Tuesday, August 30, 2016

i'll never tell, tell on myself, but i hope she smells my perfume.

Currently? I am in a Britney state of mind. Her latest album, Glory, dropped last week, and it has been blowing my mind ever since. The more I listen to it...the more I love it. There are so many fantastic tracks. My personal favourites are Man On The Moon, Just Luv Me, Liar, and Just Like Me. Each one is so good. Yes, Britney Spears really knocked it out of the park. It's not just her music that is making me happy these days. Her perfume line also gives me joy. Especially Rocker Femme Fantasy. This is just one of the many fragrances in her collection (and one of the thirteen Fantasy themed fragrances she has released over the years).

My perfume collection is pretty extensive. While I do not own every single Britney Spears perfume....I have quite a few. As many as I can get my  hands on! So when I came across Rocker Femme Fantasy, there was no doubt about it. I needed to have this on my perfume shelf. Turns out? This has become one of my all-time favourite Britney fragrances. To begin with, I absolutely love the bottle. The pink and black colors, the black studs, and that electric pink cap give this bottle a distinct look. It effortlessly blends femininity with a harder edge. It looks fantastic.

As for the scent itself? It is equally amazing. Rocker Femme Fantasy has a bright, energetic smell, with sweet undertones. Everything about it is girly and fun. To me? This is a classic daytime fragrance. You can wear it to the mall, on a lunch date, or throw it in your purse for work. It has this lovely sweetness that isn't overwhelming - and a warmth that makes it feel elegant. This is a perfume that is versatile, pretty, and feminine. And with an affordable price tag (the 100ml bottle cost me $20) it is something you can wear day-to-day.

Perfume is a pretty important part of my life. It inspires me, it makes me happy, and it effortlessly expresses how I feel on any given day. Want to see my full perfume collection? (Britney perfumes included!) Then take a look at a video I posted recently on the creation of beauty is art. YouTube channel. Take a look....

Have you tried this Britney Spears fragrance? What is your perfume collection like?

xo Shannon

Sunday, August 28, 2016

mini essence haul.

What is it about Essence? It is one drugstore brand that I cannot seem to quit. Despite trying to buy less makeup....the lure of new Essence products is impossible for me to resist. Perhaps that explains my recent purchases. It started off innocently enough. While waiting for my ride to show up, I decided to do a bit of browsing. No harm in that. Right? Then I saw it. A display jam packed with new items. Makeup products that were practically begging me to swatch, test, and try.

It should come as no surprise that a few of them came home with me. (Though not nearly as many as I would have liked!) That included the Essence Pure Nude Makeup Natural Finish Foundation in the shade Pure Beige, the Essence Liquid Lipstick in Make a Statement, and the Essence XXXL Shine Lipgloss. Why these specific products? Lately I have been on a serious foundation kick. I cannot resist a liquid lipstick - especially an affordable one. And my makeup collection is seriously lacking in lip glosses. So there you have it. A few slightly justifiable purchases!

Are these products hits? Misses? Somewhere in between? Let's take a closer look.

  • Essence Pure Nude Makeup Natural Finish Foundation in Pure Beige. I am always on the hunt for the perfect foundation. It doesn't matter if it is drugstore or high end. I will try anything I can get my hands on! My expectations for this foundation were pretty low. Though I was intrigued by the "no makeup feel" claims on the bottle. Well...this product was actually quite good. It provides a nice light coverage look, doesn't dry out the skin, and has a very natural appearance. This has been perfect for work or if I am heading out to run a few quick errands. It feels comfortable on the skin and is a no-fuss kind of product. Very impressed!
  • Essence Liquid Lipstick in Make a Statement. Liquid lipsticks are my everything lately. I have a handful of shades that I love and adore....but am always searching for more. When I saw the selection of liquid lipsticks in the Essence display there was no doubt about it. One of them was coming home with me. There were a lot of really lovely shades but Make a Statement stood out to me thanks to its sophistication. This berry toned colour will be perfect for fall. This  product is very pigmented, glossy, and has fairly good staying power. (Though it seems more like a super colourful gloss than a liquid lipstick to me.) Overall I am really liking it.
  • Essence XXXL Shine Lipgloss. There are few things my makeup collection is lacking. Except when it comes to lip glosses. I only have two or three. Mainly because I am so picky about them. I cannot stand anything sticky on my lips - and so many glosses out there have that tacky finish. The great thing about this gloss? It is moisturizing, doesn't feel sticky, and smells fantastic. I am so happy with it. Finally, I can get that gorgeous glossy look without dealing with awful sticky lips. This has quickly become a favourite. 
Who would have thought? All three of these products exceeded my expectations. Not bad for an impulsive mini haul!

