Review: ORIGINS A Perfect World SPF 40

It took me 6 months to finish using a pot of this sunscreen, so I’m ready to give you my thoughts.

I purchased this product from a recommendation while browsing in Sephora. I went in looking for something that would plump up my skin because I was starting Continue reading “Review: ORIGINS A Perfect World SPF 40”


3 Purse Styles That Every Girl Should Own

Today I am talking about perhaps what is my favorite topic: purses. I love every type of purse and some people may consider me to be a “bag snob”. For some people its cars, shoes, or electronics — everyone has their  kryptonite. After years of buying, selling, and admiring purses I’ve amassed quite a bit of knowledge about them and I’ve distilled down all of the different types into what I think are 3 of the most essential ones that a girl should own for most occasions.



The Louis Vuitton Saumur is a great high-end option

A cross-body purse is essential for traveling, errands, and other casual events that require your hands to be free and your belongings to be secure. Depending on your taste you can go high-end (Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Givenchy have some great ones) or affordable (Coach, Dooney & Bourke, Fossil are a great value buy) but they should all be made of a relatively durable leather or canvas so that it can see all of the wear and tear of frequent use and still come out shining. One of my favorite cross-body bags is my Louis Vuitton Saumur 30 because of the durable canvas and classic design. The more I use the bag the better it looks because of the golden patina that appears on the vachetta leather.

Dooney & Bourke make great quality handbags for an amazing price


Structured Satchel



The Gramercy satchel by Coach is professional and stylish

Second on my list is a structured satchel because every girl needs a bag they can use for their professional life or for a semi-formal event like a garden party or any event that starts before 6 p.m. The satchel should be a neutral color like a white, beige, taupe, gray, brown, navy blue or black so that it can be worn with  many different outfits, but don’t be afraid to have a little fun with it. The Gramercy satchel pictured above is on trend with its gold studs that adorn the face of the bag but they are very muted so as not to seem unprofessional or casual. This style of purse is probably the second most popular type after the tote so every designer will have their take on the satchel. For high-end options, my favorites are the Louis Vuitton Capucines or Hermès Birkin.

The subtle logo and clean lines on this Louis Vuitton Capucines is what makes it a classy and sophisticated selection




This Goyard St. Louis fits everything you need without overly flashy logos

I saved the best for last! The tote is great because the best ones can fit your whole life inside of it, still be comfortable enough to carry around everywhere, and look great. They can be used for work but I would caution against carrying them to events that you want to look very professional because they can seem casual to some. This is bag that can be carried around in your usual daily life and should be in a color that is neutral since it will be used most of the time. Every brand makes tote bags and some of my favorites are the Goyard St. Louis, Louis Vuitton Neverfull, Hermès Garden Party, Longchamp Pilage, Vanessa Bruno Cabas, and Celine Phantom Cabas. There is something so chic and effortless about the tote bag — no wonder everyone carries them!


What do you think are essential styles for a girl to own?




Book Review: Think Like A Freak

The title is a bit misleading. Yeah, that’s what crossed my mind at first too but it’s not what you think it’s about!
This is the actually the third book in a series of books by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, starting with “Freakonomics” and then “Superfreakonomics”. I have not read the first two and I’d never heard of the authors, but I saw this in the library and it intrigued me.

I am always interested in books that delve into understanding the motives and incentives that people are guided by and this book does just that. It explores new ways of thinking to solve problems both global and personal through stories and examples in the realms of business, sports, religion, and many more. Their examples demonstrate how “incentives rule our world” and they actually layout  a simple list of six rules that create an effective incentive scheme for any circumstance. It also goes into the art of persuasion (another one of my favorite topics) and the pointers they give on this subject are ones that I have heard before, but still, they explain abstract ideas and facts that are difficult to believe in an easy and straightforward manner. Another interesting subject that the book concludes with is concerning “failing fast and failing cheap”. We all have heard some sort of version of the virtues of never giving up (in fact just a couple of days ago I tweeted a quote about this) but the authors explore the issue with this sort of aversion for quitting and the opportunity cost of such an unyielding attitude. This subject along with the topic about incentives were the two greatest takeaways for me. I have already made plans on how to use their six step process for incentivizing in both my personal life and my work life, since being a wife and being in management both involve getting people to do things that they really don’t!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I’m always on the lookout for fresh, novel methods for approaching my thinking and this book really brought some new ideas to the table that I had never heard before. If you are like me in that regard, I think you would come away with some new food for thought as well and I highly recommend this book.


My Scathing Beauty Review

This is my review of the Yes! to tomatoes clear skin acne pore scrub. Normally, I don’t bother doing reviews of beauty products because there are people out there in internet land who have probably already done one better than I can do on a huge number of products that I couldn’t use in ten lifetimes. However, I feel very strongly about this product.

