Thursday, July 20, 2017

workout equipment essentials for your home.


You don’t need an expensive gym membership to get in shape. In fact, you can do it from your very own living room. Just pop in a workout DVD or create your own routine. There are plenty of options to suit your budget and specific interests. Since returning home from my vacation...it has been a struggle to get back to doing my daily workout - but having everything I need on hand makes it a whole lot easier to stay motivated. If you want to work out at home, these equipment essentials will make your life a whole lot easier.

Resistance Bands

This first piece of at-home equipment is great for a couple of reasons. It costs less than $5, can be taken anywhere, and works with all fitness levels. Yes, the resistance band is a workout essential. They come in different resistance levels, so you can start with a medium strength and work your way up. Plus, these bands can be used in many different ways to build muscle. Tie it around your ankles or attach it to a door handle. Not only does this piece of equipment force you to get creative....it really makes your workout count!

Hand Weights

To build muscle and really sculpt your arms, hand weights are a must. They are affordable and can take any workout to a more advanced level. If you’re a beginner, start with 3-pound weights and work your way up, so that your body is always being challenged. Don’t want to splurge on weights? Improvise! Things like soup cans or a heavy book can be used so long as you’re careful not to hurt yourself.

Yoga Mat

Okay, you may not be doing yoga, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need a yoga mat. You can find these at any fitness or department store. They range in price but are typically pretty inexpensive. (Here's a tip: head to Marshall's or Winners for a cheap yoga mat that works well.) Lay it down wherever you’re planning to work out. This will give you a little more cushion and support your back when you do floor work exercises. Pick one in your favourite colour to add a little personality to any workout.

Heart Rate Monitor

Another essential piece of at-home workout equipment is a heart rate monitor. This is important as it lets you know if you’re overdoing it (or if you aren’t doing enough). A heart rate monitor keeps track of your calorie burn and makes sure you are within a healthy range. Working out too hard can cause you to hurt yourself or become totally exhausted. Not giving it your all may cause you to see little results during your next weigh-in. This handy piece of equipment makes sure you find the right balance.

You don’t necessarily need expensive workout equipment to burn calories at home. Focus on using what you have and finding budget friendly alternatives. Whatever you do, remember to use the equipment carefully and do plenty of stretches beforehand.

On another note, my latest YouTube video is up. This one is a makeup tag - where I answer questions related to skin care, beauty, and more. Please take a look, comment, like, and subscribe.


What are your workout essentials? 

xo Shannon

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

re-discovered favourite: rimmel glam eyes quad


My mission? Spend less and use more. Rather than purchasing every new item that hits the drugstore, Sephora, and Kylie Cosmetics shop...I've pledged to focus my attention on the products that I already own. Recently, I went through my eyeshadow collection. Note: this was not by choice. New fixtures and toilets were being installed in the apartment, so I literally had to move everything out of my bathroom. It was such a nightmare.

During this process, I weeded out a few items - and decided to make use of the ones I had decided to hold onto. It was about time I made good use of all the amazing products at my disposal! And that is exactly what I've been doing lately. My two year wedding anniversary took place earlier this month. So, I used some recently re-discovered products to create the following look....


Products Used: 

  • Rimmel Glam Eyes eyeshadow quad in English Rose. This used to be one of my favourite eyeshadow quads ever. I used it day in and day out. Though the layout makes it hard to get into those deeper shades (the design is super cute, though), that soft shimmery pink is just as beautiful as I remembered.
  • Wet n Wild cheek trio in Solar Powered. This is another product that I have loved....but not used as much recently. There are definitely some shades in my blush collection that could use a little love! Plus, I thought those warmer tones would work well with the pretty, pink eyeshadow look I had going on.
  • NARS Silver Factory liquid highlight. Since re-discovering this stunning silver highlight, it has become a total obsession for me. I love how bold and shimmery it is. No wonder I keep reaching for it over and over again.
  • Rimmer lip liner in Mauve Shimmer. Okay, I confess, this one is not a re-discovered favourite. I just love this shade so much. Since purchasing it, this has become a constantly used lip product for me. I applied it all over the lips and then added a lip balm on top for a bit of hydration. Simple, pretty, and effective.

