Have you heard of Juliette Blackwell’s A Witchcraft Mysteries Series? It has become my newest obsession! This series inspires me to be a better person as well as to be more adventurous with my wardrobe, hence my OOTD.
A Witchcraft Mystery Series by Juliet Blackwell
This is such an addicting series. It offers a bit of magic, a lovely leading lady, a diverse cast of characters – including one adorable pot belly pig – and it often focuses on the importance of friendship. There is also a bit of romance, but that really is not a main focus in the series. It has added to the storyline and helped us understand Lily, our heroine, a lot better as her story is told in flashbacks. I have yet to finish the series. There are now, as of April 2018, nine books in the series and I have read four of them.
Things that I love about this series:
· No time jumps from book to book – at least not as of book four.
My problem with time jumps is that I feel like I have missed out on crucial parts of my favorite character’s story. If I am invested in a series, chances are I’m going to seek out the next book right away because I do not want to forget anything or lose the spark. However, if the next book has a time jump then I kind of feel like the spark is lost.
· Aunt Cora’s Closet
Lily has a love for vintage dresses. She sells them and often wears them, and I feel inspired. I love the description of her outfits and I love that her shoe of choice is a pair of Keds because fashion need not be uncomfortable– a woman after my own heart. Of course, many of her outfits are procured from the inventory in Aunt Cora’s Closet. (What a dream to own a successful vintage clothing store and also wear its treasures…)
Aunt Cora’s Closet is a place I would like to visit. It seems like the perfect setting to wind down with friends and explore racks of beautiful clothes. Oh yeah – and if I’m in need of some herbs or a talisman these too would be available. Unfortunately, no such place exists. I’ve looked. It is totally fictional.
Oscar is Lily’s gargoyle/potbelly pig familiar. He may not be the voice of reason but he sure is adorable and funny.
· The cast.
The cast of characters is wonderfully diverse. It is made up of believers and skeptics as well as people from all walks of life. All together they add a sense of familiarity to the story, which keeps me coming back to the series.
· The atmospheric setting.
The series takes place in San Francisco – one of my favorite places to visit. It is colorful and lively and oozing with magic IRL. I literally can not imagine a better setting for this series.
· Magic and how it is explained and described.
Do you believe in magic? I do. However, I am not an expert on the subject and explanations and descriptions of what is going one are greatly appreciated. Maybe one day I will pick up a book on the lore of witchcraft as I think it would benefit my enjoyment of fictitious books about witches.
· The theme of self-acceptance.
Lily identifies as an outsider; hence, she finds it hard to enter new relationships with muggles. While she now embraces her talents, that was not always the case and a lot of her progress has to do with the theme of self-acceptance.
Witch or not, I think we can all relate, to some degree, to the feeling of being misunderstood. Some may try to fight it and blend in while others embrace their differences and do their thing regardless of an outsider’s perspective.
· It’s not too deep.
The series deals with some serious issues, tangibly. I really appreciate that as I often feel beat up by books that dive in head first. I know that such books are meant to educate but where is the line between educating and overdoing it? I think that it all depends on what the writer wants to accomplish and what the reader expects from a book. I expect to learn while being entertained and this series has not disappointed.
· Xe Sands narrates the whole series.
If you are an audiobook addict, then you probably have a set of favorite narrators. Is Xe is one of them? If not, please let me know why she has not made it to your list and please share some of your favorite narrators. I love Xe Sands as a narrator. Her voice is soothing as well as animated which I can not say of many other narrators – even those on my favorites list. The series is mysterious as well as magical hence her voice lends itself well to creating the perfect setting.
Do you have any witchy book recommendations? I, seriously, can not get enough these days.
P.P.S. This post is not sponsored.
Hi Everyone!! Hope you’ve all been well!! I’ve been on a bit of a reading stint hence the lack of written blog posts. I’m currently reading P.S. I Love You by Cecilia Ahern and let me tell you—while the movie is lovely—the book is fantastic! I haven’t gotten to the end yet but I’m certain it’ll be one of my favorite books of the year.
