Monday, October 31, 2016

when black cats prowl and pumpkins gleam.

There is a child in every one of us 
who is still a trick-or-treater 
looking for a brightly-lit front porch. 
- Robert Brault

Halloween used to be one of my favourite holidays. My brother and I would go trick or treating (sporting homemade costumes) and the two of us would walk around the neighbourhood feeling invincible. Then we got too old to collect candy. Suddenly? Halloween lost its sparkle. The years that followed consisted of horror movie marathons, disappointing parties, and nights spent at home. I had not experienced a memorable Halloween as an adult. Until this year.

For whatever reason, there is a ton going on this year. My best friend and I had a blast getting in the holiday spirit earlier this week. We got dressed up as Muppet characters, ate a delicious meal, and watched some of the Final Destination movies. It was one of the best nights I have had in ages. Then there was a party on the Friday night (which meant another costume) and a laid-back Halloween themed evening on Saturday (my husband and I carved pumpkins, played board games, and watched movies). Today? I am heading over to my parents house to hand out candy with my Mom. We are both getting dressed up as Minnie Mouse....and I am fairly certain, we will be watching The Great Pumpkin at least once.

Things have certainly been busy lately. Between my husbands birthday, my birthday, and all of the Halloween festivities, there has been a lot going on. In a good way! Here are a few of my favourite pictures from the holiday season thus far.

Dressed as Janice from the Muppets, an amazing meal, and the cutest decorations! 

Unleashing my inner Nancy Drew for a bonfire party on Friday.

A decorated apartment and a little bit of pumpkin carving! 

In addition to all of these special events? I have also been getting into the Halloween spirit elsewhere. I did a Broken China Doll makeup look and tested out some Halloween makeup products on my YouTube channel....

Wishing you a wonderful Halloween! Whether you are dancing the night away, watching a scary flick, or are handing out delicious candy....may your night be magical.

How will you be celebrating?

xo Shannon

Saturday, October 29, 2016

how to deal with changing weather.

It's amazing. The weather can have a serious impact on our mood and overall well being. Fall is in full swing now....and since its return, I have been irritable and exhausted. Quite frankly? I am sick of it. There is a reason this happens. It is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD). This is where changes in season zap your energy and make you feel moody. This commonly occurs during the autumn and winter months, thanks to the dreary weather and lack of light.

If you have been feeling down lately (or just downright pooped), know that you are not alone. There are many people dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder in varying degrees. The key is to find a way to deal with it effectively. Here are a few tips to keep you sharp, focused, and happy all season long......

Give Yourself Something To Look Forward To. One of the easiest ways to combat weather-related blues is to re-focus your energy. Instead of dwelling on the fact that it is rainy and grey outside, look ahead. Think about something in the near future that excites you. Then focus your attention on whatever that may be. Perhaps it is an upcoming vacation, a concert, or a dinner with old friends. Whatever that is for you ...think about it. Plan what you'll wear, what you will do, and think about the people you will see. Focus on the good things that await and your rainy day blues will melt away.

Add a Bit of Colour To Your World. When I look out my window and see an endless sea of makes me feel...blah. Down, dreary, and disappointed. That is why it is important to infuse your world with colour. Make your space bright, bold, and full of life. There are many ways to go about this. Try adding a fun throw pillow or two to your living room couch (in colours like yellow or orange to remind you of the sun) or paint your nails in a lively shade. That small reminder that there is colour and vibrancy all around you can instantly elevate your mood. Give it a try. You'll be amazed at how quickly and easily it works.

Talk (Or Write) It Out. Sometimes, when you're experiencing the symptoms of SAD (or just feel a little blue) you become trapped in a negative mindset. Counteract that by talking it out. Call a close family member, text your best friend, or journal for a little while. Just taking or writing about things can make a huge difference. Even though it won't necessarily offer you a can actually put things into perspective, improve your mood, and make you feel less alone. Remember, the people in your life are there for you. Even on those rainy fall days.

