book, movie, and fic reviews (10.11.18)

As promised, this post is dedicated to books, movies, and fanfiction I’ve consumed recently (and not so recently). I’ve got 23 books, 16 movies, and 6 fics in this post, so I’ve put most of it under a cut. Let’s get started.

BOOKS I READ

chaotic good - whitney gardner - princess academy - shannon hale - daughters of the dragon - william andrews - anothertoast book reviews

Chaotic Good by Whitney Gardner (Amazon | Goodreads) –  I was kind of disappointed the main character turned out to be cis and straight considering how important crossdressing is to the plot, but this book does a good job of exploring sexism and gatekeeping in fandom and geek culture, cyberbullying, costume design and construction, and the magic of Dungeons & Dragons. Also the illustrations are used really well.

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale (Amazon | Goodreads) – This is a middle grade book that’s cute, fun, low-key feminist, and a little big magical.

Daughters of the Dragon by William Andrews (Amazon | Goodreads) – This is a good book that was really hard to read and which I never want to read again. It’s about the Korean “comfort women” who were forced into sexual slavery and repeatedly raped by the Imperial Japanese Army during WWII. The Japanese government refused to acknowledge it happened at all until 1993 and continues to downplay this horrific part of Japan’s history.

beauty queens - libba bray - the secret history - donna tartt - rich people problems - kevin kwan - anothertoast book reviews

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray (Amazon | Goodreads) – A bit heavy-handed and clumsily written, but the premise is so damn good: Lord of the Flies but the plane that crashes is carrying beauty pageant contestants.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt (Amazon | Goodreads) – This was my first Donna Tartt book and my GOD it did not disappoint. I loved the prose, especially the physical descriptions of people and the environment. Francis “Asparagus is in season” Abernathy is a precious gemstone, and I was so into this book that I read it between sets while crushed in the pit at a Dua Lipa concert.

Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan (Amazon | Goodreads) The 3rd and final installment of the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy. Trashy, entertaining fun.

room - emma donoghue - ship it - britta lundin - the raven king - maggie stiefvater - anothertoast book reviews

Room by Emma Donoghue (Amazon | Goodreads) – Honestly this was kind of excruciating to read because it’s written from a 5-year-old’s point of view, but once you get used to it, WHAT A STORY! It is about abduction and abuse but also hope and resilience and adaptability.

Ship It by Britta Lundin (Amazon | Goodreads) – I loved this book. I love that the main character is afraid of and confused by her own queerness, I love that she falls for someone who is so sure of her own queerness that she doesn’t leave room for those who are questioning, I love that there’s a bi character who’s not 100% sure about her sexuality despite being comfortable with herself, and I love that the main character gets called out for not caring about minority representation that doesn’t directly affect herself. A+

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (Amazon | Goodreads) – I was loath to read this because I wanted The Raven Cycle series to go on forever, but I was in such a bad headspace re: work that I gave myself permission to escape to Cabeswater. It was super effective, and as soon as I finished reading, I immediately started looking for fic because I love all of my nightmare children so much!!!

the gentlemans guide to vice and virtue - mackenzi lee - sophia of silicon valley - anna yen - circe - madeline miller - anothertoast book reviews

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee (Amazon | Goodreads) – This book really needs a trigger warning for physical abuse and period racism, but if you love gay-ass Victorians, sass, and character development, you’ll have a good time with this one.

Sophia of Silicon Valley by Anna Yen (Amazon | Goodreads) – Amusing, but disappointingly blasé about sexism and racism in the tech industry. This book was based off the author’s own work experiences in 1990s Silicon Valley, but I feel very strongly that if a book about the tech industry published in 2018 mentions sexist and racist behavior, it should also call it what it is: a systemic problem.

Circe by Madeline Miller (Amazon | Goodreads) – I decided to read this because I loved The Song of Achilles so fucking much, and it did not disappoint. Madeline Miller’s prose has this sort of timeless cadence that works particularly well in the context of Greek mythology, and it’s so beautiful it makes me want to both weep and swoon. This story is about Circe and WITCHCRAFT and POWERFUL WOMEN and (thirsty Spongebob voice) YOU. NEEEED IT!!!

Read more…

29Rooms by Refinery29 – San Francisco: A Review

This post contains affiliate links, because I like money, but I s2g I wrote this post before adding the affiliate links and the monetization does not affect my opinions.

anothertoast - samglorious - overall dress outfit ootd - refinery29 29rooms - san francisco palace of fine arts exterior

As someone who doesn’t have an Instagram account, I’m not the kind of person you’d expect to pull the desperate move of using the spotty cell reception between MUNI stops to purchase tickets to an Instagram/selfie museum via my phone the minute they were released, but that’s exactly what I did in in early May, for the Saturday, June 23 session of Refinery29’s 29Rooms in San Francisco, at the Palace of Fine Arts.

