Recommended Reads For The Modern Gal Monday, Aug 16 2010 

There is absolutely nothing that beats the luxurious experience of reading a good book. A book can offer escapism, knowledge, fantasy and fun. It can save you from a bad mood or monotonous day in one articulately written sentence. It can also give you access to thoughts and ideas that you have never touched on before, and at times things that not only teach you but can make you a better person.

Now, I’m not going to go on to tell you to read Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, or Emily Brontës Wuthering Heights (though both true gems and are classics for a reason!) I am here to recommend a few books that I believe most young women should read – for different reasons.

Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella (NZD$24.99 from Fishpond)

This is a hilarious, fluffy read for the “in-between” girls out there that are no longer teens, but not yet saddled with a mortgage/husband/2.5 kiddies etc. The heroine, the incorrigible Emma Corrigan, is a bubbly, early twenties girl with aspirations of a perfect life. There’s one problem – she tells little white lies to everyone she knows. To her boyfriend (he thinks she is several sizes smaller than she actually is), to her parents (she killed their goldfish, but replaced it before they cottoned on!), to her colleagues (never admits that it’s her that keeps breaking the photocopier) and so on and so forth. This is a fabulously funny book, adorably romantic but also highlights the failings of our society on the up and coming generation. The fact Emma can’t admit the small flaws to herself and the people around her, that she needs to skew things to make herself feel more of a success, is something I see in people every day. This is a good rainy day read, not too heavy, but I think has a good message to it.

Can You Keep A Secret? by Sophie Kinsella

The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pick-up Artists by Neil Strauss (NZD$39.99 from Fishpond)

Now, you may be wondering why the hell I would recommend this kind of book to women. Basically, knowledge is power, right ladies?

I heard about this particular book during a conversation with a male friend. He told me about Neil Strauss, a nerdy writer who couldn’t find love and so took it upon himself to meet the Masters of Seduction around the world. This book tells the story of how he became a part of this bizarre secret society, who he met and what he learned. (There are other books by Strauss that are more dating self-help types, but I think this one gives the better picture.)

Basically, this book goes through how a society of men have developed ways to manipulate women into sleeping with them. Ugly, boring, nervous, creepy, skinny, fat, sleazy, shy – no matter what the drawback of the male, these Masters of Seduction were able to show these ill-equipped men how to bed hot ladies that normally wouldn’t notice them. I read this book with utter fascination – was it possible for women to be manipulated this way? Certainly tricks and lines, gestures and clothing couldn’t get us to fall for someone totally not our type – right?! Well, as I read, I got that sinking gut feeling. Though not all of the tricks would work on all of us, there was real merit in what he was saying. I am glad I read this book – purely so I now know what to look out for! Ladies, beware.

The Game by Neil Strauss

He’s just not that into you by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo (NZD$23.99 from Fishpond)

I would be extremely surprised if you haven’t heard of this book already. It was a phenomenon a few years back, even made it onto Oprah! There has also been a movie made about it, and many a female discussion revolving around it’s teachings.

Basically, this book goes on the list because I know too many gals that haven’t read it when they really should have. This is a must read. A dating bible if you will. It’s not heavy, it’s not all about loving ones inner self. It’s a friendly prod to say – Girl, you are great, but if that guy isn’t asking you out? He DOESN’T WANT YOU! A little bit harsh, perhaps. But sometimes we need a bit of a slap in the face. I know too many girls who justify not getting a text from “that guy” for weeks, because maybe he lost his phone, or maybe he’s really busy, or or… You get the point. This book is brilliant. Makes you laugh, makes you cringe with self realisation, makes you open your eyes to the realities of dating. If he doesn’t call you, he doesn’t like you. If he only calls you at 3am for a drunken stopover after town, he just wants to f#%& you. Plain and simple. You’d think we could figure all of this out on our own, but sadly, when you mix emotions in with a woman’s thought processes, everything goes a bit whack. Hence, why all ladies should read this book!

Seriously!

He's Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo

So there you have it… One book that is light and fluffy, one that depicts the inner workings of seriously screwed up men, and one that guides us poor ladies into the dating light (if you will).

Enjoy! More to come…

Beauty Review Saturday, Apr 3 2010 

Every girl loves looking great, especially when it comes to her makeup. We want to cover up our imperfections, make our pretty eyes stand out and our lips look kissable, all the while trying desperately to keep it all as natural seeming as possible. (Boys, FYI – harder than it looks!) I try to stick to a budget and so have opted to not always buy MAC/Dior etc makeup unless I can really afford to. Which means finding cheaper options that still work, and work WELL.

