Tutorial: dark red smokey eye

I remember visiting my brother in the US when I was sixteen, and going to an American mall for the first time in my life. Obviously, being the special snowflake teenager I was at the time, I was especially excited at visiting Hot Topic. I actually think I remember most of what I bought there: a Happy Bunny baby tee, hair chopsticks and two eyeshadow mono's: one matte black, and one matte burgundy.

Yeah, I was a total badass. 

Anyhow, recently I was thinking "hey, what ever happened to red eye make up?" since I used to be super into the look. It looks kind of subversive, doesn't it? Like the reverse of black lipstick. That probably doesn't make any sense, but let me explain: red is supposed to go on the lips and black is supposed to go on the eyes, so if you swap the two it's a total mindfuck! Okey not really, but it's not a look you see everyday.  

Now, I didn't go for black lips today, but I really love how this first try at doing red eye make up came together. I did a makeshift job at it because I actually haven't bought red eyeshadow in AGES, so what you see here on my eyes is a mix of pink powders, burgundy lipgloss, kohl pencil and a glittery highlighter. Let me convince you that red eyeshadow can look mighty fine!

tutorial: dark red smokey eye

I think the colours are very flattering against my fair skin and dark hair, and the whole look has a sort of vampire-like glamour that really brings out the green in my eyes. Let's go in for a closer look so you can try this for yourself.

tutorial: dark red smokey eye

What I did: dark red lipgloss all over the eyelid (also functioning as a primer to make the colour more intense), medium pink in the inner corners, some of the leftover burgundy eyeshadow from Hot Topic (seriously!) in the outer corners, highlighter all over the eyelid and kohl in the outer corners, blended upwards into the crease. On the lips, I'm wearing Wet n Wild Cherry Bomb.

Let me know what you think of the look, and have a lovely weekend!

Knits, floral and over the knee boots

outfit: vintage fur coat, cropped sweater, pom pom hat, floral skirt
fluffy pom pom hat, vintage fur coat
outfit: vintage fur coat, and other stories handbag, over the knee boots
novi due over the knee leather boots
outfit: cropped sweater, pom pom hat, floral skirt
and other stories handbag, naf naf floral skirt
outfit: cropped sweater, pom pom hat, floral skirt

cropped sweater: OASAP - floral skirt: c/o Naf Naf - coat: vintage - fluffy pom pom hat: Oakwood via Company - handbag: & Other Stories - boots: Novi Due
Pictures by Maya

I don't think I've shown you these boots yet, they are handmade leather italian boots, and I bought them at -50% off in the sales: score! I'd been looking for a new pair of comfortable, low heeled, black leather boots for a while, and these ticked all the boxes. They fit my thin calves, and I love how the shaft ends just at the knee, which is a very flattering look on me, so prepare to see these often! My old pair of all purpose low heeled black leather boots had seen better days, which is not surprising as I've worn them regularly for 6 winters, so I felt like I needed to replace them for work and nice occasions. 
As much as I love the skirt and its delicate mix of white and pale pink flowers on a quilted charcoal base, I still feel weirdly self conscious when wearing a sweet floral print like this. I hardly wear prints these days, and if I do I usually keep the rest of my outfit very minimal because I don't want to end up looking too twee. I'm almost 28 after all! HA sometimes I ask my boyfriend or his kids whether I'm 27 or 28 because I seriously have some issues remembering my age. Totally ridiculous. But anyhoo, in retrospect I'm not 100% sold on this outfit. I feel like the fluffy pom pom hat pushes it too far into twee territory to match my current style. Or my sweater should have matched the hat to make it all a bit more polished.


What do you think? Too twee for my style now, or am I just being ridiculous? Or option C: all of the above?

