Still alive

Wow, it’s been one hot minute since I’ve updated. November and December last year really felt like the hardest months I’ve ever had. Dramatic, I know, but when your health isn’t the greatest, everything feels worse.

Sometime in November I realised I had a cavity in my tooth. I’ve never been for a filling and my teeth, although a little crooked, have never been in bad shape or caused me much hassle – except for my wisdom teeth, which I never got removed because there was never money.

So, after not being able to endure the sharp pain I kept feeling any longer and not wanting to make it worse, I headed off to my local dentist. He confirmed my suspicions and drilled into my tooth, cleaned it out and packed it with medicated dressing, put me on some antibiotics and told me to come back in a week for him to check if I was ready for the filling. However, during that week, my wisdom tooth started giving trouble.

Trouble turned out to mean that I would have to have the tooth removed. We looked at the options available to me and getting it done in the chair, at his surgery, was the best and most cost-effective option. We decided to put the filling on hold and do the extraction first.

Well. Let’s just say the whole experience was traumatic. Before going in, I asked how long it would take. “15-20 minutes if it’s easy. An hour if it’s difficult.” I was in the chair for almost 2 hours. At one point, while he was using what I imagine might have been his entire body weight to wrench my tooth out, I thought “fuck, it’s not going to come out.” I think maybe he had been thinking the same thing because we were both visibly relieved by the end of it all.

This little excursion taught me something about my body that I knew already, but hadn’t really ever paid much attention to. I heal very, very, very slowly. I’ve always had a shit immune system. Or at least that’s what I call it. If someone sneezes, I’m sick. If I bump into something, I will most definitely bruise. If I scrape or cut myself, it takes forever and a day to close up and scab.

Healing from this wisdom tooth extraction left me at my wit’s end. Not only was the wound site not healing fast enough, I got TMJ, which is a jaw dysfunction. My joints have always been a bit loose, but after having my mouth open so wide for so long, the joints became inflamed, and I think moved out of place a little bit.

Both of these things meant that I was on a strict liquid diet for a month. 4 weeks. Then, a soft mushed food diet (mash potato, not slap chips) for another month. Then, finally, I could move onto soft whole foods. Even then, I wasn’t allowed to eat anything with a crunch.

Of course, this all happened during the lead up to Christmas. I was finally on holiday, but couldn’t enjoy it. I wasn’t allowed to use a straw, wasn’t allowed to drink very hot drinks or super cold drinks and he put me on another 2 doses of antibiotics, so I couldn’t even commiserate over wine… I was MISERABLE.

Then, in January, I had my filling done, which was a breeze compared to the above disaster. Sadly, though, the cavity is very close to the nerve and we’ve been trying ever since to avoid root canal. I have a feeling I might need to get it done at some stage because I’m having tooth sensitivity that is way worse than I think is normal. Like crying in a ball painful, but luckily this doesn’t happen regularly enough to think about it too much 😛

Only now, into February, am I starting to feel more myself. I’ve moved onto hard, solid food, my lock jaw has finally gone away (imagine how convenient that was!) and although foods like nuts can be a bit tricky (I don’t want to aggravate my jaw), I’m pretty much a whole human being again. My jaw is still clicking, some days are worse than others, but hey! I’ll take it over that bleak December any day.

During this time, being online was not a priority. Whoops. I’m back for now, though!

Finished in October

<insert obligatory OH MY GOD WHERE HAS THE MONTH GONE?!?> but seriously, how is it almost Christmas? I’m torn between needing more time and wanting this damn working year to wrap up already.

Despite things slowing down a little, I really didn’t do all that much… My bad. I tried to get in a lot of rest, if that counts?

  • Dinner with a friend. We went to Rock Sushi Thai in Newlands and had, you guessed it, sushi. It was delicious.
  • Dinner with more friends! I hadn’t seen this particular group of people in AGES so it was so awesome to catch up. We went to Maestro’s on the Beach and had a nice dinner. Was something different for this Southern Suburbs gal 😛
  • Was my dad’s birthday this month. On the 14th, I went out to dinner with the family to celebrate and then on the 15th, we hosted his birthday at our house. Lots of work but pretty amazing.
  • Halloween party on the 29th! That was great!

I did actually put this post together at the beginning of November, but I was so stressed about doing my Drivers, I just didn’t post it. Better late than never, I guess? Besides, I don’t think any one reads this humble image-less blog 😛

Onto the empties…

Dove Go Fresh Cucumber and Green Tea Nourishing Body Wash
I really liked the fresh scent of this body wash. I normally go for creamy/nutty/deep scents, but this was a nice change. I’d probably buy this again if I was in a body wash pickle.

Paul Mitchell Awupuhi Wild Ginger Keratin Intensive Treatment (100ml)
I got this in a Retailbox Secret Box last year? I can’t remember, but I’ve had it for ages. I read somewhere that you shouldn’t use this type of keratin treatment all the time so I was rationing it. I liked it, my hair felt nice, but I don’t think it’s something I’ll purchase. Basically, it didn’t blow me away.

Tony Moly I’m Real Makgeolli Sheet Mask
I think this is my favourite one so far. It smelt kinda nice, kinda weird, and left my skin feeling soft and moisturised.

Carmex Classic Lip Balm stick
This stuff is the only lip balm I use. I dabble every now and then but none of them keep my lips in as good a condition as this does. Incidentally, I can’t use the pot version of this stuff, or the squeezy tube. It has to be the wind up stick. The rest dry my lips out severely, as do every other brand of lip balm.

