July Loves

As July is coming to a close, I am sitting in my apartment and living the summer life we all dream of.  The insane 110 degree heat is blazing outside and I'm inside enjoying all the books, video games, and music I can before fall semester begins.  My summer classes ended only two weeks ago and I already feel like I've been doing everything I can to fill my free time in celebration.  It's been amazing.  Seriously, non-students out there, you must do so much with your lives. 
In this rare period of freedom, I'd like to take some time and share the things I've been loving enough to dedicate time to.  If it looks like a high schoolers list, that's because I basically am sixteen.

  1. Minecraft: I know what you're thinking, "Shelby, you're joking.  Minecraft is so two years ago."  No my friends, Minecraft is now.  And also it was two years ago.  But this game is just so much fun to play, especially if you have friends to set up a server with and create a magical mountain castle with a bridge in the sky to a rain forest and a sheep you keep as a pet (aka captive).  Also texture packs are amazing.
  2. Pokemon Go: If you're not playing Pokemon Go then you are not on board with current trends and that's commendable I guess, or you hate Pokemon and we can agree to disagree.  This game is awesome and I wish it wasn't a million degrees outside so I could play more.
  3. Disney's Emoji Blitz: Again I'm on board with trends this month and am playing phone apps, which is super unusual for me.  I don't play games on my phone ever, but I wanted cute Disney emoji's so I got this and was sucked into yet another Bejeweled-like game.
  4. Twenty One Pilots: I cannot stop listening to this band!  We all know their amazing nostalgia-inducing anthem 'Stressed Out', but when I heard 'Heathens' I was so obsessed.  'Ride' and 'Lane Boy' are my other two jams.
  5. Lost: My boyfriend and I are rewatching/watching for the first time this show and I am sooo mind-fucked right now.  I had previously only seen through the beginning of season 2 and he season 3, so we decided we wanted to know what really happened on that mysterious island.  Well let me tell you, we are mid-season 3 right now and SPOILER "Henry" just showed Sawyer that there are two islands!  What?!  So utterly confused.  And I know my poor baby Charlie doesn't have much time left and yet they are hardly showing him!  Oh, the struggles.
  6. A Silent Voice: This manga is a seven volume long drama/romance about a boy named Shoya in elementary school who constantly bullies a girl named Nishimiya who has a disability.  They end up loosing contact for a while and eventually run into each other again later in high school.  Shoya feels he needs to make things right for how terrible he treated Nishimiya and begins trying to rectify their relationship.  I'm on volume four currently and am really enjoying it--although it definitely is a sad one at the start.  I hope it ends on a happier note.
  7. A Darker Shade of Magic: After trying to get back into fantasy by picking up Sabriel by Garth Nix and being very disappointed, this book has been an incredible find.  I am about 75% done with it and love it to pieces--a new fantasy favorite for sure.  I mean, who can resist the kick-ass Lila, serious Kell, and charming Rhy?  The basic plot line is about a man named Kell who is one of the last Antari, (magic carriers) who also happens to smuggle magical artifacts across the borders of the three different London's that exist.  These London's all have different degree of magic in them and completely different people, and vary in their safety.  Whilst in Grey London, Kell runs into Lila, a thief longing for a grand adventure.  They get into some serious trouble and have to flee to the most dangerous place of all, the fourth Black London.  If you like fantasy you have got to give it a go.
  8. The Weight of It All: I featured an artist so this is a song I cannot get enough of by a band called Handsome Ghost.  It's a bit of a downer but melancholy music is my specialty.  I imagine this as a beautiful duet stripped down acoustically and recorded live someday . . .
  9. Once Upon A Time: I know like, 1/3 of the cast of Lost is in this, but I mostly ignore them.  I'm all in this for Hook, Bae, and Snow.  I picked this back up again to have something on while doing my chemistry labs and just kept it up.  I'm in the Neverland arc right now and cannot get enough.  They have made Peter thoroughly terrifying and it's glorious.  And Hook, well, he is also glorious.

The Coffee Book Tag

I recently saw a Youtube video on the Peruse Project's channel called the Coffee Book Tag, which sounded right up my alley.  I don't particularly like tag videos normally but since this one combined my two favorite things, I had to watch it.  Turns out it was pretty fun to watch, so I thought I'd give it a little go myself!  All the books will be linked to Goodreads so you can check them out if you're interested, don't worry!

  • Black Coffee- A book that's hard to get into but has a ton of die hard fans
    I can already feel the seething hatred billowing off people as they read this but I have not been able to get into Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.  People LOVE this book with a passion and I do intend on trying again and finishing it.  The Grisha Trilogy is one of my favorites so I'm surprised I can't get into this, but I have a feeling once I push myself more I'll like it.
  • Peppermint Mocha- A book that's popular around the holiday season
    For the sake of being different from Regan I'm going to pick a book that's popular around Halloween--Coraline by Neil Gaiman.  I see this around so much more in October, especially on tumblr.  This is about as creepy a story I'll get into, I mean, who seriously would be okay with an Other Mother?
  • Hot Chocolate- Favorite Children's Book
    Favorite as in singular?!  Impossible!  I mean, you remember the entire Harry Potter series is considered children's, right?  And Fablehaven by Brandon Mull is incredible!  Let's just say those two series collectively are my favorites.
  • Double Shot of Espresso- A book that keeps you on the edge the whole time
    I thought good and hard about this and I'm choosing a book that wouldn't normally be something I'd have read but once I started it really kept me hooked and stressed the entire time--Battle Royale by Koushun Takami.  Many say this is what The Hunger Games was based on, and I can see it.  Its violent, bloody, and shows no mercy throughout and surprisingly, I liked it.
  • Starbucks- A book you literally see everywhere
    I was going to put The Selection series but I think The Wrath & The Dawn has finally overtaken that.  I see that book and it's gorgeous dust cover LITERALLY EVERYWHERE.  But it's beautiful and I finally have a copy of my own so I don't mind.
  • Hipster Coffee Shop- An indie author you really like
    This made me realize I don't really read indie authors.  When I was a baby teen though I used to read those cheesy teen romance books that you could finish in a a couple of hours and my two favorite authors were Catherine Clark and Rachel Hawthorne.  The best one was Icing on the Lake by Clark.  If you are a younger teen and want to get into some fun romance novels for the summer or just whenever and don't want anything too hot and heavy, (you're welcome parents) then these are great.  Don't worry guys, they're still plenty fun to read.
  • Opps, I Accidentally Got Decaf- A book you expected more from
    Has got to be Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell.  I read this after I had devoured and adored Fangirl and everyone was saying this was their favorite book ever and blah blah blah and right off the bat didn't care for it.  Then I got more into it and then the ending just ruined it for me.  I thought this would be so wonderful and ultimately I hated it.
  • Perfect Blend- A book with the perfect blend of bitter and sweet
    It may have been an anime first but this manga is sooo perfectly bitter sweet.  Wolf Children by Mamoru Hosoda is a beautifully woven story of a mother of two wolf-human hybrid cubs who are growing up in the Japan countryside.  She is trying to learn how to let the children be themselves without being discovered for fear of people hurting them.  It's so emotional and it makes me want to move to the countryside and raise two wolf babies.
  • Green Tea- A book that's quietly beautiful
    The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss is the most beautiful book I've ever read.  I don't think it is beautiful in a loud or overwhelming way though, it just takes you on a journey in the most natural and elegant way.  The writing combined with the characters is what really makes this book one of the best for me.
  • Chai Tea- A book that makes you dream of far off places
    Instantly I thought of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. I think it's because I re-read this recently and it took me to far off deserts and planets again and made me wonder if the sheep has eaten the flower or not.  It's just the best.  Maybe this should have been my favorite children's book . . .

