Tag Archives: pretty good

Beetlejuice At Playhouse Square Review

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Beetlejuice At Playhouse Square Review

Hello! My sister, Kristen, and I enjoyed an evening on the town this past Saturday to see Beetlejuice at Playhouse Square. As a busy mother of two, it has been so long since Kristen and I have been able to hang out alone and it was awesome to spend that quality time with her. We were both really excited to see Beetlejuice and the musical was pretty good but the sisters night out was even better. Take a look at some pics and let’s get into the review:

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If you go to Beetlejuice expecting a musical directly from the plot of the beloved film, then don’t. Lol this show definitely took some liberties to the story line and turned it into something way more convoluted than it had to be. Long story short: The show opens with Lydia’s mom dying, Adam and Barbara Maitland die via electric shock, Lydia’s broken family moves into the Maitland home, and cue Beetlejuice.

As the play continues, we learn that Lydia is desperate to see her mom again and uses her new friends, the Maitlands, to “haunt” the house so she can move back into her family home. We also find out that Beetlejuice is sick of being dead and is using Lydia and the Maitlands to return to the land of the living. The plot moves forward as one character outsmarts the other until the end of the show, ending with happily ever after.

To be honest, the plot left a lot to be desired and what could have been a fairly straightforward show felt bogged down with all of the extra. It was also difficult to keep tabs on everything that was happening because the songs weren’t particularly memorable. There were some numbers like “Say My Name” and “That Beautiful Sound” that were fun enough but they were mainly poppy songs and ballads that were entertaining to watch but just didn’t stick.

Where Beetlejuice shined and kept my attention was the production value, which, as to be expected with any Playhouse Square show, was amazing. Although the lights were at times blinding, the rock n’ roll show motif of green, purple, and white lighting looked very cool. The set for the Maitland home was great and the sandworms weren’t bad, either! Dancing skeletons, horror gags, fire, and smoke throughout the show also assisted in keeping me on my toes.

In terms of acting, there were some stand out performances and others that have already been forgotten. Adam and Barbara (Will Burton, Britney Coleman), for example, didn’t get as much time on stage as I had hoped for as they are such a special part of the movie. The running joke in the musical is that they are “boring” and they seriously were lol. Their two or so songs were cute enough but that was about it.

A thorn in my side throughout the show was Delia (Kate Marilley) who sang well but was just so annoying! In the musical, she is Lydia’s life coach and is, unbeknownst to Lydia, sleeping with her dad as opposed to being her new step mom in the movie. Kate Marilley could sing really well but participated in all of the pet peeves I have for a newer musical. She was definitely the character who was there specifically to use lingo like “woke” and dab for laughs and that is something I truly can’t stand. I would have much preferred to see Delia as the snooty step mom rather than Lydia’s wannabe bestie.

Recent high school graduate, Isabella Esler, did fantastic as Lydia on her Broadway debut. She had a great voice and was able to hold her own on stage well enough. I thought she was a bit stronger when performing with others as opposed to her solo numbers. Justin Collette as Beetlejuice was certainly the glue that held the show together and his songs with Lydia were adorable. Collette was brash, crass, and hilarious as the title character. Thankfully, he was on stage almost the entire time because the scenes where he lacked were lackluster, at best.

This seems like a bad review and in some ways it is and it isn’t. I still had fun watching the show and I thought it was worth seeing. It just wasn’t what I was expecting and I think diehard fans of the movie might feel disappointed by it. Was Beetlejuice the best show I have seen at Playhouse Square? No. However, it made for a perfect sisters night out and that is what’s most important at the end of the day!

Have you seen the Beetlejuice musical? 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

Lil Red’s Book Club: The It Girl By Ruth Ware Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The It Girl By Ruth Ware Edition

Hello everyone! We interrupt your regularly scheduled bonus pictures from my Pumpkin Patch Party OOTD with a brand new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club. Today, without giving any spoilers away, we will be discussing a thriller by Ruth Ware called The It Girl. To be frank, I have never been overly impressed with Ware’s books but this one was very good. In fact, it’s my favorite book that she has written. Before we begin, I will be placing a trigger warning on The It Girl for violence and disturbing content. Now, let’s get to it:

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Hannah Jones appears to have it all. A husband, Will, who she has loved since first sight, a baby on the way, and the charming life of a couple in their late twenties. Could she have said the same for herself a decade ago? Not at all. Ten years ago, her roommate, April, at the prestigious Pelham College at Oxford was brutally murdered. Despite her seemingly picture perfect life, Hannah struggles with this on a daily basis. She did not have a role in April’s death but she played a big part in the trial.

