Friday, February 28, 2014

Makeup Vanity Staples That I Never Mention

Hi everyone!
Today when I was doing my makeup, I realized how many little things are sitting around my vanity area that I use all the time, but don't actually talk about in videos. So I decided to give some love to these products that I'd be lost without! :)
Aveeno Ultra-Calming Face Wipes: I originally got these to use as face wipes, but I've really stuck with my old faithful Olay/Equate Daily Facials cloths as my favorite method for makeup removal. I do a lot of makeup swatching on my hands/arms, and recently I noticed some irritation developing, which I think was caused by some cheap wipes that I'd been using to remove the swatches. I thought these Aveeno wipes would be more gentle, and sure enough, they are! I always need some sort of wipe handy to quickly clean up my hands while shooting videos or blogging.  

Vaseline: Nothing too Earth-shattering here! Sometimes if my skin is super dry around my mouth or nose, I'll put some of this on and it seems to couter-act the dryness pretty well. Also great for just softening the lips before applying a lip liner or lipstick. Every now and then, I'll put some of this on my lips, and then dab on a powder blush to create a new lip color. It's fun!
Altoids: I know you can't smell my breath when you watch one of my YouTube videos (thank goodness that technology hasn't been developed!) But for some reason, I usually pop an Altoid before doing a video. I don't know if the coolness just makes my mouth feel more "ready to go"? Not sure. But it's become a bit of a ritual. 
Hair Clips: This clip is representative of a small army of clips that congregate where they're not supposed to (my makeup area). I really dislike having any hair in my face when I'm doing my makeup, so I always clip at least some of it back. 
Matte Powder: This particular powder is the Sexy Mama Translucent powder from The Balm, but any powder of this kind will do... I also have one from ELF sitting around. But I like to use an oil-free powder of this kind underneath my lower liner- especially if it's a liner/shadow that doesn't have the best staying power. Just a tiny bit of this directly under my liner seems to make a difference most of the time.  
Floss Pick: Tyler uses these all the time, and he's rubbing off on me. A lot of the time before I shoot a video (if I haven't just brushed), I grab one of these and check over my teeth. When you need floss, you need floss!
Mini Scissors: These have helped me open stubborn products countless times, but I also use these to trim up false eyelashes if they're too long for my eyes (from left to right). They're so precise, I can see exactly how many lashes I'm removing from the strip, and make sure I'm taking off the same amount from the other side. Don't know what I'd do without a tiny pair of scissors! 
This is a little note I wrote to myself a year or so ago on the back of one of my business cards. I remember watching Oprah talk about living in the moment and sometimes it's hard to keep yourself there. This sits right on top of my makeup mirror, and is my visual reminder to "Be Present" and enjoy the current moment I'm in- as opposed to getting ahead of myself or getting worried about what's to come. When I glance at this, I think it just helps me put life in perspective as well, you know? I might be sitting there doing makeup, but it's not really that important if my eyeliner isn't just so. What's important is enjoying the moment, being grateful for that moment, and making the most of it by helping someone in whatever way I can. Do you make any visual reminders like this to yourself? 

So those are the items lurking around my makeup room that I wouldn't want to be without! Glad to finally be giving them the recognition they deserve! :) Thanks for stopping by my blog, and have a fantastic weekend!

Daily Nuggets...
  • I'm thinking about my friends out west- and those here in the midwest! The weather is going to be wild this weekend in both places, but for different reasons. I hope everyone is extra safe if they have to get out!
  • I have a new Best in Beauty video up, if you'd like to check it out! 
  • There's a Papa John's pizza ad on that video (at least there was just now)- and it looks delicious- but also kind of strange. Has anyone ever had cheeseburger pizza? There are pickles on it!!
  • I am wearing the softest, most comfortable leggings I have EVER WORN right now. I got them at TJ Maxx and the brand is Kyodan. They're grey with a bit of a print. Love them!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Confidence in a Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down World

