Thursday, November 20, 2014

Beauty Swap Review

Hi!
A while back I shared with you that took part in a swap with another blogger, Eli from Marshmellow Diary. It was a great experience that started back when I posted my makeup collection this past spring. Eli is from Spain and so once I knew I was moving out here, I let her know I’d be happy to bring her some U.S. beauty goodies in exchange for an introduction to some that can be found here in Europe.
She did a terrific job choosing lots of things for me to try out. After spending some time using everything she sent, I feel ready to give you my thoughts on each thing.

My beauty box included:

‘Zaija’ Manuka Tree Cleansing Gel- an awesome, natural cleanser; one of my favorites!
‘Balance Me’ Face Oil- comes in a rollerball, used like other facial oil; I use this after nightly cleansing
‘China Glaze’ nail polish in “Be Merry, Be Bright”- I haven’t used this yet, but it’s perfect for a BCN game or this season
‘Model Co.’ eyeshadow duo “Bronzed Goddess”- neutral shadows are my favorite and these enhance the eyes nicely
‘Essence’ eyeliner in white- I use this in my lower lash line, I like this look but I still prefer nude liner
‘Essence’ eyeliner in “Leaves are the New Beef”- gorgeous bronze/brown creamy eye pencil
‘Essence’ lipliner in “Honey Berry”- bold blue berry hue; I’m not big on bold lips but I love this!
‘Essence’ XXXL Shine lipgloss in “True Love”- I used this on top of the lipliner, beautiful combination
‘Catrice’ Shimmering Bronzing Powder- I have been using this as a top layer of sorts to wherever I apply bronzer
‘Catrice’ Light-Reflecting Concealer- this stuff is great, very creamy and easy to apply. I haven’t quite perfected how to make it not crease though
‘I <3 Makeup’ Goddess of Love Highlighter- gives skin a pretty luminescence
double pocket mirror- every girl needs one!
Bracelet- not a “beauty item” per say, but it does dress up an outfit
‘Valor’ (Spanish brand) chocolates- SO GOOD!! :D
Pouch with samples- I'm using this pouch as a makeup bag while I'm in Germany this weekend!

Thanks again, Eli! :)

Ashley

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Words of Wisdom: November 3

Hello!

How are you doing this week? Are you ready for your weekly dose of encouragement?
Enjoy. :)

Define yourself


Excited,
Ashley

Friday, November 14, 2014

Book Trade: Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie

Happy Friday!
Today’s book is one that hold’s a special place in my heart. I first heard about this book shortly after my brother Andrew was diagnosed with ALL, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. The day my family received his diagnosis is forever seared into my memory. It started like any other day and ended with denial, tears and fear.
This breakout story by Jordan Sonnenblick, Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie tells the story of a thirteen year old drummer named Steven and the struggle his family endures as the younger son, Jeffrey, gets cancer. Leukemia takes quite the toll on the happy, energetic, carefree preschooler. Not only does Jeffery feel unwell, but he has to constantly be poked and prodded for blood work, bone marrow transplants, chemotherapy, radiation and constant testing. He doesn’t get to do the things a typical kid gets to do like go to school, play a lot and make friends. Meanwhile, his mother is waiting on him hand and foot, his father tries to put on a brave face but seems lost and Steven has his own issues to worry about.
Of course Steven cares for his little brother’s health and happiness, but what about his own? He is dealing with this scary thing called cancer too. As a sibling of someone going through all of this, he is forced to grow up quickly. His mother convinces him to start speaking with the school counselor to work through his feelings about it all. When Steven’s grades start to slip, he is ambushed by a teacher intervention in an effort to get him back on the right track. Drums are his escape. If his grades don’t improve drastically, he won’t be able to participate in the upcoming concert and his parent’s will be notified, only adding to their worries.
Cancer is an all too common occurrence in our lives today. It comes in many shapes and sizes. It has become near impossible not to be affected by the frightening c-word, either through a personal experience or through a loved one. Still, it is something worth talking about, understanding and working through. This book does that in a beautiful way.
Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie is a terrific example of how we can go through devastating times and coming out stronger. It reminds you to enjoy the time you have in life, and the people in it and to do it with a smile or laugh.
Quick Facts:
Genre- Children’s Literature
Copyright- 2004
Pages- 304
Have you read this story or know a young person who might relate to it? Do you have a personal story about cancer or other family trauma?

