☆ I’ve Been Nominated For The Liebster Award! ☆

liebster-award

happy friday

To my pleasant surprise, I recently received a nomination for the Liebster Award from the darling IrinaMakeupAmour! What an honor it is  to be recognized by you–Thank you so much : )

(Liebster is a term of endearment in German meaning, beloved, dearest, sweetheart, lovely, preferred and etc.)

{The Liebster Award Rules}
You must link back the person who nominated you.
You must answer the 10 Liebster questions given to you by the nominee before you.
You must pick 10 bloggers to be nominated for the award with under 200 followers
You must come up with 10 questions for your nominees to answer.
You must go to their blogs and notify your nominees.

{Here are MakeupAmour’s questions}

1. Do you tend to straighten more or curl your hair more?

To be honest, my hair has been going au natural lately but when I feel inspired, I reach for my curling wand to get some romantic waves.

2. What are one of your habits that you have to break?

My bad habit is not drinking enough water and sleeping late. Both are essential to good health, and I definitely need to hydrate and catch more beauty Zzz’s. What’s a busy gal to do?

3. How do you brainstorm your blog post ideas?

I believe the more you open yourself to new experiences and the more you open  your eyes to the world, the more inspiration will come pouring into your life. I read loads of magazines and blogs to keep my pulse on beauty and style news. However, it is engaging in dialogue with girlfriends and other bloggers that gets my creative juices flowing.

4. Name a product you heard was good, but didn’t like?

Just before the BB Cream phenomenon hit US stores, mainstream/drug store brands released their versions of whipped and mouse foundations. I heard a lot of buzz surrounding the Maybelline Dream Matte Mouse and had to try it out. I love Maybelline products but I am sad to say that this is one product that didn’t work for me.

5. What brand of high end make up do you own?

Where do I start? When I need a pick-me-up, I will treat myself to a high end beauty product. My go-to brands are Chanel and YSL.

6. You can only pick one item from your makeup collection to keep. What is it?

Concealer. I need it every day in every way! I believe in the need to achieve a clean, even canvas before applying any color; therefore, concealer is the most basic and versatile tool to own. Check out my four part series: Best Summer Concealers for some great staples!

7. Who is your celebrity style crush?

Kim Kardashian. All comments and opinions about her life aside, Kim always dazzles and knows how to work it. Hair, makeup and fashion. Kim K is my style spirit animal.

8. If you can go anywhere in the world, what would that one place be?

Paris. I visited when I was 8/9 years old and it changed my life. Paris, Je T’aime.

9. What are your summer/ vacation essentials?

Sunscreen (SPF 40), lip balm (the fruitier, the better), my iPad to blog and research!

10. What 4 words would you use to describe yourself?

Honest. Curious. Compassionate. Fabulous.

liebster2

{Here are my Liebster Award Nominees (drum roll, please!)}

*I apologize if you have more than 200 followers. Either way, YOU ROCK!

MakeupAmour

Pearlsandparis

MillieMuppet

Joannaloves

parisandnewyork

On the-in-side

Rosyisme

Theposhblog

Vivalabeauty

Myclosetnbeautyfinds

Congrats, Ladies ~ keep up the fabulous work!

Please check out their blogs to see how amazing they are : )

E Peony

{My Liebster Award Questions}

1. Who is your favorite YouTube Beauty Guru (please link to their channel or your favorite video!)

2. What song is currently most played on your playlist?

3. What movie or TV show best reflects your life?

4. What is your “holy grail” skin care or beauty item and why?

5. What makeup look are you afraid to try?

6. What are you currently reading that inspires you (be it book, blog, whatever)?

7. What Fall beauty or fashion trend are you most looking forward to?

8. Whose closet would you raid and what one item would you most likely keep?

9. Which cause or organization do you support? (Link if possible!)

10. Do you watch Pretty Little Liars? If so, what is your most convincing ‘A’ theory?

E Peony

Jennifer-Lawrence-Mean-Girls

XOXO Liz Signature

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Nailed It!: Dry Ice Rapid Nail Lacquer Dryer

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happy friday

Have plans to do your nails this weekend? You might want to read this first…

Here’s a quick review on the Color Club Dry Ice Rapid Nail Lacquer Dryer. “Holy Grail” item? Quite possibly!

I like painting my own nails, especially when I want to change colors or designs often. However, I have a tendency to either put on too many coats of polish or layer a coat too thick so my nails can never dry properly and I end up with lines, dents and even pillow marks. Ughh.

Having a busy schedule doesn’t always allow me the time or patience to let my nails dry thoroughly.  I’ve tried various nail drying sprays and the results do not compare to the Dry Ice. This product may just be the miracle people like myself have been waiting for.

My friend (who is also a beauty addict named Liz) recommended this product and let me borrow her bottle, because that’s what friends do! ♥

She said she heard about it from the  Z100 morning radio talk show, “Elvis Duran and the Morning Show” (if you haven’t heard of these guys, do yourself a favor and check them out on iheartradio).

I have not purchased a bottle personally, but this stuff seems to be pretty amazing and I am definitely making the purchase this weekend (thanks, Liz!).

What makes this product so ideal is it does exactly what it claims to do: Rapidly dry your nails. It’s also very easy to use. Mess free, pain free. I can’t complain.

The bottle design is an opaque, foggy glass with an eye dropper instead of a brush. Brilliant, because if you have the tendency to sabotage your nails upon adding the top coat, you know the last thing you need is to drag a wet brush over partially dried polish.

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The bottle also notes that it is free from chemicals such as DBP, Toluene and Formaldehyde. Sound like some kind of scary cocktail Frankenstein might use? Well, it is kind of bad for you and here’s a great guide on the “toxic trio” from The Daily Green.

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How to use it:

Mind you, I decided to try this out late last night and was in a rush to get to bed. So this made it the perfect challenge to see if the Dry Ice could work some magic.

I did not use a base coat and grabbed a bottle of Sinful Colors in the shade, “Outrageous“. I layered two coats of this polish.

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I let the color dry for about three minutes and then used the Julep Freedom Polymer Top Coat. This is my favorite top coat at the moment.

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I let the top coat dry for another minute or so and then I tried the Dry Ice. I was excited to use the dropper, like I was conducting an experiment!

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My overall impression was very positive. I am impressed that a product worked so well, so easily. I grade it as an ‘A’ for product design, formula and application. Whether you’re painting your own nails or going to the salon–bring this with you!

I’m not sure if this will work by layering the Dry Ice after each coat but I will try this once I get my own bottle.

Check out a quick demonstration of the Dry Ice here:

{Color Club Dry Ice Rapid Nail Lacquer Dryer}

Available: Color Club

Retail: $11.00 USD per bottle

{Julep Freedom Polymer Top Coat}

Available: Julep

Retail: $18.00 USD per bottle ($14.40 USD for Julep Mavens)

Have you tried this product or something similar? Let me know your thoughts! #Elizabethology

XOXO Liz Signature

Big Sister Banana Nut Muffins

Having a big sister usually means you have a best friend for life. Someone who knows you longer and better than anyone else; who protects you and teaches you everything they’ve already learned about school, style, boys and life. As my big sister and I grow and become wiser, I have a lot to thank her for since she has always been a source of love, inspiration and of course great baking ideas.

Here’s a super easy, possibly healthy way to bake scrumptious banana nut muffins. Turn your weekend (or any day) into a sweet treat!

So I woke up yesterday, made my coffee and went to grab a banana and lo and behold, the last three I had were soft and brown. Somehow this always happens.

Then my sister popped into my head. One time when I visited her she just happened to have fresh, homemade banana nut muffin bread seducing me from inside the oven. She gave me a tip to salvage any over-ripe bananas with her quick recipe and I wanted to share this with you.

Well, I didn’t have a loaf pan readily available and decided to use the foundation of her recipe and modify it to make muffins.

{What You Will Need}
Good news is  you probably have many of the ingredients already and you can be clever and substitute when necessary.

3-4 over-ripe bananas (mashed)
3/4 cup granulated pure sugar cane (or white sugar)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or regular salt)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon of baking soda
2 cups whole wheat flour (or all purpose flour)
1/2 cup ground or chopped nuts (skip for any food allergies)
1 egg
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Lemon juice from one whole lemon (or 1 tablespoon of bottled lemon juice)*
A little extra lemon juice, sugar and brown sugar to create a simple glaze
1 Toothpick

*I love the taste of lemons and add them to recipes whenever I can. For this recipe, I used the juice inside the batter to work in tandem with the Baking Soda. Since I didn’t have Baking Powder (which has a combination of Baking Soda and Cream of Tartar to help breads rise), the lemon juice should bring enough acid to react with the Baking Soda (click here for a more thorough explanation of pH chemistry for baking . Apparently, baking soda + lemon juice is great for a green household cleaning agent and can also safely whiten teeth!).

First, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and grease muffin pan or line with liners (I prefer pretty little liners).

I used a small 4-cup processor to chop and grind whole nuts. I had to use the last bit I had from the container, so some of the pieces were already small. I just pulsed the processor twice for each setting: chop and grind, chop and grind.

To mash the bananas, I took the easy way and used a spoon to cut and press until I achieved a smooth, thick consistency.

In a large mixing bowl, add the smaller ingredients, the sugars, salt, oil and egg. Mix these into a yellow paste. Then add the mashed bananas and chopped nuts and mix together.

Next, incorporate the flour, baking soda, vanilla extract, spices (cinnamon and nutmeg) and the lemon juice. Mix all ingredients evenly until you have a medium thick batter.

Tip: I use my Ikea ice cream scoop to transfer batter into the muffin pan. This helps me control the portions and minimize mess.

Once all the cups are full of banana batter, place the tray onto the top shelf of the oven and set the timer for 20 minutes. By this time the muffins should rise and take on a delicious medium brown glow. Take a toothpick and insert into the muffin in the middle of the tray and one on the outer edge. If no batter sticks to the toothpick, they are done! If batter sticks, whomp, place the tray back into the oven for another five minutes and check again.

At this point, I use a trick I saw my sister use to finish muffins. Make a simple glaze by mixing about a tablespoon of lemon juice and sprinkle in some white and brown sugar (add a dash of cinnamon if you love cinnamon like me!). Use a silicon basting brush to mix and drizzle the glaze over each muffin while they are still warm and let it can cool naturally. This will give you a pretty sheen for display and a yummy, slightly tart first bite.

Tip: This in another big sister tip. If you end up with extra batter for any cupcake or muffin mix and need to only bake a few more, make sure to begin placing the batter in the middle of the tray, moving outward. Since the cups on the outer edge can heat a little differently, starting in the middle when you only have a few cups to fill will help ensure a more even distribution of heat.

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My version is not overly sweet or dry but I can’t guarantee that you will be able to eat just one. I apologize in advance : )

Now you have a fool proof way to make banana nut muffins. Go ahead, bring these to  your next brunch or to the office. Your friends and coworkers will thank you. Just don’t forget to thank your sister, younger or older or twin, for all they have done 

{Cuteness Alert}

Speaking of muffins, here’s an adorable handmade “Stud Muffin” card  from Cherry Blossom Tree Designs. Very cute but not edible!

Available: Cherry Blossom Tree Designs

Retail: $3.50 USD

Do you have a favorite tip from your sister? Let me know!

XOXO Liz Signature

It’s Party Time!

This is just a quick morning post to wish everyone who was born on August 15th the most fabulous birthday ever!

I plan on savoring my special day with the ones I love dearly and celebrate through the rest of this weekend–kisses to all who have wished me well : )

Speaking of savoring, I made some confetti ‘funfetti’ birthday cupcakes…I could eat these for days!

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DIY: Here’s a sweet recipe you can try yourself, courtesy of {The Cake Blog}

Dress it up: And remember to make it pretty by adding a cupcake topper such as this one from {Cherry Blossom Tree Designs}!

Available: Cherry Blossom Tree Designs

Retail: $12.99 for a set of 12

Happy Bday CBTD

Mon chéri, I am off to enjoy this beautiful birthday, cheers!

Happy Birthday to all my fellow Leos! May your day be bright and your smile even brighter XOXO!

XOXO Liz Signature

♦ Birthday Wish ♦

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Two days away from my birthday and I am already thinking about my birthday wish!

I’ve kind of down played my last few birthdays, choosing to keep it low key and not think about how another year has passed. Not very Leo of me…I think with everyone’s busy schedules and having so much on my mind I just bypassed what used to be a very celebratory occasion for fear that it would be an inconvenience to others.

Seriously, what the hell, Liz?

Nonsense. When you cherish your birthday and share this moment with your friends, you allow them the chance to share your happiness. This year is I choose to be acknowledged. I feel like I own my age and my accomplishments and I am ready to move onward and upward.