Pil’aten Blackhead Ex Pore Strip
This stuff was weird. It comes in a sachet and is a black tar/paste that you smooth onto your skin and let dry. It gets rubbery and then pretty stiff, and then you peel it off. Some bits hurt like a bitch to get off. It was fun, but I didn’t see any differences, and it left the skin a bit dry and sensitive.

Beauty Buffet Peach and Bird’s Nest Beauty Mask
Another sheet mask! So. Um. What the hell is Bird’s Nest? What is it supposed to do? I tried googling this but I didn’t get much info and the sheet packet was in Korean. It felt…fine. I spent about 30 minutes thinking about what the hell was actually on my face instead of relaxing… But ya know.

Dove Purely Pampering Coconut Milk with Jasmine Petals Body Wash
Another Dove body wash! Don’t worry, I didn’t finish two full ones. I used the cucumber one when I stay over at the mister, and this was the one I used at home. I really liked this scent. It smelt calming and creamy, but in general, I really do love Dove body washes!

Loreal Super Liner So Couture Black
Hands down, favourite liquid eyeliner. This pen has a BRUSH tip rather than a felt tip and I can’t tell you how much of a difference this makes. With felt tip eyeliners, I find the ink doesn’t always reach the very end of the felt tip, which makes getting a super accurate flick a mission and a half. Ink reached the very tip of this brush until the very end. Perfect. Will buy forever, unless another brand comes out with a brush tip eyeliner…then I’ll give that a go!

Lush Kinky Hot Oil Treatment
My hair was hating me so I decided to give it a hug. With a treatment. This was so much nicer than the other Lush one I tried! I’d get this again. Also, the scent was dreamy 😀

Hask Keratin Protein Shampoo
This smelt great. It lathered up pretty well and left my hair clean. I really liked it! I didn’t end up repurchasing though, because I’m a total floozy.

Bioderma Sebium Pore Refiner
Wow, this took for freaking ever to finish. Over a year. Maybe even two years. I used this as a primer. After much thought, I don’t think this product helped at all. It didn’t blur my pores, it didn’t help with oil, it didn’t keep my makeup on for longer… Yeah. Sorry, Bioderma.

Tony Moly I’m Real Tea Tree Skin Soothing Sheet Mask
Loved it. Managed to spill the excess all over my desk. #winningatlife.

See you guys next time!

Will it ever end? The want list

Another month and more hankering after things I can’t afford. I have noticed a trend over the last few months – for a few years, my beauty wants were frequently focused on makeup items, but this year has been really different. I’m all about the skincare. Chalk it up to the approaching the 3-0 or that I have so much makeup, I could open a small store, but I’m kinda liking this new direction.

Now if only I could feel this enthusiastic about purchasing a gym contract… (for anyone confused and like “but Tarryn, you were going to gym 3 days a week for over a year! WHAT HAPPENED?!” We can all thank Liberty Life for that. They cut their rewards programme and suddenly the R800+ gym membership sans medical aid to cushion the blow resulted in me having to cancel it all together. I’m bleak, believe me.)

So as I hinted, this is mostly going to be a list of dreamy, expensive skincare, although I think I do have some surprises…and I may have to put in an order (using Aramex Global Shopper to get it here!) at the end of the month.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat moisturiser – R220
I was well on my way to buying this after I saw the email in my inbox saying Dermastore is now selling LRP products BUT you need to spend R500 for free shipping, otherwise it’s R150. Everything else I may have considered getting from Dermastore is like R700 and up, which would be fine IF I WANTED TO SPEND R700 and up! Right now, I’m not interested in adding crap to my basket to avoid the R150, but I also don’t want to pay the R150. I guess I’ll have to wait until the brand is available in Dischem. Le-sigh.

Pretty much everything from The Ordinary, but particularly:

  • The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% – R140/USD 9.80 – Zinc and Niacinamide are good for oily, congested and blemish-prone skin. Perfect.
  • The Ordinary Buffet – R283/USD 20 – Basically a do-it-all anti-aging serum.
  • The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2% – R212/USD 14.90 – Well, have you ever seen anything like this for so cheap? They’re also launching a Retinol 1% sometime soon for about R152/USD 10.70. I mean COME ON!
  • The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% – R138/USD 9.70 – Vitamin C is supposed to do wonders for your skin, so um, yes please!

And since we’re talking serums…

Glossier – The Supers. In particular:

  • Glossier Super Pure – USD 28 – This also has Niacinamide and Zinc…But look at the price difference between this and The Ordinary version!

As a bonus, I’d just like to add that the Milky Jelly Cleanser, Balm.com, Mega Greens Galaxy Pack, Moisturising Moon Mask, Haloscope (Quartz) and Boy Brow (Light, probably) are still on my forever list (so basically everything).

Exuviance Triple Microdermabrasion Face Polish – R765
The girls at All Dolled Up have been talking about this stuff for ages. I love masks and exfoliators, so I think when I finish up a few of mine, I might splurge. Actually now that I think about it, this may have been in a previous lust list. Hmm. Oh well. I still want it! PS: I might have added this to my Dermastore cart so I could get free shipping BUT it’s sold out.

