Sunday, July 31, 2011

i'm running, i'm scared of breathing, cause i adore you.

I am obsessed.

In the last 48 hours, I have listened to the same song 153 times.

The culprit? A cover of the 2011 Eurovision winning song, "Running Scared" .... by Scott and Katelyn MacIntyre. Anyone who knows me will immediately understand the obsession.

You probably know Scott MacIntyre as a Top Ten Finalist from Season 8 of American Idol. From that first audition (and high five) to "Running Scared," Scott has been a big part of my life. To say I am a fan would hardly scratch the surface. There is a magical quality to Scott's voice that never ceases to thrill me. His music revives my soul.

Katelyn MacIntyre, his younger sister, is just as remarkable. The entire MacIntyre family is brimming with talent. (If you have listened to the MacIntyre Family Singers, you already know this!) It is wonderful to hear how much Katelyn's voice has developed. She is breathtaking. Pairing up with her older brother on this track is nothing short of musical genius.

Outside, rain assaults my bedroom windows. Thunder bellows angrily. Lightening displays dominance. Ash-coloured clouds dominate the sky. I am safe, however, under the cover of this moment: me and a song.

Whoever your Scott MacIntyre is, take a few minutes and listen to something that inspires you today.

xo Shannon

Thursday, July 28, 2011

orange/yellow 60s inspired makeup.

I came across this picture and fell in love with the makeup. The look is both classic and vibrant. So, if you want to add a pop of colour without going too dramatic, this is definitely a look you are going to want to try!

After seeing this picture, I starting going through my makeup collection to find the right colours for this look, and came across a NYC duo that is absolutely perfect.

New York Color, City Duet Eyeshadows, 810B, Upper Zest Side.

Here is a slightly more wearable version of the look above. Feel free to add a little more drama by really packing on colour and/or really exaggerating the shape of the shadow if you so wish!

STEP 1: Moisturize and apply a primer to smooth out skin

STEP 2: Apply your foundation to even out skin tone. Since this look is all about warm colours, so if you have a foundation a shade deeper than you normally use, go for it! Also, aim for a foundation with medium coverage. The skin in the inspiration picture is very natural and glowy, so keep that in mind.

STEP 3: Apply concealer to any spots with redness, (ie blemishes or around the nose) and under eyes.

STEP 4: Fill in your eyebrows. The brows in this look are natural but well shaped. Don't go too dark when filling in the brows and be sure to focus on shape rather than filling them in fully.

STEP 5: Using a large bronzer or powder brush, apply a matte bronzer on the cheeks, temple, forehead, nose, chin and under the jaw line - anywhere the sun would naturally hit.

STEP 6: Add a small amount of a warm toned blush onto the cheeks, however, not on the apples of the cheeks.

STEP 7: Using the yellow eyeshadow, sweep the colour across the lid, leaving out the inner corner of the eye.

STEP 8: Using the orange colour, apply starting from the outer corner of the eye, moving inward - you will be using this colour on the crease as well as the outer corner. Blend the outer corner so the shape wings out. Blend the orange and yellow together slightly on the lid.

STEP 9: Add a white or pale gold shadow to the inner corner of the eye.

STEP 10: Using liquid or gel liner, start lining the eye, but leave out the inner corner. The line should be thick and winged out at the end.

STEP 11: Add two coats of mascara on the upper lashes, and one coat on the bottom lashes.

STEP 12: Line lips with a nude lip liner and apply a matte brown. Aim for a warm brown that isn't too dark or too light. You want the focus to be on the eyes, but you don't want to wash out the lips.

STEP 13: Using a cream or powder highlight, apply liberally to the apples of your cheeks, chin, cupids bow, and nose. Remember, this look is very glowy!

STEP 14: Spray your face with a setting spray to keep the look in place.

STEP 15: You're all set! Go out and look amazing!

- Hard Candy Sheer Envy Primer
- Cover Girl Nature Luxe Foundation 340 Maple
- Maybelline New York Dream Mousse Blush 20 Peach Satin
- Maybelline New York Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in black
- New York Color City Duet Eyeshadow 810B Upper Zest Side
- Tarina Tarantino Bronze Palate
- Christian Dior Diorshow Waterproof Mascara 090
- Anastasia Beverly Hills Highlighting Creme Duo in Aspen
- Annabelle Lip Pencil in Nude Lustre 305
- New York Color Ultra Moist Lip Wear 324B Cameo
- Urban Decay Moisturizing Setting Spray

Let me know what you think of this look!

xo Shannon

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

true power is held by the person who possesses the largest bookshelf.

