Korean Beauty Secrets: A Practical Guide to Cutting-Edge Skincare and Makeup By Kerry Thompson and Coco Park

Korean Beauty Secrets: A Practical Guide to Cutting-Edge Skincare and Makeup By Kerry Thompson and Coco Park
Published 3 Nov 2015 By Skyhorse Publishing


Summary: Kerry Thompson and Coco Park, the writers behind the influential beauty blogs, Skin & Tonics and The Beauty Wolf, come together to bring you Korean Beauty Secrets: A Practical Guide to Cutting-Edge Skincare and Makeup.

With advice on how to assess your skin, build a routine, and apply and shop for a wide variety of makeup products, this guide shows you how to achieve the look of flawless, radiant skin—with makeup—and without! This guide is your gateway into the alluring and sophisticated world of Korean beauty—for all skin types and ethnicities.

From the multi-step Korean skincare routine to chic Seoul-inspired makeup looks, this full-color handbook offers product explanations, advice, tutorials, and insider information that will have you immersed in the trendsetting beauty culture of South Korea in no time.

Kerry’s blog, Skin & Tonics, has a loyal cult-following thanks to her in-depth, scientifically-informed reviews and skincare tips, with a particular focus on Korean beauty products and Asian skincare philosophies. Kerry’s enthusiasm for skincare began at a very young age and eventually grew into a passion for documenting her skincare adventures and sharing them with the world. Her mission is simple: try emerging skincare products from all over the globe, and distinguish between marketing hype and legitimately effective solutions. Kerry can often be found perusing peer-reviewed clinical research, or speaking with cosmetic chemists and industry insiders. As an early U.S. adopter of the Korean beauty philosophy, her relationships in the Korean beauty industry and continuing quest for knowledge make her an ideal guide to the unique and seductive world of Korean skincare.

Coco Park is a digital journalist, artist, and the beloved beauty writer behind the heavily followed blog, The Beauty Wolf, which features art and reviews dedicated to Korean makeup and skincare products. Coco also works as a freelance K-beauty correspondent, and is a repeat guest beauty author at XOJane. She’s been featured in numerous Korean beauty articles in a number of publications, including Fast Company and The Daily Mail. Coco, a certified esthetician and makeup artist, has lived and worked in Dallas, NYC, Toronto, and Montreal. Her lifelong immersion in the beauty industry and specific, in-depth knowledge of Korean beauty trends make her the perfect adviser to lead you through the exciting, ever-changing world of Korean beauty.

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Today’s book review is going to be slightly different. I’m a huge fan of Korean skincare. When I saw this book in the beauty section I just knew I needed to read it and devour its content. I’ve reviewed several fashion, self-help, beauty books on Pretty Bookmarks before, but this book by far takes the cake.

The book talks mainly about Korean beauty skincare — how the Koreans view skincare as more important than the type of makeup you’re wearing and how Korean skincare has expanded over the last couple of years. Compared to the ones I’ve reviewed on PB, Korean Beauty Secrets is one of the most comprehensive skincare book that I’ve read. It really goes into the details of what types of ingredients are most commonly found in Korean skincare (and other skin cares), what types of ingredients they’re experimenting with, what the benefits and disadvantages of each ingredient or product is. That’s what I love about this book — its really a full practical guide for beginners and non-beginners. Anybody at any age can pick this up and easily digest the information. What I love about this book is that it also has a full translated list of ingredients from Korean to English, which is definitely helpful for non-Korean speakers who wish to purchase Korean products but are wary of certain ingredients.

Inside is also a compilation of different bloggers skin care routines, as examples of how you can mix and match different products, not just Korean products but any products in the market to cater to your skin type. And of course, every beauty book is not complete without a set of make up looks and advice.

I love that this book is not afraid to list down the products and names of brands that they’ve used or that people are using in the market. I believe the authors are long time users of Korean products as well and have researched into what they’re doing and what they want people to know very well. As somebody who loves skincare and Korean skincare, I feel like I’ve benefitted a lot from just this one book compared to the others I’ve read and that definitely have gotten a lot of takeaways from this book.

Definitely one of the more beneficial self-help, beauty-related books that I’ve read so far and I feel that it’s worth sharing with readers of Pretty Bookmarks, young, old, male or female! Everyone can benefit from this book and can learn so much about skin care and how to better manage their skin.

As always, if there are other beauty related books that you’ve read and loved please share them in the comments!

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Grace & Style By Grace Helbig

Grace & Style By Grace Helbig
Published 2 Feb 2016 by Touchstone

Summary: From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Grace’s Guide and the host of The Grace Helbig Show on E! comes a beautifully illustrated, tongue-in-cheek book about style that lampoons fashion and beauty guides while offering practical advice in Grace Helbig’s trademark sweet and irreverent voice.