Tea Reads: ACOMAF Review

If you've been following me on Instagram you all knew this was coming.  I got my hands on Sarah J. Maas' newest book, the second in the 'A Court of Thorns & Roses' series and devoured it.  Of course, I had to review it.  I am warning you all now, this is going to have MAJOR spoilers so if you haven't read it and want to, do not read any further.

I did a review on ACOTAR last year but this one is going to be much more OMG I CANT BELIEVE THIS HAPPENED and I LOVE THIS CHARACTER SO MUCH, etc, so prepare for some fangirling.  First and foremost I want to say very good job to Sarah for continuing her legacy of writing amazing books with fantastic plot twists and incredibly sexy characters, (boys and girls) that make me want to reread them over and over again.  ACOMAF starts right off with Feyre adjusting to her new immortal Fae powers.  Action and drama are right at the beginning and don't stop until the end of the book, so it is much more engaging I think than book 1.  Also, I lovvvved how much stronger and independent Feyre was in this book.  She really begins to grow and stand up for herself after an obviously terrible and controlling monster, (ehmm, TAMLIN) tries to destroy her spirit.  I was disappointed in how Lucien handled the whole Tamlin locking up his beloved situation since I always loved him most in the Spring Court and am really hoping some secret manipulation was going on there that made him have to act the way he did.  I refuse to give up hope entirely on him yet.  Although, I do also hope Feyre gives him a little hell in book 3 since we all know he knows she is there for information only and she knows he knows.  MESS WITH HIM FEYRE.  AND RHYS BETTER COME EFFING BEAT UP TAMLIN IN HIS ILLYRIAN FORM AND WHEN TAMLIN TURNS RHYS BETTER LAUGH AND RIP HIM TO SHREDS AND LET FEYRE HELP.

Speaking of Rhys, holy hell.  That is one of the sexiest characters I've ever read about.  And no, it's not just because of all the sexual tension and eventual wonderful glorious paint-filled sex scenes, (although those were fantastic and I expect even more in book 3).  He holds such power and sensitivity simultaneously that you just want to lay next to him and go into battle against the King of Hybern at the same time.  I have so many feelings about him I think he is my new favorite book crush.  Like, I think he beats Rowan from the ToG series and that's a pretty big deal.  I'm not all that surprised, I loved him from the second you meet him during Fire Night in book 1, but I didn't expect all the magic that surrounds him.  The Inner Circle he managed to create and how he rules is so beautiful.  And don't even get me started on Cassian, Azriel, Mor, and Amren.  I have never wanted to be a part of a friend/family group so badly.  Their loyalty is unrivaled.  But Mor and Azriel have got to figure out their little thing. 

And then there's Velaris.  Wow, I mean, I just fell in love with that city.  When an author describes a place I typically read about it and then skim over the details in later descriptions, but with Velaris I soaked up every word.  I would move there in a heartbeat, no questions asked.  It was heart-wrenching to read about it's destruction.  I have a very strong hatred for those queens. 

The last two things I guess I really want to touch on here are THEY ARE MATES.  The utter joy that filled me when I read they were mates was so immense and wonderful I could have cried.  THEY ARE MATES GUYS.  *sigh I am just so happy.  As you can imagine when I thought the mating bond had been broken for a few minutes I was ready to go out for blood, but THANKFULLY that bond is still in tact.  In that same chapter I believe you also find out Lucien and Elain are mates and she and Nesta become Fae.  I'm very interested to see how that's going to play out and if it'll make Elain stand up for herself more and tell Nesta to back off a little.

If you haven't read this, 1. you probably didn't read this review but 2. if you did then I guess go read it now so you know what the heck I'm talking about and you can feel all the amazing wonderful things I did.  You won't regret it.  The first book, ACOTAR is out in paperback already and if you buy ACOMAF at Target there is a special story only in that edition--which I wish I would have gotten!  Fingers crossed it's in the paperback!  Also, if you're suffering from a book hangover as I am, here are some ACOMAF treats to get you through the pain: a Rhys scented candle, beautiful magnetic quote bookmarks, and this gorgeous print of Feyre & Rhys.

Where Did All the Libraries Go?

Who remembers libraries?  Those magical places where hundreds of thousands of books are kept and people can go, wave a magical card, and bring them home for a while for free.  I used to love the library.  I remember as a kid maxing out the amount of books I could take out and have to carry bags out with my mom of that weeks haul.  It didn't matter to me if I was able to read them all--even though I usually did.  I just liked having the power to take all those books home with me.  They were new stories I could delve into.

