Wednesday, July 27, 2016

drugstore haul: essence, milani, wet n wild, and joe fresh

Sometimes, a little makeup is all you need. After a particularly rough day, I decided to poke around a nearby drugstore. I wasn't looking to buy anything necessarily. Just to see what was there. To distract my mind. To infuse my day with a little beauty related happiness. While buying might not have been my main goal....I certainly did not leave empty handed. There were a few new items that caught my eye. Most of the items were affordable but there were a couple of pricier products as well.

What ended up in my shopping cart? Let's start with the goodies from Essence. This is a brand that I am quite fond of. Their price point is quite low but the quality is fairly impressive. So I wound up with the How To Make Bright Eyes Makeup Box, the Blush Up! Powder Blush in Heat Wave, the All About Romance Eyeshadow Palette the All About Sunrise Eyeshadow Palette, and the Eyebrow Designer Pencil. There were some definite hits and a couple of misses.

  • How To Make Bright Eyes Makeup Box. This was unfortunately a miss for me. Honestly? It was the packaging that suckered me in. I have this weakness for cute packaging - and this came in a cute box with a bubble shaped mirror inside. It even included a diagram to create various looks. It had major package appeal. Sadly, the quality of the eyeshadows was lacking. There are six in total. Largely light shimmery shades. (There was a shimmery taupe and deep pink as well.) The reason this makeup box failed? Most of the shades look exactly the same when swatched or applied to the eyelid. While I can certainly get some use out of isn't a total winner for me. It lacks the versatility I have come to expect from a palette. 
  • Blush Up! Powder Blush in Heat Wave. Wow! This blush definitely packs a punch. As you can see from the photo above, the colour looks ultra vibrant in the packaging. I didn't expect it to actually be that pigmented on the cheeks. It is. This gorgeous coral-pink shade is soft, smooth, and easy to use. Just remember that a little goes a long way.
  • All About Romance Eyeshadow Palette. There is another Essence eyeshadow palette in my makeup collection that I adore. Which is why I was eager to try the All About Romance one. I was especially intrigued by that mint green shade. How did this fare? It was a bit of a so-so reaction for me. Four of the six shades are quite similar. They are bright, shimmery, and beautiful. But I don't need four colours doing the exact same thing. The other two are gorgeous though. So this is an okay set for me. I like everything in it but again it lacks versatility. 
  • All About Sunrise Eyeshadow Palette. Obsessed is not a strong enough word. This eyeshadow palette has everything I look for and more. The shades are ultra pigmented, there is a good variety of colours, the texture is soft and smooth, and the packaging is sleek. With gorgeous shades of gold, cream, peach, and brown, this is a stunning combination of bold neutrals. It is perfection! 
  • Eyebrow Designer Pencil. One thing I hate? Running low on brow products that I love. Since my go-to pencil was running low, I decided to give this one from Essence a try. It didn't impress or disappoint me. It was just okay. The brow pencil was a good match for me and it delivered a good end result. However the pencil was quite tough and hard. 
Now to talk about the other drugstore items! They were the Milani Everyday Eyes Eyeshadow Palette in Earthy Elements, the Wet n Wild 1 Step Wonder Gel Nail Polish in Pinky Swear, and the Joe Fresh Illuminating Primer in Champagne. Let's start by taking a closer look at the Milani palette. 

  • Milani Everyday Eyes Eyeshadow Palette in Earthy Elements. This is the second Milani palette in my collection. I picked up another one a while back and fell in love. So of course I had to grab this one when I saw it. The colours are absolutely gorgeous. There is also a really nice mixture of glitter, matte, and shimmery shades. My personal favourite colour is that centre shade. It is a beautiful orange-rust...and I love it in the crease. This palette was a little more expensive than other drugstore offerings but it is well worth the money.
  • Wet n Wild 1 Step Wonder Gel Nail Polish in Pinky Swear. My nail polish collection seems to be growing at a rapid pace. There are so many incredible options these days. Which is how this polish found its way into my life. I wanted to know how the no light gel polish would actually perform. The shade here is Pinky Swear, and it is a light pink shade. Super girly and easy to wear. This actually exceeded my expectations. It lasted really well. Twice the time of a normal nail polish. Plus it only set me back a couple of dollars.
  • Joe Fresh Illuminating Primer in Champagne. I wasn't expecting to love this. In fact, I debated on the purchase. Now? I am so glad that I took a chance on it. This illuminating primer is absolute perfection. Not only does it hydrate my dry skin but it also adds a gorgeous golden glow. It is like a highlight and primer all in one. My skin looks healthy and vibrant whenever I reach for this. It is such an incredible product. 
Saving money on makeup is always a good thing. Which is why I am such an advocate of drugstore makeup. There are some truly incredible products out there. It is just a matter of finding them! And speaking of saving money....I recently did a little bit of discount shopping. Check out my latest YouTube video to see what I picked up.

