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Hey friend! I'm Noelle, your virtual beauty-lovin' bestie, here to share makeup tutorials, product reviews, motherhood stories and everything in between! XO, Noelle is all about being the best version of yourself - inside and out.


Monday, June 30, 2014

Mascara Monday | Maybelline Volum' Express Pumped Up Colossal

Three Mondays in a row? They should warrant some type of an award for this kind of consistency! ;) This Mascara Monday features the Maybelline Volum' Express Pumped Up Colossal that I received in my amazing Rite Aid Network kit this month.

I was pretty excited to try this out because it claims to pump up lashes up to 12x the volume and we all know how much I love volume. It's also waterproof which is a huge plus especially if we want to wear this running around in the hot heat or at the pool.

The Mascara: Right off the bat, I noticed the formula was a bit too wet for my liking. It wasn't so wet that it was clumping but it was a little messy. I noticed that the mascara formed an almost "eyeliner effect" leaving a thin line of excess mascara on my eyelid. I'm not sure if it's the wand (more on that below) or the formula but either way - no bueno! Unfortunately, this also didn't really give me as much volume as I expected which is a HUGE bummer because hello? it's in the name. "Volum' Express". If what it's supposed to do is in the name itself, I'm most definitely holding it to that and it didn't hold up for me. 

The two pro's to this mascara are that it's waterproof and that it separated my lashes very nicely but you wouldn't know because there was absolutely no volume to lift them up. It's almost like the mascara weighed them down instead.

The Wand: It's such a bummer this didn't work for me because I absolutely love how large the wand is and how separated the bristles are. I feel like I had no issues with working this around my lashes but I do wonder if because the wand is so big, that's why there was excess mascara all over my lids. 

Before | After 
Before | After

Overall: This gets a thumbs down for me. As much as I wanted to love it with the big wand and separated bristles, it just didn't give me as much volume as I was looking for and expected. I also wasn't a huge fan of the excess mascara on my lid. I didn't do the full shabang with my eyes with shadow and liner but I can only imagine how mad I'd be if I did all of that and then got mascara all over my lid >:O

Maybelline Volum' Express Pumped Up Colossal | Availability: at your local Rite Aid | Price: $6.99

* Sent as part of the Rite Aid Network

Baby Update | 29 Weeks!

Well, technically 29 weeks and 3 days, but who's counting? (Me. I am.) Friday, I had my glucose test which really wasn't that bad. Like, at all. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. It basically tasted like flat soda but wasn't extra sweet or anything. I also had to hand in part two of my preeclampsia base test (a jug full of my urine - no joke).  

How far along? 29 weeks | 3 days.
Total weight gain: 22 pounds.
Maternity clothes? YES. And maxi dresses.
Stretch marks? Yup. Around my belly button.
Sleep: It really just depends on the night lately. The dogs have been all up on me which makes it hard to get comfortable and sometimes my back hurts in certain positions but I honestly can't complain. For the most part, sleep is still there.
Miss Anything? Bananas. Random but I stopped eating them after getting horrible indigestion not once but TWICE from them. Worst feeling ever.
Movement: Lots although he doesn't really have a schedule. Sometimes he moves like crazy, other times it's little to nothing.
Food cravings: Definitely iced coffees, french fries. That's about it though.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nothing although if I eat too much, I start to feel nauseous.
Gender: It's a boy! 
Labor Signs: None!
Symptoms: Back pain, getting pretty tired doing little things.
Belly Button in or out? In.
Wedding rings on or off? On but I noticed they're getting a little snug.
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy for the most part :)
Looking forward to: 4th of July, our baby shower coming up on the 13th, the birth of Anthony's sister's baby in July!
No comments

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Ipsy | June Glam Bag - Review

It's Ipsy glam bag time! Every single time my Ipsy bag comes, I want to sing that Blue's Clues mail time song!

You're welcome.

This month's theme is: Pretty In ParadiseWarm white sandy beaches or a cafe under a star filled night sky, being pretty in YOUR paradise is only a Glam Bag away. 

The Bag: It's freakin' Rebecca Minkoff! If that doesn't get you all giddy, I don't know what will. The print is super cute and right on for summer time with pineapples and flower print. Material is nylon-like and kind of feels like umbrella material. As always, a huge fan of the front zipper!

NXY Butter Gloss in Eclair
I was just eyeing this Butter Gloss telling myself I need it and then it shows up in my Ipsy bag! I would describe the shade Eclair as a blue-toned pink gloss. It's somewhat of a thicker consistency but it's not annoying. I'm also super surprised by how pigmented this is. You can totally rock this on its own! Now that I've tried one, I want them all!