During her time at Pelham, Hannah was joined at the hip with the gorgeous, effervescent April. April was, indeed, an It Girl and everyone knew about her beauty and wealth. Their friend circle of Will, Hugh, Ryan, and Emily seemed to revolve solely around April but her and Hannah shared a bond that only roommates could have. Hannah felt completely at home in her new life at Pelham except for one major issue… John Neville.

Neville was a porter at Pelham and he seemed to have it out for Hannah from the jump. Hannah was uncomfortable walking alone and would plan her routes to avoid John but he seemed to be everywhere. He was also the last person to see April alive and is what sealed his conviction for her death due to Hannah’s testimony. There have always been whispers that Neville was innocent. However, his recent death in prison means he will never see justice and the case is blown back open. If Neville is innocent, then April’s killer is still on the loose ten years later.

After Hannah talks to a journalist who claims to have new information on the case, she begins to doubt her story even more than she already did. Now, it is up to her to put the pieces together and find out what really happened the night of April’s death. If Neville is out of the picture, everyone is now a suspect. Her old friends, teachers, and even her own husband. Will Hannah solve the case of April’s killer? Read The It Girl to find out!

While I have enjoyed previous Ruth Ware books before, I have never felt too excited when she has a new book out. In comparison to other thrillers, her novels always seem to fall just a bit short. Needless to say, I was incredibly surprised with how invested I was in The It Girl right from the start. It was completely unputdownable and I couldn’t wait for free time so that I could read more!

The It Girl featured one of my favorite things of going back and forth between Hannah’s past at Pelham College to present day. This allowed you to get to know the main suspects in their youth and in current times. It also made it very difficult to pinpoint the killer because all of these players were incredibly likeable despite the usual flaws of first year college students. And, any tension in present times from them felt understandable after ten years of trying to get April’s death out of their minds. Every lead felt like a Red Herring and it made you relate to Hannah even more as she continued to second guess everything she thought she knew.

I loved Hannah as a main character and I thought that she was really brave. Her pregnancy also heightened the suspense because her sleuthing could turn dangerous at any moment. It was so easy to sympathize with her after all that she had been through. I definitely spent the whole book rooting for her to have the life she always wanted.

My advice if you read this book and you like to try and figure out the grand reveal ahead of time is to go with your gut. Like Hannah, I second guessed and then vetoed one of my initial instincts and I ended up being right on the money. It’s also very important to pay close attention to everything said and done at Pelham because it will all come back soon enough!

I am going to award The It Girl with a seven and a half star rating. I was originally going to give it an eight but I realized that that was only because I liked it better than other Ruth Ware novels. Was this the most groundbreaking thing that I have ever read? No. But, it was a fun read and it put Ware back on the map for me after years of feeling wishy washy. I think you all will like it too!

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

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Face Mask Festivities: Freeman Rejuvenating Cucumber & Pink Salt Clay Mask Edition

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Face Mask Festivities: Freeman Rejuvenating Cucumber & Pink Salt Clay Mask Edition

Hello!! Friday is usually Johnny’s big night out and my big night in. During my evening with the apartment to myself, I love to play Paper Mario and Animal Crossing and watch all of the shows that Johnny refuses to watch with me (IE: Hoarders!). As I was getting settled, I realized that it had been a long while since I used a face mask so I decided to do a little pampering:

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For my spa night, I used the Freeman Rejuvenating Cucumber & Pink Salt Clay Mask and it was pretty good. My first impression was how nice it smelled – just like freshly cut cucumbers, which was really refreshing. The pale blue color was also very pleasing too! The directions for this mask said to remove after seven to ten minutes so I applied the mask and waited…

When I’m using a face mask, I try to leave it on for as long as I can. However, that was so not the case with this mask. It dried very quickly and by the five minute mark it was already hardened considerably but not unpleasantly. Fast forward to minute seven and my skin was begging me to take it off. I experienced a mild burning sensation and it was like heaven when I began removing it.

Although it wasn’t the most pampered I’ve ever felt during my face mask time, I was still impressed with the results. The exfoliating pink salt worked well and my skin felt smooth and looked nourished. It was super drying, though, and I actually had to apply my nighttime skin care routine twice because of how thirsty my skin was. It was all good after that extra moisturizing boost!

