Book Review: The Assistants

“The problem is that nobody talks about what they make. It’s shame disguised as humility. Screw that. I’m a thirty-two-year-old assistant and I make $30,000 a year.”

Let’s be real, I initially requested The Assistants from Camille Perri because the cover is super cute. (See: Is There Some Reason Millennial Women Love This Color?) Upon further investigation, I pulled it out of my daunting to-read pile because it’s about an underemployed young woman with student loan debt. The majority of my young friends (myself included) are underemployed with student loan debt, so I was excited to see a literary take on these important issues.

I don’t have as much to say about the book but do have some thoughts on the themes. I didn’t particularly like any of the characters (except maybe Kevin?) or relate much to their individual situations, but I did like the style of writing. You know when you meet someone and you realize they’re cool and you like them, but that you won’t ever be more than acquaintances? That’s how I felt about this book.

The underemployment theme struck a nerve, especially since I am currently in an assistant position and making less money than during my first year out of college. While reading, I could understand the frustrations of the characters when they took care of tedious tasks like preparing drinks for meetings or collecting lunch orders. The feeling of being capable and willing but not in the position to do anything truly valuable is kind of the worst. Also feeling stuck. That is the actual worst.

The book itself wasn’t my favorite, but the topics and plot really got me thinking and I’m hoping that they do the same for those lucky members of society that aren’t affected by student loan debt. I’m also left to wonder – why hasn’t anyone created a non-profit to help with student loan debt? I mean we have scholarships for students, ten-year public service agreements, and awesome advocacy groups out there working to make the situation better for future students, but what do we offer our young adults who are straddled with a $1.2 trillion debt load TODAY?

All in all, The Assistants was an okay book. I will certainly recommend it to my friends who are in similar positions and to the grown-ups I know that are interested in learning about the millennial struggle. I would love to see Camille Perri hit the road and talk about student loan reform on college campuses so if anyone can make that happen here in Madison, hmu.

Has anyone else read this? What are your thoughts?

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Book Review: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

So each generation set out to find more of its kind, and within just a few cycles of birth and death, the Club had spread not only through space, but also time, propagating itself forwards into the twentieth century and back into the Middle Ages, the death of each member spreading the word of what it was to the very extremes of the times in which they lived.

I have a problem where I’m addicted to books. I use Goodreads to help find new reads and order them in mass quantities from the library – they usually show up in clumps of ten, making me look a little crazy to my former coworkers. Sometimes when I pick up my large piles, I also accidentally browse and end up leaving with twice as many books as I had initially intended. This exact situation took place at the library last week – and I ended up finding “The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August” by Claire North on the “Don’t miss this!” shelf.

I’m a total sucker for a good time travel plot, and the thought of living life and being reborn with your memories intact over and over again just absolutely titillates my imagination. Though I already had my reading plan mapped out for the next few weeks, I picked up “Harry August” (and several other books, smh) and immediately started reading it when I got home.

I wasn’t disappointed. The author does a fabulous job of telling us about Harry’s life 15 different times and she does so in a way that doesn’t become boring, and in a way that keeps you interested. Harry’s lifespan ranges from the 1920s to the 1990s, and the author never failed to make his course unique in each life. Since he lives through the same scenarios multiple times, Harry has opportunities to connect with the people and the world around him in ways that which we will never be able to do.

I’ll be real with you – I skimmed a few sections. I’m not particularly interested in war or 20th century technological development, but I really don’t think anyone could live through the same time period 15 times and not be bored with some bits. I don’t want to give away any of the plot, but I loved the recurring characters and the way that Harry dealt with the challenges that he faced.

All in all this was a fabulous read. I was initially a little sad to get off track with my reading plan, but I am so glad that I read this book. I had to go back and read the ending a second time because I really felt it, and I’ll be wondering forever how things went after life number 15.

“This thing you carry inside you, I don’t know what it is. I don’t know where you got it. But Harry, the past is the past. You are alive today. That is all that matters. You must remember, because it is who you are, but as it is who you are, you must never, ever regret. To regret your past is to regret your soul.”

Whats in my purse?

Earlier this week my delicious Khloe Kardashian salad leaked into my purse and I finally got around to cleaning it out today. While I was doing that, I got a notification from a friend’s blog that they had posted one of those “Whats in my purse?” posts. While I admit, they’re kind of boring, I’ve also never not looked to see what all my friends have in their purses when they make the posts.

So here we go!

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Today I have two books, some makeup and nail products, my wallet, keys, tea, and.. socks!

The After Party by Anton DiSclafani: I finished reading this book about a 1950’s Texas socialite/housewive and her mysterious (shady) best friend just a few minutes ago. It was alright. It was interesting and a quick read, but not necessarily something that I really needed to read. I don’t not recommend it, but I don’t recommend it either.

You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felica Day: This was the only book available when it was time to leave my house today. I really liked The Guild, and I love the title of this book, but I don’t really have too much of an interest in Felicia Day. We’ll see how it goes.

-Revlon nail polish, nail file, and clippers. Not something that I usually carry, but I wanted to paint my toes today. They’re a cute, bright, summery orange.

Biore Watery Essence Sunscreen: This is a find from the Asian Beauty subreddit. It’s a great, light sunscreen that shouldn’t cause your face to break out. It smells heavenly and I just transferred it to my bag today – that way I can put it on when I know I’ll be out in the sun.

Mizon Snail Recovery Gel Cream: This is another Asian Beauty find. It’s a light facial moisturizer made from snail essence. Yes, snail essence is snail slime. It’s fabulous.

-Next is my favorite hair brush, Vera Bradley wallet, and green tea. I also have Sugar lip gloss (one of my all-time faves), Carmex, Nars matte lip color, and a Neutrogena cover up pen. I very rarely use cover-up except in extreme emergencies, and this one has salicylic acid in it which makes me feel better.

So that’s it! Now tell me – what all do you have in your bag?

Unveiling: Blush Vox Box

I was super excited to receive the Blush Vox Box in the mail recently! I’ve been a member of Influenster for a few years but haven’t had a VoxBox for a while. This one came in a beautiful pink box full with a couple of cute quotes on the outside. I certainly appreciate receiving adorable mail full of goodies, especially when it tells me I’m lovely!

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Inside the VoxBox I found:
-Pantene expert shampoo and conditioner
Secret clinical strength clear gel
-Ardell lashes
Simple skincare micellar makeup remover wipes

My initial impression? Dang, they must think I need to up my hygiene game.

My second impression? These are some pretty cool products. I have tried clinical deodorant before, but I’m always looking for something stronger, especially now that I’m lifting weights. I am not super happy with my current hair routine, so I’m excited to try a new product. I’ve also been wanting to try false lashes, so I’m definitely looking forward to trying those out. As for the makeup wipes – iffy. My skincare routine is very specific and I’m not sure that I want to try a product I haven’t researched thoroughly myself.

So now I’ve officially unveiled the Blush Vox Box, shared my thoughts, and I’m excited to try out the different products!

Product Review: Elycare Konjac Sponges

One of the steps that I was super excited to add into my skincare routine was the use of a konjac sponge. Before last week, I had previously purchased and used a konjac sponge, but I recently searched multiple stores hoping to find another and left empty-handed. One night while laying in bed, I decided to order this set from Amazon.

The package magically appeared just about 12 hours after I ordered it (Wow, Amazon..) When I got home I opened it up and was really happy with what I had – three konjac sponges (charcoal, green tea, and regular) as well a hook and a thread on each one to help hang it up to dry.

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One of the reasons why I’m particularly happy with this set is that my previous konjac sponge didn’t have a string or a hook, so it never properly dried. After a while, it started getting pretty gross. I’m hoping that this set will last longer and work better since they will be able to dry properly.

I used the charcoal konjac sponge almost immediately and was really happy with the product – I don’t think the charcoal aspect of it effects the way that it works at all, but the sponge itself is very gentle yet exfoliating and makes me feel like I’m getting a deep clean. I have been using it during my second cleanse with Tosowoong Enzyme Powder Wash.

I can’t attribute it directly to the addition of the konjac sponge to my routine (or any of the other items that I’ve been using) but my skin seems to be breaking out less and doing better in general. My face also feels super clean after use and these sponges work better than any other material or item I’ve used during cleansing in the past. I highly recommend adding konjac sponges to your skincare routine.