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Beauty: L'Oreal Paris x Isabel Marant makeup review

Beauty: L'Oreal Paris x Isabel Marant makeup review

Hi dolls, I'm back with a beauty review of the recent L'Oréal Paris x Isabel Marant capsule collection! Isabel Marant is pretty much the epitome of Parisian Cool, representing a relaxed elegance that always manages to look stylish and fresh yet effortless. And that's pretty much what all of my fellow female hustlers want out of their everyday beauty routine, right? This collaboration was sure to spark the interest of many, so I'm happy to let you guys sneak a peek to assess whether you might want to pick up some of these items for your own beautycase.

The collection contains all the basics: a mascara, seven lipstick shades ranging from a rosey nude to a deep wine shade, a liquid blush that doubles as lipgloss, smokey eyeshadow and a highlighter/beautifier. I received the lightest and darkest lipstick shades, the highlighter/beautifier and the lip/cheek gloss. Let's take a closer look!

Beauty: L'Oreal Paris x Isabel Marant makeup review

I quite like the packaging - the shapes we're used to from L'Oréal, in a modern, matte monochrome version that feels luxe but still fresh.

I was most eager to get my grubby little hands on the cheek gloss, so I applied three dots that I worked in by patting them out with my fingertips.

Beauty: L'Oreal Paris x Isabel Marant makeup review
Beauty: L'Oreal Paris x Isabel Marant makeup review

Uhm, love. This is exactly the type of natural glow a lot of highlighters promise but can't achieve, and the gloss totally makes it look like your cheeks are just naturally that perfect pink shade. I would absolutely buy this cheek gloss in more colours - a peachy/orange shade would be so good for fall! The cheek/lipgloss retails at about €11 at Feelunique or €16.99 at Di.

Next, I tried the beautifier/highlighter. I again, I applied it with my fingertips, dabbing it along the bridge of my nose and my cheekbones. The texture was kind of funny, sort of similar to a lip balm but setting to a powder-type finish.

Beauty: L'Oreal Paris x Isabel Marant makeup review

Because of the powder finish and the product being 100% matte, I don't really see a highlighter effect here. The beautifier  aspect is a little vague to me - supposedly it cancels out imperfections, but apart from maybe minimizing pores a bit I don't really see any effect. Not a must have for me, but if you want to give it a go, it retails at about €14 at Feelunique or €16.99 at Di.

Moving on to the lipsticks! 

Beauty: L'Oreal Paris x Isabel Marant makeup review

The typical creamy texture and powdery smell of L'Oréal lipsticks is definitely here. This first lipstick is Bastille Whistle, a beautiful, soft rosey nude that is very close to my own lip colour. Not completely matte, there's still a slight glow there. Lovely shade, great basic to have in your makeup stash!

Beauty: L'Oreal Paris x Isabel Marant makeup review

And this is Belleville Rodeo - can I just say WOW? Such a perfect red wine shade, applying so smoothly and evenly, disguising possible dry patches and brightening my complexion. I completely love it and see this as the perfect lip shade for a night out after a day at the office - no need to add drama to your eye makeup, just add some wine red lipstick and muss up your hair and you're good to go! Totally French girl chic. The lipsticks retail at about €12.90 at Feelunique, or €16.99 at Di.

I have to say this capsule collection is a winner for me. It really embodies everything fans love about Isabel Marant while bringing the quality we appreciate L'Oréal for, at their regular, affordable price point. Definitely check out the gloss, and see if you have any need for a perfect wine red lipstick in your stash.

Let me know if you have any questions!

California roadtrip 2018: Palm Springs

Hi babes! Now that I've settled back into my normal routine, I can't wait to put together a couple of blog posts describing the 3 week roadtrip through California that defined our September 2018. Today I'll talk a bit about the experiences that had the most profound impact on me, the images that will become part of my mental slideshow whenever I need a pick-me-up. Hey, it's healthier than alcohol! A lot more expensive though. But you know that cheesy-but-true Pinterest quote about travel being the only thing you can spend money on that will actually make you richer.

So to sum up our trip, we started out with 5 nights in Palm Springs, before driving up to Las Vegas. The first two nights my guy and me were on our own before our friends arrived, and we spent those days at the Riviera Palm Springs resort. I had gotten a good deal on the hotel wanting to treat ourselves to some luxury after a long trip from Belgium to the desert, but after booking I had read plenty of mixed reviews about the place being run down. 

