Author Archives: lifewithlilred

About lifewithlilred

Just your average gal blogging an average blog!

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Wife Upstairs By Rachel Hawkins Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Wife Upstairs By Rachel Hawkins Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we are going to be discussing a thriller by Rachel Hawkins called The Wife Upstairs – without giving any spoilers away, of course. Before we begin, I will be putting a trigger warning on this book for general violence. Now, let’s get to it:

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Jane is on the run from her old life after a not so desirable experience in the foster care system and one major incident. Desperate to start fresh, she winds up in the apartment of a skeezy friend in the outskirts of Birmingham, Alabama. After a stint slinging coffees in a local cafe, she lands a gig as a dog walker in the posh Thornfield Estates, a gated community crawling with Stepford Wives, huge properties, and lots and lots of money.

Plain Jane has an eye for pretty things and is a chronic kleptomaniac. She feels right at home in the mansions she works in, although constantly feeling like she doesn’t belong from her lack of funds. This is all about to change drastically, though, after a chance encounter with a widower named Eddie.

Eddie is charming, handsome, filthy rich, and has been grieving the loss of his wife, Bea, and her best friend in a tragic boating accident. A whirlwind relationship between him and Jane begins and it is like a dream come true for her. In the blink of an eye, Jane has access to more money than she can imagine and can’t believe her good luck. What she doesn’t know is that Eddie is hiding a terrible secret in his own home.

While Jane is enjoying her newfound duties of live in girlfriend and fitting in with the neighborhood wives, a police investigation begins. The body of Bea’s best friend, Blanche, has been found and it appears that her death was no accident. This puts Eddie and Blanche’s husband at the forefront of the investigation and Jane begins to wonder if she ever knew Eddie at all. Will the body of Eddie’s wife be found? And is Jane next? Read The Wife Upstairs to find out!

When I first started reading this book, I admit that I wasn’t immediately sold on it. The first forty or so pages, I feared that The Wife Upstairs was a bit too cutesy for my liking but then the pace picked up drastically. I devoured this thriller in three days and my only regret is that it wasn’t longer. It. Was. SO. Good!

The Wife Upstairs is a far cry from the usual murder mysteries that I read and I think that’s why I liked it so much. With multiple narrators, there were twists and turns at every page and, for once, I didn’t see the final grand reveal coming at all. Believe you me, I’m just as surprised by that as all of you are.

This book is a true testament to the age old adage of “money can’t buy happiness” but, despite each character’s flaws, there were things that I liked about all of them. This made it difficult to determine whodoneit because my loyalty shifted each time there was a plot twist. I can’t give away some of these game changers without spoiling things right off the bat, but just know that this book is definitely worth the read.

I am going to award The Wife Upstairs with the coveted ten out of ten stars. I was so pleasantly surprised by it and loved being blindsided with every page. If, like me, you like to try and figure out the grand reveal of a book beforehand, I advise not making split decisions and viewing each character with a more discerning eye. I highly, highly recommend this book – especially if you are looking for a “lighter” thriller.

What are you currently reading? What should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Making A Small Home Feel Spacious

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Making A Small Home Feel Spacious

There are plenty of benefits to having a small home, one of the biggest would be the fact that smaller homes are significantly more eco-friendly compared to larger ones. Less energy is used to warm up the space, and this on its own means there is less of a chance of furnace repair or high energy costs. While small homes have their perks such as being more sustainable, it’s understandable why people would prefer to gravitate more towards larger spaces.

Larger spaces tend to make people feel happy. There is more breathing more in a large space and more privacy. Larger spaces also tend to look better from an interior design perspective. But what about living in a small space? While small spaces are far more eco-friendly, is there a way to make them feel more spacious? These tips can help:

Add a lot of lighting:

Lighting is one of the best ways to create a spacious look for your home. Most (but not all) smaller homes, especially apartments, will tend to have low ceilings. Low ceilings essentially add fuel to the fire of having a space look far too small. So you’ll want to think about creating illusions and how to maintain them.

