Top 5 | Books of 2019

Hello and Happy New Year! This year I have started reviewing books, which is something I had never done in my 6 years of blogging. It seemed to have a good response, and it turns out I’m not alone in my love of reading!

So, a little about the type of books I like – I love thrillers and mysteries, as you will see, and I love a good surprise ending. I don’t like violence in the books I read, so if anything gets too gory or graphic I usually just don’t finish the book. That being said, the books on this list are all suspenseful and mystery type reads. I also love to read historical fiction and sci-fi as long as it’s not too weird. I try to check out all of my books from my local library (it’s free), but sometimes they don’t have the new books, so I’ll either buy them or read them on my iPad.

Alright, this was really hard, but I’ve chosen 5! They’re all thrillers. Surprise, surprise.

5. I Found You By Lisa Jewell

I discovered Lisa Jewell this year and I’ve read a few of her books, but this one is my favorite of hers. I just got her new one, The Family Upstairs for Christmas, so I’m excited to read that.

I Found You is about a single mother living on the beach in a small home with her family. One day, she sees a man sitting out on the beach in the rain with no jacket. He’s been there awhile and she goes up to him and finds out that he has no idea who he is or how he got there. The story then switches to a younger lady who’s husband has gone missing, and when she goes to the police, they tell her the man she is talking about doesn’t exist.

This story will keep you guessing and has a shocking reveal at the end. So many secrets and twists. Love this one.

4. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

I had never read anything from this author before, but this book came recommended at the library, so I decided to try it out. This is a sci-fi book, and very good. I got about a quarter of the way in and felt kind of lost, but I stuck with it and it was INSANE.

A man named Jason is walking home one night and is kidnapped, only the person kidnapping him sounds so familiar. He is taken to what looks like a hospital, strapped down and with tons of doctors and people around. Once he escapes, he finds out that his life never existed, or has it? His wife isn’t his wife, his house not his house…and he doesn’t know how to get the life that he once knew back.

So good you guys. The ending was crazy.

3. The Woman in The Window by A.J. Finn

This book was at the top of the list for best thrillers, so I had to check it out. I also just found out that they are making it into a movie, and the previews look awesome and just like the book! Can’t wait to see it.

The book is about a lady named Anna Fox who is housebound due to mental illness. She drinks a lot of wine, and spies on her neighbors all day. One day, she sees something awful happen in one of her neighbors houses. Was she drunk, hallucinating, or did it really happen?

Nothing is what it seems. HUGE twist at the end and kind of reminded me of Gone Girl.

2. Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris

I’ve read all of the B.A. Paris books (all thrillers) and this one is by far the best!

This book is about a young couple, Finn and Layla, and the book begins with them stopping at a rest stop late at night. Finn needs to use the restroom, so Layla stays in the car. When he returns, she’s gone, and not found. A few years later, he is engaged to Layla’s sister, Ellen, but never loves her as much as he loved Layla. After they get engaged, weird things start happening, like a phone call from someone claiming they have seen Layla, and some long lost items that were Layla’s start to turn up. Finn believes that Layla may still be alive and tries to find her.

This book will keep you on the edge of your seat and is full of twists. The ending was the biggest twist ever for me, and one that I didn’t see coming!

1. Verity by Colleen Hoover

I’ve read my fair share of Colleen Hoover books, and they are usually love stories, but this one is a shocking thriller with so many twists! This is the type of book that you just cannot stop thinking about it after you read it.

Verity Crawford is a bestselling, award winning writer. A tragic accident leaves her unable to write and finish the book series that she has been working on. Her husband hires a young writer, Lowen Ashleigh, to finish the series. Lowen spends days and nights at their home researching and going through all of Verity’s notes and outlines. She comes across a shocking manuscript, with secrets that would devastate Verity’s husband. As Lowen and Jeremy eventually fall in love, she wonders if she should show him or if she should keep all of the secrets to herself.

This book is crazy. I was like “what did I just read?!” after I finished it. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. That’s how you know it’s good.

Ok, so that’s the top 5! Stay tuned for more book reviews coming this year, and please share your book recommendations with me!

xx amy

BEST OF BEAUTY | 2019

Yay!!! 2020 is almost here, and I’m so excited to share my favorite post, BEST OF BEAUTY! I look forward to creating this every year and sharing it with you all. This is the 7th year I’ve done it. Here are the faves!

