Book Club: Ask Again, Yes

It is book club day! Today I am reviewing my pick for May, Ask Again, Yes, by Mary Beth Keane.  I actually finished this book a couple of weeks ago, so I hope I can remember it enough to write this review.  I did enjoy this book, but I wouldn’t say it was one of my favorites.  It was a quick read that kept my interest throughout.  I did feel sometimes that the story changed tense and went back and forth between whose point of view the story was written from.  I don’t know if it really was changing tense and point of view per se, but I did find it odd and a bit confusing at times.  I also find it interesting that Keane chose this particular title for the book.  While it is sort of a line from the book closer to the end of the story, I’m not really sure that it would have been the title I ended up with had I been the author.  I guess it in a way captures the underlying theme of the book, but I just don’t know if everyone would have caught the quick few lines that the title came from as it isn’t a direct quote. I think I would give this story 3.5 out of 5 stars.  It was good, but there was just something about the writing style that was a bit off for me.  I can’t quite put my finger on it, though. 

Ask Again, Yes is a story that revolves around two families, the Stanhopes and the Gleesons, and how their lives intertwined.  The patriarchs of both families, Brian Stanhope and Frank Gleeson, met as young adults when they both entered the police force in New York at the same time and were rookie partners.  While their friendship wasn’t a very strong one and they were only partners for a few months, they ended up as next door neighbors in a quaint little suburban neighborhood as they were just beginning their families.  Not long after they became neighbors, the Gleesons had their third child, a daughter named Kate, and the Stanhopes had their one and only child, a son named Peter.  These two youngsters quickly developed a bond that was unbreakable. Sadly, the Stanhope family was plagued by mental illness and alcohol abuse that led to an unspeakable tragedy that turned both families upside down and tore Kate and Peter apart the summer before their senior year of high school.  That night was one that would haunt both families for the rest of their lives.  It sent both Kate and Peter down very different paths.  Peter suddenly lost both of his parents when his mother was sent to a mental hospital and his alcoholic father left him in the care of his uncle. He was left to cope with the loss of Kate and the terrible tragedy that ripped him away from her all on his own. As a college student Peter headed down a dark place as he himself became an alcoholic.  Kate on the other hand was left with a feeling of abandonment from losing Peter and was conflicted over her loyalty to her family and her loyalty to Peter. 

Years after being ripped apart, Peter and Kate found their way back to each other. Their love for each other and the bond they shared remained, but they were both very different people than the ones they knew as children.  Despite this, they married and began a family of their own, but the two struggled to overcome the events of that night that ripped them apart all those years ago.  The story continues as these two deal with the demons of their past that sent them down a path of discovery to find out if their childhood bond was enough to sustain their relationship despite all they had been through. Their story was one of tragedy and disappointment, but also one of great love, forgiveness, and redemption. 

My pick for June is a New York Times Best Seller that was actually recommended by one of the founders of Trades of Hope.  It is also a Reece Witherspoon Book Club Pick. It is entitled The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi.  This book is set in India and is the fictional story of a young girl who escapes an abusive marriage to the city of Jaipur.  Here she becomes the most sought-after henna artist to some of India’s wealthiest women.  This story reportedly gives a glimpse of India’s history, including their caste system.  This very much piques my interest after learning the many stories of Trades of Hope artisans who have risen up from the lowest caste system in India. I am very much looking forward to diving into this book and learning more about India.  Here is what Apple Books has to say about this story.

“What if, with the flick of a brush, you could paint yourself out of all your pain and unhappiness—and into a brand new life? For teenager Lakshmi, fleeing an abusive marriage in 1950s India means heading for the vibrant city of Jaipur. Once Lakshmi has settled, her artistic talents make her the city’s most sought-after henna painter, hired to adorn the hands and bodies of the rich, powerful women. Told through evocative, lush prose, Alka Joshi’s gorgeous debut novel uses one woman’s compelling story to explore a nation in the middle of earthshaking transitions. We were so wonderfully absorbed in Lakshmi’s journey that we didn’t even realize how much we were learning about India’s complicated history, and about colonialism, social upheaval, and the caste system. The Henna Artist is a full sensory experience, transporting us to another time and another place.”

Will you come along and read with me?

Anchored in a Good Book,

*This post contains commissioned links. Should you choose to purchase items using these links, I may earn a small commission.

Book Club: The Tea Girl on Hummingbird Lane

Yet again, I am off a week on book club.  I just can’t get it together.  Honestly, I didn’t realize that last Friday was the last one in the month. For some reason I had it in my head that today was the last day of April.  Oh well, better late than never, right? For April, I chose The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See. I have to say that I really liked this book up until the very last page.  I thought it was a great story that held my interest throughout, but I was shocked when I got to the last page only to discover that was the end of the book.  I turned the page expecting to continue reading, but there was nothing.  This is one of those books where I immediately thought that there had to be a sequel.  Surely, the story doesn’t really end there.  I NEED to know what happens next, but I will never know.  I am left to imagine what happens next in my head.  I assume that is what Lisa See wanted the reader to do, but it still leaves me longing for more.  I know I say that about a lot of the stories that I review.  I never really want them to end, but this one was different.  I was just so surprised at how the story ended leaving me with an unfinished feeling.

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane is a story of a young girl, Li-yan (or Girl as her family affectionately called her), who grew up in the mountains of China among the Akha.  The Akha people were tea famers who were steeped in customs, rituals, and traditions (including strict roles for men and women).  They lived in the mountains with little to no knowledge of the world outside of their village with no electricity, plumbing, or creature comforts even in 90’s and into the new millennium.  The lived off the land and the very little money they made harvesting the tea leaves.  Li-yan’s mother, A-ma, was a healer of sorts and served as the midwife in the village.  She believed that Li-yan would take over for her as the village’s midwife once she was gone.  She brought Li-yan along with her for one birth in particular as a learning opportunity.  This birth was unusual as the mother gave birth to twins.  The Akha people believed that twins were a bad omen from the spirits and called the newborns “human rejects.” It was their custom to have the babies’ father to kill the human rejects and bury them outside the village in the woods in order to please the spirits.  Her witness to this custom along with her own young love and unexpected pregnancy led Li-yan to question and turn away from the rituals and beliefs of her family.  It sent her on a journey of hardship and loss. She not only discovered who she was and what she truly believed in, but it also led her right back to the family and traditions that she once ran from where she was able to bless her people in ways they never dreamed possible.

Despite my need to know more at the end of this story, I still really enjoyed it and would highly recommend it to you all.  It was such a great story, and I will hold on to hope that a sequel will be written one day. See’s development of the characters was so well done that it helped me totally picture what it was like to live in those mountains, the reality of the hardships the Akha people faced because of their beliefs, and the incredible hard work it took them to harvest the tea leaves.  Despite my need to know more, I still really enjoyed this story and would recommend it to you all.  It was such a great story about the unbreakable bond between mothers and daughters, and I will hold on to hope that a sequel will be written one day. This story truly was one of growth and change, and I really loved it.

My pick for May is a New York Times Bestseller that was named one of the best books of the year last year by PeopleVogueParade, NPR, and Elle.  Ask Again, Yes is a novel by Mary Beth Keane.  This is a story of the lifelong friendship and love of Peter Stanhope and Kate Gleeson and the night that changed them both and tested their bond for many years to come. Here is what Apple Books had to say about this novel.

“We lost track of time reading Mary Beth Keane’s novel about two families linked by professional and neighborly bonds—before they’re blown apart by tragedy. Ask Again, Yes centers on the Gleesons and the Stanhopes, two families whose fathers met as rookie policemen and whose children develop a deep and lasting bond. Keane is sympathetic to all of her characters, which makes the story of how one destructive person can harm a web of relationships all the more affecting. Like a brilliant painter’s use of negative space, Keane withholds certain information to make this saga a thrilling and moving read.”

Will you come along and read with me?

Anchored in a Good Book,

*This post contains commissioned links. Should you choose to purchase items using these links, I may earn a small commission.

Friday Favorites: Makeup Removers

I want to start by saying that every single person on the planet should wash their face every morning and every night.  Period. There should never be an excuse for not washing your face, especially if you wear makeup.  NEVER go to bed with makeup on! I personally think that everyone should have some type of skincare routine, but you should at least remove your makeup every night if nothing else.  I am not going to get into my whole skincare routine today. I will save that for another post.  However, I do want to talk about the very first step to my routine, and that is removing my makeup.  I follow a two-step process using two products to rid my face of all makeup, and that is what I am going to share with you today.  

The first thing I do when I am getting ready for bed at night is to remove my makeup using a Norwex Microfiber Body Cloth.  If you have never heard of Norwex before, it is a direct sales company that sells environmentally friendly cleaning products for your home and body without the use of harmful chemicals. They are a great company and have so many amazing products that I highly recommend you check out.  Anyway, I love the Microfiber Body Cloths to remove my makeup for several reasons. One is that it only requires water to remove my makeup.  I just wet the cloth with warm water and gently wipe away all traces of makeup.  Another reason that I love these cloths is that I can get 8 uses out of one cloth before having to wash it.  I like to fold mine into quarters and use only one quarter per night.  Each night when I am done, I rinse it thoroughly, wring it out well, and then use the tag to easily hang it to dry.  Then it is ready for me to use another quarter then next night.  A third reason I love these cloths is that they come in sets of 3 and in a few different colors for a very affordable price.  These towels are super soft and gentle on my skin, and they easily remove all traces of my makeup and prep it for the rest of my skincare routine.  I have been using them for about 3 or 4 years now, and I love them. 

While the Norwex cloths are great, they don’t seem to remove all of my mascara that well.  It does remove some, but it would take more rubbing to remove it all.  I am very careful with not rubbing my eye area too strongly because the skin around your eyes is thin and delicate.  I don’t want to cause any more wrinkles than necessary! As part of my second step in my makeup removal routine, I use Rodan + Fields Essentials Complete Eye Makeup Remover.  This oil-free, dual-phase remover gently erases all traces of mascara, including hard to remove waterproof mascara.  I have tried numerous eye makeup removers over the years with very little success. Either they don’t work, leave your eyes with a greasy feeling, or cause an allergic reaction for me. I have very sensitive eyes and many eye products irritate my eyes.  They cause me to get little white allergy bumps all underneath my eye lids which are very irritating.  Anyway, the R+F Eye Makeup Remover does not do this.  It is safe for sensitive skin and doesn’t leave a greasy residue.  I simply shake it well to activate the ingredients, apply it to one of these Cotton Rounds, and then gently swipe it across my lashes. (I prefer the cotton rounds to cotton balls because they require less product to be effective.) The eye makeup remover works great and does not require harsh rubbing.  It also contains ingredients like biotin that help to nourish and strengthen your lashes. It is by far my favorite eye makeup remover for sensitive eyes.

Once I have all of my makeup removed using these two products, I follow through with the rest of my skincare routine. If you get nothing else from this post, I hope that you get the importance of at least washing off your makeup every day.  It honestly doesn’t matter what you use as long as it isn’t just a regular bar of soap that is not made for your face.  Leaving makeup on will clog your pores, cause unwanted breakouts, and lead to signs of aging faster.  Plus, it just makes you feel better and more refreshed when you have a clean face.  You only get one face, so you better take care of it!  As Rachel Hollis says, “Girl, wash your face!!”

Anchored,

friday Favorites: Top 5

It’s Friday, and we have made it through another week of social distancing.  Honestly, if it weren’t for this blog, I probably wouldn’t know what day it was anymore.  They just all seem to blur together these days. Anyway, Friday means that I get to share with you some of my favorite things. It has been a while since I have done a top 5 favorites post, so I figured I would do one today.  I have a few things that I am loving right now that I wanted to share with you.  They are all totally random things, but I love them each of them.  

1. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

I know this wasn’t part of my book club for this month, but I have been wanting to read this book for some time.  I figured now was as good of time as any with all the free time I have.  I started this one at the beginning of this week and finished it in about 4 days.  It was a great story about motherhood, mother-daughter relationships, teenage love, race, and economic and social class.  I really enjoyed this story a lot. I wanted to finish it because there is also now an original series based on the book on Hulu staring Reese Witherspoon and Kerri Washington.  I started watching it yesterday after I finished the book and am 3 or 4 episodes in.  While the series is good, I always struggle when the storyline differs from that in the book.  I’m one of those people that often will say that the book was better than the movie or series.  I think that is just the book junkie in me.  I will continue to watch it until the end though because I really did enjoy the book.  What else do I have to do these days anyway?  Here is what Publisher’s Weekly had to say about Little Fires Everywhere.

“This novel from Ng is both an intricate and captivating portrait of an eerily perfect suburban town with dark undertones not-quite-hidden from view and a powerful and suspenseful novel about motherhood. When the eccentric and itinerant artist Mia Warren and her 15-year-old daughter, Pearl, move into a rental house in Shaker Heights, Ohio, one summer, neither they nor their more conventional, affluent landlords, the Richardsons, have any reason to anticipate how dangerously enmeshed the two families will become. Before long, Pearl, enthralled by her first shot at a “normal” life, is spending every day with three of the four Richardson children, Lexie, Moody, and Trip, finding a best friend, a suiter, and a lover in turn. Meanwhile, Isabelle, the youngest Richardson teenager, starts heading over to see Mia, offering to work as her assistant but really looking for an escape. As both Mrs. Richardson and Mia Warren overstep their boundaries, Ng explores the complexities of adoption, surrogacy, abortion, privacy, and class, questioning all the while who earns, who claims, and who loses the right to be called mother. This is an impressive accomplishment.”

2. Easter M&M’s

I love M&M’s.  I’m not a peanut fan or really a fan of any other M&M’s other than the original plain one.  However, there is something about the Easter ones that I like better than the regular ones.  I don’t know if has anything to do with the coloring as all of the Easter ones are pastel colors or what, but they taste different to me. I just like them even better than the regular ones (which I still love a lot). I can’t really explain it, but I love Easter M&M’s so much.  Maybe I am just weird and it’s all psychological, but there is something about them that makes them taste better to me. 

3. Glass Nail File

A few months ago, I did not know that glass nail files even existed.  A friend of mine who is a rep. for Color Street (nail wraps), sent me a glass nail file with an order I had placed with her.  At first, I wasn’t sure it I would like it because it feels weird and different from what I am used to, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that I actually like it a lot. I looked up what made them better than regular nail files just to see what I could find.  An Allure article from August 30, 2012 states, “Glass files, also known as crystal files, regardless of how they are used, seal the keratin layers together at the edge of the nail, preventing peeling and chipping.  Traditional nail files should be used filing in one direction only, but they rarely are, and filing in both directions causes the layers of keratin to shred, leaving the edge thinner and more prone to peeling and chipping. Another bonus is that glass files can be sanitized and sterilized.” Basically, it is better for your nails than a regular cardboard or metal one, and they last longer.  If you have never tried a glass file or you have brittle nails, I would recommend you consider giving one a try. 

4. Tide PODS HE Turbo Laundry Detergent-Ocean Mist

I don’t know what kind of laundry detergent you use, but I thought I would share my favorite.  I love the ease of pods, and Tide has always worked well for me.  The one I use is Tide PODS HE Turbo-Ocean Mist.  It smells so good and is by far my favorite. I love the smell of my clothes and towels when they come out of the dryer.  I typically order it in the large plastic containers from Amazon, but I was having trouble finding it in the large size today.  I found it in a smaller package, though.  I really hope that means they aren’t doing away with that scent. I would be very upset! 

5. Desktop Phone Stand

I got this phone stand on the recommendation of another blogger that I follow, and I have used it way more than I even thought I would.  Sometimes I will prop my phone up on it when I am getting ready in the mornings and watch videos or listen to podcasts.  Recently, I have used it to hold my phone when I am doing live videos.  It is the perfect size and is easily portable. I also love that you can charge your phone while it is in the stand without messing up the cord.  The rose gold is also super cute.  

That’s a wrap on my top 5 favorites for today.  I hope everyone is staying healthy at home! 

Anchored,

*This post contains commissioned links. Should you choose to purchase items using these links, I may earn a small commission. 

Book Club: When Time Stopped

I know that I normally do my book club book review on the last Friday of the month.  However, I was so excited to share my new CAUSEBOX last week that I kind of forgot that it was the end of the month.  In all honesty though, I actually had not finished reading the book last week.  I know that I have had plenty of time to read lately, and I said I was going to jump on reading my March pick, When Time Stopped by Ariana Neumann, when this whole coronavirus thing began. I did try to start reading the book, but I had a really hard time getting into it initially. This book is the real-life story of the author’s quest to find the truth of her father’s secret past and survival during the Holocaust.   I honestly had high hopes for this story as I have read many historical fiction books about the same time period. I was fascinated with the thought of reading about a real-life story during that time.  Unfortunately, I was struggling at the beginning because it just wasn’t holding my interest. I found myself having to reread pages and paragraphs because I had zoned out.  In the initial chapters the author was setting up the story and how she came to find out that her father even had a secret past.  She was introducing a lot of the characters who had similar names and I was having a hard time keeping them all straight in my head and how they connected to the story as a whole.  It wasn’t until around chapters 10 and 11 that she really got to the meat of the story and where my interest picked up.  Although I still find the events of that time period very intriguing and the storyline did eventually develop, I really didn’t enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. I didn’t hate it and did find parts of it very interesting. It just didn’t seem to live up to my expectations.

Ariana Neumann’s father was Jewish man who grew up in Prague and was a young man when Germany first occupied the Czech Republic.  Although he was not a practicing Jew, “for the Nazis, Judaism was not a choice but a ‘race’ determined by your grandparents. What you believed or practiced did not matter; what was important was your genetic makeup.”  Neumann only learned that her father had a secret past after his death when she found a box of documents, letters, and photographs that her father had left for her. For most of her childhood in Venezuela, she was even unaware that her family was Jewish as her father never spoke to anyone of his past.  One of the documents she found in the box was an identification card that had a photograph of her father but identified him as someone under a totally different name and date of birth.  This box led her on a journey of discovering that her father had lived a terrifying, secret life in the wake of the Holocaust. Her investigation into his past led her to discover that her father lived under a false identity in order to avoid transport to one of the many Nazis concentration camps and a fate that many of his relatives were unable to avoid.  He ended up living in Berlin where he assumed a totally different identity while hiding in plain sight under the noses of the Germans. This is a story of tragedy, deception, extreme bravery, and the will to survive under the harshest of conditions during one of history’s most tragic periods.  Along Neumann’s journey in her search for the truth, she discovered a story that is unfathomable not only about her father but also about her grandparents, uncles, aunts, and other relatives endured at the hands of the Nazis regime.  While it is hard for me to highly recommend this story to everyone, I do think that those interested in this period of time in history will find this story fascinating.  It truly is an unbelievable story of heroism and survival.  If you do choose to read this story, I urge you to be patient and stick with it in the beginning.  The story is slow to develop but once it does, it becomes more captivating.  

My pick for April is a #1 New York Times Bestselling novel entitled The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See.  It is the story of Li-yan, a girl who grew up in a remote mountain village in China among a family of tea farmers and members of the Akha people.  In this story, the arrival of a mysterious stranger, leads Li-Yan to question her life and the customs she grew up with.  This causes her to leave her family and begin a life in the modern world. Here is Apple Books’ review of this novel.

“Lisa See’s novel about one woman’s journey from southern China’s mountains to the tiny Los Angeles suburbs opens with an aphorism: “No coincidence, no story.” As a child, Li-yan lives among the Akha, picking tea with her family in the countryside. When her life turns upside-down, she heads to the city, carrying her home village’s customs while gathering her heart’s shattered pieces. Full of luminous prose and surprising plot twists that render its opening line prophetic, See’s deception of loss, love, and tea is spirited and inspiring.”

Will you come along and read with me? It is a great way to escape the chaos that is our lives during this coronavirus pandemic.  Let’s jump into a good book together. 

Anchored in a Good Book,

*This post contains commissioned links. Should you chose to purchase items using these links, I may earn a small commission. 

Friday Favorites: CAUSEBOX Spring 2020

My new subscription box came yesterday, and I was so excited to open it.  I have been stalking my front porch for days in anticipation of my box arriving.  Of course, shipping was a little slower than normal due to COVID-19. This is the second CAUSEBOX that I have received.  For those of you that don’t know, CAUSEBOX is a quarterly subscription box that is different than the ones you normally see all over social media. Everything that comes in a CAUSEBOX is a socially conscious brand and/or fair trade. They support artisan groups in other countries and support a number of charitable causes.  I am in love with this company and all that they are doing.  

My second CAUSEBOX did not disappoint! I absolutely loved everything that came in my first box, and I am so excited about all the things in my new box. I did have some options for customization of my box, which I really like. Check out all the things I got this time. 

Fosterie Layered Gem Necklace-designed exclusively for CAUSEBOX and ethically handmade in Columbia

Bentgo Stackable Bento Box-a to-go container with two compartments and built-in utensils that offers a sustainable replacement to single-use plastic and donates to Feed the Children

Artisan Direct Sustainable Grocery Starter Kit-set of 5 mesh and muslin bags to replace single use produce and grain bags; made by artisans in Jaipur, India 

Earth Harbor Reparative Eye Cream-a smoothing and firming, all-natural, iridescent eye-cream made of seaweed collagen, blue tansy, and plant oils to help restore the skin around the eyes

Cardea Auset CALM Mood Mist-an all-natural, aromatherapeutic mood mist that can be used to help with focus and sleep or simply as a body spray

Jenni Earle Wild + Free Bandana-a beautiful bandana designed to serve as a talisman for courage and adventure; ethically made by artisans in Jaipur, India

Pixie Mood Zoe Crossbody in Honey-an everyday crossbody with detachable and adjustable strap made from vegan leather, with the inside made from recycled plastic

I could not be more pleased with my decision to join CAUSEBOX.  I truly love what they stand for and the quality of the products I have received so far.  I am totally in love with the crossbody from this box and cannot wait to use it.  If you have been thinking about joining a subscription box, I highly recommend CAUSEBOX. You can be assured that your purchase will be making a difference in the world, and you are getting quality products that are ethically and sustainably made. To get $10 off a new subscription, click here

Anchored,

Friday Favorites: Binge Worthy Shows

Last week I gave you a list of some of my favorite books that you could read while we are all stuck at home social distancing.  Today I thought I would give you a list of some shows that I think are binge worthy in case you are looking for something to watch. I tried to include a little bit of everything (drama, mystery, documentary, comedy, and reality tv). I watched several of these with my husband. Keep in mind that none of these are kid friendly, though, and some involve sensitive topics.  Cheer is the only one I watched along with my youngest daughter so that we could discuss some of the topics (depression, suicide) covered in the show together. I loved all of these shows, and I hope you can find one that you like to keep you busy.

*The descriptions of the shows are not my own. They are copied from the show’s home page on each streaming site.

Cheer-Netflix

This gripping docuseries follows the ups and downs of Navarro College’s competitive cheer squad as the work to win a coveted national title.

Outlander-Starz (Season 1-3 on Netflix)

This epic tale adapted from Diana Gabaldon’s popular series of fantasy-romance novels focuses on the drama of two time-crossed lovers.

Jack Ryan-Amazon

When CIA analyst Jack Ryan stumbles upon a suspicious series of bank transfers, his search for answers pulls him from the safety of his desk job and catapults him into a deadly game of cat and mouse throughout Europe and the Middle East, with a rising terrorist figurehead preparing for a massive attack against the US and her allies. 

Unbelievable-Netflix

After a young woman is accused of lying about a rape, two female detectives investigate a spate of eerily similar attacks. Inspired by true events.

The Handmaid’s Tale-Hulu

A woman forced into sexual servitude struggles to survive in a terrifying, totalitarian society. Based off the book by Margaret Atwood.

Killing Eve-BBC/Hulu

Villanelle is a psychopathic assassin, and Eve is the woman charged with hunting her down; the two fiercely intelligent women, equally obsessed with each other, go head to head in an epic game of cat and mouse.

The Sinner-USA/Netflix

When a chilling murder sends shockwaves through a small town, a haunted detective’s hunt for answers unravels a web of sinister secrets.

Hanna-Amazon

In equal parts high-concept thriller and coming-of-age drama, HANNA follows the journey of an extraordinary young girl raised in the forest, as she evades the relentless pursuit of an off-book CIA agent and tries to unearth the truth behind who she is.

Atypical-Netflix

When a teen on the autism spectrum decides to get a girlfriend, his bid for more independence puts his whole family on a path of self-discovery. 

The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez-Netflix

A boy’s brutal murder and the public trials of his guardians and social workers prompt questions about the system’s protection of vulnerable children. 

You-Netflix

A dangerously charming, intensely obsessive young man goes to extreme measures to insert himself into the lives of those he is transfixed by. 

The Crown-Netflix

This drama follows the political rivalries and romance of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign and the events that shaped the second half of the 20th century.

Love is Blind-Netflix

Nick and Vanessa Lachey host this social experiment where single men and women look for love and get engaged, all before meeting in person.