When it comes to spaces, it’s best to utilize natural lighting whenever possible, but it’s also acceptable to have artificial lighting too. You’ll want the space to be very bright. One idea for carrying out this bright space can include adding some lamps in corners of the room, removing curtains, and placing mirrors on the wall where they can easily reflect light. Doing all of this will help in achieving an airy space.

Be wise with your furnishing choices:

When it comes to furniture, it can be quite tricky. Sure, you want a style in your home that feels right for you. That’s completely understandable but you should also keep in mind what your options are too. If your furniture is too big and bulky, then it’s only going to cut down on the free space that you have in your home. You may be better off cutting down on the statement pieces that you have and pick pieces of furniture that have multiple functions such as a couch with storage space or an ottoman-chair combination.

Always declutter:

You should make a habit of decluttering on a regular basis. This can also help with your mental health as tight and cramped spaces tend to make people feel anxious. Decluttering allows you to give yourself the mental challenge of what you can and can’t part with and will help open the space up. This is not to say to clear out your entire home but to limit the objects that are making your space feel cramped.

Making a smaller home feel larger is all about making smart choices and creating illusions. Using storage spaces will be your friend, too, and there is no shame in tucking away those odds and ends you don’t know what to do with!

Featured Image By: Unsplash

Nars Blush Swatches In Behave & Dolce Vita

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Nars Blush Swatches In Behave & Dolce Vita

Hi! Today, we are going to take a look at swatches from the last two blushes in my Nars Basic Instincts 1 palette. These colors are called Behave and Dolce Vita. While they might not be my favorite colors at first glance, I do intend on at least giving them a shot as an attempt to break out of my makeup comfort zone – we’ll see what happens! Now, let’s get to it:

^^^ The fourth picture is the swatch in Behave and the fifth picture is Dolce Vita.

When first looking at Behave, I thought that it might be too dark for my liking so I was pleased to see that it applied as a dusty rose. I think I could work with this blush but it’s not one that I would pick out for myself as I prefer brighter colors on my cheeks. Behave might be a nice shade for fall and winter but it wouldn’t be my go to choice for spring or summer. It is still pretty, though, and I will use it to dip my toes in the water of something other than my favorite shade of bubblegum pink.

On the other hand, we have Dolce Vita and it actually reminds me of the blush that my mom would put on me for skating competitions. Which is probably why I am tentative on it because we all know that competition makeup can be over the top! While the shade is almost identical, I admit that it’s much more subtle lol. I can’t picture myself using Dolce Vita too often but it could be a good look for a date night. In the end, I do think it would be more flattering on someone who isn’t me!

Although I am not head over heels about all of the blushes in the Nars Basic Instincts 1 palette, I am looking forward to using it. I do love the first blush in Orgasm and the other three hues will be ones that I can experiment with. I’m thinking that if I mix them with other preferred shades, I might have a better outcome. Many thanks again to my sister for this gift! ❤

What is your favorite blush? Which colors of makeup push you out of your comfort zone? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

On The Job Hunt? Try These Tips!

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On The Job Hunt? Try These Tips!

Applying for job after job while getting no response or interest can be such a disheartening experience, but there are a number of reasons that your resume might be falling flat. Thankfully, this guide contains everything that you need to know to improve your chances of achieving success in your search for a new career. We promise, it doesn’t have to be as difficult as you might expect to get started today. So, if you’re ready to find out more, then read on:

Get Another Qualification:

When a potential employer is scanning through your resume, one of the most important things that they’re searching for is a list of your qualifications. If this list is limited at best, then there’s no surprise that your application gets put to the back of the pile. Having qualifications proves that you have the relevant knowledge and experience in your chosen field, and it shows an employer that you have studied hard to improve your chances of gaining a more rewarding role.

