Friday, April 28, 2017

How to Achieve Effortless Rainy Day Style

Spring is here. Though in my mind, that means sunshine and flowers, the reality has been drastically different. Every day it seems to rain. Not just a little. It has been pouring. Quite frankly, that has me a little down! Not only do those grey skies give me the blues, but it is challenging to keep your hair, makeup, and fashion on point when it rain, rain, rains. That is what inspired this post! To help you look flawless (even on a gross, rainy day) here are some tips, tricks, and inspiration to help you achieve effortless rainy day style.

Tips and Tricks to Look Gorgeous on a Rainy Day
  • Always choose waterproof makeup. Not everything at the drugstore comes in a waterproof formula, but it is possible to protect your face from the rain. Choose waterproof or water-resistant items (for a comprehensive list, check out my article on LoveToKnow, "How to Wear Makeup Swimming") whenever possible, or invest in a good setting spray. That extra step can make all the difference! 
  • Choose fashionable yet functional pieces. Just because it is raining outside doesn't mean you have to throw on a pair of sweatpants and a hoodie. You can still look high-fashion! Choose an umbrella with a stylish shape (a bubble umbrella is a super chic option), a water-resistant trench coat, or a pair of rain boots in a bold, statement-making shade. 
  • Be careful which purse you choose to carry with you. Certain materials, like leather and suede can become damaged in the rain. In order to preserve your oh-so-beautiful bag, either wrap a plastic bag around it while you dash from place to place, or choose a more water-friendly bag. 
  • Have fun with your hairstyle. The rain has a habit of taking a gorgeous hairstyle and transforming it into a frizzy, sopping mess. Make sure that doesn't happen by getting a little creative. Tie your hair into a gorgeous high-ponytail, rock a stylish side-braid, or create a topknot bun. Not only do these hairstyles look great....they last. 
Now that you have a better idea of how to stay stylish on even the rainiest of is time for a little inspiration! Here is an example outfit that I created with rainy days in mind. It is quick, easy, and beautiful.

There is nothing exciting about a rainy day. The good news? It doesn't have to ruin your style or your mood. With a little extra care and consideration, you will look amazing all day and night!

On another sure to check out my latest YouTube video for the creation of beauty is art. It is all about disappointing makeup purchases.

What are your rainy day style tips? Sound off in the comment section below!

xo Shannon

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

as long as I could remember I dreamed in black and white.

Concerts have always been an important part of my life. I went to my first one at ten years old. Since then, it's been one after another after another. They make me feel happy. There is something so incredible about connecting to music in an undeniable way. You can feel the bass thumping through you. You are surrounded by people who love the songs as much as you do. It's electrifying.

Unfortunately, I don't get to attend as many concerts as I used to. Tickets are expensive, and with bills to pay, choices must be made. Sigh! Though Good Charlotte was coming to town....I made the difficult decision to skip the concert. It wasn't that I wanted to miss it. But I'd already bought tickets to a couple of shows in the spring and fall. Then my best friend's mom surprised us by buying a pair of tickets. I was overwhelmed, and to be honest, felt a little guilty. Her mom has always been so wonderful and welcoming to me. The last thing I wanted was to take advantage of her generosity. That being said, I am so grateful we were able to see the show. I am forever in her debt!

For the concert, my friend and I decided to go super dark and gothic with our clothes and makeup. That meant lots and lots of black, skulls, and badassery! I used the Cover Girl Jewels eyeshadow palette to create a black and gold smokey eye look. Then added on the Kat Von D lipstick in Slayer. (Though I topped up with my friend's NYX liquid lipstick for a darker, bolder, black.) I wore a neon green and black hoodie, paint splattered jeans, and an old pair of Vans. Oh, and there were sparkly skull earrings for good measure. It was a lot of fun to go a little darker with our fashion and makeup. In fact, we were super inspired by it and decided we would try to do this more often!

We got downtown early, grabbed some food, met some interesting people, and then headed to the venue. There were three opening acts (which we were not super thrilled about) but eventually, Good Charlotte appeared. And they were amazing! The show was really high energy with the perfect mix of slower songs thrown in. Overall, the set list was solid, though they didn't sing my favourite song. (All Black, for the record!) My favourite part of the show? Either Dance Floor Anthem or the fact that they talked about important being true to yourself, caring about one another, and rejecting negativity. It was such a good night.

