Friday, June 30, 2017

there's nowhere else i'd rather be.

Tomorrow is a pretty special day. It marks the 150th anniversary of Canada....and of course, there are tons of events happening throughout the country. In the past, I've celebrated Canada Day in a number of different ways, from going to the movies, to family barbecues, to checking out massive firework displays. This year? There is a lot of pressure to celebrate the holiday in a meaningful way. Not just because it falls on a Saturday but because this is such a monumental anniversary. Everywhere you go, there are beach towels, mugs, and t-shirts commemorating Canada 150.

So, how will I be celebrating? By sleeping in, having a yummy breakfast, and spending time with my husband. We might head down to the lake to see the fireworks later in the evening....but for the most part, I am hoping it will be a laid back and relaxing day. The reason for this? It is so easy to get caught up in the hype. There is all of this pressure to do something out of the ordinary and have a spectacular celebration. But being with someone you love is the only thing that really matters. So that is what I am focused on!

Whether you will be celebrating Canada Day or are just excited for the start of the This is the perfect time to be around people you love.

Happy Canada Day! How will you be celebrating?

xo Shannon

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

3 Simple Ways to Get Back on Track Post-Holiday

Summer is a time for travel. As you know, I have spent the last few weeks on a road trip with my family. It was wonderful, exciting, memorable, and just a little overwhelming. Though it was great to get away from work and everyday responsibilities for a while...coming home was a total relief. It was incredible to see my husband, sleep in my own bed, and feel somewhat normal again. The only real downside? After a getaway (whether it is short, long, or somewhere in between), I usually find myself feeling down. This is known as post-travel depression and it is caused by the disorientation of getting back into a routine.

While post-travel depression is fairly common, it can still be upsetting and frustrating to deal with. Especially after such a great trip! Not to worry. Here are three simple ways to help you (and me) get back on track post-holiday.

1) Return to Your Workout Routine Right Away

Something I like to do? Give myself a few days after a vacation to adjust. Typically during that time, I will sleep, watch TV, and sleep some more. The last thing on my agenda is a good workout. However, skipping your workout can actually make you feel stressed, overwhelmed, and even more fatigued. So make time for a short workout once you return home. (It could be something like a brisk walk, a run, or a workout DVD. It doesn't have to be a full-blown bootcamp style workout!) The whole point is to get yourself moving.

2) Give Yourself Time to Reminisce 

It's okay to look back at your vacation photos and think, I wish I was still there. This is a natural response. We have a tendency to see our travel experiences with rose coloured glasses, so it only makes sense that we want to live it again! Give yourself time to reminisce by posting your favourite travel photos on social media, writing about your getaway, and sharing stories with friends. Take the opportunity to feel grateful and blessed to have experienced so many wonderful things. Then channel that feeling of gratitude into your everyday life.

3) Find Something Positive to Focus On

One of the main causes of post-travel depression is the feeling that there is nothing left to look forward to. Most of us plan vacations several months in advance. So, we are constantly thinking, planning, and preparing. When that ends, it can seem like there is nothing exciting happening in our lives. Find something positive to channel your energy into. It could be a passion project or hobby, an upcoming concert, or even thinking about the next vacation you will take in the future. Remember: there is always something to look forward to!

How to Prevent Post-Travel Depression. If you have a vacation coming up this summer....plan ahead! There are a few things you can do to prevent post-travel depression from setting in upon your return. A few examples include: cleaning the house completely (laundry included) so you will come home to a stress free environment, returning to work on a Tuesday instead of a stress-filled Monday, and bringing pictures from home with you on your trip.

Something else that is helping me get back on track? Focusing on my YouTube channel. Take a peek at the latest upload....dedicated to my favourite liquid lipsticks.

There you have it! A few ways to help you get back on track after your totally amazing holiday. Over the next several days, I will be sharing some of my travel photos and stories with stay tuned!

Will you be travelling this summer?

xo Shannon

Monday, June 26, 2017

current obsession: NYX intense butter gloss

Even though NYX products have been in Canada for over a year now (wow...time really flies), it still makes me giddy to reach for their makeup day after day. I suppose the novelty has not worn off just yet. From face palettes to eyeshadows and lip products, NYX continues to impress. Especially when it comes to their line of Intense Butter Gloss lip glosses. Generally speaking, I am not a huge fan of lip glosses. Most of them - even high end versions - are sticky and uncomfortable to wear. This is not the case with the Intense Butter Glosses.

