Weekend Reading


Another week has passed which means its time to check in and share which books I’ve been reading this week.

I was completely captivated by Still Missing by Chevy Stevens. This isn’t a brand new book but after reading Those Girls, I wanted to read more from this author. I couldn’t wait to find the time in my day to keep reading. It kept me engaged from beginning to end.

I am just finishing up The Admissions, A Novel by Meg Mitchell Moore. Told in alternating points of view, this story is about Angela Hawthorne, a driven student who has her sights set firmly on Harvard. Her mother Nora is trying to juggle a demanding career plus three girls, the father, Gabe has secrets of his own.

Everyone in the Hawthorne family is struggling in one way or the other but the central plot hovers around Angela and Harvard. Its really good!

This is next up on my to-read pile- A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn- and the reviews have been stellar so far. I love a good mystery and if its set in the past (before cells phones and the internet) even better.


 London, 1887. As the city prepares to celebrate Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee, Veronica Speedwell is marking a milestone of her own. After burying her spinster aunt, the orphaned Veronica is free to resume her world travels in pursuit of scientific inquiry—and the occasional romantic dalliance. As familiar with hunting butterflies as she is fending off admirers, Veronica wields her butterfly net and a sharpened hatpin with equal aplomb, and with her last connection to England now gone, she intends to embark upon the journey of a lifetime.

But fate has other plans, as Veronica discovers when she thwarts her own abduction with the help of an enigmatic German baron with ties to her mysterious past. Promising to reveal in time what he knows of the plot against her, the baron offers her temporary sanctuary in the care of his friend Stoker—a reclusive natural historian as intriguing as he is bad-tempered. But before the baron can deliver on his tantalizing vow to reveal the secrets he has concealed for decades, he is found murdered. Suddenly Veronica and Stoker are forced to go on the run from an elusive assailant, wary partners in search of the villainous truth.


If you are looking for a quick read, something breezy and fun to polish off in a few hours, try my novel To Marilyn, With Love!

Green Beauty Is Glam With These Brands


Years ago before I knew about green beauty or non toxic products, I thought natural beauty products were probably super chalky, smelled like grass clippings, and were used mostly by old hippies. I wrote about my misconceptions here. 

Since then I  have been lucky enough to try many, many green beauty products and never have they proved those green beauty myths to be true.

If you think green beauty isn’t glam, think again. This gorgeous Beach Beauty palette from Gabriel Cosmetics is a fine example of green, glam beauty at its best.


Four lovely colors, soft texture, and a quality brush makes this palette a must have. The shades are neutral and can be layered to get a deeper, richer result.

I tend to like my shadows applied with a lighter touch but go ahead and reapply to get a darker shade. Gabriel has also made one of my very favorite green beauty mascaras from the Zuzu Luxe line.ILIA066

I have used numerous ILIA lip colors and have been thrilled with the consistency, color and texture. A wide range of colors makes this brand a fave in the green beauty community.

I recently put these two colors to the test- Call Me is a vibrant mid-tone pink and  Karma Chameleon  is a bright coral.  Both of these crayons have nourishing sesame, rose hip, and papaya oils so they are not only packed with color but moisturizing ingredients too.ILIA 064

I frequently reach for these when I want to really punch up my look. You can easily tone down the vivid color with a neutral gloss or lipstick but I am totally into letting these shades speak for themselves.

Never mind the fact these are green and clean- they are awesome!hynt1

Check out how glam and girly Hynt Beauty’s packaging is, above. I love it!

Hynt Beauty offers a variety of products, from skincare to makeup to brushes.  I love what they say here:

Hynt Beauty is a line of luxurious color and skincare cosmetics that is free of all ingredients known to be, or are questioned to be, harmful and irritable to the skin and body.

They are cruelty free which is important, they also fully disclose all ingredients. Any company that will not publicly list ingredients raises a red flag to me.

Hynt Beauty is… All Natural, Vegan, Organics-based, PETA Approved, Gluten-free and Non-Comedogenic. Naturally Preserved. Free of Toxins, Petrochemicals, Parabens, Nano-particles, Bismuth Oxychloride, Talc, Silicones, Mineral Oil, GMO’s, FD&C dyes, Carmine and Phthalates.