Bobbi Brown Eye Opening Mascara – R385
Yeah, that’s no Clicks mascara, but I am having absolutely no success with mascara at the moment. One of the bloggers I follow is Franish. She has the most amazing lashes (and eyes, and style, and everything!) but it was in this blog post that I really sat up and was like oh hi, what is that, can I have it? And she let me know it was the BB mascara. Sjoe!

Avene Mattifying Fluid – R200
So I might actually get this sooner rather than later. I’ve almost finished my moisturiser and I have no back ups because I just haven’t found anything WOW. Okay, I lie, I actually really like this one Clarins moisturiser, BUT I think it’s been discontinued and if it isn’t, it’s only available in a pot. WHY? WHY? I can’t do pot moisturisers, sorry 😦 Actually, I may have one more sample left… I’ll have to look. Anyway, Awkward Purse suggested I try this so it must be good 😀

Guerlain Lingerie de Peau – R995
Sob. Why so expensive. So, I used a sample of this stuff in the wrong shade and fell in love. I don’t know how to be un-in love with it… I’m finishing up some stuff at the moment, but I think once I’ve gone through about 2 foundations, I’ll really consider getting this. Another true favourite is the Dior Forever (I helped myself to a sample because the salespeople at Edgars suck). Both are so expensive… Maybe I’ll just live off samples??

Anything on your list?

August dump

Wow, has the last handful of weeks been insane. I have hardly seen or spoken to anyone. To any of my friends who read this, I am so sorry I’ve been MIA. It looks like my October will be somewhat calmer – phew! – and my calendar is relatively free. Woohoo!

I thought I’d put up a post while I’m on a roll today. It also helps that today is quite a bit calmer than usual – yay for room to breathe!

I like looking back in my calendar to see what I actually got up to. According to this, I’ve done the following:

  • Sushi dinner – I think this was with old work colleages. Now you can see how insane it’s been… I can’t actually be sure, but I reckon it was with them since it was just before voting;
  • Dinner in the North – I can’t even remember what we ate. Gah;
  • Suicide Squad at iMax… That was pretty rad. Movie was okay but it was mostly just about the company, chilling out and eating popcorn;
  • I got a haircut! I love haircuts.

Well, that was short and sweet. I guess that’s to be expected, really.

So, onto the junk!

Happiness Is – Vanilla Swirl Cupcake Glowing Body Scrub
I got this from my brother’s gf for my birthday. Pleasant scent, but definitely NOT a scrub. It has little beady particles in it, but they are not scrubby and are so few and far between, it was a glorified body wash…which is what I used it for!

Beauty Buffet Cherry Blossom Whitening Mask
I’m all about the self care. And that means putting on my serial killer mask. Another one from the amazing Awkward Purse. I’ll be forever grateful for that gift you sent me 🙂

Clicks Cotton Pads Smooth Sealed Edge 80
These were okay. The edges were a bit rough. In absolute desperation, I ended up buying ridiculously priced cotton rounds from Woolworths…and now I’m stuck on them because they are just so damn good. So good that I finished the pack and bought another >.<

Lush Ro’s Argan Body Conditioner (biggest size)
I got this as a birthday present maybe 2 years ago. I know. I was welllllll over the use by date but I figured it still smelt the same as when I got it, and it hadn’t grown anything, become gloopy and weird or separated, so I used it. I must be honest, I used this for the sake of using it because the scent is just not my thing. The Rose Jam range is just not my… jam (sorry.) but it seemed like such a pity not to use this.

So, it does work, in case anyone is wondering. I slathered this all over after washing and then rinsed it off. Be careful when you get out the shower…it leaves the shower floor super slippery! I should know because I saw my life flash before my eyes 😛 After nearly dying, pat dry and there we go!

The one thing that gets me about these sorts of products… I buy a lot of shower gel based on scent. When I use this after washing, it completely replaces that dreamy scent with this one. Which sucks for me because I’m not a fan. I’d love to try African Paradise because that is a scent which reallllly gets me!

Kiehl’s High-potency Skin-firming Concentrate (sample)
Has this been discontinued? Has the name changed? I can’t find this stuff mentioned anywhere except on realllly old blog posts and websites. Someone, please enlighten me! I really, really, really love this. It makes my skin feel so freaking smooth the morning after. I would buy the full size in a heart beat but alas… Kiehl’s is a bit of a mish to get to and no one ever knows what I’m talking about when I mention this stuff. HELP!!!

Skoon Moisture Gel Superfluity (sample pot)
So this moisturiser is supposed to be super duper light and good for oilies like me. This was just okay for me. I was hoping it would be a holy grail because I am so sick of trying to find a moisturiser that works for me. I’m currently using a sample of Benefit’s Facial Emulsion, but that isn’t going to be a repurchase either. Any suggestions?

NuHair Treatments Shampoo Sulfate- and Colourant-Free
I was in a fix. I needed sulfate-free shampoo and all the stuff I like was sold out/not available so I tried this. This stuff truly is sulfate-free. It just doesn’t foam up in even the least bit. I won’t repurchase because it was so difficult to work with. It’s clear, so you can’t always tell how much you’re using, or where you’re spreading it if you happen to look in a mirror, it doesn’t spread well at all (I think), and it made my hair make that squeeeeeeeeeky sound when I rinsed it. Nope. Next.

