Travel Diary: Times Square, New York

Travel Diary: Times Square, New York

I guess you’re wondering where I’ve gone to, disappeared, hidden and concealed myself from this beautiful blog. Trust me, I’m as hurt as you.

I’ve been trying to set up myself for graduate school and believe me, it was a looong process. I had to take a hiatus from blogging for a few weeks but I’m so glad to be back!

I finally got my student visa and travelled so my family decided to stop by in New York for a day before transiting to our next destination.

In my previous travel post, I mentioned that New York is somewhere I would love to visit again! I last came here in 2008 so I was extremely excited to visit again.

I wanted to see Times Square again because the picture  of the place was imprinted in my brain from the last time I went there and it’s such an iconic place.

Times Square….

Times Square is in Manhattan and it’s mostly known for all the brightly adorned electronic billboards and massive pop up shops below. It’s also super close to where the famous Broadway shows are played!

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New York City is chaotic, crowded, a little dirty and full of life. There also seemed to be a lot of larger-than-life personalities here. I saw a lot of interesting things and strange people while I was in Times square.

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As I mentioned before, there is no place I’ve ever visited that’s like New York because it’s so different! It’s also one of the only cities I know that becomes even more busy at night.

It’s such a peculiar city, I’m so sad I couldn’t see more of this place. I will come back again one day because I still need to see the Statue of Liberty duh!

Without boring you further, here are some of the pictures I took at Times Square! All of these pictures were taken on my iPhone! Gasspp!!

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What To Do When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed With Blogging

What To Do When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed With Blogging

I’m pacing up and down in my living room, phone in hand, thinking of how I’m going to complete a post about how to stop feeling overwhelmed with blogging when I’m encountering those feelings myself. Haha I’ve been overwhelmed with blogging so many times but I’ve always managed to come out alive and kicking!

Finding the motivation to write, publish and promote posts can be difficult for some bloggers. Blogging can be hard sometimes. And trust me, I totally understand how difficult it is to keep up with writing posts, sharing them, promoting and engaging with your community. It can easily turn into a full-time job.

Overwhelmed with blogging….

I usually overwhelmed when I have a mountain of tasks I need to complete. I wake up some mornings dreading all my Pinterest pins, blogging posts and Instagram pictures I have to keep up with. Then instead of actually doing it, I shut down and do nothing at all.

Once I have a long to-do list I begin to prioritize what is really important and that can leave my blogging as a second priority (I know).

I often shut down because I ask myself “why is this causing so much anxiety for me? Is it even that serious”. The answer to me is no, nothing is never that serious. Which results in me pushing all my blogging duties aside.

It can also be extremely demoralizing when you are pushing out posts and you’re not getting the engagement you want or you are working for. It’s in those times that it is most tempting to ask yourself if you should to quit or keep going?

And sometimes…it’s just not fun. That’s the one thing I dread the most. I never want to get to a point in my blog where I feel like writing is a chore. I always want it to be fun and something I look forward to.

Ask yourself what is really important.

What is really important? Blogging to me is important but at this time in my life is it really important to cause more anxiety than my education? Or my health? No it’s not.

I’ve always gotten some form of anxiety/FOMO from social media so I always aggressively take action when I feel it creeping up again. I try to re-center my thoughts and focus on what is really important. Doing this removes those feelings of anxiety.

Only do the bare minimum and what is necessary

You’re not super woman. It’s okay to not be able to do 1000 things at once. Try to focus on one thing and do that well. Last week, I didn’t want to read any posts or pin on Pinterest. I guess you could say I took a break because I didn’t have the mental energy to do blogging stuff. I just wanted to binge watch Stranger things 2. LOL

All I did was like a few pictures on my Instagram. It really took the pressure off for a while and now I’m ready to go back in full force!

Always try to automate things that can be automated. Automate your Pinterest with Tailwind. You could even automate your Instagram. At the moment, I don’t do either because I don’t want to spend that money yet. But once I do, it will definitely ease the pressure of keeping up with blogging for me! I highly recommend it.

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Force yourself to write, Even if you don’t feel like it.

When I don’t feel like writing, I write. Even if it’s the shittiest thing I’ve ever written in my life I’ll keep typing and finish the post. I can then later go back and edit it. Which usually turns out to be a really good post!

You don’t have to be completely inspired each time you write a post. I highly doubt that even the greatest writers were inspired each time they put the ink on paper. So write away!

Don’t get hung up on numbers

It’s fun when you’re growing in numbers but very discouraging when you are not gaining followers or even losing them! My fellow blogger friends often complain about losing followers so I can empathise with them over this situation.

Never compromise yourself for a few followers or likes. It soooo exhausting and burns you out faster than you can imagine. I know numbers are all the rage right now in the blogging world but I believe we are shifting towards an engagement-centric community soon. It doesn’t matter, as long as your 50, 100 or 1000 followers are engaged that is amazing in itself.

Your blog, your rules

It’s your blog and you make the rules. When I had 15 followers and now I have 2400, I always had an audience that genuinely enjoyed my content. I listened to them but I always blogged about what truly interested me. I made the rules as I saw fit and because of this, it’s more difficult for me to be overwhelmed with blogging.

At the end of the day, do what makes you happy with your blog and if something is making you feel unpleasant, scrap it! It takes the edge off knowing you are completely in control of your blogging outcome…


I hope I’ve helped you with some ways to get over those overwhelming feelings over your blog.

I would love to know if you’ve ever felt overwhelmed with blogging?

What methods do you use to ease that pressure?

The 5 Places I Want To Visit Before I’m 50

I thought it would be nice to do a little travel chit-chat post on my blog today! I love traveling to new places because I get to explore different cultures, try new foods and experience the history of a city.

As I said in my Travel Tag, I have been fortunate to be able to travel to so many fun places in the past few years. But there’s so many more places I want to visit soon for each of their own reasons. Here they are!

1. ITALY

Italy is one of my top countries to visit in Europe. I just love the architecture of its cities and how it is filled with history. There are three main places I would love to visit in Italy:

ROME

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Rome is a top destination for me. There are lots of structures that were built in the Roman Empire that I would like to see in person. One of these places in particular is the Colosseum. It’s so beautiful!

I would also love to visit The Vatican and it’s museum because as you may know, I’m obsessed with museums. I would love to enter the churches and admire its beauty in person.

VENICE

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As I also said in my Travel Tag post, Venice has a history with my parents because they took one of their first “baecations” there.

They wanted to go back for a “memories” baecation recently and I was just sat there screaming “TAKE ME WITH YOU!”. Of course they said no lol. But hey, I tried!

I think Venice is a beautiful city on water and I would love to cruise along the canals, stay in a hotel there and just relax.

 

SICILY

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My father recommended this city to me because he said It was one of the cities in Italy he enjoyed the most. He said there’s something about the vibes in Sicily that is unlike any other place he has been too.

Sicily is mostly known as the place in Italy where Mafia’s originated from. I think it would be a beautiful city to be wined and dined, explore nature and just relax.

2. GREECE

I don’t know much about Greece to be honest. It’s a really low key country. But I am drawn to visit here and experience the city because it’s beautiful!

ATHENS

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Athens is known for its historical landmarks and it will be interesting visit these landmarks to see how people lived over 3000 years ago. Very hard to believe life existed before the 1800’s so it would be nice to see it up close.

 

SANTORINI

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I love this island! The blue waters, the clear skies and the houses on the hill all make me want to visit here. It’s the perfect relaxation holiday destination. I’m already thinking of the Instagram worthy photos I would take.

 

3. Las Vegas – USA

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Sin City! When I think of Las Vegas now the only thing I think of is UFC. Is it weird that it’s my main motivation for visiting there?

My love for UFC has reached a cult like status so I would love to go to Las Vegas, buy a ticket for a UFC fight and watch it live. I would also like to visit some casinos but I’m not big on gambling so it will not be my main focus.

Las Vegas also has extravagant broadway type shows like Cirque Du Soleil and singers in Ceasers Palace so booking a ticket for one of these shows is a must!

4. Arizona – USA

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Now I’m not an outdoorsy person so I don’t even know why this is on my list. But The Grand Canyon is a place that I think should be visited at least once in a lifetime. I love Natural wonders so it’s something I think I would enjoy.

5. New York – USA

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The concrete jungle! I have been to New York before but it is a place that I want to visit again. New York is unlike any place I have ever been to in the world.

I particularly want to visit the Statue of Liberty because I didn’t get to last time. It was closed for reconstruction sadly. Can you enter the torch? I would really want to stand there!

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I also want to see another Broadway show live. The first Broadway show I ever went to was The Phantom Of The Opera and it was nothing short of amazing. The next show on my list is The Lion King!

If possible, I would also like to visit Niagara Falls because, natural wonder. Lool


That is it for my list! I have many other places I would love to like Egypt and Tokyo but these are the places I see myself going to sooner rather than later.

And btw, I now have a 1600 followers on The Pearly Life! Thank you for the continued support on my blog.

Is there any place you would like to visit soon?

How To Get Your First 500 Followers On Instagram

Instagram has changed. Gone are the days where you take a photo straight from your iPhone, slap on a Valencia filter, put one or two hashtags and call it a day. Instagram has evolved into a powerhouse especially for bloggers and influencers! I have had Instagram for 5 years now so I have seen many changes in the app. However, it wasn’t until 5 months ago I decided to create a separate Instagram for my blog and grow it. I have amassed a lot of amazing followers so I would like to share how to get followers on instagram!

A lot of the strategies that bloggers tout as the best strategies honestly do not work. Hashtagging brings almost no returns now. It is also a complete waste of time spending hours on your phone liking and commenting on people’s photos in the hopes that someone will follow you.

I needed to find a method that worked so I read lots of blogs on how to get followers on Instagram. My main criteria was that the method should be cheap and show a noticeable growth in followers without spending hours on Instagram.  After a few tweakings and experiments, I found it!

I didn’t use any follow bots/automatic liking systems because I don’t have the money and I wanted a more organic growth. Growing your Instagram this way is definitely slower than using bots but I’ve found that the audience you build will be more engaged. Also, as your following increases, the amount of followers you gain increase exponentially so patience is the name of the game!

Post (Semi) Often

I’m guilty of not posting often because I don’t have the time to take pictures for the week and schedule them. Whoever does this is a true champion! How do you do it?!??!

Posting frequently on Instagram is a no – brainer. It’s always the key to growing any social media account. Post frequent, high quality posts. The more often you post, the more exposure you get and a greater chance of more people seeing your Instagram and following you! Most experts say posting once a day is optimum for growing your account.

But it’s not absolutely necessary. I only post once or twice a week and I get followers everyday. Do what frequency is best for you and makes you comfortable. Just be consistent. Consistency is key.

Do A Follow Train

This is the most important thing that has made my instagram grow these past 5 months. I do a follow spree 5-6 times a week and I have seen a lot of growth from this method. Here is how I do it

At peak hour, (which is 7-10 pm for my time zone) I click on the latest posts from a user I follow and see who liked it. Once I’m there I visit the pages of whoever liked their picture. I like the users pictures and then follow them. I usually follow 10-15 people on these days. They will usually follow you back. I have a 70% success rate using this method. This method is absolutely necessary for me.

One thing to consider is a users follower to following ratio. If a user has a massive gap between followers/following, do not expect a follow back. It also helps to follow people who are interested in the same things as you are. So I usually follow a lot of bloggers and females age 18-30 because I know they fit my demographic of who I am trying to reach!

Instagram Pods

Instagram pods are completely optional but they do help somewhat in engagement on photos. An Instagram pod is a group of bloggers on an Instagram group chat (usually 15) who comment and like on every post anyone shares in the group. There’s no limit on the amount of instagram pods you can join, but one pod is a lot to keep up with!

It’s nice to have a group of bloggers that will always like your pictures and comment. I also ask for blogging advice and general chit-chat from time to time on the group chat so it’s a nice community to be in. However it’s not necessary, Instagram pods are so new and you can grow your account without one.

Follow a theme

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Once someone visits your page for the first time, the overall impression that they get is what will make them decide to click the follow button. Themed Instagram can help drive people to click the follow button. I love having a themed Instagram, but it’s not always the easiest thing for me to achieve.

My theme is currently (to the best of my knowledge) lots of white space with a pop of neutral colors. I don’t overthink my theme and frankly I don’t care. As long as my pictures look decent I’m posting it.

You can tweak and try different themes to see what gets the most likes and comments. If a streamlined theme works for you, do it. It’s also good to have a theme when you are branding yourself on social media because you can be easily recognized by your style of photos. It’s all dependent on what you personally want!

Once you implement these tips, you will see an organic growth of your Instagram with highly engaged followers. I hope you got some amazing tips on how to get followers on Instagram!

Instagram is fun, but my new favourite social media is definitely Pinterest because I get lots of traffic from there. I wrote an extended post on how to get started using Pinterest and drive traffic to your blog. Do check it out!

Amazing Books To Read This Fall

Fall is upon us and I think this is the perfect time to snuggle up and find some new reads! But first let’s take a moment to thank the book gods…I’ve read more than 2 books in a month! I have read a lot of  books recently and I decided that it would be nice to share 4 amazing books to read this fall.

I can’t believe I’ve read these many books in a short span of time because I literally have the attention span of a fish. Reading for me used to be anywhere and an anytime thing but now it has become so ritualistic and boring. 

I need to have the perfect conditions present before I can read now. I’m talking a dark room, complete silence and preferably snuggled in a blanket, before I can read. My high maintenance habits have made it difficult to finish books within a sensible time frame…until now!

I usually read all my books on the kindle app on my iPhone or Kindle device and I buy all my books on Amazon. It’s so much more convenient and I prefer reading the reviews before I shell out money to buy it. Most of these books are 4.5 stars so they’re fan favorites!

Lifestyle Blogging Basics – Laura Lynn

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I’m always on a path of self improvement especially when it comes to my blog. So I decided to buy a book about lifestyle blogging to see if I would learn anything new. This book is written by Laura over on Breezy and Brazen.

Why you should buy it:

This book is perfect for any beginner blogger that wants to get started on their website/blog. It talks about starting a blog, what blogging platform to use, how to promote your posts, working with brands and many more. I also loved how there was a “how I failed” section in each point because it’s reassuring to know that blogging is not a smooth sailing ship. You will make many mistakes but as long as you keep going it’s all good. It’s an extremely valuable book for all level bloggers so it’s worth a read!

Luring A Lady – Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts is a really popular author and I’m sure almost everyone has read one or two of her romance novels. I’m a romantic girl at heart so I enjoy reading romance genres from time to time. I was pulled in by the plot in this book so I decided to make a purchase.

Luring A Lady is a about a woman called Sydney Hayward who recently took over the family’s real estate business. She has always felt the pressure to be the perfect wife/socialite/daughter so she is closed off and too busy for any distractions…that is until Mikhail comes along.

Why You Should Buy it:

It is a simple, cookie cutter, entertaining romance story. It’s so easy to read and you don’t have to rack your brain trying to comprehend what is being said. It was also cute to see how her ice-princess facade was slowly melted by Mikhail. And if you love an Alpha type main character in a novel, this book is for you.

The Curated Closet – Discover Your Personal Style And Build Your Dream Wardrobe

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I have the most haphazard personal style ever because I just throw anything on and pray for the best. I also happen to hate shopping and the thought of spending hours in a clothing store makes me want to gouge my eyes out. Although I hate shopping, I love fashion! I wanted to see if there is way to build a wardrobe I love that captures my personal style, but is versatile for any season. Enter the curated closet! It goes into detail about building your wardrobe based on what you like, shopping tips and building a capsule wardrobe! It’s a really invaluable tool for anyone that wants to improve their closet with minimal effort.

Why You Should Buy It:

If your closet is a mess, you have no semblance of a personal style and you don’t have the willpower nor energy to figure it out yourself, this book if for you!

The Naturalist- Andrew Mayne

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The Naturalist is a thriller/crime investigation novel about a scientist who is thrust into the middle of an investigation when one of his former students is brutally murdered in the woods. I’m not done reading this but I’m really enjoying it at the moment! I’m also getting a serious Gone Girl vibe from this novel and I know there’s going to be a massive bombshell at the end. Fingers crossed it lives up to my expectations!

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed my post this and found some new books to read this fall!

What are your current favorite books?

Related: The Mid Year Favourites Roundup: Books, Music, Movies and Makeup!

4 amazing books to read this fall

3 Things That Made Me Accept My Natural Hair

I have had a complicated relationship with my hair. I grew up in a society that did not accept my natural hair, afro’s or dreadlocks. Straight silky hair was right and kinky hair was wrong. Right from when I was little, I went to the salon every three weeks to get a relaxer. Now if you don’t know what a relaxer is it’s a strong chemical that you put on your hair to straighten it permanently. I had extremely coarse and thick hair that my mother couldn’t comb so this was the best option at the time. Also, everyone was doing it so it was not a big deal.

I think most people can agree that relaxers are more harmful than good. The hair relaxers always burnt my scalp (yes, chemical burns on my scalp!!) but I always loved the straight silky look I got when I wore a relaxer.

I never knew what my actual hair looked like. I always had the impression that my hair was some sort of untamable beast that needs a relaxer unless all my hair would fall out.  It was unthinkable not relaxing my hair!

I also thought that people who had natural hair were dirty, lazy and god forbid they had dreadlocks. This was years of conditioning where I grew up where your natural hair was not appreciated.

 

3 things that made me accept my natural hair

Breaking the Stereotype

The first time I saw a woman with natural hair was on YouTube. Shoutout to Karen aka Glamfun. She looked beautiful, and she looked like me!! Could I really have hair like that? I decided to go natural because I was tired of using weaves as a crutch. I didn’t like the fact that I felt less of a woman once I didn’t have a weave on and felt the need to hide or compensate with more makeup!

It was then and there that I decided to go natural! It wasn’t always an easy journey but reminding myself of these three things finally made me accept my natural hair and love it for what it is!

  1. Your hair is a unique representation of you

Absolutely no ones hair can be the same. Your hair is designed perfectly for you. It’s adapted to your skin colour, your weather, even the colour of your eyes. Your hair has a personality of its own and you should never compare list for list with another persons hair. Using a natural hair typing system may be only part of the equation but just because you and someone have the same hair type does not mean you can do the same things on your hair and have the same results! It will always look different. Embrace its uniqueness cause that is you.

    2. Get preconceived notions of what you think “good hair” should look like out of your mind

I’ve learnt that healthy hair is good hair. Healthy hair always looks good no matter what texture, color or length. Once you remove unrealistic expectations of what you think your hair should look like and accept it for what it is, it will be great! I used to admire people who had long flowing locks of hair and hated natural hair. The self-hatred and conditioning was real ladies! Now I appreciate all hair types, but I have a special admiration for afro’s. They’re just a special breed awesomeness!

On days that I think my hair looks like absolute shit, I get 1000 compliments on it. So never think your hair is ugly because it’s not what you think it should look like!


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3. Stop obsessing over your hair length

When I first went natural I was obsessed with growing my hair long. I always had 16 inch weaves so to go from that to short hair was very challenging for me. I also felt like I had to grow my hair long because my hair had been grazing my neck my whole life and I wanted to prove to someone I could grow it long for some reason. This led me to do arduous things that I didn’t like only because it would give me long hair. Instead of enjoying my hair at every step of its journey, I was always obsessing over it. As long as your hair is healthy, it will grow!

Now I pretty much don’t care about having long hair. I’m even contemplating cutting it shorter because it’s so much more easier to manage! In the end, your hair is an extension of you. Accepting it may not always be easy, but once you do it is extremely liberating.

Thank you so much for reading! If you would like see one of the ways I take care of my natural hair check out my Ultimate Routine For Thick, Curly Hair!

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Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette Review + Swatch On Dark Skin

Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette Review + Swatch On Dark Skin

It’s no secret that I’m a massive lover of the Urban Decay makeup line. However that has never stopped me from being totally honest on if a palette disappoints me or not. Which was how I felt about the moondust palette which I did a review on here. I completely hate that palette on my skin tone.

I decided to give UD a second chance and do a the Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette review because although I saw a lot of beauty bloggers do reviews on this palette, I haven’t seen a lot of swatches/reviews from women of colour (w.o.c.) on the blogosphere! I know how difficult it can be for W.O.C to find a decent review/swatch so here I am!

Even if you aren’t a W.O.C, this review can still be helpful because if a colour does not work on my skin tone, it will most likely be gorgeous on you and vice versa! So I hope you enjoy this review!

The Packaging

The packaging is very similar to the three other Naked palettes. It comes with 12 mini palettes shades in a rectangular pack with a full sized mirror and eyeshadow brush. I happen to like the Urban Decay palette packaging a lot. It’s easy to travel with and the eyeshadow brush is top notch. However UD palettes are notorious for scattering once you drop them. It’s very disheartening when I drop my palette by mistake and all the mini pans fall out with the shadows destroyed. So if you own this palette be extra careful not to drop it!

Naked Heat Shades

OUNCE (ivory shimmer)

I always try to avoid the lightest shades in eyeshadow palettes as a dark skinned woman because it’s so easy for it to turn out looking ashy. But this one actually doesn’t appear jarring on my skin. I love the light shimmery tone on my skin. It’s also similar to a pearl colored highlighter so it’s perfect for using it under your brow bone or inner tear duct.

CHASER (light nude matte)

I don’t like this color. As I said before, I avoid light colors because I’ll look ashy. Although it’s described as a nude, this nude will suit a light skinned person as opposed to someone dark. It just appears ashy on my skin. Next!

SAUCED (soft terra-cotta matte)

This is cute! I has a soft, peachy, rust shade on my skin so I quite like this one. I think this will do well as a transition shade or even the main shade on your lid if you’re looking for something light!

LOW BROW ( Brown Matte)

This is described as a brown matte but it’s actually a brown nude! It’s like a soft brown color on my skin so I quite like this one. Transition shade anyone?

LUMBRE (copper shimmer w/gold pearl shift)

This is a gorgeous copper shimmer shade! It will definitely have a multipurpose use because it’s great for the lid, brow bone and even inner tear duct.

HE DEVIL (burnt red matte)

This is a very unique red shade that I’ve never actually seen before! I didn’t cross my mind that red could be used as an eyeshadow color but I love this one. It also happens to look gorgeous on my skin tone! It looks great with the Lumbre paired together so I will definitely be using these two together!

DIRTY TALK (metallic burnt red)

I think this is the metallic equivalent of He Devil but I’m not sure I like this one. It has a muted color so it is not really accentuating my skin tone. I will use this sparingly!

SCORCHED (metallic deep red w/gold micro-shimmer)

Now this is the metallic equivalent I was looking for! This actually looks somewhat purple on me so it complements my skin tone nicely.

CAYENNE (deep terra-cotta matte)

Very deep matte mauve shade. It’s perfect for blending and transitioning! Not too dark too.

EN FUEGO (burgundy matte)

A darker deep red shade similar to Cayenne. I think this can be worn fully on the lid for a smoky eye and on the crease too!

ASHES (deep reddish-brown matte)

This looks very dark and more purple than reddish brown. Although I like dark eyeshadow colors, I never really know how to work it. It’s not my favourite I may not reach for this as often.

EMBER (deep metallic copper-burgundy)

This is a lovely copper shade that I’ve never actually seen before. Imagine the colour of the Rose Gold iPhone, but on your lids. It does have a grainy consistency so it doesn’t feel as smooth as the other shades.

FORMULA / SWATCH

The formula of the eyeshadow is also amazing as usual. It’s creamy, pigmented and lasts forever on the eyes. It also glides on very smoothly on my arm and blends out beautifully. I have no issues with blending the palette. Some of the shades have a grainier texture, but it does not hamper the blend ability of the shadow!

SHOULD YOU BUY THIS?

I think the only reservations one may have about the palette is the actual usage of the palette because it does not seem to be a palette that you can use everyday. Most of the looks you can create with this palette look more appropriate for the summer. Because of this, is the $54 dollar price tag worth it?

I bought this palette because I basically live in a country that has summer-like weather all year long. Because of this, it won’t look out of place if you’re wearing such warm colours. I am not entirely sure how this palette pans out in the winter time. So this is something to put into consideration when trying to purchase the palette. It’s perfect for summer and fall, but winter is something I’m still on the fence about!

THE VERDICT

Yes I like this palette! I think it’s a great addition to the Naked collection and there are some really unique shades that are here. I especially love the reddish shades because I’ve never encountered a red eyeshadow shade before. It’s really unique and captures the essence of the “Heat” name. It is a beautiful palette and I think I will purchase this again.