Thursday

Happy Halloween! Here's a treat.



BOO! Here's to you having a sensational Halloween, whether you're going to spend it at the office like moi, taking the chillens out for candy or making bad decisions that will require you to use my hangover-hiding makeup tutorial tomorrow.

I made you a little playlist of some of my favorite pee-your-costume-funny YouTube videos. Have fun, be safe, discard any candy that appears tampered with, and tweet me a picture of your costume @lizandstripes. Kisses!

Wednesday

GANGY ATTACKS! Facelift/scary scars Halloween tutorial



You know when you want to do so many things and then you don't for xyz reasons? That's what this month has been like. I meant to do a whole bunch of Halloween tutorials, but you know, I'm doing the best I can, OK! Geez! Get off my back!

Regardless, you'll love this one, especially if you're an Arrested Development fan. I did a look inspired by Lucille Bluth post-facelift. It's very easy, and all you need is liquid latex, fake blood and some taupe cream eyeshadow. I got a $20 kit at Spirit Halloween that had everything you'll need (I chose to use my own Maybelline Color Tattoo, though) so you can run to the store and put this together in 20 minutes!

Thanks for watching, and make sure to like the video and subscribe and share it all over the Internet if you enjoyed it!


Monday

The Bobbi Brown look with drugstore dupes



A recent trip to the Bobbi Brown counter at Macy's has inspired me at my vanity table. I went to pick up her book Pretty Powerful and was charmed by the Corrector for dark circles, which I bought in Light Peach. (I won't yet call it a game-changer, but I think it might be.) The artist who helped me, Ali, was bubbly and sweet and put a gorgeous blush shade, Pale Pink, on my cheeks that killed me dead.

Bobbi Brown is probably best known for two things — her minimalist approach to makeup, and her cult-favorite gel eyeliner.  I resisted buying it because it's expensive, and I saw multiple bloggers raving about a Maybelline alternative. I wore it all day yesterday, when this photo was taken, and while it did smudge, it stayed on my waterline like a good little soldier and didn't irritate my eyes. That's rare.

A touch of foundation, my Bobbi Brown Corrector and a beige Bare Minerals liner were all I needed to showcase the standout of this look: E.L.F. Studio Blush in Pink Passion. It's very similar to the Bobbi blusher I coveted, but at $3, it's $23 cheaper.

Sunday

Dripping blood manicure + Meeting iJustine in Pittsburgh!

Hey guys! We're skipping Sunday Pinspiration this week because we've got  Halloween nails to discuss.

But first, I'm so excited and starstruck because I met iJustine!


YouTube goddess Justine Ezarik is from Pittsburgh, and was at the SouthSide Works Crazy Mocha yesterday for a meetup. She was so beautiful and sweet in person (and so petite! She's as short as I am!). A little boy a few places in front of me in line knocked her iced coffee on the floor, clear on its lid, and she was just gracious and cleaned it up real quick and took a picture with the kid. The girls in line behind me were fangirling so hard. They'd been in line for a second hug, I gathered, and they were saying, "Justine, we'll clean it up for you!"

She complimented my handmade scarf, and we chatted a bit about the gold iPhone she's waiting to get. She seems like one of those lit-from-within people who are just bursting with positivity. Adore her. 


Now, onto my blood splatter manicure! Whether you want to add extra gore to your costume or are stuck in the office but still want to feel festive for Halloween, this nail art couldn't be more simple. I used a base coat and then two coats of China Glaze White on White

Next, I used Formula X for Sephora in Pyrotechnic to do a messy French tip and make a few dots. I wiped the excess on the brush against the mouth of the polish bottle, then painted thin lines connecting the dots to the "pool" of blood at the tip.

To add dimension, I painted over random portions of the cherry red polish with an oxblood/maroon shade. This one is MAC Vintage Vamp


I waited until that was mostly dry before sealing the design with CND Air Dry Fast-Set Top Coat. Dunzo before you can even finish watching the Today Show podcast.

Thursday

"Gangy 4: Facelift" coming soon to a YouTube tutorial near you


I filmed an easy but high-impact Halloween tutorial that will win you mad cred with Arrested Development fans. For now, here's a preview shot!

Wednesday

Outfit of the (yester)day: Slow clap for the fashion bloggers

Dear Fashion Bloggers,

You deserve a slow clap and a standing ovation every day for doing what you do. You come up with imaginative outfits every day, find groovy spots for photo shoots and pose for your DSLR portraits like you're in a Lucky editorial. And you take the time to find links for all the pieces or similar items. You are superheroes.

This is about what happens when mere mortals with iPhone cameras try to be you.

Now Liz, couldn't you have taken this seriously?

I didn't even come up with this outfit. Oh no. I was inspired by my wifey's outfit on the same day. Brittany was scared to show her beautiful face on my blog, but here's the outfit, down to the brown boots.


I was going for a Jenna Lyons look, complete with the hipster glasses and the red orange lip rocked in J. Crew style guides. But all those America's Next Top Model marathons in college didn't teach me jack, because I can't pose worth a crap. I instinctively show off my least flattering angles.


And lighting is really hard!
In the end, I didn't even wear the outfit to work. I swapped the pink cardigan for a green and white polka dotted one and took a mirror selfie because my photographer/hubs had already left for work.



Oh well. At least I looked cute.

Pink cardigan from Target (similar contrast trim style)

Green polka dot cardigan from Target (similar, in navy)

Denim shirt from J. Crew (here, possibly a lighter wash)

Perfect Fit T-shirt from J. Crew (here — best T-shirt you'll ever wear)

Jeggings and boots from Ross

Necklace from Forever 21 (here) (similar) (another similar one)

Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie lipstick in Live It Up

Sunday

Sunday Pinspiration No. 15 | My dark, futuristic fantasy

Mental illness, pharmaceuticals, royalty, dystopia and cyberpunk fashion. What a weird hunk of stuff to do a Pinterest board about, but I have a reason! I have a fiction project that's brewing in my head, and I've been trying to visualize all the themes and images that resonate with the world I want to write. So I hope you'll indulge me this week while I put the images in my brain into collage form as I try to translate them into words.

Wednesday

"I am the Bad Wolf. I create myself." | Why I write


"I am the Bad Wolf. I create myself. I take the words. I scatter them in time and space. A message to lead myself here." — Doctor Who, "The Parting of the Ways"

I write all day, every day. I write on this blog and in my journal. I write novelette-length emails and send hundreds of texts daily. I write headlines and photo captions at work, lines of poetry on random pieces of paper, beginnings of stories. A screenplay loved by a handful of my close friends.

This quote from the first season finale of new Doctor Who has been a favorite and I never stopped to think why. It's pretty. My favorite character said it. What was there to think about?

But then on my drive home last night, I thought about how much I've written. The last time I went through old high school journals was a year ago or longer. I was stunned at some of the batty things I wrote. Like endless teenage musings about a ferocious unrequited love whose significance I must have blocked out in the years since. Because, you know, he was a total asshole, it turns out. Or all the goals and dreams I had, some of which have come true (although Maxim hasn't called me yet to ask me to pose for the cover).

I've written in so many places, including at least four blogs that I can recall. I majored in creative writing and sat in workshops while a dozen people picked apart my words. I've written an insane number of words scattered across years and locations.

A message to lead myself here.

I'm happy about my paper-and-pixel trail documenting all the stops on the way to becoming a bit less crappy of a human being every day. I'm happy anyone ever reads my stuff — I see my Google stats and although I know it's not a lot compared to other bloggers, it's still a dazzling number to me.

This train of thought probably departed from a post by Alexandra Franzen about your personal body of work being much larger than you probably think. You should go read it. Then go look at stuff you've written, photos you've taken, recipes you've cooked, playlists you've made, what the eff ever. Anything that evokes a memory and proves how much you've evolved will put a little swagger in your strut. We've all left ourselves clues. Where have they led you, and where are you going now?

Tuesday

FOTD: Cheers, angel face

This morning, I woke up feeling like me deben y no me pagan. If you don't have a Dominican mother, that means feeling like you're owed money and aren't being paid. Grumpy grumpy gills.