I tried the eyeliner, mascara and two eye shadows– these are just lovely and non irritating with great pigmentation.

I especially love the pale ballet pink eye shadow (Pink Quartz) which is perfect for a nude look with a hint of color. Contains Kaolin which boosts circulation and Jojoba Oil which is ultra soothing. The darker brown colored shadow (Winter Cocoa) is nice for using with an angled brush as an eyeliner, or if you dare to go bold,  use it for a smoky eye!

The Mascara is incredible, just look at some of the ingredients- organic chamomile, rosemary leaf and sunflower oil which are all nurturing.  This mascara adds color and does a great job of separating lashes. Its natural looking, meaning it doesn’t clump up or look like you have gobs of mascara on your lashes.

I love Hynt Beauty’s EyeLiner, I use it primarily along my upper lash-line every day. The rich color glides on and it lasts for hours and hours. I do not experience any irritation when I use it, even though its soft in texture, it is not waxy and doesn’t smear! A winner.

I am thrilled that more and more fabulous, green and clean cosmetics are making their way into the mainstream. What are you recent faves?


Wellness Wednesday: An Infographic to Make You Think


I love this infographic that I found today on Pinterest (original source here).

Long ago, I was definitely in the camp that believed a bagel and cream cheese was a decent breakfast. I did not  understand protein  and how it fuels the body. I had no idea about blood glucose and spiking energy levels from carbs.

I eat way differently now than I did back in my bagel days.  I’ve mentioned many times how I love eating “Paleo” which is really eating proteins and vegetables and not consuming grains.

Are you a fan of high carbs or do you try to maintain a protein rich diet?




Tammy Fender & Tata Harper


I haven’t tried much from Tammy Fender so I was  excited to test and review the Purifying Cleansing Gel.

Not sure what you know about the brand so here’s a little information first: We are committed to helping clients experience beauty and wellness that radiates from within. That means our 100% botanical formulas are crafted to enrich, purify and protect skin. The results are deeply healing, ultra-nourishing, all-natural blends that work on the cellular level to bring skin into perfect balance.

The Purifying Cleansing Gel (Spearmint & Alfalfa) contains Rosemary, a favorite of mine for its anti-bacterial properties and uplifting scent, Tangerine which not only smells like a citrus burst but has astringent properties and supports cell nourishment, Licorice which brightens and soothes, Alfalfa is chock full of nutrients like chlorophyll, and Peppermint which is not only a bright, refreshing scent but also reduces redness and helps with acne.

This cleansing gel wakes up skin with the zing of rosemary and peppermint, it feels great as you cleanse. Skin is left refreshed and soft, clean and clear.

I also tried a sample of the Epi-Peel which I really liked. It’s very gentle, especially for a peel. It refines skin, gently buffs off dead cells, removes dirt and oil.

Its grainy but the texture is light and gentle, ideal for a scrub to use a few times a week. It has a clean scent, thanks to the Rosemary and  Spearmint ingredients.

You can find more about Tammy Fender by going here.



I’ve been using and loving this cheek color from Tata Harper. Called Very Charming, this creamy color is the ideal shade of pink.  I use a dab on each cheek then blend well. Its the best shade of pink for my fair skin, adding a natural looking flush.

To find cosmetics that do not use synthetics, fillers, or synthetic fragrance can be a challenge, luckily this one is free from all toxins!

The ingredients in this product include: Cocos nuciferra (Coconut) Fruit Extract, Helianthus annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Cera Alba (Beeswax)*, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Helianthus annuus (Sunflower) Seed wax, Natural and Organic flavors, Palmitoyl Isoleucine, Camellia sinensis (Green Tea) seed oil*, Plukenetia (Sacha Inchi) Volubilis Oil*, Euterpe oleracea (Acai) fruit oil*, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Lavandula stoechas (Spanish Lavender) Extract, Tocopherol MAY CONTAIN: Iron Oxides (CI 77499, CI 77491, CI 75409, CI 77891, CI 77492) Carmine, Jojoba Esters, Mica, Trihydroxystearin

I love this on lips too, a pink flush of color that works perfectly with a little gloss over it.

