Showing posts with label books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label books. Show all posts

Friday, July 26, 2013


Going to play hooky from the blog for a week or so while I get down to business and take care of a few things. In lieu of a proper post, here's an update about some things I'm enjoying lately.

Fresh tomatoes. 

I was down with my annual mysterious summer illness for a week in June, and when I emerged from the haze, all I wanted to do was eat fresh tomatoes every single day. I've been eating one a day ever since.

Fresh cherries. 

I hate cherry-flavoured things (soda, candy, cough syrup), but I can eat a bucketful of cherries in one sitting.

Marine-inspired things.

My trusty Oceane EDT (available at Anthropologie in Yorkville), bio life hand soap in Aqual Minerals (a no-name soap that smells AMAZING), Deborah Lippmann nail polish in Mermaid's Dream.

Bright colours.

Butter London nail polish in Slapper.

Well-timed ice cream breaks.

My love of Haagen-Dazs is well-documented. The mini sizes have a mini spoon underneath the lid, which makes sudden ice cream cravings easy to satisfy while on the go. But just in case I feel like downing an entire pint while browsing the aisles, I carry a regular spoon inside a ziplock bag inside my purse. FOR REAL.

Reading again.

After writing my final university exam at the end of April, I was sure that my brain was broken. It wasn't until we lost power for three straight days when there was nothing else to do that I finally picked up a book and devoured its contents by candlelight. (The book in the picture is Doctor Thorne, which I skipped reading last year in the Trollope course.)

Me being nerdy on Instagram.

Follow me @reductionista. A glass and a pinky raised here. Next up is a finger gun.

Even more nerdy: bird-watching.

I'm turning into a weird, old hermit. Lately I spend a lot of time staring out the window at the birds flying between my roof and our neighbour's. This guy in particular makes the cutest little noise as he flies back and forth. He has a partner that he likes to chase around in the sesame garden. The back yard is always full of robins, sparrows, the odd pigeon, and sometimes a cardinal and a canary. The blue jays left when the pine tree got cut down (good riddance because they're fucking loud), and the other day I saw the strangest thing the size of a small cat, greyish-beige, with an orange breast and white tips under the wings. It reminds me of the grandpa bird from Angry Birds.

Three sparrows hiding in this bush.


If you're on Twitter, you already know that I spent three entire days marathoning Seasons 2, 3 and 4 of Breaking Bad, without sleep, barely eating. I don't have Season 5 because I refuse to pay $30 for 8 episodes. Yet. 

We used to be friends, a long time ago... AND THEN IT ENDED.

The Veronica Mars movie is underway, and the first trailer was unveiled at the San Diego Comic Con this past week. I was a rabid fan of VM while it was on air and nearly went insane at the end of every season while it verged on cancellation. Personally, I like to pretend that Season 3 doesn't exist and rewatch 1 and 2 regularly. I'm already getting into arguments on an online message board with other rabid fans about whether Veronica is acting out of character in this trailer.

And because I love this shot from the trailer so, so much. Have we ever seen Veronica's boys all in the same room together? THANK YOU, ROB THOMAS.


True Blood.

It was always a crazy show, but the crazy became boring, and I wasn't going to watch anymore. Then this happened.

And now I'm going to go take care of some business like Bill here. Be good, kids.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

June 2013 Pickups and Deliveries

I'm always tempted to start off these posts by saying that it was a tame month. Since I don't shop as much as I used to, it's true that I have been tame. But I also receive packages on a regular basis, and by the end of wrapping up a haul post, I feel overindulged, decadent and extremely lucky. Let's see what arrived at House Reductionista this month.

Veet Easy Grip Ready-to-Use Wax Strips for Face - Ummm... the dreaded female 'stache became quite apparent under summer sun's glare. I had to get rid of those unsightly things immediately. Veet wax strips work well to remove hairs from the root, and I didn't experience any irritation. (I do well with waxing in general.) This was on sale at Shoppers but I cannot for the life of me remember how much it was. ($7.99??)

