Friday, August 31, 2018

Five Friday Favourites

Another very productive week done! I can't believe that tomorrow is the first day of September (and exactly 2 weeks until my birthday!), I had my spring haircut today and my hair is so much shorter and feels so much lighter. I get my hair cut on average once a year always around this time just in
time for Summer.
I submitted a job application on Tuesday for a job that I really want, so I am praying that I get an interview. I also might have an interview for a Christmas casual position next week, I had a phone interview on Wednesday and if I'm successful I will have an interview on either Tuesday or Wednesday. I am trying not overthink it all and just giving it to God and that he will open the right doors and opportunities for me.
I only had half a day of class on Wednesday as my lecturer was sick, which was a welcome surprise especially considering how wet it was. I came home and printed out all my assignments that were due the next day and just relaxed, I know could've used the time more productively but sometimes you just need to do nothing and recharge.

I am after a new quilt cover and I love this one but the price and the fact that it doesn't come in a double is what is making me hesitate! I know I could buy a quilt insert in queen size but I just don't know if I can afford it along with the cost of the cover. My plan is to keep an eye on it online and pray it goes on sale soon and then get a new insert if it does go on sale. It's the only quilt I've seen that I really love since I've started looking, so decisions decisions!

Onto Friday Favourites:

To All The Boys I've Loved Before - I was intrigued by the movie ever since I saw the trailer, though I hadn't read the book (I actually just bought the book this past week to read) I had heard good things about it. This film was a really good and I loved it, it was a great feel good movie and I already have plans to rewatch it in the near future. I love a good rom com and I am glad that they are finally making a comeback.

Maybelline Color Drama Lipstick in Red Essential - it's only been in the past year or so that I have been brave enough to wear red lipstick there was just something about it that was intimidating. I started wearing a red lip tint first as it wasn't as bold and in your face, but I finally took the jump and decided to try and actual red lipstick. I love the Maybelline Color Drama Lipsticks (if they ever discontinue Minimalist I will be not be happy!), they have great staying power, are moisturising and the pigment is amazing. When I decided to take the plunge to buy a red lipstick it made sense to go with a type I liked and I picked Red Essential which is a nice dark red and it's not too bright. A trick I use is to wear it over a tint so that way if any does rub off it's not really noticeable.

Tote Bag: Cute (Kikki K) - as soon as I saw this bag I knew I needed it. So today (Friday's are my retail therapy day) I bought it and its even cuter in person! It's a good size, sturdy and it's super cute and fun, I have no idea what I will use it for but it's a great size that I know I will use it on a regular basis (study stuff, road trip snacks, books …).

Enamel Pin Quote: Cute (Kikki K) - because I like things to match, I knew I had to buy this pin when I bought the bag. Enamel pins are on trend at the moment and I love how they can add a fun element to everyday outfits. I have been wearing this cat pin on my jacket and people also comment how cute it is once they notice it. I love how this pin is a quote but its still super cute and fun, I can't wait to wear it.

Porcelain Bowls 2Pk: Wonderful (Kikki K) - I like to have places where I can put all the odds and ends in my room that I come across and I have quite a few jewellery dishes which are great but when I saw these bowls I knew I could find a use for them. I actually only kept one (the butterfly one) and gave one to my sister. I really like how classic the design is and the gold rimming, they won't look out of place in your kitchen (they are food safe) or your bedroom which is great.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Books You Should Read

So I have been on a bit of a reading kick lately and thankfully NetGalley has kept me going with various books to read. The following books are the ones I received in exchange for review and I really enjoyed reading. More than a few took me by surprise with how much I loved them and I will admit that I did shed a few tears while reading a couple. If you are a after a new book to read then any of the ones on this list I highly recommend!

It Ends With You by S.K Wright out 6th of September - the blurb reads:
'If I'd told the truth, it would have been fiction.' 
Everyone loves Eva. Beautiful, bright, fun, generous - she's perfect.
So when her body is found in a ditch in the local woods the only thing anyone wants to know is: Who could have done this?
It has to be Luke, her boyfriend. He has the motive, the means, the opportunity and he's no stranger to the police.
Even though the picture is incomplete, the pieces fit. But as time passes, stories change.
It Ends With You is clever and compulsive. It challenges preconceptions, makes you second-guess yourself with each chapter, and it holds an uncomfortable mirror up to the way societies and systems treat outsiders

I found it hard at first to get into this book but once it got going I could not put it down, if you like mysteries and books that will keep you hanging on until the last minute then you will love this book. I did find it ended unexpectedly so be prepared to be left hanging, so I am hoping for a sequel soon but it was a great YA read.

