Weekend Reading

 

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I just finished The Stranger by Harlan Coban. I love that the book takes place in Northern New Jersey which is where I am from.  Shout out to NJ!

Here’s the plot of this page turner:

“The Stranger appears out of nowhere, perhaps in a bar, or a parking lot, or at the grocery store. His identity is unknown. His motives are unclear. His information is undeniable. Then he whispers a few words in your ear and disappears, leaving you picking up the pieces of your shattered world.

Adam Price has a lot to lose: a comfortable marriage to a beautiful woman, two wonderful sons, and all the trappings of the American Dream: a big house, a good job, a seemingly perfect life.

Then he runs into the Stranger. When he learns a devastating secret about his wife, Corinne, he confronts her, and the mirage of perfection disappears as if it never existed at all. Soon Adam finds himself tangled in something far darker than even Corinne’s deception, and realizes that if he doesn’t make exactly the right moves, the conspiracy he’s stumbled into will not only ruin lives—it will end them.”

I liked this novel and it held my interest. The Stranger was the first book I’ve ever read by Harlan Coben but surely not the last.

Next up is Pretty Baby By Mary Kubica. I’m really into thrillers and mysteries lately if you couldn’t tell!

I am just starting this one now and I am totally into it. I was a big fan of the authors first novel, The Good Girl,  and this one is going to be just as good!

“A chance encounter sparks an unrelenting web of lies in this stunning new psychological thriller from national bestselling author Mary Kubica

She sees the teenage girl on the train platform, standing in the pouring rain, clutching an infant in her arms. She boards a train and is whisked away. But she can’t get the girl out of her head…

Heidi Wood has always been a charitable woman: she works for a nonprofit, takes in stray cats. Still, her husband and daughter are horrified when Heidi returns home one day with a young woman named Willow and her four-month-old baby in tow. Disheveled and apparently homeless, this girl could be a criminal—or worse. But despite her family’s objections, Heidi invites Willow and the baby to take refuge in their home.

Heidi spends the next few days helping Willow get back on her feet, but as clues into Willow’s past begin to surface, Heidi is forced to decide how far she’s willing to go to help a stranger. What starts as an act of kindness quickly spirals into a story far more twisted than anyone could have anticipated.”

 

Wholly Hemp

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Let’s first talk about what hemp is- do you know? I wasn’t totally sure about the details, all I knew is that its derived from the  marijuana plant. I did a little research and here’s what I found:

Cannabis and hemp are from the same plant however hemp is the “fiber of the cannabis plant, extracted from the stem and used to make rope, stout fabrics, fiberboard”..and much more!

“Hemp seed oil is perfectly suited for hair and skin care. Its nutritional value, combined with its moisturizing and replenishing EFA’s, make it one of the best vegetable body care foundations. Hemp seed oil’s EFA complement includes polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega-3, omega-6, omega-9, linoleic acid, and gamma linoleic acids (GLA’s). Although they are very effective in skin care maintenance, GLA’s are rarely found in natural oils. Hemp is an excellent source of GLA’s. (source)

Knowing how amazing hemp could be, I was super excited to try out Wholly Hemp, a company that belongs to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (always a good thing) and also has a hand in helping to end poverty through microloans to women in developing countries. Amazing!

The products are as clean and non toxic as you would want them to be for a company dedicated to the environment.

I love the soaps which are gentle and leave skin soft and clean. Check out the ingredients in the Soothing Raw Soap: Saponified hemp-coconut-palm-sunflower oil, rosemary extract.

I loved the Geranium Rose Moisturizing Cream which is soothing to the skin and can be used all over the body. Lots of hydration in here, ideal for dry hands and feel. I’ve also used it in place of lip moisturizer.  Shea butter, hemp seed oil, sunflower oil, geranium rose oil, rosemary seed extract.

The Lip Balms are as awesome as I expected them to be! I have  lip balms all over the house, once I read that lips dry out and get thinner as we age, I decided to infuse my lips with moisture all day long.  Smells great, works great and the ingredients are simple and clean: Coconut oil, beeswax, sunflower oil, hemp seed oil, vitamin E, rosemary extract.

You can find more products and information over at the Wholly Hemp website here! Happy shopping!

Wellness Wednesday: The Best Yoga on You Tube

I frequently do yoga at home with some really awesome YouTube rock-stars.  Since I’m not a fan of going to the gym, I work out at home and that includes lots of yoga.

I love yoga- its peaceful, gentle, and allows my body to bend and stretch and work that stress out.  There are all kinds of yoga classes available on YouTube, ranging from beginners to advanced. For a while I was doing Udaya yoga for a small fee each month but I wasn’t using it enough so I went back to YouTube. I highly recommend Udaya yoga online though if you want super classes and great production value without any ads or buffering issues.

These are wonderful YouTube channels that I have bookmarked and refer to over and over again:

Yoga With Adriene

Do Yoga With Me

Fightmaster Yoga

SarahBeth Yoga

Sean Vigue Fitness

Yoga by Candace

Yoga with Kassandra

How to pick which one to try? I usually figure out what my body needs and how much time I have, then I look for a corresponding routine.

I also love the Yoga Studio app, if you have an ipod or ipad! I’ve talked about this awesome app before, its amazing and well worth the cost.

