Book Review | All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

Published by Thomas Dunne Books

Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Format: eARC

Pages: 352

Source: NetGalley

Goodreads: ★ 1/2

As the daughter of a meth dealer, Wavy knows not to trust people, not even her own parents. Struggling to raise her little brother, eight-year-old Wavy is the only responsible “adult” around. She finds peace in the starry Midwestern night sky above the fields behind her house. One night everything changes when she witnesses one of her father’s thugs, Kellen, a tattooed ex-con with a heart of gold, wreck his motorcycle. What follows is a powerful and shocking love story between two unlikely people that asks tough questions, reminding us of all the ugly and wonderful things that life has to offer.


I wanted to pick up All the Ugly and Wonderful Things as soon as the book began getting buzz. I was instantly intrigued with the story. This book follows a young girl named Wavy. She is the daughter of a drug dealer and a mentally ill mother, and spends her childhood trying to care for her younger brother Donal. One day, Wavy meets a man in his twenties when he crashes his motorcycle near the farmhouse in which she lives. His name is Jesse Joe Kellen, and the two begin a friendship. Kellen buys Wavy groceries, registers her for school, and helps care for her when no one else will. Their relationship is at first innocent, but as time goes on the two fall in love despite their age gap. All the Ugly and Wonderful Things chronicles their story.

I want to first mention that although this book deals with a controversial topic, I do not think that should preclude you from reading it. Some scenes are are quite difficult to read, but the story as a whole is worth stomaching a few uncomfortable moments. In fact, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things is extremely captivating, and I was pleasantly surprised with how easily the story flows. I was turning pages quickly to see what would happen next in Wavy’s life. I even had to force myself to put the book down at one point to get some sleep!

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things is written in a multiple perspective format, so we get to hear from a variety of characters in the novel, including Wavy and Kellen. The majority of chapters are written in the first-person, with just a few being written in the third-person. I wish that the entirety of the book was in the first-person to provide uniformity in the narrative. I definitely see why having multiple perspectives is very important in telling the story, as we get to see Wavy’s life and her relationship with Kellen from the outside. However, it felt like the chapters in the third-person were random and I couldn’t see any meaning in the change of voice.

In the same way, I am really impressed with the author’s decision on whose voices we get to hear in the novel. For example, we never get to read from either of Wavy’s parents, and I think their absence in the narrative mirrors their absence from Wavy’s life. One of my favorite characters is Renee, who we meet later in the book. I really love how she grows and changes because of her relationship with Wavy. They are a unique pairing, and I am being purposefully vague so as to not spoil anything. However, I did want to mention how Renee really made an impact on me, and her character development is so substantial in just a short amount of time.

Moreover, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things is so emotional, and one of the most heart-wrenching books I’ve read in a long time. It makes me so sad to think that there are real children, like Wavy and Donal, who have to grow up in such horrid environments such as a meth ring. This book brings up so many important topics, and asks you as a reader to think about things that you might have considered universal truths. I appreciate that there are no conclusions on whether Wavy’s relationship with Kellen is right or wrong. It is up to the reader to grapple with that choice, and it is a very difficult one.

I absolutely loved the reading experience of All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, and highly recommend it. This is a great pick for your book club, as there are many interesting topics to discuss. I know this book will stick with me for a long time, and I hope to read it again in the future.


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My Recent Manicures | October 2016

Happy Wednesday! Today I wanted to share with you some of the nail polishes I’ve worn lately. I’ll be completely honest when I say that I haven’t worn nail polish much at all for the past two or so years. I would swatch polish for this blog, but not wear it in real life. I just got out of the habit of painting my nails! I really wanted to start wearing nail polish again, so that’s why I spent the time going through and decluttering my collection (you can learn more about that HERE). It is now so much easier for me to find a nail polish in my stash, and I’ve been having so much fun painting my nails! Let me show you the recent manicures I’ve worn so far this October.