Have you tried any of these products? What items do you love from the drugstore?

xo Shannon

Monday, July 25, 2016

and their anthem voice goes up amid the rainbow and the mist.

For months, it was on my calendar. Niagara Falls Trip. To say I was excited would be a major understatement. My husband and I had planned a very short trip to Niagara Falls. From the moment we booked the hotel...I started to count down the days. See, there was a reason for our visit. David Cassidy was performing at one of the casinos. Which meant that I had to be there. (I confess. Whenever David Cassidy comes remotely close to where I live....I travel to see him.) It was an incredible mini-getaway. One that made my summer feel absolutely incredible.

Day One. It started off pretty late. Normally we would have started the drive to Niagara Falls earlier in the day. However my husband participated in a 5K Foam Run with a friend from work. So we did not begin the two and a half hour drive until 4 o'clock. That gave us just enough time to get to the hotel, grab something to eat, and head to the casino. There wasn't a lot of wiggle room.....but it worked out well.

The David Cassidy concert was incredible. By far the best show I have seen from him. He was so energetic, happy, and grateful. His love of music was evident. The standout moment for me? When he sang Common Thief from the album, The Higher The Climb The Harder They Fall. Typically, David performs a lot of Partridge Family, covers, and songs from his first solo record. But there are so many incredible songs in his catologue. Songs that have inspired me for years and years. This was the first time I have seen him perform anything post-Cherish. It was incredible. I actually got so excited when he was introducing the song that I yelled out. He commented on "the two people that bought the album." Overall? The concert was an incredible experience for me. I was memorized by David. My husband was not as thrilled with the evening....but he was a good sport!

Day Two. This was very sadly the last day of our trip. (Told you it was a short one.) But we definitely made the most of it. We started off with a hearty breakfast at Dennys followed by a walk down Clifton Hill. We looked around at some of the shops, played Dinosaur Mini Golf, and then went to the arcade. This was a highlight for me. We had a blast going on a 3D ghost ride and playing old school arcade games. After that, we started to walk toward the Falls. Before we made it there? We stopped in to create a wax hand. It was not a pleasant experience - dipping my hand into hot wax water was painful - but the end result was pretty cool. Now we have our wax hand displayed in the living room. It is a pretty neat memento.

Then we walked up and down the Falls, taking pictures, and being tourists. Then it was a long walk back to visit the Coke and Hershey stores. Then the driving began. We ended up going to a couple of outlet malls in the area. Mainly so I could visit the Guess outlet store. It was fun to do a bit of discount shopping and wander around together. By the time we started our drive back? It was after six. Thanks to traffic, we returned home at eight thirty or so, and the rest of the night was spent with Netflix. Overall? It was a jam packed couple of days....but they were amazing.

Have you ever been to Niagara Falls?

xo Shannon

Friday, July 22, 2016

super simple ways to spread happiness.

The world is not what I want it to be. Our society has become destructive, negative, and cruel. We have innocent black men being shot by police officers. We have children being cyber bullied. Everywhere we turn...there is hatred and anger. It scares me. It makes me feel lost. It makes me feel like there is more bad than good in the world. These feelings were already brewing inside of me. Then I read about Playboy bunny, Dani Mathers. She posted a photo of a naked woman changing at her gym - complete with a cruel remark and a photograph of herself laughing. It made me sick. That someone would feel entitled to violate someones privacy and post it on Snapchat. For me? That summed up all of the sadness I feel about our world today. Too many people pick themselves up by dragging others down.