Have you tried any of these Essence items? Which one is your favourite?

xo Shannon

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

concert review: wave reunion in niagara falls

Wave hits the stage for their first full show together in fourteen years.

Everyone has that band. The one you listened to constantly and think back on fondly. For me? That band is Wave. For those of you who don't know...they were a Canadian duo from the early 2000s. My obsession was real. I spent most of my high school days doodling their names on my notebook, listening to their music, and going to their shows in Toronto. By the end of their run, I had seen them at least a dozen times. I would go to concerts, mall appearances, television tapings, and everything in between. Seeing them brought me joy. Turns out? It still does.

Wave got back together for a one-off show in their hometown of Niagara Falls. They were the headliners for the second day of the Niagara Falls Beer Festival. Since Wave is a massively important part of my history (I used to draw pictures of them and even ran my own Wave fan website. Oh, memories!) there was no doubt in my mind. I needed to be there. And so the begging began. I immediately phoned my parents and asked them to take me. Why? They used to take me to see Wave back when I was in high school. It was a blast from the past in the best possible way. 

Me before the Wave concert. I went with lots of liquid liner and a smile! 

When we got to the Beer Festival it was not quite what I expected. There were a few people walking around. A few more sitting and drinking. The streets were lined with a few beer taps and food trucks. Then there was a large stage in the middle of a grassy area. This was it? The place of the Wave reunion? Despite the so-so locale.....I was nervous. Anxious. Excited. After all, it had been fourteen years since I last saw them perform. So we grabbed a seat and waited. I could see Dave and Paul milling around before the show. They were talking to family members....then sound people....there wasn't a chance for me to approach. Not that it mattered anyway. I was completely terrified. It was like stepping back in time. I was fourteen years old all over again. Totally in awe of the band that I loved so much. 

Before long they were on stage. The fans went up to the front of the stage and everyone else stayed behind in lawn chairs. With my front row spot....I was in my glory. They sounded even better than I remembered. And they had an incredible set list. It wasn't just full of singles. They played album songs. Songs that had been a part of my life since 2001. The best part? The fact that they played my absolute favourite song, So High. (The one song that Dave sang lead on. Therefore a must listen.) They also played my favourite song from the first album, Until The Record Breaks. It was a seriously stellar set list. 

Dave Thomson rocking out at the Wave reunion show.

I loved singing along to every single song. It is amazing that even after all these years.....I still have all the lyrics committed to memory. They mean something to  me. They matter. The only way the show would have been better? If the crowd had been a little more enthusiastic. There were a few fans there but it was mostly casual listeners, family, and friends. I definitely miss the days of lining up hours beforehand only to get a third or fourth row spot. (What a weird thing to write!) At any rate, the performance itself was wonderful. I was on cloud nine. I felt free and happy. It was one of the best experiences I have had in a long while. Yes, it was an hour and a half of pure bliss. 

There was a little disappointment after the show ended. My mom was not feeling the Beer Festival and demanded that we leave immediately. So I left, disappointed, without meeting Wave. I don't know what I would have said to them exactly. Maybe I would have gushed. Or played it cool. Or maybe I would have made an absolute fool of myself. Who knows? I just wanted the chance to find out. But it was just like my high school days all over again. My parents set the rules. 

Overall though, it was a great experience. While I wish it had ended on a better note....it was still an incredible day. Seeing Wave perform was a dream I had long given up on. The concert gave me the chance to go back in time a little bit. To reminisce. To re-discover my happy place. I will never forget it.

xo Shannon

Friday, August 19, 2016

new in: forever 21 accessories

Khloe Kardashian rocking a nineties inspired choker.  