Milani – Rapid Orchid First up is Milani Cosmetics High Speed Fast Dry Nail Polish in the shade Rapid Orchid. I was in the mood for a dark purple nail polish, and this was what I found in my collection. I really enjoyed this line from Milani, and it turns out that it is vegan while the new Milani polishes currently in stores are not. I also find it interesting that when I was decluttering my collection, my older Milanis held up a lot better than the newer ones. Unfortunately you cannot purchase this exact polish any longer, but Zoya Casey appears to be a similar option. I wore Rapid Orchid for about a week, and even reapplied it when I found a few chips. I love this deep purple shade!

LVX – Dahlia My love for dark nail polish continued with LVX in Dahlia. This is a deep red-toned polish with a jelly formula. I did need three coats because this polish is a bit sheer, but I don’t mind that at all. I don’t own many polishes from LVX because it is a more expensive brand at $18 per bottle. However, I absolutely love this brand and its high quality shades. Dahlia is beyond stunning, and I highly recommend picking it up on the LVX website HERE.

Zoya – TaylorLast but not least is Zoya in the shade Taylor. I had every intention to put on another dark nail polish today, but when I took a look inside my stash I changed my mind and went for a lighter shade. Taylor is still perfect for fall because it is a warm-toned polish in a cozy beige shade. The formula is really nice, and I layered on three coats for a perfect finish. I haven’t been wearing top coat lately, so that’s why I’m being a bit more particular with the finish of each polish. Taylor is really close to my skin tone, so I find it looks really sophisticated on my nails.

I hope you enjoyed seeing my recent manicures! I think this type of post is a fun way for me to share about my nail polish adventures, because I can tell you how I decided on wearing each polish, give you an update on the formula, etc. I hope to put one of these together once per month, or maybe once every other month, depending on how often I paint my nails. Please let me know in the comments if you enjoyed seeing my recent manicures, and also share what’s been on your nails so far this month!

The products in this post were originally provided for my unbiased review. All opinions are my own. See my Disclosure Policy for more information. 

September Empties | #365DaysofEmpties Update

Happy Friday! Now that September is coming to a close, it is time for an update on my #365DaysofEmpties project. September went by so quickly for me, and part of that is because I did some traveling in the middle of the month. Thankfully, I still emptied out a good amount of products! I’ve really been concentrating on using up products, and haven’t purchased anything new in a while. I hope to continue doing that for the rest of the year! Let me show you the products I did empty out this month!

September Empties | #365DaysofEmpties Update


Makeup Remvoer | September Empties

Yes to Blueberries Age Refresh Cleansing Facial Wipes – 1 travel pack [BUY]

  • Mini Review: I purchased this pack of wipes for my vacation in Los Angeles. I loved having this on my trip because they helped refresh my skin during the day, and also made for a simpler cleansing process at night when I was exhausted. I had a few left after my trip, so I took the pack home to finish.
  • Would I Buy it Again? Maybe! I liked these, but I do prefer the Yes to Cucumbers wipes.

ELF Makeup Remover Cleansing Cloths – 1 pack [BUY]

  • Mini Review: At first I really loved these wipes because they are super soft and do an amazing job at removing all of my makeup. However, I then read the directions and noticed that you are supposed to rinse your face with water after using them! I know that makeup wipes are not supposed to substitute for washing your face, but many times I want to use them without needing to rinse afterwards. That extra step basically means the wipe is pointless for me.
  • Would I Buy it Again? Probably not.

Almay Eye Makeup Remover Pads – 1 pack [BUY]

  • Mini Review: These pads are excellent at removing that stubborn eye makeup like mascara. That being said, I used these very rarely, and would like to find a vegan cleanser that is safe to use on the eyes so I don’t need an extra step like this in the future.


Makeup | September Empties

Hourglass Ambient Light Correcting Primer – 1 sample [BUY]

  • Mini Review: I liked using this primer sample from Hourglass, but I’m not able to tell if I really like it based on one use. Perhaps I can try some more from my local Sephora at some point!
  • Would I Buy it Again? Not based on this one use.

Covergirl + Olay Concealer Balm – 1 tube [no longer available]

  • Mini Review: I did like this concealer, but it is definitely not the best quality. In fact, I think this is a discontinued product! I used up the entire tube because it did the job, but I wouldn’t buy it again even if it were vegan.