It shouldn't be that way. It doesn't have to be. Despite how brokenhearted I am about the world today....there is still this flicker of hope. This part of me that is holding onto the belief that things will change. That things will get better. If only we try. It is time to take action (through petitions, contacting local officials, and speaking out) and spread happiness (through small acts of love of kindness). Today, I want to share with you a few super simple ways that you can make the world a happier place. Remember: one small action can cause a ripple effect.

  • Read and Share Positive Quotes. Personally? I love a good quote. The right one can make you think, provoke deep thought, and inspire your day. To spread happiness be sure to read quotes and share them. Send one to your BFF on the day of her big job interview. Post one on your Instagram account. Tell it to a co-worker. The more you can do to spread joy, happiness, and positivity, the better. (One of my favourite quotes at the moment is: Learn to love without condition. Talk without bad intention. Give without any reason. And most of all, care for people without expectation.
  • Smile When You Pass Someone On The Street. The next one on the list is something I am actively working on. I walk home from work a lot during the summer months. Usually, I am wearing my iPod and want nothing more than to reach my destination. So when I walk past someone? My head is down. Lately, I have been trying to change this. To flash a friendly smile as I go by. It sounds simple enough but it takes a lot of work. I am re-training my brain to be open to others. Join me on my quest to spread happiness. Smile when you pass someone on the street. It might just make their day. 
  • Leave Messages In Random Places. It is time to grab that old pad of Post It notes from your desk drawer. This is your chance to put it to good use. Write down messages of kindness on each sheet of paper. (Things like: you're beautiful, someone loves you, or life is a wonderful journey.) Then as you go about your day? Stick these post it notes to random things. Like a shelf at a bookstore. A telephone poll. The community mailbox. Someone will see it. Chances are? It will make them smile.
  • Treat Yourself With Love and Compassion. One thing we are often guilty of is treating ourselves poorly. We think awful things about ourselves. We are critical. Hateful. Negative. The best way to spread happiness is to include yourself in the process. Focus on positive thoughts, self-praise, and inner confidence. When you love yourself? You are better able to spread love to other people. Remind yourself how special you are. Then get out there and make the world a happier place.
These are just a few suggestions to help you get started. Please share your own in the comment section below! The more ideas we have....the better. 

xo Shannon

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

creating a bold glitter eye makeup look.

It was time to do something different. To push myself creatively. It had been a long time since I locked myself away with my makeup products. Not because I was going out. Not because I was filming a YouTube video. But because I wanted to express myself.  That is exactly what I did a few weeks back. I had the apartment to myself and a massive list of things to get done. In the middle of writing yet another article...I got up. I walked to the bathroom. I took out a few products. And then I started to put together a makeup look. Honestly? At the end of it? I was stunned by what I had created. It was so different to my normal makeup looks. It was bold. It was dramatic. It was colourful. Most of all? It was a lot of fun to do. By the end of the process, I was in a better mood. I felt lighter. Happier. Which is why I wanted to do a post about the creative process.

What I Used: 
  • Jem and the Holograms by Sephora Truly Outrageous Eyeshadow Palette (Shades: 1980s, Rio, Hologram, Stinger, and Raya). 
  • Princessa Eyeshadow Pearl Powder in MG5
  • Hard Candy Walk The Line Liquid Eyeliner in Black
  • Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick in Poe
  • Cover Girl Lip Lava
The Finished Makeup Look: 

How I Did It:
  • I started by priming my eyelids and face. Then I went through my everyday foundation routine.
  • The eyes were first. 1980s (the purple shade) was applied all over my eyelids. Rio (the turquoise) was applied on top and into the corners. Then it was blended out with Stinger (the shimmery brown shade). Hologram (the silver) was applied to the inner corner and Raya (the shimmery rose shade) was applied underneath the brow bone. I tried to create an elongated look that was a little more dramatic than a regular day-to-day style.
  • The Princessa glitter was applied over top. I used a dab of clear lip gloss to make sure the surface was tacky enough to hold the product. Then I used a flat brush to apply lots and lots of glitter to the center of the eyelid. 
  • Next up was the eyeliner. I created a long cat-eye wing and applied a coat of mascara. Then I added on some false lashes (the Ardell lash accents) for an extra pop of drama.
  • After following my foundation routine as usual - and opting for a bronzed cheek - I began to work on the lips. Poe is an underused lipstick colour that I love. So it was a pretty clear winner. I applied the midnight blue lipstick and then dotted a small amount of the Liquid Lava (a gorgeous golden gloss) just to the very center of the lips. 
That was it! The bold glitter eye makeup look was complete. It was dramatic, a little out there, and a whole lot of fun to create. I haven't had that much fun with makeup in a while. It was definitely a exciting experience.

