June 30, 2016

Reading Wrap Up: June, 2016.

What's up, guys?!

I hope you all had a great month of June. This month was a little weird for me reading wise. The book I thought I was going to love were like "meeeeh" and the ones I thought were going to be "meeeeeeh" ended up really pretty good. Unfortunately, I haven't read any amazing books in June which is a first for me in 2016 - things were going really well so far. But anyway, I menaged to read/listen to 5 books this year and I can't complain. 

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? - Mindy Kaling: This book was so much fun. I'm not really familiar with Mindy's work and I didn't know much about her going into this book but I really enjoyed it. I found myself laughing out loud while listening to the audiobook which is not something I usually do. She has some pretty good insights and if you're a big fan of her she tells a lot about herself too. I totally plan on listening her other book. 
The Undomestic Goddess - Sophie Kinsella: Like I've said before, I love Sophie Kinsella's books. I really enjoyed reading this one but it wasn't one of my favorites. But still, it was incredibly funny and super easy to read. If you're looking for an easy beach read, that's the book for you. And also, I've just discovered that this was turned into a movie which I'm totally going to watch this week. 
Me Before You - Jojo Moyes: Don't hate me but I really didn't like this book. I don't know if it's because of the hype or because all my friends were saying that I was going to love it so much and be so emotional but this just didn't do it for me. I didn't cry, I didn't like her writing style and I didn't like how their love story unfolded. Having said that, I will totally see the movie. Maybe it's one of those rare occasions where I prefer the movie than the book. We'll see. But if you read the premise and think this is something you would enjoy I encourage you to read this because I'm clearly the exception. Actually, let me know what you thought about the book if you've read in the comments. I'm really curious.   
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold: This book was a surprise. I tried watching the movie when it came out but I didn't even get to the end (it was kind of boring) so I'm quite surprise I really enjoyed the book. I think I gave it 3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads, which I believe is a solid rating. The story is told by the point of view of a young girl who was the victim of rape and murder (not a spoiler - I think this is told in the first page). Although the story itself is really sad, I enjoyed reading about how families cope with such a great loss and I really liked the fact that this book is still a mystery, even though the end is given to you right in the beginning. I wouldn't recommend this to young readers, though.   
Never Never, Part Three - Colleen Hoover & Tarry Fisher: I'm glad I finished this "trilogy - still not sure what to call it. I feel like this story could be covered in just one stand alone book and I really don't like when author release their stories in parts - it just seems stupid to me. The story is good but I was extremely disappointed with the ending. Really really disappointed. If you haven't read the first book, the story is about a teenage couple who keeps loosing their memory every couple of days and their are trying to figure out why. I only read this because of Colleen Hoover and I believe she can do better. Actually, I know she can. Gave this two out of five stars on GoodReads. 

Those are the books I read in this month of June! I've read some good books but I hope next month things get a little better. I'm going to start focusing more on my 2016 Reading Challenge and try to stick with the categories I haven't checked yet. I don't know if I'll do a TBR list because I always end up wanting to read different books - it depends on mood at the moment. Anyway, I hope you liked this post and let me know your thought on the comments. 

What is your favorite book you've read this month?

Thanks so much for stopping by and I'll see you soon!

June 27, 2016

Reading To Improve Myself.

Well, it's no secret to anyone over here that I read a lot. And when I say a lot I mean it, we're talking about 40 books so far this year (we're going for 100 until December). And I love it. I remember loving it ever since I was a kid and I blame J.K. Rowling and Meg Cabot for it. Actually, I was talking to my mom the other day and she told me she has no idea where I picked up the reading habit. She admitted that she didn't even push reading on me and my sister while we were growing up so I guess Rowling really is the guilty one in this matter. 

Anyway, back to subject. Although I read a lot I don't feel like the books I've been reading lately have been adding a lot of knowledge or substance to my life. I mostly read romances and thrillers and, let's face it, they don't pack a lot of substance in them, despite being incredibly fun and entertaining. So, being faced with this "problem" I decided to turn on my Kindle and get some books that I believe will help me "improve myself".

And I'm not talking exclusively about self-help books (I think I only have one of those in this list), I'm also adding some classics that I think I should have read by now and some other "business-y books" that I believe will help me out in this moment of my life. I guess that's all for the introduction, let's get to the books!

