Body Issues: Why I Wear Makeup

After writing my posts about mental illness and mental health this month, I decided to talk about other things here, that are more or less linked to it. Because if mental illness is certainly something that is disregarded by a lot of people and needs to be talked about more, I believe body issues are also something that needs to be spoken of more. Which is why I have come up with this idea. I hope you enjoy, and as usual, feel free to share your (respectful) opinion in the comments.

For the past few weeks, I have been arguing a lot with my friend’s flatmate, who announced very proudly that when he would be prime minister, he would forbid women from wearing makeup. Because according to him, women are prettier without makeup. Good for him. But that brings up (at least) two problems.

The first one being that men always believe women wear makeup to be more beautiful, and to impress them.

And the second one being that men think they can simply decide what women can and cannot wear.

Which shows once again that no matter what my mom says, we live in a patriarcal society, and we need feminism.

Dear men, what if I want to impress a girl? What if I don’t want to impress anyone in particular? What if wearing makeup just makes me feel good, and that’s why I do it? Why do you always have to think everything we do has to do with you?

Yes, of course, #NotAllMen and so on. I know. Spare me with your comments, because you can’t deny that it’s a very common behaviour that needs to be addressed.

And while I’m at it, if you’re a woman commenting on other women’s makeup and belittling them, please don’t do that. And if whoever you are, you criticize men and boys wearing makeup, you also need to shut up.

Makeup is wonderful and no one will persuade me otherwise.

The question here is not whether women are prettier or not with makeup. Who cares. What really annoys me is the fact that men always assume women wear makeup to impress them. What really annoys me is when men judge women for wearing makeup and looking different with it. Because makeup is important to me, even if I don’t wear it abundantly. Makeup is my armor. And yes, I wear makeup even if I’m just going to the supermarket which is practically downstairs from my flat. Because makeup makes me confident. And why should I deprive myself of that confidence? I need it.

When I don’t wear makeup, my dad constantly asks me if I’m sick. No dad, I’m not sick, I’m just not wearing makeup thank you very much. My own father thinks I look terrible without wearing makeup, and trust me, that is not helping with my self-confidence issues. And yes, I feel prettier with makeup. I am allowed to do that. I need that satisfaction to carry on with my life. By now, wearing makeup every day is just part of a ritual, a daily routine. I wake up, have breakfast, shower, brush my teeth, wash my face, put on some make up. I honestly just wear BB Cream, eye shadow, mascara and lipstick. That’s enough to boost my confidence and make me survive the day. And no one should judge me for that.

Makeup is an accessory. Do you judge people for wearing clothes or shoes or carrying a bag? No. Then why would you judge them for wearing makeup? Just let us be. What is that to you anyway? It won’t change your life.

Before I end this article, I wanted to say that I really admire and respect people that are very good at makeup. And I also really admire and respects those who have the confidence to go out everyday without wearing makeup. And yes, part of me really wants to find someone who thinks I’m pretty without makeup. But that’s not gonna stop me from wearing makeup everyday. When I look at myself in the mirror with makeup on, I like what I am seeing and it makes me happy. And that’s all I need.

Don’t let the haters get you down. If people tell you you wear too much or not enough makeup, just ignore them. You are strong and beautiful no matter what. It’s what you feel that matters.

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Holding Up The Universe: My Review

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It’s been a few months since I read this book, but I still wanted to talk about it here because it feels important to me, so here we go.

Title: Holding up the Universe
Author: Jennifer Niven
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Release: October 2016
My rating: ★★★✩✩

The story:

Libby was on the news a few years back when she couldn’t get out of her house, because she was overweight. Since then, she has been homeschooled, and doesn’t see much people apart from her dad, who has a hard time getting over his wife’s death. Libby loves reading, and she loves dancing. And now she is ready to go back to school, meet new people, make friends, and perhaps fall in love.

On the outside, Jack is your typical popular high school student with popular friends and just the normal amount of girl problems. What no one knows is that Jack can’t recognize faces. So he tries his best to find clues to help him recognize the important people in his life, including his brothers, friends, and girlfriend, but that doesn’t always work out. Jack has prosopagnosia and even he is not sure exactly what it means.