Hi everyone!
This blog might seem a little out of the blue, but it really sums up my feelings about creating YouTube videos, the judgement we subject ourselves to, and how to feel confident anyway. I recently watched a very enlightening video featuring vulnerability researcher, Brene Brown. My friend David shared it with me because he thought it applied to my experiences on YouTube. Brene's words completely resonated with me. I watched the video twice yesterday and woke up at 4:30 this morning with even more clarity about what I do in the online world. (After I went to the bathroom. That was the initial reason for the 4:30 wakeup). I popped open my laptop, and just started typing. This is pre-coffee, so hopefully it makes sense. I'm not trying to be some sort of social media expert... this is just kind of a "what I've learned" type of post. And there's nothing like organizing your thoughts in writing. So I thought I'd share, and hopefully it will be helpful to anyone who has ever "put themself out there".

It's so easy to try to gauge your success by numbers-- views, comments, subscribers, likes, dislikes... if you're getting tons of views, you must be doing something right, right? How often are you really focusing on the things that don't have a number attached? Like the content of what you're saying/doing and the quality of what you're saying/doing. It might seem like common sense, but if you make videos on a routine basis, it can be easy to go on video-making autopilot and overlook these things. And it's just harder to gauge those things that don't have a clear number attached. If you're willing to be honest with yourself, you can figure it out. You don't need a comment to tell you. We're all not only capable, but pretty good at being critics of ourselves. You know about the effort you put in, the originality of your content, the deep down joy- or lack of joy- that you felt when putting it all together.  

Why is this so important to think about? Because the content is what is actually impacting those who see what you're doing. The numbers might be for you, but the content and quality is for others and should be looked at closely, regardless of how high your view count is. You can't control how many people had time to turn on YouTube that day, or who was having a bad day and took it out on you in a comment, or who just has a vendetta against your eyebrows. But you can control what YOU do and how you FEEL about what you do.  

There will ALWAYS be people out there bringing negativity your way. No amount of "adjustments" will change it. As Brene said in her talk, a consequence of putting yourself out there and being brave is that you will get your ass kicked. I've been doing videos for 6+ years, and for awhile, I tried catering to some of the non-constructive, personal criticisms about me that I found in the comments section. What was the result? Always a new criticism- and a less authentic feeling about myself. A TRUE sense of satisfaction with yourself needs to come from inside. That's what's powerful, and what will really fuel what you do. 

If you're willing to take an honest look at how you feel about what you do, I believe you will gain insight into whether you're on the right track or if something needs to change. Nothing translates through a computer screen like real joy and attachment to what you're discussing. How passionate are you? I'm not talking about just "acting excited" - some people are deeply engaged in their topic without seeming to bounce off the walls about it. Joy toward what you do can come across in different ways, but I don't think it can be successfully faked. It needs to come from the inside, not put on. If that's missing- what needs to change to bring it there? 

Before you get going on a new creation, ask yourself some questions. Are you excited about it? Are you looking forward to the process of creating it? Are you confident in the things you'll be talking about? If comments, thumbs up/down, or view counts were invisible- how would you feel about what you posted? We let everyone hold us accountable with numerous ways to rate/provide feedback. Don't forget to hold yourself accountable as the one creating the blog, video, or whatever it might be.

None of those questions in the paragraph above asked if you thought what you were doing was perfect. It won't be- you're a real human being! There's a definite beauty in being real and having flaws. Sharing your vulnerability with the world is what allows people to relate to you. Get in a habit of gauging your happiness toward what you publish to the world. If that feeling is there, it will flow through you and it will be undeniable. 

Thanks for reading!

Monday, February 24, 2014

New Milani Color Statement Lipsticks

Hi everyone!
Milani has recently launched a bunch of new lip products (reviews will be coming!)-- and among them are six new additions to the Color Statement lipstick line. The brand sent me these new lipsticks to try, so I figured I'd try them on for you! In the past I've blogged about all of the other Color Statement lipsticks in various color families-- Pinks & Corals, Oranges & Reds, Naturals & Browns, and Plums & Berries. So feel free to check out those posts to see the colors on the lips. 
 While this is my favorite line of lipstick from the drugstore- as you might have noticed, I'm not in love with every single shade... and the same holds true for these new releases. Each lipstick is very pigmented, but sometimes the specific shade or finish just isn't "me". However, I think it's really cool that these new shades are just a bunch of random colors that will be mixed in with the permanent line, as opposed to one collection of a certain "type" of shade. Neutral, pink, dark, light... here's a look at this grab bag of new shades! 
39 - Sugar Glaze
This is a shade I love- but a finish I'm not nuts about. The pink with golden shimmer makes me think of the type of blush color that I have about 15 of. It's pretty! But this is a frosty finish, and doesn't go on quite as smooth/creamy as the cream finish of these lipsticks. It also tends to feel a bit dry on the lips. Besides that- I think it's a really gorgeous color. 
40 - Cabaret Blend
Such a beautiful burgundy! I really love this shade- it totally makes me think of winter. It's a creamy formula that leaves a hint of shine on the lips. This kind of color intensity and feel on the lips reminds me why I love this line of lipstick so much!
41 - Pink Love
While the last shade made me think winter- this one is Spring for me! It's a creamy, cool pink, and I like the way it looks with the green eyeliner I'm sporting today. As you'll notice with all of the shades that are the cream finish (no shimmer) - there's a subtle, but very pretty shine that makes the lipstick catch the light. 
42 - Rose Femme
This is another creamy shade that falls into the brown/neutral family of Milani's Color Statement line. I'd call this color a brownish mauve. While I haven't been wearing this shade alone, I will sometimes apply this color on the outer part of my lips, with a lighter shade on the inner part. It's really pretty that way! I sometimes think of it as "contouring" the lips and adding some dimension to lighter, more flat-looking colors.
43 - Pretty Natural
Meet my favorite shade of the new releases! This is a your-lips-but-better, works for everyone type of color. It's just such a classic lip color that could look nice with a very natural makeup look, or it would be absolutely stunning alongside a fierce smokey eye. It's the creamy formula I love! I'll be grabbing for this shade often :)
 44 - Cinnamon Spice
Some shades I like... some shades I don't. For some reason the only think I can think of when I look at this color is my fall decor. It's a metallic finish on the lips, so while the overall coppery color isn't so bad, the gold shimmer REALLY stands out and seems to spotlight every crack & crevice on my lips. Maybe with some good lip exfoliation and moisturizing balm, this shade would work better for me. 

So there are the newest members of the Milani Color Statement lipstick line! You'll probably be seeing these in drugstores mixed in with the rest of Milani's lipsticks. They're also available on Milani's website, and you'll notice these shades are marked with the "new" tab. Again- such a random assortment of shades! But it was fun to try them out and share them with you! :) Thanks for reading!

Daily Nuggets...
  • I've been having some video uploading/internet connection issues for the past couple of weeks. The video I'm currently uploading has only failed twice so far, so I guess I felt dangerous enough to use some of the internet connection to write this post. Things have been so touchy, I've been trying to stay offline while my videos go up- which has led to fewer blogs. I'll get a solution soon- and I hope it's a better/faster connection. Or maybe the computer is also to blame. I also have a ton of videos that I need to get onto an external hard drive. Ok, enough of my tech issues!
  • It was great having my parents down for the weekend! I had told mom that I was craving some of her delicious lasagna, so no sooner said than done, she brought me a pan to cook this week, along with salad and garlic bread. She also brought pie and a coffee cake-- the woman can't be stopped!! :) I really appreciate it, and it tastes fantastic. There's just something about the home-cooked food you remember from childhood-- so comforting!
  • I'm going to be comparing a couple of the "blur" type primer products from the drugstore. Tried one this morning, but it was all a blur. Bad joke! Seriously though- I'm going to have to use these things for awhile to figure out if they're really doing anything!
  • Excited to catch last night's Downton Abbey tonight. Then we'll be all caught up on the latest season! 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Just In: The NARSissist Eyeshadow Palette

Hi everyone & Happy Valentine's Day!
I just wanted to do a quick post on something I just recently ordered and received. I'll think of this as a Valentine's gift to myself :) It's the NARSissist Eyeshadow Palette by, of course, NARS. It contains 15 signature NARS eyeshadows in .003 oz sizes, and the whole thing is a whopping $79 at Sephora's website.  
I've had questions about this palette since it was first unveiled, so I just wanted to do this post to give you a heads up that I will indeed be trying and reviewing this, and share a few initial reactions. First off, I love the sturdiness of the palette... I also have the NARS Guy Bourdin blush palette and I feel like they are both just so solid and seemingly unbreakable. 
While I knew the shadows inside wouldn't be HUGE, they struck me as very, very small when I first cracked this palette open. I notice 3 distinct tones in this palette in each of the rows... the top has warm/brownish colors, the center has some pinky/plum colors, and the bottom is like a classic smokey eye row. From what I understand, all of these shades actually exist in the NARS line, and they've listed the names on Sephora's site. I'm not 100% sure how they all correspond to the placement in the palette, but I'll probably figure it out by the time I review this.
I don't have a great deal of experience with NARS eyeshadows, outside of a few that were part of a shadow/blush palette that I got last year. At first glance the light shades in this palette are, well, light! And judging by the swatches, they seem pretty sheer. The mid-tone and deeper shades seem pretty richly pigmented. I'll have to apply these on the eyes in order to really see how they perform. I'm thinking about maybe doing a look from each row and showing them in a future review? Let me know what you think. 

So the moral of this blog post-- there's more to come on this palette! I was so intrigued by it, because I've never seen NARS release such a large palette made up exclusively of eyeshadows. Also- is it worth the high price tag? That'll be my project to figure out soon! :) 

Daily Nuggets...
  • This morning I did a little chat/interview with Beauty Broadcast viewer and fellow YouTuber, Monique! I've never done a Google Hangout this way before, but it was really fun! I think you can watch it here if you missed it. 
  • Do you have any fun plans for Valentine's Day? Tyler and I are going out to dinner at a new spot tonight! :)
  • I made him a surprise pan of fudge & caramel brownies!
  • I'm trying to upload a new video for tomorrow to my emilynoel83 channel! 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Beauty Steals at Big Lots!

Hi everyone!
It's always a good news/bad news situation when you find your favorite beauty products at Big Lots. It's great to see those items at such a low price, but at the same time, you know they're at Big Lots for a reason... they've been phased out of the brand's regular line, and that's why they're in sale mode. On Saturday, I got a tweet from Beauty Broadcast viewer @LindsayGoodrdge about some great things she found at Big Lots...
Thanks for the heads up, Lindsay! Since I was heading out that night to pick up a few things, I figured I'd swing by Big Lots to see what kinds of beauty products were lurking in the aisles. You really need to stop in to Big Lots periodically, because you never know what you'll find. 
I also was able to find the Revlon PhotoReady bronzer! WHY would Revlon discontinue this fabulous product?! Maybe they'll just repackage & re-release it. Who knows! What's important is that this bronzer is normally $12 to $13, and it's selling for $3.50 at Big Lots! This was my Emily Award Winner this year for best drugstore bronzer. It combines 4 tones, is entirely matte, and it's great for contouring. Snatch it up! 
I also spotted lots of ELF Mechanical Eyelash curlers! This is my favorite kind of lash curler, and while I've been able to find these for $1 at Target (with white handles), some people have told me that their Target stores no longer have them. ELF's website isn't selling them either. So I made sure to pick up an extra. The 5-cent discount isn't huge, but I think it's still a major steal for such a great lash curler. 
This is an INSANE deal! I didn't buy one of these since I already have these products, but if you missed out on the Wet n Wild 6-pan palettes-- now is your chance! The palettes in Lust and Greed have been re-packaged along with a couple of liners. I really wished Wet n Wild wouldn't have let these palettes go-- they have the same fabulous pigmentation you would expect from Wet n Wild, and each palette is half matte, half shimmer. And it's only $3.50?!?! 

Also at Big Lots- I got a bag of Valentine's Tootsie Pops -- ALL CHERRY. Score! Anyway, thanks to Lindsay for tweeting me about her Big Lots finds, and hopefully you can find these great deals and more at your local stores. 

Daily Nuggets...
  • Who else has been watching the Olympics? We had them on for most of the day yesterday. I love watching the figure skating (I used to pretend I was an Olympic figure skater when I was a child- only I was in my roller skates, skating circles in the garage, and my song was Billy Joel's River of Dreams.)
  • I made crock pot Chicken & Dumplins yesterday! DELISH. I use this recipe, and also add frozen corn, peas, and carrots. 
  • In case you were wondering about Cupcake's whereabouts, she's on the top shelf of my closet right now.
  • You know what sounds good at the moment? Some sort of slush or frozen lemonade type thing. Or an Orange Julius. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Old Favorites: Eyeshadows

 Hi everyone!
Hope your week has been going well! I wanted to share a little project that's underway in my makeup room- it was totally inspired by MissCrystalMakeup's Makeup Purge 2014 video. I watched it last Friday, and was immediately compelled to dig through my makeup collection and weed out the things that were too old or that I wasn't using. Let's face it- it's easy to harbor a lot of old stuff if you're not re-assessing your collection every so often. Plus, being a big makeup nerd, I like to hold on to certain things for "sentimental reasons" even though I probably won't use them again. So I decided to go through my stuff, separating products into different categories...
  • Old products that need to be thrown away. I actually weed out products of this kind pretty frequently, but I'm probably not as cut-throat about it as I should be.
  • Lightly used products that can be given to family/friends- includes certain discontinued/limited edition things that just aren't relevant to my videos right now.
  • Hall of Fame products - a small bag for those "sentimental" awesome products that I don't want to part with-- but at the same time, they don't need to be clogging up the drawers in my collection.
  • Fails/Future Reference - a small bag for products with notable downsides, and some products that have some sort of distinctive quality that could be useful for comparisons/reviews down the road.
Once I complete this process, I'll probably share some pictures, but so far one of the categories I've been through is my eyeshadow collection. I stumbled across so many old products (purchased anywhere from 2000 to 2006ish)... and I thought it would be fun to share some of my MUST HAVES from back in the day... you may remember some of these from my earliest YouTube videos! I'm not going to throw these away, and I actually have this vision of doing some sort of magnetic "makeup hall of fame" board in my closet with this stuff. But anyway-- these shadows were my favorites back then, and hundreds of reviews later, I still think they're awesome!
 Smashbox Smashing Cocktail Hour Trio
I believe this product was among some of the first high end makeup I ever had. My sister Kelly a.k.a. Pup got me a little Smashbox set for Christmas (many years ago), and I remember using this trio constantly in my early news days. The shadows feel so buttery and smooth. There's quite a dent in the plum shade, and I remember how incredibly easy I thought these were to blend. 

 Jane Mineral Shadow in Red Rocks & Jane Eye Zing in Clubbing
My all-time favorite Jane eyeshadows! I think that Red Rocks duo was even an Emily Award winner back when that series began. That matte plummy/brown was the BOMB. Also- who didn't love the Jane Eye Zings?! These were next-level drugstore eyeshadows, and Clubbing was my smokey eye must have in COLLEGE. It takes commitment to totally use up a black eyeshadow, but I accomplished the task with this bad boy. The one in the picture is actually new, because last year Hautelook was randomly selling old Jane stuff, and, you guessed it- for "sentimental reasons"- I needed to buy a new one. 

Wet n Wild Mega Eyes Eyeshadow in Fine Wink
Before Wet n Wild was making it's fabulous Color Icon palettes, the brand was much more hit & miss... but this particular shadow was a total hit, and it was a cult favorite on the first makeup-related websites I remember going to (MakeupTalk & MakeupAlley). This shadow was gorgeous rose gold before rose gold was cool! :) The texture is impeccable and as good as any high end shadow I own. 

 Milani Eyeshadow Singles in Illusion, Flare and Java Bean
Remember these little gems? I remember allowing myself to pick up one of these from Walgreens every so often... maybe 2 if there was a buy one, get one deal. I have 7 or 8 total, but these shades were some of my favorites. These shadows were so smooth and pigmented, and had a great reputation in the early online makeup world. They were so often compared to MAC and other high end brands. With shadows this good- it makes you wonder why the brand would ever stop making them. I remember a bittersweet day when I saw some in a bargain bin at Big Lots and I snatched up several- knowing they wouldn't be back in Walgreens again. Definitely makeup hall of fame material! :)

Ok, now it's my turn to ask you... what kind of old makeup is lingering in your collection? Do you find yourself holding onto products just because you associate them with something special? Thanks for checking out this post, and I'll probably do some updates on my makeup purge/reorganization! 

Daily Nuggets...
  • I just finished editing tomorrow's #tydayfriday video- it involves a little gadget that could be super useful for men or women! :)
  • Had a great time today on Beauty Broadcast Live! Thanks to those who joined in the fun!
  • Yesterday I did a blog for the Ladies' Home Journal Gloss Daily site- it's on some cool multi-colored powders!  
  • My super dry feet are making a comeback. After tonight's shower, I think some heavy lotion and socks are in order!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Super Bowl Snack Round-up!

Hi everyone!
Hope you had a great weekend! While the Super Bowl turned out to be a major blowout, I still had fun making some treats for the big game! I posted pictures on Twitter and Instagram, but many people asked for the recipes for these things, so I thought I'd post that information here on the blog!  
Pretzel Hugs - Click for Recipe 
These are so, so cute and I've been meaning to try them for a long time! You basically just melt the Hershey's Hugs on the pretzels and then pop an M&M on top! It's a great sweet and salty treat, and I'm planning to send some of these to work with Tyler so he can share them (and prevent me from eating the entire container). Isn't it cute how they almost look like zebra print? I let these cool in the refrigerator, and then just put them all in a plastic container and they don't get melty on top of one another. Many people told me they make these with Rolos and pecans, which sounds delightful! 

Veggie Pizza - Click for Recipe
Judging by the tweets I received after posting this picture- some people have never heard of Veggie Pizza! But I've enjoyed this for years, and it's a nice way to take in some fresh vegetables! There are probably lots of variations on this recipe, but it basically consists of a crescent roll crust, a cream cheese/ranch mix spread, and then whatever veggies you want. I used carrots, broccoli, diced red pepper, and a little cheddar cheese as well. So once you bake the crust, you don't bake it again-- it's served cold. We loved it!

 Spicy Crock Pot Chili - Click for Recipe
This is my chili recipe! If you click the link, it'll take you to a video I did on BeautyVlogcast, but check the description box under the video for the written-out recipe. I LOVE this chili. It has a kick, but if you prefer something more mild, you can use regular diced tomatoes in place of Ro-Tel.  Also, this is a pretty thick, meaty chili (that's the way we like it). I love to add a little dollop of sour cream, some cheddar cheese, and then-- for a total treat-- put Fritos corn chips in the bottom of your bowl before spooning in the chili. They get a little soft, but still offer a slightly crunchy texture to the soup. It's so good!

Hopefully this gives you a few very easy recipe ideas for your next gathering, or anytime! What did you eat during the Super Bowl? 

Daily Nuggets...
  • Daily Nuggets had been on hiatus during the Emily Awards... most of the time I wrote those posts a day or two before they actually went up! :)
  • It everything goes right with the uploading, I'll have a big haul coming to my main channel later today!
  • Cupcake is in love with the super fluffy robe I got for Christmas. I have it folded on a ledge near the bathtub and she sleeps on it all the time!
  • Who were you rooting for last night? (don't you love how actual sports talk comes after the food talk?) I'm a St. Louis Rams fan, so I didn't really care who won, but I felt like I was really rooting for the Broncos to at least make it an exciting game to watch! At least the half-time show was awesome! Loved Bruno Mars!