July 26, 2016

Arbonne's Country Garden Palette || The Perfect Palette Project

Hello there!

I wanted to continue talking about palettes, so today I thought I would share my thoughts on Arbonne's Country Garden Palette, which isn't a new palette but one of the few that Arbonne has made. This palette was actually a gift, but I still wanted to share my honest opinion on this palette. I have talked about Arbonne on my blog before, but I haven't tried their products in a while. They are an all-natural brand, and their products are created to look effortless and natural on the skin. And, while I love the idea of effortless makeup, after using this palette I found that the products were too soft to create a look that I would want to wear. Nevertheless, I decided to share photos and swatches of the palette, to give you a full review and breakdown about each product.

I have to start by mentioning one of my favorite parts of this palette, which is the packaging. The palette is slim and has a really nice big mirror, so it's perfect for travel, and the outside of the palette is totally gorgeous, with mint roses and gold foil detailing. I think it is seriously beautiful. The applicator that comes with this palette actually has a small brush on one side, so it could be useful for smudging on the lower lash line or applying product to the inner corner. The Country Garden Palette has a few different versions, so you can grab this one, which is slightly more cool-toned, or one that has much more warm shades and a bright sheer moisture lippy. At first glance, nothing really stood out in this palette to me besides the bronzer, which is a real bronze shade and has quite a bit of shimmer in it. All of the eyeshadows, except for one, appear to be matte, so I was hoping that they wouldn't kick off too much powder when applied. The palette comes with a blush and bronzer duo, four eyeshadows, and one of their sheer moisture lipsticks, which is a pinky nude shade. 

{the blush & bronzer duo}

The part of this palette that I was initially attracted to was the blush and bronzer duo, which comes in the shade summers meadow. I like the look of this bronzer because it had a nice glow, but the blush seemed a bit light for my skin tone. Once I swatched both shades, I realized that the bronzer was more of a bronze eyeshadow than an actual bronzer. Both the blush and the bronzer were decently pigmented, and didn't kick off a lot of powder, but when I applied the bronzer to the face I looked like I had just had a terrible spray tan; the bronzer was too orange and too glittery to look natural. As for the blush, which looked like a nice baby pink, I just thought it was too pale of a pink for my skin, and I don't think that this shade would work on very many skin tones. It was also somewhat metallic, like the bronzer, so it gave you a nice glow; if this could be used for anything, it could be a soft highlighter, but I don't think this a very good blush or highlight. You could also mix the bronzer and blush together for a more wearable blush shade, or for a powder that could add glow to the face, but overall I think you really have to work with this product to get good results. I don't think this duo would look natural or flattering on anyone.

{the eyeshadows}

This palette comes with a quad of eyeshadows, most of which seem to be matte, and all of which have very cool undertones. The shades themselves, on a first look, seem to be really unique, but I found that the quality of the shadows was not very good and did not create a natural, effortless look. Still, I wanted to give you some notes about each shadow, so you know why this quad didn't work:

bluebell: I don't normally wear light blue eyeshadow, so already I knew that this would be a shade that I would not use. Out of the four colors, this one is one of the best, because the pigmentation is somewhat strong and it blends well. However, if you want a matte, light blue eyeshadow, I think there are a lot of less expensive options, so I think you could skip this one.

woodrose: I was actually really interested to try this shadow, because it is really unique and not a shadow that you would normally find in a palette. It is a steel grey shade with blue undertones and a soft shimmer. It doesn't have a lot of fallout, and it is actually pigmented, so I was impressed with this shade. I don't really have that many uses for it in my everyday looks, but if you like a grey shadow and sport a smokey eye on the regular then you might like this shadow.

birch: I was looking forward to trying this shade because it is a medium matte brown shadow, which I think is essential in any eye look and perfect for a palette. This, to me, was the most disappointing part of the palette, because the shadow was flaky and dry, and not pigmented. It blended shadows without adding any warmth or that much color, and I found myself reaching for other medium brown shadows to make up for what this shade was seriously lacking. It was an underwhelming shadow.

willow: A matte cream shadow seems like it would be really easy to get right, but a lot of brands struggle to make a matte cream shade that isn't flaky or dry, and is pigmented and creamy. So I did not have high expectations for this shade. It did not show up when I applied it to my lids, and it was really dry and hard to work with. It wasn't buildable either, so you can't keep adding product to get your desired intensity. It was not a good quality shade.

