Tag Archives: review

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes By Suzanne Collins Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes By Suzanne Collins Edition

Hello everyone and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! This post has been a long time coming because The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes by Suzanne Collins was five hundred and fifteen pages. It took me a while to finish this prequel to The Hunger Games series but it was worth every single page and then some. As always, without giving any spoilers away, let’s discuss:

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For those of you who don’t know, I am a HUGE fan of The Hunger Games. From the books to the movies, I love it all and Katniss is one of my heroes. I am also #teampeta till the day I die, in case you were wondering! ANYWHO, The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes was pre-Katniss times and focuses solely on the future president of Panem, Coriolanus Snow, and his ultimate rise to power.

Young eighteen year old Coriolanus (Coryo to his loved ones) is a Capitol sweetheart despite secretly barely having a penny to his name. He covers his lack of cash with the gift of gab and excels at school. In fact, he excels so much that for the first time in Hunger Games history, students at the Academy are going to be mentors to the tributes and he is chosen to coach none other than Lucy Grey of District 12.

Originally, Coryo was disgusted by his fate because surely a scrawny girl from 12 couldn’t be the victor amid her extremely tough competition. What’s more, sadistic Dr. Gaul who is one of the head scientists of the games is watching his every move and she has plenty of surprises up her sleeves with her genetically mutated animals and love of war.

Despite Coryo’s obvious setbacks for the games, he lives by the motto “Snow lands on top” and he will do anything to win. And, as Lucy Grey proves herself to be a formidable opponent and a huge prize for the winning coach is announced – a full ride to the University, Coryo becomes even more intent on reigning victorious.

The Hunger Games are just the beginning of this wild ride and, sadly, I really can’t give any more away without spoiling a MAJOR plot twist that left me with my chin touching the floor. So, I will say this, The Hunger Games fans will absolutely love this book because it was easily one of my favorite ones of the series.

It was so interesting to read The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes because it tied in beautifully to the other three books. From beloved songs like “The Hanging Tree” and characters like the introduction of Lucky Flickerman, this prequel answers a lot of unanswered questions and it paints a very clear picture of how The Hunger Games began and why they are still happening decades later once Katniss volunteers as tribute.

Jam packed with action, twists, and turns on every page, it was impossible to put this book down. It also leaves you feeling conflicted about Coriolanus Snow who can almost be viewed as a tragic hero in his younger years. Don’t let this fool you, though, because if you have read the series or watched the movies, you will know that he ends up as a president who runs things more like a dictatorship.

Yes, Snow lands on top. But at what cost? Read The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes and find out!

Who else is a fan of The Hunger Games? Are you #teampeta or #teamgale? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick Swatch In 9 To 5

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Smashbox Be Legendary Lipstick Swatch In 9 To 5

Howdy! Today, we are going to be talking about the last product from my hand me down haul from my sister. It is last but certainly not least, though, because the lipstick we’re swatching today is definitely my favorite of the bunch. In this post, we are going to be talking about Smashbox’s Be Legendary lipstick in 9 To 5 and it sure is pretty! Take a look at some pics and let’s discuss:

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First things first, can we please talk about how freaking ADORABLE this lipstick’s tube is?! I have never seen a lippie packaged like this before and it makes me wish all of my lipstick tubes featured poppy colors and fun patterns. This alone made me excited to open up the tube and check out the color and I was not disappointed!

Back when I was a full redhead without my blonde patch, I never would have dreamed of wearing a punchy pink shade. The bright pinks just didn’t look good so I stuck with my red lippie and nude hues pretty exclusively. Now, a whole new color palette has opened up to me and I am obsessed with the watermelon punch 9 To 5.

All I can think about when I see this color is spring time, floral dresses, and a swiping of 9 To 5 on my lips. The texture of this Smashbox lipstick is so creamy yet is long lasting and I am so thankful to my sister for bestowing it onto me. Working 9 To 5 has never been so sweet and sassy with this lippie and I can’t wait to rock it when I actually have an occasion to, lol!

Which makeup brand has the best packaging? Did makeup shades that normally didn’t work for you look better if you have ever changed your hair color? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick Swatch In Ayesha

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Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick Swatch In Ayesha

Hello!! The swatches from my hand me down haul from my sister just keep on coming. Today, we are going to be chatting about Kat Von D’s Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Ayesha. I have never used her products before, I don’t exactly plan on it, and I am also not the biggest fan of the shade we’re swatching. However, just because it wouldn’t look flattering on me doesn’t apply to everyone and some of you might love it! Take a look at some pics and let’s discuss:

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My first impression of this lippie after opening the tube was the smell of it. At first, I thought it smelled really creamy – kind of like opening up a big tub of ice cream or a fresh gallon of milk. But, unfortunately, as I kept smelling the product while applying it, I realized it smelled faintly rotten as if the milk had gone sour. So, trust and believe I was more than happy to put a heart on my hand to see the color instead of putting it on my lips!