Refinery29 describes 29Rooms as an “exhibition comprised of 29 unique spaces that showcase a range of creative disciplines, from poetry to painting to responsive technology,” featuring collaborations “with a broad range of artists, talent, and brands.” 29Rooms first launched in 2015, but this is the first time they’ve held their pop-up “multi-sensory playground” in San Francisco. The theme for this year’s 29Rooms is “Turn It Into Art.”

29rooms san francisco experience review - refinery29 - turn it into art - be the spark live with heart sign

I’d already been to the Color Factory back in March, which was a joyously self-centered experience well worth the price of admission. At $35 per person (before fees), the tickets to 29Rooms were comparable in price, and I was sure that Refinery29’s take on the “Instagram/selfie museums” that have been leaving their non-biodegradable mess of plastic sprinkles all over the city* would be a good one, given their track record of publishing solid fashion and lifestyle content.

*The Museum of Ice Cream can go suck an endangered Hawksbill Turtle egg for their environmentally irresponsible choices as well as their jerkwad move to ask small local businesses for donations of ice cream for “exposure”!!! My 15-year-old cousin who went to the Museum of Ice Cream also said it was kind of boring, so they can eat my entire ass.

(Honestly I’ve been reading a lot less Refinery29 these days than I used to because I feel like their content quality has decreased significantly since the early 2010s, but still. They’re cool! Or so I thought…)

Read more…

my current skincare routine (am & pm)

This post contains affiliate links, because I like money, but I s2g I wrote this post before adding the affiliate links and the monetization does not affect my opinions.

Preamble Ramble

Sometime in the past couple of weeks, I stopped wearing base makeup to work. Pics, ’cause it did happen:

anothertoast.com - samglorious - no makeup no filter selfies - skincare

Yeah, the lighting in my bathroom is crappy, and okay, sure, the upper right hand picture is from the inside of a car when I was on my way to visit my uncle in the ER, not on the way to work, but the fact still stands: my skin’s been looking good enough that I’ve been skipping my base makeup.

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high-neck, high-waisted one-piece swimsuit of my goddang dreams

This post contains affiliate links, because I like money, but I s2g I wrote this post before adding the affiliate links and the monetization does not affect my opinions.

My partner and I are taking a quick trip to San Luis Obispo in a few weeks before he starts his new job, and I am PSYCHED to be taking a mini-vacation where I can spend most of the time half-naked instead of swaddled in layers of thermal underwear and puffer coats. (We’ve only been on trips together during the wintertime so far.)

For me, hot weather = flimsy bralettes and no underwire, so I was window shopping on Aerie as I am wont to do when I came across THESE AMAZING HIGH-NECK ONE PIECE SWIMSUITS:

aerie cutout ring one piece swimsuit maillot green

Cutout Ring One Piece Swimsuit in Team Green, $46.95 $40 at Aerie

Cutout Ring One Piece Swim Suit in Valentine, $52.95 $40 at Aerie

OhHhHhH my GOD. The high neck, the high waist, the torso cutouts!!! The green one feels kind of chic and modernized-retro, whereas the striped one honestly reeks of, like, the early 2000s to me, but in the best way?!

I already have a weakness for one-piece swimsuits/maillots because I think they’re way sexier than bikinis or two-pieces (plus you can actually swim in them), but I’m also particularly inclined to fall hard for high-necked swimsuit options because I have keloid scarring on my sternum area (from very mild pubescent acne that healed badly and scarred over into a few disproportionately large masses of raised scar tissue).

In the past I’ve just been like fuck it!!! I’ll wear whatever I want and people can avert their eyes if I’m too unsightly for them!!!, but the fact remains that my scars still get irritated and red and itchy and painful sometimes (a common complaint among people prone to keloids), and I am self-conscious about them.

That, plus the fact that scars sunburn more easily than other skin, plus the fact that owning a high-necked swimsuit that my boobs will actually stay put in would buy me a bit of mental freedom… seem to add up to I should buy at least one of these…

Shouldn’t I?

[EDIT: Reader, I bought them. They fit pretty well, although my bustline is quite low so I have to shove my boobs way up or else half of them hang out of the torso cutout. The fabric covering the torso also doesn’t lie perfectly flat on my body, but it helps the fit a lot if I tie the straps really tight. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Worth it.]

REVIEW: Native Deodorant

Y’know, normally I would apologize or explain why I haven’t posted anything on this blog for several months, but, like, it’s not very complicated – I’ve just been prioritizing other things. Anyway, the meat and potatoes of this post is that I’m here to YELL AT YOU ABOUT HOW MUCH I LOVE NATIVE DEODORANT. THIS IS NOT A SPONSORED POST, BUT IT REALLY SHOULD BE, BECAUSE I LIKE NATIVE DEODORANT AND I LIKE MONEY.

My deodorant history looks like this:

my personal deodorant history

I started wearing a solid Secret deodorant in 7th grade after one day when the girls were segregated from the boys and one of the teachers handed out mini deodorants because we were Coming Of Age. My mom refused to buy me deodorant on the grounds that it would give me breast cancer, so I hoarded my single travel-sized stick all the way ’til high school.

In the meantime, my mom tried to convince me that natural deodorants that didn’t have antiperspirant ingredients would do the job just as well. To nobody’s surprise, rubbing a crystal on my armpits made my armpits smell fresh for almost two whole minutes, and Tom’s of Maine made me break out in a rash and smelled terrible after a few hours.

Early on in my high school career, I became extremely self-conscious about my abnormally sweaty armpits (spoiler alert: they’re normal) and was convinced that I had to do something about it. (It was also about this time that my single mini stick of Secret had run out.) I stole my brother’s (or uncle’s? I don’t know) gel deodorant/antiperspirant and applied it daily. It worked, and damn was it strong.

Partway through high school I secretly bought myself a gel deodorant/antiperspirant from Secret, convinced that I could not sweat ever, and just stuck with the same product out of apathy for a decade. A DECADE!!!

(I had a brief fling in 2014 with Zion Health Clay Dry Deodorant, which smelled good but was basically ineffective after any physical activity.)

One day in 2015 I copped my partner’s deodorant out of necessity. Turns out I like the smell of Old Spice way more than the smell of baby powder and lavender, and it’s effective as an antiperspirant and a deodorant, so I switched for the better part of a year.

AND THEN!!! A couple months ago I received an email from Native Deodorant (through some giveaway I signed up for and did not win), with a COUPON and I was INTRIGUED and the rest, as they say, is history.

I’ve been using Cotton & Lily (for sensitive skin) as well as Eucalyptus & Mint, which is a ~men’s scent~, but honestly, fuck lavender and vanilla! I want to smell like TREES and EMOTIONAL REPRESSION!!!

The first two weeks of use, it honestly was not very effective and the armpits of my shirts smelled by the end of the day (but only upon close sniffing), but after that break-in period, HOO BOY. It’s performed AMAZINGLY. One weekend I ended up not showering for like three days and I STILL smelled fresh and clean by the time I finally took a shower.

I mean, okay, it doesn’t keep me completely odor-free after a vinyasa yoga class, but neither did my Secret gel deodorant. (In fact, the Secret deodorant smelled really gross and cloying after I broke a sweat or skipped a shower.) And Native Deodorant is only a deodorant, not an antiperspirant, but that works for my lifestyle because I only work out at the end of my workday. And honestly? An aluminum-free deodorant that ACTUALLY FOR REAL WORKS AND DOESN’T MAKE MY PITS RASHY AND IS REASONABLY PRICED AT $12???

YOU NEEEEEEED IT!!!

(Caveats: I’m not an especially smelly person, I generally don’t sweat much unless I’m exercising, and Native Deodorant contains both baking soda and coconut oil, which can be irritating for some people’s skin, so YMMV. If you know you have a sensitivity to baking soda, the sensitive skin version is baking soda-free, so you might give that one a try.)

TL;DR:

PROS:

  • reasonably priced ($12)
  • free shipping
  • does not contain aluminum
  • smells like emotional repression good, scent is not overpowering
  • did not irritate my skin or give me a rash
  • deodorizing performance is great with normal levels of sweatiness
  • deodorizing performance is comparable to a gel antiperspirant with high levels of sweatiness

CONS:

  • not an antiperspirant
  • contains baking soda and coconut oil (potential irritants for some people, though they do make a baking soda-free version)
  • not as cheap as dirt

Get yer Native Deodorant fix for $12 a pop here.

[EDIT: Turns out you can, in fact, show your support for my Native Deodorant rhapsody by purchasing through this referral link, which will net me a free travel size deodorant with my next purchase.]