First off, the MAKEUP.

I’ve only mentioned this powder a million times, but the Bare Minerals Bare Pro Pressed Powder Foundation in the color Aspen is my go-to, wear-every-day foundation. It evens out my skintone and provides the light coverage that I love. I’ve been using this pretty much every day for a year and it’s almost gone. Already have a back-up, of course.

Next is a matte bronzer that I also use every single day. This is my second compact of this, and it is the Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer in Milk Chocolate. This is a light matte bronzer that I use to warm up my skin and it never comes out orange. Love it.

For blush, here is one that I used up and accidentally threw away. I featured it recently in my post, Products I’ve Hit Pan On. This is the MAC Sheertone Blush in Springsheen. It is the perfect peachy pink colored blush with golden shimmer; it is beautiful.

Here is a swatch. These pics are from a previous blog post. How pretty is this color?! Love it and I’m definitely gonna repurchase.

I have a few eye products that were stand out faves.

The Loreal Lash Paradise Mascara is definitely my favorite of the year. This mascara is BETTER than some of the high end brands I’ve tried! It lengthens, gives a ton of volume, and my lashes stay curled all day. Love it.

The Urban Decay 24/7 Liner in Demolition is my favorite eyeliner of the year, and I think the only one I’ve used this year. I like to use a dark brown liner instead of black because I feel like it looks more natural. This one is a deep matte brown. I line my upper lashline/tight line with this, and then also smudge it out underneath my bottom lashline. It gives a pretty and smoky look.

For lips, hands down is my MAC Lustre Lipstick in Syrup. This is my favorite lipstick because it’s a sheer and shiny rosy pink color. It’s kind of like a my lips but better color, and it so comfortable and hydrating.

Also, the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Liner in Pillowtalk is really good to go along with it. This liner DOES NOT BUDGE and is seriously the perfect nude.

Here’s some swatches, Pillow Talk on the left, Syrup on the right.

This year, I loved the metallic colors when it came to nail polish. This gold color called Daring Damsel is so so pretty and the type of color that goes with anything. The other color is a light rosy gold called A Touch of Sugar that is just beautiful.

Here are some swatches.

Pretty right? I used both of these a lot this year.

Let’s move on to skincare.

I recently did a skincare post, and there I stated that I really wasn’t all that into skincare. I really don’t ever skip my moisturizer, though, and this Cerave AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion is what I use every day. It is lightweight and has SPF. What more do you need?

Also, a little bit of a splurge, but something I can’t live without, is the Caudalie Beauty Elixir. I love this stuff and have purchased so many bottles of it. It is a toner that I spray on after moisturizing, and not only does it smell like a spa, but it feels cooling and amazing on the skin. Love it.

Almost done! Last is haircare.

I discovered this Kristin Ess Dry Finish Working Texture Spray after I heard it was a dupe for that pricey Oribe one. I use this in my hair when I want textured and wavy beachy type hair. This sprays in matte and gives some grip to the hair. It smells so good and I love how my hair looks when I use it.

Next is a longtime fave, my It’s A 10 Miracle Leave In Product. This is what I use every single time I blowdry and style my hair. I spray about 3-4 pumps in and work it through. This not only protects from heat, but it detangles, conditions, adds shine, and does 10 things to help your hair. It also smells so good.

That’s it for the faves for 2019!

Here are my past Best of Beauty posts, if you’re curious!

Best of Beauty 2018

Best of Beauty 2017

Best of Beauty 2016

Best of Beauty 2015

Best of Beauty 2014

Best of Beauty 2013

Thanks for sticking with my this year, and I’ll see you next year!

xx amy

EAT | Ginger Chewies (The BEST Christmas Cookie)

It’s almost Christmas, which means COOKIES! I usually make an assortment of Christmas cookies each year, sugar, Rolo, cherry cookies, pink sugar cookies, snickerdoodles…but my FAVORITE one to make are these chewy gingerbread cookies. They are delish. Here’s how I make them!

What you need:

  • 3/4 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Preheat your oven to 350.

Cream together your softened butter and sugar.

Add your egg and molasses and mix.

In a separate bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients.