The best part? Spending an evening with my best friend. Though I was exhausted from work, it was wonderful to catch up and rock out to a band we love.

What is the last concert you attended?

xo Shannon

Monday, April 24, 2017

NARS chiang mai eyeshadow duo (review and swatches)

I am hard-pressed to think of a NARS product that has let me down. This is a brand that consistently produces high quality products for their consumers. Though their blushes are iconic, I always find myself drawn to the other items they offer. Like lip glosses, lipsticks, and eyeshadows. A short list of my favourite pieces from NARS? The Turkish Delight lip gloss and the NARSissist eyeshadow palette. Though there are plenty of stand out items in their vast collection....their Wildfire Spring Collection shines.

It features two duo eyeshadows, velvet shadow sticks, a new blush, lipsticks, and glosses. Recently, the Chiang Mai eyeshadow duo made its way into my collection. (I couldn't resist the colour combination! It was so unique!) So. what makes this NARS product so stellar? Let's start by taking a closer look at the duo. Here is a photo and some swatches....

There are several pros, including the packaging. If you've bought a NARS product in the past, then you know what to expect. The packaging is simple, sleek, and sturdy. Absolute perfection in my opinion! Then there are the shades themselves. The colours are what drew me to this set in particular. They are so different - especially paired together. Paired together, you can create a smokey eye look with just the right amount of colour. It is a great way to do something a little different with your makeup, without it being an overwhelming or time consuming process.

The quality is just what you would expect from NARS. Each eyeshadow is highly pigmented, butter soft, easy to apply, and perfectly blendable. There is also a ton of staying power! My makeup look withstood a full day of wear and an unplanned nap.

This is the quick (and oh so lovely) makeup look that I created using the NARS Chiang Mai eyeshadow duo. Be sure to let me know what you think of it.....

This is one product that definitely met my expectations. It is high quality, loos beautiful, and lasts. No wonder NARS remains one of my all-time favourite makeup brands.

Have you tried anything from the Wildfire Spring Collection from NARS?

xo Shannon

Saturday, April 22, 2017

in love with: kat von d alchemist holographic palette

When it comes to makeup....I have a serious weakness for all things new. There is something thrilling about trying out a new product and hoping that it will become one of your all-time favourite items. Despite this, I've been trying to limit my trips to Sephora. Even still, a few new products have made their way into my life. Including the Kat Von D Alchemist Holographic Palette. It was a must-have kind of product. Between the unique packaging and bold highlights, this is most definitely a one-of-a-kind palette. It has made my love list!

Before I start listing all of the reasons this palette makes my heart flutter, it is time to take a closer look at the packaging. It has a triangular shape and an intricate pattern on top. (Not to mention a stunning holographic finish.) It flips open to reveal four different holographic highlights. Here is the outer packaging, inner packaging, and some swatches of each shade.

It is pretty clear that the packaging is special. Not only because of the shape of the palette but the beautiful artwork on top. It is one of the many things that makes Kat Von D makeup special. Beyond that, the products themselves are spectacular. As you can see from the swatches, these are no ordinary highlight shades. Most of the ones on the market are white and shimmery or gold and shimmery or maybe champagne and shimmery....but none are quite like this. One is a greenish yellow (Green Emerald), one is a gorgeous blue (Blue Saphyre), one is a beautiful purple (Ultra Violet Amethyst), and the last is a gorgeous soft pink (Pink Opal). 

Each one is ultra shimmery and holographic and stays true to colour on the skin. My fear was that these would sheer out on the cheeks and wind up looking like every other highlight on the market. Wrong! These look just like they do when you swatch them. I absolutely love it. There is nothing better than adding a pop of holographic green, blue, purple, or pink. It is a subtle way to introduce colour - and do something bold and exciting with your makeup. This is a 10/10 makeup product. To say I love it is a major understatement! 

Kat Von D is one of my favourite makeup brands, and this holographic palette is a prime example of why. The quality is incredible, the products are unique, and the packaging is beautiful. If you find it at your local Sephora, be sure to pick it up.