Caudalie The Des Vignes shower gel (deluxe sample)
I bought a Caudalie trial kit thing a few years ago when my brother was still in Canada. This was included. It has quite a masculine smell to me – not a problem, just not my chosen scent, and it was only good for maybe 3 uses because of its super small size

The Body Shop Spa of the World African Ximenia Scrub
Love the scent, not into the scrub. It is NOT scrubby at all when used on wet skin. When used on slightly damp or dry skin, it crumbles off when you try scrub. It’s very fine – so any one who needs a regular scrub, GO FOR IT! For me, as someone who loves the scrubbiest of scrubs, it’s a pass. BUT it is way better than the sea salt one I have from this line. Ugh.

That’s it for now! Hope y’all had a great month! Also, PSA: It’s almost Christmas, guys!

May favourites

May favourites1

  1. Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water
  2. Shopping and lunching with Jess
  3. Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Serum
  4. Sigma F80 Flat Kabuki Brush
  5. MAC Fix+
  6. Birthday burgers with friends
  7. Sheet masks (aka how to look like a serial killer…with good skin!)

Wednesday wants

I’m still mostly on a no-buy thing, which makes me want to buy all the things. And then I went ahead and put in a MAC order. Sigh. Okay, granted, the three things I ordered have been on my OMG NEED TO BUY list and I really didn’t expect them to hit SA so soon. I was thinking I still had a month. That aside, here are the things I’ve been thinking about this May…

  • Denim jacket (R720) – I found the almost perfect one at Truworths, BUT it’s like R700 and one teeny tiny size too small (they don’t stock the size up). So, for once, the jacket fits my arms (sing hallelujah!), and everything is perfect down to the wash BUT I can’t button it up. Well, I can if I suck everything in and stop breathing, but then it just fails a sad, sad death when it hits my boobs. The mister was like, well who actually does up their jackets anyway? Especially when you’re wearing a jersey underneath (which I can with this jacket – roomy enough for jerseys, just not my boobs and tum. Whoops). He has a point though, which is making me wonder if I should? But then it’s also like if I’m going to drop that amount of cash on something, it really should close. Right? Gah.
  • The Wet Brush (R129 – depends where you buy it) – I’ve had my eyes on one of these for the longest time. I like the Tangle Teezer but I don’t necessarily think it’s the best product out there. For one, although it’s ergonomic in shape, it lacks a damn handle!
  • Olaplex No. 3 (R399) – What is this, you might ask? It is a magic leave-in-for-as-long-as-you-can-and-then-wash-it-out-serum/treatment-thing. Basically, this is supposed to be the best thing since sliced bread. It helps heal your hair and is the last step in a three step treatment but can also be used as a standalone treatment product for those who haven’t undergone the full three step treatment. It’s about R400, but I figure it might be worth it. At the end of the month (the 27th in fact), I’m planning on getting a Brazilian treatment done (this will be the second one I’ve had) and thought this would be a great companion. This stuff comes in the tiniest bottle ever. Gah. It better be fucking magic. I’ll keep you posted – using it tonight.
  • TheBalm Balm Desert bronzer/blush (R320) – This has been on my wishlist ever since Retailbox started stocking TheBalm products. It was sold out for ages and is now back in stock. I definitely want this. It looks like the perfect blush/bronzer hybrid – which is kinda what I’m into at the moment. Got this in October 2016 as part of the Retailbox sale (plus I had some points to use up)
  • Davines LOVE Smoothing Shampoo & Conditioner (R265/R295) – More on the hair front. Can you tell I’m excited for the Brazilian? These are pricey (about R265 and R295 respectively) but worth it? I might just get one (the shampoo possibly?)
  • Foreo Luna Play (R700) – I’ve wanted the Foreo Luna Mini for ever and a day. When Zando first launched it like 2 years ago (or more) I was super keen until I saw the price tag. Yep. Now, I know it’s an investment but it’s A LOT of money to spend when you can’t actually go and physically touch and experience the thing. I’m a tactile person. I can’t help it. Also, would I enjoy using it? The Play is a nice way to “test” the product. It’s the size and shape of a macaroon, and is about R700. It has a limited time span (can’t be recharged unlike the core range) but you do get a few months out of it, just enough to figure out if it’s something you’d like to invest in. I think it’s a great idea, really. Also, if you still don’t want to spend the R2500+, you can just buy another Play 😛
  • Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream All-over Miracle Oil (R425) – Yes please. Since launching, I’ve been wanting to get my hands on this stuff but I just couldn’t (and still can’t) justify it. Why? Because I own too many body products. I still want this though. And since this list isn’t a SHOPPING list, why not add it.
  • Lush Tea Tree Water Toner (R95) – For dem oilz.

Finishing all the things this April

I did well this month! Now just to stick with it…

Eve Lom Eye Cream (1ml sample sachet)
I got this as a little extra in one of PrincessNoo’s blogsales. I saw it lying around and figured I should really use it up. It lasted about a week? Eye creams always go a long way for me. Anyway, this smelt quite earthy (not really my thing) but it was really nice and moisturising. I reckon this stuff is probably realllllly expensive. Pass.

Lush Salt Peppermint Bark Scrub
Oh my. Love this. Why are you limited edition?

Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Even Finish Foundation – 01 Warm ivory
I literally scraped out every bit I could with a tiny little brush. I went through stages of die-hard loving this, hating this, and just feeling indifferent about it. I think it probably all depended on my skin at the time. This lasted a year – I got it as a gift last year April! It’s probably the foundation I used most consistently during this time. I didn’t repurchase because I don’t think it was a perfect match…and I’m a floozy.

