September/October Favourites


September and October have been really busy months for me so I'm sorry for the infrequent posts. During my Grade 12 year I probably will only be able to post 1-2 times per month instead of once a week. However, not to fret! I have a new post today all about my September/October favourites. I have been enjoying many things this month that I'd love to share with you. If you want to find out what they are, then keep reading!

Favourite TV Show:

Image result for outlander season 3

After serving as a British Army nurse in World War II, Claire Randall is enjoying a second honeymoon in Scotland with husband Frank, an MI6 officer looking forward to a new career as an Oxford historian. Suddenly, Claire is transported to 1743 and into a mysterious world where her freedom and life are threatened. To survive, she marries Jamie Fraser, a strapping Scots warrior with a complicated past and a disarming sense of humor. A passionate relationship ensues, and Claire is caught between two vastly different men in two inharmonious lives.

I've been tuning into Outlander since last year when I read the first book (800 pages long!). It is so unlike any other show I watch. You know that I am a huge fan of romance and the book and the show do it so well. I'm also a huge fan of historical fiction so this is right up my alley. It's rare to find a show or movie that really follows the events that take place in the book. This show just brings the book to life because it does not stray far from the plot. I love the actors because they play these characters so well. The setting is breath-taking as well as the action scenes. I am currently watching season 3 which is showing live on TV every Sunday on W Network at 9:00 pm E/P. If I thought season 2 was good... season 3 has already surpassed it. Needless to say, IT IS ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC! If you are not already watching Outlander, start now! You will not regret it.

Music Favourites:

I have been loving listening to Thomas Rhett's new album, Life Changes. It's catchy, smooth county-pop music that puts me in the best mood. My favourite songs off the album are Craving You, Marry Me, Gateway Love, Leave Right Now, and Kiss Me Like A Stranger <3.



I heard Demi's new single, Sorry Not Sorry, and I thought it was really catchy and fun on first listen. Soon after her next two singles, Tell Me You Love Me and You Don't Do It For Me Anymore, came out and I was really amazed. I listened to her whole album and my other favourite songs are Daddy IssuesRuin The FriendshipGamesConcentrate, Only Forever, and Hitchhiker
I love Demi's voice and these songs really showcase her talent. This album feels very personal. I watched her documentary Demi Lovato: Simply Complicated and was really shocked to find out everything she struggled with at such a young age. I was really young when she became famous and I loved all her movies and TV shows. I'm really glad she is in a much better place now and I highly recommend watching her documentary. It's very eye-opening.



Alongside those two albums I have been listening to my own playlist I put together. I love relaxing indie music, especially when I do homework or take a nap. They really put my mind and body at ease and allow me to focus on a task or to just relax. 

Book Favourite:


Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas
Read: September 26, 2017- October 3, 2017
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5 stars) 

Summary:
Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered, since his men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.

His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica—the stronghold of the southern continent's mighty empire. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them.

But what they discover in Antica will change them both—and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.

My Review:

WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW! YOU NEED TO READ THE THRONE OF GLASS SERIES BEFORE READING THIS BOOK!

This book was everything I was hoping it to be and more. I was a huge fan of Chaol in the first two books but I felt that after the third book his character lost his way a bit. I'm so glad Sarah decided to write this book as it really showcased Chaol in a different light. Seeing him struggle through hardship after hardship, face his fears and anger towards himself was something his character really needed.

I loved the setting of this book as we get to explore the Southern Continent which we have never seen before. I love history and the culture there and how they worship different gods. It felt like a lot of research was put into this book which I really appreciate. 

Also, the different people we meet and revisit in this book were incredible. When I read The Assassin's Blade I really wasn't a huge fan of the healer story. After reading this, Yrene is now my favourite character from this whole series. Her character is from being dull. She is so strong, kind, and brave. The perfect, well-rounded female character. 

I could tell from the very moment she walked into the sitting room that she and Chaol would eventually fall for each other. I love the development of their relationship. They argue and get annoyed with each other like a real couple and that was what made their relationship even stronger. Also, THEY GOT MARRIED. My poor heart can't take this. Ship ship ship. I love Chaorene to death. 

Although at the beginning I found Nesryn's point of view to be a bit boring it got so much better when she accompanied Sartaq to the Eridun Aerie. So many incredible action-packed and nerve wracking scenes from her perspective. All the history we learn of the Valg--especially the part where Maeve is a Valg Queen!!! I honestly wasn't expecting that. I'm even more nervous for Aelin than I already was.

