Tag Archives: review

Review: Tarte’s Carried Away Collector’s Set

by Daniella Cantu

Tarte’s newest holiday set, the Carried Away Collector’s Set, contains 24 full sized eyeshadows, eight Maracuja Lip Glosses, Lights Camera Lashes mascara, Smooth Operator Face Powder, a blush brush and a mini of the amazonian clay blush adventurous.

Once this set hit stores, I bought it on a whim and fell in love with not only the idea of eco friendly, cruelty free products, but with the adorable packaging, and amazing eyes, lips, face and cheek products. The entire package won me over.

The Maracuja lip glosses are all mint scented and non sticky. The mascara was better than most drugstore mascara that I have used. The Smooth Operator face powder is translucent, but has a demi-matte finish so you don’t appear cakey. The eyeshadows were very easy to apply, soft as butter, had absolutely no fall out, and worked great with Urban Decay’s Primer Potion. The blush brush was soft. I recommend using it with their blush Adventurous, which is a very universal dusty rose color. It doesn’t fade during the day.

These products are a $512 value being sold for the low price of $54.

5 out of 5 stars.
– Convenient packaging
– Pigmented shadows
– Non-sticky glosses
– Good quality mascara
– Eco friendly and cruelty free

Five Underrated Christmas Movies

by Lauren Medvig

5. The Office (UK) Christmas Specials: this isn’t technically a movie, but this two-part Christmas special, at 45 minutes each episode, is certainly movie-length and is way too good to leave off the list. The Office was originally a British television show/ mockumentary about life in the office of a paper company. The Christmas special followed head boss David Brent (Ricky Gervais), who was fired and now makes failed pop albums and is a traveling salesman, but also focuses on the failed Office romance between Tim and Dawn. Between the awkward scenes of David hanging out in his old office and the hilarity of him attempting to find his way in the world, this is a ridiculously funny way to start out your holiday season.

4. Bad Santa: Just as a warning, this movie is rated R and despite being only 91 minutes long, there are 300 profanities. But language aside, this is such a great Christmas movie. Billy Bob Thrornton stars as Willie, a miserable alcoholic who makes all of his money by playing different holiday characters throughout the year. This year he enlists the help of his friend Marcus and they decide to pose as Santa and his helper and rob all of the department stores in the mall. Definitely not your parent’s Christmas movie, but incredible nonetheless.

3. Scrooged: This movie is an adaption of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, but do not let that fool you into thinking it is an average Christmas movie. The film stars Bill Murray as an egocentric, cutthroat television executive who is only focused on his business and the ratings of his programs. He had a rough childhood and definitely doesn’t feel the Christmas spirit, but with the help of the three Christmas ghosts he realizes that he needs to
change his ways. The story is very familiar, but the way in which it’s done adds a fresh take to the story. And Bill Murray is in it.

2. Die Hard: This is definitely never thought of as a Christmas movie because it has action and violence and terrorists, but Die Hard is most definitely a Christmas film. Detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) arrives in Los Angeles and all he wants to do is spend Christmas with his wife, but unfortunately Hans Gruber and a group of terrorists have taken his wife and several others hostage during their Christmas party at work. With the police unable to get in, it’s up to John to take matters into his own hands. Not a feel-good movie, but definitely an awesome action film for the people who are tired of the traditional holiday season.

1. Jingle All the Way: There is no reason for this movie to not be a classic. It is the story of Howard Langston (Arnold Schwarzenegger), an uptight businessman who has become too busy for his family. After disappointing his son Jamie by missing his karate exposition, Howard promises to make it up to him by getting him anything he wants for Christmas. Unfortunately Jamie wants the ultra-popular action figure, Turbo Man. On Christmas Eve Howard goes out to pick up the toy only to discover that it is completely sold-out, but Howard refuses to disappoint his son again. The hilarious lengths that Howard goes to in order to get this toy is not only entertaining, but also extremely touching.

Aerosmith’s “Music From Another Dimension” Review

by Lauren Medvig

Aerosmith was formed in Boston in 1970 and have since become one of the biggest and most respected bands in rock music. Now, in 2012, Aerosmith, with all the members of their signature line up, released their 15th studio album. The album is called Music From Another Dimension! It is their first studio album since 2004 and their first album of all new material since 2001.

