Thursday, April 28, 2016

my current spring favourites.

Finally! After months and months of waiting....spring is here. Not just in name but in season. There is sunshine. Warmth. Green grass. Flowers. This is more than a little exciting. It was starting to feel like spring was never going to arrive. Honestly? I was going a little bit crazy. Day after day was spent longing for spring style, bright lipstick shades, and carefree afternoons. No more. Now I can go for walks, start running again, and liven up my look. The best word to describe me right now is: excited.

Yes, everything about spring seems thrilling. No wonder there are so many seasonal favourites on my list so far. This post is dedicated to the items that are inspiring me. The ones that make me feel special and eager to welcome in the spring season. Those items include: my pastel blue purse, my Hard Candy Sheer Envy Hydrating Mist, my Essence eyeshadow palette, and my Christian Siriano makeup brush set. So many things to love. Take a look!

1. Christian Siriano pastel blue purse from Payless. 
2. Hard Candy Sheer Envy Hydrating Primer Mist.
3. Christian Siriano Limited Edition 7-Piece Brush set. 
4. Essence All About Nude Eyeshadow Palette. 

There is something about spring. It inspires. It lightens up the heart. Lately these items have been complimenting my full-blown spring obsession. If you are as inspired my spring as I am then you will want to check out my latest YouTube video. It is a spring inspired makeup tutorial - featuring lots and lots of pastels. Check it out....

Are you feeling inspired by spring? What are your spring favourites?

xo Shannon

Monday, April 25, 2016

perfume is the key to our memories.

Nothing excites me quite like perfume. The beautiful packaging....the elaborate bottles...the gorgeous scents. It is a truly wonderful thing. For me? A bottle of perfume is an instant mood booster. It can transport me to a happier and more balanced place. Which is probably why my perfume collection is so massive. (I keep meaning to do a perfume collection post but my organization is seriously lacking. One day!) Well, it has grown a little larger. Recently my husband surprised me with some new perfumes. For no reason at all. They definitely made me smile and brightened up my day.

There were three perfumes in total - one collection, one set, and one individual fragrance. Each one has its own distinct scent and personality. So today's post is going to be a mini review of the latest items in my collection.

The first was a fantastic perfume set by Jessica Simpson. I am a big fan of hers so my husband decided to treat me to some of her fragrances. This set included mini bottles of Fancy, Vintage Bloom, I Fancy You, and Fancy Love. The first, Fancy, is definitely one of the standouts. It has a musky kind of scent with fruity undertones. This is the perfect everyday scent. Next was Vintage Bloom. Since I received a full sized version of this one....I will hold off on my review! Then there was I Fancy You. It is bright, fresh, and flirty. Definitely great for date night. Then there is Fancy Love. While I enjoy this fragrance it is probably my least favourite of the four. It has a very sophisticated scent. Nice for special occasions but not something I would reach for on a regular basis.  

The next part of this perfume haul is Vintage Bloom by Jessica Simpson. Let me just say....I love this. A lot. The bottle is so beautiful and romantic. Plus this gift set came with a full sized perfume, a shower gel, and a body lotion. (I always love receiving gift sets. The extras are fantastic!) Now for the scent itself. Everything about it is romantic and whimsical. It has this effortless beauty about it. Which is why I find myself reaching for it constantly lately. In fact, this is the perfume I will be taking with me on my upcoming Disney trip. It is just so lovely. I cannot say enough positive things about this perfume. It smells amazing and gives me an instant boost of confidence. 

The last on the list? The Betsey Johnson perfume. If for any reason I had to choose my favourite fashion designer? It would be Betsey. Hands down. She is such an inspiration to me. I love her distinct styles and playful creations. Which is why my husband picked up this Betsey perfume. He actually bought me a bottle of this a few months back. But I have been wearing it constantly. He actually noticed how much I had used up and decided to buy me a backup bottle. So sweet! 