I also was totally not surprised that it was Duva that was the Valg hunting Yrene. She was the person that you least expected so I wasn't shocked. But when she almost killed Chaol...I was already starting to cry because of all the character development he went through and his beautiful relationship with Yrene. But he survived! But they share a life now...so we'll see how that affects them in the final installment. 

All in all, I loved this story. I crave the last book but at the same time it's the last book. I'm so attached to this series and I really don't want it to end. 


Beauty Favourite:


I went to NYX to look for a nice neutral lipstick for everyday wear which I mentioned in my August Favourites. I had not been able to try it out so it did not make it into my August Favourites. I have tested out this lipstick and have been wearing it almost everyday for the past two months now. It's such a natural looking pink-brown shade. It's just slightly pinker than my natural lips. It is the NYX Lip Lingerie in Exotic. It wears well during the day and really looks like you put a lot of effort into your makeup. Definitely check out NYX makeup products. They are affordable and great quality!

Favourite Clothing:


Aerie socks are probably my favourite socks to wear. They are so soft, cozy, and come in great colours and patterns. My mom bought me this pair for back to school since she knows I love socks and wear them during every season. I love wearing them at night because they keep my feet nice and warm. If you love socks like me, check out Aerie socks!



Favourite Body Care:
Oh my goodness.... The Body Shop's Vanilla Pumpkin Body Butter is the best body butter they have ever created. It's the smoothest formula and keeps my skin so moisturized for hours. It also smells incredible and I'm a fan of gourmand scents so this one is right up my alley. Check out The Body Shop's products because they are really fantastic, especially their body butters.


Favourite Candle:

My all-time favourite autumn candle is Bath and body Works' Leaves 3-wick candle. It smells exactly like autumn to me. Its notes are Crisp Red Apple, Golden Nectar, and Warm Clove Spice. It gives the room such a cozy atmosphere, perfect for reading and watching TV/movies. They are bringing in winter body care so grab it before it's gone!


Thank you so much for reading this blog post! I hope you enjoyed and got some new recommendations. Have a wonderful day and week ahead. See you soon!



love xena


End of Year Book Tag!


Hello everyone! Long time, no write. I haven't posted in a month since I just started my last year of high school. I've just been settling into the new routine with all my new teachers, homework, and tests (yes, I've already had tests). I found some time to put together this post since I finished my homework early. I saw this original Tag created by Ariel Bissett on YouTube and I just had to do it. I hope you enjoy this post. Share your reading goals for the end of the year in the comments below!

1) Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?


Summary:
Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands", she speaks many languages - not all of them human - and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

~~~

What I have read so far of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor was amazing. I've always heard that her writing is so lyrical and that is so spot on. Her writing is full of intrigue and whimsy and so visually descriptive. It's so unique--unlike anything I've ever read before. I really hope to finish this as I am really enjoying this story.


2) Do you have an autumnal book to transition into the end of the year?



Summary:
Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

~~~

I heard of An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson when I logged onto Goodreads and saw this review. I've heard this book be compared to A Court of Thorns and Roses and I definitely agree based on the summary. I love the ACOTAR series by Sarah J. Maas so I have really high hopes for this book. It sounds very autumnal as Isobel is sent to the autumnlands. I love autumn so I can't wait to read a book that reflects the cozy atmosphere outside. 

3) Is there a new release you're still waiting for?



Summary:

In the first book of the Shaw Confessions, the companion series to the New York Times bestselling Mara Dyer novels, old skeletons are laid bare and new promises prove deadly. This is what happens after happily ever after.

Everyone thinks seventeen-year-old Noah Shaw has the world on a string.

They’re wrong.

Mara Dyer is the only one he trusts with his secrets and his future.

He shouldn’t.

And both are scared that uncovering the truth about themselves will force them apart.

They’re right.

~~~

I read the Mara Dyer Trilogy back in 2015 and I just fell in love with it. It's what got me into fantasy books in the first place. I've been waiting for The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin since then and it's finally coming out 2 years later! Excited to read this and to see where this series goes! 



Summary:
The Voss family is anything but normal. They live in a repurposed church, newly baptized Dollar Voss. The once cancer-stricken mother lives in the basement, the father is married to the mother’s former nurse, the little half-brother isn’t allowed to do or eat anything fun, and the eldest siblings are irritatingly perfect. Then, there’s Merit.

Merit Voss collects trophies she hasn’t earned and secrets her family forces her to keep. While browsing the local antiques shop for her next trophy, she finds Sagan. His wit and unapologetic idealism disarm and spark renewed life into her—until she discovers that he’s completely unavailable. Merit retreats deeper into herself, watching her family from the sidelines, when she learns a secret that no trophy in the world can fix.

Fed up with the lies, Merit decides to shatter the happy family illusion that she’s never been a part of before leaving them behind for good. When her escape plan fails, Merit is forced to deal with the staggering consequences of telling the truth and losing the one boy she loves.

