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#WhatsYerWanReading: Book Recommendations

#WhatsYerWanReading: Book Recommendations

I’m back with another instalment of book recommendations in #WhatsYerWanReading? A feature I started to encourage myself to get back into my bookworm habits. Something about doing an English degree and having to read a tonne of books, had some what of a negative effect on my joy of reading! But I’ve been trying to counteract that nowadays, and so here are the books I’ve been reading these past few months!

Crazy Rich Asians & China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan

I absolutely LOVED these books! I cannot wait to start the third Instalment, Rich People Problems. Not only does this books fast paced story line, and drama filled pages make it an amazing page turner,but I feel these novels give an insight into modern day Asian culture. In reading these novels you’re not only served up an excellent story filled with family feuds and mounting drama, but Kwan leaves footnotes explaining to those of us    not in the know what certain phrases, dishes, or people or places are.

The story is somewhat a modern rom-com, as it follows Nick and Rachel to Asia, where Nick intends on introducing Rachel to his incredibly wealthy family and eventually proposing. Needless to say it doesn’t go off without a hitch and an explosive story line follows!

I’d Recommend If:

You want a witty novel that will teach you a thing or two about a different culture!

Can You See Me? By Ruth Gilligan

Next up in my book recommendations is Can You See Me? I bought this book as a young teen and never read it properly as the story line felt a bit heavy. So, when I saw it sitting unread on my bookshelf I decided to give it a go. It really is one of those books that should be on the school curriculum. It gives such insight into the distraught a person can feel after being sexually assaulted.

Ruth Gilligan puts the story together of Alice, an Irish girl who moves to England to attend Cambridge University. Alice is a very strong character, she’s dealt with a lot in her life and as far as she is concerned, can take on anything. Until something dreadful happens, and Alice begins to slowly falls apart whilst trying to hold everything together. Gilligan’s novel shows us that even the strongest person needs to indulge in emotion sometimes.

I’d Recommend If:

You need a good cry.

Leave Your Mark by Aliza Licht

This is a new type of entry on my book recommendations as usually I’m a fiction gal. This year I said I would try to read less fiction. So I turned to books based around careers and entrepreneurship. The thing that drew me to Leave Your Mark: Land Your Dream Job. Kill It In Your Career. Rock Social Media. (Try saying that 10 times fast) was the fact it was based around social media. Written by Aliza Licht, one of the first people to implement social media in brand awareness as the DKNY PR Girl, Leave Your Mark wasn’t quite as good as I thought it would be.

Licht talks a lot about her experiences and how she got to where she is. But in reality, her story isn’t all that relatable. We’re in an age where the secret is out and nearly everyone has a foot in social media one way or another. The fact that most of us aren’t able to move to New York City to pursue our dream job is also a major factor. I liked some of the tips in the book, but all in all it just a bit too out of touch.

I’d Recommend If:

You want to gain a basic knowledge of how the fashion world implements social media. Oh, the Cover Letter tips are also handy!

 

Girl Code by Andrea Gonzales & Sophie Houser

I had the pleasure of interviewing one of the Authors of Girl Code, Andrea Gonzales, for Missy.ie. But that’s not why I added this to my list of book recommendations. Again, this is a book aimed at a younger audience but as someone who knew very little about coding, I found it very insightful.

It gave me a very real sense of what it is like to be a girl (or woman) in a male dominated field.

Andrea and Sophie met at a programme in New York City called Girls Who Code. For their final project they decided to highlight the stigma around menstruation and created the video game, Tampon Run. In doing so, the girls helped open a conversation about periods and period products in a way that hasn’t been done before.

I’d Recommend If:

You want to read about a new topic like coding, in a non-jargon filled way!

 

 

The Surface Breaks By Louise O’Neill

The Surface Breaks is geared toward a younger audience, but I was interested to read after enjoying O’Neill’s last novel, Almost Love. The story focuses on the reimagining of the classic fairytale, The Little Mermaid. Whilst I could definitely see where O’Neill was trying to go with this novel, for me it just didn’t fly.

I felt as though I, as a reader, was having the ideals of feminism thrust upon me in an aggressive way. Whilst some of the messages conveyed in the text were one of defying the patriarchy, and women gaining a voice (the irony seeing as Gaia, the main character, loses hers), for me it was far too pushy.