Another dramatic makeup look I created recently? A Kardashian inspired look using the Kylie Lip Kit in Dolce K. I posted a video on my YouTube channel showing off the look - and letting you all know what I thought of the  popular lip kit.

Bold makeup looks are easily my favourite thing right now. What do you think of these?

xo Shannon

Monday, July 18, 2016

it's okay to look back at the past. just don't stare.

We used to be friends. Close friends. She made me feel like a better version of myself. See, university was an interesting time for me. I both struggled and thrived. Some experiences were certainly better than others. But during that time I began to discover my true self. I stepped out of my comfort zone in ways I never had before. Largely thanks to her. We met on my very first day. She spotted my Hanson t-shirt and we immediately struck up a friendship. For a long while...she was my only friend at school. We would hang out, listen to music, and discuss important topics like Disney movies and Oh No They Didn't. Eventually she moved back home. Back to Hong Kong.

After that? We spoke sporadically. We would email back and forth. But she would stop replying or send an apologetic response several weeks or months later. Then I would email again. She would reply. I would respond. Then it would stop again. This pattern went on for a couple of years. After a started to bother me. It hurt. So I wound up deleting her from Facebook and Twitter. I didn't block her or prevent her from sending me messages. I just could not stand the reminder that I had become a forgotten friend. That I was no longer important.

It has been several years now. But today, I started to think about her. I wondered what she was doing. If she was happy. If she even remembered me. I thought of all the experiences I had wanted to share with her over the years. Like my first writing job, meeting Hanson, and getting married. Removing her from my life was the right choice. I needed more than she could give. Yet I still wonder what things would be like if I had just left it alone. Would she have messaged me? Would she still care? I guess that is the hard part about growing up. Sometimes putting yourself first is tough.

I miss her. That is all I really wanted to say.

xo Shannon

Saturday, July 16, 2016

my bangood wishlist.

I am constantly looking for inspiration. For new pieces to add to my wardrobe. New makeup items to test and swatch. For places to browse, shop, and explore. That is how I came across the website Bangood. It is full of unique items. There are dresses, tops, beauty products, and accessories. Not to mention electronics, gadgets, phone accessories, and handbags. (That is only the beginning! There is seriously something for everyone. Regardless of their interests or hobbies.) It is definitely a versatile website. One that has a ton of fantastic items available. That brings me to today's post. It is dedicated to a few of the items I am loving from Bangood. They are absolutely on my wishlist.

The first item on my wishlist? The Sexy Casual Slim Gray Lace Up Long Sleeve V Neck Women Knit Blouse. It is gorgeous. The lace up trend is one of my favourites right now. As we inch closer and closer to fall (I know...hard to think about when it is still so nice and warm outside) I know that a long sleeved lace up top would be the perfect addition to my wardrobe. I just love this Bangood fall top. 
This is not just a part of my wishlist. This is something I absolutely need to have in my life. I have been having an obsession with glitter makeup lately. Which is why the 30 Colors 1 Set Glitter Spangle Eye Shadow Powder Pigment Kit Makeup Cosmetic Tool immediately caught my eye. Look at all of those gorgeous eye shadow colours! The beautiful glitter eye makeup! It is enough to make any beauty lover excited. 
There is something about a peacock print dress that just makes me happy. Like the Bohemian Peacock Printed Sleeveless Chiffon Women Maxi Dress With Belt. This Bangood dress is absolutely stunning. The print is amazing - and the colours are perfection. The best part? There are so many place to wear this piece. Out to dinner with friends, to the mall, or at at backyard barbecue. It is super versatile. Love! 
I love accessories. They are an amazing way to showcase your personality. Maybe that is why the Ocean Sea Current Bottle Starfish Shell Glass Cover Pendant Necklace immediately caught my eye. This piece of Bangood jewellery is absolutely breathtaking. I love the whimsical design. It makes me think of The Little Mermaid. (Which is always a good thing.) This is one piece I would love to have in my collection.
Makeup is a huge part of my life. So, I am always looking for new makeup brushes to add to my collection. Especially cute ones like the 32 PCS Pink Eyeshadow Eyebrow Blush Makeup Brushes Cosmetic Set. How cute is that? The pink handles and tips make me positively giddy. There is nothing like a gorgeous set of makeup brushes to brighten up your day. These are an absolute must have for me. 

