Review: Innisfree Cica Balm

A multi-use rescue balm with cica and bija seed oil to help strengthen your skin’s protective barrier while improving the look of uneven skin texture.

Innisfree

I was really excited to try to Innisfree’s Cica balm, and my lucky chance to try it came during a K-beauty sale where it retailed for $8 (around $25 on the Innisfree website, $15-11 on Yesstyle). Hoping the cica would assuage my redness, I quickly used up the tube (quite a dollop is needed for the whole face), and now, one month later, I can say that while I enjoyed the application and the feeling of the product, I haven’t spotted any differences in my complexion that I can credit to its properties.

Ingredients

Ingredients: WATER, PROPANEDIOL, GLYCERIN, CYCLOPENTASILOXANE, SQUALANE, CYCLOHEXASILOXANE, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, PANTHENOL, 1,2-HEXANEDIOL, C12-16 ALCOHOLS, DIISOSTEARYL MALATE, POLYSORBATE 60, HYDROXYETHYL ACRYLATE/SODIUM ACRYLOYLDIMETHYL TAURATE COPOLYMER, ACRYLATES/C10-30 ALKYL ACRYLATE CROSSPOLYMER, TROMETHAMINE, HYDROGENATED LECITHIN, PALMITIC ACID, CETEARYL GLUCOSIDE, TORREYA NUCIFERA SEED OIL, DISODIUM EDTA, MADECASSOSIDE, ASIATICOSIDE, CAMELLIA JAPONICA LEAF EXTRACT, CAMELLIA SINENSIS LEAF EXTRACT, CITRUS UNSHIU PEEL EXTRACT, OPUNTIA COCCINELLIFERA FRUIT EXTRACT, ORCHID EXTRACT, MADECASSIC ACID, ASIATIC ACID

Significant Pros

  • Propanediol (moisturizing)
  • Panthenol (soothing, moisturizing)
  • Glycerin (hydrating)
  • Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract (skin protecting, soothing, humectant and emollient)
  • Asiatic Acid, Asiaticoside (moisturizing)
  • Madecassic Acid, Madecassoside (anti-inflammatory)

Significant Cons

  • Palmitic Acid (fungal acne trigger)
  • Citrus Unshiu Peel Extract  (skin irritant)
  • Polysorbate 60  (fungal acne trigger)
  • The Camellia, Asiatic and Madescassic acids are quite low on the list as well.

The Takeaway

Some reviews have noted that this product requires continuous use over a longer period of time in order for it to work, and there’s truth in that. Continued use over specified areas of redness could produce desired results (though the citrus extract could also create an opposite effect). But at $25 a tube (or even $11), the price may be more than what the time commitment is worth. Feel free to give it a try yourself, but don’t expect an overnight miracle-worker.

Review: Cardamom Macchiato

Rich, creamy coffee flavours mingle perfectly with fresh notes of aromatic cardamom

DavidsTea

I love starting off my workday with this tea, it smells as delicious as coffee but delivers a sweeter, lighter taste. Perhaps too light, in all honesty. Though in milk the flavors may be stronger, drinking cardamom macchiato black delivers a brief but wonderful rush of scents and flavors that can’t easily be resurrected through re-steeping. Though I definitely recommend giving this comforting tea a try, this also isn’t the tea to splurge on.

Ingredients


White tea, Black tea, Cardamom seed and husk, Apple, Coffee bean, Rosehips, Natural and artificial flavouring.

Review: The Goddess Chronicle by Natsuo Kirino

The living mourn the dead for a time but they forget about them as days pass. The living are so selfish, so spoilt, so taken with the very act of living that they don’t remember long.

The Goddess Chronicle

Summary and Thoughts

In a place like no other, on a mystical island in the shape of tear drop, two sisters are born into a family of oracles. Kamikuu is admired far and wide for her otherworldly beauty; small and headstrong Namima learns to live in her sister’s shadow. On her sixth birthday, Kamikuu is chosen to become the next Oracle, serving the realm of light, while Namima is forced to serve the realm of darkness—destined to spend eternity guiding the spirits of the deceased to the underworld.

