Friday, January 30, 2015

EMILY AWARDS 2014: Best Eye Makeup!

Hi Everyone! 
It's time for part two of the Emily Awards! In this video, I focus on all of my favorite eye makeup... from primer to eyeshadow to brows - and everything in between! There are lots of new favorites this year, as well as some long-time powerhouse products. And of course, Cupcake and Belle's "Cuteness Broadcast" takeover continues... watch the intro to see what they're up to this time around! 

As with the blog post for the Emily Awards for Face, I've listed all of the award-winning products below, along with any links to other videos I've done and also links to where you can buy these items.  

Don't miss a video! Stay updated on the Emily Awards on Social Media!

* denotes the number of years a product has won. Products without and asterisk are first-time winners. Not every type of product has winners in both high end and drugstore categories.

Best Eye Primer
  • Drugstore: Milani Eyeshadow Primer** (Buy)
Best Cream Shadow
  • High End: Mally Evercolor Shadow Sticks**** (Buy - More Info)
  • Drugstore: Milani Shadow Eyez in Almond Cream** (Buy)
Best Small Eyeshadow Palette
  • High End: Clinique Black Honey Affair (Buy) - Benefit Big Beautiful Eyes (Buy - More Info)
  • Drugstore: Wet n Wild Walking on Eggshells (Buy)
Best Large Eyeshadow Palette
  • High End: LORAC Pro Palette*** (Buy) - Smashbox Master Class III (Buy - More Info)
  • Drugstore: Coastal Scents Revealed 2 Palette (Buy - More Info)
Best Overall Eyeshadow Formula
  • High End: Smashbox Photo Op Eyeshadow**  (see video for specific info)
  • Drugstore: Wet n Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow***** (Buy)
Best Eyeliner Pencil
  • High End: Marc Jacobs Highliner (Buy)
Best Liquid Eyeliner
  • Drugstore: Jordana Color Envy Liquid Liner in Black Envy (Buy - More Info)
Best Cream/Gel Eyeliner
  • Drugstore: Essence Gel Liner in Midnight in Paris** (Buy - More Info)
Best Mascara
  • High End: Estee Lauder Little Black Primer (Buy - More Info)
  • Drugstore: Cover Girl Clump Crusher Water Resistant Mascara (Buy)
Best False Eyelashes
Best Brow Product
(Some "buy" links are affiliate links)
Stay tuned for part 3 of the Emily Awards - Best Lip Products!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

EMILY AWARDS 2014: Best Face Makeup!

Hello friends!
Thanks for tuning in for the 7th annual Emily Awards! I remember when I first did these awards for the best products of 2008... back then, I knew I wanted to do a roundup of my favorite makeup products, but didn't really know what to call it. So without a whole lot of thought, I slapped on the title of "Emily Awards". Who knew I'd still be doing them this many years later? At first, I just did one video sharing my favorites... now it's grown to a four part series where the "theme" requires almost as much thought and planning as the favorite product selections themselves! 

In 2014, our little family went through some significant changes! A new home... and a new baby! So that definitely plays into this year's theme, where Cupcake and Belle join forces to turn "Beauty Broadcast" into "Cuteness Broadcast". You'll have to check out each video in the Emily Awards series to see how their plan unfolds!

While my video shares the "why" behind all of my Emily Award winning products, I like to compile all the favorites here on my blog so you can more easily refer to the winners. The "buy" links following each product will direct you to an online retailer that sells the product. On some products, the "more info" links will take you to other videos I've done in the past sharing more details. 

Don't miss a video! Stay updated on the Emily Awards on social media!

* denotes the number of years a product has won. Products without and asterisk are first-time winners. Not every type of product has winners in both high end and drugstore categories.

Best Primer
  • High End: Clinique Superprimer (Buy)
  • Drugstore: Garnier 5 Sec. Blur (Buy - More Info)
Best Light Foundation/BB
Best Full Coverage Foundation
  • High End: Estee Lauder Double Wear Maximum Cover (Buy - More Info)
  • Drugstore: Rimmel Lasting Finish Foundation** (Buy)
Best Concealer
  • High End: Benefit Erase Paste** (Buy)
  • Drugstore: Sonia Kashuk All Covered Up Concealer (Buy - More Info)
Best Loose Powder
  • Drugstore: ELF Mineral Booster in Sheer** (Buy)
Best Pressed Powder
  • Drugstore: L'oreal True Match Pressed Powder***** (Buy)
Best Powder Foundation
  • High End: It Cosmetics Celebration Illumination Foundation (Buy)
  • Drugstore: ELF Pressed Mineral Foundation (Buy - More Info)
Best Bronzer
  • High End: Smashbox Step-by-Step Contour Kit (Buy - More Info)
  • Drugstore: NYC Color Wheel- All Over Bronze Glow (Buy - More Info)
Best Blush
Best Cream Blush
Best Highlight
  • High End: BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector (Buy - More Info)
Best Mattifier/Touch-Up
Best Setting Spray
  • Drugstore: NYX Dewy Finish Setting Spray (Buy)
(Some "buy" links above are affiliate links)
Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Emily Awards 2014: Best Eye Products! :) 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