It was totally subconscious that in the midst of my foul mood, I wound up putting on a prissy floral dress and turned my dark eyeliner attitude into an incongruously ethereal look. I used the shades Verve (silver) and Suspect (pale bronze) from the Urban Decay Naked 2 palette, which I've been using a lot again. You can't see my lashes at this angle, but I'm wearing CoverGirl LashBlast Clump Crusher mascara. I feel obligated to mention it because it's gotten so much hype on the blogosphere, and I love it. It gives me the most feathery lashes and lives up to its clump-free claim. And on my lips, I went with just plain ol' ChapStick. 

Lest you think I'm just nauseatingly cutesy today, I'm adding some edge with my killer Gianni Bini suede booties. These shoes have burned stars and crushed empires. 

Monday

Haul at my happy place



Would you believe me if I said I hate shopping? Stop laughing. I love acquiring possessions, but I hate the act of putting on pants, getting in my car, driving to the mall and accidentally getting on the road the wrong way and having to do a 180 to avoid a head-to-head collision, and then dealing with crowds that insist on walking sooooo slooooowly right in the middle of my path.

But when I'm in the mood to lose myself at Sephora, it is a beautiful, beautiful place in my brain. Yesterday was like that. At least five salesgirls came up to me asking if I needed help, and I'd just sigh contentedly and say, "No, I'm good." I was spraying all the new Tokyomilk Dark fragrances on my arms, swatching liners and lipsticks on the back of my hands and comparing scented body creams.

The Urban Decay aisle is my mothership
I walked out of the store with:


Sephora Nano Eyeliner in Glitter Brown. If you never finish a stick of liner, this short pencil is a practical choice at $5.

Mini Too Faced Tan Without the Twinkle bronzer. It's matte. It smells like chocolate. It brings a "flatbuki" brush. Of course this gem is in the impulse buy section.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Abyss. Damn you, Urban Decay. I'm such a chump for spending $19 on these liners, but they're just glorious.

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel is already making a fantastic impression on me. There's a richer, lotion version for dry skin.

Benefit Benetint mini as a 100-point perk. I love when I get to try something that I'd normally never get for myself! Smells like roses and looks natural and pretty on my cheeks.

Sample of Apinourish Rejuvenating Face Mask with purified bee venom. You bet your butt I was intrigued by this because I read that the Duchess of Cambridge gets bee venom facials. But I wasn't about to drop $85 unless this was miraculous! As I said in my post about sampling and saving like a boss, always ask for a sample of something you're unsure about. They were happy to give it to me, and that tiny container has enough uses that I'll be able to try the product for a while and see if it's worth the investment.

What did you haul home this weekend? Let me know in the comments if you bought something fun!

Sunday

Sunday Pinspiration No. 14



Happy Sunday! No real theme for this week's Pinspiration, just people, makeup, manicures and hairstyles that made me go "ooh" and "aah." Spot my current muse Ariana Grande with her previous crazy red dye job — I think that's her best look.

Work is crazy right now, but I think I'll be able to put together a few Halloween looks for you. I have some elaborate ideas, but of course I can't teach you how to do them if they turn out looking utterly rubbish. Oh, I'm just making preemptive excuses for myself, aren't I? Such a naughty thing. My attitude recently has been sort of like every item in this Buzzfeed post. Being uber responsible and productive and adult these past few weeks has really tired me out!


Wednesday

I planned, God laughed

Coffee is my Wonder Woman costume
I've gotten a lot of use from my new Plum Paper planner from Etsy. I hate using the iPhone calendar, and this is helping me get my junk in order. But there are lots of tasks circled and moved with sheepish arrows to the next day, and the next, and the next. Videos that will go unfilmed another day. Appointments I haven't called to make yet. Checklists postponed.

If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.

I don't feel shame about this the way I might have before. Maybe a little shame, but not that much. Everything that needs to be done will be done eventually, even if the arrows bounce from week to week. 

And I may be spending my day off making this place look habitable because we have company coming to stay with us, but I'm happy when I think about why I have such a mess. Why I have a shawl I'm only a third of the way knitted, why I have shelves of unread books and piles of laundry. I have a full life. Too many hobbies, too many tasks, too many ideas, too much stuff.

