Thursday, June 30, 2016

canada is a place of infinite promise.

Holidays always make me smile. Not just because it means I get the day off work. (Though that is certainly an added bonus.) But because there is something in the air. Everyone is happy, excited, and feeling good about life. That is exactly how I am feeling at the moment. I am very much looking forward to celebrating Canada Day tomorrow. There is something so wonderful about a long weekend, a special holiday, and people you love. 

This year? My husband and I will be taking a short drive to a nearby town. Then there will be cotton candy, fair rides, and of course, fireworks. The latter is especially important. It just wouldn't be Canada Day without them. We have gone to this town for Canada Day a couple of times before...but haven't gone in a few years. Honestly? I have missed it. Sure the event tends to be crowded and chaotic - but it's also a lot of fun. Especially when the sun sets and everyone crowds along the beach front to watch the firework show. It is magical. And I cannot wait to experience that magic all over again. 

I want to wish all of my Canadian readers a very Happy Canada Day. Be sure to celebrate with people you love. (And don't forget to check out the fireworks!) For everyone else....have a wonderful day and an even better weekend. 

"There are no limits to the majestic future which lies before the mighty expanse of Canada 
with its virile, aspiring, cultured, and generous-hearted people."
- Winston Churchill

Happy Canada Day! How will you be celebrating? 

xo Shannon

Monday, June 27, 2016

look gorgeous and glam while working out.

There is a big difference between working out at home and working out....well anywhere else. On the days that I pop in a workout DVD (Jillian Michaels nine times out of ten)? My look is as follows. Hair in a messy ponytail, whatever makeup is left over on my face from work, and some sort of tank top that has been haphazardly pulled from my drawer of workout clothes. On the days when I am running home or leaving the house to exercise? It is a totally different ball game. Suddenly that flaking mascara and baggy tank top are a no-go. For the simple fact that I am going to be seen by countless neighbours and passerbys. 

Not sure how to get ready for your workout? Want to infuse your look with a subtle touch of gorgeous and glam? Keep reading. These are some of my tips for looking good while working out. 

Keep Makeup Minimal But Long Lasting. It isn't a secret. I love makeup a lot. In fact, it is an extremely rare occurrence when I leave the house without it. That being said? When you are working out it is best to keep makeup to a minimum. There is a good reason for this. Wearing foundation and concealer can clog your pores when you start to sweat. That can lead to breakouts and blemishes. (I learned this lesson the hard way!) Skip the face makeup and focus on your eyes and brows instead. Well defined brows help frame your face - and the product is unlikely to move when you sweat. Fill in your eyebrows with a nice brow powder and set with a clear brow gel. As for the eyes? A soft neutral shadow on the eyes (like a nice matte brown or purple) is all you need. Skip the eyeliner and layer on a coat or two of waterproof mascara. This will give you the definition you crave without looking too heavy or overdone.

Choose Workout Clothes That Reflect Your Personality. You deserve to feel good. Confident. Beautiful. That makes the clothes you choose especially important. Even when you workout! The key to feeling good (and looking good) is to choose workout clothes that reflect your personality. Do you love colour? Then pair a neon pink tank top with printed leggings. Like to feel chic and stylish? Opt for black and white leggings with a matching sports bra. You get the picture. There are so many options when it comes to workout fashion. Here is the thing: by wearing clothes that make you feel your are more likely to push harder during your workout. Plus you will exude confidence wherever your workout takes you.

Add On Some Oh-So-Glamorous Extras. It's true what they say. Beauty really is in the details. The right accessories and add ons can transform your workout look. Not to mention take your confidence to a whole new level! Not sure where to begin? These are a few of my favourite extras:
  • Spritz on your favourite body spray (anything from Bath and Bodyworks is great) before you head out. It will make you feel better than ever.
  • Add on a little lip gloss before you head to the gym. That extra shine will make you shine! 
  • Put on a pair of small stud earrings. Hoops and dangling earrings can be dangerous to workout in, but a simple pair of studs is safe to wear. And it will give you plenty of enviable workout style. 
  • Choose your footwear wisely. There are so many great options out there these days. Get playful with colour and print. Or just swap out your regular laces for something bright and bold. 
Working out doesn't mean leaving behind your love of fashion, makeup, and beauty. It just impacts your choices. Use these tips and tricks to create your own confidence boosting workout look. You will look amazing - and feel even better. 