~~~

I cannot wait to read Without Merit by Colleen Hoover. I love Colleen Hoover so much. She is hands down my favourite contemporary romance writer. This book sounds very mysterious and different from her other books. I just bought it yesterday and already am very intrigued. I'll most likely finish this in 2-3 days like all my other Colleen Hoover books. Super excited for this one!!!


4) What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?



Cheating a little as there are four books but I really hope to finish Harry Potter this year! I've read the first three books and I have been enjoying them so much. I've heard the books start getting scarier and larger (in size) after the third book. It would be so great if I finished this before Christmas so I can spend some of my Christmas break watching the movies! 

5) Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favourite book of the year?

I think Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas or Without Merit by Colleen Hoover could definitely become my favourite book of the year. These are two of my favourite authors so that's why I chose them for this question. I just finished reading Tower of Dawn and it is definitely a contender for first place. I guess we shall see but it will most likely be one of the two. 

6) Have you already started making reading plans for 2018?

Of course I have a 2018 reading list! I'm hoping to read 18 books next year as next year is 2018 and it sounds fitting. It's a lot less than I normally read in a year but since I have school and the homework is inevitably going to get harder I decided to set an easier goal for next year. I've even started making a list of the books I'm hoping to read next year. I'm super excited, as you can tell. I'll share my list with you at the beginning of next year. Hopefully, I finish most of them--if not all!


Thanks for reading today's post! I hope you all have a great day and a wonderful week ahead! See you next time.


love xena

August Favourites


August has been a very busy month filled with lots of fun adventures. I am so grateful for everything that has happened this month. This summer has been so much fun and I'm so sad it has come to an end. I'm now entering my last year of high school...how the time flies. I've enjoyed a lot of things in August so I am sharing them with you today. I hope you enjoy scrolling through! 


Beauty Favourites:



I am so happy that I found this Nyx HD Finishing Face Powder in Translucent. I have really oily skin and it's so hard to find anything that works to reduce the shine on my face. This works like a charm. I bought the translucent shade and since I have darker skin I really just hope these powders don't make me look like a ghost. That is not the case for this one at all. My skin tone stays the same and I stay matte for hours. Really impressed and definitely check this out if you have combination/oily skin. 



I saw this Nyx #thisiseverything Lip Oil on their website and I was really curious to try it and see if it works. Ever since I was 9 my lips cannot go without lip balm for more than 5 minutes without getting so dry and uncomfortable. I have to put on lip balm as soon as I wash my face and before I put on any type of lip product. This oil has actually replaced my lip balm. It's so amazing. I was expecting to be more of an oily consistency but it's actually thicker and more like a super moisturizing lip balm. It hasn't irritated my lips like other lip products do and my lips feel so conditioned. I'll definitely be stocking up on this for the cold weather that's fast approaching.

Music Favourites:



Fifth Harmony's new self-titled album is so different and edgier than their previous albums--in a good way. As usual their songs are super catchy after one listen and have you playing them on repeat. My favourite songs from this album are: He Like That, Messy, and Deliver (gives me Ariana Grande vibes).


I have been loving to listen to Billie Eilish's album don't smile at me because it is so soothing and she has such a unique voice. My favourite songs from this album are: ocean eyes, idontwannabeyouanymore, and watch.


I was just scrolling through YouTube looking for new music and I stumbled upon LANY and I just love their music. I've been really obsessed with their song current location because it's exactly the type of music I like and it's so simple and catchy. 


I have been obsessed with Harry Styles' self-titled album this whole month. I was never a Directioner and I really only liked a few of One Direction's songs. This album is completely different from the pop music he's done before. This is a blend of alternative and rock and I am so onbaord with his new style. This genre fits his voice so well. I'm really impressed. My favourite songs off this album are: Carolina, Sweet Creature, Kiwi, Woman, Two Ghosts, and Ever Since New York.


I've been watching The Bold Type and I heard this song playing and just had to find out what it was called. The song is Hurts So Good by Astrid S. I just love to sing along to this song even though I can't hit the high notes (lol). I know I've said this for every song I've mentioned so far but this song is extremely catchy and addictive. Check it out!


