Sunday, June 22, 2014

Current Favorites

Seems the last time I wrote a post at all was September, 2013. My apologies. The longer you go without writing, the harder it is to get back into it. Hopefully, this is the first of many new posts. 

I've been meaning to write this specific post for a few months, which means that these products have been my favorites for at least that long. I try so many new things that when I find something worth talking about...it's gotta be good. 




Let's start with the most boring first, shall we. Baking soda. Plain old baking soda. I've been using this crap for everything lately. It's the best exfoliator I've found yet. For my face I make a paste of baking soda and water and rub it in gently, leaving it on for about 2 minutes. For my feet, I mix about 2 tbs with 5 cups warm water and soak my feet before gently exfoliating with a pumice stone. I use it when my nails are stained from nail polish and mix it with peroxide for a teeth whitener. Sometimes you just can't beat a classic. 

Now onto the pretty things. 

Mac Sculpting Powder in Sculpt
This is the best tone I've found for my skin. I used to use a light matte bronzer to define my face but now I use nothing but this stuff. Even on a "no makeup" makeup day, this is one of my must haves. 

Clinique Cheek Pop in Berry Pop
The Clinique website says this blush is "A burst of colour, buildable and bright." They are absolutely right. It's bright without looking totally unnatural and completely buildable. I've worn it light and heavier and it always looks good. I want more colors.  

Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation (Multiple Shades)
I love this foundation. I wear it alone and I never need a setting powder. It's full coverage and it's super cheap, like $4.99 cheap. Right up my alley. On days when I don't want as full of coverage I mix it with my moisturizer and it works great that way, too. The other thing I love about this foundation is that it comes in so many lighter shade options. I'm usually the "lightest" shade when it comes to drugstore foundation but I can get away with the second and third option with this one. I know my friends that have lighter skin tones than me appreciate the lighter shades. While it works for me, I think they need to work on shades on the other side of the spectrum as well, then people of all skin tones could use this awesome formula. 

Mary Kay Lash Love Mascara 
OH EM GEE. I've never been so in love with a mascara in my life. I first learned about this from MMandL show on YouTube and was wanting to try it. I planned on purchasing it from a Mary Kay catalog but it just so happened that I got a Mary Kay Influenster box full of products and this happened to be one of them. I've gotten countless questions about which "false lashes" I'm wearing when it's just this mascara. Most days this summer I've been wearing this and nothing else on the eyes. It makes my lashes extremely long, separated, volumized, and the blackest black. It does harden quite a bit so if you want more than one coat (definitely not needed), you have to work pretty fast.The only negative I would say is that it's not super easy to purchase...but I'll deal because it's that good. 

Lorac Pro Palette
I love this palette...mostly for the fact that it has half matte, half shimmer shadows. They're all super pigmented but the white shade surprised me the most. Normally "white" eyeshadow doesn't show up that well on my skin but this color really makes my eyes look bright. When I do wear full eye makeup, I love doing an all matte eye with the White and Taupe shades. Light Pink and Mauve is a great combo as well. I'm sure when the seasons turn I'll get good use of all the jewel tones on the bottom row. I have a single of Lorac Garnet and it's one of my most loved in the fall. This is the perfect palette to take on vacation as well, it has everything you need. Incredibly intrigued by the Lorac Pro Palette 2...

NYX Collection Noir Liquid Black Liner
I cannot say enough good things about this liner. I've told everyone in my life about it. It's the only liquid liner that doesn't budge on me. It's so pigment and dark, dries matte, and is easy to apply. I've fallen asleep without taking it off more times than I care to admit and it's always perfectly applied in the morning. It doesn't melt or transfer even on a 100 degree day (i.e. last summer...hopefully we don't have any of those this year). I was a little apprehensive at first because I'm used to a felt tip, but don't let the brush scare you. It's so easy to apply and I get a straight stark line each time. I've repurchased a few times, it's inexpensive but lasts for months. LOVE. 