The story also relied heavily on men being construed as absolutely horrid, sexist beings. Which, in this day and age, we know many men who stand up for women’s rights. Painting a gender with the one brush seemed an obvious move.

I’d Recommend If:

You love fairytales cast in a modern world.

 

Have you read any of these books? What were your thoughts?

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3 Ways to Wear a Suit!

3 Ways to Wear a Suit!

Suits, or 2-pieces, have made a huge comeback this Spring/Summer season! Gone are the questionable conjurings of the 90’s “pant-suit”, and in their place a well fitted suit in a range of gorgeous pastel shades.

It’s possible to feel a tad over dressed in a suit for everyday wear, but you shouldn’t let that stop you from purchasing one if your heart so desires! It’s just as easy to style the pieces separately as it is to put them together!

Blazer & Jeans Combo

3 Ways to Wear a Suit!

This is one of my favourite outfits for this not quite Summer weather we’re finding ourselves in. The pop of pink in the blazer adds a bit of fun to what is a rather plain combination of Mom jeans and a slogan tee.

I was a bit apprehensive about wearing a blazer with Mom jeans as I felt it would create a very boxy look. But, I was proven wrong and think the combination is effortless and comfortable to wear!

3 Ways to Wear a Suit!

Pants & A Denim Jacket

3 Ways to Wear a Suit!

I really love ditching skinny denims in the Spring and Summer months for a good ole pair of trousers. They tend to keep you a lot cooler on those (rare) warm days, and they’re a lot more versatile.

Here, I have styled the bottom half of the 2 piece with a denim jacket for a very casual look. It’s one of those items you can just throw on, pop a t-shirt or light jacket with and go about your business!

Full On Suit!

3 Ways to Wear a Suit!

For those days that tend to call for you to be a little dressier, or you’re just feeling like a bit of a boss ass b*tch and want to declare that to all who look at you, the pastel suit is the way forward! It’s effortlessly chic. I’ve styled it with a pair of (faux) suede heels (Penney’s Hun) but it can be teamed with some white runners or Old School Vans for a laid back look.

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5 Things to Consider Before Voting #RepealThe8th

5 Things to Consider Before Voting #RepealThe8th

With only 5 days to go until the Referendum which will decide if the 8th Amendment is Repealed I’ve devised 5 things to consider before voting. Written in the hopes that this may help those who are on the fence, sway those who are leaning towards a no, and encourage those who aren’t bothered voting, to get up off their bottoms and vote Yes! This is an extremely important referendum from a political, social, and humanitarian stance. Ensure you make the right decision not just for you, but for the women of Ireland past, present and future.

1. Abortion is already in Ireland…

You are either in a huge state of denial or are extremely naive if you believe that just because abortion is illegal in Ireland that we don’t have it here. Women in Ireland either have to purchase illegal abortion pills online (an estimated 5,600 women sought abortion pills in this means over a 5 year period), or the women of Ireland are forced to travel to the UK to access safe abortions.

So, if it’s already happening here, and we are all fully aware that it is, no matter how much certain people want to stick their heads in the sand, why not allow it to happen in a safe and secure manner? Why not allow it to happen in far less horrific and stressful circumstances than having to arrange flights and hotels etc, or face a possible prison sentence.

2. It’s not about personal preferences…

The amount of times my mouth has dropped when I’ve heard people from the No campaign state (or state a variation of) “I don’t like abortion and I don’t want it here.” Em, excuse me, but just because you may or may not like something that is really not a dignified reason to condemn others to a society that shames and ridicules them. Nobody likes abortion. That’s not what this referendum is about. You’re not going to walk into a polling station on May 25th and be greeted with a voting card that asks you if you do or do not like abortion. This referendum is based around choice. Hence why it’s the Pro-Choice side. Being anti-abortion is perfectly ok, if that’s your opinion that’s your opinion. But being anti-choice is not ok. No other human being has the right to take a choice away from another human being.

3. Pro-Life or Pro-Birth?

The No side campaign seems to operate under the idea of being Pro-Life and “loving both” yet I’ve seen and heard plenty of evidence that would insinuate, that if anything, they love neither. The No campaign is directed towards birthing all these babies, but once they’re out of the womb they’re somebody else’s problem. See this quote from Sister Joan Chittister. And yes, you did read that right, a Catholic Nun spoke those words.

