The Legend of Snow Wolf – book review

The Legend of Snow Wolf is a captivating tale about betrayal, honor, friendship and love in the Martial Society. The story begins in Mongolia where the main character, Sochai, loses his old and ailing grandfather. His grandfather leaves behind a record of his past and a Jade with a long history behind it. Possession of this Jade causes Sochai to be poisoned. He then has to travel to China, the land where the Jade originated from. It’s his only hope for finding an antidote.

When Sochai travels to China, he finds himself in the midst of a long standing battle for supremacy between two powerful houses, the Red Dragons and the Green Dragons. The Jade he possesses is the ultimate symbol of legitimacy for whoever seeks to rule the Martial society. Both houses seek to possess the Jade, but it is not theirs to take. In truth, the masters of both houses are usurpers to the throne at Redwood Cliff. Snow Wolf and her husband were the initial rulers, but they were betrayed and had to flee. Will Snow Wolf ever return? Did she leave behind a piece of her legacy when she fled?

This was my first foray into books about the Martial Society and I wasn’t disappointed. The narrative is multi-layered with interesting and distinct characters. It was easy to get invested in the characters and I was sad for the ones who died. The story unfolds in layers; it is multidimensional in a way that mirrors real life perfectly. The love story embedded within this great adventure took me by surprise and was quite a delight to read.

I rate this book 5 out of 5. I loved everything about it from the characters, the story line, even the ending. I recommend this to people who love Game of Thrones and Ken Follet’s Kingsbridge series. Get your hands on it before it too becomes a television series.

You can purchase a hardcopy here.

As always, thanks for stopping by.

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One Way or Another by Mary J Williams

Hello fam,

I am diversifying the content on my blog to include all of my passions. That includes books, and this review is one of many to come. I hope the move is well received. Without any further ado, let’s get right into the review.

In this story Calder and Adam meet and fall in love in a fairytale romance. The narrative focuses on Adam and Calder getting to know each other but Calder’s family also features prominently in the story.

Calder has three amazing sisters who always have her back. Growing up they only had each other as their mother was somewhat of an unreliable mother figure. Luckily, they all turned out great and are more than capable of taking care of themselves.

One Way or Another is reminiscent of other great novels. The author’s writing style reminds me of Nora Roberts. The storyline is quite original though.

I don’t have the benefit of three sisters like Calder, but there are parts of her story that strongly resonate with mine. It’s a rare delight to read something so familiar.

I loved the narrative’s different dimensions. Each of the sisters has their own distinct character, you will have no trouble finding someone to relate to.

This is one of the best romantic novels I have read this year. It explores both familial love and romantic love and will appeal to anyone who loves a good romance.

You can read it for free with a Kindle subscription or buy it on amazon.com.

Thanks for stopping by!

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How to Spread Anguish and Pain

Ever found yourself googling the secret to happiness? If not, keep this a secret. You don’t know this yet, but you are gaming the system, and a lot of people would like to find you and make you accountable.

Not because they hate you, but because they have had more than their fair share of lemons in life, and it seems fair for someone like you to take over the lemonade stand for a while.
Don’t believe me? Look at the comments section on most YouTube videos, or better yet, the many forums dedicated to proving every famous person is a fraud and other people are better suited for their role.

Other cathartic things to do while in pain include:-

  • Deleting projects and assignments from people’s unattended PCs
  • Choosing plastic over paper when you go shopping
  • Unfollowing everyone on Instagram who hasn’t followed you back, then sneaking back to their profile to see their photos
  • Trying on clothes you have no intention of buying
  • Refusing to comment on this post

I don’t judge you for any of those things, not when the highlight of my day, was when Greg from ‘Yes Dear’, beat up a short man in front of his ten year old son, and it gets better; Greg started having nightmares about the man giving him a surprise retaliation each time he opened the front door.
I have to watch that episode again. 😀

And as for you, unusually happy person, don’t ever let anything steal your joy. If you let sadness creep into your life, your soul develops a taste for it.

I hope you are all having a productive week.

Thanks for stopping by

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Cinnabar Green 

I discovered a little gem of a company called Cinnabar Green. It’s not often that I buy more than one skincare product from a company, but once I tried their cream cleanser, I had to try everything else.

I got the cleanser as a second cleanse cleanser, but on the label it says you should take off your makeup with it. Cream cleansers tend to be bad at removing makeup, most don’t emulsify with water so you’re meant to use them with a hot flannel as opposed to rinsing off at the sink.

I consider that too much of a helping hand. Besides, it’s not everyday your skin appreciates the exfoliating action of a flannel.

This cleanser surprised me however, it took off all my makeup! The instructions call for warm water and a flannel like all other cream cleansers, but I didn’t have to do that. I just massaged all over my face and rinsed at the tap with cold water.