So there you have it. The latest additions to my (always growing) perfume collection. Overall, I was super impressed with these fragrances. They smell amazing and the bottles are lovely.

Have you tried these? What is your favourite perfume?

xo Shannon

Saturday, April 23, 2016

the best skincare tips.

Skincare is on my mind. More now that we are creeping closer to warm weather. After a long winter skin has become dry and ultra sensitive. Which is why the products I rely on are especially important. Just as important? Following a proper skincare routine. This is something I have been focusing on in my quest to re-balance my skin. Something else that I have been focusing on? Beneficial skincare tips. These are a few that have been incorporated into my daily routine......

Get Enough Sleep At Night. One of the worst things for our skin is lack of sleep. Unfortunately many of us do not get enough. Myself included. Do what you can to turn in just a little bit earlier each night. Or to sleep in extra on the weekends. Every little bit counts! When you get between seven and eight hours of sleep per night you can wave goodbye to those annoying under eye bags.

Don't Just Apply Your Moisturizer. Massage It In. If you are anything like me...your skin needs some serious hydration right now. Here is a super helpful tip. Don't just apply your moisturizer. Make sure that you are really massaging the product into the skin. This will make sure your skin fully absorbs it. It also boost circulation. Which means refreshed, healthy, and glowing skin.

Drink Plenty Of Water Throughout The Day. Say it with me: hydration. This is one of the best things you can do for your skin. Drinking plenty of water each day (approximately eight glasses) will keep your skin hydrated, glowing, and radiant. Do what you can to make sure you get enough. If you don't like regular water...add in a little fruit for flavour.

Exfoliate Once or Twice a Week. Since dry skin is unfortunately a part of my life...this next skincare tip is a must for me. Exfoliating. Aim to do this once or twice a week with a gentle exfoliating cleanser. This will remove any dead skin cells from your face. The end result? Gorgeous glowing skin. Bonus: exfoliating makes it easier to apply your foundation.

It is important to take good care of your skin. That is why I have been focusing on these skincare tips...and some essential products. Want to see what they are? Then take a peek at my latest YouTube video for the creation of beauty is art.

What are your favourite skincare products?

xo Shannon

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

4 Ways To Break Out of a Funk.

Me? I have been in a serious funk lately. I don’t know if it has to do with the weather (it might say spring on the calendar but thus far it has been anything but sunny) or a combination of things. All I know is that I am in a full-blown, non-stop, totally overwhelming, funk. Which is what inspired this post. I want to break free. I want to get out of that blah mentality. Plus, I figured there must be someone else feeling this way. So, I have decided to put some positive energy into my blog. Ready to get started? Here are 4 of the best ways to break out of a funk.

1) Face Your Problems Head On....Then Let Them Go

We all have our own way of dealing with problems. I typically try to ignore them but end up dwelling on them day after day. This causes me to have serious anxiety. Which is why this first tip to break out of a funk is so genius. The whole idea is to face your problems. Really address what they are and how they make you feel. You can write it out on paper (or in a Word document. That is what I have been doing today!) or vent to a friend. Once you have given yourself time to think, feel, and express can start to let go. Not of the problems necessarily but of the anxiety and stress. Picture those fears floating away from your body. Take a deep breath. Then go on with your day. Chances are, you will feel a weight lifted from your shoulders.

2) Channel Your Energy Into Something Hands On

The first sign that I am dealing with a funk? I want to lay in bed and watch TV. All day every day. That makes this next de-funkifiying tip so helpful. Channel your energy into something that is hands on. It could be a creative project (like scrap booking, colouring, or a mood board) or an at home project (like organizing your closet, de-cluttering, or re-decorating). The whole idea is to do something. To fight the urge to let that funk take you over. The best part? Once you complete a project? You will feel a million times better. I recently organized my closet and felt an enormous sense of pride afterward.

3) Spend Time Around People You Care About

Have you ever heard the saying, kindness can heal? It might be a little cliche...but it is so so true. Being kind to others - or having others be kind to you - can be a healing process. Want to break free of your funk? Do what you can to give back to others. Reach out to friends who need a shoulder to cry on, do some volunteer work, or simply share a smile. You can also try to spend more time around people you love. Grab coffee with a friend. Go to dinner with your parents. Enjoy a fun activity with your co-workers. Getting out there and being social will melt away your funk in no time flat.

4) Go For a Walk (Or Run) Outside

This one is my personal favourite. And thinking of it is probably why my funk has gotten so out of hand. The weather has been awful and I am itching to go for a run. Alas! The last tip on this list is to get outside. Sometimes a little fresh air is all you need to shake those negative feelings. Take twenty minutes and go for a walk around your neighbourhood. Bring along a friend or significant other or go for a solo walk. Just get outside and appreciate being in nature. While you're there? Pay attention to the cool breeze, the sunshine, and the flowers. Focus on the good things life has to offer. You can also go for a run, a bike ride, or go rollerblading. Just get out there!

So! There you have it. A few tried and tested ways to break free of a funk. Honestly, just writing this post made me feel so much better. This was definitely a positive creative outlet for me.

Share your own tips in the comment section below!

xo Shannon

Monday, April 18, 2016

and i don't like the sound. of our feet on the ground.

Over the years? I have been to an awful lot of concerts. Some are disappointing and some are spectacular. You never know what you are going to get. There is a very good reason for this. So much of the concert experience is based on outside factors. Like who you go with, the weather conditions, fellow concert goers, and so on. Based on those outside factors? The recent O-Town concert should have been disappointing. For starters, it was snowing like crazy. By the time we got inside, we looked like drowned rats. Snow had destroyed our hair and makeup. Then there was the moment when I cut my finger on a bathroom door. It bled for ages. Not to mention the fact that my friend and I were completely and totally exhausted.

Yes, by all accounts....the O-Town concert should have been disappointing. But it wasn't. It was everything I wanted it to be and more.

There has been a lot going on in my life lately. Stress and worry and anxiety. That is probably why I spent most of last week eagerly looking forward to the concert. I could not wait to see one of my all-time favourite bands perform live. Excited? Absolutely. The day of the concert, I spent two and a half hours getting ready. I tried out a new hairstyle (braids along the side, tons of volume on the top, and pin straight locks) and spent ages perfecting my makeup. I agonized over what to wear. I packed and re-packed my purse. For whatever reason....I wanted everything to be perfect. It is a shame the snow washed away most of my hard work. Ahh well. Such is life.

The concert itself was fantastic. O-Town came out ready to entertain. They had a ton of energy, a great rapport with one another, and a fantastic set list. They sang a ton of favourites - both old and new. Some of the highlights for me included: I Showed Her (my favourite ballad and one of my favourite songs period), Lines and Circles (the choreography was as wonderful as the song!), and Skydive (my obsession with that song is real). I had a blast singing along and watching them perform. It was truly a magical experience for me. One that I did not take for granted. Not for a second.

Then there was an unexpected bonus to the night. During their encore, Jacob announced that they would be signing t-shirts after the show. (No pictures or anything like that. Just signing shirts!) Since I had already shelled out $50 on a shirt...this was a huge moment of excitement for me. To meet them? To actually meet O-Town? This was something that I had been dreaming of since Making The Band days. So I waited. I risked missing the last train home. And I waited.

It wasn't too long before they came out and started signing. I was lucky enough to be fairly close to the front of the line. Thank goodness for that! It was overwhelming. The closer I got to the band....the harder my heart pounded. My head was spinning. All I could think about was how long I had dreamed of this moment. And how many years ago I had given up on the possibility. Then suddenly, there it was, right in front of me. 