A ridiculously cruel high school “game” invented by Jack’s friend puts the two of them in the spotlight – punches and detention and all. They both end up in group counceling and community service. Together. And they unexpectedly grow closer.

My opinion:

I came to this book not really knowing what to expect. I really loved the author’s previous book, All the bright places so my expectations were quite high. But at the same time I had heard mixed reviews for this one. I was still curious, as I really enjoy Jennifer Niven’s writing style. But I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed. I wish there was more to this book.

I honestly think the premise of this book was really interesting. It does include diverse characters, which is great. But sadly, it also feels that they are present just for the sake of diversity. I wish we could have gotten more from Jack than his afro and his prosopagnosia. I wish we could have seen more from Libby than just the fact that she is overweight. Yes, we see her creating great friendships, which is something that I really enjoyed. And the fact that she loves dancing is amazing, but we don’t see that much of it. I wanted more.

One thing I really liked is the writing style. As I said earlier, I really like Niven’s writing style, and it was on point in this book as well. It’s a quick and easy read which is something I can never say no to. But I wanted more from it.

Both characters were really interesting, but the romance seemed rushed and inappropriate. I felt no chemistry whatsoever between those two, and the fact that they helped each other overcome their hardships is great to some extent, maybe, but I wished it hadn’t been dealt with in such a way. It felt like things were pushed a bit too much, and it really disturbed me. Love is not the solution to everything, oh boy, it is not, and I feel that this miracle of love solving everything is way too often pushed forward in YA. Sure it may be enjoyable to read. But as a teen, I never had a boyfriend, so it felt unfair and unrealistic. And even a few years later (I’m 21) it still feels like friendship is so much more important. Jack and Libby could have helped each other as friends. They could have had their other friends’ help and support.

Overall, I think this book had good aspects, but some parts were a bit awkward, or could maybe have been dealt with a bit better.

One more thing I did enjoy, though, was both Jack’s family and Libby’s dad who who were very realistic and supportive of their kids. It’s not something we always see in YA and it really warmed my heart.

In the end, Libby always accepted herself, and it was also really comforting to read, in my opinion. She took no shit from her classmates, and that was great. I just wished we could have seen more facets of her personality!

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That being said, I will still be on the lookout for Niven’s future books with high expectations!

Please let me know what you thought of this book if you have read it, and please let me know if something should be corrected in this article. Have a wonderful day!

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda: My Review

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I see reviews of The Upside of Unrequited everywhere these days and I really want to read this one, but I haven’t gotten my hands on it yet. However, I have finally read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – and I feel like I am the last person in the book community to do so – so I really wanted to talk about it, because I absolutely loved it, and I don’t know why I waited such a long time to read it.

Author: Becky Albertalli
Publication: 2015
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
My rating: ★★★★★

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

The story:

Simon has been exchanging emails with Blue for a while now. And no one knows about it but the two of them. It’s what makes their relationship so unique and magical. That, and the fact that they have exchanged deep secrets. And also the fact that Simon might be falling for Blue, even if he doesn’t know who he is in real life.

Everything is fine until one of his classmates discovers the emails and implicitely blackmails him. If Simon helps him get closer to one of his best friends, he will leave him alone. And Simon really wants to protect Blue.

Between the school play, old and new friendships, and his more and more flirty relationship with Blue now threatened by a classmate, Simon’s Junior year of high school will turn out more complicated than he could ever have expected. (And believe me, it’s worth it.)

My opinion:

This books was sweet, beautiful and brilliant at the same time. I read it in one day. I had to stop everything else because I just wanted to know what would happen next, and how things would turn out. It was terribly, terribly worth it.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda reveals the turmoils of growing up, being a high school student, and coming out. And just like Simon said, I wish straight people also had to come out. This book depicts the struggles of being gay in a society that thinks people are straight by default, and also depicts well what it’s like to be a teen, a high school student, and in love. It also brings up subjects like bullying and blackmail, which are both sadly present and important in high schools.

