Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas and Birthday and Wedding... Oh My!

Hey everyone!
There's a reason why my blog has been on hiatus for about a week.... I haven't been home! 
So here's a little journal of what I've been up to. 
One week ago (Christmas Eve), Cupcake, Tyler and I took off on a 5.5 hour drive to the north where both of our hometowns are- in west-central Illinois. It's really quite convenient- it's about a 10 minute drive between our parents' homes. Since we'd be away for a week, Cupcake came with us and stayed at my mom & dad's house. She's a reluctant traveler, but does a very good job in her "Pet Taxi" once we're on the road. 

It's become our tradition to spend Christmas Eve with Tyler's family- we go to a candlelight Christmas Eve service at the church and come back to open presents & eat dinner. Here you see Sarah & Chuck- just days before their December 29th wedding! What a cute couple :) It was a full house there since lots of family members & extended family were in the area for the wedding as well. 

Then on Christmas morning we went over to celebrate with my side of the family. I gotta say, I was busy just "being present" as Oprah would say- enjoying time with people I don't get to see nearly enough! So I didn't take lots of pictures and video, but I did snap a pic of this precious gift from my sister-- it's a watercolor of me and Cupcake!! She had taken that picture of me the day we flew to New York to meet Mally- I believe I was saying goodbye to Cupcake here. I love her wild-eyed "let go of me or I'll run in 2 seconds" look! This gift was a total surprise and I love it so much!! Click here to read my sister's blog post about it! She even has a video clip of me opening it :)

On the 26th I did some post-Christmas shopping with my mom- we found some good sales and it felt just like the good old days! :) Then on the 27th (my birthday) I got an amazing gift from Tyler- TICKETS TO IMATS IN NEW YORK!!!! It's happening in April! I can't wait- it's going to be such an amazing time and my first experience going to IMATS! That night Tyler, Mom, Dad and I hit up a nearby sports bar for some eats, drinks, and laughs. 

You may or may not be able to tell here- but I got several inches taken off my hair (mom did it). It makes it a little more manageable... my fine hair seems to tangle so easily in the back of the neck area. 

Then on Friday it was time to hit the road to destination number 3 of the week- Hermann, Missouri! It's a cute little town about an hour west of St. Louis. There's a vineyard/inn known as Hermann Hill and they also host weddings there. Since Sarah has family from the north (North Dakota) and Chuck's family is from the south (Texas) I guess they decided to let everyone meet in the middle with this wedding spot, which I think was a great idea. The place is gorgeous and if you get a chance, I highly recommend staying in one of the cottages! It's like your own little apartment- complete with a full kitchen, living room, hot tub, jacuzzi, fireplaces... WOW. Loved it!

There was an upstairs and downstairs room in each cottage and it was right across a small parking lot from the wedding chapel & reception area. Super convenient! And I almost forgot- the refrigerator was stocked with breakfast to heat up as well as materials for ice cream sundaes. I got up early just so I could make coffee and waffles. It almost feels like you're "playing house" when you're staying somewhere else... but in your own house it feels like work- LOL! :) Anyway, Friday night was the rehearsal and after dinner, several of us went out for some drinks. Turns out, we were at the "Longest Continuous Running Tavern West of the Mississippi". Nice! Here's me and Tyler's other sisters- Aimee and Rachel a.k.a. "the twins" :)

And here are some other random shots... yes, Sarah is "chipmunking" for me :) 
If you follow me on Instagram (emilynoel83) or Twitter, you've already seen some of these pics. 

Saturday was the big day! I did Sarah's makeup for the wedding. Not that she needed much of my help to look this good! She and the twins are tall, blonde, blue-eyed, and absolutely beautiful. Add a little mascara and BAM! They're stunning. With Sarah I did a neutral/grey-toned eye using my Bare Minerals "The Finer Things" eyeshadow palette, along with some false lashes (can't remember the style, she bought them), and I used Revlon's Colorburst lip gloss in Rosepearl to give her lips some color and shine without being too bright. For foundation I used Rimmel Lasting Finish and mixed in a little bit of MAC Pro Longwear in a deeper shade to match her spray tan. I believe the blush was Milani Minerals in Mai Tai. 