Used this way it does leave you feeling like you have a thin film over your face, but that is just bees wax and it doesn’t show up as dirt when you run a cotton ball with toner all over your face.

The first time I tried this cleanser I didn’t second cleanse with a different product, and I didn’t put anything on my face. I just went straight to bed. This does not clog pores or cause breakouts. In fact when applied on active breakouts it’s like taking off the lid on a pressure cooker, and you won’t have to wait for days or weeks to notice this effect. As soon as you rinse and pat dry you’ll notice any breakout you may have had significantly flattened out or in the process of extracting itself.

Given it’s exceptional qualities, I felt using this cleanser as a makeup remover was wasting its potential. I now use it as a second cleanse cleanser having taken off my makeup with Yves rocher oil cleanser. I feel that’s the proper way to honour the care and effort that went into making it.

I’ve been thinking about getting Cinnabar Green’s toner. They recommend it as a second step after cleansing but I don’t want anything taking off that waxy goodness I mentioned earlier.

Other products I’ve tried from Cinnabar Green are their handmade soaps and their face cream.

I’m yet to try their Toner, massage oils, lotions and bath salts. I have no need of these things at the moment, but as soon I run out of my current stash I’m heading on to their website to order.

For those of you who are interested, Cinnabar Green is a Kenyan company that only ships around Kenya. If you live anywhere else in the world, look out for this item on my shopify.

All their products are

✔ Mineral oil free

✔ Paraben free

✔ Not tested on animals

Similar product Tata harper refreshing cleansing cream, available at amazon.co.uk.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Animal testing is not something I cared about before, but once you know how these tests are conducted it’s hard not to care.

Night time routine : Double Cleansing on the cheap 

Have you ever found yourself in such a tight spot financially you couldn’t afford to splurge on selfcare items like cleansers? And then you bought poor substitutes for your usual products and they ended up breaking you out?

I believe proper cleansing is the foundation of a good skin care routine, and 1-5 dollars can afford you one.

This routine is

✔ Mineral oil free

✔ Paraben free

✔ Sulphate free

Step 1: Makeup removal

Almond, Coconut, sunflower and olive oil are among my top picks. Keep costs down by choosing the oil that’s most readily available to you, if it’s locally produced it will be cheaper.

Below are a few notes on each of the oils to further assist you with your choice.

Coconut oil

Comedogenic factor of 4, so could clog up your pores. This isn’t the case for everyone, some people are so lucky they could use lard on their faces and it wouldn’t break them out. You could get away with using this as a makeup remover, but if you’re especially prone to congestion don’t risk it.

Sunflower oil

Comedogenic factor of 0, won’t clog up your pores, a bit tedious to apply though.

Also hard to find in smaller bottles.

Almond oil

Comedogenic factor of 2, induces a wonderful glow on your skin, right after you wash it off with soap you’ll notice it.

This is ineffective against eye makeup though, and also stings like hell when it gets into your eyes, this happened to me, I wasn’t using food grade almond oil though, has anyone tried that on their eyes? I suspect there’s no difference but I’d like to know.

Olive oil

Spreads so easily makeup will just glide off your skin, among these four it will also leave the least residue of itself on your skin. Just like almond oil, you don’t want to get it in your eyes either.

All these oils are great for cooking too but remember you’re buying just for your face, so pick the smallest size available, you are on a budget after all, and you really couldn’t finish a litre of oil just using it on your face.

Step 2: Cleansing

After spending somewhere between 40cents and $2.5 on an oil to use as a makeup remover, you now have at least $2.5 dollars. I don’t like soap as a facial cleanser but I don’t recommend you get a foaming cleanser that originally sells at 3 dollars or below, most of them are worse than soap, I could name a few exceptions but I’m aiming at a universal post here, outside the US, drugstore products are rarely available at drugstore prices.

Nivea $0.5

Surprisingly well made considering the price, it contains just the basic ingredients used to make soap but it doesn’t leave a grimy residue of itself on your skin like most soaps do. This is the only mass made soap I could bathe with, it’s also not that drying and depending on the variant you pick, it might even be slightly hydrating.

At a slightly higher price point you could get Dove soap, but I don’t recommend it unless you aren’t wearing makeup and tend towards eczema, otherwise you’ll break out.

Clean&Clear $2

This is the soap equivalent of the deep pore cleanser also made by Clean&Clear. Budgetary concerns aside, you may want to pick this up if you’re avoiding sulphates (they’re in almost every deep pore foaming cleanser).

It is quite effective at decongesting skin. So if black heads and white heads are a concern for you, get this as your first line of defence.

If in the States, 3 dollars could also get you Aveeno moisturising bar which is a good alternative to clean&clear if you have dry skin. And in the UK you could buy clearasil pads to use as an exfoliant at just 3 pounds.

These are not the only possibities for second cleansers though, look into handmade soaps as well, good ones even trounce clinique’s mild cleansing bar.

