Catch-Up | The Start Of..... Blogvember?

10/30/2019


Catch up blog posts fill me with fear. What's worthy enough of writing about? How do I keep the reader engaged when I'm merely talking about my life? Oy vey. Here goes nothing.

On September 29th, my Grandma passed away. Having never lost anyone in that way before, it took over my entire existence. I flew home, did everything that was mandatory, hugged family members that I never see outside of wakes, and then 3 weeks later, returned back to my new life with my husband. I can't begin to explain how it was. I still feel vaguely like a shell, nothing is sinking in. I think that's to be expected. However, I've chosen to share what I said at the funeral on here as I think it best describes what my Nain meant to me.

"My nain was my support system. Throughout my teenage years and early twenties, she gave me a home away from home. Her and my Taid. I spent countless nights and evenings in her company, whether by sitting near to her or watching Food Network together.  
She would be the person I went to when I wanted advice. She was the person who would listen to my venting, who would spend an hour looking at photos of my cats without seeking a distraction halfway through, and who made me laugh when she cracked a "that's what he said" joke. She was a main factor in my taking the plunge and getting married, though she didn't know it. She was my support system when I had to be my mothers and my mother had to be my Nain's. 
Trying to imagine a life without her is inconceivable. I cant begin to fathom what our lives will look like without her in them. For the remainder of my life it will be missing her company, her rare and fragile hugs, and most importantly, her love."


 It not only threw my life into shambles but it prevented me from taking part in Blogtober (an extremely small thing, but let's go with it), so I'm choosing to instead publish a blog post each day in November. I had many prepped (Here's hoping you aren't yet bored of Fall themed posts... or book tags) so it seems like the only logical solution. Plus I'm hoping it will help distract my mind during the next few weeks. And I imagine it'll be extremely satisfying to have a clear 'draft' section as right now it's full of half finished posts or words with no photos. Here's to a redo.

Other than the more serious catch-ups, I've recently become obsessed with the new Lea Michele album Christmas In The City. My favourite singer and Christmas combined? Grand. I'm looking forward to going to watch Last Christmas next week (review, maybe?), so I'm basically already in the Christmas spirit and want to put up the decorations. However, therein lies the problem, my husband always wants a real Christmas tree meaning we can't buy one until at least December. #TeamFake. Which does your household choose?

So, yeah, I can't think of anything else to write which probably means I should stop. I hope you'll stick around with me throughout the month of November as I've only ever done a month of blog posts once before and it actually went down surprisingly well. Lots of coffee will undoubtedly be consumed.

Here's a photo of my cats to finish off this post as I think it's only right.




Cocktails To Make This Halloween


Cocktails are fun to play around with. What better time to get creative than the spooky season? However, these all suit the mood of Autumn so don't be discouraged if it's November 12th. Still be ure to give them a go and give me your thoughts! The measurements are a bit cray-cray as I mostly eyeball anything that resembles food or drink. Do it to your own taste!

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Trick 'R Treat


Inspired by the Larry mixed drink that my husband often makes us learnt from the Watch Your Mouth crew, this has a similar taste profile though I find the added kick from the fireball makes it more Halloween inspired. The cherries floating at the bottom of your glass is the treat you need after the.. well.. treat of the drink. This has no tricks. Though if you're throwing a party and want to surprise people, maybe put in an olive amidst the cherries. There's a trick.

• 2/3 Orange Soda
• 1/3 Fireball Whiskey
• Handful of Maraschino Cherries

Ghostbusters


For the Ghostbusters you could easily swap out the rum for vodka, if you favour that taste more. It's entirely your preference. If you're old school American and still want the taste of Ecto Cooler, you could even mix some peach schnapps and lemon&lime soda together and create something that vaguely tastes similar to the throwback. I wanted to freeze the gummy bears into cubes of ice but time wasn't on my side, so just imagine the little bears floating around in their ice prisons.  

