Thursday, March 31, 2016

tell me I have not inspired something burgundy.

Musicals? Are on my list of loves. There is something incredible about them. The stories, the music, the emotions. The right musical can connect with you on a deep emotional level. It can help you discover more about yourself. It can remind you how beautiful life truly is. Over the years, there have been many musicals in my life. Some special and other just so-so. Recently? I was fortunate enough to attend a musical that touched my heart. It made me feel alive, strong, and eager to put my best foot forward. Pun intended. That musical was of course, Kinky Boots. 

It has been playing nearby for a while now. Sadly? Ticket prices were way out of budget for me. (That is the downside of loving musicals and live theatre. Tickets prices get higher and higher. Especially when it comes to larger productions.) I had come to terms with the fact that I was not going to be able to see Kinky Boots. Then suddenly in its final weeks? There was a deal on tickets. My mom managed to snag a couple for us at a seriously discounted price. It was exciting to say the least.

We ended up spending the day downtown. It started with a train ride, the show itself, and a bit of window shopping to finish it all off. The musical? Was amazing. Incredible. Fun and fabulous. The cast was quite strong (especially our Lola! Talk about a fantastic voice!), the music was both catchy and meaningful, and the themes were inspiring. I loved every minute of it. So much of the musical was about being true to yourself. Shining bright. Accepting others. Each one of those themes spoke to me. No wonder I left the theatre feeling good about myself. Feeling optimistic about life!

I think that is the sign of a good musical. When you leave the theatre walking a little taller than when you entered. Personally? If a musical can offer entertainment value and still connect to you on an emotional level? It is something special. Kinky Boots was certainly a musical to remember.

Seeing Kinky Boots really shifted my head space. Lately I have been feeling happier, more optimistic, and ready to live my dreams. Honestly? It feels good to be inspired. Thank goodness for musical theatre. 

Have you seen Kinky Boots? What did you think of the production? 

xo Shannon

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

can words describe the fragrance of the very breath of spring?

Could it be? Is spring well and truly here? Officially...spring has already begun. Despite this, there have been snow flurries and an ice storm. Not exactly the warm spring weather I have been dreaming of! Yet my mind still wanders to sunshine and flowers. Somehow? I am looking past the awful weather. My days are spent dreaming of those special spring moments. Great fashion, pastels, and a carefree attitude. What could be better than that? Yes, spring is definitely on my mind. Which brings me to today's blog post. It is all about spring style.

There is something remarkable about it. The way the perfect spring outfit can make you feel. Fun, flirty, and excited about life. My inspiration for the outfit I created? Laid back but romantic. I paired a plaid dress with a cute pair of strappy boots, a round clutch, and some simple gold accessories. Add on a dramatic pink blush and plenty of mascara - and this spring outfit is good to go. Ready to see it in action? Take a look at this spring style set. Be sure to let me know what you think of it!

Spring style is special. It has personality and plenty of romance. This is one example of incredible spring fashion....but there are so many other ways to embrace the season. Share your favourite spring inspired trends in the comment section below!

What do you think of this look? 

xo Shannon

Saturday, March 26, 2016

easter spells out beauty. the rare beauty of new life.

Another holiday? How is that even possible? It seems that just yesterday we were celebrating St. Patrick's Day....and now we have already moved on to Easter. I confess: this holiday overload is totally okay with me. My love of anything and everything holiday related cannot be stopped. Out of all of the holidays? Christmas is by far my favourite. Next on the list? It has to be Easter. It has everything I adore. Chocolate, bunny rabbits, and family time. That is how I have always celebrated the holiday. Every year, my family and I would dig into our Easter baskets, eat chocolate, and watch holiday movies. (On the short list: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, It's The Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown, and Hop.) Then for dinner? We sit at the table and eat a home cooked meal and cookies straight out of the oven. It is pure bliss.

Yes, there is something lovely about it all. Spending time with family and indulging my sweet tooth. Those are some of my favourite pastimes. And during Easter? I get to do both on the same day. This year things will be slightly different. It is my first time not living at home for Easter. That means the itinerary for the day is a little different. My husband and I will swap baskets early in the morning. Then I will head over to my parents house (the hubby is stuck working. Sigh!) for movies and chocolate. Later in the day? My husband will join us for a delicious Easter dinner. Different....yet so many of my favourite things will be the same. That makes me extremely happy.