In short, I really dislike this face scrub. This is the worst one that I’ve ever tried. Again, not that I have tried an entire aisle’s worth at Bartell’s, but I’ve purchased and used up a fair share to know what a good scrub should be like. It should be grainy, but not lacerating, it should feel like you are scrubbing away any trace amounts of makeup, sweat and grime from the day while revealing the fresh and smooth skin underneath. As you pat your face dry, your skin should feel squeaky clean and ready to drink up whatever moisturizer or serum that comes next in your skin care routine.
If what I just described to you sounds like a face scrub you’d like to try, then don’t buy this one. I have two main gripes with this product, firstly, the size and sensation of the beads and secondly, the inability for the product to remove even the most tiniest amounts of foundation, or lotion or liner from my face.
Let’s start with the beads. The beads are rough and I don’t have particularly sensitive skin. So it doesn’t feel as though I’ve gotten rid of the dead skin and other matter from the surface, it feels like I’ve just taken sand and rubbed it on my face without actually removing and revealing a cleaner layer. It’s as if my old, dead skin cells are still on my face, but just scratched up — not a nice sensation. Also, because the beads are very small, a slightly annoying occurrence that would happen frequently is that they would end up in my lashes and make their way into my eyes. Again, just not a pleasant experience.
On to the actually cleansing aspect of the scrub. I have never had a face scrub or face wash quite do what this one does. It’s like this: it’s the end of the day, you get home, you use a cold cream or makeup remove to remove your makeup and despite doing your best to remove every single patch of foundation and every smudge of liner, there will be some makeup left on your face before you go to use this scrub. Now, normally, this isn’t an issue and a facial scrub will be able to fully remove whatever traces were left, but not if you are using this scrub. I’m not sure what ingredient is specific to this scrub that makes it react the way it does to makeup, but unless your face is a clean surface to begin with, this scrub will take whatever trace foundation remains on your face and turn it into this stubbornly greasy film that just coats your entire face and it will spread your mascara and liner around until it completely smudges around your eyes. I understand that a face scrub is not a makeup remover and I was not using the product in this way, but I would expect that whenever I wash my face with any product, it would make my face cleaner and not coat my face in a greasy film. After using this scrub I end up having to use a different face wash to get my face clean.
So there you have it. I am not one to write negative reviews or positive reviews of makeup products, just because I feel like there are other blogs that specialize in that type of content, but this is one that had to be written due to the very strong feelings I had about it.


Book Review: Mastering Arabic 1, Second Edition

I have been studying Arabic from the book, “Mastering Arabic 1”, by Jane Wightwick and Mahmoud Gaafar, and this morning I just completed the final lesson. I thought a review could be useful to someone planning on learning Arabic from this book so here are my thoughts. I have organized my opinions into pros and cons for ease of reading.


  • Relatively simple to follow for those planning on self-studying: The pace of learning from lesson to lesson is appropriate and while there are certain areas that I wish the book had spent more time on (more exposure to the different verb types and more grammar lessons) these are my personal areas of improvement, and they don’t correlate to any lapse in explanation or content within the book.
  • CDs and pictures: There are 2 CDs the come with the book which are extremely useful as you are learning to pronounce the language. They also help to develop your ability to understand the spoken language instead of just reading and writing, which was one of my goals. The pictures break up the text from becoming one grammar lesson after another and provide visual stimulation to those who learn well from visual aids.
  • Varied and interesting lessons: Many of the lessons in this book are actually fun to complete. They cleverly mix memorization and grammar with recordings, comic strips, diary entries, etc. There was a lot of thought put into these lessons and it shows,
  • Provides a solid foundation of beginning to early intermediate level of Arabic: The lessons are fast-paced but easy to follow. You may have to spend longer on one lesson than another to fully memorize and easily apply the information within, but after only 20 lessons you will be able to speak/read/write in present, future and past tense, count, tell time, possessives, negatives, and create plurals.


  • Spelling and grammatical errors: There were a few typos that I was able to find in the exercises as well as in the answers to exercises. This was confusing and frustrating at times because I incorrectly thought I had misunderstood something when in fact, after verifying with a native Arabic speaker, the book was incorrect. If you have someone who can verify these errors for you it may just be a minor inconvenience, but if you do not have access to such a resource, this could be very confusing,
  • “Dictionary Work”: This is a certain type of exercise that is featured in several lessons that involves the use of a dictionary. The aim of this exercise is to help the student learn to use an Arabic dictionary and also learn the plural, conjugation of verbs, meaning of words, etc. by filling in a chart. Firstly, I do not own an Arabic dictionary and I don’t intend to purchase one because of the number of free dictionaries online that look up the word for me, Also, filling in a chart is a very dull and unexciting method of learning the very dull and unexciting subject that is grammar. There are a number of great lessons in this book that can easily replace all of these “dictionary work” ones, and I hope the authors do in future editions.

Overall, I would recommend this book if you are a first-time Arabic learner. It is appropriate for self-study, but having an native Arabic speaker would be useful for clarification for some typos. The lessons are well-thought out and varied and the CDs and visual aids help keep things interesting. While, the book is fast-paced and covers a lot of different subjects in a short space of time (I finished this book in 3 months), just make sure to keep up with the lessons at your own pace as some areas will need to more self-study beyond the lessons in the book. No one language book can fit the needs of every individual, so additional study beyond the book is and will be necessary for me to feel 100% comfortable with all of the material that was covered in the book. I will be continuing my studies in Arabic and I am searching for another book to increase my vocabulary, comprehension and writing skills. If any of you have suggestions for my next step, please let me know!