There are many different qualifications that you can study for in the modern education system, from online courses that fit around your schedule to full time, on campus learning that throws you right into the topic you choose. Whether you decide to take the ITIL foundation exam or opt for a managerial course at night school, the more qualifications you have, the better your chances are of getting ahead of your competition. Making the decision to head back to school as an adult can be a great indicator of commitment and motivation, which is something that most employers will look out for when choosing a suitable candidate.

Confidence Is Key:

Whether you’re walking into a business to hand over your job application or attending an interview for your dream role, confidence is always key. You need to show your potential employer that you have the utmost confidence in your own abilities, having faith in the fact that you can offer unique skills and insight that other candidates cannot bring to the table. Your resume should be one that’s written with self assurance, removing any sign of self doubt to promote your positives and individual selling points.

Going into an interview with the fear that you won’t get the job is a recipe for disaster, as you’ll stumble over your answers and cower further into your seat as the conversation progresses. Instead, sit proudly with your head held high, wearing a confident smile that shows a potential employer that you’re ready and waiting to take on whatever challenge lays ahead of you.

When you can fully commit to improving your career through study and aim to maintain the highest levels of confidence throughout your quest for a rewarding role, then you’re far more likely to find and secure the job of your dreams!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Nars Blush Swatches In Orgasm & Orgasm X

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Nars Blush Swatches In Orgasm & Orgasm X

Hi! My big sis gifted me with some new makeup for Christmas and today we are going to check out some swatches from the Nars Basic Instincts 1 blush palette. She claims that the Nars blushes are “the best” so I am very excited to incorporate them into my makeup routine. Here’s to stepping out of my makeup comfort zone in 2022! Let’s get started by talking about Orgasm and Orgasm X and tomorrow, be sure to tune in for the remaining shades:

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^^^ Orgasm is the fourth picture and Orgasm X is the fifth.

When first opening my new palette, I was immediately drawn to our first swatch in Orgasm… Which feels funny to say but, then again, I have the sense of humor of a twelve year old lol. I loved the bubblegum, glittery hue that isn’t too far of a cry from a blush that I already use. Give me any makeup with a touch of shimmer in it and I am so there for it. I can definitely picture myself using this shade often and think that it will really compliment my fairer complexion.

Orgasm X, on the other hand, is a pretty color but is one that I can’t say that I would use for myself. It has the glitter going for it, however, I fear that it would look clownish on me because it is a deeper shade than I have ever used before. I do think it would look lovely on someone with a darker complexion, especially because it has an orangey tint to it for the ultimate sunkissed look.

When it comes to blushes, I prefer a cream one and don’t use packed powder too often. So, I was very impressed with how soft and creamy these Nars blushes were. It was so easy to apply and didn’t feel cakey in the slightest. Some powder products just crumple to the touch but that wasn’t the case for this palette at all. Very nice!

Tomorrow, we will be taking a look at the final two shades in Behave and Dolce Vita. Then, keep tuning in for future OOTDs so you can see these new blushes in action!

Which blushes do you like from this palette? What are your thoughts on Nars products? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Helping Your Child Choose The Right College 

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Helping Your Child Choose The Right College 

Going to college can be one of the biggest and most exciting things for you and your child, but when it comes to choosing the right one? It can be a challenge, to say the least. College doesn’t suit everyone, and not every college will suit every person, either. Many colleges offer different clubs, opportunities, career pathways, and support. Scholarships, grants, and other funding will also vary from school to school.

So how can you make sure that your child finds the best place for them? Read on to find out more:

Career goals:

One of the most important things to know about the colleges in question is if it supports your child’s eventual career goals. While many colleges have prestigious reputations, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be the right place. Educational institutions like Rockford Career College often offer a clearer view of career prospects after graduation.

Applications:

After you have created your shortlist, it is time to apply. Make sure that you have all of the paperwork that will be required. The application packs should have all of the information you need about costs. It can also be a good idea to discuss if your child should stay at home while they study or how accommodation might look if the commute is too long.