I got myself ready in advance so I could have plenty of time to do Sarah's makeup and anyone else who wanted a little help. Here's me with one of the other bridesmaids, Kim! I did her makeup and absolutely loved how it turned out. She has really flawless skin and beautiful eyes! Our dresses were all short and royal blue, but we were allowed to choose our style. Mine was strapless with a sweetheart neckline. If Tyler were home right now, I'd dig through his phone to find some better pics :) Sarah supplied us all with silver necklaces and earrings.

I put my hair in rollers then did a half up/half down style with a "pouf" in the crown. Kim is a hair master and she curled her hair, then braided part of it across- it was so cute, and a good idea for a style that could last all night. Fun fact: Kim, Sarah and I all cheered together in high school, and were in the same stunt group! Also, Sarah was a big reason why I got set up with Tyler! 

Here's a closer look at my makeup- I'm wearing Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation, and I must say, I LOVED the coverage and the staying power! On my lips- another Estee Lauder product- it's the Pure Color lipstick in Cheating Heart - a really saturated reddish/deep berry pink color. On the eyes I'm wearing my Bare Minerals "The Finer Things" palette and Salon Perfect Demi Wispies false lashes. My blush is Cover Girl Cheekers in Plumberry Glow. Sarah's flowers incorporated some really colorful shades- mainly rich magenta pinks- so I thought my bright lip worked well with that. 

I also did Aimee's makeup and Rachel's eyes. I thought this was a cool shot of them with Sarah in the mirror. That's another plus to Hermann Hill- they have an awesome bridal room with lighted mirrors and counters, food, drinks... it was so nice! 

And I thought this was such a sweet candid pic of Sarah with one of the little flower girls. It was a beautiful wedding and I am so happy for Sarah and Chuck. I think they are just great for one another and it meant a lot to me to be part of their special day!

I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year's Eve! And in certain parts of the world- it's the New Year already! :) I just posted a video sharing the beauty-related gifts I got for Christmas and my birthday- hope you like it! :) 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Eye of the Day with Tiffany D's Defining Eyes Kit

Greetings blog buddies!
This palette helped me create my eye look today, so I thought, why not blog about it?
It's the Sigma Defining Eyes Kit by Tiffany D. You probably know who Tiffany D is... she's a sensational YouTube makeup artist! I didn't just decide to order this kit because I like Tiffany and her videos (I totally do!)... but I wanted to try it because I thought it had a good combination of wearable shades, yet the colors are different enough to create a variety of looks. I also have a few other Sigma eyeshadow palettes and I knew I enjoyed the quality of those shadows. And just so you know, this is only my second time using this kit, so I'm not exactly reviewing it yet. If you'd like to see a full video review/tutorial in the future, let me know!

Rather than being a flat palette, this kit has more of the box-style set up, reminiscent of various kits from Too Faced (Natural Eye, Natural Face, Natural at Night... the list goes on). However this kit is quite a bit larger, and contains more than just eyeshadow. In addition to the 8 shadows, you get a double-ended brush (with a flat side & a pencil brush side), a double ended brightening liner with navy blue & white, and two cream liners. A liner brush also came as a bonus gift with this kit. So while the kit is a little bulky in size, it's pretty to look at and also holds a lot of stuff. There's a larger mirror in the lid as well. 

Here are the steps I took to get this eye look!

-Primed the lids with Too Faced Shadow Insurance
-Used Maybelline Color Tattoo Cream Shadow in Barely Beige all over the lid
-Applied Halo, a pearly satin-finish shade around my inner corner
-Using a flat brush, I applied Smoke all over the lid and into the crease
-I used In the Dark in the outer corner, blending up and outward
-I used a mix of Brunette and Chestnut on the border of my crease colors to soften the look
-I lightly applied Halo as a highlight under the brow
-Then I used Tarte EmphasEyes Inner Rim brightener to give my waterline a natural-looking boost
-I used Blackout cream liner on the upper lashline
-I smudged In the Dark on the outer part of the lower lashline and then used Smoke on the rest of the lower lashline
-I applied Cover Girl Lash Blast Clump Crusher Mascara on the upper lashes & applied Salon Perfect Demi Wispies false eyelashes
-Then I finished the look with Maybelline Lash Discovery Mascara on the bottom lashes

I really love the way this look turned out because I feel like it goes with absolutely any outfit or anything else on the face where lipsticks and blushes are concerned. It didn't take long to do, and the shadows were really easy to blend. I haven't yet experimented much with the double ended pencil in this kit or the brown cream liner, and there are a couple of the shadows I haven't used yet. (That's why I'm not ready to do a review just yet). But I love the way Smoke looks all over the lid and Brunette and Chestnut are wonderful neutrals as well. At first I wasn't sure about smoke because I thought it didn't swatch with much intensity, but on the lids (perhaps on top of my Maybelline Color Tattoo cream in Barely Beige?) it really pops. 

Here are a few other components of the look!
I used Essence Sun Club matte bronzer in Sunny to lightly contour the face, then used ELF Studio blush in Blushing Rose on the cheeks (LOVE this color- however it looks more pink in this pic than in person). And on my lips I used my Revlon Lip Butter in Cherry Tart. 

Daily Nuggets...

  • This was my look today as I met the morning show crew for breakfast! It was my first time getting together with the whole group again since my last day and going away party a couple of weeks ago. 
  • On the way I was thinking, it seems like such a long time since I've seen them! But then when everybody got there, it was like I had never been gone. That tends to be what happens with good friends! :)
  • New video coming tomorrow! It's a review/tutorial and I'm so excited to share it with you :) 
  • Man, I must be so focused as I write this! The UPS man just rang the doorbell and I nearly fell off my chair!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Festive French Tips!

Hey everyone!
Christmas is fast approaching and I wanted to do something fun with my nails...
while also keeping in mind that my sister-in-law is getting married December 29th- 
the weekend after Christmas! I'm very excited and honored to be a bridesmaid! :) 
Her color is royal blue and I think there will be some silver accents.
Since I love using my Mally 24/7 Gel Nail system, I know I'll have these nails for at least a couple of weeks, so I needed something that'd work for both occasions, plus New Year's Eve!

So this is what I came up with! 
It's the first time I've done something other than just a solid color with the gel nail kit. 

First I did the prep steps with the gel nail system, (I talk about it in this gift video if you want more info), then I applied two coats of the Mally 24/7 Gel Polish in Tutu, it's a soft, creamy nude with a hint of pink. Next, I did the tips. I just went right across the tips with Sonia Kashuk polish in Smoke and Mirrors- it's a shimmery silver. Then to add some sparkle, I used my silver giltter from Nicole by OPI in Tip of the Iceberg right on top of the other shade. I finished it by adding my clear gel topcoat and curing it. Now my nails are hard as a rock! :) 

Daily Nuggets...
  • It's been incredibly windy here today, but we haven't seen the snow some areas are dealing with.
  • Cupcake has been agitated all day by the howling wind!
  • Getting some extra video work done so I can have some things to post during our Christmas/wedding travels. So excited for what I have coming up!!
  • Also excited to get some breakfast tomorrow with the morning crew! I miss them! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tarte Fantastic Foursome Blush Set

Hello out there!
I wasn't really sure whether or not to post this review on the Tarte Fantastic Foursome Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush Enthusiast set, because I'm not sure if it's still available anywhere! I know it's sold out on Sephora's website, and it's on wait list at (where I got mine a few weeks ago), but I figured in case it might still be in your store or you know where to find it, the review might be useful. Who knows, maybe it'll be available again at some point! 

It's a set of four blushes that are just a little smaller in size that a typical Tarte blush, but still plenty of product. The shades are Fantastic (pink), Magic (coral), Stellar (bronze), and Angelic (champagne).  

The two more traditional blush shades are matte, while the bronzer-ish shade has sparkle, and the highlight shade has a pearly shimmer.  What I like about this kit is that you basically have a full face of color. Instead of four all pink or peach toned blushes, you have a shade that can work more like a contour or bronzer, and a highlight as well. Obviously you wouldn't wear these colors as thick as I've swatched them, but you get an idea of the colors. 

Fantastic might seem a little scary to look at, but it's really a beautiful sheer light pink on the cheeks. I love it! I find that these matte blushes are really buildable if you want more color payoff. It's hard to build up a shimmery blush without looking overly shiny. I like this blush with a pink or berry lip.  

Magic is a really beautiful peachy-pink that I think is the most wearable for everyday. It just looks like it belongs on your cheeks... a very natural blush shade that seems to mesh with any kind of makeup look you might be wearing. The color is very rich and I just love the way it looks on the cheeks.

Stellar... while this whole kit is labeled as blush, I really feel like this is more of a bronzer. It's just so deep- I don't really see me putting this on the apples of my cheeks. I've used it as a contour and for a light dusting all over the face and it seems to work ok... but I could do without the glitter. I think a matte or satin finish would make it even more contour-friendly. 

Angelic also isn't a traditional blush... this shade screams highlight to me! It's a really nice pearl color and it has a very soft, not TOO shimmery finish. I like to use this on the cupid's bow, down the nose, or  on the cheekbones for an added glow. It's not a really unique highlight shade, but it's a nice addition to this kit. 

Bottom Line: A nice "blush" kit from Tarte. I feel like Tarte's Amazonian Clay 12-hour blushes give you beautiful color, but what's really impressive is that they do seem to have nice staying power as well. I like that this is labeled a "blush enthusiast set"... because let's face it, (no pun intended), you've got to be kind of a makeup nerd to have a need for multiple blushes in your collection. At least this kit offers 4 distinctly different shades, to make it worth your while. 
And I've said it before- but every woman needs to wear blush!!!

Daily Nuggets...
  • Made some major editing headway today (trying to get ahead of the game)... new video will be coming tomorrow!
  • I also have review video in the works about the new Revlon Nearly Naked foundation & powder. 
  • Started getting into the Voice at the tail end of the season (yay for new schedule) and I'm so glad Cassadee Pope won! Love her voice. 
  • I can't say enough about how much I am loving getting to do Beauty Broadcast full time... my energy and ability to focus is amazing. There is so much of a difference, I really feel like I was sleep deprived before. It's like you have to experience life both ways to truly be able to tell. I always loved doing videos, but now I can approach my tasks with so much more energy, physically and mentally. Love it!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

$4.99 Naked-ish Palettes

Hello everyone!
The "ish" is the key word of the title of this post. 
Here's the story... there's a brand called Profusion that occasionally puts out little palettes in drugstores like Walgreens. Having purchased a few before- they tend to be kind of random and seem to have a somewhat "individual" design. These, however, are very similar in style and shade selection to one of the biggest eyeshadow crazes in recent memory, the Urban Decay Naked Palette. They're $4.99 each.

Here you can see the original Naked palette on top, along with the two Profusion palettes. It's easy to see where the inspiration came from. The center palette seems to be the most similar in shade selection to the Naked palette, and the bottom one appears to expand on the lighter shades in Naked. Unfortunately, the similarities end there. If you've ever tried Urban Decay shadows, you know that it's not only the colors of their shadows that make them special, but also their really easy to work with, rich texture. For the most part, that's what these palettes are lacking. Let's take a closer look...

Midnight Fever 10 Eyeshadow Palette by Profusion

As you can see, the palette contains 10 eyeshadows, as well as a black eyeliner pencil and a double-ended sponge-tip applicator. The shades range from a light champagne, all the way to black, and all of the colors contain varying amounts of shimmer... some have more of a satin appearance while others are metallic. 

For me, the mark of good texture in a powder eyeshadow is one that feels practically creamy because the powder hangs together so well. The downfall with these is the flakiness. The more metallic shades weren't as dry/powdery/flaky, but the lightest shade and two charcoal shades (before the black) in this palette were the worst culprits. I'd also like to note that the brown (four shades in from the right) hardly shows up at all. I could barely see it on the finger I swatched with. 

As I was playing with this palette over the weekend, I instagramed this pic (wanna follow me? I'm emilynoel83). I mentioned that while I've used better quality shadows, I wasn't totally disappointed in the finished look. The lighting isn't great in this pic, but I used the lightest shade on the inner part of the lid, the black in the outer corner, and buffed it out with the brown & sort of pink-ish shade in the kit.  Overall, the colors can be worked with- it's just not near as easy as it is with high quality shadows to blend and avoid fallout. With this one, it also took awhile to build up the color to the level shown. Overall I give this palette a C-. 

Bonus pic of me & Kalee! She visited that night! While I'm playing teacher and grading products, 
I give the evening with Kalee an A+ :) 

Sultry & Neutral 10 Eyeshadow Palette by Profusion

Once again, we have 10 eyeshadows along with a black pencil liner and a double-ended sponge-tip applicator. There are no really dark shades in this palette, just light and mid-toned shades. A few are matte, and a few are super-metallic. The colors are all pretty warm-toned.  

As you can see- the metallics really stand out on this kit, and they're not too bad to work with! But those swatches really put the other colors to shame. It goes pretty much every other one with a non-existent shade, and then a metallic. I must say while a few of the matte colors didn't swatch so well, they were actually decent on my eyes. 

For this look I used the lightest matte shade (3 shades from the left) on my lid, and the matte light brown (2 from the right) in my crease. I deepened up the outer corner with the dark golden/bronze shade (on the right end of the palette).  

I really like the look, but once again, the texture of these shadows makes it a little tricky to achieve. This Sultry & Neutral kit had a lot of repetition with the lighter shades, and could've been about half the size featuring the colors that truly show up. For that reason, I give this palette a D+. I'm really enjoying the bright berry lips though! I blended Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains in Lovesick (bright pink) and Crush (deep berry), then topped it off with L'oreal Color Rich leGloss in Raspberry Splash. 

Bottom Line: For around $5 (or less) you can check out a handful of other drugstore brands like Wet n Wild, Maybelline, Cover Girl, or NYX (to name a few) and get these very same kind of neutrals in a higher quality formulation. They may not come in a 10-color kit that's shaped like the Urban Decay Naked palette, but they'll bring you a lot closer to the look you'd achieve with the UD shadows. While I kind of liked my finished look with both Profusion kits, it wasn't easy to get to that point. While many of the shadows in these Profusion palettes aren't so hot, I'm considering depotting the ones I like when I start crafting more Zpalettes full of shadows! :) 

Daily Nuggets...
  • Let's see... what happened so far today... shot a couple of videos, edited one, did a conference call, got groceries, did the dishes and now posting this blog. Uploading a video too.
  • Add going to the bathroom a lot to that list. Sorry to overshare, but I'm back to drinking more water, so I feel like I'm always visiting the bathroom. LOL
  • Next I need to re-do my nails... you guessed it- Mally 24/7 Gel Nail kit, here I come!
  • Does anyone else like to put off present wrapping until you're all done shopping? If I wrap them up sooner, I forget what I got!

Monday, December 17, 2012

FOTD: My Classic Look (with some new products)

Hello friends! Do you tend to have that "classic" look that is your go-to when you just want to look your best? A look that you know works for you no matter what? This is my classic look. It's really basic, but overall, the color and techniques that I use are some of my favorites on me. Nothing is overly flashy from the color perspective, but with some brightness on lips, a rosy blush, and full lashes- it's a little bit glam. 

In my constant quest for trying new products, I added some different things into my "classic" look today, along with some old favorites. I've marked products that are new (or at least new to me) with an asterisk* so you know what things you can expect reviews on!

For the face...

-Mally Perfect Prep Primer
-Revlon Nearly Naked Foundation in Nude*
-Revlon PhotoReady Concealer in Light/Medium
-Revlon Nearly Naked Pressed Powder in Light*
-Essence Sun Club Matte Bronzer in Sunny
-NARS Dolce Vita Blush*

The eye look is totally matte, using some really basic neutrals. It just enhances the natural contours/structure of the eye, without anything overly smokey/dramatic. I think this eye look is appropriate for people of all ages, and it could look good with or without the added eyelashes... but we all know this girl loves her falsies!

For the eyes...

-Too Faced Shadow Insurance Primer
-The Balm Meet Matt(e) Palette using the 3 neutrals across the top. Used Matt Smith on the lid & brow bone, Matt Gallagher in the crease, then layered Matt Ramirez in the outer part of the crease, and smudged it on the lower lashline as well. 
-The Balm Schwing Black Liquid Liner
-Cover Girl Clump Crusher Mascara
-Maybelline Lash Discovery Mascara (lower lashes)
-Tarte EmphasEYES Inner Rim Brightener*
-Milani Brow Tint Pen in Dark Brown* 
-Salon Perfect Demi Wispies False Eyelashes

For the lips...

-Revlon Lip Butter in Red Velvet
-Revlon Colorburst Gloss in Rosepearl

As you can see, I'm testing out Revlon's new foundation and powder called "Nearly Naked"... this is my third time applying it, and so far, I feel like it's less coverage than other Revlon foundations, yet it's very blendable and from what I can tell so far, it seems to have good staying power like some of the other Revlon foundations we know & love. I'll definitely be reviewing these in the near future! 
Meanwhile... how would you describe your "classic" look? 

Daily Nuggets...
  • Posting my first "empties" video today! So excited!
  • Had so much fun Saturday night when Kalee & Jonathan dropped by to stay with us. We have a blast together and have planned another Nashville trip for next month! :) 
  • It is such a dreary day outside... but my Christmas decorations are making it feel pretty bright and cheerful in here. 
  • Tyler is shooting a commercial today for the law firm he works at... I told him- no monotone voice and no monotone face! Expression is key! :) Can't wait to see how it turns out. 
  • Now I'm kicking myself... this may have been a good opportunity to do his makeup... LOL

Friday, December 14, 2012

New Maybelline Stuff!

Hey everyone! 
As you probably know, one can't simply drop into the Wal-Mart vision center for their routine eye exam without also browsing the cosmetics section :) I found a few new Maybelline items I wanted to share with you. I haven't used any of them yet, so this is more of a haul or "heads up" as opposed to a full review. FYI, my regular camera that I take pictures with is charging, so I had to use my cell phone for these pictures (quality is not top notch).

There's a new line of Maybelline Color Sensational Lipsticks in neon tubes called "Vivids". I'm not too timid when it comes to lips, but a lot of the shades were just super bright and not something I'd feel like wearing on an everyday basis. However this red #895 "On Fire Red" - is a beautiful blue-toned red that is just gorgeous and super pigmented. There was also a more orange-toned red, but this one just seemed really classic and beautiful. I think I'm gonna love this.  

There are also several new Color Tattoo eyeshadows called "Color Tattoo Metal". I just picked up the one called "Inked in Pink" because I thought I'd get the most wear out of it. 

Here's a look at the swatch with the flash on... It's just a beautiful, really shimmer soft pink color. I already know I love the Color Tattoos for their pigmentation and staying power, so I figured this would be a nice addition to the collection. I'm trying to remember the other shades that were available... I know there was a very rich cobalt blue, a light cream color, and at least a few others. 

I should've resisted the temptation to pick up the latest Maybelline mascara launch (I haven't exactly loved the last couple), but we all know what was going through my head... "What if this turns out to be THE BEST mascara for me ever?!" LOL :) It's called The Rocket Volum' Express and has a stiff rubber-bristle brush that reminds me a lot of Cover Girl Lash Blast. 

The packaging says this mascara will give "Explosive volume", and as far as the brush, "It's hard core and evenly spaced soft bristles give 8x the volume, even from root to tip in Rocket time!" 
Not really sure what Rocket Time is, but we'll see if this mascara can live up to those claims. 
I believe it was available in a waterproof version as well.  

Daily Nuggets...
  • Posted my video review/tutorial on the Kardashian Khroma makeup!
  • Real Housewives of Miami is pretty crazy, just sayin'. 
  • Who has been watching X-Factor? I really liked Emblem 3 & was sad they were sent home :(
  • Yes, my cat has her own Christmas stocking, and yes, it is filling up with treats and a toy mouse.
  • Have a great weekend everyone!!