The Beauty of Traveling Alone

Traveling has always been my passion. If money wasn’t a problem I’d probably wake up in a new place every week, just waiting to explore everything. The list of places I still want to see is endless.

I briefly mentioned in my last post, that I spent a semester studying abroad in Canada. I went to an amazing university in a city called London, about two hours away from Toronto, and I had the most amazing time. I met some lovely people and I got to go on many amazing trips with my new friends. I felt so lucky because I got to see quite a bit of the beautiful country that is Canada. However, Vancouver was still on my list of places to visit but since it was at the other side of the country, from where I was living, I didn’t get the chance to go during my studies. My semester in Canada ended at the end of December but my new semester back in the Netherlands didn’t start until February, which left me with six weeks of free time.

I thought this would be my chance. My one chance to go travel to Vancouver and maybe some other places. Unfortunately all of my friends I made back in London all had to go back to their home countries much earlier than me, so if I decided to stay and travel I would have to do it on my own. I thought about it long and hard. Especially because it would also mean that I would miss Christmas with my family and would have to spend it alone but I just couldn’t pass up this opportunity, so I booked a flight from Toronto to Vancouver, one from Vancouver to Seattle, one from Seattle to San Francisco and one last one from San Francisco back home.

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I was so excited I got to travel and explore new cities with no worries, no deadlines in the back of my mind. I knew this would probably be my last few weeks of freedom and no stress, because once I got back home I would have to start working on my BA Thesis.

Before I left to Vancouver my mom and brother came to visit me in Toronto for two weeks and we had the best time. But when we all went to the airport and they got on a flight back to Europe it was really strange for me because I knew I wasn’t coming home with them. I was about to get on a flight to a city far away from everything and everyone I knew. I knew this wasn’t going to be like going on vacation with my friends to somewhere else in Europe. No, I would be across the world from my family and I wouldn’t have any friends there. Suddenly I started regretting my decision. I think I just got scared but I was also incredibly sad to leave Toronto. My few months in London had been some of the best of my life and I was devastated for it all to be over. I got to visit Toronto a few times while living in London and I fell in love with the city the first time I went there. I’m not even joking but if someone offered me a job there I’d move in a heartbeat.

Anyway, my point is that I think leaving Toronto to go travel by myself for 3 weeks really made me realize that my Canadian dream was about to be over and before I knew it I would be back home stuck in the same old routines.

After hours of traveling I finally made it to my hotel in Vancouver and went straight to bed. The next morning I woke up at 6am because of jet lag but I couldn’t get myself out of bed. I suddenly felt so lonely and anxious. After a few more hours I finally forced myself out of bed and opened the curtains in front of my hotel room windows. What I saw literally took my breath away.

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From my room I had the most amazing view over the city and if I looked all the way to the left I could see water and mountains. Within seconds my feelings changed from anxious and nervous to happy. I quickly got ready and started walking around the city to explore. The first place I walked to was the harbour and with each moment my heart filled up even more with joy.

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I know that sounds so corny but everything I was seeing looked so incredibly beautiful and I realized how lucky I was to experience it all, even if I was all by myself and didn’t have anyone to share it with. It didn’t matter at all in that moment. I felt so free and liberated like I have never felt before in my life. After all I was half a world away from everyone I knew. I was free to do exactly as I pleased and there was no one I had to explain myself to. No limitations. No restrictions.

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Everyone I told about my plans of traveling on my own was skeptical about it. Aren’t you goint to be scared all by yourself? Isn’t it much nicer to have someone to share those experiences with? The answer for me now is no. Yes, I was scared at first but all my doubts quickly flew out the window. Yes, it is nice to go on vacation with friends or loved ones and make amazing memories together but it is also incredibly nice to experience it all on your own. Wanna know why? Because you learn so much more about your self. You’re forced to make every decision by yourself, which really teaches you want it is you like, what it is you want and what it is that motivates you to make those decisions. It’s incredibly liberating and it is the most amazing feeling to be able to say yes I did this on my own. I was scared but I pulled myself through.

