Tag Archives: disappointed

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Ditch By Herman Koch Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Ditch By Herman Koch Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a brand new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we are going to be discussing Herman Koch’s newest novel called The Ditch – without giving any spoilers away, of course. Before we begin, I will be putting a trigger warning on The Ditch as part of the story line deals with suicide. Now, let’s get to it:

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Robert Walter is the mayor of Amsterdam and he is incredibly popular. He is considered the “people’s mayor” and wears his emotions in plain view. Robert lives a charmed life with his wife and daughter, Sylvia and Diana, and enjoys spending time with his elderly parents who are both in their nineties. The majority of Robert’s day is spent tending to his duties as mayor until his thoughts begin to spiral after a New Year’s bash.

At the party, Robert notices his wife tossing her head back and laughing at something one of his aldermen has said. His eyes also can’t help but laser focus on the fact that this man is touching Sylvia’s arm too. In an instant, the thought that Sylvia is cheating on him begins to wriggle its way into every moment of the day and Robert finds himself viewing everything that his wife says and does differently.

As a politician and family man, there are so many things that Robert should be concerned about – his aging parents, his daughter and her first boyfriend, and the fact that a major scandal from his past could soon be making headlines. Sylvia’s infidelity could be real or it could very well all be in his head. Either way, this notion has marked the beginning of the end of Robert’s career. So, what happens next? Read The Ditch to find out!

I am a HUGE fan of Herman Koch and his book, The Dinner, is nothing short of an iconic read. I was very excited to read his latest novel and, unfortunately, it fell incredibly short. In fact, I rarely do this but I had to look up other people’s reviews of it to see if I was missing something. I had read this book rapidly (partially in the hopes that it would get better) so this was a possibility. However, it seems that many readers had my same sentiments.

The first one hundred and fifty or so pages of The Ditch were pretty good and it focused solely on Sylvia’s possible infidelity. Then, it began branching off into a bunch of different story lines – some of which that had nothing to do with anything. The main example of this would have to be Robert’s best friend, Bernhard. There was a point in the back story where he was relevant. But, in present day, he was simply there and would burst into these monologues about his Stephen Hawking-esque theories and it was painful to read.

Another qualm that I had with The Ditch was that the names of Sylvia, Diana, and Bernhard were all aliases. We never learned Sylvia’s nationality, which would have been nice to know because her and Robert met in her native country. I was hopeful that more would be revealed as the book went on but nothing came to light, which was so annoying to me.

Normally, I love Herman Koch’s writing style but The Ditch missed the mark. It, honestly, read like a VCR manual and I couldn’t wait to be done with it. The writing was bland, none of the characters were particularly likeable, and the vagueness of the plot did no favors, either. With only one hundred pages left, I almost considered not finishing it and that’s really saying something.

I am going to rate The Ditch with a one out of ten stars. If you are a fan of Koch’s past works, don’t bother with this one because it will only leave you disappointed. You can most definitely skip on The Ditch!

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

fresh Sugar Recovery Lip Mask Review

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fresh Sugar Recovery Lip Mask Review

Howdy everyone! Today, we are going to be reviewing the Sugar Recovery Lip Mask by fresh. This was a freebie during my last Sephora Haul and I was excited to try it because my lips always feel like they are in a permanent state of chapped. I love me a lip mask and I think that I talked this one up so much in my head that I ended up disappointed in the results. Let’s discuss:

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One of the last lip masks that I used was by LANEIGE and I absolutely loved it. The berry scent was delightful and I was amazed by how soft and plump my lips were the next morning. The fresh mask was unscented, which is fine, and it applied so nicely. Its texture was rich and creamy and a little of it went a long way. After putting it on, I felt confident that I would see and feel excellent results the next morning.

Sadly, that wasn’t the case. Upon awakening and examining my lips in the mirror, I saw no difference whatsoever. In fact, they felt dryer than they had before using it! Prior to trying this lip mask out, I have been using a plain old chapstick that Johnny’s mom gave me before I go to bed. It is literally the best chapstick that I have ever used so I was expecting similar results from a high end brand of product. This just goes to show you that plain old drugstore skin care can work as well, if not better, than a more expensive brand.

While I plan on finishing this trial sized jar of lip mask, it is one that I won’t be getting again. It is also a product that you all can skip on. So bummed that I spent my Sephora Beauty Insider points on it!

What is your go to brand for skin care? What is your favorite chapstick? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Maidens By Alex Michaelides Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Maidens By Alex Michaelides Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we will be discussing the second book written by Alex Michaelides called The Maidens – without giving any spoilers away, of course. If this author sounds familiar, he should! Michaelides wrote the wildly popular Silent Patient, which received the coveted ten out of ten star rating by yours truly.

