Friday, September 27, 2013

international drugstore makeup swap: nina's bargain beauty (part 2)

It's time for part 2 of the international drugstore makeup swap! If you missed my last post, Nina from Nina's Bargain Beauty invited me to a makeup swap. So, she was able to try some makeup products from North America and I was able to try some from Ireland. In my first post, I showed you what I received. This post is all about swatches and reviews!

There were so many fantastic products for me to try out. So, it's taken me a little bit of time to try them all out. I've been doing my best to incorporate them into my makeup looks, though! It has definitely been a fun process, that's for sure. Well, here swatches and reviews of the drugstore makeup swap.

Let's start with the face products: Famous Baked Bronzer in Tahiti and Famous Into the Shadows Light Reflecting Concealer.

Sadly, the baked bronzer was a little broken when it arrived to me - but it still works well! I just swirl my blush brush around in it and it's perfect. This specific colour is just gorgeous. It has a really glowy finish but isn't super shimmery. It's perfect to add a nice amount of glow to the face or the cheeks. I've been using it a lot in the last week or so and I just love it! It has quickly become one of my favourite bronzers!

Now, onto Famous Into the Shadows Light Reflecting Concealer.

With this concealer, the product comes up through the tube as you turn the bottom. Truthfully, I wasn't sure how well this was going to work. (I've never had much success with light reflecting concealers.) However, I was actually really impressed with it! When you first apply it, the concealer works like any other liquid concealer...but when you blend it into the skin, the colour lightens and it gets this really pretty light shimmer to it. It looks super pretty.

Next, let's move onto the mascaras: Famous I'm Your Curl Flirtatious Lashes Mascara and Famous High Impact Lash Mascara.

There were things that I liked about both of these mascaras and things that I didn't. Out of the two, the Famous I'm Your Curl Flirtatious Lashes Mascara was easily my favourite. Why? It really did curl my lashes! Plus, it gave them so much thickness and it had a wand that was easy to use. I really loved this one. The only drawback was that the formula was a little drier than I prefer. When it came to the Famous High Impact Lash Mascara, it does a really nice job of adding length, for sure. Unfortunately, it didn't add a ton of volume. I did like the slightly wetter formula of this mascara, though!

Ready for the nails? I also received two polishes from Famous Nail Addict in Pink and Silver. 

The moment I saw both of these nail polish colours, I got super excited. Pink is my favourite colour and glitter is always, always a good thing. I actually painted my toes using these and they look super cute! The colours look exactly the same on as they do in the bottle - bright pink and tons of glitter. These shades are super gorgeous and so much fun. I am definitely a fan.

Phew! So many products to talk about! For eyeliner, I was super spoiled. There were two coloured liners: MUA 3 in 1 eXtreme Contour Liner in Smoked Plum and Fresh Mint, and three regular liners: MUA Intense Colour Liner in Black, Brown, and White. To start with, let's look at the coloured liners.

To start with, I just love these colours! Both are definitely right up my alley. The formula is a cream liner and it glides on really nicely. What is really cool about these liners? They come out at an angle. This really helps to keep that precise shape when you apply it into the crease. Such a smart idea! This is a really unique concept and I love how they work. Here are the swatches of the colours:

Here are the MUA Intense Colour Liner in Black, Brown, and White.

Believe it or not, the other MUA eyeliners were even more impressive than the coloured ones! Not only were the colours super bold (and they didn't budge after a full day out - impressive) but they each have a sharpener right on the lid. Ahh! I cannot even explain how life-changing this is. The sharpener is right there whenever I need it, so I always have a perfectly sharpened liner and a precise liner application. It is just incredible. Such a fantastic idea, I can't even get over it.

Now for my favourite things....eyeshadows! Nina sent me the Famous Leopard Eye Palette as well as three shadows from Catrice Cosmetics. They were the Intensif'Eye Wet and Dry Shadows in: Glamourose, Black or White Swan?!, and Charly's Chocolate Factory.

Here are the Catrice shadows:

As you can see from the picture above, all of these shades are gorgeous. I am in love with that rust coloured shade especially! But the one that I've been using the most is the light, shimmery shade. It is just perfect for the inner corner of my eye and on the brow bone. Such a versatile shadow. That's what I really love about these - they can be worn in so many different ways. Wet or dry, they look fantastic. The colours are really pigmented and so shimmery. They are just beautiful. Here are the swatches of the Catrice shadows:

And...I saved the best for last! Yes, the Famous Leopard Eye Palette is by far the best makeup product I've tried in ages. Not only goes it have super cute packaging and a killer theme, but the shadows are gorgeous! Take a look:

I love eyeshadows, especially in neutral and bronzey shades. Since I am all about a smokey eye, anything that can make that happen is a good thing! As you can see from the picture of the shadows, they are stunning. There is a combination of matte, shimmer, and peal finish shades, which makes this an ideal palette. I love that there is a variety of shades and finishes. This is definitely something I can see myself taking away if I travel.

There is so much that I love about this set of shadows. For starters, the texture is so rich and soft. Even better? The pigmentation is so intense! I just cannot get over the quality of this set. I've tried a lot of different shadows by a lot of different brands, but these stand out as some of my favourites. I was so impressed. Here are the swatches from left to right:

There you have it! That is everything that I was lucky enough to receive from the international drugstore makeup swap with Nina from Nina's Bargain Beauty. Once again, I just wanted to say a big thank you to Nina. This was such a fun experience and I am so thrilled to add these amazing makeup products in my collection.

What do you think of these products?

xo Shannon

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

ive always believed that it's important to show a new look.

Every so often, it's nice to treat yourself. Recently, I was able to do just that. I went to get my nails done and my hair cut! I think that I really needed it.

In recent months, I've found it hard to make time for certain essential things - like getting my hair cut. This is largely why I've let it grow so long. In fact, I haven't had my hair this long in years! As much as I have enjoyed it, it definitely felt like it was time for a change. In the last several weeks, my hair has gotten so hard to style. It's been awful!

So, when I went to see my hairdresser, I stressed that I wanted it a little shorter. I was desperate to get a little bit of length off and have it thinned down some. Now that I've gotten it done though...I really miss my long hair! I guess that's how it always is - never happy with what we have. Sigh! Ready to see the final result?

As for my nails? I went for a really pretty light blue - which I love! It's super fresh and cute. Unfortunately, I think I may be running out of neutral-ish shades to try. Ack! But for now, this is a shade that is making  me feel fab.

When did you last treat yourself?

xo Shannon

Monday, September 23, 2013

international drugstore makeup swap: nina's bargain beauty (part 1)

One thing you probably know about me by now, is that I love makeup. And I don't just love it, I want to try it all. I don't know what it is about testing out different brands that excites me so just does! I guess I love the thrill of finding that perfect product, whatever it may be. So, imagine my excitement when a raft of drugstore beauty products from Ireland were delivered to my doorstep!

A little while back, the lovely Nina from Nina's Bargain Beauty, asked if I would be interested in doing a makeup swap. Since I'm from Canada and she is from Ireland, we both had access to a variety of products and brands. Of course, my answer was: yes! So, I head off to the drugstore to find some seriously killer drugstore products. There was a lot of Cover Girl, Wet n' Wild, and Hard Candy in the mix. Once I send it all off, I anxiously awaited the fabulous products that were en route to my home.

When they arrived, I could not contain my glee. There was something about unwrapping a ton of brand new makeup that thrilled me in ways I cannot fully describe. Inside were products from Famous, MUA, and Catrice - brands I'd heard of, but never been able to try. It was so exciting! Immediately, I started swatching, testing, and imagining different makeup looks. I was like a kid on Christmas morning.

Ready to see what I received from Nina? Here it is!

- MUA Intense Colour Liner in Black, Brown, and White
- MUA 3 in 1 eXtreme Contour Liner in Smoked Plum and Fresh Mint
- Famous I'm Your Curl Flirtatious Lashes Mascara
- Famous High Impact Lash Mascara
- Famous Nail Addict in Pink and Silver
- Famous Into The Shadows Light Reflecting Concealer 
- Famous Baked Bronzer in Tahiti
- Famous Leopard Eye Palette 
- Catrice Cosmetics Intensif'Eye Wet and Dry Shadows in: Glamourose, Black or White Swan?!, and Charly's Chocolate Factory

Since there was so much amazing stuff to try out, I decided to break this post up into two parts. In the next post, I'll be doing reviews, swatches, and overall impressions. It will be up later in the week, so look out for it!

Before I end this, I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank Nina for her amazing suggestion - and of course, her fantastic makeup selections!

Have you tried any of these products or brands? What do you think of them?

xo Shannon

Saturday, September 21, 2013

autumn is a second spring, when every leaf is a flower.

Tomorrow is the first official day of fall. Unfortunately, the weather has been chilly for weeks now! I've been rocking my sweater collection with reckless abandon lately. It's a little bit depressing. I am definitely missing those warm summer days.

When I was younger, fall used to be my favourite season. I'm pretty sure this is entirely because my birthday happens in the fall - and I was (still am, to be honest!) a total birthday brat. Now, my favourite season is summer because there's a more relaxed, care-free attitude during those beautiful sunny months! I miss that during the rest of the year.

Since I am still struggling with the fact that summer is actually over, I thought that I would do a little fall inspiration post. Here are a few pictures of the things that are inspiring me lately: cozy knits and deep red lips! (I am trying to incorporate both of those into my looks as much as possible. Comfy and sexy...what could be better?)

What inspires you about fall? Are you looking forward to the new season?

xo Shannon

Thursday, September 19, 2013

it is ever so much easier to be good if your clothes are fashionable.

There is something about fashion that just makes you feel good. Recently, some friends and I went to see the premiere of Parkland (starring the incredible Zac Efron) at the Toronto International Film Festival. Since we were waiting in the rush line for tickets, I needed an outfit that was going to be casual - but nice. I wanted to blend glamour and comfort together...and I was really happy with how it turned out!

So, what did I wear to the movie? A simple tank from Garage, Joe Fresh dark wash jeans, and one of my all-time favourite pieces - my Attitude by Jay Manuel knit jacket with faux-leather sleeves. For accessories, I wore my heart pendant necklace (always!), sparkly Chanel inspired earrings, and a simple square ring. My hair was in a high bun and my makeup was dark and smokey.

Here is my completed look:

And the view of the Attitude jacket from the side and back: (I seriously love this jacket!)

That was my look of the day! What do you think of this casual fall outfit?

xo Shannon

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.

It's essential to make time for reading. Even though I don't necessarily have 'free time' anymore - I make it. I read on my breaks at work. I read for fifteen minutes before I go to bed. I read when I'm waiting for someone. I read at the bus stop. Why? I love it.

Books are a blissful escape from reality...and we all need that every now and again. I wish that I could read more than I do, but I am so busy working all the time. But - it's all about making the most of every possible opportunity!

Since reading is one of my biggest passions, I thought that I would do a little recent reads post. In the last little while, I've read:

All of these were fantastic for different reasons. Jane's Fame, was a look into the infamy of Jane Austen and her legacy. It was really interesting, if not a little too academic for bus stop reading. I simply could not put down The Bling Ring. There were a couple of nights that I stayed up for hours just devouring the book. It was so compelling!

Then, there was Confessions of an Essex Girl, which was fun and sexy. Definitely an enjoyable, girly book. As for Revoltingly Young, I just really wanted to finish the series. This book was different. Not bad, but certainly not the same as the rest of the series. I also read (not pictured) the Kris Kardashian biography, which was super interesting. She has had quite the life!

And now? I've started reading The Cuckoo's Calling by JK Rowling and I never want to put it down. It's so well written (of course!) and I love a great mystery. It's just fantastic. I hope that the rest of the book lives up the first several chapters.

So, those are my recent reads! What are yours?

xo Shannon

Sunday, September 15, 2013

you have to hold onto your fantasy.

What is it about Betsey Johnson that intrigues me so much? It seems that I am always adding more and more of her accessories into my collection! I can't help it. Her designs just embody bold, energetic style. There is something exciting about them. And when it comes to fashion, excitement is great.

There are a number of designers that I am a big fan of - but Betsey is by far my favourite. She's never stuffy, never predictable, and always outrageous. She puts life into fashion. She pushes the envelope. She makes fashion fun!

So, it's no wonder when I was out, a few accessories caught my eye. The theme was Paris....what girl could resist? I bought a bracelet with fake pearls, charms, and the famous Audrey Hepburn quote "Paris is always a good idea." I love it! To go with it, I also picked up a pair of Paris themed earrings - pink Eiffel tours with kisses all over them. Totally cute and totally Betsey. Take a look!

I am definitely excited to wear these out...again! (I confess, that I wore them literally the day after I bought them. I was impatient!) These pieces perfectly blend classic style with fun and trendy flair. In my opinion, Betsey is always a good idea.

What do you think of these Betsey Johnson accessories?

xo Shannon

Friday, September 13, 2013

review: milani colour statement lipstick

Editing Note: Since Milani chose to contribute to a campaign that involved the harassment and bullying of a domestic violence survivor, I no longer support the brand and do not recommend their products. Spend your money wisely and look elsewhere. 

I've been trying to buy less lip products and use more of the ones that I already have. But that plan quickly went out the window when I found these Colour Statement Lipsticks from Milani! I have a few things from this brand, and what I do have, I love. So....I went for it. And honestly, I'm glad that I did.

There were a few different shades to choose from but Flamingo Pose and Naturally Chic stood out to me the most. Why? Flamingo Pose was this super vibrant pinkish red. I love how bright, fun, and bold it is! I find myself wearing this one when I want a wearable pop of colour. As for Naturally Chic, it's a really deep brownish red. I think this is going to be one I reach for a lot during Fall. It's such a rich shade!

Here are the swatches: (Left: Flamingo Pose, Right: Naturally Chic)

When it comes to the colours themselves, I just love them. It's also fantastic that the colour really builds, so it can be as bold as you want! Plus, the packaging is really pretty and glam...always a good thing. They definitely are great additions to my lipstick collection.

My only issue is that these lipsticks aren't particularly moisturizing on the lips. This probably won't affect most people, but I happen to have dry lips...which means that I always need to add chapstick over top. (Story of my life!) If this isn't a problem for you, then you will absolutely love these fabulous shades. They last well and look great.

Have you tried anything from Milani? What do you think of these lipstick shades?

xo Shannon

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

success is about enjoying the process.

Today's post is kind of special to me. Why? I'm celebrating 100, 000 page views for my blog! It's hard to believe, but I've finally reached that milestone. I still remember when I first started out....I had ten, ten views. I couldn't get over it - it was so exciting to me. Now, here I am with over 100, 000 page views. Crazy.

I just wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you! The fact that anyone reads this blog (or continues to read it!) means the absolute world to me. This has certainly been a labour of love and I appreciate all of the support you've shown over the last couple of years. In short? Thank you, thank you, thank you.

xo Shannon

Monday, September 9, 2013

love it or leave it?

Oh, Emma. What happened? I've mentioned on this blog before (and in previous love it or leave it? posts), I adore Emma Watson. Not only is she a super talented actress, but she has stunning style. I definitely admire her bold fashion choices....most of the time.

At the GQ Men of the Year Awards, Emma hit the red carpet wearing.....this ensemble. Eeesh. Since it's Emma, I wanted to love what she wore. Unfortunately, I just couldn't. Between the cream crop top and that awful cape, everything about this look misses. Plus, there are the ill-fitting pants to consider. They flare out and then bunch around the ankles - and they are super loose and unflattering at the back. Not a good look.

Why was this such a miss? Instead of looking chic and fashion forward, I felt that this whole look looked old fashioned and just plain ugly.  Sadly, I'm also not a fan of those clunky black shoes or even her makeup. Nothing seemed to come together right.

So, what did I love? Well, nothing. With this red carpet look, I think every single aspect of it was a definite leave it. Such a shame! But hey - that's just my opinion. Now, I'm ready to hear yours!

What do you think of Emma Watson's red carpet it or leave it?

xo Shannon

Saturday, September 7, 2013

review: benefit the rich is back!

Who doesn't love Benefit? I swear, the more products that I try from them, the more I fall in love! I am always so impressed with the quality of their makeup. I've tried a lot of face stuff by Benefit - primers, highlights and that sort of thing. (I'm also obsessed with the They're Real! mascara. It's just so good!) But I just can't resist little sets like this. Plus, it was on sale at Sephora for $28 - crazy!

So, I picked up Benefit's The Rich is Back set. Ready to find out my thoughts and check out some swatches? Here goes!

The set included 4 shimmery eyeshadows, one mini They're Real! mascara, the Inferno lipgloss, and one powder blush (along with a blush brush). That's a lot of products for such a great price! Now for my review.

The Shadows:

I have to say, I was super impressed by the eyeshadows. I've never tried any shadows from Benefit before, but I'm glad that I did! The texture is super soft and each of the shadows are really pigmented. They go on easily and last really well. So impressed! The colours are gorgeous as well. There is an emerald green, shimmery white, brown, and gold shade. They are definitely my kind of colours.