• Lemon&Lime Soda
• 1 Shot Spiced Rum
• Green Gummy Bears (preferably frozen in ice cubes)

Hocus Pocus


I really wanted to create a purple cocktail for this list as the colour screams witchy goodness. However, I couldn't find anything suitable. So, I semi cheated and added a dash of Grape Fanta that we had sitting in the fridge to create the almost lilac shade. You could instead use a drop of food colouring. Though I've recently fallen off the gin loving bandwagon, it still pairs perfectly with the Scrappy's Lavender Bitters that I've been obsessed with.

• 2/3 Soda/Tonic Water
• 1/3 Gin
• Couple dashes of Lavender Bitters
• Pixy Stick/Sherbet (optional glass rim decoration)


Do any of these strike your fancy? What's your go-to seasonal cocktail? I'd love to know!

Inside Birchbox | October

10/29/2019


This months 'Inside Birchbox' is very late. I was out of the country for most of the month (update coming soon) so I was unable to open my box until now. Better late than never? I did once again choose a curated box. Here's what was in my October box:





Brand: Balance Me : natural skincare
Product: Wonder Eye Cream
Full-sized details: 15ml, $29.00
Sample size received: 7ml
My curated box this month was heavy on the skincare products, which I love. As I haven't yet found a holy grail eye cream, it's always enjoyable getting to try out different ones. I have received a Balance Me eye cream in a previous box, but not this version. I remember it lasting me at least 6 weeks, which is always a bonus. 

Brand: 11 11 
Product: Fragrance Oil
Full-sized details: 0.3oz, $48.00
Sample size received:  1.2ml
Due to my lack of savings, fragrance always takes a backseat in my 'to buy' list. So I really enjoy getting samples of different perfumes. This scent is not as addictive as the 'Juliet Has A Gun' sample I received in my August Box, but it is nice. I especially like that it's an oil, thus much easier to get out of the little tube without spillage. 

Brand: Air Repair
Product: Complexion-Boosting Moisturiser
Full-sized details: 2oz, $23.00
Sample size received: 7ml
This is a repeat product that I've receive a fair few times in my Birchbox. I don't mind it, but it isn't my favourite moisturiser. The scent is quite talc-like which I find a tad off putting. It does make my skin feel softer though, just no huge visible results unlike some I've used in the past.




Brand: Naturelab Tokyo
Product: Perfect Shine Oil Mist
Full-sized details: 120ml, $16.00
Sample size received: 30ml
These type of products are my favourite to receive as I enjoy using things like this, but would never pay full price without trying it out first. This is a hefty sample size, which I'm grateful for. Upon first impression, the smell is great (very salon like) and it made my hair instantly feel more conditioned without resulting in an oily look. Can't wait to try it out further.

Brand: Dr. Lipp
Product: Moisturising Colour Tint - Sweet Potato
Full-sized details: 8ml, $7.99
Sample size received: 3ml
In the same boat as the moisturiser, I've received a Dr. Lipp product before. I'm still torn on whether I like the texture of this extra thick lip balm, as it is very sticky and doesn't really sink into the lips well. 

Brand: Saint Jane
Product: Luxury CBD Beauty Serum 
Full-sized details: 30ml, $125
Sample size received: 3ml
This was the swaying product for me in deciding to choose this curated box. It's just fun to try out a (likely) very overpriced product, especially skincare. This bottle may be the cutest sample I've ever had in a Birchbox, and I appreciate the little applicator. My tiny sample sized amount of product is worth $12, which practically pays for this month's box. Insane. Can't wait to try!

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So there was October. I already have an eye on which box I want to choose for November, so wish me luck in remembering to choose on time! Do you pay for any subscription boxes? Let me know!


Witchy Movies | Recommendations

10/20/2019


When I was a child, a witch was the go-to Halloween costume. Granted, it was a black bag with arm holes cut out, a cheap witch hat that wouldn't stay on my head, and a broomstick that shed everywhere and resulted in foot splinters, but it was a costume. I adored witches, mainly due to Charmed and Willow/Tara from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But I figured wearing normal people clothes wouldn't bode well with the candy-givers. Now however, I get to dress as a witch everyday  without anyone's knowledge. It'll be okay, child Anne. The thing we lack in life is witchy movies. There aren't nearly enough, especially in the horror genre. Sure, we have the classic The Blair Witch Project and The VVitch, both of which I hated. So here's a list of movies I would recommend to get your witch on this Halloween.