LUSH Eau Roma Water - Discussed last post. This small 100 mL bottle goes for around CAD$10.

Essie Apricot Cuticle Oil Sample - Randomly showed up in my mail box. I haven't picked up the top coat yet but now I'm debating whether to go with Essie or not. Ho hum.

Neutrogena UltraSheer Water-Light Daily Face Sunscreen SPF60 - I lied about picking up La Roche-Posay. In the end, I had a hard time trying to justify CAD$29 for a facial sunscreen during unemployment when I had perfectly good experience with this Neutrogena. When I saw that it was on sale for CAD$12 (down from $19), I decided to use the saved money for some non-beauty excitements. Such as good food, fine coffee, and...

Art of McSweeney's (Chronicle Books) - On sale at Indigo (online and in-store) for CAD$10. I used my Plum Points and got it for $5. Original price was $54 before tax!!!

That's all I bought for this month.

But then I received some fabulous gifts from generous friends.

My friend J from Singapore was in town for a visit and surprised me with some extra goodies! I had requested the SilkyGirl Magic BB Powder Foundation, since my sister and I both like it very much. I'm starting to get a little bit tired of it, although I don't think my sister is. (It has to do with the fact that my face is drier lately and the powder isn't kind to dry patches despite its many claims.) I only told J about the blog when she arrived, so it was kind of funny that she had included some nail treatments. Since I'm weaning myself off the nail polish craze, this is some good timing. I've also been hankering for more sheet masks after using up my small supply. Psychic friends! Thanks, J. :-)

And this package snuck in today for the finale! Lovely Vita of Making up 4 my age and I discussed a small international swap ages ago. I sent her some Canadian treats and she sent me Aussie treats. (A word of advice for anyone in North America shipping to Australia: never send via ship. My package took THREE MONTHS to get there.) I've never tried any of these brands before, so I'm very excited of course. Here we have some NATIO, ModelsCo, Models Prefer Professional, Australis, and Lucas' Papaw. I like how blogger friends know each other's tastes so accurately. Vita carefully curated a selection of neutral eyes, reddish lippies and bright blush -- all things I have talked at length about. That blush is the first thing I'm popping on! Thanks, Vita. :-)

Aaaaand that's it for this month. I'm finally getting around to job searching after a much-needed break, so hopefully in a few months, my purchases will look much more exciting (within reason, whatever that is). ;-)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

May 2013 Pickups and Deliveries

This month wasn't as frugal as last month, but considering that I was in NYC last weekend, I feel like the master of self-restraint because I must have looked at at least 40 blushes and 100 perfume bottles during the 48 hour-span that I was there. It was very useful, however, as I managed to strike off several things from a dream wish list: Le Labo Bergamote (flat and one-note), Serge Lutens Gris Clair (gave me a headache), Paddywax Ocean Tide & Sea Salt Candle (too sweet), and 98% of Demeter perfumes (yuck). Hurray, less things to lust over!


LA ROCHE-POSAY Effaclar Duo - It's my third time purchasing this kit. When my skin went nuts in late April, nothing calmed it down. I resisted repurchasing this because by the end of the second tube, it felt as if my skin was starting to become immune to it. Right now I'm kind of iffy on it. There are days when it works and other days when it doesn't. But it's still more reliable than anything else I have at the moment.

CHANEL Black Pearl - It's now discontinued and none of the Chanel counters I checked with in Toronto had it. (The locations I checked: The Bay @ Eaton Centre, The Bay @ Yonge/Bloor, Bloor Street Holt Renfrew.) Normally I never purchase backups and especially not nail polish, but this is one of my all-time favourite shades and I've actually worn it often enough that there's a visible dip in my old bottle. So when I came across a stocked counter in NYC, I had to grab one. And isn't it one of those things that are going to be like $100 on eBay by next year? I still want Jade and Nouvelle Vague.