Edit: I've obviously been loving this liner for some time, since it made it into my last Current Favorites Post ;)

Well, that's all I have for now. What products have you been loving? 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Current Favorites


Hey...long time no...type. I've been absent for quite some time and I have a few spare minutes so I thought I'd let you all in on some of the stuff I've been loving lately. How anyone been surviving without my pointless rambling, I'll never know. My life has been going through crazy changes lately so I've got plenty of material for a "funny because it's not happening to you" post soon but until then...here's what I got. 





1. CoverGirl Outlast Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 Foundation (palest color they make...seriously one shade up from Milk, aka '805')
This is the best foundation I've ever tried from the drugstore. I used to swear by Revlon ColorStay but after trying this one, ColorStay seems thick and hard to blend. The CoverGirl foundation stays a long time and covers as well as my MUFE Mat Velvet +...and bonus, it doesn't break me out like Mat Velvet tends to. This is my third bottle. Love. 

2. MAC palettes
Only a few short words about these...i love that i can freaking see what colors are in the palette without having to open them! Much sturdier and nicer than the originals plus you can fit way more since it doesn't come with a divider. Only negatives: the magnet is not as strong so some shadows slide around...and you have to purchase the divider separately to prevent this. (Side note...I know the quad has been in this format for a long time, I just love that all of my palettes match now. A mama and a baby.)

3. Maybelline Color Tattoo Pigment in Improper Copper
I resisted buying this for a long time. I have SO many BE loose shadows and even more reddish brown shadows in my collection. SO GLAD I DID. It's gorgeous, and, like 6 bucks. I use it over Smashbox Creme Shadow in Gemstone (thanks, Prissy!!) and it really transforms it. I wouldn't wear this one without a colored base but it looks amazing over any of the Color Tattoos. 

4. Butter London Bit Faker and Sinful Colors Endless Blue
This glitter is so gorgeous, it's a bronzy-brown and it only requires one coat. ONE COAT. I'm currently awaiting a package containing Butter's 444 glitter and I hope it has the same formula and density as this one. Endless Blue is the brightest, most vibrant cobalt I've come across. I believe it's a dupe for Essie's Butler Please (which I've heard has a shitty formula) and it's $2! I'm all about blue this year. (Somewhat metaphorically but definitely literally)

5. NYX Liquid Liners (Collection Nior & Collection Chocolate)
I first bought the black one by mistake. I thought it was a pen tip...but I was blown away by this thing. I wore it for more than 12 hours on a 90+ degree day and it didn't budge. I then fell asleep without washing it off (don't judge) and when I woke up it looked like I just applied it. It's amazing and the brush is so tiny it's easy to make a thin or thick line/wing. I bought the chocolate one for more subtle looks and the formula/brush/staying power is the same. I will forever repurchase these.

6. L'Oreal La Laque (414 I Laque You A Lot [barf]) and Jordana Twist and Shine (02 Sweet Candy)
Holy crap are these things pigmented. I bought the L'Oreal one on a whim for a brighter red in crayon form and it is super bright. I love it though, for a night out. It doesn't dry as shiny as the advertisement looks but then again why would I believe an ad in the first place? The Jordana version is just as pigmented and it smells like candy, way better than the L'Oreal  plus it's $3. I bought it thinking it was a neutral pink and it's SO not...but I don't think I can ever have enough bright, bold pinks in my collection. Pretty decent staying power on both. 

That's all I can do for now...I forgot how much work went into this whole "blog" thing. Let me know if you'd like to see my favorite hair/skin/life products, 'cause I've got a list of those as well. On second thought, I'm going to do that post whether you tell me to or not. So, there. 


-Liz

Thursday, August 23, 2012

My 2 Cents on 50 Shades...


Okay, so here we are, a week and a day after I started the Fifty Shades Trilogy. I read Fifty Shades of Grey in about two nights, Darker in three and Freed in about four…I read it slow because I didn’t want it to be over.

That’s not to say I loved everything about the books. I did not. The writing was an absolute abomination. I’ve never read a book that was so poorly written. What’s more perplexing is that I was addicted to the story while at the same time cringing at the writing style (or lack thereof.)

The first sixty pages or so were a snore fest, as is the case with most books I read. After that the story line improved, greatly. The writing, however, did not.