Honestly? I was a little hesitant to get on board with the choker necklace trend. There is one simple reason for this. I have been there done that. Back in my elementary school days....everyone wore chokers. They were plastic and stretchy and an absolute must have accessory. I remember feeling so cool whenever I put on my black plastic choker. It even had a ying yang symbol hanging off of it. (Remember, this was a very long time ago. Long enough ago that ying yang symbols were also the epitome of cool.) Unfortunately? I do not have particularly fond memories of my time in elementary school. I was bullied, teased, and torn down every single day. Not exactly a time and place I like to think back on frequently!

So when I saw the resurgence of choker necklaces....I was suddenly transported back to those days of yore. It was not a pleasant experience. Which is why I was so willing to forgo the trend altogether. Until a recent shopping excursion. I was perusing the wall of accessories over at Forever 21. Then I saw it. The most beautiful pair of choker necklaces ever. They immediately caught my eye.

My new favourite accessories. Choker necklaces from Forever 21.

Talk about gorgeous. What do I love about these necklaces? What makes them so special? These were no ordinary necklaces. And they certainly weren't made of cheap plastic. The combination of the two pieces together is unexpected and bold....and the fact that they can be worn separately as well is an added bonus. I love the velvet band on the first choker. It is reminiscent of the 90s but the pendant gives it a great modern twist. Then there is the second necklace. That pendant just called to me. I love the unique design and the combination of shapes and details. It is a stunning piece that simply begs to be worn.

Yes. I was hesitant about the choker trend. At first it brought back not so fond memories. Now? I have fallen in love with a couple of gorgeous accessories from Forever 21. They are beautiful enough to make me re-think my no-choker stance,

What do you think of these pieces? Have you embraced this trend?

xo Shannon

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

YouTube: Niagara Falls Outlet Haul

Niagara Falls. It is a place I did not expect to be more than once this summer. You might remember my post from a little while back about my time there. If you missed it, be sure to check it out here. It was a wonderful experience full of music, sightseeing, and shopping. (I will discuss the latter a little later on in this post!) The last thing I anticipated? Heading back to Niagara Falls again this summer. But it seems that circumstances are drawing me back to the magic and mist.

When I was in high school....a long long time ago...there was a band that I absolutely loved. And still do! They were called Wave and they were fantastic. I remember my Dad taking me to see them over and over again. We saw them at malls, at TV show tapings, concert venues, and everywhere in between. So when they announced their one-off reunion show in Niagara Falls? I simply had to be there. The moment I found out, I called my Dad in a panic and begged him to take me.

It was back to Niagara Falls for me. That is actually how I spent this past weekend. (There will definitely be a post about that experience later on this week. Look out for it!) Since Niagara Falls is on my mind lately....I decided to film a special video for my YouTube channel. It is a haul of the items I picked up during my last visit. My husband and I went to two different outlet malls. Which is always a dangerous thing to do as a shopaholic. We went to a lot of great stores, like Guess, Bath & Bodyworks, and Hot Topic. To name a few!

Want to see what came home with me? And to check out the special souvenir we made? Then be sure to watch my latest video on the creation of beauty is art. 

Shopping is always a lot of fun. So is travelling. If only every day could be full of both!

What did you think of this haul? Have you travelled recently?

xo Shannon

Sunday, August 14, 2016

my top five favourite exercise dvds

I am the queen of exercise DVDs. Don't believe me? I have a shelf of workout videos to prove it. Low intensity, high intensity, yoga, cardio, and everything in between. If you can imagine it? There is a video for it on my shelf. My foray into fitness began about five yeas ago. I found a video called, "Target Toning For Beginners" by Cindy Whitmarsh. Her positive attitude made me feel like I could do anything. That working out was important.

After that? I found more of her videos. Then I branched out a little, trying anything and everything I could get my hands on. See, I tend to get bored. So I like a lot of variety with my workout. It keeps things interesting and pushes me in new ways. Which is why in addition to the shelf full of workout DVDs I own....I also peruse YouTube rather frequently.