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I’m disappointed. I really enjoyed Grace’s first book Grace’s Guide, but Grace & Style really fell short for me.

The first few chapters were great. They delved into why style is so important to Grace and how she overcame her eating disorder to become the healthy person she is today. I was hooked, interested to see how her style has evolved over the years and what she’s learnt about fashion. I wanted to know what she’s learnt as a person who didn’t learn fashion, or not a beauty guru — just your average girl who wears clothes.

Grace & Style was more on the humorous side of things. There weren’t any tips that I could remember after reading it, there wasn’t anything in particular that captivated me besides the first few chapters that delved into her personal story with fashion.

I wasn’t sure what I was expecting out of this out. But I certainly hadn’t expected it to be mundane, considering I loved her first book. Grace & Style will be a hit or miss for some; it is easy to read, but probably not necessary for my shelves.

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Grace’s Guide: The Art of Pretending to Be a Grown Up By Grace Helbig

Grace’s Guide: The Art of Pretending to Be a Grown Up
Published 21 Oct 2014 By Touchstone


Summary“One of the sharpest, funniest voices on YouTube” (Forbes), comedian Grace Helbig offers an irreverent and illustrated guide to life for anyone faced with the challenge of growing up.

Face it—being a young adult in the digital era is one of the hardest things to be. Well, maybe there are harder things in life…but being an adult is difficult! So Grace Helbig has written a guide that’s perfect for anyone who is faced with the daunting task of becoming an adult.

Infused with her trademark saucy, sweet, and funny voice, Grace’s Guide is a tongue-in-cheek handbook for millennials, encompassing everything a young or new (or regular or old) adult needs to know, from surviving a breakup to recovering from a hangover. Beautifully illustrated and full-color, Grace’s Guide features interactive elements and exclusive stories from Grace’s own misadventures—like losing her virginity solely because her date took her to a Macaroni Grill—and many other hilarious lessons she learned the hard way.

Amusing and unexpectedly educational, this refreshing and colorful guide proves that becoming an adult doesn’t necessarily mean you have to grow up.

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Grace’s Guide is surprisingly refreshing and tongue-in-cheek funny with witty, yet useful tips to survive the world.

I have to address that I absolutely love Grace Helbig — but with most self-help books, I go in with minimal expectations that I would actually learn anything. Grace’s Guide took me by surprise! The stories that Grace shared in the book really resonated with me and a lot of it was really relatable. With YouTubers, it is easy to forget that they are just like us — they have problems like everyone else and they’re just trying their best to live their lives. YouTube gives us an outlet to be ourselves and create content, but at the same time, we only get to see snippets of their lives. This book really opened up another door into Grace’s life, and personally, I feel that I can relate to her a lot better now after reading her book.

Grace understands. The anxiety problems, being an introvert — these are things that I could really relate to. Its always great to read about someone else’s struggle and how they overcome it — just like how Grace feels her reading about others’ stories give her encouragement and believe that there is a way out, I feel that way reading about her story.

There’s a lot of useful takeaway from Grace’s Guide. Its not just funny or witty, but there are real information in there that can be useful to so many people out there who feels like they’re struggling and need someone to just understand. (Again, I have to stress that the amount of takeaway from this book varies from reader to reader).

Overall, Grace’s Guide is a pretty good quick read. Definitely recommended for fans of Grace Helbig, and anyone who just wants to see what she has to say.

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Love, Tanya By Tanya Burr

Love, Tanya By Tanya Burr
Published 29 Jan 2015 By Penguin Random House UK


Summary: Hi everyone and welcome to Love, Tanya! This book is really close to my heart, because it’s inspired by my journey to becoming confident and feeling happy about who I am. I wanted to write a book to share the things I’ve learnt with you – to reveal my top tips on fashion, beauty, love, friendship, YouTube… and loads more! Plus, there is room for you to list your own hopes and dreams alongside mine – so get creative and get involved! I’d love it if this book became a keepsake you can turn to whenever you need some guidance or a little pick me up. I hope you enjoy it!

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OK, I know what you’re thinking. Another book from another Youtuber, what could they possibly know?

But Tanya Burr knows her stuff.

One thing that works in Tanya’s favour is that the book is a non-fiction. It isn’t a fiction novel nor is it a memoir. Love, Tanya is a cross between a self help book and an autobiography. Tanya discusses her experiences, her background, shares tips and tricks about fashion and even recipes. Love, Tanya probably doesn’t fit into one genre because it just encompasses everything that Tanya loves.

I do enjoy watching Tanya’s videos. She comes across as this genuine, bubbly and incredibly positive ball of sunshine that I’d love for her to be the big sister I never had.

It seems that a lot of youtubers are getting a lot of flack for putting out their own book, but I think how good or bad a book is really boils down to the contents of its book and how the reader perceives it to be. Love, Tanya isn’t a work of fiction so you’ll just have to use your own judgement about how good it is. To me, Love, Tanya is one of the better self help books for beauty and fashion that I’ve read and I personally found it helpful.

I’d recommend it if you’re looking for a simple self-help book with easy tips to follow.

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Style By Lauren Conrad

Style By Lauren Conrad
Published 5 Oct 2010 by HarperCollins


Summary: You’ve seen Lauren Conrad on TV and red carpets, looking fabulous whether she’s going casual for a day with friends or dressed for a night out. Now Lauren reveals how you can adapt her classic, understated style for yourself.

In her first-ever style guide, Lauren offers tips on how to create your own unique look, shares her favorite sources of inspiration, and identifies the absolute must-haves for any fashionista’s wardrobe. Along the way, she examines her fashion evolution, from California-casual teen to camera-ready style icon and clothing designer.

From beauty advice and hair secrets to how to shop vintage or find the perfect T-shirt, Lauren Conrad Style unlocks the mysteries of being effortlessly chic. With Lauren’s guidance, you’ll look and feel stylish every day.

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I find it so hard to properly review Style by Lauren Conrad mainly because self help books are so subjective that its really hard to review this book without completely leaning to one side.

I think Style is a hit or miss, depending on who is reading it — and for me, it is a miss. I have loved Lauren Conrad since her Laguna Beach days and I know she went to fashion school and is very successful so I picked up Style hoping to learn more than I already know. I’m in no way an expert on the topic of fashion and style but a lot of what’s taught in the book is stuff I already know or what I assume is “common knowledge” — for things such as the little black dress (because it seems like every fashion magazine, blogs, etc talk about the LBD). In a way, I didn’t feel like I learnt much from her book because of prior knowledge. But again — this book would be good for someone who is looking to revamp their wardrobe or their look or possibly those of a younger age group than me.

Owing to personal circumstances, there’s not a lot in her book that I can follow. This is of course different for individuals, but for me, personally, there isn’t much I can adopt. I can tweak it a little bit but there’s only so much I can do.

Style covers 3 main topics: fashion, beauty and lifestyle. This goes from essential clothing items, how to shop, makeup and hair and dressing for different occasions. I did particularly like the jeans section, mixing prints, how to dress for your figure and the make up section but that’s about all that I liked.

I don’t think it’s necessary for me to have this book — I think for me, I’m better off sitting in the library copying down the little pointers I want mainly because not everything is applicable to me. I don’t know if there is a specific targeted audience, but I feel like it would be better for teens looking to build their wardrobe. But again, there’s so many beauty and fashion gurus and books out there that can help you, so my suggestion is to really flip through the book to see if its going to be useful for you, before you buy it.

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The Fangirl’s Guide To The Galaxy By Sam Maggs

The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy By Sam Maggs
Publication Date: 12 May 2015 By Quirk Books

Disclaimer: I received a review copy c/o the publisher via Netgalley.


Summary: Fanfic, cosplay, cons, books, memes, podcasts, vlogs, OTPs and RPGs and MMOs and more—it’s never been a better time to be a girl geek. The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is the ultimate handbook for ladies living the nerdy life, a fun and feminist take on the often male-dominated world of geekdom.

With delightful illustrations and an unabashed love for all the in(ternet)s and outs of geek culture, this book is packed with tips, playthroughs, and cheat codes for everything from starting an online fan community to planning a convention visit to supporting fellow female geeks in the wild.

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Absolutely delightful.

Firstly, I’m so glad this book exists. I love the illustrations, the content, the fangirl-y-ness of it all! We live in the age of the Internet (and Tumblr) and we’re met with different terminologies and different people of varied interests. What makes this book so special is how empowering it is. It tells you that it’s okay to like comics or write fanfiction — and its absolutely okay if you’re a female geek.

The Fangirl’s Guide is exactly what it is: it compiles a bunch of fanfiction terminologies, cons to go to, books and more. There’s also a bunch of interviews from fellow girl geeks! The Fangirl’s Guide is certainly an interesting take on fangirls / female geeks in a typically male-dominated world. Its nice to see that there is a book out there that understands me; it made me feel less alone and more empowered by how awesome this community of fangirls is.

I really really loved this entire book and I will definitely get my hands on an actual copy. The only thing that I felt I couldn’t relate to were the cons, because they’re all situated in America etc. where I’ve never been or live, so they’re not quite applicable to me. Nevertheless, The Fangirl’s Guide is a great book. Its something that we all can relate to one way or another, and even though it isn’t exactly new, you’ll still enjoy it (and perhaps still learn a thing or two — I know I did!).

One for the coffee tables and shelves, for sure!

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Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? By Roz Chast

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? By Roz Chast
Published 6 May 2014 By Bloomsbury USA


Summary#1 New York Times Bestseller


In her first memoir, Roz Chast brings her signature wit to the topic of aging parents. Spanning the last several years of their lives and told through four-color cartoons, family photos, and documents, and a narrative as rife with laughs as it is with tears, Chast’s memoir is both comfort and comic relief for anyone experiencing the life-altering loss of elderly parents.

When it came to her elderly mother and father, Roz held to the practices of denial, avoidance, and distraction. But when Elizabeth Chast climbed a ladder to locate an old souvenir from the “crazy closet”—with predictable results—the tools that had served Roz well through her parents’ seventies, eighties, and into their early nineties could no longer be deployed.

While the particulars are Chast-ian in their idiosyncrasies—an anxious father who had relied heavily on his wife for stability as he slipped into dementia and a former assistant principal mother whose overbearing personality had sidelined Roz for decades—the themes are universal: adult children accepting a parental role; aging and unstable parents leaving a family home for an institution; dealing with uncomfortable physical intimacies; managing logistics; and hiring strangers to provide the most personal care.

An amazing portrait of two lives at their end and an only child coping as best she can, Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant will show the full range of Roz Chast’s talent as cartoonist and storyteller.

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Heartbreaking, raw and hilarious all in one, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? is one of the best graphic memoirs I have read so far.

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant is a story of the author and her parents. They’re a little bit quirky but absolutely adorable. I kept turning the pages and finished it in one sitting.

Can’t We Talk About takes for a more heart-wrenching turn when her parents fall ill and she struggled with medical bills, taking care of them and having to juggle her parents and her family. It was increasingly difficult for her to cope, as evidently, it was difficult for her parents to cope being apart from each other.

Can’t We Talk About made me weep. I kept thinking of my own parents and now that they’re ageing I wonder what the future will be like. It is impossible to not look at your own life and your parents’ lives when reading this book — it makes you think so much about what is going to happen (or has happened). I absolutely loved her parents. Their love for each other is eternal, and its evident even to the end. It is heartwarming to read about it and I feel like the memoir has given me an opportunity to witness true love.

I’ve been reading a lot of memoir graphic novels as of late, and this is one that will stay with me for a very long time. Its such a simple and accessible story, yet so powerful and packed with emotions. It is raw and beautiful, especially the sketches of her mother at the end. I absolutely loved this book and I highly recommend it.

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Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir By Liz Prince

Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir By Liz Prince
Published 26 Aug 2014 By Zest Books


Summary: Growing up, Liz Prince wasn’t a girly girl, dressing in pink tutus or playing pretty princess like the other girls in her neighborhood. But she wasn’t exactly one of the guys, either. She was somewhere in between. But with the forces of middle school, high school, parents, friendship, and romance pulling her this way and that, “the middle” wasn’t exactly an easy place to be.

Tomboy follows award-winning author and artist Liz Prince through her early years and explores–with humor, honesty, and poignancy–what it means to “be a girl.”

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I’m so happy I picked up Tomboy. Tomboy is another memoir written in graphic novel form and I’ve come to love this form of memoir. The illustrations bring the story to life and makes the story accessible. Tomboy, as the title suggests is about Liz Price’s childhood as a tomboy. She doesn’t fall into any of the categories — Liz simply likes boy clothes, boy toys and liked being friends with boys. But when you’re a kid and you don’t like wearing dresses as a girl, you get bullied for being different. And that’s exactly what happened to Liz.

Liz struggles with bullying and finding her identity. She doesn’t fit in with the boys (because she’s a girl) and she doesn’t fit in with the girls (because she doesn’t like dresses) — so what exactly is she?

I enjoyed how the story progressed. Liz eventually found people who accepted her and loved her for who she is. She eventually became comfortable in her own skin and showed much character development. I loved how one of her friends asked her if she hated girls or if she hated the expectations put on girls by society. Tomboy doesn’t only have a great moral but it also makes you think about our society, their expectations and trying to live up to its status quo.

The key take-away from this memoir is that you can get bullied for anything, but one should stand their ground and be themselves. Tomboy has a great message and can help so many kids growing up who feel pressured to stick to the status quo. Perhaps the only qualm is that it does contain swearing and may come off as inappropriate for kids — so exercise caution — but keep in mind that it is only a minor issue. But if you don’t mind it so much, I would highly recommend this for kids and adults alike.

The story as a whole has much to offer and delivers the story of bullying with a punch. It is a raw and honest memoir of a tomboy and it discusses issues that are still prevalent in our current society.

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Empower Yourself By Miranda Kerr

Empower Yourself By Miranda Kerr
Published Sept 9 2014 by Hay House

Disclaimer: I received a review copy c/o of the Publisher, via Netgalley.


Summary: Following the overwhelming response to Treasure Yourself, Miranda continues to explore similar themes in her latest title, providing insight on what she believes it means for young, modern women to be empowered in all areas of life and how this can be achieved.

For Miranda, one of the most powerful tools to facilitate change, both in her own life, and in the lives of others, is the use of positive affirmations. Here, she has written over 250 personal affirmations that can be used to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle, harmonious relationships, fulfilling career and happiness.

“When we have the courage to speak our truth, no matter how difficult that may be, we tap into the infinite power that lies within us.”

“Come with me on a nurturing journey. I believe we all have a responsibility to bring peace and harmony into our lives and to share these experiences with others. My wish is that the thoughts and affirmations in this book will help you to focus on the positive, leading you to a life of greater self-care and joy. To be your best you have to do your best. And when you continually look with optimistic eyes, you empower yourself!” — Miranda Kerr

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I love Miranda Kerr. She’s one of my favourite Victoria Secret’s models. I’ve always been curious about the books she’s written (her books always seem to be wrapped in bookstores, so I never really know what’s inside) are about and so I jumped at the chance to read this book.

Empower Yourself is a self-help book that leans more towards the daily affirmation, coffee table book type of self-help. If you’ve read Demi Lovato’s Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year, Empower Yourself is pretty similar.I enjoyed Empower Yourself, it was quick to glance through and certainly lifted my spirits after reading it. Empower Yourself, is as the title suggests, filled with daily affirmations about how you can empower yourself by loving yourself, finding your voice, voicing opinions, respecting your body and others (among others). Its a great book that you can pick up after you’ve had a bad day and I can certainly see myself following some of these affirmations. They’re great reminders of how you can treat yourself and others better and love and appreciate yourself. Empower Yourself may or may not change your life, but it can certainly help you to remember the more important things in life.

The only thing I’m not such a great fan of is the pictures. The beginning and end of the book is filled with pictures of Miranda, which doesn’t contribute to the book and depending on my mood it might make me feel less empowered but more annoyed.

Regardless, Empower Yourself is supposed to make you feel good about yourself and for the most part, it does its job. Empower Yourself is a good book to have but not necessary to buy.

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Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek By Maya Van Wagenen

Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek By Maya Van Wagenen
Published April 15th 2014 By Dutton Juvenile


SummaryA touchingly honest, candidly hysterical memoir from breakout teen author Maya Van Wagenen 

Stuck at the bottom of the social ladder at pretty much the lowest level of people at school who aren’t paid to be here,” Maya Van Wagenen decided to begin a unique social experiment: spend the school year following a 1950s popularity guide, written by former teen model Betty Cornell. Can curlers, girdles, Vaseline, and a strand of pearls help Maya on her quest to be popular? 

The real-life results are painful, funny, and include a wonderful and unexpected surprise—meeting and befriending Betty Cornell herself. Told with humor and grace, Maya’s journey offers readers of all ages a thoroughly contemporary example of kindness and self-confidence.

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Oh Popular how I adore you so. Maya Van Wagenen, please be my best friend.

Popular is so heartwarming and funny; it is undoubtably one of the most relatable books I have ever read. Popular is a memoir of a fifteen year old girl who found this popularity book written in the 50s by a former teen model Betty Cornell. Maya is not popular, she’s at the bottom of the popular pyramid. So at the challenge of her mother, Maya decides to experiment the tips in the book and write a journal about the results.

The final product? Absolutely whacky.

Maya is hilarious. It is filled with pictures of her dressed in pearls, with her wonderfully charming family and her writing is just great. She’s brave and absolutely sporting in trying out these tips and eventually she just learns that you just need to love yourself and be brave. Popular is one of those books I wish I read when I was fifteen. I think this book would be useful for the younger generation who is struggling with the idea of popularity and those who are just too shy to break out of their shell. I think that’s what I love about Maya — she really tries her best to make everyone comfortable in their own skin and open up to her and be friends.

I find Popular so hard to review because you just need to read it. Popular would appeal to the masses regardless of age or wherever you are on the popularity scale. It is definitely one of those books I would keep trying to recommend to people and one I can see myself re-reading in the future.

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