While I considered The Silent Patient to be an excellent read, The Maidens was… Not so much. Before we delve deeper, I will be placing a trigger warning on this book for violence, murder, and all forms of abuse. Now, let’s get to it:

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Mariana is a psychotherapist specializing in group therapy who has her own struggles to deal with. She considers herself to be “surrounded by death” and is still mourning the loss of her late husband who died tragically over a year ago. The only person she has left in her life who she cares about is her niece, Zoe, who is like her own daughter as she became an orphan at a young age.

Barely making it through day to day life, things take a sharp turn when Zoe calls Mariana in distress because her best friend, Tara, at Cambridge has been brutally murdered. Springing into action, Mariana hops on the train the next morning to her alma mater to comfort her niece and learn more about the tragedy that befell on the campus.

Once Mariana arrives, she begins to learn Zoe’s disturbing view of her friend’s death and feels confident that the culprit is Professor Edward Fosca. Fosca teaches Greek tragedy at Cambridge and has a special group of students called “The Maidens”. These incredibly beautiful girls from privileged backgrounds follow Fosca around as if he is a cult leader and Tara was a member of this elite group. She was also, supposedly, having an affair with Fosca who threatened her the night she was killed.

Mariana decides to investigate Fosca herself because her and Zoe are convinced that the police are overlooking him as a suspect. Through her own search of Tara’s room, Mariana discovers a postcard featuring some ancient Greek art and handwritten text from lines of the Greek tragedies she was learning from Fosca.

During Mariana’s time at Cambridge, another student from The Maidens has been killed and another postcard has been found among her belongings. What’s more, Zoe and Mariana have both received a calling card too. Is Fosca the cold blooded killer that Zoe and Mariana believe him to be? And will they live to tell the tale? Read The Maidens to find out!

I am SO incredibly disappointed about The Maidens because the story line had the potential to be great. In fact, I was totally loving it until the grand finale which felt haphazard and completely inappropriate. Let’s start with that I liked about this book first:

As a theater junkie, I appreciated all of the nods to the classic Greek tragedies as well as delving into the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece. I also enjoyed how this book was connected to The Silent Patient through some of the characters that made cameos in The Maidens. There were lots of wonderful things happening in the plot but it just didn’t work together as a whole.

I devoured The Maidens in three sittings but I was left feeling very unimpressed once it was over. There were so many different characters and story lines that were simply tossed aside in this read, which made their inclusion worthless to the rest of the book. The ending was also AWFUL and it felt like Michaelides wrote it for shock’s sake and to just get the book over with.

Had Michaelides spent more time developing overlooked plot points and characters, The Maidens probably would have felt much more comprehensive. Overall, it read like a bunch of scattered ideas that never fully came together. It also could have ended on a more believable note rather than what felt like something thrown together. As soon as the grand reveal happened, I almost didn’t even bother finishing it and that’s really saying something.

Not only do I consider The Maidens to be poorly written but Mariana wasn’t the best main character, either. While her sorrow is totally understandable, she literally showed no emotion throughout the entire book. It was really hard to connect with her despite her sad past and she seemed to be just placed in the situation rather than immersed in it. I felt similarly to all of the characters in The Maidens, giving me no one to root for and adding to the overall disappointment I had when I finished reading.

I am going to rate The Maidens with a two out of ten stars. If you are expecting a book just as good as The Silent Patient, don’t bother. Actually, don’t bother period because it wasn’t worth my time and is certainly not worth yours. WHOMP WHOMP.

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

 

 

Lil Red’s Book Club: When You Are Mine By Michael Robotham Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: When You Are Mine By Michael Robotham 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 Michael Robotham called When You Are Mine. And, tomorrow, be sure to tune in for bloopers from my Night At The Theater OOTD. With no spoilers given away, as always, let’s dive into it. But, I want to place a trigger warning on this book beforehand for domestic violence, general violence, and mental illness. Let’s go:

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Constable Philomena McCarthy works for the police in London, which has been her dream since experiencing a bombing on a bus in her youth. Phil had no easy task of achieving this, though, as she is the daughter of the head honcho of the infamous McCarthy crime family. Phil has been estranged from her father for close to a decade and, despite her family ties, she proves herself as a strong addition to her team.

Soon to be married to her fiance, Henry, Phil is living the life that she has always wanted. But things take a sharp turn south when she answers to a domestic call in an apartment building because a resident heard screaming. At the scene, Phil finds Tempe looking worse for the wear at the hands of her lover, Darren Goodall. In his rage, he ends up taking a swing at Phil and she places him under arrest. Not knowing at the time, of course, that he is a Detective Sargent with friends in high and low places alike.