The Craft
Starring Neve Campbell, the unspoken horror queen, this is a classic among horror lovers. In theory, it's much more of a thriller but it's so well-loved that you ought not to argue. When new girl Sarah's telekinetic gift appeals to a group of three wannabe witches, who happen to be seeking a fourth member for their rituals, things quickly go from Gothic to hellish. Made in 1996, this was undoubtedly a huge step for female empowerment. A main female cast without it being overly sexualised? Yes, please. This movie creeped me the hell out as a child, but now I adore it. The clothes, friendship, power, everything is perfect. And to top that, I think the theme of being swayed into the dark-side is something that still stands up today. Just replace Satan with social media. If you're having a witch marathon, this has to be on there.


The Witches
Based on the Roald Dahl book, I don't hear enough people recommending this movie. Starring the queen Anjelica Huston, this movie is set at a witch convention as they plan to turn all children into rats. This movie actually scared me as a child, which is rather laughable now when I look at the special effects.. I mean... the picture. But nevertheless, this is a good cheesy witch movie that you may laugh at, but still find yourself enjoying. They're also rebooting this and it's set to star Anne Hathaway. Okay, I'm down.


Practical Magic
Possibly my favourite pick on the list, this Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock unappreciated flick is absolutely perfection. Based on the book by Alice Hoffman, this is a story of the ties that keep us tethered to our family, and the expectations that puts upon us. The Owens family have never shyed away from their witchy ancestry, the children in the neighbourhood run past their house, the housewives fear that the witches will steal their husbands, they're basically living that #WitchLife. But of the two sisters Sally wants to put this life behind her. She wants to be normal. I've seen a few people call this movie campy and fun, but in my opinion, it definitely has more of a Gothic feel.


Bewitched
Nicole Kidman is seemingly the witch to beat on this list. Many people flat-out-refuse to watch this reboot in a form of loyalty to the original TV show, which I get. When movie-star Jack (played by Will Ferrell) is set to play Darren in a remake of the beloved Bewitched, he demands that Samantha be played by a nobody - to not outshine him. Enter in Isabel, an actual witch who is trying to fit into society without being discovered. What better disguise? This has a very clever plot, which prevents it from taking the magic away from the original. If anything, this is a love letter to the TV show. All the witchy themes, a glorious cat, and pure enjoyment.


Darkness Falls
Now, in theory, this is a tooth fairy. But that stems from witchcraft, so I think this counts, right? Right. A town in Maine is tormented by the witch Matilda Dixon, an old woman who was murdered by a mob in the 1800s because the townspeople thought she was killing children. But in her afterlife she has one weakness, she can't be seen in light. I love this movie, it reminds me of my childhood and I get all that good nostalgia when it's on. Plus in the age of movies like A Quiet Place, Birdbox, and Silence, I think this fits into that niche wonderfully. Who isn't a tinniest bit afraid of the dark?

What witch movies do enjoy? Let me know! Witches of Eastwick is on my to-be-watched list, but I'm failing to find any others.


Unpopular Opinions Book Tag

10/13/2019

The world of Youtube tags are never ending. The world of book Youtube tags are... something else. It feels like every day there's a newly uploaded tag that I'd never heard of. It's fun, but a little daunting. I personally enjoy writing these tags out but I get why it could be a tad repetitive, so I'll do my best to space them out. How do you feel about tag posts? Let me know! This is a mutual post with my husband @BilliamSWN so be sure to go and check out his post on the SomewhatNerdy site.


Unpopular Opinions Book Tag
Questions:

1. A Popular Book or series that you didn't like.
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. A recent release that is very much hyped in the book-internet-sphere. Kristin Hannah is one of my favourite authors so pair that with having heard people say that her new book is in the same league as The Nightingale, I was excited to pick this survivalist story up. But.. ehh. I didn't hate it, I gave it a 3 (2.5) star rating. But I wouldn't recommend it. And I most definitely don't agree with people how great it is. The story felt long-winded, unrealistic, and rather boring. I didn't like the characters, or the relationships that formed. I did, however, appreciate the atmospheric writing on Alaska, which is solely why I didn't give it a lesser score.