AESOP Control - AESOP is one of those brands that are getting a lot of mention lately, so when Xiao and Makeup Morsels and I met up for brunch/shopping in NYC (post coming up), we visited an AESOP boutique where I picked up this little tube. It was a slightly irrational purchase because the percentage of the salicylic acid is kept a trade secret apparently (snort), but I had a weirdly good feeling about it and wanted something to make up for the waning efficacy of LRP Effaclar Duo. So far it's just okay, from last night's first test - hasn't healed anything but hasn't made anything worse. Available here online.

 P.S. They seem to be nicer about handing out samples in New York than in Toronto. I wouldn't have received anything at Chanels around here for buying just one nail polish, and the AESOP guy was shoving these at me even before I committed to buying the one tiny item.

Non-beauty pickup: souvenir from MoMA! I'm far from well versed in visual art, and contemporary art is something I ignored forever. But experience stirs new interests, which is why I like traveling and trying new things.


Highlight of the month: meeting Xiao and Makeup Morsels in NYC! As beauty bloggers are prone to doing, we exchanged a few goodies around. I can't remember why we started joking on Twitter that whenever MM visits one of us, she has to bring scented soaps. And she literally did. :-)


Clarins - Lots to review. I'll be quite busy for a while. So far, everything I tried is aaaaaaaamazing.

Smile Brilliant - Ever since I started drinking more tea, staining has been a huge issue. Thought this self-whitening kit was really interesting. Testing in progress.

Montagne Jeunesse - A surprise box! I missed an event hosted by Farleyco and they were kind enough to send me a preview of the products that were presented that day. Testing in progress.

What did you guys pick up/receive this month? 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Things I Like A Lot #4: Books

Seems like a silly title, doesn't it, because who doesn't like books? Yet many people I know don't. It's not that they actively dislike books, but there are those who don't enjoy reading for whatever reason or those don't understand the value of literature. A lawyer once asked me what the point of studying English literature was and I nearly fell over in shock. She said she was entertained by movies but that books bored her, and that reading fake stories about fake people failed to inspire anything in her. Back then, I wanted respond that "real" people bore me 90% of the time and that without the "fake" things to aspire to, life would be incredibly dull and unsatisfying. I think that I tried to explain it more politely but the discussion didn't go anywhere. She remained unconvinced that literature was necessary. And it's not, to the degree that you need water, food and shelter. But as beings with thoughts and ideas and feelings over merely existing, it would be odd to not be able to express those things with the one vehicle we created for that express purpose: language.

Literature was my first love. After many years away from it, I came back to studying it with the firm belief that doing what I feel passionate about will lead me to a better place eventually. I also longed to be among my own kind, with fellow bookworms who feel similarly passionate about our subject matter and know the source material behind so many of the movies being produced these days. Maybe that's why I feel at home in the blogosphere in a way I don't in offline life, because expressing the self with text isn't something I share with a lot of people on a regular basis. Daily emails and text messages are businesslike, brief and to the point. But on blogs, people come alive with words to describe everything from the texture of a lipstick to the feelings stirred by a song. I discovered that many bloggers are avid readers, and our shared love of language, words and imagination forge many memorable moments that grow into solid friendships. Books are seeds planted for the future, gateway into other worlds and perspectives we would otherwise never know. The words within the pages give form to shapeless thoughts and feelings floating in our minds on a regular basis and tether them as something concrete and tangible. We write to express, and we read to learn to express and to understand.

So, I have a lot of books. I tried to count them several times, but it's way worse than trying to count how many blushers I have. It's not really about the numbers for me, however, so I don't really care how many there are.

I prefer to buy small paperbacks to fit as many possible on a shelf. For this particular shelf, I ended up double-shelfing the books per row to maximize space. For me, the value of a book is in its content for the most part, which is why I don't spend a lot of money on first release hard covers or fancy editions. I began collecting as a child, buying cheap discards from the library for $0.25. Eventually I was forced to buy certain editions for university classes, and I try not to keep duplicates unless there's a drastic difference between two editions with just as much value in both. (For example, Henry James was notorious for revisiting his earlier books and rewriting them -- badly, too, according to many critics. You need to take a look at what year that particular copy of the book was originally published to see what era of his writing you're looking at.)