Opening a book for the first time is special. It is accompanied by a magical, almost secret kind of joy. Feeling the weight of the book in your hands, your fingers running over the smooth cover before tentatively pulling it back, the rough pages underneath your fingertips, and the anticipation of that opening line....

I am behind the times.

The sale of eReaders was projected to rise 68% from 2010 to 2011. An increasing amount of people would rather scroll through a website to find a new book, than browse the shelves at a bookstore. Further, it was recently announced that the remaining 405 Borders stores would be closing. Clearly, the way people read is changing.

I have seen this firsthand.

My brother asked for a Sony eReader for Christmas. For for the first time in his life, he reads for enjoyment. He often stays up into the early hours reading everything, from Great Expectations to Jane Eyre. I never could have foreseen this. eReaders are beneficial, as they can bring literature to those with previously little interest.

But I am a traditionalist. I worry one day the way I read books will become obsolete. An eReader seems so impersonal - the words are the same, but the experience of reading is different.

What do you think? Are eReaders the way of the future, or do they threaten the traditional reading experience?

xo Shannon

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

simple. classic. audrey.

This is one of my favourite hairstyles to do, mostly because it is quick, simple, and looks great! All you'll need is a hair straightener or curling iron, whichever you prefer.

Step 1: Brush hair back into a high ponytail, leaving out a small section of hair by each ear. Tie back your hair with an elastic.

Step 2: If you have bangs, brush them to the side and set in place with hairspray. If you don't have bangs, you can either take a small section of hair and pin it to the side, or leave this step out.

Step 3: With your hair straightener or curling iron, carefully curl the two sections of hair you left out of the ponytail. As you can see in the inspiration picture, the hair by Audrey's ears is curled into small ringlets. You can make the curls tighter or looser, depending on your preference.

Step 4: With your hair straightener or curling iron, curl the bottom part of your ponytail. Separate the ends into small sections and curl halfway up your hair. Aim for medium sized curls.

Step 5: Tie a ribbon around the hair elastic.

It's as easy as that!

This is a very sweet, classic look that anyone can wear and look great.

xo Shannon

Monday, July 25, 2011

it's not a failure if you enjoyed the process.

When you are putting on your makeup, it's like you're an artist,
but instead of painting a canvas, you're painting a face.
- Tess, Burlesque

Getting ready to go out is always the best part of going out. The subtle thrill of carefully selecting the right outfit, the perfect shoes, and making your hair and makeup just so...

When my friend and I get ready to go out dancing, we will spend an inordinate amount of time primping, chatting, and having a drink or two, all while blaring 90s pop music. This is all done with eager anticipation for what is to come, both of us knowing it won't be as great as what has already happened.

There is something to be said about the process.

I love when the makeup process itself is joyous, creative, fun and rewarding; when time isn't a factor, and there is room for creativity and perfectionism. It is often satisfying to step back for a moment and consider what makeup will suit your outfit or mood, and from there, putting together a cohesive look. From moisturizer to setting spray, putting on your makeup can be fun.

Which is why I hate when doing makeup is a chore. This normally happens when I am tight on time, or if I am getting ready for work. It becomes something to get done. Before I've even got my foundation on, my mind is already focused on bus schedules and breakfast. When my eyes are barely open, layering on mascara seems utterly unappealing.

The process I so often adore, shifts into something to get through.

I want that to change. I always want to enjoy what I love, even at six in the morning.

xo Shannon

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

and you open the door to change.

I stumbled into the world of makeup tutorial videos shortly before this past Halloween. The holiday was my excuse to be Ke$ha for an evening and I planned to make the most of it. My costume was planned down to the smallest of details: Neon pink lace leggings ripped with expertise, feathers, and glitter ready to go.

All that was left to do, was figure out my makeup.

Eventually, I did find a decent tutorial, and my Halloween makeup was a success. The bigger success, however, was that a whole new world had opened up to me. There were makeup tutorials on just about everything you could think of. I became a kid in a candy store, staying up late, wanting to watch everything I could.

Not all makeup tutorials are created equally, however. But with enough time and a little luck, you can find some fantastic channels. Some are more well-known than others, but everyone starts somewhere!