The Power of Habit - Charles Duhigg: I've actually already started reading this book and I don't know why I put it down because I was really enjoying. It's a little repetitive sometimes but I understand that it kind of has to so that the message with stick in your brain. Just like the title says, it's all about the power of implementing good habits in your daily life to help you achieve the things that you want.  
The Personal MBA - Josh Kaufman: Thomas Frank talked about this book on his YouTube channel and I thought it sounded pretty good. If you don't know who he is go check out his website, College Info Geek, because it's awesome. He gives tips on studying, time management, achieving your goals and all that good stuff. Apparently, this book teaches you certain important tools and things that you would learn with a MBA program. Don't quote me on this 'cause I could be wrong but it sounds interesting.
#GIRLBOSS - Sophia Amoruso: A couple of months ago this book was everywhere. Some people loved it, some hated it. I want to read it because not matter how you feel about Sophie Amoruso you can't deny she's a successful woman and I love reading about successful women. I also follow her on social media and she seems awesome.  
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen: Can you believe I still haven't read a Jane Austen book? I decided to start with this one 'cause it was free on the Kindle store and because I've watched the movie with Keira Knightly and I love her (and the movie). It's also everybody's favorite Jane Austen book apparently so it has to be good.   
To Kill a Mocking Bird - Harper Lee: Another classic I've never read. For the classics category I just chose the ones that I thought I might enjoy and this one sounds pretty good. I also won a Pulitzer and one of my "reading resolutions" for 2016 was to read award winning novels. Killing two birds with stone! Get it?! HA! I'm so funny.  
1984 - George Orwell: Actually, a teacher of mine recommend me this one and now I have high hopes for it. He said I should read all of Orwell's books but I'm starting with this one and we'll see how things go from there. It has a pretty cool premise and I'm kind of excited to get to it.   
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini: This one follows in the "gaining new perspectives" category. I remember a couple of my friends read it when it came and they all said it was AMAZING (incredibly said at times, but amazing) so I'm excited for this one. I haven't watched the movie yet but as soon as I finish this I plan on watching it. 
Never Eat Alone - Keith Ferrazzi: My cousin was the one who recommend this one to me. She said it's about networking and just making connections with people at work and on your daily life in general. According to her and the reviews I've seen online it sounds pretty good. I actually got the audiobook for this one and I plan on starting this week.
The Invention of Wings - Sue Monk Kidd: Another example of "gaining new perspectives" category and I blame Oprah for this one. It was feature on her book club (I'm sucker for these things) and if Oprah chose it, it's probably good. Anyway, the reviews are great and it doesn't look like something I would pick up by myself. 
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up - Marie Kondo: I feel like everybody was talking about this book when it came and saying how amazing and life changing it was. And since I've always struggled with being organize and creating a good environment for being productive I thought reading this might help. I'm actually planning on get the audiobook for this one as well because I feel like with these kinds of books listening to it is better. I don't know.. Let me know what you think if you've read it.   

Those are all the books in my list so far. There's always room for more so if you have any recommendations please let me know on the comments. I just want you guys to keep in mind that this is just something I'm doing because I want to change things up and use the time that I spend reading to "better myself" and explore different points of views. There's absolutely nothing wrong with reading YA or Contemporary books, actually if you read my June Wrap Up that's coming up later this week you'll see that I'm a big fan of those genres.

Well, if you'd like to you're more than welcomed to join me in this new "challenge". I'll do my best to get to this books by the end of the year and I'll feature them in future wrap ups and whatnot.

Do you have any books to recommend?
Have you read any of the ones that I mentioned? 

Thanks so much for reading and I'll talk to you soon. 

June 17, 2016

Top 5 Tips To Be More Productive (that have worked for me).

You guys know that being productive is my constant struggle. I have good days and bad days. Sometimes I woke up super pumped, write down my to do list and cross off all of my tasks. But more often then not, I write my to do list and just mope around feeling tired and not very motivated. I’m not gonna talk about motivation today (‘cause if I did this post would turn into a book) but I do feel like productivity and motivation go hand in hand.

To find a solution for this struggle of mine I’ve tried my go-to approach: throw everything at the problem. I feel like when you don’t know what to do you should just try everything. So I read books, watched videos and read an infinite amount of articles – I know this sounds like a lot but I really did all of that.

And although I got a lot of great tips, I found a lot of them to be either very, extremely simple (stuff everybody already does) or quite elaborated, like creating a filling color coordinated system for your documents. I mean, I would love to have one of those but I don’t have time or energy to do something like that – not when I already have a million other things to do in my day. 

So for today’s post I decided to put together the top five tips that have worked for me. I would like to stress the fact that the only criteria here is this: they have worked for me and my lifestyle. My focus right now is studying but I do feel like these tips can help you in other aspects of your life. What I’m saying is “eat the fish, spit out the bones” – take only what you need from it. 

