A Different Take On Mainstream


I feel the need to tell you all that I am currently sitting in the back of Starbucks sneakily eating a peanut butter sandwich from my purse.


My May was all over the place. From finishing up my first year at Boston University, to going back to LA for the summer and resuming my hunt for the perfect blogging cafe– I’ve gotten to try a bunch of new products, including this crazy activated charcoal polish that Carbon Coco sent me to try out, as well as discover quite a few really cool places. Honestly that’s why I love the summer– you start to live again instead of spending all your time staring at boring fine print written by stuffy overweight professors with a penchant for ridiculous English words no one has heard of. But I digress. Without any more chatter, here are my May Favorites:



The only thing in there is water btw.

A cafe like this could only work in a place with constant pleasant weather, as Verve’s outdoor patio is absolutely stellar. Legit 5 stars. Not only do they have outdoor communal tables, they also have little individual nooks as well as outdoor couches for those wanting comfier seating. Inside of course is another story altogether– as you can see from the photo, there are tons of individual tables where people can plop themselves down for literally hours, and just plug away at their laptops. Definitely one of the best blogging cafes I have ever come across. I would even say it beats Alchemist which I found last summer, except that Alchemist closes at 10 PM, and Verve closes at 8 PM.

Cheapest thing to get: around $4

LA locations: Melrose, 3rd Street, DTLA



While I did touch upon this place in my Boston Street Photography   post, I don’t think I really got into the awesomeness of what SoWa is. Besides for their outdoor food market/craft market, and art from their locals’ gallery, they have a sprawling underground situation dedicated solely to vintage wares. They had everything from 50’s dresses to vintage eyeglasses, retro home goods to antique jewelry. I ended up getting a 90’s era striped oversized blouse which is surprisingly back in style right now, but I just got because it’s classy and will last me for quite a long time. Don’t be fooled by this photo by the way– the place is huge.



For those who aren’t familiar with Carbon Coco, they are an Australian company that specializes in all-natural oral care. I will admit, that I was skeptical at first when I received their ultimate carbon kitas I’m usually skeptical of things that are expensive for no good reason. However, I do believe this product does live up to the hype. The carbon tooth polish is actually a small tub of activated charcoal powder, which can be used to whiten your teeth. After using the tooth polish along with the pitch black toothpaste (which is surprisingly gentle and minty), I started to see results after a few days. My teeth definitely got whiter, which is so amazing as I struggle with whitening my teeth a lot.

My one complaint however, is that the charcoal gets all over the sink and you have to spend the next 5 minutes cleaning all the polish from the crevices of your sink. Also, if you don’t brush properly, the polish can get stuck under your gums, and you’ll look like a pirate with rotting teeth.

My final thoughts: as a polish and paste combo, they definitely work better than regular toothpaste– I will vouch for that. However, If you’re looking for blindingly white teeth, I’d suggest not throwing away your whitening strips. I do wish they were cheaper, as I don’t feel like this product justifies the price– but I would definitely get it again if it ate up less of my bank account.

Ultimate kit price: $44.95

Tooth polish: $29.95



If I’m being completely honest, I haven’t read a good book in an extremely long time. Perhaps about a year. I like original stories with at least some sense of meaning, so its often hard for me to find books when a lot of the stuff coming out nowadays is is always so uninterestingly fluffy. A Tale For The Time Being however, is super deep and even surreal, as the main character, 16 year old Nao Yasutani, questions the meaning of living, self worth, and love through her blunt and darkly comical diary entries–as she fiddles with the idea of committing suicide after her family’s bankruptcy takes her from the sunny ‘burbs of Silicon Valley, back to the schools of Tokyo, where she is labeled a foreigner transfer student and cruelly bullied. Enter Ruth, an author with an excess of writers’ block, who finds Nao’s diary washed up on the shore of her remote Canadian island, locked inside a red Hello Kitty lunchbox. As Ruth learns more about Nao through her diary, she begins to search for the real Nao, trying to piece together what happened to the broken Japanese girl whose diary washed up on a British Colombian shore.

I absolutely loved this book to pieces– enough to buy it, which means it’s going on my list of Best Books I’ve Ever Read. Honest.

And that is all folks. I’m sick of my own voice so I am stopping my word spewage.

Cynical Duchess.

What was a cool thing about your May?

Leave a comment below!