As far as the color goes, I don’t hate it but it would wash me out completely as it is much too purple for me. If I want to rock a shade in the mauve family, it absolutely needs to have pink undertones. Maybe next Halloween I could use it if I went as something undead but for normal use? Forget about it, lol.

My last comment on Kat Von D’s Liquid Everlasting Lipstick was that it did stay on very well! It smudged a little after it was dry but other than that the lippie didn’t budge and I had to scrub at it fairly hard with soap and water to remove it completely. So, it’s nice to know that if you do want to experiment with this product that it does have a lot of holding power. 🙂

Would I recommend this lipstick? Not necessarily. I am glad that I got to try it out from the comfort of my home, though, so big ups to my sister for giving me something new to me for all of us to learn more about!

What is your favorite shade of lipstick to wear? Which shade doesn’t look the best on you? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lisa Frank X Glamour Dolls Eyeshadow Swatch In Stargazing

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Lisa Frank X Glamour Dolls Eyeshadow Swatch In Stargazing

Hi! Back when I was in grade school a million years ago, it was all about all Lisa Frank everything. From her colorful designs, lots of shimmer, and cute animals adorning school supplies and book bags, it was impossible to not get into the Lisa Frank hype. It has been forever since I have thought about that brand but memories of my favorite LF notebooks came rushing back when I found a Lisa Frank eyeshadow in the hand me downs my sister gave me.

This eyeshadow in Stargazing is a special nod to Lisa Frank’s signature style and it also happens to be one of my fave colors. So, take a look at some pics and let’s discuss:

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^^^ The first heart is the eyeshadow applied wet and the second one is applied dry.

Everything about this eyeshadow is so fab to me. From the punchy purple and silver packaging to the glittering hue of shooting stars once you open the compact, this is Lisa Frank to the T. When I first saw this eyeshadow in my hand me down haul, I was shocked because I had no idea that a collaboration between Lisa Frank and Glamour Dolls even happened. But, now that I see it, my only question is why the heck it didn’t happen sooner!

This eyeshadow also couldn’t have come soon enough because I was running dangerously low on my go to bronze shade from The Body Shop. Out of all of the eyeshadows that I swatched these past few days, I can definitely say that I will be wearing this Stargazing hue the most. I just know I’m going to love it and, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it’s even prettier than my old TBS fave seen here. 😀

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Bring on all of the fun of early 2000’s Lisa Frank with this amazing eyeshadow!

Did you have any Lisa Frank gear back in the day? What did it look like? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Beaute Basics Eyeshadow Swatch In Satin Taupe

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Beaute Basics Eyeshadow Swatch In Satin Taupe

Hello! Today, we are going to be taking a look at an eyeshadow by Beaute Basics thanks to a hand me down haul from my sister, Kristen. The shade that I’m swatching is called Satin Taupe and I can definitely picture myself wearing it! So, take a look at some pics and let’s discuss:

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^^^ The top heart is the eyeshadow applied while wet and the second one is applied while dry.

As you all know, nothing pleases Lil Red more than a metallic hue from the bronze or brown family. I just think it looks so flattering with my eyes and skin tone and I never venture too far from those shades when it comes to my makeup. My sister knows this better than anyone because she constantly makes fun of me for it, lol. But, she is also my biggest supporter because when I get hand me downs from her, nine times out of ten there is some type of shimmery gold or brown eyeshadow waiting for me.

Beaute Basics was right in calling this shade Satin Taupe because it seriously applied smooth as satin. The eyeshadow felt so soft but it was still nice and compact. This was a huge bonus because I find that the softer shadows usually apply pretty flaky and you end up with more makeup around your eyes than on the lid itself.

What I liked the most about this eyeshadow is the fact that the color on my skin was true to what I saw in the compact, unlike the Elizabeth Mott shade that I swatched yesterday. My only recommendation would be applying it wet because the eyeshadow is more of a shimmer when dry as opposed to an actual, bold color. I can’t wait to add this Beaute Basics hue into my makeup arsenal!

Do you like to experiment with makeup? Or, like me, do you have a handful of shades that you stick with? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Elizabeth Mott Pop! Goes The Shadow Swatch In Gunmetal

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Elizabeth Mott Pop! Goes The Shadow Swatch In Gunmetal

Hello everyone! It has been a while since I’ve swatched much of anything because I haven’t been wearing a lot of makeup this past year. Due to COVID, I pretty much only go to work and that’s it besides for a monthly grocery shopping trip and getting my nails done. In fact, makeup has been one of the last things on my radar, considering more than half of my face is usually covered by a mask!

