It's all made up

It's all made up

For lovers of beauty, books and making rad crafts.

Book Review: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Ohhh The Rosie Project – so much hype! That might be part of the reason I was largely underwhelmed. The other reasons involve a predictable plot (she’s “utterly unsuitable”…there’s no way they’ll end up together right?) and a general lack of characters to relate to. If you want to read the plot, click here.

Don is asperger’s syndrome methodical, Rosie seemed immature for her 29 (or around there, I can’t be bothered to look it up) years and read very much like a woman written by a guy. Dons friends are fine (if a little odd) and that’s about it.

If it was marketed a different way, this could have been chick lit. It felt like watching a cliched romantic drama (like P.S. I Love You, which yes I know it was a book first). I can’t handle romantic dramas. I also got the feeling that Simsion was trying to toughen it up, adding a bit of swearing and debate about sex. Oooooh. Edgy.

I hear there’s a sequel coming out. I won’t be getting in line. One Day by David Nicholls or anything by Jonathan Tropper would be a much better alternative. Sorry Rosie.

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Beauty Review: Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster

This is one of those products you wonder why no one thought of sooner. Turn your regular moisturizer into a tanning version. Genius!

I’ve used this twice now and I have yet to get the dosage right. I think they say to use 2-3 drops (or maybe it’s 3-4) into your moisturizer, which on my medium toned skin doesn’t make much of a difference. Still, I guess that’s the beauty of this: it’s easily customisable. I’ll persevere.

Tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.

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Another one to add to the “Why is this a classic?” list.

The Old Man felt like something you’d read in high school, then analyze to death, inserting imagined plot subtext in the all the lagging points of the written one.

Sure sure I’m being harsh and probably missed a lot of metaphors, but if a book is going to require heavy dissection to enjoy, it’s just not going to be my bag. For better or worse, I take most things at face value*.

I’d like to wrap up with a part of my favourite review on Goodreads:

Just throw the fucking fish back in. Fuck.”

*I don’t read many mysteries, but I should. I almost never see it coming.

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My love/hate relationship with Shellac

Here is my Shellac mani at week two of my recent holiday- this is why it’s brilliant. Such shine! No chips!

Shortly after this the edges at the bottom started peeling away in a manner I could no longer ignore (they were catching in my hair) so I started to pick it off. Therefore for the last week of the trip I had gross chipped red polish and semi destroyed nails. In fact I’ll have semi destroyed nails for a while. As the Italians would say: no buono.

I’ve had Shellac before so i really should have known better, but I guess the moral of the story is make sure you can either get to a place to have it removed before the situation is dire (most likely around the two week mark), bring acetone with you (probably not the best for traveling) or just suck it up and go bare nailed or use regular polish.

The upside to this is my shellac pedi has held up beautifully, so that was a winner of a decision.

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Book review: My Brillian Friend by Elena Ferrante

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I finished My Brilliant Friend a few weeks ago, and am still a bit up in the air how I feel about it. I read it because I was going to Italy and I like to read books set in places I’m traveling to. Like a literary Lonely Planet.

The Goodreads description:

The story begins in the 1950s, in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples. Growing up on these tough streets the two girls learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone or anything else. As they grow, as their paths repeatedly diverge and converge, Elena and Lila remain best friends whose respective destinies are reflected and refracted in the other. They are likewise the embodiments of a nation undergoing momentous change. Through the lives of these two women, Ferrante tells the story of a neighborhood, a city, and a country as it is transformed in ways that, in turn, also transform the relationship between her protagonists, the unforgettable Elena and Lila. She has given her readers a masterfully plotted page-turner, abundant and generous in its narrative details and characterizations, that is also a stylish work of literary fiction destined to delight her many fans and win new readers to her fiction.

I don’t know if I’d agree with the “masterfully plotted page turner” bit there. I would have called this book a slow burn - the kind you grow more affectionate for as you go. With Brilliant Friend this happens because of the vast cast of characters which you watch grow up as the novel progresses.

That said, this isn’t exactly Captain Corelli’s Mandolin* The narrator, Elene, is usually quite annoying (I’m not sure I’d want to have dinner with her, and that’s usually a good test). Her friend Lila isn’t much better. 

When I finished this I thought I’d go on to read the second in the trilogy but now I’m not so sure. I do want to find out what happens next, but I also don’t want another 300 pages of Elene. So we’ll see.

*Another character driven book which is done much better. Louis De Bernieres has a way of making you, I don’t know, care.

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This morning, with her, having coffee.
- Johnny Cash, when asked for his definition of paradise in Vanity Fair’s Proust Questionnaire.
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Beauty Review: Lanolips

I like the Lanolips brand. Their packaging is cute, and although the brand is still expanding, I don’t (yet) feel overwhelmed by choice. You want a lip balm? Cool, here are your three options…it’s like Burt’s Bees from 15 years ago.

I’ve used their coloured Lip Ointment, 101 Ointment, Golden Ointment and the Rose Balm Intense (read: hand cream). The latter three I got as part of a pack.

Lip Ointment with Colour SPF

These have a nice consistency - that rare happy medium between moisturising and sticky (so staying power). The colour actually shows and the SPF is a nice touch. I would purchase these again.

101 Ointment

This is described as a heavy duty balm and it is. As a lip balm fusspot I find most not moisturising enough and wear off too soon, but not this bad boy. I will say it’s almost a gloss more than a balm though, so your lips will look shiny (which I’m fine with, but is not everyone’s cup of tea).