It was fun mixing current favourites and re-discovered products together to create a fresh new look. It definitely boosted my creativity and confidence. Over the next little while, I hope to dig through my collection have some fun, and appreciate the things I own. See if you can do the same this summer!

What do you think of this look? Do you have any re-discovered favourites?

xo Shannon

Sunday, July 16, 2017

testing: skin care and beauty samples


Who doesn't love testing out new products? There are all of these exciting possibilities laid out in front of you. It is an incredible rush, that is for sure. Thanks to a surprise purchase my husband made at work (a new eyeshadow palette is in my future and I cannot wait for it), he was given a handful of samples as a gift with purchase. Today, I wanted to show you what those samples were - and give you mini reviews of each.

  • La Roche Posay Micellar Water. The first product can be used to remove makeup as well as cleanse and soothe the skin. It can also be used on sensitive skin, which is a great bonus. I'd been wanting to try out a micellar water but had never gotten around to it - so this was a great opportunity to try one out! There is a really good amount of product here and it works well. It also has a light, fresh, and pleasant scent. I am very impressed with this so far.
  • Vichy Illuminating Foundation. This was a super small sample - enough for one application -but it gave me a good idea of how the foundation performed. (The colour itself was a bit too dark for me, so I couldn't actually wear this out.) It had a very runny consistency, was lightweight, and had a natural finish on the skin. This would be great for everyday! It's comfortable and has a surprising amount of coverage. 
  • Vichy Aqualia Thermal Night Spa. The next sample was an "anti-fatigue cream" that provides overnight moisture. It came in a small jar (0.5 oz of product) and promised smoother, more hydrated skin. This one definitely peaked my interest because I have dry skin (so moisturizers are always on hand) and because I always look tired (my life is full of early mornings)! It feels very luxurious on the skin, has a nice light scent, and adds a ton of moisture to my skin. As for the anti-fatigue? Time will tell.
  • NUXE Multi-Purpose Dry Oil. I don't have a ton of oils floating around my beauty collection. There are ones that I use often, but I rarely introduce anything new into the routine. But since I had this NUXE bottle on hand....why not. This oil can be used on the face, body, and hair and is made up of six different plant oils. So far, I am really liking this, though I have not tried it on my hair just yet. What I am really into is the glass jar. It is super pretty! 
  • La Roche Posay Ultra Fluid Lotion - SPF 60. Since summer is here, it is always nice to have travel-sized sunscreens with you! This one is perfect because it's small enough to toss into my purse. While I don't know that I would buy a full-sized version of this, it is sure to come in handy over the next couple of months. 
So, there you have it! Some mini reviews on some mini products. It is always fun to test out new things and incorporate different items into my skin care routine. 

Have you tried any of these? What did you think of them?

xo Shannon 

Friday, July 14, 2017

gigi hadid: love it or leave it?


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to dress up as Elle Woods? Barbie? Lizzie McGuire? Me too. Like, every day of my life for the last fifteen years or so. There is something so exciting about early 2000s fashion. It was bright, bold, feminine, and fun. People didn't take things so seriously. Colour was always in style, ruffles were a must have, and there were no limits when it came to new fashion trends. No wonder Gigi Hadid's all pink outfit sparked so much controversy. People seem pretty divided: is it beautiful? Retro? Fun? Grotesque? Since there is no clear consensuses....it made sense to bring it to the blog. This is your chance (and mine) to sound off on this head-turning ensemble.


What I Love: Oh. My. Goodness. There are an awful lot of things I love about this look. Like I mentioned, few things are as exciting to me than 2000s style. I absolutely adore the bold pink colour, the tinted sunglasses, that incredible jacket, all of the beautiful detail work, and those velvet (yes, velvet) shoes. Yes, yes, yes. This outfit is playful, fun, and exciting. It stands out from most of the clothing fashion models, actresses, and singers are wearing these days. In a good way! It boldly represents a strong, confident woman.

What I Loathe: Oh, flares. Though I have a serious obsession with the 1970s, I absolutely detest flared pants. I don't think they are super flattering or comfortable. (Trust me, when this trend came back around in the 90s and 00s, I wore them day in and day out. Needless to say, I am over it.) With this outfit specifically, I think a skinny or bootleg cut would have given this old-school look a hint of modern flair.

Overall, this is a pretty fantastic outfit. The colour is fantastic, there are tons of exciting details, and Gigi looks like a walking Barbie doll. I love it.

What did you think of this look? Love it or leave it?

xo Shannon

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

there is a shade of red for every woman.


The day after my vacation ended, my throat felt scratchy. The next day, it was worse. Before I knew it, my nose was running, I had a non-stop cough, and felt absolutely exhausted. It was not a great welcome home. Unfortunately, every member of my family came down with the same thing. To a varying degree. After days and days of not doing much, of struggling through work, and generally feeling terrible....I decided to do my makeup. Not for any reason. Just to do it.

It was Canada Day and my husband was at work. So, I forced myself to get out of bed, bake some cookies, and play around with some red and white inspired makeup. It felt good. But, it also felt exhausting. I ended up having a very long nap afterwards! Today, I thought I would share with you the first proper makeup look I have done in a little while. It is a colourful eye (red, white, and glitter), a red lip, and lots of highlight. Take a look.....


This was definitely meant to be a Canada Day glam kind of thing! I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. Simple, glitzy, and easy to wear. So, how did I create it? Here are the products used:

  • Eye Shadow palette (this is an unnamed eyeshadow palette that a friend gave me. Not sure what brand it's from, but it is fantastic! I used the blush on the eyes to create the red, a warm orange to blend through the crease, and a shimmery white on the inner corner. I also used the bronze-toned blush on the cheeks.)
  • OFRA Eyebrow pencil (this was run quickly through the brows for a natural but polished look.)
  • Avon Always on Point eyeliner (this is an amazing eyeliner, because it always stays sharp, making it quick and easy to create a winged effect.)
  • Cover Girl The Super Sizer mascara (by far my favourite mascara ever. It replaced my former favourites from Dior and Benefit.)
  • NYX Face and Body glitter (oh my gosh, this glitter is amazing! It is subtle, pretty, and very finely milled.)
  • NARS Silver Factory Illuminator and Gerard Cosmetics Star Powders (these highlights were layered together for a more intense effect. Why? I've been watching a lot of Drag Race, and Farrah Moan has the best highlight ever.)
  • Kat Von D Liquid Lipstick in Santa Sangre (a bright, bold red lip, and a liquid lipstick with great staying power.)
It was a lot of fun playing around with makeup for a while. Not only did it help me forget about being sick and feeling miserable...but it allowed me to get creative. That is always the best part! Be sure to let me know what you think of this makeup look.

Speaking of makeup, my latest YouTube video is all about high-end makeup misses. Find out which pricey products failed to live up to my expectations.



Have you used any of these products?

xo Shannon

Monday, July 10, 2017

six years of the creation of beauty is art.


I can still remember the day it all began. At the time, I was feeling kind of lost. I'd graduated from university with a writing degree....with no job prospects in sight. Turns out, people don't want to publish you unless you have already been published. It was a frustrating situation. So, I started a blog. That was the day the creation of beauty is art. was born. It felt amazing to have a space to call my own. To write about whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. It was freeing. It made me remember why writing has always been my closest companion.

And now? It has been six years. Six years of blogging about makeup, fashion, beauty, music, travel, and all of the little things in life that inspire me. There have been a lot of exciting moments along the way. Like sharing more about myself, interviewing people I admire, testing out new products, sharing my thoughts, starting my YouTube channel, and interacting well fellow bloggers. This truly is my passion project - and I am so excited to celebrate this little milestone.

Thank you all for being here, for reading my posts, and for supporting this page. It continues to amaze me how wonderful you all are. Here is to another year of the creation of beauty is art. 

xo Shannon

Saturday, July 8, 2017

beauty-related summer reads


The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and there is a book just waiting to be read. In my opinion, few things are better than a good book on a summer day. Especially when you throw a little beauty into the mix. Are you looking for a few good books to brighten up your summer? These suggestions will start your season off on the right foot.

Pretty Happy by Kate Hudson. One of my favourite books lately has been Pretty Happy by Kate Hudson (yes, that Kate Hudson). She writes about a wide range of topics - like getting to know yourself, beauty, fitness, and even meditation. If you're looking to beautify your inner and outer self, give this book a try. Bonus? The glossy hard cover and the gorgeous selection of pictures makes this a great display item or coffee table book.

Face Paint: The Story of Makeup by Lisa Eldridge. This next book was gifted to me last Christmas and has been on my reading to-do list for ages. Finally, I've found time to go through it. Talk about a healthy dose of inspiration! This makeup book has tons of pictures, makeup muses, and goes through the history of makeup and the world of beauty.

Healthy Is The New Skinny by Katie H. Willcox. This wasn't something I was planning to pick up. Then the cover caught my eye (I know, I know, don't judge a book by its cover) and decided to check it out. A model turned body activist? I was intrigued. In addition to sharing her own story, Katie shared her thoughts on the media, body image, and self confidence. If you've ever struggled to love the skin you're in...this one is for you.

Reading is an essential part of a well-balanced life. It allows you to learn, grow, and share. These beauty related titles are just a few examples of books that make the world a prettier place.

Something else summer related? Summer accessories. Sunglasses are by far my favourite accessory of choice during the warm and sunny months...which is why my collection is so large. Take a peek at the sunglasses I cannot get enough of.


Share your favourite beauty-related summer reads below!

xo Shannon

Thursday, July 6, 2017

road trip: part two


There is no better place in the entire world than Walt Disney World. That Disney magic has a way of taking over and making everything seem better. Like I said in my first post....travelling with family means there are a lot of ups and downs. Disney was not immune to those highs and lows. Since the weather was pretty horrible throughout, it meant there was a mad dash trying to get on outside rides before the downpours started. There were other snags along the way, but for the most part, it was a really good trip. As a Disney family, we are always happier there!

We spent three days at Magic Kingdom, two at Epcot, two at Animal Kingdom, and two at Hollywood Studios. There were plenty of highlights - like dining at the Garden Grill in Epcot (it was character dining, the food was awesome, and we all had a blast), seeing the new fireworks show at the castle, meeting Baymax from Big Hero 6 (one of many characters that we met along the way), seeing a giraffe up close on the safari in Animal Kingdom, and the Muppet show in Liberty Square.

It was all very exciting. We also got to go on the new Frozen ride in Epcot (which was really awesome) and check out the newly opened Pandora section. One ride was incredible and the whole area lit up at night. Definitely really cool to walk around in!

These are a few of my favourite pictures from the trip. They should give you a peek at my time in the oh-so-magical Disney World.....


It was very difficult leaving the Magic Kingdom on that last night. None of us were ready to say goodbye to our favourite place. But we had no choice. It was time to go home! So we began our long drive back, making stops in South Carolina (we went to a Target, which was very exciting) and Baltimore. Then it was back home to see my wonderful husband and get back to reality.

What have been your summer highlights so far?

xo Shannon

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

road trip: part one


Every trip has highlights and low points, regardless of who you travel with. When you vacation with family? The ups and downs always seem to be exaggerated. During my two and a half week road trip, there were some wonderful moments that my family and I will remember forever....and there were experiences that will become a part of family folklore forever. (Like a suitcase falling on my dad and tearing up his leg. Or both of my parents coming down with colds mid-way through the trip.) So, in a way, even the downs were pretty darn memorable.

The trip consisted of a full day drive to Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, then a day driving to Atlanta (where we stopped at the World of Coke), and another day to Orlando, Florida. Once there, we spent a day at SeaWorld, and two days at Universal. After that, it was ten magical days at Walt Disney World, and a three day drive home, with stops in South Carolina and Baltimore. Yes, this was certainly a busy vacation! Here are some of my travel pictures and stories.....

Dollywood

It has always been my dream to visit Dollywood. Though, I never really thought it would happen. Quite frankly, it was unlikely that I would ever find myself in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. So, when my family started talking about driving to Florida to celebrate my mom's birthday....I pitched the idea of Dollywood. It was on the way. Sort of.

By the time we arrived there, I was desperate to see it all. We only had one day in the theme park, so we were on a tight schedule. Since my brother and dad were not so interested in the Dolly Parton aspect, we separated for most of the day. My mom and I toured the museum (which was amazing. There was every Dolly award, costume, and artifact in there ever), shopped, and went to some of the live shows.