Here’s what I found so astonishingly wrong with this series:

1.       Over usage of words. Every character in this book “murmured” each time they opened their mouth. Very seldom did someone “giggle”, “yell”, “cry”, or did any other version of sound coming out of their face. The whole book was people murmuring. Now, if they really are going to make a movie from this book (aside from leaving out the best parts), it’s going to be awfully difficult to understand everyone. I had to mentally change each “murmur” to “said” just to keep reading on. The other words the author used far too often included, but were not limited to “crap”, “jeez”, “fifty”, “lip”, “subconscious”, and phrases such as “sharp intake of breath”, “oh my” and “turned on his/her heel”.

2.       The choice of words. Now, each word that was over used in this book was a word that wasn’t too common to begin with, at least in the United States (more on that in a minute.) if you’re going to pick a unique word to use, use it sparingly or else it will lose its power. I caught myself rolling my eyes after reading the same weird words or phrases over and over and over and over and over and…

3.       The descriptions. I’m a very detail oriented person but I found myself skipping over the long, pointless descriptions of every little thing. By the third paragraph, I was so sick of hearing about Christian’s every little detail…he has long fingers, I GET IT. Move on for the love of God.

4.       The writer’s lack of knowledge about where the story takes place. It’s fine that the writer is from England. It’s fine that she wanted to write a story set in the United States. What’s not fine is that she did absolutely no research on how we speak or what we say. I don’t know about you but I know for a fact you won’t catch a “shall” sliding out of my mouth any time soon. We also never use “arse” and we most certainly do not call underwear “knickers” (or “panties” for that matter, gross.) I could move past this this if the characters moved to Seattle from London…but they didn’t. In fact, Christian Grey hails from Detroit (as all babies born to crack-whores), my hometown, so I know a thing or two about the dialect.

The Acknowledgements in the beginning of the book thanking her editors was a joke on us, right? There would be some times that two pages would get stuck together and I wouldn’t even notice until the page was done. The book repeats itself so you can pretty much skip whole pages and still have a good idea of what’s going on.

What infuriates me even more is knowing that EL James is making bank on this book series while far better writers out there don’t even get a chance. I know this whole thing started as Twilight Fan Fiction (gag) and gained popularity, but how on earth could a book company even consider publishing such awful writing? Even if I knew for a fact that a book would make a ton of money as is, I would never allow a book written so poorly to go to press if I were a publisher (or even the girl who gets coffee for the meetings. Seriously, I’d sneak in and edit it the night before it got sent to the Copiers.)

And another thing…am I the only one who thinks it’s weird that Ana was 21 years old; graduating from college and never owned a computer or had an e-mail address? And even more, she was a virgin, slept with one of the richest, most beautiful men on the planet and had no problem walking away? I find that extremely hard to believe. (This may be a moot point since not very much of this story is believable.)

Alright, the thing I have the hardest time accepting about all this is that I actually liked this book. If you can get past (or used) to the repetition, the story line is actually entertaining. I found myself (and still find myself) in love with Christian Grey, even with all his flaws. That is, after all, why women like this book so much, right? We can fix him! We can be the one woman in the world who will save him from himself. He changed for Anastasia, he’s smart, witty, attractive, and makes $100,000 per hour. Coming up for air form this book to a sink full of dishes and a puking puppy is a rude awakening, let me tell you. I was honestly sad when this series was over and I wish there’d be a fourth book…if someone would help EL James write it.

I don’t agree this series gives women a bad name like some people think. Ana clearly loved him (although, doesn’t every girl think they love their first?) and he loved her. She didn’t have to stay if she didn’t want to. The beating and all that was done mostly in the bedroom, it wasn’t like he picked her up kicking and screaming on a busy street because she didn’t listen to him. Oh, wait.

Ana held her own, for the most part. I, personally, wouldn’t deal with my husband being so overprotective to the point of embarrassing me in front of my colleagues and family but to his her own. I also didn’t agree with everything Ana did, like apologizing when Christian was in the wrong, but I don’t think I would ever agree with 100% of any other human’s choices.

And I know this probably has something to do with Twilight (I can’t say, I never read it) but I find it odd that her best friend marries her husband’s brother and her best friend’s brother sort of dates her husband’s sister [exhale]. All of their friend’s last names are either Kavanaugh or Grey. Thank goodness most of them were adopted.