I have an abundant life. It's not perfect, but it's mine. 

These days, I'm all about flexibility. I want structure, but I don't want to be in a cage.

*This post was unplanned. Procrastination makes me insightful!

Tuesday

5 brilliant beauty tips

Sometimes, I scour beauty magazines and Twitter for tips and don't find anything new. It's a lot of the same useful but standard advice. Luckily, every girl has her own easy little strategies that work for them, so here are some of mine that I hope will make you look even hotter than you already do!

Smile! It's the best beauty trick you'll ever hear.

1. Sandwich your foundation between primer and setting spray. The Smashbox Photo Finish primer (which you DO NOT need to buy a big bottle of — the small size lasts forever) glides over big pores and fine lines. It's a product I never imagined using but that I now adore. I like to put it on, then use foundation, and then use a setting spray before powder. The NYX Matte Spray smells disgusting but works a treat. I find that doing this before setting powder gives a more natural finish and prevents the powder from looking cakey, since the spray really helps the foundation melt into your skin.

2. Double up on blush. I never know where to put blush. Cheekbones? Apples? Aligned with the outer corner of the eye and blended up? So here's my experiment. I use a contouring brush to apply a darker blush, like Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Natural Beauty or Mary Kay's Bold Berry to the cheekbones, and then blending that with a pink or peach blush on the apples. I really dig how that looks. As always, just blend and don't overdo it!

3. Start lipliner on the outer corner of the mouth and lipstick at the center. The first trick here, I learned from a Pixiwoo video. Beginning with the outer corner of the lips and working in with liner makes you instinctively draw a fuller, more natural lip shape than if you started in the center. The second trick came from a girl at a MAC counter. She told me the reason you should start lipstick in the center is because it needs to be warmed up first. I think this prevents tugging, which can create a mess if you start applying lipstick at the thinnest part of your lips.

4. Apply eyeshadow wet for greater pigmentation and less fallout. Just make sure that you don't run a wet brush across the entire surface of the eyeshadow — the water could "seal" the powder in, leading to waste.

5. Pay attention to the outer half of your eyebrows. I get lots of compliments on how my brows look. But if there's one thing I have to remind myself to do, it's to make sure I've filled in the outer part enough. I think once you've done the arch, it's easy to forget to fill in the thinnest part and keep it in proportion to the fullest part. So just spend a little extra time there. You'll be surprised what a difference it'll make in your whole look.

What's your favorite easy beauty trick?

Saturday

Sexist feminism. It's a thing.

I'm a feminist.


I also enjoy comic books with female superheroes in skimpy costumes, make my husband deal with creepy insects while I run into another room, and gleefully listen to rap music with offensive, misogynistic lyrics. I like makeup, knitting and the color pink. My contradictions contradict each other.


Friday

Top 10 wild hopes for the Doctor Who 50th anniversary

Bling bling, space and time ain't a thing

November 23rd is a sacred date in the Whoniverse, the day of the 50th anniversary special. This wishlist of what I want to see in the much-hyped episode has a ridiculous amount of spoilers, so if you haven't watched the Season 7 finale "The Name of the Doctor," avert your gaze now!

(And let me get this out of the way — I'm stoked about Peter Capaldi. He'll do great as Twelve.)

It's been said that the 50th anniversary will be a "love letter" to fans. And boo boo, I can write a love letter like no one's business. If it were up to me, we'd get to see:


Thursday

Review: Lush Whoosh Shower Jelly

I love going to Lush and testing and sniffing everything. Their products can be so creative, and everything from the packaging to the user experience — like the Sex Bomb that turns your bath water pink — feels fun. The sheer weirdness of the Lush Whoosh Shower Jelly guaranteed it was coming home with me.


Whoosh is used like a bar of soap. You rub it directly on your body or use a shower puff to lather. Where it's unique is that it's a squishy, jiggly Jell-O-like substance.