I really loved Simon’s story line with Blue, obviously. (And I guessed his real identity way before Simon did, just saying…) I also really liked how accurately friendships were described in this book. And I loved how realistic and supportive Simon’s family was.

Honestly, I don’t know why I waited so long to read this book. It is very beautifully written. It speaks words of wisdom. It is positive. It also shows how cruel teens can be, and how hard it is to live in a society where people see you and judge you as different. Thankfully, this book was also full of amazing and accepting characters. And it was so satifying to read that.

On a side note, I always realise how different American high school are to French (and European?) ones when I read American YA, and once again, this hit me while reading Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. It’s always interesting for me to read this kind of books, even if high school is long past me.

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Finally, I just wanted to leave you here with this quote.

If you want feel free to share your opinion on Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda in the comments, I would love to know! And similar recommendations are also very welcome!

Beautiful Broken Things: My Review

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After reading A Quiet Kind of Thunder in January and absolutely loving it, I decided I should check out other books by Sara Barnard, and when I found Beautiful Broken Things in an adorable bookstore back in March, I knew I had to get it. And now I have finally read it and loved it.

Genre: YA, Contemporary
Author: Sara Barnard
Publication: 2016
Trigger Warning: self-harm, abuse, suicide
My rating: ★★★★☆

The story:

Caddy and Rosie have always been best friends, and as far as Caddy was concerned, she didn’t need other friends. Of course, she had a small group of girls she would hang aroud with at school, but no one as dear as Rosie, even if they didn’t attend the same school, and Rosie was much more extroverted than her.

A new school year starts, and Caddy makes plans, to meet boys, become less of an introvert, or have a life changing event. Rosie in the meantime becomes very close to new girl Suzanne, and wants more than everything for Suzanne and Caddy to become friends as well.

Suzanne is beautiful and mysterious and Caddy wants to be more like her. She also believes that Suzanne is hiding something, but when she finds out what she realises she didn’t expect that at all. It’s something bigger than her, something that might change her life as well.

What I loved about this book:

It doesn’t include romance. It’s just about friendship, and growing up, and more. And that, to me, was extremely relatable. When I was in high school, friendship was extremely important to me (it is by the way still the most precious thing to me I believe). And in most YA books it’s always about the romance. Which is beautiful and usually enjoyable, but unfortunately not something I can relate to. Friendship, that I can relate. And it is so important. So it’s nice to know there are books like this out there.

My opinion:

I really loved this book. I think it was a very beautiful and accurate portrayal of female friendship, and it feels so good to read such a thing. Female friendship is a complex things, and jealousy often gets in the way, even if you don’t do it on purpose. When new people get in the group, balance is changed. And the notion of “I was friends with her first” which is something both Caddy and Rosie pointed out in the book is also something I recognized. I could totally relate to the friendships depicted in this book, between Caddy and Rosie, and between Caddy and Suzanne. This is something that really spoke to me, and also something I have rarely seen in books.  So if you’re in for friendships then this is definitely a book I would recommend. (And now that I think of it, A Quiet Kind of Thunder also had a wonderful friendship representation.)

The second thing that was, in my opinion, well represented, is mental illness. I can’t speak for the abuse part, but the feeling-broken part, the not-wanting-to-see-anyone part, the self-destructive feelings, that is something that in my opinion was well depicted. It was heartbreaking to read, I even gasped a few times at how powerful and relatable it was. Which made me conclude that it was definitely well depicted. However, if self-harm, abuse or suicide are things that trigger you, you should definitely be careful when picking up this book.

In addition to that, I also felt like Caddy was a quite relatable character. I could recognize myself in all this wanting to be more extroverted, and wanting finally to live something significant. This is something my teenage self would have painfully related to, and it was really great for me to read about such a person. (I also so someone writing in their review that Caddy was very annoying because she had everything, money and a loving family, and still asking for a stupid life changing event. Which helped me put things into perspective, and also made me realise how lucky I was to have had those things as a teen, and still have them today. However, it’s not always easy to feel the right thing, especially as a teen. And sometimes you can’t help but wish for more, wish for what’s shiny, wish for what you don’t have, and in that aspect, I really liked and related to Caddy’s character. I pretty much think I would have made all the same decisions if put in her situation, and it was quite comforting.)