In a way? I think this holiday has come around at the perfect time. Life has been crazy lately. For the last several weeks, my regular routine has been off. There has been too much going on - and too much to think about. Which is why I am so excited for Easter. It gives me the chance to escape into the carefree. At least for a little while. Here is hoping my day of chocolate and movies will bring me the joy and laughter I am so desperately seeking. Confession: I am already thinking about all of our family traditions. They make me smile.

Bunnies are cuddly
The large and the small
But I like chocolate ones
The best of them all.
- Author Unknown

The Easter weekend can be a lot of fun. Exciting, even! is hoping you all have an incredible holiday. Eat lots of chocolate, watch some movies, and spend time with people you love. In my opinion? Those are the ingredients to a fabulous celebration. 

What are your Easter plans? 

xo Shannon

Thursday, March 24, 2016

YouTube: Drugstore Face Trio Face Off

If there is one thing I cannot is a face trio. There is something so alluring about the convenience of it all. A blush, bronzer, and highlight? All in one? Perhaps this is further proof that I am a sucker for cute and convenient packaging. But hey - aren't we all at one point or another? Being a lover of face trios is not a bad thing. Especially these days. There has been a major influx of face trios at the drugstore. From Rimmel to Maybelline and more. You have probably noticed them popping up at high-end stores as well. There is simply no avoiding the surge of face trio options.

This is what inspired my latest YouTube video. On a day like any other, I opened up my blush drawer to find the perfect shade. Then I saw them sitting there. One, two, three, four, five, six different face trios. It was only then that I realized just how many there were in my collection. (And confession: I had recently added one more to the pile.) This trend is taking over. Both in store and at home. Which led me to sit down and create a very special video. It is a face trio face off. This was my chance to really think about each trio. What was good? What was bad? And how do they compare to one another? Before long....I had taken a look at my beloved face trios with a critical eye.

Want to see my Face Trio Face Off? Then check out the creation of beauty is art. YouTube channel. See how four of my favourite drugstore face trios fared....and find out which one is my all-time favourite.

How many face trios do you own? Which is your favourite?

xo Shannon

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

the love of family is life's greatest blessing.

It feels good to go back. To relive the beautiful days of my youth. That is one of the many reasons Fuller House has become a full blown obsession. I remember watching Full House over and over again when I was little. (And as an adult. Those episodes never get old.) There was something so perfect about that show. Each character was distinct and lovable. Sure they had their faults but ultimately? The love of family could get them through anything. That is a wonderful message. One that many television shows seem to lack these days. There is so much focus on shock value. On sex and violence. Fuller House takes us back to a simpler time. When love was all you needed to get through life's ups and downs.

Needless to say? I have been binge-watching Fuller House. I love seeing the old cast back together again. To see the sets re-created. To feel the magic one more time. Sure the nostalgia factor is huge....but the show stands up on its own. The new kids are charismatic and delightful. The way the original characters have grown is exciting and fulfilling. There are laughs, smiles, and even a few tears. For me? Fuller House is everything I hoped it would be. It isn't just a television show. It is an important part of my history.

Since I am so inspired by this wonderful show.....I thought that I would make a post about it. Not just what it means to me but the fashion as well. Growing up? My favourite character was always Stephanie Tanner. Witty and sharp tongued. Honest and always changing. But watching Fuller House? I cannot get over the incredible fashion that DJ Tanner-Fuller (played by the wonderful Candice Cameron Bure) sports on the show. Polished, put together looks that are classy, sophisticated, and just a little bit flirty.

Seriously. I am loving her outfits so much. Whether it is a cute flowy top with a pair of skinny jeans or a gorgeous pencil skirt and crop top.....she always looks fantastic. Sadly there aren't a ton of screencaps online (especially ones that showcase her fabulous wardrobe) but here are a few of the ones I have found. Get ready to get inspired!

Fuller House exceeded my expectations. It made me happy and oh-so-inspired. Thank goodness another season is in the cards!

Have you watched Fuller House yet?

xo Shannon

Sunday, March 20, 2016

don't let the ups and downs of life steal your happiness.