Here are the swatches:

The Mascara:

I've raved about They're Real! in the past. Mostly, because it's amazing. It creates gorgeous, full looking lashes with tons of length. It lasts so well too - in fact, it doesn't budge at all. I'm also a big fan of the rubber bristled wand. It is the perfect mascara! It's always handy to have an extra one around.

The Lipgloss:

When it comes to lipglosses, I'm always kind of hesitant. This is because generally, I'm not a huge fan. I hate glosses that feel sticky - which a lot of them do. My favourites are NARS - they are perfectly pigmented and not sticky. I was super excited to find out that the same can be said for Benefit's Inferno! It is a gorgeous deep red shade that doesn't feel sticky. It's the perfect pop of glamorous colour.

The Blush: 

I am a blush addict. To say the least! So, I always love trying out different shades. I was hesitant at first, to be honest. In the pan, this blush looks a little too neutral for me - but it actually packs a lot of punch! It has a gorgeous rich colour and a silky texture. I was definitely pleased with this blush colour.

Here are swatches of the lipgloss and blush:

If you couldn't tell - I love this set from Benefit. I find myself reaching for it an awful lot - and I have a feeling I'll be taking this one away when I travel. It's compact, sturdy, and has a lot of versatility...what more do you need?

Since I've been so into this set lately, I decided to take a picture of one of the makeup looks I created with it! I love that subtle pop of colour the emerald gives. Gorgeous! Here is my finished look:

Do you have this set? What are your favourite Benefit products?

xo Shannon

Thursday, September 5, 2013

life without a phone is riskier, lonelier, more vivid.

The impossible has happened....I've upgraded my phone! For a normal person, this isn't a big deal. For me, it's shocking. I have had 3 cell phones in my lifetime. Yup, just three. The last phone I had was so awful that it lost signal at random and started roaming in my bedroom. It was just so bad...which is why I finally decided to get a new one.

I chose the Blackberry Curve. I've never had a smart phone before, so baby steps! Also, I like that it has buttons, since I'm awful with touch screen anything. It didn't hurt that there was a super great deal on it as well. So far, I am really happy with my decision. I can text, get my emails, and check my Facebook and Twitter. Who knew?

Since I'm all excited about my new phone, I thought I would share pictures of my phone covers. I wanted something girly and pink. Success!

What do you think of these phone covers? What kind of phone do you have?

xo Shannon

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

if the colour fits, wear it.

It's time for another nail post! Last time, I went for a super neutral tan. This time? I chose a colour that was a little

Honestly, I am still getting used to having my nails done. While I can't be nearly as adventurous as I'd like, it feels really good to be pampered sometimes. Since I work pretty much all the time, I love being able to have that time to focus on myself. It's definitely a good thing!

As for my current colour? Perfection. It's a mix between mint green and Tiffany blue. It's super pretty but it still feels really current and trendy. This is a nail colour I can see myself getting again in the future.

Ready to see my latest nail colour?

What do you think of this nail polish colour? What do your nails look like right now?

xo Shannon

Sunday, September 1, 2013

the summer night is like a perfection of thought.

Wow, it's September. Somehow this month snuck up on me even faster than usual. There's something about the beginning of September that always makes me a little sad. Summer is clinging to its last days and fall is

I think I find fall especially difficult, because summer always feels a little more carefree. Even though I spent this summer working (for the most part. I did manage to have a lot of fun days, too!) - it seems easier to make plans, go do fun activities, and generally enjoy life a little bit more. Once fall hits, it always feels like a major dose of reality. There are less fun days out to distract from the constant workload and pressure.

That's probably why I'm always a little hesitant about fall. I want to be excited, but outside of gorgeous fall fashion, there's a whole lot less to look forward to. Sigh. I suppose this post is a little less optimistic as I hoped! It's just a little sad when those beautiful summer days and perfect summer evenings come to a close.

On a more positive note, I have some truly wonderful memories from this summer. Some of my highlights are going on random rollerblading treks with my boyfriend and celebrating our year and a half anniversary together.

In one last-ditch celebration of summer, here is a collage with some of my favourite pictures from the season.

There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart. 
- Celia Thaxter

What will you miss the most about summer? Did you have any summer highlights?

xo Shannon