Beauty: Mac Diva dupe - Wet n Wild Cherry Bomb

One thing you might not know about me (unless you know me pretty well in real life), is that I'm a totally obsessive person. I mean, I won't stalk you or sniff your underwear or anything (seriously), but I will admit to falling in love with the look or even the idea of a certain item, and then spending weeks googling, comparing and trying out different options. Case in point: dark red lipstick. I convinced myself that MAC's Diva lipstick was the definite burgundy lipstick for me, but then TRAGEDY struck: it was sold out everywhere (blame the current 90s trend), even online. And I failed at finding a suitable alternative anywhere - ugh! Finally, after a month of waiting, I bit the bullet and ordered Wet N Wild's Cherry Bomb off of Amazon (also available for just $1.99 from Kmart). The brand is not sold in Belgium (double ugh!), but in the end I only paid about 6€ to have it shipped here. As it really is great quality for a drugstore lipstick, I still think it's a bargain! Check it out.

mac diva dupe review: wet n wild cherry bomb

In direct light, the colour is a deeply saturated red with a soft satin finish. In the shade, it darkens to a black cherry shade: definitely a statement lip, but still very wearable if you ask me. Especially if you are dark haired.

mac diva dupe review: wet n wild cherry bomb

The packaging isn't great: the lipstick doesn't retract into the tube totally, so if you're not super careful, you'll always get some lipstick smushed on the inside of the clear plastic cap. However, YOLO and this lipstick is so worth it. The shape is different from most lipsticks: a slanted, round stick, which I actually find very pleasant to work with. It's staying power is pretty great as well. Thumbs up all round!

Now, the proof is in the pudding: is this a perfect dupe? I compared it with a phone picture I took months ago when I tried on Diva in store (when it was still available, triple ugh). This also explains the sort of crappy image quality, as I had to use the same equipment for an honest comparison. Since I don't own MAC Diva myself, I couldn't compare the two as thoroughly as I did for my MAC Velvet Teddy dupe post, but I tried my best!

mac diva dupe review: wet n wild cherry bomb

Verdict: I could have done a better job at painting my lips in the bottom image, but ding ding ding we have a winner! I feel like Cherry Bomb is slightly more glossy, and because of that it also catches the light more and seems slightly less saturated than Diva. Diva also seriously glides on perfectly opaque in one layer, while Cherry Bomb needs a little bit of work. However, the difference is minimal, and I can warmly recommend it as a dupe! Absolutely worth the Amazon order, or the trip to your drugstore if it's sold in your country in case you don't want to spend 18€ on a lipstick, or if you're not sure whether this is a colour you'll wear often. A low budget trial-run, in a way.

Outfit: knee boots and printed miniskirt

office appropriate outfit: knee boots, sweater, printed skirtknee boots, printed skirt from mango
diamanti per tutti rings
office appropriate outfit: turtle neck sweater, printed skirt
and other stories handbag, printed skirt mango
office appropriate outfit: knee boots, sweater, printed skirt
knee boots, and other stories handbag
office appropriate outfit: knee boots, sweater, printed skirt

sweater: c/o Oasap - skirt: Mango - boots: Mano - satchel: & Other Stories - rings: Diamanti Per Tutti

I'm wearing another very grown up, elegant, feminine outfit, which is a look I've been feeling lately. These knee boots are just SO GOOD and they immediately kick me into a certain mindset.

I spotted the skirt at Mango about two months ago, and I made a mental note to check back during the sales because it's such a cute skirt. I have this one sort of similar flouncy skirt in a multi colour abstract print, and I've gotten SO much wear out of it, so I thought that this one would be a great wardrobe addition. The print on this skirt is sort of like swirling inky smoke, and the mix of neutral shades makes it very versatile. Also, it has pockets. And sure enough, it was there when the sales kicked in! Definitely one of my favourite sales buys.

My weekend has been absolutely lovely, spent getting stuff done, planning this year's vacay (OMG SO EXCITED - more on that later), experimenting with make up, watching good movies and baking pizza. Definitely the kind of weekend that leaves you read to rock the upcoming workweek. Hope your weekend was just as satisfying.

Beauty: Dior Kingdom of Colors review, swatches and tutorial

Today, I'm going to show you some items and looks from the Dior Spring 2015 Kingdom of Colors collection. I received three products to review (YAY) so prepare for some eyecandy! Just check out the campaign image to get a feel for where this is going.

dior kingdom of colors: reviews, swatched and a tutorial

A return of colour to do away with the grey drab of winter, mixing pastels and punchy shades to create something that's halfway between sweet and spicy. This looks very soft in a campaign image, but wearing make up this colourful in real life would definitely make a statement in an '80s bubblegum punk kind of way. 