Goodall gets out of his arrest scot free and returns to his wife and children while Phil lands herself a charge for police misconduct. This doesn’t stop her from trying to help Tempe, though, and she finds her a new place to live. The women become fast friends and soon, every free moment is spent together having drinks, shopping, and planning the wedding.

While Phil is enjoying her new friendship, there is definitely something off about Tempe. Everyone around her appears to think so too but Phil brushes it off. Between the wedding, her charges, and attempting to get Goodall’s wife out of an abusive situation, she has her hands full. She also has her estranged crime boss father to think about because a journalist has turned up dead and his crew might be the cause.

With twists in family affairs, friendships, and job Phil soon finds herself at the epicenter of what appears to be a massive police cover up. Despite being told to drop it by all of her higher ups, Phil can’t and soon finds herself targeted as the one to take the blame. Will Darren Goodall finally receive the punishment of the law that he deserves? Will Phil be charged with murder? Read When You Are Mine to find out!

As I began reading When You Are Mine, I wasn’t one hundred percent sold on it and I still feel that way after finishing it. I did enjoy it and, although I figured out the main plot twist, there was still a lot that I didn’t see coming. However, this fast paced read packed a lot of information into three hundred and fifty pages and it made it difficult to keep all of the different plots straight.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a complicated story line but there were several mini plot twists that didn’t have to be included for the book to be effective. The drawn out nature of When You Are Mine made the ending seem abrupt and anticlimactic, which is a bit disappointing. I wouldn’t have minded if it went on for fifty more pages to add some more clarity all around and drama to the final scenes.

I really liked Philomena as a main character as well as her family on her father’s side, although they only played minor parts. The supporting roles of Tempe and Henry left a lot to be desired, though, and felt like a story that I have heard way too many times before. You know, the ultra clingy new friend and the fiance and friends who don’t like her. This is a somewhat tired approach in the modern day psychological thriller.

Overall, I am going to rate When You Are Mine with a six out of ten stars. The general plot was good but it got overwhelmed quickly with unnecessary twists and turns. Normally, I don’t want a book that I like to end but I felt ready for this one to be over. This is one that you aren’t missing out on if you pass on it.

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

 

 

Lil Red’s Book Club: All I Want By Darcey Bell Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: All I Want By Darcey Bell Edition

Hello! We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming from my TJMaxx Winter Haul to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club. Today, we are going to be discussing All I Want by Darcey Bell, which was a book that I really enjoyed – until the end, that is. Of course, no spoilers will be given away but I will be placing a trigger warning on this book for disturbing content and psychological abuse. Now, let’s get to it:

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Emma and Ben are a cool couple from New York City who share a flare for the creative. Ben is a successful Broadway producer and Emma was an art teacher before she got pregnant. With a baby on the way, and a long walk up to their apartment, Ben has developed a taste for the simpler things. He begins house hunting and finds an amazing property in the country formerly called Hideaway Home.

Hideaway Home doubled as a rehab or “dry out clinic” back in the fifties as well as a house for unwed mothers. Former Broadway stars would go there to get sober and the house even has a theater in it where they would sometimes perform for each other. The house fell into disrepair when the niece and nephews of the doctors who ran the facility inherited it and, essentially, spent their lives as hermits.

Needless to say, Hideaway Home is a “fixer upper” and while Ben is completely sold, Emma has second thoughts until she falls in love with the kitchen. With an extensive construction project to restore the property underway, Emma finds herself alone in the new house for a majority of the time as Ben has just began working on a new play back in the city.

As the days drag into each other with no one to talk to except the handsome leader of the renovation project, Emma finds herself wandering up to the attic. While not the safest space in the home, the attic is filled with remnants from its past, including a journal from an unwed mother who has a tale eerily similar to Emma’s own. She even calls her baby “Little Person” just like Emma.

Hallucinations, a fading memory, and isolation while her husband is away does Emma no favors, turning her tense and suspicious. She begins to think that Ben is having an affair with a plot to steal the baby after he or she is born. Unable to distinguish potential lies from the truth, Emma and those around her fear she might be spiraling into madness. Are Emma and her baby safe? And just who did she marry in the first place? Read All I Want to find out!

Before we delve deeper into my opinions on this thriller, let me first start out by saying how much I liked almost everything about it. The creepy house with a twisted backstory, Emma as a somewhat unstable narrator, and the nods to classic horror films like Gaslight, Rosemary’s Baby, and The Shining. This was all excellent and I deemed the book as “unputdownable”, finishing it in just three sittings.