Unfortunately, the weather was not great. It rained on and off for the afternoon and many of the rides were shut down. But overall, it was a fantastic experience. I loved Dollywood and would absolutely like to spend more time there. The best parts? Shopping in Dolly's Closet, checking out the Chasing Rainbows museum, and seeing the My People show - which starred members of Dolly Parton's family.

The World of Coke

After leaving Tennessee, we drove to Atlanta. We weren't there for very long (just an afternoon) so there wasn't a ton of time to see much. However, we made time to stop at the World of Coke. It was a lot of fun there. We got to see a lot of old Coca-Cola memorabilia, meet the mascot, head into the vault that carries the secret recipe, and even try out Coke products from around the world. Then we went into the gift shop and spent some time looking at all of the awesome Coke merchandise. Before heading back to the hotel for the night, we stopped off a Johnny Rockets for a delicious meal.

SeaWorld

The next day, we finished the drive to Orlando. And the day after that was dedicated to SeaWorld. My brother and Dad ended up driving to another attraction, so it was just my mom and I checking out the park. It was actually a lot of fun! I'd never been to SeaWorld Orlando so it was definitely exciting. The day started out sunny and beautiful but an hour or so into it....the rain began. It poured non-stop for the remainder of our time there. They actually wound up closing the park an hour early because it was so bad. But thankfully, my mom and I were able to see all of the shows (sea lions, dolphins, and whales), tour the aquarium, and even do a little shopping.

Universal Studios

I'll admit. I was very excited to visit Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. I'd never been to a Universal Studios park before and I am a massive fan of minions, Harry Potter, and Dr. Seuss. By all accounts, the next two days should have been amazing. Honestly? They were okay. My mom was not impressed with the parks and ended up leaving early both days. The weather was horrible again and it poured on and off. But we still managed to make the most of it.

The actual Universal Studios park didn't have a ton in it. I expected it to be a lot bigger. More like Disney! But I did like the minion ride, the ET ride (my favourite), and the Harry Potter section. The Simpsons area was really cool and well done - but smaller than I expected. The next day, we went to Islands of Adventure. I definitely preferred this park. The cartoon sections were great and the Harry Potter ride in the castle was fantastic. Overall, I liked Universal, but I don't know that I would plan a trip to go back again.

So, there you have it! Part one of my road trip blog post. My next one will be all about my time in Walt Disney World. Stay tuned....

Have you done any travelling this summer?

xo Shannon

Sunday, July 2, 2017

review: NYX ombre blushes


I swear, it has been all-NYX-all-the time here lately! There is no specific reason for this...apart from loving the brand. It seems there has been a major influx of NYX products in my life lately. The latest? Two of their new ombre blushes.

It was early on a Sunday morning. My husband had talked me into getting my makeup done at a nearby drugstore. (To learn more about applying makeup on other people, which is something I would like to do from time to time.) Afterward, I browsed the display of NYX products and the display of ombre blushes took my breath away. There were three shades in total: Feel the Heat, Sweet Spring, and Warm Nude. The first two came home with me but I decided against the nude blush, because it looked too much like products already in my collection.


As you can see from the picture above, these are seriously gorgeous. It is pretty obvious why I was so desperate to give these a try. Feel the Heat is an orange/coral toned blush while Sweet Spring is a pink/rose coloured shade. Both are just as beautiful on the cheeks as they appear in the plan. They are colourful, vibrant, and highly pigmented. One thing to remember? Since these are so pigmented, it is easy to go overboard. So, be sure to pay close attention to your application.

Something I really like about this ombre style blush is the versatility. You can wear the lighter part of the blush for a softer finish or use the whole thing for a more intense pop. Feel The Heat is a fabulous summer shade (thanks to those stunning coral tones) and would look great on tanned skin - and Sweet Spring is the perfect match for a romantic floral print dress. Here is a look at Feel The Heat paired with a warm smokey eye look.


If you come across these ombre shades at your local NYX store or drugstore...give them a try. They are the perfect item for any blush addict. And if you're after a more neutral shade? Warm Nude will be your new BFF this season. This line of blushes has it all. They are highly pigmented, look beautiful on the skin, and are decently priced.

Have you tried these yet? What do you think of them?

xo Shannon