Let me be honest for a moment here. As much as I have been looking forward to spring? To fun events lurking around the corner? The last week or so has been awful. Completely and utterly terrible in every possible way. It was one bad thing after the next. Each day there seemed to be a new hurdle that would knock me off my feet. I'd pull myself together. Pick myself back up. And then something else would happen. Each one of these events drained me emotionally and spiritually. By the end of the week? I felt depressed, scared, and lost. Now? That feeling remains. It refuses to leave no matter how hard I try shake it.

That is why today I am doing an old-fashioned happy post. Life feels overwhelming....and those unexpected moments have caused me to lose sight of the incredible things I do have in my life. So, this is a list of the things that are making me smile today.

My family and friends. Perhaps this should go without saying. But I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the wonderful people I have in my life. The ones who actually care. Beyond the superficial. The people who I can turn to when life gets hard. The ones who are always on my side. The ones who I reach out for in times of crisis. Those people bring a light to my life that inspires me day after day.

The warm weather. From a very serious topic to one that is far more lighthearted. The weather. It feels like winter is truly behind us now. The other day? I didn't have to wear a jacket at all. I just walked outside with a light top and a pair of jeans. It was glorious. I have missed nice weather so much over the last few months.

Good Books (and Time To Read Them!) Reading is one of my biggest passions. It is something I have always loved to do. Ever since I was a child. Over the last few years, it has been difficult to set aside a lot of reading time. Or any "me" time. My work schedule has been so full and so constant. Now? I am finally starting to carve out some reading time. I've been devouring novels lately. Some mystery, a few biography, and some inspirational ones as well. That has been really wonderful.

Makeup, Makeup, and More Makeup. Okay. This one probably won't come as a shock. Especially if you have been reading my blog for any amount of time. I love makeup. An awful lot. It makes me smile day in and day out. So much so that I recently filmed an I Love Makeup Tag video for my YouTube channel. Check it out below to find out more about my favourites, my feelings, and my history with makeup.

Ups and downs are a part of life. Recently? There have been more downs than ups. Hopefully that will change. Until then....I will focus on my happy list.

What makes you happy?

xo Shannon

Thursday, March 17, 2016

st. patrick's day is an enchanting time.

It's funny. St. Patrick's Day never used to be a huge deal to me. Even though my family is Irish. It just wasn't something we ever celebrated. Then several years back? My friend took me to a bar to celebrate the holiday. That was the night I met my husband. Ever since then....St. Patrick's Day has had a very special meaning for me. It represents the start of a brand new chapter. It makes me think of the amazing relationship I have and the equally amazing friendship. This year? It will be a pretty laid back celebration. I am trying not to spend money on extras. At least for the month of March. So, it will likely be my husband and I playing bartender in our apartment. Not a bad way to celebrate. 

Usually for St. Patrick's Day, I post pictures of green makeup inspiration. Green outfits. Cute decorations. This year? I wanted to do something a little bit different. I wanted to post some Irish Sayings and Irish Blessings. After reading some....I felt inspired. Happier. They have managed to bring a little light to my life. Here are a few of my favourites. 

St. Patrick's Day is here. Whether you are celebrating tomorrow or this weekend....have fun. Be safe. And remember: always celebrate in style. 

How will you celebrate St. Patrick's Day this year?

xo Shannon

Monday, March 14, 2016

spring is who you are.

We are so close to spring. So close that I can barely stand to admit that it technically still winter. But only technically. These days? The weather has been lovely. The sun shines and the temperatures are rising. The other day? I had a welcome surprise when I walked outside. Instead of being greeted by an immediate chill...there was a warmth that had long been forgotten. Yes, spring is special.

Maybe it has to do with the weather. (Sunshine. How I missed you!) Or the fashion. (Floral prints and pastel shades galore!) Or the makeup (Fresh, flirty, and downright whimsical!) But this particular season always fills me with hope. Optimism. Appreciation. I feel a little lighter when I walk. I stand a little taller. I find myself falling in love with small moments. Is anyone else like this? Spring is an awakening on so many levels. Which is why I am eager to welcome it in.

Inspired? Absolutely. Which is why today's blog post has to do with my love affair with spring. I simply cannot wait to make the most of the season. Both in terms of fashion and makeup - and my own personal goals. I want to get out more. Live life to the fullest. Step up my game. So on that are some of my favourite (beauty related) spring photos.