When on vacation I used up two travel sized body washes from my collection. Unfortunately I don’t have the bottles to show you, but I still wanted to give you mini reviews!

Dove Deep Moisture Body Wash – 1 bottle [BUY]

  • Mini Review: This is a good body wash that does not dry out the skin. I appreciate that it gives a nice clean without being harsh. This is also a good option if you do not like scented body washes!

Beauty Protector Beauty Wash Body Cleanser – 1 bottle [BUY]

  • Mini Review: This body wash smells absolutely amazing! I would have liked a bit more foam while washing, but I still felt clean afterwards. However, I do think this is a bit too expensive for what you get. A full size bottle is $16.00!



As September comes to a close, I am exactly on track to complete my goal of 100 empties in 2016! I am so proud of myself for really focusing on using up the products in my collection this year. I know I can get really excited about new product releases, and it can be difficult to refrain from splurging. That being said, if you would like to save some money, I definitely recommend giving yourself an empties challenge. It’s fun and it gets you to use your collection!

This post includes affiliate links. All opinions are my own. See my Disclosure Policy for more information.

Book Review | With Malice by Eileen Cook

With Malice by Eileen Cook

Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on June 7, 2016

Genres: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 316

Source: Library

Goodreads: ★★★ 1/2

It was the perfect trip…until it wasn’t.

Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital room, leg in a cast, stitches in her face and a big blank canvas where the last six weeks should be. She discovers she was involved in a fatal car accident while on a school trip in Italy. A trip she doesn’t even remember taking. She was jetted home by her affluent father in order to receive quality care. Care that includes a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident…wasn’t an accident.

As the accident makes national headlines, Jill finds herself at the center of a murder investigation. It doesn’t help that the media is portraying her as a sociopath who killed her bubbly best friend, Simone, in a jealous rage. With the evidence mounting against her, there’s only one thing Jill knows for sure: She would never hurt Simone. But what really happened? Questioning who she can trust and what she’s capable of, Jill desperately tries to piece together the events of the past six weeks before she loses her thin hold on her once-perfect life.


I picked up With Malice by Eileen Cook shortly after its release because I kept hearing so many positive reviews. This young adult mystery novel follows teenager Jill as she wakes up in the hospital not knowing how she got there. Jill spent the last six weeks studying abroad in Italy, but she was in a horrific car crash in which her longtime best friend Simone died. If that wasn’t bad enough, Jill is now accused of purposefully causing the crash to kill Simone. With Malice follows Jill as she tries to remember what happened in Italy and discover if she is Simone’s killer.

What I really liked about this book is the fast pace and addictive writing style. I flew through this captivating read because I just had to know if Jill was a killer or not! Jill is our first-person narrator, and I think that is a great choice. I wanted to instantly trust her, but I had to remind myself that she is unreliable because of the memory loss she suffered.

Unfortunately, the author takes a lot of liberties with the way she depicts the legal process in With Malice. While I know this is a fictional novel and written for entertainment purposes only, it was clear to me that either the author did not care to be legally accurate, or she simply failed to do proper research. For example, in one scene Jill’s lawyer mentions that the opinion of a lay witness would not be admissible because it pertains to the speed of the car during the crash. Anyone who has taken an evidence class in law school knows that is completely wrong – lay witnesses can give opinion testimony in this situation. I even did some research to make sure this is the same in Italy! Those without a legal background probably will not be as bothered by the plethora of inaccuracies, but it did take away a lot from my reading experience, as I do have a law degree.

Similarly, I was also disappointed with the way the ending of With Malice is written. All of the action takes place in the last 30 pages, rendering much of what was presented in the preceding 280 pages moot. While I did like the ending itself, it was quite frustrating that it had to be so rushed. The ending would be much more effective if it were longer and better explained.

Nonetheless, I am really impressed by the plethora of discussion topics that are brought up in this book. With Malice is perfect for a book club because the author brings up a lot of issues without giving strong conclusions to any of them. For instance, friendship plays a major role in the novel. Some of the questions that crossed my mind are: when is friendship true? Can you ever really trust your friends? Should we hold onto friendships simply because we’ve been in them a long time? I think these are questions that can be discussed with others for a long time!

