BEST BOOKS OF 2018

In between the 6 course meals, holiday movie marathons, and tears of joy laughter with family and friends, I always try to find some time for myself during the Holiday season. One of the best and easiest ways for me to do this, in simply by having a book handy which I am excited to read. Really, any book will do, either a new one you can’t wait to dive into, or one you’ve read before, loved, and want to enjoy all over again. Hand up if both of these lists are exploding for you and you don’t even know where to begin!

Before the holiday craziness started, I spent some time browsing my bookshelf and my “want to read” list in order to come up with a short list of books I would add to my “Best Books of 2018” list. These are the types of books that I stuff into my bag for that “moment to myself”. I get a lot of requests for book recommendations, so I thought this would be both thoughtful and helpful. Whether you’re looking for your next best read, or thinking of gifting a book, I think this list might be of some help to you.

First things first; a few questions I get asked when sharing these lists:

How do you decide which books to include on this list?  Well, I really do read a lot of books during the year, so picking only a few to add to this list is actually quite a difficult process for me. One way for me to figure it out is by checking my Goodreads app or my “Books Read Journal” (yes, I have a journal where I write down the title, author, and personal rating of each book I’ve read). This gives me an idea of books I’ve loved based on rating, and reminds me of books I’ve read which I may have forgotten about. I also like to do a glance through my bookshelf to see which ones pop out at me. In most cases, the books that I really loved stay at the top of my mind and I can automatically recommend and add to this list. It’s a very honest process, naturally.

Are these all books that you’ve read this year? Although the answer should be yes, it’s actually, NO. It sometimes take some time for me to decide if I really enjoyed a book and if it’s one I would recommend. Sometimes I reread books and the second time around I find I love it; or hate it. Generally, I try to share books which I’ve read in the recent year, but, sometimes I can’t help myself. There are so truly amazing books out there which I cannot let go of, and those are the ones I will share with you every single year (such as, Kristin Hannah’s Nightingale).

Is there a place where you track books you’ve read or want to read online for us to access? DEFINITELY! I always update my Goodreads app with the latest and greatest on my lists. Find me by searching “ThePrettierLife” in users.  I use the iPhone App, but you can also access Goodreads from any internet browser (www.goodreads.com). I have three main lists on my page: “Currently Reading”, “Want To Read”, and “Read”. I’d say all three are great places for new book inspirations.

So, ladies and gentleman; the BEST BOOKS OF 2018 List

  1. The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
  2. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
  3. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
  4. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
  5. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
  6. My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward by Mark Lukach
  7. Sarah’s Key by Tatiana De Rosnay
  8. The Little Book of Lykke by Meik Wiking
  9. The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine
  10. All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin

So tell me; have you read any of these books? Were you planning on reading any of them in the near future?

If you ever have any questions about these books, or have any suggestions for me, please send them my way! I’m always happy to talk books!

XOXO

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM THE PRETTIER LIFE

Happy Holidays Everyone!

I hope you are all having a great Holiday Season and are able to spend it in the best way possible; whether that be with family + friends, traveling / vacationing, or taking some one on one time for yourself – OR all of the above! Whatever it may be, I wish you all the best during this festive season!

XOXO

FINALLY YOU ARE MINE KYLIE COSMETICS!

My love for bags and shoes will never disappear, but I’ve recently become very interested in makeup. If you check my browser history it’s basically all cosmetics + beauty pages – from makeup to skin care and everything in between. I think maybe it’s a coming of age thing; like, moisturizing my face and neck is now a real thing every night! I’d say I come from a family of good genes but the extra little help won’t hurt.

So, there really are many products I can talk about; that I plan on writing about really, but I’d like to start with one that I’ve recently laid my hands on.

I’m sure most of you have heard of Kylie Jenner and her famous Lip Kits – well, on #BlackFriday this year I caved and splurged a bit. I mean, who does that? I’ve never even seen her product in real life, and I still managed to buy a box full of products!

I’m not sure what really brought on this sudden need for these products but the urge was real. I just HAD to find out what the big deal was!

But let’s start at the beginning. As all other things, I researched my heart out to figure out when and if there will be any deals for Black Friday on her site. It wasn’t hard to figure out that last years deals were great so the anticipation was that this year would be the same. I browsed her page; probably viewed every single product on there, and made my list of what I’d like to purchase.

Finally, the night before Black Friday arrived and that magical message came through – 40% off all lip products on Kyle Cosmetics! JACKPOT! Lucky for me, the site had saved my selection in my shopping cart so I was able to literally with one click confirm my purchase and put the order through! I was as excited as a child on Christmas. I was finally getting a Kylie Lip Kit!

Now here we are, three weeks later, I am the proud owner of SIX Kylie Cosmetics products! So, what did I buy? Well, here’s the list:

  • Koko K Lip Kit
  • Koko K Gloss
  • Charm Velvet Lip Kit
  • Flirtini Matte Lipstick
  • Puppy Love Creme Lipstick
  • Posie K Velvet Lipstick

First off, the colors I bought are fairly neutral shades with pink tones for the most part. They all look pretty similar, but have different finishes such as the matte, velvet, creme, or gloss.

The lip liner is amazing – it’s very creamy, goes on delicately, and really matches well to the lip stick. The scent at first threw me off a bit, it’s smells like something sweet, something I think I know, but I really can’t put a name to it. After a few times I got used to it and actually craved it a bit? If that makes sense? I guess it smells nice once you get used to it.