1,000 Videos - Charity Giveaway Winner!

Hi everyone!
I hope 2015 is off to a great start for you. I wanted to do a quick post to let you know which charity won my giveaway! In case the busy season has you still catching up on videos, I'll explain... I recently hit ONE THOUSAND videos on my emilynoel83 YouTube channel! Pretty crazy what a makeup-obsessed person can do in 7 years! HA! Anyway, I posted a little video thanking you all for your support and kindness over the years!

At the end of this video, I wanted to commemorate the 1,000 video mark, but also give back in the spirit of the holiday season. I have always loved giving away makeup in past giveaways... but I also end up somewhat frustrated that MORE people can't win! So I thought a $1,000 donation to a charitable organization of a viewer's choice would be a great way to impact more lives, and do so in honor of a fabulous subscriber. I asked that viewers simply submit a comment with the name of a charity that's close to their heart, and provide a little description as well. I was BLOWN AWAY by all of the comments, as well as super meaningful stories!! My mom and I were both talking about how amazingly thoughtful the comments were. And as I said in the video, I was RANDOMLY selecting a winner, because there's no way I could have chosen one charity as more deserving than another... you all shared HUNDREDS of organizations, from local to international, that are doing fabulous work. While my winner was chosen randomly, it was my hope that your descriptions/explanations/stories would be seen by other viewers and might inspire even more giving. So thanks to all who took part! 

The giveaway wrapped up at midnight, and the randomly-selected winner is Pam Smith! (Who also has a beauty-related YouTube Channel!)  CONGRATULATIONS PAM!!! Here is the comment she left...

So this morning, I made my donation to Victory Junction! I am so excited about this!! What a great organization! You can click here to visit their website and learn more, but like Pam said in her comment, this organization based in Randleman, North Carolina provides amazing experiences for kids with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses at NO cost to the families. So basically the kids get a safe environment for all sorts of fun "camp" activities... swimming, theater, horseback riding, art, fishing- you name it! Victory Junction has provided these experiences to more than 17,000 kids since 2004. One of the graphics on the website says- "Where kids can forget about being sick for a while" - Doesn't that make you want to cry? Every kid should have the opportunity to let loose and be happy! And how awesome that Pam has been directly involved with this group!
I was able to easily make my donation online and share in a comment that this was being made on Pam's behalf through my Beauty Broadcast giveaway. There was also a little section at the end where you could fill in a specific person's name that you could give your donations "in honor of" - so I put Pam. 

And just so you have proof that the donation was actually made... this is the "thank you" screen that came up:

Again, thank you ALL for taking part in this giveaway by sharing your favorite charitable group in the comments section! It was really heartwarming to read your stories. I'm so thankful to have such kind-hearted subscribers! Have a wonderful day, and Congratulations to Victory Junction!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sephora Favorites - Give Me More Lip Set!