Another topic that I found prevalent in the novel is that of the role of the media. Multimedia plays a role in With Malice, as readers get to see blogs, articles, police interviews, etc. and make their own conclusions as to what is true. This book really demonstrates how things can become twisted so easily. Does the media tell the truth, or are we supposed to find the truth based off of what the media presents? How does social media help or hinder the news? How does social media change the lives of others? Is anonymity online good or bad? I asked myself these questions upon finishing the novel.

Probably the most intriguing topic in the book, however, is truth. Jill is constantly trying to find the truth – did she really kill Simone, or is she being framed? With Malice helped me realize how we can almost never know the truth about something, and this goes for nearly everything in life! While scary, this is also fascinating. I’m grateful that this book evoked this curiosity within me!

All in all, I did enjoy my read of With Malice by Eileen Cook, even though there are some things about it that didn’t sit well for me. It certainly is a thought-provoking read, and I recommend it for any book club. I think it is also a great pick if you are looking to break into the mystery or thriller genres, as it reads very quickly. If you’ve read With Malice, I would love to know your thoughts on it! There is so much to discuss, so please leave me a comment!


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September Lifestyle Favorites!

Happy Monday! We have just a few days left in September, and I wanted to share with you everything I’ve been loving this month. It’s been a really great month for me, most notably because I got to travel to visit family in Los Angeles. As far as beauty products go, I’ve been working hard to use up all of the products in my stash lately, so I haven’t discovered anything new. That being said, I loved a lot of things about September, and want to let you in on all the goodness!

September Lifestyle Favorites! | Adventures in Polishland


LVX – Azzurrum

LVX – Azzurrum [BUY]

I absolutely love wearing navy nail polish once fall hits, and my go to polish is LVX Azzurrum. This is a high end polish that retails for $18, but it is worth the splurge in my opinion. The formula is excellent, and this polish is really long-wearing. I always go back to this navy color, and think it is a staple for any collection. Plus, it’s always great to support a small business – LVX is made in the USA!


Elect Your Local Cat Lady T-Shirt [BUY]

I was doing some clothes shopping at the mall, and the last thing I expected to buy was a graphic tee. However, when I saw this hilarious Elect Your Local Cat Lady t-shirt at Francesca’s, I had to get it! Not only is this shirt funny, but it’s really good quality and the softest t-shirt in my wardrobe. I love politics and cats, so this shirt is pretty representative of me. I also thinks it gives me a good opportunity to bring up politics in a lighthearted way when I’m wearing it!


Image Source: CLICK

118 Degrees LA [WEBSITE]
Finding vegan food in Los Angeles was a breath of fresh air! I enjoyed so many delicious meals while on vacation, but one of the standouts is the Fried Avocado Rolled Tacos from the restaurant 118 Degrees. My family and I stumbled upon this restaurant, which just so happens to be raw vegan. I’ve never been to a raw vegan place before, and I was amazed! My tacos were amazing! I gobbled them down super quickly. The service was also excellent – the server had the chef prepare fruit salad and smaller portions for my nephew. I highly recommend checking out 118 Degrees whether you are raw vegan or not!

True Colors by Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake [BUY]

You all know by now that I am a huge Justin Timberlake fan, so it’s no surprise one of his new songs from the DreamWorks Trolls soundtrack made it on this list. I am blown away by how beautiful this cover of True Colors is. I’ve had it on repeat since it was released!


Dancing with the Stars

I am also loving the new season of Dancing with the Stars! It’s still early, but my favorites this time around are Calvin Johnson, Jr. and Laurie Hernandez. I feel like the judges have been very tough in the scores so far. I’m interested to see how things will continue this season! It’s still a bit too early to see any real standouts in the cast.


The fall also brings football! You might know I am originally from New England, so I am a Patriots fan. I wasn’t sure how things would go for the Pats with Tom Brady suspended for the first four games. It’s been a ton of fun watching the guys advance to 3-0 on the season! I hope they can continue to dominate on the field as the season continues.