I liked this mask well enough but I don’t think that I would use it again. If I were to try it one more time, I would definitely remove it at five minutes, which I would recommend if you try it too!

How do you like to spend a night in? What is your favorite face mask? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

First Attempt At Homemade Alfredo Sauce

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First Attempt At Homemade Alfredo Sauce

Hello!! I love to cook and try out new recipes and during my last curbside order, Johnny requested fettuccine Alfredo for dinner. I have never made it before but I figured that it couldn’t be that hard! As per ushe, I consulted Pinterest for a recipe and settled on one by Self Proclaimed Foodie. Although I wasn’t blown away with the end result, it was still pretty good. Check it out:

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^^^ Obsessed with my tomato butter! YUM!

The Alfredo sauce recipe by Self Proclaimed Foodie only had four ingredients to it – butter, garlic, heavy cream, and Parmesan cheese. I went with this recipe for its simplicity but I think it was a little too simple for my liking. Even after adding parsley, salt, pepper, and way more garlic than necessary, it tasted really bland overall. I definitely plan on making Alfredo sauce again but I think that I will find another recipe for it.

During my next attempt at Alfredo sauce, I will also be steering clear of the Kraft Parmesan cheese! I didn’t even think about buying the thinly shredded kind, which probably would have made a big difference. The Kraft cheese didn’t fully melt down and that gave the sauce a slightly gritty texture. It didn’t make as much of a difference once it was poured over pasta but taste testing from the pot left a lot to be desired!

On the bright side, Johnny ended up really enjoying his requested dinner so that made me happy. I just hate when something I make doesn’t turn out exactly how I want it so here’s to a more flavorful and creamy sauce next time around!

What recipe do you recommend for homemade Alfredo sauce? Have you tried cooking anything new recently? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Frozen At Playhouse Square Review

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Frozen At Playhouse Square Review

Hello! This past weekend, I went to Playhouse Square with my dad, brother, and Val Gal to see a matinee showing of Frozen at the KeyBank State Theatre. I have never seen the movie the whole way through but it’s my niece’s favorite and Playhouse Square always puts on amazing shows so I was excited! There were things about Frozen that blew me away and other parts that were… not so much.

Regardless, it was SO special to accompany Val to her first ever live theater performance, which she loved. In fact, she asked if we could go again tomorrow! She was also dressed up in her Elsa costume and it was adorable seeing all of the little Anna and Elsas walking around. πŸ™‚ Now, let’s get to this review starting with the good:

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Although a majority of the acting and singing in Frozen was great, the best thing about the show was, easily, all of the wonderful special effects. The lighting, set design, and flying pieces was true theater magic. This production used techniques that I had never seen before and, honestly, didn’t even think were possible. I had no idea how they were going to create the eternal winter landscape that Elsa created but it really did look like the entire stage was encompassed in snow and ice.

A huge credit should be given to the production team because this show would not have been nearly as good without everything that was accomplished by them. The set was so elaborate and visually beautiful and the lighting and soundscape enhanced everything tenfold. Now that I think of it, the only things that “wowed” me were all production related.

While some of the actors kind of missed the mark for me, there were a few performances that really stood out. F. Michael Haynie who played Olaf was spectacular and a formidable puppeteer too. I didn’t know how they were going to create the talking snowman and a to scale version puppet was cleverly used. It worked perfectly and Haynie played the part so well.

Evan Strand played Sven, Kristoff’s reindeer, and this was also another head scratcher for me. It’s not like they could have used a real reindeer for the show and most animal portrayals by actors can be kind of lame. However, the costume that was used for Sven was one of the best that I have ever seen and I almost thought that it was an actual reindeer at first! His physicality was spot on and I was very impressed – I think he outshined Kristoff completely.

Caroline Bowman as Elsa was pretty good, although I felt like she was a bit boring. Her time on stage was kind of lackluster and what shined during “Let It Go” wasn’t her but the incredible production behind it. Lauren Nicole Chapman as Anna also left A LOT to be desired. She was SO. Freaking. Annoying. Her voice was also very shrill. Granted, I haven’t seen bits and pieces of the movie in a while but I definitely don’t remember Anna being like that – maybe I’m wrong!

Because there aren’t too many original songs in the movie Frozen, a majority of the numbers had to be created for the stage. I liked a fair amount of them and enjoyed “Let It Go”, “In Summer”, “Fixer Upper”, and “Monster” the most. I will say that there were times when it was difficult to hear/understand the actors so that took away from some numbers that I could have potentially enjoyed.