{the lipstick}

This was probably my favorite part of this palette, which is ironic because it doesn't actually come in the palette itself. But each country garden palette comes with a sheer moisture lipstick, and this palette comes with the shade rosebud. It is a soft baby pink shade that is really creamy, but it is actually a bit too creamy, and it can be hard to apply out of the bullet. But once it is applied it looks quite nice, and although it isn't long wearing it's one of those lipsticks that is great to have in your bag for when you want to touch up your look without a mirror or a lot of time. I will actually use this product in the future.

I know that this review might have seemed a brutal, but I wanted to be really honest. I was looking forward to trying this palette because it had a unique range of shades, and housed both eyeshadows and face products; I was hoping that it would be a nice palette for travel. However, it just doesn't do anything special. And for the expensive price of 110$, I don't think this palette is worth your money. I don't think that any of the shades go together, and it feels like these colors were just thrown together and put in a palette. And, unless you have extremely fair skin, none of these shades will actually show up on your skin or be flattering. I would recommend finding another palette that has face and eye products and is more versatile and better quality.

My hunt for the perfect palette continues!

Have you found the perfect palette? 

xx BB

July 25, 2016

>> summer polish <<

Hello there!

I have loved bright polishes this summer, so I wanted to share my favorites! I traded in my dark plums and aubergine varnishes for bright oranges and cobalt blues, and I have become obsessed with strong colors on my nails during the warmer months. I still wear black during the summer, so adding a bright pop of color to my look with a bold nail polish is easy to do! Here are the shades I've been loving:

1. nails inc gel one coat // portobello lane: This polish has been on my toes since the day I bought it; I just keep reapplying the shade! It's a bright red-orange shade that would look amazing on anyone and looks especially lovely on the toes. I usually apply three coats to get a strong, opaque finish, but you can absolutely get away with two coats if needed. I don't think this polish can actually be opaque in one coat, like the bottle says, but I still love the formula because it's really glossy and creamy, and it's not super thick so it goes on smooth. If you have been looking for the perfect color for the toes, this might just be it! [rp: 15.00]

2. nails inc gel one coat // spring street: I wanted to mention a pastel in this post because I love wearing pastels during the summer, but I like this polish because it is different from the baby blues and pinks which are great for spring. I love this sherbert peach shade because it can look more professional and is more wearable than other bright colors, but it isn't plain or boring. It is a little streaky, so it does need three coats, but once it's on it looks lovely. [rp: 15.00]

3. barry m gelly nail paint // damson: After Sally Hansen changed the formula of Pacific Blue, I thought I would never find a bright, opaque cobalt blue ever again. So when I stumbled across this shade while wandering through a Boots in the UK, I thought I would see if it could compare to one of my favorite polishes. And it does! This polish is so creamy and opaque; it isn't streaky, and it applies beautifully in two coats. The formula is great, the color is beautiful, and I can get a whole week's wear when I use this polish. It has quickly become one of my all-time favorite shades. [rp: 5.00]

4. barry m gelly nail paint // sugar plum: I am not usually a fan of pink polishes, but this one is right up my street. It has purple undertones that make it look really different than other pink polishes and makes it a really fun shade on the nails. I also love this gelly formula! It glides on the nails beautifully, isn't streaky, and lasts for ages. If you want to pick up some really fun colors for the summer, barry m has a great range of shades. [rp: 5.00] 

5. opi // you're such a budapest: This is absolutely, most definitely, in my top five favorite polishes of all time. I cannot get over how gorgeous this color is and how perfect it looks all year round, with just about everything. It's a periwinkle polish with a soft shimmer, but the shimmer isn't noticeable once it's on the nails. There are two downsides to this polish, however: it is somewhat sheer, so it needs three coats, and it is also limited edition, so it can be a bit tricky to get your hands on. But if you hunt it down the work is well worth it, because this color is super unique and stunning too. [rp: 9.00]