Healing the heart,
Ashley

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Words of Wisdom: November 2

Hello!

How is your week going? Well I hope!
Here is your midweek pick-me-up! Enjoy!

I can Improve. I can cause change.
YOU decide what is possible for you
Ashley

Monday, November 10, 2014

Book Trade: The Importance of Being Earnest


Hello!
Today I’m sharing with you my thoughts on another classic story, The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde. This is the first play I have ever read for pleasure. I can recall being in high school reading Shakespeare and finding it utterly boring. Of course now,  I want to go back and reread all of those high school required readings.
It had been a long time since I read I read a book where people speak in a highly proper and wordy way. As I read this, I could easily imagine each character dressed in heavy layers, practicing perfect manners and being served in their lavishly decorated houses. When an argument ensued, I couldn’t help but laugh because it was executed in a way so opposite how we tend to argue in today’s society, belittling the opponent.
The premise of this story is that two friends engage in some “Bunburying” where they each invent their own dreadful person. They then use this false person to get out of doing something they do not want to do. It is like the ultimate scapegoat. Sometimes they become their false person and sort of live out a second life.
In this play, both bachelors end up using the same character, “Ernest” when they each propose to a girl they admire. These girls compare stories and they men are caught in their lies.
“The Importance of Being Earnest” is a great story about being an honest, earnest member of society. This sounds highly cliché and that is because it is, but I am a sucker for a happy ending and even in this short story, the characters go through a lot of personal struggles and turmoil and are right there with them through it all, trying to figure out their motives.
I definitely recommend giving this book a read.

Have you read this before? What did you think of it?
Quick Facts:
Genre- Fiction/Classics/ Play
Copyright- 1895 (as Play), 1899 (as book)
Pages- 54

Hopelessly honest,
Ashley

Friday, November 7, 2014

Book vs. Movie: The Great Gatsby

Hi,
It is time for another book vs. movie smack down, and this one is on a classic story. There are two versions on this movie, the 2013 Leonardo DiCaprio version which I watched, and the 1974 version that is available for free on Netflix. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote this enticing tale in 1925 and I’m surprised it took so long to be made into a movie.
There is no story quite like that of Gatsby. From the start, I found myself easily seduced by the lavish lifestyle and fantastical stories. I read the book before ever seeing this movie (see my review here) and I am glad I did. I could easily draw parallels between the book and movie. The movie version also cleared up a lot of confusion I had, especially in regards to Gatsby’s honesty at crucial points in the story.
I don’t normally look too deeply into the movie itself and more how it relates to the story, but there were just so many things that really stood out to me in The Great Gatsby that I felt the need to share. First off, I loved the camerawork in this film, with quick zooming in and out. I also found the costumes, set and DiCaprio’s accent believable. I have never been interested in period pieces like this, but now I know I need to look into what I have been missing! I really enjoyed the music, though I am not normally a fan of Jay-Z and his music is certainly not true to the time the story occurs, it worked incredibly well.
There is opalescence to Gatsby’s life that nobody needs but everybody longs to experience or be a part of at some point in their lives. They say money can’t buy happiness and that was certainly the case with Gatsby, though he deserves credit for going after something so wholeheartedly, something he thought was pure and real, but in reality was unbelievably tainted.
In the end, I felt bad for Gatsby and how everyone was so quick to judge him and cast blame on him, especially when his most vocal critics were far from saints themselves.

Still in a daze over this movie,
Ashley

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Words of Wisdom: November 1

Hello!

I know I've been saying this each month, but seriously.. how is it already November?! This year is flying by! Here is this week's mid-week motivation!




Craving courage,
Ashley