I had Such. High. Hopes. for All I Want to be a ten star book but the final chapter ruined it for me. After reading other reviews for All I Want, a common theme was that many people pretended like the final chapter didn’t exist. I would love to be able to do this, but I just can’t. I will be the first to admit that the plot took some highly unlikely turns but it still worked and would have been totally fine, rather preferred, to the actual ending.

I am unsure as to why some authors feel the need to rock the boat with a finale that they probably know will disappoint many of the readers. Darcey Bell definitely falls into this category and I was left feeling like I kind of wasted my time. However, I will say that while I did figure some plot twists out, I would never have guessed the main one so I guess that’s good.

I am going to rate All I Want with a five out of ten stars. It received an average rating because I am so conflicted about it. I won’t say that it’s not worth reading because I still liked it well enough but I wouldn’t go out of my way to read it if there are other books on your list. Whomp whomp.

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

Bath Bomb Blitz: Lush’s Golden Wonder Pt. 2 Edition

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Bath Bomb Blitz: Lush’s Golden Wonder Pt. 2 Edition

Howdy! When it comes to my self care, it is all about pampering myself. Whether it’s a face mask, bubble bath, or getting my hair or nails done, I always feel like a million bucks afterwards. This past Tuesday, I was very eager to return home from work because I had big plans for a hot bath featuring one of the Lush bath bombs that I was gifted with this Christmas.

I used a bath bomb called Golden Wonder, which is actually one that we have discussed before. However, this time around there are much better pictures involved thanks to my newish phone! Let’s get to it:

During my last review of the Golden Wonder bath bomb, I awarded it with eight out of ten stars. But, upon using it again, I am not so sure why because it was definitely not as good as I remember it being. When first using this bath bomb, I was surprised to see a ton of different colors emerge from the gift box like orange, yellow, dark blue, and pink. This time, only a small amount of hot pink came out with no other colors in sight.

This was a bit of a disappointment because bath bombs from Lush always put on the best shows that last several minutes. The Golden Wonder bath bomb missed the mark on this too and fizzed out pretty quickly, leaving the water a murky teal that did not look the most inviting against my ultra 70s mustard yellow bathtub.

Not only do I look forward to the display that a Lush bath bomb puts on but I am also excited for the way the water feels. I don’t know how to describe it other than the bath water feels velvety, leaving my skin feeling so moisturized and nourished. The extra dose of hydration wasn’t there, either, making this bath bomb experience a total dud. Ba dum chhhhh!

After using the Golden Wonder bath bomb again, I am going to give it a five out of ten stars. It was still nice to use, of course, but it just didn’t hold up to my original memory in the slightest. This is one that you can skip on during your next Lush haul.

What is your favorite bath bomb from Lush? Where is your favorite place to shop for bath and body care? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Face Mask Festivities: Holler And Glow Hangover SOS Sheet Mask Edition

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Face Mask Festivities: Holler And Glow Hangover SOS Sheet Mask Edition

Helloooo everyone and welcome to the final Face Mask Festivities post from my Target Haul! I have so enjoyed pampering myself with the masks I purchased – both the good and the bad. And, I hope that the next time you make a Target run, these reviews will point you in the right direction of which face masks to buy and the ones that you can skip on.

Today, we will be discussing the Hangover SOS sheet mask by Holler And Glow. I admit, that I probably should have used this one this past Sunday lol! Let’s get to it:

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^^^ Lol

I will be completely honest with all of you… The only reason that I bought this mask in the first place was for the pattern! The donuts look like little frogs and I think that it is the cutest thing. Unfortunately, this sheet mask was one that I should have acknowledged was adorable and moved on because it was not the best.

In terms of staying in place, the Hangover SOS sheet mask was okay. The top half was fine but the bottom half gave me some grief and I had to adjust it a considerable amount of times in its fifteen minute sitting period. I actually couldn’t wait to take it off for that reason so while I waited I was literally just counting down the minutes. As you can imagine, it was not the most relaxing face mask session.

The results of this mask were also below average. My skin felt nice after using it but it didn’t feel any more hydrated or nourished than when I complete my regular skin care routine. The Holler And Glow sheet mask costed me four dollars and, although it was a cute novelty mask, the buck pretty much stopped there. This is one that you can most definitely pass on. WHOMP WHOMP!

Despite more duds than winners in my face mask haul, I still had fun creating this Face Mask Festivities series. Now, fingers crossed that I will get lots of face mask stocking stuffers so that the pampering can continue into the new year!