Mindset: Just like everything in life, being productive is all about your mindset. If you wake up and choose to focus only on how tired you are and how you’d rather go back to bed you’re going to spend the entire day feeling like this. Even if you don't believe in it, I don't think you should underestimate the power of positive thinking. I'm not saying you need to go full on The Secret mindset, but just focus on what you want from the day. Say you need to get some work done in the morning and then after you feel like working out would be good for you, so just focus on that as soon as you wake up. I know it's hard, specially if you need to wake up early everyday (like me) but just try it. 

To Do List: I know this may sound very simple (and it is) but it’s the only thing that has worked for me. I tried calendars, two different types of planners and some apps. Writing my "to do" list every morning in a piece of paper is the only thing that works. Usually I get a regular sheet of paper and divide it according to the days of the week and then on the bottom of each day I write down what I have to do that day (leaving some space to add things up). I know you could do that with a regular planner as well but carrying around just one piece of paper is more practical for me.

Ambient Music: Especially when you’re studying or working, ambient music is best way to stay concentrated on a task. Even if you live by yourself or you’re in a library, we live in a big world with a lot of humans that make a lot of noise. I know that when I’m studying even someone coughing can throw me off so I prefer listening to some ambient music. Like elevator music, you know? No lyrics, just a pleasant melody that acts like white noise to drown out the environment.  

Short Breaks: This is the one I struggle with the most. I don’t know about you but after reading about International Politics for 45 min I feel like I deserve 45 minutes of Netflix, am I right? No. Not if I want to study more than those 45 min in the day. From personal experience, I've learned that taking long breaks (long enough to watch an entire episode of Desperate Housewives) completely ruins your productive mode. Having said that, I do believe taking breaks is important. Just make sure they'e not 45 minutes long. 

Write Down Distractions: Whenever you feel the urge to do something else, write it down and save it for later. For example, checking your phone, watching Netflix, reading a book are all things we shouldn’t be doing but that cross our minds when we’re studying or working. And then, after you’re done doing whatever it is you have to do, you get your little list and go to town.

Those are my tips, guys! Let me know what you think about them on the comments. And also, if you have anything more to add please let me know as well. I feel like we need all the help that we can get on this matter. Another thing I wanted to say is to not burn yourself out on whatever it is that you do. Sometimes we’re already doing the best that we can, even if we don’t feel like it. 

I feel like when it comes to being productive and doing things, the only thing we need to focus on is being better than we were yesterday. Comparing yourself to others is never a good thing. We all have our limits and if you honestly think that you’re doing the best you can, that’s all that matters.

Do you have any tips to share?

Thanks so much for reading and I’ll talk to you soon!

June 13, 2016

Links I'm Loving.

Hello, everyone.
Happy Monday!

I hope you're all having a great start of the week. I've had a great morning and I've been trying to start the week in a productive and relaxing mood - hence today's post. I don't think I'll ever understand why but blogging puts me in a great mood and right I need all the help that I can get in the "good mood department". The Monday Struggle is here but we're getting over it with some T-Swift and coffee right now.  

Anyway, for this Links I'm Loving I've put together a mix of YouTube videos, some blog posts that caught my eye during the weekend and some other stuff that I think will help you guys out. I've actually found out something really cool but I'm sure it's just me being late to the "cool kids internet" party, so I think we should start with that.. 

Ok, so apparently I was living under a rock and didn't know what Wattpad was until last week. I actually discovered it because I saw someone on YouTube mention that there was a Colleen Hoover book available for free and I was like: I need to have it now, please. So I went over there and to my surprise: Too Late is really available there for free. I haven't read it yet but it's Colleen Hoover and her books are always amazing. 

But about Wattpad, it's basically a community for readers and writers. Writers have a space to share there work and readers have a place to follow there favorite writes and give reviews and all that good stuff. If you really like to read you should definitely go check out their website or the app.  

Fitting in | Amy Young

I can't remember how many times I've mentioned Amy's videos here on the blog. They're just soooo good and always help me some way or another. If you're not subscribed to her channel already you definitely should go do that right now. This particular video is all about friends, fitting in and finding people you can connect with. It goes perfectly with a post I made about a week ago about why I don't have a lot of friends.  

Studying Tips | Ana Mascara

If you're not currently at school or university Ana's videos won't be very useful to you. But if you are, you need her videos in your life, like now. She mostly gives tips on how to study, how to take notes, memorization and I know all of that sounds very simple.. But it's not. I've been incorporating some of her tips and method while I'm studying and they've helped me out tremendously.

Soundproof Your Home Office | Wonder Forrest

I've been following Wonder Forrest for a while now and there's always so good stuff over but this post really caught my eye. As you guys know, I've struggled with being productive and juggling all the things I have do for a while now and I believe that part of that comes from the fact that I don't have a proper place in my house to focus on my tasks. This post was very helpful to me and if you share my struggle I highly recommend checking it out.

