XO, Noelle | a beauty and lifestyle blog

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

NCLA Pink Flamingos - Review

XO, Noelle Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Anyone else feel like fall in kind of being forced on them? I mean, I love fall and I may be particularly excited for September this year but "damnnn, Gina". Mornings have been in the 50's and I even heard Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte is coming back early (August 25 - mark your calendars!). I can't even lie. I'm pretty excited about that one. The #typicalwhitegirl in me is like, "YAAAAAAAAS! Now hold on and let me get my North Face and Uggs."

Anywho, just because fall is approaching (apparently, fast!) does not mean you have to cool it down and go all oxblood your nails just yet. These NCLA Pink Flamingo Nail Wraps are the perfect way to keep the summer going until the first leaf drops!

Pink Flamingos is a bright aqua background with hot pink flamingo print all over. The print is a quirky taste of a tropical getaway and I absolutely love it! 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. Thumbs up from this chick!

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.
 (Confession: I have toddler hands.)

Tell me those hands don't look like they could belong to a five year old! Anyway, the wraps. What more can I say without looking like I'm obsessed? Because I'm not. I don't look at the website at least once a day, checking out the new designs like these new Semi Precious Metal ones or these End of Summer ones. Cough. No obsession here. It's hard not to be obsessed when something just works SO WELL. I've said it a few times but I absolutely love how easy they are to put on, how well they fit my tiny nail beds and I mean, c'mon, the designs are freakin' adorable. 

NCLA Pink Flamingos | Availability: Online Exclusive - Buy | Price: $16
* Press sample

Monday, August 18, 2014

Top Ten Dorm Must-Haves With Kleenex + Walmart

XO, Noelle Monday, August 18, 2014

Over the weekend, I went out shopping with my mom to Walmart for stuff for my hospital bag and noticed a whole bunch of "kids" (loosely 18-20 years old which is already numbero uno sign that I'm getting old when that age group are "kids" to me) running around picking out curtains, pillows and comforters. I mean, the home decor section was like, the it place. It was packed. Then I noticed the parents behind them asking if they thought they'd need more towels, "Is this comforter soft enough?", "I think you're going to need more storage." and finally put two and two together: They were getting ready for college! Duh, Noelle.

See, I never went to college but I'd be lying if I said I didn't envy the kids who got to go - just probably not for the reasons you would think. I was always jealous they got to decorate their own little living space and be "grown ups" before buying a house and getting older was even a plausible thought. I don't know how many times I'd visit friends in college and think how cute their mini fridge was or how cool it was that they used their closet for clothes and as a pantry. They were living the life! Then I found out they'd have to share their living space, the bathroom was public and that if I just waited a few (or ten) years, I could have my own space to own - and with bills, to boot! How lucky am I?

I decided to put together my own dorm room necessities (everything is from Walmart!)  if I ever got to have one and hopefully give my college-bound readers (go get 'em, tiger!) some ideas on how you can decorate your own dorm!

MainStays Non-Woven Bins | Buy - The organizer in me says you need these in your life whether you're going to college or not but these are absolutely perfect for a small dorm. Bins are the perfect hiding places to make it look like you don't have a lot of crap laying around when your parents come to visit. They'd look adorable in this ClosetMaid Cubical also at Walmart.

Kleenex Expressions Oval Facial Tissue Chevron Designs | In stores at Walmart - I feel like these are must-haves for forever. Not only are tissues awesome when you're sick but they also come in handy to remove makeup with, quick clean-ups when hand towels aren't around and cleaning your glasses! This adorable print is limited edition to run (don't walk!) to your nearest Walmart and snag a box (or three!).

Keurig Elite K40 Single Serve Coffeemaker Brewing System | Buy - For $100, you can't go wrong with this Keurig. Not only does it come in four different colors (I didn't know they made them in different colors!) but it'll definitely come in handy to have one on those long study nights.

Better Homes & Gardens Baroque Oval Wall Mirror | Buy - I actually own this and can say it's super light, ready to hang and totally adorable! It goes with any type of decor and comes in three other colors.

MainStays Chevron Decorative Pillow | Buy - Chevron is SO in right now. Super comfy, cute pattern - all you need for a night in at the dorm.

Teen Vogue 50x60 Faux Fur Throw | Buy - Sometimes there's just nothing better than a nice, warm throw blanket to remind you of mom's hugs!

7-Piece Back to College Room Decor Solution Set | Buy - This set comes with five different size picture frames, a dry-erase board and a clock! All frames also come with an easel so you have the choice to hang them or put them on a tabletop.

Sandisk CZ60 16GB Cruzer USB | Buy - I may not have gone to college but even I know these are amazing to have. Pictures, projects and more can be saved on one of these babies to free up room for movie downloads on your laptop ;)

Igloo Refrigerator | Buy - You can't forget a mini fridge! Comes in seven different colors and is perfect for keeping snacks and drinks nice and cold. Lock so you don't have to share with your roomie not included.

Round Paper Lantern | Buy - Okay. So maybe there's not a lot of use to come from a paper lantern but buy a few (or ten) and your room will definitely be the cutest around!

So what are your dorm must-haves!?
* This post is sponsored by Kleenex and Walmart but my opinions are always 100% all mine.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

L.A. Girl Glazed Lip Paints - Swatches & Review

XO, Noelle Thursday, August 14, 2014
Talk about hard to find! L.A. Girl is basically non-existent where I'm from so I took to Amazon.com to get my fix (and I snagged a set for my readers for an Instagram-only giveaway!). I had heard that they're comparable to the new Too Faced Melted Lipsticks (they're really not but I'll get into that later!) so naturally that peaked my interest as well.

L.A. Girl Glazed Lip Paints are a sweet mix between a lipstick and lipgloss. I absolutely love these hybrids! It has the shine and consistency of a lipgloss but the color intensity of a lipstick. They also contain Vitamin E and peppermint oil (and smell like peppermint too!) to keep your lips nice and moisturized.

So are they Too Faced Melted Lipsticks dupes? Not really. For one, the L.A. Girl Glazed Lip Paints have more of a shiny consistency (if that makes sense) while the Melted Lipsticks are a bit more creamy. Vampy Varnish compared the L.A. Girl Lip Paints to OCC Lip Tars and I totally agree. A little bit goes a long way with both and they have similar consistencies. I also recommend applying these with a lip brush, like the OCC Lip Tars.

(L-R: Blushing, Pin-Up, Babydoll, Coy, Bombshell & Hot Mess)

Blushing is purple-mauve. 
As you can see from the swatch to what it looks like on my lips, it's definitely lighter and pulls more pink on your lips. Application was easy-peasy and the color didn't slide around on my lips. Probably one of my top three faves from this collection! Wear time was 2-3 hours.

Pin-Up is a bright cherry red.
Talk about va-va-voom! A little goes such a long way with these lip paints. I did experience some movement on the lips (as you can see from the pic above) which looked a little patchy close-up. Honestly, in person you couldn't really tell. The other only (minor) issue with this was that it bled. Again, not super noticeable in person but in super hi-def photos, you can't hide a thing! ;) Wear time was a bit longer than Blushing coming in at about 3-4 hours.

Babydoll is a bubblegum pink.
And also makes my top three faves! Just another smooth, even applying lip paint. Loved the color and was surprised how flattering it was on my pale skin. Usually these cool-toned pinks kind of make me look corpse-y but I loved how this one looked. Wear time was 3 hours.

Coy is an in-yo-face-purple.
I'm still a little on the fence about Coy. It's a gorgeous almost fully opaque purple but what's a bummer is that it gets a little patchy and moves around with a minute of putting it on. I recommend the "blotting technique" to get this baby to stay a little longer. Apply once and then lightly blot with toilet paper and then apply again. 

Bombshell is a bright fuchsia. 
I call this "The Liquified MAC Candy Yum-Yum". It's just perfection in every way. Almost fully opaque in one swipe, long wear time (4-5 hours) and so flattering. 

Hot Mess is a tangerine.
A fun and totally wearable orange! I see this being flattering on any skin tone. This isn't really as opaque as the other colors but it does still apply nice and even. 

Overall: For $4 a pop, you can't go wrong with any of these! If you're looking for Too Faced Melted dupes, these aren't them but they are ah-mazing all on their own. My top three faves are Bombshell, Blushing and Babydoll. All have a pretty decent wear time ranging from 2-5 hours.

Which ones are your favorites?

L.A. Girl Lip PaintsBuy - Price: $3.99

Monday, August 11, 2014

Pretty & Polished Polishes - Swatches & Review

XO, Noelle Monday, August 11, 2014
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Hi loves! Today I have some swatches from Pretty & Polished on the blog! P&P and I go way back and I actually remember when it first started (Jawbreaker anyone!?!) and the insanity that was cart-jacking. If you're just getting into indies now, you've started at a fab time because getting your hands on a popular indie was hardcore, guys. Anywho, I was excited to try some new Pretty & Polished beauties and Chelsea was sweet enough to send me four from various collections. Let's check them out!

Boys Will Be Boys is a thermal polish. When warm, it's a light blue with various hexes but when cold, it turns a slightly darker version of that blue.
Unfortunately, I couldn't catch it on camera! My tips were definitely darker and it looked awesome but it wouldn't show up. Application was a little chunky but Chelsea has said that thermal polishes are thicker due to the pigments used. The hexes were plentiful but were somewhat of a pain to spread out evenly on the nail. This is three coats and there was still a light VNL.

Draximum Security is a blue-tinted polish with blue and red hexes and shards. Inspired by the Guardians of the Galaxy movie.
UGH. So gorgeous! I recommend layering this over something because at three coats, this still showed VNL. I absolutely love, love, love the red shards mixed into this. Super easy to apply and the formula was perfection!

The Gamourous Life is an acid green with red shimmer. Inspired by Guardians of the Galaxy movie.
Another total drool-worthy polish! I'm dying over how neon this is in real life. This is three smooth coats. Again, there's VNL so I recommend applying this over something (maybe even white?) for a nice, opaque look. 

Hootin' and Holoin' is a cranberry holo from the Summer Fun FX Collection.
Ohhhhh baby! I think it's safe to say everyone needs a cranberry holo polish in their life. This is perfect for fall coming up. Super smooth application, amazing formula and this was opaque in like, two coats. AH-MAZING. 

Overall: I'm super impressed with Pretty & Polished's newer polishes. My faves would definitely have to be The Gamorous Life and Hootin' and Holoin'. Both are just so gorgeous! Which ones are your fave?

Pretty & PolishedBuy | Price: $9
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Friday, August 8, 2014

Baby Update | 34/35 Weeks!

XO, Noelle Friday, August 8, 2014
I know that I'm SO behind on this but I wanted to catch up. Any other mamas-to-be like, "Wait. I'm having a baby in a few weeks?" It's insane to think about. I'm just copy-and-pasting notes from the past few weeks:

The baby is definitely moving more but they're more rolls and waves instead of kicks. It feels like he's running out of room in there, for sure. He's super low and sometimes I feel pressure but nothing insane. My back sometimes hurts just walking around and I have this weird burning sensation under one of my ribs. I asked the midwife (more on that in a sec) what it was and apparently there's a nerve there that he could be pressing on. Fun stuff!

So about the midwife. I'm not sure if I shared here but a month ago, we went on a hospital tour and I found myself leaning towards midwifery views than of a doctors. I scheduled a meet-and-greet with one, we talked but she didn't really get into their values or anything and asked me if I was serious to schedule another meet-and-greet with one of the other midwives in their group. Did that and met with her the next day. To make a long story short, it was different. September is really busy for them and they weren't sure they'd be able to make since I'm coming in late (at the time I was 34 weeks - totally understandable!). They like to be there from the beginning to establish a trusting bond. Again, so understandable! She than told me that the dealbreaker to let me in was that I'd have to be on a Paleo diet, get lots of exercise and that I'd have to take a birthing class. I didn't want to do that so I passed and decided to stick with my doctor this time.

How far along? 34/35 weeks
Total weight gain: 28 pounds
Maternity clothes? Anything stretchy is my best friend right now.
Stretch marks? Lots!
Sleep: Pretty well! I get up once or twice to pee at night.
Miss Anything? Not having crazy stretch marks and a nice, full night's sleep. Also, sleeping on my tummy.
Movement: Lots of rolling and waves. Barely any kicks any more!
Food cravings: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, iced coffee and pretzels.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Not much.
Gender: It's a boy! 
Labor Signs: Pressure in my lower half, movement in the lower half.
Symptoms: Back pain, pressure, leaking boobs. All the fun stuff! ;)
Belly Button in or out? In.
Wedding rings on or off? On.
Happy or Moody most of the time: Anxious! Ha. I just want to meet him already!
Looking Forward To: Meeting our baby :)

Nail Art | Chevron & Outlining with Bonita Colors

XO, Noelle Friday, August 8, 2014
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Hey love muffins! Happy 400th post to me! :) Only took me two years to get here. No biggie. This mani celebrates a few things: 
- From where I started. This blog was initially a nails-only blog and has turned into SO much more. I love going "back to my roots" and doing nail art.
- A new polish line I've never heard of! They were in my Rite Aid Network box and you can find these babies at your local Rite Aid.
- A tutorial I saw on Pinterest where I was like, "I NEED TO DO THIS." and now, months later, I'm finally trying it out. The tutorial is from the ah-mazing Chelsea King here (PS. Follow me on Pinterest!).

 (Hello most awkward position EVER!)

I used: Julie G. Golden Sunset, Bonita You Mint A Lot To Me, This Beach is Bombay, Tag You're It! and Flaming Juan + a nail art brush
I would explain the tutorial but you're better off clicking the link to the picture of the tutorial because Chelsea explains it wayyyyy better than I do how to do the chevron effect. Instead of white, I used gold and instead of black, I used the Bonita polishes. For the outlined nails, I started off with a nice opaque base. I let it dry as much as I could and then took the Julie G. Gold Sunset with a thin nail art brush and traced around my nail. Pretty easy-peasy and makes it look like you've put way more effort into your nails than you actually did.

As for the Bonita Colors: I've actually never heard of this brand before I found them in my July Rite Aid Network box. They sent a total of eight so be on the look out for another post featuring the other four - they're gorgeous! Bonita You Mint A Lot To Me (a neon turquoise), This Beach is Bombay (a neon blue), Tag You're It! (a neon hot pink) and Flaming Juan (a neon orange) all have great formulas. They each require about three coats although you can layer it over a crisp white polish to cut that in half and make them really pop. My absolute favorite is Tag, You're It! 

                                          Where to buy: Your local Rite Aid! | Price: $3.99
* Press sample