Palette Spotlight: Ariel Storylook Eyeshadow Palette by Disney/Sephora

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away…

DCP_Ariel palette
…AKA Fall 2012, Disney Consumer Products released the following news:
SEPHORA and Disney Consumer Products have collaborated on a series of captivating beauty collections inspired by beloved Disney Princess characters entitled Disney Reigning Beauties. Each of the limited edition seasonal collections focuses on the individual style, personality and story of one featured Disney Princess, bringing her to life in a beautiful way that inspires women to create their own princess moment.”

Princess Ariel’s collection – including the 20-eyeshadow palette we are looking at in depth today – was described as follows: “This summer dive into a daring journey of curiosity and discovery with the Disney Reigning Beauties Ariel Collection by SEPHORA, an assortment of color cosmetics, a signature fragrance and princess-worthy accessories that are inspired by the world under the sea and the bold determination of Ariel from the classic Disney animated film, The Little Mermaid. The Disney Reigning Beauties Ariel Collection by SEPHORA captures the ethereal, yet vibrant colors depicted in the film in a stunning array of treasures beyond your wildest dreams.”

Cinderella was the first princess to get the Sephora treatment (the one Storylook palette I don’t have, sob), followed by Jasmine in Spring 2013, and Ariel in Summer 2013. And after this amazing tri-fecta of amazing-ness, there is… nothing. Press surrounding the Ariel launch indicated that it would be the last Princess collection, but no reason was given as to why. I have to imagine that this was a mutually beneficial partnership, financially and otherwise, between Disney and Sephora. Who knows, maybe they will resurrect this project and give us some new princess products? A girl can dream… of a Belle palette, perhaps? Or Aurora?

The official (very Disney-fied) palette and shade descriptions:
Storylook Eyeshadow Palette Volume 3 Ariel Edition ($55) – “Dare to Dream”
Chase the life you desire with this customized palette of 20 bright and brilliant shades, each inspired by and formulated to match the hues from the film. Encased in a keepsake box with original artwork that portrays Ariel in her grotto of collected treasures, these lustrous shades invite you to dare to dream and let your curiosity lead the way with a complete eyeshadow wardrobe.

Shades include:
Blue Lagoon – The moon shimmering on the lagoon (shimmering blue)
Scuttle – Ariel’s skintone while talking to Scuttle (shimmering pinky beige)
Flounder – Flounder coming out of the water (matte nude)
Sebastian – Sebastian’s face (matte coraly pink)
Flotsam – Flotsam in the shadows (deep blue charcoal)
Sea Shells – Ariel’s sisters singing (shimmering ivory)
Les Poissons – Chef Louis’ bloodthirsty shadow in the ‘Les Poissons’ scene (dusty satin muave)
Caspian Sea – Light reflecting through the water on Atlantica (shimmering rich turquoise)
Your Voice – Ursula striking a deal with Ariel (glistening silver pearl)
Unfortunate Souls – The smoke during Ursula’s finale (matte lavender grey)
Atlantica – The shimmering turquoise colors of Atlantica (shimmering sea foam green)
Fins – Ariel’s fin under the sea (glittery mermaid green)
Sick of Swimmin’ – Ariel’s first breath of air with legs (shimmering opalescent)
Ursula – Ursula’s skintone in the shadows (pearly purple)
Sha La La La – Fish chorus singing to Ariel and Eric (matte dark fuchsia)
Triton – The King shooting his triton (shimmering gold)
Wanderin’ Free – Ariel imagining herself with legs (shimmering pink champagne)
Jetsam – Jetsam’s fins in the shadows (deep teal with dark iridescent glitter)
Sea Witch – The Sea Witch in all her power and glory (pearly violet)
Treasures Untold – Glistening water from the King’s triton (opalescent pale pink)

A week of looks with Ariel…
Weekend: I started early with a bright blue look for a Saturday night dinner event. I definitely feel out of my comfort zone with these bolder, colorful looks, but I have to admit, it is kind of fun to experiment. I used Treasures Untold all over my lid, up to the brow bone for a good base and highlight. I used a liner brush and Les Poissons on my eyebrows, and then Caspian Sea on my upper and lower lash line (gorgeous, gorgeous blue!). Wanderin’ Free darkened up my crease, and patted Your Voice (gorgeous in the pan, horrifying to actually use – glitter and fallout everywhere) in the middle of my lid for a little sparkly pop. I finished up with a fluffy brush and swirled Flounder all over to smooth out any harsh lines.
Monday: Swept Scuttle all over my lid, with Sea Shells as a brow highlight and in the inner corners, and Wanderin’ Free in my crease.
Tuesday: Used a dense brush to pat Triton all over the eyelid, and a thin line of Ursula on my upper and bottom lash line. Both shadows are gorgeous on the pan but have issues when applied – Triton just has too much sparkly fallout, and Ursula is not pigmented enough to stand out, although I think if it was applied wet, and/or over primer (I was in a rush and forgot to do primer – eek!), it would make a big difference.
Wednesday: Used my crease brush to apply Wanderin’ Free (such a gorgeous champagne shade!!) all over my lid and into my crease. Definitely a one-and-done type shade – my eyes look bright and lovely with it all on its own. I also took a fluffy brush and blended a bit of Sea Shells onto my brow bone and at the corners of my eyes, for a little extra pop.
Thursday: After primer, patted a layer of Sebastian over my eyelid. Swept Atlantica (warning: glitter bomb! Pretty and iridescent when applied, but very, very messy to work with) on the upper crease. Took a smudge brush and lined my upper and lower lash lines with Jetsam. Got a little creative and used a small contour/blush brush to apply Sha La La on the apples of my cheeks (so pretty! I really can’t imagine using it as an eyeshadow, but it lends a nice healthy glow to the face as a blush).
Friday: In a rush (isn’t that always the way!) and just tapped a light dusting of Treasures Untold all over my lid for a brightening, no-I’m-not-an-insomniac effect.

This is such a gorgeous palette in terms of packaging, and it really does pull at the heartstrings for this nostalgic thirty-something girl with a long-time affinity with Ariel. I’m glad I used it exclusively this week, because it gave me a chance to experiment. Ultimately, it is just not a palette that I reach for on a regular basis, and using it this week reminded me of why. There are several shades that are just not ever going to make it into a regular rotation for me, because they are so bright and bold (Sha La La – although I did love it as a blush!, Blue Lagoon, Fins). They are fun to look at, and make the palette gorgeous overall, but just don’t translate well to my skin tone and general makeup vibe. And the glitters and shimmers that I gravitate towards have huge issues with quality and fallout (Your Voice and Triton, most noticeably). I do quite like Scuttle, Wanderin’ Free, and Les Poissons, for neutrals, although they aren’t that unique in terms of eyeshadow colors. I ultimately think that where this palette shines is with the mid-to-deep tones – Flotsam and Jetsam are great smoky colors that I love as liners, and Ursula is a really lovely purple that isn’t too sparkly.

Sadly, unless you have a bazillion dollars and can get it on eBay or through third parties on Amazon, this palette is not an easy find.

Check out previous palette spotlights here (In the Moment) and here (Nude ‘Tude).


Palette Spotlight: In The Moment by Stila

This week, I’ll be doing an in-depth look at the In The Moment eyeshadow palette by Stila. As a refresher, in order to overcome my obsession with buying palettes left and right, I’m taking a hard look at what I already have in my stash and basically forcing myself to use one palette and one palette only, for a week at a time. Read last week’s post here.

Stila_coverI can’t say the packaging is anything to write home about… smudgy smudge smudge-ster.

In The Moment features 10 shades of eyeshadow in pretty generous sized pans. I’ve had this palette for quite awhile, but if memory serves, I bought it during one of those Christmas flash sales/specials that Sephora will run leading up to the holidays. I think I got it for $15 or $20. It’s no longer available from Sephora, and in fact, I’m having a hard time finding it online at all anymore, other than Stila’s website. I must have bought it in late 2012, and I do remember that there were four versions total (In the Light, In The Garden, In The Know, as well as In The Moment) and I was immediately drawn to this version because ALL THE PURPLE. What can I say, purple always calls my name. Loudly.

Stila’s official description: The In the Moment eye shadow palette is a stunning collection of Stila’s award-winning eye shadows, featuring a mix of pretty purples and ultra-wearable, neutral shades that flatter every skin tone and can be worn wet or dry.

The shade line-up (official descriptions by Stila with additional commentary by moi):
Stila open
Instinct – light baby pink with pink & white shimmer [this is a frosty white in my book… very shimmery]
Desire – soft, creamy mid-tone pink [great to highlight those brow bones]
Impulse – pale lavender with lavender shimmer
Wonder – mid-tone flesh pink with shimmer [description doesn’t do it justice – for a neutral, it’s very unique and looks great on the lid. Adds depth and contrast while still being very bright]
Glance – intense violet with shimmer [gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!]
Spontaneous – soft beige-gold with shimmer [again, description doesn’t do it justice – this is a gorgeous, warm, true gold that is so beautiful I can hardly stand it]
Improvise – deep plum with pink sparkle
Whim – soft warm reddish-brown with shimmer
Catalyst – black with pink sparkle
Captivate – mid-tone purple-brown with golden pearl [Interesting to compare the “official” description with my own. I would never in a million years call this a purple-brown. Brown, for sure. Warm medium brown and it actually goes on a little darker than it looks in the pan. I’ve been using it as an eyebrow filler shade and it works great]

A week’s worth of looks from In The Moment:
– Monday: A quickie, because I was tired and grumpy on this particular Monday morning. Took a fluffy brush and swirled Wonder all over my lids and into the crease. Patted Desire on to highlight my brow bone, and used Captivate to fill out my brows (word to the wise, a little goes a long way!).
– Tuesday: Post-primer, used a soft, rounded brush to pat Spontaneous all over my lid up to the crease. Used edge of brush to work the shade into the crease. Took a fluffy brush and did a light application of Instinct on my brow bone and at the outer edges of my eyelid, to soften the gold look. Used a smudge brush to run Catalyst on my upper and lower lash lines.
– Wednesday: Ombre purple eye today, FTW! Applied base/primer of Maybelline’s Color Tattoo Leather in Vintage Plum, followed by a light dusting of Impulse under the brow bone and at corners of eyes. Smudged Improvise along my upper and lower lash lines, and patted Glance directly on my lid, above Improvise but still below the crease. Used a big, fluffy brush with a little bit more Impulse on it to blend away harsh lines and give it that ombre feel. It’s definitely bolder and more colorful than what I usually wear to work during the week, but I’m in love with it.
-Thursday: Another quickie… I wasn’t grumpy, but just up early and pressed for time. Took a fluffy brush and swirled Desire all over my lids up to the browbone. Patted Instinct on to highlight my brow bone, and used Wonder in the crease.
– Friday: Used a small fluffy brush to pat Whim all over my lid, stopping just below the crease. Took a fluffy blending brush and used Wonder to blend it out over the crease. Used a tad bit more Wonder as a brow highlight.

For me, overall this is just an okay palette, but it tips into greatness and I’m glad it’s in my possession because it has TWO of the greatest eyeshadow shades (IMO) in my entire stash – the great and golden Spontaneous, and the nude wonder that is, well, Wonder. It doesn’t seem to be all that popular online and in the blogosphere, and it is also hard to obtain these days. But if you can snag it on sale or at a deep discount, I think it’s worth it. A bold purple eye is not an everyday thing for me, but it is great for that purpose as well.

Stila Cosmetics


Walgreens Haul, Makeup Edition!

I know, I know. But those Balance Rewards points keep racking up, and what’s a girl to do? I seriously had over $250 worth of points!! So I did what any normal girl would do – took an audit of my makeup collection and used my rewards points to fill in the holes.

walgreens BR order
I am OBSESSED with these L’Oreal Infallible Eyeshadows. As you know, I’ve had Amber Rush for awhile, and after rediscovering it last month, had a total one-track mind when it came to acquiring some of the other colors. The green (above left) is Golden Sage, and the brown (above right) is Bronzed Taupe. Both are shimmery pots of gorgeousness, with amazing long-lasting wear. I seriously can’t say enough good things about these shadows. They give eyes depth and polish, without having to do a whole involved eyeshadow routine – I just gently pat my index finger into the product and tap lightly all over my lids. If I’m feeling fancy, I take a highlighter shade and buff the color up above my creases. I don’t even have to use primer! And 10 to 12 hours later, after a long workday, my eye makeup looks just as pretty as it did in the morning when I applied it. AH. MAY. ZING.

walgreens mini haul slices
A close up look at my goodies. From left to right:

Milani Easy Brow Automatic Pencil – I love double-ended products, especially double-ended brow products. The pencil is deeply pigmented – this is Dark Brown 02 – so I advise going in with a light hand. It’s perfect for the tail end of my brows, which tend to be non-existent and need darkening. And the spoolie brush is perfection – it packs a punch and gets every last unruly hair into place. I’m using this every day and loving it.

Milani Illuminating Facial Powder in Hermosa Rose 02 – When reviewing my makeup collection, I realized that I didn’t own a really good neutral blush. I have corals, hot pinks, rosy pinks, all kinds of pinks actually, but nothing that ran more towards the nude pink end of the spectrum. This is one I’ve had my eye on for awhile, and I must say, it’s absolutely gorgeous in person. The powder is pressed into overlapping roses, and has hues of light brown, nude pink, and champagne. I like to swirl my big fluffy Sonia Kashuk blush brush in it, and tap on the apples of my cheeks and up towards my temples. The result is very subdued and neutral, and leaves me with a perfectly flushed face, which makes it perfect to pair with more dramatic eye or lip looks.

L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche Balm for Lips in Nourishing Nude – I am not, nor will I probably ever be, a lipstick person. But this is not technically a lipstick, but rather a balm. The color is almost exactly my lip shade but a little deeper, and it goes on smooth and creamy. Does NOT dry out my lips, as many lip products tend to do, and it looks natural. I highly recommend this, especially if you are lipstick-averse like I am. It’s a nice way to have a more polished lip without going full on lipstick.

And finally, all the way to the right in the collage above, a better look at that gorgeous Golden Sage eyeshadow.

swatches walgreens BR order
I hardly ever do swatches because unless you have the exact same coloring as I do, it’s probably not very helpful. But these shadows are so amazing, I had to swatch and share. From left – Bronzed Taupe, Golden Sage, Milani Brow.

And there you have it, a pretty nice makeup haul, if I do say so myself! How about you – any great makeup hauls lately? What are you buying and loving right now? Let me know!


Palette Spotlight: Nude ‘Tude by TheBalm

Oh HAAII…. [waves awkwardly and pretends to not have been AWOL from blog for over six months…]

Yeah…real life, man. What can you do? Getting back into the swing of things and thinking about writing for this blog regularly again, I really wanted to “shop my stash” and get super familiar with what I already have, versus buying any pretty new thing on a whim.

Which is tough, because I have to say, I am OBSESSED with palettes. Specifically, eyeshadow palettes. I want all the palettes. ALL. OF. THEM. With Urban Decay promoting the July release of their Naked Smoky Palette, and Laura Mercier re-releasing the Artist’s Palette with all those gorgeous purple shades, my head is spinning. Problem is, I already have a pretty good stash of palettes, and deep down in my heart, I know that I don’t need more. So here’s the deal – every week, I’m going to pick one of the palettes from my stash, and use only that palette for an entire week of looks (well, M-F, because let’s be honest, I don’t hardly change out of sweats on the weekends, much less put on makeup).

And now, without further interruption, let’s shine the spotlight on Nude ‘Tude by TheBalm.

Nude Tude front

Nude ‘Tude features 12 shades of eyeshadow. The palette comes in two versions – Naughty or Nice – although both versions contain the exact same shades (the only difference is the packaging). As far as I can tell, you don’t get to pick which version you want when you order online. I bought my palette from Birchbox, forever and a day ago, and received the Nice version. It was $36 (I do believe I purchased it using Birchbox points though) and came with a dual-ended eyeshadow brush. I’m pretty apathetic about the brush – I neither love nor hate it. Side note, I do think the pin-up (Naughty) version of the palette is super cute, and wish I had received that version.

Here is TheBalm’s official description of the palette from their website:
This amazing palette consists of 12 beautiful shadows that make wearing nudes sexy! These satiny smooth colors can be applied naturally, i.e. “let me slip into something more comfortable” or beautifully layered. The wide range gives you light highlighters as well as brazen bold shades that work to add definition and emphasis to your lids. Nude`tude allows you to dramatically dress up your eyes—if nothing else!

The shade line-up (descriptions by moi):

Nude Tude open
Sassy: Bright white. Like, ridiculously blinding white, the mid 90’s called and they want their white eyeshadow back white. BUT, once applied, it is a lovely highlighting shade.
Stubborn: Satin medium pink. Great for base color.
Selfish: Shimmery sand shade. Lovely on the eyelid and on its own.
Sophisticated: Darker shimmery brown. I gravitate towards this one as a brow shade (mixed with others to give dimension) and also as a liner.
Sexy: Matte burgundy that leans brown when applied. Absolutely stunning and very pigmented to boot. Not nearly as scary as it looks in the pan.
Serious: Matte true black. A great liner shade and is a very deep and true vivid black.
Snobby: Bright yellow-gold. Great for base color all over the lid.
Stand-Offish: Shimmery beige-pink. One of my absolutely favorite shades and great as a browbone highlighter and a wash of color all over the lid.
Sultry: Matte medium brown. A very basic and versatile shade.
Seductive: Warm medium brown shimmer. Gorgeous!
Silly: Deep brown with burgundy and gold glitter. Really pretty in the pan but disappointing to use… it just doesn’t translate well to skin, gets muddy easily, and the glitter pieces are way too large.
Sleek: Dark brown matte. Great for liner purposes.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t also link to Temptalia’s review here – she always has such great swatches, and whenever I begin to obsessively research a potential new buy (or take a close look at what I already have in my stash), I start with her blog. I also fell down the rabbit hole of watching YouTube tutorials for this palette. I especially liked EssieButton’s take on a shimmery eye look.

Nude Tude quads

It helped me to think of this palette in terms of “quads” (see pic above). You’ve got your lighter, lid/highlighter colors (SassyStubbornSnobbyStand-Offish), your mid-tone browns that are great for lids and/or creases (SelfishSophisticatedSultrySeductive), and your darker colors that are good for liner or smoky looks, if you’re talented like that (SexySeriousSillySleek).

Some looks I did this week with Nude ‘Tude…
– Monday: Just messing around with different shades (the entire point of these palette spotlights) and ended up with a work appropriate smoky eye. Swept Sassy all over the lid and brow – from eyelashes all the way up to my brows. Used Silly in my crease, blending it right into the top of my eye socket. Way too dark and instantly regretted that choice. Used a smudge brush and pushed Sleek in between my lashes on both top and bottom. Grabbed some Sultry and used it as my base brow shade, topping it off with a tinted brow gel to give it more dimension. Decided everything was a little too dark for work and used a fluffy brush and Stand-Offish to blend the heck out of everything.
– Tuesday: EssieButton’s version of a bright, shimmery eye – blend Stand-Offish all over the lid, smudge some Selfish into the crease and blend well, tap some Sassy into inner corners of eye and also under brow bone for a highlight.
– Wednesday: Easy every day eye. Swept Stubborn all over the lid and brow – from eyelashes all the way up to my brows. Did a thin line of Sophisticated on my lower and upper lash lines. Very easy and bright.
-Thursday: Patted Seductive all over the lid. Used Stand-Offish to blend it up into the crease, and a dab of Sassy in the outer corners. Used a blend of Sophisticated and Seductive to fill out brows, and set with a clear brow gel.
– Friday: Used a fluffy brush to swirl Snobby all over my lids. With a small liner brush, pushed Sexy into both my upper and lower lash line. A nice bright look with definition at the lash lines.

Nude ‘Tude by TheBalm is a versatile palette for everyday and/or work-appropriate looks. It has a number of shades that look great on their own, and also paired with other shades for more complex looks (none of which I’ve been yet to master, but good luck!). There is a large diversity of shades, especially when compared to other palettes that do closer variations on a single shade (ie, browns in Naked1; taupes in Naked2). My favorite shades are Stand-Offish and Seductive.


xx – birdie

Birchbox Aces

A padded manila envelope arrived in the mail the other day that I wasn’t expecting – with a Birchbox return address label! I didn’t realize it, but I had qualified for “Aces”, Birchbox’s new VIP rewards program, and they sent me this adorable little cosmetic bag as a welcome gift:

birchbox aces
Isn’t that adorable? I’m such a cosmetic bag hoarder, it really is a problem. But I’m happy to add this one to my collection.

As I said above, Aces is a new program and I’m not entirely sure what being “Aces” will bring, other than free shipping, but you can read more about it here.

I love me a good rewards program, and Birchbox always seems to execute things in a really fun manner, so I’m excited to be “Aces”. Plus, it’s always nice to score a cute, unexpected gift!!!

Are you a Birchbox Aces member already? What do think of it so far?