Woolworths Love Your Skin Extreme Moisture Shower Gel
Love the scent, love this line, but this didn’t lather up at all. I tried everything. It just felt like by the time I had washed both arms, there was nothing left and I had to squeeze out more. It was so frustrating. Seriously. I must have flown through this because of that. Won’t be getting this again…Sorry Woolworths.

Skoon Hot Cloth Cleanser Nkuto Butter (10ml sample pot)
I used this to get the last bits of makeup off my face. Leaves my skin feeling soft and nourished. Love.

Palmer’s Coconut Oil Formula Deep Conditioning Pack
Love this stuff. I use it every now and then as a deep treatment. If possible, I leave it on overnight, otherwise I just slop it on and watch a few episodes of something before washing my hair. Still have one or two lying around in a drawer, which I’ll be using soon!

Loreal Pure Riche Nourishing and Taming Shampoo for Very Dry, Rebellious Hair
This sulfate-free shampoo is freaking amazing. I love it. It made my hair smell awesome and feel so so soooo soft. Gosh. Anyway, I was in a major pinch and needed to get more, so I went into the nearest Clicks and they didn’t have it!? What?! So I went into Dischem but this wasn’t stocked, so I picked up the other brand I want to try – OGX. I must say, it isn’t as great. No. That’s not fair. It’s a discussion for another time, I suppose.

Loreal Ultra Riche Replenishing and Taming Conditioner for Very Dry, Rebellious Hair
Same as above. Heart eyes all the way.

Cettua Anti-redness Mask for Sensitive Skin
Liked this. Cute packaging. Have one or two others from the same brand.

Lush Salt Peppermint Bark Scrub
Oh look! Another one! Yes. I went and bought another one after I finished the first one. Now I have none left. I need more!

Woolworths Love Your Skin Extreme Moisture Dry Oil Spray
Repurchase! Love the scent of this. Because it has a spray nozzle thing, it’s so easy to use! I much prefer things I can spray than those I have to decant into my hand. Haven’t bought another one because I’m using a Body Shop oil at the moment. But this was my moisturiser of choice.

Johnson & Johnson’s Makeup Remover Wipes (the pink ones…forgot the real name for this)
I used these to take off my makeup before gym. If I didn’t rinse my face with water after using these, my eyes would STING like A MOFO when I got sweaty. Ugh. And these dried my skin out (I always made sure to wash my face again when I got home, and properly moisturise). I bought a bulk pack ages ago, and this was the last one. Since my gym membership is no more (bleh), I won’t be buying these again.

Lush Rough with the Smooth Scrub
I have a problem with scrubs, don’t I? I actually got this at Christmas, and finished it up (hoping it’d be just as amazing as Salt Peppermint Bark…it wasn’t). The scent wasn’t my favourite and I think unlike the other Lush scrub, this is sugar-based, so it got pretty sticky after a few uses. I felt like it never really dried out properly (even though I did everything to try!) Anyway, this won’t be a repurchase.

And that’s it!

It’s a brand new year

2014 was insane and amazing, but it was also tiring and frustrating towards the end. I fell more and more in love with my mister, made mistakes, dreamed about killing certain someones, and overall, I tried to take better care of myself and curb my spending. I think “try” is the operative word in most of these cases because I totally fell off the wagon every now and then. Whoops.

I frequently say I don’t make resolutions at the start of the new year, BUT I am a chronic list maker, and I do set myself goals throughout the year – which just so happens to include January. Below are NOT resolutions, but more like continuations of what was set in motion.

  • Purchase prescription sunglasses
  • Find a decent sports bra Bought one online and using an Adidas one in the meantime
  • Join the gym (this is a WIP – I’m shopping around) and hopefully attend 3 days a week Joined the gym (now known as Jim) and it’s going well so far. Let’s see if this 3 a week thing will last.
  • Continue walking every morning, and extend my route
  • Find a good skincare routine and stick to it
  • Buy less and use more
  • Stop all the crap snacking and curb the bad food
  • Do my Learners (for the squintilliionth time) and get started with driving lessons *gulp*
  • Manage my anxiety (especially pertaining to driving)
  • Get my finances under control!!!!
  • Start saving for a trip abroad (not sure where yet)
  • Experience more

I may add to this ever growing list. Hopefully I can cross some things off throughout 2015.

Top 12 books for 2012

I always see people asking for book suggestions, so I thought now would be a good time to review some of the best (or better, in some cases) books I’ve read in 2012.

Now, granted, many of these books won’t appeal to most people since I have been reading a boatload of YA (young adult) literature this year, there are some that really do stand out. Here is my top 12 of 2012, in reading order:


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1) Brodi Ashton – Everneath

So often in YA the story begins normally – girl meets boy, girl’s world is turned upside down, blah blah, but the nice thing about this story is that we start right in the middle of the epic shitstorm that is Nikki’s life.

Main character, Nikki Bennett, has been to the underworld and is now back in the world of the living, trying to deal with the routine of real life, her family and her boyfriend. In a way, she is trying to say goodbye properly this time – to tie up all those loose strings she left behind first time round – because she only has six months until she has to go back.

But ofcourse, this isn’t easy for Nikki. For one, she doesn’t want to go back, and second, there’s Cole. Cole was the one that enticed her into the underworld in the first place, and he’ll do almost anything to bring her back and make her his queen.