One of my absolute favourite youtube makeup tutorials are by The Makeup Chair. You can also check out her facebook page here: Sineady Cady.

What sets out The Makeup Chair from so many other makeup channels, is the range in content. From the basics to more advanced tutorials, celebrity makeup tutorials, makeup hauls, storage videos, and even videos on becoming a makeup artist, everything is covered. I also love that she uses a mixture of drugstore products with slightly more upscale products. (In so many other channels, people get caught up in the brand rather than which product is the most effective.) I highly recommend checking out her youtube channel. There are so many fantastic videos to check out!

Recently, she posted a summer makeup video, where she created this beautiful smokey eye that I fell in love with. I recreated this look before I went out the other day and the look was really long-lasting. I didn't have to worry about the heat or checking my makeup all day. It was lovely!

Here is the aforementioned video:

And my recreated look!

Be sure to check out TheMakeupChair and let me know your thoughts on makeup tutorials!

xo Shannon

Monday, July 18, 2011

the twelfth of never.

Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong decade. The moment envelops me and I get lost in the idea of have been a teenager in the 1970s.

For all the positive associations I have with the decade, there certainly were more pressing issues at the time then what the record store held. As I flip through my growing record collection, however, this seems impossible.

David Cassidy. The Partridge Family. The Monkees.
John Denver. The Osmonds. Shaun Cassidy. Donny and Marie.

I think of how it would have been, playing "The Twelfth of Never" on my record player. Placing the needle just so. I imagine sitting on the hardwood floor as that glorious, crackling texture fills the room before the first beat springs to life. I picture my long straight hair, bell bottoms, and any and every other stereotype I can muster. I wonder how it would have been looking at posters of David, Davy, and Donny, instead of Ike, Tay, and Zac.

I know this fantasy does not differ from the times I have spent with my casettes, CDs, or iPods, breathlessly waiting to hear the first note of a song that defines me.

Music defies our limitations. Each generation has the opportunity to discover melodies from decades past.

I double click on "The Twelfth of Never" on my iTunes and wait with baited breath for the song to begin.

you ask how much I need you
must I explain
i need you, oh my darlin'
like roses need rain

I brought the best of the 1970s to my life.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

audrey hepburn makeup.

My fashion icon is Audrey Hepburn, without a doubt. She embodied such poise, class, grace and spirit. It is no wonder that new generations continue to fall in love with her.

The inspiration for this makeup look comes from my all-time favourite picture of Audrey. Her makeup is flawless, fun, and embodies her beautiful energy.

STEP 1: Moisturize and apply a primer to smooth out skin

STEP 2: Apply your foundation to even out skin tone. Keep in mind that Audrey's skin tone was fair, so if you choose to use a foundation a shade lighter than you normally use, that would work well with this look. Also, her skin always looked flawless, so aim for a foundation that provides more coverage if you need to.

STEP 3: Apply concealer to any spots with redness, (ie blemishes or around the nose) and under eyes.

STEP 4: Fill in eyebrows. In this photograph, her eyebrows are not as full as she is known for having, so be sure to fill them in, but not quite as dramatically.

STEP 5: Using a light brown eyeshadow (or bronzer if you haven't got a brown eyeshadow) on a thin brush or angled brush, draw out the rounded shape for the lid.

STEP 6: Use grey or silver creme shadow all over the lid, staying within the outline you've drawn. Aim to use something with a little shimmer to it.

STEP 7: Pat on liberal amounts of white or silver shadow on lid. Slowly build up the colour.

STEP 8: Apply something sheer with sheen, sparkle, or even glitter, over the lid. If you use glitter, be careful of fall out.

STEP 9: Using black liquid or gel liner, apply liner across lash line and wing it out, following the shape you created earlier. Build up the line until it is fairly thick.

STEP 10: Using a thin brush, carefully trace over the rounded line you drew on the lid with the brown shadow earlier, with black liquid or gel liner. This line should be thin.

STEP 11: Using black liquid or gel liner, apply along the bottom lash line, keeping as close to it as possible.

STEP 12: Smudge bronzer underneath the bottom lash line, starting from the outer corner to the middle of the eye.

STEP 13: Apply two coats of black mascara. The eyelashes are crucial to this look, so don't be shy! If you wanted to use false eyelashes, go for it! The bigger, the better.

STEP 14: Touch up your concealer and add blush to the apples of your cheeks. Be sure to keep the blush subtle, and look for a more natural colour.

STEP 15: Add a touch of highlighter on the apples of your cheeks.

STEP 16: Powder your face.

STEP 17: Use a pink or nude lip liner and carefully outline your lips.

STEP 18: Apply a light pink lipstick, careful to stay inside the line you've traced. You may want to add a gloss over top of this.

STEP 19: Spray your face with a setting spray to keep your makeup looking fresh all day or night.

STEP 20: Look fabulous and have fun!

- Hard Candy Sheer Envy Primer
- Revlon ColorStay Foundation in Normal/Dry Skin 110 Ivory
- Urban Decay 24/7 Concealer in DEA
- Annabelle Eyebrow Pencil in 040 Medium Brown
- Rimmel Sun Shimmer Bronzer in 002 Bronze Goddess
- Revlon Illuminance Creme Shadow
- Tarina Tarantino Bronze Palate
- Maybelline EyeStudio in Pink Punch 25
- Maybelline New York Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in black
- Christian Dior Diorshow Waterproof Mascara 090
- Anastasia Beverly Hills Highlighting Creme Duo in Aspen
- Cover Girl Pressed Powder in Ivory 205
- Annabelle Lip Pencil in Nude Lustre 305
- Palladio Lipstick in Petal Pink
- Urban Decay Moisturizing Setting Spray

Have fun recreating this look, and let me know how it turns out!

xo Shannon

Monday, July 11, 2011

my sunglasses are like my guitar.

Summer means more than air conditioning and going to the beach. These are the memories we carry with us in those cold winter months, so make the most of it. Whatever plans you've got this summer, whether it's a road trip, or walks around the block with your dog, make sure you are sun safe. Always remember to use sunscreen and have fun with accessories! Hats and sunglasses are a really fun way to protect yourself from the sun and vamp up an outfit.

I have an obsession with sunglasses that started a few years ago. They somehow started to accumulate! I have a weakness for statement glasses. Anything fun, bright, retro, or with a pattern, and I am sold!

Most of my sunglasses are fairly cheap, under $30, except for a pair of retro-style Ray Bans I splurged on. Whether you decide to splurge or save, there is a ton of variety out there. Even if there is a particular style you tend to go for, think about trying something a little different this summer and see what happens! I recently bought a cheap pair of big oversize sunglasses from Ardene's and I adore them.

Here are a couple of pairs of designer sunglasses I love (but can't afford!):
- Marc Jacobs 2011 Women's Sunglasses MJ349
- Louis Vuitton 2011 Women's Sunglasses Z0105W

Whatever styles you love, have fun with it and stay sun safe this summer! Be sure to let me know what your favourite types of sunglasses are and what designer pairs you're drooling over!

xo Shannon

a photo can say a thousand things.

My Dad is addicted to fountain pens. This is an interest that came out of nowhere several years back. Every few months, there is a delivery of an expensive fountain pen from Japan, Chicago, or the middle of nowhere. He is always eager to show off the newest addition, and does so with pride. I may never know what brought on this hobby, but I love that he has it - it makes him happy.

Today, he emailed me this picture:

I like when our interests collide.

xo Shannon

Sunday, July 10, 2011

new makeup post!

One of my favourite things to do, is try out new products. Not only is it a great way of getting out of your makeup rut and being creative, it can be a lot of fun! For whatever reason, picking up a new eyeshadow or set of false eyelashes always seems to cheer me up.

Here are some products I have bought recently, and my thoughts.

1. Revlon Illuminance Creme Shadow in Precious Metals 05
2. Maybelline New York Eye Studio Copper Chic 70
3. Femme Couture Mineral Effects Baked Bronzer in Beach Girl
4. Joe Fresh Blush in Bloom
5. Urban Decay 24/7 Concealer Pencil in DEA
6. Anastasia Beverly Hills Highlighting Creme Duo in Aspen


1. Revlon Illuminance Creme Shadow in Precious Metals 05

I have been looking for some creme shadows to try out, and have a weakness for copper colours, so I thought I would give this quad a try. As you can see from the swatches above, most of the colours aren't overly pigmented, but they have a lot of shimmer and go on well. The deepest copper colour is gorgeous and the most pigmented of the bunch. It is easily my favourite and the one I am likely to use most. The other colours are nice, and great for long-lasting shimmer, but deep copper is what makes this worth the money.

2. Maybelline New York Eye Studio Copper Chic 70

Another copper palate, but I cannot rave enough about this one. It is a fantastic price for the quality. It goes on smooth, blends well, and the colours are very pigmented. There is a ton of shimmer with this product and the colours are gorgeous. My favourite is the second colour on the swatch, the coral colour, but they are all fantastic. I cannot say enough great things about this quad. Just fantastic. I would highly recommend it. There are other colours as well with this collection that I am hoping to check out in the near future. Love!


3. Femme Couture Mineral Effects Baked Bronzer in Beach Girl

All of my bronzers have a lot of shimmer in them, so I was looking for a good matte one. I unfortunately dropped this baked bronzer less than five minutes after getting it home, and lost about half of it in the process. Distraught! So far I like this product. I am not blown away by it, but it's certainly not bad. A little bit goes a long way, so keep that in mind when using it.

4. Joe Fresh Blush in Bloom

Love! A lot of the blushes I have are peachy in tone, which is great for most days, but sometimes I want something with a little pop! Especially for summer looks. I have Maybelline New York Dream Mousse Blush in Pink Frosting, which is bright, but it is nothing compared to this colour. I was so excited when I saw it. It isn't the highest quality product, and is a bit chalky, but the colour really is fantastic. And it was $3 at Superstore, so definitely worth a try!

5. Urban Decay 24/7 Concealer Pencil in DEA

A friend and I got back from a vacation in Las Vegas a few weeks ago, and while we were there, we ended up spending a ridiculous amount of time at Sephora. (Story of my life!) I was on the hunt for a good creme highlighter, (more on that one in a second...) I turned around and she was getting her makeup done! They used all Urban Decay products, which she happened to fall in love with. I was roped into having my makeup touched up and revved up - think black, and lots of it. The makeup artist used a great creme stick concealer by Urban Decay. I had been looking for a good concealer, as I wasn't happy with the one I was using. This concealer however, is great. What I love most about the Urban Decay concealer is how long lasting it is, and how much coverage it provides. So if you're like me and have darker under-eye circles, or wear a lot of darker eye makeup, you are going to love this.

And lastly,

6. Anastasia Beverly Hills Highlighting Creme Duo in Aspen

I picked this up at Sephora while in Vegas as well. I had never tried anything by Anastasia Beverly Hills before, but I was wowed by this. I am so completely in love with this product, I can't even express it properly. The highlighter comes with a beautiful creamy blush as well. It is beautiful, silky, and makes the skin look flawless. Plus, the colour is incredible. It is subtle but warm. The highlighter itself is on par with the blush. It is liquid, and has high shine, but doesn't make your skin look or feel greasy or oily. I got the Aspen duo which is good for lighter skin tones, but they also had one that was more of a gold colour that would be amazing for summer or deeper skin tones. The duo cost about $35US, and was worth every penny. This is one of the best products I own.

If there are any new makeup products you've tried lately, let me know what they are and what you think of them!

xo Shannon

the things i find beautiful.

What is beauty?

Growing up, I idolized my older sister. She knew everything I didn't. While I fumbled through adolescence, she floated. As we got older, she took risks with fashion and makeup, while I hid in oversized boys clothes. She was thin and tall, and I....wasn't. To me, my sister was, and still is, beautiful. 

While she had a social life, I found the things that made me beautiful. Music became my everything. Books were my world. My inner-self was full of joy, hope, and enough dreams to last a lifetime. My outer-self was just as awkward and embarrassed as ever.

 By the end of my first year in high school, I had given up on trying to fit in. I had already spent the last few years desperate to change the way I looked, the way I dressed, and the things I said. It was exhausting. I spent the remainder of high school and the first year or two of University, hiding.

Always a late bloomer, eventually, and very slowly, I started to grow up. My interests began to expand. I started to actually care about the image I presented to the world. I started to feel better about myself.

Now, I am a University graduate, struggling to find my path. All I want to do with my life, is to write. I am trying to find a way to make my dreams reality. Uncertainty remains, and I find myself focusing on the things I find beautiful. These are the things that keep me going, fill me with hope, and renew my determination when it fails.

Books, photography, music, makeup, hair, fashion, art....these are my passions. This blog is dedicated to the beautiful things that keep me dreaming.

xo Shannon