Perfect Harmony by  Emily Albright out 25th of September - the blurb reads:
Pippa Wyndham is a top cellist―she’d never settle for anything less. Determined to get into the nation’s most prestigious music college, nothing’s going to stand in her way . . . Until her senior year of high school when a new guy from a fancy New York conservatory transfers to her school. 

Declan Brogan’s cocky, and he knows how amazing he is at the cello. He has every intention of knocking Pippa out of first chair and showing her who really belongs on top. Forced together when assigned a duet, their personal competition and mutual dislike transform into a teasing friendship.

Torn between her childhood crush and the boy who threatens her dreams, Pippa finds herself at risk of losing her best friend, her future, and the boy who makes her heart melt. Struggling to make things right, Pippa discovers that sometimes the thing you want the most doesn’t always end up being the thing you need.

This book was a pleasant surprise and one I have no doubt will be read by many in the coming months. I enjoyed reading about Pippa and how driven she was, there are times when reading a book I wish they had a soundtrack to go with them and this was one of those times! I would've loved to have heard Pippa and Declan's playing and duet. I'm not a musical person at all but I really enjoyed this book and still found I could relate to the struggles that Pippa was going through.

The Last Wish of Sasha Cade by Cheyanne Young out 2nd of October - the blurb reads:
How far would you go for your best friend?

The day Raquel has been dreading for months has finally arrived. Sasha, her best friend in the whole world, has died of cancer. Overwhelmed and brokenhearted, Raquel can’t even imagine life without her.

And then a letter from Sasha arrives. Has she somehow found a way to communicate from beyond the grave?

In fact, Sasha spent her final weeks planning an elaborate scavenger hunt for the friend she would have to leave behind. When Raquel follows the instructions to return to Sasha’s grave, a mysterious stranger with striking eyes is waiting for her. There’s a secret attached to this boy that only Sasha – and now Raquel – knows.

This boy, Elijah, might be just who Raquel needs to help her move on from her terrible loss. But can Raquel remain true to herself while also honoring her friend’s final wish?

Cheyanne Young’s compulsively readable breakout novel offers abiding friendship and forbidden romance, along with an incisive look at how class differences shape who we are and who we grow to be

I LOVED this book, I had no idea what to expect going into it but it was so good. I cried so much while reading it but apart from that I have no complaints. It reminded me a bit of 13 Reasons Why if the tapes were positive and about drawing people together, not getting revenge. I liked how it didn't focus or dwell on the cancer rather focusing on Sasha's life and helping Rocky move on while also remembering her friendship and bond she had with Sasha. The characters were great and I could not fault this book in the slightest.

Burden of Proof by DiAnn Mills out 9th of October - the blurb reads:
FBI Hostage Negotiator April Ramos becomes a hostage herself in this race to find out the truth before the real murderer gets away.

While it did take me a few chapters to get into this book, I did end up enjoying this book and it was a great read. I am not normally of fan of mystery and crime fiction but this book was just what I needed to read. DiAnn Mills reminded a bit of Dee Henderson and her novels so if you are a fan of her's then definitely read this book. Despite it being a mystery and crime novel it was not at all dark. I loved the characters of April and Jason and it was great to see how they wrestled with their views during such a rough time. April wants to do what's right by the law but at the same time wants to help Jason get justice. Jason want's justice but also wants to put his daughter first and not put anyone else in danger.
It was a great read and a story I am glad I read.

Delayed Justice by Cara C Putman out 16th of October - the blurb reads:

She had long given up the desire to be loved. Now she only needed to be heard.

This thrilling installment of the Hidden Justice series explores the healing power of resolution and the weight of words given voice. And as Jaime pursues delayed justice of her own, she unearths eternal truths that will change the course of her life

I have yet to read any of the other books in this series but regardless I enjoyed this book and loved reading about Jaime's story. It's a story about strength and finding the courage to face your past. I found it slow moving at times and there were a few storylines that I felt could've been left out as they didn't make sense. Overall it was an enjoyable read and I am planning on reading the other books in the series.

