Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Books: Vampire Academy Series

I don't often feel so strongly attached to a book series as I do with the Vampire Academy Series. I have been devouring these books over the last couple weeks. Going into the series I was rather dismissive, thinking it would be on the Twilight level of vampires going to high school. I couldn't have been more wrong. Granted the series starts at a boarding school but it in no way compares to the recent vampire novels as of late. 
The protagonist of the series is a brash, tough as nails, smart, hilarious young girl named Rose. She is a Dhampir which means that she is half-human half-vampire. As a dhampir it is her duty to be trained and ultimately become a Guardian. She often breaks the rules and acts before thinking, making it all the more fun for the reader. 
In the world created by author Richelle Mead, there are two types of vampires; the Moroi and the Strigoi. The Moroi are the highly logical, civilized version of the vampire. They can interact within the human world without much notice and don't need to kill in order to drink blood. They also have their own form of government and Royal families. The Moroi are born as vampires, so they age just as humans do. The Strigoi on the other hand are the blood thirsty, soul-less, red eyed villians you know from films pre-Twilight and Buffy (I say this because Angel had a soul). They hunt to kill, have chalky white skin, and can't go in the sun. They were turned into becoming Strigoi and thus don't age. It is the Guardian's job to protect the Moroi from the evil dead Strigoi. 
Rose starts this series at boarding school along with Moroi. While she has classes about becoming a guardian, the Moroi have normal high school classes and some not so normal classes such as Vampire Magic. One of the Moroi is her best friend Lissa (short for Vasilisa). The story follows them through their last two years of school which are extremely tumultuous and their life after school, which is just as action filled. 
The reason I love this series so much is because of the characters. No two characters are alike, case in point Rose and Lissa. Rose is loudmouthed, spunky, and always has a good one liner while her best friend Lissa is calm, thoughtful, and a soft-spoken person. Their friends and enemies are just as unique. 
These books have everything; action, suspense, romance, magic, and murder. I just can't say enough good things about these books. I'm currently reading the 6th and final book Last Sacrifice and am already upset that it will end. 
Luckily, Mead has already begun a spinoff series that was released earlier this year, entitled Bloodlines. Bloodlines was actually the reason I decided to read the VA Series, I read it and loved it. But, I would suggest reading VA first because some plot points are given away in the start of Bloodlines. 
If you want to find out more information about the VA series click HERE. Or to purchase the series click HERE.  

Monday, September 26, 2011

Makeup: Revlon Colorstay Liquid Liner

I have used a ridiculous number of eyeliners; from pencils to liquid to shadows and this is by far my favorite. What I love about it is that it doesn't smudge after its been applied. It does exactly as the name suggests, it stays. 
I've also tried liquid liners where either the brush hurts like a son of a gun when you apply it, or it dries in a patent leather look. This eyeliner does neither. The application is not painful and it dries in a matted tone. 

I use the Blackest Black color because I like my eyes to be a very dramatic 60s cat eye look.  I have tried their Black Brown and it is great as well, especially for lighter colored eyes. This is not a product where you can do one line and be done with your eyeliner. You must do little strokes, which can be better because it gives you more control over how it looks. 
I don't believe in using very expensive makeup for the sole purpose of using expensive makeup. This liner works just as well, if not better than most expensive liners. Try it and see what you think. Click HERE for more information. If you would like to buy this liner it is usually sold for less than $10 at pharmacy's such as CVS or Walgreens. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Places: Concours d'Elegance

So I understand this isn't so much a place but rather an event. The Concours d'Elegance takes place all over the US and abroad, around the year. It is a car competition for new, classic, and restored cars. It's a great event for those that love cars or even those that appreciate great design. Personally, I love classic cars especially those from the 40s and 50s. 
The Concours d'Elegance also features an auction of some of the classic cars and seminars you can attend to learn more about car care. You can also buy art or other automobile memorabilia such as signed photos and helmets of well known race car drivers. 
If its a nice day I definitely suggest you try to attend one of these Concours events. I attended the Fairfield County Concours d'Elegance. To find out more check out their website HERE

Friday, September 9, 2011

Books: The Hunger Games Trilogy

I started the Hunger Games thinking, how in the world could I ever relate to this narrator Katniss Everdeen? 

She is the daughter of a miner who lost his life in a tragic accident leaving her to her constantly grieving incapable mother and her innocent wide eyed younger sister Prim. As the self administered head of household she must support herself in a dystopian society. In other words the government sees all, knows all, and you cannot by any means disobey the rules or face a most imminent and deadly punishment. But inevitably Katniss does disobey the rules by going to hunt with life long friend Gale (who was also left to support his large family). Hunting is a risk they must take in order to feed both their starving families. Luckily, Katniss and Gale are not caught due to the Capitol's ignorance toward District 12 over the past few decades. District 12 is Katniss' home and it makes up one of 12 districts the Capitol controls. Each district has different purposes; some provide coal (like District 12) others agriculture, fish, weaponry, you get the idea. It's basically a machine that needs all of its parts to run. However, there was a time when things went awry. District 13 revolted 74 years ago and the Capitol made sure to destroy it. To remember this event and remind the people of Panem (the nation that makes up the districts) to never disobey the government, a televised Hunger Games is broadcast every year as a sort of twisted anniversary. 

The Hunger Games features twenty four tributes; a boy and girl from each of the 12 districts who are chosen in a biased lottery system and must compete in a specially designed arena. It is a televised fight to the death and the last person standing wins. 
This trilogy will surprise you. I struggled through the first few chapters of the first novel as they are dense with information about this society. But those chapters really set the stage for everything to come. The trilogy is beautifully woven together and plays well on understanding human emotions and logic. After starting the second book Catching Fire, I became engulfed in the story reading straight through to the end of Mockingjay, the third book. 
When thinking about this trilogy, the world is not that unrealistic. The government is not unlike many governments that have been in place over history **cough cough** Hitler's Germany or even some of the widely controversial governments in place today. 

Most of the novels are built around the human spirit and will to survive. What and how much you will give up to save yourself and others, despite the costs. It also challenges the ideas of what's right and wrong when morality is part of the equation. The best part to me is the questioning of whether something is justified because it has been previously allowed to happen. Throughout these books you realize, you can very easily connect to Katniss. On the most primitive level she is struggling to survive all the while trying to help her family and friends in whatever way possible. 
I highly recommend The Hunger Games. You will be surprised by how much you can relate and how much it will give you to think about. I'm in no way saying you will love the series as it can be brutally tough at times. But it is well worth the read and you will be glad you did.

The film of the first book is scheduled for release March 23, 2012. It stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Makeup: Physicians Formula Gentle Cover Concealer Stick

Like many, I wake up with gigantic black suitcases under each one of my eyes every morning. I swear if I didn't have this next product people would think I had constant black eyes. 

The Gentle Cover Concealer Stick by Physicians Formula is the perfect product for black circles under the eyes as well as minor skin imperfections. It is hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and non-comedogenic (meaning it doesn't cause acne- hooray!). 

I tend to use the light flesh tone concealer since I am uber pale, but they also offer; fair, medium, light yellow, yellow, and green. These products are great. You can put on a powder finish after it is applied. If you use it just for under eye circles like me, I find you don't need the powder finish. When I use powder I always feel like its clogging up my pores. Without it your skin feel moisturized from the concealer. 

If you choose not to use powder on top of the Gentle Cover Concealer, be warned you have to be extremely disciplined to not touch your face. It will start to come off if you rub it too much with your fingers. 

I definitely recommend this product for any of the little skin imperfections you may find when you wake up, or the major imperfections like my black eyes. 

You can find more information and purchase the product HERE for $6. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Nail Polish: Essie Peach Daiquiri

My latest nail polish is that of Essie's Peach Daiquiri. I was looking for a really vibrant pink color, as my nails haven't been pink for a year or more. The color lands more on the fuschia side than bright pink, which is good because I didn't want it to be too bright. I've been determined lately to do really summery nails before the fall weather hits and I must turn towards the muted nail color shades. 
This color was much thicker than some of the others so you may be able to get away with only one swipe of the brush. I did two just to be on the safe side. 
You can purchase Peach Daquiri HERE for $5. 
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