Anyway, today I wanted to put a spotlight on one of my newest favoritest nail polish companies—Trust Fund Beauty. The company offers cruelty-free long lasting products with sassy names. Their sassy charm is evident in their polish naming convention, which is largely driven by pop culture references. Just Talk To My Lawyer—a stunning deep brown polish with hints of red glitter—was the first addition to my collection and what started my love for this product. I received it via my Petit Vour subscription—a huge beauty purchase enabler. (Here’s my unboxing video.) If you’ve signed up for a beauty subscription do you find that you end up purchasing full size products you didn’t know you need? This is an ongoing trend for me.
A few months ago I signed up for their monthly subscription service where you receive two nail polishes—for sure—and surprise add-ons at times. I know it’s a bit of a splurge given that you pay upfront for the duration of the subscription of your choice (I signed up for the 6 month subscription) but considering that their nail polishes cost around $14 per bottle by signing up you save a few dollars, which is really nice if you’re set on increasing your collection. Overall, I’ve been really pleased. Their customer service is just lovely as are their monthly add-ons! I’ve received 2 full-size nail polishes and a few other goodies. It’s just been such a positive experience overall and think definitely think their worth giving a shot if you’re as obsessed with nail polish as I am.
Given my subscription I now own eight additional polishes and just love all of them! Of course I do. I wrote to a company rep and provided her with a list of my favorite nail polishes and thus far I’ve gotten all of my top choices—which is just the perfect situation—I nail polishes I love on a monthly basis.
Here are a few of them:
The formula isn’t runny and the wand is just right so someone as inept at nail polish application as myself can more easily apply their nail polish without many issues. When I say that the wand is just right I mean that it doesn’t spread out too much and it’s just long enough to where you have control of streakiness.
You may ask, “Jessica, what’s the deal with you and expensive nail polish?”
To that I say, nail polish is something I just can’t get enough of. I just love looking at my fingers as I type and seeing specks of color fly in and out of view. I love the application process—even though I’m really terrible at staying within my nail beds hence my manicure often ends up looking like a five-year-old who recently played with finger paints. Sitting down filing and polishing my nails while enjoying a glass of wine is a process I really look forward to after a long day in the office. While I love the process, I also love it when the formula is long lasting as it becomes a bit annoying to have to reapply after a day or two due to chipping.
I also love the effect that certain nail polishes have on my outfits whether it matches or clashes against it. I think it can look playful when it looks a bit off which is a nice change of pace in comparison to the more muted neutrals I often wear to work.
Nail polish is just my thing hence I sometimes spoil myself with a new color when in need for an instant pick-me-up. What do you do or splurge on when you need a bit of a pick-me-up?
Have you tried any products Trust Fund Beauty?
Hi Lovelies!! Tell me. If you were invited to a 90’s themed party where you were expected to dress accordingly, what would you wear?
Of course, I pose the question because I found myself in this predicament not too long ago. Ryan & I were invited to a 90’s themed pool party a few weeks ago. Everyone was to dress in 90’s style, bring the phones they carried around in the 90’s (if they had phones, some of us had pagers)—you get the gist. We had so much fun taking part in everything! Here, I learned how to play beer pong—except we substituted beer with water—and we also played a whole lot of Nintendo. It was so much fun!
In prepping for this party, I not only got really stressed out about what to wear but I also started reminiscing on all the things I was into back then…hmm...those were certainly different times. As for what I decided to wear, I went for Ryan’s old flannel, a thin undershirt, and my now one pair of jeans, brown booties, a scrunchie and a really dramatic eye & lip look.
How do you remember the 90’s—if at all? I went through many growing pains in the 90’s and was really all over the place—hello teen years. In a sense I kind of feel like a whole different person—& that’s to be expected. Experiences, good and bad, allow you to grow and become the person you are meant to grow into. I remember my teen years fondly but am very glad to be far removed as growing up has been quite fun!
Anyway, here’s a bit of what I remember about the 90’s.
Brown lip liner and nude lipstick—oh yeah!! This makeup trend made me feel like all that and a bag of chips!
