Friday, July 31, 2015

#FridayFavorites Christina Perri-The Words

It's only week two of this #FridayFavorites series and I warned that the topics would be varied because I had a million ideas last week. Yet, I've already found myself struggling with what to write about.

I didn't want this week's post to be too similar to the one from last week, since that would risk giving the impression that these will always feature that kind of topic. I didn't want to write two posts in a row that encouraged people to buy something. I didn't want this post to be book-related since I could do a book post on any day and I'd set Fridays aside to do something else.

Perhaps I should write a series of posts about being an over-worrier.

In the end, I decided to keep it simple. My goal for this series is to share something that I'm enjoying and feel like chatting about. This week, I'm obsessed with a music video.

This one:

It's been out for months, six or maybe seven months actually, but somehow it has escaped my notice until this week,

I don't tend to watch a lot of music videos so it's not a huge surprise for me to be unfamiliar with one, even if it's from an artist I quite like. Christina Perri is an artist I quite like. I have the album. I've seen her perform live. She's fantastic.

I've been enjoying this song in particular for months. So imagine my surprise when I discovered Colin O' Donoghue starred in the video.

I suppose I should mention here, in case you don't know me at all, that I am huge fan of Once Upon a Time and especially of Captain Hook. He's about ten times as charming as, well, Charming. Am I right?

I've since watched this video a dozen times. It's lovely. Truthfully, it would be hard to not enjoy watching the handsome Mr. O'Donoghue whilst hearing the pretty song. But as a romance writer, the thing that gets me is the character development.

In four minutes, and without any dialogue, I fall for the man in this video. He is full of contradictions and endearing quirks.

He lives, apparently alone, in this big, old country house with old fashioned floral wallpaper. Who picked the wallpaper? Was it just there when he moved in? The front porch could use some paint, so maybe he just hasn't gotten around to fixing things up. Or maybe a woman chose that wallpaper. A wife? He carries himself with an air of sadness and he's always working his jaw like he's seconds from an emotional display, maybe he's a widower. Or did she leave him? Is that why he looks so wistfully at the passing train?

He works with orchids in a too-charming-to-be real attic room. We see him carefully tying stems together, replanting and slowly pouring precisely the right amount if water into the new pot. It's delicate, detail-oriented, nurturing work that makes us think about his fingers just a little more than nice girls should.

Then he chops wood. He's got the plaid shirt and the ax and we just want to bring him out a thermos filled with hot coffee. He's a provider.

Oh, but with all that wood chopping he worked up a sweat. A normal guy would take a quick shower and make use of a bar of blue-tinted soap. This is no ordinary man. He takes a soak in a big, old claw-footed tub. It's not practical, but it is hot. Really hot.

And then there's the books. We see them casually stacked here and there. We see him reading while eating soup and bread off of delightfully-mismatched china. We see him reading in bed. They're all vintage hardcovers of course; orchid man doesn't have paperbacks.

Two seconds of eye contact with a pretty girl makes him stumble. This guy is not a player. He has no idea how good-looking he is. For me, that reinforces the widower theory. I think he married his high school sweetheart and worked hard to buy the house because she loved the wall paper, only to lose her before they had a chance to fix anything up. Now he doesn't change anything because he can't let go of the past.

He hasn't even installed a shower.

Friday, July 24, 2015

#FridayFavorites Aromaleigh Cosmetics: This is My Design collection.

Hi friends,

So, as discussed in my last post, this will be the first of my new Friday series in which I share something I love with you all. I will be oh-so-cleverly calling these posts my #FridayFavorites series. 

Today, I'm going to talk about eye shadow. I'm in my thirties. I'm not feeling any need to be more precise than that since the point is just that I'm an adult and have been for a while. I mention this because I have only recently started figuring out how to use eye shadow. I was in my late teens before any make up-wearing was allowed and, when that time came, no one showed me how to use any of it. 

I used foundation to hide acne and lined my eyes with thick black eyeliner and felt pretty glamorous. It was the late nineties and I was wearing a flannel shirt and cargo pants purchased at the army-navy surplus store. Any more make-up would probably have been silly anyway.

