Sunday Pinspiration No. 1

The comforting smell of salt in the air is so vivid in my memory, which just makes me miss the beach even more. When it gets this hot out, it's constantly on my mind.

Another scent that drives me crazy? Guerlain Shalimar. I'm more than toying with the idea of purchasing the flapper favorite, which I have a hard time describing but can't stop sniffing ever since I sprayed some on my wrist at Nordstrom today. I think I like it, but it's so intense and more complex than other fragrances I've worn.

Maybe if I feel daring enough to wear Shalimar, I'll dare to wear a floral crown, or at the very least put something floral in my hair. I love florals in general at the moment, and brights, the brighter the better! There's so much glorious clashing to be had with summer colors. Just look at those rainbow crochet Toms!

 Here's to an inspiring week ahead!


Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation review

Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation ($43 for 1.18 fl. oz.) is a full-coverage base with a gel consistency and a radiant finish. The company says it blends "a special collection of silk proteins, tea extracts and treated mica" to leave skin luminous and hydrated.

I rationed my teeny sample of this until I realized I desperately wanted a bottle. In the past, every foundation I've loved has then disappointed me because of whatever fatal flaw it had (Revlon Colorstay, for instance, doesn't have a damn pump, which is infuriating, and it is much too easy to overdo and wind up a pancake). So, I sucked it up and made the investment.

More photos and my review après the jump!


5 o'clock quick fix: Tipsy Chocolate Banana Shake

My secret identity as a journalist means that for me, Friday is not the beginning of my weekend — it's my Monday! But for all you normals out there who are gearing up for your days off, I've got an easy cocktail to get the party going!

Yesterday, I was at the store and got to sample some liqueurs. One beverage I tried was Adult Strawberry Milk, which tastes just like strawberry Nesquik and is vodka-based. So I decided to buy a bottle of the chocolate version. While I'm sad to say that Adult Chocolate Milk doesn't have the similarity to chocolate Nesquik that I was hoping for, it was still tasty. It's good on its own or as a mixer  in this 21 and older concoction.

You'll need:
3 oz. Adult Chocolate Milk
1 banana
Hershey's chocolate syrup to taste

Blend together the Adult Chocolate Milk, the banana, as much Hershey's syrup as you'd like depending on your sweet tooth, and ice. 

Before serving, hold a martini glass on its side and turn it while creating a spiral with the syrup. Pour in the cocktail. Makes two servings.

Now yinz drink responsibly!


Be inspired by these beauty dares

Experimentation is the name of the game. Unless you're getting tattooed eyeliner, you can always wash makeup off. But you just might like that bright pink eyeshadow you think you can't pull off, or have an easier time using lipliner than you imagine you will.

Take some creative risks with your makeup. Here are a few to get you started:

Have a little girl do your makeup. The Pixiwoo sisters had a blast with this one! Let your little sister, your niece, your daughter, whatever tiny human is in your life do whatever she wants to your face (maybe don't hand her the really pricey products, though). She'll be so happy and have such a fun time, and you can be inspired by her complete fearlessness with color and the way she just slaps makeup on you without knowing what things are for! Plus, seeing the end result is a great way to not take your own appearance so seriously.

Wear a red lip every day for a week. Even better if it's a different red. The more you wear it, the less you'll fear it, and there's no easier way to feel like a sexy bombshell. My favorite is probably MAC Red. I'm also just loving Rimmel Apocalips/Show Off in Big Bang.

Rimmel Apocalips in Big Bang
Streak your hair with a bright hair chalk or clip in colorful streaks. Braid sections, weaving the bright pieces into the human-hued ones. You can find this stuff at Sally's.

Put on blush and no other makeup. Smile! It's amazing how pretty and energetic blush makes you look. By using it without mascara, foundation or lipstick, you'll see how naturally lovely you really are. I talked about a blush that I think suits everyone in my May favorites video.