Point Dume Beach, Malibu

Visiting Los Angeles

I’ve been very lucky to visit Los Angeles, California several times now. In fact, this was my fifth trip in just over two years! As I mentioned, I have family in the area, so I go to visit as often as I can. I absolutely love spending time in person with my nephew. I might not be with him often, but I treasure the moments we get together. During this trip we got to visit the beach, the park, the LA County Fair, and much more. I miss him terribly when I come home, but there is always FaceTime!

That wraps up everything I loved in the month of September! I feel like so many exciting things happen in the fall, and we are just getting started with my favorite season of the year. I’ve already begun eating some pumpkin treats, so you can expect to see that on next month’s list! As always, please share your current favorites with me in the comments. You can also use the hashtag #PolishlandFaves on social media so I can find your posts! Here’s to a great October!

Some of the products in this post were provided for my unbiased review. This post includes an affiliate link. All opinions are my own. See my Disclosure Policy for more information.

Library Book Sale Haul | 8 Books for $3.50

Happy Thursday! I am so excited to be back from my blogging vacation and creating content again for all of you. I wanted to kick things off by sharing about one of my favorite events that takes place every year – the library book sale at my local library. My local library always has a book sale section, but once every year there is a huge sale where books are sold at extremely affordable prices. Last year I found some amazing books (see that haul HERE), and this year I couldn’t wait to see what I would discover. Let me show you the eight books I picked up for just $3.50!

Library Book Sale Haul | 8 Books for $3.50I went to the library book sale twice this year. First, I went early on opening day to get the best picks of all the books. Then, I went back on the last day when the books were all $1.00 per bag. I am happy to do a separate blog post with all of my library book sale tips, so let me know if that is something you would like to see in the comments!

Library Book Sale Haul | 8 Books for $3.50During the first day of the sale, all the books were $0.50 each! I picked up five, and the first two are hardcover books in really good condition. I’ve heard amazing things about The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, so I decided to grab it in the Exclusive Collector’s Edition. I think I am most excited about finding a copy of Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. I’ve read a few of Oliver’s other books, and I’ve loved them. Plus, Before I Fall is becoming a movie, so now I can be ready for it!

Library Book Sale Haul | 8 Books for $3.50I also found three paperback books on the first day of the sale. I have a mixed track record with the author Laurie Halse Anderson, but I’ve heard great things about Wintergirls, so I was glad to find a copy. Similarly, I’ve only read one book by the famous John Green, and I want to see what else he has to offer. I think Looking for Alaska is his most famous book besides The Fault in Our Stars, so I hope to get to it soon. Finally, I found a copy of Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer. I’ve never read a complete book by this author before, but I would love to see how he writes fiction, as I’ve sampled his nonfiction in the past.

Library Book Sale Haul | 8 Books for $3.50When I went back on the last day of the sale, I found three more books! As I mentioned above, the books were now priced at $1 per bag, so I spent just a dollar for these three books. First, I found The Virgin Suicides by Jefferey Eugenides, which I’ve heard very interesting things about and am intrigued to know more. Then, I grabbed a copy of A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. I actually own this as an Ebook and tried to read it a few years ago. I got halfway through, but then gave up. I’m hoping to finish it in physical form! Last but not least, I got a copy of Balance Keepers: The Fires of Calderon by Lindsay Cummings. I’ve followed Lindsay’s YouTube channel for years now, so I’ll be happy to finally read one of her books.

Those are the eight books I got at the library book sale this year! I’m really happy with my finds, and I think this is a decent size haul. I highly recommend seeing if your local library holds a book sale. Not only is it great for us as readers to score awesome prices on books, but it helps to support the library and community at large as well. I would love to know in the comments if you hit up your local book sales. Please share what books you’ve found recently, or your best find of all time!

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Upcoming Adventures | September Blog Chat + Announcement

Happy Sunday! September is here, and it’s time to share everything you can expect to see on this blog throughout the month. This is going to be a transitional month here at Adventures in Polishland, and I’m excited to share my Upcoming Adventures with all of you. Let’s chat about all things blog related!