Spring is a special time. One filled with beauty, hope, and wonder. So, are you looking forward to spring?

xo Shannon

Friday, March 11, 2016

blushing is amazing. simply amazing.

Okay. I own a lot of blush. More than anyone should. But in my defense....I love them all so much. Each shade speaks to me, inspires me, and makes me giddy. That's right. Every single one. As I was digging through my massive blush collection? I came across a forgotten favourite. It is Autumn Peach by Essence. Okay. It is not exactly autumn right now. There is a scattering of snow outside my window. The wind is rushing by. The temperatures are chilly. Despite the seasonal inconsistency, this is a blush that I tend to reach for during the spring and summer months.

Why? I absolutely love the warm undertones. When the sun starts to shine? (Or when I start dreaming about sunshine and weather.) My mind automatically shifts to warm shades. Like Autumn Peach. Anything and everything peach is on my must have list. It is pretty, flirty, and fun. This is probably why Autumn Peach grabbed my attention before a recent night out. I wanted to create a makeup look that was simple and sweet. This blush was the perfect finishing touch.

So. How does Autumn Peach perform? It is pretty clear that I love the colour. A lot. It is warm and easy to wear. Now to get into the good stuff. Pigmentation, texture, and packaging. Let's start with the latter. All of the Essence blushes come in a simple clear plastic case. Basically? Nothing special. The packaging is sturdy enough but does not feel luxurious. (For such a low price it doesn't need to. These blushes are a major bargain!)

Now for texture. This is one of the aspects I love most about the Essence blushes I have tried. They are buttery soft and oh-so-smooth. They also blend incredibly well. These perform more like a high end product than an ultra affordable drugstore item. That makes them a serious beauty must have, in my opinion! Lastly? Pigmentation. If you are looking for a blush that packs a punch...this is it. This blush is quite pigmented. A little will go a very long way. My advice? Start small and build up the product. That way you can ensure an even application and the gorgeous glowing cheeks you crave.

If there is one thing I is blush. There will never come a day when my makeup look does not include a little bit of blush. It has this wonderful way of pulling a look together. Just look at Autumn Peach by Essence. It added a beautiful flush of colour. Subtle, natural, but absolutely beautiful. What more could a blush addict ask for?

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

xo Shannon

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

review: NYX Pro Lip Cream Palette in The Plums

Oh, NYX. How quickly you have won my heart. You might remember a recent post I did about my very first haul from the brand. It was an exciting time to say the least. While continuing to make use of those new items....yet another NYX product has found its way into my life. (And my makeup collection!) My husband knows how all about my obsession with the brand. One day, he randomly told me to go pick something out. Just because. That was a really lovely surprise. Especially since I am trying not to buy new makeup. (I don't think it counts if he buys it. Right?) That is how I happened to come across the NYX Pro Lip Cream Palette in The Plums. There were a couple of different lip cream palettes to choose from. One was full of brown and nude shades. Another loaded with vibrant pinks. But there was something about The Plums that spoke to me.

Lately, I have been really into vampy lips. Darker shades that are bold and daring. This is something The Plums has in spades. There are a total of six different lip creams in the set. Some are deep plums and others deep red tones. There is even a flirty purple shade thrown in for good measure! Yes, there is certainly a nice range of colours. Each can be worn on its own or blended with one of the other lip creams to create a custom shade. Love, love, love.

Time to go over the highlights. The versatility in terms of shades is a major upside. Something else I really love? The packaging. It is sleek, simple, and sturdy. It looks professional. It protects the products. It does not feel flimsy or cheap. That makes this the perfect palette to throw into your purse. A quick touch up or colour change will be a cinch! Then there is the texture. This was very consistent throughout the palette (My pet peeve? When products in palettes are not consistent. So frustrating!). They are smooth, creamy, and easy to apply. The pigmentation itself is nice as well. These happen to be very buildable. One quick swipe will give you a lovely wash of colour. Then you can add more to create that full on vampy lip look.

This NYX palette has totally stolen my heart. When I want to wear something dark and sultry? This is the lip palette that I reach for. No questions asked. Here is a recent makeup look that I created using the first shade on the second row. It is a red-ish rust shade. Super pretty! Be sure to let me know what you think.

So there you have it. The NYX Pro Lip Cream Palette in The Plums. This was definitely a different kind of purchase for me....but I have been loving it so much. The shades are beautiful, there is a nice variety in the set, and the lip creams are easy to wear. As far as I am concerned? This is another winner from the NYX line.

Speaking of NYX.....want to see my first haul in action? To check out swatches and get some first impressions? Then be sure to watch the latest video on my YouTube channel! (Please like, comment, and subscribe if you get a chance. Your support means so much to me.)

There is something special about NYX. After years upon years of hearing about this amazing brand....I have finally been able to try it for myself. That is a pretty amazing feeling. So far? Most of the items have been major successes for me. Sure, I have my favourites. But each one has something wonderful to offer.

Do you love NYX? Share your favourite product!

xo Shannon

Sunday, March 6, 2016

love it or leave it? maybelline volum' express colossal

If there is one thing I am not on the look out for? It is a new mascara. I am pretty dedicated to the ones I love. (Cover Girl's The Super Sizer, Benefit's They're Real!, and Dior's DiorShow.) With a mixture of high-end and drugstore loves....the last thing I want to do is try out a ton of different mascaras. Well, that changed. The Maybelline Volum' Express Colossal Mascara kind of fell into my lap. My husband works at a drugstore. Every now and then they have unused testers to get rid of and in-store discounts. Which is how this mascara found its way into my life.

It was a little unnerving. I hadn't tried a new mascara in ages. But there was something exciting about it, too. Maybe this mascara would be better than my all-time favourites. Stranger things have happened. That is what leads me to today's blog post. Is the Maybelline Volum' Express Colossal Mascara a love? Or would I leave it? Keep reading. It is time to find out the verdict.

Drum roll please......

This is a leave it product for me.

Wondering why? There are a few reasons that this mascara failed to live up to my expectations. The first is the smell. None of my other mascaras have a fake perfumey scent. This does. It is actually quite strong and a little repellent. You will notice it the moment you unscrew the lid. (It really is that strong.) For some people this might not be an issue. I personally found it to be extremely off putting. I was not into thisBefore I even applied the product to my lashes.

The application itself was fairly good. The wand is a standard mascara brush....nothing special there. It went on well and added a good amount of volume and length. That was the good part. The not so good part? What happened later in the day. About an hour after application? There was smudging underneath my lower lash line. It looked awful! This has not happened with any other mascara in my collection. Needless to say it was shocking when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.

The Maybelline Volum' Express Colossal Mascara was a dud for me. It performed well during application. But the smell? The smudging? No thanks. There are better alternatives at the drugstore.

Have you tried this mascara? Love it or leave it?

xo Shannon

Friday, March 4, 2016

success is the only option. because i like expensive makeup.

It is difficult. Using what I already own instead of constantly buying more, more, and more. See....there is this blissful rush when you try out a new product. When you swatch, test, and create. I love that feeling. I miss that feeling. Lately I have been doing my best to buy less. This has been a struggle. The solution? At least for now? Shopping my stash. I've been digging through my makeup collection to unearth palettes and products that have not gotten enough use. They aren't new but they still manage to spark creativity. Which brings me to today's post.

This Stila eyeshadow palette has been on display since I moved. The sleek gold packaging took my breath away. I love how it adds glitz, glamour, and elegance to my makeup display. Then it dawned on me. This has been on display for ages....but it hasn't gotten a lot of use. That made it the perfect item for my shop my stash initiative. Over the last few weeks this has been used in many of my every day looks. Some casual and some a little more glam. Ready to check out the palette? This is the Stila Eyes Are The Window Shadow Palette. 

As you can see, there are a number of different shades in here. Soft shimmery neutrals, purples, blues, greens, coppers, and even some underwater blues. Gorgeous, right? There is something so beautiful about this eyeshadow palette. The combination of bright colours with those softer shades? So stunning. I love that you can create some really bold looks, glamorous looks, and feminine looks. There is a lot of versatility here. (Always a good thing.) Something to keep in mind is the finish. If you are a fan of matte shadows...skip this palette. Every single shadow has a shimmery or glittery finish. This is something I personally really love. But with the matte trend taking over? It is important to factor in the finish before you pick this up for yourself.

