Beauty: shimmering smokey eye with blue tightlining

Today, I'm sharing a recent beauty experiment with you guys that had an unexpectedly lovely result. I was sent some of the new Yves Rocher 100% Intense Kajal colours to review, and that review is coming up once I've tried all the shades. For now, I'm just showing you this one look I put together when trying the Bleu Indigo kajal. I paired it with flawless skin (THANKS REVLON), subtle pink/mauve lips, and glossy smokey eyes. I feel like the look is more versatile than you'd expect, appropriate for a night out but also for the daytime. My deepset eyes allow me to rock a smokey eye without looking like a panda, so I guess I'm lucky like that. Very different from my usual make up routine, but I liked it so much I'm pretty sure I'll revisit this look in the future. Check it out!

beauty tutorial: shimmery smokey eye with blue kajal tightlining

Products used:

- Maybelline Volum' Express mascara
- Catrice Ultimate Stay lip liner in Mauve me, tender, used as lipstick
- Yves Rocher Intense kajal in Bleu Indigo on te waterline, and below

beauty tutorial: shimmering smokey eye with blue tightlining

Definitely an easy look to put together that nevertheless packs a lot of punch. Let me know if you like it! :-)

Outfit: Feminine casual in Bench and Nike Roshe Runs

feminine casual outfit: leather jacket, nike roshe runs
feminine casual outfit: leather jacket, nike roshe runs
diamanti per tutti circle of life ring
feminine casual outfit: nike roshe runs, and other stories handbag
feminine casual outfit: Bench sweater dress
feminine casual outfit: and other stories handbag, bench sweater dress
feminine casual outfit: bench sweater dress, leggings, nike roshe runs
sweater dress, leggings: c/o Bench - leather jacket: Henley's - sweaters: Nike Roshe Runs - handbag: & Other Stories - necklace: Lobogato - rings: Diamanti Per Tutti

On the weekends, you rarely spot me in something other than a pair of leggings (uhm, except, like, tops. Don't be a perv). What can I say, the garment has won my heart many times over, and is the best next thing after bare legs when it's too cold not to cover up. The best thing about leggings is that it's pretty easy to incorporate them into a number of different looks while still keeping comfort your number one priority. For example, I think my leggings look very cool in this feminine sportswear ensemble, with my trusty Nike Roshe Runs, and this snuggly Bench sweater dress. The leather accents and the cropped jacket keep the outfit from being too casual. I could totally be some cool kid hacker slash cyber terrorist who also does parkour. You know? That sort of vibe. But way less athletic.

Beauty review: Philosophy Purity, Hope in a Jar and When Hope is Not Enough

Hi guys! I received some Philosophy samples to review for your sake, and I used them for a month because that's how long it takes for your skin to renew. Read on for my experiences with these products!

First up: Hope in a Jar, a favourite among people-in-the-know for
- moisturizing
- containing antioxidants, which supposedly fight aging and reduce skin irritation
- and gently exfoliating the skin by use of lactic acid, which basically helps removing dead skin cells
- which leaves your skin smooth and glowing

Hope in a jar is also available for dry or oily/combo skin, and in a night cream version. I used the original, for normal skin, and a 60ml jar retails at around 40€ at Ici Paris XL.

philosophy hope in a jar review

Hope in a Jar has an amazing texture, unlike other moisturizers I've tried: airy, whipped, truly melting into the skin after seconds. I felt like as a moisturizer, it was just a bit too light for my winter skin, but I bet I'd love this during the summer when my skin is just a bit less 'thirsty' :-)
The smell is polarizing, as a simple google search might tell you, but I really liked it: medicinal, with a slight hint of lavender. Another commonly heard downside is the packaging: a jar. Not very hygienic (although that can be remedied by using a spatula which you clean after every use), and everytime you open the jar, oxygen touches the active ingredients and makes them lose their efficacy. I would prefer this in a tube, or with a pump dispenser.
I definitely noticed the lactic acid, as my skin tingled after use for the first 10 days or so. Take care in keeping this one away from your eye contours, because it made my eyes tear up now and then. I also noticed some mild irritation and breakouts during the first week of use, which was probably related to the exfoliation. I used up this 30ml jar after a month of AM and PM use, so I could use the normal, 60ml size container for two months if used twice a day, or four months if used just in the AM. That makes the 40€ price tag not so extravagant, but still more than I spend now.

