Month: March 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: books recently added to my TBR list

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week we’re talking recent additions to the TBR pile! I add new books weekly, so this list is constantly updating, but as of typing this the ten most recent additions were:

1. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Saenz. I heard that this has beautiful writing, and it was highly recommended by two of my GR friends. (By the way, if we’re not friends on Goodreads yet, we totally should be!)

2. Sarah’s Key, by Tatiana de Rosnay. I like the idea of interwoven plots, and this is another book well-liked by my GR friends.

3. Someone is Watching, by Joy Fielding. I don’t know why I read this kind of book–I guess I secretly love scaring the crap out of myself.

4. The Paris Wife, by Paula McLain. How could I not want to read this? It involves Hemingway!

5. None of the Above, by I.W. Gregorio. I don’t normally “do” YA contemporary, but this sounds really thought-provoking.

6. The Novice, by Taran Matharu. Heroes in hoods, y’all. There’s a reason I have a shelf for it.

7. Wolf in White Van, by John Darnielle. I actually just picked this up from the library, and it’s so short, I might read it in one sitting this weekend.

8. Girl in the Dark, by Anna Lindsey. I’m not really a “memoir” person per se but this sounds so sad, scary and interesting.

9. The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant, by Joanna Wiebe. I might start this sometime this week. I actually just finished book one and had really mixed feelings about it, but I do want to know what happens next in the series!

10. The Starbound trilogy, by Amie Kaufman. I keep hearing amazing things about it, and the covers are beautiful, so I finally added the whole trilogy to my TBR list.

Music Monday: Boston

Man, this is a flashback to high school. I think the lyrics have really stuck with me throughout different time periods and events in my life.

She said I think I’ll go to Boston…
I think I’ll start a new life,
I think I’ll start it over, where no one knows my name.

(Funny side note: I remember when this was the hot “look” on boys. That haircut, the soul patch, everything. Kind of funny to see something from ten years ago and realize how much things change, while other things don’t change at all.)

Product review: Andalou Naturals Lavender Shea hand cream

I’ve struggled with dry hands all winter and have tried a few different hand creams, without finding one I really love. Now that spring is here my skin isn’t quite so dry, but I still need something, so I picked up this fresh-smelling hand cream from my local natural foods store.

Andalou Naturals Lavender Shea hand cream review from I'd Rather Be Reading blog

What it is: Andalou Naturals Lavender Shea hand cream; $8.95/3.4 ounces. An organic, vegan and gluten-free hand cream designed to nourish dry hands and cuticles.

What it does: It’s a fairly thick cream that absorbs quickly and smells strongly of lavender, without that baby powder tendency found in some lavender-scented products. It’s less sweet and more earthy, which I like.  I do feel like the scent fades quickly.

I like how this feels on my skin, but it’s still not quite thick enough for the winter months. You still have to reapply every couple of hours or after washing your hands, and I’ll be shopping for something a bit thicker for the colder, drier winter months. That said, I feel like this will be a good hand cream for the spring-to-fall period, when I want something with a medium thickness and a clean scent. I also really love that the profits from this hand cream support projects to benefit women’s education–I feel that it’s important for companies to find ways to give back to society, and human rights and education are important to me.

Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Juice (organic), Aqua, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil (organic), Stearic Acid, Prunus Amygdalus (Sweet Almond) Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter (organic), Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Butter (organic), Mangifera Indica (Mango) Butter, Vegetable Glycerin, Calophyllum Inophyllum (tamanu) Oil, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Malus Domestica (apple), Solar Vitis (grape), Vaccinium Myrtillus (Bilberry) (Fruit Stem Cell Cultures and BioActive 8 Berry Complex. Organic), Allantoin, Hibiscus Rosa Sinensis Extract, Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Extract (organic), Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil (organic), Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Oil, Xanthan Gum, ethylhexyl glycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Lavandula Officinalis (Lavender) Oil (organic).

My Rocksbox redux: March 2015

Rocksbox March15 1

If you’ve read my blog for a while, then you might remember the time I tried out Rocksbox. I wasn’t overwhelmed by the service and ended up canceling my subscription after my trial period ended, but when the company reached out recently to see if I’d like to give it another shot, I decided to go for it. After all, practice makes perfect, so a few months’ worth of style profiling should make my boxes better this time around. Plus, I’ve had a serious case of the “wanna-buys” lately–probably because of the seasonal change–so this is a good way to play with some new jewelry without committing to a piece I might not want to wear for very long.

Rocksbox March15 2

Here’s how it works: After signing up and completing your style profile via the Rocksbox website, a stylist puts together a set of jewelry and ships it out to you. I’ve found that the shipping is incredibly speedy–I got my box (and my return box was processed) in a matter of mere days. You can keep the pieces as long as you like, and if you like anything in particular, you can purchase it at a discounted member price, plus you get $10 each month in “Shine Spend” to put towards a purchase. When you’re ready to send back your set, simply reuse the package it arrived in (a prepaid label is in your box) and drop it in the mail; you’ll get a new set within days, and you can refresh your set an unlimited number of times in a month. The monthly charge is $19 and you can cancel at any time.