Ofra Universal Eyebrow Pencil 
I feel like this one was a miss for me, but with good intentions. The Ofra Universal Eyebrow Pencil is made with beeswax so once it's on, it's on. I think it was a miss because even though it's supposed to be universal and looks like it would match my hair color, to me, it's really dark. I have no clue how blondes would be able to use this. I prefer to go a shade or two lighter for my eyebrows and this was just too dark.

Carol's Daughter Sacred Tiare Anti-Breakage & Anti-Frizz Styling Cream
Basically, this is a blow dry cream that you put on through your damp hair, blow dry and style. I have yet to try this but I'm pretty excited! I'm all for anti-frizz and anti-breakage. This contains no artificial dyes, mineral oils, petroleum nor parabens. Also, it kind of smells like the beach!

Realtree for Her
I was slightly confused when I saw this because I know the brand Realtree is known for camo prints and hunting - not perfume! The scent is described on the site as "opens up with pomegranate, persimmon and orchids. It blends with lotus blossom, champaca flower, amber, violets and mahogany wood". This, to me, smells exactly like Pink Sugar!

Nicka K New York Shimmer Eyeliner in Blue
Another product that could've been a huge hit but was a miss for me! This eyeliner shade is of the most gorgeous oceanic blue. It would've been perfect for mermaid looks! Unfortunately, the brush was way too stiff to work with and once applied and removed, the eyeliner stained like crazy! Sadddddd.

Overall: This bag was alright. It didn't make me freak out over it, but I'm not ready to cancel my Ipsy subscription either. The two biggest duds were the Nicka K Shimmer Eyeliner and the Ofra Univeral Eyebrow Pencil. The color itself was gorgeous, but brush and the left over stain made me never want to use the eyeliner again. The eyebrow pencil is a little too dark for my taste although I might be able to work with it with a light hand. It also bothers me that it's supposed to be "universal" but would never work with any hair colors that are light. My faves were definitely the NYX Butter Gloss and the Realtree perfume. 

Swatches: NYX Butter Gloss in Eclair, Ofra Eye Pencil, Nicka K NY Eyeliner 

Not subscribed to Ipsy yet? What are you waiting for? For $10 a month, you'll get a bag filled with 4-5 deluxe-full sized beauty products at your door. Sign up here (referral link)!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Baby Update | 28 Weeks!

I'm late (again) on this but it's up so it's a win in my book. I'm officially in my third trimester now which is pretty crazy! I can't believe in about 11 weeks, I'll have a little one to hold! Lately, I've been helping my mom and getting the baby shower together and figuring out when we're closing on our house. At this point, I just want to know if we'll have the house before or after the baby comes so we can plan accordingly. I've also been getting rib and back pain if I sit or lay in a position too long. Car rides are so much fun now >:o

This Friday, I have my glucose test so fingers crossed I pass! I also still need to schedule my hospital visit. So much to do, so little time! 

How far along? 28 weeks - 5 days! I'm officially in the third trimester.
Total weight gain: 19 pounds.
Maternity clothes? I'm all about that ~maternity clothes life~ right now. Anything stretchy is my best friend.
Stretch marks? Yeah, they're there. 
Sleep: Eh. I guess, pretty well still. I've noticed I takes a little more to get comfortable lately but I'm still getting pretty good sleep so I can't complain.
Miss Anything? Not too much.
Movement: Lots but I'm greedy and want more! He'll go a day without moving and than go crazy the next. There's definitely no consistent schedule.
Food cravings: Definitely iced coffees, french fries. That's about it though.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nothing although if I eat too much, I start to feel nauseous.
Gender: It's a boy! 
Labor Signs: None!
Symptoms: Pain under my ribs if I sit too long, stretch marks. I consider myself lucky compared to others!
Belly Button in or out? In.
Wedding rings on or off? On.
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy!

aden+anais Ultra-Gentle Lotion & Stretch Mark Reducing Cream - Review

I'll admit it. I'm definitely one of those momma-to-be's that researches EVERYTHING. Cribs, strollers, diapers. I just like to know what the best of the best is for my little babe coming.

aden+anais is definitely one of those companies that produces some of the best of the best. I had first heard about aden+anais' from my mom about their swaddle blankets and that I needed them for Baby XO because of how soft they are. Naturally, those babies went straight on my registry because my mom knows best :)

I didn't, however, know that aden+anais had their own mum+bub skincare line! Their mum+bub skincare line is "gentle enough for a baby, but sophisticated enough for you". I absolutely love that I can share this with my little one. It's paraben, petroleum oil, gluten, soy and phthalates free and is lightly scented with Australian Sandalwood. I was lucky enough to get a chance to try out two products from their mum+bub line so let's check 'em out, shall we?