Finally I just wanted to add that I really liked the fact that the story was set in Brighton, which seems to be such a cosy city by the sea, and it was really enjoyable to read about the girls going together to the beach, whether the weather was nice or bad.

Overall, this book talks about friendship and mental illness, and growing up. And all those things matter to me, and are beautifully portrayed throughout the story. Beautiful Broken Things is pure, relatable and moving. It is a precious boook, that will most likely stay on my mind for a very long time.

Recommended for:

People who like powerful friendship stories, and those of you interested in characters with mental illness.

Hope you enjoyed this review!

Mental Health Month: Week 4

Okay so first of all I can’t believe it’s already the fourth week of May, but let’s move past that and procede to what really matters here. If you haven’t followed my previous posts, mental health is a subject really dear to my heart, as I have seen how it can affect friends, family members, and of course myself as I suffer from depression and anxiety. Mental health is more frequent than you think, and yet people misjudge it often. It feels like a taboo, and it’s hard to talk about it. But it shouldn’t be.

Prompt for this week:
Post it for the future
Committing to continuous reflection and improvement

I like how optimistic the theme for this week is.

I was actually talking about the future with my new therapist last week, among other things, as it is something that bothers and worries me a lot. I’m actually talking about it a lot with everyone these days, and the common thing getting out of this is that I should try things rather than assuming I would get rejected before even trying. I promised one of my friends I would send at least five job applications for next year. I’m planning on moving in with a friend when I go back to Paris, rather than moving back with my parents.

But what I really wanted to talk about is something simple and concrete. Last semester, I had most my classes in the afternoon, and I often would sleep until noon and later feel like I hadn’t accomplished anything at all that day. At some point, I was congratulating myself when I got out of my dorm to buy some groceries. So one day I decided it had to stop. Let’s be more healthy – at least to some extent. I now set my alarm at 9 every day – except if I have to get up earlier of course. I can this way get some sleep, and not feel like I get up ridiculously early, and still have time to actually have a productive day. And it works.

The thing is, my body – as everyone else – really need to have a schedule. And waking up every day around the same time really helps you fucntion better. One of the things I really want to improve is the amoun of work I can get done. So I will try to make a schedule for my studies as well, and hopefully, I can work more productively and peacefully. This is really something I want to try out, and I hope it works.

I hope you also find ways to get out of bed everyday, and do what you need to do. And maybe it will not work all the time, but it’s also okay to have some off days where you stay in your pyjamas and binge watch Netflix or Dramafever or anything that you like to watch.

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Stay strong, you can get through this!

Shattered Girls: My Review

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First of all, huge send to the author for sending me a copy of her bok in exchange for a honest review! Shattered Girls is the sequel of Broken Dolls by Tyrolin Puxty. It was published in June 2016.

Genre: YA, Sci-fi, Fantasy
My rating: ★★★★☆

Warning: Spoilers for Broken Dolls!

The story:

At the end of Broken Dolls, Ella decides to become a doll again. But it ends up causing more trouble than she ever expected. Gabby is now a lonely teenager, who hasn’t seen her grandfather in ages. Her parents have disappeared, and new dolls – way too similar to Ella for it to be a coincidence – start appearing everywhere and gathering attention.

To fight against the mysterious company behind all of this, Gabby and Ella have only one solution: turn to crazy aunt Sianne, and the unexpected help of someone the would rather have avoided…

My opinion:

I really enjoyed Broken Dolls, but I think I enjoyed Shattered Girls even more. The first story was well rounded, and I didn’t really know what to expect from this one. It took me by surprise, and I really loved it. This book is so refreshing and original, and it’s full of crazy plot twists: you’ll never get tired while reading it.

Both volumes are told from the perspective of doll-Ella, which I found sometimes extremely frustrating at first, however, in the second volume, I really enjoyed it. Ella goes through a great character development, and it was so enjoyable to read, to see her grow and learn from her past mistakes. I really loved seeing her evolve, and really like who she has become.