Bean's Beauty Blog | 5 Things I'm Thankful For

I know this may sound a bit silly, but I love reading these kinds of posts. I also know it's bad but I'm one of those people who gets so caught up in what I'm doing and trying to juggle a million things that I totally forget to stop, look around and just be grateful for what I already have and where I'm currently in life. I get super fixed on the future and trying to make things happen and I need to work on that. I've done one of these posts myself in the past and now that I saw this one I've realized that I need to do them more often. And also, if you're not interested in these kinds of post Bean's Beauty is a super great blog and I'm sure you'll find something for you there. I highly recommend checking it out.  

That's all I have for today, guys! I hope you enjoyed the post and let me know if you get the chance to check out the links. I love hearing your thoughts and opinions! Also, if you have a blog or a YouTube channel, feel free to leave it in the comments as well.

Do you have any links to recommend?

Thanks so much for reading and I'll talk to you soon!

June 4, 2016

Not-So-Monthly Favorites: May, 2016.

Heeeeello, lovely people!
Can you believe it's already June? 
Seriously, this year is going by so fast is not even funny.

Today we're going to talk about makeup and beauty products. I can't even remember the last time I did a favorites post or a did a product review over here. It's been so long and we're going to change that right now. In today's post we're mostly going to talk about beauty products because I haven't been wearing a lot of makeup lately - I think I only have one makeup product for you guys this month.. At least is a good one. Anyway, let's get to the products!

BBW fragrance Mist in 
Twilight Woods

This is - by far - my favorite Bath & Body Works sent but apparently they are discontinuing it and it's very very sad. I honestly don't get why they always discontinue the best scents... Anyway, I love fragrance mists and I always have one on me to reapply throughout the day. They're a little softer than an actual perfume and I've realized that the scent doesn't hold for the entire day. That's not a problem for me. I actually like having something softer because sometimes real perfumes give me headaches if I have it on me the entire day. 

Garnier Moroccan Sleek 
Oil Treatment

This was a total impulse buy and I'm so glad it worked out because I really don't need another dud product sitting on my bathroom counter. I bought this last year when I was in the US because I was in desperate need of some sort of oil for my hair and this was a great find. I think it was around 6 dollars and there's a ton of product in there. I use it whenever I wash my hair and I'm loving it. 

La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL
SPF 60 

One of the best sunscreen I've ever found in my life. This is not a cheap product but I think it's worth the money, specially if you live in a place were you need to apply sunscreen every morning before leaving the house. This works perfectly with makeup on top, it's moisturizing, it has a high SPF and it also has thermal water in it. I'm not really sure what thermal water does to your skin but it must be good, right? Anyway, I've been wearing this for everyday for the most month and half and I love it. 

Garnier Micellar Cleasing Water

I know Micellar Waters are all the hype right now and if you're still wondering if you should cave in and get some for you the answer is: yes, get this one! I've done a review comparing the Garnier and the Bioderma ones and, spoiler alert, I think this one is just as good and has a much more reasonable price. I use this almost everyday to take off my makeup at night and I really like it. It's much more gentle on the eyes than a lot of makeup removers out there and it takes everything off. This is the kind of product that would be in my favorites post every month if I did one regularly.

Secret Deodorant in Va Va Vanilla

I think this also being discontinued because last time I tried to purchase it I couldn't find it anywhere. Only at Amazon and they were only available in a pack of 36 and that's just not happening. No matter how hard I try I can't justify buying 36 deodorants... Even if the scent is amazing. Secret deodorants are my favorite, specially the invisible solid formula, because they don't let you sweat. I don't know what kind of magic they put in it but whenever I use this I don't sweat and the scent holds for the entire day. Cannot recommend this enough.   

MAC Lipstick in Velvet Teddy.

Hands down, my favorite lipstick ever. Velvet Teddy is just the most perfect nude shade I've ever found and it just works, you know? I don't really know how to describe it: it's nude, orangy, mauve-ish.. The best nude shades combined into one creating this gorgeousness. And the formula is also perfect. Mac's matte lipsticks are just amazing and stay on your lips no matter what. I can drink, eat and kiss (although I've not been doing much kissing lately) and it does not transfer. By far, one of my favorite lipsticks ever.   

These are all my favorites for this month. I hope you guys enjoyed this little makeup post to break the routine. I know I've been neglecting the "beauty" session of this blog but, like I said, I'm planning to change that. If you have any questions, thought, opinions or requests please leave them on the comments below. I really love hearing what you guys think. 

What are some of your favorites for this month?

Thanks so much for reading and I'll talk you soon.