The images of the collection I've seen online are nothing short of stunning. I love the eyeshadow quints especially, since they look like their pinks and greens would work perfectly for my colouring. You can check out some good swatches here. The pictures I've seen of the House of Greens quint actually made me rediscover green eyeshadow, but more on that later!

Let me show you the products I received: Diorblush in N°873 Cherry Glory - 43,20€, Dior Addict Gloss N°004 Tiara - 31,50€, and Diorshow khôl in N°099 Smoky Black - 23,15€.

dior kingdom of colors blush cherry glory review swatch
dior kingdom of colors blush cherry glory review swatch

Cherry Glory is a coral pink, super pigmented blush without any discernible shimmer or sparkle. Definitely use a light hand with this one if you're fair skinned, but if you use it correctly it's the kind of colour that strikes a lovely balance between catching the eye and looking natural. Flushed, warm, healthy!

dior kingdom of colors gloss tiara review swatch
dior kingdom of colors gloss tiara review swatch

Then there's this crazy multicolour glitter Dior Addict gloss. When I opened its box, I couldn't help but let out an "ooooooooh", because, well, glitter. So much glitter! It's like a vial of pixie dust! It feels smooth on the lips, none of that gritty feeling cheap glitter glosses tend to have. I imagine this gloss looking stunning layered over any lipstick colour, but it does a great job at making your bare lips eye catchers as well. I haven't been into lipgloss for the past few years, but I've enjoyed adding some variety to my lip arsenal recently. I've been using lip creams and lip lacquers a lot, and this gloss reminds me of stunning pop and RnB diva's from the early 2000s, which is never a bad thing. I'm also considering using it for one of those glossy eyelid looks which I've always loved but never quite mastered myself.

dior kingdom of colors kohl smokey black review swatch
dior kingdom of colors kohl smokey black review swatch

Finally there's the Diorshow Khôl pencil, which is probably my favourite out of the three. I use a kohl pencil almost daily, as a thin, smudged line along the upper and lower outer corners of my eyes. It intensifies my gaze without making my eyes seem smaller, and because I'm quite pale with dark hair, I often feel like my face is too bare without some dark pencil around the eyes. I've been using a cheap Catrice kohl pencil up until now, but I have no qualms about switching over to this Dior product. It glides on like a dream, smudges beautifully without becoming too sheer (pigment for days!), and after you've smudged it, it actually stays put. AND it twists up! I hate sharpening pencils, twisty-up make up pencils 4 life.

And here's the complete look I created with these products. The smokey cat eye is very different from what I usually wear, but it sort of started appearing while blending and I really love the end result - a soft statement. Here's a more detailed look at what I did. The first picture is edited to show the colour application clearly, so you can try it yourself. I only used three products: the Dior khôl pencil, Diorshow Fusion Mono in 621 Mirror, and of course mascara (which I used a bit too much of - woops).

Smokey cat eye with glitter tutorial using Diorshow Khôl

All I did was draw a black line with the kohl pencil along the upper outer corner of my eye, and then I blended it outward and upward with a short, flat rounded brush to form a thick, almost straight line across the eyelid fanning out to the ends of my eyebrows, finishing with a swipe under the eye. Then I swiped the glittery Mirror shadow over my moving eyelid, and marveled at how pretty it looked layered over the khôl. Definitely a look I'll try again!

smokey cat eye tutorial using Diorshow Khôl

Which of these products appeals to you the most?

Outfit: Grey winter layers

warm winter outfit: grey wool winter coat, pom pom hat, chelsea boots
warm winter outfit: grey wool winter coat, fair isle knit, pom pom hat
warm winter outfit: grey wool winter coat, fair isle knit, cheap monday denim
warm winter outfit: grey wool winter coat, fair isle knit, cheap monday denim
warm winter outfit: grey wool winter coat, fair isle knit, cheap monday denim
fluffy pom pom hat
warm winter outfit: grey wool winter coat, fair isle knit

Coat, cross body bag: H&M - Fair Isle knit sweater: vintage - skinny jeans: Cheap Monday - chelsea boots: Kell - fluffy pom pom hat:  c/o Oakwood via Company Antwerp
pictures by Charlotte

And once again I succeed at doing a walking picture without looking like a complete ass! VICTORY! Apparently, long coats make walking pictures easier because they hide awkward legs. Just a heads up for those of you willing to try walking pictures. The coat is also pretty great from a practical perspective because it has been SO cold the past days, temperatures hovering around 0°C. In some parts of the world that's probably a mild chill, but it's been two years since it was this cold for so long around here, and I'm having some trouble adjusting. At least that means I can break out this Fair Isle sweater again, one of my few pure wool knits. I can only wear it when it's this cold outside or I sweat my ass off, so I guess that's a good thing.