Now I will be very honest here. I made a total fool of myself. I was so nervous, excited, and overwhelmed....I literally could not contain it. I shook and rambled on while talking to Dan, Erik, and Jacob. I even got some hugs and a handshake. Then I got to Trevor (who happens to be my favourite member of the band) and I absolutely lost my mind. I started to shake even harder and even cried. He wiped a tear from my face and that was quite honestly, one of the highlights. Of my entire life. Thankfully, he was so sweet and so kind. It made me feel better about being a total fangirl-ing mess. That was it. Then it was time to collect myself and go home. 

I think back on that night and smile. Not because a dream came true. Not because I had an amazing time. But because for one felt perfect.

xo Shannon

Saturday, April 16, 2016

it's kind of fun to do the impossible.

Having something to look forward to? Priceless. There is something exciting about having a special event, holiday, or getaway in the not-so-distant future. The thought alone can make you smile. Give you butterflies. Make life feel extra special. At the moment....there is something that I am desperately looking forward to. What is it? A trip to Walt Disney World.

Last summer, my husband and I went to Disney World for our honeymoon. We had a lot of fun while we were there. So, when we were thinking of taking a vacation - Disney was on our radar. There were other destinations that we wanted to visit as well. (Like Boston, Ireland, and Cuba.) But after some hmm-ing and haw-ing, Disney it was. It is actually my favourite place in the world to this decision made me very happy indeed.

Right now? I am thinking about Disney constantly. I cannot wait for our incredible getaway. It is coming up quickly. Just a few weeks and then it will be sunshine and rides. We have already planned the specifics, booked the hotel, signed up for our fast passes, and all the rest. One detail that I am still thinking about? My wardrobe. Though I will likely stick to basics (like shorts, rompers, and tank tops)....I want to bring pieces that inspire, make me smile, and help me to feel my absolute best. Which is why I created this Disney Inspired Spring Look. Take a look and let me know what you think of it. I wanted to pair basic pieces with bolder and brighter accessories.

At the moment? I am looking forward to my upcoming Disney trip. The countdown is definitely on. Though my suitcase is far from packed...I am giving plenty of thought to the pieces that will come with me.

Let me know what you think of this outfit! What events are you looking forward to?

xo Shannon

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

YouTube: Khloe Kardashian Inspired Makeup Tutorial

Inspiration comes from many places. Nature, runway shows, magazines, and a million other sources. For me? One constant source of inspiration? Khloe Kardashian. Whether I am double tapping on her Instagram page, checking out her app, or watching her on TV....Khloe makes me want to elevate my style. Which is exactly what I decided to do.

It was a beautiful Saturday morning. I had the apartment all to myself. I started searching for Khloe pictures that highlighted her signature makeup style. You know, glamorous smokey eyes, lots of lashes, highlight and contour, and a plum pout. It made me want to create. Just for the fun of it. There was no where to go and no one to see. That somehow made it sweeter. Fueled by inspiration....I set up my camera and filmed a Khloe Kardashian inspired makeup look.

Want to see how it turned out? The products I chose? Then check out the creation of beauty is art. YouTube channel. This was by far my favourite video ever to film - and my favourite finished product. If you have a chance, please take a look, like, comment, and subscribe!

Khloe Kardashian is such a beauty icon. She often inspires my fashion and makeup choices. I love that she is glamorous, polished, and always pushing the boundaries.

Who inspires you? Name a few of your beauty icons!

xo Shannon

Sunday, April 10, 2016

ambition is our idol.

It is over. The end of something special. A show that gave me joy for a very long time. Yes, American Idol ended its 15 season run last week. To some? This comes as no surprise. To others? It is the end of an era. For me, the latter rings especially true. It is incredible how much this show has affected my life. There were so many highs. Memorable moments. Disappointments. Looking back? I am grateful for everything this show has given me: the chance to discover new artists, bonding time with my family, and even some friends. Here is the thing. I have always been shy and reserved. That made it difficult to create strong friendships growing up. Thanks to Idol....I came out of my shell. I felt comfortable expressing my opinion. And I met new people.