I'd like to say that I'm a sort of an aspiring librarian with neatly catalogued books, but sadly, no. After moving from room to room in this house as different siblings moved in and out, I was happy to simply be able to fit all the books on some sort of shelf space, order be damned. The catalogue is in my head and I know exactly which book I have, if not its exact location on a shelf.

Paperbacks on top, oversized books and heavy anthologies on bottom.

Below are the other two bookshelves, also littered with all sorts of trinkets and things.

And this little unit is a small shelf I made in Grade 6 shop class. (This was back in the day when they taught home economics, visual arts and shop as mandatory requirements in middle school. I was horrible in home ec, fantastic in art and shop.) I remember sawing the pieces, sanding and varnishing with a lot of love and care. It's remarkably sturdy even after all these years. I'm going to keep it until one of us perishes.

As a result of my disorganization, the genres are all mixed up. But I kind of like the austere Northrop Frye rubbing elbows with sharp-witted Sarah Vowell and mellow Jane Urquhart. Classifications and taxonomies are not the end all or be all. Often they are as limiting as they are helpful. We can create subcategory after subcategory to no avail. Not all books fit in a box nice and neatly. (And perhaps those are the best kind of books.)

Mandatory Tolkien shot for my personal Counsel of Elrond. ;-)

When I had more time for leisure reading (for the last handful of years, it's been all course-related requirements), I'd pick a book or an author on a whim and pursue the series or the author or both until there was nothing more to pursue. It happened with The Three Muskateers by Alexandre Dumas. When I first picked it up, I had no idea that it was an entire series ending with The Man in the Iron Mask. But I fell in love with the characters and chased them all the way through the less exciting Twenty Years After and Louise de la Valliere. And obviously after that, I had to read The Count of Monte Cristo. Dumas could ramble on, but he wrote with a lot of relish, unlike Hugo who was denser and more philosophical. Good times were had.

As years went on, I pursued mostly classical literature. I delved into romance, sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, crime and even erotica, but few engaged me for long in those arenas. Then later, I developed a strange personal quirk: I liked reading about reading, reading about writing, and reading about books. I discovered those sort of books under the umbrella of literary criticism where traffic tended to be light, which was exactly to my liking. Similar to the theme of this blog, it appears that I like to examine why we love what we love. Why is it that we do any of this mad cap scribbling and photo-taking -- to the point that we have to share with the world (wide web) -- why we do what we do?

Touching back down to what I like: I love The Awakening by Kate Chopin.

The genius duo of Henry James and Edith Wharton keep me delighted year after year. I had a plan to read all of both of their books as well, but the plan was derailed by repetitive courses that had me re-read Daisy Miller, Portrait of a Lady, Ethan Frome and The House of Mirth multiple times. I dream of the day I can sit down for a week and wrestle with The Golden Bowl. Then I will read their biographies.

And if anyone asks me what my favourite book is, I answer with Fifth Business by Robertson Davies. In fact, I say the entire Depford Trilogy. I'm convinced that Robertson Davies died with the secret of life in his Santa Claus-esque beard. Born in small town Ontario and destined for greatness, Davies longed for intellectual stimulation beyond the restrictive life of 9-5 jobs and quiet Canadian living. Eventually he became one of the founding members of Massey College at the University of Toronto, where the main library is named after him. The quality of his writing is visibly progressive, but his biggest triumph is this trilogy, written during the middle years, filled with amazing dialogues and insights that he probably would have loved to have shared with fellow nerds. Lucky for us, he wrote them down.

Then a handful of years ago, I got into collecting signed books and attending author readings. Book lovers in Toronto need to check out Authors at Harbourfront Centre and free events hosted by the Toronto Public Library and Indigo. Great resources and opportunities are to be had all the time, and my only problem is that full-time work and part-time studies don't give me enough time to attend everything that I want. I sit in enough lectures as it is for time being. Anyway, below is Yann Martel's signature. I went to a reading and took a few books to be signed by him. When my turn came, the books slipped out of my grasp last second and landed with a thump on the desk, as if I had rudely slammed them down for him to sign. Yann looked at up me with a certain look on his face ('excuse you') and unenthusiastically asked what my name was. I should have explained, but it all happened in a split second. By the time I found the words to explain, it was too late. Does it look to anybody else as if he signed his name as "Sam"???