We arrived with some tired trepidation after hours stuck in traffic (about the last thing you need after a long haul flight), but with a pink sunset in the rear view mirror, Mount San Jacinto ahead and the desert dry heat's embrace all around us, something clicked and all of my doubts just drifted away. I was right to trust our pick because we were told that we had received an upgrade and ended up with the most ginormous, beautiful hotel room ever! A spacious bedroom, a living room, a bathroom with a separate shower and bath, even a breakfast nook and our own little foyer. Insane. Oh, and a balcony boasting a stunning view of Mt San Jacinto! Yes, we were stoked.

This is what a jetlag-laced sunrise looks like from our balcony in Palm Springs. Not half bad, right?

We had decided to keep our first two days in California low key to get over that jetlag and get used to the heat. Most of our time was spent enjoying our hotel's pool, which we were lucky enough to have all to ourselves since summer is actually low season in the desert. Go figure, only crazy Belgians visit Palm Springs when the average daily high is 40°C+. It felt truly luxurious to have two pools, a hot tub and a cocktail bar to our disposal, and nobody we had to share it with.

Of course, we also ventured outside to grab breakfast, visit some of the adorable shops Palm Springs has to offer, and take pictures during golden hour in the desert. Afterwards, we had the best sushi I ever had at Sandfish Sushi & Whiskey restaurant - a huge recommendation on my part. I had a shrimp-coconut sushi roll and it was absolutely divine.

The next morning it was time to check out of our beautiful hotel room and check into our equally gorgeous Airbnb! Also, time to welcome our friends to our midcentury-modern desert paradise. Our pool with backyard and friendly hummingbirds was something out of a dream. It felt like Palm Springs was tailor-made for us, with the radio always playing songs we loved, all the food tasting good, the weather not allowing for anything else but relaxing - and that pool, man. Pools are meant to be enjoyed in the desert.

We dropped a bunch of stuff from our itinerary because we wanted to get the most out of our pool-time, but one thing I had on my bucketlist was galaxy gazing in Joshua Tree park. We could easily combine a nighttime visit to the park with dinner at Pappy & Harriet's in Pioneertown. Very touristy but still incredibly fun, and great food and atmosphere!

But really, nothing compares to the millions of stars in the sky we were able to see in Joshua Tree Park. I could have happily sat there for hours gazing up, finding solace in the infinite depth of space. I also had so much fun experimenting with long exposure to see how I could get the best shots of the starry sky - a once in a lifetime experience that I hope to replicate sooner rather than later! I've already decided that when we return to California, I'm booking a room as soon to Joshua Tree Park as possible so I can make the most of those night skies without having to camp outside. 

BTW, you can simply drive into the park at night without having to pay the regular park fee - good to know!

The next morning it was already time to pack up our bags and set off for Vegas - but not before dropping by Robo Lights, which we randomly stumbled upon last year during our afternoon in Palm Springs. Just one of the many examples of passion/art projects to be found in the desert in California.

We decided to drop by Joshua Tree Park's visitor center on our way to Vegas to buy some souvenirs, and I had the best BLT ever at Joshua Tree Saloon.

As we made our way towards the Mojave desert, the scenery started to change. Even hotter, even less plant life and no real towns to speak of - just grouped mailboxes on the side of the road to testify to the fact that people actually lived somewhere nearby. Pretty mesmerizing to a group of Belgians.

I hope you enjoyed this little photodiary of the first leg of our California trip - more to come soon, I promise!

Beauty: Urban Decay Born To Run palette review

Beauty: Urban Decay Born To Run palette review

Omg you guys I've been gone so long! September 2018 seems to have been cut from my life just because I was travelling through California for three of its weeks, and either stressed out finishing everything up at work or jetlagged for the remainder of the month. I come back from holiday and suddenly it's almost Christmas, say what??

Yeah I'm exaggerating but that's kind of my thing. Comedic hyperbole.

Anyway, I'm back in Belgium after our roadtrip through California, many Euros poorer but also richer in knowledge and experiences. I did not eat as many fish tacos as I had anticipated (only twice), but I did buy more handbags than I had expected (also two). WIN SOME, LOSE SOME.

I've missed my blog and here I am with a new beauty review, arguably my favourite type of post to put together. Today I'm introducing you to the newest hyped Urban Decay palette: Born To Run. Enjoy!

