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The Better Book Club: After I Do

February 26, 2015

For the longest time, I held off of making After I Do a book club choice. For one, I have already chosen a Taylor Reid novel, and secondly, I was worried that some people would think, “Clearly Monique is doing this because she’s a friend of Taylor.” But then I remembered one very crucial fact: this is my blog and I can do whatever the hell I want to! *Throws confetti in the air*
I think I’m so in love with this novel because it’s a more representational of reality than most of the pastel-cover novels on my shelf. As much as I love a good meet-cute and a well-timed declaration of love, After I Do is a romance novel about falling out of love rather than into it. Not even going to lie: it felt nice to read this on Valentine’s day and tell myself “See! Love is terrible!”  But the next day when I picked it up again, I realized that was not the lesson Taylor is trying to teach us. It’s more about committing to the fight for love once the googly eyes you have for someone settles back into your head. Also, I’m a sucker for any book/movie/tv show where the heroine learns she’s stronger than she initially thought (cue girl power music). I highly recommend After I Do, and I’m not one to lie about my opinions of books (just ask my freshman year English teacher who received a detailed essay about my deep hatred for The Odyssey). 

The Better Bedroom Inspiration For My New York Apartment

February 23, 2015

Lately, I’ve been spending hours on Pinterest and home decor websites lustily eyeing furniture, bedding, and home accents. Both my sister and I are gearing up to move into an apartment together, and I can hardly wait. I’ve spent the last three years in super cramped dorm rooms, and I am just itching to get out and live in a grown-up apartment. I know not to expect opulently spacious quarters since New York real estate is outrageously expensive. But, all the apartments we’ve looked at will give me a bit more room to move and the option to have a queen size bed (what I’m most excited about). Here are some of the rooms that have been providing me with inspiration as I figure out my style and aesthetic.

The Better 5 Things From My Week

February 19, 2015

1. The bracelet that reminds me of Malibu beaches and the good ‘ol days free of parkas
 2. Chocolate milk made with homemade chocolate syrup (recipe here)
 3. My favorite breakfast that makes me feel like I’m dining at a spa resort

My Favorite Drug Store Beauty Products

February 12, 2015

While there certainly are certainly appropriate times to splurge, I’m a big firmly believe that not every tool in my arsenal has to be fancy schmancy or expensive. I purchased some of my favorite products at Target or Duane Reade, and they are just as important to me as the items I’ve gotten at Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s.

Rainbath Shower Gel
I’ve been using this product since I was in junior high. Because they were sold at Costco (and my mom loves Costco), we always stocked up on them for our house. Every now and then, I’m seduced by the bright colors and scents of other products, but I always make my way back to this shower gel. It has a light, fresh scent, and it also does double duty by replacing my shaving cream.

Clear Face Liquid-Lotion Sunscreen
Almost every “What I Wish I Did When I Was 20” article includes some 40-year-old woman exclaiming how she so desperately wishes she used sunscreen and laid off the tanning beds. I love this product because it’s light and goes on without much hassle. Most importantly, as a woman of color with a darker complexion, I don’t have the patience for products that leave me with a white, ghostly tint.

Cetaphil Cleanser
Though it seems almost too basic (it’s unscented and doesn’t foam), it does the job that it’s supposed to. My face feels clean after using it, but without a tight, dry feeling.

Blackout Eyeliner
For the longest time, I was certain that nothing could ever compare to the Stila pen eyeliner that I routinely bought from Sephora. But, this eyeliner seems to do the trick. I bought it after seeing it in my sister's makeup bag, and, since then, have never been tempted to go another route. It’s very easy to apply a thin or thick line with its marker-like applicator, and the pigment is ultra black and saturated.

Revlon Colorburst Matte & Regular
Although Revlon labels these items as “lip balms with color,” I feel as though they fit better within the lipstick category. The regular formula moisturizes your lips without feeling sticky or shiny, while the matte one provides a saturated color in a formula that doesn’t budge.

The Better Hasselback Potatoes

February 01, 2015

From what I’ve heard in passing, the Super Bowl is coming soon – not that I would actually know. Frankly, I just don’t care about any televised sports. If you’re surprised by the fact because I’ve told you otherwise in person, I was lying. Sorry, I’m not sorry. That being said, I know there are many people out there who seem to think that the Super Bowl is an occasion to throw a party. Given my love of adding a bit of sparkle to everything – even the very un-sparkly Super Bowl – I thought I’d share this recipe. It’s a little something that’s cute enough to have my stamp of approval, yet simple enough that it won’t look too out of place sharing a table with beers and soda.