And below are the books that you sometimes see as backdrop to some of my makeup pics. (Usually I drop a piece of blank white sheet on the desk and take pictures there.) When I ran out of shelf space, I acquired this industrial-size desk with a large hutch and stored the extra books along the desk from end to end.

Now, have I read all the books that I own? Nope. I could probably fill one shelf with books I haven't read. Many were picked up at university library sales where I carted them away by boxes. I've stopped purchasing books for time being, in anticipation of reading all the unread books and eventually switching over to e-books. It doesn't mean that I'll give up my physical library, because I'll always have a fond attachment to these old friends who kept me company for many years. There's something satisfying about turning the paper page, listening to the sound of the flip and being able to take up a pen to highlight a particular word or phrase. But I foresee a time when space may be limited, and I am thankful for the availability of e-readers that make it possible for me to continue this love affair with writers and books across all ages and genres.

Given that I'm writing about a rather large book collection on a blog devoted to reducing beauty products, it begs to be asked: why don't I feel the same guilt about hoarding books as I obviously felt (and sometimes still do) about hoarding beauty products? No one will look at my book collection and ask in shock and distaste, "Why do you have so many books?" (Although, when I was working at the bookstore, a customer came in and used the term "crap" to indicate physical books.) But many people have looked at my train case and reeled back in horror at the makeup stash, asking, "Why?"

Because it's fun.

Because it transforms me into a better (or more functional) me.

Because it adds colour and beauty to an otherwise sometimes very dreary world.

And yet. Guilt sets in if I spend $100 for a Chanel highlighter. Would I feel the same guilt if I purchased a $100 antique book? I don't know, because I've never done it. I've been frugal with books for the most part, though a part of me fiercely desires to acquire vintage leather bounds or artistic hard copies of classics. Somehow I've managed to separate aesthetics, form and function with books. But while working at the bookstore, I realized once more that they all come together in various ways. Sometimes I wasn't able to locate certain books on the main shelves because they were being used as prop instead on a display. I had mixed feelings about that. Was it about show or content? Or both?

I think the answer is unique and individual to us all. For me, books were mostly about what was between the pages and the quality of writing within, their ability to make me think deeper or to entertain greatly. With beauty products, it's mostly about the way they make me feel on a daily basis as a part of morning and night rituals. It might call for a $100 Chanel highlighter from time to time, to feel pampered in a way that Edith Wharton heroines might like to feel. It took me a long time to reach this point, but I don't see why both can't co-exist harmoniously. They add joy and value to my life, internally and externally. They make me feel human.

May I never stop exploring new books nor stop exploring new lipsticks. I don't have to always buy them, but I will never stop looking. :-)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Things I Like A Lot #2: Les Miserables

As mentioned, Les Miserables is one of my all-time favourite books. For a good decade of my life, I would tell people that it was my favourite novel. The journey began with the abridged edition which I picked up on a whim from the public library as a teen. It sounds ridiculous and strange now, but I didn't know anyone else my age during that time who read classic literature for fun.

Because it had been a personal solo project, for a long while I didn't realize that I hadn't read the full novel. When I came across the book again at triple its abridged length, I remember pausing for a moment before picking up. It was a long read, full of Hugo's musings and personal philosophy on religion and politics for chapters at a time, but I felt better informed about why the book was written and felt proud of having read it in its entirety. When I started to work and purchase books instead of borrowing them, one of the first I bought was Les Miserables. I read it once or twice more after that, guiltily skipping over some of the long tangents those times.

While looking for images of the book cover to write this post, I came across the picture below from the original 1862 edition, which has now been immortalized as the emblem for the musical. I think that's just amazing.

