Tuesday, December 31, 2013

it is never too late to start over.

There is something beautiful about celebrating the New Year. It is one of the rare times that we slow down and really stop to think about our lives. Yes, this is the perfect time to reflect on the past year - and focus on our goals moving forward.

This year, I plan on celebrating the event with a close friend...and my wonderful boyfriend, of course! So, here is my little New Year's confession: I have never actually gone out to celebrate before. Usually, I stay in and watch Ryan Seacrest on TV. This year, I wanted to change things up a bit and ring in the New Year in style. I am super excited. So, fingers crossed it'll be a night to remember!

Wherever you're going - and whoever you are celebrating with - I hope that you have a great time doing it. Put on your dancing shoes, be safe, and have fun!

Wishing you all the very best in the coming year.

What are your New Year's Eve plans? 

xo Shannon

Sunday, December 29, 2013

the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

I know, I know, everyone is always super critical of New Year's Resolutions. I get it. I mean, how many resolutions have I made in my life that haven't...quite panned out? Despite this, I always look forward to making them. Why? It gives me a reason to really think back on the last year and ask myself: what did I do right? What things do I still need to work on? What do I hope to achieve in the coming year? I think it's important to take the time for that reflection.

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the past year. It has been filled with an awful lot of work - and even a little bit of travel. I definitely tried to make some incredible memories with my loved ones despite my hectic schedule. Unfortunately, as I look back at this year, I realize just how much of it I spent stressed out, frazzled, and writing out to-do lists. Which brings me to my list of resolutions for this year!

- To spend more time on myself (relaxing, working out more, and being social)
- To focus more energy on building my writing career (and less on the full-time job that pays the bills)
- To have a more positive attitude in my day-to-day life (aka get more sleep and stop being so crabby!)

Maybe these resolutions will stick and maybe they won't. One thing is for certain though: I'm going to give them my all!

"Sometimes we know the best thing to do, but fail to do it. 
New year's resolutions are often like that."

So, those are my New Year's Resolutions. What are yours? 

xo Shannon

Friday, December 27, 2013

one of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on christmas day.

Well, Christmas is over. It's amazing how quickly the day always seems to pass. (I hate that part. I always wish that I could rewind and do it all over again!) This year, my Christmas was lovely. I really needed the break from work, even though I am paying for it now. Christmas was also great because I was able to spend the day with the people I love most...what could be better?

It started off very early in the morning, as it always seems to. My brother and I opened up our stockings, ate tons of chocolate and waited for my sister to arrive. Then my family and I spent the rest of the morning opening up presents and eating way too much food. Later on, my lovely boyfriend came over before dinner. We exchanged gifts, watched Christmas movies, and spent time with the family. Needless to say, it was a wonderful Christmas.

While I try to recover from the holidays (and catch up on my work. Ack!), I thought that I would share a few pictures from the last week or so. From Christmas dinners to baking, and of course, Christmas Day...it's all here. Enjoy!

What do you think of these pictures? How did you celebrate the holidays?

xo Shannon

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

christmas, children, is not a date. it is a state of mind.

Hi all! I know that things have been a little quiet on here for the last few days. In case you were wondering why, I'll sum it up in one word: Christmas! This has been such a hectic year - trying to balance my work and all of the wonderful traditions I have with my family. Thankfully, it all managed to work out and now I am full of Christmas spirit.

On that note, I wanted to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas. I hope that you have an incredible holiday season this year. Spend time with your loved ones, appreciate the little things, and make the most of every moment. I know that I will be trying to do the same.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

xo Shannon

Saturday, December 21, 2013

top 5 favourite: christmas specials

Some people like Christmas. As for me, I love Christmas. One thing I love most of all? Christmas movies and TV specials. I could watch them all year round....that is if everyone else I know wouldn't judge me for it! There is just something about them. They remind you of what is truly important in life (family, loved ones, and being grateful) and make you feel good.

When it comes to Christmas specials, I'm not too picky. I will literally watch just about anything. With so many that I love, it was hard to narrow them down to my all-time favourites. But, for the sake of this blog post, I did my best! Here are my top 5 favourite Christmas specials:

1) Doug's Secret Christmas

Okay, you may not have seen this one...but it is my favourite Christmas special ever. This is an episode of the cartoon Doug that was released individually on VHS. (Yes, VHS...remember those?) It's all about Doug's family not really caring about the holiday season. So, he decides to celebrate all on his own. Something about this story really resonated with me. There are moments when my family isn't as enthusastic as I am about Christmastime, so I completely understand where he is coming from. I watch this at least a couple of times each Christmas and it never gets old.

2) Miracle on 34th Street

Who could ever get tired of Miracle on 34th Street? I know that some people prefer the original, but I am all about the Mara Wilson version! There is just something about it - the character growth, the emotions, and of course, the holiday spirit it inspires. I usually watch this several times throughout the holidays....but I always like it the best when my Dad sits and watches it with me.

3) Christmas With the Kranks

Watching this next Christmas movie is one of the highlights of the entire season. Why? My mom and I will make some hot chocolate, grab some gingerbread cookies, and watch the movie together. No laptops, no phones, no work. It's just about spending time together and appreciating the magic of Christmastime. Even thinking about it now, I can't wait to watch it this year.

4) A Christmas Story

I think I have seen this movie more than any other. I could recite every line! In my house, we have a leg lamp, a Christmas Story village, and ornaments galore. We just love this movie. Each year, my family and I put A Christmas Story on during breakfast and while we open presents. In fact, it plays all day on Christmas. (We were inspired by TBS's 24 hours of a Christmas Story.) To me, this movie just represents my family on Christmas Day. It will always be special to me for that reason.

5) The Santa Clause

Who doesn't love The Santa Clause? I mean, really! It is just so funny and equally heartwarming. I love all three of the movies in this series, but the first one has to be my favourite. Watching the relationship with his son evolve is truly beautiful. I just cannot get enough of this Christmas movie. (Which is probably why I've watched it three times already. Oops!)

Choosing a top 5 was ridiculously hard, so I had to do a few honourable mentions. They are: Christmas Vacation, anything and everything Rankin and Bass, Elf, I'll Be Home For Christmas, and the Fresh Prince Christmas episode.

Those are my favourites....what are yours?

xo Shannon

Thursday, December 19, 2013

gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry christmas.

It's hard to believe that Christmas is less than a week away. By this point each year, I usually have the tree set up and decorated, the gifts wrapped, and just about every holiday movie and TV special watched. Not this year, though.

Things have been...hectic, to say the least. I am absolutely swamped with work right now. And I have been for the last year. Don't get me wrong - it's a good thing. In the past year, I have been able to write more than ever. Unfortunately, I am still juggling all of my freelance writing work with a full-time job. Normally, I just push through it. I keep my head down and I refuse to give up or admit defeat. Now that it is Christmastime, though, I feel like everything is weighing on me.  

I love Christmas. In my family, it is the biggest event of the year. For me, it's so much more than the presents under the tree. I love the build up to Christmas more than the actual day itself. I love curling up on the couch and watching movies together. I love listening to Christmas CDs with my Mom. I love decorating every inch of our home with festive odds and ends.

With so much on my plate right now, I feel like I haven't had time to truly enjoy the spirit of the season. The tree still isn't up and our Christmas movies are sitting unwatched. The reality is that I've been spending most of my time either at work or locked up in my room, typing away madly. It's just a little depressing, to be honest.

I am hoping that in the next couple of days, I can somehow get caught up. Because I am ready to spend time with my loved ones. I am ready for all of our beautiful holiday traditions. Basically, I am ready to celebrate! Here is hoping....

Are you ready for Christmas? How do you balance work and celebrating the holidays?

xo Shannon

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

i am not a shopaholic. i am helping the economy.

Have you ever gone into a store for one thing....only to come out with about five things you never planned on getting? Yeah, that happened to me a little while back. It should come as no surprise that I have added a few new things to my (ever expanding) wardrobe. Sometimes, I just can't seem to stop myself!

A friend once told me that I am an emotional shopper. No, I don't shop when things are bad in my life, but fall in love with something - and then I simply have to have it. Well, I think she is probably right. (This would certainly explain my latest purchases.) Ready to take a peek at some of the things I've fallen in love with lately? Here goes nothing!

First up? A Betsey Johnson clutch with heart studs and details. It was simply too cute to pass up. And since Betsey is my all-time favourite designer, I knew instantly that I had to have it.

Next? A super cute reindeer sweater. As you likely know from my last post, I am all about Christmas. This is my favourite time of year! That is why I have such a weakness for anything festive....this sweater included. I just love it!

This skirt is one that I cannot wait to wear. It combines comic book phrases and bright colours - but it still manages to look sleek and sophisticated on. The weather has been absolutely freezing here, so I haven't had a chance to wear this one yet. Soon, I hope!