How do you deal with rainy day blues? Share your tips!

xo Shannon

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

my top five fall lip products

Beauty confession: fall makeup is my favourite. There is just something about it! The looks are dramatic and vampy....and you can go a little overboard without looking out of place. Smoky eye looks are a must for me but what I really love? Fall lip colours. They tend to be a little darker, a little bolder, and a lot more fun. There are rich browns, vampy purples, and stunning berry shades. With fall in full swing, I thought this would be the perfect time to share a few of my favourites. These are my top 5 fall lip products.

For Comfort - Dior Addict in Smile
For a Night Out - Kylie Cosmetics in Dolce K
For Long Wear - NYX Liquid Suede in Vintage
For Unforgettable Colour - Lime Crime in Squash
For Daytime - Clinique in Matte Beauty

L-R (1 - Dior, 2 - Kylie, 3 - NYX, 4 - Lime Crime, 5 - Clinique) 

These are without a doubt the shades that I am reaching for most often this season. Why? Let's take a closer look at each one....

For Comfort - Dior Addict in Smile. The first swatch (pictured above) is from my Christian Dior, Dior Addict lipstick in Smile. This is without a doubt my go-to when I am looking for a lip product that is comfortable. This is a soft shimmery berry toned shade. Kind of a your lips but better colour. It is effortless, easy, and doesn't need to be touched up. You can put it on and forget it. This is great if you are running errands or are going out to lunch.

For a Night Out - Kylie Cosmetics in Dolce K. Sometimes? You want a little drama. That is where the Kylie Cosmetics Matte Liquid Lipstick comes in handy. The shade shown above is Dolce K and I love it more than I can explain fully. This shade is dark, dramatic, and perfect for the fall months. Whenever I have a night out planned (like a dinner date or a special event) I reach for this lipstick. The colour is beautiful and it has great staying power. 

For Long Wear - NYX Liquid Suede in Vintage. It just isn't fall makeup without a gorgeous berry toned lipstick. That explains why the NYX Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick in the shade Vintage is a favourite of mine. The shade is a rich berry tone that is just the right amount of dramatic. Something else I love about this lip product? It is so long wearing. Once this stuff stays. You don't have to worry about touching up or the lipstick wearing unnaturally. It stays put! 

For Unforgettable Colour - Lime Crime in Squash. This one should come as no surprise. If you have been keeping up with my blog lately, you will remember my review of Squash from Lime Crime. This is without a doubt the best colour in my makeup collection. I cannot get over how stunning it is. So, I keep finding reasons to wear it. Whether I am hanging around my apartment or am going out to get groceries....Squash is always nearby.

For Daytime - Clinique in Matte Beauty. This list has a little bit of everything. Some berry tones, browns, and even squash. But it would not be complete without Matte Beauty from Clinique. This is a fabulous lipstick shade for day. It is soft, romantic, but still packs a punch. Plus, this warm pink is a wonderful compliment to a brown smokey eye look. That is typically what I pair it with but the shade itself is super versatile. It will definitely get a lot of use this fall! 

Those are my top five fall lip products. The ones that not only look great but have been getting a ton of use so far this season. 

What are your favourite fall shades?

xo Shannon

Monday, October 24, 2016

live your life and forget your age.

Some people dread birthdays. Not me. Whenever October 24th rolls around, I am bursting with joy. I simply cannot wait for all of the fun and festivities. Like birthday cake and balloons. Dinner with my family. And that feeling that for just one day....I shine. Yes, I am a bit of a birthday brat. I refuse to work on my birthday (I always book it off) and get super excited about all the events that await.

Honestly? This is the only birthday I have ever been hesitant about. It's not hard to figure out why. I am turning the big 3-0. That fact alone has caused me to do an awful lot of thinking. About where I am in my life vs where I thought I'd be. It is easy to get wrapped up in what you haven't done....instead of what you have. So, I have been working hard to appreciate the many blessings in my life.

Today is my 30th birthday. In my life so far, I have married my soulmate, had wonderful experiences with my family, made memories with a best friend I adore, and have a writing career that makes me proud. (Even if it is in progress.) I have pushed myself to try new things, I have grown as a person, and have learned to love myself. Not bad for my first act.

