Three tools of a book obsessed person

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In the olden days, one had to painstakingly write down and keep track of the books one had in one’s to-read pile. I for one had them all locked up in a cabinet away from pesky dust mites and had no real staking regiment to know which book to read next. Once I had devised a plan to write down the titles of 20 books on little strips of paper and literally pull them out of a hat to help me choose which book I should read next.

My problem was keeping track of the books I read in a particular series. My first attempt was printing off lists of that author’s bibliography and manually checking off each book I had read. Then to save on paper, I kept an excel sheet which also reminded me when the next book of a particular series was going to be released. However, after a few years of tirelessly updating said excel sheet, I got tired of it. It was a hassle but I was resilient because it was the only option I had at the moment.

Before I move on to the incredible find that replaced my super awesome excel sheet, I shall point out the first of the tools of a book obsessed person. It is none other than the fabulous site www.Goodreads.com

I stumbled upon this website in the year 2008. It was relatively new at the time, about a year old. Finally, a website dedicated to books! I could keep track of my library. Catagorize them. Visually see what I have in my to read pile. Credible reviews which I can trust more than other sites such as amazon.com. It was, and still is, a haven to any reader out there. They slowly grew over the years and introduced many new features, one of which is my ultimate favourite – the Goodreads recommendation system. In earlier years, I had relied on the recommendations that were spewed by Amazon based on my purchase history. The system was completely flawed. It actually kept recommended books that I had already bought from them! I grew frustrated from such inaccurate recommendations which always resulted in me reading a completely useless book. On the other hand, the Goodreads recommendation system kept recommending me books that were exactly what I had need based on the books I had in my library and based on how I had tagged each book by genre.

The only thing that was missing from Goodreads was a way to track the books in a series. As I pointed out earlier, I went down the Excel sheet road and found it a bit tiring. Apps on smartphones were tried as well but they didn’t fully satisfy what I needed. That was when I discovered the second tool of a book obsessed person – FictFact

One word: Spectacular.

It even has a calendar of when the next book of each series you are reading is going to be released! I have no words to describe how much this website has helped me organize my to read pile in terms of book series, seeing as how I follow almost 43 book series! One can now prioritize which book to read next quite easily!

Lastly, for the on the go reader, the last tool of a book obsessed person, the Kindle. I no longer have to carry with a bunch of books while travelling since one can carry them all in a simple dainty device lovingly known as the Kindle. With each iteration of this device, the wiz kids at amazon appease our obsession such as the new Kindle Paperwhite. One can now safely read in the dark without annoying the people with or as I usually do, read in the car. Yes, I used to carry a little flashlight to illuminate my ordinary book as I read and immersed myself in the story. The lengths I would go to just to know what will happen next!

The newest Kindle Paperwhite (WiFi) is available on the Amazon website for $119 (with special offers) or $139 (without special offers) and can be purchased last I checked in Virgin Megastores in Bahrain City Centre.

Recap:

  1. Goodreads.com
  2. Fictfact.com
  3. Amazon Kindle

How to stop ants from crawling under your door

Tod and Penguin

Comic: Tod and Penguin

Summer is nearly upon us. Scratch that. Its Bahraini weather. Summer is always lurking around the corner and can surprise you at any moment during the day with a wave of heat. However, the scorching heat of July and August are a few months away. What does that mean? Insects trying to escape the heat and coming into your air conditioned home.

One might feel sorry for these poor souls but when they continuously bite you when you least expect it and cause allergic reactions, they can be quite a nuisance.

People often resort to calling in pest control and the like, to get their problem under control.  A lot of unnecessary chemicals are released into the air just to rid ourselves of tiny creatures when there are much safer alternatives out there. (Safer in that you don’t inhale anything. The liquid inside the bait is of course dangerous to swallow. Duh.) Yes, the next time you reach for that can of Pif-Paf, reconsider and check this product out instead.

T300

Pest control products by TERRO®.

The product shown above is just one of many products this company offers. I use the Outdoor Liquid Ant Baits around the perimeter of the house and IT WORKS like a charm. The baits need to be changed every 3 months and are quite easy to use. There are baits for inside the house or even outdoor ones that are larger than the one I use. Honestly, everything you need to get your garden and house clear of insects can be solved by their products.

Your outdoor parties will be insect free from now on! Enjoy those awesome picnics with your kids without having to worry about ants sharing your food.

Terro products may be found at Homezone near Toys R Us in Seef Mall.

Charles Philip Shanghai: a hidden comfy gem of a shoe

SS 2013

It’s quite hard to find a comfy and stylish flats. I once settled for the quirkiness of TOMs. It was comfy. It served it’s purpose during summer vacation in adding a flare to any outfit I wore. However, I then read rumours on the internet that the insole of the shoe was made of pig leather. I didn’t give it much credence at first until it kept showing up on more and more websites where people actually got official replies from TOMs that they did indeed use pig leather. I switched to vegan just to be on the safe side. The problem with vegan styles are that they aren’t often updated. You get one or two new styles and they aren’t usually pretty.

As anyone nowadays would do, twitter turned into my outlet of frustration and I ranted on this subject. Thankfully, my dear cousin suggested that I try Charles Philip Shanghai. What a mouthful! I couldn’t find it here in bahrain, so I waited until last summer to go looking for it in the US. I didn’t want to buy it without trying it. So I finally found a great selection at Saks Fifth Avenue. Funny thing is, when I asked the salesperson if they carried Charles Philip Shanghai, she looked at me as if I was speaking another language. I walked away and lo and behold, there it was right behind her!

Picked out a few styles, and after a year of using these shoes, I’m happy to declare that they are awesomeFinally, a great alternative to all the ballerina shoes (that usually end up squishing my toe!) and the TOMs line. I can’t wait to pick up more of their new Spring Summer 2013 collection.

I hope to also find more companies with an even greater range of fun and fashionable shoes. (If you know of any, please feel free to suggest some! It would be much appreciated.)

Charles Philip Shanghai can now be found at Saks Fifth Avenue Bahrain, and they range in price from BD50~70.

PS. TOMs now publicly have it written on their website that they do indeed use pig leather. You can find it under Product and Sizing Questions -> What type of leather does TOMs use? 

And a tweet:

 

TV: Mr. Selfridge [2013]

Mr. Selfridge poster

{There won’t be any spoilers in this post.}

I first came across this series when there was much talk about it about a year ago. After watching and enjoying BBC’s The Paradise, a show about a department store in the early 20th century in a small town, this felt like a great addition to period drama. I caught the first episode live while in the U.K but for some reason, I couldn’t quite pay much attention to it and immediately changed the channel.

However, a few days ago, I decided to give it another go since it has already finished airing the first season. I never should have doubted your writing dear Andrew Davis. You make anything into something amazing. It fully surpassed The Paradise and cemented itself as one of my favourite period dramas.

Now, Mr. Selfridge is of course about how Selfridges (the department store in Oxford Street) came to be. It’s humble beginnings to its cutting edge ideas for edwardian times. The evolution of the shopping experience is quite fascinating to watch. Imagine if you lived in a world where department stores didn’t exist. I honestly love department stores. Everything one needs under one roof. If one needed a specialty store, that’s something else. But to be able to enter into a place and spend most of your afternoon happily shopping from such products as makeup to accessories to clothes is heavenly.

The series has drama, intrigue, love, amazing characters, and just a feast for the eyes for people who adores historical settings and costumes.

The interesting part about the popularity of this series is that for once ITV is on a role with great shows while the BBC seem to be lagging far behind. Their revival of the old tv show, Upstairs Downstairs, was a flop. They were trying to compete with Downton Abbey (ITV) but there was just something about the writing and the characters that didn’t quite get us excited to watch the next episode. A second series has been ordered by the BBC of the series The Paradise but they need to up the writing to be able to compete on the same level as ITV. My interest was waning by the last few episodes and only the last scene of the finale saved The Paradise for me.

All in all, ITV is doing rather well to satisfy this fan of period drama. Not only do they have all these new shows, but they have revived a favourite of mine, Foyle’s War, after a long break since 2010.

Without further ado, please do feast your eyes on the beauty of Mr. Selfridge through the medium of screen captures.

Smashbox BB Cream: Lightweight coverage of epic proportions

BB Cream

I’m the type of person who hoards makeup but has little patience to actually sit down and apply it everyday. I know how that sounds, but trust me, there is just something quite alluring about makeup and having a new shade of eye shadow or lipstick.

When I first heard about BB creams, I thought it was all just a bunch of hogwash. “Oh yeaaah, just another ridiculous product they plan on tricking us with.” However, I bought one to test for myself what it’s all about. The BB cream stayed in its box for around 6 months before I finally got around to experimenting with it.

The Garden fair, an annual show in Bahrain, was the event I chose to give this cream a trial. I know, I should have tried it at a low key event but it was looking at me, waiting patiently for me to take the first step. For the first time ever, I had ample coverage without using much of the cream and no additional products such as foundation or powder. I felt great. It gave me a natural look. Not overdone. No cakeyness. Did I just hit the jackpot? Something to save me from only bothering with makeup if it’s a big event? Maybe.  All that kept running through my mind as I exited the Garden show and went to my next visit still looking quite good.

My second trial of this product was during the launch of Nazli Tawfeeqi’s first book My Foggy Tomorrow  at Words Bookcafe. Camera Ready you might ask? Why yes, it is! Because my skin was looking radiant in a picture my friend took of me during the gathering. Sure, I could have added a little more eye definition through subtle eye shadows, but overall, I like the picture. And what sealed the deal on this becoming my #1 product? When my friend Zain casually commented, “You look nice today. Different but nice.” YESSSSSSS THIS WORKS! was what was going on inside my head, but on the outside I calmly replied with “Just a bit of makeup. I actually bothered to put on some this morning.” And the YESSSSS continued on in my mind for awhile.

All in all, a very convenient product for someone like myself who wishes to put the bare minimum of makeup on those days where you want to look pretty with an added bonus of SPF protection. My only complaint is that the product comes in such as small size compared to the price. I’m hoping once the hype of BB creams dies down, prices go down as well.

Side note: I’m using the medium shade.

Side Side note: I’m a novice in all things makeup related.

Smashbox BB cream is available at the price of $39.00 at Sephora or any online store such as Amazon.com.

Detangling pain is a thing of the past

Tangle Teaser

Remember those really odd infomercials you would see on TV where some person would boast about a product being great and you know it’s all nonsense? Well, this product doesn’t fit that description at all! It does exactly what it claims to do. 

I first spotted the Tangle Teezer while randomly perusing the shelves of Boots in Wales, UK. Since I had plenty of time on my hands – a month of doing nothing more than “supporting” my sister through her studies – I thought to myself, why not experiment a bit.

This gem of a product makes combing through your damp hair a breeze! I didn’t feel the slightest pain like I used to when using a regular comb. It got me so excited that I actually included it in my gifts to friends and family. The feedback I got was quite rewarding and a validation that it wasn’t just a gimmick, but a true staple of any girl’s beauty accessories. They come in many shapes and sizes, even a compact one for your handbag.

In conclusion, thank you Shaun P for inventing it!

The official site: http://www.tangleteezer.com/

Kiehl’s: How I’ve started to sing your praises

Kiehls Oil-Free Group

For years, I didn’t really give much thought to what kind of routine I should follow to keep my face and skin looking great because the simplest face soap did the trick. Until recently. Last summer, while travelling in the USA, something happened that suddenly made my skin too sensitive. I struggled with a few products to get my skin to look the way it used to with visits to specialists and whatnot.

The breakthrough came along when I read a post by Zain from Restless in Riffa where she mentioned products by Kiehl’s. Now, I’ve already heard about this company and received their products as presents before but I always assumed that it was all just hype. However, I trust Zain’s opinion because well, the girl looks amazing. The post was back in December of 2012, and I only acted on her advice by the end of January when I found myself staring at their stall in Selfridges, London. I grabbed two products from their shelves to try out for myself if I’ve finally arrived at beauty product heaven, and boy did I.

After continuously using their Ultra Facial Oil-Free Cleanser ($19.50) and Toner ($16.00) since that day, I feel like my skin is lighter, smoother, and I am finally back to some semblance of normality. I regret not getting the lotion and perhaps their gel-cream (not even sure what it’s for but whatever, just take my money and keep me glowing).

Disclaimer: I do not profess myself a beauty expert. I only write what I’ve experienced personally.