Better Than Sex? Better Than Other Mascaras Anyway

Image result for too faced better than sex mascara

Recently, I finally got around to trying Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara. I have tried both drugstore and high end mascaras and this would have to be the best mascara I have tried so far. What is particularly noticeable is that my lashes look longer when I’m wearing it than with other mascaras (which for my very average lashes is essential). It also doesn’t irritate my lash line like some mascaras do. The packaging is a little plain and boring for a high end product. But it works and that’s the most important thing.

So I am in love. But do let me know in the comments if there are any amazing mascaras you would recommend I try.

I also recommend getting the mini, as mascara is supposed to be discarded after 6 months and I definitely wouldn’t finish a full sized mascara in 6 months.

Krystal xx

Your Next Mystery Read – Barbara Venkataraman’s Jamie Quinn Mystery Collection Box Set Books 1-3

I was recently sent Barbara Venkataraman’s Jamie Quinn Mystery Collection: Box Set Books 1-3, and found it a joy to read. This book set includes the first three stories in the Jamie Quinn series. I also had a chat with the author to find out a little more about the inspiration and behind the scenes creation of the books.

jamie quinn


Death by Didgeridoo (Winner of the Indie Book of the Day award)

Reluctant lawyer, Jamie Quinn, still reeling from the death of her mother, is pulled into a game of deception, jealousy, and vengeance when her cousin, Adam, is wrongfully accused of murder. It’s up to Jamie to find the real murderer before it’s too late. It doesn’t help that the victim is a former rock star with more enemies than friends, or that Adam confessed to a murder he didn’t commit.

The Case of the Killer Divorce
Reluctant lawyer, Jamie Quinn, has returned to her family law practice after a hiatus due to the death of her mother. It’s business as usual until a bitter divorce case turns into a murder investigation, and Jamie’s client becomes the prime suspect. When she can’t untangle truth from lies, Jamie enlists the help of Duke Broussard, her favorite private investigator, to try to clear her client’s name. And she’s hoping that, in his spare time, he can help her find her long-lost father.

Peril in the Park
There’s big trouble in the park system. Someone is making life difficult for Jamie Quinn’s boyfriend, Kip Simons, the new director of Broward County parks. Was it the angry supervisor passed over for promotion? The disgruntled employee Kip recently fired? Or someone with a bigger ax to grind? If Jamie can’t figure it out soon, she may be looking for a new boyfriend because there’s a dead guy in the park and Kip has gone missing! With the help of her favorite P.I., Duke Broussard, Jamie must race the clock to find Kip before it’s too late.

A preview of the next Jamie Quinn Mystery, Engaged in Danger, can be found at the end of the book. Engaged in Danger won first place in the Amateur Detective category of the Chanticleer Murder & Mayhem Mystery Writing Competition.

The Jamie Quinn series was in fact first inspired by a didgeridoo that Barbara Venkataraman had purchased to help with her sleep apnea (a condition also experienced by her character Jamie). She says “always one to embrace outlandish remedies, I had read that playing the didgeridoo improved the symptoms of sleep apnea, so I tried. And failed. It was so hard that one day I hyperventilated and dropped the didgeridoo, cracking a glass table. It occurred to me that a didgeridoo could be a lethal weapon, so I started asking questions–who would get killed? A music teacher. Who could have done it? Lots of people. Who will get falsely accused? A disabled student. Who will come to his rescue? His cousin, Jamie Quinn, a reluctant family lawyer. And off we went…”

Barbara Venkataraman herself is also an attorney and mediator, specializing in family law and debt collection, and she describes Jamie as her alter ego. She considers both herself and Jamie as “reluctant family lawyers, home-bodies who are loyal to our family and friends with a self-deprecating sense of humor and a snarky side”. However, she also adds that Jamie is “younger, more neurotic, and keeps finding herself embroiled in murder mysteries”.

Unlike Jamie, Barbara is also the author of an award-winning series and has always known she wanted to be a writer. She says, “ever since I wrote a poem about ducks in second grade and my teacher liked it so much she enlarged it and hung it on the wall, I was hooked.” She also talks about her love of words, both writing and read them, saying “I can spend a long time choosing one word, weighing my options and the feeling I want to convey”.

For all you aspiring authors out there, Barbara also describes what her process is like when writing a Jamie Quinn novel. “It’s a very loose process that looks like organized chaos from the outside. I come up with a synopsis and a very loose summary. I usually know the beginning and the end going in, but the middle is fluid and changes as I go. I research the topics I need for the story and paste it to the bottom of the document, so I can refer to it as I go. I write short chapters and send them to my reader girls as I finish them. None of my characters are ever shot so I have to come up with creative murder methods. I have researched so many ways to kill people that I think the FBI will come knocking soon!”

That the victims in the Jamie Quinn books do die more creatively is something I enjoyed about the books. It gave the mystery a little more fun and creativity and was a change from CSI’s common diagnosis of “gunshot wound to the head/chest”.