Then school, sports, and I guess life happened and I forgot about the library.  My card expired and became lost where all extra store and loyalty cards go, (probably the same place socks and bobby pins are).  I bought all my books or borrowed them from friends.  Occasionally I'd download something on my Nook.  It never occurred to me when a new release was out to see if the ol library had it--even when money was tight.  Why?  Why don't I ever here people saying they're going to the library anymore?

Honestly, I don't have an answer.  But times are changing for me and I hope I can encourage them to change for you too if you are like my old self and forgot about the gem that is the library.  I have recently moved out of my parents house and am now fending for myself with my boyfriend.  Money isn't really tight, but we are budgeting and as a result, I can't buy the million books I want at all times.  There is a library that's about a five minute walk from our new place, so I decided it was time to check out what it took to get a new card.  Turns out all it takes is your ID, a phone number, and two minutes.  They give you your new card and a pamphlet about how the system works and off you go, free to check out up to 35 things at a time!  Instantly, I ran to the teen section, free to scour the shelves for whatever I wanted.  Here's the little haul of things I picked up, (you can also see more of these on my Snapchat or Instagram in the future).

Anyways, I have no idea the future of these beautiful corners of the world, but I hope people don't forget about them.  Librarians go to school specifically to help people find exactly what they need and to help create events to keep people invested in reading.  When times are tough, these are places people can go to relax, read, chill on the computer, do homework somewhere quiet, and bring their kids to help them discover how cool reading really is.  I hope you help support your local library by getting a card and spending some time there.

Social Media Break

Hello everyone!

Man, what can I say for my absence?  Well let's start with finals.  Those were killer this semester.  Then I finally moved out, (insert little party emojis here)!  That was so much work and right smack in the middle of it, I got a wicked virus.  It pretty much took over my body and made me a zombie for a week.  Good times, good times.  Amidst all this chaos I had little time for extra things and I cut out almost all social media.  It wasn't me consciously doing it because I felt I was on it too much, but honestly, it's been nice.  I FINALLY finished Mistborn, which omg.  I feel like that needs a whole post on it's own.  I read this great manga series called Orange--maybe the best one yet.  I finally can say I've been to the motherland, Ikea.  It did not disappoint.  I started a mini re-watch of The Vampire Diaries while I was dying on the couch because . . . I mean, those Salvatore Brothers.  Life's been good. 

I have some ideas of what I want to share with you this summer.  I am eternally a student and will be in summer classes finishing my AA, so things won't be in total overdrive here, but they should be back to normal!  I'd like to take you on a little photographic tour of my new office space where I house all my sacred books.  And books reviews, duh.  Oh, and a book haul because Book Outlet just lured me in again like a damned siren.  Maybe some new recipes as I find myself cooking more now, although it is admittedly pretty basic stuff, so we'll see on that front.  A DIY or two.  Some interior inspiration.  And maybe a post about finding and getting our first apartment and things to keep in mind as I picked up quite a lot of helpful tips along the way from friends and family I never would have known on my own.  If you guys have anything you want to see definitely let me know.  I've been toying with the idea of showing you some makeup tutorials now that I have amazing lighting but somethings holding me back so if you want em let me know!  I think books is more my comfort zone for now.  I'm excited to get back in the swing of things. 

Top 5 Favorite Lipsticks

If you read the title then you know why I'm here.  This ladies and gentlemen is a big time beauty post today and up this week is a little chat about lipsticks.  As someone who was self-conscious about smiling with her teeth showing for like, four years of her life, I never thought I'd be one to like putting colors on my mouth to draw attention to it.  But working in the beauty industry has made me a lover of all shades of lipstick and liner and today I've narrowed down my top 5 favorite ones for you, ya know, in case you need more, (you always need more lipstick).

5. Rikugien - NARS
This is one of the first lighter shades I ever fell in love with and it was my go to color back when I was brunette.  The NARS Satin Lip Pencil's are super easy to apply and don't dry my lips out, and I love this color because it wears off nicely throughout the day so I don't feel like I absolutely need to touch up after every sip of water or thing I eat.  It's a nice peachy pink that's great for spring and summer and as you can see, I'm about due for another. 

4. Pale Mauve - Bobbi Brown
Pale Mauve is a gorgeous nude semi-matte shade that leans towards the pink spectrum; it's my one and only Bobbi lipstick.  And guys, I want more.  I love this thing.  It applies so smooth and never feathers.  The color is very pigmented and this lipstick lasts for a long time once I apply it.  I've tried some of their darker shades and feel like those lasted even longer, so that's good news for vampy lip lovers.

3. Mascate - NARS
You know it's a truly magical thing when I love a matte lipstick because I have the driest lips ever and typically hate them.  HOWEVER.  This one is the best.  NARS has incredible formulas for their lipsticks, (for everything actually) and their mattes are no exception.  The shade I have and adore is called Mascate and it's a deep ox blood red that I think would suite so many skin tones.  You gotta try this one if you like your reds.

2. Boy - Chanel
I have to give a big shout out to my lovely mother who gave me this for Christmas because without her there would be no way I'd have a Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Lipstick.  They are gorgeous but oh my gosh they are pricey.  And coming in at number two on my list there's a reason why.  This formulas so hydrating and beautiful on--I feel like it's my lip color but better.  This is the shade I wear on my no makeup days running around town, or when I need a good nude that's not too pink or brown.  The packaging is of course beautiful and feels nice and hefty--a nice touch.  My one fault with it is it does not last well at all which, at $35.00 it should be lasting me all day.  If the Clinique Butter Shines had a color like this I'd switch for one of those but alas, I can't find something comparable anywhere.  Help, before I run out!

1. Berry Pop - Clinique
Surprise!  Coming in at number one is a fairly budget lipstick.  I love this lipstick so much!  First let's start with the shade.  It's the perfect berry color that's not too purple, red, or pink and suits all skin tones.  It's great for fall and winter but I like rocking it in spring and summer too when I'm feeling a bit moody.  The formula is great for these Pop lipsticks because they have a built in primer so they last for ages and they aren't drying at all.  They're super pigmented too, so I don't have to bother with a lip liner.  You have to be a bit careful with these as they melt easier then other lipsticks--a struggle here in Vegas, but as that's their only flaw I really cannot complain.  This is the best!