Uhmmm what else can I tell you. Oh, I went to see Into the Woods yesterday with my mom, my sister and her boyfriend, and I loved it! If you are into musicals, fairy tales and Meryl Streep, I highly recommend it. If you're only lukewarm towards musicals, I would tell you to stay away because the music is very prominent. It's Sondheim, after all. But I thought the acting and singing was top notch, and the story was nicely balanced between dark and funny.

ANYWAY, hope you like the outfit! And if you've seen Into the Woods, come gush with me.

Beauty: How to rock brown lipstick - drugstore options

It started last year, when everyone and their aunt developed an obsession with Kylie Jenner's make up. The main thing that set her make up (and the '90s beauty trend) apart from what had come before, was the emphasis on natural, muted colours that were nevertheless very present. Think of the look as heavy neutral - no bright pops of colour or retro red lips + cat eyeliner, but a play of greys, browns, taupes, mauves and beiges. I was drawn to the look because it works so well with any type of outfit, bringing out your natural beauty while still definitely looking "made up". Professional and grown up with a side of glam.

Think of any of the Twin Peaks babes, or just check out these '90s babes to see what I mean.

90s make up

Soft and neutral but still "done", right? Well, if you want to try this look for yourself, I'm not going to tell you what to do with your eyes, because I feel like this look works best if you just apply a neutral version of whatever make up flatters your eyeshape most - be it a cat eye, a smokey eye, some pencil or just neutral eyeshadow application. Just make sure you do your eyebrows! Check out my easy eyebrow tutorial if needed. Point is, you probably already have some neutral coloured products for your eye look, but your lips are another story.

I remember rolling my eyes at any lip product that came too close to my natural lipshade. My logic being: why bother if it ain't even really a colour? I associated browns, mauves and even soft peaches with older women. Well, turns out older women were right all along (surprise!). I know that a lot of people are still intimidated by these shades, or just plain not interested. And I'm here to try and change your mind.

brown lipstick: review and tutorial

I divided the quintessential '90s lipcolour in three distinct categories, from left to right: nude brown, soft brown and burgundy brown. Depending on your colouring and how heavy a look you aspire to, you can move from left to right to up the ante. Nude brown looks really lovely on anyone, while the burgundy brown would translate to a Lot of Look on a blonde. But as always, your mileage may vary. Either way, you'll look super current.

Over the past few months I picked up some super cheap drugstore items to recreate these looks. Read on for tips and recommendations.

First, the eye make up I'm working with is the type of look I create in the morning whenever I'm in a rush but still want to look nice: neutral eyelid, a bit darker in the corners, some smudged eyeliner and mascara. Easy and very flattering on my eye shape.

easy, flattering eye make up

Staying in your "safe zone" with regards to eye make up also makes a brown lip more easy to stomach when you try it for the first time, because you know you'll look hot anyway.

brown lipstick swatches

The products I'm showing you today, from left to right: Catrice Ultimate Stay Lip Liner in 090 Holly Rose Wood - 2.39€, NYC Expert Last Lip Lacquer in 600 Turtle Bay Toffee - 3.49€, and Hema Longer Lasting Lipstick in 08 - 3.50€.
catrice ultimate stay lip liner holly rosewood review and swatch

Catrice's Ultimate Stay Lip Liner comes in some lovely colours, like this Holly Rose Wood, but I'm not as crazy about it as I was about Catrice's old twist-up lip liner. This one is very matte, yes, and its pigmentation is OK, but the product is stiff and dry and it takes some work to get an even finish. Still, not bad for the price, it could be seen as another low budget Velvet Teddy dupe. This colour basically a more defined version of my own lip colour, and as such very flattering. Would look lovely on anyone who has pale enough skin. You could also layer some clear lipgloss over it to make it more of a "look".