Not all beauty products are loves. Case in point? The Maybelline eyeshadow palettes. My latest YouTube video for the creation of beauty is art. is all about the best and worst of these drugstore palettes. Take a look! 

Have you tried this palette? What did you think of it?

xo Shannon

Thursday, April 20, 2017

the vegas diaries: part two

Here it is....part two of my Las Vegas vacation post. Keep reading to find out how the Britney Spears concert went (pictured above) along with the rest of the fabulous getaway.

Day Three (continued): As I mentioned in my last post, it was a busy day leading up to the Britney concert. I was exhausted by the time we got back to the hotel, but it was time to get glam! I curled my hair, threw on a studded denim dress, and went with a dark blue smokey eye look. It was a lot of fun to get all dolled up for the show. When we got to the theatre, we sat in our seats and waited. (Though the show was supposed to start at nine, it didn't start until nine thirty. So there was a decent amount of waiting.) Sadly, our seats were pretty much at the back of the theatre and our view was less than ideal. In fact, I couldn't see much. Sigh! Despite the poor view....Britney Spears was incredible. She put on a great show, her dancing was fantastic, and her costumes were beautiful.

Day Four: The next day was another exciting one. We had booked spots on the Pawn Stars Tour - a dedicated TV show tour. It took us to the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop, the Toy Shack, (Pawn Stars), ATM (Tanked). Rick's Restorations (American Restoration). and Count's Customs (Counting Cars). My husband and I love to watch Pawn Stars and American Restoration together so these were really exciting stops. We had a blast checking out the stores, learning new things, and even meeting some of the stars from the show. The highlight? Shaking hands and taking a picture with Rick from Rick's Restorations. It was a total surprise and we were all thrilled.

After that, we went to Gordon Ramsay's Burger restaurant. We are all huge fans of Gordon, so everyone was eager to try something from one of his restaurants. One thing to know about me? I love ketchup. I need ketchup. Gordon Ramsay's Burger does not have ketchup. None. At all. I was so upset because it basically meant I couldn't eat my meal. Which I didn't. I had a quarter of the burger and a handful of fries. Such a waste of time and money. Sigh. Everyone else liked it fine, since they all enjoy hot sauces. (A Tabasco sauce of sorts was available. Joy.)

Once that was over, we walked over to Gordon's other restaurant, Steak. My husband managed to score a signed menu for free....even though it was supposed to be $65. I have literally never seen him that happy in my entire life. Definitely a trip highlight, just seeing him so happy. We hit a lucky streak the rest of the night, winning $20 on the slots, and taking home $20 worth of Hershey cookies for $1.08.

Day Five: Well, all good things must come to an end. Sadly, this was the last day of our vacation. It was a lot shorter than I would have liked, that is for sure! But we made the most of our last day there by checking out the gardens inside the Wynn, going to Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, picking up last minute souvenirs, and heading to another one of Gordon Ramsay's restaurants to explore! The wax museum in particular was a lot of fun. We took so many silly pictures. Hundreds of them, in fact. It was one of the best parts of the whole trip.

Then, we had our last meal in Vegas at a pizza place near the hotel, picked up our luggage, and headed to the airport for a very late flight. It didn't leave until almost midnight. Thanks to the awful flight home (horrific turbulence that was so scary, I was literally shaking and crying), none of us got much sleep. By the time we finally were safe and sound in the apartment....we zonked out for most of the day. It took a few days for my sleep schedule to adjust!

Overall, it was a really fun vacation. It was so great to get away for a while. I got to take a break from work, see musicians that I love, and spend time with some special people. Vegas never disappoints. So there it is! My vacation recap....

Do you like to travel? Have you ever been to Las Vegas?

xo Shannon

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

the vegas diaries: part one

Finally! Though I've been home from Las Vegas for about a week....this is the first chance I've had to  sit down and write about the trip. Since my return? My days have been full of writing, working, and getting caught up on things. Turns out, there was an awful lot to catch up on. No wonder it has been so difficult returning to my everyday routine. Enough about that! Now to share some of my vacation stories with you.

Day One: The first day in Vegas was a long one. It started with a very early morning arrival at the airport (where security lines were insane and it took a full three hours to get through it all) and an unpleasant flight (lots of turbulence and an hour long delay). Once we landed, we went to check into the Excalibur Hotel. The trip consisted of myself, my husband, and our two friends. Finding out that we could not check into our room until after check in time...we went to explore the hotel. Happily, that meant a stop off at Krispy Kreme. My favourite! We ate lunch, wandered, and eventually, checked into our rooms.