 Stretch Mark Reducing Cream
Ah, stretch marks. I think it's safe to say that no one is exactly jumping for joy when they get them, am I right? Unfortunately, there's no way to actually prevent them. It's kind of just the luck of the draw. Thankfully, this stretch mark cream is here to help reduce the appearance of them. For the best results, aden+anais recommend applying this cream from the beginning of the pregnancy until the end, twice a day wherever stretch marks may/have appear/ed. Apply from the first sign of stretch marks for 2-3 months. First off, I really appreciate the honesty. If there is a magical way to reduce the appearance of stretch marks, it's going to take a few months. That being said, I think it might be too soon to tell (I'm about a month in using this) if my stretch mark's appearance is going to be greatly reduced but they're definitely not as angry red as when they first appeared so that's definitely something. What I love the most about this cream (besides how yummy it smells) is how easy it's absorbed. Within a few minutes, it's absorbed in and leaves my skin feeling so incredibly soft.

Ultra-Gentle Lotion
This lotion is any momma-to-be's answer to dry, itchy skin! Infused with fresh, fermented pawpaw (Papaya) fruit along with a light scent of that Australian Sandalwood, this is one lotion I don't mind lathering my skin with over and over again because it smells so dang good. The Ultra-Gentle Lotion also contains shea butter as well to keep your skin soft. This lotion is super lightweight and absorbs into the skin fast but leaves your skin feeling silky smooth. This lotion is also safe to use on your baby and I cannot wait to smell this on Baby XO. Is that weird? 

Overall: The Stretch Mark Reducing Cream and the Ultra-Gentle Lotion from aden+anais' mum+bub line is everything I could ask for in a line for both moms and their babies to use. The lotion is super lightweight, absorbs in fast, leaves your skin soft and smells fantastic. Like I said earlier, I can't wait to use this on Baby XO. While it may be too early for a verdict for Stretch Mark Reducing Cream, I can say that I've noticed my stretch marks (so far) have lightened slightly. They're not so bright red like they were. Which is something to write home in my book! I highly recommend moms, mamas-to-be, whoever! - to check out this line!

Availability: Buy | Price: $15.95-$29.95

* Press Sample 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

MAC Kelly Yum Yum - Swatches & Review

If you told me last year that I'd spend many countless nights staying up waiting for MAC limited edition collection launches, I would've call you a liar. But alas, I have caught the MAC bug and have two sleepless nights under my belt: one for the Alluring Aquatics Collection and one for the Kelly x Sharon Osbourne Collection. Unfortunately (or fortunately for my wallet), I really only wanted one lipstick from this collection so it wasn't too chaotic. All I really wanted was MAC Kelly Yum Yum!

Kelly Yum Yum is described as "bright blue pink satin" but it's definitely more of a neon fuchsia with a slight blue undertone. I've read it's comparable to MAC's Candy Yum Yum but they're not really twins; more like sisters. Kelly Yum Yum is a little less blue, more pink and a satin while Candy Yum Yum is a matte. The consistency of Kelly Yum Yum was smooth and really easy to apply. 

I was kind of worried it would bleed or feather but it didn't! In fact, I actually wore this last weekend to my sister-in-law's baby shower and was incredibly surprised to find it had not budged within the three hours there filled with talking and lots of eating. Like, no fading, no nadda. However, I did find that after about four hours, my lips felt a little dry.

MAC Kelly Yum Yum
MAC Kelly Yum Yum

Overall: I'm SO happy I snagged this. I wanted Candy Yum Yum for the longest time but never bit the bullet. Then along came Kelly Yum Yum in its super adorable lilac packaging and I was sold. Full wear time was about 5-6 hours before it became a little too dry to wear. It did however pass eating, talking and drinking with flying colors and never faded or bled.

Availability: Buy / Limited Edition - Sold out | Price: $17.50

Monday, June 23, 2014

Mascara Monday | Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes!

Aw yeah, it's Mascara Monday! Behold: One of my absolute favorite, holy grail, can't-live-without mascaras: Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes! I think what first drew me in with this mascara was the packaging (my kryptonite, for sure): dark purple with faux snakeskin which is probably the most luxe mascara packaging I've ever seen. So let's check out the full review and see what makes it one of my all-time faves!

The Mascara: I don't know what the mascara is made of, but if I had to guess, it'd be tears from angels and unicorns mixed together. The formula is perfection. It's not too wet but not too dry and helps create the most perfect wispy eyelashes I've ever been able to create with a mascara. This baby lengthens, curls and separates all while managing to never flake, clump or smudge. 