Portrait of "Cosette" by Emile Bayard, from the original edition of Les Misérables (1862)
Source: Wikipedia

I missed out on some concert opportunities and was gifted with a video of the 10th Anniversary Concert instead one birthday. I put that video on repeat so often that my family would beg me to stop watching it. Lately I've been playing certain songs from it on YouTube and again my siblings are begging me to stop. The best concert will always be the 10th Anniversary held at Royal Albert Hall with THE DREAM CAST. Years later, I was finally able to see one of the last concerts held in Toronto with Colm Wilkinson making a last run as Jean Valjean.

10th Anniversary Concert - Full Concert

10th Anniversary Concert "Do You Hear The People Sing"

Side note: I am all about Enjolras. :-)

10th Anniversary Concert Finale


Despite the mixed reviews, I knew that I had to watch the new Hollywood version of Les Miserables. Foolish me, I thought it was going to be a mix of music and dialogue along the lines of The Sound of Music. It turned out to be a near replica of the musical with a lot of bad singing. Say what you will about Hugh Jackman being a broadway man, but the best singer in the cast turned out to be Eddie Redmayne and -- yes, Anne Hathaway.

I think it's still worth watching the movie because a good story can never be told enough. My personal opinion is that the movie could have taken advantage of its medium and told a much better story, using the book as the source material rather than staging an elaborate copycat version of the musical. It feels to me like a wasted effort on replicating something that could not be bested when they had a fantastic opportunity to create something new and fresh. The musical did something amazing with an old book and created lyrics that delivered the sentiments of a thousand page novel succinctly with just as much, if not more, impact. I read a review somewhere that pointed out that all the close panning of the cameras to the actors' faces was providing an intimacy that the musical could not, but in my unabashed opinion, it's a wasted effort when most of the actors had trouble singing, enunciating and emoting at the same time. And I am in no way blaming the actors for the movie's failures. They are not trained singers. If anyone, I blame the writers, editors and the people at the helm.

Nonetheless... THE DREAM LIVES ON.

2012 Movie Trailer

And now, for my favourite part: following the evolution of a piece of culture to its present effect. It doesn't remain dormant and wither with the pages of old tomes. It doesn't go stale in a movie reel and die with rotten tomatoes. It becomes a part of us as something alive and at large and at work. If I had been in this Graham Norton audience, it would have been embarrassing how loudly I would have sung my heart out. You just can't listen to this and not shout it:

Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!

Hugh Jackman leading the audience into song on The Graham Norton Show (12:46). I recommend watching the entire episode because all three of the male guests are hilarious together.

What does this have to do with beauty and this blog? Not much. All I can offer you on that front is that Fantine's hair looked so shiny and long and pretty in the movie that it inspired me to not chop off my hair, which is about the same length pre-shearing. Dammit, how do I get it to look so shiny and bouncy?

Edited to add: The orchestra conductor of the 10th anniversary concert has KILLER cheekbones! 

Long story short: Going on lengthy rants about being let down is also another thing I Like A Lot.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Small Delights

I relaxed somewhat more in June and allowed myself some small treats. In hindsight, I could have done without half of them, but I'm still in training mode and not at the master level of restraint that I'd like to be. Also, I received some goodies from friends and took advantage of excellent deals. As the eldest child of an immigrant family, I certainly know how to hustle for cheap goodies -- but it's a skill my ridiculously frivolous side likes to forget about during good times. In the past few months, I had to dig deep to discipline myself into foregoing a lot of unnecessary but pretty things. Just because I can doesn't mean that I should. (And that is so so very boring, but hopefully some day soon I'll run around shouting, "I can! I can! I can!")

First up is a lovely package from the awesome Makeup Morsels. Months ago we were talking books and I promised to send her a book from the Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies (one of my top five favourite authors) and she was going to send me an extra copy of Perfume. Then as makeup addicts do, we had to throw in some cosmetics. She had a hard time locating a shade from Kate Moss for Rimmel which lay in abundance around me and for that I received a Smith's Rosebud Mocha Rose lip balm in the tube, which I had been curious about trying. Along with it came some sheet masks and candies. I love my blogger friends! The bestest!