Not only are they comfortable to wear, smooth rather than sticky, and easy to apply....the shades pack a serious punch. That is my other gripe about the majority of lip glosses on the market. Most of them have super sheer colour payoff, if any. These glosses on the other hand have tons of pigmentation. They can be worn over a lipstick shade for a super bold look but add just as much colour to the lips when worn alone. In addition to the Intense Butter Glosses, I also have a couple of the normal Butter Glosses in my makeup collection. These are also super smooth, comfortable, and have an impressive amount of pigmentation.

Below are some swatches of the current favourites in my collection. The three on the left are from the Intense Butter Gloss line while the last two are from the traditional Butter Gloss collection.

Swatches (Left to Right) 
Banana Royale, Orangesicle, Funnel Delight, Strawberry Parfait, and Peaches and Cream. 

Though there are other NYX lip products in my makeup collection, these are the shades that I have been loving lately. They are so perfect for the summertime! I love the bold peaches, corals, and pinks. With lots of pigmentation and comfort on the lips....these are the perfect glosses for any and all summer activities. Lately, I've been throwing a shade in my purse or applying one before I go anywhere. Whether I'm going grocery shopping, hanging out with a friend, or taking a walk outside. These glosses are a must-have.  

Here is a picture of a recent makeup look I created, using Orangesicle (my personal favourite) to add a pop of colour. It was worn alone, so this should give you an idea of how pigmented these glosses really are....

NYX has a ton of amazing products to choose from. Lately, these Butter Glosses have become my go-to makeup item. Yes, they are without a doubt my current beauty obsession.

Have you tried these glosses? What did you think of them?

xo Shannon

Saturday, June 24, 2017

the summer tag.

It's here! Summer has officially arrived....and I couldn't be more thrilled. While there are many things that I love about spring (like the flowers in bloom and super cute daytime dresses), summer is undeniably addicting. It is all about having fun and making memories. My summer certainly got off to a good start. As you know if you have been reading my blog lately, I have been doing a bit of travelling. My family and I went on a massive road trip to Florida. We made a few stops along the way and tackled some of the most popular theme parks in the world. Not a bad way to kick things off!

In honour of the summer season (and while I get back into the swing of things now that my two and a half week vacation has come to an end), I decided to do the Makeup Geek Summer Tag from a few years back. I stumbled upon this randomly and thought...what the heck! So, here it is.

What is your favourite summer nail polish? There isn't one specific shade that comes to mind, but generally, I am all about bright colours in the summertime. I like neon orange and pinky corals.

What is your favourite lip colour this summer? What a tough question! Honestly, my favourite so far this summer has to be Khlo$ from Kylie Cosmetics. The shade is a beautiful peachy nude - and I am all about peach-toned lip colours during the warmer months.

Describe your favourite summer dress. I have this long black maxi dress with purple flowers all over it. The dress is strapless and has ruffles along the neckline and the bottom of the dress. Every time I wear it....I feel amazing!

What is your favourite summer accessory? My Michael Kors sunglasses! I have a huge sunglasses collection but those are the ones that I reach for most often. The frames are large and they have the signature MK logo on the sides. Perfection!

What summer trends are you most excited about this year? Honestly, the lace up trend is everything right now. I am loving all of the creative ways designers are incorporating that detail into their pieces.

What is your favourite summer candle? I have this amazing one called Fresh Peach that I light all the time during the summer months. Anything peach is my go-to!

What is your favourite body spray and perfume? My favourite body spray is "Beach Nights" from Bath & Body Works and my favourite summer perfume is Maui Fantasy from Britney Spears.

What is the weather like where you live in the summer? It can be pretty hot and humid....or it can rain like crazy. There is really no consistency. It varies so much from summer to summer.

What is your favourite thing about the summer? There is this beautiful excitement in the air. Even everyday activities feel more exciting, thanks to all of that sunshine! Plus, everyone just seems to be in a better mood or looking forward to something.

What are your plans for summer vacation? Well, my major summer activity has already come and gone (my trip to Florida) so the rest of the summer will likely be spent working, writing, organizing, and doing fun things with family and friends.