As the sisters serve opposite fates, Namima embarks on a journey that takes her from the experience of first love to the aftermath of scalding betrayal. Caught in an elaborate web of treachery, she travels between the land of the living and the Realm of the Dead, seeking vengeance and closure.

At the heart of this exquisitely dark tale, Kirino masterfully reimagines the ancient Japanese creation myth of Izanami and Izanaki. A provocative, fantastical saga, The Goddess Chronicletells a sumptuous story of sex, murder, gods and goddesses, and bittersweet revenge.

Goodreads

A lush, classically told folktale from a woman’s perspective, The Goddess Chronicle manages to convey complex emotions, relationships, and questions through a simple but well-written story. Though there isn’t a bevy of characters or conflicts to motivate them, that which is there is powerful, and Kirino allows that power to flourish in all its grandeur. I emphasized deeply with Namina, but also with (almost) all in her orbit as well, urging me to stay up late in the night to find out what decisions they’ve made. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and while it doesn’t quite meet my favorites, this is simply due to the personal preference/impact.

Photo Courtesy of Goodreads

Notable Reviews

For Those Who Enjoyed

Star Rating

4/5

How I Purchase Products

Making informed purchasing decisions about skincare products can feel overwhelming with the oversaturated industry, the wealth of gurus on youtube, and the pressure to spend, spend, spend for immediate results. Though I certainly am not immune to this pressure, especially as the seasons change (and my skin adjusts to new environments), there are a few processes I go through before deciding to throw down my wallet: what problem my skin is undergoing, what factors may have caused it, and what should be done about alleviating the problem.

First, is the worst part: noticing the problem. Perhaps a zit during the summer or dryness in the winter. Are there many concentrated pimples in one area (pillow dirt? phone germs? over-active sebum production)? Or perhaps one random papule that wants to say hello because it’s that time of the month? Perhaps I’ll get dry around my mouth, but stay moisturized everywhere else. You get the idea.

In order to counteract these issues, I first take into account factors outside of skincare: cutting out dairy and white wheat for zits, using a humidifier during the winter for dry spots, etc. I consider what process I’m currently using that could be altered (more or less exfoliation? More or less face mist during the office day to combat workplace dryness? Is my makeup irritating my skin?).

Once I eliminate these factors, then I can consider treatment. How I treat my skin is based on my overall skin type (oily, sensitive) and its usual issues (hyper pigmentation, acne, sensitivity) in light of whatever the newest issue is. Is this an exaggeration of something I’m accustomed to or a new problem altogether? During the winter, I may undergo some dryness, and so I may use a humidifier in combination with a heavier night moisturizing routine. In the spring, summer, and most of the fall, I’ll have my usual oiliness with accompanying acne, so I may focus more on moisturizers of thinner consistency alongside salicylic masks and niacinamide treatments.

So let’s say you have all this down: you know what the problem is, what your skin is like, and what you may need to solve it. With everyone advertising their product to you at various prices, how do you know if something will work?

Having a reliable set of resources is a good start, and for me, I like to consider: ingredients (science-based skincare should always prevail over pretty marketing), price (just because something is expensive doesn’t mean it’s better–the ingredients will reveal this to you), and select expert opinion. I use a combination of the below to help me make decisions.

Resources

It’s a lot of research, but it’s something I enjoy. Moreover, it can help minimize wasteful spending. On a whim purchases are rare when these resources are utilized.

I also want to note that if you find a product that you believe will be beneficial to you due its ingredients, keep in mind:

  • Order of ingredients is important. A good ingredient near the end of the list is a worrisome sign. However, if a less desirable ingredient is near the end then it may be something to disregard (this is especially true with face washes, which are scrubbed off). While skincare ingredient websites like Skincarisma and Incidecoder can help alert you of elements to be wary of, these elements must be considered within the context of the overall usage and formulation of the product.
  • An ingredient that may be helpful to one person can be irritating for another. This is especially true for those who may be experiencing fungal acne and can’t handle more intensive moisturizing products.
  • Finding the right product with all the ingredients that will best benefit you . . . is a journey. Don’t expect to get everything right all the time (and especially when you’re first diving into skincare). As your skin, conditions, and needs evolve, so will your morning and night routines. Knowing your skin and its nuances as well as keeping track of these changes will be your greatest advantage in selecting the best products.

I still get acne, hyperpigmentation, and dryness. I’m not someone who was born with the perfect skin genes. And while some people can get away with just washing their faces or using damaging products, I don’t want to mistake their luck for reliable advice. I can’t tell you what skin routine will get you perfect skin (especially as I am in no way anything near a dermatologist). That’s something curated to you and your circumstances. However, I can advise how to start and what tools you can use to make your journey the best it can be. There will always be a stressor or factor around the corner, so don’t seek perfection as a salve for your anxiety. Revel in the victories and see each hurdle as an opportunity to experiment and learn more.

Skincare for introverts was made to help show you the relaxing nature of tending to one’s body in a positive mindset. So with this knowledge and this peace combined, let’s find out what it means to enjoy one’s skin.

Review: Cold 911

The cold solution you need. Our comforting organic herbal tea features a throat-calming base of peppermint, with soothing eucalyptus leaves, a hint of citrus and potent little juniper berries. Even when inhaling the steam, you’ll instantly feel the enhanced cooling effects. Make sure to keep this caffeine-free blend on-hand before cold season hits.

David’s Tea

Hoping to help alleviate a stuffy nose, I purchased David’s Tea “COLD 911,” hoping the price would be offset by its benefits. Running about $10 per 2oz, the peppermint, citrus notes supposedly kick the immune system into gear. The minty aftertaste isn’t disagreeable, though I did find the blend oddly medicinal. While some other reviewers on the website have found the tea to provide almost immediate effects, I can’t claim the same, but perhaps repeated use will show improvement. Finally, while I prefer my tea hot, I can’t imagine how differently this would taste cold, whether the temperature would augment or hide the myriad of ingredients within. Though I certainly see myself drinking this again in future (especially since I’ve already purchased it), I wouldn’t list this as a must-have tea.

Ingredients

Organic peppermint, Organic apple, Organic eucalyptus, Organic juniper berries, Organic natural orange oil, Natural flavouring, Natural peppermint oil.

Review: Useful Phrases for Immigrants: Stories by May-lee Chai

Far from home, in Rose’s memories, Ma had become like a black-and-white movie that she had watched on TV when she was a kid. Flickering and quaint. Up close in real life, Ma burned like a live coal against Rose’s heart.

Useful Phrases for Immigrants: Stories

Summary and Thoughts

In the title story of this timely and innovative collection, a young woman wearing a Prada coat attempts to redeem a coupon for plastic storage bins while her in-laws are at home watching the Chinese news and taking her private phone calls. It is the lively and wise juxtaposition of cultures, generations, and emotions that characterize May-lee Chai’s amazing stories. Within them, readers will find a complex blend of cultures spanning China, the Chinese diaspora in America, and finally, the world at large.

With luminous prose and sharp-eyed observations, Chai reveals her characters’ hopes and fears, and our own: a grieving historian seeking solace from an old lover in Beijing, a young girl discovering her immigrant mother’s infidelity, workers constructing a shopping mall in central China who make a shocking discovery. Families struggle with long-held grudges, reinvent traditions, and make mysterious visits to shadowy strangers from their past–all rendered with economy and beauty.

With hearts that break and sometimes mend, with families who fight and sometimes forgive, the timely stories in Useful Phrases for Immigrants illuminate complicated lives with empathy and passion. Chai’s stories are essential reading for an increasingly globalized world.

Goodreads

May-Lee Chai creates a immersive set of short stories, some more powerful than others in Useful Phrases for Immigrants. Her writing, though not particularly lyrical, reads with a direct, distant voice that’s also able to make room for beautiful similes, heart-warming reflections, and keen observations. Still, this collection didn’t seem to reach me, the subtle nature of the messages sometimes (but not always) lost. Some of my favorite stories include: “Useful Phrases for Immigrants,” “The Lucky Day,” and “First Carvel in Beijing.”

Because this is a short collection, I would still recommend giving it a try, albeit my recommendation may come selectively depending on if the subject manner is interesting to prospective readers in the first place.

Photo Courtesy of Goodreads

Notable Reviews

For Those Who Enjoyed

Star Rating

3/5

Review: Sulwhasoo Brightening Sample Kit

Smooth skin tone and texture with luminosity-boosting white ginseng.

Sulwhasoo

Last month I attended a K-Beauty sale and purchased a mini-set of the Sulwhasoo Snowise Brightening brand alongside a small pouch for $10 (quite a steal). Normally, each one of these products retail around $100, so I was hoping that they wouldn’t actually be that effective for my wallet’s sake, haha. For better or for worse though, Sulwhasoo far exceeded my expectations.

Snowise Brightening Water: A light, moisturizing toner that did well to pick up on impurities and make my skin feel nourished.

Snowise Brightening Emulsion: A light cream that absorbed easily onto the face with not stinging or goopiness. Unfortunately it was incredibly difficult to get it out of the bottle.

Snowise Brightening Spot Serum: Probably my favorite product, this spot serum was a tad thicker than the emulsion, but lasted me nearly two weeks.

Snowise Brightening Cream: My least favorite item, this cream applied easily, but created a film on the skin afterwards. Though it was probably there with the intention of protecting the skin, it was moreso sticky and inconvenient.

Ingredients:

  • Snowise Brightening Water: Water, Alcohol, PEG/​PPG-17/​6 Copolymer, Oldenlandia Diffusa Extract, Betaine, Propanediol, Butylene Glycol,Glycyrrhiza Uralensis Root Extract, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Extract, Polygonatum Officinale Rhizome/​Root Extract, Lilium Candidum Bulb Extract,Rehmannia Glutinosa Root Extract, Honey, Hydrolyzed Ginseng Saponins (Hydrolyzed White Ginseng Saponins), Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Broussonetia Kazinoki Root Extract,Morus Alba Root Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Methoxy PEG-114/​Polyepsilon Caprolactone,Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/​Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Disodium EDTA,Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance
  • Snowise Brightening Emulsion: Water, Propanediol, Squalane, Oldenlandia Diffusa Extract, Butylene Glycol, C14-22 Alcohols, Broussonetia Kazinoki Root Extract, Glycyrrhiza Uralensis (Licorice) Root Extract, Ophiopogon Japonicus Root Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol,Hydrolyzed Ginseng Saponins (Hydrolyzed White Ginseng Saponins), Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera Seed Extract, Polygonatum Officinale Rhizome/​Root Extract, Lilium Tigrinum Flower/​Leaf/​Stem Extract, Rehmannia Glutinosa Root Extract, Honey,Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil,Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Hydrogenated Lecithin,C12-20 Alkyl Glucoside, Stearic Acid, Methoxy PEG-114/​Polyepsilon Caprolactone, Palmitic Acid, Xanthan Gum,Carbomer, Tromethamine, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance
  • Snowise Brightening Spot Serum: Water, Hydrogenated Poly (C6-14 Olefin), Propanediol, Glycerin, Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Extract, Polygonatum Officinale Rhizome/ Root Extract, Lilium Candidum Bulb Extract, Rehmannia Glutinosa Root Extract, Honey, Hydrolyzed Ginseng Saponins (Hydrolyzed White Ginseng Saponins), Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Lentinus Edodes Extract, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Morus Alba Root Extract, Oldenlandia Diffusa Extract, Niacinamide, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Cyclohexasiloxane, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate, Ethylhexylglycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Stearic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Cetyl Alcohol, PEG-75 Stearate, Ceteth-20, Steareth-20, Polysorbate 20, Polyacrylate-13, Methoxy PEG-114/ Polyepsilon Caprolactone, Silica, Polyisobutene, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance
  • Snowise Brightening Cream: Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycereth-26, Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate/​Dicaprate, Oldenlandia Diffusa Extract, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Squalane, Cyclopentasiloxane,Glycyrrhiza Uralensis (Licorice) Root Extract, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Extract, Polygonatum Officinale Rhizome/​Root Extract, Lilium Candidum Bulb Extract,Rehmannia Glutinosa Root Extract, Honey, Hydrolyzed Ginseng Saponins (Hydrolyzed White Ginseng Saponin), Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Opuntia Coccinellifera Fruit Extract,Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Wax, C14-22 Alcohols, Glyceryl Stearate, Methoxy PEG-114/​Polyepsilon Caprolactone, C12-20 Alkyl Glucoside, Dimethicone, Cyclohexasiloxane,Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate,Stearic Acid, Carbomer, Palmitic Acid, PEG-100 Stearate, Tromethamine, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/​Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Disodium EDTA,Glyceryl Caprylate, 1,2-Hexanediol, Ethylhexylglycerin,Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance

Significant Pros

  • Snowise Brightening Water:
    • Betaine (moisturizing)
    • Propanediol (moisturizing)
    • Butylene Glycol (moisturizing humectant)
    • Glycyrrhiza Uralensis (Licorice) Root Extract ( acne-fighting, brightening)
    • Honey (soothing, moisturizing, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal)
    • Panax Ginseng Root Extract (whitening for hyper pigmentation)
  • Snowise Brightening Emulsion:
    • Propanediol (moisturizing)
    • Squalane (moisturizing, emollient)
    • Glycyrrhiza Uralensis (Licorice) Root Extract (acne-fighting, brightening)
    • Nelumbo Nucifera Seed Extract (anti-bacterial)
    • Panax Ginseng Root Extract (whitening for hyper pigmentation)
    • Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter (moisturizing)
    • Glycyrrhiza Uralensis (Licorice) Root Extract (acne-fighting, brightening)
    • Glycerin (hydrating)
  • Snowise Brightening Spot Serum:
    • Propanediol (moisturizing)
    • Glycerin (hydrating)
    • Honey (soothing, moisturizing, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal)
    • Panax Ginseng Root Extract (whitening for hyper pigmentation)
    • Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract (soothing)
    • Niacinamide (brightening, anti-acne, and moisturizing)
  • Snowise Brightening Cream:
    • Butylene Glycol (moisturizing humectant)
    • Squalane (moisturizing, emollient)
    • Glycyrrhiza Uralensis (Licorice) Root Extract (acne-fighting, brightening)
    • Honey (soothing, moisturizing, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal)
    • Panax Ginseng Root Extract (whitening for hyper pigmentation)

Significant Cons

  • Snowise Brightening Water:
    • Alcohol (stripping, especially as the second ingredient)
    • PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil (fungal acne trigger)
    • Fragrance (irritant)
  • Snowise Brightening Emulsion:
    • Fragrance (irritant)
    • Dimethicone (silicone, can be pore-clogging)
    • Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil (fungal acne trigger)
    • Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter (moisturizing . . . but also a fungal acne trigger)
    • Stearic Acid (fungal acne trigger)
    • Palmitic Acid (fungal acne trigger)
  • Snowise Brightening Spot Serum:
    • Alcohol (stripping)
    • Stearic Acid (fungal acne trigger)
    • Palmitic Acid (fungal acne trigger)
    • Fragrance (irritant)
    • Glyceryl Stearate (and Citrate) (fungal acne trigger)
    • Polysorbate 20 and Polyacrylate-13 (fungal acne trigger)
    • Honestly there are a plethora of fungal acne triggers here, haha
  • Snowise Brightening Cream:
    • Stearic Acid (fungal acne trigger)
    • Glyceryl Stearate (fungal acne trigger)
    • Palmitic Acid (fungal acne trigger)
    • Fragrance (irritant)
    • Sorbitan Olivate and Certearyl Olivate (acne triggers)

The Takeaway

I really enjoyed using this mini-set. Above, you can see how it helped alleviate my dark spots. Within four days (the first two photos) it dramatically addressed issues of inflammation and pigmentation. The final photo is two days later, meaning within six days my skin was drastically changed, a result of all the combined lightening and brightening products. Further use may trigger fungal acne around my oily areas, however, if you aren’t prone to fungal acne this could be a solid set. Overall, I would say the spot serum is my favorite, as its topical use would make worries over fungal acne irrelevant. Though I still believe the full size products are overpriced, the spot serum would especially make an incredible birthday gift, haha.

Review: Kiehls Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution

“A brightening face serum with peony extract and white birch extract that helps reduce the look of dark spots.”

Sephora

Back when I wanted to experiment with a variety of skincare brands, I picked up Kiehls Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution within a sample set. Hoping that it would help with my areas of hyper pigmentation, I was disappointed to find that even after using the entire bottle, it had no effect on my skin. Though the serum itself was thin, gentle, and soaked in quickly, I certainly won’t be repurchasing as its presence was pretty much irrelevant once applied.

