Monday, April 14, 2014

Once Upon A Time recap: The Jolly Roger

In this week's Once Upon A Time, Hook's ego and his good heart duel and everyone loses, our Head Witch in Charge teaches the Savior some new magic tricks, and the Charmings are annoying. And Ariel shows up, but not all is as it seems.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

This and that

Reading: I've been reading Danielle LaPorte's The Fire Starter Sessions. The premise is that we need to revise how we think about our ambitions and finding what makes us happy. Instead of identifying the things that will make us happy, we should be identifying our core desired feelings and then seek experiences that will get us there. It's loaded with worksheets and immensely quotable. It's not the sort of thing that's linear and can be put into practice all at once, right away, but it's a perfect template for what I'm doing right now: a deliberate, controlled burn of my life. I am perhaps for the first time in my life questioning my motivations about what I want.

Watching: I'm all caught up on Once Upon A Time and having to endure the weeklong drag between episodes just like everyone else. I hate the Wicked Witch. I want Regina to tear her limb from limb. This last episode had some great Regina moments, like her hissing at Zelena, "Never bring your heart to a witch fight." Should I start writing episode recaps? I think that might be fun, even if no one reads them.

Moving: About 3 miles north! We're renting in another duplex, in a much nicer, cleaner neighborhood. We had the best of intentions to stay at this place (because our lease would be going month-to-month starting in May, so we could just pick up and go once we get it together and buy a house). But location, space and sheer reluctance to pack up all our crap again cannot blind me to the horror of neighbors who think it's OK to dump mattresses and vodka bottles on the property. Frozen dirty diapers in the yard plus a view from the kitchen of bags of dog poo hanging from tree branches (10 points if you get it in the tree!) are amenities I can do without. I'll laugh about this place. One day.

Coveting: MAC Toying Around Lipstick (last shade swatched here). It's unlike any shade I own or have even seen. So freaking beautiful.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Once upon a television binge

I have dozens of excuses for why I've been scarce around my blog lately. You know, I used to think a quarter life crisis was no more than a self-indulgent delusion, that anyone having one was being childish and in need of a good slap.

Well, just call me Little Lizzie and don't hit the left side of my face. It's my good side.

Aside from spiraling into another existential reckoning — one that may have done some good for me, this time — I've devoted approximately 1,980 minutes, or 33 hours, in the past week or so to watch the first two seasons of Once Upon A Time.

How am I so late to the Enchanted Forest party? This show is so my scene. It puts all the fairy tale characters in our world and flashes back to their lives before a curse landed them in this universe. This storytelling method of converging plot lines and gradual revelations in the present through backstory is one that I've loved since reading Holes (it was done to masterful effect in The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood, too). It's the kind of life-affirming, just-cheesy-enough show to make me an emotional wreck every other episode. It's got enough twists and warped family trees to make the Doctor say, "All right, slow down, you're confusing me." That's a reason I'm glad that I'm watching it all in one go — it's much easier to keep the story straight without the lag between episodes that would make it likely I'd forget details.

Most of all, I love that Once Upon A Time takes the fairy tale, a realm of fiction where you can't get any more black and white, good vs. evil, and sketches in colors and dimensions that challenge the viewer. Maybe the Evil Queen has a heart that can be redeemed. Maybe Red Riding Hood was the wolf all along. Maybe the lost girl can be the savior. Anyone who I've ever talked about literature or TV to knows how much I love archetypes, and nothing is cooler than when they are expertly turned inside out.

I'm so in love with the characters. Their fairy tale versions and real-world counterparts are compelling and well-developed, from the most minor character to the heroes. I love a show that allows me to say ridiculous comments like, "Oh my gosh, Rumplestiltskin just beat the crap out of someone," and "Ugh, I can't stand Mulan." Among my many favorites are:

Emma Swan. Reluctant heroine. Mother. Daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming. Keeping law and order in Storybrooke, slaying dragons with her daddy's sword and being an all-around BAMF.