It was after throwing out my back that I found Jane Fonda. Sure, her videos are legendary, but I never thought to try them out. I didn't figure that I was an aerobics kind of person. How wrong I was. I found a video of hers that offered a light aerobic workout with lots of stretching - exactly what I needed for my recovering back. Somehow, I discovered a new passion. I genuinely love to do aerobics. (Even though I can never quite nail the moves.) I actually get excited to come home from work and pop in a Jane Fonda DVD. Exercise suddenly went from something I did to something I wanted to do. It was quite the revelation.

That feeling is what inspired this post. Seeing as I have tried an awful lot of workout DVDs....I bring you the very best. Here are my top five favourites.

  • Jane Fonda's Prime Time Workout. Let's start with a good one. The best one, in my opinion. Jane Fonda's Prime Time Workout (which you can watch on YouTube) has a little bit of everything. There are toning exercises, a ballet themed section, aerobics, floor work, and a full body stretch. It gives you a complete body workout - and it's fun! This workout always makes me feel good. 
  • Jillian Michaels Kickbox Fast Fix. Another one of my fitness gurus is Jillian Michaels. I am such a huge fan of hers. While I own just about every DVD she has released...this is one of my favourites. The kickbox moves are easy to follow but ultra effective. She blends cardio with strength and toning in this video. Plus there are three different workouts that target different parts of the body. That gives you noticeable results in no time. 
  • Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred. There are many reasons to workout. Sometimes? I work out to get active and feel good. Other times? I am more focused on getting fit and dropping excess weight. If the latter is true...I always reach for the 30 Day Shred. This 30 day program from Jillian Michaels delivers. By the end of the month? Your body will be ultra toned. Be warned: this workout program is not easy. But it definitely works! 
  • Jane Fonda's Lean Routine. When I have the apartment to myself? There is one workout I absolutely have to do. It is the Lean Routine by Jane Fonda. This is 80s style aerobics at its best. It is over an hour of intense aerobic workout. Here's the thing. The outfits are wild, the dance moves are dated....and you will have an absolute blast. By the time the hour has passed? You will be dripping with sweat. It is challenging but fun to do. (And you can check it out on YouTube!) Something else I really love? At the end of the workout there is a full section on healthy eating. 
  • Jane Fonda's Light Aerobics and Stress Reduction Program. This is the one that started it all. The workout that helped me recover and strengthen my back. This video has some fun aerobics (complete with super stylish 80s outfits) as well as tons of stretching. This is amazing if you are feeling sore or are dealing with an injury. After the hard work has been done? It is time for the stress reduction part of the program. This is super effective. Sometimes, I watch it at the end of a long day. By the time the video ends? I feel relaxed, at peace, and ready for a good nights sleep. Give it a try

Honourable Mentions: Skinny Bitch Bootcamp, Bob Harper's Inside Out Method (note: this workout is brutal. It is the perfect way to kick your workout routine up a notch), Pussycat Dolls Workout, Tracy Anderson's The Method, and Jillian Michaels Body Shred Program.

Fitness has become an integral part of my life. Though I certainly don't look like a personal trainer....exercise has brought me unexpected fulfillment. What an amazing gift.

What is your favourite workout DVD?

xo Shannon

Friday, August 12, 2016

FOTD - dramatic night out look

Most of the time? I am getting ready in a rush. My makeup is hastily thrown on in the morning before work. Or something simple is applied before heading out to run errands. There is not exactly room for creativity in those circumstances. It is more of a hurry up and slap something on experience rather than a ooh what colours should I use today kind of experience. Then....every so often....there is time. Time to get ready, to envision the perfect look, and let inspiration guide me. This happened last weekend. Some friends and I were meeting up for dinner. So, I set aside a full hour to do my makeup - what a luxury! 

The photo above is my Face Of The Day. This is the makeup look I wore out on that evening. I paired wavy hair with a rust coloured tank top, a simple pair of jeans, and some glittery accessories. Then there was the makeup. (Which is always my favourite part.) I wanted to do something a little more dramatic but still veering on the neutral side. So I used my Smashbox Photo Matte Eyes palette to create a soft and smokey matte eye. I started with lighter colours and built up the intensity until I was completely satisfied with the end result. 