philosophy when hope is not enough serum review

Second: When Hope is Not Enough serum. You have to know one thing about me: I love serums. I find them luxurious, and a good serum has an instant effect on my skin, leaving it pampered, smooth, hydrated and basically looking like I've just come back from a relaxing vacation. This serum is no different. It has a thick, almost gel-like formula which reminds me of Estée Lauder's Advanced Night Repair (which is amaaaazing and I would swim in it daily if I had the money), and a spicy scent that I really liked. A 30ml bottle retails at 40€ at Ici Paris XL, which is quite expensive seeing as this 11ml bottle lasted me about 10 days of daily use. Serums are not a budget product, and I feel like you definitely get what you pay for, but the question is whether plump, firm skin fits in your budget.

Philosophy purity made simple cleanser review

Third, Purity made simple, a 3-in-1 cleanser. Let me come out and say it straight away: I love this product. I've never met a facial wash that was mild enough for me to rub it into my eyes without any trouble, and it leaves my skin feeling soft and clean but not dry or sensitive. If I use it in the shower, it removes all traces of even the heaviest eye make up without a problem. If I use it with a washcloth, I usually start with an oil based eye make up remover (because I wear a lot of make up :-D), but it still removes my face make up better (and gentler) than anything else I've tried. Purity contains essential oils to soothe the skin, smells subtly like lavender, and retails at 20€ for a 240ml bottle. My 90 ml bottle is still 1/3rd full after a month of use, so I think that that's great value for money. Using Purity has also greatly reduced the amount of irritation I've experienced after using heavier foundations like my Revlon Colorstay. I'm pretty sure I'll keep buying this product!

philosophy hope in a jar before after review

In these pictures, I'm wearing no make up. The left is from before starting the trial run, the second is from after a monht of use. As you can see: my skin isn't suddenly flawless, but the change is definitely noticeable: the redness in my cheeks has been subdued, just a tad. The rosacea has become less angry. Additionally, the overall amount of redness in my face has diminished. Something that is harder to show in pictures, is that my skin feels very smooth, although you can sort of see the change in texture along my chin and forehead. I also think that the laugh lines along my eyes are slightly less noticeable, but they weren't very pronounced to begin with.

All in all, the difference might not be as huge as I'd hoped it would be, but I think I should know better than to expect miracles from skincare when it comes to solving complexion issues I've had ever since my teens (ugh, hormones amirite). One major message I'd like to impart on everyone, is that spending more money on skincare or make up won't necessarily solve all of your (beauty) issues, but the right products can definitely make a difference that might be worth it, depending on your spending-priorities. If you have rosacea and if this is bothersome to you, Hope in a Jar is worth a trial run.
In sum: I totally understand why people love Philosophy products. Not many things feel as luxurious as pampering yourself with a daily skincare routine that consist of products that are as acclaimed as these, especially when you actually notice that the products improve your complexion. I might just buy another jar to see if prolonged use would make an even bigger change.

Have you tried Philosophy? Any experiences to share, or skincare recommendations? I'm all ears!

Life lately: what it's like working on a PhD

It's high time I share some updates on my professional life with you guys. You might know I'm working on a PhD in Communication Studies at the university of Antwerp. I'm almost six months into my second year (two more years to go after this one ends), and I feel like I'm really coming into my own after a first year which was largely filled with self-doubt.

Writing a PhD is not easy. It will confront you with a lot of your insecurities. You will learn to deal with mostly (but not always!) constructive criticism, and with oscillating between days of empty idleness and months of seemingly endless, repetitive tasks. You will discover a need for the relaxing power of a glass of wine after a long day of work. You will learn how true the words in this image are.

Spoiler alert: so true. And yes, at times, you might feel like you are throwing four years of your life away.

But it will all be worth it when you are accepted for your first international conference, or when you receive your first publication confirmation. The feeling of validation that comes from someone official telling you that people want to hear from you, that what you're doing has significance - that's pretty awesome. And it will make you feel so grateful toward the people who helped mentor you, streamlining your work along the way.

Presenting our research at the Etmaal of Communicatiewetenschap 2015 - apologies for the crappy picture quality!

I don't mean to brag, but I've been on a roll lately. Remember when I told you about submitting my work to a conference taking place in Puerto Rico come May? Well... I was accepted! I feel so incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to present my work at such a dream location. I mean, San Juan. Seriously.

Safe to say, I'm not complaining. It will also be the first time I board a plane in over ten years, and I'm a bit nervous (which will get worse as May gets closer) but mostly very, very excited. My PhD is giving me all these opportunities I would never have had otherwise. Better yet, my boyfriend is accompanying me on the trip! We had been playing with the idea ever since we heard about the conference, and after I got accepted, we went back and forth contemplating whether we could afford it an whether it would be a good idea. And then one day I just looked him in the eye and said "I think we should do it", and he agreed. Definitely us at our most impulsive! So apart from attending conference sessions during the day, I will be enjoying sunsets on the beach with my love. I seriously can't believe how lucky I am.

I feel like 2015 is going to be my year. Now if only I can figure out how to look professional at the tropical temperature of 30°C... But that's subject matter for another post :-)

Do you have any (professional or otherwise) goals for 2015? 

Beauty: vampy cat eye with defined crease

Last Saturday was Valentine's day, and we had a date night planned on Sunday to celebrate. We're not super into Valentine's, but I was feeling romantic so I just jumped on the opportunity to be extra loving and make the weekend a special one. I also made my man two big trays of tiramisu which he cleared in less than two days. That's our kind of romance!

I had been checking out beauty blogger instagram feeds (I'll do a recommendation post, promise!), so I was feeling inspired to go all out with my make up for our date night. Now, this is a much bigger look than I usually wear, and I had never worked with a defined crease before, so I blended downward way too much which made the end result less sharp and defined than I would like. But I still looked super hot, especially when I had my eyes open. And eyes are generally open anyway, so all in all this was a success. Also, I learn from my mistakes, so my next defined crease make up look will be even better!

Let me know what you think, or if you want any pointers :-)

make up tutorial: vampy cat eye with defined crease

Products used:
- Diorshow Khôl pencil in Smoky Black blended into the crease and along the lower waterline
- Catrice Ultra Fine Ink eyeliner
- Maybelline Volum' Express mascara

Hope you like my look! What did you do/wear for Valentine's day? :-)

Outfit: circle Skirt, Plaid and Daniel Wellington

outfit: circle skirt, plaid shirt, knee high boots
outfit: circle skirt, plaid shirt, knee high boots
diamanti per tutti circle of life ring, daniel wellington classic sheffield lady watch
Daniel Wellington Classic Sheffield Lady watch, plaid shirt
Daniel Wellington Sheffield Lady watch, The Serpents Club Claude necklace
outfit: plaid shirt, circle skirt
outfit: circle skirt, plaid shirt, knee high boots

coat: c/o Choies - plaid shirt: c/o Sheinside - skirt: Forever21 - boots: Mano - watch: c/o Daniel Wellington - Claude necklace: c/o The Serpents Club - rings: Diamanti Per Tutti

I should really wear this skirt more often, especially now that it's so cold outside. I love how full it is, and the fabric keeps my legs toasty warm even if I'm wearing thin nylons. And it was super cold when we took these pictures, so the extra warmth of the skirt plus the longsleeve I was wearing underneath my plaid shirt was very welcome. I really like how the feminine looks against the more casual plaid. This entire outfit strikes me as something Carrie Bradshaw might have worn. Probably with more accessories, though (earmuffs, belt, layered necklaces: something like that).

You might have noticed my new watch making an appearance on my instagram feed: I'm completely in love with my classic Daniel Wellington Classic Sheffield Lady piece. It goes with all of my outfits, the leather strap is super comfortable, and it lends a lovely menswear/preppy vibe to my look. If you've been looking for a new, classic watch, now's the time: the people behind the brand offered my awesome readers a custom discount code for 15% off: stylingdutchman which is valid until the 15th of march. The Classic Sheffield Lady also comes in rose gold, by the way, so you can pick a metal shade that suits your colouring. Let me know if you buy one, for you or for someone special!

