Tuesday, September 29, 2015

review: maple holistics

One thing I have been trying to do? Take better care of my skin. Since moving into an apartment I have found that my skin has undergone some serious changes. It looks dull and lifeless. It is dry and flaky. No matter how much I slather on moisturizer it doesn't seem to do the trick. I don't know what has caused the change....but I cannot stand it! This is why my focus has turned to skincare. I am doing everything I can to give my skin a healthier glow.

How am I doing it? By using Maple Holistics products. I was lucky enough to receive two of them to test and review. Thank goodness. They are the Dead Sea Mineral Youth Mud Mask and the Vitamin C Anti Aging Serum. (pictured above.) Does Maple Holistics sounds familiar? It should! You might remember my giveaway post that went up last month. There I talked about the goals of the company. They are all about natural beauty products. From skin care to hair care and hygiene, they carry a little bit of everything. 

The first product I tried out was the Dead Sea Mineral Youth Purifying, Therapeutic, Facial Mud Mask. Here is a closer look....

As you can see from the picture above, the mud mask comes in a plastic jar. It is rounded and has a twist off cap. Simple, sleek, and easy to use. The label is detailed and tells you everything the product is supposed to do. That is something I find useful. Especially when I am looking through skin care products to target specific issues. When you unscrew the cap there is a large amount of the product. It is a deep green mud mask. The claims? "Not only does the Dead Sea mud boost amazing exfoliating and skin-toning abilities, but it is enhanced with a formula that provides additional benefits and a relaxing aromatherapy experience."

My experience with the mud mask was a positive one. There is an awful lot of product so it will last for quite a while. It also has a really nice texture. It is smooth to the touch but feels somewhat gritty as it applies onto the skin. I love that! It is easy to apply yet still exfoliates the skin flawlessly. It takes about ten minutes to dry completely. After that I rinsed the mask with some warm water. Instantly my skin felt tighter and a lot of those flaky patches on my skin were gone. It was fantastic. I felt pampered and good about my skin. I plan to continue using this as the weeks go on.

Now for the Vitamin C Anti Aging Serum. Here is a closer look at the product....

The packaging is again very sleek and easy to use. It comes with a rubber dropper on the top with glass inside and has a beautiful glass case. The product itself is an serum that can be applied all over the face in the morning and at night. It is a fantastic addition to your daily skin care routine. What does it do exactly? "Maple Holistics Vitamin C+ Facial Serum is an anti-aging premium which takes the traditional concept of topically applying Vitamin C and provides a boost of therapeutic ingredients." It is designed to tighten, brighten, and smooth out your skin.  

I have been using this constantly. Every morning after I wash my face and before bed as well. I love that it takes only a few seconds to apply (I tend to be very lazy when it comes to skin care before bed) and works wonders. This has a very soothing quality. It also feels very luxurious on the skin. It is a fabulous way to feel pampered. Since using the serum I have found my skin is smoother more vibrant. That is always a plus. I look forward to using this more and more!

Since I have been loving my Maple Holistics products so much I decided to incorporate them into my latest YouTube video for the creation of beauty is art. Check it out! These are some easy ways to pamper yourself.....

Overall I was very happy with these products. I love using natural skin care items. It makes me feel like I am really doing something good for my skin. Want to find out more? Try these out for yourself? Then be sure to head over to the Maple Holistics website.

Have you tried any of these products? How do you pamper yourself?

xo Shannon

Friday, September 25, 2015

you're never too old for candy.

Sometimes I think all I do is review Hard Candy products! Perhaps this is because they are one of the few drugstore brands that is constantly putting out new products. The shelves are always full of new palettes, new liners, new bronzers...new everything. Several months back they released these cute palettes. There were three in total. The Natural Eyes palette, the Sassy Eyes palette, and the Smokey Eye palette. Honestly? I bought all three without so much as batting an eyelash. They were cheap, super cute, and looked gorgeous. They were musts for my makeup collection.

After using them on a fairly consistent basis over the last few months....I finally felt ready to start reviewing them. The first? The Smokey Eyes palette. There was a brief moment when I saw it on the shelf and thought, I already have a ton of smokey eyeshadows. Do I really need this? Then I thought, what the heck! By that point, I had already fallen in love with the cute packaging. Which is how this smokey eye palette made its way into my life. I am very glad it did!

Where to begin? The packaging of course. It comes in an embossed tin. I love that extra detail. It gives this affordable palette a higher end feel. When you open up the tin you see three large shadows and six smaller shadows, along with an applicator, a small pencil liner, and an eyeshadow primer. This definitely gives you everything you need to create a stunning eye look. They really took steps to make this palette complete and cute.

Now for the good stuff. The primer works surprisingly well. As does the liner. While this is not my go-to eyeliner it has an intense black colour that really really compliments the smokey shadows included in this set. As for the shadows themselves? They are phenomenal. Here is the thing about Hard Candy shadows. Sometimes they are absolutely amazing and other times they are simply okay. All of the shadows included in this set fall into the amazing category. They are nicely pigmented, easy to use, and long lasting. These had a really pretty shimmery effect that I love for a good smokey eye look!

Something else I love? The range of shades. There are navys, black, browns, golds, silvers, and cream colours. I absolutely love that there are both dark and light colours. You would be surprised at how often smokey eye palettes fail to include those necessary lighter shades! Bonus points to Hard Candy for keeping that in mind. This palette can create a number of beautiful looks....and is perfect if you are getting ready for a night out.

Overall, The Smokey Eyes palette was a total winner in my books. I love the shade selection, the quality, and the presentation. For such a reasonable price this is something you will love to have in your makeup collection. Promise! 

Have you tried this palette? What is your favourite Hard Candy product?

xo Shannon

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

YouTube: Review - Bourjois 10 Hour Sleep Effect Foundation

I wouldn't exactly call myself a foundation junkie. I know a lot of product lovers out there who simply have to try every foundation on the market. That is not me. Which isn't to say I haven't tried out my fair share of foundations. By this point I have tried dozens of different types. From high end to drugstore and back again. After finding a foundation that I loved....the search was over. I didn't feel the need to try out product after product. (Shocking, I know!) Which is why it was unusual for me to pick up a new foundation for no reason at all.

A little while ago I posted my big beauty haul video on YouTube. One of the items I picked up was the Bourjois 10 Hour Sleep Effect Foundation. There was a reason I chose to add this to my collection. Over the years, I have heard amazing things about the Bourjois foundations. Blogger after blogger has raved about the different foundations on the market. So I decided to finally take the plunge. I was going to try out a Bourjois foundation. Finally! That is exactly what I have been doing for the last several weeks. I have incorporated this product into my daily routine to see how it fares.

How did it work? You will have to watch my latest YouTube video to find out! I recently posted my full review on the creation of beauty is art. YouTube channel. It is my 15th video...which is a crazy thought. It is hard to believe I have been able to film, get more comfortable on camera, and push myself creatively in this way.

So.....was the Bourjois 10 Hour Sleep Effect Foundation a fabulous foundation? A total flop? Check out my video below to find out.

There are some foundations that wow and others that fall flat. This one? Sort of in between. Despite this, I am glad that I was able to finally try a Bourjois foundation. Especially after hearing about them for so long! For my day-to-day routine though? I think I will stick with my tried and trusted Rimmel Clean Finish.

Have you tried this foundation? What did you think of it?

xo Shannon

Saturday, September 19, 2015

a little black lipstick never hurts.

Dark lipstick. It is without a doubt my favourite fall trend. There is something so undeniably sexy about a deep lipstick shade. Maybe a dark purple, burgundy, midnight blue, or yes, even black. There are currently two black lipsticks in my collection. One high end (Kat Von D's Slayer to be exact) and one drugstore (LA Colors in black). Why do I have two of them? There is something so dramatic about black lipstick. Worn right it can elevate your makeup look to a whole new level of amazing.

Today I was going through some pictures on my computer. There was a whole folder full of photos that had been taken throughout the summer. Most of them were pretty typical. Nights out with friends, photos of my husband, and lots and lots of sunshine. Then there were a couple that I had completely forgotten about. One day before the wedding, I randomly had the house to myself. (This was rare when I still lived at home with my parents and brother.) What did I decide to do? Have a little fun with my makeup. This is one of my favourite things to do. Just to browse through my makeup collection and come up with something different. Not to go anywhere. Not to impress anyone. Just to express myself - and have a little fun at the same time.

I confess. My obsession with dramatic lipstick has reached a fever pitch. I love dark shades now that the weather is starting to cool off. So when I stumbled across these black lipstick pictures, I thought, I need to post these! That day was just about self expression. The rest of my makeup was largely cool-toned. I had silver and grey on the eyes and lots of black liner. To add a little warmth? I skipped out on a traditional blush shade and used my favourite bronzer instead.

Yes, I love black lipstick. It excites me to create different makeup looks inspired by this unconventional shade. This cool-toned look is just the beginning. There are so many other ways to wear it. And I plan on trying them all! Sometimes it is nice to play around with makeup and let the products inspire you. I miss those moments. Here is hoping the fall season brings plenty of inspiration, adventure, and black lipstick.

Would you wear black lipstick?

xo Shannon

Thursday, September 17, 2015

life is peachy.

What is it about peach and warm weather? All summer long I have been head over heels for everything. And I do mean everything. Peach drinks, peach candies, peach body wash, and even peach candles. My biggest obsession? Peach coloured makeup. Blushes, eyeshadows, and especially, lips. No wonder I wore the Maybelline Color Sensational lipstick in Peach Poppy over and over again. At first? I was attracted to the super cute packaging. The square shape and purple tube instantly grabbed my attention. Then there was the colour. The moment my gaze fell onto that gorgeous peach? It was all over. I bought that lipstick faster than you can say shannon-loves-peach-way-too-much.

Beyond the cute packaging....how did the lipstick hold up? Let me just say I was one happy camper. My biggest thing about lipstick is the texture. Anything that is dry or hard is a no go. Unfortunately, there are an awful lot of those hidden away at the drugstore. Not this one. The texture was smooth and very creamy. It applied easily and looked amazing. Which brings me to the pigmentation. It. Is. Amazing. Lipsticks can be such a hit or miss when it comes to the colour payoff. Especially with lighter shades like peach. But Peach Poppy makes a statement. It is very pigmented. No layering or applying the colour over and over again. One swipe and my lipstick game was on point.

I have been reaching for this shade a lot lately. There is something about peach lips that I love. It gives you a subtle pop of colour without being too dramatic. Which is why I created the makeup look below. It was worn with a matte smokey eye, some winged liner, and a peach toned blush. Take a look and let me know what you think....

Me? Love peach? Absolutely. This is one shade that just screams summertime. Even though the summer months have ended....I am still in the middle of my peach kick. I hope to wear this shade in the months to come. At least every now and again! It is the perfect way to freshen up a neutral makeup look. The Maybelline Color Sensational lipstick in Peach Poppy was a fantastic product that exceeded my expectations. Always a good thing!

Have you tried this lipstick? Do you love peach makeup?

xo Shannon

Monday, September 14, 2015

love the life you live.

It is still hard for me to believe. Summer is over! Okay, officially, there are still a couple of weeks but for all intensive purposes it seems that fall is here. School is back in session, the weather is changing, and everyone seems ready to get back to business. Thankfully there were plenty of exciting moments this summer. While this isn't going to be a full recap....I thought that I would share some photos with you from the last several weeks. An end of summer Best Of, if you will!

Honestly? Things have been crazy busy lately. I have had a lot going on both personally and socially. That has made it tricky to fit everything in. But I have done my best! Each weekend there seems to be some sort of plans scheduled, lots of things to do, and exciting events. For the most part? This has been really fun. It is nice to see people I care about - and do exciting things along the way. On that note? Here is a peek at some things that have been filling up my calendar as of late.

The One Direction Concert
As I mentioned in a previous post (and video!) a bunch of my friends and I went to see One Direction a few weeks back. It was a lot of fun. The set list was great and the night was full of excitement! 

Going to the CNE 
One Canadian tradition? Spending time at the CNE. It happens every year at the end of the summer. This year? My mom and I went to eat lots of food, check out the exhibits, and see Rick Springfield in concert. It was such a fun day. I had a blast! 

Saying Goodbye to a Friend
It is always hard when friends leave. Especially when they move away. As happy as you are for them - it is a sad moment. My friend Amber moved away recently to achieve bigger and better things. So she organized a goodbye dinner.

Jaydee Bixby Concert
One of my favourite country artists? Jaydee Bixby. He is a Canadian singer that I have been a fan of for several years now. After a while in between shows/CDs, he is back. So I took the chance to see him peform at the CNE. He played three sets and was fantastic. It was the highlight of a difficult week.

Yes, things have definitely been busy lately. These are just a few of the highlights of the last couple weeks. Friends, concerts, and family time. What else do you need? I can only hope that the fall season is just as exciting and rewarding as the summer has been.

What have you been up to lately? What are your end of summer highlights?

xo Shannon

Thursday, September 10, 2015

YouTube: Fall Makeup Tutorial (with Hard Candy Products!)

Well, it looks like fall is here to stay. Already the weather is changing. The nights are chilly and there are plenty of rainy days. Sigh! So long summer....hello September. One of the few things pulling me through? Fall fashion and makeup. As much as I cannot get enough of summertime, I love fall fashion and makeup trends most of all. Talk about drama! The colours are darker, there is tons of layering, and the makeup is smokier than ever. Personally? I love any excuse to go bolder with my makeup routine. Hence my love of fall trends! 

Recently, I came across a few new Hard Candy products. (Story of my life! I love how often they put out new things.)  One of them? A lipstick shade called Prowler. It was dark, vampy, and totally perfect for fall. Which actually inspired me to create a new YouTube video. I decided to use a few of my favourite Hard Candy products to put together a fall makeup look. That included the Walk The Line eyeliner, a baked blush, the Hard Candy brow it, Glamoflauge foundation, an eyeshadow palette, and of course, Prowler. The end result was something I felt very happy with. Definitely a makeup look I plan to re-create and wear out as the season continues. 

Want to see the look I created? Find out how to do it yourself? Then check out my latest YouTube video below......

Fall makeup is always exciting. Which is why I simply had to film a video dedicated to the subject. Please like, comment, and subscribe! Or head on over to the creation of beauty is art. YouTube channel.

What do you think of this fall makeup look?

xo Shannon

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

review: NARS-issist matte/shimmer eyeshadow palette

It's amazing. Every time I walk around my local Sephora store, I stop by the same spots first. Benefit, Kat Von D, and of course, NARS. And every time, I anxiously scan the shelves thinking, Will there be something new? What can I test out today? A lot of the time there is nothing new. Every now and again? There is something waiting to be swatched. During my last visit to Sephora, I locked eyes on the NARS-issist Matte/Shimmer Eyeshadow Palette. It was an instant moment of love. Smokey shades? Check. A combination of matte and shimmer? Check. It had everything I crave in an eyeshadow palette. How could I resist?

Needless to say, it came home with me. Since then I have been using it on and off. Getting a feel for the palette, trying out different looks, and incorporating it into my makeup collection. How has it fared? Did it live up to my initial expectations? Before I get into my full blown review, here is a closer look at the palette. The upper row is made up of matte shadows while the bottom is all shimmer.

The packaging. It is pretty simple and sleek - like most NARS products. One thing I do like is the large mirror inside. There is also a mirrored front which looks great. The only downside to that? It gets dirty and has fingerprints all over it. That happened the very first time I used it. Which means you constantly have to clean off the front of the palette to keep it looking its best. That was the only negative in terms of the actual packaging. I love how sturdy this feels and how simple everything else was. 

Now for the products. It included four matte shadows, four shimmery shadows, and one eyeliner pencil. Let me just say, the pencil is amazing. I have always been a big fan of NARS liners. The Night Series Eyeliner is creamy, soft, and easy to use. It has a twist up bottom that makes application a cinch. This makes creating a smokey eye look a breeze. I only wish it came with a bigger size. But that has more to do with my love of this liner than anything else!  

The shadows themselves are amazing. They have the same quality I have come to expect from NARS products. The texture is so soft. That makes them incredibly easy to blend. Each shade is highly pigmented, which makes it possible to create a number of different looks. There is a matte cream, two matte brown shades, and a matte black. Then on the bottom row is a gorgeous smokey blue, a shimmery light brown, a dark brown, and a shimmery blue/black. The sheer fact that there is a mixture of matte and shimmer is amazing. It really opens up the possibilities! I love using the matte shades all over the lid and then creating extra drama with that shimmer. 

This is one of the more recent looks I created using this palette. Take a peek! 

So, was the NARS-issist Matte/Shimmer Eyeshadow Palette a hit or miss? This was a definite winner for me. The shades are beautiful and easy to wear, neutral yet bold, and high in quality. The price tag for this set is a little steep....but I don't regret adding it to my makeup collection one bit. I love it! 

What do you think of this palette? Do you own anything from NARS?

xo Shannon

Sunday, September 6, 2015

breathe in the autumn air.

It has arrived. There is a chill in the air. Every morning when I start my walk to work....I find myself wishing I had a sweater. Or two! That means summer really is winding down. This is a little bit depressing. Thankfully there is fall fashion to ease the pain. While I adore the fun, flirty, and totally carefree summer styles, there is something special about autumn. Darker colours? Check. Edgy details? Check. The combination of strength and femininity? Check.

Each year there are new trends to enjoy. Some of my favourites for this year include carwash pleated skirts and geometric prints. By far the most compelling? Dark lace. I absolutely love the way lace looks. It can be so elegant and glamorous. Dark lace mixes romantic sensibilities with gothic inspiration. That instantly elevates even the simplest outfit. Which is why I wanted to create my ideal fall look. The focal point is that on trend black lace top. To compliment it? I chose some seasonal staples. Like maroon skinny jeans, ankle boots, gold accessories, and dark smokey makeup. Put it all together and you get something truly special.

This look is how I would best describe my own fall style. I love playing with darker - yet warm - colours, getting more dramatic with my makeup, and incorporating edgy accessories.

The beginning of fall is tough. Suddenly the weather is turning colder and those short shorts are tucked away for another year. The plus side? Incredible fashion and inspiring makeup. This look makes me excited to embrace the new season. Thank goodness for that.

What do you love most about fall fashion?

xo Shannon

Thursday, September 3, 2015

every gift from a friend is a wish for your happiness.

It is hard to believe but my husband and I got married two months ago. Time has definitely flown by. There has been so much going on lately. Between trying to unpack and set up the apartment, get into a normal routine, balance work, and write all of those thank you cards...life has been a little bit hectic lately. I am only now just starting to get settled and check things off of my to-do list. One of the things I have been enjoying the most? Using some of the makeup that has made its way into my life recently. Like the two palettes pictured above.

Both came courtesy of a friend. They were actually part of her wedding gift! Amazing or what? Honestly, I was so excited to open them up. It was such a lovely surprise. I was very touched by her sweet gesture. Which is why I am super excited to review both palettes on my blog. Today I am going to start with that massive Pro Palette. (Expect a full review of the Stilla palette in the weeks to come!) It immediately took my breath away. There were a ton of eyeshadows and blush shades to look at, play with, and use. An overwhelming amount! Here is a peek at the inside of the palette....just so you get a better idea of what I mean by a ton. 