I also really liked the fact that however perfect a little girl she was, Gabby still grew up to be a realistic, moody teen who didn’t get on well with her parents. It was also interesting to have a new perspective on this world. While in the first book, we mostly see Ella and Gabby evolving in the house of the professor, in this one, we get to see at first Gabby’s school, and also the world in general, which was a really great addition to the universe. I liked seeing old characters come back to the story, and I liked meeting new ones, adding new things to this crazy amazing universe.

Overall, this was a really great sequel, part of an amazingly original universe – I’ve never read anything else like it and it’s very refreshing. We also have great character developments and plot twists. Shattered Girls is a quick, easy read and I definitely recommend you check it out. I can’t wait for the next book in the series!

Read more:
My review of Broken Dolls
Interview with Tyrolin Puxty

Summer Crush: My Review

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Summer Crush is an anthology of three stories, by Jay E. Tria, Six de los Reyes, and Tara Frejas. Thanks for all three authors, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for a honest review, as part of their blog tour. I absolutely loved Summer Crush!

Genre: New Adult, Romance
Publication: April 9th, 2017
Blog Tour: May 12-19th
My rating: ★★★★☆

Blurb:

Each story follows people attending the same event for the weekend: Summer Crush, on the beach of La Union. A weekend that is all supposed to be about music and sun and dance and happiness.

But for Ana, there is stress lingering in the shadow. Her band member boyfriend Miki co-wrote the star song of the festival, but her thoughts are elsewhere. Her job as an accountant is consuming her life away, and as much as she loves it, she sometimes wishes she didn’t have to spend so much time on it, and starts rethinking her life with Miki. (Story: You only need reminding me by Jay E. Tria)

Filippina has just been reinstated as EG Project’s roadie, and things are going great, except when her semi-secret boyfriend shows up at La Union, and her ex crush starts acting up and might screw up the band’s concert. (Story: Almost There by Tara Frejas)

Rhys has too much things on her hands for the weekend, with Arabella, the new band she’s supposed to take care of, and the song she was forced into cowriting with a member of Trainman. And now she also has to perform on stage. So really, it’s not the time to rethink her relationship with her boyfriend. But lingering feelings for her friend Isaiah get in the way, and as it happens, things don’t always go as planned… (Story: Ocean Eyes by Six de los Reyes)

My opinion:

I was worried that this book might be too cheesy or cliché for me, as it was very obviously classified as romance, but I was delighted to find that it was absolutely my cup of tea, and I definitely recommend it. Now that summer is coming, it’s the perfect read.

Each story is different, and I loved reading from different points of view, and seeing characters from one story in another story. It made me realise I should read anthologies likes this more often, so if you have any to recommend, please do!

The book was easy to read, and the writing of each story very enjoyable. The characters are very relatable, especially Rhys. I really loved her, and how all her inner troubles about life, and crowds and standing out were depicted. Filipina and Ana, the two other main girl characters are also very relatable. These women are strong and know what they want, and it’s very refreshing to read about them.

One more thing I liked in this book was all the little references to music, and all the song lyrics inserted in the story. I love music and poetry, and having this inserted in a novel is always something I enjoy, so of course, I loved it here.

Overall, this was a light and sweet read. It’s quick and easy to read, with beautifully depicted and very relatable characters. I definitely loved this book, and I hope you do too! Please feel free to share your opinion in the comments if you have read it as well!

Recommended for:

If you like anthologies like Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle, then this is definitely a book I will recommend! The main difference is that this one takes place in the summer, but otherwise, it’s the same kind of concept, and I love it.

When I knew I could read more about the characters of Scandalized by Tara Frejas, I knew I had to get my hands on this book. You can hear my thoughts on Scandalized here!

If you liked Songs to get over you by Jay E. Tria and Just for the record or Feels like summer by Six de los Reyes, then you should definitely check out Summer Crush, as you will meet those characters again. However, having read those is not necessary to love Summer Crush!

Also check out:
More info about the book
Writing advice from all three authors