Love: 10 things I've learned during 10 years with my boyfriend

  us when I was a wee 17-year-old - photo quality used to be so baddd

I met my boyfriend when I was 16, and we started dating a few months later (check out this post about our lovestory). Right now, I'm 27. Some simple math will tell you that we've been together for over ten years, and in those ten years, I've learned a thing or two about relationships. Or, well, about our relationship. After all, not all relationships are the same.  But you might read something useful, or recognize something and not feel so alone. Read on to learn about the 10 things I've learned during 10 years with my boyfriend! :-) This will be a long read, so prepare.

1) How to deal with disagreements or fights.

When you just start dating, you don't really have future fights on your mind. You will fight, though, trust me on that. There will be moments when your priorities don't align, when small things become big things, when one of you two acts like an asshole or when life in general throws you curveballs. When that happens, try to not engage in a fight until your feelings have cooled down enough to be rational. This is important, because otherwise you will end up fighting about details rather than discussing the big picture and looking for a solution. Also, allow your partner to do the same. Not everyone needs the same amount of cool-down-time, and fights should be based on mutual respect for each other's boundaries. Don't force someone to engage when they aren't ready to do so.
Then, ask yourself whether the issue at hand is worth the fight, because this should not just be about venting, or about affirming your authority. And if you feel like the problem is big enough to start a fight about, keep your priorities straight. This isn't about winners or losers or about coming out on top - remember: you two love each other. You are on the same team, and you want the other person to be happy. When you keep this in mind, your fight will always be constructive rather than destructive.

 this was a very serious fight

2) You don't always have to go 50/50

Relationships are about supporting one another, not about always splitting the bill 50/50, whether it comes to household chores or to paying for dinner. This isn't a business, this is family. Of course, that doesn't mean that you should give and give without expecting anything in return. Just trust your partner to show their support at their own time rather than demanding it at your convenience. If you base your relationship on calculations and quid pro quo rather than trust and respect, you will lose some of the magic in the process. And if you have a hard time trusting your partner to be there for you when it comes down to it, maybe you have to reassess your relationship altogether rather than bullying them into giving back. If you feel like your relationship is fundamentally unbalanced and you are being taken advantage of, I refer you to lesson number 1.

3) Keep fighting to break down those walls

One of the most difficult balances to strike, is the one between a right to privacy versus knowing your partner through and through. Most people have some things they are ashamed of, or things they just don't feel comfortable sharing. Maybe you've been hurt before, and you just want everything to be perfect this time around. Thing is, you've got to let people in. Talking about your flaws, insecurities, or secrets will bring you closer, and it will force you and your partner to assess whether your love is real, or whether you just love an idealized version of each other. My boyfriend is not someone who enjoys being vulnerable, so sometimes I have to forcefully push him out of his comfort zone. It's not an easy thing to do, but it has always resulted in our relationship becoming even deeper. Tread with care, though, you can't force someone to trust you.

trust me, that hat looks great on you

4) Learn to recognize - and cope with - differences

You will not always have the same dreams. You will not always think about things the same way. You will not always feel the same way. You will not always have the same priorities, or like the same things. You are two different people, and you do not need to be in perfect agreement all the time to make a great couple. Allow your significant other some room to be a person rather than brushing over the things that make you two unique.