Like almost everything at Lush, it smells amazing. It smells like lemons and cleanliness, if cleanliness is a smell. I suppose it is a smell, but I promise, this isn't the antiseptic, throat-burning scent of Windex or lemon Pledge. The lemon, lime and grapefruit juices are meant to combat breakouts and bacteria. Whoosh slightly cools the skin. You can chill or freeze it, but I've done neither. I like playing with it too much! It does eventually fall apart, and when it is in one piece, you have to use it slowly so you don't drop it. But I sort of love that. Its difficulty of use makes you slow down and be mindful during shower time.

I shall call you squishy and you shall be mine and you shall be my squishy

I would repurchase Whoosh. It's one of the cheaper items at Lush, making it great for when you're craving a hit. Yes, I just compared Lush to addiction. Not a stretch, right?

Wednesday

Ducks, Pirates and Chryslers



I'm happy because:

1. It's my WEEKEND! I need it. I'm putting it out there that I intend to check out a yoga studio before I get back to the office.

2. The Pirates beat the Reds! Not that I'm a baseball fan, or sports fan at all, but I love the energy in the city right now. The team hasn't had a winning season since 1992 or something, and to now be in the playoffs has electrified everyone.

3. I got a car! After seven years and two cross country moves with my crummy little Lancer, I've finally traded up. I bought a sweet Chrysler Sebring that's in excellent shape from a private owner at a good price. And now all my Pennsylvania paperwork is straightened out. Thank God.

4. There is a giant, inflatable rubber duck on the Allegheny River.


Shop your makeup and style personality: The Fitch Twins

I stopped watching Skins after the second-generation cast left. While Cassie stole my heart in the original gang in the brilliant British series, the second generation was all about the Fitch twins.

Emily's quiet intensity and Katie's aggressive confidence were as fascinating as the real-life Prescott twins' crimson hair on the show. For this installment of Shop Your Makeup Personality, I'm mixing things up by deconstructing the pair's fashion choices.

Shop your makeup + style personality: Fitch Twins

Emily: The younger twin has a childlike sense of style. In early appearances, she's seen with bows in her hair, wearing dainty prints and sweet sweaters.

Later in the series, she's less baby doll, more cutesy indie chick. You'll see her in opaque tights and leggings and lots of layers in different colors. Her vibe is more comfortable and casual, reflecting a more relaxed and confident mindset. The comfy Toms and messenger bag are perfect for the scooter-riding Em.

With that glorious crimson mane, there's little need for much jewelry or showy makeup. Some quirky earrings and a pretty pink lip will do. I know first-hand how hard it is to maintain red hair. This crazy a color would require bleaching (eek!) and mad amounts of Manic Panic. A nice glossing serum makes the color seem even more intense, like it's glowing.

My beauty picks for Emily:

Manic Panic hair dye in Wildfire or Vampire Red (or a mix!)

Rimmel Show Off/Apocalips in Celestial

Lush Rose Jam shower gel (I haven't sniffed this yet, but doesn't it sound fabulous?)

Paul Mitchell Super Skinny Serum

Katie: The Alpha Cat of the second generation may go for posh, but those diamonds have sharp edges.

Katie is ladylike and tough. The bustier reminded me of her famous "I'm Katie Fucking Fitch!" scene, and would be such a delightfully naughty contrast for the prim tweed blazer. Leather skinnies are subversive, a classic and understated silhouette that still screams BAD GIRL. A luxury logo — whether the item is legit or not — is something a Katie type would covet and display prominently, hence the Chanel earrings. And those lace-detail booties? I can't even. Guys, I can't even deal.

A bombshell like Katie Effing Fitch is always done up and doesn't tiptoe away from bold looks. She'd splurge for a luxury name, because for her, anything less just doesn't cut it. A high-end finishing powder, some preventive eye cream and a glamorous fragrance would be party of her turn-up-the-sexy routine.

My beauty picks for Katie:

Stella by Stella McCartney perfume (an elegant but unprissy rose fragrance)

Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Venom (or MAC Rebel — a dark, bold berry is so Katie)

NARS Light Reflecting Powder (a personal favorite of mine!)

Lancome Genifique eye cream

Click here for shopping info on the clothes. Are you an Emily, a Katie, or a mix of the two?