Tuesday, March 10, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge: February Update

My goal of reading 100 books in 2015 seems to be going well. I read 9 books in February. According to my challenge tracker on goodreads, I am near where I need to be in order to read all 100 by the end of the year.

I've recently gotten a subscription to Scribd which lets me read as many books from its catalog as I want each month. So far, I've been happy with the service. Plus, since I'm currently living abroad, I don't have as much access as normal to books in English. I do try to read in French as much as possible, but it is more difficult for me.

Here's what I read this month.

Harry Potter et l'Ordre du Phenix - J.K. Rowling
Still reading Harry Potter in French. I finished the 5th book early in the month, but I haven't been able to move on to the 6th one yet because who ever borrowed it hasn't returned it yet even though it was due two weeks ago.

The Prince - Niccolo Machiavelli
My book club decided that we should read this. I have to admit that it isn't my type of reading. While I do find political science interesting, I'd have to know more about it to understand why this book is important and how the thoughts in it have shaped different leaders. 

Hyperbole and a Half - Allie Brosh
This book was written by Allie Brosh. You might have seen her blog with the same name. Chances are that you've seen some of the memes based on what she's created there. I enjoyed her mix of writing and web comic on her site, and for that reason, I wanted to read her book when it came out. Her sense of humor is quite particular. While I did like reading parts of the book, she deals with some heavy topics like her struggles with depression. Lots of people find her writing on this subject to be very relatable, so I'd definitely recommend this book for some people. However, for me, it was interesting, but difficult to read at points.

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin - Benjamin Franklin
As the title of the book implies, this is an autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. I remember reading an excerpt of it in high school and wanting to read more. It was a slow read for me, but I learned some things about an important figure in American history.

Wishful Drinking - Carrie Fisher
This memoir is by Carrie Fisher who is best know for playing Princess Leia in Star Wars. Since she was the daughter of two incredibly well known celebrities, her childhood and life was extremely different from most people's.

The Dress Doctor - Edith Head
Edith Head is a costume designer who won 8 Academy Awards for her costume designs. The list of stars and films that she designed for it too long to list, but you'd recognize names like Audrey Hepburn and Ginger Rogers on it. This book was adapted from her autobiography and includes her advice about how to dress for different occasions as well as tales about stars from the golden age of Hollywood. While the specific instructions about what to wear might not work as well today, I found this book to be an entertaining, easy read.

Fortune's Fool - Mercedes Lackey
I've talked before about how much I enjoy the Five Hundred Kingdoms series. It's a type of fairy tale re-telling, and I like the way the the author handles mixing the different tales together while still keeping the reader unsure of exactly how the story will end.

The Sleeping Beauty - Mercedes Lackey
Another book in the Five Hundred Kingdoms series. I'd definitely recommend these if you enjoy reading fantasy or fairy tales.

Lettre du Mon Moulin - Alfred Daudet
The teachers at one of the elementary schools where I work recommended this book when I told them I wanted to read more in French. It's a collection of short stories that describes life and culture in the south of France during the 1800s. I found it easy to read because I could stop between stories and because the subject changes frequently from day to day happenings to folk-tales to observations. If you're looking for a mid-range level French book to read that the French public will be familiar while, this is a good choice.

So, those are the books that I read in February. I don't have quite as many French books as I'd like on the list. I'll have to make more of an effort to read more in French during March. Now that I have Scribd it's much easier for me to read in English while I'm here. Actually, in order to stay on track with my challenge, I probably need to read as much as possible during March and April because I think things will become much busier once I return home, and I won't have as much time available for reading.

All of these books are available on Amazon. It's an affiliate link, so a portion of the price of anything that you buy after clicking on the link will go to support this blog and allow me to buy more books to read!

What did you read in February? Do you have any suggestions for my reading list?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

My First Julep Box

I might have a small obsession with cosmetic products and purple. So when I saw an ad on Facebook saying that Julep would send me a box of three purple nail polishes and one black eyeliner for my birthday for free I had to check it out. I looked at the website, and it looked legit. It said I would only have to pay $2.99 for shipping and that if I didn't want a second box to come in March then all I had to do was call Julep and tell them by the 20th and they would cancel the order. I thought I'll just take advantage of this one free box, and then I'll cancel.

Then, my beautiful wild orchid purple box of nail polish and makeup came in the mailbox, and now I think I'm hooked...


First, I tried out the Hazel nail polish which is one of Julep's Boho Glam nail colors. I wasn't really expecting a lot because hey it was free. But it really did go on very smoothly and easily with a rich color. I only needed two coats for an opaque finish, and it worked well with my Sally Hansen Insta-Dri topcoat. The end product was an opaque deep purple with a sort of metallic-y fine shimmer that Julep describes as a wild violet and bronze duochrome. I think it works beautifully on cool skin tones. This one has become my new favorite nail polish! It adds some personality to my usual grey and pink ensembles, and I've gotten complimented on it every day it's been on my nails.