I heard this song in a Jess and Gabe video and I just fell in love with it. It's so catchy (I'm sorry I really can't think of another word). It's called I Like Me Better by Lauv. 


Movie Favourites:


I have just been hunting for more teen movies to watch because I've watched so many at this point that there is nothing left. I haven't watched 10 Things I Hate About You (until now) so I decided to give it a go. This movie has definitley made my top ten favourite movies list. This is movie is about a new student Cameron who is smitten with Bianca and, in order to get around her father's strict rules on dating, attempts to get bad boy Patrick to date Bianca's ill-tempered sister, Kat. I'm probably going to watch this moive a thousand more times like I do with all my favourite movies.


I have watched most of Nicholas Sparks' movies but I had yet to watch The Choice. This movie is about Travis Shaw, who is a ladies' man and thinks a serious relationship would cramp his easygoing lifestyle. Gabby Holland is a feisty medical student who's preparing to settle down with her long-term boyfriend. Fate brings the two together as Gabby moves next door to Travis, sparking an irresistible attraction that upends both of their lives. As their bond grows, the unlikely couple must decide how far they're willing to go to keep the hope of love alive. As with all Nicholas Sparks movies this was emotionally draining. I really liked both the main characters even though I wasn't the biggest fan of how they got together. But despite that it was a really good movie. I recommend this for anyone who loves romance and drama. 


I watched the first 10 minutes of this movie when it first came out in 2010 (I was 10 years old). I realized that I never even finished it to see what happened in the end. Since it was one of the last Nicholas Sparks movies I had left to catch up on I decided to give it a chance. The Last Song is about a troubled teenager as she reconnects with her estranged father and falls in love during a summer in a quiet Southern United States beach town. This was a beautiful movie and it was so nice to see how Miley Cyrus and liam Hemsworth fell in love for the first time. Great movie for romantics like myself. 


I hope you enjoyed today's post. I've been loving a lot of music this month which is why it took up most of this post. Anyways, I hope I gave you some good recommendations. Have a wonderful day and a wonderful week. See you soon with a new post. 


love xena


My Travels: St. Martin/St. Maarten



On the Plane


Waiting to board

June/July Favourites


Uh oh! July is over?! The summer months are moving way too fast. I have just been enjoying summer and going out doing fun activites. I can't believe in a month's time all the fun will be over. But, let's not think about that just yet. It's still in the future. Anyways, these past two months have been lots of fun (expect exams) and I have lots of things to discuss. So, if you are interested in finding out the movies, shows, books, and music I've been enjoying, then keep reading! 

Movie Favourites


Before she was Wonder Woman, she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war, discovering her full powers and true destiny.

Wonder Woman was absolutely in-cred-i-ble. There aren't enough words to describe how amazing this movie was. This has been one of the best cinematic expereinces I've had in a while. Gal Gadot was perfect as Wonder Woman and I can't wait for more Wonder Woman movies! If you haven't watched this already, you MUST!

Relax and De-stress


Hello there! Today's post is all about ways to reduce stress and letting yourself relax. I was just thinking about how stressed out I was getting because of all my school assingments and exams. I wanted to compile a list of a few things that help me when I feel stressed. I hope you feel these helpful and comment your recommendations for stress relievers down below! 


Music is probably the thing I turn to most when I want to de-stress. It's so easy to just put on your favourite song and get caught up in the music and feel immediately relaxed. I love listening to instrumental music when I read because lyrics can get confusing and I get easily distracted. I love Sway, Sway by Heinali because it just instantly calms me. I find it's simplicity so soothing. Constantly hitting the replay button! 



Tea is the most relaxing beverage besides hot chocolate. It starts your day, settles your stomach, can energize you as well as make you sleepy. Tea has so many benefits and I love drinking it every morning. In the past months or so I've been leaning towards Birthday Cake Tea by David's Tea. If you are from Canada then you know that David's Tea is basically like Teavana. They sell all different kinds of teas; the possibilities are endless! Birthday Cake Tea tastes exactly how it sounds. It's not overly sweet and is the perfect way to start the morning and end the day. 



