My top 3 Winter book recommendations:

Hello everyone! 🙂 Today we are going to talk about my top 3 Winter book recommendations.Before we start let me say that these are all fiction books, in order to be lightly entertained on our relaxing snowy day/afternoon/evening/night!

Let’s start with: 

Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham:

  
– Story line:

It’s January 1995, and Franny Banks has just six months left of the three-year deadline she set for herself when she came to New York, dreaming of Broadway and doing “important” works. But all she has to show for her efforts so far is a part in an ad for ugly Christmas sweaters, and a gig waiting tables at a comedy club. Her roommates―her best friend Jane, and Dan, an aspiring sci-fi writer―are supportive, yet Franny knows a two-person fan club doesn’t exactly count as success. Everyone tells her she needs a backup plan, and though she can almost picture moving back home and settling down with her perfectly nice ex-boyfriend, she’s not ready to give up on her goal of having a career like her idols Diane Keaton and Meryl Streep. Not just yet. But while she dreams of filling their shoes, in the meantime, she’d happily settle for a speaking part in almost anything—and finding a hair product combination that works.

Everything is riding on the upcoming showcase for her acting class, where she’ll finally have a chance to perform for people who could actually hire her. And she can’t let herself be distracted by James Franklin, a notorious flirt and the most successful actor in her class, even though he’s suddenly started paying attention. Meanwhile, her bank account is rapidly dwindling, her father wants her to come home, and her agent doesn’t return her calls. But for some reason, she keeps believing that she just might get what she came for.

(Yes, the author is the beloved actress who played Lorelai Gilmore on Gilmore Girls and Sarah Braverman on Parenthood.)

This novel is a work based on a fictionalization of Graham experiences in the New York acting scene in the mid-1990s.

The story is unique, and sometimes really funny, told through both regular prose and dialogue, and excerpts from answering machine messages, Filofax pages, grocery lists, drawings, ideas etc.. as if they were real parts of the real diary of the protagonist. 😉 

Moreover, I love the premises of the book (a struggling actress; bizarre commercials; an attractive guy who is also an actor; strange roommates etc.)

So, this is a charming and laugh-out-loud novel perfect for a relaxing reading during a freezing Sunday afternoon!

P.S: Graham recently signed a deal with Warner Bros Television to adapt the book into a TV series.

 You can find it here: IT / EN

Now, let’s move on with a more complicated one:

Norwegian Wood by Murakami Haruki:

  
– Story line:

When he hears her favorite Beatles song, Toru Watanabe recalls his first love, Naoko, the girlfriend of his best friend Kizuki. Immediately he is transported almost twenty years back to his student days in Tokyo, adrift in a world of uneasy friendships, casual sex, passion, loss and desire… and to a time when an impetuous young woman called Midori marches into his life and he has to choose between the future and the past. 

This story is anything but simple! Also, it’s really sad and, if you ask me, perfect to read during a dark, cold and melancholic winter evening.

The prose is smooth, almost in a silky way, and very captivating. Also, the descriptions are beautiful, done in long and loving details.

I would say this is a challenging, quite bizarre, but also amazing reading. When you have finished the book, if you want, please tell me what you think of it because, I don’t even know how to explain it, but the ending was really strange, at least for me. 

P.S: I’ve read somewhere that there is a movie adapted from this book, I haven’t seen it but I think it is worth checking it out.

You can find it here: IT / EN

And the finish line is another relaxing evening read:

Die For Me by Amy Plum: 

  
– Story line:

When Kate Mercier’s parents die in a tragic car accident, she has to leave everything behind and move to Paris to live with her grandparents. Kate knows her life will never be the same. But she has no idea how right she is…until she meets Vincent. Mysterious, sexy, and unnervingly charming, Vincent Delacroix puts Kate in danger of losing her heart all over again. Especially when Kate discovers his impossible secret: Vincent is no normal human. He has a terrifying destiny and enemies who are determined to destroy him and all of his kind. And Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.

It’s a young adult paranormal/romance story set in contemporary Paris. I loved the descriptions of the various places in Paris, because it is one of my favorite cities in the world and the book being set there added some extra charm to the story of Kate, Vincent and their friends.