I cannot wait to see the movie, given the directors have more sense than editors and publishers and pick the right actors for the job. I wouldn’t want that duty, having to pick a man that is the most gorgeous, god like (or to use another overused word from this book, “Mercurial”) on Earth according to ALL women. Can we all just agree that Robert Pattinson with a big toe where his head should be is not right for the job?
I know someone who’s getting a thesaurus for Christmas… J

Sunday, July 15, 2012

As Healthy as Cheesy Vegetable Chowder Gets...

Around 3pm today, my stomach started growling. I've been doing well with eating right lately...although yesterday I allowed myself a cheat meal (cheesy potatoes oh em gee) and I was craving a comfort meal. We pondered over Cracker Barrel but it's so far and I don't think I can control myself in there just yet.

I decided to make Broccoli Cheddar soup, but then figured 'why not throw in every vegetable in my fridge?' soup. 

I wanted to keep eating healthy but I also wanted something that was filling and tasty. I chopped up two red skin potatoes, a few carrots, 1/2 of a red onion (I didn't have any other kind), a spear of broccoli and 1/3 of a yellow cauliflower. I then threw all of the veggies in a big pot and filled it up just so the vegetables were covered. I tossed in a tablespoon of butter, a chicken bouillion cube, garlic salt and pepper. Then I let that simmer until the veggies were cooked.


After that, I gave it all a quick mash with a potato masher (I think? It didn't have any holes and it was smooth...but it mashed so...) and here's where I substituted. Every creamy soup has some kind of dairy/fat that makes it so delicious. Instead of cream or half and half, I used 1 cup of 1% milk and 0% Greek yogurt. I whisked those together and dumped them in. It obviously wasn't as creamy as other soups but it did the job.



I then added some extra sharp cheddar cheese, which is the only bad part of this recipe. It thickened up the soup and also gave it some flavor. You could definitely add low fat or no cheese at all though, it's up to you.

And that was that! My whole house smelled like Panera and I got to satisfy my craving for a creamy, cozy soup..without all of the fat and calories! And that dangerous little biscuit up there? Yeah, I had one (er, two) of them, but I figure it all balanced out. Back on the grind tomorrow! Happy Sunday :)



Monday, July 9, 2012

And this time, I'll keep it off.

After about a month of eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, I needed some serious detox. It was like I allowed myself to have an eating vacation. Being busy really does make it hard to eat healthy. Between surprise 50th birthday parties, graduation parties and family reunions, I've been pretty much surrounded with junk food, also known as my favorite food. I ate my body weight in cheesy potatoes and pizza last month. I'm done. Not only do I want to eat healthier, I want to be in better shape. I have a 5K coming in two weeks and if I don't want to be the laughingstock of the whole race...well, I will probably do something embarrassing enough for that to still be true, even in the best shape of my life.

You know you have been eating too much junk when you actually crave carrots. During these past four weeks I've had little to no water each day. It's much easier to grab a pop from the fridge and go. That's where I started, cutting out pop.

I don't need pop and when I don't have it in the house I rarely drink it. I normally choose unsweetened iced tea or water with lemon. The more I drink pop, the more I crave it. So, no more pop.

I don't have the strength or will power to go through another fruit and vegetable cleanses so I just decided to eat right. What a concept, huh? I don't want it to be about "I'm not allowed to have this, I can't eat that." I just want to make better choices in general and improve myself and my diet in time. I don't think that's too much to ask of my brain. My taste buds are a different story.

So here, I'm vowing to myself that I will try my darnedest to drink at least 64oz of water per day. To choose healthier options. To eat more fruits and vegetables. To not have empty calories. And to be more active. Being busy and being active are not the same thing, trust me. I've been on the go all month but I haven't worked out once. That's all about to change. I've pinned a bunch of quick workouts on my Pinterest boards, read every page of Undressed Skeleton and acquired all the motivation I need to start. You really do have to be ready in your mind before you will actually stick to something and believe me, I'm ready.

So here's what I had to eat today. It's not perfect but it's a start. I'm thinking of doing these posts every few days along with some grocery hauls, just to hold myself accountable. What do you think?