Unlike most stories that fall into this genre, there’s very little boo-boo, and dodging of responsibility. Nikki knows what is expected of her, and she fights with everything to stay and continue her life, even though it wasn’t that great to begin with.

 

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2) Rosemary Clement-Moore – Texas Gothic

I didn’t know anything about this book or the author before I started reading it. This is pretty rare since I hate starting something without having some sort of idea where it might be heading. Since I had the Kindle edition, I didn’t really have a back cover to look at either, but I’m sort of glad.

The story follows Amy, a normal girl from a family that is anything but normal. She comes from a line of witches, but unlike her sister, she tries to steer clear of all the magic. Unfortunately, she has agreed to look after her aunt’s ranch in Texas during her vacation.

So, what should have been a relatively magic-free and boring holiday turns upside down. Amy finds herself ghost hunting, solving crimes and resisting the charms of her very delicious, stetson-wearing neighbor.

But what really drew me in was the first line of this book: “The goat was in the tree again.”


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3) Alden Bell – The Reapers are the Angels

Zombie book! Or an apocalyptic western. Whichever. Zombies have infested the world and Temple, a 15 year old girl, is on the run. She’s hiding from zombies, looking for freedom, and running from a man who will stop at nothing to kill her.

Temple can’t remember a time before the zombies. This world has stolen her innocence, and she is haunted by her past. On her journey for salvation, she kills, she hunts, she finds family and ultimately, survives. But for how long?

Although this is a relatively short book, it is a fucked up, awesome read. Temple is this scary, indelible character who is smarter, more independent and damaged beyond her years. It’s bleak and magnificent.

 

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4) Tammara Webber – Easy

This probably falls under the more grown up version of YA, called New Adult or Mature Young Adult. Gosh, all these genres. Basically it just means that it is about 20-somethings, and is hella more sexy 😛

Jacqueline follows her boyfriend to college. Like most girls who do this, there’s an assumption they’re in it for the long run. Nope. Her boyfriend breaks up with her two months later and Jacqueline is faced with a pretty stark reality – she’s single, she’s at a university she doesn’t really want to be attending, she’s failing her classes and her friends aren’t talking to her. Ouch.

In an effort to shake up her life a bit, Jacqueline heads off to a frat party and when she ends up leaving alone, she’s assaulted. Luckily, she’s rescued by a stranger. Thinking she can just forget the attack and move on, she carries on as normal. Until she realises her savior, Lucas, is in one of her classes.

When her attacker starts stalking her, Jacqueline is faced with a decision – give in or fight back. This is a story about personal growth, asking for help, and learning to trust the people in your life. These aren’t easy things, but they are attainable. Oh and it comes with a side-dish of super sexy. Ahem.

 

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5) Neil Gaiman – Neverwhere

This was my first proper read of anything written by Gaiman, and I just have to say this… I’m kinda in love. Ha.

One day when Richard Mayhew, an average guy living a somewhat below average life, stops to help a girl, his world is forever altered. He enters the reality of London below – a place that exists in the form of labyrinths, sewer canals and abandoned subway stations. He thinks he’s lost his mind, but instead, he’s only just fallen through the cracks of reality into a world that is Neverwhere.

This is an adventure, with dark and twisty paths that lead to crazy, mystical beginnings, and end in courage, honor and happiness.

 

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6) William Goldman – The Princess Bride

I don’t think I can even describe this book. Seriously. This book is about everything. Fighting, true love, hate, revenge, women, beauty, pain, bravery, passion, monsters, escapes, captures, death, lies, miracles and truth.

Just read it, already!

 

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7) Richelle Mead – Vampire Academy

So this started…an obsession of some sorts. The Vampire Academy series has been on my list of to-reads forever. And it took me like four years to actually get around to reading it. Whoops.

Rose Hathaway attends St Vladimir’s Academy. Or at least she did before running away with her vampire best friend. Thing is, her best friend (Lissa) is in danger, and the only way to keep her safe was to return to the human world.

But, that didn’t turn out well. Rose and Lissa are dragged back to school, the very place that is the most dangerous for them.

Forbidden romance? Check. Bad ass females kicking some major butt? Check. Murder and intrigue? Check. Oh and some smexy scenes? Hells yes.

If you like urban fantasy or paranormal romance, you should probably give this a go.

This series is six books long, with a spin off series called Bloodlines…which is just as awesome btw.

 

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8) Rachel Hawkins – Hex Hall

Sigh, more YA you say? Yeah, sorry about that. I really did read a lot of this stuff. It’s easy reading, y’know?

Sophie Mercer is a witch. She found out a few years ago, and her powers have got her into some major trouble. Although her non-magic mother has been supportive and understanding, Sophie manages to push it too far. To keep her under control, Sophie is shipped off to Hex Hall, a reform school for wayward supernaturals.

By the end of her first day, Sophie’s made quite an impression. She now has a stack of enemies, a major crush on some warlock, bumped into a ghost and her roommate is hated by everyone because she’s a vampire. But worst of all, Sophie has uncovered a plot that affects everyone – students are being attacked and they think it’s her roommate.

What a ride! This series is 3 books long, and oh my, I didn’t think I’d enjoy it as much as I did. Makes me want to be young and carefree again. Oh, and a witch 😛

 

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9) Mary Lindsey – Shattered Souls

As Goodreads says: “A thrilling debut story of death, love, destiny and danger”. Don’t think I could have summed it up better.