Chernobyl-HBO

Chernobyl, a five-part miniseries co-production from HBO and Sky, dramatizes the story of the 1986 nuclear accident, one of the worst man-made catastrophes in history—and of the sacrifices made to save Europe from unimaginable disaster.

Bosch-Amazon

Based on Michael Connelly’s best-selling novels, Harry Bosch, and LAPD homicide detective, stands trial for the fatal shooting of a serial murder suspect—just as a cold case involving the remains of a mission boy forces Bosch to confront his past.

The Good Doctor-ABC/Hulu

A young surgeon with autism and savant syndrome uses his extraordinary gifts to save lives and challenge skepticism. 

Happy watching! Stay well everyone!

Anchored,

Friday Favorites: Books

With everything that is going on in the world right now with the Coronavirus, I decided to make a detour on what favorite thing I had planned to write about today.  Even if you haven’t been confined to your house yet, it seems that you most likely will be in the near future.  Schools are closing, events are being canceled, people are asked to telework, and everyone is being told to stay home.  Well, I don’t know about you, but the thought of having to stay confined to my house for an extended period of time has me fearing for my sanity.  I am certain that there will be a lot of binge watching and moving watching going on. However, you may start to feel like you want to stimulate your brain a little more, so I thought I would share some of my favorite books with you.  It is a great opportunity for you to dive into a good book.  If you prefer a real book to an ebook, I think that Amazon is still delivering (at least for now).  Becoming enthralled in a book can certainly help save your sanity.  I plan to do a lot of reading while I am stuck in the house.  Up first for me is my book club pick for March, When Time Stopped by Ariana Neuman, since I haven’t started it yet.  

I am a big fan of books in a series. I love the anticipation of the next book. My favorite author of all time is Karen Kingsbury.  I have read so many of her books and there has never been one that I didn’t love.  I also really like most books by Jodi Picoult and Kristen Hannah.  Check out 20 books/series that I have read over the years and loved. Some will be very familiar to you and others you may have never heard of.  

The Redemption Series by Karen Kingsbury

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

The Bronze Horseman Trilogy by Paulina Simons

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

A Child Called “It” by Dave Pelzer

The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff

Nightingale by Kristen Hannah

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Educated by Tara Westover

We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates

Room by Emma Donoghue

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Dive into a good book while you are stuck in your house in the coming weeks. Stay well everyone!

Anchored in a Good Book,

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Friday Favorites: Brows

If you are anywhere near my age, you grew up plucking your eyebrows.  Some of us may have plucked some areas a little too much and are now suffering the consequences.  Whether you are a plucker, waxer, threader, or whatever other on-trend thing, we all have one thing in common…none of us wants big bushy eyebrows with stray hairs sticking every which way.  Right? I know thicker eyebrows are in and many influencers have these big drawn on brows.  I am not into that personally but to each their own.  What I am into is having tame, nicely shaped brows.  My brows are fairly thin these days but I still need something to help keep them clean looking and shaped the way I want them.  Well, a few months ago I saw an infomercial about Flawless Brows on TV.  I am sure you have all seen it and probably didn’t pay much attention or was skeptical like me.  I just happened to be strolling the aisles of Target one day and saw a display of Flawless Brows on the end of one of the rows.  Normally I wouldn’t give anything that said “As Seen on TV” any thought, but this little tool intrigued me. I picked it up, read the back of it, and decided to give it a try. It was only $20, and I figured that wouldn’t break the bank. I purchased the Finishing Touch Flawless Brow in Rose Gold. I wanted it for the little hairs that grow out of place that are too short to pluck.  I am not a fan of waxing and am too chicken to try anything else.  Anyway, I came home and tried out this little tool, and I was instantly hooked.  It works so well! It is painless, very easy to control, and glides smoothly over the unwanted hair. I don’t worry about catching hairs that I don’t want removed at all either.  It takes care of all the areas that I wanted it to and leaves me with nicely shaped brows.  It has a built-in light on it when you turn it on that is supposed to help you see the finest hairs, but I don’t really think that it does anything.  You don’t really need it, though, in my opinion.  I definitely recommend this product. It is affordable and easy to use.  Most of all, it works. I was pleasantly surprised and am very happy with this purchase. I may even look into some of their other hair removal products and give them a try.  They have several including one for facial hair that will remove peach fuzz and one for your legs that is a little more expensive. 