I have so much hope for the future and am incredibly thankful for the amazing gifts life has brought me. I may have been hesitant about my 30th birthday....but after some reflection? I cannot wait to see how it plays out.

Happy birthday to me.

Thank you for this precious day,
These gifts you give to me,
My heart so full of love for you,
Sings praise for all I see,

Oh, sing, for every mother's love,
For every childhood tear,
Oh, sing, for all the stars above,
The peace beyond all fear
― John Denver

xo Shannon

Saturday, October 22, 2016

holly madison: love it or leave it?

Fashion is an interesting medium as it is completely open to interpretation. Two people can see the same outfit...yet have totally opposing views. One might think a look is chic and sophisticated while the other may see something that is cluttered and over the top. The interpretation aspect of fashion is the exact reason why I enjoy love it or leave it posts. They give me the opportunity to share my thoughts on a particular outfit. In return? I am able to find out what you all think of the look. Did you agree with me? Disagree? Fall somewhere in the middle? It is a pretty wonderful exchange.

With that in mind, I decided to do another love it or leave it post on my blog. Today it is all about the lovely Holly Madison. She stepped out recently wearing a casual-punk inspired outfit.

What I Love. Oh, Holly. I absolutely adore her. Last year, I binge-watched The Girls Next Door and Holly's World, before reading her books. There is something about her personality that I really love. She is bubbly yet relatable on camera - and her books were so honest and raw. I am definitely a fan of Holly Madison. When it comes to this outfit, there are many things I love. The cute white sunglasses. The gorgeous Louis Vuitton bag. The baggy band hoodie. The plaid skirt. Those adorable polka dot stockings. Everything was really cute and had tons of personality. Honestly? This is kind of how I like to dress.....grabbing random things I love and throwing them all together. Sometimes it's okay to think less about the overall look and more about the individual pieces. So, needless to say, I am definitely feeling this outfit.

What I Loathe. Like I said....I am into this look. I think it is a great combination of pretty and punk. The only downside? There is an awful lot going on. The hoodie and skirt are great together. But once you add in the stockings as well (and the bold sunglasses and statement bag) the eye doesn't know quite where to go. I think if she had worn plain stockings instead, it would have been a little more polished.

What do you think of Holly's outfit? Love it or leave it?

xo Shannon

Thursday, October 20, 2016

review: lime crime velvetines liquid matte lipstick

Squash. Few words conjure up images of fall faster than squash. Perhaps this explains my full-blown obsession with the Lime Crime Liquid Matte Lipstick (in the shade "Squash," of course). I picked up a couple of Lime Crime products at IMATS a couple of weeks back. Since then, I have been doing lots of testing and trying. Essentially, I have been finding out which products make my heart sing and which ones are complete and total letdowns. So far? Squash is the absolute standout.

There are many reasons this liquid lipstick has impressed me. For starters, the packaging is gorgeous. It is both cute and simple - the perfect combination. I love the floral print on the cap and the frosted glass effect on the bottom. It gives the product an undeniable charm from the get go. Then there is the formula itself. It goes on creamy, dries completely but doesn't feel drying (like so many liquid lipsticks do), and is intensely pigmented. Yes, this is a standout for many different reasons.

The most important? The colour. I'll be honest, there are an awful lot of lipstick colours in my makeup collection. From purple to red, green, blue, gold, and well, just about every colour of the rainbow. Except squash. This is the ultimate fall shade. It is bold but warm - making it easy to make a statement without feeling out of place or over the top. Not only was this colour my favourite of the Lime Crime lipsticks (I also picked up Blondie while at IMATS. It is a metallic shade that swatches beautifully but looks alien-esque on the lips) but it is one of my favourite lip products ever.

I wore Squash in my latest YouTube video. Take a look to see the lip colour in action and to find out more about my IMATS experience....

This is one lip product that took my breath away. Every time I wear Squash, I feel like a million bucks. It is a stunning fall shade that looks great, feels comfortable, and lasts for ages. Lime Crime is a fantastic brand....and I am so happy that I picked up a few of their products.