Jamie Quinn as a protagonist is also ideal for a cozy mystery with a point of difference because she differs from the usual cookie cutter cupcake baker as a family attorney. As an attorney, her involvement in a mystery also makes more sense than the ‘stick your nose in, smarter than the police, baker’ type character. In that vein, I also appreciate how Jamie involves people like private investigator Duke and doesn’t seem to feel the need to confront a killer alone in a dangerous situation.

I found these books to be a great light read and will definitely explore the rest of the series in the future.

You can check out the series on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Krystal xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kat Von D Glimmer Veil Review

I love a good lipstick. But I did not love liquid lipstick until I came across Kat Von D’s Glimmer Veil at Sephora.

televatorIt comes in pretty gothic packaging and the tube reflects the product inside. The wand has a tapered end for easy application. And it can be used as a shimmering top coat or as a full impact lipstick.

I have it in the shade Televator at the moment. But I’m sure my collection will grow. It sparkles, it stays in place, it’s long wearing and just plain gorgeous. Every time I wear my Glimmer Veil lipstick I get at least one compliment on it.

I tried NYX’s Cosmic Metal Lip Cream as a cheaper dupe. The color was similar and it looked similar. But it was tacky, didn’t dry and while long wearing in a way, half of it was caught on what you were eating and drinking.

So while more expensive, Glimmer Veil is the answer for me. Plus it’s cruelty and paraben free.

Krystal xx

Book Of The Month – Southern Spirits (Angie Fox)

When out of work graphic designer Verity Long accidentally traps a ghost on her property, she’s saddled with more than a supernatural sidekick—she gains the ability to see spirits. It leads to an offer she can’t refuse from the town’s bad boy, the brother of her ex and the last man she should ever partner with.

Ellis Wydell is in possession of a stunning historic property haunted by some of Sugarland Tennessee’s finest former citizens. Only some of them are growing restless—and destructive. He hires Verity put an end to the disturbances. But soon Verity learns there’s more to the mysterious estate than floating specters, secret passageways, and hidden rooms. 

There’s a modern day mystery afoot, one that hinges on a decades-old murder. Verity isn’t above questioning the living, or the dead. But can she discover the truth before the killer finds her?

For memory, I got this as a free book on my kindle. It was was good, I brought more in the series to read and wasn’t disappointed by these either.

Angie Fox offers an excellent protagonist with Verity Long, someone who has strength as well as humour. Her accidental ghostly sidekick Frankie, also offers a new way of seeing the spirit world I haven’t seen in any other book before, by showing a luminescent view of the world, which is based on what the dominant ghost sees. Frankie also creates a nice character contrast to Verity.

Ellis Wydell and his brother Beau then also add both a romantic and small town component that makes Verity’s life rather interesting.

And if her life wasn’t interesting enough she also has a pet skunk.

A great read and I look forward to the next in the series.

Krystal xx

Book Of The Month – Mind Your Own Beeswax (Hannah Reed)

This particular book of the month is not so much being featured because I loved it, but because I didn’t.

Hannah Reed has come up with a fantastic concept with this small time store owner and bee keeper solving mysteries. It has the potential to be comedic as well as unique and interesting. But it falls flat. In the first book Story Fischer is understandably focused on trying to save her bees and makes some stupid decisions in the pursuit of justice. Her penchant for stupid decisions and not speaking up when she should is not so understandable in the second one.

I grew very tired of hearing how she slipped and tripped because she wore flip flips everywhere (including while tending to bees) and how she reached into her lives without proper protective equipment.

I was also unimpressed with how the author handled phobia. In this novel Story’s cousin Carrie-Anne offers to look after a dog then dumps it on Story with no regard for Story’s fear of dogs. The author then makes it seem like Story looking after this dog cures her fear. Talk about unlikely. Story also behaves with similar disregard to her sister’s fear of bees.

The mother and the sister also need a swift kick for their behavior.

So what does this story have going for it? It has a quirky element, some interesting character dynamics and the potential to be a brilliant mystery series. But at this point in the series this is being stifled by characters not learning from their mistakes.

Krystal xx

Halo Beauty – First Thoughts

If you’re into beauty and watch YouTube, you’ve probably heard of beauty vlogger Tati Westbrook aka the GlamLifeGuru.

image-tati2_1020x700.pngShe has just released her beauty brand Halo Beauty, which so far has one product a vitamin for skin hair and nails. It sounds great and it’s both sugar and gluten free as well as vegan. She’s also been fairly transparent about the ingredients.

However a lot of bloggers, vloggers and others have been really negative about her brand and ingredients. I am surprised that her brand is so far just one product, but when you look at the product it looks fairly decent and people haven’t even used it yet to comment.

home-product2_1020x700.pngLooking at the ingredients and people’s concerns about things they do or don’t do and potential ill health you could get, there has been nothing more than a few suggested correlations. And the thing with correlations is that the two variables appear to be related but may both be occurring for non-related reasons. While I don’t think this product will be a miracle, I don’t think it will be any less effective than all the anti-aging creams out there and the companies for those don’t have to disable comments due to negativity and personal attacks.