I really liked the prose of the author, very enjoyable and captivating. I also liked the mythology of the story; it’s really interesting, unique and very well-constructed.

I have to admit that this book has some clichés, including true everlasting love and some annoying young adult moments, but overall I would recommend it as some very good light reading for a relaxing winter day.

And don’t forget that this is a trilogy so, you will remain with bated breath until the last pages of the third book! 😉 

You can find it here:  IT  / EN

 

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My favorite blush and contouring kit with swatches:

Hello everyone! 🙂 Finally winter is here, in full force and freezing temperatures. In this weather your skin can become dry, sensitive and dull as soon as you go outside. So, you want your natural, healthy and glowing look back? A little bit of blush or bronzer on your cheeks will do the trick.Today we are going to talk about my favorite blush and contouring kit!

Let’s start with my favorite contouring kit: 

•Kiko – Daring Game Collection – Golden Game Sculpting Bronzer n. 01 Radiant Honey:

This product, a limited edition from the 2014 A/W Daring Game collection, has an amazing packaging, but I can honestly say that it is more than a pretty package, as it performs just as well as it looks! It contains two contouring shades and one highlighter in the same beautifully embroidered compact with a mirror.

The two contouring shades match perfectly, if you are going to use them together, and they can give you a really beautiful and natural “sun kissed” tone. Moreover, this powder medium-bronze contouring kit is awesome especially for those who struggle to find a natural-looking shade for their skin tone, because this is not the least bit muddy or orange looking. I never use too much on my face, because I have a fair/light skin tone, but this product has a very good pigmentation and it will last all day without melting in a strange “foundation beard“… if you know what I mean. 😉

The powder highlighting side of this duo is equally amazing as it illuminates your skin with a light golden sheen of ultra-fine shimmer. I don’t use the highlighter powder very often, because I have oily/combo skin and unfortunately my face can become dewy during the day! (To prevent that I use my favorite powder, you can find the review here.)

The Golden Game Sculpting Bronzer is fragrance-free, and both the bronzer and highlighter have a soft pressed powder texture that applies and blends easily on every skin type.

So, this is a wonderful and affordable option if you want to give your skin complexion a soft candlelit glow and subtle dimension!

And last, but not least, the blush from the same collection:

•Kiko – Daring Game Collection – Top Pairs Blush n. 02 Raspberry Rose and Peach:

Another beautiful package that contains a duo of color-coordinated shades (one pink and one peach).
I use the pinkish one during the autumn/winter season to add a little bit of color on my cheeks, and the peach one in the spring/summer when I have a little bit of tan! 🙂

These blush are richly pigmented and blend easily on your skin—their degree of pigment means a little goes a long way (you really don’t need to re-touch the product multiple times a day with your brush or you’ll end up like a 1800’s doll)! 😉

Also, you will see that both shades work well on their own or mixed to create a great custom color.

The Top Pairs Blush blends really well on every skin type, provides an intensely pigmented and customizable coverage color and the wear time is excellent.

I’ve always loved Kiko special collections/limited editions range because, in my opinion, these products are excellent and they are super affordable especially during the sale season. I can honestly say that, if you want to try something from this brand for the first time, it’s better if you go for the special collections instead of the regular one!

I know that the Daring Game Collection is pretty old and not easy to find, but I can say that the new Kiko All Stars Face Palette, it’s good as well and a brand new collection… you can find it here.

The products:

  

  
  
  
The contouring kit and blush combination: 
Swatches:

  

  
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My favorites lip balms: 

Hello everyone! 🙂 In order to remain close to the lips flow, today I’m going to talk about my favorites lip balms that you can use under a super dry matte lipstick or leave them work on your lips when you are at home or out and about in the city during this cold winter days.
• The Body Shop Hemp Lip Conditioner:

I can honestly say that The Body Shop Hemp Lip Conditioner is the best lip balm that I have ever used. The formula is non greasy and light weight and if you use it alone or over a lipstick it will help to soothe and moisturize your dry, cracked lips. On the other hand, if you love super drying, matte lipsticks this is THE product to use under them; it will create a smoother base on your lips so you can apply your favorite lipstick even during cold winter days without feeling an uncomfortable dryness. Moreover, it is designed to protect your lips in extreme weather conditions and it will help to restore the skin’s moisture barrier. 