This left me wanting more – in a good way, I guess. Some books are perfectly set up to be trilogies or series because the characters click so well and you don’t want to leave them behind. I guess this is what happened to me.

Lenzi’s dad committed suicide because he couldn’t get rid of the voices he was hearing. Lenzi, now 16, is also starting to hear the voices. But she’s also starting to see things too. She’s convinced she’s destined to go the same way as her dad – insane and then dead.

Luckily she has a boyfriend, Zac, who is trying to help her through what they both think is mental illness. She’s been popping pills and trying to get it under control, but it just keeps getting worse. One night, her and Zac go to the graveyard to visit her dad. Zac passes out and Lenzi meets Alden. Alden claims that she isn’t crazy; she’s actually something called a Speaker.

A Speaker speaks to lost souls and helps them find rest in death by freeing them from their earthbound problems. And Alden is her Protector – he protects her from the violent spirits who don’t want to be helped and who could possess her body and use it for their own purposes.

According to Alden, Lenzi has lived lifetimes, and is the best Speaker there is. But she has no recollection of her past selves, and now there’s a spirit who wants her, and wants her badly. If only she could remember why.

There’s a lot of hate for this book, but I actually enjoyed it. Lenzi and Alden had this magnetism, and I suppose in some way it just reminded me of Blood+, you know, without the vampires… 😛

 

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10) Megan Hart – Dirty

Ah, finally a smutty book for all you people out there. Or “smutty”, whatever. Either way, it was pretty hot, and adult-y 😛

Elle meets Dan at a candy shop. Ha. 50 cent, anyone? There’s some light flirting, but if she’s honest with herself, she’s already come up with some backstory for why he was there, buying expensive chocolate. She surprises herself by agreeing to go and have a drink with him and he surprises her by not inviting her for a one night stand.

Elle does the sex-without-strings thing sometimes. She does it because it makes her feel good and wanted, even though most of it is faked and unsatisfying. And for a long time this has been fine – she has a job, a house and a life she likes and enjoys. She hasn’t wanted very much else in a forever. Until Dan comes along.

All I’m gonna say is…SJOE. And yum. Moving on… 😉

 

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11) Rainbow Rowell – Attachments

This is my chicklit of the year. And it’s not the horrible gushy-omg kind either. Oh, and it takes place on the eve of the year 2000, so it’s a great laugh because I was in school then, and I remember the whole world gearing up for some Y2K disaster that never happened, and the same thing is happening in this book.

Beth and Jennifer work for the same newspaper house. They’ve recently adopted email, and they know that their office messages are monitored but they don’t really care or think too much of it. They spend their free time emailing each other, gossiping or sharing their personal lives like no one is watching.

Enter Lincoln. Lincoln’s life has been pretty disappointing so far. His long term, only girlfriend cheated on him, and he hasn’t figured out what he wants to do with his life. But it’s been a few years since the breakup, and he’s studied as much as he can for now, so he applies for a job as internet security officer.

This means Lincoln needs to sift through people’s inboxes and turn offenders for misusing their company email. But after reading through the exchanges between Beth and Jennifer, he can’t bring himself to crack down on them. And by the time Lincoln realises he’s falling in love with Beth, it’s too late for him to introduce himself. After all, what would he say? “Hi, I’m the guy reading your emails?”

After a series of close encounters and near misses, Lincoln decides it’s time to suck it up and speak to her.

Sigh. I loved this. Beth and Jennifer are so real and their lives are so fucked up and normal and Lincoln is just one of those people you really wish was reading your email – because he sees and understands and hates and loves you anyway, for your words, and not for what you look like.

 

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12) Barry Lyga – I Hunt Killers

What if one of the world’s most infamous serial killers was your dad? And what if your dad had trained you as an apprentice to take over from where he left off?

Jasper’s lived a fucked up life. He was brought up with killing and torture as if they were the norm, and brainwashed and blackmailed to keep quiet. But when his father is caught, Jasper’s life changed.

Even though his life changed for the better, Jasper is finding it hard to ignore that inner voice. His father’s voice to be precise. And he feels that urge. He is constantly struggling with what he knows is right, and what he thinks he might want, or what he might turn into.

So when bodies start piling up in his home town, Jasper wants to join the hunt. He has witnessed crimes from a serial killer’s point of view, and this could benefit the cops. But he is also considered a suspect based on his past and the way these victims were killed. In an effort to prove to himself and others that he is not his father, Jasper starts uncovering something that could make him more like his father’s son than anything else.

Holy shitballs, guys. If there’s one book you read, read this one. It was disturbing, and horrible and great. Thankgod there’s another book coming out in April 2013.

***

There are actually a few that I have not mentioned in the list. This is because they deserve a super special mention.

The first is the Charley Davidson series (currently on 4 books at the moment) by Darynda Jones.

Charley Davidson sees dead people. This is mostly because it’s her job to convince them to “go into the light”. The light being her.

Being a part-time PI and full-time grim reaper is hard work. She mostly uses her powers to bring justice to the people who have died at the hands of others, which means that she closes a lot of cases for the police department. Too bad they’re not all too fond of her.

But to complicate matters, Charley’s been having sexy dreams about a cloaked and dangerous entity that has been following her around all her life. And when she tries to get to the bottom of it, she realises that he is connected to her past. And he might be something else entirely.