Upcoming Adventures | September Blog Chat + Announcement

First things first, I want to announce that I am taking a planned blog and YouTube vacation for the first few weeks of September. I’m doing well, and I still love blogging, but it’s just time for a little break. For over a year now, I’ve blogged five+ days a week and created two+ YouTube videos a week without any break whatsoever. As you can imagine, that is a lot of hard work and dedication, not to mention hours. I think you can understand why I would like a little time away from the computer. I will most definitely be back, and I expect to return around the last two weeks of September. If that changes, I will notify you via my social media.

In addition, I’ve decided that once I return from my blog vacation I am abandoning my current content schedule. I feel like my current schedule (see HERE if you want more detail) is focusing on quantity rather than quality. Thus, instead of making sure I put out five blog posts in certain categories every week, I’m going to focus on sharing good quality content whenever I have something that is worth sharing. Adventures in Polishland will still be a lifestyle blog with a beauty focus, so the majority of my posts will be about nail polish, makeup, skincare, etc. However, I want to create more lifestyle posts for you, too. I will make sure to update you on what that means when I figure out what my new blogging routine will be!

One change in posts that I can definitely share is that I will not be reviewing books on my blog as much. I love writing book reviews, and I will still be going so. Every book I read will be reviewed on Goodreads, so make sure to follow me HERE to keep up with my reading. I will still be reviewing books on the blog, too, but will focus on newer releases and books for which I have a lot to discuss.

That wraps up everything I want to tell you! I hope you understand why I’m taking some time off, and will stick around for my return later this month. I really do appreciate each and every one of you and the support you have shown to me over the past four years. I’m excited to come back and create better content for you!

Keep up with me while I’m away from the blog on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

August Empties | #365DaysofEmpties Update

Happy Friday! Today I’ll be sharing my August empties with all of you, and I’m excited to do so. July was a bit of a fail – I only used up three products (see that post HERE). Luckily, I used up a bunch of products in August, and I hope to be back on track for my goal of emptying 100 products this year. Let me share with you all of the beauty, skincare, and more that I used up in August!

August Empties | #365DaysofEmpties UpdateI wanted to give you a quick reminder before I jump into the mini reviews that I won’t be repurchasing any of the non-vegan products shown in this post. Thus, I will only let you know if I will repurchase a product when it happens to be vegan.


August Empties | Hair Care

Batiste Dry Shampoo in Wild – 1 can [BUY]

  • Mini Review: I’ve had mixed experiences with Batiste Dry Shampoo in the past, but I grabbed this one at my local T.J. Maxx on sale. I got the Wild scent, which smells amazing, but is a bit overpowering. I like this dry shampoo, but I don’t love it. That being said it is the best dry shampoo I’ve tried from the drugstore.
  • Would I Buy it Again? Yes. I’ve repurchased the standard clean scent, which I’m currently using.

L’Oreal Blow Dry It Quick Dry Primer Spray – 1 bottle [BUY]

  • Mini Review: I absolutely loved this heat protectant. It made my hair look really smooth and shiny without weighing it down, and it smells really nice. I got this on super sale at CVS several months ago, and used up the bottle really quickly. I think it’s because I really enjoyed applying this product!


August Empties | Makeup

Urban Decay De-Slick Makeup Setting Spray – 1 bottle [BUY]

  • Mini Review: I used up my holy grail setting spray this month! This bottle lasted me 9 months (yes, I checked by using my blog!). I always see a difference in the longevity of my makeup on the days I forget to apply this spray. It’s worth the price tag for me!
  • Would I Buy it Again? Yes! I already did!

NYX Micro Brow Pencil in Taupe – 1 pencil [BUY]

  • Mini Review: I did enjoy this eyebrow pencil, and think it is a great product for the price. However, I think my brows are much better suited to brow powders. I have wide brows, but they are quite sparse, so I need to do a lot of filling in each day. This pencil was good for days I was in a rush, but not for a really precise look.

Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation Mattifying in Shell – 1 packet [BUY]

  • Mini Review: I got one use out of this sample foundation, and I’m really impressed with it! This is a true liquid to powder foundation, and I think it works wonders if you have combination or oily skin. I think I might need a different shade, as Shell seemed a bit off, though still wearable. I might need to head to Sephora to do a color match.
  • Would I Buy it Again? I’m not sure. I loved this sample, but would like to try it more before I invest in a high end foundation.