There you have it! My answers for the Makeup Geek summer tag. If you haven't done this one sure to add it to your to-do list.

Something else I love about summer? Getting creative with colour. Which is one of the things that inspired my Colourful Gothic Makeup Tutorial for my YouTube channel. Take a look and find out how you can create the look for yourself....

What do you have planned this summer?

xo Shannon

Thursday, June 22, 2017

work. travel. save. repeat.

Phew! Time flies when you are having fun. In some ways, it seems like my vacation just started....and in other ways, it feels like forever ago since I left. This road trip was by far the longest vacation that I have ever taken. (Usually they are a week, max.) It was two and a half weeks of the open road, theme parks, and family time. Honestly? It is a little weird being home again. Though it is certainly a relief to be back in my own little space.

This post is nothing more than a quick hello from me. I got in yesterday afternoon and since then, have done little but sleep, sleep, and sleep some more. It always amazes me how exhausted a vacation can make you feel! Tomorrow, I start back at work....which will definitely be a struggle. Can't say I am looking forward to that. Ahh well, back to reality!

Expect a full recap of my vacation highlights in the next little while. I'll be sharing photos, stories, and of course, a haul of the items that came home with me. I will also be getting caught up on reading all of your lovely blogs while I'm at it. So, you will likely see me commenting here and there.

What have you been up to lately?

xo Shannon

Monday, June 12, 2017

ohana means family.

By the time you are reading this, my vacation will already have begun. That's right! I am currently on a road trip with my immediate family members to celebrate my mom's birthday and my parent's wedding anniversary. This is very different for us. While we try to travel as often as possible, we never ever drive to our destination. It is always a flight from point a to point b. This time, it was decided that we were all going to take a road trip across the United States - making stops at Dollywood, SeaWorld, Universal Studios, and Disney World. As someone who loves theme parks (and themes in general) this is the ultimate getaway for me.

There are a few drawbacks to this totally-over-the-top trip, though. The main one? My husband is not joining us on the vacation. Getting that much time off at work was just not a possibility. Plus with me being away from my own job for two and a half weeks (oh yeah....this trip is two and a half weeks long), it just was not a possibility. I haven't been away from him for that long, ever. So, I'm a little worried about how it'll be. Not to mention the fact that I will be away from my job for a while. And my writing. I've tried to do as much as I can ahead of time....but it is still a little stressful.

Yes, there are some not so great aspects of this road trip. But I am super excited about the incredible things we will see, do, and experience. I'm thrilled to spend time with my family. To celebrate my mom's birthday. To share this magical summer vacation with people I love. Fingers crossed it will be amazing!

It will be a week and a half before another post goes up on the creation of beauty is art. So, in the meantime, be sure to check out my YouTube channel and Instagram. I will be posting there as often as possible. Thank you for all of the support....and I will talk to you all soon!

What do you have planned this summer? Will you do any travelling?

xo Shannon

Friday, June 9, 2017

new in from hard candy: metal eyes and wet ever

It is impossible to resist Hard Candy. They are one of the few makeup brands that is consistently putting out new products...and always keeps up to date with the hottest makeup trends. Think about it. They were the first drugstore brand to offer bold lipstick shades (like blue, yellow, and black), along with strobing sets, and affordable contour kits. While not every product is amazing, there are more hits than misses. This explains why whenever there are new products available from Hard Candy, I simply have to try them for myself.

The most recent? The Look Pro! Metal Eyes Chrome Eyeshadow Kit and the Wet Ever Bold Hold Lip Lacquer. Both products immediately intrigued me. I am a sucker for any sort of kit from Hard Candy (they have some amazing ones, like their eyeshadow kits and the strobing kit) and I loved the idea of a glossy lip lacquer. What can I say? I am a makeup junkie at its finest. Here is a closer look at the two items that were added to my makeup collection.