Speaking of skirts....I love a good leather skirt. While I confess, I already have one, I picked this one up as well. Why? My other leather skirt is super poufy and voluminous. This one is far more subtle. Plus, it was on sale. Who could resist?

I have a total addiction to sweaters. With the snow piling up outside, it's more important than ever to stay cozy and warm. So, I picked up this cute sweater from Target. I just loved the colour contrast! 

I don't know about you, but I get really sick of wearing clunky boots all winter long. I came across these flats by Roxy and I just fell for them right away. They are lined on the inside, so your toes will stay warm and your feet will look cute, too!

Okay, this one was a huge splurge. Guess is always a store that I need to stay out of. I just love their clothes. They are glittery and a little sexy, too. This metallic jacket took my breath away! Even on sale, it was a little steeper than I would have liked....but I don't even care. I just love this to pieces. It is absolutely gorgeous!

Sometimes, you just find a dress that calls out to you. That is what this dress did to me. The colour, the cut...everything about it was beautiful. I love that it looks classic - but with a little bit of a modern twist. I can't wait to wear it out!

Juicy Couture outlets are always a bad place to go....or a really good place to go, depending on how you look at it. New to my wardrobe is another (super comfy) Juicy Sweatsuit in navy. Love!

Lastly, I added some new tights to my wardrobe. They were on sale at Forever 21, so I decided to go for it. I am definitely loving these fun prints and colours!

Phew! I certainly did a little more damage than anticipated. Perhaps my New Years Resolution should be to shop less next year? (Ha!)

What have you added to your wardrobe lately? Do you like these pieces?

xo Shannon

Sunday, December 15, 2013

christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.

I can't believe how quickly Christmas is coming up! Even though I've spent ages counting down the days (and taking care of the endless preparations for the holiday)...somehow it managed to sneak up on me. Since there is just over a week until the big day, I thought that I would share some of my holiday pictures with you.

They include a decorated gingerbread house, white hot chocolates from Second Cup, Christmas shopping, festive nails, and of course, checking out the lights in the area. Ready to take a peek into my Christmas so far? Here are a few of my favourite shots!

White Hot Chocolate and a Kinder Penguin! 

Gingerbread house built by my boyfriend...but largely decorated by me.

 Red, glittery Christmas nails!

From the first snowfall of the year! (There is tons more of it now)

Enjoying a peppermint hot chocolate.

Out Christmas shopping....giant Christmas tree!

 Knitted holiday socks. 

 Checking out some Christmas lights with my wonderful boyfriend!

My favourite person.

A gift from my favourite person - an advent calender charm bracelet! I love it!

So, there you have it! Those are some of the pictures from my holiday thus far. I'm sure that I will have plenty more to share with you after Christmas! Until then....I hope you are enjoying the holiday season as much as I am.

Are you excited for the holidays? What have you been doing to prepare?

Also - just wanted to congratulate Kari on winning the $30 Firmoo Voucher Giveaway! I hope that you enjoy it! 

xo Shannon

Friday, December 13, 2013

review: too faced joy to the girls palette

Ahh, it's that time of year again. Yes, the snow is falling outside...and the shops are full of holiday makeup palettes! If you're a makeup fanatic like I am, then there truly is nothing better than the holiday season. This is the perfect time to get some seriously amazing deals on some gorgeous limited edition sets. Plus, you can find some fabulous gifts for some of your fellow makeup lovers!

Each year, I like to splurge and buy one holiday makeup set. This year, I picked up the Too Faced Eyeshadow Palette: Joy To The Girls. I don't have a ton of stuff from Too Faced in my makeup collection, but what I have, I absolutely love. When I came across this eyeshadow palette in Sephora, I instantly fell in love with it. The colours were totally up my alley! Even better? The packaging was super cute and festive.

Ready to take a closer look? Here is the inside of the palette. It comes with fifteen eyeshadow shades, one full-sized mascara, and three makeup tutorials along the side.

As you can see from the picture above, there is a real range of eyeshadow shades. Most of them have some shimmer to them, but there are a few matte shades as well that are just perfect for blending. Since there are so many eyeshadow shades in this palette, I thought that I would do a little review....row by row! 

The top row features Cookie Dough, Cheers! and Prancer. (Don't you just love the Christmas themed names for the shadows? It is one of my favourite things about it!) Cookie Dough is a beautiful matte brown shade. It's a nice mid-tone that is ideal for blending out a smokey eyeshadow look. Cheers! on the other hand, is a shimmery champagne kind of colour that looks beautiful all over the lid or applied on the inner corner. Prancer is actually one of the reasons I picked up this palette - it is an ultra glittery gold shade. Stunning!

The second row has Sugar Plum, a shimmery deep purple shade that is perfect as a crease colour, Mulberry, a purplish brown colour - and one of my all-time favourites, and Snow Angel, a basic white shadow. Truthfully, there is nothing overwhelmingly special about Snow Angel...but there are a lot of other wonderful shades that more than make up for it! 

The third row starts with Powdered Sugar, which is a fairly blah cream shade. Next to it is Too-Too, which is a pretty sparkly pink, and after that is one of my favourites from this palette - Yule Log. This eyeshadow colour is a dark brown with a hint of glitter. It definitely makes an impact! I love how dramatic this shade is....just perfect for a sexy, smokey eye look. 

The fourth row features Chestnut, a medium brown shade, Twinkle, a phenomenal greenish gold with tons of sparkle (love, love, love this colour!) and Joy, an icy blue to give you that perfect Christmasy makeup look! 

And lastly, the fifth row of this Too Faced palette has Spike The Punch, Chimney, and Coal. Now, I wasn't overly impressed with Spike The Punch, to be quite honest. It was far too similar to Too-Too...except that it didn't have nearly as much of an impact. That one was a letdown. However, Chimney is a great medium grey colour and Coal is a great simple black shade.

This palette also came with the Too Faced Lashgasm Mascara. (Pictured below) I was excited to try this one out, since I have never tried a Too Faced mascara before! So, what was the verdict? Well, I am on the fence about it. I absolutely love the mascara itself. It stays put, doesn't transfer, and gives my lashes an insane amount of length. (So much length, I can't even get over it!) 

Unfortunately, the packaging itself is a total miss. I'm not all that fond of the wand itself. The bristles are quite short and small. The biggest issue though, is with the stopper. I don't know if it was just this mascara or if they're all like this, but the stopper didn't do a very good job. The result was an absolute ton of mascara getting onto the wand. Since no girl wants a gob of mascara loaded onto the wand, I have to be very careful to wipe it off the side before I use it. Such a shame!

Overall, I am a major fan of this holiday palette. It's not perfect, but it's pretty darn close! I am addicted to so many of these gorgeous eyeshadow shades. It is no wonder I keep reaching for it day after day!

Have you tried this Too Faced Eyeshadow Palette? What did you think of it?

xo Shannon

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

face of the day featuring: steamcream

Dry skin is the worst...especially during the winter months. It can be itchy, flaky, and downright irritating. When it comes to my own skin, I unfortunately deal with dry skin on a regular basis. That is why the cold weather is especially challenging for me to deal with. I had been searching for a heavy-duty moisturizer that would really work - but I hadn't been able to find one this year. Everything I used worked for a couple of minutes and then my skin was back to feeling itchy again! Thankfully, STEAMCREAM came along.

If you haven't heard of STEAMCREAM yet, trust me, you'll want to! They offer a range of handmade moisturizers that use high-quality, natural ingredients. What makes them unique? They are fused together using a shot of steam. (Hence the name, STEAMCREAM!) The steam makes the moisturizer super lightweight yet ultra hydrating for the skin.

I was recently able to try out Thalia. (Pictured above) Right off the bat, I was struck by the gorgeous packaging. All of their products come in a uniquely designed tin with different artistic patterns and prints. So cute! Plus, I just love the way Thalia looks on my counter top. It adds the perfect pop of colour. As for the moisturizer itself, I've been using it every. single. day. Thus far, it is saving my skin from the cold temperatures outside!

The lotion itself feels really light on the skin but still has a thick, luxurious texture to it. It settles into the skin really well and leaves it moisturized throughout the day. I love how well it works - and the scent as well. It has a really light, pretty fragrance. Nothing too overpowering, but super pretty all the same. Overall, I am definitely loving this.

I used Thalia before applying my makeup for a night out and it made my skin look (and feel!) so much better. So, here is my face of the day featuring STEAMCREAM:

Other products used to create this face of the day? The Kat Von D True Romance Palette, the NARS blush in Deep Throat, and the Maybelline 10 Hour Stain Gloss in Red.

If you haven't checked out products from STEAMCREAM yet, be sure to head to their website: https://steamcream.co.uk/ There are so many cute tin designs to choose from!

Have you tried STEAMCREAM? What do you think of this face of the day?

xo Shannon