No need to fear falsies! I first learned how to apply fake eyelashes at a MAC counter. The process isn't difficult, just sort of a pain in the ass. Get some cheap lashes and some DUO glue at the pharmacy, and be patient! The trick, like with eyeliner and mascara, is to get as close to the lashes as possible. I also like to apply mascara after they're on, because it binds the fake lashes to your real ones for a natural look. You'll feel mad glamorous when they're on, although they can feel like a caterpillar is napping on your lids.

Try purple lipstick. I've been playing around with Covergirl Embrace and Wet n Wild in Ferguson Crest Cabernet, more of a purplish red. Or you could ease into it with MAC Plumful, a sheer purple-toned pink.

Give yourself and a friend a $20 or $30 budget and pick out makeup for each other. You might find a new favorite! Plus, a friend is likely to pick stuff you'd never pick for yourself (or that she'd pick for herself, for that matter).

Go overboard. Break the No. 1 makeup rule and go heavy on the eye and lip makeup. Don't be a baby about it: No one is telling you to go to church like that! But a dark, smokey eye and hot pink lip is perfect for the club. Think of it as a disguise!

Make a Pinterest board filled with any editorial makeup photo or even street style images that provoke you to think, "I would look ridiculous if I did that." Commit to replicating one of those looks on the weekend.

Give yourself twiggies!  Channel the sixties with drawn-on bottom lashes just like Twiggy. Make sure you have Q-tips and makeup remover handy as you draw little lines from your bottom lashes and down a few millimeters. Try to taper the lines so they end in a point. I used Eyeko Skinny liquid liner in Turquoise, which honestly was much better for the winged eyeliner than the twiggies (it takes longer than such a tiny stroke to really get the color going with it), but I made it work. Finish with mascara (I've come to quite like Clinique Bottom Lash) and white eyeliner on the waterlines. Yeaaah, baby!


What other beauty dares should we try? Have fun, and if you accept one of these dares, make sure to tweet me a pic @LizAndStripes!


The Lazy Jerk Method: Ombré manicure/Skittling

It's called "skittling," and it's killing your kids!

(Remember that South Park episode where the kids were all "cheesing" and those lame news broadcasts warned parents about it? I thought skittling sounded like that when I saw it mentioned in Lucky Magazine, and it turns out that there is a "skittling" that is killing your kids, but this isn't that, so let's move on, and don't do drugs, chillens.)

Ombré, or color gradient, has been a trend for quite a while, starting with hair — dark roots gradually lightening, with the ends lightest — and being applied to everything from wall paint to manicures.

I have two China Glaze ombré manicure kits. Each set brings four colors and sponges so you can place a little of each color side by side on a flat surface, dip the sponge in and then paint your nails with it, leaving a blended color gradient. The effect is trés cool but time-consuming and messy, and I find there's no better way to mess up a manicure than by trying to clean it up and make it neater.

So I present to you the Lazy Jerk Method Ombré Manicure, which combines the gradient trend with skittling, which is painting each nail a different color.

I started by choosing five colors for each hand (10 in all, if you are math-challenged). The ombré kits were a good starting point, but I needed one more shade than included and wanted a wider variation between some of the shades. I decided that on each hand, I would do the thumb with a darker OPI Liquid Sand shade. That incorporates another trend of the accent nail, but on the thumb rather than the ring finger.

On my left hand, the gradient effect is perfect. It looks like the colors are all the exact tone but with different levels of depth. On my right hand, I worried less about that and just kept the colors blue and green and tried to arrange them lightest to darkest. This is a Lazy Jerk manicure, after all. Why be bothered with perfection?

This is the perfect manicure if you're like me and have more polishes lying around than you ever use, have a hard time picking a color because you like them all so much or just like a fun distraction from typing once in a while.

The purples:

China Glaze Sweet Hook (pinky)
Essie Play Date (ring finger)
China Glaze Spontaneous (middle finger)
China Glaze Grape Pop (index finger)
OPI Can't Let Go (thumb)

The blues:

China Glaze Aquadelic (pinky)
China Glaze Turned Up Turquoise (ring finger — this one is STUNNING!)
Illamasqua Noble (middle finger)
Essie Butler Please (index finger)
OPI Get Your Number (thumb)

I get my polishes at Ulta for the most part. You can find some of the China Glaze Ombré kits here.