My senior year of college I started trying for a more feminine look, but I went to school in rural Vermont; it was all wool sweaters, hiking boots and warm hats.

So I made it to my mid-twenties before I realized that I had no idea what I was doing with most make-up, but eye shadow especially, and have mostly stuck with barely-there nudes ever since. I'd swipe one shade across my entire lid and be done with it.

Only last year, I found this small, I think it's run by one talented woman, company that makes mineral eye shadows. It's called Aromaleigh Cosmetics.  There's tons of gorgeous colors, but the thing that drew me in: she has collections inspired by cool nerdy things like Greek Mythology, the BBC Sherlock series and the television show Hannibal.

Hannibal inspired eye shadow. I needed some. I was just too delighted by the very idea of wearing Hannibal eye shadow to resist. So, I've been learning. I watched those tutorials on Youtube and I have actually purchased make up brushes. It's a work in progress, but a fun one.

So my #FridayFavorite this week is the This is My Design collection from Aromaleigh Cosmetics.

Look! I did swatches on my arm like the beauty bloggers do. 

You can use mineral eye shadow dry for a more sheer look or wet for a thicker or more defined look, so I put on three of my favorites wet and then dry. Starting from the top-- wet Sublime, dry Sublime, wet Chrysalis, dry Chrysalis, wet Craquelure, dry Craquelure.

Apologies for the picture quality, but I think you can see that the colors are really rich and beautiful. They are also cruelty-free!!

This is Sublime, a color inspired by a dress worn by Alana Bloom, in the little pot it comes in.

 While we are on the subject, can I just say that if you haven't checked out Hannibal you are missing out? It's remarkable. The acting, costumes, sets, cinematography and writing are all top-notch. Yes, if you're the type who gets nightmares, this will do it for you. I'm that type, but it is worth it. Check out some reviews on Rotten Tomatoes; Hannibal's Second Season has a perfect 100% fresh score. That's almost impossible.

The third season is currently airing on Saturday evenings and the first two seasons are available on Amazon. They are free to stream if you have Amazon Prime!

It has been officially canceled, but there is still some hope that it will find a new home for new home for a fourth season.

So, do I have any Hannibal fans out there? How about eye shadow? Anybody else still learning how to put on make up?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Confession or Introducing A Few Of My Favorite Things.

Hi friends,

I have a confession.

I don't know what to do with this blog. It's purpose, truly, is to discuss book-related news. But sometimes, I just don't have anything to report. Sometimes, I don't have anything to report for long periods of time. (I am working on things, but nothing is ready to be chatted about.)

So what do I do the rest of the time?

For a long time I just posted about other writers' books. That's cool for a bunch of reasons. I like supporting my fellow writers and there are often contests that I think my readers might like to participate in. However, those posts are basically just advertising and they are often identical to posts that can be found on many other blogs. That presents some problems. In fact, some blog-hosting sites will not allow blogs that contain too much material that is identical to other blogs. There are tons of fantastic book blogs that review and participate in blog tours and they do a much better job than I can...because they are not writers. They can review in a more subjective manner, because that's their role in the book world. Where as I am always going to feel a need to maintain friendly relationships with my fellow writers. Seriously, there's nothing like putting a book out into the world to soften your criticism of all other books.

So, if I post about a book, it's going to be something I feel strongly about--something I read and loved and feel the need to shout about from this figurative roof-top. That will happen from time to time, because I do love books. It won't happen enough to maintain a blog.

Which leaves me with the big question of what I will post. It's a question I have been struggling with for quite awhile and clearly I've been over-thinking it. So I'm going to try something new. I'm simply going to write about things I like. Once a week, on Fridays because I like alliteration, I'm going to share a post about a favorite something. It won't necessarily be book-related; expect posts about make-up, recipes, television programs and whatever else catches my fancy that week. I'm going to call the posts #FridayFavorites and hopefully they will lead to some fun conversations.

You can expect the first of such posts tomorrow, when I'll be chatting about eye shadow and a television program about a cannibalistic serial killer. I hope to see you then.