It will be interesting to see how effective the product is once it is used for a period of time and how it affects Tati’s perceived integrity.

Krystal xx

iHerb Review (with promo code TRC217)

I love the internet, but I’m not such a fan of shopping online. Reluctant practice has made me a more confident online shopper, but I still refuse to do it unless I can’t purchase the product in a store locally. One of the main sites I use for these things is iHerb. This is my candid review of iHerb as the reluctant online shopper.

iHerb offers a range of health and beauty products for the more natural and healthy minded consumer. These products include two lip balm ranges I am crazy about; Crazy Rumors and Hurraw. The products are well priced and in your local currency both in the browsing and checkout screens (unlike Amazon).

iHerb offers a range of shipping options, including a no-rush cheaper shipping option as well as free shipping to countries outside the US. They also offer a shipping saver option on certain items.

Because I select the cheapest shipping, my items don’t arrive overnight by any means, but they still arrive within a reasonable time frame and iHerb sends a tracking number so I can track the item’s progress and know when it will possibly arrive. The items are also well packaged and arrive undamaged.

If you haven’t used iHerb before enter the code TRC217 and you’ll get 5% off your first purchase 🙂

Happy Shopping,

Krystal xx

Book Of The Month: Library Lovers Mysteries

When I think of the word silhouette, I think of that shadowing figure lurking in the mystery novels such as Sherlock Holmes. Although a little less shadowy than Sherlock Holmes, today’s post is the revival of Book Of The Month, starting with Jenn McKinlay’s Library Lovers Mysteries. This series is perhaps slightly less well known than her Cupcake Bakery Mysteries, but equally as charming.

fddb2fe9-539c-42bc-b546-76966ab16a3b_1-5f17b7532a339289a9534e6bb03180b4Library Director Lindsay Norris, is no cliché shabby librarian with glasses. She is more like a success business woman, trying to keep their small local library (Briar Creek Public Library) up with the times and is joined by a cast of entertaining characters that might her life more colourful, easier and harder in turn.

Briar Creek Public Library features her friend Beth who is the best and most costumed children’s librarian you will ever come across. Ms Cole however is a typical crusty old woman who make’s Lindsay’s life more challenging.

Outside the library there is of course the love interest Sully, who is naturally also just a lovely guy and his sister and her husband who run an excellent sounding restaurant. They are also joined by Lindsay’s landlady are her nephew, who add to the list of people that shape Lindsay’s Briar Creek family.

The series is a perfect cozy mystery without being in a eatery like many of them are. The characters are also engaging and entertaining. Several of the characters are also involved in a book club which reads a different book in each novel. The book includes a book club guide for each novel they read for any readers who may wish to also read these clubs in their book club.

The first in the series is Books Can Be Deceiving. The description is as follows…

Lindsey is getting into her groove as the director of the Briar Creek Public Library when a New York editor visits town, creating quite a buzz. Lindsey’s friend Beth wants to sell the editor her children’s book, but Beth’s boyfriend, a famous author, gets in the way. When they go to confront him, he’s found murdered-and Beth is the prime suspect. Lindsey has to act fast before they throw the book at the wrong person.

This book is a good start to the series, with Lindsay, Beth and Sully shining in particular as characters. The series then goes on to deepen these characters and their relationships, keeping the reader engaged in their lives.

Krystal xx

Schwarzkopf Live Colour Pastel Spray – Cotton Candy Review

I wanted to dye my hair pink, but wanted to test the colour suited me before going for something more permanent, so this looked like a good option.

I initially hesitated because the colour they showed on the box didn’t really look that cotton candy to me, but ultimately I decided to give it a go because hey, we only live once.

On opening the bottle, I found the liquid inside was a dark pink (you can also see this when you spray the colour on your hands, so make sure to wear gloves).

I chose to apply this by standing in the shower with old black clothes on and a full length mirror leaning against the glass. The reason I did this was because it is much easier to wash down the shower walls than it is the bathroom walls.

I applied the spray to my glove and them rubbed it into my hair. I found it was hard to really get a good coverage on a couple of bits and it was very time consuming compared to a cream product to apply all over the hair.

After it was dry, I fully expected the colour on the box based on previous experience with their sprays but instead I got a dark purple/pink colour.

IMG_1805.JPG Day 1                                      IMG_1806.JPG Day 2

I left this in my hair for two days, but your hair gets quite strawlike so I washed it out on the second day. A bit of colour had faded on the second day and after washing it only a very light layer of colour was left. After another was three days later most of this disappeared too and the tiny bit left the wash after.

IMG_1812.JPG After 1 Wash                              img_1822-2 After 2 Washes

I would use it again for a night out then wash it out the next morning.

Krystal xx