On Magnolia Lane by Denise Hunter out 6th of Novemeber - the blurb reads:
Pastor Jack McReady has secretly carried a torch for Daisy for two long years. She’s a member of his congregation, after all, and she’ll never see him as more than a trusted counselor. Jack’s best friend Noah has taken every opportunity to encourage his lovesick friend, but when Noah catches wind that Daisy has joined an online dating site, he takes matters into his own hands and orchestrates a meet-cute of the most unconventional kind.

Owner of the local flower shop, Daisy Pendleton is content with her small-town life, but she’d sure like someone to share it with. After several disastrous first dates, she’s about to give up—and then she finds a seemingly wonderful man online. Daisy gets to know TJ through a series of messages but finds herself spending more time with Pastor Jack outside of the church at the same time. What she doesn’t know is that her online prospect and Jack are one and the same.

Just as Daisy’s love life starts to look promising, a mysterious woman appears in town. Daisy is faced with a revelation about her family that turns her world upside down, and she looks to both TJ and Jack for help.

Jack must find a way to reveal himself as her online suitor without breaking her heart and losing her trust. As Daisy faces Jack’s betrayal, she’ll have to learn to extend grace to herself, her family, and the man she’s grown to love.

I love Denise Hunter and her books never fail to transport me away to various places and this book made me want to find a small town to live in and start a flower shop. I loved the story of Jack and Daisy, it was a great story and you could tell from the start they were meant to be.
I loved that it wasn't just a love story, it was a story about finding family and forgiveness. It was a great book and a must read.

A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa Sheinmel out 5th of February - the blurb reads:
Girl, Interrupted meets We Were Liars in this gripping new novel from New York Times bestselling author Alyssa Sheinmel

Four walls. One window. No way to escape.

Hannah knows there’s been a mistake. She didn’t need to be institutionalized. What happened to her roommate at that summer program was an accident. As soon as the doctors and the judge figure out she isn’t a danger to herself or others, she can go home to start her senior year. Those college applications aren’t going to write themselves. Until then, she’s determined to win over the staff and earn some privileges so she doesn’t lose her mind to boredom.

Then Lucy arrives. Lucy has her own baggage, and she’s the perfect project to keep Hannah’s focus off all she is missing at home. But Lucy may be the one person who can get Hannah to confront the secrets she’s avoiding—and the dangerous games that landed her in confinement in the first place.

Alyssa Sheinmel is one of those authors who I would love to meet and pick her brain about where she gets the ideas for her books and how can write novels that are capture living with a mental illness perfectly. This book did not disappoint and if you have loved her past books it's a must read.
I had no idea what to think of Hannah at the start, she was a confusing character to the say the least  though a part of me felt mad on Hannah's behalf and how she was being treated. But as the book went on my feelings started to change about Hannah and how I felt about her and as much as the book was a journey about Hannah it was also a journey of my feelings regarding Hannah and her situation. I had no idea where the book was going and I honestly don't know what to write about this book as I feel that describing it won't do it justice and you really must read it for yourself to get the full experience.
This book is a must read and while it is dark in areas, I am so glad I read it and I have no doubt that this book will stay with me for a long time.
My one complaint is that this book needs a sequel with more of Hannah's story, I just feel like Hannah's story isn't complete yet.

***I was provided with an e-book copy of each of the following books from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are my own :)

Friday, August 17, 2018

Five Friday Favourites

It's been a crazy fortnight mainly because of assignments, I have 4 weeks of assignments due then a 2 week break with no assignments followed by another 2 weeks of assignments before I go on break -talk about busy! I am on top of things at the moment and I only have 1 more I need to complete, which is a big one but my aim was to get all the small ones completed then just focus on this assignment which is super stressful but it means I can focus all my energy on it now.
I've also had a high anxiety week and have really had to focus just on me, I always hate these periods of time as I feel so selfish and often avoid certain people just to keep my anxiety levels as low as possible. I have to remind myself that in order to help people and not have a break down or get burnt out, sometimes I just need to hideaway for a while and that is ok!
So these are the sunglasses I bought. The one's on the left are my spare pair and while I do like them I feel like are more a statement piece and the one's on the right are my everyday pair (which are also polarised), I just feel like the shape and style are more me. I am loving the difference it makes to wear them while I drive and things are definitely more clearer now which is great!
I needed to get new windscreen wiper blades the other day (we've been having so much rain here!) on my car and being someone who knows nothing about cars my father pointed me in the direction of Autobarn (it needed to be done before another cold front hit and he was working). They measured the blades and when it turned out I needed new wipers they found the correct ones and switched them out for me for free. The customer service was amazing and I will definitely be going back there again, I am told they will also do the same for car light globes and batteries too so it's good to know when you know nothing about cars. Not a paid advertisement I just figured more people should know about them.