The Brush: The mindblowing part of this mascara is that the wand is basically your run-of-the-mill mascara wand. There's really nothing revolutionary about it. The bristles are close together which would make one think it would clump your lashes together, but it doesn't. Other than that, there's really not that much noteworthy of the wand.

 Before | After

 Before | After
(Excuse the veins all up on your screen! I forgot to put on concealer.)

The Results: Long, voluminous lashes with no clumps! I've received numerous compliments whenever I wear this mascara. I think my favorite part about this mascara is that it doesn't fall after a few hours. It relentlessly holds the curl until you remove your makeup. 

Availability: Buy | Price: $20
(*Contains affiliate link.)

What's your go-to mascara? And a better question: what mascara would you like to see on Mascara Monday!?
1 comment

Friday, June 20, 2014

24ClearIt Day/Night Acne Therapy - Review

So, I know I've talked about the woes that have been my pregnancy skin before. I'd like to say for the most part, they've disappeared but some days I'm rockin' the heck out of that pregnancy glow and other days, well, not so much.

About a month ago, was awesome enough to send me the 24ClearIt Day/Night Acne Therapy Kit so over that time I decided to give it a whirl and whip my skin back into shape. Let's check it out!

24ClearIt is three-step therapy meant to be used twice a day, every day for full blemish-free results but you can totally use them separately if you just want to spot treatment. Each product is individually labeled so you know which one to use first, second and last. 

 Active Exfoliating Cleanser
First up is the exfoliating cleanser which you use basically like any normal cleanser. Apply to wet skin and massage about a dime-sized amount into your face. Massage for a few minutes and then rinse off. This should be used both at day and at night but if your skin's picky like mine, it dried out a few days after doing that. I ended up just doing it once a day and it felt much better. Always listen to your skin :) This contains about 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide which is absolutely fine for pregnant women to use but if you feel uncomfortable, ask your doctor first. This also contains microbeads which I'm not the biggest fan of. 

Essential Clearing Toner
Second up is the clearing toner. I don't know why but I absolutely love using toners! This one contains some aloe vera and chamomile to soothe your skin. Although when I used it, it burned a little like I was applying rubbing alcohol. Apply some toner to a cotton ball and gently wipe all over your face and allow to dry. Easy-peasy, right? This toner contains  2.0% Salicylic Acid which is, again, fine for pregnant women but always check with your doctor before use. 

AM Clarifying Treatment / PM Recovery Treatment
Basically, if you're doing this in the morning, you use the clarifying treatment and if you're doing this at night, you'll use the recovery treatment. Both are used the exact same way. Using about a dime-sized amount, apply treatment all over your face and let it dry. Don't rinse off. The difference between the two is that the AM one is designed to protect your skin once you go out for the day and heals it. The PM treatment is more intense and supports your body's natural recovery process while you sleep.

Advanced Treatment Mask
Love a good skin mask! This one is rich in sulfur which is the oldest known proven acne-fighter. All you have to do is apply an even layer over your skin, leave on for 5-10 minutes, rinse off and wa-la! This should be used 1-3 times a week, not every day like the other products. And no, it doesn't smell like sulfur ;)

Before | After
As you can see, the blemishes in the before were raised and red. In the after, they're not raised although discoloration is left behind (it's just my type of skin + being pregnant). Overall, I could see results in only a few days. This before and after is a week apart. Unfortunately, the biggest bummer was that this kit stuck like chemicals. I know all acne therapies, for the most part, kind of smell like chemicals but this one definitely did and was kind of a turn off. It could just be because I'm pregnant and still sensitive to smells. For less than $20, I would definitely snag this and see how it works for you!

Availability: Buy | Price: $39.95
* Use code: 50OFF to get it for $19.97!


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Freshly Picked Signature Collection Camo Moccasins - Review

Ladies and gentlemen, feast your eyes on one of the most adorable things you will see today: Freshly Picked Camo Moccasins! I squee every time I look at them. 

Freshly Picked started out in 2009 when the lovely Susan Petersen was super frustrated with crappy-made shoes for little babes. Susan started hand-making her own little moccasins, testing them out on her son, Gus. Since then the moccasins have gone through six different design changes, until she perfected them to be adorable and stay on babies' feet. To further fund her business, she would take old windows from her brother's window installation business, bang out the glass and take the aluminum window frames to cash them in. Um, screw Drake, Susan started from the bottom and now she's here! Her moccasins have graced the pages of Parenting Magazine, US Weekly, People (just to name a few) and have even been spotted on the Kardashian babies' feet.