After that, we went to wander the Las Vegas Strip. We walked for ages but saw an awful lot. That included the fountain show at the Bellagio Hotel, the boats at Treasure Island, and the Marvel shop. For dinner, we went to Wahlburgers, which is one of my all-time favourite places to eat. Their tater tots are amazing. That night, we ended up seeing a show and then went to bed. It was a long day and a late night but an interesting start to the trip!

Day Two: Thanks to jet lag, it was another early morning the following day. I was awake, showered, dressed, and ready to go. The rest of the group was eager for Dennys...and since the closest one had a massive line up...we walked all the way to the other end of the strip. It was exhausting but at least breakfast was good! That day, we walked through the Venetian hotel, picked up some goodies from Carlo's Bakery, went to the Coke store, and M&M Store.

We'd had a full day by the time we returned to our hotel rooms. But it was only beginning! My husband and I went out to see Donny and Marie (I love them so much) and our friends went to see Cirque du Soleil. The Donny and Marie concert was fabulous. Sadly, I wasn't allowed to take pictures, but we definitely had a good view. They put on a great show (even my husband thought it was good) and sounded amazing. Bonus? Two of the Osmond brothers were actually in the audience.

Day Three: The third day of the trip was a pretty exciting one. Mostly because it meant that I would be seeing Britney Spears that evening. I was crazy excited and had this nervous energy going on all day. Despite eagerly awaiting the show, we were able to get out that day and do some more exploring. We went to the Luxor Hotel, Mandalay Bay, had a few drinks, and ended up at the Rainforest Cafe. Then, it was back to the hotel to get ready for the Britney concert.

And speaking of the Britney'll have to wait until my next post to hear about that. It will be all about the show and the rest of my vacation. Stay tuned!

xo Shannon

Saturday, April 15, 2017

review: l'oreal colorista (bleach and washout colour)

I am not an adventurous person. Generally speaking, I like to play it safe. Thrill seeker? Nope. Ready for change? Never. Which explains why I was more than a little hesitant to lighten and temporarily dye my hair before my Las Vegas trip. It was something I had been mulling over for a while. (My obsession with the ombre hair trend is nothing new. From Khloe Kardashian to mermaid inspired hair looks....I love them all.) Yet still when the time came, I was terrified.

My husband actually helped me with the process, which I am very grateful for. He dealt with my worrying like a pro! It started with the L'Oreal Colorista lightening cream. It was applied to the lower parts of my hair, left on for 25 minutes, and rinsed off. Immediately, I could see the colour getting lighter. It was....exciting! I loved the way it looked right off the bat. The instructions said to leave the lightener on for 25-40 minutes but I was worried, so I left it on for the shortest amount of time. Next time (and there will likely be a next time), it will definitely be left on longer. My hair is naturally very dark so it could have used that extra time to really lighten up.

After that, it was time to add on the pink colour. This was a semi-permanent dye that was supposed to wash out in 6-8 washes. (In reality, the bulk of it washed out after three washes, though there are still random pieces of pink in my hair now. I think this is because certain sections of hair were lightened more than others during the first part of the process.) It was fairly simple to apply and the colour looked great. If you have naturally lighter hair, I think it would look even better. There are a ton of other shades in this Colorista line as well but pink was my first choice!

Once my hair was finished? I loved it so much. Even though it was weird to do something different with my hair (this was legitimately a first) it made me super excited and happy. It has been a couple of weeks since the dying process and my hair is still lighter on the bottom with random pink streaks throughout. Not bad for an at-home dye job! Here is a peek at the finished product....

Overall, I was very happy with these L'Oreal Colorista products. They worked well and didn't damage my hair whatsoever. They even included conditioning shampoos, which was super helpful. I am loving the ombre look and hope to maintain it in the weeks and months to come.

On another note, my latest YouTube video is up on the creation of beauty is art. It is dedicated to the NYX Liquid Suede lipsticks in my collection. Take a look!

Are you adventurous with your hair? Have you tried the Colorista line?

xo Shannon