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Vegetarian: Faux-Turkey Sandwiches!

20141212_163445[1]Just so you know, this is meant to be a belated Thanksgiving as well as a Christmas-is-so-close post. You know, Turkeys and all.

 If there’s one thing you probably won’t understand it’s that I get overly excited whenever I find vegan/vegetarian food. I absolutely love it. I usually enter Holland & Barrett expecting to find nothing but the usual: vitamins, protein powders… and Japanese Rice Crackers. Anyway, I found this pack of turkey style slices which I thought was worth a try – and it was. I mean yes, the faux-turkey slice itself kind of tastes like diluted cardboard, but it tastes great in a sandwich. By great I mean G-R-E-A-T. So good. I made this Turkey club sandwich using my own semi-homemade Caesar sauce.

My Caesar sauce was made using: Mayonnaise, Asda’s Garlic Ketchup, Lemon Juice, Worcester Sauce, Salt, Pepper.

I originally added 2 tb spoons of Mayo, 2 tb spoons of Garlic Ketchup, and a combination of the remaining ingredients but my tip for you would be to just keep adding and tasting as it’s a matter of preference.

Just spread this Caesar sauce on both slices of your preferred bread, add a cheese single, slice of tomato, and a lettuce leaf. You can also add spinach or onions… AND VOILA. Happy eating!

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-Lara, girl who loves lettuce and also happens to be a bunny.

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Quick Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I had it for a long time but I just never got around to reading it. Oops. But I did! I finished! I finiiiiished! (Yes, I am ecstatic because it took me aaaages for some reason… aka coursework, stress, mocks, stress, university prep, stress…) I also promised myself not to watch the film without reading the book first. So this novel is 432 pages long and I will admit it only got really interesting towards the middle because – SURPRISE! – it only gets darker and more messed up than anyone thought. And the twisted person gets his/her way in the end. Hurrah! Yay justice system! (Don’t even get me started on America’s corrupt justice system…)

Here’s the blurb:

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media–as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents–the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter–but is he really a killer?
As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?
  

Anyway this novel will have you guessing. I promise. But it will also get you bored (beginning), suspicious of literally everyone, even yourself, your family, and your nonexistent child (middle of beginning), freaked out (middle), excited (beginning of the end), aaaaand then it feels lackluster towards the end. Nope. Not having that. Strictly no bull zone.

So it’s a tad bit unrealistic, but we all love that, don’t we? It was quite intelligent but so unreliable as it MESSED YOU UP BIG TIME. I loved this inconsistency, the way it was written with the whole dual perspectives narrative… each of the characters make each other look both amazing and disgusting. Good luck figuring out the truth.

If you ever want to read this, I apologise in advance. I really want you – shoutout to my (0) readers out there – to read it but as I’m still psychologically a mess, I’m probably making it sound either much better or much worse than it is and I quote ‘this book needs to die, while I pet it lovingly’. Take your pick. (See what I did? I’m unreliable. Ha!) If you don’t want to read it, fine by me, just watch it.

I am currently reading Anna and the French Kiss… stay tuned, my precious fans

-Lara, cool girl (giggles maniacally)

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

Fun Facts:

I watched this on Saturday.

I had a sandwich from subway and nachos with an awful sour cream dip (from the cinema!!!).

I fell in love with the series again.

It was criticized for being ‘unsatisfying’ due to the lack of plot development (or being closely compared to the amazing Catching Fire), but as it’s part 1, it is merely setting up the foundation for Mockingjay Part 2. Yes, the movie did lack the terror and suspense that it’s predecessors were famous for. However, this one is more dark and political as it digs deep into the roots of the problem. I thought the acting was superb (RIP PSH) and I don’t think anyone could have played Katniss as well as Jennifer Lawrence. The angst was gripping and the cinematography was beautiful. Watch it anyway, it’s worth it.

Here are some good songs from the soundtrack which was curated by Lorde (I am Lorde, ya ya ya)

Yellow Flicker Beat – Lorde

Scream My Name – Tove Lo

All My Love – Major Lazer

The Leap – Tinashe

CHVRCHES – Dead Air

Charli XCX – Kingdom (ft. Simon Le Bon)

The Chemical Brothers – This Is Not A Game ft. Miguel

Roll on November 20, 2015…

-Lara, girl on fire (Don’t ridicule me.)

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American Horror Story So Far…

Season 4 – Freak Show

Ah, yes. 1950s America – Florida, 1952, to be precise. It’s about one of the last remaining freak shows in America. Or the survival of the freaks/performers. Or Elsa Mars’ desire to be famous. Take your pick. My queen Jessica Lange is still at it. She’s just so enchanting to watch and her characterization is so different every season- although she still has that greedy charm to her every time.

This is Elsa Mars. Respected German expatriate freak show owner who collects freaks and provides them with their one true ‘home’… the freak show tent things. Amazing. Also, I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but Elsa’s backstory and reasoning behind her actions is beautifully written and gripping.

My second favourite actress on the show – Sarah Paulson – plays Siamese/conjoined twins, Bette and Dot. Paulson honestly does a great job as the twins are so dissimilar I almost forget that they’re being played by one actress. Also, their backstory might surprise you.

Even though the series is an anthology… we have been told that there are connections with previous series. One connection for certain is Pepper from Asylum. Hi Pepper from Asylum.

Verdict: It Keeps Gettin’ Better (note the reference to Christina Aguilera, who is totally irrelevant in this post, but whadaya gon’ do ’bout it?)

-Lara, biggest Jessica Lange fangirl

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My Take On Feminism

‘If feminism is a theory about the equality of the sexes, then why is it called feminism?’

On debate.org, 81% voted that feminism is sexist, while the other 19% voted that it was not sexist.

My argument is about how the idea of feminism has been tainted – not by feminists, but by anti-feminists. I’m not saying I agree with all ‘feminists’ but I do agree with the theory. If I had to define myself or associate myself with a movement, I would be both a feminist and an egalitarian. I believe in equality. However this continuous stereotype of the ‘man-hating butch feminists’ dangerously exists and pervades the internet. If feminists were to abandon feminism, society will degrade for both sexes.

The theory is, by definition, the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of the equality of the sexes. The theory itself is not sexist. In the concept of feminism, women are not considered any better than men and they are certainly not ‘man-haters’. Full stop. However, feminists can alter their beliefs, just as others choose to change people’s perception of feminism.

As a feminist, I want men and women to be equal. This is my belief. And until this equilibrium is reached, then there is no need to say feminism is sexist and should stop existing just because a few women have radical views or it’s bothersome to see women thrive in society. Feminism still needs to exist today. There are so many issues that need to be addressed – particularly in other cultures. The scrutiny of women and men in areas dominated by males/females was (and still is in some places) exceedingly high – and feminists aspire to end this.

Prejudice, whether religious, racial, sexual and gender discrimination, is something I cannot tolerate. And I’m sure you wouldn’t too. Feminism is about freeing ourselves from the social constraints that entrap us. It is feminism because females are generally perceived to be the inferior sex – not weaker, which we biologically are – but inferior. You must know that feminism is not exclusively for women – it’s a concept made for everyone. Where would both men and women be if it wasn’t for feminism? Although it is indeed a response to the patriarchy, it has helped women evolve, satisfying their true desires and not just existing as mere ‘sex creatures’. Men have been liberated from economic reliance, and they don’t need to be as ‘macho’ anymore – they can choose to be themselves. It is no longer an aberration to pursue a career that is gender-dominated so you can choose to become a police officer or a fashion designer. It has undeniably given everyone more freedom of choice. This is feminism.

-Lara, feminist

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Quick Book Review: We Were Liars by E Lockhart

 “A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.”

Cadence Sinclair is the presumably seventeen-year-old narrator of We Were Liars and continues to suffer from injuries she sustained during ‘Summer 15’ on her grandfather’s private island, which she usually visits every summer. Now, during Summer 17, she struggles to remember the reasons behind her injuries, as well as the circumstances leading up to her depressed state.

Sounds pretty promising, doesn’t it? Well, the premise is great… the execution, however, not so much. To be fair it was getting late, but I had to finish reading. And I honestly expected more. It wasn’t a bad novel at all, but it wasn’t that good. Anyway, I’m going to try my best not to spoil this for any potential readers but… I cried. Then again, I cry all the time – out of joy …and sadness… but mostly from onions aka the Satan of vegetables.

Let’s go all high school on this novel and judge it…

What Went Well:

The inclusion of fairytales and references to King Lear and Wuthering Heights were very interesting and original, and I thought it worked.

I could relate to the philosophical aspect of the novel.

The presentation of ‘struggle’ from a privileged perspective was realistic.

The suspense did, admittedly, captivate me.

…again, the premise itself was lovely.

What Did Not Go Well:

The occasional fragmented writing style and indecipherable metaphors did not work well at all.

Character development was weak. Not many of the characters were likeable and the ones who were likeable were developed quite poorly.

The title of the book (We Were Liars, in case you didn’t know) baffles me especially since it was the main thing that lured me into reading this in the first place (the blurb is rather cryptic)… You’ll understand once, and only if, you read it.

…the execution was not to my taste.

Rating: 3.5/5

Why: The idea behind We Were Liars was clever and I really do love dark, eerie novels. The issues tackled were contemporary yet traditional, and seeing through the lens of an upper-class teenager made this novel worth reading.  Nevertheless, I think I set my expectations too high for this novel, but it’s still a pretty good read… just don’t say I didn’t tell you so.

Best Quotes: “We are liars. We are beautiful and privileged. We are cracked and broken.”

“Be a little kinder than you have to.”

“Better than chocolate, being with you last night. Silly me, I thought that nothing was better than chocolate.”

*SPOILER ALERT*: Spoiler alerts usually attract my attention even more but if you’ve watched the Sixth Sense… I doubt you’ll rate this highly. I mean, come on, M. Night Shyamalan, anyone?

-Lara, bibliophile who is sort-of okay. And stuff.

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Bath and Body Works vs The Body Shop

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Two great companies. Two great sets. One great scent.

I did express my undying love for the smell of Japanese Cherry Blossom in my previous post. So I decided to compare these products.

BBW – Bath and Body Works (left): Body lotion, shower gel, perfume

TBS – The Body Shop (right): Body lotion, shower gel, perfume

And huzzah! The resemblance is uncanny! (it’s not like they’re the same scent or anything…)

The Body Shop’s products are easier to open and apply, however Bath and Body Works feels smoother on the skin. The Body Shop has a more light, feminine smell to its products, as it they are more natural and less processed. BBW products are more overpowering, last a little longer. I remember hearing that BBW care more about the scent whereas TBS cautiously use natural scents and ingredients, making them less artificial and processed. So if you’re more concerned with the ingredients and the overall making (environment-wise) of the product – then I suggest The Body Shop. However, if the scent, range and price are more important, then Bath and Body Works is the one for you.

-Lara, Japanese Cherry Blossom fanatic