What do you wear when you workout? Share your own get glam tips! 

xo Shannon

Friday, June 24, 2016

first impressions: covergirl katy kat eye mascara

The easiest way to get my attention? Put the words Katy Perry on anything. Literally anything. At this point, I have her CDs, t-shirts, sunglasses, bracelets, necklaces, and lipstick. Now? I also have my very own Katy Perry mascara. It is Cover Girl's latest addition to their Katy Kat collection: Katy Kat Eye. There were a few different mascara options available. Black, Blue, as well as Waterproof versions of both. I opted for the non-waterproof black mascara. Largely because I wanted to see how the most basic version of the mascara performed. 

It promises 10x the volume and lash darkness as well as an "all day cat eye." was this mascara? Let's start with the packaging and the wand. As you can see from the picture above, the packaging is super sleek and chic. It looks just like the Katy Kat Matte Lipsticks (review and swatches of those to come). White and black. Capitol letters only. Super trendy and cute. This is a mascara that definitely looks good on the outside. The wand itself is a little bit different. Instead of having a standard bristle wand, it is curved and twisted. The bristles spiral around the wand itself. 

I'll be honest. The wand itself was really intriguing to me. At this point, I have tried many different wand styles. Some with larger bristles, some with smaller ones, some with rubber bristles, and some in different designs. So as far as the mascara wand went? I hoped this one would provide a better application of product if nothing else. Sadly it did not. The spiral bristles made application on the lower lash line difficult as well as on the inner corner of my eyes. For the outer lashes? It worked well. It really did help create that cat eye effect as promised. However, overall ease of use was lacking.

Now for my overall thoughts on the Katy Kat Eye Mascara from Cover Girl. Meh. This was somewhat disappointing to me. Like I said earlier, I will buy anything and everything related to Katy Perry. Whether she is on the cover of a magazine or is putting her name on makeup. It will become a part of my collection. That being said....I would not repurchase this mascara. As I mentioned before, it was tricky to apply the product to the lower lashes and inner corner. (I have started using this on the outer corner for a more dramatic cat eye look and using The Super Sizer mascara on the rest of my lashes. The Katy Kat mascara is usable in this way, but I would rather not use two products where I could use one. Know what I mean?) In addition, this mascara was super clumpy on my lashes. Even using the smallest amount made them clump together. I like super dramatic lashes. But this was less dramatic and more clump, clump, clumpy. It took a lot of work to brush out all of the clumps. 

Here are a couple of pictures so you can see the mascara in action. Note: this is after I removed the clumps. It looks okay but it took a lot of work to get them to this state. Personally? I would much rather use something like The Super Sizer or Benefit's They're Real! mascara. 

There are a lot of great Cover Girl products. And a lot of fantastic Katy Perry products. The Cover Girl Katy Kat Eye mascara was unfortunately not one of them. The mascara was difficult to use in certain areas and ended up looking pretty clumpy. (As you can see from the picture above. Even after I combed out most of the clumps it still looks pretty clumpy in spots.) This is sadly not a mascara that I will be reaching for on a daily basis. 

Have you tried Katy Kat Eye? What did you think of it? 

xo Shannon

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

YouTube: walt disney world haul

Travel is essential. As far as I am concerned....seeing the world, discovering new places, and breaking routine is a must. At least every now and again. See, it is healthy to get away from it all. A mini-break allows you to unwind, forget about daily stresses, and leave behind your worries. Unfortunately, as much as I love to travel, I am unable to do it as much as I would like. In a perfect world? There would be four or five trips per year. In reality? There is one. Maybe a weekend getaway  as well if I am lucky. Sigh. Such is life.

Last month, my husband and I went to Walt Disney World. It was incredible. Coming back home? Well, it was a bit of a struggle. It took me an awful lot of time to re-adjust to life outside of the magical Disney bubble. I ordered DVDs about Disney World. I wrote travel articles on showcasing travel mementos. I watched every Disney princess movie there is. was definitely a struggle to come home and leave behind those happy memories.

Perhaps that is what inspired my latest YouTube video. My mind has been going Disney-Disney-Disney ever since we came back from vacation. So it seemed only natural to make a Disney themed video for the creation of beauty is art. YouTube channel. It is all about the items I picked up during my vacation. That's right....a Walt Disney World haul. There are clothes, accessories, souvenirs, and more. Be sure to take a look!

Clearly I am still missing the carefree days of our vacation. But it feels good to look back and reminisce. That is the beauty of going on a trip. Your travel memories last so much longer than the actual experience. They stay with you.

What did you think of this haul? Have you done any travelling lately?

xo Shannon

Monday, June 20, 2016

review: nyx avant pop eyeshadow palette

I will freely admit it. NYX is an obsession. Every time I look at the store selection....I find myself bringing more and more NYX products home with me. Perhaps the novelty has not worn off just yet. The line has only been available in Canada for the last six months or so. Before that? I would watch YouTube video after YouTube video of beauty gurus gushing over NYX this and NYX that. So really, this obsession is not my fault. Or at least that is what I tell my husband.

It was after work one day. My husband told me to come into his work and wait while he finished his shift. Then there it was. Right in front of me. A wall of makeup. Who could ever resist that sort of temptation? Clearly not me, since we left the store with the NYX Avant Pop 10 Color Shadow Palette. Those colours! The shade selection! How could I possibly leave behind such a unique drugstore eyeshadow palette? It would have been criminal. As you can see from the picture above - there is a stunning range of shades inside. Neutrals, smokey shades, and unexpected pops of colour. 

From left to right there is: a soft white shade with a hint of shimmer, a vibrant neon yellow/green, a super pigmented (and super shimmery) teal shade, a medium brown, a rosy taupe, a shimmery silver, a bold navy, a light grey, a soft peach, and a matte black. See what I mean? There is a ton of shade variety in this 10 shadow set. This makes me positively giddy. There is nothing I hate more than palettes that are incomplete. I like to have everything I need in one foul swoop. This certainly delivers on that end. There are shimmery shades as well as matte shades and satin finishes. There are light shades, dark shades, and pops of colour. It is a one-stop-shop kind of palette.

Needless to say.....I love the colour selection. Though there are shades that I love more than others. That teal has quickly become one of my all-time favourite eyeshadow shades. That rosy taupe is a must for blending out the crease. That neon yellow (or green. It depends how the light hits it) pushes me to step out of my comfort zone. This is most definitely a fun and exciting eyeshadow set.

As for the texture and pigmentation? No major complaints. Most of the shades are extremely soft and easy to use. They blend well and are highly pigmented. However there is a bit of inconsistency from one colour to the next. The medium brown for instance is drier than say the silver shade. Same with that shimmery white. For the most part the quality of the shadows is impressive. There are just a few minor misses in here. The shadows do perform well. They simply do not have the same buttery texture that the others do. It is a shame really! This was almost the perfect palette.

The first day I brought home the NYX Avant Pop 10 Color Shadow Palette, I decided to have a little fun. I used that teal shade on the lid, blended out with the taupe, added a little bit of black to the outer corner, and popped the navy blue on the lower lash line. It was a lot of fun. Mostly because I was playing with makeup for the sake of playing with makeup. I had no where to go and no one to see. It was all about doing something for me. Here is a peek at the final product....

The NYX Avant Pop 10 Color Shadow Palette impressed me. A lot. The colours are gorgeous! I love playing with different colour combinations and seeing what I can create. This is certainly an eyeshadow set that allows you to do something different. Thank goodness for that. 

What do you think of this eyeshadow palette? Do you love NYX?

xo Shannon

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

current obsession: sally hansen insta-dri nail polish

Nails. It is amazing how something as simple as a coat of nail polish can boost your confidence. Do you find that, too? Or is it just me? Every time I paint my nails....I walk a little taller. I feel better about myself. I feel totally put together. That is a nice feeling. Unfortunately in my day to day life, my nails are often ignored. Half the time they are bare, chipped, or somewhere in between. That is why I have made the conscious decision to pay attention to my nails. To keep them painted, pretty, and polished. Because after all, it feels good to feel good.

I wasn't looking for a new nail polish. There are a good few handfuls in my modest collection already. From deep reds to corals, pinks, light blues, deep purples, and taupe. I certainly was not in need of yet another shade. Then I found Expresso by Sally Hansen. It is part of the Insta-Dri Nail Color Collection. Honestly? There were a few things about this nail polish that caught my eye. The first was the name of the collection. The idea of "instant drying" is intriguing to say the least. There is nothing I hate more than waiting (and waiting and waiting) for my nails to dry. It is one of the reasons my nails tend to get neglected. Something else that caught my eye? That colour! Oh my goodness, that colour is everything. It was so different to the other shades on the shelf. It was dramatic and sultry but still super romantic and flirty. Love! did  Expresso by Sally Hansen perform? Let's just say that I am very pleased with the results. The colour is exactly what I hoped it would be. Rich and sophisticated. I adore the way it looks on my nails. The texture of this polish is fantastic as well. The consistency was fairly thick (rather than runny and watery). That meant only one coat was needed. That saved me tons of time. Speaking of time! Was this an instant dry nail polish? Of course not. But it did dry fairly quickly. It took about three to four minutes to dry. It didn't smudge or ripple as the day went on either. For such an affordable nail polish - I think this cost me four dollars - it really exceeded my expectations. 