Be sure to spread the application process over a few days so that you and your child don’t get tired. Each one needs to be as good as possible.

Visiting:

Traveling to visit all of the universities can be an expensive endeavor, but it is essential. This means that you and your child will have a good idea of how it is situated, the student body, and even speak to some teachers. It is vital to find somewhere that your child feels comfortable – it is often obvious where they feel the most at home and which establishment sparks the most joy.

Practical:

It is often our biggest hope that they will get into a prestigious school on a full scholarship and be happy. But this doesn’t always work out. It might be due to grades; it could be because of financial situations or distance. When you first start browsing all of the options, practical things are up for discussion too. It isn’t about quashing dreams but tackling some things on a reasonable level. Ensure that each application they send is somewhere that they will be happy to go and that it makes practical sense in terms of their situation.

When your child is getting ready to leave for college, it is a big thing for everyone. You might have some hesitations about them leaving the nest, but you must move into a supportive role. College is often one of the first times that older children are allowed to spread their wings and see what truly makes them happy.

Arming them with knowledge and support is a must, so here is a great post that can help: 3 Things All College Students Should Know | lifewithlilred.

Featured Image By: Rui Silvestre on Unsplash

Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick Swatch In Dazed

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Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick Swatch In Dazed

Howdy! Today, we are going to be swatching the Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick that I got from my sister for Christmas in a shade called Dazed. I have never used anything by ABH before so I was very excited to receive it as a gift! This ultra pretty pinky maroon hue is a perfect shade for fall and winter and I cannot wait to complete an OOTD with a swiping of it on my lips. Check it out:

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When it comes to makeup, I prefer to stick with my old faithfuls rather than try anything different. It might not make for the most exciting MOTDs, but it’s what I’m comfortable with and capable of applying lol. That is why I am so thankful for my sister because whether it be hand me downs or new makeup as a gift, she always tries to get me out of my comfort zone!

This ABH liquid lippie is definitely a color that I wouldn’t have picked out for myself but, then again, what do I know? I consider my sister to be a makeup guru so if she thinks that it will work, then I trust her. When swatching, I was pleased by how quickly this lipstick dried into a nice, matte hue. I am a matte girl all the way – mainly because you can eat with it on and it won’t budge. 😀

I think that the Dazed shade will look simply charming with a comfy cozy OOTD of a soft cardigan or sweater, skirt with tights, and knee high boots. The deep raspberry color will pop against the grey days of winter and I will be sure to wear it during mine and Johnny’s next date day.

In my opinion, a present that you wouldn’t get for yourself is the best kind so my new Anastasia Beverly Hills lipstick was a wonderful surprise. Thanks again, sis! Be sure to tune in tomorrow for some swatches from my Nars blush palette. ❤

What is your favorite makeup brand? Who do you turn to for makeup inspiration? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

New Harbor Blue & Shadow Grey Nails

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New Harbor Blue & Shadow Grey Nails

Hello! This past Wednesday, I spent some time at Elysian Nails after work getting pampered. It was much needed because some of my acrylics were lifting and they were looking all around jank. Thankfully, my fave nail tech quickly solved all of the problematic claws and I even had a gift card to spend from Johnny’s aunt for Christmas. Getting pampered is great but it’s even better when it’s free! Check it out:

Before my appointments at Elysian Nails, I normally have a pretty good idea of what polish colors I would like to use. This time around, however, I had no idea and stood at the nail polish wall waiting for something to speak for me. At first, I had a cobalt blue in mind and thought that grey would look nice with it. I was all set with these two hues until the harbor blue bottle of polish caught my eye and I knew that I had found my match. Right away, my nail tech told me how much she liked my choices so, needless to say, I was feeling my damn self!

As soon as I got to my nail tech’s station, I literally sank into the chair. I don’t think I realized how tired I was from my holiday weekend with my family until I had time to myself to relax! As always, it was an absolute delight to get my nails done and the conversation was great as per ushe too. It is so fun to be able to have my monthly catch up with my tech so we can dish about anything and everything. What is said in the salon chair stays in the salon chair, after all.