I took Rikki to the vet today as he had a wound on his back that was not healing, $200 later including antibiotics, anti-inflammatory's and a cone (of shame) to wear to stop him licking the wound and he should be ok. He does have to stay inside for 2 weeks though and I have a feeling I won't be his favourite person for a while!

90210 (TV show) - I find that studying such intense subjects means when I get home I just want to relax and watch something not intense, I'm normally all about comedy but lately I have been wanting something different (apologies Brooklyn Nine Nine!). This show is great for me, its just high school drama set in Beverly Hills and the perfect thing to watch after studying. I'm not going to lie this isn't for everyone but if you want something to just escape to that isn't intense or dark then this show is for you.

Dazzling Daisies Open Ring - so if you follow me on Instagram you will have noticed that last Saturday I had to get the stacking rings on my right ring finger cut off as they would not budge (believe me I tried everything!) and while I'm giving my finger a break I am looking at what to replace them with. I like the idea of this ring as it will compliment the other rings I wear all the time (on my little fingers) and its a nice delicate statement ring. I'm in no rush as I always feel like I am getting judged for how big my fingers are (the biggest ring size will fit on my ring finger - apologies to whoever proposes to me eventually just buy the biggest size you can get!). Also this Pandora charm is my most favourite ever and never fails to make me smile when I see it on my bracelet.

Foil Hail Scarf - I think I'm slowly turning into my mother with the amount of scarfs I own! This scarf really caught my, I love how the print is sparkly but subtle and for the price you can't go wrong.  I ended up buying it in both black and white and it's the perfect way to add a bit of sparkle to any outfit.

Kikki K A5 to do list pad sweet - I love Kikki K and most of the stationery I use is from there (cute motivates me to study!), so of course I had to buy this to do list when I saw it in store. I use to do lists to keep my life in order and I really like how cute this one is plus the size is perfect. I also got this enamel cat pin in the same range which is super cute and the perfect way to show your love of cats.

Chocolate Swirl Cinnamon Streusel Coffeecake - I've made this cake quite a few times now and I love it. The house smells amazing while it's baking and while it is a lot of work its worth it and the combination of chocolate and cinnamon is an odd one it makes this cake. I actually made the cake into cupcake form for bible study and it was a lot let messy to eat, I also use a mix of half milk and half light sour cream which makes the batter easier to spread (though the streusel will sink a bit). To make into cupcakes I just used a teaspoon of batter followed by a teaspoon of the swirl mix (and some chopped chocolate) and another teaspoon of batter topped with the streusel mix (and chopped chocolate). I baked them for around 20 minutes and they turned out amazingly. If you want a new recipe to try I suggest you make these this weekend.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Getting out of the comfort zone