Hi everyone! 
Whew! You can imagine how my lips feel after trying on ALLLL of those lip colors! (17 to be exact!) This blog post has actually been three days in the making. As I try to hone my skills at being a work-at-home mom, I've been doing videos in the early morning, but struggling to get a lot of blogging done in the afternoons. That tends to be Belle's main "active alert" time. But little by little, this post has come together! :) I must say, this set is right up my alley. It's the limited edition Give Me More Lip sampler. In the past, I've tried the Give Me Some Lip sets, but decided to go big with this one. It's $59 on Sephora's site, and is pretty much the ultimate gift for the lip product addict on your list. While I'm very familiar with some of the products, there are others that I have only tried on once and haven't had time to adequately test their staying power and review them yet. But simply looking at the variety of colors and forms of lip colors that are included in this kit- I gotta say, I'm blown away. It's so much fun! 
Inside this gift box, the various lip products are sectioned off into four different color families... nudes/neutrals, pinks, berries, and reds. I can't decide what I like more-- the color variety, or the variety of lip color formats/textures. There are stains, lipsticks, glosses, balms, jumbo pencils... I just LOVE that! If you're looking to branch out, this is a perfect way to do so. And while you're getting lots of smallish sizes, they're still not tiny! I could see these lasting a long time. Below, I'll show each color family on my lips, and give a few observations on their application and appearance. If I already have reviews on any of these products, I'll provide links. You can click any of the pictures to enlarge them for a closer look! 
My standout products are marked with an asterisk! *
Left to right: Makeup Up For Ever Aqua Lip Pencil in 3C, Too Faced La Creme lipstick in Naked Dolly, Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie Lipstick in Speak Your Mind, Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Blush, Stila Stay All Day Vinyl Lip Gloss in Nude Vinyl. 
  • Make Up For Ever Aqua Lip Pencil in 3C: Great neutral color, will work well with all sorts of neutral lipsticks or glosses. When worn alone, it has a slightly tacky feel. More comfortable with something on top. Excellent staying power. 

  • Too Faced La Creme Lipstick in Naked Dolly (Top Left): Very creamy, hydrating feel and nice shine. This light shade goes on a bit more streaky than most of the more colorful La Creme lipsticks that I have, so application can take a little longer to get it even.
  • *Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie Lipstick in Speak Your Mind (Top Right): Incredibly smooth lipstick with subtle shine. Applied like a dream... just a great cream formula lipstick. I'd purchase more of these!
  • Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Blush (Bottom Left): Has a deliciously sweet scent, not sticky at all. I like the deep peachy tone. 
  • Stila Stay All Day Vinyl Lip Gloss in Nude Vinyl (Bottom Right): Soft pinky-peach color. Feels somewhat thick and tacky at first, but the comfort level actually seems to improve with wear. Pigmented liquid-lipstick type format. 

Left to right: Tarte LipSurgence Power Pigment in Flush, Too Faced Melted Liquified Longwear Lipstick in Fuchsia, Benefit PosieBalm, Bite Luminous Creme Lipstick in Palomino. 
  • Tarte LipSurgence Power Pigment in Flush (Top Left): Full coverage reddish-berry color, minty scent. Slightly sticky feel on the lips. Click here for a full review. 
  • Too Faced Melted in Fuchsia (Top Right): Strikingly beautiful hot pink. Velvety feel on the lips that has some shine after initial application, but becomes rather matte with continued wear. Applicator isn't quite small enough to make application of this vivid shade foolproof. Click here for a full review. 
  • Benefit PosieBalm (Bottom Left): Very sheer, but extremely comfortable on the lips. Has a rosy scent. The natural pigmentation in your lips will play a big role in how this color looks on you. Click here for a review that includes other Benefit Balms. 
  • *Bite Luminous Creme Lipstick in Palomino (Bottom Right): One of my favorite shades from one of my favorite lipstick lines!! This beautiful fuchsia has a hint of shine and an incredibly velvety smooth glide on the lips. Comfortable wear and great staying power. Click here for a past blog post showing this and other Bite lipsticks. 

Left to right: Tarte LipSurgence Lip Tint in Moody, Fresh Sugar Berry Tinted Lip Treatment, Buxom Full Bodied Lipstick in Menace, OCC Lip Tar Matte Test Tube in Black Dahlia. 
  • *Tarte LipSurgence Lip Tint in Moody (Top left): I already own this, and have nearly used it up. It's probably my favorite LipSurgence shade-- a sheer, deep red (which I think is kind of unique in the sheer lip color world). Totally comfortable on the lips, hint of shine.
  • *Fresh Sugar Berry Tinted Lip Treatment (Top right): While I've tried a few balms from Fresh, this is my first experience with Berry and I'm in LOVE. Applies smooth as silk. Makes lips feel pillowy soft (even in the midst of a marathon lip swatching session!) Lemon-y scent. 
  • *Buxom Full Bodied Lipstick in Menace (Bottom left): I adore this color! Really richly pigmented berry/red with amazing shine that just lights up the face. My signature type of shade. Would be an amazing winter/holiday color.
  • OCC Lip Tar Matte Test Tube in Black Dahlia (Bottom right): Interesting product, and will require more experimentation to get a good idea of everything it will do. A sheer application looks more berry and less vampy- and it's also more matte. In the picture, I've applied a pretty thick coat, which appears darker and slightly shiny. Tricky to apply and get a clean line around the edge, but this kit does include a small lip brush, which is appreciated. 

Left to right: Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Icon, Laura Mercier Creme Smooth Lip Colour in Red Armour, Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Outlaw, Sephora Rouge Infusion in 10 Red Essence. 

  • *Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Icon (Top Left): Amazing liquid stain type of consistency. Totally full color and dries matte. This tone of red is absolute perfection!
  • Laura Mercier Creme Smooth Lip Colour in Red Armour (Top Right): A true cherry red lipstick. Smooth application and a shiny finish. Pretty color, but nothing remarkably special about this formula. Still nice, though.
  • *Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Outlaw (Bottom Left): Thin, yet amazingly creamy and full color. Dries matte on the lips. Incredibly hard to remove, even after only being on the lips for a few minutes. 
  • Sephora Rouge Infusion in 10 Red Essence (Bottom Right): Don't look too close at the lip line here... things got a little messy as I scrubbed off the previous lip color from KVD. This colorful stain type of consistency reminds me of the Hourglass, but comes off just slightly less full coverage on the lips. Will need to wear it more to make a better comparison. 

As you can see, I've marked some of my favorite products above with an asterisk! Others may turn into favorites once I have a chance to experiment with them more. Overall, this is a fabulous, fun lip kit for the person who likes to experiment. Whoever was in charge of putting this grouping of products together deserves a raise. They combined such a variety of new and interesting textures, as well as some very classic lipsticks and glosses. The shade range goes from nude to vampy dark berry and everywhere in between. Here are just a few overall impressions (just my personal take!) on each of the color families...
  • Best Products: The Berries. Gorgeous shades, yet each one is its own unique take on "berry". I'm so pleasantly surprised by the Buxom lipstick. Love the balm-like comfort of Tarte & Fresh. And that crazy matte OCC lip tar will be fun to continue to play with!
  • Most Average: The Neutrals. While the Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie lipstick really impressed me, everything else in this color family wasn't quite so outstanding. Not bad by any means... just didn't knock my socks off. There were more interesting, unique, and high quality consistencies included in the other color families. 
  • Most Familiar: The Pinks. You may have noticed- I actually happen to have reviews on all of the products in this section. All in all, beautiful colors with a few specific drawbacks. The inclusion of Bite Palomino pretty much makes up for any of those issues, though :) 
  • Most Surprising: The Reds. I hadn't tried any of the products in this color family yet, and I was pleasantly surprised by the consistency of some of these products. There seems to be a trend toward very thin, stain-like liquids that are full coverage and dry to a matte finish. Exciting!
Thanks so much for checking out my post on this massive lip kit! If you've tried it, I'd love to hear what you think!

Daily Nuggets...
  • Speaking of nuggets... I'm trying to take advantage of her nap time and typing my little heart out. I've missed blogging!
  • I have determined that Belle likes music and finds certain songs on my playlist to be extra calming. Those songs are: Dixieland Delight by Alabama, Love Can Build a Bridge by The Judds, American Kids by Kenny Chesney, A New Day Has Come by Celine Dion, and Mandolin Rain by Josh Kelley - to name a few. 
  • Last night after Tyler got home from work, I had a little "me time" at Walgreens. I just feel good being in the Walgreens beauty aisle, what can I say? I came out with some cherry cordial-flavored Hershey's kisses and a few new.... wait for it... lip products! Ugh! I have a problem! LOL. But you knew that already ;)
  • The view out my window is pure fall. Grey skies and a light breeze blowing multi-colored leaves off the trees. It's beautiful! 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Baby Broadcast: 1 Month with Belle!

Hi everyone!
Thanks for stopping by the blog! I wanted to take a minute to document some of my observations after the first month of having a newborn in my life. Can you believe Belle is already a month old?! Disclaimer: if you landed on this post looking for a parenting expert- you are not in the right place! Before Belle, I had very little experience with babies. I could probably count the amount of diapers I'd changed on one hand! So that might make some of these observations extra amusing to those of you who've been in the parenting game for a long time! I'm just sharing our experiences. I'm planning to do some vlogs on more specific topics (like breastfeeding, products we love, working at home + baby, anything else you want to see?), but for now- I thought you might find these bullet points entertaining! 

  • My most-worn hairdo: hair clipped up in a bun. Even if you see my hair down in a video, it's not usually staying that way for long. 
  • Outfit priorities: comfort & ease of breastfeeding.
  • If someone asks if the reason I look rested in pictures is because I have an "easy baby", it's not. It's makeup! My stash of concealer is plentiful and very full coverage. 
  • In addition- my "new mommy glow" is also makeup.
  • Any guesses as to what created the pregnancy glow?
  • I'm obsessed with the length/thickness of my newborn's eyelashes.
  • They say babies love studying your face, but I'm convinced that Belle is especially entertained by my funny faces when I'm wearing a bright or dark lipstick. I suppose she's able to pick up on the contrast more.  She's mesmerized!
Stuff Baby Does...
  • Baby facial expressions are both hilarious and adorable! It's hard to look away!
  • A freshly bathed baby is the best scent.
  • When a certain someone is having a tantrum, I start to feel like my cat really has her act together.
  • ALL baby bodily noises are cute. Hiccups, burps, and yes- even when she toots. It's cute!
  • Cats will enjoy a baby play mat just as much, if not more, than the baby.
  • Babies change FAST. Seriously, it seems like every couple of days I notice some little difference in her appearance.
Stuff We Do...
  • I'm always surprised by all the repetitive songs/phrases Tyler and I will come up with while soothing a crying baby. How many times have I said "she's ok!" or "she's a good girl!" Over and over and over...
  • You can tone a lot of muscles while walking around bopping a crying baby.
  • Sometimes the baby talk voice finds its way into regular, non-baby related conversations.
  • Poop (amount/color/consistency) is openly discussed without any awkwardness.
  • The same can be said for nipples.
  • I can't begin to count how many times I've kissed Belle on top of the head. 
  • When soothing a crying baby, some random thing that you do will make you believe you have the magic touch. Until the baby cries again, and it doesn't work anymore.
  • Googling "is it normal if..." happens a lot.
  • The 4th hour of the Today show (with Kathie Lee & Hoda) re-airs in the middle of the night on NBC. (At least it does in our TV market... does this happen where you live?) I LOVE KLG & HODA, so this is awesome. Say what you want about them, but I believe they have some of the best chemistry of any TV hosts I've watched. 
  • I've heard so often that breastfeeding is not painful. However, I'm convinced that there is a phase early on for some people (a.k.a. me), where the nipples are very sensitive to this new task... particularly because I have a "little snapping turtle" on my hands with a very aggressive sucking tendency. It only makes sense that there would be a period of time where the nipples have to get used to this. After a month, I'm finally starting to round a corner and am experiencing less sensitivity/pain. The initial latch might hurt a bit, but it definitely subsides.
  • Breastfeeding makes you thirsty.
  • Before you start a session of breastfeeding, have everything you might need in the near future within reach, especially if you're alone (water, burp cloth, phone, remote, etc.)
  • Make sure your nursing bra is big enough! One that's too tight is both uncomfortable, and could cause problems with plugged ducts.
  • Leakage is real. Get some Ultra Soft nursing pads from Lansinoh. The Lanolin ointment is also a must.
  • A breastfeeding app is handy for remembering what side you fed the baby on last, and to keep track of how long he/she has been feeding. I use the Baby Nursing/Breastfeeding app from American Baby. You can track tons of things on there if you want to (diapers, pumping, doc visits, etc.)
  • If you're a visual learner, this video and this video offer some great breastfeeding tips. Even after taking a breastfeeding class, I found these videos super useful. 
And one final observation... a DIY photo shoot with a newborn that involves any sort of complex outfit is about as easy as dressing your cat up for Halloween (I'll admit, I tried that once). But I really wanted to get pics of Belle in this adorable outfit that Jennifer Hickey sent from Adora Bella Boutique! The onesie says "Our Princess Belle Has Arrived" and Jennifer also sent the cute tutu and headband! The stuff is absolutely darling. We may re-try this photoshoot again at some point (and maybe consult the help of a professional!) But for now I have a couple of pictures! :) The tears started flowing pretty fast, but I promise that's when the pictures ended! Thank you, Jennifer, for the insanely cute outfit!!
Bottom line: I cannot BELIEVE how much Tyler and I have learned in the past month. Things that weren't even in our vocabulary before are now part of everyday life. There are challenges... those moments where you've tried EVERYTHING but the baby is still crying. Or you're so tired you could almost fall asleep standing up. But there's one thing that comes very easily-- and that's the love we have for this little baby. We love her with every ounce of our being. And looking into those wide eyes during a calm moment and realizing that this little life is in your hands... it's just amazing. I'm so glad I get to be Belle's momma. She's brought so much to our lives in one short month- I can't imagine what the future holds!