There you have it. My current obsession. This Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Nail Polish offers luxury on a budget. Take a look at the shade selection the next time you are in the drugstore. Who knows? Maybe a colour will jump out at you!

Have you tried any of the Insta-Dri polishes? What do you think of this colour?

Sunday, June 12, 2016

get beachy waves this summer.

We all want them: beachy waves. They are stylish, relaxed, and romantic. It doesn't matter if you are rocking a maxi dress or a printed crop top. This hairstyle compliments any and all style choices. No wonder it has become such a seasonal must. Don't don't need to clock all of your summer hours at the beach to nab this stunning style. You can fake it at home with the right products. Oh, and a few essential tips and tricks. Personally? I love to wear beachy waves all summer long. This hairstyle makes me feel amazing. Now it's your turn. This is your guide to bold and beautiful beachy waves.

Start By Creating a Little Texture. Okay. First thing is first. It is time to create that oh-so-gorgeous beachy texture. You can do this by choosing your hair products very wisely. There are tons to choose from. It all comes down to what works for your hair. This might require a bit of trial and error. See if you can pick up samples or smaller sized bottles. Some fantastic choices include: sea salt sprays (I like the one from Bumble and Bumble), curl boosting mousses (the Herbal Essences one is fantastic and affordable), and creams (the AG Hair Beach Bomb is my go to product).

Apply to damp hair and scrunch through. From there? You can air dry or use heat. Something I like to do if I have the luxury of time is to scrunch the AG Hair Beach Bomb through damp hair, let it dry halfway, then put my  hair into a couple of small buns. By the time my makeup is hair will be perfectly beachy. A little hairspray and I am good to go!

Add Definition With Heat Styling Tools. Once your product has been applied, you can reach for heat styling tools to speed up the process. Use your hair dryer to dry your hair completely. Just be sure to scrunch your hair as you go. This will keep those waves intact. When your hair is nice and dry you can add a little extra oomph to those relaxed waves. Grab your curling iron and curl random sections of hair. Let each curl cool and shake through with your fingers. You can also create looser curls using your hair straightener. Focus the curl on the lower hair of the length for the best results.

There are many different ways to score unforgettable beachy waves. It all depends on your own personal preferences. The key is to make sure you create waves rather than curls. Keep it nice and relaxed. Ideally you want your hair to look totally effortless. (Even if it isn't!) Another styling option is to twist or braid your hair immediately after you shower. Then sleep on it. Literally. Go to bed and by the time you wake up? Your hair will look picture perfect.

How do you achieve beachy waves?

xo Shannon

Thursday, June 9, 2016

YouTube: CoverGirl truNaked palettes: Day + Night Looks

It was ages ago now. But I came across some small eyeshadow palettes from Cover Girl in my local drugstore. I was both intrigued and hesitant. Intrigued because I am a sucker for drugstore eyeshadow palettes. Hesitant because I have never had much luck with Cover Girl eyeshadows. Yet for whatever reason....I found myself picking up two of the three truNaked palettes. (There are Roses, Goldens, and Nudes.) The Roses palette and Goldens palette instantly caught my eye. I just loved the colour combinations. There was a nice mixture of light and dark shades. Of glitter and shimmer finishes.

Each eyeshadow palette came with eight different eyeshadow colours. Roses included: Almond (a soft velvety cream), Champagne (a gorgeous shimmery champagne), Baby (a light mauve), Rose Gold (a super pigmented and shimmery rose gold), Copper Rose (a mid-toned mauve), Dusk (a deeper purple shade), Mauvergine (a beautiful deep mauve), and Mousse (a glittery dark purple). Then there was the Goldens palette. It had: Creme (a yellow toned cream shade), Chiffon (a golden toned shimmer), Cookie (a soft brown), Sunkissed (a gorgeous shimmery gold), Camel (a shimmery golden brown), Ginger (a copper toned brown), Ecru (a deep forest green), and Sierra (a dark brown). Here is a closer look at the two palettes in my collection....

As you can see from the pictures above....there is a really lovely variety of shades included in each eyeshadow palette. The best part? The part that totally surprised me? Just how wonderful these shadows perform. The texture is smooth, soft, and consistent. They blend well. They are highly pigmented. In short? They are a serious drugstore find. Over the last few months, I have reached for these palettes over and over again. They are great for travel, perfect if you are in a rush, or if you want to do something a little more dramatic. 