Music From Another Dimension! is a very split album. One part of the album is a warm reminder of Aerosmith in their heyday, when the band would write catchy and perfectly phrased guitar riffs with memorable lyrics and a rough tone. That part of the album is very, very small.

A much larger part of the album is full of uninspired ballads and attempts to conform to current pop music standards. By my count there are six ballads. For Barry Manilow, that’s a pretty standard number, but for a rock band that is entirely too many. There are a few gems in this album, but they are completely buried under all of the generic piano songs.

The entire album feels very conflicted. It constantly switches back and forth between the bluesy, Rolling Stones-worshipping Aerosmith and the soft I-Don’t-Wanna-Miss-A-Thing Aerosmith. It also quickly becomes apparent which songs were written primarily by Steven Tyler and which songs were written by Joe Perry.

During “Oh Yeah” the rest of the band is really solid and in sync, but Steven’s voice sounds surprisingly weak and while the rest of the band sounds upbeat, he sounds very uninterested. Inversely, on “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You,” Joe’s guitar solo is very simplistic and loses all of the flair and vitality that has become his signature sound over the years.

The only times that the band sounds completely cohesive is during “Freedom Fighter” and “Something,” when Joe takes over as lead vocalist and lead guitarist, and during “We All Fall Down,” which has Steven singing and playing piano during the entire song with no guitar breaks.

Joe and Steven, the once inseparable Toxic Twins, are clearly twins no longer. While Joe stays firmly planted in the band’s bluesy roots, Steven tries to stray into the mainstream and that conflict results in some truly confusing songs. Even after listening to “Street Jesus” multiple times, it’s still completely incomprehensible. “Beautiful” starts off with a high speed beginning and so much energy, but the chorus becomes soft, generic, and whiny.

The bipolar nature of the album makes it very hard to listen to, but the most disappointing part of the album is that the band shows that they still have all of the elements to make a great album, yet it just didn’t happen. The rhythm section is still as tight as ever, Steven still has his fantastically rough voice, and Joe hasn’t run out of fantastic solos and beautifully phrased riffs, but they can never have all of those things come together at the same time.

2 out of 5 stars. As an album it isn’t bad, but as an Aerosmith album it missed the mark. Steven Tyler and Joe Perry chose to duke out their feud with their creative differences.

Sue Monk Kidd’s “The Secret Life of Bees”

by Kyra Ferguson

Lily Owens grew up without her mother, who died in a tragic accident when Lily was four. She is abused and neglected by her father. He hires an African American maid Rosaleen, who serves as Lily’s stand-in mother for ten years. When Rosaleen is arrested and threatened by the most extreme racists in their town, Lily doesn’t hesitate to spring Rosaleen free, sending Lily on a journey of self discovery as she learns about the mother she never knew.

Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees is a critically acclaimed best-seller from 2002. It is impossible not to adore the family that Lily finds and claims as her own, the family that finally accepts her far better than the one she had before. I was not disappointed at all by this read.

The story takes place in 1964, so there is some racial tension and uncertainty. Lily Owens is a Caucasian, and almost all of the supporting characters are African American. Caucasian characters in the book are portrayed as the villains, with the exception of Lily.

Most characters are strong, developed characters. There are few characters that lack a variety of emotion. Lily, the main character, almost always feels guilt over the death of her mother.

Despite Lily’s emotional twists and turns and the “where do I belong?” feeling, The Secret Life of Bees is a fun, humorous read.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars. The Secret Life of Bees is warm and a feel good book, but doesn’t lack on the realistic twists in life such as death.

Concert Review: Nightwish at Ogden Theatre

by Jimmy Aaron

When I arrived at the Ogden Theatre, I wasn’t expecting that night’s concert to change the makeup of the symphonic metal and European music scenes like it did. The events that transpired during Nightwish’s September 28th show led to the removal of their lead singer Anette Olzon, their second lead singer in the past two years.

The first noticeable ripple was the absence of Anette Olson. Nightwish manager Troy Donockley and the band’s founder, keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen, came on stage to announce she had been rushed to the hospital with stomach flu. The band offered the audience two options: cancel the show and provide full ticket refunds, or have Kamelot female backing vocalists Elize Ryd and Alissa White-Gluz to fill in for Anette.

The audience chose the latter, and Anette was not happy.

Anette made a scathing post on her blog, making the claim that the band should have gone ahead and cancelled the show. This reaction was interpreted by the band as the kind of pretentiousness that led to the removal of Nightwish’s original vocalist Tarja Turunen.