Now, I mentioned that I may or may not have plucked my brows a little too much back in the day.  The ends of my brows are a little thin and need a little help.  I have tried many different brow products over the years from pencils to creams and finally found one that I really like.  I use a brow pomade from TARTE called Big Ego Frameworker Brow Pomade.  I use just a little bit of it with a brow brush to fill in the areas that are a little too thin. I use Medium Brown, but I believe it comes in 8 different shades.  You can easily find the one that matches your brows.  It is vegan, cruelty free and is waterproof and sweat proof.  I get mine at Ulta, but you can get it anywhere that TARTE products are sold. 

That’s a wrap on my two favorite brow products.  

Anchored,

Friday FAvorites: CauseBox Winter 2020

Unless you have been living under a rock, you know all about the many different subscription boxes out there.  Some of the most popular ones include Stitch Fix (clothing), Ipsy (makeup), Birchbox (beauty products/makeup), FabFitFun (premium brand products), and there are many more. I have always been intrigued by these boxes and like watching unboxing videos.  The thought of getting this surprise box of cool things is exciting.  I have almost signed up for several different ones multiple times but just have never pulled the trigger until now. Since beginning my work with Trades of Hope, I have become more socially conscious and more aware of fair trade and the way products are manufactured. You know how Facebook tracks things you like and look up online and then magically puts ads in your feed based off of those things? Well, for about a year now, I have been getting ads for a different subscription box that I had never heard of before and would bet that many of you haven’t heard of either.  That is because it doesn’t include big name brands and flashy products, and it isn’t promoted by big name celebrities.  This box is called CAUSEBOX and it is a quarterly subscription.  I would say that it is similar to FabFitFun in the types of things in the box, but it is also way different because all the brands included the CAUSEBOX are socially conscious brands. Every item in the box is made ethically and sustainably. What is really cool is that, like Trades of Hope, they partner with artisan groups in other countries and in the US to promote job creation for women in at-risk areas. They also include products in each box that raise awareness for causes and charitable concerns. Each box comes with a magazine that tells the stories of the artisans and the causes they support.  It is all really cool.  

This is a company that I can get behind because they are doing great things and making a difference in the lives of women around the world.  I signed up just before Christmas when they were having a special on the price and could not wait to receive my first box.  I was able to select some of the products included in my box which was cool.  For example, one of my choices was between a beautiful hand-woven throw made by artisans in India or a vegan leather portfolio clutch.  I chose the clutch since I have a couple of throws already from India through Trades of Hope.  Honestly, it was hard to choose because I wanted every option! Anyway, I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of my first box, and it finally arrived on Wednesday. I was so excited to open it up.  I can say that I am super impressed by everything that I got.  It is all made with great care and quality. I don’t think there is anything in there that I don’t love or can’t wait to use.  Check out what I got in my box. 

Vitiv Daily Hair Vitamin-a vegan, cruelty free multitasking hair product that does the work of a mask, serum, and hot oil

Whitney Kerney Mugs-custom shaped mugs designed by Whitney Kerney with proceeds supporting victims of domestic violence

SOKO Petite Bow Earrings (choice of silver or gold)-a pair of delicate, minimal earrings handmade by artisans in Kenya

Wyld French Pink Clay Konjac Sponge-a gentle exfoliating facial sponge made from renewable plant root and French pink clay

SAMARA Luxe Jewelry Box-a vegan leather jewelry organizer that helps to provide solar backpacks to children in East Africa, Tajikistan, India, and Guatemala through The Souler Backpack Project and provided jobs for women in Kenya

Simply Straws Rose Gold Straw Kit-a set of three 18/8 grade stainless steel, rose gold finished reusable straws

Glass Ladder and Co. Megan Portfolio Clutch (choice of black or burgundy)-an exclusively designed vegan leather and suede portfolio clutch created by women for women

Isn’t it all so great? I couldn’t be happier with each item. I highly recommend this company and can’t wait to see what comes in my next box. If you have been thinking about joining a subscription box, CAUSEBOX is the one to go with.  Your purchase helps to make a difference in the world.  You can rest assured that you are getting quality products that are ethically and sustainably made and that your money is helping to change lives.  

Anchored,