What do you think of this shade? Have you tried anything from Lime Crime?

xo Shannon

Saturday, October 15, 2016

my imats experience (and haul!)

It was one of those things that had long been on my radar. Yet, I had never made it down to IMATS. That changed when a friend of mine invited me along for IMATS Toronto 2016 show. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to see what all the fuss was about. Going in? I had no clue what to expect. I simply hoped for a fun day full of makeup. Well, that is exactly what I got. Here it very first IMATS experience.

Morning came very early. I was up at 6am doing my hair and makeup (my hair was not cooperating so I opted for an "I Dream of Jeannie" inspired high-ponytail and warm matte eyeshadow shades with a little winged eyeliner). Then came the dilemma of what to wear. Despite having multiple outfit options laid out....nothing felt right. Ultimately I went with a simple floral blouse and a pair of skinny jeans. Then it was time to head to the train station to make my way to the city. We met up for a quick breakfast before waiting in line to get in.

IMATS was crazy. Beyond crazy. We waited for quite some time to be let in and then it was line after line after line. Silly me, I figured you could walk up to the makeup booths and shop. Ha! Basically, you would get into a line for a brand. Wait for 20 minutes to an hour. Decide what products you want to buy. (Sometimes without seeing them until the very last second.) Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. There were certain booths we simply did not have time to make it to. The lines were just too long. It was definitely a little overwhelming!

It was still a lot of fun, though. We got to talk about makeup, pick up some new products, and take in all of the madness around us. Full reviews will definitely be coming for these....but until is my IMATS haul.

Products Pictured Include: 
  • Morphe 35W Eyeshadow Palette 
  • Morphe M458 Brush
  • Morphe M705 Brush
  • Naked Cosmetics Desert Sunset Collection
  • Lime Crime Velvetines Liquid Matte Lipstick (Squash and Blondie)
  • Kat Von D Liquid Lipstick (Beloved, Nosferatu, and Santa Sangre)
  • Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick (Lolita) 
Phew! It was definitely tricky to show that much self-restraint. With makeup absolutely everywhere....I wanted to buy it all. Instead, I tried to focus on items I would get a lot of use out of or were totally different than anything already in my makeup collection. For that reason? I think that I did really well. Expect detailed reviews on each of these items in the weeks to come.

Have you ever been to IMATS? What was your experience like?

xo Shannon

Thursday, October 13, 2016

review: shine by heidi klum

In all honesty? I had no idea Heidi Klum had her own perfume. The bottle (pictured above) was something I stumbled across by accident and simply had to try. It was on clearance for a measly $5 so it seemed logical to pick it up and test it out. If only because Project Runway is one of my all-time favourite shows. Now that it is officially part of my perfume collection....I am glad that "Shine" made its way into my life. It is a lovely fragrance.

The bottle itself is very unique. It has an oval shape with a grooved pattern as well as a luxurious gold emblem and cap. The overall appearance is sophisticated and elegant. Which is exactly how the perfume smells. "Shine" is musky and romantic. It oozes beauty and refinement. Whenever I stop and smell it, I immediately think of a dinner date with someone special or a holiday party. Or even a birthday celebration. Yes, this is definitely a special occasion kind of scent.

While I adore the smell of "Shine," it is not likely to get a ton of use from me. The reasoning is pretty simple: this is not an everyday perfume. On the plus side, it will make every important event or a holiday get together feel special. One spritz of this perfume and you will hold your head higher and stand a little taller. It is just so elegant and beautiful. I really do love it. This was certainly worth the $5 investment. If only so I can get my glam on every once and a while.

Have you tried this fragrance by Heidi Klum? What do you think of it?

xo Shannon

Saturday, October 8, 2016

a good snapshot stops a moment from running away.

This has been an interesting couple of weeks. They have been full of introspection and reflection. With every day that passes, I feel myself becoming stronger and more focused. And that is a pretty amazing thing. Perhaps that is why I wanted to take some time to look back on recent moments. This "snapshot" post is a collection of small accomplishments and lovely memories.