The second color I tried was Margit, one of the It Girl nail colors. I loved the ease of application of this nail polish too. It went on opaquely and evenly with two coats. Margit is a pale lavender polish that Julep describes as mushroom with rose shimmer. It's definitely a very in color right now. Sadly, it brought out a little too much red in my skin tone, but I think it would be gorgeous on warm, darker skin tones. I think I'll probably still wear it though because the color is too pretty to waste!


And last but not least is Bernadette, named for Bernadette Peters. The black onyx nail polish was made specially for us gals with February birthdays! First off, I love Bernadette Peters so I had high expectations for this nail polish. It had the same smooth application as the other nail polishes and only needed two coats for opaque color. The end result is very unique and cool. It's a purple-y black with small flecks of silver shimmer. It basically looks like the night-sky.

Blackest Black

I also got a black eye-liner in the maven box, but I really am not a fan of how eyeliner makes me look, so I'll save that review for when Elizabeth can try it out.

Overall, I was super impressed with my first Maven box! And after reading a little bit about the company values, and seeing my options for this month I think I'll keep buying them periodically and keep y'all updated.  Also, you'll notice that we now have a badge for Julep that says "I'm classic with a twist." If you think you want to try Julep for free then give it a click or click here, and Julep will give you a code for a free box. If you decide to subscribe after you've gotten your free box, then I'll get credit I can put towards a box for referring you. You can do the same on your blogs to earn free boxes! Hope you enjoy and let us know what you think about your boxes!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

March Journal Prompts + printable

First of all, thanks to everyone who shared February's journal prompts with your friends last month. I did not expect to have such a positive response to the first set of prompts, and of course, I am excited to be able to share another set with you today.

If you need some help, check out our post on starting a journal.

Grab your favorite journaling supplies and find a comfy chair. You can use these prompts to journal however you like. A printable version is available at the bottom of the post.

31 Journal Prompts for March

1. A favorite song lyric
2. The thing you always forget to pack
3. A fictional character you'd like to switch places with
4. Something to let go of
5. What do you want more of?
6. A typical grocery list
7. A fact you don't usually tell people
8. What does it take to make a friend?
9. The thing that makes you excited
10. Everyone needs...
11. The best place to be
12. How do you focus?
13. Who is your "cheerleader?"
14. The goal you are working towards now
15. Three small steps towards your goal
16. The most inspiring person you've met
17. How would you describe yourself?
18. A few words of advice to someone younger
19. Ten things you learned in the past year
20. What is the most important thing in life?
21. An idea that seems great, but actually isn't
22. Five books everyone should read
23. Where do you most want to travel?
24. What are you good at?
25. Three things you learned today
26. Something you are looking forward to
27. Pick a movie character you identify with
28. Ten things you love about spring
29. Are you patient?
30. Describe a childhood memory
31. List some favorite jokes

Download your printable PDF version of the prompts.

Make sure that you get next month's prompts by following along with Life of Lovely on bloglovin, pinterest, or twitter.

We'd love to hear from you if you decide to use these prompts. Let us know how it goes in the comments.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Field Notes: January 2015

January has flown by this year. Here are a few of the things that we loved from this month.

An inspiring post from Tirzah about giving yourself freedom to fail.

Here's a money saving challenge that looks like one you could actually stick to.

Jennifer is currently loving this recipe for smokey turkey and sweet potato chili. Perfect for cold, winter nights. 

Another recipe. Since I'm about halfway through my reading of Harry Potter in French, this recipe for frozen butterbeer sounds good to me!

A bit of motivation via unicorns.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge: January Update

At the beginning of January, I announced my goal of reading 100 books in 2015. January went by quickly, and when looking over my total for books for the first month of 2015, it turns out that I have read 5 book. Which does put me a little behind on my goal. Not too much though, and since I have a two week holiday coming up in February, I will definitely have more time to read over the next few weeks.

Here's what I read this month.

Harry Potter et le prisonnier d'Azkaban - J.K. Rowling
To help improve my French, I've been reading Harry Potter in French. It does take longer for me to read in French (which is part of why my book number is low this month), but I've reached the point where I sometimes forget that I am reading in a different language which seems like a success for me.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist - Mohsin Hamid
My book club read this book recently (and by book club, I mean a group of English assistants who decided to get together sporadically to talk about books). It's a love story mixed in with the events that occur to Pakistani man after September 11. The form of narration is interesting, and although I would not have picked up the novel on my own, I found it thought-provoking.

Harry Potter et la Coupe de Feu - J.K. Rowling
More Harry Potter in French. This fourth book is so long. I wasn't sure for a while how I was ever going to finish it especially because I borrowed it from the library and I couldn't renew it because someone else was on the list to borrow it next. Reading back through the books, I remember why I like them so much. These books are good.

The Life of St. Francis of Assisi - Paul Sabatier
As the title suggests, this book is about the life of St. Francis of Assisi. I enjoyed learning more about St. Francis and the time period in which he lived. I felt sometimes as if I should have done a bit more research on my own first before trying to read this book, but overall, I think it was a good introduction to St. Francis.