Also, in terms of need for reapplication; it’s minimal. I’m able to put it on in the morning and not have to apply till after lunch. And that’s even pushing it because the color stays on your lips for a really long time and the only reason to reapply is to give yourself that fresh look again. Finally, the products do not dry out your lips, aren’t sticky, and don’t crack (like some matte products do). That’s what I’ve found anyways. There may be other reviews out there that have different opinions, and that’s because everyone’s lips are different. But, that’s my honest review.

So, overall ; I am SO happy of this purchase and will definitely be wearing these until I’ve used them all up. I’m actually already planning for what I’ll be restocking next time Kylie Cosmetics has a sale!

A few things to note when planning your purchase:

  • Free shipping on US orders over $40
  • Free shipping on international orders over $60
  • If you sign up for her newsletter/emails you receive a discount code you can use on your purchase
  • The Black Friday sales are a great time to buy – I mean, 40% of lips and 30% off face is a steal!
  • Follow the Kylie Cosmetics Instagram account to stay up to date on products and promotions! There’s sometimes free shipping deals, or other sales she does.

Generally, now that I’ve tried her products, I see what the hype of about and I’m right there with the other fans. Her products are great, and the price is reasonable as well! If you are interested in any of these and have any questions for me about them, let me know and I’ll do my best to answer!

XOXO

L O N D O N IS ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA

I think it’s safe to say that the United Kingdom is one of my favorite places to travel to four main reasons:

  • Family!
  • Shopping! SHOPPING! Shopping!
  • Direct flight from Ottawa to London! + MANY direct and inexpensive flights from the UK to many major cities in Europe!
  • It’s a BEAUTIFUL country; from the heart of London to the flowing countryside; I can never get enough of the views!

Our most recent visit to this wonderful country was back in November. At this point, I think we’ve visited the UK during every season. I’d say there’s something I love about each season so I can’t say I like one more than the other.

During each trip, we visit our traditional list of attractions such as the heart of London, Primark, Wagamama, etc., but also try to see at least one new place we have never been to before!

This time, my husband made the call, and we visited Stonehenge and the nearby Town of Windsor. Both locations were definitely worth the trip! It actually felt important to visit Stonehenge because of its historical background; I definitely feel we checked something off our bucket list with this one. Next, the Town of Windsor; like many of these English Towns, was absolutely adorable! Filled with so many little shops, cafes, and restaurants, and of course, the Windsor Castle right in the middle of the Town. Check + Check!

Luckily for us, the weather cooperated better than expected as well. We were greeted with sunshine from the moment we landed, to the moment we took off at the end of our trip. Not only was it sunny, but it wasn’t at all as cold as it was in Canada, so – bonus! Walking around comfortable in a leather jacket in November is a win in my eyes.

Anyways, we will probably be back sooner than later because we just can’t seem to get enough of Europe recently!!

THE POWER OF PRODUCTIVITY

#theSUNDAYcollective

I truly love Sundays basically because they give me the time I need to think; to reflect on the week; and to look forward on what is to come for the next week {or even weeks ahead}. Being able to have that personal time; one on one with yourself; allows you to reflect on your actions in a deeper way, than you would in that given moment.

By actions I mean, for example, if you were in a stressful situation – why was it so stressful to you? Maybe it didn’t have to be that stressful? Did you bring on more stress than necessary? Was it your fault that the situation occurred? What could you have done differently? What WILL you do differently next time to avoid the stress?

It’s important to bring attention to our habits; good or bad, and try to work them out in order to create the best possible YOU! Without even noticing, we may be doing something that brings more negativity than positivity; but it could be something we could easily change. BAM! There’s one thing you overturned already to create the next week better.

In my eyes; this is one of the definitions of PRODUCTIVITY. For me, productivity goes hand in hand with REFLECTING. The first step in being a more productive person means being able to reflect and build on events; ideas; thoughts; and impacts!

Productivity can be defined as many different things for many different people, so the first step is figuring out what exactly it will mean/ or means, to you.

Some say that being productive definitively means turning the motor on and pushing ahead with that go-go-go mentality of “got to keep going”. If that’s what keeps YOU motivated, healthy + happy, then by all means go for it!

For others, such as myself, productivity starts with being of a sound body + mind; mental and physical well being are such a high priority for me. In order to be productive I have to take time for myself, this happens in the form of writing, reading, watching a favorite movie or show, and/or going for a walk in the fresh air.

Each of these things bring me back to my core; mind + body + soul.

One of my favorite reflection writing techniques involves the Moorea Seal #52Lists journals. Each of these journals focus on a different aspect of life – projects, togetherness, and happiness. One question from each journal for the week and you’re off to a great start in your reflecting! {more on these journals in a later post – because I really think they deserve a post of their own}.

Every single day we are surrounded by a world of differences; ideas; characteristics… all GREAT things but also things that impact ourselves; our behaviors; and our thoughts. All things which {sometimes may} push us further away from ourselves; our actual TRUE SELVES!

In taking time to reflect on the past week; month; year – we are giving ourselves the opportunity to dig deeper into our own minds and figure out who and what we truly are trying to become. At this time, steering away from the negative impacts which we may have

These actions in turn will make us more productive and efficient in the next days; weeks; months; years!!