I remember that it took me a really long time to associate this combo to the chola look as I didn’t really hang out with that crowd yet my friends and I all wore this look. Other than this look, I didn’t really wear much in the way of makeup until well into my 20’s. I was truly afraid of it as I was going through an awkward phase—teen acne, and all the perks of going through puberty. What really didn’t help was an obsessive older brother who would badger me every time I looked “too old for my age”—argh!! It did and still drives me crazy to hear this phrase. I understand it, to some degree. His delivery was always a terrible and of course always provoked me… experimenting with makeup is all part of growing up!
I remember wearing a lot of hairspray—especially around the bangs. I never really learned how to operate a curling iron or the proper application of hairspray but I do remember making a mess of my hair. Anyone else rock some crispy hair in the 90’s?
The one look that I did master was the half up half down look. It was my staple. I would never wear the look now-a-days as it makes me look quite young—but, on Halloween I may make an exception. Isn’t Halloween great! I really look forward to experimenting with different looks.
I also went through some heavy plucking stages—literally, my eyebrows were merely slivers. At the time I was really hair averse and so my eyebrows suffered quite a bit. (Ha! If I had pictures…I don’t think I’d post them. Would you?)
My style was really all over the place. I wore everything from extreme bell bottoms to extreme baggy pants. I also loved really baggy shirts and those with a lot of glitter and hot pink pom-poms [inspiration, courtesy of Miss Spears].. The one thing that I really never got into were flannels. As cool as Kurt Cobain and all the bands I now really love made them look I really didn’t associate the look to grunge music until my 20’s. I associated them to cholos as one of my uncles wore them all the time—and that wasn’t me at all. (As I write this, I feel like a pile of contradictions given my choice of makeup and baggy attire…but that’s what your teen years are about—experimenting with all sorts of styles and the like!)
My accessories consisted of two scrunchies on one hand and a varied collection of chokers. Not only where scrunchies oh so cute to wear as bracelets but they were also so handy! I was always ready to put my hear up when needed which I now really appreciate.
Soda shoes were all the rage at the time and I, of course, just had to have a pair as soon as possible. Unfortunately I lent them to my best friend at the time and she totally ruined them…stinky feet…in retrospect it was a good thing she ruined them because they were quite heavy. Mine were basically white sneakers with really heavy soles. I think they were knock-offs but they looked great!—or so I thought.
Melon Gatorade and Hot Cheetos were almost a daily ritual of mine. Those were the days when I didn’t really care about having a well-balanced diet. At times I wish I didn’t know as much as I do about nutrition because I feel like if that were the case I wouldn’t care about eating four cookies in a row.
I also discovered sushi back then. Honestly, it took some getting used to for me as the squishiness of the fish as well as the knowing of its rawness made me a bit woozie at first. It has now become practically a third love—Ryan and Penny take first and second place respectively.
Heeellloooo Road Rules and Real World! I loved those shows so much!! I remember watching marathons of both shows—with commercials on MTV so I’d be practically glued to the TV all day long. Thankfully, watching a marathon is much easier and less grueling thanks to Hulu and Netflix now-a-days.
I also loved watching:
a. Saved by the Bell—Team Zach here!!
b. 90210—Kelly was always my favorite.
c. Charmed—The three witches were both pretty and brilliant—what’s not to love!
d. Married with Children—Al Bundy was such a delightful grumpy old man. What’s not to love!
e. Rosanne—Oh Rosanne…you taught me many life lessons and made me laugh a lot along the way. Thank you.
f. Sisters—Sibling rivalry was something I was personally all too aware of and seeing it manifest on TV through a fictional family made me feel really good about our situation.
g. The Ren & Stimpy Show –stomach-churning scenes meet cute adorable characters = love!!
h. Daria—awkward teen with uber popular sister—welcome to my life except I’m the younger sister with the uber popular older brother.
I know there were so many more but these were the ones that I’d constantly reference back in the day.
What shows were you obsessed with in the 90’s?
I couldn’t get enough of books from the Fear Street book series. I remember loving it so much even though it also really scared me. I couldn’t help it—I was always intrigued with the idea of the boy next door being both dreamy and a bad boy who might kill! I no longer have such ideas...I’ve watched too many CSI type shows and now it all seems too real.
7. Social Life
My friends were everything to me then. They were generally older than me which came in handy. They went through all the ins and outs of puberty, boys, and so much more. ;) While I still cherish my friendships a lot, my family takes precedence.