Breakfast: coffee, of course, and oatmeal with raspberries, a banana and a teaspoon of honey (it didn't really need it)
Lunch: strawberry Activia yogurt, baby carrots, strawberries, trail mix and sweet potato kettle chips.
I also drank 3 Camelback water bottles


After work I had a Tazo black iced tea, lightly sweetened.

Dinner: we had guests tonight so I didn't have much of an option. I skipped the bun but had a hamburger with a piece of sharp cheddar, mustard and ketchup. I also ate a lot of grilled asparagus. The lighter asparagus is pickled. So good!
Other than this, I might have a bowl of cereal later. I don't go to bed until late and I'm working on not eating right before I sleep. Wish me luck!

-Liz

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Eyeshadow Dupes!

I know how very rare it is to come across a true "dupe" in the beauty world. I haven't seen many for myself, most I'd file under "extremely similar" or "you don't need both."

I love watching dupe videos and reading the blogs comparing products...before I buy any eyeshadow, lipstick, nail polish, etc., I google the color to see if anyone has taken any comparison pictures with other colors so that i don't end up with two (or more) of the same shade (that's happened to me way too many times to count).

Anyway, I spent about an hour and a half the other day watching Lifetime movies and swatching eyeshadows from my collection. I figured I had about 30 taupes, two of them had to be the same. They weren't. I did come across a few other shades that I'd be willing to say were extremely similar to each other and if you have one, you don't need both. I only picked a few to share because these are the ones I thought were truly the closest in color in real life. Enough blabbering...here we go!

First up, a nice highlight or all over lid shade. Obviously one of my favorites, MAC Shroom is a beige/cream shimmery shade. Here it is next to Urban Decay Virgin from the Naked Palette. In the pan, Virgin looks more pink than Shroom but when swatched, they look incredibly similar.

Left: Urban Decay Virgin, Right: MAC Shroom
Left: Urban Decay Virgin, Right: MAC Shroom
Next we have another gem from the Naked Palette, a nice crease shade called Buck. Here it is next to MAC Cork. I never really thought of how close these shades were but I do use them both for the same thing, darkening up the crease. They're pretty dead on. Buck looks warmer in the pan but on the eye you cannot tell the difference.

Left: Urban Decay Buck, Right: MAC Cork
Left: Urban Decay Buck, Right: MAC Cork
Moving on from the Naked Palette, we have another pretty MAC shade called Twinks. This is my sister's favorite, a nice plumy/brown/burgundy shade. Here it is next to ELF Saddle. I actually find Saddle to be more pigmented than Twinks (and it only costs $3!)

Left: ELF Saddle, Right: MAC Twinks
Left: ELF Saddle, Right: MAC Twinks
Now we've arrived at my favorite "dupe." This little cheap Maybelline trio that I've had for, oh I don't know, forever called Bronze Glitz. I'm pretty sure this is still available for under $5. This palette contains two dupes of two NARS shadows.

NARS & Maybelline Dupes

NARS shadows are so soft and pigmented and these maybelline ones aren't that too shabby either. The first "dupe" is NARS California. I got this color for more than half off when Sephora had it for sale for $9 as they often do. Here it is next to the bronze shade in Bronze Glitz. While they're both shimmering warm copper shades, the main difference is that the Maybelline version has a little more of a gold sheen than the NARS.

Left: NARS California, Right: Maybelline Bronze Glitz 

Left: Maybelline Bronze Glitz, Right: NARS California
The final dupe I have to share with you is probably the closest in color in my opinion. The NARS version is from the Cheyenne duo. Sort of a mustard yellow almost metallic shade. The Maybelline is the top gold color from Bronze Glitz.

Left: Maybelline Bronze Glitz, Right: NARS Cheyenne
Left: Maybelline Bronze Glitz, Right: NARS Cheyenne
Well there you have it. My first dupes post. I hope this helped someone out there save some money (or realize you may have dupes of your own!) Now I'm curious about my lipsticks and blushes!