I have been reading many good things about Tara Harper’s products and look forward to trying more. Have you used anything from this brand?  Tell me your thoughts! And if you want to learn more, head over to the Tata Harper site here.


Weekend Reading



What is on your bookshelf these days? There are so many good books out there right now, my head is spinning! I wish I had an extra few hours in my day just for reading.

I am halfway through Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford. Its a really good book, the author’s writing style is gripping but sly- she has a sense of humor which holds my interest and I am invested in finding out what happens to the main character.

Here are the details: 

It’s 2006 in the Manhattan of the young and privileged, and a new generation of heirs and strivers are jockeying for social power and discovering that class, especially on the Upper East Side, still holds sway.

At 26, Evelyn Beegan is the product of new money, propelled by her social-climbing mother through an elite prep school, a posh college, and into Manhattan. Evelyn has always managed to stay just on the periphery of this world her mother so desperately wants her to become a part of. But when she takes a job at a new social networking site aimed at her very elite peers, she’s forced to leverage her few connections to work her way to the front of the pack. With the help of her prep school friends, Evelyn goes from lush “camps” in the Adirondacks and “cottages” in Newport, to Southampton weekends and clubs thick with socialites and Wall Street types, eventually befriending target #1, Camilla Rutherford–a young woman who is a regular on the front page of every society blog.

In order to be accepted by this rarefied set, Evelyn must be seen as someone with established old money. Her lies start small, but quickly grow, and as she relentlessly elbows her way up the social ladder, the ground underneath her begins to give way.

On your radar should be What It Looks Like by Marta Maranda. I’ve often thought about checking into rehab just to gain some perspective and get some rest and Marta did pretty much that.  In this memoir, she talks about what brought her to rehab when she didn’t have an addiction and what she learned while she was there.

I love books about travels and hikes and new beginnings and journeys…and The Middle of Somewhere by Sonja Yoerg pretty much braids these together.  Here are the details:

A troubled, young widow hikes from Yosemite Valley deep into the wilderness on the John Muir Trail to elude her shameful past.

With her thirtieth birthday looming, Liz Kroft is heading for the hills—literally. Her emotional baggage weighs her down more than her backpack, but a three-week trek promises the solitude she craves—at least until her boyfriend, Dante, decides to tag along. His broad moral streak makes the prospect of confessing her sins more difficult, but as much as she fears his judgment, she fears losing him more. Maybe.

They set off together alone under blue skies, but it’s not long before storms threaten and two strange brothers appear along the trail. Amid the jagged, towering peaks, Liz must decide whether to admit her mistakes and confront her fears, or face the trail, the brothers and her future alone.

This book is next up on my To Be Read pile. Can’t wait!


I am also eager to dig into the newest novel from Isabel Allende called The Japanese Lover. I’ve enjoyed all of this author’s fantastic novels. Here’s the 411 on this one:

In 1939, as Poland falls under the shadow of the Nazis, young Alma Belasco’s parents send her away to live in safety with an aunt and uncle in their opulent mansion in San Francisco. There, as the rest of the world goes to war, she encounters Ichimei Fukuda, the quiet and gentle son of the family’s Japanese gardener. Unnoticed by those around them, a tender love affair begins to blossom. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the two are cruelly pulled apart as Ichimei and his family, like thousands of other Japanese Americans are declared enemies and forcibly relocated to internment camps run by the United States government. Throughout their lifetimes, Alma and Ichimei reunite again and again, but theirs is a love that they are forever forced to hide from the world.

Decades later, Alma is nearing the end of her long and eventful life. Irina Bazili, a care worker struggling to come to terms with her own troubled past, meets the elderly woman and her grandson, Seth, at San Francisco’s charmingly eccentric Lark House nursing home. As Irina and Seth forge a friendship, they become intrigued by a series of mysterious gifts and letters sent to Alma, eventually learning about Ichimei and this extraordinary secret passion that has endured for nearly seventy years.




By Hello Dollface