The Black Dahlia drank here 🍷

Talking Shōgun, writing, and makeup collabs.

Hi friends!

How are you doing? I’m doing well! I woke up at 4:45 am this morning after a lot of trouble falling asleep, but you know what? I don’t feel tired, I feel activated. Sometimes when I am laying in bed, I start thinking through the plot problems of my latest writing project, and I realize that I’m writing without being in front of my computer. After all, writing isn’t just typing, it’s also actively thinking, and not actively thinking, and staring into space, and researching, and listening to music, and, and, and. Anyway, usually when I am writing in bed in my head, it’s while I’m trying to fall asleep, and I have to tell myself, “Liz, stop writing!” But this morning, I just got up instead, and wouldn’t you know it, I worked through a plot knot in my latest script outline that had stumped me for weeks?

For newbies, this latest script is a romantic comedy jukebox musical based on Weezer’s “Blue Album” and set in the mid-’90s in Los Angeles. It’s unauthorized and has a 99.99% chance of never getting made, but isn’t that true of every screenplay? There’s also a subplot about the Black Dahlia, so I have been researching that as well. It’s crazy how many locations are associated with the Black Dahlia that still exist in Los Angeles, like Boardner’s, and the Biltmore Hotel, and Florentine Gardens (she lived in an apartment behind the venue). That said, I sometimes joke that every bar in Los Angeles says it’s where the Black Dahlia had her last drink, because it’s such a popular claim here. That poor woman seems to have been everywhere.

black dahlia flower

An actual black dahlia.

I even once knew a gay couple who got married at George Hodel’s murder* house. They were friends of friends, and I always wondered if they knew about the house’s history when they decided to get married there, or if they just thought it was cool architecturally. To be fair, Steve Hodel is clearly a little screwy and can’t be entirely trusted as a source about his father (he thought the man was the Zodiac, too, secretly flying back and forth from the Philippines to commit those murders *cuckoo noise*), but George Hodel was definitely not a good guy. I used to live near that house, and every time I walked by it, it gave me the shivers. Definitely some kind of dark energy there.

*fine, alleged murder house.

But back to writing. One piece of writing advice I remember Patton Oswalt giving years ago that has always stuck with me is to stop writing when it’s going well. It sounds counter-intuitive, because once you’re in a flow, you just want to keep going, but if you stop when things are sticky and hard, it’s going to take you way longer to come back to the project. If you stop when ideas are still flowing and you’re excited to write, it’s so much easier to pick up where you left off.

Let’s get into some things:

- Recently, I was looking for jobs (well, not just recently, but go with me here), and I saw a job post for a Social Media Manager position at a place called Wings Over Nest. I thought to myself, oh my gosh, what an absolutely incredible name for an organization supporting the childfree lifestyle! Wings Over Nest! Flying free versus nesting! Brilliant!

But then I looked into it, and it’s just a fried chicken place?????? That is a travesty of branding! How does that even make sense for a place that serves both wings and tenders? HUH? I’m also appalled by the idea of their Cajun Teriyaki sauce. Cajun… teriyaki? Maybe it’s because I only got five hours of sleep last night, but when I try to imagine those flavors together, my brain goes to fuzz like an old TV. (Lord, do the kids these days even know about fuzz? They will never know the erotic danger of trying to watch the scrambled Playboy channel on a tube TV with your thumb on the remote in case your parents walk in.)

tuxedo cat with rug

The fluff generator, Miss Zadie.

- This pet hair scraper thingy from Am*z*n ($23.99) has completely saved the rug in my office. Now, was I straight-up delulu for buying a pink and WHITE rug when I have a long-haired tuxedo cat who is 80% black fluff? Of course! But you know me, I’m a Libra, I’m just a fool for an aesthetic. The amount of black fluff I was just able to remove from this rug was a) disgusting and b) glorious. If you have sheddy animals in your life, definitely grab one of these guys!

- I wanted to share some final thoughts on Shōgun, if you’ll indulge me. I didn’t realize initially that this was a limited series, so when it came to an end, I actually felt pretty sad to leave all these characters. SPOILERS ahead, so please finish the series and then come back! You don’t want to be spoiled!

The biggest surprise for me with this show was that it felt like every episode was leading up to this great war that, in the end, never actually happened. I have total blue balls about it! That said, the series was a joint Japanese and American production, so who’s to say it was supposed to follow the traditional Western three-act structure? (I know it’s based on a book by an Australian guy, but TV shows have different writers and can take different forms than their original material, we know this, blahblahblah.)

In fact, I started looking into a kind of traditional Japanese story structure called Kishōtenketsu, which is a four-act structure that is built around the reveal of a twist rather than conflict. Shōgun seems to have been written with a blend of both Kishōtenketsu and Western three-act structure, since there is conflict at the center of the story, but the rising action ultimately leads to a twist instead of a climax. I don’t know, is this super boring? I think this shit is fascinating. This is why I love watching non-Western cinema, it blows my head wide open. I love learning about different forms of storytelling, especially as someone who has spent so many years having Western structure drilled into my head. Hero’s Journey this, Hero’s Journey that! Why don’t you take a Hero’s Journey outside and go get us some coffee, eh??

I don’t know about you, but visuals always help me.

I have been thinking so much about the ending of Shōgun and why it was unsatisfying to me, but why that also feels right. Mariko-sama said, “We live and we die,” a line that is repeated throughout the series, and in the end, the ones who died were the ones I thought could not die, while the ones who lived were those I thought could not live. I’ve been thinking about Blackthorne, and how his ending is just… he lives on. Does he ever return home, or does he die in Japan? We don’t have the privilege of knowing, just like how in real life, we don’t have the privilege of knowing the future either. That felt frustratingly right to me.

I have to say, though, I was disappointed by how my man Yabushige went out. My G!! He was finally caught up in his own machinations and forced to bear the consequences. He seemed so invincible, but in the end, he was just a man like any other, not dying in battle or even in a remarkable way like he so wanted. Not even eaten by dogs! That pissed me off, but also, that’s how things happen in life sometimes. Young people die in senseless wars while the men who architect them live to old age. The most special and larger-than-life people end up getting taken out by something mundane and ordinary like cancer. Brilliant musicians kill themselves at 27 while bigots who create nothing but hatred live on for spite. Sorry, I’m not trying to be totally depressing, I’m just saying, life and death are random and unfair, and so they are in Shōgun, too. The only constant is Toranaga, one of the most truly amoral characters I’ve ever encountered. I will be thinking about him, and this show, for a long time.

“We live and we die.” Her words could be the beginning of a great haiku, you know. Or just words, like so many others, washed away by the wind.

Yabushige Shogun tv show

Yabushige, the #1 wild card in my heart forever

- Okay, now that I’ve gotten all intellectual on you, let’s talk about some stupid girlie bullshit!! I have been trying out some new makeup lately and I’d love to tell you all about it, the good, the bad, and the “meh.” First, I purchased two items from the Twilight x ColourPop collab (which was recently restocked), the eyeshadow palette ($24) and the super shock highlighter ($10) in “Meadow,” which is the pink one. I am not a Twilight fan by any stretch of the imagination–I think my husband and I got drunk and watched the first movie and laughed our asses off, and I tried to read the first book and thought it was terribly written. I’m not saying this to brag about how cool I am, by the way, I am a dork for a lot of shitty content. I watched True Blood way too long before giving up, for example! This is just to say, I was more interested in the collection for the moody, cool-toned aesthetic than out of any reverence for the movie.

I am sorry to say that I do not think either item I purchased is very good. I mostly bought the palette for that shimmery forest green in the center (“Lion & Lamb”), which I thought was such a unique color. I was hoping it would have a bit of gold sparkle or shift to it, but it is very flat and lackluster, even with glitter primer (which I usually lay down when I really want a shimmer to pop–pro tip from Theresa Is Dead). I am still looking for the perfect forest green shimmer!

Twilight x ColourPop palette

Mid.