6. dior // calypso: Even though this is a polish from an old summer collection, I wanted to mention it because it is absolutely fantastic. It's a red-orange polish, but it is slightly more red than nails inc's portobello lane. It has a gelly finish, so you can see the nail line through the polish. It looks like sorbet on your nails, and I love it! I don't usually like red polishes, so this one is perfect because I think it suits my skin tone more than a classic red and it's very festive for summer. If you want to invest in a polish this season, I would recommend this one. [rp: 27.00]

7. wet n wild megalast // private viewing: For those of you, like me, who love nude all year long, and who don't want to step too far out of their comfort zone, I thought I would mention a nude polish that I think is fantastic and looks really nice during the summer. This shade is a soft pinky nude with a slight peach undertone, so it looks really great on those with lighter skin tones. It applies really easily, and the brush is big which makes application even more smooth. This is one of those polishes that you can take off and apply over and over again, because it goes with everything and looks so effortless. If you wanted to switch out your mauve-toned nude polishes for something more summery, this is definitely the polish to try. [rp: 2.00]

I love bright, bold polishes for the summer, and these are some of my favorites! Obviously I will continue to try more polishes because I love nail polish and I can't stop buying it, so if I find any more life-changing nail colors I will make sure you know! 

What polishes have you been loving this summer? 

xx BB

July 19, 2016

Soap & Glory's The Perfect Ten // the perfect palette project

Hello there!

In the world of makeup, everyone is always on the hunt for the "perfect palette." And finding the best one can be tough; some people want all neutral shades, some want the perfect combination of matte and shimmer shadows, and some want bright colors. For me, I want a palette that has a mix of shadows that are pigmented and long wearing, in a palette that I can easily travel with. But I also don't want to spend a ton of money on a palette. So I thought I would do some digging and find a few palettes that haven't been talked about a lot, or are new to the market, and let you know what I think. The first one I wanted to talk about is from Soap & Glory, which is a UK brand that has a lot of amazing products. Their new palette, called "The Perfect Ten," was created to be the perfect combination of colors in one palette. So I thought I would grab one and see if it met my expectations of the "perfect" palette.


First, the packaging is great. Like the Lorac palettes, the packaging is slim, so it is very compact and great for travel. The palette comes with ten shadows from the "Lid Stuff" collection, which are known for being pretty great. What I liked about this palette was that the colors were not like the shades that you would find in other popular palettes. While of course there are some neutral shades, what sold me on this palette was the choice of colors that were unusual and really unique. The overall undertone of this palette is very pink, so if you like pink-toned shadows but you want to stray from shades like those in the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette, this might be a really good choice. I love being able to mix in unique shades with neutral shadows for a really interesting look. The palette offers a choice of light shades, as well as a few deep, smokey colors, so you have a lot of variety and a lot of choices.

rp. 20.00
I think the color selection in this palette is really unique. While, at first glance, it might seem as though the shades in this palette don't all quite work together, they really do! I wanted to talk about each color so you know what you'd be working with. I think these shades can make for some amazing color combinations!

moon mist // This shade is the perfect shadow for the inner corner. It's bright and sparkly without being glittery, and it creates a strong highlight that isn't harsh. This shade definitely has some pink undertones, so it is great when paired with a rose shadow on the lid or a purple smokey eye. I think, personally, that this color is a bit strong under the brow, but if you like an intense highlight under the brow this would be perfect. 

minky // This shadow is perfect to throw on the lid and go; it's a soft pink, but it has a rose gold tone that makes it different from other light pink shadows. This shade is not super intense, so you can build up the color and make it more metallic or keep it soft and shimmery on the lids. If you want a strong metallic shade, however, this may not impress you, but it is buildable and really beautiful swept across the lids. 

nudecomer // I think that matte mauve shades are so hard to come by, especially in the drugstore, and that's why I love this shadow. Unlike most palettes, which have the standard medium matte brown shade, this palette includes much more unique matte shades in different rose and mauve tones; I think this is why this palette stands out from other drugstore palettes. Not only that, but this palette comes with two great matte shades, so you can take this palette with you when you travel and you won't feel like you need to bring another matte shadow to blend out your eye look. This shade itself is perfect for blending just above the crease because it has pigment but it won't overpower your other shadows. I think it's a great shade for any look. 