August Empties | Nail Care

Berkley Jensen 100% Pure Cotton Rounds – 1 pack [BUY]

  • Mini Review: I used up another pack of cotton rounds that I buy in bulk from BJ’s! I use these to take off my nail polish and, sometimes, to wash my face. These are a necessity for me!
  • Would I Buy it Again? Yes!

Sally Hansen Double Duty Base & Top Coat – 1 bottle [BUY]

  • Mini Review: I’ve used up as much of this base coat as I possibly can, but the bottle is not completely empty. I’ve used this product for several years, and think it is a great option for an affordable base coat. It is not a great top coat, however.


August Empties | Skincare

Up & Up Refreshing Wet Cleansing Towelettes – 1 pack

  • Mini Review: I really liked these towelettes for removing my makeup. They are gentle on the skin and do a great job at getting off all the stubborn makeup. If you are looking for an affordable option, you can find these at Target for just over $3!

Derma-e Hydrating Night Creme – 1 tub [BUY]

  • Mini Review: I love this night cream! This ultra-hydrating moisturizer is somehow really light on the skin. I can also feel some firming properties in this cream. It also smells nice and smoothing, too.
  • Would I Buy it Again? Yes!


August Empties | Oral Care

Colgate MaxFresh Toothpaste – 1 tube [BUY]

  • Mini Review: I’ve used this toothpaste several times, and really like it because it leaves my mouth feeling really clean. Plus, the little breath strips are pretty invigorating. I’ve really enjoyed this toothpaste when I’ve used it!



I am so excited to now be back on track with my goal of using up 100 products this year! It definitely helps to use sample products along the way. I recently decluttered all of my samples, so I hope to focus on using up the ones I kept. As always, if you’ve tried any of these products, please let me know your thoughts on them in the comments!

Some of the products in this post were provided for my unbiased review. This post includes affiliate links. All opinions are my own. See my Disclosure Policy for more information.

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August Lifestyle Favorites!

Happy Thursday! I can’t believe it is the first day of September, and time to share my August favorites with all of you. I didn’t discover too many new products this month, but I do have a few beauty, haircare, and miscellaneous things to shout out today. Without further ado, let me jump into my August favorites!

August Lifestyle Favorites


Zoya – Mallory

Zoya Mallory [REVIEW] [BUY]

I feel like every time Zoya puts out a new blue nail polish I end up falling in love with it! Mallory is just a stunning blue from the new Urban Grunge collection. It does stain the nails, so make sure to double up on your base coat to prevent that from happening. I think my next manicure will be with Mallory!


LUSH Brazilliant Shampoo Bar

LUSH Brazilliant Shampoo Bar [BUY]

I was in the market for a new shampoo, so I decided to head to LUSH for the first time in quite a while. I purchased the Brazilliant, as it helps to moisturize the hair but not weigh it down. I absolutely love the scent of this shampoo, and I find that it works really well. My hair is very clean after using it, but not dried out at all. It’s definitely worth paying a bit more for it!


Gardein Chipotle Black Bean Burger

I was in the mood for a black bean burger, and luckily spotted these at my local grocery store. I couldn’t believe how amazing these taste! I’ve tried a lot of frozen black bean burgers before, and none have measured up to these ones. They are almost as good as the black bean burgers I get at restaurants. Plus, they are pretty affordable, too!


Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child [BUY]

There have been a lot of mixed opinions on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child since its release on July 31, but I really enjoyed it. I went into the script not knowing anything about the plot, and I think that helped me have a positive experience because I had zero expectations. The thing to remember is that this is not a new Harry Potter book – it is a script of a stage play. I can only imagine how amazing this looks performed live!


Rio 2016 Olympics

Leading up to this year’s Olympics, I wasn’t too excited. There was so much bad press about the various issues going on in Rio that I didn’t expect to watch many of the events. However, I got really into the Olympics when they began, and stayed up late every night cheering on Team USA. My favorite sports to watch are always Women’s Gymnastics and Swimming, but I enjoyed whatever was on the TV each night.