Regina Mills. Evil, or just ... misguided? Villainess in couture. Her mind is even more dangerous than her magic.

Captain Hook. The target of my unabashed objectification. Driving the ladies wild with suggestive zingers, leather and guyliner. Here's another picture, just because.

Love a bad boy, me.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got Season 3 to powerstream.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Blush is all you need. Here are 6 to try!

Blush is everything.

Putting blush on just makes you feel happy! Your face isn't done without a nice sweep of princess pink or glowing coral on your cheeks. I'd even say that you could skip foundation and all that nonsense — but put your brows on, those are vital — and just put on some blush. Boom. Instant radiant babe from outer space.

Powder is my favorite because it's just easy, but there are upsides to every formula, from liquids to solids. I think all colors look great. My mantra with makeup is always that you can pull anything off, and I think red blush is just as wearable as a shimmery peach, if you have the right touch.

I like to apply blush on the apples of the cheeks or on the cheekbones, and then sort of diffuse it in the other direction. On the apples, you get a more youthful and innocent look, but I think it's easier to overdo there because people apply it too far down. On the cheekbones, blush makes you look more sophisticated and sculpted.

A few you might like, listed in order of swatch from left of both photos (I swatched each twice, heavy and then blended):

E.L.F. Studio Blush in Pink Passion: The $3 marvel. Crazy pigmentation, soft as butter and in a shade with a major whimsical effect. Like you're a wind-kissed woodland fairy.

NARS Deep Throat: Everyone wants to talk about Orgasm, but Deep Throat is like Orgasm's cool, less flashy sis. But you know, everyone has their favorite Olsen. This is my go-to shade.

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Natural Beauty: I bought this when I first got really into YouTube and became obsessed with Essiebutton. She calls this the "Snow White blush." I think it can go quite vixen! But don't let the bright red scare you: this gives you a perfect, realistic flush.

City Color Be Matte in Fresh Melon: I got this in an Ipsy bag and am wildly impressed by the quality. I agree with "Fresh" because it wakes up your complexion, but I'm not sure about "Melon," since this shade says grapefruit to me more than it does cantaloupe.

NYX Rouge Cream Blush in Hot Pink: Not one to mess around with if you don't know what you're doing! This color is intense and stains, stains, stains, so you need to put it on with a stippling brush and blot off the excess before you start blending it into your cheeks. Done wrong, you look like you slathered on Pepto Bismol. Done right, you look like you just went for a brisk walk. Or some other cardio.

Tarte Cheek Stain in True Love: This swatched weirdly brown in the photo, but it's not. It's a nice, blendable blue-toned pink.

And here I am wearing the City Color offering with minimal makeup. I swear I own more than one shirt, but this seems to be my swatching outfit!

What's your favorite blush?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

ModCloth Uniquely You challenge

ModCloth invited me to participate in its Uniquely You campaign. The challenge is to style an outfit on Wanelo using ModCloth items, with the winning blogger's post being featured. I'm game because I've lusted after quite a few pieces on its website, and the company is based in Pittsburgh.

This week, the challenge is to build an outfit around the Dinner Party Darling Dress in black using up to seven items sold by ModCloth. I wasn't sure which way I was going to go until I saw these amazing booties, which screamed my name and then smothered me with air kisses. Everything tumbled together perfectly after that!

I chose a multi-strand necklace with a pendant and pearls. A solid top is perfect for displaying jewelry. Since it's still so chilly, I'm drawn to extra layers, so I'd wrap this mint scarf around my shoulders as a shawl. To finish, I love this red quilted satchel, and the bracelet is a great conversation piece.

How'd I do? I know the dress is supposed to be the focus of the outfit, but those BOOTS, though! Would you have skipped any of these pieces in favor of something else? I really love to wear stuff that doesn't obviously go together but works overall, and this is something I could see myself wearing.