I agree with her sentiments wholly. I don’t know about you, but to me any child brought into this world deserves the utmost of care. They don’t just deserve a birth, they deserve a life. For over 30 years the same people who brought in the 8th Amendment have done nothing to increase the standard of living of mothers and babies who need support, whether that be financially, emotionally, physically or mentally. Now that the 8th is under cause for Repeal, they’re all up in arms, making false promises for the second time around. Are we really going to trust these people to implement resources who have done nothing but let thousands upon thousands of women in Ireland down for decades?

4. Is it really any of your business?

If you’re on the fence about what way to vote, have a good hard think about the question I am going to pose, is it really any of your business?

Personally, whether yer wan up the road has a baby or not does not affect my life in any way, shape, or form. Believe it or not, it doesn’t affect yours either. As I’ve stated, thousands of women in Ireland have sought abortions for years and years, you knew this was happening, everyone did. But think about it, those women you don’t actually know, and probably will never know, who chose to have abortions for reasons that are none of your business, didn’t impact your life one bit. I have seen scaremongering by anti-choicer’s making claims that are bizarre (See this article for examples) and can’t help but think if it hasn’t caused a dramatic decrease in our population for the past 30 plus years, it ain’t gonna do so now. Another way these claims make no sense is abortion rates fall when it’s legalised, the statistics are there, why try argue in a non-sensical manner over facts?

5. Who are you to take away our choice?

I wait with bated breath for the day a No canvasser comes to the door so I can ask them that question. I don’t have a hidden agenda when it comes to reasons for asking. I genuinely want to know why these people think they have some kind of right to deny me, and hundreds of thousands of women in this country the choice of accessing an abortion if needed. And I’m not looking for answers of what the Catholic Church thinks, or what certain groups think, I want you as an individual to look me in the eyes and justify you taking away my right to choose what is best for me. Cos contrary to what you might think, I am the only person who knows what is best for me. And what’s best is having the freedom to choose.

To conclude, I would ask you to leave all personal preferences, likes and dislikes at the door of the polling station. When you lift that pen to mark your vote, ask yourself “Do I want to maintain a patriarchal society in which women are oppressed and made to feel shamed for making a decision that is right for them?” “Is it any of my business what path a complete stranger believes is best for her?” “Will my voting against a woman’s right to choose actually stop abortion in Ireland?” “Do I believe those who made false promises the first time round?” If you hesitate in answering any of these questions,  or simply can’t answer them with a justifiable reason, vote YES on May 25th.

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#WhatsYerWanReading: March ’18

#WhatsYerWanReading: March ’18

Better late than never is the attitude when it comes to this post! I can’t believe we’re already near the end of April! I managed two books in March, not the best but I’m improving. So, without further ado here are my thoughts on the books I read in March…

Bright Young Things 

Anna Godbersen

You may have noticed that I love a good YA read. I read The Luxe by Anna Godbersen as a teenager and absolutely loved it! I’d highly recommend. So when I saw she had written another series set in 1920’s NYC I had to give it a read despite being the ripe ole age of 22…

This time round Godbersen follows three young girls as they tackle New York City. Each with their own story to tell, but the drama of NYC living means the three girls become wrapped up in each other’s lives in one way or another. Romance, deceit and foul play are abound. It’s not a literary masterpiece but it’s certainly a page turner and full to the brim with drama. Set amongst the backdrop of the roaring 20’s (think Gatsby) this novel is a bit of a historical fiction with a Gossip Girl edge.

Almost Love

Louise O’Neil

First things first, this is by no means a romance novel. So, if that’s what you’re after possibly avoid this one. While it does contain elements of love, it’s a very obsessive, unhealthy love.

O’Neil; depicts the story of Sarah and her sordid “affair” with an older man, Matthew. I really could not stand either of these characters. With Matthew I understood my dislike, he’s a nasty piece of work, a user, and an arrogant so and so to be brutally honest. I found my dislike towards Sarah harder to be ok with. After all, the main character of a story is often depicted to be likeable. I believe O’Neill very purposefully wrote Sarah to be an annoyance to the reader. She awakens something within you as you read, stirring up emotions you may have never tapped into before. Sarah’s obsessive behaviour, and her treatment of others will get under your skin. I read this book in one sitting as I really wanted to see where O’Neill was going with this character’s arc.