Neuf Contes - Charles Perrault
Charles Perrault is a French author who is best known for rewriting folk tales into the fairy tales that many of us know today including Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Little Red Riding Hood. I actually found these slightly more difficult to read in French than Harry Potter just because the some of the words used in the story are older and used less frequently today. However, I would definitely advise reading these in French if you can. The French elementary teachers that I worked with suggested these to me when I asked what I should read that was traditionally French but not too difficult for someone who speaks French as a second language.

So that's what I read in January. I am proud of the amount of French that I read even if it means that it is slowing down my reading. While I am here in France and have access to all the French books I want (libraries are amazing), I am trying to read as much in French as possible. I'm currently about halfway through the 5th Harry Potter book so I will definitely finish that in February. I've also got another book of fairy tales and a book of poetry from the French teachers as well. And, my book club has picked another book for our next meeting. I will try to read a few more books in February, and I'll update you on my progress at the end of the month.

Also, if you're looking to read Harry Potter in French too and you have Amazon Prime, the French versions of Harry Potter are available to borrow for your kindle. If you don't have Amazon Prime, and you're interested in getting it, the link above will take you to sign up for a free 30 day trial. It's an affiliate link, so it's a win for both of us. I have used Amazon Prime in the past, and the only reason I didn't renew for this year is that I'm not in the US right now.

What did you read in January? Which books would you recommend?

Monday, February 2, 2015

Review of Rimmel Scandal Eyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal and Rimmel Gentle Eye Make Up Remover

We just got our first voxbox from influenster! Yay! We're super excited to get to try out the products they sent us to review! The first up is Scandal Eyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal from Rimmel London in 001 Black.

Now, let me start by saying I'm not much of an eye liner girl. My friend, Tori who keeps up with makeup youtubers, had to direct me to Tati's Perfect Eyeliner Tips and Lauren Curtis' Makeup Do's and Don'ts before I felt confident enough that I could put on eyeliner without looking like a fifteen year old. I have to say though I surprisingly like the Scandal Eyes eyeliner.

The formula is soft and glides on without crumbling. It's definitely a good pick for tight-lining your waterline because it won't hurt your eyelid and goes on without a lot of effort. The color turned out a very deep black which is perfect if that's what you're going for. I think if I was buying it for myself I'd try the nude color to open my eyes up a little and try one of the lighter liners like the brown or taupe colors just because my skin is so fair. For $5.50, I'd say these liners are worth it.

Along with the eye liner, we also got a full-size Rimmel Just Let it Go Gentle Eye Make Up Remover. I tried it after using the Rimmel eye liner and my usual mascara. It totally removed the mascara with not too many swipes. I had a hard time getting off all the Scandal Eyes eye liner though. Which is a testament to the eye liner's staying power but not so good if you wanted to get rid of all the eye liner. I did like that the make up remover didn't sting like most makeup removers and that it didn't feel oily on my skin. As I washed the rest of my face with some Dove soap, the make up remover rinsed right off which was nice. For me since I don't wear eye liner a lot this make up remover does the trick.

Note: We received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes. However, the review provided is our honest opinion of the product.

Do you use eyeliner? What tips do you have for using it? Let us know in the comments.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

February Journal Prompts + printable

 Today, I'd like to share 28 journal writing prompts for February.

You might remember that during the summer, I wrote a post that included tips on how to start a journal. Since the beginning of January that post has become increasingly popular (probably because people have made New Year's resolutions to keep a journal.)

It took me a long time to start keeping a journal regularly, but one of the things that finally helped me to start it was a list of journal prompts that I found on pinterest. Some days, I have lots of ideas that I want to write about in my journal, but on other days I feel as if I have nothing to say. That is where the journal prompts helped me.

Now that I have a habit of writing in my journal, I use prompts less often, but I still turn to them when I am not sure what I want to write. It's also a nice challenge to bring up topics I wouldn't have thought about otherwise.

Since journal prompts helped me to begin journaling, I want to share 28 journal prompts with you for February. You can use these in your journal in any way that you like. I've included a printable form of the prompts at the bottom of the post as well.

28 Journal Prompts for February

1. Your favorite place
2. A person whom you admire
3. One thing the world needs more of
4. The best compliment that you have received
5. What do you need to be content?
6. Three small steps that could change the world
7. How do you take care of yourself when you are stressed?
8. Five things to do less often
9. Five things to do more often
10. Your favorite book
11. Three favorite book characters
12. Destinations you dream of traveling to
13. Do you work better in the morning or at night?
14. Your ideal morning routine
15. The movie you tell your friends to see
16. An important quote
17. What do you want to learn?
18. A moment you will always remember
19. One way you can help a friend
20. The best day you had last week
21. Five things you like about yourself
22. A good thing from today
23. An accomplishment you are proud of
24. A time when someone helped you
25. What are your priorities in life?
26. Something you don't understand
27. Describe the view from your window
28. The last thing that made you laugh

Download your printable PDF version of the prompts.

Make sure that you get next month's prompts by following along with Life of Lovely on bloglovin, pinterest, or twitter.

We'd love to hear from you if you decide to use these prompts. Let us know how it goes in the comments.


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