And the highlighter is also disappointing, less shifty and more just full of pink sparkles. I like highlighters that catch the light because they’re shiny and shimmery, not sparkly or glittery. (And now the last remaining dude has unsubscribed from my newsletter. Fare thee well, sir! Everyone else: sorry for making you dumber for reading this!) For a true duochromatic pink highlighter, I love the Space Age highlighters ($36) at Kaleidos (the pink one I personally have was discontinued, but they are all amazzzinggg quality), or this Aesthetica Starlite highlighter ($25) in “Cosmos” (it looks flat in those photos, but it has a gorgeous champagne-to-pink shift). Sometimes you can get the Aesthetica one on a discount if you have a Boxycharm/Ipsy account.

One new product I bought recently and LOVE is the Rare Beauty powder blush ($26). I know their liquid blush is their most popular product, but I’ve never tried one because I’ve heard they’re super pigmented, and I’m pretty pale, and I don’t trust myself to not end up looking like a clown. I also just think it’s more fun to apply makeup when you can build up pigment slowly. Who wants to put two tiny dots of blush on their face and be done? Not me! I like the process of putting on makeup. I enjoy the blending and layering.

As usual, I digress. The new Rare Beauty powder blushes are “luminous,” almost more of a cross between a blush and a highlighter (some people call that a “blushlighter,” but let’s not force it). If you want your face to beam and catch the light like a beautiful Italian Renaissance cherub, this is for you!! I have mine in the peachy shade “Joy,” which I think from seeing swatches of all of them on YouTube is probably the most light-catching. Beam me up, Scotty!

This was me testing the Twilight palette (meh) and Rare Beauty powder blushes (YEH)

I have some texture on my cheeks from years in the trenches with acne (shoutout to my fellow Tret vets!), but I don’t find that this powder especially emphasizes it. Also, because it’s a blush/highlighter hybrid, I place it a little higher on my cheeks, so that helps. Also also, I don’t really give a fuck if people who look at my face notice that it has texture??? Like, whatever. I’m not getting any younger, I’m going to shine like the top of the Chrysler building as long as I can, fine lines and acne scars be damned! (That said, I do use filters on Instagram, LOLOLOL. 🤡 I just don’t think we want true verité in an Instagram close-up, do we? I’m trying to look cute in a makeup pic, not win an Oscar for a gritty character performance. I don’t need you to look at my selfie and be able to count how many glasses of water I’ve had that day. Let’s be cool.)

One more makeup item: how has it taken me this long to rave about the Haus Labs foundation?? It’s $45, which I know is an investment for a lot of people these days, but I will say I bought my bottle at the end of last October and it’s still going strong six months later. It’s a pretty substantial bottle, and I love that it comes with a pump dispenser. Here’s the weird thing: I’ve heard a lot of beauty YouTubers with dry skin say they love this foundation, but I have oily skin, and I still have to use a hydrating primer with this stuff because otherwise it can sometimes emphasize any dry spots I have. (I love the First Aid Beauty coconut primer when I need hydration–it’s $32 but lasts forever.)

This foundation just lays so lovely on the skin. It’s a true medium coverage that is buildable to a high medium. (Is that a thing? Idk, I’m making it up. Like blushlighter.) I would say the finish is like a soft or satin matte. I can definitely build up the glow depending on what I layer under or over it. Same goes for the matte-ittude.

One skin/body care item that I’m loving lately is e.l.f.’s acne-treating body mist ($12). I feel like I’ve been waiting for this product all my life. Somebody cue Phil Collins!! I wish I had this back when I was getting married and yes, going to wear a strapless dress (basic), and the possibility of bacne was causing me so much anxiety. Then again, everything caused me anxiety back then, because I wasn’t on medication! Hey-oh! (Someday I’ll write about how obsessed I also got with not having tan lines, and how for months leading up to the wedding, I went on long walks around Los Angeles in a tube top. Deranged. Engaged people are deranged, is the takeaway here. Please preemptively forgive your engaged friends for anything weird they might do. They can’t help it. Everyone around them has decided to lose their minds.)

Alright darlings, that’s enough girlie bullshit for now. And that’s it for me this week!

If you have a second, I’d love it if you’d like or comment on this post–just click this link to go to the post page.

Until next time—wings over nest.

Love,

Liz

XOXO

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