Going To The Blue Jays Game. My husband and I were lucky enough to see a Blue Jays game a couple of weeks ago. It was a wonderful way to kick-start the fall season. Our seats were fantastic, the Jays won the game, and it felt good to spend time together. Plus, there was popcorn and a soft pretzel involved. Clearly that is important.

Spending Time With My BFF. Sometimes I think people are meant to come into your life. That is exactly how I feel about one of my friends. She honestly means the world to me. Not only can I talk to her about anything (there is no judging and no such thing as TMI) but we do amazing things together. Whether we are binge watching a show, talking for hours on end, or taking a class together....she is my ride or die. Lately, I have been feeling especially grateful for her friendship.

Putting Up My New YouTube Video. It's hard to believe, but my YouTube channel has been up and running for a year and a half. Pretty crazy. At the moment, I have a massive list of video ideas. If only I had the time to film them all! I recently put up a video using only dollarstore makeup items. This was such a fun video to do. (If only because I was able to test out new makeup.) Take a look and let me know what you think of it....

Writing (and Doing!) a Makeup Tutorial. Writing is definitely a big part of my life. I write literally every single day. While I wish I had more time to write for myself (short stories, poetry, or doing edits on my book)....I am grateful to be busy and constantly writing. That is a big deal. On that note, I wanted to share a recent article that I wrote for LoveToKnow. It was a Minnie Mouse makeup tutorial - which is perfect for Halloween or a costume party.

Those are a few of the things that I have done lately. I am constantly trying to find a balance between work and a social life....and it feels good when that actually happens. These little snapshots might not look like much. But they make me happy. Here is hoping the rest of month brings just as much joy.

What have you done lately? Any standout moments?

xo Shannon

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

hilary duff: love it or leave it?

I'll be honest. Sometimes, this blog gets away from me. Sure....I post regularly but I tend to forget how things used to be. One example? Love it or leave it. This was a regular series on my blog. It would feature a recent celebrity outfit - and I would share whether I loved or loathed the look. After talking to a friend (who happened to be looking back at old posts) she made me realize that I had completely forgotten about that series. The one I loved writing so much. Well, that has changed. Here it is, my first love it or leave it post in about two years. Enjoy!

What I Love: Okay, no surprise here, but I am a huge Hilary Duff fan. This goes all the way back to her Lizze McGuire days. She has always been an inspiration to me style-wise (oh how I used to long for her Disney wardrobe) and honestly? That hasn't changed much. As you can see from the photo above....she is no stranger to taking fashion risks. Hilary has effortlessly blended animal print with stripes. This mix-and-match look is bold, fun, and most importantly, interesting. That is not an easy thing to accomplish. While this look could have easily turned busy or tacky? It has just the right balance thanks to the neutral colours. 

What I Loathe: This outfit is pretty darn close to perfection. In my opinion, at least. The only thing I am not a fan of? Those shoes. I don't know what it is about them....but they make my skin crawl. They look like strange strappy boats. Not cute. Thankfully the rest of this look is a total winner. So, I will try to forgive those off putting heels. 

Overall, this is a fabulous look. The mixed prints, the burgundy skirt (fall colours are always a good thing), the laid-back waves, and polished makeup....need I go on? Hilary Duff remains a style icon. 

What do you think of this look? Love it or leave it?

xo Shannon

Monday, October 3, 2016

a good book stays with you.

It is easy to get lost in the shuffle of everyday life. There are to do lists to tackle and responsibilities to consider. By the time the day is done? You are wipes. Exhausted. Thinking of nothing but a blissfully deep sleep. Let's face it.....with so much on our plates these days, reading often takes a back seat. Who has time in this go-go-go society to sit and read a book? Not a lot of people. Despite time constraints and a hectic schedule, reading has managed to remain an integral part of my life. Especially over the last several months. I have been doing everything I can to make time for this joyous activity. Which brings me to the heart of this post. Some recent reads have inspired me in ways I never imagined. They made me think, feel, and grow. They are....