What’s not so good: it has a slight natural herbal fragrance… I like it and it’s not annoying on the lips, but some of you might not appreciate this particular smell.

It contains mostly natural ingredients, like hamp seed oil and olive oil, and it’s not tinted, so if you’re looking for a good lip moisturizer for this winter season and an organic/natural one there you have it!

You can find it here.

Ingredients:  

• Nutri Labbra Ai Quattro Burri by L’Erbolario Lodi:

This very good product has a buttery texture that doesn’t feel greasy or heavy on the lips.

Also, it contains an excellent mix of organic plants butters: Karitè, Mango and Illipe, with the addition of cocoa butter. This mix of moisturizing ingredients helps to keep your lips well hydrated and prevent chapping.

This lip balm is also mildly flavored, thanks to a slightly sweet, vanilla scent. If you can resist the urge to lick it off – the sweet vanilla flavor makes it ohhh so tempting – the result is major hydration for you dry lips. 

What’s not so good: I love the flavor, but if you don’t like sweet scents at all, this is not the right product for you because, in the long run, it can become annoying.

Thanks to its light texture you can reapply it every time you want during this cold winter days.

You can find it here.

Ingredients:  

• Dr. Paw Paw Tinted Ultimate Balm – Red:

This product is an amazing natural, soothing multipurpose balm that can be used on lips, skin, hair and even nails. However, this light tinted red version is best on lips or cheeks.

It comes in a plastic squeeze tube from which you can apply the balm directly onto your lips/checks or on your fingers first and then on your skin. The tube is really handy to use and perfect to throw it in your bag and bring it with you all day long.

Also, its rich, balmy, but non-sticky formula is full of natural ingredients – Olive Oil, PawPaw, the fruit of the Carica Papaya plant, and Aloe Barbadensis Leat Juice – all of which have emollient properties and help prevent moisture loss. This amazing balm is perfect especially for someone who usually loves to wear a natural look with minimal makeup thanks to its nice subtle red color.

I can honestly say that this product will work wonders for your dry, flaky lips/cheeks.

Bonus point: Dr. Paw Paw Tinted Ultimate Balm is natural and fragrance free.

You can find it here.

Ingredients: 

     
• Dr. Hauschka Lip Care Stick:

Dr. Hauschka Lip Care Stick is an awesome product if you’re looking for an emollient lip balm that provides a slightly glossy colorless finish with minimal stickiness. This lip balm treats your skin to a nice mix of antioxidants as well as skin-repairing ingredients – jojoba oil, lanolin, shea butter, carrot root extract and anthyllis extract – that are brilliant for keeping lips protected from moisture loss.

The twist-up stick is convenient for taking anywhere you go and though the stick has a natural orangish hue, it slides along the lips smooth and clear. You have to apply the stick several times over your lips in order to get the desired shield of moisture, but then it’s amazing to lock in moisture and prevent chapping. There is no fragrance, but the product contains a small amount of fresh scent reminiscent of the stick’s orange color and abundant blend of natural ingredients.

You can find it here.

Ingredients:

Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Extract, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Lanolin, Beeswax (Cera Alba), Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Rosa Damascena Flower Extract, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Anthyllis Vulneraria Extract, Cetyl Alcohol, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil, Fragrance (Parfum), Limonene*, Citronellol*, Geraniol*, Citral*, Linalool*, Farnesol*, Eugenol*, Rosa Damascena Flower Wax, Lecithin

*Component of natural essential oils

Products:

  

  

Contacts:

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My favorite red lipsticks:

Hello everyone! 🙂 Christmas holidays are sadly over, kaputt, finite… so in this post I thought I would talk about my favorite red lipsticks to keep alive the Christmas spirit for a little bit longer! Because you know… red=Christmas🙂

Before I start this post I would say that all this lipsticks need a very good base, so

1. Do a sugar scrub before putting them on to get rid of the dead skin cells on your lips and

2. Use a good lip balm underneath to moisturize your lips so your lipstick will last for a very long time!

Here are my favorite red lipsticks for this winter season:

Deborah Milano Velvet Lipstick 80’s Icon Collection in Fire Red:

It’s a highly pigmented pencil lipstick that doesn’t require routine sharpening.