Beauty: Urban Decay Born To Run palette review

Things I love about Born To Run at first glance:

- a lot of value for your money, with 21 shades for about 50€
- a range of eyeshadows that combines wearable neutrals with stronger statement shades
- and, for an Urban Decay palette, relatively many mattes

Things I'm more ambivalent about:

- the colour range seems a bit typical for Urban Decay palettes (strongly revolving around purples, blueish greens and golds
- the way the colours are arranged doesn't inspire me straight away, it takes some thought to think out of the typical box with this palette

Let's get swatching! I swatched the eyeshadows in three goes, one horizontal row from left to right at a time.
Beauty: Urban Decay Born To Run palette review
Beauty: Urban Decay Born To Run palette review
Beauty: Urban Decay Born To Run palette review
Beauty: Urban Decay Born To Run palette review

There's a lot to love here. The shimmers/metallics are gorgeous, creamy and perfectly pigmented in one simple swipe, as we can expect from Urban Decay. The mattes seem to be very pigmented and more loosely pressed than I'm used to from this brand. I prefer more loosely pressed mattes since getting used to ABH's palettes, instead of having to swirl around my brush in the pan. The more work a look requires, the messier/muddier the end result is in my experience. I also like how the colours are very rich and deep.

Of course, a palette proves its worth in using it, so let's go! 

First, I created a bronze/gold look since I'm very into simple gold smokey eyes lately, since getting my hands on the UD Beached Palette (those gold tones are so perfect). I think I used Stranded and Ignite for this look, with some Still Shot and Baja in the crease, and Punk and Jet in the outer corner. To finish, I used Breakaway as a highlight in the inner corner.

Beauty: Urban Decay Born To Run palette review
Beauty: Urban Decay Born To Run palette review

As expected, the shimmers perform great, as do Punk, Jet and Breakaway. I was less impressed with Baja and Still Shot, which somehow seemed to chalky or dry to really "grab" my eyelid without a primer underneath. Adding more eyeshadow just made me blend away what was already there. So definitely use a primer like Primer Potion with these mattes. I usually don't bother with primer anymore because I don't need it with my favourite eyeshadows, and because I prefer showing the performance of a product without any help from a base.

Second, I wanted to get into those plummy purples that are always so popular, and also focus on the mattes since good mattes to me are the benchmark of great palettes. High quality shimmers are relatively easy to find at a lower price point, but for good mattes you have to pay. 

Again, I used Breakaway as an inner corner highlight, and built up Hellride and Guilt Trip for maximum saturation.
Beauty: Urban Decay Born To Run palette reviewBeauty: Urban Decay Born To Run palette review

Am I impressed with the application? Are you? I had to work HARD to get to this level of saturation, using brushes as well as my fingertips, and I still think my eye look is patchy and relatively sheer. I definitely expected more here. Again, the formulation of these mattes seems to require a primer to get to a point of real pigmentation, which always lets me down a bit because I know it doesn't have to be like that. ABH's Modern Renaissance and Subculture never have me bother with primers.

Finally, the look that everyone with this palette seems to do: a mix of warm and cool tones with Still Shot, Baja and Jet along the edges, and Big Sky across the lid.

Beauty: Urban Decay Born To Run palette review

I love the way this look turned out, but my issues with the palette remain so next time I'll use it, I'll revisit it with a primer underneath and maybe try some different brushes to get more out of the shades. I'm eager to play around with Riff, Accelerate and Punk for a grungy autumnal look.

All  in all, I think this palette is great value for money if you want to start a wider collection of shades. The shimmers here are top notch, and some of the (semi-)mattes also perform very good. It probably just won't become a favourite in my collection because I'd sooner grab ABH's Modern Renaissance and Subculture to get a similar range of shades that do not need a primer underneath and are more easily applied to be opaque on the lid.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Edit: I have since applied some of the mattes using a more fluffy, full brush, and this has absolutely boosted their performance. Do play around with different application methods to get the most out of this palette!

Outfit: stripes and beret in the rain

 dress: c/o Signe Nature - stiletto boots: c/o Zinda - handbag: Clemence Flane c/o Ivalo Official - beret: Monki - belt: Gucci - umbrella: from London

It's been ages since I've blogged two posts so quickly in succession, but hey, I loved how these pictures came together: my fake tan was looking good, this dress is super cute, and I could finally use my adorable umbrella as a prop again. We snapped these right after the torrential downpour that seems to reaffirm that fall is definitely ON in Belgium, even though it's only August. Fml. I am happy to be able to bring back my beret collection, though. Perfect topper for any outfit.

How cute is this dress? I don't often wear vertical stripes because I get these prison outfit associations from em, but this particular dress is just too good to pass up on. Perfect for the office - I'll probably wear it for my next client presentation. You know a piece is good when you see yourself wearing it on an important professional moment - power piece. If I were any better at wearing stilettos I'd also totally wear these gorgeous booties, but my feet are total wimps so I'm not even going to try to wear them to an occasion where I'll be standing up for an hour or more. 

Hope you like the look, and enjoy your weekend!