Then it was time for liner. Since I wanted this to be a little more dramatic....I opted for my beloved Hard Candy Walk The Line Liquid Eyeliner. This stuff is ultra black, easy to use, and lasts for ages. Though it took me ages to get the winged liner exactly how I wanted it, the end result was pretty fabulous. After that it was time for a bit of my CoverGirl Super Sizer mascara. (My obsession for this stuff is real! I love it.) I went for my Annabelle bronzer on the cheeks and then my Kylie Jenner Lip Kit in Dolce K on the lips. With a subtle highlight and contour and a little definition on the brows....I was ready to head out. 

So there it is. My Face Of The Day. Let me know what you think of this look! 

xo Shannon

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

my first piece from kendall + kylie

It is no secret. I cannot get enough of the Kardashian/Jenner family. This might be an unpopular opinion to voice (friends and co-workers roll their eyes when I so much as mention them) but I have always been the type of person to like what I like. I see no sense in guilty pleasures. It something or someone speaks to me...that is it. I love it. Which brings me to today's post. Recently, I took a little shopping trip with my parents. It started off with a few essentials at IKEA and ended up at a nearby mall. We popped into a department store and I immediately spotted a section full of Kendall + Kylie clothes. There were gorgeous dresses, jumpsuits, and sweaters. It was style overload.

Then my eyes spotted a coral-pink top. It was slightly cropped with a unique hemline along the bottom. The colour was gorgeous, the style was simple yet exciting, and I could not stop looking at it. Until I saw the price tag. It was marked at over $100. Yikes. Seeing the 25% off sign....I decided to try it on. Just to say that I had tried it on. Only once I tried it on, I fell in love with it. The top was gorgeous and fit perfectly. I felt like a million dollars. Suddenly, I found myself rationalizing why this top should come home with me. Why I needed to buy it. (Any shopaholics relate to this? Please tell me that I am not the only one.) Long story short? I found myself at the checkout.

Then a magical thing happened. A wonderful magical thing. When the cashier went to scan the tag...it wouldn't scan. She tried again. Nothing. So she wound up just punching in a number. $30. I stood there in shock. I asked her if the price was correct and she said yes. So, I paid $30 for a top that would have cost me far more. I definitely scored an amazing deal on this Kendall + Kylie piece. It is absolutely beautiful - and I cannot wait to wear it.

It was a wonderful day out. Not only was I able to spend time with my parents....but this gorgeous top made its way into my wardrobe. It was exciting to say the least.

What do you think of this piece? Do you own anything from Kendall + Kylie?

xo Shannon

Sunday, August 7, 2016

review: covergirl katy kat eye mascara

High expectations can be a dangerous thing. Especially when it comes to makeup. I remember seeing the display of Katy Kat Eye mascara. There it was in all its glory. Cute packaging and a larger than life photo of Katy Perry. I darted over to that display faster than you could imagine. (Katy Perry is one of my favourite artists. I love her music, her dramatic sense of style, and endless creativity.) Despite the fact that the product was brand new? The display had already been pretty picked over. There were only a few of the Katy Kat Eye mascaras left. That included Black, Very Black, and Perry Blue.

I'll admit. The Perry Blue was pretty intriguing....but a blue mascara is a little out of my wheel house. In the end, I opted for Very Black. I wanted to get a good idea of how the mascara performed. Choosing black made it easier to compare this product to other drugstore mascaras. So, how was the Katy Kat Eye mascara? Here is what I liked and disliked about it.