Have you used the Holler And Glow brand before? What did you think of it? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

 

 

Face Mask Festivities: Burt’s Bees Brightening Sheet Mask Edition

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Face Mask Festivities: Burt’s Bees Brightening Sheet Mask Edition

Howdy! We are nearing the end of the Face Mask Festivities posts from my Target Haul and I hope that they have proved useful to you as you purchase your last minute stocking stuffers for the holidays. I know that I have enjoyed the extra pampering! 😀

Today, we are going to be discussing the most expensive mask that I purchased – a brightening sheet mask by Burt’s Bees. I didn’t even know that this brand had face masks too and at five or so dollars, it felt like a splurge. I thought that this mask would work well considering its price but it ended up being one of my least favorite ones from my haul. Let’s discuss:

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^^^ Lol

While most of the masks that I bought were specifically for dry skin due to the cold, I never say no to some extra brightening and added the Burt’s Bees mask to my cart. I was really excited to try this mask because I had such high hopes for it and this probably left me even more disappointed with the results – or lack thereof.

I will start by saying that this mask stayed put on my face very well, which I was impressed by. It fit nice and snug and once it was on, there was minimal sliding off for the ten plus minutes of wearing it. Unfortunately, that’s about all that the Burt’s Bees Brightening mask had going for it. -_-

After removing the mask, I couldn’t wait to see how my skin looked and I noticed no visible differences. When it comes to judging the effectiveness of a mask, I hope to see my skin looking better than when I complete my normal skin care routine. While the mask did feel good, the results were pretty much nonexistent and is one that I wouldn’t buy again.

Five dollars is incredibly cheap for a face mask but the ones from Target that I was most impressed with were over a dollar less. You are not missing out by not buying this mask so five dollars saved is five dollars earned… You’re welcome! ❤ Haha, tune in tomorrow for the last face mask from my haul!

What are your thoughts on this mask if you have used it? What is your favorite drugstore brand? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Face Mask Festivities: Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask Edition

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Face Mask Festivities: Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a new edition of Face Mask Festivities! Today, we are going to discuss the Summer Fridays Jet Lag mask that I got as a freebie during my last Sephora haul. There are some things that I like about this mask and others that I don’t so let’s get to it and you can decide if it’s worth the buy or not:

I have been using this mask morning and night for the past several days and, as you can see, it is fairly thick in texture. Despite that, it applies so easily which I wasn’t expecting at all. In fact, I don’t think that I have ever used a skin care product that applies and absorbs into your skin in one go. One sweep on my face of this mask and I was done. This was definitely a novelty that I enjoyed and was pleasantly surprised by.

Although these were all good things, the buck stopped there. I expected this mask to be ultra hydrating and that just wasn’t there. After continued use, I noticed no real differences in the way my skin looked or felt. Rather, my normal skin care routine provided everything that I wanted this mask to do and more. And, at almost fifty dollars for a full sized tube, I think that I will be sticking to my drugstore brands, thank you very much.

While I love trying out new products compliments of Sephora freebies, I am always pleased to see that my cheaper brands tend to work better than anything with an expensive price tag. If you are looking for a new face mask to try, I would say to skip on the Jet Lag one by Summer Fridays. You’d be surprised at how much more bang for your buck you can get at your local drugstore or the skin care section of TJMaxx!

Have you ever used this face mask before? What did you think of it? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Fall Is In The Air

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Fall Is In The Air

Hi! I am not the biggest coffee drinker any more and prefer my morning Diet Coke to give me a caffeine jolt before my work day. However, when Starbucks introduces their fall flavors back on the menu, I always just have to treat myself to at least one of them per year! I can take or leave their Pumpkin Spice Latte because apple is my all time favorite fall flavor. So, when I learned that there was an Apple Crisp Iced Macchiato available I couldn’t wait to give it a shot:

Nothing feels more fall than a seasonal drink from Starbucks and I decided to have my yearly fall beverage during my break at work. I was ready for all things caramel apple but, unfortunately, I wasn’t too blown away by the Apple Crisp Macchiato. It was tasty, yes. Sadly, it just wasn’t apple-y enough! I think I talked it up so much in my head and with my sister that anything less than a super apple coffee drink just wouldn’t cut it. -_-

I will say, though, that the last few sips of the drink were magnificent because it tasted exactly like my favorite fall candy – the caramel apple suckers. It was just getting to that point that was the problem, lol! I am also going to be the first one to admit that I definitely could have done with getting a Grande sized drink rather than the Venti. All of that caffeine made me so jittery and HOT at work and I am normally freezing all of the time. Such a rookie mistake!

Was this my favorite drink ever? No. But it was pretty good. Now, I will just be eagerly awaiting my yearly Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks during the Christmas season. 😀

What is your favorite drink from Starbucks? What is your favorite seasonal flavor? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah