Wednesday, December 31, 2014

you can always change. become a better version of yourself.

So long 2014.....hello 2015. It's the end of another year. Somehow, the last twelve months have managed to fly by. They have been busy to say the least! Each month was full of concerts, special events, friends, family, and even an engagement. There is no doubt that this past year has been a memorable one for me personally. Even though it was full of a lot of work and sacrifice, it was also one of the most exciting I can remember.

There were a lot of highlights for me. The most notable? My boyfriend proposed to me this past summer. It was without a doubt the most incredible moment of my entire life. Since then, everything has kind of been a blur of plans, decisions, and thinking about the future. Because of that, I am now getting ready to start a whole new chapter in my life. So, I guess that I am feeling pretty optimistic (if not a little nervous!) about the coming year.

2015 is definitely going to be a big one. Like a lot of people, I have a few resolutions that I am hoping to achieve in the months that follow. Unlike previous years, this time I am keeping it simple. I actually came across a picture that perfectly represented my goals for the year ahead.....

Perfect, right? I think in the past I have made my resolutions far too complicated. Instead I am trying to take a step back and focus on the important things. Being healthy, being happy, and sharing love. I don't know what your resolutions are this year - but I hope the picture inspires you like it inspired me.

The start of a new year brings with it a raft of new hopes and dreams. To all of you out there, have fun celebrating the start of 2015.....and enjoy every moment of the year ahead.

How do you plan to celebrate New Years? Do you have any resolutions?

xo Shannon

Monday, December 29, 2014

the things we lose have a habit of coming back again.

Can you believe it? Christmas is over. This always makes me feel kind of sad. The build up to Christmas is so beautiful and special....but it manages to go by so quickly that I am always a little blue when once the holiday season has come to an end. There is still New Years Eve to look forward to, but nothing is quite as magical as Christmastime. I for one, will be counting down the days until next year! The music, the movies, the lights, and the memories are always perfect.

If you couldn't tell, I am back from my mini-break. As much as I love blogging, it was nice to get away for a little bit, unplug, and just focus on being with the people I care about most. Did you unplug this holiday season? I did my best to ignore work emails, turn my phone on silent, and just experience each and every moment. It is so easy these days to get caught up in deadlines and the immediacy of our phones, tablets, and all the rest. That makes the Christmas season the perfect excuse to step away from it all.

My holidays were absolutely wonderful. It started off very early in the morning and didn't stop until very late at night. And then there was the annual tradition of boxing day shopping the next morning. To say the last several days have been busy would be an understatement....but I wouldn't change it for anything. I will definitely update you on my holidays, bring you makeup reviews, hauls, and more this week. For now, I just wanted to pop in, say hello, and reminisce on the days past.

So, fill me in. How were your holidays? What did you do to celebrate? And are you ready to get back into the swing of things?

xo Shannon

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

have a holly jolly christmas.

It's almost here.....the countdown to Christmas is getting smaller and smaller. Today is Christmas Eve-Eve, if you believe in that sort of thing! Let me just say, I am ridiculously excited. My work is winding down for the holidays (or at least I hope so) and I am gearing up to dedicate my time to family, friends, and traditions. There is still so much to do. Like bake goodies, watch movies, and finish up all of the decorating, wrapping, and other preparations. Since this is my last Christmas living at home, all of these moments seem even more important somehow. I am doing my very best to take the time I need to cherish those moments and create special memories that will last long after I get married and move out.

That is why I am taking a mini-break from blogging. I will still be around, commenting, and checking in on all of you.....but I am going to refrain from actual blog posts for the rest of the week. When I return? You can expect lots of exciting posts after that, full of makeup reviews, Christmas stories, concert pictures, hauls, and some other special posts. In the meantime, I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas.

Whatever you celebrate - and however you celebrate - I hope that the season brings you joy. Life can feel stressful and overwhelming sometimes. The holidays really work to put it all in perspective. This is a time for showing love, dedicating time, and helping others. My wish is that all of you are able to do those things and so much more. So, have a wonderful holiday with the people you love. You deserve it! I am going to end this post with a few quotes and pictures that capture the spirit of the season. Enjoy.....

A very Merry Christmas from the creation of beauty is art. Have a fantastic holiday, everyone!

xo Shannon

Sunday, December 21, 2014

the best way to spread christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.

The holiday season. I can't get enough of it! For the last several weeks, I have been writing out Christmas cards, wrapping presents, watching movies, listening to music, and even giving my wardrobe and makeup a seasonal splash. From Christmas sweaters and t-shirts to my seems that everything in my life lately is holiday-themed. And honestly? I like it that way.

One example is my latest makeup look of the day. In addition to my t-shirt (it read: don't get your tinsel in a tangle) and my jingle bell earrings, I wanted to add even more holiday cheer to my FOTD. I was getting ready to help a friend decorate her house - so the goal was to be as festively fashionable as possible. That is why I chose to wear a combination of green and red eyeshadow. It sounds crazy! But somehow, it managed to turn out to be quite wearable.

The products I used for this makeup look were:
- Rimmel Clean Finish Foundation
- Rimmel 3 in 1 bronzer 
- Hard Candy Walk The Line Liquid Eyeliner 
- Benefit They're Real! Mascara
- NARS Turkish Delight Lip Gloss
- Little Mermaid eyeshadow palette from Sephora. 

The colours? A turquoise green with a lighter green layered on top and a redish brown shade blended through the crease. I wanted to take inspiration from classic holiday colours without looking like a total caricature! By opting for slightly deeper tones, I think I was able to accomplish this. Want to find out? Take a closer look at my holiday themed makeup look:

So, that is my holiday makeup look! I had a lot of fun playing with the colours and seeing how I could make the combination easy to wear. Overall, I was really happy with how it turned out.

Are you counting down the days until Christmas? What do you think of this makeup look?

xo Shannon

Friday, December 19, 2014

christmas isn't a season. it's a feeling.

It's hard to believe how much has happened lately. It seems like time is going by so quickly. Whenever I look at the calender, I am astonished to find there are so few days remaining until Christmas! There is a good reason for this. My calender has been packed with special events. In the last couple of weeks, I have gone to a few concerts, met up with friends, and have been busy decorating the house. Let me just say: I have been having a ton of fun....but it is definitely making me lose track of time. Since there has been so much going on, I thought that I would re-cap some of those special events.

The first was going to see O-Town with a friend of mine. I am a massive fan of O-Town and was so excited when they announced their reunion. And even more excited when they announced they were coming to a nearby city. My friend and I made plans to go to the concert, stay overnight, and have a blast. We definitely did! I had such a great time, singing along to all of the songs, and having a long standing dream come true. 

The next special event was yet another concert. This time it was Barenaked Ladies with the TSO. I bought the tickets for my fiance. We had a lot of fun. My favourite part? Watching my fiance laugh and sing along to the songs. That was pretty much perfect. The concert itself was a mix of BNL's biggest hits and Christmas songs - so that was a fun night.

I have also been doing a lot of festive things. Like, decorating and eating delicious festive treats. This is how I love to spend my time during the holiday season....following traditions and spending time with family. Here are a few random Christmas themed pictures!

Next up was the annual dinner with my friends. We met up to get our picture taken with Santa, do our Secret Santa Gift Exchange, and have dinner. It was a lot of fun....minus getting there. (Public transportation was not my friend that day.) I always have a great time when we all manage to get together, even though it doesn't happen that often anymore. So, these are a few pictures from the night! 

The holiday season has definitely been busy - but it has also been a lot of fun. This is how I love to spend Christmastime.....with the people I love.

How have you been spending the holiday season?

xo Shannon

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

never doubt yourself. never change who you are.

There were a lot of sceptics. When Britney Spears announced the launch of her latest venture – a lingerie line, dubbed Intimate by Britney Spears – there were dubious looks and furrowed brows galore. What did a pop star know about designing lingerie? And would anyone actually buy it? Now that the line has launched, I thought it was fitting to do a spotlight of sorts on the brand.

Personally, I am always intrigued when someone from one avenue tries out something different. Will it work? Will it fail? There is always that question hanging overhead. Now that the pieces are in and Britney has toured the globe to promote her passion project, it seems that this pop icon has yet another hit on her hands.

Early reviews of the line were largely positive, with fans and reporters alike buzzing about her sweet personality and wearable pieces. As for me? I received my very first order a little while back. For my first order, I stuck with sleepwear. I opted for a cute t-shirt that says, Vintage Romance by Britney Spears. There were many pieces featured on the website, from bras to underwear, sleepwear, and more. That included basics like black lace bras and matching bottoms and bolder pieces like pink lace bralets, glamorous robes, cute and comfy pyjamas, and more. There is a little bit of everything! So, whether you are a t-shirt to bed kind of girl or want to amp it up a bit, there are options.