Ingredient Pros and Cons

Ingredients: Aqua/Water, Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat., PEG/PPG/Polybutylene Glycol-8/5/3 Glycerin, Hydroxypropyl Tetrahydropyrantriol, 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, PPG-6-Decyltetradeceth-30, Phenoxyethanol, Salicylic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Potassium Hydroxide, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Lavandula Angustifolia Oil/Lavender Oil, Disodium EDTA, Adenosine
Linalool, Butylene Glycol, Tocopherol, Citrus Aurantium Tachibana Peel Extract, Paeonia Suffruticosa Root Extract.

Significant Pros

  • Propylene Glycol (hydrating, humectant)
  • Glycerin (hydrating, humectant)
  • Hydroxypropyl Tetrahydropyrantriol (aids hydration)
  • 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid (stabilized vitamin c)
  • Salicylic Acid (skin exfoliant, acne-fighting)
  • Adenosine (anti-inflammatory, wound-healing )
  • Tocopherol Acetate (version of vitamin E)

Significant Cons

  • Alcohol Denat (harsh alcohol astringent)
  • Citric Acid (skin irritant for sensitive skin)
  • Lavandula Angustifolia Oil/Lavender Oil (skin irritant)
  • Linalool (skin irritant)
  • Citrus Aurantium Tachibana Peel Extract (skin irritant)

The Takeaway

Considering its ineffectiveness and concentration of irritating ingredients, I can’t recommend Kiehls Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution. There are much better, cheaper, concentrations out there for hyper pigmentation (such as The Ordinary’s Niacinimide + Zinc formulation), so there’s no need to splurge on this one, especially when it’s more likely to irritate your skin than illuminate it.

Review: Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

“It’s not enough to find someone you love. You have to be ready for that love, and ready to make changes to welcome it into your life.” 

Ayesha at Last

Summary and Thoughts

Ayesha Shamsi has a lot going on. Her dreams of being a poet have been set aside for a teaching job so she can pay off her debts to her wealthy uncle. She lives with her boisterous Muslim family and is always being reminded that her flighty younger cousin, Hafsa, is close to rejecting her one hundredth marriage proposal. Though Ayesha is lonely, she doesn’t want an arranged marriage. Then she meets Khalid, who is just as smart and handsome as he is conservative and judgmental. She is irritatingly attracted to someone who looks down on her choices and who dresses like he belongs in the seventh century.

When a surprise engagement is announced between Khalid and Hafsa, Ayesha is torn between how she feels about the straightforward Khalid and the unsettling new gossip she hears about his family. Looking into the rumors, she finds she has to deal with not only what she discovers about Khalid, but also the truth she realizes about herself.

Goodreads

Reading Ayesha at Last was such a delight! Though the story was light and simple, the witty dialogue, dynamic characters, and upbeat tone kept me eagerly turning the pages. I normally don’t read romances, but the concept of a muslim Pride and Prejudice was so interesting I had to check it out, and I’m glad to see how well it was executed. There were a few conflicts that could have been tied up sooner and the ending itself was abrupt, but if you’re looking for a quick, refreshing romance, this definitely fits the bill.

Photo Courtesy of Goodreads

Notable Reviews

For Those Who Enjoyed

Star Rating

4/5

Review: Tazo Green Ginger Tea

“A crisp green tea blended with ginger for a slight kick and pear for sweetness, Tazo Green Ginger Green Tea puts a unique spin on a couple of classics.”

Tazo

While visiting parents, I made a cup of one of my dad’s teas: Tazo Green Ginger. A green tea with a ginger spice, it definitely succeeded in providing a crisp flavor and a noticeable dose of caffeine. Though the tea boasts of a pear sweetness, I wasn’t able to detect this, making the tea mostly spicy over sweet. Overall, it’s a fine tea, though not a favorite and not one I see myself purchasing in the future. While the price can’t be beat ($6 for 20 satchels), the flavor isn’t enticing enough to keep me coming back (perhaps due to the ingredients’ reliance on ‘natural flavors’).

Ingredients:

Green Teas, Natural Flavors, Ginger, Lemongrass.