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Especially in Vancouver I went on lots of long walks through the beautiful nature there and just listened to music and took everything in. If you ever get the chance to visit this beautiful city take it. The city itself is nice but the nature around it is literally breathtaking. I’m definitely more of a city than nature person but I was captivated and even went on a little hike by myself, which is something I never thought I’d be doing. Especially not on my own. But that’s what traveling on your own does. It challenges you. It helps you discover new things about yourself that might really surprise you.

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After one week in Vancouver it was time for me to pack up and move on to a new city and a new adventure: Seattle.

The only reason I picked Seattle was because I knew I probably wouldn’t get the chance to go there again. It’s only a 27 minute plane ride from Vancouver, so it just seemed logical for me to go there. Seattle is a city you know even if you’re not from the US but is it a city you dream to travel to? Probably not so I figured I should go while I was kinda close because next time I travel to the States it probably wouldn’t be Seattle. Maybe Florida or NYC or the Grande Canyon or Las Vegas. But probably not Seattle.

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Now Seattle was nice. It wasn’t amazing and it couldn’t even come close to Vancouver or Toronto (for me personally) but nonetheless I’m glad I went. I went up the Space Needle and visited some cool museums. I walked along the water front and probably all of downtown Seattle. I liked it but I didn’t love it.

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The amount of homeless people and people high on drugs or wasted on alcohol shocked me and I was scared to go out alone after it got dark. I’ve never been scared of walking alone through the dark at home or in the city I lived in, in the Netherlands when I went to college, or even in Canada. I saw a lot of poverty and homeless people when I went to Chicago with one of my friends a few months before visiting Seattle but I wasn’t alone then so I never felt worried. Now being on my own that definitely changed.

But still I don’t regret going to Seattle and I don’t regret going on my own. I might’ve been a little bit disappointed and who knows maybe I would’ve loved it more if I hadn’t fallen so in love with Toronto and Vancouver. Who knows? Still I’m so incredibly grateful for every experience I made while traveling alone because I learned so much about myself in those three weeks and a lot of the things I experienced gave me a new perspective on life. Most of all it taught me how privileged I am to be so lucky to travel and see new places in the world. I will forever keep those memories with me and no one can them away from me.

So if you ever think about traveling somewhere but don’t have anyone to go with you don’t hesitate! You can do it on your own and every minute of it will be worth it. I would recommend everyone to at least travel somewhere by themselves once in their life. Even if it’s just for 2 days or just an hour away. Take the time for yourself and you might be surprised by what you find!

If you have made it to the end of this very lengthy post thank you for staying with me until the end.

So have you ever traveled alone or would you consider it?

Lots of love,

Sophie

 

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A New Beginning

It’s been a very long time since I last wrote and pressed publish on a blog post. Actually it’s been a very long time since I last even looked at my blog. A lot has happened since. I spent six months studying abroad in Canada (best time ever) and I finished writing my Bachelor’s thesis (most stressful time ever).

The past months have been kinda crazy and emotional but some of the best I’ve ever had. So much was going on I totally neglected my little blog, which once used to be my pride and joy. But now life has calmed down a lot. I finished my first degree and right now I’m just working to make some money while trying to figure out what I want to do in the future. Which Master’s program I should go in. Basically my future is very uncertain right now but I’m okay with that because I want to find the right thing for me.

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I’m not even sure why exactly but something inspired me to want to pick up my old hobby of blogging again. Once I used to love it so much it literally consumed most of my time. Writing has always helped me in so many ways, so I want to go back to just writing for me and writing for fun in my own little corner of the internet.

I know this used to be mostly a makeup blog and makeup is still my passion. My makeup collection has probably more than doubled within the past year even but I want my blog to be a lot more than just makeup. I really want to incorporate more lifestyle posts and basically just write about whatever inspires me and makes me happy, so be prepared for anything (but still lots of makeup reviews).

Right now it feels like a big chapter in my life is coming to an end and a new one is about to start, which is exciting yet scary at the same time. But to every ending there is a new beginning with new chances and opportunities and I’m intrigued where this new journey will take me and my little blog.

Thank you for reading!

Love,

Sophie

 

 

Gerard Cosmetics Liquid Lipstick in Cher & Iced Mocha

I’ve talked about the Gerard Cosmetic liquid lipsticks in my last favorites post but never actually wrote a review on them, so I figured it was just about time because I’ve had these for a few months now and really been loving them.

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When I ordered these from their website the two shades I went for are Cher, a beautiful dark mauve and Iced Mocha, which is more of a brown with some slightly greyish undertones to it. I tend to go for mauve shades, which is why I chose Cher and Iced Mocha seemed to be quite a unique color in my eyes and I’m always drawn to anything that’s a bit different for some reason.

I think packaging wise they’re really similar to most liquid lipsticks. Basically they look like lip gloss and come with a regular doe foot applicator, which really helps to achieve a more precise application.

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Formula wise I think the Gerard liquid lipsticks are pretty impressive. They apply really creamy and opaque before drying down to a nice and even matte finish. Just as you’d expect from any good liquid lipstick they are very long lasting and fade away evenly without leaving your lips looking like a hot mess. And luckily I don’t find them to be drying either.

I recently wrote about the ABH liquid lipstick in Pure Hollywood and how much I love it and while I’m obsessed with the color I definitely prefer the formula of the Gerard Cosmetic ones because they don’t feel as tacky on the lips and have a better staying power.

As always I’ve included some swatches and pictures of how it looks on my lips.

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(Cher & Iced Mocha)

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(Cher)

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(Iced Mocha)

So to conclude I would definitely recommend these as I think they have a nice formula plus a great selection of shades. I definitely want more but I’d also like to try more by Gerard Cosmetics. Have you tried any of their products? What would you recommend?

Thanks for reading,

Sophie

Tom Ford Eye Color Quad in 13 Orchid Haze

One makeup item, which had been on my wish list for the longest time was one of the Tom Ford Eye Color Quads but since they are so damn expensive I hesitated on buying one for a while. Their lipsticks at $52 are already very pricey in my opinion but 80$ for an eyeshadow quad sure is one heavy price tag. Nonetheless I’ve been dreaming about purchasing one of these because I absolutely love Tom Ford lipsticks and the eyeshadow quads just look so insanely beautiful. So when I got a makeup gift card for my birthday I decided to spend it all on one Tom Ford item but I can’t even say I regret it because I love it so much.

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First off let’s just admire the packaging! It’s just so stunning I could literally stare at it for hours. Call me crazy I don’t care! What I do have to say though is that I was kind of positively surprised by how big the quad actually is, so there’s another plus. It also comes with two small double sided brushes. Now I personally never use any of the little brushes that come with any kind of eyeshadow quad or palette but it’s still nice to have them just in case. The last thing I want to mention about the packaging is that the quad comes with a massive mirror, which is another huge plus in my book. Gotta love a nice sized mirror for traveling!

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After lots of internet research I eventually decided to go with number 13 Orchid Haze because lately I’ve been loving mauve, dark purples and slightly rose toned brown shades, probably thanks to the Tartelette in Bloom palette. I was really hoping that I would love all four shades and thankfully Tom Ford did not let me down. Each shade is so soft and buttery, not chalky at all and incredibly pigmented. They all apply so nicely and blend like an absolute dream. Honestly the formula is amazing.

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I’ve mentioned before how much I love my shimmery eyeshadow, so I was especially happy about the slightly golden champagne highlighting color and its pigmentation. I feel like many of those light highlighting shades often swatch beautifully on your arm but once applied to your lid they seem to loose their pigmentation. At least I’ve come across a lot that seem to do so, which always results in me having to pack quite a lot of product onto my eyelids to reach the desired pigmentation. However with this eyeshadow I’ve not had that problem at all. It still looks absolutely beautiful on the eyes and so do the other three. My second favorite is the mauvey one in the bottom left. I absolutely love this as a transition color. It’s so stunning.

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So is it worth $80? I believe with makeup products this expensive everyone has to kind of answer this question for themselves. Obviously there is absolutely no need at all to spend this much money to get some great eyeshadows because you can get so many other amazing products from other great brands for much less. Nonetheless to me it was worth the money but to me makeup is much more than something I just slap on my face. I love collecting makeup products especially high end ones, which is why I’m okay with spending the money because I know that despite Tom Ford makeup being so pricey it really is of very great quality and I’m not just paying for the name. Basically what I’m saying is if you’re someone who likes to splurge on luxurious high end makeup I would always recommend Tom Ford as a brand but nonetheless you can find tons of other great products for a much more affordable price.