Many events occur throughout the text which cause Sarah to call her own character into question. She becomes fully aware of the person she is, yet continues to behave appallingly. The way she treats her father, friends and housemates in favour of her “boyfriend” Matthew will make you so angry. I was getting more and more annoyed as I read.

That’s the beauty of this novel. It’s written in a means that will make you want to slap Sarah, shake her, and scream “what’re you doing!?!”. Whilst I disliked Sarah, I liked the overall plot, it was very compelling. Trying to figure out what could possibly go wrong in Sarah’s life next became a game to me.

While I’ve seen comments on how this book is a great feminist piece, I have to say I can’t wholly agree with that. Sarah has to fight to find what she really wants in life, but she always ends up being steered (whether in a negative or positive direction) by a man. Her lover, her boyfriend, her housemates, or her dad. For a novel that’s based on female empowerment and a young woman finding herself, the narrative relies heavily on the influence of men…

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Maybelline Fit Me! Foundation & Concealer Review

Maybelline Fit Me! Foundation & Concealer Review

Whilst I love my Huda Beauty #FauxFilter foundation, it can be very heavy on the skin. I've been embracing a more natural look when it comes to makeup lately, and so I took to the aisles of Boots to find a lightweight foundation with good coverage. I never intended to buy the matching concealer and foundation, something I've never done, but after trying several different brands in several different shades (no joke, my hand was in an awful state by the time I had finished!) I came to the conclusion that this foundation and concealer were the right fit for me. See what I did there?... I'll let myself out... Anyways onto the review!

Maybelline Fit Me! Foundation & Concealer Review

Fit Me! Foundation

First Impressions & Application

I really loved the consistency of this foundation when I first tested it out. Its lightweight, easy to blend, and doesn't cake or flake on the skin. I have applied it with both a foundation buffing brush and a Beautyblender and both applications were smooth. This is the type of foundation that on the initial application gives you a light coverage but allows you to build it up in order to gain a more full coverage look if desired.

Maybelline Fit Me! Foundation & Concealer Review

Longevity & Colour

I have dry/combination skin and with this in mind, the Fit Me! foundation lasts all day on me. I don't set my makeup with powder as I feel it clings to the dry patches on my face, so it's great that this lasts the day.

I have very pale skin, practically translucent, so I chose 102 Fair Ivory. This shade has very pinky undertones so it's not the ideal match for my skin but I'm glad to see Maybelline have improved their shade range. Memories of selecting the "Ivory" shade back in the day and it revealing to be an extremely tan/orange colour do come to mind. So whilst the colour isn't an ideal match it's the best selection in this range for a paler skin tone.

Maybelline Fit Me! Foundation & Concealer ReviewIgnore the v awkward hand positioning... a hand model I am most certainly not!

Fit Me! Concealer

First Impressions & Application

Ever since I swatched this in-store I knew I had to give it a go. I loved the creamy texture and the effect it gave to my skin when blended in. I usually always reach for the Collection Lasting Perfection (great coverage, would recommend) however, I feel it does oxidise a wee bit and just fancied a change!

Maybelline Fit Me! Foundation & Concealer Review

This concealer is quite thick on initial inspection but does blend out seamlessly. I have using both a Beautyblender and my fingertips to apply both under the eyes and to any blemishes.

Longevity & Colour

Like the foundation, this concealer stays put for a good amount of time. I didn't find it necessary to set with any powder. I also don't find I need to reapply throughout the day.

Maybelline Fit Me! Foundation & Concealer Review

Whilst the foundation has a pink undertone, the opposite is true of the concealer which has yellow undertones. Again, I don't really mind as it is very subtle. The yellow hue does also help to counteract the pinks and purples of the under eye area or any spots. I find mixing a small bit of concealer with the foundation before applying creates a near perfect shade!

Maybelline Fit Me! Foundation & Concealer ReviewA comparison of the shades

All in all I would recommend these products if you are in the market for an affordable foundation and concealer that goes the distance and applies like a dream!