I have found a couple of new products recently that have really impressed me, so I thought I’d share.

RADIESSENCE Foundation

I bought RADIESSENCE on a whim really, because I had seen the Ads on TV and had heard people talking about it over the past few months. I needed a new foundation so thought I’d try it out. And I’ll tell you what – I am extremely happy I did! I have only used it a few times so far, but each time everyone comments on how “fresh-faced” I look, and one friend also stated she didn’t even click that I was wearing foundation! WIN WIN WIN! The foundation itself is a creamy blend with an SPF30 sunscreen mixed in, and is so good I didn’t need to use a concealer AT ALL – it covered up everything! Under-eye circles, blemishes, redskin. I also found that, as long as my skin is fresh and clean, there is absolutely no caking or build up.  There are four shades to choose from and it comes with a brush and an applicator sponge, which is really handy. For NZD$49.90 this is an extremely well-priced product that covers just as well as those big-name brands do. (If not better than some!)

Revlon: Just Bitten

This little lip enhancer is a roll-on, long lasting lip stain. You roll it on in the morning, let it set over a few minutes, then apply your normal balm/gloss. All day the colour will stay, because your lips are (duh) stained. All you have to do it keep applying your gloss, if you choose to. It’s easy, it’s sexy, and the name reminds me of Twilight, so I love it all the more! 😉  Why is this better than a long-lasting lipstick, you ask? Well, lipstick is thick, and if you have even the smallest amount of dry skin the lipstick cakes on and enhances it. Lip stain doesn’t do this in the slightest. This is a limited edition release for Revlon, so they no longer sell it on their site, BUT a lot of chemists, online shops etc still stock it. For  NZD$16.99 (sometimes cheaper, sometimes more expensive) it’s not a bad buy really. It lasts forever, and you only need to apply a little bit each morning as it lasts most, if not all of the day.

Vaseline Lip Therapy

We all know about Vaseline, but let me tell you, it is SO handy to have in your handbag. As a gloss over your matt lipstick or lip stain, it works beautifully. The particular type that I use (green tin, see above) has Aloe added, which means it helps also to keep my lips feeling soft and supple. Other tricks for this cheap (NZD$4.00) little beauty is that it is great for tidying eyebrows and emergency patch ups for when you’re out, go to the bathroom and look into the mirror, only to find dry skin! Plus, it can easily be stuffed into a small handbag or even your pocket. Genius! Have a look at the product itself here.

Chi Chi Eye Palette's

I really like Chi Chi cosmetics. Farmers Department store introduced me to the range, and I have never been disappointed. The product I am using obsessively at the moment is one of their Eye Pallette sets (mine has blue, pink, dusky rose, red-orange, gold and black). For NZD$16.99 this is a cheap eyeshadow that not only goes on well and stays on for the entire day without fading or smudging, but its sturdy little snap case never ever opens in your handbag and spills everywhere like most other cosmetics do. I mostly use the gold and the black, which are rich and sexy – LOVE! Check out the Chi Chi website for the full range.

L'OREAL Glam Shine Lip Gloss

You can’t beat a good lipgloss. L’Oreal’s Glam Shine range isn’t cheap, but also isn’t going to break the bank at NZD$21.00 (the price can vary depending on the store though, of course). There is a good range (I have most of them!) and it goes on smoothly, with minimal smudging and absolutely no stickiness. It does come off on your coffee cup/boyfriends collar, but oh well. That’s the price of beauty! You can find this product in most Supermarkets, Chemists and online beauty sites.

Kleancolor Nail Polish (Black #5)

In a perfect world, I would have enough money to only buy O.P.I. nail polishes. They are great BUT… a bit too expensive unfortunately. My next best thing? Well, I found it today, put it on, and am totally chuffed! Kleancolor’s nail polishes go on so smoothly, with no flaking, lumps or blobbing. I am really impressed. The RRP is about NZD$9.99, but I got it on sale today for NZD$6.00 at a Postie+ store. It does need a sealer coat on top to stop it from peeling, but for a change-a-day type polish it’s good.

So, that’s it for now kids. Hopefully I have helped you in some way to improve your makeup range while saving you some money as well! Until next time…