Honorable mentions: Cruella by NARS and Nantucket Nude by treStique.

Let me know what your favorites are and any new ones you've tried lately that I should try too!

Neutral Summer Fashion Lookbook

It's starting to really warm up here on the West Coast and that means summer wardrobe planning!  While I love bright colors and all the over saturation that summer brings with it, I'm having a major neutrals moment where blush and indigo, denim, and classic black and white stripes are all I'm craving.  Even down to my makeup I've simplified things to a nice one color wash over the lid in a pretty taupe or gold shade with lots of strobbing for that dewy glowy look.  The simpler the better for now, so I thought I'd create a mini lookbook for you in case you are feeling the summer neutrals too and need some inspiration.  Everything is linked so you just have to click for more information down below.  Happy shopping and don't forget to let me know your favorite piece in the comments!

Top 5 Favorite Anime

If you told me five or even three years ago I'd be making a blog post entitled 'Top 5 Favorite Anime', I'd have laughed at you and called you crazy.  I was never into manga or anime when I was younger beside the original Pokemon.  My idea of anime was either super fetishized young girls with boobs hanging out everywhere or weird action robots fighting every episode--two genres that are a thing but that don't dominate the spectrum like I thought.  To my very happy surprise, I discovered anime could be deep, poignant, sad, hilarious, and beautifully animated.  I have been binge watching a lot of it lately and wanted to share my top five anime's thus far to chronicle my journey and be able to look back in a year or two and see what's changed, but also to see if any of you have similar favorites and recommendations.  So, let's go!

1. Your Lie in April

I'm putting this out there right away to let you know I'm almost but not quite done with this series yet so PLEASE NO SPOILERS.  However, I feel like I pretty much know what's going to happen and it's killing me a little bit.  Or a lot.  This show is everything I could ever hope for in an anime.  It's beautiful, the music is INCREDIBLE, I love the characters, the story is interesting, and I have no complaints.  I'd recommend this to anyone unless they don't like sad things.  I'm already considering re-watching . . . but oh the tears.
 

2. Non Non Biyori

I think this is the first really cute, sweet anime that truly captured my heart.  Like, I was drawing the characters, wanting to import merch, and considered naming my first child Renge.  I actually wrote about it in a Weekly Edit before so I won't drone on about it, but it follows these four girls and their friends and families living on the Japan countryside.  It has an offbeat sense of humor that I love and is animated with detail and color that is like nothing I've seen in any other anime before.  It's one that takes me back to childhood and I love it to pieces.

3. Kuroko no Basket (Kuroko's Basketball)

Woahh, Shelby.  A sport's anime?  You're joking, right?  Listen up guys, I'm about to get real cliche here for a minute.  This show is about way more than just basketball--although it did get me much more uptight and excited about sports than ever before.  It's about fellowship, competition, and perseverance following a sports team, Serin, and their journey to become the best.  Kuroko, the cute lil light blue haired #11 in the front there has a lot of personal growth and stuff he has to work through and there are some real nasty characters they have to fight.  My personal favorites are of course Kagami but also Teppei.  *Sigh* Senpai!  Teppei is the real star! 

4. Dragon Ball Z

Here's another show I haven't even come close to finishing, but I really enjoy.  It's not my typical style, I mean, there's no pastels, cute blushing girls and guys, and most of the characters are ugly.  But it's kickass so none of that matters.  Baby Gohan is my guy along with Piccolo.  Sometimes this show gets a little too ridiculous for me, and the fighting sequences are so long, but the humor and action keep me in.  Plus my boyfriend is in love with Vegeta so I think I'm bound by law to finish the series.  ;D

5. Sailor Moon Crystal

Moon Crystal Power!  Make up!  This is a series I dedicated a whole blog post to, so it had to be in my top five.  I've actually read more of the manga than I've seen of the show, but I love them both so much.  Again, I never was into anime as a kid, so I totally missed out on all the Sailor Moon fun.  Now I'm embracing it full force and I've no shame.  Chibi Usa is my all time fav but Sailor Jupiter is a close second.  What's not to love about cute girls kicking butt, legit scary villains, and the dreamy Tuxedo Mask?

Honorable Mention: My Love Story

Yamato, I love you.  This is SUCH a cute and silly show.  A total shojo anime that I wanted to include in my top five but I haven't finished yet and I think is just lacking something to push another show out.  I'm not sure what it is . . . maybe more heavy drama--I do like the sadder stuff.  Although there were a few episode with Suna where I thought things would never be happy again.  Anyways it's about a very large and kinda scary looking guy named Takeo who likes a sweet young girl named Yamato, but he thinks she likes his uber-suave best friend Suna.  Hilarity ensues and love blossoms in unexpected places. 

I hope this has given you some ideas of new shows to try and if you have any suggestions of what I might like based on what you've seen feel free to leave a comment down below!  My Netflix and Crunchyroll queue is ever growing!  Until next time!

Featured Artist: Michelle Hiraishi

For round two of the featured artist spotlight I wanted to chose someone who still made fun, bright, artwork like the first artist Joey, but also someone with a totally different technique that's more loosey-goosey and even a little messy looking at times.  Someone who's art looks like how it feels: adventurous, young, and organic.  I first discovered this artist on either Instagram or Tumblr over a year or two ago now and fell in love with her images of little kids on exploring the wilderness.  Her name is Michelle Hiraishi and she is just wonderful.  I'm dying for her to come out with some children's books.  Michelle currently interns at for the upcoming Nickelodeon show The Loud House.  If you're a fan of cute, somewhat nerdy, and watercolor filled images than stick around!  You're about to fall in love.

Weekly Edit 4

March has been a great month for me, and I can't pick out a specific reason why.  I just feel great.  The music world has been putting energizing stuff out into the world, I've been eating good food, playing fun games, and things have generally been awesome.  So this week I wanted to give back a little and surprise you all with two posts because why not?  Here is post 1 of 2, a good 'ol Weekly Edit.  The internet has been overflowing with fun stuff and if you've been a fairly productive member of society you may have missed them.  My gift to you. 