Some of the songs really dragged the show on for longer than I thought was necessary, though. For example “Hygge” sung by Oaken and company was kind of a hot mess. I get that productions more geared towards children have to throw some things in for the adults BUT it felt inappropriate for the kids in the audience. It was, hands down, the cringiest part of the performance.

There were times when Frozen was hit or miss and that’s fine because the biggest success of the show was how much fun Val had. I am thrilled to have been able to share in my love of live theater with her and can’t wait to do something like this again!

What is your favorite musical? Have you seen any good shows lately? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Ilia Lip Wrap Hydrating Mask Review

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Ilia Lip Wrap Hydrating Mask Review

Hey! I had a fantastic little three dollar haul from Sephora so that I could get my Beauty Insider birthday gift. I made the most of their free shipping at the time and ordered a pack of makeup wipes and lots of freebies. For my birthday gift, I chose the Ilia makeup set and have been so pleased with everything in it. I’m obsessed with the tinted lip oil, I gave my sister the mascara, and I just started using the Lip Wrap Hydrating Mask:

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I love the idea of a lip mask but they never seem to love me. I have never been blown away by any of the ones that I have tried and always find that the chapstick that I normally put on before bed is more effective. I was expecting similar results of “fine but not impressed” by the Ilia Lip Wrap Hydrating Mask and was so happy that I was wrong! πŸ˜€

The packaging on the lip mask promises “fuller and softer lips” and it definitely delivered. Upon waking up after one use, my lips felt ultra hydrated and even looked more supple. My bottom lip is fuller than my top one and I noticed a huge difference in my top lip’s size which I was shocked by. It looked much better portioned in comparison to my bottom lip and I have never had results like that after one or several uses of a lip mask.

Although I did really like the Ilia Lip Wrap Hydrating Mask, I don’t know if I can justify its twenty-six dollar price tag from Sephora. I was also surprised by a lot of negative reviews for it, one of which being that it had a gritty texture. I noticed that too but it was overall very creamy with a little grit that I just wiped off.

If you can snag this product as a freebie, then I say go for it. I know that I will be doing the same. However, twenty-six dollars is steep for a little jar of lip mask and no matter how impressed I was by it, I would never spend that much!

What is your favorite lip product? Which birthday gift did you choose if you are a Beauty Insider? 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: Mrs. England By Stacey Halls Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Mrs. England By Stacey Halls Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a brand new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we are going to be discussing another book by Stacey Halls called Mrs. England – without giving any spoilers away, of course. This is the second book in a row that I have read by Halls and I enjoyed this one much better than The Familiars – it was really good! Before we begin our discussion of Mrs. England, I will be placing a trigger warning on it for disturbing content including psychological abuse and violence. Now, let’s get to it:

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Ruby May is a young woman in the early 1900s working as a children’s nurse (nanny) in London. She trained at a special academy just for this profession and works hard to support her family, which includes a younger sister with a spinal injury. Nurse May adores the family that she is currently caring for but, unfortunately, her time with them must come to an end. They need to move to America for the father’s profession and Ruby cannot be so far from her family.

Desperate for a new job, Ruby accepts anyone that she can get and becomes the nurse to four children in Yorkshire. The England family is obscenely wealthy and lives on a sprawling estate complete with a cotton mill, servants, and the best of everything that money can buy. Ruby makes the trip to Yorkshire to begin her new placement and is surprised to find Mr. Charles England waiting for her at the train station.

On the way back to the England estate, Ruby is charmed but a little surprised by Mr. England’s jovial nature. Even more so because picking her up would typically be a job for their chauffeur. It is nighttime when they make it back home and the children are already asleep. Ruby is ready to discuss her position with the mistress, Mrs. England. Strangely enough, the mistress didn’t realize Ruby’s arrival was that night and insists on her coming to Mr. England with any questions. This is all very unusual to Ruby because, typically, the mistress is in charge of all things relating to the care of the children.

The following day, Ruby meets her charges of Saul, Decca, Millie, and baby Charley and is pleased to be caring for such lovely children. She is also shocked to see Mr. England acting in the roles of both the father and mother around the house. It is not what she is used to but makes sense as Mrs. England is distant, withdrawn, and has a sickly disposition. She spends most of her time locked away in her bedroom and hardly seems to take pleasure in seeing her children.