Want some benefits of yoga? Look no further!

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Sally B’s Skin Yummies

 

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I am very excited to introduce you to Sally B’s Skin Yummies! I am always happy to find *truly* non-toxic and clean products.

This tells us all we  need to know:

Sally B’s Skin Yummies blends organic, natural, and wild-crafted ingredients into luxurious skin care and cosmetic products that are both people and planet friendly.

Developed by hand in Atlanta, Georgia, all of Sally B’s products are nourishing, effective, Leaping Bunny certified as cruelty free, and contain the highest concentration of certified organic ingredients possible.

 

I have some sample sizes which I plan on taking with me on my next vacation.

I love the Tamanu Organic Facial Cleanser– I’m super picky about cleansers and here’s why- I don’t want a cleanser to dry out my skin but it can’t be so gentle that it doesn’t remove my makeup. If I use it around my eyes, I don’t want my eyes to burn.  I don’t like that “squeaky clean” feeling, I like my face to feel soft and smooth. A tall order, I know.  This one is made with gentle organic ingredients and works really well. I’d give it an A+!

The Daytime Anti-Oxidant Serum is ideal to dab on before your sunscreen or foundation. I am a fan of this not only thanks to some amazing ingredients (Organic Olive Leaf Extract, Organic Green Tea, and Organic Helichrysum) but also because it sinks into the skin quickly. I love giving the skin a boost of nutrients that fight aging- naturally!

Carrot Facial Dream Cream– is a must have at night. I always layer cream over serum to really sink into wrinkles and work on softening fine lines. By layering my products, skin is really getting a good dose of natural oils and extracts.  This cream is gentle and good for sensitive skin, leave my face very soft when I wake up in the morning!

Get Even Finishing Powder is mineral based, it works on its own or to set your foundation.  Really light texture, I use a flat brush to dab on my face over foundation. I’ve also used it over the Dream Cream and it works well  both ways. I’m so impressed that I now want to try Sally B’s other makeup. When you find a clean makeup that works, you kind of want everything!

Keep the Healing Hand Butter close…if you have dry hands like I do! Im constantly washing my hands and my nail beds and cuticles are super dry. I have to keep this near me so I can apply again and again. Butters and oils soothe skin and infuse it with hydration. Although the name says “hand butter” you can use it all over thanks to natural ingredients that are safe from head to toe.

Sally B’s website is really great, I love how everything is really easy to navigate and ingredients are fully disclosed. Each product lists benefits, ingredients and beauty tips plus the photos are simple and clear. I cannot stress to other green beauty companies the importance of having your products, descriptions and ingredients pared down and easy to read. This site is designed in a way that allows users to have a stress free experience.

Check out more of Sally B’s Skin Yummies here!

 

 

What to Read This Weekend

So many books so little time! I read some great books this week so let’s jump in and take a look:

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First up is the Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler which hooked me from page one. Judging the book by it’s cover…which you know you should never do, what I thought the book was going to be about and the actual story were two very different things. This novel is totally unique and I loved the author’s voice. Here’s the synopsis:

On a day in late June, Simon receives a mysterious package from an antiquarian bookseller. The book tells the story of Amos and Evangeline, doomed lovers who lived and worked in a traveling circus more than two hundred years ago. The paper crackles with age as Simon turns the yellowed pages filled with notes, sketches, and whimsical flourishes, and his best friend and fellow librarian, Alice, looks on in increasing alarm. Why does his grandmother’s name, Verona Bonn, appear in this book? Why do so many women in his family drown on July 24? Could there possibly be some kind of curse on his family, and could Enola, who has suddenly turned up at home for the first time in six years, risk the same fate in just a few weeks? In order to save her–and perhaps himself–Simon must try urgently to decode his family history while moving on from the past.

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I’ve really been into thrillers and mysteries lately so I was very eager to read The Truth and Other  Lies by Sascha Arango. Interesting premise: Henry Hayden is a super famous author with a huge secret. Actually two secrets, maybe more. His quiet and unassuming wife Martha is really the person who writes his blockbuster novels. He’s hoping she never finds out about Henry’s affair with his editor, Betty.  If Martha stops writing Henry’s novels, what will happen to him?

At the same time, what if Betty finds out Martha is writing Henry’s novels? Complicating things is Betty’s pregnancy with Henry’s baby. If only Henry could kill Betty…

But what happens next just further complicates Henry’s life. Its a book of secrets and messes and covering up lies. I couldn’t wait to see how this ended!

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Head Case:  My Brain and Other Wonders by Cole Cohen is a memoir about Cole growing up with a medical mystery.

Throughout her life, Cole suffered unique learning disabilities that impaired her ability to judge space, time, and caused her to write backwards. No one knew whether or not her troubles were psychological or if something was off in her brain functions.

At age twenty-six she finally learned the source of her disabilities- a lemon sized hole in her brain. Through an intense battery of tests, she finally understood why she was so smart in many ways yet missed otherwise simple tasks.

This is a quick read about Cole’s journey to discovering the hole in her brain and how she began to learn what she needed to do to make up for the lack of brain space. This was a very intriguing book and I highly recommend it if you like medical mysteries!

 

By Hello Dollface