So there you have it. That is my Bangood wishlist. Honestly? That is only the beginning. There were so many amazing things to choose from! The brushes, the makeup, the clothes? Talk about an incredible selection.

Which items do you like best? What is currently on your wishlist?

xo Shannon

Thursday, July 14, 2016

miss a haul and review.

Who can resist a bargain? Not me. Ever. If there is one thing I am a sucker is a good deal. There is something oddly comforting about getting more bang for your buck. Which is why Miss A is such a standout website. Everything (and I do mean everything) costs $1. There are accessories, face masks, beauty products, and more. For $1. With super cheap shipping. How could a bargain hunter like myself possibly ignore the deals? It should come as no surprise that this is the second order I have placed with Miss A in the last six months or so.

I was not shopping for anything in particular. Instead, I ordered things that I wanted to try out. Or that were missing from my collection. Ready to take a closer look at what I bought? Here it second Miss A haul.

Accessories and Face Products. My collection of face masks has dwindled recently. So I thought it would be a good idea to try out a couple available on the website. I chose the Revital Collagen mask and the Moisture Green Tea mask. I haven't had a chance to give these a try yet....but they will be the perfect add on to my next at-home spa day! I also picked up a small concealer and corrector palette. Honestly? That product was kind of a dud. The product is very thin and does little to conceal or correct. (Ahh least it only cost a dollar.)

I also ordered a few accessories. There were a lot of temporary tattoos available on the site. For whatever reason, this was the most amazing thing to me at the time. So I purchased a sheet of temporary star tattoos. The sunglasses pictured above were a much smarter choice. I love them! They are big with fun pops of colour around the rim. And then there was the last accessory. That yellow ring. It is absolutely stunning. I love the colour and the bold shape.

Cheek and Lip Products. It wouldn't be a beauty haul without a blush shade or two. Yes, I am a total blush addict. Which is how these shades found their way into my life. Each one is very different to the colours already in my collection. They are super sultry. The packaging was pretty cute and the pigmentation was fantastic. For both of these! Both blush shades are a fantastic add on to a night out look. Needless to say? I am loving them both.

One of my current goals is to buy less lipstick. I have so much already.....and I really need to focus on using what is in my collection. So there was only one lip product in this Miss A haul. The shade caught my eye and I simply needed to see it in person. It is a frosty purple. And boy, is it frosty! This is very 80s. It is fabulous. Certainly not a shade that I would reach for on a normal day. But fun to play around with nonetheless.

Eyeshadow and Glitter Galore. Now for the good stuff. The really good stuff. Out of everything I ordered? These last few items are the standouts for sure. Let's start with the eyeshadow palette. Honestly? I was curious about a $1 eyeshadow palette. What would it be like? I needed to know. So the Alpha Girl Perfectionist Eyeshadow Palette from KleanColor entered my life. Despite being well wrapped....there was a bit of fallout and a cracked shadow. But I cleaned everything up and ta da! I was left with some shockingly beautiful eyeshadow shades. They are largely quite pigmented (some are more pigmented than others) and have a beautiful shimmery finish. Plus there are some gorgeous shades that I am eager to play around with. Very impressed!

Then there were the glitters. Lately, I have been desperate to add a bit of glitter to my makeup looks. Not sure why or where this came from. I just needed a little glitter in my life! So I ordered a few from Miss A. Okay....these glitters are incredible. Not only are they much cheaper than any others I have purchased in the past. But they are better. The glitter is fine and the combination of colours is just breathtaking. I cannot get enough of these beautiful glitters.

Phew! So there it is. My second Miss A haul. Overall, I am really impressed with this website. The shipping takes ages but hey - everything is a dollar. It is a great way to test out new products and get familiar with different brands.

Have you tried Miss A? What do you think of this haul?

xo Shannon