I am in love with the end result of my fill and the stormy seas color palette is one of my favorite combinations I’ve done in a while. It feels so perfect for those grey January days! After my nails have dried, I always leave Elysian Nails feeling like a million bucks. I can’t wait to go back next month and spend the rest of my gift card! 😀

What color are your nails? Which colors should I get next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

Oh Deer!

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Oh Deer!

Hi! During our family holiday weekend at Oglebay, we jam packed a ton of activities into a short period of time. The property was beautiful with fun events happening everywhere you looked as well as what seemed like a never ending amount of deer roaming about. One particular family of deer seemed to take a liking to hanging around our lodge and were so tame that we were able to feed them peanuts right out of the palm of our hands. It. Was. Awesome! Check it out:

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When my deer friends first started congregating in the front of our lodge, I thought it was lucky to be able to see them so closely. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that they would come right up to my sister and I for a snack but I have photographic proof of that! At first, we just threw some peanuts in their general direction to see what happened. They must have really liked them because, shortly after, they just started coming directly to the source for more. 😀

Throughout our stay, we must have seen close to fifty deer and many of them were enjoying treats from other families too. I would have been completely satisfied just feeding the deer our entire weekend stay and was so sad when my friends eventually had their fill and headed back into the woods. However, something tells me that they will have no problem finding another family to score some snacks with upon our return home!

What an amazing experience this was because hand feeding the deer in my neck of the woods would never happen. This was one of the many highlights of my holiday weekend at Oglebay! ❤

What kind of wildlife resides in your area? What is your favorite animal? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

How To Stay Clear Minded And Focused Throughout The Day

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How To Stay Clear Minded And Focused Throughout The Day

If you’re someone who tends to get distracted and you find it harder to focus the longer the day drags on, there are many reasons why that might be the case. Today, we’re going to take a look at the things you can do to stay focused and be more clear minded throughout your working day. A combination of the ideas discussed below might deliver exactly what you’re looking for:

Go to Bed and Get Up Earlier:

First of all, you should take a look at your sleeping patterns and routines. If you’re going to bed late and then skipping the alarm five times before you get out of bed, your mornings are always going to be more chaotic and stressful than they should be. And that can lead to problems with focus due to a lack of sleep and a good morning routine throughout the day. So go to bed earlier and get up earlier too.

Take Regular Breaks:

It’s a good idea not to work yourself too hard if you can help it. By taking regular breaks away from your desk and the computer screen throughout the working day, you can make sure that you’re not becoming too tired and drained. If you don’t take breaks, by the time you reach the middle of the afternoon, you’ll probably be exhausted and your performance will decline.

Drink More Water:

Drinking more water and staying hydrated throughout the day is one of the best things that you can do to stay focused and keep your mind clear. You’ll become more distracted and irritable, finding it harder to stay focused when you’re not staying properly hydrated. If you don’t really enjoy drinking water, you can find a coffee or try the best bubble tea you can find; just stay away from drinks that contain too much sugar.

Stay Away from Excessive Multitasking:

Staying away from too much multitasking is definitely a good idea if you want to make sure that you don’t get bogged down in too much work. When you multitask, you also don’t work in a way that’s efficient. So try to focus on taking on one task at a time because that’s usually something that yields better results and better focus throughout the whole day.

Work on Building Willpower:

Finally, you should think about whether your willpower or a lack of it is negatively impacting your work performance. If you struggle to focus on the task at hand, it might be because you give in to distractions and other temptations too easily. By training your brain to focus on what you’re doing and building your willpower up, you should be able to stay focused for longer.

We all need to stay on our A game throughout the day, especially when we’re juggling our jobs with our family responsibilities and the like. If focus is something that you’ve been struggling with lately, be sure to give the ideas above a try and see if they help you out!

Featured Image By: Pixabay