  • This made me so incredibly happy.  How cute is a giant Pikachu Pokemon card made from 13,000 other Pokemon cards?  =O
  • My love Estee Lalonde started a new series on her YouTube channel called Femtalk and it's awesome.  It totally encourages women to talk more about topics like sex, periods, and just general girl stuff that is still taboo to talk about publicly--which is dumb.  We gotta open up the conversation and just talk people!
  • Spring break happened and while I was busy working and catching up on homework, I was also being sucked into the Stardew Valley vortex.  This is the cutest freaking game ever.  It's perfect for lovers of time-suck games like Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing.  Basically you inherit a farm and live in a cute little town where you can fish, mine, grow stuff, and take care of animals all whilst wooing your favorite single character in town.  I won't admit how many hours I've put into this so far, but it's a stupid amount--that's how you know it's great.
  • One word: Pillowtalk.  This song is everything.  The video I can leave but the song is just sooooo good.  WARNING: NOT for children or work.  Okay, now that you've been warned go listen and be happy. 
  • On a completely opposite plain, these shoes went live on Modcloth a week or two ago I believe and they're pretty much gone now.  I want them to satisfy my inner Care Bear loving child.  Also, I want them to make a Grumpy Bear pair OR a pair wear one shoe is Hugs and one is Tugs.  Anyone?
  • Another song that recently came out that I just cannot get enough of is The Lumineers tune Ophelia.  It's catchy and has a sweet little video that makes me wanna go dance outside in the rain.  Is it just me or does anyone else dream of being in this band someday too?  [Side-note: They're other new song Cleopatra is tops too].
  • Two Instagrammers I've been loving this month are zoelaz & diebbie.  Zoe has that hip wanderers vibe going on that's very cool and West Coast and makes me wanna tan up and move to the sea.  Debbie is an artist who does the sweetest pictures of little fantasy characters.  These are some of my favorites: 1, 2 ,3, and 4.
  • A new line within Tarte came out called Rainforest of the Sea and all the products are meant to be hydrating and boost radiance in the skin with marine algae and flower extracts.  As someone who always has had dry skin, this line not only looks gorgeous but sounds like my dream all-in-one package.  I want EVERYTHING.

Da Vine Foods: Lilikoi Recipes

As spring has started moving in my taste buds are beginning to crave foods that are sweeter, lighter, and fruitier than winter held.  When I lived in Hawaii there was always an abundance of delicious fruit around and smoothies were always an option, but here in Vegas my favorites are not always in season.  While the colder months are my favorites, sometimes I miss the sweeter things and tire of the same pumpkin and maple flavors, wishing for the days when I can make a smoothie again and not freeze. 

Enter Lilikoi.  If I'd of had these items over winter I could have been making things like pancakes, french toast, crepes, and all kinds of other sweet goodies with that fruity taste without needing the actual fruit.  I recently was sent four things from Da Vine Foods, a company based right out of the Big Island, that specialize in Lilikoi, (passion fruit) based products.  The company's co-founder and now owner, Rochelle Anderson, keeps the products all natural and gluten-free.  They have more than things I got, but I had the Lilikoi Butter, Syrup, Chili Pepper Sauce, and Cocktail Mix.  I wanted to share a little about them each with you guys because 1. They are seriously to die for and I think you'll love everything and 2. I like supporting smaller American made businesses.  So without further adieu, here we go.

First up is my favorite because I just cannot save it for last.  Lilikoi butter is the most decadent and delicious thing ever and if you haven't slathered it onto toast for breakfast, you haven't lived.  This stuff tastes like pure happiness.  I used to eat this in Hawaii and it was great then but it's better now, probably because it's a special treat.  I wanted to try something a little fancier than toast for you guys, so I made Lilikoi Bars--a recipe I actually got from the little pamphlet that came in my shipment.  These were super easy to make and made way more than I could eat at once so I brought them into work and I kid you not, my co-workers demanded I bring more the next day.  They weren't too sweet, were a little nutty, and tasted reminiscent of shortbread.  They were definitely a huge hit and I would totally make them again.

Next up we have my second favorite, the Lilikoi Syrup.  I had high hopes going in trying this and was not disappointed.  I whipped up some french toast and poured this over the top of it with some fresh raspberries and it was a little piece of heaven.  I will be using the rest of this up very quickly.  This is the product you'll want to smother your pancakes, crepes, toast, and waffles in.  Pro tip: Since there are no added preservatives to this product, freeze it in an ice cube tray if you won't use it within two weeks after opening or it will begin to ferment.

For those of you who like things a little less sweet and a little more spicy, there is a delicious Chili Pepper Sauce.  This can be used as a marinade for meats, put over stir fry or salads, and used in sauces and dips--which is how I used it.  Now as much as I love my Indian food now, I did not grow up with it and don't love it nearly as much as I do sweets.  This I was pleasantly surprised to discover wasn't very spicy at all and tasted good when mixed with some mayo as an aioli sauce for fries.  I feel like I would have liked this "dish" even better if my fries would have been seasoned more or I would have paired it with something instead of making it alone.  I'm interested to experiment more with this one.

Last up we have the Cocktail Mix, and it was a dream to drink this.  Let me preface this by saying I don't drink alcohol but maybe once or twice a year and when I do it's maybe a glass.  So for me this may end up in smoothies or other fruit juices.  However, I do miss my champagne and wanted to see how this lived up to it's claim as "liquid gold" on their blog.  I grabbed a mini bottle of Pink Moscato and put about 1.5oz of the mix in my glass to make a Lili-Mosa.  If I didn't feel like it was almost spring before, I did after drinking this.  It was so sweet, smelled kind of like mangoes, and made me feel like I should be at brunch with my girlfriends somewhere fancy with big hats.  If you don't like things super sweet just put a little less of the mix in your drink and maybe go with regular champagne instead of pink or try a totally different drink.

If you end up trying any of these products or anything else from their website, tag me in your Instagram photos or tweet me a photo of your creations!  I'd love to get some more ideas of what to make.  You can see ideas for extra recipes on their Facebook or blog.  I hope you guys enjoyed a longer post this week and something a little different on the food side of things.  If you want to see more posts like this let me know in the comments below!

Pretty Guardian: Sailor Moon

Let's get serious this week guys.  Sailor Moon is taking over my life.  I mean, really.  I never had a childhood filled with cute shojo anime to enjoy.  The closest I came was Pokemon and the rest was all Disney and the Muppets.  It's only been the last three or so years I've started to delve into the anime and manga world--and honestly I'm glad I've waited this long.  Baby Shelby wouldn't have appreciated it.  But Somewhat Grown-Up Shelby does.

My boyfriend bought me my first Sailor Moon manga and it's one of the newer published Pretty Gaurdian ones--it's amazing.  As someone who never read or saw any old SM stuff, it was also super confusing.  Was it just me or was the whole introduction of Venus as the princess and then oh wait, it's really Usagi who's the princess and then here comes another baby Usagi who's real Usagi's actual baby and omg too many Usagi's.  I think I've got it down now and I've started watching the anime with Justin and we're loving it.  My favorite is definitely Chibi Usa but of the original guardians it's Sailor Jupiter.  She's so strong, badass, and cool!  Of you guys who read/watch it who's your favorite? 

Anyways this is just a little appreciation post since I'm loving it so much.  I definitely recommend it if you haven't ever experienced it.  I, of course want everything Sailor Moon related now, especially this Luna bag, all the SM makeup, and this print.  Don't even get me started on cos-playing as one of them.  *sigh*  If only we could all be Sailor Guardians.   Moon prism power, make up!

Disneyland Adventure 2015

It feels like just yesterday we were in Disneyland, and yet it was back in November of last year.  Justin & I went for the Diamond Anniversary and had the most incredible time.  There were practically no crowds, we finally got to see the World of Color show, we saw the Aladdin-A Musical Spectacular show before it ended, and it was just perfect.  Honestly, if I could pack up and move to Anaheim tomorrow I would.  I will never get enough of Disney--it's my happy place.

I know it's late to be posting these photos.  Our computer's hard drive crashed and they were lost for a while.  But alas, they've been discovered again.  I had a blast editing these and reliving our time together.  I can't wait for the day we can go back to a Disney park and let all our cares fade away.  I hope these bring back some happy memories of a Disney trip you've taken yourself.

We got to do some special things this trip we haven't done before.  For our anniversary dinner we ate at Goofy's Kitchen, a character dining experience.  It was a lot of fun--definitely more catered to families and bigger groups, but we enjoyed ourselves.  The food is buffet style and also kid-centric but for picky eaters or adults who like chicken fingers, pizza, mac n cheese, potatoes, and lots of dessert it's perfect.  We wouldn't do it again unless we had a special event to celebrate because we really would like to try some other places like Ariel's Grotto, Blue Bayou, or the Storytellers Cafe.

We also stayed in the Disney Paradise Pier Resort.  We have stayed in this resort before, but this time we were upgraded when we arrived.  Our service there was awesome and we truly love staying on Disney property because of some extra benefits we otherwise wouldn't get.  We got the extra magic hour both days in the park, some free goodies like a 60th anniversary pin, a free photo from a couple of choice rides, we are right next to Downtown Disney so we can walk to Disneyland in less than 10 minutes, and we got a coupon book for some places in Downtown Disney.  To me the experiences we have staying on property are truly worth the extra money.

Skincare Routine

If you know me you'll know I've more or less always had pretty good skin.  I've stayed fair with the exception of when I was really young and a year stint in Hawaii.  I take care to always wear sunscreen.  I do have some trouble with breakouts but from working in the cosmetics field I know my troubles are basically a blip on the line graph of acne woes.  My discoloration is only in one area and is from a little acne scaring and honestly is not that noticeable anymore from some potions.  Overall, life is good.

You can attribute this to genetics or luck but I know it's in large part due to my skincare regime.  I've been lazy enough days in a row enough times to know when I slack on my skincare, my skin starts to go wild and rebels.  It breaks out, becomes blotchy, and generally thinks it can do whatever it wants.  I like to think I have a lot more control over it than I do, so I want to keep it in check at all times and perform a morning and nightly routine that will keep it in it's best shape.  To do that I have a very specific set of products I use that work magic for me.  Most of them are fragrance free and come from one of three or four lines.  What can I say?  Once a skincare line makes me fall in love I will stay true to them for life.  Here are the absolute essentials in my skincare routine that I could not and would not live without.

For starters we have cleansing brushes, (which I've posted about in more detail here).  I use the Clinique brush everyday with the acne brush head for gentle cleansing and the Clarisonic with the normal brush head for exfoliating about three times a week.  I use my Clinique Mild Liquid Facial Soap for these most often but if I want extra exfoliating I'll either use the Clinique 7 Day Scrub or the Origins GinZing Refreshing Scrub Cleanser. 

Next I use the Clinique Clarifying Lotion 1 for very dry to dry skin which acts as an exfoliating toner before I put any serums on.  Most mornings/nights I'll use the Clinique Smart serum which helps correct and prevent wrinkles, discoloration, firiming, and radiance, but on days when I'll be wearing full face or my skin is really dry I'll pop on the Kiehl's Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum Concentrate to prime my skin to really lock in moisture all day long.  Then I'll use the Clinique Moisture Surge moisturizer most days, (fav moisturizer ever!) or the Kiehl's Rosa Arctica Cream on extra dry days.  For my eyes I'll prime them with the Shiseido Ultimune Eye Concentrate and then put the Fresh Rose Hydrating Eye Gel Cream on.  

The last items are things I use as necessary or are not really skincare but are kind of related so I threw them in.  When I'm breaking out I use the Clinique All Over Clearing Treatment, which is a lotion you apply anywhere you tend to or are breaking out.  It contains benzoyl peroxide to dry the acne out fast.  Next is the Clinique Moisture Surge Mask, which I'll typically only put on after I've used my Clarisonic as it drys my skin out quite a bit and I find I need some hydrating mask afterwards.  To care for my dry lips I use the Fresh Sugar Lip Polish to get the flaky skin off and hydrate them with the Clinique Repairwear Intensive Lip Treatment.  For my hands I like the Kiehl's Ultimate Strength Hand Salve--yes, it smells like Eucalyptus and I love it.  Lastly it my perfume of choice, the Kiehl's Original Musk.  I've also written about this before, but it's basically what Legolas would smell like in a bottle. 

If you guys have the perfect skincare routine going for you right now don't be afraid to let me know!  I'd always excited to try new products--especially if they are fragrance free or more for dry skin.  If you want to know more about anything I mentioned you can click the photo and it'll link you to a site you can read more about each product.  Enjoy!

 

(I was not asked to promote any of these products--this is my actual routine. However this post does include affiliate links).

 

Rituel de Fille Wishlist

Guys.  We need to talk.  I've discovered a world of beauty products that are making me salivate just thinking about them.  They look like the most beautiful products ever and I want all of them.  This is a problem for a few reasons.

  1. My main 2016 resolution was to budget and after having to buy a new computer right at the start of the year, I'm really really budgeting.
  2. They are pricey for me, even if I wasn't budgeting. 

So until I have some rainy day money for more makeup or Christmas rolls around, (let's be real, we know what'll come first) I've had to satisfy my drooling by making a wishlist of my most wanted products.  I should probably mention the line I'm dying over is called Rituel de Fille.  If you've never seen it you have to check it out.  It was founded by three sisters who take pride in never testing on animals and who use all natural ingredients.  Everything is paraben free, 100% cruelty free, and doesn't contain any synthetic dyes or fragrance.  They also have the coolest marketing and storytelling for their special collections.

These are the things I want most, although I truly mean it when I say I want everything, (hello Seven Sisters Eye Soot).  Let me know the things you love most too down below so we can obsess together!

  1. Inner Glow Cream Blush-Desire
  2. Ash & Ember Eye Soot-Sigil
  3. Ash & Ember Eye Soot-Half Light

4. Forbidden Lipstick-Against Nature
5. Enchanted Lip Sheer-Blackthorn
6. Forbidden Lipstick-Fortune Teller

Secret Garden Birthday Adventure

Last month I had the pleasure of turning 24, so to celebrate I went to the Secret Garden & Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage Hotel.  I don't make a habit of being downtown and haven't been to the Secret Garden in probably over ten years, so I was super excited to see the dolphins again.  Plus I heard they had tiger cubs, so I was really hoping they'd be out and about.

To my pleasant surprise, the cubs were out and playing like crazy!  Well . . . the white tiger cub was.  The orange cub was either tired, shy, or just not interested in the care taker's games.  He mostly chilled out in the corner.  But man, that little white cub was playing all over the place: leaping over logs, crawling through cardboard tubes, and chasing after patches of grass.  He was such a ham.  They were both gorgeous.  They are both about five months old and weigh in the fifty pound range.  They were born to different parents of course, who might I add could have cared less about us being there.

The big guys were very cool to see.  The large tigers were anticipating their food as it was almost feeding time, so they were busy chomping on bushes and pacing back and forth, anxiously awaiting us to leave so they could feast.  The lions on the other hand were as carefree as the wind.  They just lounged around and stared at us as if to say, "Why are you wasting your time looking at us while we just lay here?"  They were massive and so beautiful to watch.  The thing I like about the Secret Garden is the big cats are out on display a couple of hours a day and then new big cats are switched out so the others can run and play across four or five acres of land behind the exhibits.  They are not all confined to cages all day like in your typical zoo.

After we had our fill of the big cats we moved to the dolphins.  Every thirty minutes or so the trainers do enrichment sessions with the dolphins and anyone can watch.  They mostly check the dolphins out, have them do some basic behaviors like wave, flip, play with a basketball, touch their nose to a pole in the air, etc.  While this is going on, they talk to the audience about the dolphin species and how they take care of the animals.  It wasn't really a show and there isn't exciting music or anything--it's not SeaWorld.  It was more just to let people see the dolphins above the surface a little more.  There is also an underground area you can go to to see the dolphins swimming underwater that is pretty awesome.  It's a great photo opp area. 

Overall it was an awesome day.  I loved being able to see dolphins again and also get some cute tiger cub action in as well.  We even got one of those cool name art things where each letter of your name is drawn as a dolphin or a dragon or palm tree, etc.  The sweetest Korean woman in the dolphin gift shop painted one each for us and gave us a really good deal.  If you happen to stop by there and a woman with that description, (vague I know but I didn't catch her name) is there, don't miss out.  She's the best!  It was a special way to spend my birthday that I won't long forget.

2016 TBR

Yes, this is running a little behind everyone else's because honestly I debated not even posting a tbr list.  I'm one of those readers who heavily depends on what feels right to read in that moment.  Planning out my books in advance just doesn't work.  However I do have a massive stack of books I've been wanting to read for ages and I'm thinking 2016 is the year I finally get through them, partly because I started them last year & never finished them & partly because I just really want to read them.  And so here we have it, my 2016 tbr list.

1. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss - This is my current read that I'm maybe 1/4 of the way through, and loving.  The way Rothfuss writes is almost like poetry at times and I can't get enough of it.  There's a reason everyone who has read this book loves it.

2. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson - Yeah so . . . I know I started this book back in September.  It's great, don't get me wrong.  I just got so caught up with school that manga became way easier to read then high fantasy.  But I will find out what happens with Kelsier & Vin.

3. The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas - Sarah is one of my favorite authors at this point & I've read all her books now except this one.  It's been on my shelf forever & I find after finishing Queen of Shadows I can't help my mind from dreaming about Aelin, Rowan, Dorian, and the others.  I'm sure one day when I'm really missing them I'll pick this up.

4. A Court of Mist & Fury by Sarah J. Maas - Speaking of Sarah, her next book after A Court of Thorns & Roses comes out in May.  I'll definitely have to give it a read & see what happens with Feyre, Tamlin, and sexy Rhysand.

5. Brave Story by Miyuki Miyabe - I'm going to be real with you here and tell you I don't really know what this is about besides it is a fantasy book about a young boy.  I got it because of it's amazingly cool cover.  This is the year I conquer all 816 pages of it.

6. Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman - This is the sequel to a book called Seraphina, a masterpiece about a girl living in a world where dragons have gone into hiding in human form and peace between the two races is majorly on the rocks after a murder takes place in the royal palace.  I started this one when it first came out & once again school got in my way.  Not this time!  I will defeat you Hartman!

7. Beyonders: A World Without Heroes by Brandon Mull - Seriously, why haven't I read this series yet?  Fablehaven is one of my favorite series and I know this one is going to be amazing.  It's considered a children's fantasy series but after a chat with the author, I know this is absolutely more intended for a teen/adult audience.

8. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell - If you haven't read anything by Rainbow Rowell and you like teen fiction, then I'm not sure where you've been the last 3-4 years.  She has been dominating the bestseller list with titles like Eleanor & Park and Fangirl.  I personally was not a fan of E&P but Fangirl is possibly my fav teen fic read ever.  This is a sequel to that of sorts.  In Fangirl the main character writes fan fiction, (very reminiscent to HP) and this is supposed to take place in that universe.

9. Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor - This is the final installment in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy and I started reading this months ago too, (see a trend here)?  I am eager to see how this trilogy ends but the beginning of this book is just so bleak and frustrating and at the time I picked it up I needed something happier.  But I think I'll give it another go soon.  I have to know if there's a happy ending!

10. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo - This is a tale I've heard compared to 'Ocean's Eleven' and takes place in the Grisha universe I love so dearly.  I want to read it but I'm secretly worried I won't love it as much as I did the original Grisha trilogy.

If you want to follow what I'm reading on Goodreads you can do so here.  Let me know what's on your 2016 tbr list!

 

Weekly Edit 3

As January is coming to a close I have another weekly edit for you guys.  If you haven't seen one of these before, (links here and here) it's basically a link roundup of things I've enjoyed from the last week or so that I like sharing with you.  As much as January has been a major blow with some of the greatest artists ever passing away, (RIP Alan Rickman & David Bowie) it has also been a great time as well.  I cherished the last precious moments of free time before spring semester began and had an awesome birthday.  Let's hope February brings less bad times and a lot more good.  *Raises glass*  To February!

  • I have no idea where I'd ever need to wear this dress, but it makes me wish I was living in some fairy tale where people wore things like this all the time.
  • I tried to pick a feature print from this artist to show you, but they are all so beautiful!  They are full of bright colors & include pieces from Disney, Star Wars, LOTR, & Harry Potter.
  • Speaking of HP, the New York Times wrote a lovely piece on Alan Rickman after his passing on January 14.  You can read about him and his work here.
  • James Corden's carpool videos are always brilliant, but this one with Adele is the best one yet. 
  • Do you like Star Wars?  Do you like Pooh Bear?  Cutest mash-up ever.
  • Here's an instrumental cover of Wildest Dreams & Bad Blood from two students at Berklee College of Music.  It's so beautiful.
  • If you're into anime or want to start watching it, this is my current favorite.  It's a slice of life show that follows four girls living in the countryside of Japan.  It doesn't sound exciting, but the humor is so perfectly timed and the animation is on par with a Miyazaki film in my opinion.  My favorite character is Renge, the wise beyond her years first grader.
  • I want this eye shadow so much I can practically taste it, (and it's glorious).
  • Sarah J. Maas, one of my fav authors, tweeted the cover reveal of the sequel to 'A Court of Thorns & Roses'.  It's so gorgeous--I mean check out that armor detail!  It will be called 'A Court of Mist & Fury' & can be preordered now for it's release date in May. 
  • I love watching Youtube videos for new beauty looks or just for some new music, but it's refreshing to see two of my favorite Youtubers reaching out and doing some amazing things.  Hannah Hart has a series where she continues to do great community service--this is the most recent episode where she works to build a home with Habitat for Humanity.  Bubz or Lindy from Bubzbeauty raised over $50,000 to build two schools in Laos and actually visited one of them and met with the children.  It's the sweetest thing ever.

Featured Artist: Joey Chou

I like art.  I love art.  I obsess over artists Instagram's profiles and tumblr's for hours and long for the day I can make things that look like theirs.  I never would have thought as a kid I would like collecting art either, assuming it would mean I'd have to be interested in things like the Mona Lisa or weird modern stuff that I didn't really understand.  But thankfully the internet has allowed me to see people do make things that speak to me that are filled with color, adventure, and nerdiness.  Yeah, I said it.  I like nerd art.

I am going somewhere with this.  I'm going to be having a column on here where I feature some of my favorite artists from now on and the first one fits all my criteria: bright colors, adventurous topics, and nerdiness.  His name is Joey Chou and I met him in California when Justin & I went to Disneyland last November.  He was doing a signing at Wonderground Gallery and I just happened to pick one of his prints up as my prize to take home.  I didn't know he'd be signing the next night until I went back to buy the print a day later and panicked when it was gone, only to find it was in the front with all his work being featured.  He was super nice and even showed us some pieces he did that hadn't come out yet for The Good Dinosaur.  He drew a little Baymax on the back of our print and I knew then and there I'd love his work for years to come.  Here's a taste of the magic hes made.  If you want to see more you can check out his tumblr or Facebook.  He seems to have artwork at Wonderground all the time so if you're there scope his name out!

Charcoal Pieces

Last semester I took an intro to drawing class that covered some charcoal assignments, and I loved it.  Charcoal is a quick medium that requires you to work backwards in a sense by erasing highlights after you've already put down a lot of shadow, and it's messy, (the best part obviously).  I want to keep working in my free time in charcoal and trying to improve, but here are the big pieces I did for class. 

This skeleton was the first piece I did and his name is Henry.  He was drawn from still life and I love how he turned out. 

Next up we have Sam Winchester from the TV show Supernatural.  We took this on after learning portraiture.  There are some flaws here, but overall I'm fairly happy with him.  I mean, that stubble though.

Lastly was my final project.  We had to draw ourselves in any setting as any character or thing we wanted.  I opted to make myself into a Sailor Moon character, however that was almost impossible to do and still keep the anime style true.  So this basically looks like a mash-up of Chibi Usa's body and Sailor Mar's hair, but the contrast turned out how I wanted.  I'd like to try more Sailor Moon again since it's so fun to draw!