Look Pro! Metal Eyes Chrome Eyeshadow Kit. Out of the two products, I was most excited about this one. My hope was that it would produce a bold eye look, with tons of shimmer and colour payoff. It didn't. At all. This comes with four baked shadows (silver, brown, gold, and maroon), a brush, a mixing well, a setting spray liquid, and an eyeshadow pencil. According to the instructions, you are supposed to dip your brush into the eyeshadow, mix the shadow with the liquid, and apply it to the eyelids. Only problem? There is zero colour payoff at all. It was a struggle to get anything to show up using the wet technique. In order to create any sort of makeup look, I used the shadows dry and built up the colour for ages. Honestly, this is so bad, I am tempted to throw it away. Yes. It is that awful. The only good thing about this set is the eyeliner. It is shockingly creamy and pigmented.

Wet Ever Bold Hold Lip Lacquer in Genius. Now for the lip product. This came in a little metal tin, much like some of their other liquid lipsticks. My love of those (both the regular formula and the metallic formulas) made me absolutely certain that the Wet Ever line would knock my socks off. did and it didn't. The colour Genius is absolutely stunning. I love it so much. It has a very 90s feel to it, which is perfect in my opinion. This is very pigmented and has great staying power. The only snag? This feels quite sticky on the lips. If you are like me and hate anything sticky or tacky, skip the Wet Ever line completely. That stickiness does not fade as the day goes on. Alas!

I tried to create a look using both of these products but it didn't turn out all that well. I suppose that is what happens when you are struggling to make eyeshadow shades work! Hopefully the makeup look will give you a better idea of how these products perform....

Not every Hard Candy product is a winner. Sadly, these were a serious disappointment given their names, claims, and packaging. The good news? It won't be long until this brand has another makeup item on the shelves....and I'll be first in line to try it.

What do you think of these products? Are you a fan of Hard Candy?

xo Shannon

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

review: NYX pro lip cream palette

When it comes to beauty products, I am all about convenience. If it's too complicated or tricky to is a no-go for me. Which is why I typically avoid lip palettes at all costs. The reason is simple: I don't want to carry around a ton of different lip colours. Let alone pack a lip brush to tag along with me! Knowing this....imagine my surprise when I fell head over heels for the NYX Pro Lip Cream Palette in The Pinks.

It was something my husband brought home for me. (He is pretty supportive of my makeup habit and keeps a lookout for any NYX products that go on sale. Lucky me!) Immediately, I was wowed by the beautiful colour selection....but would it be practical? Here is a breakdown of this lip palette.....

Packaging. When it comes to NYX packaging, it is more or less the same from product to product. This came in a sleek and simple case with a black and white colour scheme. Though there is nothing special about the packaging itself, I enjoy the sophisticated finish and sturdiness. It doesn't feel cheap or inexpensive - and looks beautiful in my makeup collection.

Quality. Now to dig into the good stuff: the actual quality of the palette. These lip colours are all beautifully pigmented and swatch exactly as you'd hope they would. The texture is creamy and these feel very comfortable on the lips. In fact, I'd go so far as to say they are moisturizing. This is a must for me, since I have dry lips. The best thing about these shades? They can be worn full on or sheered down by applying a lip balm over top. Each shade has a great texture, lovely colour payoff, and versatility. I am loving it!

Overall Impressions. This is a product that surprised me. Though lip palettes are not usually high up on my list of favourites, this one is. It's fairly small and compact - which means you can actually take this in your purse without it being clunky or heavy. It is portable, pretty, and allows you to create a customized lipstick look. This is definitely coming with me on my upcoming vacation.

NYX rarely lets me down. If any brand could wow me with a lip palette, it was going to be them. The Pinks is a pretty, wearable, and easy to use collection of colours.

Have you tried this lip palette? What did you think of it?

xo Shannon

Monday, June 5, 2017

the happiest girls always have the prettiest nails.

I don't know how it happened. Somehow, my nail polish collection has exploded over the last while. There are a ton of different shades floating around in my beauty room....enough to keep my nails colourful for the rest of my life! Despite my full drawer of nail products, a couple of new ones made their way into my life. What can I say? The colours were spectacular.

The two shades pictured above are Too Haute from the Sally Hansen Miracle Gel line (my favourite line of nail polishes! These last really well and don't chip as quickly as most other brands. Plus, they have a super smooth finish) and Hors d'oeuvres from Essie. Too Haute is a beautiful shimmery purple. It has a metallic kind of finish and is a lot of fun.