I ended up with the t-shirt as a way to test the waters. I liked that it was cute and comfy – and could be worn to bed or out and about. My next order will definitely include some lingerie as well…. but for now, I am very happy with my purchase. The order shipped quickly, the quality of the piece was outstanding, and the pricing was fair. An extra detail that I loved? The order came in this elaborate gift box and included a picture of Britney Spears inside. It was such a nice detail that made my order feel even more special. Britney definitely knows how to do affordable luxury!

Here is a peek at the shirt I bought, how I wore it, and my makeup look of the day:

Britney has launched an impressive and versatile collection of lingerie. It may not be the new single fans had been hoping for…. but her step into the fashion world has been nothing but positive thus far. Here is hoping that Intimate by Britney Spears will continue to be a success.

Have you bought anything from her line? What do you think of this piece?

xo Shannon

Monday, December 15, 2014

it is christmas in the heart that puts christmas in the air.

I love the Christmas season. It is possible that I love it a little too much, but hey - there is nothing wrong with that! In between work, seeing friends, and family traditions, I have been decorating up a storm. The house looks as close to perfect as it ever will. Since the holiday season has overwhelmed my life lately, I got super excited when I saw a Christmas tag on Laura's All Made Up. So, I decided to post the tag on my own blog. This is the Christmas tag....and I tag all of you to answer it for yourselves!

1) What is your favourite winter/Christmas scent?
Gingerbread! I just love the smell of gingerbread. So much so that I bought a bunch of gingerbread scented bulbs from Bath & Bodyworks - along with gingerbread scented hand soap. Nothing says the holidays like gingerbread.

2) What is your favourite winter drink?
No doubt about it....white hot chocolate. My fiance and I go to Second Cup a few times each holiday season to treat ourselves with one of these. It is the perfect holiday beverage!

3) What is your favourite item of clothing to wear in the winter/near Christmas?
I actually have a ton of Christmas PJs, sweaters, and t-shirts. So, I like to spend the weeks leading up to Christmas decked out in holiday gear. It just makes me feel happy!

4) Favourite Christmas song?
Hanson's version of "O Holy Night." I remember listening to it over and over again when I was young. It still gives me goosebumps today.

5) Favourite Christmas movie? 
This one is tough because I am a Christmas movie addict. I will watch them over and over again and never grow tired of them! My favourite is probably Doug's Secret Christmas or Christmas With the Kranks. I love the Doug movie because my brother and I always watch it together. And I love Christmas With the Kranks because my mom and I always plan a special afternoon to watch it.

6) Are you on the naughty or nice list this year?
I'm pretty sure I am on the nice list! I can't think of anything too naughty that I've done....

7) Where do you usually spend Christmas? 
I always spend Christmas at home with my family. It is my parents, brother, sister, and I - and that is how I like it. When I was young, we used to go see extended family in the evening but now it is just my immediate family. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

8) Where do you wish you could spend Christmas? 
There is nowhere I would want to spend Christmas than at home with the people I love.

9) What is your favourite part of a Christmas dinner?
Mashed potatoes and stuffing. Yum!

10) What is your favourite thing about Christmas? 
This is a tough one because I genuinely love everything about the Christmas season. I love that warm fuzzy feeling when you are curled up on the couch watching a holiday movie. I love spending time with the people that matter most. I love the traditions, the decorations, the sights, and the smells. I love every single little thing about it.

If you haven't done this tag yet, give it a try! It is a great way to reflect on the magic of the holiday season. And if you end up doing the tag - let me know. I can't wait to see all of your answers.

How do you celebrate the holidays?

xo Shannon

Saturday, December 13, 2014

guest post: cruelty free makeup and finding the perfect purple.

Something that is not easy? Being a makeup lover and buying only cruelty free beauty products. While there are plenty of great makeup brands out there, certain companies choose to test on animals. This is an unfortunate reality. A friend of mine has a passion for makeup....and has made the conscious decision not to purchase products from companies that are not cruelty free. This is something I commend for her for! It takes a lot of time, energy, and research to fill your makeup collection with only cruelty free products.