As always thank you so much for reading!

Much love,

Sophie

March Favorites

We’re only a little over one week into April, so I think it’s still totally acceptable to be writing about my March favorites,right? Besides I haven’t written a favorites post in forever although they are some of my favorite type of posts to read because I’m just nosey and I love to see which products other people are loving and if I need to add them to my wish list. Now a lot of my March favorites I’ve already written a review about but these are just the products I’ve been using and loving the most throughout March, so it’s only right to include them.

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Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation

I’ve already written an in-depth review of this foundation but I’ve now been using it every day for around 6 weeks and I’m still in love. Honestly, I feel like this foundation is exactly perfect for my skin the way it is right now. It really makes my complexion look flawless and feels so light weight even when I wear it all day.

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Tartelette in Bloom Palette

I don’t even think I need to explain why this palette has been one of my absolute favorites in March. Just look at it! The color selection is absolutely stunning! And luckily the quality of the shadows is as amazing as they look. Each shade is so nicely pigmented and blends like a dream. What more could I wish for?

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Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick in Pure Hollywood

This is another product I’ve written a full review on but I would be lying if I didn’t include it in this post because I have been reaching for this so often ever since I got it to be honest. To me this is the most perfect neutral shade, so whenever I can’t decide on a lipstick this is the one I reach for. It’s not too peachy, it’s not too brown or too pink. It’s not too dark and it’s not too light. It’s just perfectly neutral.

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Urban Decay Naked Palette

I know this palette has been out for years but I only just got it last Christmas. I kind of went backwards and first bought the Naked 3, then the 2, the On the Run, the Smoky and then finally completed my collection with the Original Naked palette. If I’m being perfectly honest I kind of mostly wanted this just so I have all three (cause I’m an obsessive makeup hoarder) but I’m really loving this palette even though I might’ve wanted it for the wrong reasons in the first place. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s my newest Naked palette but it’s the one I reach for the most out of all three right now.

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Gerard Cosmetic Liquid Lipsticks in Iced Mocca and Cher

Liquid lipsticks are so hyped up everywhere and I’d been wanting to try the ones by Gerard Cosmetics for quite some time so obviously I ended up ordering two. First off Iced Mocca I absolutely adore because it’s such a unique and different color. I find it hard to describe but it’s kind of a greyish brown taupe maybe? Cher to me is a perfect mauve color and I sure do love my mauves. The lasting power and pigmentation is great and the they’re not too drying. Chances are quite high I’ll be going back to order some more shades in the near future. 

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Tom Ford Velvet Orchid

Today’s last favorite is actually a perfume and oh my god am I obsessed with it. This is one of the best scents in the entire world to me and I can’t get enough of it. It’s definitely more of an oriental fragrance but then it’s also kind of spicy and has some floral hints to it. Basically I’m just as awful at describing scents as I am at describing colors but this is currently my absolute favorite perfume and every single time I wear this out somewhere at least one person seems to ask me what perfume I’m wearing. 

And this already concludes my March favorites. I hope you enjoyed reading today’s post. What are some of your current favorites?

Much love,

Sophie

A Little Birthday Makeup Haul

So last Monday I turned 21 and since my family knows me quite well I received quite a few makeup bits and pieces along with some other things of course but I thought why not do a little haul and show you which makeup items I got. Let’s get right to it!

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Tom Ford in 04 Pussycat

The very first item I received is this absolutely stunning Tom Ford lipstick. I personally love Tom Ford lipstick despite the heavy price tag and I’ve been trying to hunt down this specific color for a while now because it is such a gorgeous color but I seem to have been out of luck. Hence I was quite ecstatic when I unwrapped this little stunner. 

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Mac Single Eyeshadows in Jest, Cork and Sketch

Ever since I started trying to build up my Mac palette I’ve created a list of colors I still need for my palette and these three have been on that list for quite some time. So far I’ve only tried Jest and Cork and I absolutely love both. Just as expected Cork is such a perfect crease color but I was even more surprised by how much I liked Jest when I first applied it. It’s so beautiful and very nicely pigmented. Now I’m really intrigued to finally try Sketch.