Originally, I thought I would add the Essie polish over top for some sheer sparkle. Bad idea! Turns out the silver sparkly nail polish is super thick and has a lot more colour payoff than you'd expect. This is a great thing. Just not for the nail look I had in mind. That being said....this didn't turn out quite like I had hoped. But I figured I would share it with you anyway! Here are both nail polish colours in action....

Both of these nail polish shades impressed me. They were very colourful, pigmented, and had great staying power. (This particular nail look lasted for ten days.) Though I did not like the way the look turned out in general....both of these products are top notch. I will definitely be using them again in the future. Just maybe not together!

What is your favourite nail polish brand?

xo Shannon

Saturday, June 3, 2017

beauty tips for travel.

When it comes to travel, there are so many benefits. Like discovering a new place, enriching and expanding your mind, and of course, getting away from the ordinary. Unfortunately, there are a few snags to consider when it comes to your beauty routine. A few examples? You can't possibly take everything with you. And what if something happens to your favourite foundation en route? Not to worry. These beauty tips for travel will keep you look and feeling good...wherever you go!

  • Bring along extra clear bags with you. Why? In case something breaks on a bumpy flight, so you can pack your makeup in your carry on, and to stay organized during your trip.
  • Choose versatile products. Think of things like multi colour eyeshadow palettes, a brown eyeshadow that can double as a brow powder, foundation or lotion that has an SPF, and so on.
  • Use setting spray to waterproof (or sweatproof) your makeup. This will make sure your look lasts all day and night - in any climate.
  • Put things into smaller plastic containers. These have been a total lifesaver for me! Not only do I take these with me when I travel (to cut down on the bulk in my suitcase) but they are great for throwing into your purse as well. 
  • Pare down your beauty routine. Remember, you're on vacation! You don't need full on sculpted cheekbones everyday. Opt for a simple powder contour instead of a multi-step process. The key is to keep your makeup simple so you can spend more time enjoying your vacation.
Are you a travel lover? It is a huge part of my life, so these are tips and tricks that I have had to learn the hard way over the years. But I've found that a little thought and preparation can make a huge difference.

Do you have any beauty tips for travel? Share them in the comment section!

xo Shannon

Thursday, June 1, 2017

the benefits of grapeseed oil for skin.

Skin care has become a major focus for me over the last couple of months. Why? I started to notice changes in the way my skin looked. It was dull and lifeless. Breakouts were becoming more and more common. And I started to worry about signs of aging. Taking better care of my skin has been on my to-do list for the last four or five years....yet something always stopped me from doing it. Laziness is honestly the biggest reason. Once it gets close to my bedtime, I am exhausted. Working multiple jobs and trying to juggle all of my other responsibilities can be draining. Because of that, my skin care routine suffered dramatically.

Finally, I made the decision to get off my butt and make my skin a priority, As of right now, my routine is fairly simple. Neutrogena face wash, Clinique or St Ives moisturizer, No7 Early Defense Eye Cream, and grapeseed oil. Basically, I've been taking my makeup off before bed (a big step for me), wash, moisturize my face, and apply an under eye cream. Then there is the grapeseed oil. This is something that has been sitting on my shelf of products for ages. For whatever reason, I never thought to reach for it. Then it caught my eye, so I began to do a little research.

The Benefits of Grapeseed Oil for Skin: 
  • This type of oil is great for the skin because it is non-comedogenic, which means it does not clog your pores or cause breakouts.
  • Adds moisture to the skin and locks it in (which is great for someone with dry skin, like me). 
  • Has been found to tighten the skin and treat acne and acne-related scars.
  • Fights dark under eye circles and fights noticeable signs of aging. 
Needless to say, I was pretty excited to find out this little bottle that had been sitting on my shelf, could actually make a difference in the look and feel of my skin. For the last month and a half, I have been using it along with this YouTube video, "Anti Aging Facial Massage," to give my skin a healthier, more radiant, and glowing appearance. So far....I am impressed. The lines on my forehead (which have always made me really self-conscious) are less noticeable, my breakouts have lessened, and my skin feels a million times better. I hope to continue this skin care routine....and will be sure to write an update post in a few months!

Speaking of updates...a new YouTube video is up on my channel. This is my O-Town concert vlog so I hope you all like it. Be sure to check it out, like, comment, and subscribe!

Have you used grapeseed oil on your skin?

xo Shannon