Jane Fonda: My Life So Far. The thing about autobiographies? Some are phenomenal and some are so-so. It depends whether the author is willing to be raw and real or if they want to stay on the surface. When I found Jane Fonda's biography at a thrift store, I was excited. Thrilled, even. I could not wait to learn more about my fitness guru. Not knowing much about her life (apart from the fact that she was an actress and workout queen), I went into this blind. But boy....were my eyes opened. She shared deeply emotional stories about her childhood, feelings of self, toxic relationships, and so much more. I felt deeply connected to her story. In a way, it felt good to know I was not alone. That even the great Jane Fonda struggled to make sense of herself. It was a heart-wrenching, educational, and inspirational read. One that stayed with me long after the last line.

Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson. One of my favourite Christmas movies is Miracle on 34th Street. The re-make, not the original. Mrs. Doubtfire and Matilda were some of my favourite films growing up. Needless to say, Mara Wilson was a very big part of my childhood. So when I heard that she had written a book....I made a trip to the bookstore. Immediately. I could not wait to read her story. What I never could have guessed is how much this book would affect me. She spoke of her anxiety and OCD. Of her time on film sets. Of first loves and friendships. Of her mother's death. (The latter literally moved me to tears.) By the time I finished reading? I had found a part of myself. A part I never knew I was missing. She was always my idol growing up. Turns out, she still is.

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero. Confession: I love a good self help book. They force you to think about your life (the good and the not so good) and really focus on areas that you want to improve. Recently, my friend gave me You Are a Badass: How To Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living An Awesome Life. I knew this book was going to be good thanks to the witty writing and the authors sharp tongue. What I didn't expect is how much it would make me think. How many positive emotions it would bring out. While I am not finished yet (though I am certainly working on it), this book simply needed to be part of this list. There was a chapter about source energy that was particularly moving and information about the sub-conscious that profoundly affected me. Not to mention, this quote:

"If you are depressed, you are living in the past. 
If you are anxious, you are living in the future. 
If you are at peace, you are living in the present." 

Books matter. Words matter. Reading matters. If nothing else, I hope this post inspires you to pick up a paperback and fall into another world. 

What have you read lately? Do you have a favourite book?

xo Shannon

Saturday, October 1, 2016

easy ways to transition your summer wardrobe.

Fall is here. Officially. There is no denying it anymore or clinging to the last remains of warm summer nights. It always amazes me how quickly those blissful months pass. Now that we are well and truly experiencing the fall is time to make a few changes to our wardrobes. The mornings are chillier, the rain has started, and it seems to be permanently overcast. (To think just a few weeks ago, I was cursing the never-ending heat and humidity!) Instead of giving up those summer style staples entirely, here are a few ways to transition your wardrobe from one season to the next.

  • Change The Way You Wear Your Maxi Dresses. There is nothing like a good maxi dress during those warm summer months. They are quick, easy, and effortlessly glamorous. Just because the temperatures are dropping doesn't mean you have to store your maxi dresses at the back of the closet. At least not yet. There are many ways to change up the way you wear your maxis! Layer a cardigan over top or even a chunky knit sweater. Then add on a belt to define your waist. 
  • Make Good Use Of Layering Essentials. Fall is a time for layering. Especially during the early weeks of the season. (When the weather isn't quite sure what it is doing!) Try throwing on an oversized sweater, wearing leggings underneath your favourite skirt, or wearing tights with that fitted dress. You can also add on a scarf or a light jacket. You will look amazing and stay warm. 
  • Incorporate Fall Colours Into Your Look. It might be a new season but that doesn't mean you have to give up your summer favourites entirely. The key is to pair them with fall inspired pieces. For instance, wear a chic tank top with a forest green cardigan. Or those denim shorts with a pair of burgundy tights. By adding traditional fall colours into your next look? It will balance out those summery staples. 
  • Change Your Footwear First. You don't have to say so long to your summer wardrobe right away. Try starting with your footwear first. Put away your sandals until next year and start rocking a cute pair of boots or sneakers. This will give your outfit a decidedly fall inspired finish....without robbing you of your go to pieces.
Fashion is an incredible way to express yourself. So let your wardrobe do the talking this season! These tips will help you turn that summer style into fabulous fall fashion. 

Share your fall style tips in the comment section below!

xo Shannon