Maybelline Fit Me! Foundation & Concealer ReviewConcealer& Foundation both from Boots

What are your favourite "drugstore" brands? What products would you recommend?

"xoxo" - Yer Wan, Jessie

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International Women’s Day 2018: Repeal The 8th.

International Women’s Day 2018: Repeal The 8th.

As I sit at my laptop to write this piece, in March 2018, it is still illegal for a woman to obtain an abortion in Ireland. For those of you who know little of Irish politics, there is no need to reread that first sentence. It wasn’t a typo. In this, the 21st century in a country which prides itself on its inclusivity; the first country in the world to vote yes in a referendum for gay marriage, a country which is seen as one of the corporate capitals of the world, a host to advanced technology, a “modern” country, a woman who falls pregnant and for reasons that are quite frankly nobody else’s business, feels she can not continue her pregnancy, has no access to a safe and legal abortion in her home country. 

The fact that a girl or woman of any economic or social background, under any circumstances can not gain access to a procedure that in this day and age is a human right, and often lifesaving, is not only shocking, but heartbreaking. I also regret to say that there is such negative stigma around abortion in this country that those who choose to travel to have a termination are made to feel guilty, as though they have committed an atrocious crime, that when they return it is something that is not spoken about. It is swept under the rug, never to be mentioned again. 

The turmoil and anxiety that goes into making a decision to terminate a pregnancy is something I cannot even imagine. It is not a subject to be taken lightly, and from reading accounts of women and girls who have gone through this procedure, it certainly is not an easy decision. The fact that females on this small island are not only having to go through the phases of deciding on an abortion, but they then have to board a plane to a different country (often alone due to the cost of flights) is completely and utterly wrong. That they have to go through this traumatic event and return home to no proper after care is disgraceful. The sadder thing is there are those who can’t make it across the Irish Sea and therefore pose great risks to their health, and face imprisonment by purchasing illegal abortion pills online. No woman in a place which prides itself on being an open-minded nation should be treated like this, no woman should be denied a basic medical right.  

For these reasons I am pro-choice. Lets make one thing clear, being pro-choice is not being “pro-abortion.” Pro-Choice realises that abortion is not as straightforward as A,B,C. It is not something a woman seeks casually, it is a huge decision. But if a woman feels she can not provide for, cannot financially support a child, is not in the proper mental state, or downright does not want to carry out her pregnancy, then she should have the CHOICE to terminate HER pregnancy in her HOMELAND. It is HER body, NOT the States, NOT the Catholic Church’s, it is HERS! 

To be extremely honest, I’m ashamed (and very embarrassed) that this is an issue that even needs to be brought to debate and needs to be repealed through a referendum. Abortion should have been made available to women many years ago. When the United Nations has vocalised its condemnation of the Eighth Amendment, “UN says Ireland’s abortion ban ‘cruel, inhuman or degrading.’”  Irish Times, June 2016, then it is obvious there is something fairly wrong about this part of our Constitution. 

So on this International Women’s Day 2018 with the theme being #PushForProgress, please educate yourself on the Eighth Amendment and the fatal effects it has had on the girls and women of our country. Stand up for your sisters, daughters, cousins, friends, aunts, granddaughters, nieces, all females of Ireland and vote to Repeal the Eighth this May. 

It is important to Repeal the Eighth for all future generations, may they never have to face the trauma and turmoil that has been endured by the women of Ireland for decades. Women should have a choice in how their body is treated in their own country. If you don’t agree with abortion, then don’t have one. It’s really that simple. Everyone has the right to their own beliefs and opinions, but no one has the right to take choice away from anyone else.

The Choice is all we’re asking for.

P.S. I am very aware that abortion affects both men and women, and men have a huge role to play in repealing the 8th Amendment but, seeing as it’s International Women’s Day, I decided to write this blogpost in the context of a woman and the issue of repealing the 8th, no offence intended lads.

Get Involved!

I have devised a small list of some helpful websites and groups that can help understand the Pro-Choice movement, and why it’s so important to Repeal The Eighth.

About the Campaign and How to Get Involved

Petition & Count Down to the Referendum

Abortion Support Network

In Her Shoes  Accounts from those who have had to travel abroad for abortions.

The Role of Men in Repealing the 8th

xoxo – “Yer Wan”, Jessie

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