nyc expert last lip lacquer turtle bay toffee

NYC Expert Last Lip Lacquer is definitely my favourite out of this line up, as the formula is deliciously smooth, very pigmented and gives a lovely, even finish. The colour is quite unique as well, and depending on your colouring could lean anywhere from brown to red to rosey - just google some swatches and you'll see what I mean. I love how the colour is pigmented yet muted. I think this colour would be a lovely alternative to your classic retro red on most people, as it is a mature look that is nonetheless very feminine and flattering. It also works absolutely lovely as a smoothing base underneath darker, dry matte lipsticks, as I'm about to show you.

burgundy brown dark red lipstick

Finally, burgundy brown, the colour that packs a punch. To achieve this colour, I layered Hema's Longer Lasting Lipstick over NYC's Expert Last Lip Lacquer, because on its own the lipstick is patchy as. fuck. Very annoying, practically impossible to make it look nice. But the products look gorgeous worn together, so I'm not mad.

This is the most obviously retro look of the three, and a colour I've loved ever since I was a kid. That elusive dark red that does not lean berry/purple remains hard to find among drugstore brands, but this is a pretty okey solution. These pictures make the colour appear cooler toned than in real life, because once again the cold winter light was very blue. Sorry! Burgundy brown looks stunning on darker skincolours as well, Azealia Banks rocks it like no other. A dark colour like this probably needs lip liner or lip pencil to get a flawless application, unless you are really great at make up. Dark lips just don't look right without a clean line.

Have you tried the brown lip trend? Which of these is your favourite?

Burgundy cardigan, pleated plaid skirt

pleated plaid skirt, burgundy cardigan, white cross body bag
plaid skirt, patent boots, burgundy cardigan
plaid skirt, burgundy cardigan, white cross body bag
oversized cardigan, patent chelsea boots
plaid skirt, patent chelsea boots
long layers haircut

coat/cardigan: Sheinside - pleated plaid skirt: vintage - patent chelsea boots: Zara - cross body bag: H&M

GOD, how good does my hair look these days?? Epic haircut, man. I never knew my hair could look this good.

What I did know is that turtle necks, plaid skirts and chelsea boots are an eternal match made in heaven, definitely the type of combination that will never go out of style (knock on wood). I wore this outfit for a day out with my mom and sis: thrifting, grocery shopping, and finally cooking my sister a birthday dinner. It was lovely. The older I get, the more I realize how important family and home are to me, and the better I am at accepting that people aren't perfect, but that that doesn't mean that I love them any less. On the contrary, even.

Personal growth, man. It's a weird thing.

I'm hungry, signing off! Have a lovely Sunday evening.

Make up storage

As life becomes more busy and filled with accomplishments and worries alike, it can really set your mind at ease to sort out your belongings. Getting rid of things you don't use, mending things that need fixing, and organizing the things you use daily. For me, my morning make up routine was one of those things that were in dire need of organizing, as my ever expanding collection of daily products was just creating a mess all over the bathroom counter. After googling, pinning, soaking up inspiration and comparing prices, this is part of my solution.

acrylic make up storage, hand jewelry holder
acrylic make up storage

I ended up buying a lipstick tray over at aliexpress.com, but you can find similar options on ebay. This one was super cheap and arrived about two-three weeks after I ordered it, which was much faster than expected. Great value for money!

Secondly, I bought this acrylic 3 compartment desk box from muji. If you order from Belgium or the Netherlands, I advise you to visit the German website as it delivers for a much lower price than the UK website. Now, my experience with muji has been mixed: the products are lovely, affordable and delivered quickly, however, one of my deliveries (this acrylic drawer box) was damaged, and even though I emailed muji repeatedly over the last ten days, I only received a reply once. They have not yet sent me a return form to allow me to send back the item free of charge, and I will surely not pay to ship back an item that was damaged on its way to me. Hopefully muji will still fix this, but it's not exactly recommendable customer's service.

Finally, the hand jewelry holder you see on the right has been in my possession for a while, ordered via Bol.com's jewelry store. I think it looks lovely, and it's a great way to store -and show off- the pieces of jewelry I wear on heavy rotation.

Doesn't look half bad, does it? How do you organize your make up? Any tips or recommendations, or options on your wishlist?