When I make my birthday wish on the 15th, I know that despite having a lot of things I want to have or accomplish, I will be every bit thankful for what I do have and the fabulous people who are here with me during this journey. I will hope for better things to come in my life…oh, and this hair. Definitely, this hair (Sigh, Nicole Scherzinger.):

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{On A Positive Note}

I enjoy sharing positive thoughts and quotes and I have been surrounding myself with inspiring literature. One book I recently purchased is “Treasure Yourself” by Miranda Kerr (yes, the stunning Aussie Victoria Secret’s model).

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Available: Barnes & Noble

This is a great coffee table/office inspiration station book–both pretty by the cover and filled with sweet, positive mantras. I recommend this book as a gift for a dear friend or of course, for yourself.

Here’s a passage that speaks to me as I reflect on my birthday, and I hope it will brighten your day as well:

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♦  So tell me, what do you wish for?  

wish jar

#Elizabethology #TreasureYourself #AchieveYourDreams #Birthdaywishes

XOXO Liz Signature

Nailed It!: Essie Sleek Stick Nail Appliqué in ‘Oh My Gold’

2013-08-09 18.46.28{Essie Sleek Stick nail appliqué in ‘Oh My Gold’}

Out of curiosity I’ve purchased a few nail appliques/wraps/decals from various brands and they’ve just been chilling out for a while. I have a few events coming up and thought now is a great opportunity to start dressing up my nails and see what these have to offer.

First up is the nail appliqué stickers from Essie.

I love the simple, fun design and sophisticated color of the ‘Oh My Gold‘ pack. The dots are actually hexagons with a gold outline and silver interior. This two-tone look makes it much more interesting and versatile for how you pair this design with nail polish or match your outfit.

It’s kind of a sassy reptile, geometric metallic confetti effect. It’s essentially a party on your nails.

 This kit comes with a set of:

  • 18 appliqués so you can select the best fit for each nail
  • A plastic orange stick to push back cuticles
  • A small file to remove excess material
  • A booklet of instructions

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The directions are pretty straightforward: You need to prep the nail area, find the right size for each nail, line up, apply, press firmly and file off the extra.

Overall time to prep, apply and finish took me 8 minutes. This was my first time trying these out, so I could probably reduce the time to 5 minutes one I get the hang of it.

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I quickly prepped my nails and decided to paint my ring finger white (using Essie’s nail polish in Blanc) and make this my accent nail. White + Gold is modern, clean and classy.

Tip: To make any nail color pop, especially neon shades, paint one layer of white nail polish first. Just like adding a white color to your eye lids before applying darker shades, this helps to make a striking base for more vibrant color payoff.

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Once I started with the first two fingers, it was fairly easy to breeze through the rest of the nails. The appliqué can be re-adjusted so long as you only place it on the nail and not press down. I did have to re-adjsut a few times to make sure the design wasn’t crooked.

Once you have it placed, press down firmly from the cuticle toward the end of the nail to remove any bumps.

Tip: When you are removing the appliqué from the film, try picking it up from the end facing away from the middle (where the two strips line up). This is the end that will be filed off anyway so it won’t matter as much if you damage this part when you take it off the film.

And for the final look!

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{My thoughts} Worth it. I’m not confident that this will last me more than three days, especially with typing, cleaning and whatever else I might need to do this weekend. But that’s fine. I think the Essie appliqué is perfect for a special occasion or for any time you want to make your nails look super unique.

{Value} The great thing about this particular set is that it comes with everything you need. The file and orange stick can be re-used–in fact I have it in my purse as part of my travel nail kit!

{Removal} Day two and my nails are still looking pretty fresh. I have not tried to remove these yet, but it should be as easy as peeling off a sticker. No polish remover should be required.

{Application} Very easy, clear instructions.  I suppose you could also use these on your toes. Not sure if layering would work.  I actually enjoyed applying these and was excited about the results. So easy that you could probably do this on the go, right before an event with no drying time, during your lunch break, in the cab…you get it. Very simple for the nail chameleon or anyone who is impulsive or indecisive!

I hope you give these a shot and let me know what you think. Happy nail decorating!

Available: Target

Retail Price: $9.99 – $11.79 USD per kit

{Liz}

#Elizabethology