Idol is so much more than a show. It is a significant part of my life. It feels very bittersweet to say farewell to something that meant so much. In honour of the end of the series....I wanted to take a look back. To highlight some of my favourite American Idol moments. Please feel free to share your own standout moments in the comment section below. (Note: this post is not at all beauty or fashion related. But it felt right for me to commemorate the show.)

Season One: The beginning of it all! And the start of something very special. I had a couple of favourites that year: Kelly Clarkson and Jim Verraros. Jim was my very first American Idol crush. I was head over heels for him. I have fond memories of hanging his photo all over our cabin when my family went camping that summer.

Season Two: This is when Idol became a full blown obsession for me. The reason? Clay Aiken. My mom and I didn't just root for him on the show. We recorded the episodes, listened to every performance over and over again, and followed him post-show. From CDs to concerts and seeing him on Broadway. We were (and still are) serious Claymates.

Season Three: I'll be honest. This season was a little unhealthy for me. I became totally and completely obsessed with John Stevens. The red hair....the crooning....that voice! Ahh, it was an intense and beautiful Idol obsession. Unfortunately, it did not seem like he was going to make it to the end. This caused me to panic each and every week. I didn't want to lose him. Fun fact: he is still one of my all-time favourites. His album, Mr Nice Guy was released last year.

Season Four: What a great season this one was. There were so many incredible singers! My favourites were: Carrie Underwood, Constantine Maroulis, and Anthony Fedorov. Since the show? I have been able to see Carrie in concert and have seen Constantine multiple times in a variety of theatre productions. Such a huge fan of his.

Season Five: Unlike other seasons of the show? This was one where I had multiple favourites. They were: Katharine McPhee, Kellie Pickler, and of course, Bucky Covington. So much talent that season. It was definitely a lot of fun to watch.

Season Six: Out of all my Idol memories....a large chunk of them will be from this season. Sanjaya Malakar just swept me off my feet. I watched his performances, I saved photos, I chatted with other fans online....yes, it was all Sanjaya all the time. When I met him after his elimination? (I just happened to be on vacation in New York during his post-show promo tour.) I bawled. It meant so much to meet the person who had brought me that much joy.

Season Seven: Another great season. Why? David Archuleta. I was already a fan of his by the time he came on the show. I'd watched him years before on Star Search and kept up with him online every now and then. His time on the show was exciting, special, and filled me happiness. (I only wish he had snagged the title.)

Season Eight: Here it is. My all-time favourite season of American Idol. Every contestant in the top 10 has a special place in my heart. Kris Allen, Adam Lambert, and on and on the list goes. By far the most important Idol to me? Scott MacIntyre. He is to this day my favourite contestant. His talent is undeniable. I am such a massive fan of his. I will take any chance to see him or listen to him. One of the highlights of this blog? Interviewing him! You can still take a look at that here.

Season Nine: What could compare to the incredible season eight? Not much. There were some talented people....but only one that I adored. It was Aaron Kelly. His voice was so incredible. When he performed Blue Suede Shoes? It took over my page.

Season Ten: I'll be honest. I didn't make it through this season of Idol. There was no more Simon. That in itself totally shifted things. The show felt different somehow. Lacking.

Season Eleven: This was another good season. Which was refreshing after the show losing its steam for me. There were a couple of contestants I really loved. Phillip Phillips and Colton Dixon. To this day I am still a huge fan of both. I've bought all of their post-Idol CDs - and will continue to do so!

Season Twelve: Another season that I gave up on. The judges were horrible (Mariah and Nikki fighting each week was not as entertaining as we all hoped it would be) and the talent was meh. The only person I liked was Lazaro Arbos...and I stopped watching when he was off the show.