That wraps up my August favorites! I know this post was pretty short, but I spent the majority of the month watching the Olympics and not discovering too many new things. Please be sure to let me know in the comments what you loved during August. I would also like to know which Olympic events are your favorite!

Some of the products in this post were provided for my unbiased review. This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own. See my Disclosure Policy for more information. 

5 Beauty Must-Haves for Your Los Angeles Vacation

Happy Wednesday! Today I’m excited to share with you my top must-have beauty products for when I travel to Los Angeles. I visit Los Angeles about 1-2 times per year because I have family there, and I’ve become quite the veteran at packing for the trip. Los Angeles has a very unique climate, especially for someone like me who lives on the East Coast of the United States. The dry heat of LA can really affect your skin and hair, so I’ve put together a list of the absolute necessities to help you fill your makeup bag. Let me share my beauty must-haves for any Los Angeles vacation!

5 Beauty Must-Haves for Your Los Angeles Vacation

1. Face Wipes Travel Pack

Yes to Blueberries Age Refresh Cleansing Facial Wipes

Yes to Blueberries Age Refresh Cleansing Facial Wipes [BUY]

I am a huge cleansing wipe junkie, and that doesn’t change when I travel! I like to pick up a travel pack at Target so that I can use the wipes while traveling, and toss them before coming home. The reason I recommend the Yes to Blueberries wipes for Los Angeles is because they not only help to cleanse the skin, but they help moisturize as well. Wipes are perfect for cooling off in the sun, and keeping the skin clean while out and about. Keep this pouch in your beach bag so you can freshen up on the go!

2. Mini Dry Shampoo

Not Your Mother's Clean Freak Refreshing Dry Shampoo

Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Refreshing Dry Shampoo [BUY]

Next up is a travel size dry shampoo. My hair gets oily really easily, so I rely on dry shampoo to keep it looking fresh between washes. Whether you’re visiting the beach, spending the day at a theme park, or simply hoping to give your hair a boost before going out, dry shampoo is a must. I’ve never tried the Not Your Mother’s Dry Shampoo before, but I found it in Target’s travel section, so I decided to pick it up. Dry shampoo is one of those products you just can’t decant into a smaller bottle, so I spend a few extra dollars for a mini one.

3. Foundation Stick

ELF Cosmetics Moisturizing Foundation Stick

ELF Cosmetics Moisturizing Foundation Stick [BUY]

I absolutely love bringing stick foundation with me on vacation. Not only is it really simple to apply with just your fingers, but it doesn’t need to be packed in your 3-1-1 bag because it’s not liquid! I like the ELF Cosmetics stick foundation because it has a moisturizing formula. My skin gets very dry on the flight to Los Angeles, and in LA’s natural climate, so every bit of added moisturization helps. You can see a full review of this product HERE.

4. Facial Sunscreen

Tarte TarteGuard SPF 30

Tarte TarteGuard SPF 30 [BUY]

Next up is a facial sunscreen, which is an absolute necessity if you are spending a lot of your vacation outside. I normally use a foundation or primer with SPF in it, as I’m not in the sun enough for a dedicated sunscreen. However, in Los Angeles I’m often at an outdoor park, eating outside, etc., so it’s nice to have a stronger SPF for my face. I got this Tarte sunscreen in a subscription box, and I love the light consistency.

5. Translucent Powder

ELF Cosmetics Translucent Mattifying Powder

ELF Cosmetics Translucent Mattifying Powder [BUY]

Last but not least is a translucent and mattifying powder. My skin gets really oily, even in a dry heat, so I like to set my face with powder every day. I recently got the ELF Cosmetics powder, and I love this compact for travel because it has a huge mirror that makes touching up easy. Plus, the packaging is slim and sleek to fit in my purse.

That wraps up my top beauty must-haves for any Los Angeles vacation! I hope you found this post helpful as you pack for your trip. If you need more travel tips, make sure to check out my Jet Away June series HERE for packing advice, airplane travel, and more. I hope you have a fun and safe vacation to Los Angeles!

What are your beauty must-haves for vacation? Share in a comment!

This post includes affiliate links. All opinions are my own. See my Disclosure Policy for more information.