Talk about makeup overload! There are 72 eyeshadows and six blush shades. Even looking at the palette now, I get this rush of excitement. The possibilities are absolutely endless. There are so many makeup looks to create. It is just a matter of time before I get through them all. Over the last several weeks I have been trying to use as many as possible. I really wanted to get a feel for this palette. How it performs, the pigmentation, texture, and quality. So....without further ado, here is my review!

Let's start with the eyeshadow shades. Sixty of them are small and round while the other twelve are long and rectangular in shape. Personally, I love the way this was laid out. More neutral, every day shades came in that rectangular shape. Like white, black, and brown colours. This was such a smart detail. It makes them so much easier to use and access. Plus it gives you more product for those must have shades. What I love about the rounded eyeshadow shades? The colour selection. It ranged from yellows and greens to smokey shades, gold tones, purples, blues, neutrals, and more. There really was a bit of everything! The versatility alone is spectacular. I can create bold colourful looks, classic looks, or super smokey and dramatic looks. There is more than enough variety. 

Now for quality. Let me sum it up in one word: impressed. Sometimes large palettes like this end up with so-so textures and pigmentation. Not this! Every single eyeshadow I have used, swatched, and incorporated into my makeup looks has been soft, smooth, and extremely pigmented. They look exactly like they do in the pan. Which as any makeup lover knows is not always the case. I was extremely impressed and happy with the quality of these shades. Most of them have a shimmery finish but there are a few matte shades thrown in there as well. That adds to the overall versatility of this palette.

Moving on to the six blush shades! Three are shimmery and three are matte. Each one is very unique. I own a lot of blush so I always appreciate shades that are a little bit different. This set has a soft shimmery pink, a shimmery coral, shimmery gold, matte mauve, matte strawberry, and matte bronze. Each one is easy to apply, blends well, and looks gorgeous on the cheeks. My favourites? That shimmery gold and matte mauve. They are absolutely stunning! 

Ready to see the makeup look I created with this palette? Here goes....

Love? That doesn't begin to describe the way I feel about this palette. Versatile, pigmented, and easy to use. I could not be happier. Every time I reach for this set, I smile. Partly because the makeup is so beautiful....and partly because of the person who gave it to me. This is one of my all-time favourites.

What do you think of this palette? Do you have a large eyeshadow palette in your collection?

xo Shannon

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

YouTube: #OOTD - One Direction Concert

The end of summer is a funny time. On one hand, it always seems to be full of excitement. On the other hand, the summer season is coming to a close. That means back to reality. No more hot sunny days, afternoons on the patio, or carefree moments. Sigh! Instead of focusing on the negatives....I am trying to channel my energy into the amazing experiences summer still has to offer. Like special moments with friends and even a party or two. Recently? I was lucky enough to have a seriously memorable summer evening. A group of friends and I went to see One Direction in concert.

It was definitely an interesting night! We met up for dinner beforehand which was fun at first. Unfortunately that ended badly thanks to atrocious service. We ended up missing the opening act completely - and having to run to the venue to get there in time to see 1D. Not impressed. Despite that little hiccup, it was a fun night. One Direction was amazing and it was great to see them with people I care about. Something I did beforehand? Film my very first Outfit Of The Day video for the creation of beauty is art. YouTube channel.

Honestly? This was a bit nerve wracking. I am always trying to do new things and push myself creatively. Since all of the videos I have done thus far have been beauty based, I really wanted to incorporate my love for fashion. The concert seemed like the perfect excuse! That day, I did my nails, picked out an outfit that made me feel my best, focused on accessories, and put on some smokey eye makeup. Paired with a top knot bun and some sparkly flats....I was ready to go!

Take a look at my very first OOTD video and let me know what you think:

It was a good night and a great way to say so long to summer. Before the fall season officially kicks into high gear, I plan to make the most of every moment. I hope you do, too.

Please take a minute to like, comment, and subscribe to the creation of beauty is art. YouTube channel. And thank you so much for all of your support!

What is the last concert you went to? What did you wear?

xo Shannon