Season Fifteen: That takes us to the current season. There is a gap there because I stopped watching the show. It just didn't feel like the American Idol that I had grown up with. The reason I came back to watch the final season? There seemed to be a focus on what was. The talented singers and the old contestants. They seemed intent to bring heart back into the show. So....I watched. And I said goodbye to something that inspired me for many years. (For the record: my favourite contestant was Dalton Rapattoni.)

Phew! That took ages to write. Probably because I wound up on YouTube watching old performances. But it felt good to look back and reminisce.

What are you favourite Idol moments?

xo Shannon

Friday, April 8, 2016

review: marc jacobs highliner gel eye crayon

There is nothing like a trip to Sephora. It is always a little overwhelming. Not only are there products everywhere....but there is a constant crowd of makeup lovers desperate to get their hands on anything and everything. Myself included. Rarely do I leave Sephora empty handed. The last time I was out? I was looking for a few specific items. None of which were in stock. (Isn't that always the way?) Shock! Horror! I was about to leave the store without making a purchase. That is, until I locked eyes on this Marc Jacobs set. It included three mini highliner gel eye crayons. In some seriously gorgeous colours. There was a purple, navy, and a turquoise.

Needless to say....this set made its way home with me. Originally I thought these eyeliners would not get a lot of use. Wrong! It turns out that I have been using these on a very regular basis. The green came in handy on St. Patrick's Day. I've worn the purple three or four times. And that navy? Ideal for the lower lash line. Despite the fact that these gel liners are bolder colours....they are actually quite wearable. They are a great way to add a fun pop of colour to any makeup look.

Each shade is beautiful. The green is vibrant, the navy is smokey, and the purple is bold and fun. Yes, these shades have definitely impressed me. They are diverse, different, and easy to wear. Perfection! As for the finish? They have a shimmery sort of metallic finish rather than matte. This was unexpected in the best possible way. I love the dimension it gives to my makeup looks. As for staying power? These last. Forever. They do not smudge or budge at all during the day. In fact, it takes a decent amount of scrubbing to get them off at night! They are very long lasting.

Now for the texture. This is perhaps the best thing about these liners. The gels are super smooth and glide easily along the lash line. No pulling or tugging. These are like butter! The packaging is another plus. It is simple with a rounded silver top and silver body. The liner shade itself is shown on the bottom. That makes it quick and easy to find what you are looking for. The packaging is the perfect blend between luxury and convenience. Marc Jacobs definitely hit it out the park with this little set!

This was my first time trying out anything from Marc Jacobs. It makes me very glad that I took the chance on this little eyeliner set. The only downside? It makes me desperate to try out other products from the Marc Jacobs makeup line. Ahh, the life of a makeup lover. 

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

xo Shannon

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

darling, i'm a nightmare dressed like a daydream.

It is hard to believe....but I have not purchased a new perfume in months. Instead? I have been using what I own and doing my best to steer clear of the fragrance aisles. Difficult to do. Especially since I adore trying out (and getting inspired by) different scents. Out of all of my perfumes there are some that stand out among the rest. Like my Taylor Swift perfumes, for instance. Her first two are some of my most used. They are romantic, feminine, and whimsical. Perfect for date night. And actually....they are my husbands favourites. Every time I wear a Taylor Swift perfume, he says I smell nice. Every. Single. Time.

So perhaps it was not that surprising that he bought me her third perfume. It was to commemorate our anniversary (of when we started dating. Not our wedding anniversary!) and was totally unexpected. This was a few months ago now....but with spring here....I find myself reaching for this over and over again. It has become a serious spring obsession. The perfume in question? Incredible Things. Everything about it screams spring. From the scent itself to the bottle.

See? That bottle is nothing but not spring inspired. The cap is gold and has an intricate floral design. The bottle itself is white with a beautiful array of colours. Yellow, green, red, pink, and blue. It is absolutely gorgeous. Every time I look at it....I feel inspired by the season. Maybe that is why I continue to reach for it! My obsession with spring is real. (It felt like a very long winter. I am definitely ready for warm weather, cute clothes, and sunshine. Oh, and Taylor Swift perfume.) 

There is no doubt about it. The Incredible Things bottle is stunning. So....what about the scent? This is very different from her first two offerings. Those were subtle and sweet. Incredible Things is bolder. It is dynamic. Strong. Yet it still has this romantic and whimsical feel to it. It embodies all of the charm of the first two fragrances but kicked up a notch. This is decidedly more adult. It has a sophistication that cannot be ignored. That makes it perfect for an evening out, a meet up with friends, or a special occasion.

Spring is here. Thank goodness. Now that it is? Incredible Things is on my radar. This perfume has become one of my favourites. The bottle is gorgeous and the scent is breathtaking. What more could I possibly ask for? Taylor Swift is yet to disappoint on the fragrance front.

What do you think of this perfume? Have you tried it?

xo Shannon

Monday, April 4, 2016

she who leaves a trail of glitter is never forgotten.

Okay. My Hard Candy addiction is real. At this point, a large chunk of my makeup collection comes from the brand. There is just something about it. The price tag, the constant influx of new products, and of course, the quality. It seems that no matter how hard I try....more and more Hard Candy items find their way into my life. (Not a bad problem to have.) Over the winter holidays? This was more accurate than ever. There were just so many sets to test and try out. I could not resist. Even though winter has come and gone, I am only just now working my way through some of those new additions.

Which brings me to today's review. One of the Hard Candy items I picked up was this glittery eyeshadow palette. It came in a small set with a small eyeliner and mini mascara. Sadly, this little eyeshadow set has no name. But it does have gorgeous packaging. The front has textured white fabric with small rose gold studs. The rest of the packaging is simple and plastic - but the fabric and studs were a lovely addition to a super affordable palette. Inside the palette were six different eyeshadow shades. Every single one was loaded with glitter. Here is a closer look....

As you can see from the photo above, there is a nice range of shades here. The first is a taupe, the second is a light pink, the third is a light brown, the fourth is a glittery white, the fifth is a peachy pink, and the sixth is a grey shade. There is a really nice range of light and dark colours here. That means you can create a smokey eye look or keep it fairly neutral. The textures are extremely smooth and buttery. These really impressed me. When it comes to glittery eyeshadow....I am usually hesitant going in. So often they are chalky and hard. These were not. At all. They are very smooth and easy to use. They are also nicely pigmented (with the exception of that peach toned shade. This is less pigmented than the others.)

As for the glitter? This palette is glitter overload. These eyeshadows are anything but subtle. They are gorgeous, glittery, and over the top. Love! If you are into mattes or shimmery shadows? You might want to give this a pass. Each one is quite glittery so it is best suited for a night out rather than everyday wear. Personally, I am a huge fan of anything sparkly and glittery. Even when it comes to makeup. So these worked out quite well for me. I have been enjoying that extra pop on my eyelids.

Recently I used this palette to create a smokey eye look. My friend and I were going to a concert - so I wanted something a little more dramatic. I used that taupe shadow all over the lid, the grey in the crease, and applied a little bit of the white over top for a super glittery finish. Take a look.....

Hard Candy is a constant part of my (makeup) life. I can't count the number of times that I have come home with a massive Hard Candy haul. Speaking of latest YouTube video is a haul of another drugstore brand. Take a look and let me know what you think! 

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

xo Shannon

Saturday, April 2, 2016

testing....essence sample haul.

It is no secret. I love makeup an awful lot. It is something that brings me a joy unlike anything else. Which is why I was so thrilled to have a handful of Essence samples to try out. (My husband works for a drugstore. Every so often they are sent testers that do not fit into the displays. He was nice enough to bring me home a few so I could test, swatch, and play around.) To some people? The photo above might look like a bunch of products. To me? That photo represents so much more. Each one promises sparks of creativity and flutters of anticipation. Ahhh....what a beautiful feeling!