I asked my friend to write a guest post for the creation of beauty is art. Here she will tell you a little bit more about her hunt for the perfect purple (and cruelty free) lipstick. So, without further ado, this is Michelle's guest post:

Searching for a certain lipstick colour is hard - especially when you're against animal testing.  

The Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics brand is 100% cruelty free and is vegan. "This is awesome," I thought, since almost every brand Sephora sells is tested on animals.  

My goal that day in Sephora, was to find the perfect purple lipstick. I found the OCC Lip Tars that some people were talking about and reviewing on YouTube. I tried on a  light purple colour, but I didn't like how it looked. Then a staff member mixed that with a dark colour and it was actually really nice! The good thing about these lip tars are that you only need to use a little bit of the product. The downside is that it can be kind of hard to take off. 

I was so glad that I had finally found the perfect purple colour and that it's vegan and cruelty free. That is very important to me because I love animals. They don't have a voice, so we have to speak up for them. Seeing pictures of the poor rabbits who have been used for testing, just so we can look pretty, breaks my heart. Hopefully in the future there will be a world without animal testing. 

--- Michelle

I just wanted to thank Michelle for her wonderful guest post. It shows that with a little hard work and determination, anyone can find the perfect purple lipstick.

Do you try to buy cruelty free makeup products?

xo Shannon

Thursday, December 11, 2014

happy haul-idays to you.

It's hard to believe how quickly this month is flying by. We are almost halfway through December....crazy! My days have been filled with work, decorating, and plenty of holiday traditions. Personally, I love this time of year. It helps to break up all of those day to day responsibilities. It also re-focuses us on what is really important. I find it so easy to get wrapped up in stress, deadlines, and to-do lists. December makes me remember that family, friends, and the people I love should always be my priority.

In between all of the work and holiday traditions, I have also managed to sneak in a little shopping. Mostly for other people. But hey - a little for myself as well. Those pre-holiday sales were too tempting to resist! On that note, this is my holiday haul:

The holidays are a great time to spend time with the people you love....and they are also a great time to do a bit of shopping! Did you take advantage of pre-holiday sales?

xo Shannon

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius.

There is something about winter that makes fashion easy to overlook. The chilly temperatures and snow filled streets put warmth and practicality above anything else. Including style. Truthfully? Even I am guilty of this. When the mornings are so cold I can barely force myself to get out from underneath the covers…. the last thing on my mind is looking good. Not this year. I am determined to make a change. This year I will be devoting myself to fashion – even during the winter months.

Wondering why I am so determined? Fashion matters every day of the year. Especially when you want to beat those winter blues! Getting into a routine of slipping on a onesie when you get home or wearing a bulky hoodie to work isn’t always a good thing. When you stop putting effort into the way you look, it makes you more susceptible to the winter blues. That can lead to feelings of sadness, isolation, or general unhappiness. Taking care of yourself and having pride in your appearance has been proven to be effective at combating those feelings. So, when you want nothing more than to cuddle up with a giant blanket in your sweats, remember: the winter blues are real!

It’s true. While the winter blues may seem like a silly idea, they actually do exist. When men and women spend less time outdoors (thanks to that massive snowstorm that forced you to cancel plans with your BFF) it can lead to feelings of loneliness. If that wasn’t enough, it also becomes harder to get in enough exercise. This in turn impacts our general mood and feelings of self-confidence. The change in weather conditions can also impact the quality of sleep we get each night – making us feel tired and lethargic. The easiest way to deal with these issues is to take a good look at your wardrobe! You don’t have to get dressed up to the nines, but put on something that makes you feel special.

Other reasons to put a little effort into your style during the winter season? Wearing something that makes you feel good can boost your confidence level, help you to feel more social, and improve your overall mood. Those are definitely good feelings to have when the snow is coming down outside!

Despite my longing to be cozy every single day this winter – I refuse! There is a time and place for PJ bottoms and hoodies. Instead of forgetting about fashion and style, this year I am striving to find a balance between warmth and a wardrobe that makes me shine. Will you be doing the same?

xo Shannon

Sunday, December 7, 2014

my purple dreams

Have you ever given yourself a limit? Like, I won't buy anything until the end of the month. Or no more shopping trips to Sephora until I actually need something new. Several months back, I gave myself a limit on purple lipstick. At this point, I have a deep purple, a bright purple, a lilac, matte, gloss, and so much more. One day I decided: use what I have....stop looking for more.

Then this funny thing happened. I was at Sephora and came across the line of Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipsticks. Over the years, I have added more than a few products from her line to my makeup collection. I love the edgy packaging, the bold colours, and the array of unique items. Instantly, I fell head over heels for that studded packaging. How unique! I rationalized that even if the lipstick wasn't one I used all the time, the lipstick would look amazing on my dresser.

Then my eyes fell on Wonderchild - a neon lilac with tons of glitter. How did I manage to rationalize yet another purple lipstick? Glitter! Surely the glitter made it different enough. Right? Okay....maybe that isn't totally true but it is at least partly true. And that is the most important part! Now that I have been wearing the lipstick on and off for the last several weeks....I finally feel ready to review it.

If you couldn't tell by now, I am obsessed with the packaging. The studs look amazing. It is such a fabulous detail that makes the line of lipsticks stand out from the rest. As for the lipstick itself? The colour is amazing. It is bright, bold, and fun to wear. Plus, that extra pop of sparkle and glitter makes it look even better. My only criticism? The formula can be pretty drying. I find that I need to layer a lip balm over top to keep my lips feeling comfortable. Other than that - it's a total hit.

Ready to see that bright purple in action? This is the smokey makeup look I created to showcase that stunning colour. Take a look:

This Kat Von D lipstick might not be something I needed in my makeup collection....but it is something I love. I find myself excited to wear this over the top but totally sultry shade. I love the colour and the packaging. 

Have you tried any of the Kat Von D studded lipsticks? What do you think of this colour?

xo Shannon

Friday, December 5, 2014

life is a story. make yours a best seller.

It sounds cliche, but it's true. Time flies. Lately, time seems to be going by even faster! Between work, spending time with family, and making time to see friends, there seems to be very little time left over. My to-do list is massive....and always seems to be growing. Sigh! I think this is a busy time of year for everyone. There are all of these responsibilities to take care of - not to mention all of the holiday traditions that are coming up in the next few weeks. It is enough to stress anyone out.

That is why I am taking a bit of time to look back today. Over the last couple of weeks, I have been trying to make time for myself. New makeup ideas, date nights, shopping trips with my mom, spending time with friends.....the works. Even though I spend the majority of my time working, it is nice to break things up every now and again. Especially during this time of year!

On that note: these are some of the pictures from my life lately....

I guess like has been zipping by in the last little while. So, it feels good to take a few minutes to look back at some of the makeup looks, the nights out, and the new beauty products in my life. They may be small and simple - but sometimes, those are the best things!

What has been keeping you busy lately?

xo Shannon

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

december, make my wishes come true.

This? This is my favourite time of year. It is officially December - and that means Christmas is on the way. I have been doing my best to make the most of every single moment. In between work and other responsibilities, my life has been Christmas, Christmas, and more Christmas. That means holiday movies and music, decorating, making plans, and spending time with family. There is nothing quite like it. The warm fuzzy feeling in your stomach when you forget about everything and just embrace the spirit of the season....what could be better?

It's only the beginning of December- but already there have been plenty of exciting holiday moments. Like the first snowfall, white hot chocolates, watching the Santa Claus parade on TV, making gingerbread cookies with my fiance, doing a little gift shopping, and setting up the mini Christmas tree in my room. All of these things make me excited. See, I love everything about the holiday season. I might be a bit of a Christmas fanatic - but that's okay. It's called the greatest time of year for a reason!

The great thing about December? There are plenty of things to look forward to. Some of the things I am counting down to this month? Other than Christmas, of course! Going to a few concerts (O-Town, Barenaked Ladies, and Donny & Marie), seeing my friends (dinners and nights out galore), putting up the Christmas trees (we have a grand total of three in my house) and watching Christmas With the Kranks With my mom (it is our all-time favourite holiday movie). These are just a few of the things that make the holiday season so wonderful.

Since my mind is all holiday all the time, I thought that I would share a few of my favourite Christmas photos. I've been saving them on my computer here and there for the last month or so. They inspire me and fill my heart with joy.

If you couldn't tell, I am very happily that the holiday season is here. I love absolutely everything about it. The time spent with loved ones, the smells, the tastes, and everything in between. I almost wish I could slow down time and enjoy every single moment of it....because I know that it will all end too soon.

Are you getting excited for Christmas? What are your favourite holiday traditions?

xo Shannon