I'm an extrovert, he's an introvert

5) Don't allow yourself to feel superior - or inferior

Throughout life, you are the person you know the very best. Your longtime partner probably comes second. I sometimes feel like my boyfriend is part of me, just because that feeling of closeness compares to nothing else (except maybe having a kid). And you know that saying, "we are our own worst critics"? Yeah, in my experience I can also be pretty critical of my boyfriend. I'm a perfectionist, and I set myself some very high standards. That can be bothersome in its own right, but it gets especially annoying when I do the same to my boyfriend. Comparing him to me, and being annoyed whenever he does not measure up to the unrealistic standards I set for myself, that's just a bad idea all around. There's a difference between knowing you deserve a great guy, and not cutting your great guy some slack from time to time.

 my halloween costumes are generally superior, though

6) Be an adult, and demand the same in return

As much as you should cut people some slack: I'm a responsible adult. I deal with stuff, I handle my shit. People can count on me. I expect the same from my boyfriend. If you are not mature enough to take care of yourself, you are not ready to be in a serious relationship. When your significant other is acting immature, you don't have to just accept that shit because you "love them".

this is what two adults look like

7) Talk about finances

This is something people (and romcoms) don't prepare you for: money is important in a relationship. We aren't just a romantic unit, we also share a household, and a future. My boyfriend and I have a shared  bank account for groceries, bills and all the purchases that benefit our family unit. We both make contributions to this account, proportionate to our monthly income. I know that this point sort of contradicts what I said about things not having to be 50/50, but that was about the small stuff, not about the household. Your household is like a small business, and it needs clear management to thrive. This eliminates frustrations about money. And believe me, you will fight over money if you don't make clear arrangements. My boyfriend is a spender and I am a saver, so keeping our personal finances as separate as possible really is the best solution. Also, we live in the 21st century, man, and I don't see why two people should totally merge their finances. Or their facebook accounts, for that matter.

8) Don't forget why you fell in love

At first, you like everything about your partner. Later on, you get to know their flaws. Even later on, you can easily slip into taking the good things for granted, and only noticing the negatives. That's the downside to feeling like your partner is an extension of yourself: you forget about their wonderful individuality, the thing that drew you in in the first place. Take a conscious step back to notice their sense of humour, their keen wit, their giving nature, their beautiful way of phrasing things - just listing up all the things that made you fall in love in the first place will probably want to pinch yourself about how lucky you are to have landed such a catch.

 we fell in love because we are both made up of equal parts goofy and annoyed

9) Accept their flaws - and yours

Like I said, I'm a perfectionist. So many points in this list boil down to me being a perfectionist. But people aren't perfect. Your lover isn't perfect. The longer you spend with someone, the better you get to know them. Makes sense, right? But being in a relationship also makes you do a lot of introspection, because your partner will push back when you're being an asshole, and vice versa. Everytime you have a disagreement with your partner, you will reassess your priorities: is this really important to me, or am I just holding on to old baggage? Point is: you will know yourself - and your partner - better than you did before. You will not like everything, and that's completely okey. No one ever said that relationships should be rainbows and butterflies all the time. You're allowed to be a dick from time to time, and so is your partner. And in the end, it all comes down to my last point.

10) Know your priorities

My list sounds very negative: being annoyed with one another, accepting their flaws, not expecting them to be your soulmate in that romantic ideal way. But hidden beneath all of that talk about not expecting too much is my own set of priorities. I don't care if my boyfriend loves the same movies as I do, and I know that he can be a douche from time to time. It bothers me that he can't cook (like, at all). But for me, the most important thing about our relationship boils down to four things: we have a lot of fun together, I find him attractive, I trust him to be there for me, whenever, and I know that he loves me, flaws and all. That's all. And as long as those four things are true, all the other small things are just that: small things.

10 things I've learned during 10 years with my boyfriend

PS: if someone is still looking for a Valentine's day gift to give me (whether you are my boyfriend, a secret admirer or my Zalando delivery guy) - I could settle for either of this King Louie wrap dress in a size small/36.

Outfit: turtle neck layers, black mini skirt

outfit: grey winter coat, over the knee boots, plaid scarf
turtle neck, boxy sweater, mini skirt
outfit: mini skirt, over the knee boots
outfit: grey winter coat, over the knee boots, plaid scarf
lobogato necklace, and other stories handbag, mini skirt
outfit: grey winter coat, over the knee boots, plaid scarf

coat: H&M - sweater: Forever21 - skirt: Mango - Boots: Novi Due - handbag: And Other Stories - double faced plaid scarf: Sheinside - necklace: Lobogato
pictures by Raya

Being a styleblogger who also has a regular job, you're always hustling to find time and opportunity to take outfit pictures. Especially during winter, when you spend all day at work and when it's dark before you make it home. These days, I usually pop out for a bit during my lunchbreak and do a quick photoshoot with whoever is interested. Last week, I got together with Raya for the first time - lovely girl, lovely blog. Great way to meet new people as well! 