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Zoeva Rose Golden Palette

I love Zoeva brushes but had never tried anything else from the brand, which is why I had my eye on this little beauty. Okay, seriously how freaking pretty is the packaging? This is just one of the palettes I would buy alone just for its pretty packaging. But I also love the Rose Gold inspired colors in this palette. I’ve used the palette only twice since I got it but I’m really liking it so far.

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Real Techniques Core Collection

Everybody seems to love these brushes, which is why I’ve been wanting to try them out and put them on my wish list. I guess you can never go wrong with some basic brushes. As you can probably tell from the picture I’ve already tried them (sorry I did not feel like washing them for one photo). So far I’m definitely liking them. 

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Chanel Lipstick in 99 Pirate

This is such a stunning lipstick I don’t even have words for it. It’s so perfect from the packaging to the color. But it’s Chanel so there’s not really much more to say.

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The Balm Mary-Loumanizer Highlighter

This is another product I’ve been wanting to try for the longest time because everyone raves about it and I have a bit of an obsession with highlighters. I cannot wait to use it!

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Tom Ford Eyeshadow Quad in 13 Orchid Haze

This one I actually chose myself and got it with a gift card. I thought about this long and hard and whether it was worth the splurge but then again I’ve been dreaming of owning one of these for the longest time, so in the end I just went with it and so far I’ve not regretted it. The shades are all so pigmented and just beautiful! 

So this concludes my little haul of what I got for my birthday. Well at least makeup wise. I hope you enjoyed reading this.

Lots of love,

Sophie

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation – New HG?

As I’ve mentioned before I don’t like to change up my foundation a lot and usually tend to stick to the same product but every now and then I do feel the need to try out something new. One foundation I’ve been lusting after especially is the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation. First off my skin is definitely more on the dry side so everything luminous always sounds nice to me and then I’ve read so many raving reviews about this foundation. The only thing that put me off for the longest time was the hefty price tag this foundation comes with but being the makeup addict I am I eventually bought it anyways.

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I still remember how torn up I was about this foundation when it was delivered and I was about to try it for the first time. On the one hand I wanted to love it because I just spent a little fortune on it but then I also wanted to hate it because I was a little afraid that I would end up liking it so much that I’d always need to repurchase it. Do you understand my dilemma here?

But lets’s get back to the actual product and start talking about the packaging. The foundation comes in a very nice looking glass bottle with a simple black cap that has the logo on it and most importantly it comes with a pump! I personally love the very simplistic yet beautiful packaging because it adds a touch of luxury to the product but then again considering that this is a very luxurious high end foundation I wouldn’t expect anything less.

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In the past I was always drawn to very full coverage foundations such as the Estee Lauder Double Wear or the Mac Studio Fix Fluid and while I still love them my skin has been changing  and so have I and I just don’t feel the need to wear high coverage every day anymore. The Luminous Silk foundation has up to a medium coverage, which is all I really need for every day as my skin is in a pretty good condition these days. What I really like about the formula is that it is not as thick as most of my foundations that I’ve used before but a lot more thin and watery without being too runny. I think it is because of the formula that it blends so seamlessly into my skin and feels so light as if I’m not even wearing any foundation at all.

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I’m so happy that I found my perfect color match right away and I honestly love how it makes my skin look. I feel like it provides me with just the right amount of coverage and doesn’t sit heavy on my face but actually feels really nice. It doesn’t emphasize any dry patches and it doesn’t get cakey. It lasts all day even throughout work when I’m constantly active and it doesn’t settle into fine lines or breaks around certain areas. Basically it’s all I would ever wish for in a foundation! Having tried this foundation I can now definitely understand why it is so hyped in the beauty world and I my fear of liking this too much has become reality because I have a feeling that it might become my new favorite despite how expensive it is.

This really reminds of how when I was around 15/16 I used to think that Mac Cosmetics was already super expensive and I always wondered how anyone could spend more than maybe 20 to 30 bucks on a foundation and now here I am at nearly 21 practically writing a love letter to a foundation that retails for way over 30. Oh how times have changed!

Have you tried this Armani foundation? Do you love it or hate it? What are your favorite high end foundations?

Thank you for reading.

Love,

Sophie