Of course, as odd as the living situation at the England estate is, Ruby is in no position to judge as she is hiding dark secrets of her own. However, there is something strange happening there that she can’t quite put her finger on. It could be the uninviting servants, her disappearing mail, or maybe her own feelings of intimacy with Mr. England whom she must report to.

As her days drag into each other at the estate, Ruby quickly finds herself only caring for the two youngest children. Decca is going to school, which came as a shock because the girls were not to attend. And Saul is regaining his health at his great grandparent’s home after a severe asthma attack. The walls surrounding the England property begin to close in on itself and Ruby expects Mrs. England is to blame. But, is she really? Read Mrs. England to find out!

Much like The Familiars, Mrs. England was a slow burn of a read. I did like it a lot more, though, because something integral to the story happened in almost every chapter. This made for a much more pleasant reading experience and I found myself upset when I had to put it down. Although the reveals weren’t as jaw dropping as previous books that I’ve read, it was different than anything that I’ve read too.

I loved Ruby as a main character and it was a change of pace to know what she was thinking all of the time because I am so used to books with an unstable narrator. I liked her caring, curious nature and her interactions with the children always left me completely charmed. It was also interesting to read about her working through foreign feelings like longing for the man of the house.

I will be the first to say that this wasn’t exactly a nail biter of a read. It did have a haunting atmosphere, which added to the suspense. But, the major grand reveal was easy to figure out and I would have liked a bit more mystery to it. Stacey Halls’ books have such a unique, historical vibe to them. Mrs. England might not be a book that I’m going to simply rave about but I did like it – perhaps if only for the sake of switching things up.

Overall, I am going to rate Mrs. England with a six and a half out of ten stars. I would definitely read more by Stacey Halls. I will say, however, that if you are looking for fast paced reads with a lot of extra oomph, then she is not the author for you.

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: Twenty Years Later By Charlie Donlea Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Twenty Years Later By Charlie Donlea 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 Charlie Donlea called Twenty Years Later – without giving any spoilers away, of course. Before we begin, I will be placing a trigger warning on this book for general violence and crime scene related content. Now, let’s get to it:

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Avery Mason is the host of the wildly popular American Events, which discusses everything from true crime and safety tips to inspirational tales of bravery and every day heroes. She rose to fame quickly – mainly because no one knows her true identity of Claire Montgomery. She is the daughter to the infamous man who schemed a lot of people out of a lot of money by making investments in his company and he is still at large.

While on summer break from her show, Avery makes the cross country trek from California to New York to chase a story. She also has unfinished family business to tend to and knows her new lead will be the perfect cover up. And the story she’s investigating is a big one. Twenty years after 9/11, a positive ID has been found of one of the victims through new DNA testing and her name is Victoria Ford.

Originally, Avery thinks she hit the jackpot with this lead but it got even better when she dug deeper and found that Victoria was a suspect in a murder case. In fact, she was getting advice from her lawyer when the planes crashed as she would shortly be on trial for the murder of her lover, a married man named Cameron Young.

Avery wants to know everything about this case and seeks out the help of Walt Jenkins, who was the detective on this twenty year old case. Walt has been a recluse since he was asked to retire after a tragic incident on the job. When his old boss asks Walt to help Avery to see if he can learn more information about her father, Walt accepts. He is desperate to feel useful again and hops a plane to New York City.

As Avery and Walt delve back into the twenty year old murder case, new leads develop as well as feelings between the two of them. Walt, of course, is feeling very conflicted by now because he has to choose between doing his job or the new woman in his life. What will Walt’s decision be? And will they crack the case of Victoria Ford as a guilty or innocent woman? Read Twenty Years Later to find out!

Twenty Years Later was a pretty good read but it wasn’t my favorite. The writing of Charlie Donlea didn’t blow me away and at times it felt a bit amateur-ish but the story line did keep me hooked. My husband and I are both avid true crime fans so the idea of trying to solve a twenty year old case was an exciting one. I finished this book in about five sittings and, although I figured out a majority of the big twists, I still liked it well enough.

I enjoyed Avery as a main character because she was really smart and made a great life for herself despite who she has as a father. She was strong and brave and her back and forth with Walt worked really well too. Avery took the lead in all aspects of her life and she was a “take no shit” kind of gal, which I love!

My main qualm with Twenty Years Later was how repetitive it was. I swear, I must have read the same sentences or something similar in this book countless times and this got old super quickly. It was also fairly predictable, which is okay with me if the writing is excellent but that wasn’t the case.