At the start of this year my psychologist gave me the goal to get waaaay out of my comfort zone and challenge myself. I have slowly been getting out of my comfort zone over the years but this year she really wanted me to push myself and not be afraid to take chances. To be honest I had no idea how to go about this, because I like my comfort zone and it was going to be a challenge for me to even think of ways to get out of my comfort zone!
My first real challenge of the year was when I had my panic attack on my second day of TAFE and I still went back to campus and not only switched courses but switched campuses too. This was just out of my comfort zone and something that I would've never been able to do a year ago. So the year was off to good start.
I then had another trip over east to celebrate ReachOut's 20th Birthday in March, which was maybe between my comfort zone and out of comfort zone as I had had a similar trip in November prior. But I did get to explore the city on my own so that counted towards it being out of my comfort zone.
The rest of the year has been rather uneventful, I mean I have attended events where I have barely known anyone but other than that I have remained firmly planted in my comfort zone.
Until I realised that maybe I should go big or go home, this is a decision I am still questioning and I get anxious even thinking about it! In November down south all the school leavers gather for a week long celebration, it can get out of hand and very crazy.
Thankfully an organisation has stepped up to help make safe areas and provide support to the school leavers, this organisation requires 200 volunteers. It also just happened to have Diploma Prac program where you could get credit for volunteering. A few church friends of mine do it every year and they encouraged me to do it as I would be perfect for it, especially considering my studies and how amazing it is. So while I was finishing off my Cert. 4 I applied to volunteer (this was after I had been accepted into the Diploma of Community Services) and got one of the ten diploma prac placements because it was now or never. My anxiety immediately spiked after I had submitted everything (including payment to cover accommodation and food) and I started freaking out. I pretty much prayed to God that if I should be doing it, he would sort out all the logistics including the details with my course coordinator (as remember I applied when I was still doing my Cert. 4!) and my anxiety levels. So I start my diploma, I explain what I have signed up to do to my course coordinator figuring if he says no then I would contact them and withdraw my application (which I could do). But of course he looks into it and says I could do it and not just that he would drive down to personally check on me despite being told prior (by the department head who had given me a verbal approval of it) that he wouldn't be able to due to the distance and time. So it's happening and come November I will be getting waaay out of my comfort zone and as always God has done all the work to make it happen.
I am freaking out to say the least, but I figure God is on my side and I am thankful that I now know 3 people who are on the team with me (my friends who encouraged me to apply and my cousin). Everyone I have mentioned it to has told me what a great opportunity it is and how I will enjoy it, but it still hasn't eased my anxieties about it.
I don't know what I intend to get out of it, maybe new networks and friends, maybe new memories, I don't really know, all I know is that its time for me take chances and not be so afraid to get out of my comfort zone.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Five Friday Favourites

Another week over which means 3 weeks into my diploma and things are getting a bit less overwhelming but I still find myself freaking out now and then. I assignments are due from next week onwards which is crazy but a plus of having anxiety is that I keep on top of my assignments and never leave anything to the last minute!
I finally got round to ordering some prescription sunglasses, they should be ready early next week which is great. I kept putting off getting new sunglasses as my $30 pair was fine but I soon realised that maybe I should get some as I found myself squinting at road signs at times, then the other week a lense popped out of my sunglasses (and I struggled to get it in) and I figured I should finally get round to getting some sunglasses with my script in instead of buying another pair for $30 which wouldn't help my eyesight. As I'm on my parents insurance still (I'm studying and under 25) every year I get $120 towards a pair of glasses and as I got glasses last year this year I decided to get sunglasses. I actually got two pairs for $210 (after insurance) as I figure I am so clumsy its better to get 2 pairs just in case I break one. I also live in my sunglasses in summer as I am sensitive to light and it's also handy to have a pair in my car and a pair in my handbag.
This weekend I am off to a Christian Women's Convention in the city which should be good and I am bound to run into some familiar faces which will be good.

Onto Friday Favourites:

9-1-1 (tv show) - this show had me on the edge of my seat and while it was consistently intense every episode was good. I loved the cast and how they all interacted and while each episode focussed on a few emergencies they weren't the whole focus and rather how relationships were tested and how the emergencies shaped the workers.

Teatree Oil Manuka Honey Healing Balm - as someone who is super clumsy its a must for me to have a good antiseptic cream and ever since I bought this cream I have been using it for any cut/scrape/scratch I get to great success. Teatree is a natural antiseptic and manuka honey is meant to help promote healing, I honestly have no idea if I heal quicker compared to using another antiseptic cream but it does absorb nicely into the skin and is a good all round cream.

Brooklyn Nine Nine Comic Con Panel video - while I couldn't attend comic con (as unfortunately teleportation isn't a thing haha) this was the next best thing! I love Brooklyn Nine Nine and to see all the cast together on a panel was amazing, just seeing the cast chemistry and how alike they are to their characters. If you love the show this is a  much watch and it's great to get some insides scoops for the up and coming season.

Caramel M&Ms - I LOVE M&Ms, I eat them weekly - for TAFE I take a small container with nuts and M&Ms in to give me an energy boost and then there's the times when I need a chocolate boost when I am at home. So of course I had to try the new caramel ones and they are amazing. I could easily eat a whole bag and I just love how the caramel adds an unexpected touch to them. If you haven't tried them then you are missing out.

Muppets singing acapella - I can't believe it has taken me so long to find this video, its hilarious and a great take on the song Cool Kids.