  • What I Liked: 
    • The packaging is sleek and stylish. I love the simplicity of the black and white. It definitely makes a statement. 
    • This mascara definitely lives up to its name. It is very black which adds some drama to the lashes.
  • What I Didn't Like:
    • The mascara wand is awful. It has a "360 Sculpting Brush" that is supposed to create voluminous lashes. What it actually does is pull on the lashes and cause the product to clump up unnaturally.
    • The overall appearance was also lacking. Comparing this to Cover Girl's The Super Sizer (which is actually cheaper) the results are sub par. It doesn't do much to lengthen or add volume to my lashes. Very disappointing. 
Overall, the Katy Kat Eye mascara is a dud for me. I would not repurchase. On the plus side? There is some fantastic Katy Perry makeup at the drugstore right now. Forget about the mascara and grab one of the Katy Kat Matte Lipsticks instead. The colours are beautiful, they feel comfortable on the lips, and they have good staying power. Want to see a few of the shades in action? Take a look at the creation of beauty is art YouTube channel.

Have you tried anything from CoverGirl's Katy Perry line?

xo Shannon

Friday, August 5, 2016

new in: sinful colors KYLIE collection

Makeup has always excited me. Same with fashion. Nail polish.....not so much. Sure, I loved having nicely painted nails. But there was nothing super thrilling about nail polish. All I needed were a couple of cute shades and I was good. That has changed over the last little while. I have been getting more creative with my nail looks. Trying to use different colours, adding an accent nail, putting on polka dots, tossing on a gemstone or two. You get the idea! It is a whole new type of self expression.

My nail polish collection is fairly modest. Though there are certainly more colours in there than there used to be! There have been a few recent additions as well. I was not looking to buy any more nail polish shades. Then I saw a massive display of Sinful Colors: Sinful Shine. There was a giant picture of Kylie Jenner on the display - and Kylie's name all over the nail polish bottles. The prices were super affordable (between $2.99 and $3.99 per nail polish) and I am a Kardashian/Jenner fanatic. So, I figured why not? That is how I wound up spending twenty minutes pouring over the display.

It was an overwhelming process. Simply because I was determined not to buy more than four. Quite frankly because I did not need more than four. (Even though I wanted way more than four. The colours were so beautiful! Most of them had a subtle shimmer but there was a matte collection as well.) That meant decisions needed to be made. In the end....I chose a shimmery ivory (Kovet from the Signature Collection), Karamel (a shimmery nude from the Signature Collection), Kryptonite (a shimmery emerald green from the Signature Collection), and Kosmic (a super sparkly mix of colours from the Denim and Bling Collection). These shades were chosen simply because they would get the most use. Gorgeous neutral nails are always in style. And I threw in a pop of colour and a pretty glitter polish for good measure.

How do they perform? Surprisingly well. The polish has been on my nails for a week now with minimal chipping. The only issue I had was with applying too much. Thin coats are essential - otherwise it takes hours upon hours to dry completely. Just a little something to keep in mind if you decide to purchase something from the line! These shades are gorgeous and I really love how they look. Fingers crossed there will be a few more shades in my future.

What do you think of these nail polish colours? Have you tried anything from the line?

xo Shannon

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

current obsession: 1970s everything.

My husband often says I was born in the wrong decade. Sometimes, I think he is right. Especially lately. My obsession with all things 1970s has reached an all time high. It seems that everything I see and do reminds me of that incredible decade. From the new Trisha Paytas music video (which is set in the 70s) to the David Cassidy concert (which I attended recently in Niagara Falls), new pieces in my wardrobe (each with a distinctively seventies vibe), and my beloved John Denver records (that are played over and over again).....the 70s are alive and well. At least for me.

I don't know why this decade speaks to me so strongly. Perhaps it has to do with the innocence of it all. Television shows were sweet and heartwarming. Music was meaningful. Fashion was fun. And then there was all of that beautiful optimism. Despite a challenging political climate, there was a belief that the world could and would change for the better. It was a time of speaking out. It was a decade for dreamers. Honestly? I think the world could use more of that these days.

Since so much of my life lately is 70s, 70s, and more 70s....it made sense to create a blog post about my current obsession. Here are a few pictures dedicated to the things I love most. Vinyl, great music, and incredible fashion. I hope they inspire you as much as they inspire me.

The 1970s are a huge source of inspiration for me lately. I think they always will be. There are so many aspects of that decade that make me smile and make me feel. What a wonderful way to be.

What inspires you? Do you have a current obsession?

xo Shannon