Something I love to do on Fridays or on the weekend is to put on a face mask. It feels so refreshing and makes my skin so soft and clean. I was trying to find good masks for acne since I tend to breakout on my face. I kept seeing Lush Mask of Magnaminty Face and Body Mask being recommended so I wanted to try it. Lush is a handmade cosmetics store that sells everything from shower gels to lotions to makeup. They use natural ingredients which is why I really like this brand. I've purchased from Lush in the past and have been very impressed and satisfied with their products. The Mask of Magnaminty is very refreshing (minty in the title) and I feel squeaky clean after I'm done. It makes my skin so soft and really helps with breakouts. Try this if you struggle with breakouts or want a nice face mask! Putting on a mask is so relaxing because you keep your face still and it make you feel so clean. For me, feeling clean is the best solution to feeling stressed. 




I love to freshen my room and breathe in warm and inviting smells, especially while I'm reading. Candles are so relaxing because their glow creates a calming atmosphere and there are so many different scents to choose from. I've purchased so many candles this month (oopsie) but I've been leaning towards Berry Waffle Cone by Bath and Body Works the most. The notes in this candle are Sweet Summer Berries, Golden Waffle Cone, Creamy Vanilla. Doesn't that sound delicious? It smells incredible. The throw is so strong it fills up small rooms like mine in a few minutes and are also great for larger rooms. 



Something I want to start doing more of is yoga and guided meditation. I've tried both of them previously and enjoyed them. I created a playlist of yoga and guided meditation videos to assist me since I do not know many yoga poes besides child's pose and downward dog. I really look forward to practicing yoga especially so I know how to do the different poses without watching videos. I recommend trying yoga and guided meditaion at home since it is very grounding, relieves stress, and calms your body. 


In my Winter Esssentials post I talked about the Fireplace Channel. Since it is summer I decided to choose the Sunset Channel which is another favourite of mine. It is so relaxing to hear the the birds, the wind, the waves crashing on the shore and feeling like you're on the beach. I love taking a nap and listening to this in the background. If you have Rogers it is on channel 206. 


I hope you enjoyed today's post and found these tips useful. Have a great day and wonderful weekend! See you soon with a new post.

love xena

My Co-op Experience at Novotel North York


At the end of September I started my co-op experience at Novotel North York. I was very nervous as it was my first time ever being in a workplace setting. I've known I wanted to work in the hospitality industry since Grade 10 and I was hoping this opportunity would give me some insight as to what I could expect in the future. I'm really happy that I got this experience and learned about the operations of the hotel that I did not know before. I'm really lucky because I got to expereince working with Alex Nurse (Accounts Receivable/Payroll Administrator) and Alena Miatlushka and Jason Abirafeh (HR Managers). Below are some pictures of the hotel and my  co-op experience at Novotel.


This is a picture of one of the executive rooms in the hotel. I've visited all the different types of rooms: standard, executive, and superior. A lot of the rooms have been renovated recently and they look very nice and modern. The layout of the rooms make them look very spacious and the view from the balcony is also nice, especially as you go higher up. My favourite feature of the rooms are the lighting on the headboards which are a very nice touch and perfect for reading!


Setting up the Novotel booth. 


Alena, Joseph, and Me.


A few weeks after I started co-op at Novotel, my supervisor Alex Nurse (Accounts Receivable/Payroll Administrator) invited me to go with him, Alena Miatlushka (HR Manager) and Joseph Mercado (Food & Beverage Manager) to Humber College for their job fair. I had a really great time and I broke out of my shell a bit more as I talked to college students about Novotel and how to apply. Above are the job applications I created for the college students to complete. 





The picture above is my work area in the Sales and Administration office. This is
 where I sorted, organized, and filed audit packs and invoices, worked on commissions, spreadsheets, as well as sent faxes and made photocopies. 


I also worked in the HR office with the HR Manager (Alena Miatlushka and Jason Abirafeh) where I filed
 documents and certificates into employee folders. 


The Sales and Administartion team and I took a group picture together on my last day at Novotel 😔 
Left to right: Bridget, Violetta, Alla, Michael, Zorica, Me, Denisa, and Jason.


Lastly is a picture of Michael Singer (General Manager) and I. I received a certificate for
 my completion of 220 hours and a gift bag from my supervisor Alex and
 the rest of the team. 

I had a wonderful co-op experience at Novotel North York and I learned a lot whilst I was there. If co-op is available to you I highly recommend doing it as it really helps you to get an idea of what the workforce is like. Also, Novotel is a great place to do co-op if you are interested in the hospitality industry like myself. 

I hope you enjoyed today's post! It was a little different but I really wanted to share this expereince with you all. I hope you have a great day and a great week ahead. I'll see you soon with a new post!


love xena

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