XO, Noelle

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Store Opening | Bluemercury in Darien, CT

XO, Noelle Wednesday, October 29, 2014
1 Comment
Where my Connecticut girls at!? 

Photo cred - Andria Lindquist 

Bluemercury is making Darien its new home - making it the fourth location in Fairfield County! What's Bluemercury? A neighborhood beauty destination that has over 90 high end brands such as NARS, La Mer, Bobbi Brown, REN, Laura Mercier and Diptyque. Their employees are advice-focused rather than sales-driven to provide awesome customer service. 

CEO and co-owner, Marla Malcolm Beck, personally tests and curates each and every product in the store and was amazing enough to send me some tips for fall looks, using products you can find in the store.

"I always recommend that your transition into fall begins with a great facial, to remove the buildup of sunscreen and dead skin from the summer. Our M-61 Power Glow Peel treatments ($28 for 10 treatments) do the trick when you're in a pinch. Once you're fresh faced and ready to go, throw on softer nude or mauve lip colors and incorporate more jewel toned shadows and liners into your makeup wardrobe.

Smokey neutrals with jewel toned accents are definitely on trend for fall. The best way to achieve this look is by sticking to neutral shades on the lid, but using deep plums, greens and navy blues along the lash line. Another quick way to change your fall look is via your nails. Some fun new nail polish colors to try are Purple Rain, Dark Room and Shutter by NARS ($20). Deborah Lippmann's New York inspired nail colors Take the "A" train, Harlem Nocturne and Autumn in New York are also a great way to go ($20)."

Press Release:

BLUEMERCURY BEAUTIFIES DARIEN
Luxury Beauty Retailer To Open New Shop On The Gold Coast

Bluemercury, the luxury makeup, skincare, and spa destination, announces the opening of its Darien, Connecticut location. Bluemercury Darien is located at 1015 Boston Post Road and will be the 4th Connecticut store for the brand (www.Bluemercury.com, @Bluemercury).

“Bluemercury was founded upon the principle that each shop would be a friendly, neighborhood beauty destination—the place where popping in for your favorite lipstick is just another part of your life’s routine,“ said Marla Malcolm Beck, CEO and Co-founder of Bluemercury. “From our first-ever Fairfield County location, which opened in 2009, to our most recent opening in New Canaan, the response in each neighborhood has been incredibly supportive. We are so excited to bring our unique experience to more Connecticuters!”

A 1998 graduate of Harvard Business School, Ms. Beck developed the concept for Bluemercury in her final year of studies, after growing tired of driving 30 miles to purchase her favorite lipstick. “I wanted a place where I could feel comfortable, where the staff could tell me about everything in the store, not just one line of makeup,” said Ms. Beck. She opened her first location, in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C., in 1999.  The brand will celebrate its 15th anniversary in September of 2014.

Bluemercury offers over 90 highly coveted brands—from leaders such as La Mer, Trish McEvoy, Laura Mercier and Bobbi Brown—to cult favorites — like REN, Darphin, Fresh, and Caudalie — along with a curated spa menu and honest, friendly expertise.

Spa treatments will include their signature oxygen facials, glycolic peels, waxing and microdermabrasion. The store will also carry Bluemercury’s proprietary skincare line, M-61, the performance-based, paraben-free products created by Beck and launched in 2012. The line is the world's first highly technical, natural cosmeceutical brand.

For Bluemercury customers, perks reign supreme. From generous samples that accompany each purchase, to their famed invite-only holiday customer events, to their beauty experts who are trained across all lines, to the client product tracker that allows Bluemercury experts—or potential gift buyers—to pull up a client’s favorites with the click of a button, Bluemercury rewards its loyalists like no other.

 “For our team, it’s about utilizing the latest technological achievements and combining this knowledge with a level of customer service that is rarely seen in this day and age,” says Beck. “We’re bringing back the old school approach, where we know your name and give you the advice, time and attentiveness that you deserve. Great products and impeccable service are how we’ve how we’ve built such a loyal following across the country.”

ABOUT BLUEMERCURY
Founded and headquartered in Washington, D.C., in 1999 by Harvard Business School graduate Marla Malcolm Beck and her husband Barry, Bluemercury is the nation’s largest and fastest-growing luxury beauty retailer and spa in the country. Bluemercury carries a skillfully curated selection of luxury brands in a neighborhood store where welcoming, expertly trained staff offer supreme product knowledge. Now in its 15th year, Bluemercury will own and operate nearly 60 locations in 19 states by the end of 2014.

Follow Bluemercury on Twitter (www.twitter.com/bluemercury), Facebook (www.facebook.com/pages/bluemercury), and Instagram (www.instagram.com/bluemercury).

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

NCLA Oculus + Calavera Nail Wraps - Review

XO, Noelle Tuesday, October 28, 2014
18 Comments
Hey ghoulfriends! I had planned a whole bunch of fun Halloween looks and then Sir Hunter decided to go through a fun little growth spurt and want cuddles all the time. Naturally, we all know what I've been choosing :) I haven't even had a chance to go get a costume so I think we're just going to put something quick together to go with what Hunter's being. We also haven't had a chance to carve pumpkins! I'm actually shocked we made it out to the pumpkin patch because we've been so busy! 

Anywho, even if the house doesn't look decorated, I'm still keepin' my fave holiday alive on my nails! How fun are these Oculus and Calavera nail wraps from NCLA?! Ugh. Too freakin' awesome! Both are killer for Halloween but can also be rocked after the pumpkins are thrown away.

Calavera is a fun colorfully detailed sugar skull print for a fantasy-filled night of glamorous nightmares. No design is like another which I really love. I also like that the print is textured and slightly raised up. So fun! The only issue I had with these is that the whole nail wrap was so cute but the majority of it was cut off to fit my nail. These are definitely perfect for those with longer nails!

Oculus is terrifyingly gruesome and eye catching...literally! The print is of different colored eye balls on a black and white background. I love, love, LOVE this print! These are slightly thicker than the other NCLA nail wraps I've used in the past but were still easy to use.

Each set comes with 26 adhesives and a cute NCLA nail file. The wrap sizes range from wide to small so they fit just about any nail bed. 

How to apply NCLA nail wraps:

  • Start off with fresh, clean nails and than apply a coat of basecoat (I used NCLA Gloss It!) and let it dry.
  • Find the size that best fits your nail and peel from the sheet by the flap. 
  • Apply the most round part to your cuticle and stretch down until it fits perfectly. I know some are afraid to stretch it because they think it might break, but I promise you it won't. This is the most crucial part to get a nice, flat, flawless nail. 
  • Once you've fit it to your nail, firmly flatten it down starting from the cuticle and pressing your way down to the tip. 
  • Use the nail file in a downward motion to remove any excess wrap left over. Apply another coat of Gloss It! and you're all set! I really like using a coat for Gloss It! over it because it softens the nail wrap (as well as adds a shine to it) so you can go in one last time and press down anything you missed or smooth out any mistakes.
BuyOculus & Calavera - Price | $16

Anddd a picture from pumpkin picking! I absolutely love this one although Hunter's all like, "K guys. Enough pictures." How cute are his little pumpkin booties!?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

MAC x Rocky Horror Picture Show Oblivion Lipstick - Swatches & Review

XO, Noelle Thursday, October 23, 2014
19 Comments
It's astounding! There is no better way to start this post than by saying, "UGH. MAC got me again." because they always freakin' do with their limited edition collections and their damn cute packaging. I'm a HUGE Rocky Horror Picture Show fan so naturally, I just had to get at least one thing from this collection (or so I tell my fiance). 

Behold the MAC x Rocky Horror Picture Show lipstick in Oblivion! 
Before we even get into Oblivion, let's talk about the awesome packaging, shall we? Did you know those famous lips belong to Patricia Quinn who plays Magenta and was inspired by the painting "Lips Over Hollywood" by Man Ray? #knowledgeispowerpeople

Annnnnnd inside of the packaging. Genius!


Oblivion (LE) is described as an amplified vivid blush red.
I would say that's a pretty accurate description! It's just an all around gorgeous red that I think would be flattering on any skintone with its neutral undertone. It's creamy, applies like butter, has a luminous finish and lasts about five hours. No bleeding or feathering here!


Okay. Now this is where y'all wanna punch me on the face because unfortunately, this lipstick is limited edition. DON'T HURT ME. I suggest trying your local MAC shop anyway!



Yeah. This needed to be here. You're welcome.

MAC x Rocky Horror Picture Show Collection | Buy

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

NCLA Mommy Dearest - Review

XO, Noelle Tuesday, October 21, 2014
22 Comments
Before I go full-on fall and Halloween (hopefully if little bud lets me!) on the blog, I had to share my last summer-y nail wraps from NCLA. I do think they're a darker floral print that totally works for fall as well but I mean, seriously, nail wraps don't have a season anyway so you can rock 'em whenever, babe.

Mommy Dearest is a beautiful vintage floral print of violet and teal inspired by your mom's best "Ladies Who Lunch" dress. The collection comes with 26 ultra-thin adhesives and a cute NCLA nail file. The wrap sizes range from wide to small so they fit just about any nail bed. 

How to apply NCLA nail wraps:

  • Start off with fresh, clean nails and than apply a coat of basecoat (I used NCLA Gloss It!) and let it dry.
  • Find the size that best fits your nail and peel from the sheet by the flap. 
  • Apply the most round part to your cuticle and stretch down until it fits perfectly. I know some are afraid to stretch it because they think it might break, but I promise you it won't. This is the most crucial part to get a nice, flat, flawless nail. 
  • Once you've fit it to your nail, firmly flatten it down starting from the cuticle and pressing your way down to the tip. 
  • Use the nail file in a downward motion to remove any excess wrap left over. Apply another coat of Gloss It! and you're all set! I really like using a coat for Gloss It! over it because it softens the nail wrap (as well as adds a shine to it) so you can go in one last time and press down anything you missed or smooth out any mistakes.

NCLA Mommy Dearest Buy - Price: $16
* Press Sample

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

NCLA Daisy Dukes - Review

XO, Noelle Wednesday, October 15, 2014
2 Comments
Hi babes! Just because it's October doesn't mean you have to put away your "Daisy Dukes" just yet! No, seriously. Today was 80 degrees in Connecticut. Fall, get your stuff together! 

Daisy Dukes is a baby blue background with white daisies in two different prints. These nail wraps are described as the essence of the magical season of musical festivals. The collection comes with 26 ultra-thin adhesives and a cute NCLA nail file. The wrap sizes range from wide to small so they fit just about any nail bed.

How to apply NCLA nail wraps:

  • Start off with fresh, clean nails and than apply a coat of basecoat (I used NCLA Gloss It!) and let it dry.
  • Find the size that best fits your nail and peel from the sheet by the flap. 
  • Apply the most round part to your cuticle and stretch down until it fits perfectly. I know some are afraid to stretch it because they think it might break, but I promise you it won't. This is the most crucial part to get a nice, flat, flawless nail. 
  • Once you've fit it to your nail, firmly flatten it down starting from the cuticle and pressing your way down to the tip. 
  • Use the nail file in a downward motion to remove any excess wrap left over. Apply another coat of Gloss It! and you're all set! I really like using a coat for Gloss It! over it because it softens the nail wrap (as well as adds a shine to it) so you can go in one last time and press down anything you missed or smooth out any mistakes.

NCLA Daisy Dukes Buy - Price: $16
* Press Sample

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Baby | Meet Baby XO + Birth Story!

XO, Noelle Thursday, October 9, 2014
8 Comments
Hello my little boobalahs! I know it's been a little while. I'm still trying to juggle this whole mommy/blogger/sleep-deprived chick deal and how to work them all together but I promise I'm not going anywhere and I'll get back to daily posts as soon as possible. I mean, Halloween is coming up. I totally can't miss celebrating that on the blog. DUH.

I've been DYING to share my birth story with y'all. Around week 39, I started getting nervous because I had absolutely no signs of labor besides a few Braxton Hicks every once in awhile. I was pretty convinced that Baby XO was in no rush to come out and that I'd go into 41 weeks and have to induced. In fact, everyone thought that.

So imagine my surprise when on September 8th, I had my bloody show. Your bloody show is basically your mucus plug that blocks your cervical opening. #facts For some people, when you lose it, shit's about to go down but for others it could be a few days before you give birth. I figured I was probably the latter. I went out on our boat that night with my fiance and brother and started having contractions. To be honest, I didn't really know they were contractions. It just kind of felt like I was sitting uncomfortable. Like when you wear tight pants that dig into your stomach? Weird way to describe it, I know. When we got home, we got ready for bed and I fell asleep. I kept waking up from the contractions but again, they didn't hurt, they just felt uncomfortable and weird. Kind of like your body saying, "Whoa, hey. Something's going on here." I barely got any sleep. The morning of September 9th, my fiance wasn't sure if he should go to work or not because I kept having contractions. I was timing them but they were all over the place. From five minutes apart, to ten, back to five, down to three, up to fifteen. Nothing was consistent so I told him to go to work. I called my doctor and ended up talking to a nurse who said to not go in unless my water breaks or my contractions are less than five minutes apart. As the day went on, the contractions got more and more intense but still all over the place. When Ant and my mom got home around 5:30PM, they were hitting a little harder but I wanted to stay home as long as possible. Serious #whitecoatsyndrome, fo' real. At 7:30PM, I finally decided that maybe we should go in and started crying. It was becoming a little too real. My mom and fiance packed up the car and away we went to the hospital. The entire car ride, I was squeezing my mom and fiance's hands with every contraction. 

When we got there, the contractions were definitely getting a little rough. Probably about five minutes apart and all up in my back/behind area at this point. I was still convinced that nothing was going to happen so I told my mom and Anthony to leave our stuff in the car because I'll probably be sent home anyway. I then spent a good twenty minutes in registration at the hospital >:0 I'll never understand why you pre-register but still have to go into the registration area and basically register all over again. Finally, we went up and they gave me a room in L&D. The doctor came in and checked me and lo and behold - I was already at 5cm! They told me we were staying and Ant went and got our bags out of the car. The nurse said to walk around and bounce on a labor ball for an hour and then she'll come back and check on me and see if I progressed any. Walking around sucked. The contractions, at that point, were so hard in my back and butt area. Not painful, just super pressure-y. I kept having to stop and basically bang my head against the wall until it passed. Long story short, every hour I progressed a cm. I made it up to 9cms but I was so exhausted from not sleeping the night before and having bad back labor that I asked for an epidural. Actually, I got a shot in my butt first that was supposed to take the edge off but it didn't work so then I asked for an epidural. At this point, we were looking to have the baby at 1:00AM. 

Getting an epidural was the craziest feeling ever. It felt like someone was tickling my vertebrae. I swear, it doesn't hurt but it's such a weird feeling. After it was in, I was in heaven! It was such a relief. The nurse told me to get some sleep and she'll keep checking in on me to see if I'm ready. The epidural ended up slowing down my contractions but I ended up getting the best night's sleep of my entire life instead. Seriously. Best. Sleep. Ever. I wasn't looking to get an epidural but I'm SO happy I did. I think if I didn't have back labor I could've went without but still. So happy I went with an epidural.

Around 7:30AM on September 10th, they came in and checked me and I was at 10cm and ready to go! The epidural was working amazing and just my pelvic area was numb. I could still feel my legs and everything. Then my doctor came in and was like, "Oh hey, do you mind waiting on pushing? The woman next door thinks she's ready to push so..." I'm like, "Oh yeah, sure. I'm not going anywhere. Nothing to do today besides have a baby. No big deal." So all the nurses and my doctor went to the next room. They came back like 20 minutes later and was like, "J/K." Our nurse was like, "It's a race between us and that woman! We have to deliver first!" My delivery was definitely lighthearted and fun which is exactly what I wanted. I hate seriousness. It was also a party. I had my doctor, a student doctor, a nurse, a student nurse, the infant nurse and my mom and Anthony. The nurse started telling me how to push, Ant and my mom held my legs and she told me when I felt a contraction to push through it. Except I couldn't feel any contractions. Like, at all. So I lied. Within about ten pushes, they could see the head and about ten more pushes, he was out! Just 30 minutes of pushing! It was so amazing. No pain, no nadda. Definitely my dream labor.

He came out face up so they think that's why I had such back pain from the way he was positioned. They immediately put him on my chest and that's when I fell in love. Apparently, I tore a teeny tiny bit so they stitched me up while I held him but I didn't feel a thing. After about a half an hour, they asked if I wanted him bathed and I said sure so they bathed him in the room. My fiance, who faints at the sight of blood, watched the whole thing AND cut the cord! So proud of him :) Hands down, it was the best day of my entire life! He came out 6 pounds, 7 ounces. 19 inches long. I had the most amazing, perfect labor and delivery. I consider myself so blessed and lucky. Honestly, if I could be promised my pregnancy and labor would be like this every time, I'd have a billion little babes.

Breastfeeding has been going awesome. He had a great latch at the hospital and has been doing awesome since! He's such a happy, chill baby and only cries when he's getting changed and if he's hungry. Since day one, he's been lifting his head and was given the OK at two weeks for tummy time! Since then, he's only gotten stronger. He also likes to "crawl" where he grabs my shirt on the top and wiggles his way up to my shoulder. He makes these little chipmunk noises all day and smiles and just started cooing. I love reading, singing and dancing with him. 

And now the moment you've all been waiting for...

Introducing - Hunter Anthony!

(At three weeks old!)

I mean, c'mon. Is he not the most gorgeous little guy you've ever seen? I just want to eat him up!