and then I can only keep it on for a couple minutes. Ruins the fun almost!



My favorite mask of the three that I tried was Detox Diva because I loved the scent. It kind of smelled like lemon and kiwi and candy, but it wasn't overwhelmingly strong. It was very fresh and cool-feeling on the skin. It was definitely the most intense mask of the three because towards the last couple minutes it made my skin tingle. After using it my face felt soft, clean, and moisturized.








Just like Detox Diva, Weather Warrior had a really nice scent. Of the three masks, this is the one that had the greatest "cooling effect". I can see how this would be especially nice after spending a day out in the sun. It was also very moisturizing.



Of the three masks Beauty Restore was my least favorite, not because it didn't perform well, but because I'm not a huge fan of lavender scents. Still, the scent wasn't completely overpowering and I was able to use it. It's a good one to throw on right before going to bed since lavender is meant to relax you.

Overall I'm really pleased that I had the opportunity to try out these masks. If you're interested in purchasing some, you can do so by clicking HERE. (Free shipping on all Canadian orders over $25!)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The "Me-Time" Tag



What do you watch or read during me-time?

I definitely watch YouTube videos the most during my spare time. I just updated my list of favourite channels so you can check that out HERE. Also, my TV game is strronngg this season - you can check out what I've been watching HERE. As for reading, I don't tend to read for pleasure that much during the semester because I always have readings to do for school, however I've been using Audible a ton and I think I'll write up a post on that.

What do you wear during me-time? #nobra

#Nobra is right! I like to be comfy when I relax, so sweatpants and a loose t-shirt is definitely the way to go. Also, fuzzy socks. I have like, 5 pairs of fuzzy socks.

Current favourite nail polish?

To be honest, I think my favorite nail polish at the moment is Sally Hansen Xtreme Hard As Nails in "Black Out". Black nail polish, applied really neatly on short nails, is just very chic to me. Also, the formulation of this nail polish range is so perfect. It's my go-to whenever I'm looking for a specific shade.

What do you eat/drink during me-time?

I guess this is probably a seasonal thing, but I've been binge eating Halloween candy like crazy! Ahh! So bad. If I'm going for comfort nothing really beats a latte or hot chocolate in a big old mug.

Current favourite candle?

I haven't been burning candles much lately which is basically a crime because I own so many. However, I really love "Autumn" from Bath & Body Works for this time of year. It's so crisp and it smells like apples and fresh air. It's fantastic.

Do you ever have outdoor me-time?

Well, if by "outdoors" you mean "in nature", then no. But I do like to leave the house during me-time. The book store is a no-brainer for me - browsing the shelves (particularly the sale and stationery sections) is like instant relaxation. Otherwise, I'll make a trip to the coffee shop near my house, grab a latte, and watch some YouTube videos.

Would you ever go see a movie alone?

I always say I'd go to see a movie alone, but it has yet to happen! I feel like going to the movies is a commitment - that's like 1.5-3 hours sitting in one spot, and it's always best to have some company. So, even though I'd like to think I wouldn't mind going alone, I'm not sure it'll ever happen.

Favourite online shop?

My favourite online shop is, hands down, Nail Polish Canada. I can waste so much time on that website. Other than that, I don't tend to shop online much (unless I have a specific thing I want to buy) because I'm always skeptical about things breaking in transit or not turning out as I expected.

Anything to add? What else do you do during me-time?

The only other thing I do regularly during me-time is blog, which, if you've noticed the scarcity of my posts this year, you can tell I don't really have much free time. Sad. Hopefully I can sneak in some more blogging soon!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Products I DO NOT Recommend

Hey all! Way way way back when, I wrote a blog post about products I regret buying, and it got a ton of positive feedback, so I thought I would write up something similar. I only have five products to share, which, in the grand scheme of things, doesn't seem so bad. Nevertheless, here they are:

First up is the Garnier Fructis "Hi-Rise Lift", which is a volumizing spray for your hair. The idea is that you spray it onto your roots, rub it in a little, and the effect is supposed to be as if you backcombed/teased your hair. My issue is with the spray nozzle - it doesn't spray evenly! It comes out in a single stream of product, and you end up getting way too much in one spot on your head and it gets sticky.

Next is the Macadamia Rejuvenating Shampoo. This stuff SUCKS. It's overpriced, and doesn't do a thing. It doesn't clean your hair at all, no matter how much you use. My hair felt really matted and fluffy afterwards, instead of smooth and clean like I was hoping. I don't even like the scent. Overall, terrible product.

The Yes to Tomatoes Clear Skin Clay Facial Mask was a huge disappointment. I'm always drawn to the "Yes To" brand - they have really nice packaging and I like that their products are organized by skin type. I don't know how, but this mask left my skin feeling really oily. Also, it's hard to spread because the clay is so thick.

Soap & Glory "Clean On Me" is a raved about shower gel, but I couldn't find myself liking it. I felt like it left my skin dry and itchy, and the scent isn't great either. I'm not sure it really did a good job cleansing. Thankfully I only had this travel-sized version.

Finally, the Elizabeth Arden Refining Toner Lotion. I like using a toner before putting makeup on, just to prep my skin a little, but this one was not good at all. It left a gross film on my face after I applied it and I almost felt the need to wash my face afterwards. Bleh!

Luckily I got most of these products on-sale, but the fact that they actually retail for more than what I paid is unfortunate. Let me know what you think of these products if you've ever used them!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

My 2014 Fall TV Lineup

Sometimes I feel like there's nothing good to watch on TV, but this fall (for some reason) I have at least one show to watch every single weekday! That literally has never happened to me before, so I thought I'd share what I'm watching with you guys.

You'll notice I watch a lot of reality TV. I don't know why, but recently I've become really fascinated with competition-based reality shows. I'm taking a lot of media classes this semester and a lot of what I learn can be applied to these shows, so maybe that's why! If reality TV isn't your cup of tea, I'm not sure how interesting this will be for you haha.

The Voice: I used to lovelovelove watching The Voice, and then I got bored of it, but this season I decided to start watching it again. This girl whose covers I used to watch on YouTube is on this season - her name is Brittany Butler and she's on Team Pharrell, and she's so good! She's definitely my favorite of the season. The Voice is hands down the best singing show there is on TV. I love the anticipatory element of the chair turns, and the tension in the battle rounds (and the steal!).

How To Get Away With Murder: This. freakin'. show. is. so. good. It's Shonda Rhimes' new show about a murder law professor who takes her students on her cases with her and they have to help her find evidence and whatnot. It's so interesting and the show has so many different layers to it. It's only 3 episodes in so you can definitely find the episodes online and get caught up! It had me hooked right from the pilot episode.

The Amazing Race: I honestly just like watching The Amazing Race because I like seeing different parts of the world, and I like to imagine how well I'd do in the competitions. I don't watch it religiously or anything (it plays on Fridays after all), but it is fun to watch and sometimes the competition gets intense.

The Mindy Project: If you're going to indulge in one guilty pleasure sitcom this season, make it The Mindy Project. It's clever and hilarious, and I'm all for supporting women-driven television. Don't get me wrong, Mindy Lahiri is a definitely not a role model character, but the jokes are just so on-point. Mindy Kaling is one of my idols.

Survivor: I think I'm only watching this season of Survivor because last season was SO INTENSE and amazing, but so far it's been pretty "meh". I'm hoping it gets more interesting eventually. I'm not really a fan of the casting this season (how many pretty white blondes do we need?) but I'm still holding on...!

What are you watching this fall?