I am going to rate Twenty Years Later with a six out of ten stars. The plot was interesting and I enjoyed reading about most of the characters. If it were written just a bit better, it probably would have gotten a higher rating but that was hard to look past. This is a book that you can take or leave. If you read it, you won’t hate it but if you don’t, you’re not missing out on much.

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

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Pixi Beauty Peel & Polish Review

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Pixi Beauty Peel & Polish Review

Howdy everyone! This past week, my mom treated me to a couple of new products including a face mask and the Peel & Polish by Pixi Beauty. I absolutely loved the instanatural mask as per yesterday’s post and I was eager to try the Peel & Polish because I have never used any skin care products by Pixi before. Despite its not so pleasant scent, I would use it again! Let’s discuss:

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My first impression of the Peel & Polish was how it smelled because it was… interesting lol. It seriously smelled like vegetable broth and it was quite pungent. I have never used any product that had this aroma before and I can’t say that I was relishing the fact that I had to rub it on my face! Thankfully, the directions said that it only had to be left on for two minutes because I couldn’t imagine having it on for any longer than that.

I applied the Peel & Polish just before getting into the shower and I was interested in seeing the results because two minutes isn’t a very long time for it to sit. I was surprised by how well it worked after scrubbing it off because my skin looked noticeably brighter and it felt nice and smooth. This product was also so gentle, which made me even more impressed with it.

I could tell that it had made a difference when using it on Sunday morning because Saturday night is mine and Johnny’s game night. Saturday night is our standing date night in and we stay up late listening to music, playing board and video games, and talking until we’re practically falling asleep in the living room. Needless to say, my skin always looks dull and tired the following day!

I don’t know if I would go out of my way to order just the Peel & Polish from Pixi Beauty but if it were on promotion, I wouldn’t be opposed to it. According to the reviews on Pixi’s website, it is a product that its users can’t live without so maybe I’ll feel differently after finishing up the trial size bottle!

What is a beauty product you can’t live without? What is your favorite skin care brand? 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: Before She Disappeared By Lisa Gardner Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Before She Disappeared By Lisa Gardner Edition

Hi! This past month has been so busy, I feel like I barely had any time to read. However, after an afternoon reading marathon over the weekend, I finally finished the book I had been working on called Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner. I can’t say that I was overly impressed with the way the book ended but I really liked it as a whole due to the strong female lead, Frankie Elken. So, without giving any spoilers away, let’s discuss:

Frankie Elken is a middle aged former alcoholic who drifts from place to place trying to solve missing person cases that have gone cold. She is not a professional and does her investigating without getting paid, so she picks up odd jobs in whatever city she ends up in. Due to Frankie’s own demons, she is highly passionate about what she does. But, unfortunately, she has never brought anyone home alive in the fourteen missing person cases she has worked on. This time, she desperately wants to get it right and heads to Mattapan in Boston to search for teen aged Angelique Badeau.

Angelique and her family are Haitian immigrants who came to America during the earthquakes. She is described as an incredibly gifted student with dreams of being a doctor and has a deep love for her family and Haiti. According to everyone who knows her, the last thing Angelique could be described as is a troublemaker and has never acted rashly before.

Eleven months ago, quiet and determined Angelique disappeared after school without a trace. After months of tracking evidence and following leads, the Boston Police Department came up with nothing and the case eventually goes cold. Cue Frankie Elken.

In a handful of days, Frankie uncovers secrets that the police weren’t even close to discovering on their own. As you can imagine, this leads to much tension between her and the professionals. In a missing person case, every minute is crucial and newly found intel leads Frankie to believe that Angelique is running out of time and fast. Can Frankie bring Angelique home? And just what in the heck happened to her? Read Before She Disappeared to find out!

Although I wasn’t particularly blown away with the way Before She Disappeared ended, I had a good time reading it. The entire book had such a sense of urgency to it and as I read, I felt like I was a detective right alongside Frankie. She is an unlikely heroine and her tenacity and street smarts blew the case wide open when she arrived in Boston. I found myself liking and rooting for her even more with every page.

The entire book felt like waiting for a bomb to blow because time was of the essence and, although the finale was a bit of a dud, I still recommend reading this book. I am going to rate it with a six out of ten star rating and it actually would have been a seven if there weren’t So. Many. Typos. in the book. It’s me being nit-picky, but it drove me nuts! Lisa Gardner has written a plethora of other books and I wouldn’t mind reading more of her work in the future.

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

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