The outfit is quite similar to my last one: black, grey and my over the knee boots. I added a tiny bit of colour though, the reverse side of this cool plaid scarf is navy and forest green, which looks lovely when it peeks out. I'm wearing my favourite winter coat again, and I'm forever indebted to Paulien for alerting me to it being on sale last year. It's been my go-to coat for the past months, as it goes with literally everything, and the light grey is a nice change from all the black I wear these days.

In sum: I'm grateful to know so many cool people! Hope you like the outfit :-)

Beauty: Bobbi Brown Illuminating Nudes White Sand review

Hi guys, today I'm showing you a product from Bobbi Brown's new Illuminating Nudes collection: sparkle eyeshadow in White Sand. I was very excited to try it out because it's the first Bobbi Brown product I've tried, and the brand is a beauty blogger favourite. Read on to see if my expectations were met! 

Bobbi Brown sparkle eyeshadow in white sand: swatches and review

The Illuminating Nudes collection is all about soft, natural shades that brighten up your face without overpowering your features. I've been seeing a lot of natural, sheer make up looks for Spring 2015, so one of the trends for this season definitely seems to be a return to a bare faced look. I'm not sure how I feel about that yet, with my colouring (pale skin with quite some redness, very dark hair) I feel washed out when I'm not adding some contrast to my face. I'm better at rocking the au naturel look when I'm sunkissed. But your mileage may vary.

Bobbi Brown sparkle eyeshadow in white sand: swatches and review

And here is Bobbi Brown's sparkle eyeshadow in White Sand. BB's Sparkle Eyeshadows are all about light, sheer application, and a unique shine that comes from a mix of shimmering pearl and fine sparkle. Excuse the smudged product - I couldn't contain myself to swatch it before taking some pictures. Either way, you can see the most important things: sleek packaging, and a beautiful, champagne colour.

Bobbi Brown sparkle eyeshadow in white sand: swatches and review

Swatched, the product looks very similar to Dior's Fusion Mono in 621 Mirror: a sheer wash of shimmer that can be worn subtly on its own, or as a top layer over another colour. White sand is more cool toned than Mirror, and I find the product harder to work with: Mirror basically feels like a pillowy mousse, while White Sand is a dense powder. I prefer Mirror's consistency, White Sand applies too sheer for me and requires more work. This is as much as I can build it, by the way, while Mirror is more buildable.

Bobbi Brown sparkle eyeshadow in white sand: swatches and review
Bobbi Brown sparkle eyeshadow in white sand: swatches and review

And this is what it looks like on the eye. I do appreciate how subtle the sparkle is - if there ever was a classy glitter, this is what it would look like. From afar, it almost gives the eye a wearable, non-sticky wetlook.

All in all, it's a lovely product if you like working with neutrals, but I'm curious to see what else Bobbi Brown has to offer, since this eyeshadow doesn't bowl me over. Now, this Bobbi Brown Lilac Eyeshadow however? Love at first sight. 

Here are some more pictures of my mug because my make up and hair were on point.

Bobbi Brown sparkle eyeshadow in white sand: swatches and review
wearing my gorgeous new c/o Daniel Wellington watch - in love

Bobbi Brown sparkle eyeshadow in white sand: swatches and review
Bobbi Brown sparkle eyeshadow in white sand: swatches and review

- Maybelline Volum' Express mascara
- Catrice Ultra Fine Ink eyeliner
- Bobbi Brown sparkle eyeshadow in White Sand

God, I'm so high maintenance.

The Illuminating Nudes collection is sold at Bobbi Brown Brussels, Smets Brussels, Parfuma Antwerp and Parfuma Wijnegem. The sparkle eyeshadow retails at 31.50€.
What do you think? Are you liking the look of Bobbi Brown's White Sand sparkle eyeshadow?