Despite not “throwing paint on the old barn” as often as I once did, I am the first to admit that testing out different shades of makeup is a lot of fun. So, I was very thankful to my sister, Kristen, for bestowing some of her makeup hand me downs on to me – some of them were brand new! 😀

Today, we are going to be swatching a very cool gunmetal eyeshadow by Elizabeth Mott. And, can we please talk about how cute the name “Pop! Goes The Shadow” is? Adorable! Take a look at some pics and let’s discuss:

^^^ The top heart is the eyeshadow while wet and the second one is when it’s dry.

Wayyyy back in the day when I was an Assistant Manager at The Body Shop, they had a cream eye liner that I loved in silver. I wore it all the time and the compliments on the bold color never ceased. Although this gunmetal shadow is not nearly as shocking, it still reminds me of one of my makeup OGs and I was just tickled when trying it out. And, the answer is: YES. I do plan on wetting this eyeshadow and wearing it as a liner, of course.

I am a fan of this Elizabeth Mott eyeshadow but, my one complaint is that the color (On my skin, at least) has a lot of brown undertones. This definitely took away from the “wow factor” of a pure gunmetal grey and I wish that it applied more true to the color in the second picture seen above. This is not to say that I didn’t like it, though! It applied easily, washed off easily, and who doesn’t love a lil glitter?! ❤

What is your favorite brand of eyeshadow? Which makeup brand has the best packaging? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Face Mask Festivities: Freeman Manuka Honey & Tea Tree Oil Deep Clearing Clay Mask & Cleanser Edition

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Face Mask Festivities: Freeman Manuka Honey & Tea Tree Oil Deep Clearing Clay Mask & Cleanser Edition

Hi! At least every weekend I try to use a new face mask as a pampering treat after a long week. I am currently using up a pack of six Freeman masks I got from Amazon and, unfortunately, the first two I tried were total duds. It definitely made me ambivalent to try the other masks but I am happy to have had some success because it turns out the third try is a charm!

I loved the Deep Clearing mask I used with Manuka Honey and Tea Tree Oil so take a look at some pics and let’s discuss:

I’ll be honest, I was a little wary of the honey and tea tree combination because I thought it would smell nasty. However, my first impression when I opened the packet was just how good it smelled! It was seriously like oats and honey and it made the rich and creamy texture feel that much more lush and nourishing. The mask was also really easy to apply, despite its thickness, and that is always a bonus because I hate having a struggle to even put the mask on.

I left this mask/cleanser on for about seven minutes and was curious to see how it would wash off. Like the application, the mask was a piece of cake to remove because it doubled as a cleanser too. As I washed it off, it was kind of foamy which helped take the mask off in its entirety without harsh scrubbing – it was really nice!

Yes, the mask application and removal process was the best out of the three Freeman masks I have tried… But how did it leave my skin feeling? The answer is: EXCELLENT! My skin felt so soft, my pores felt like they got a deep clean, and my skin tone looked perfectly even. I legit couldn’t stop rubbing my cheek because it was baby’s bottom smooth. 😀

I would absolutely recommend the Freeman Deep Clearing Manuka Honey & Tea Tree Oil Mask/Cleanser. I haven’t used a mask that left my skin feeling so nourished in a long time and I would be happy to use it again!

Which brand has the best face masks? How do you pamper yourself? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

La Marie Brow Club Update

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La Marie Brow Club Update

Hello!!! Just about two years ago, I had my first microblading appointment at my cousin, Laura’s, studio in Pittsburgh called La Marie Brow Club. At the time, she was renting out the back of a tattoo studio to do her amazing work. Now, for the past year, she owns her own shop with multiple artists working there who specialize in permanent makeup.

Over the weekend, my sister and I went on a road trip so Laura could work her microblading magic on Kristen. Not only does my sister look fabulous but Laura’s new shop is so awesome I just had to share it with all of you! Kristen and I are both already itching to go back for our touch up appointments in December. 🙂

Check it out:

Laura’s last studio was the size of just one of her new microblading rooms in the new shop so this is a major upgrade for her and I am so proud. La Marie Brow Club is closed on Sundays and Laura opened up special for us so we could hang out and Kristen could get her brows done. We had the best time having hours on end of girl talk and pampering and it was so fun to catch up because the last time we saw Laura was on March 19th AKA when all of the bars and restaurants in Ohio closed.

After Kristen’s appointment, we all headed to Laura’s parents for a social distanced take out dinner and then we made our way home to flat Ohio from hilly Pittsburgh. As always, I can’t recommend Laura’s services enough and if you are in the area it is a must to get microbladed by the best!