Lovely Lanolin Golden Ointment

I have a tin of this and thought it held such promise! Alas I don’t love it. It’s almost too sticky to use on cuticles, and the gritty texture gets to me when I use it on my lips. Plus it has a funny taste.

The “lovely” in the name is debatable.

Rose Balm Intense for Very Dry Hands & Nails

This is indeed an intense hand cream. It’s not the kind you’d just nonchalantly apply; you want to make sure this goes on *just* the backs of your hands or else you’ll be sticking to everything. Even when just applied to the backs it still doesn’t exactly sink in.

Due to this sticky factor of 10 and the cloying smell (less rose, more…I don’t know, sweet baby powder?), I don’t think I’d repurchase.

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How to use up unsuccessful purchases…aka beauty hacking

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Return policies in Australia are not nearly as forgiving as they are in North America. So basically once you buy and open a beauty product, you’re stuck with it. So you’ve bought a dud? Don’t get mad. Get creative.

Problem - My foundation is the wrong colour/texture

This one is easy, and really quite fun. It’s mixing time!

Just try to counteract whatever the problem is with a corresponding product with opposite attributes. Ok that sounds complicated. What I mean is if something is too thick, mix with with a light tinted moisturiser. Too dark? Add a lighter product. Of course this is assuming you have a bit of a foundation wardrobe situation going on. Still, try and work with what you’ve got.

I use my Garnier BB Cream as a mixing base a lot since its super bendable texture lends itself well to this task.

This “mix it and fix it” (I just made that up, do you like it?) mentality also applies to lippies. Save finished tins and melt down a mixture of products you don’t use (plus scoop the ends out of products you did…there’s still a gold mine in that lipstick base. Trust!) to create something new. I have a tin to which I’ve added several baby pink coloured products and remnants to which has turned out really well (see above).

Problem - This lotion is not friends with my face

If a product cost a bomb but is not making your face happy there is no need to let those high classy (read: expensive) ingredients go to waste.

You have two plan B options: your chest and your hands. Both of these areas also show signs of aging and don’t normally get a lot of love.

Problem - This face wash is not working

Easy: use it as a body wash. If it’s a creamy face wash (ie. not up for cleaning things like armpits) just use it on your chest.

Problem - My conditioner is doing nothing for me

If a conditioner isn’t doing it for your hair, use it as a shaving cream!

I had a happy accident and discovered that The Body Shop Banana Conditioner is actually amazing for shaving legs. I would buy it again for this sole purpose.

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DIY: Fimo fun

Thanks to Emily Green genious ways, you see a LOT of Fimo jewellery around these days.

So of course I decided to try it myself. I made a few bowls and lots of earring, all of which took me less than half an hour. I then used glue and gold foil/glitter to spice things up and am pretty pleased with the result.

Give it a go! All you need is:

  • Fimo clay
  • An oven to cook said clay
  • Any necessary earring backings
  • Any desired accessories (such as glitter or foil)
  • Rudimentary clay molding skillz

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Book Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

I’m in a bullet point type of mood. Watch out.

Ways I would have rather spent my time than reading the 372 pages of The Maze Runner:

  • Vacuuming
  • Changing my sheets
  • Preparing my taxes
  • Doing cardio
  • Re-reading The Bone Season (kidding, this would be a tie)

While we’re on that last point, The stupid Maze Runner actually has a lot in common with The Bone Season:

  • Poorly developed, cliched characters you could care less about
  • An overly convoluted plot, including many diversions which have no reason
  • Overly emotive writing
  • An annoying undertone of “hero guilt”
  • "Monsters" that are not really scary at all. These are no Dementors…

I’m not even going to go into the plot. It doesn’t matter, Google it if you care.

OK now SPOILERS alert (but seriously, if you haven’t read this you shouldn’t bother and therefore should not care about spoilers. You’ve been warned).

Things that bother me about The Maze Runner:

  • I get you need to keep tension and a sense of anticipation to move the story forward. Everyone saying, “I’ll tell you later” is not a valid technique for this.
  • You also can’t leave EVERYTHING until the next book, each one still needs to stand alone in its own right. Sorry Dashner, but I will not be reading book two.
  • All the Gladers are supposed to be smart. Really? If these guys are saving humanity, well, we’re f*cked.
  • The cockney jargon in the beginning had me reading the first 50 pages like it was Oliver Twist until I forced myself to snap out of it. Also I feel like Newt was far more “Victorian orphan” sounding in the beginning than the end.
  • It was never explained why the maze needed to be in the air. There was a vague mention of the Andes late in the book. Is this implying it’s on a mountaintop? Again, why does this matter?
  • It’s just…boring. Frustratingly so. I kept expecting there to be some twist and there never was. Nothing was plausible, nothing was clever. This is basically the anti-Hunger Games (love you Katniss).
  • I’m crap at solving mysteries, I’m usually the last one to guess things. I called the WICKED acronym as soon as Thomas saw the plaque, and also figured they’d be leaving via the Griever hole once that was discovered. Yawn.
  • 372 pages. Really? Pretty sure this could have easily come down by at least100, especially given that NOTHING HAPPENS.
  • That Dashner would have been paid millions for the movie rights to this really makes me angry. Hollywood is clearly looking past glaring mediocrity and focusing on the #sohotrightnow YA pie. Unless the movie is a completely different story, it’s going to be terrible.
  • This gets 3.99 on Goodreads. WTF.

So I followed up one of the best books ever with one of the worst. Oh well, onwards and upwards.

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