What are some dupes from your collection?
-Liz

Monday, June 11, 2012

Twitter is less annoying than Facebook


Hands down, my biggest problem with social networking is having to friend, follow or subscribe to people I don’t care about.  I’m just not one of those people that can follow thousands of folks on Twitter or be friends with thousands of people I’ve only met once, a long time ago and be happy. I only follow people I actually like and/or care about what they have to say. On Twitter I normally give someone about three strikes before punching that “unfollow” button. And no, I’m not too cool to bother to follow anyone back. It’s more of an OCD thing with me; I can’t tolerate certain types of tweets clogging up my feed. This is most likely the reason I don’t have many followers, because I won’t just follow anyone for the hell of it. And I’m okay with that. There have been people I’ve followed, unfollowed, refollowed to see what they’re up to, remembered why I unfollowed in the first place and still continue check their Twitter feed every now and again. It’s a sickness I’m dealing with.

There’s some kind of rush that happens when you unfollow a celebrity as well, it really is like you’ve been freed. Click the button, sit back and let out a sigh of relief, the suffering is over. When I first got Twitter in 2009 (those were the days), I followed every celebrity I’ve ever heard of. That number is at about 6 now and one of them is on thin ice. I follow mostly random people I find entertaining and I’ve “met” some great “friends” that way. I only personally know about 5 of my followers, but that’s my favorite thing about Twitter, it’s a great place to meet people you wouldn’t have otherwise come in contact with if it weren’t for a common interest in being part of/making fun of today’s pop culture.

Facebook is a different story; it’s where you add people you already get enough of on a personal level. I rarely add someone on Facebook that I don’t know in real life, with very few exceptions. Most of my Facebook friends I’ve known since at least high school and I hardly ever read anything any of them post. I’m just over it. Like my friend Melissa (@30plussome) says “Facebook is to Twitter what Myspace was to Facebook.” It’s just too much. That’s why I don’t really understand Facebook going public, it’s already at its peak.  **I wish I could somehow prove to you that I wrote this weeks ago, therefore predicting how poorly Facebook stock would have done.  I’m so smart. Why am I not rich?**

In my opinion (which means nothing) I don’t see it lasting for much longer. I prefer Twitter much more and I’m most definitely more like myself on Twitter. I can’t say anything I want on Facebook because most of my friends on there don’t “get me”. I post a few pictures per week but that’s about it. It’s mainly a tool to keep in contact with family/friends that no longer live around me. You know what the main problem with Facebook is? The character allowance per status update. I’m not sure if there is a limit but if there is, it’s way too long.  That’s also one of Twitter’s greatest qualities. 140 characters and that’s all you get, make it short and sweet and to the point. Some people tell their life story in their Facebook status updates and I simply cannot take it anymore. That’s where “hiding” comes in.

The ability to hide people on Facebook is one of life’s greatest blessings. 60% of the time it works…every time. Yes, you could “unfriend” but what if it’s someone you actually see on a weekly, even daily basis? What if it’s one of your oldest friends? Hiding is a great way to defriend on your end only. (Another one of Twitter’s pluses, it’s mostly one sided.) I’m going to go out on a limb and say hiding those chosen few people on my Facebook was one of the best decisions I’ve made recently. I just clicked “hide all by _____ _________” and never looked back. The best part is, they never have to know. You don’t have to offend anyone or hurt anyone’s feelings; you just simply don’t have to read their posts anymore. I’m sure someone’s hidden me, and I’m okay with it. Do what you gotta do.

Besides the annoying and all too frequent posts (if you want to post statuses on an hourly or even more frequent basis, GET A TWITTER, that’s what it’s for), there’s the never-ending evites, the game requests, and the notifications: “so-and-so commented on so-and-so’s status that you also commented on” Couldn’t care less, wasn’t looking for a debate. Hence the reason I’ve resorted to my new motto: “’Like’ it or Leave it.” Don’t get me started on how badly I want a dislike button to exist, on Facebook and in real life.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, I enjoy complaining about these social media sites that I get to use for free. Even though the people of Twitter can get annoying sometimes, I’m dependent. I could probably count on one hand the number of days I’ve stayed off of Twitter. It’s an addiction and to those of you think it’s too complicated: get over yourself. Just admit I’m always right and realize I was the one who told you to move from MySpace to Facebook way back when…you know who you are. Follow the trend, Twitter’s where it’s at…for now. Have fun, just don’t follow me ;)