copper // This is a classic "Annabel" shade; it's a copper shade mixed with a bit of rose gold. It's a fantastic color and it looks good all over the lid. Like all of these shades, copper blends very easily, and I think that this kind of color would look amazing on almost every skin tone. 

toasty // This shade is very similar to nudecomer, but a bit darker, and it is slightly more mauve than nudecomer. I think that this shadow would show up more on those with darker skin tones, but I also think that this shade is great for blending and smudging on the lower lash line. I don't think this is a centerstage shadow, but I think that its great for helping other colors stand out and look better on the lids. It's hard to find these kinds of colors, and I like this shadow so much! I think blending nudecomer and toasty would make for a super blended, beautiful smokey rose eye. 

damsel // This is the shade that really sold me on this palette. While all of the other shadows are great, I really hadn't seen a color like this in the drugstore, and it really stood out to me as a shadow that would be incredibly flattering. What I will say about this shadow, however, is that it isn't the most pigmented when applied to the lid, so I would recommend pressing it on with your fingers and blending it out softly with a fluffy brush. I like the effect that it gives, but if you want a bright magenta shadow this one may not be for you. But if you want to test out something different without going crazy, damsel is the shadow to try. 

cream soda // I think that this shade is perfect for popping just under the brow for a easy highlight. It is one of those shadows that almost looks wet; the shimmer isn't noticeable, but you end up with a really fantastic glow. I also think that this shadow would look lovely on the inner corners. I prefer a deeper shade on the lid, but if you like the light pink colors on the eyes cream soda or moon mist would be perfect. At first glance these shadows look almost identical, but they are so different when applied and they are the perfect finishing touches to any eye look. 

choccy // I was so surprised by how unique this shade was; I was expecting a classic shimmery dark brown, but this color is unlike anything I have in my collection. It is a richly-pigmented, cool-toned dark brown, but there are strong undertones of purple and grey that make this shade really beautiful on the eyes. You could just smudge it in the outer corners, but I think this would look incredible all over the lid for a rich smokey eye, with moon mist in the inner corners and toasty blended up to the brow bone. There are so many ways to wear this shade, and I think it is a standout in this palette. 

plumtious // I always love a good plum shade, but this one is especially nice because it blends so easily and looks purple on the eyes when packed on, not black like many other dark purple shades do. This is the perfect addition to any look to create a lot more depth and add a little extra glamour. 

smoulder // Finding a matte navy blue shadow from the drugstore, that isn't awful, is almost impossible, so finding this shadow was a really nice surprise. While I definitely do not think that this is best navy blue shadow out there, I like this color because it isn't super intense, but it blends really well to intensify a smokey eye and it is easy to work with; sometimes dark shades are too pigmented, and they end up making a mess and you look like a panda. This shadow won't cause you that pain! I think it's the perfect addition to this palette. 

Overall, I think this is a really nice palette. Is it the perfect palette? Maybe not. If you are look for intense pigmentation, or incredibly long-lasting color, I don't think this is the palette for you. But I think this palette is great for everyday wear; you can mix neutral shadows with some of the more interesting shades in this palette to mix up your everyday look and get you out of a makeup rut. It's easy to travel with and has a lot of options. And the price is fantastic! For twenty dollars you can get a fantastic palette that does rival much the more expensive options. I would highly recommend this palette!

Have you found the perfect palette?

xx BB

July 12, 2016

{summer playlist 2} || 2016

Hello there!

I wanted to share some more of my favorite summer music:

What have you been listening to this summer?

xx BB

how to: a super productive summer.

Hello there!

As we settle into summer, some people may jet off on lavish vacations across the world. And good for them! Although I returned from a month of travels, it was all on the broke college student's dime, and it was all dirt cheap. I know many students like me are in the same boat. With almost four months of free time on your hands between the end of one school year and the start of another, sometimes getting stuff done can seem like your last priority. But summer goes by way too fast, and soon you will end up wondering what you did with all your time. I have done that too many times! So I thought, if you are a month or two into summer solstice and feeling totally lost, I would recommend a few tips and tricks, from one broke student to another, on how to have a productive, fun, and amazing summer! Even if you don't want to go on vacation, or don't have the funds, you can make good use of your time off and return to school with some great summer memories.