Lately I have been making the most of these sample items. Each one has been worked into recent makeup looks in some way or another. The items include: three lip products, two concealer products, four powders, and three bronze and blush wheels. Here is a breakdown of each item. What it is, if it worked, and whether I would purchase a full sized version. Let's start with the lip products....

What Is It? There were three lip products to try out. The first was a red lipstick in Dare To Wear, the second a rose coloured nude in Barely There!, and the last a shimmery neutral in Honey Bee.

How Did It Work? I am pretty picky about lip products. I want something easy to wear and comfortable. Which is why these lipsticks really exceeded my expectations. Dare To Wear is nicely pigmented and creamy. This particular shade of red is also super flattering. Barely There! is my favourite of the bunch. It is the perfect rosey nude shade. You know, the one everyone is obsessed with at the moment. It reminds me of a Kylie Jenner type of lipstick. Trendy yet always in style. Then there is Honey Bee. This is a sheer glittery kind of lip product. On its own? Not super remarkable. However this can be layered over top of another lip product to give it a fun and flirty finish.

Would I Purchase? When it comes down to it? There is only one lipstick that I would shell out my hard earned money for. Barely There! While I really enjoy that gorgeous red isn't something that is far apart from items I already own. As for the glittery shade? It doesn't do enough on its own to really make it worth my while.

What Is It? Next up are a couple of concealer shades. They are the Match2Cover! in shades 10 and 20. These are cream products. 

How Did It Work? I am always looking for a good concealer. Especially one that can conquer under eye circles. (I never seem to get enough sleep! Sigh.) These concealer shades were only okay for me. I've actually tried these in the past and had the same reaction. While I love the creamy consistency (it is very smooth and silky which makes it very easy to apply) there is a lack of coverage. This is great if you are looking for something super light and natural. If you actually need to conceal any problem areas of blemishes? This will not do much. 

Would I Purchase? Short answer? No. The texture is lovely but the coverage is sadly lacking. 

What Is It? The next set of products is loaded with powders. The first two are pressed mattifying powders. The second two are Sun Club Bronzing Powders in shades 01 and 02. 

How Did It Work? Let's start with the mattifying powders. That white powder is actually fabulous. I had a full sized version of that a few years back and it really delivers. It gets rid of any oily spots without drying out the skin. Great price and great product. The second powder is effective and easy to use. No issues with it whatsoever. Now for the bronzing powders. These shades work really well for my pale skin. They are pretty standard in terms of quality (decent pigmentation and a nice texture). However if you have a deeper skin tone you will want to look beyond shades 01 and 02. 

Would I Purchase? This is a hit and miss. The white mattifying powder is a serious yes. The others? Likely not. This is not due to their quality. I simply have an awful lot of items like that in my existing makeup collection. These would be a nice affordable option for anyone who did not, though! They get a solid thumbs up from me.

What Is It? Last up? These three bronzing and highlight wheels. One has light bronzey shades, another with slightly deeper bronzed shades, and the last features a pink blush along with bronze shades and highlight colours. 

How Does It Work? These can be swirled together to create a nice flush of colour on the face. They can also be used separately (though this would be difficult with these smaller sample sizes). The concept is nice and the texture is very soft and smooth. Unfortunately, these are lacking in colour pay off. You have to use an awful lot of product to get a polished look. And these do not work as all over face bronzers or contours because they are quite glittery. Use them as a natural blush for best results. 

Would I Purchase? These I would probably skip. I really do love the concept but for me? Pigmentation is everything. The texture is superb but that doesn't mean much when the colours fail to show up on the skin.

Phew! So there you have it. An overview of some Essence products. This is a super affordable makeup brand that I happen to love. Their blushes and eyeshadow sets? Stellar. It was a lot of fun to try some different products from their line. Some of them were hits. Others were misses. But gosh, it was fun to test them out. 

xo Shannon