Rocksbox March15 3

Want to try a free month? Use my code “mhokensonxoxo” at sign-up to get a free one-month trial! You can try out multiple styles during your free month and cancel at any time if you decide you don’t want to keep your membership.

Rocksbox March15 4

Now, let’s look at my box…the first item is the Gorjana Taner Ear Climbers earring set ($40, $32 for insiders). In all honesty these earrings were just too plain for me; I like very bold earrings!

Rocksbox March15 5

The second item is this Slate Marble Triangle Necklace ($50, $40 for insiders). I’ve been toying with buying a similar necklace and appreciated getting to try the trend with some pieces in my closet before committing. I ended up deciding it wasn’t for me, but it was fun to try!

Rocksbox March15 6

Finally, I have a House of Harlow 1960 Symbols and Signs Bangle in Gold ($68, $54 for insiders). Of all my pieces, this was the one that most tempted me to buy it–anything boho is good by me–but I sent it back because I’m trying to control my cash flow right now and I already splurged on books and a yoga class this month.

So there’s my box! I was much happier with this box than previous ones, and I’m super-pleased with the speedy shipping. (If there’s one thing I hate, it’s waiting!) I already snuck a peek at my next box online and I can’t wait for it to arrive next week–I have a feeling I’m going to love everything in it!

Don’t forget to sign up for your own free month of Rocksbox! And pop back in next week to see my next set of gems…

Top Ten Tuesday: books on my spring TBR list

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week we’re tackling the very difficult task of picking out our top ten spring TBRs–and let me tell you, with a TBR pile currently sitting at around 900 books (!), that’s no easy task. However, here are ten of the books that I’m most eager to read in the coming months, now that I can look forward to sitting on the porch in the sun to do so:

1. Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel–I’ve heard so many rave reviews from friends! I’m starting this now.

2. Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell–I really enjoyed The Bone Clocks and am eager to read this so I can see the movie.

3. The Mistborn series, by Brandon Sanderson–a Christmas gift from the hubby!

4. Dawn’s Early Light, by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris–I got tired of waiting for the library to get this, so I finally bought it–it was only $6 after all.

5. A Dance With Dragons, by George R.R. Martin–I’ve held off on it forever, but I’m dying to know what happens next.

6. The Lunar Chronicles, by Marissa Meyer–I’ve heard nothing but good things about this series.

7. Shutter Island, by Dennis Lehane–I really enjoyed the movie, hopefully the book is just as good.

8. Seeker, by Arwen Elys Dayton–I’ve heard that this is a really good YA pick, and great for fans of The Hunger Games.

9. The Magicians trilogy, by Lev Grossman–because I love anything to do with magic.

10. Dust, by Hugh Howey–I need to finally finish the Silo saga and see how it all ends!


Product review: Dermalogica Precleanse oil and wipes

(Disclosure: I received samples of the products mentioned in this post for testing purposes; however I was not compensated for writing a review and as always all opinions are my own.)

Dermalogica Precleanse

What it is: Dermalogica Precleanse oil ($38/5.1 oz.) and wipes ($18/20 ct.). Available through major beauty retailers like ULTA or through the Dermalogica website.

What it does: This lightweight cleansing oil works to dissolve excess dirt, oil and makeup on the surface of the skin prior to regular cleansing, allowing your regular cleanser to penetrate more deeply, resulting in a deeper, better clean. The wipes are biodegradable and travel-friendly.

I tried it: I feel like the best test of any “precleanse” or makeup remover is what I like to call the “classic Hollywood face”: foundation, liquid liner, mascara, and of course matte red lipstick. These precleansers took it all off with ease, allowing me to move on with my regular cleanser (which isn’t designed to remove makeup, especially around the eyes).  I usually use coconut oil to remove heavy makeup and I think that these were definitely less messy,not to mention they left behind less residue. Neither irritated my skin or eyes.

Final thoughts: A couple of things keep me from totally loving this duo: first, the price, and second, the long list of less-than-natural ingredients. It’s true that these precleansers are a little less toxic than some others on the market, but they still contain ingredients like phenoxyethanol and a handful of parabens, so they’re not as “green” as I’d like. (You can view the full ingredients list below.) I do have to admit that they’re much less messy than natural oil and if you have nut allergy concerns then these might be a more attractive option. For performance I would give this product a 10/10, and overall a 6/10.

Ingredients: Oil: Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, PEG-40 Sorbitan Peroleate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Borago Officinalis Seed Oil, Aleurites Moluccana Seed Oil, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Solanum Lycopersicum (To-mato) Extract, Tocopherol, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Decyl Olive Esters, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Citral, Limonene, Linalool, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Lavandula Hybrida Oil, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Isopropylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Butylparaben. Wipes: Water/Aqua/Eau, Cyclopentasiloxane, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Butylene Glycol, Neopentyl Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Lauryl PEG/PPG-18/18 Methicone, Dicaprylyl Ether, Glycerin, Sodium Cocoyl Apple Amino Acids, Prunus Armeniaca Kernel Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Peel Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, Lavandula Hybrida Oil, Mentha Viridis Leaf Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Oil, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Sodium PCA, Sodium Benzoate, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Tocopherol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Chloride, Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Citral, Phenoxyethanol. Dermalogica is listed on the Leaping Bunny website as a bunny-friendly company.