June 2013 Birchbox

For two months now, I've been receiving the Birchbox, a monthly beauty sample subscription service that costs $10. I didn't write about my first Birchbox because only one product really impressed me. But this month's box was an absolute joy. Watch my video for a full review!

Products mentioned:

Eyeko Skinny Liquid Liner

Suki Face Exfoliating Foaming Cleanser

Color Club Wanderlust Collection

Devacurl 3 Step System

Tweezerman Filemate


Summer beauty picks!

As a former Florida girl, I have an intimate understanding of hot weather. Not saying I like it — if you want to see me on the verge of biting the heads off bunny rabbits, take me on a sweltering summer drive when I haven't had my coffee.

But I do know how to go with the summery vibe and revamp my beauty routine to look and feel like a frizz free, glowing beach babe.

My video and picks for surviving the summer gorgeously after the jump!


Benefit Hello Flawless! Custom Powder Cover-up review

Benefit Hello Flawless! Custom Powder Cover-Up is a powder foundation with SPF 15. It comes in a compact with a magnetic closure and a perforated compartment to hold a sponge and brush. Is this powder truly flawless? Read my review and check out my video after the jump!


FOTD: Daring pairing

I've been wanting to get more use of my Stila In the Know palette (which I blogged about previously) and specifically the orange shade, Fire. I also have a mini of the Sephora + Pantone Universe Emerald Liquid Liner (which I got as a 100-point perk, and the full size seems to be sold out), so I decided to play around with the unconventional color combination.

I chose to do my eyes before my base in case there was any fallout. I prepped my lids with the Lorac Behind the Scenes Eye Primer that comes with the Lorac Pro Palette, and then swept that palette's Gold shade all over the lid with a MAC 217 brush. Next, I used a MAC pencil brush to draw a "v" shape onto the outer corner of my eyelids with the orange eyeshadow from the Stila palette, and diffused that and brought it farther into the crease with the 217.

I used my mini Lancôme Hypnôse Drama mascara in Excessive Black, which I got as a free-gift-with-purchase at Macy's, on the top lashes (no curling, no primer, just the mascara) and Clinique Bottom Lash in brown on the lower lashes, which I had lined using Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On eyeliner in Demolition applied with a liner brush instead of directly with the pencil. Then it was on to the green liner. I took my time getting a nice, defined line and doing a slight wing. The skinny brush was easy to work with, a shock because I have a hell of a time with liquid eyeliner. Also, I've mentioned before that I have slightly hooded eyelids, so I have to apply it in a way that looks good head-on but kinda funny with my eyes closed. And on the brows, I used my trusty NYX Auto Eyebrow Pencil in Charcoal just to patch up sparse areas.

For my skin, I started with Skin79 BB cream in the pink bottle. Jen on From Head to Toe has excellent reviews and swatches of the Asian BB creams, which led me to this one. It comes out a porridgey gray color that is absolutely disgusting, but then oxidizes to be a fairly normal looking match to human flesh. I used my hands to apply a thin layer.

I've been trying to be more at ease with my skin, preferring to not cover my hyperpigmentation spots all the way and just diminishing them a bit rather than caking on a gross amount of foundation and powder. So for the spots still showing after the BB cream, I dabbed on a little bit of the Amazing Concealer and also used some under my eyes.

For highlighter, I used my favorite champagne shimmer, Benefit's Watt's Up, on the top of my cheeks and just blended. I used a stippling brush to lightly apply NYX Matte Bronzer in Medium, to set the BB cream and eliminate any last remaining gray, and used just a suggestion of Tarte Amazonian Clay blush in Natural Beauty, which I talked about in my May favorites video.

And to finish, I chose my most natural lipcolor so my pout wouldn't compete with my peepers: Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Honey, which I talked about in my MLBB post.