Gosh, guys. Reyes Farrow. That’s all I’m saying. Oh, and Cookie. Because she’s the best. Darynda Jones does something I absolutely love – and that is giving Charley this unique, snarky and fun voice. I want her on my side. I want her as a friend. She’s bad ass, vulnerable and loyal. She’s also not the sort of person you expect to be a grim reaper or a PI. Love her.

The next is Karina Halle. Oh my gosh. I think her Experiment in Terror series has changed my life. Ha. Currently there are 6 books out and 3 novellas.

The Experiment in Terror series is a beast of its own. Honestly, I’ve never read anything close to it. The series follows Perry Palomino and Dex Foray. They meet under fucked up circumstances and start a ghost hunting show on the internet.

Perry and Dex are both flawed, albeit in slightly different ways. Perry can’t figure out where she wants to go in life, has body issues and has a whip tongue I love to death. She’s that girl everyone thinks is a bit weird but when you get to know her you just want to keep her forever because she’s unusual and different and amazing and awesome. And Dex ofcourse, is this hard, dependable, unpredictable and completely lovable guy just trying to stay afloat in this fucked up world.

So, think Supernatural crossed with X-Files crossed with…I don’t know, crazy beautiful characters who have this sexual chemistry that makes everything sizzle… and you get one of the most fun series I’ve ever read. And it’s not a superficial series either. It delves deep into what it means to be sad, to struggle, to live, to fight and just be.

Also, this is not a kids book, guys. It’s all horror, and sweaty sexy and has a Debra Morgan mouth 😉

And finally Colleen Clayton’s book “What Happens Next”

Cassidy “Sid” Murphy goes away on a ski-trip with her friends and the unthinkable happens. She meets a man called Dax Windsor and can’t believe that someone actually likes her awkward curls, and her athletic body. But Dax takes everything from her the night he invites her to a party.

When she returns home, Sid can’t cope. She doesn’t know how to relate to her friends anymore and she knows she need to talk to someone but she can’t verbalise the things that happened. She starts pulling away and doing things she shouldn’t. And then she meets Corey.

Corey makes her happy, but the nightmares keep coming, and the urge to look different to the way she was before drives her into a dark place.

This book should be put in libraries or made recommended reading for teens. Sadly, the topic that this book deals with is a reality. It happens and it’s horrible and I think so many people and kids don’t even know how to understand it. This book helps. Just by reading how others experience and come to terms with such horrific ordeals, to know that you’re not alone and that what you’re feeling is completely normal… I think this is important to read. It shows there is hope at the end of hell.

I am going to be honest here, I cried like a crazy person through the last few pages. Based on this, I think the author achieved something very real here and something so incredibly important. It helps all of us sympathise, empathise and keep those who experienced this, moving forward.

So that’s it! Let me know what your favourite books were for 2012 so I can start updating my to-read list 😉

Seriously?

A little more from NaNoWriMo 2012…

 

Light filtered through the half-drawn blinds in her office, casting razor sharp shadow strips across everything in her line of sight. This was how Gabi sometimes told the time. The room she rented for when she was doing legwork and needed some quiet only ever got the dying light, and by the looks of things, the day was winding down.

She sighed and pulled her glasses off and squeezed her eyes shut. Gabi had been stuck in the office for hours, fielding calls, harassing medical examiners, bribing anyone she could… You’d think that since her father had left the business on such a stellar note, they would at least extend her some sort of courtesy. But no, instead the police department and everyone else treated her like the thorn in their side.

Maybe she was. She did close cases, much to their dislike. Surely the whole point of this game was to make the sure the bad guys are caught and put in jail? Apparently that was a little too idealistic for her uniformed friends. She never had understood the politics when it came to solving crime.

But they had made one right guess – that dead guy could not have committed suicide. And she was right in assuming he was a religious man. Father Elliot was one of the favourites at the church, and Gabi couldn’t help but notice he was also one of the youngest members of the congregation. So if he had offed himself, his secrets must have been as sordid as they get. Or at least morally dubious enough for him to consider the world a better place without him in it, and hell the most deserving place of all for his eternal soul.

Gabi leaned back in her chair and propped her feet up on the desk, carefully avoiding the stone cold cup of coffee and her half-eaten lunch. Just as she was getting comfortable and feeling a nap coming on, the goddamned phone rang.

Hitting the speaker button with a pencil, Gabi barked “Colt.”

“Quite a bedside manner you have, Colt.” Fucking David.

“It’s all for you, baby.” Grumbling, she leaned back again and closed her eyes. “What do you want, David?”

“I figured you might have wanted to hear what the medical examiner had to say… but if you’re going to be like that…” Her eyes shot open, she pulled her feet off the desk and sat up straight, picking up the phone and cancelling the speaker.

“Tell me.”

“I don’t know, Colt, what are you going to do for me in return?” Seriously?

“Seriously?” Gabi asked, annoyance biting her tone.

“Seriously.”

“Isn’t this against police code or something? Are you even allowed to bribe and evade?”

She heard him huff on the otherside. “Listen, you want the info or not?”

“Obviously I want the info.”

“So let me buy you dinner?” It started out like a tickle at the back of Gabi’s throat, but soon grew into an obnoxious guffawing laugh. She could practically hear him reaching for his gun on the other side of the phone.

“Whatever David. I’ll settle for drinks. Joe’s Bar, 9pm. See ya.”

Putting the phone down, Gabi grinned. Drinks with David. That could go so impossibly right, or so, so, so wrong.

She Said

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