No matter what you do, don’t just use wipes and go to bed.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Drugstore mineral sunscreens 

Chemical sunscreens are better than physical sunscreens in only one way, they offer better aesthetics when applied than physical sunscreen. They won’t leave you with a white cast on your face and will keep you from burning, but forget other benefits like protection from photoaging, it is caused by UVA rays and chemical actives don’t protect against those.

The only two elements known to block both UVA and UVB rays are the minerals titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.

If you want to prevent photoaging as well as protect yourself against skin cancer, here are a few drugstore mineral sunscreens.

Neutrogena Sensitive Sunscreen

EWG rating 10

This does everything a physical sunscreen should do, it only scores so badly on EWG because it contains several chemical actives. The correct term for a sunscreen such as this is hybrid, it will still protect you but with the added health risks associated with chemical actives. I’ve included a link to the EWG website profile of this sunscreen for further reading.

Eucerin

EWG rating 4

This does significantly better than Neutrogena thanks to fewer chemical actives. There’s not much to say about it except it’s better than the Nivea anti-age sunscreen also made by the same company. A few people I know use it and love it.

Aveeno Baby natural protection

EWG rating 1

Truth is, I only found out about this one after buying my new HG sunscreen, not for lack of research but because every other Aveeno sunscreen I’ve encountered has had Chemical actives, it caught me by surprise.

This is probably the safest sunscreen out there.

alba BOTANICA

EWG rating 2

This is my current sunscreen, it has silicone in it to help it spread better, leaves a white cast but I don’t mind because I always wear makeup over it, it works great as a primer and leaves my skin looking impossibly smooth.

Over time you’ll notice the oil phase separate from the product, so give it a little shake every now and then.

JĀSÖN

EWG rating 2

Would you be surprised if I told you this is the exact same formulation as the alba botanica? This is less popular maybe coz of less advertising, also why would I buy this when it costs more than alba botanica?
High end or drugstore, it really doesn’t matter, always check the EWG rating before you buy.

Thanks for stopping by!

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The time I replaced skincare with supplements 

Do you believe in holistic skincare? I don’t. A lot of people say improving their overall health has a positive impact on their skin, I say sometimes a healthy person has bad skin anyway.

Holistic skincare: A person’s skin is a reflection of their inner health

My indifference stems from the fact that I already eat well, I cook most of what I eat from scratch and have lots of fresh fruit and veggies in my diet. Still that doesn’t prevent me from getting the occasional zit, or make it go away faster once I already have it. You know what does? Skincare products!

People who trivialise skin issues have ruined holistic skincare for me, usually it’s them asking you to eat better while you give your skin time to heal itself. Secretly (and sometimes openly) they think you’ll learn to live with what you’ve got, all you need is some time. Where would we be if we accepted this philosophy in all aspects of our lives?

Now that I’ve registered my disdain for holistic skincare, here’s an account of what happened when I replaced skincare with supplements.

You’ll understand that I didn’t stop cleansing or moisturising. I only stopped exfoliating, using special moisturiser with hylaluronic acid, ceramides and other special active ingredients. I only needed something to keep my skin from drying out while not causing any breakouts. Lanolin cream fit the bill.

My routine was as simple as wash and moisturise. I allowed myself nothing known to clear blemishes, not even tea tree oil. If you also want to follow in my footsteps, you might want to get yourself a cleanser that doesn’t exfoliate but still does a thorough job cleansing your face, a cleansing oil would be great for that.

I started my 12 week long experiment with a clear face. I never planned this experiment. I splurged all my money and for the next few weeks had to make do with what I had in terms of skincare. I think taking my supplements ahead of being deprived of my skin treatments helped my skin adjust better.

I was five days in with my supplements when I finished the very last drop of my acid toner, I thought my skin would break out for sure. Days went by, weeks went by, and I still had a clear face! My skin tends to look dull days before my period, but while I took my supplements I maintained a lit from within kind of glow all through my cycle.

These three are what got me through those weeks without my treatments and potions.

I refilled “my prescription” three or four times and that still worked out cheaper than buying an acid toner.

If you’re planning on using supplements to improve the appearance of your skin, arm yourself with information on what various minerals and vitamins do, and their side effects too.

I chose zinc for it’s anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Did you know that zinc deficiency is linked to acne?

I feel strongly that this anti-oxidant complex was the glow inducing supplement of the three that I took.

I only took these iron supplements for their added folic acid. Be careful with iron though, it’s a pro-oxidant (opposite of anti-oxidant). When taken in excess, iron can literally age you, look up iron overdose symptoms, you’ll see what I mean.

Next time I embark on taking beauty supplements, I’ll include collagen shots. I hear they’re great for preventing and healing stretchmarks and they also help with joint pain.

Thanks for stopping by!

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