What do you think of this color combination? I think that the gold fades nicely into the matte orange, and that the orange is blended out enough that it complements rather than clashes with the emerald.


Farewell, Eleven, hello, Twelve!

Assume anything in this post or any link could be a spoiler, so don't blame me!

Matt Smith has announced he'll be leaving Doctor Who at the end of the year, which means it's time to play Fancast the Next Doctor!

Time for a 12th Doctor!

I don't buy at all the hype that the Doctor will change into a woman. I'm a feminist, but I don't feel like it would be all that progressive more as ridiculous pandering to have the Doctor do a gender swap after 50 years.

I could see them casting a black British actor, and Idris Elba is a veteran actor who would appeal to a broad audience and usher in a return to a more mature Doctor (since Matt Smith was the youngest actor to portray the man from Gallifrey).

My personal pick is Rupert Grint. He was fabulous in the Potter films, has wacky facial expressions and would fulfill the Doctor's recurring wish of regenerating into a ginger!

I could also see Sam Claflin in the role. Sam is about to blow up as Finnick in the The Hunger Games, and he's got the boyish charm to play a cheeky Time Lord.

And finally, I'm going to throw Nicholas Hoult into the ring. The Skins star is handsome, has range, and could totally pull off the hair-of-an-idiot thing.


Adored Items No. 2 | May Favorites

In May, I found the perfect pink lip gloss, a gentle makeup remover, and a blush unlike any I've encountered. Watch my May Favorites video to hear me rave about these and more!

See a list of products and links after the jump!

Chasing waterfalls

On Sunday, we decided to drive four hours up to Niagara Falls and then see it from the Canadian side. The falls were magnificent. The whole day was surreal and so much fun.

Surprisingly, the Canadian side was much more commercialized than the American side. For the sake of irony, we dined at a Canadian T.G.I. Friday's and discovered that Canada no longer serves the crispy green bean fries. So I won't be moving to Canada any time soon.


3 You Need: MLBB (My Lips But Better) shades for effortless perfection

My preference is a bold lip color or none at all — I'm happy when I'm wearing fuchsia and red, and when I just have balm. I've tried peachy lipsticks and found that they wash me out, and I loathe nudes.

The perfect solution, and one everyone should explore, is the MLBB, or the "My Lips But Better" shade.

The goal is to find a shade of lipstick that flatters you so well and looks like a perfected, amped up version of your own lip color. Think of it as what your lips would look like if you were a character in a movie.

I'll share three suggestions that could point you in the right direction, two from the drugstore, and one pricier pick.

First up is a Revlon Lip Butter in the shade Pink Truffle:

This brownish pink is very thick and creamy. It feels great going on but can feel heavy. And it has about the longevity of a balm, which is to say not at all. This is a good choice for tan complexions. I have a suspicion that it would pull more pink on fair girls. I also find that the more you put on, the less pink it looks, so it really depends on what look you want and how much you smack on.

Next up is a Kat Von D Painted Love lipstick in Lolita:

This shade has a nondrying matte finish, closer to a satin. It's pinker and less shiny than the Revlon Lip Butter. Longevity is average. The packaging is gorgeous, which is the main draw. I think this one has a sophisticated vibe that would work well at the office or out to dinner.

And at last, we reach the triumphant end of our journey, with my personal favorite MLBB shade of the moment, Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in the stupidly named Honey:

First off, what about this shade says "honey," Revlon? Not a damn thing. In the tube, this looks like a pale plum, which made me skeptical at first even though I'd heard so many raves about the shade. But it is so much prettier on. It feels light, moisturizing, is a cinch to apply even without a mirror and just looks understated and gorgeous. It catches the light in a way that's far more subtle than a clear lipgloss, the teenage default MLBB. Even with my terrifying mop of hair, I think it makes me look sweet and delicate.

Swatched from left: Lolita, Pink Truffle, Honey

Do you have a favorite MLBB shade? Have any of these been a perfect match for you?