My touch up appointment in December will be my third time getting microbladed and I seriously cannot wait for round three and road trip round two with Kristen. It was a great day! ❤

Do you have any permanent makeup done? Would you ever get microbladed? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Face Mask Festivities: Freeman Glacier Water & Pink Peony Hydrating Gel Cream Mask Edition

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Face Mask Festivities: Freeman Glacier Water & Pink Peony Hydrating Gel Cream Mask Edition

Hello! During one of my previous Amazon hauls, I ordered a set of six new face masks from Freeman. Unfortunately, the first one I tried was a dud and this gel cream mask just didn’t do anything for me, either. Take a look at some pics and let’s discuss:

When I decided to use this gel cream mask, I thought it sounded so refreshing that it would have to be good. I love gel masks because of their bouncy texture and the glacier water/pink peony combo seemed like it would just add to the enjoyment. So, I prepped my bath water and applied my face mask for an evening of pampering.

As I squeezed the mask into my hand, it reminded me so much of one of my favorite gel masks from The Body Shop and I was taken with the pale blue color it was tinted. The gel cream dried fairly quickly and, as per the instructions, I left it on all night.

The following morning, I was eager to wash my face and see how my skin felt as I had the mask on for well over ten hours at that point. Sadly, I noticed no difference to my skin. In fact, after I got out of the shower my skin felt tight and was practically begging me for my moisturizing routine.

I have never used a gel mask that did this little for me before and I was honestly shocked. With some of my favorite gel masks, it left my skin looking so radiant and feeling hella moisturized but, obviously, all of them can’t be winners. -_-

I definitely wouldn’t recommend this face mask and, as of now, I am striking out on my Freeman haul. Here’s to hoping the next few will be better so keep it posted for more Face Mask Festivities coming soon!

Which face masks would you not recommend? Do you have a favorite gel cream mask? 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 Hunting Party By Lucy Foley Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Hunting Party By Lucy Foley Edition

Howdy and welcome to a new edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Today, we are going to be talking about a book called The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley, without giving any spoilers away, of course. Now, this author might sound familiar to you because I actually just finished up another book of hers a few weeks ago. While I enjoyed the last book I read of Lucy Foley’s well enough, The Hunting Party missed the mark severely.

Read on to find out more and find out what star rating this book ends up with:

It’s a New Year’s bash and anyone who is anyone in the posh “inner circle” will be there. A group of the closest friends who, for the most part, all met during their university years at Oxford. Every New Year, couples Giles and Samira, Julian and Miranda, Mark and Emma, Nick and Bo, and odd one out Katie embarks on a mini vacation to celebrate.

They end up somewhere different each time, as it’s always up to a different person to plan it, and this year they find themselves in the Scottish Highlands. Scenic and beautiful, yes, but extremely remote and with a startling lack of WiFi. Each respective couple has their own tiny cabin on the resort but their primary hang out is the rustic chic Lodge with plush rugs and couches, mounted deer heads, and oh yeah… It’s made entirely of glass.

For the most part, this all sounds relatively nice. However, as the booze is poured, celebratory pills are popped, and a downfall of snow threatens to keep them barricaded all of their dark secrets and rivalries begin to bubble to the surface. The Hunting Party covers their entire New Year’s excursion from the moment they board the train to the ghastly murder that concludes their trip. Anyone and everyone is a suspect and it’s up to you to find out who if you read The Hunting Party.

Similarly to Foley’s last book, The Hunting Party is told in an interweaving tale between beautiful Miranda, homely Emma, quiet Katie, as well as the gamekeeper of the property named Doug, and the property manager called Heather. Similarly to Ruth Ware’s In A Dark, Dark Wood, this book revolves around a celebratory weekend gone awry in a remote location in a house made of glass.

Because of both of these identical nods to books that I have already read, it felt really impossible to enjoy this book. It almost felt like I was reading a combination of Ruth Ware and Lucy Foley instead of individual books from each author. Not to mention the fact that I didn’t particularly care for any of the characters. None of them were incredibly relatable in terms of their personalities, professions, and backstory and I never felt like I was getting “in” to the book. Rather, just speed reading to finish it up.

Perhaps, all of these other issues would be less damning had the grand reveal been amazing. Unfortunately, that fell flat too. I figured it out extremely early and every Red Herring introduced was debunked so quickly that there were no real “twists and turns” throughout the book.

I honestly can’t say that I would recommend The Hunting Party to any of you and have to rate it with a zero out of ten stars. The plot was tired and used before, the characters felt like caricatures instead of real people, and the grand reveal was so simple I think that a fifth grader could figure it out. It is not worth your time and definitely wasn’t worth mine. WHOMP WHOMP.

Have you read any lackluster books lately? Do you have a recommendation for what I should read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah