Monday, May 2, 2016

review: hard candy eyeshadow collection

Eyeshadow palettes are tricky. Especially at the drugstore. They always lure you in with hopes of high pigmentation and an affordable price tag. But half the time? Those same eyeshadow palettes are lackluster. Either the pigmentation is off, the formula is chalky, or the packaging is flimsy. Not so with the Hard Candy Top Ten Eyeshadow Collection. Their set, Pinking Of You, was everything I hoped it would be. Ready to find out why this eyeshadow palette impressed? Take a look at the palette below......

As you can see, there is a nice range of shades included here. Some lighter, some smokier, and a few pink-peach tones. This is something I really appreciate from an eyeshadow palette. I like when there are light, mid-tone, and darker colours included. That way I can create a wide range of makeup looks using one single palette. Super convenient for travel or when you are on the go. The texture of the shades is consistent throughout the palette (something else I really appreciate. Too often drugstore eyeshadow palettes include one or two pigmented shades with the rest chalky and barely there). Each shadow gives off a good amount of colour. They look exactly as they do in the pan on the eyes. Another bonus. 

While Hard Candy does have a few matte palettes, this particular palette is all about shimmer. All of the shadows are quite shimmery. In fact? There are a few in here that border on glittery if you really pack them onto the lid. The packaging on this palette is another positive. While it is simple black plastic - as most drugstore palettes tend to be - there is a really lovely detail on the front. It is covered in pink and black lace fabric. That was such a nice touch. Plus it looks super pretty in my makeup collection. Always a good thing! 

Recently I pulled this palette out of my eyeshadow drawer to get creative. It had been far too long! The look I created was smokey, glittery, and just a little dramatic. I used that deep brown shade in the crease, the peachy toned shadow all over the lid, and patted on lots and lots of that white shimmer for an added pop. The rest of my makeup was fairly simple. A nude blush and neutral lip. The eyes were definitely the star of this look. Here it is....

Makeup doesn't have to be expensive to be good. Hard Candy has proven that time and time again. To me, at least! They are by far one of my favourite drugstore brands. As for drugstore eyeshadow palettes? This is proof enough that they can (and should) exceed your expectations. 

Speaking of Hard sure to check out the creation of beauty is art. YouTube channel to see my latest Hard Candy haul! 

Have you tried this palette? What is your favourite Hard Candy item?

xo Shannon

Thursday, April 28, 2016

my current spring favourites.

Finally! After months and months of waiting....spring is here. Not just in name but in season. There is sunshine. Warmth. Green grass. Flowers. This is more than a little exciting. It was starting to feel like spring was never going to arrive. Honestly? I was going a little bit crazy. Day after day was spent longing for spring style, bright lipstick shades, and carefree afternoons. No more. Now I can go for walks, start running again, and liven up my look. The best word to describe me right now is: excited.

Yes, everything about spring seems thrilling. No wonder there are so many seasonal favourites on my list so far. This post is dedicated to the items that are inspiring me. The ones that make me feel special and eager to welcome in the spring season. Those items include: my pastel blue purse, my Hard Candy Sheer Envy Hydrating Mist, my Essence eyeshadow palette, and my Christian Siriano makeup brush set. So many things to love. Take a look!

1. Christian Siriano pastel blue purse from Payless. 
2. Hard Candy Sheer Envy Hydrating Primer Mist.
3. Christian Siriano Limited Edition 7-Piece Brush set. 
4. Essence All About Nude Eyeshadow Palette. 

There is something about spring. It inspires. It lightens up the heart. Lately these items have been complimenting my full-blown spring obsession. If you are as inspired my spring as I am then you will want to check out my latest YouTube video. It is a spring inspired makeup tutorial - featuring lots and lots of pastels. Check it out....

Are you feeling inspired by spring? What are your spring favourites?

xo Shannon

Monday, April 25, 2016

perfume is the key to our memories.

Nothing excites me quite like perfume. The beautiful packaging....the elaborate bottles...the gorgeous scents. It is a truly wonderful thing. For me? A bottle of perfume is an instant mood booster. It can transport me to a happier and more balanced place. Which is probably why my perfume collection is so massive. (I keep meaning to do a perfume collection post but my organization is seriously lacking. One day!) Well, it has grown a little larger. Recently my husband surprised me with some new perfumes. For no reason at all. They definitely made me smile and brightened up my day.

There were three perfumes in total - one collection, one set, and one individual fragrance. Each one has its own distinct scent and personality. So today's post is going to be a mini review of the latest items in my collection.

The first was a fantastic perfume set by Jessica Simpson. I am a big fan of hers so my husband decided to treat me to some of her fragrances. This set included mini bottles of Fancy, Vintage Bloom, I Fancy You, and Fancy Love. The first, Fancy, is definitely one of the standouts. It has a musky kind of scent with fruity undertones. This is the perfect everyday scent. Next was Vintage Bloom. Since I received a full sized version of this one....I will hold off on my review! Then there was I Fancy You. It is bright, fresh, and flirty. Definitely great for date night. Then there is Fancy Love. While I enjoy this fragrance it is probably my least favourite of the four. It has a very sophisticated scent. Nice for special occasions but not something I would reach for on a regular basis.  

The next part of this perfume haul is Vintage Bloom by Jessica Simpson. Let me just say....I love this. A lot. The bottle is so beautiful and romantic. Plus this gift set came with a full sized perfume, a shower gel, and a body lotion. (I always love receiving gift sets. The extras are fantastic!) Now for the scent itself. Everything about it is romantic and whimsical. It has this effortless beauty about it. Which is why I find myself reaching for it constantly lately. In fact, this is the perfume I will be taking with me on my upcoming Disney trip. It is just so lovely. I cannot say enough positive things about this perfume. It smells amazing and gives me an instant boost of confidence. 

The last on the list? The Betsey Johnson perfume. If for any reason I had to choose my favourite fashion designer? It would be Betsey. Hands down. She is such an inspiration to me. I love her distinct styles and playful creations. Which is why my husband picked up this Betsey perfume. He actually bought me a bottle of this a few months back. But I have been wearing it constantly. He actually noticed how much I had used up and decided to buy me a backup bottle. So sweet! 

So there you have it. The latest additions to my (always growing) perfume collection. Overall, I was super impressed with these fragrances. They smell amazing and the bottles are lovely.

Have you tried these? What is your favourite perfume?

xo Shannon

Saturday, April 23, 2016

the best skincare tips.

Skincare is on my mind. More now that we are creeping closer to warm weather. After a long winter skin has become dry and ultra sensitive. Which is why the products I rely on are especially important. Just as important? Following a proper skincare routine. This is something I have been focusing on in my quest to re-balance my skin. Something else that I have been focusing on? Beneficial skincare tips. These are a few that have been incorporated into my daily routine......

Get Enough Sleep At Night. One of the worst things for our skin is lack of sleep. Unfortunately many of us do not get enough. Myself included. Do what you can to turn in just a little bit earlier each night. Or to sleep in extra on the weekends. Every little bit counts! When you get between seven and eight hours of sleep per night you can wave goodbye to those annoying under eye bags.

Don't Just Apply Your Moisturizer. Massage It In. If you are anything like me...your skin needs some serious hydration right now. Here is a super helpful tip. Don't just apply your moisturizer. Make sure that you are really massaging the product into the skin. This will make sure your skin fully absorbs it. It also boost circulation. Which means refreshed, healthy, and glowing skin.

Drink Plenty Of Water Throughout The Day. Say it with me: hydration. This is one of the best things you can do for your skin. Drinking plenty of water each day (approximately eight glasses) will keep your skin hydrated, glowing, and radiant. Do what you can to make sure you get enough. If you don't like regular water...add in a little fruit for flavour.

Exfoliate Once or Twice a Week. Since dry skin is unfortunately a part of my life...this next skincare tip is a must for me. Exfoliating. Aim to do this once or twice a week with a gentle exfoliating cleanser. This will remove any dead skin cells from your face. The end result? Gorgeous glowing skin. Bonus: exfoliating makes it easier to apply your foundation.

It is important to take good care of your skin. That is why I have been focusing on these skincare tips...and some essential products. Want to see what they are? Then take a peek at my latest YouTube video for the creation of beauty is art.

What are your favourite skincare products?

xo Shannon

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

4 Ways To Break Out of a Funk.

Me? I have been in a serious funk lately. I don’t know if it has to do with the weather (it might say spring on the calendar but thus far it has been anything but sunny) or a combination of things. All I know is that I am in a full-blown, non-stop, totally overwhelming, funk. Which is what inspired this post. I want to break free. I want to get out of that blah mentality. Plus, I figured there must be someone else feeling this way. So, I have decided to put some positive energy into my blog. Ready to get started? Here are 4 of the best ways to break out of a funk.

1) Face Your Problems Head On....Then Let Them Go

We all have our own way of dealing with problems. I typically try to ignore them but end up dwelling on them day after day. This causes me to have serious anxiety. Which is why this first tip to break out of a funk is so genius. The whole idea is to face your problems. Really address what they are and how they make you feel. You can write it out on paper (or in a Word document. That is what I have been doing today!) or vent to a friend. Once you have given yourself time to think, feel, and express can start to let go. Not of the problems necessarily but of the anxiety and stress. Picture those fears floating away from your body. Take a deep breath. Then go on with your day. Chances are, you will feel a weight lifted from your shoulders.

2) Channel Your Energy Into Something Hands On

The first sign that I am dealing with a funk? I want to lay in bed and watch TV. All day every day. That makes this next de-funkifiying tip so helpful. Channel your energy into something that is hands on. It could be a creative project (like scrap booking, colouring, or a mood board) or an at home project (like organizing your closet, de-cluttering, or re-decorating). The whole idea is to do something. To fight the urge to let that funk take you over. The best part? Once you complete a project? You will feel a million times better. I recently organized my closet and felt an enormous sense of pride afterward.

3) Spend Time Around People You Care About

Have you ever heard the saying, kindness can heal? It might be a little cliche...but it is so so true. Being kind to others - or having others be kind to you - can be a healing process. Want to break free of your funk? Do what you can to give back to others. Reach out to friends who need a shoulder to cry on, do some volunteer work, or simply share a smile. You can also try to spend more time around people you love. Grab coffee with a friend. Go to dinner with your parents. Enjoy a fun activity with your co-workers. Getting out there and being social will melt away your funk in no time flat.

4) Go For a Walk (Or Run) Outside

This one is my personal favourite. And thinking of it is probably why my funk has gotten so out of hand. The weather has been awful and I am itching to go for a run. Alas! The last tip on this list is to get outside. Sometimes a little fresh air is all you need to shake those negative feelings. Take twenty minutes and go for a walk around your neighbourhood. Bring along a friend or significant other or go for a solo walk. Just get outside and appreciate being in nature. While you're there? Pay attention to the cool breeze, the sunshine, and the flowers. Focus on the good things life has to offer. You can also go for a run, a bike ride, or go rollerblading. Just get out there!

So! There you have it. A few tried and tested ways to break free of a funk. Honestly, just writing this post made me feel so much better. This was definitely a positive creative outlet for me.

Share your own tips in the comment section below!

xo Shannon

Monday, April 18, 2016

and i don't like the sound. of our feet on the ground.

Over the years? I have been to an awful lot of concerts. Some are disappointing and some are spectacular. You never know what you are going to get. There is a very good reason for this. So much of the concert experience is based on outside factors. Like who you go with, the weather conditions, fellow concert goers, and so on. Based on those outside factors? The recent O-Town concert should have been disappointing. For starters, it was snowing like crazy. By the time we got inside, we looked like drowned rats. Snow had destroyed our hair and makeup. Then there was the moment when I cut my finger on a bathroom door. It bled for ages. Not to mention the fact that my friend and I were completely and totally exhausted.

Yes, by all accounts....the O-Town concert should have been disappointing. But it wasn't. It was everything I wanted it to be and more.

There has been a lot going on in my life lately. Stress and worry and anxiety. That is probably why I spent most of last week eagerly looking forward to the concert. I could not wait to see one of my all-time favourite bands perform live. Excited? Absolutely. The day of the concert, I spent two and a half hours getting ready. I tried out a new hairstyle (braids along the side, tons of volume on the top, and pin straight locks) and spent ages perfecting my makeup. I agonized over what to wear. I packed and re-packed my purse. For whatever reason....I wanted everything to be perfect. It is a shame the snow washed away most of my hard work. Ahh well. Such is life.

The concert itself was fantastic. O-Town came out ready to entertain. They had a ton of energy, a great rapport with one another, and a fantastic set list. They sang a ton of favourites - both old and new. Some of the highlights for me included: I Showed Her (my favourite ballad and one of my favourite songs period), Lines and Circles (the choreography was as wonderful as the song!), and Skydive (my obsession with that song is real). I had a blast singing along and watching them perform. It was truly a magical experience for me. One that I did not take for granted. Not for a second.

Then there was an unexpected bonus to the night. During their encore, Jacob announced that they would be signing t-shirts after the show. (No pictures or anything like that. Just signing shirts!) Since I had already shelled out $50 on a shirt...this was a huge moment of excitement for me. To meet them? To actually meet O-Town? This was something that I had been dreaming of since Making The Band days. So I waited. I risked missing the last train home. And I waited.

It wasn't too long before they came out and started signing. I was lucky enough to be fairly close to the front of the line. Thank goodness for that! It was overwhelming. The closer I got to the band....the harder my heart pounded. My head was spinning. All I could think about was how long I had dreamed of this moment. And how many years ago I had given up on the possibility. Then suddenly, there it was, right in front of me. 

Now I will be very honest here. I made a total fool of myself. I was so nervous, excited, and overwhelmed....I literally could not contain it. I shook and rambled on while talking to Dan, Erik, and Jacob. I even got some hugs and a handshake. Then I got to Trevor (who happens to be my favourite member of the band) and I absolutely lost my mind. I started to shake even harder and even cried. He wiped a tear from my face and that was quite honestly, one of the highlights. Of my entire life. Thankfully, he was so sweet and so kind. It made me feel better about being a total fangirl-ing mess. That was it. Then it was time to collect myself and go home. 

I think back on that night and smile. Not because a dream came true. Not because I had an amazing time. But because for one felt perfect.

xo Shannon

Saturday, April 16, 2016

it's kind of fun to do the impossible.

Having something to look forward to? Priceless. There is something exciting about having a special event, holiday, or getaway in the not-so-distant future. The thought alone can make you smile. Give you butterflies. Make life feel extra special. At the moment....there is something that I am desperately looking forward to. What is it? A trip to Walt Disney World.

Last summer, my husband and I went to Disney World for our honeymoon. We had a lot of fun while we were there. So, when we were thinking of taking a vacation - Disney was on our radar. There were other destinations that we wanted to visit as well. (Like Boston, Ireland, and Cuba.) But after some hmm-ing and haw-ing, Disney it was. It is actually my favourite place in the world to this decision made me very happy indeed.

Right now? I am thinking about Disney constantly. I cannot wait for our incredible getaway. It is coming up quickly. Just a few weeks and then it will be sunshine and rides. We have already planned the specifics, booked the hotel, signed up for our fast passes, and all the rest. One detail that I am still thinking about? My wardrobe. Though I will likely stick to basics (like shorts, rompers, and tank tops)....I want to bring pieces that inspire, make me smile, and help me to feel my absolute best. Which is why I created this Disney Inspired Spring Look. Take a look and let me know what you think of it. I wanted to pair basic pieces with bolder and brighter accessories.

At the moment? I am looking forward to my upcoming Disney trip. The countdown is definitely on. Though my suitcase is far from packed...I am giving plenty of thought to the pieces that will come with me.

Let me know what you think of this outfit! What events are you looking forward to?

xo Shannon