Make a list // Whether it is a wish list, a to do list, or a bucket list, make a few lists of things you want to do or need to do this summer. Not only will it help you get your headspace organized, but it will help you figure out how you want to spend your summer! If you have always wanted to go to a concert or visit a museum, put it on the list! With so much time on your hands you have time to explore and get creative with your summer plans. 

Check a calendar //  If you keep a calendar, and make plans throughout the summer, you can keep track of how much time you actually have left. I like to plan out my week to make sure that I am getting everything done that needs to be done, and to make time for everything I want to do. Summer goes by so fast, and before you know it it's over! So make plans for everything on your summer to do list to maximize your time and finish everything. 

Get a job, or look for a job // During the summer, the last thing anyone wants to do is work. For four months I want to relax by the pool and hang out with my friends. But spending four months lying about can be a bit of a waste of time, and you may end up a bit bored. So see if you can find some work to do over the summer that's low stress. The point of a summer job should be to get a little money and some great experience! But, if you can't find work over the summer, do some homework and line some work up for the fall. Internships can be tricky to find once the school year starts, so make sure you have made some plans so you know what you're doing when you go back to school. 

Deals, deals deals // Do a little research and find some great deals for the summer! Prices during the summer can be ridiculous, so do some digging and find some deals for weekend getaways, exercise classes, or a cheeky massage. You don't want to spend all your money on your summer plans, but spending a little money is sometimes necessary to have some incredible experiences. But you can also make some memories on a small budget, so get creative and see what you can do for free! Go to a museum, a concert in the park, or escape to the beach for a day! There is so much to do for free during the summer.

Focus on you // The summer is a great time to be selfish, to focus on relaxing and taking care of yourself. Spend some time planning your next moves for the fall, but also take a little time to do nothing, be lazy, and have fun! If you're like me you spent the whole school year stressing out and working hard, so you need a little time to breathe and chill out. Go on a hike, get a nice tan, and eat some great food. Going back to school refreshed is so important, so take time for you!

I hope you have an amazing summer, and I hope you make some memories and have some amazing new experiences! 

What do you have planned for the summer?

xx BB

July 10, 2016

the Makeup Revolution baked highlighter | a review

Hello there!

I have recently become super duper obsessed with highlighters. Every time I go shopping I pick one up. It's become a bit of an addiction, but the good news is I have been able to try loads of different highlighters, so now I really know what I like. When I saw the Makeup Revolution stand in Ulta, I got so excited! They have this range in the UK, and I had regretted not grabbing anything from the line. All of their products are extremely pigmented and, although I wanted to try an eyeshadow palette, I have so many so I thought I would test a highlighter instead. The baked highlighter range has four shades, all of which are very pigmented but range from a bright champagne to an intense peach. They are also super inexpensive; a massive highlighter from the range is only six bucks! I wanted to try the shade 'Radiant Light,' because it's a soft light pink that suits my skin tone.

What surprised me the most about this highlighter was the texture of the highlighter. The packaging is simple but really nice, and the product looks swirled in the pan. I thought the highlighter would be creamy and buttery, but the product was really smooth but slightly dry. However, the highlighter was really pigmented and applied beautifully. It didn't have a glitter, but a strong shimmer, so if you like looking super glowy this would be a great product. The product also blended really well, so it didn't appear as though I had a stripe of glitter on the skin. It lasted really well on the skin, and I didn't feel like it looked oily or greasy. In fact, I think the soft shimmer kept me looking glowy throughout the day. The pink undertone of this highlight looked natural, like my own skin, but if you find that pink tones don't suit your skin tone there are other shades that have gold or peach tones that would work  for those with darker skin or skin with yellow undertones. 

If you like something subtle, I don't think this is the highlighter for you. While you can build up the highlight to be really strong, and the different shades look natural on different skin tones, the highlighter itself never looks subtle or delicate. You could blind people with the light radiating from your cheekbones if you chose to. And, while I don't think that this is the most incredible highlighter I have ever tried, it is a really nice product and is easy to use. If you are new to the highlight game, this might be a good one to try. 

I am excited to try more products from the Makeup Revolution range; the line is inexpensive and the products look beautiful. 

What have you tried from the Makeup Revolution range?

xx BB