Okay....gorgeous shades? Check. Versatility? Check. So, how is the pigmentation? This is hit or miss. Certain shades are super soft, pigmented, and easy to use. Others do not have the same colour pay off. For me this is a little disappointing. I like when a palette is consistent throughout. In my opinion, each shadow should have the same texture, blendability, and pigmentation. That being said? I do really enjoy this eyeshadow set. There are some really gorgeous shades. Ones that are not anywhere else in  my makeup collection. (My personal favourite is that shimmery lilac shade. How perfect will that be once we hit spring? Love!) My goal is to use this palette more and more as the weeks go on.

This is one of my favourite looks thus far. I used that gorgeous copper shade all over the lid and added a hint of that grey-blue to the crease. Take a look and let me know what you think!

Shopping my stash? It will take some getting used to. As a total product junkie, I am always after the latest and greatest. But for now....what I already own will more than do the trick. This Stila palette is a prime example. There are some gorgeous shades and fun colour combinations.

What do you think of this palette? Are you shopping your stash?

xo Shannon

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

this year i will be fierce.

One brand that always blows my mind? Hard Candy. They are simply put, one of the best. Not just at the drugstore. Period. Over the years I have tried my fair share of their products. Some have only been so-so. Others have been so totally out of this world amazing. So, whenever a new product of theirs hits the shelf? I dive for it instinctively.

This happened a lot over the holidays. Hard Candy has a habit of putting out a ton of different seasonal sets. Usually there are two or three. This year? There were at least six or seven. No joke! I actually had to stop myself from buying them all. In the end....I think I picked up.....four or five. What can I say? My self control is next to nothing. Especially when the prices are so affordable. Which is what brings us to today's post. It is all about the Hard Candy Fierce Effects Lip Glosses. (You can check out the full line of glosses here) They came together in a set of five. Take a look at the shades included. Then the review will officially begin!

Packaging. You have seen the glosses. And their swatches. That means it is time to dig into this review of the Fierce Effects set. The packaging itself was simple and cute. These glosses came in a metal tin with a geometric design. Nothing fancy or over the top. But cute and great for storage. (I actually keep all of my Fierce Effects glosses inside of it.) The packaging on the glosses themselves? Pretty standard. It is made of plastic, has a screw top, and a doe foot applicator. Nothing ground breaking but easy to use and simple to store. That is all I ask for.

Colour Selection. This is where Hard Candy shines. Most of the drugstore brands stick to the same shades over and over again. In fact, we are lucky if there is a lilac thrown in there! Not with Hard Candy. I have lipsticks from them in black, bright purple, and fuchsia. And now, I even have a sky blue lip gloss. As you can see from the swatches above....there is a wide range of shades included in this set. You have a deep purple, a rose, a bright red, baby pink, and yes, sky blue. This set definitely wins for variety. I love that there is something for everyone.

Texture and Pigmentation. Now for the good stuff. How do the glosses actually perform? Extraordinarily well. In general....I am not a huge gloss fan. I have no patience for sticky textures and sheer colours. Thankfully the Hard Candy Fierce Effect Lip Glosses deliver. They are extremely pigmented. While they can be worn sheer and subtle - they also build to a more intense colour. I love that. That makes them super versatile. Even with the bolder shades, like the red and blue. When it comes to pigmentation and colour pay off? These are fantastic. As for the texture? They go on smooth and silky. They do have a tackier finish at first. However that goes away after ten to fifteen minutes. So, even if you aren't a fan of sticky or tacky glosses....this will work for you.

On a recent dinner with my husband, I decided to keep my makeup fairly neutral. I went for soft browns on the lid, a bit of bronzer on the cheeks, and then finished it all off with that deep purple gloss. I personally love the way this look turned out. The combination of the browns and purples turned out really well. Next up? To create a makeup look using that sky blue. I can't wait!

Overall, I am really happy with the way these Hard Candy products performed. The colours are gorgeous and they wear really well. Definitely a great drugstore find. They have the full line of the Fierce Effects glosses day after day. So you can take a look, browse the selection, and find a shade that speaks to you.

What do you think of this look? Have you tried the Fierce Effects glosses?

xo Shannon