These Cover Girl truNaked palettes really inspired me. Which is why I decided to film a little daytime and nighttime look. I used the Roses palette for daytime and the Goldens palette (my personal favourite) for the evening look. You can check it all out on my YouTube channel

Cover Girl really impressed me. These eyeshadow palettes are truly fantastic. They are by far one of the best drugstore eyeshadow palettes in my collection. Next time you go shopping? Pick one up. Try it. Fall in love with it. 

Have you tried the Cover Girl truNaked eyeshadow palettes?

xo Shannon

Monday, June 6, 2016

take the moment and make it perfect.

It was a relaxed kind of day. Woke up late, worked out hard, did a bit of work, and caught up on some TV shows. Don't get me wrong. It was a good day. I felt accomplished. I felt strong. I felt content. But there was one thing that seemed to be missing: inspiration. Despite the completed to do list and the laid-back vibe of the inspiration was seriously lacking. I missed that feeling. That flutter of excitement. Instead of waiting for it to appear, I found it. I started seeking out inspiration. Photos, quotes, people, feelings. The result was truly overwhelming. It began with a quick Google Image Search. Then I was on Pinterest. Then Favim. Then YouTube. My path to inspiration took me to unexpected - but beautiful - places. Places that will stay with me. So, I thought that I would share some of them with you today.

Inspired By: Sophistication and Audrey Hepburn.

My love of Audrey Hepburn is nothing new. Which is why the first place I sought out inspiration was by doing a quick search for photos of the iconic actress. I so admire her loving character, giving nature, and sophistication. She was so much more than a beautiful woman. She was a beautiful person. She cared so much about others. About giving back and making the world a better place. And that is something that always inspires me. Not to mention her touching quotes, incredible talent, and striking features. Audrey is a constant source of inspiration to me.

Inspired By: Nature, Music, Hope, and John Denver.

For me? John Denver feels like coming home again. His music, voice, lyrics, and words touch my heart in a way that I cannot fully express. He believed so strongly in making positive change. In being the best we can be. In ending world hunger, conserving the environment, and treating one another with love and respect. That is a message that is so desperately lacking these days. I often wonder how the world would be if he were still with us. I like to think he would be fighting to protect, conserve, and better our world. In fact, I know he would be. Initially, I was looking for a quote or two from John. I ended up watching his 1995 Windstar Symposium. It was....remarkable. Tears were shed (multiple times) and my heart felt full. Hey, it's good to be back home again.

Inspired By: Inner Strength and Memorable Quotes. 

This quote. Talk about inspirational! Sometimes, things don't work out the way you hoped. Or you feel discouraged. Or your goals seem totally out of reach. Those are feelings that I have been dealing with lately. So every now and again, it is good to look at quotes like this. They really help motivate and put things into perspective. Both in terms of my career and my commitment to a healthier lifestyle. Some days are hard. Some days you want to quit. But it is important to push forward and do your best. Because it will all be worth it.

Those are the things inspiring me today. The things that make life feel beautiful and blissful.

What inspired you today?

xo Shannon

Thursday, June 2, 2016

life is short. buy more blush.

It feels good to get more for less. Especially when it comes to makeup. There are high-end products that I absolutely adore....but there are cheaper items that make me just as happy. Like the Mariposa blush palettes pictured above. They actually came from the dollar store. I happened upon them ages ago and decided to give them a shot. Now? They are one of my most reached for products. The pigmentation is wonderful, there is a lovely range of colours, and they are quick and easy to use.

These came with me on my trip to Florida. And they often get tossed into my purse. The reason? There is a ton of shade variety, they are nice and compact, and each shade is super pigmented. My favourite of the two blush palettes has to be the one on the right. It features a nude shade, a bronzey colour, a soft pink, and a deep mauve. Love the variety here. (The other palette is fantastic as well but it focuses more on pink and coral shades.) I guess you could say these are on my short list of blush favourites. Which is why I used them to complete a recent makeup look. Take a look.....

Blush is one of my favourite things. When it comes to my own personal makeup habits....I buy more eyeshadow and blush than anything else. I just love playing with colour. I love the way something like blush can complete a makeup look. The way it can elevate a simple creation to something chic and unforgettable. No wonder my makeup collection is pretty well stocked with blush. That is exactly what inspired my latest YouTube video. Want to take a peek at these Mariposa palettes? To see my blush collection in its entirety? Then head to the creation of beauty it art. YouTube channel.

Do you love blush? Which blush shade is your all-time favourite?

xo Shannon