Freshly Picked has also been featured on Shark Tank and has recently expanded to absolutely gorgeous leather bags (totally saving my pennies to buy one as a diaper bag!) as well as suede and leather moccasins in about every color of the rainbow.

The camo moccasins are part of Freshly Picked's Signature Collection and are 100% genuine suede. They arrive in an adorable linen drawstring with "Freshly Picked" screenprinted on it which you all know I died over because I'm such a sucker for cute packaging. Freshly Picked prides themselves on having moccasins that are easy to put on (and keep on!) with a stretchy elastic band sewn inside for easy slip on. The moccasins themselves are incredibly soft as well as the soles of them so I don't have to worry about irritation from a rough spot constantly rubbing on my baby's foot. Nothing's worse than little baby blisters :( The little sewn details are enough to make you want to save these once the baby grows and put them in a glass case.

If you're not sure what size your babe is/will be Freshly Picked has a handy-dandy chart that you can print out and match up to your babies foot. I got a size one just because I don't have the baby here just yet and obviously have no clue what size he'll be so I kind of guessed. Plus, that was the smallest size. Suede does run about half a size bigger than leather so I think I'll be set for a little while. Sizes run from 1-10.

Unfortunately Baby XO isn't here yet to try these on for a full review (2 1/2 more months!) but I will definitely review these again once he's born. My first honest impression from these is that they're absolutely adorable. I mean, let's be honest but they're also super soft, stretchy and incredibly well-made which makes this mommy-to-be incredibly happy :)

Availability: Buy | Price: $45-60

* Be on the look out for a Freshly Picked Moccasins Giveaway on July 1st!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Zoya Magical Pixie Summer 2014 Collection - Swatches & Review

Hi babes! Today I have swatches and a review of the Zoya Magical Pixie Summer 2014 Collection! The collection consists of three not-so-summery-but-still-gorgeous shades - Arlo, Bar and Ginni - with the Zoya PixieDust formula of large glitter and holographic shimmer. Let's check them out!

Zoya Magical Pixie Summer 2014 Collection

Arlo is described as a glittering violet amethyst. 
Arlo was three coats of buttery smooth application. It always surprises me how easy this Magical PixieDust formula is to apply (and remove!). It never really seems chunky even though it's packed to the max with glitter. The color is true to the thumb, pointer and middle finger. Unfortunately, the sun came out and lightened the last two fingers.

 Bar is described as a glittery nude topaz.
Now we all know how much I love nude nails and this just takes it to the next awesome level. It kind of reminds me of Britney Spears' VMA performance outfit from like, 2001. Anyone remember that? Three coats of smooth sailing on this baby.

Ginni is described as a glittery pink tourmaline.
Unfortunately, I had an issue with Ginni but I think it's just because the bottle arrived slightly open so the formula kind of thickened during shipping. It was a little bit gloopier to apply but surprisingly it was still workable. Three coats brought this glitter bomb to full opacity.

Overall: Even though they're not really your typical bright summer shades, it's actually a bit refreshing to see these three instead of neons. All three were gorgeous although I did have issues with Ginni. Again, I'm chalking it up to the bottle arriving open which thickened the formula. 

Availability: Buy | Price: $10 each or $30 for all three


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Reviva Labs Hyaluronic Acid Serum - Review

If there's one thing my skin missed the memo on when it comes to being pregnant, it was definitely that "pregnancy glow". My skin broke out and dried out. I fixed the break outs but what's a girl to do when your face is like the Sahara and your normal facial moisturizer just doesn't cut it?

Reviva Labs Hyaluronic Acid Serum, baby! This serum plumps up skin and keeps moisture in your skin even in dry climates and hot rooms. According to the Reviva Labs' website, aestheticians have stated this serum is the closest to an injection of Restylane. 

The consistency is super hard to describe. It pumps out like a normal serum but once you start to rub it in, it feels light, like you applied water to your face. Pretty awesome! It dries within seconds and you can put your makeup or moisturizer on right after. There is no absolutely no scent to this serum. I think what I liked the most about this serum was the fact that it didn't feel sticky or oily. Within minutes, my face felt smooth, moisturized and supple after direct use of this. I'm incredibly impressed! 

PS. This is totally safe for pregnant women! Hyaluronic Acid is actually something your own body produces. It's also safe because of its molecular size, it cannot penetrate through the skin and cannot be absorbed. Either way, it's fine to use!

Reviva Labs Hyaluronic Acid Serum

Is Hyaluronic Acid Serum you would try? How are you dealing with dry skin in the summer?

Availability: Buy | Price: $22
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