The color has a gorgeous magenta undertone, and it’s waxy, satin texture applies smoothly without leaving a greasy feeling. The formula of this pencil lipstick is very moisturizing, compare to the others, so if you want you can easily skip the put-a-good-lip-balm-underneath part, and because it has great moisturizing properties it will lasts 5/6 hours without eating or drinking.

Unfortunately this is a limited edition of the 80’s Icon Collection from last winter, so if you can find it in store or online you really need to grab this product, because it’s really awesome 😉

Final Note: This lip-pencil is super comfortable, lusciously hydrating and has an amazing velvet/matte finish.

You can find it here.

Ingredients:   
Illamasqua Matte Lipstick in Sangers:

Amazing product, I love it! I think it is one of the driest texture on the market, but this shade is a perfect Red (with a capital R, yes!). Moreover, its highly pigmented formula will keep the color bright and intense for a very long time.

So the texture is not especially moisturizing, but comfortable to wear, if you put a good lip balm underneath.

According to the Illamasqua website, this “lipstick glides on smoothly and doesn’t give up without a fight for the perfect all-night pout”. 🙂

The color is just a gorgeous deep pure red-blood without orange or blue undertones getting in the way.

Final note: I’d say that this lipstick has a great velvet/matte finish, awesome on your lips.

You can find it here.

Ingredients:

  

Sephora Cream Lip Stain in 01 – Always Red :

This creamy lipstick is amazing: it stays on all day, the color is beautiful and highly pigmented, plus it’s a bargain!

To be more specific, the color is a “bold” red without orange undertones, highly pigmented and intense with a retro-matte finish (similar to the MAC lipstick but more affordable).

Moreover, its creamy-liquid texture goes on smoothly with a good sponge-tip wand; it also provides a long-lasting color.

Sadly, the shade range is limited, however this Sephora lip stain collection has good basic colors to start with, from dark to nude shades.

What’s not so good: once the creamy-liquid texture sets for good, in less than an hour, the formula starts to feel too dry, so for comfortable wear, use a good lip balm underneath it.

Final Note: this product is perfect for those who want the long staying power of a lip stain with the matte finish of a traditional lipstick.

You can find it here.

Ingredients:

Isododecane, Dimethicone, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Polybutene, Petrolatum, Cyclohexasiloxane, Kaolin, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Aroma (Flavor), Glyceryl Behenate/Eicosadioate, Propylene Carbonate, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Tocopherol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Benzyl Alcohol. May or may not contain (+/-): Mica, CI 15850 (Red 7 Lake), CI 19140 (Yellow 5 Lake), CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 77491 (Iron Oxides), CI 77492 (Iron Oxides), CI 77499 (Iron Oxides), CI 15850 (Red 6), CI 42090 (Blue 1 Lake), CI 75470 (Carmine).

Kiko Luscious Cream Lipstick in 509 – Passionate Fire Red:

It’s a classic creamy lipstick with a pure and intense color, a satin texture and a slightly glossy finish.

This, compared to the others, has the most “fire-ish” red pigmentation, with a light orange undertone.

On me, it lasts 4/5 hours without eating or drinking, but being a moisturizing lipstick, you can always re-applying it without the fear of drying out your lips!

On the package it says that the formula “contains an active ingredient (called K2 Re-pulp) which stimulates the production of Hyaluronic acid and Collagen helping to keep the moisture level of the lips ideal and increasing their fullness”.

Obviously, it’s not a miracle product, but it’s an amazing one for sure, plus it’s really affordable!

P.S: The Luscious Cream-Creamy Lipsticks are available in 23 colors, and every one of them match up with a Kiko lip pencil – brilliant idea!

You can find it here.

Ingredients 

Products and swatches:

  

  
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