The part that made me really LOL -- MM's infamous stick figure -- YAY!

Earlier in the month I was browsing at Indigo (which is a pretty dangerous thing to do) and could not resist the cuteness of these owl lip balms. At $6 per owl, I should have left them behind -- but after deciding to cave, I had to pick up two of them, because they go together so well and one would have been lonely by itself.

The thing is I'm not really planning on using the lip balm part (sickly sweet and gross looking). They're decorative figurines to add some quirk to my book shelf and for me to talk to like a crazy person. You know. And look at what good little helpers they are.

For the longest time I wanted to get one of these library kits because I'm forever lending books to people and half the time they don't make it back. But the kits really aren't that practical because I have way too many books and I'd have to buy like 1000 of those kits. I figure a big "THIS BOOK BELONGS TO LIZ" sticker will induce guilty feelings and aid in a speedy return of the books once finished.

So the owls are now already fast friends with Queen Bee Bear and Happy Bee Hand Cream. YAY!

In less exciting news: I tried to ignore the Bath & Body Works blowout sale but there happens to be two stores quite close to my office. I poked my head into one and narrowly missed hauling a thousand shower gels and body butters. In the end, I settled for a mini candle and a mini candle holder in the shape of a delightful slowpoke turtle. Only $2 each! I could not feel guilty about that.

Then that day I got some Proctor & Gamble samples including an Olay Regenerist Wrinkle Revolution Complex, laundry scent boosters (whatever that is) and a razor for men which my brother scooped up with glee. 

The exfoliating bath gloves I bought because I'm now obsessed with obtaining the perfectly sun-kissed smooth limbs. I've actually never used these before and find they're pretty effective. They can feel quite abrasive if you rub too hard but some gentle strokes up and down the arms and thighs helps get rid of the small bumps caused by ingrown hair. Slap on some body butter after the shower and tada!

My god, this is a boring haul. But stay with me. The best is yet to come.

The Body Shop had a flash sale offering 50% off all skin care. I was halfway through my last bottle of my favourite toner and had to stock up. Instead of buying four bottles like last time, I settled for two for now.

And finally -- I obtained THE object of desire for Summer 2012: Dior St. Tropez. I stumbled across a Shoppers Drug Mart that wasn't sold out of the shade and used Optimum Points to score it for free! I love love love it. Considering that my summer consists of working two jobs while attending night classes and that I can't go anywhere or barely socialize, anything that can replicate that St. Tropez kind of feeling is a worthy cause.

My beachy summer collection is now complete. With a spray of CB I Hate Perfume At The Beach 1966 and St. Tropez on my fingertips, I can amplify the best parts of summer and work and study hard without a second glance at makeup counters. I am DONE for the summer. No more products until September!

I think the total cost of my June splurge is something between $30-40. If my posts now have a bend to the financial aspect of splurging for beauty products, it's because it's a legitimate concern in my life now and I'm really doing my best to overcome this habit of purchasing products to lift my spirits. I know we all feel the need for a little "something" when we're having bad days and it feels perfectly legitimate at the time. But browsing through this post now, I could have done without the owls and mini candle. They're delightful and do cheer me up but they're not exactly essential.

So, that's my ramble to conclude the month of June. I foresee a very busy five weeks ahead as I begin a seminar course this week on Anthony Trollope's Barsetshire novels. The professor is notorious for being extremely demanding and the last course I had with her killed my entire summer three years ago. I thought of dropping it and taking a break for the remainder of the summer but it seems a shame to stop and defer another course. I'll have to fight through the pain and just move forward. That's a long way of saying that my posting frequency will suffer yet again, but I'll try to update at least once or twice a week as there are a lot of things I've been meaning to talk about. Hopefully you're all enjoying the beautiful weather and far too busy to even notice.

Have you indulged in any small pick-me-ups recently? What products best represents the summery goodness to you? Have you studied Trollope before and have any words of warning/wisdom to impart???