2. A Popular Book or series that every one else seems to hate but you love. 
The Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead. Getting released around the time of the Twilight phenomenon it's not hard to see why many picked up this book series and instantly put it down with a 'meh'. It's more of the same, I can imagine Twihard's saying. However, having stuck with this series throughout it's six book run, I can hand-on-heart say that it's worth sticking with. Unlike the Fallen series, House of Night, or the Shiver Trilogy (all of which gained popularity during the mass YA fantasy uproar) Vampire Academy gets better with each book. The story arc grows more mature and the characters themselves evolve. I adore this series, as you can probably tell. Is it some well-thought-out incredible life changing story? No, but it's fun and enjoyable.

3. A Love Triangle where the main character ended up with the person you did NOT want them to end up with OR an OTP (one true pairing) that you don't like. 
Little Women. Without spoiling anything for anyone, I think you all know the love/non-love triangle I'm talking about. Involving two of our Marsh sisters, I just couldn't bring myself to root for the eventual coupling that happened with our beloved guy character. A couple that I also hated were Kehi and Esme from The Bride Test by Helen Hoang. That book was just the epitome of an incompatible couple.

4. A popular book genre that you hardly reach for. 
Horror. I've read a grad total of four horror books in my lifetime, which is mighty odd as horror is my favourite genre of movie. I guess I just don't magnate toward horror novels, and baring the huge Stephen King books, I rarely read super positive things about books of this genre. And, in all honesty, I know they won't scare me. So it seems rather pointless. Welp. Any suggestions?

5. A popular or beloved character that you do not like.
Ron Weasley from Harry Potter. I know, I know. Harry Potter is a universally loved book series, and after 23 years of life, I decided to finally pick up the series. I'm currently on book six, and I'm strongly disliking Ron. I hated him in the movies but as with most adaptions, the characters can come across differently in movie-form. I mean, jeepers, Ginnie has a personality in the books! Woe. I digress, Ron is a selfish prick. Not a fan.

6. A popular author that you can't seem to get into.
Neil Gaiman. Granted, I've read two of his books - The Ocean at the End of The Lane and Coraline - but I just didn't get the appeal of his world building. I've never been huge on magical realism so perhaps that's the problem. Neverwhere is still on my TBR as it's one of my husband's favourite books, so I'm sure to continue trying to get into his work. But for the time being, I just can't get swept up in his writing.

7. A popular book trope that you're tired of seeing. (examples "lost princess", corrupt ruler, love triangles, etc.
The insanely attractive girl who happens to be the greatest at most things, and yet still doesn't get it as she's "plain". I'm tired of YA giving unrealistic examples of your average Jane. We don't need a main character who happens to be flawless in every way, finds herself doted upon by every male in the book, but is somehow still misunderstood. Her appearance isn't something we need to read about in every chapter, nor do we need it to be how she gets her inevitable big win at the end. Throne of Glass comes to mind.

8. A popular series that you have no interest in reading.
The Dark Tower by Stephen King. This dark fantasy series has nothing that appeals to me. Not only that, but the reviews never seem to be good. King's work is always hit or miss for people, I think 99.9% of the population can appreciate his writing but not all can accept the weird quirkiness of his story telling. I want to give one of his masterpieces a go, such as 11/22/63. But I have absolutely no desire to read about a western fantasy world that seems part confusion and part dull. All in all, I don't ever foresee myself picking this series up.

9. The saying goes "The book is always better than the movie", but what movie or T.V. show adaptation do you prefer more than the book?
This was a tough one for me as I never seem to get around to actually watching the movie adaptation of a book I read. So I'm going with Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman. I read the book last year and though I enjoyed it, it didn't have half the magic that the movie starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman had. This could be a case of the movie having a special place in my heart from childhood watches with my mum, but nevertheless, I would always recommend you watch the movie first. Fun fact! Alice Hoffman actually released a prequel to Practical Magic last year called The Rules Of Magic. I only recently found this out, and you best believe that it's gone straight to the top of my October TBR. We don't have enough witch books in our lives!


If this blog post seems like something up your ally, I officially tag you! 


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