On October 1st, Anette and Nightwish announced they had parted ways in an official press release. Nightwish finished the Imaginaerum World Tour with Dutch vocalist Floor Jansen of After Forever fame.

While the aftermath of the Ogden concert shook the foundations of the symphonic metal genre, the concert itself was groundbreaking in its own regard. We were treated to a performance nobody else would be able to experience. Although Elize and Alissa began singing the lyrics to “Amaranth” over “I Wish I Had an Angel” and had their noses buried in lyrics packets, the fresh take on Nightwish classics were well received. The audience actively supported them by singing along to every song; some songs became karaoke sessions when Elize and Alissa were unable to keep up with unfamiliar songs.

Although Anette might not think so, I consider the Ogden concert a success. It was special in that I, along with other concertgoers, participated in the making of history: the end of another Nightwish era, and an unforgettable, one-of-a-kind performance from Elize and Alissa.

Review: Flyleaf “New Horizons”

by Daniella Cantu

Flyleaf was founded in 1999 under the name Passerby. They wanted to make it clear to future fans that they were regular people, and that their story isn’t more important than anybody else’s.

Their name was later changed to Flyleaf to represent purity. A flyleaf is the blank page before and after a book’s text. They are a Christian band, but not in the traditional sense. Their second album, Memento Mori – which means remember your mortality – reflects this.

New Horizons is very different from Flyleaf’s previous work. It has a mixture of calm serenading sounds and heartfelt, even heartbreaking lyrics that all people can love and resonate with.

Other than those common elements, their sound is unpredictable, in the best of ways. If you are against diversity, this album may not be for you. Their songs range from loud and busy, to soaring ballads.

The vocals are provided by Lacey Nicole Sturm, a small woman standing at 4’9” with a voluminous voice. This is the final album Lacey will be featured on. Guitar tracks and lyrics are provided by Sameer Bhattacharya and Jared Hartman. James Culpepper serves the band as its drummer. The album contains eleven songs and one bonus track. The album art was provided by Pat Seals.

5 out of 5 stars.
-Heartfelt lyrics and clear, full vocals
-Amazing final performance by Lacey
-Clear, clean instruments

Lisa Fielder’s “Romeo’s Ex: Rosaline’s Story”

By Kyra Ferguson

Rosaline is adamant about becoming a healer, a older version of a doctor able to help with regular illnesses and injuries, and she won’t let anyone interfere. Unfortunately, her plans go awry when she gets involved with members of the Montague house, Romeo, Mercutio, and Benvolio. Just when she thinks she’s figured out how to end the feud between the Capulet and Montague houses and continue her work as a healer, her cousin Juliet, a Capulet, confesses her love for Romeo. Now, Rosaline is in a rush to end the feud to avoid an all-out brawl.

In Rosaline’s Story, based on William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, we finally get a glimpse of the “rich in beauty” Rosaline of the Capulet house, the girl that denied Romeo at the beginning of the play, and cousin to his lover Juliet.

Rosaline was never revealed in the play except through Romeo’s discussion with Benvolio, so a take on what exactly happened from her eyes during the span of Shakespeare’s work is a treat for anyone familiar with his plays.
In cheesy RomCom fashion, the protagonist’s reasoning becomes tiring with her hot and cold decisions, including her choices and reasoning toward her infatuations to Mercutio and Benvolio.

Most annoying are the plot twists. Like The Maximum Ride series by James Patterson, you are jerked around in the plot. More often than not, a dead character rises again three chapters later. Of course, Fiedler provides very decent explanations as to why the character isn’t dead, but she takes it too far when she kills multiple characters and brings them back multiple times.

If you can look past all this, however, you’ll find that Fiedler is exceptional at keeping the language from the play maintained throughout the entire book. With well placed imagery and symbolism, she draws out the characters and almost makes them real. You learn to love Benvolio more, Mercutio becomes even more mysterious, and Juliet doesn’t seem quite so naive.

Romeo’s Ex: Rosaline’s Story is perfect any and all Shakespeare fans, and for anyone who read Romeo and Juilet and just wanted a little bit more. You can find a copy of the book in Legend’s library right next to Lisa Fiedler’s book Dating Hamlet, which centers around Ophelia from Hamlet by William Shakespeare.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars. Despite the plot twists and a friend-zoned Benvolio, Fiedler is a wonderful writer with a good idea.