Mix together, and then add to your wet mixture.

Roll into balls and coat in sugar.

Bake for 10 minutes. Don’t overcook, you want them to be soft and chewy!

Perfect.

Enjoy and a have a Merry Christmas!

xx amy

Winter Skincare

Hello! I’ll have to admit, I’m not a big skincare person, but I’m trying to be! I like a simple and fast routine, and don’t really like a lot of fuss. Here are the products that never fail me!

So first off, I have been using a new moisturizer. This is the Cerave AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion w Sunscreen. I bought this to replace the Clinique Gel Moisturizer that I’ve used for years. Not only is this a lot cheaper, but it’s got SPF 30 and it’s at the drugstore. It’s really lightweight, not greasy, and doesn’t break me out. This is my go-to now!

Since I usually use powder foundation, I always prime my face with this Bare Minerals Prime Time Original Foundation Primer. This is a clear primer that has that silicone slippery feeling to it. I just use a tiny bit of this and it fills in my pores and creates a nice and smooth canvas for my powder foundation. Love this.

Next is a cream that I use at night. This is the Paula’s Choice Triple Action Dark Spot Eraser. This contains 7% AHA, glycolic acid, and hydroquinone, which are exfoliants that lighten up the skin. I use this because I have some dark sunspots/melasma underneath my eyes (I think from pregnancy) and I’m just wanting to lighten them up a bit. My whole entire face is covered in freckles, so I just use this underneath my eyes below where my dark circles are. It actually works really good and I notice when I use it consistently, it lightens them.

For eye cream, I use this Neutrogena Healthy Skin Eye Cream. This stuff really just hydrates the skin and takes some of the dullness away from underneath my eyes. I notice when I use this that my concealer and foundation just glide on and don’t look cakey.

Now, to wash my face, I use a Clarisonic, and I have for about 5 years now. I only use it when I wash my face in the morning, and I use it along with my Clarisonic Refreshing Gel Cleanser. My skin never breaks out, so I just stick with this in hopes that it won’t fail me, haha! I LOVE my Clarisonic. I use the sensitive brush head and it gently exfoliates my skin and my skin is so much brighter when I use it. The cleanser works really nicely with it and feels super clean, but never dry or tight.

Lastly, this Nivea lotion that I rave about. This is just a plain old, lightly scented body lotion that makes my skin shiny! I love how it makes my legs look. It is super hydrating and feels so good going on. I despise scented body lotion (I know, weird), but this scent doesn’t bother me. Maybe it’s unscented? Anyway, just try it if you need a new body lotion!

That’s it for the skincare products I’ve been loving!

thanks for reading! xx

Reading Wrap Up | December

Hello! So far, in 2019, I have read 37 books! I am a total bookworm, and reading is my favorite hobby to do in my spare time. I like to keep track of my books on the Goodreads App. Follow me here! I love to get recommendations for new books to read. Here are my December picks!

One Day In December by Josie Silver

So, this book was very appropriate for December! This is a love story with a few twists! It is about love at first sight; a girl named Laurie sees a man while on a bus on a snowy December day, their eyes meet, and they both feel a connection. Unable to forget him, she spends a year trying to find him. During a Christmas party, her best friend introduces him to Laurie as her new boyfriend.

I don’t want to give anything away, but this is a really light and fun read.

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

This book was highly recommended to me, and was the first Lisa Jewell book I had ever read. This is a psychological thriller, which I totally love. It is about a 15 year old girl who vanishes, and the mother refuses to stop looking for her. In time, the mother meets a man with a young daughter who strongly resembles her missing daughter.

This book is emotional, but also dark and thrilling. I did not see the ending coming at all! You know I love a good twist.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

This is a science fiction novel, and unlike any other book I’ve ever read before. This is about a man named Jason who lives a normal life with his wife and son. One day on his way home from work, he is kidnapped and taken, and he knows that the kidnapper is someone familiar. When he wakes up, he is in a lab, and learns that his life is not really what it seems.

This book is INSANE. I didn’t see this ending coming at all, and truthfully, it’s was crazy and a little bit scary! After I read it, I couldn’t stop thinking about it for days. It was definitely one of my top five books I read all year.

What books have you been loving?

Thanks for reading! xx