Saturday, December 31, 2016

this is your year to sparkle.

It amazes me how quickly things can change. How swiftly time passes. This day is always a time for reflection. It marks the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. So, like many others, I have been thinking back on the year behind me. It was full of travels (heading to Niagara Falls multiple times, to meet Donny Osmond, see Wave reunite, and check out an incredible David Cassidy concert....not to mention a trip to Disney World with my husband), memorable concerts (O-town was a highlight as was Duran Duran), special days out (Canada's Wonderland with my family and the Bowmanville Zoo with my hubby), and incredible holiday moments (this past Halloween was my best ever). Phew! There were certainly some stand out moments.

In addition to all of the memorable events....there were also some personal victories. Like learning more about myself, channeling my passions in new ways, and writing work that makes me proud. The latter is especially exciting. I have been freelancing for several years now. There were times when I wrote about travel, fashion, and local events. But then there were times that I wrote about carpets, air conditioner units, and catering services. Big difference. Right now? I am taking everything that I learned from LiveGlam (oh yeah...I also became a LiveGlam Certified Pro Makeup Artist this year. Pretty awesome!) and am writing articles that mean something. Ones that help people. That is my ultimate goal as a writer, so needless to say, this specific writing job feels especially rewarding.

In between all of the accomplishments, big and small, there were incredible experiences with my loved ones. I feel blessed to have an amazing family, a loving husband, and a handful of wonderful friends.

Honestly? I am still fine-tuning my goals for 2017.....but one thing is certain: 2016 was a fabulous year.

What are your memorable moments from 2016?

xo Shannon

Sunday, December 25, 2016

12 Days of Christmas Blogging - Day 12

Merry Christmas! Wishing you and your loved ones a blessed and happy holiday. Unwrap those gifts, indulge in some delicious food, and watch your favourite holiday specials. And most importantly? Appreciate every moment. This day always goes by too quickly. So do your best to pause and take it all in. Today is the last day in the "12 Days of Christmas Blogging" challenge. It is also the last post you will see from me for a few days. I am taking a mini-blogging break until later in the week. Simply so I can rest, re-charge my batteries, and settle back into normal life.

Day 12: What Are You Grateful For This Christmas

There are so many things to feel grateful for this Christmas. I am thankful for my amazing family, my wonderful husband, and my true friends. I love them more than I could possibly describe. They are the main reason this holiday is so special to me. It is a chance to be together, to make memories, and to celebrate the beauty of life. I am grateful for them...not just today....but every single day. They make me who I am. Period.

What are you grateful for?

Happy holidays! Wishing you a wonderful Christmas Day!

xo Shannon

Saturday, December 24, 2016

12 Days of Christmas Blogging - Day 11

It's Christmas Eve! Can you believe it? Time is going by so fast. I hope you are all having a wonderful day - and that you are making memories with your friends and family. That is what I plan to do. Every year, my mom and I spend Christmas Eve baking up a storm. We take care of any last minute details (like presents that still need to be wrapped and newly purchased decorations that need a home) and start baking. We usually decorate a gingerbread house, make cookies, cake, and Rice Krispie Squares. Then we decorate them all with coloured icing, sprinkles, and holiday themed sugar pieces. It is always fun seeing how our creations turn out. Since I am still doing the "12 Days of Christmas Blogging" challenge, I bring you Day 11....

Day 11: What Was Your Favourite Childhood Christmas Present

Of all the things I love most about the holiday are low down on the list. Sure, I love getting new things. I love it. But when I think back on all of the Christmases past, I can barely remember the items I was given. (Save for a few standouts like a life-sized ballet doll, a Furbie, and a ginormous stuffed Lion King animal.) It was the magic of being with my family and celebrating together that stands out in my mind. Not the presents under the tree.

That being said? There is one Christmas gift that I will never forget. I was 14 at the time. A few months before, my family and I had gone to Chapters. There was a stuffed Dogbert (from the Dilbert comics) sitting on a shelf. It was love at first sight. I absolutely needed this adorable little Dogbert in my life. My parents said no. So for the next several months, I would cut out pictures of Dogbert from the newspaper and leave them in my dad's briefcase. I would draw pictures and leave them around the house. I essentially annoyed the heck out my parents.

My dad eventually told me that Chapters was totally sold out of Dogberts. But they would be getting more in stock in January. I was devastated but hopeful that come January, there would be a Dogbert in my life. Imagine my surprise on Christmas morning when I opened a round soft package. There he was. All white and fluffy and perfect. My Dogbert! I swear, it was one of the happiest moments of my life. It sounds a little silly, but I knew the moment I saw him in the store, that Dogbert and I were meant to be. I didn't have a lot of friends at school. I got bullied a lot. And I felt really isolated. Knowing that I could come home and have a friend waiting for me? It helped.

Ever since then, my Dogbert has been by my side. Yes, even today! He has travelled with me, watched movies with me, and been my closest companion. Needless to say, I will never forget that Christmas.

What Christmas present was your childhood favourite?

xo Shannon

Friday, December 23, 2016

12 Days of Christmas Blogging - Day 10

It is Christmas Eve-Eve. Yes, you read that right. Growing up, my brother and I would always get excited about this day. Why? We were so close to all of the fun and excitement. Usually at this point, we were done school. So it was all Christmas all the time. Now? Even though I am older and long out of school....I still get excited about Christmas Eve-Eve. On that note, here is Day 10 in the "12 Days of Christmas Blogging" challenge. Hard to believe it is almost over already!

Day 10: Favourite Christmas Movie or Song

There is no shame in this confession. I am all about Christmas movies and music. All year round, in fact. There is nothing like a holiday movie to cheer you up on a down day. Or a familiar song to warm your heart. I have seen an awful lot of movies and TV specials over the years. Some are well known while others are totally obscure. Some are even pretty awful. But even a bad holiday movie is pretty darn good, in my opinion! The same goes for holiday music. I just love it all so much. That makes today's question challenging. How can I possibly choose one single favourite? Despite the difficulty of this task, I have narrowed it down.

My favourite Christmas movie (not TV special - which in that case would be Doug's Secret Christmas or The Night Before Christmas) is Miracle on 34th Street. The remake rather than the original. I don't know what it is about that movie but it always manages to make me happy and whole. I always start the holiday season with it....and wind up watching it at least 5 more times before Christmas is over. I don't think I could ever get sick of it.

As for my favourite Christmas song? Talk about a hard choice! There are so many that I love. Like O Holy Night (the Hanson version, preferably), Mary Did You Know (by Clay Aiken), and That Christmas Feeling (by Bing Crosby). But after much thought I have come to a decision. It is Alfie/It's In Every One Of Us from the John Denver and The Muppets album. Why this song? The spoken story at the beginning inspired me from a young age. I used to listen to it over and over again. It completely sums up the beauty and magic of this time of year. And the song following is moving to say the least. It is all about sharing, giving, and accepting love.

It's in every one of us to be wise. Find your heart, open up both your eyes.
We can all know everything without ever knowing why.
It's in every one of us, by and by.

Today, I challenge you to give love. To show love. To accept love. And remember that it is in every one of us. 

What is your favourite holiday movie? Favourite song?

xo Shannon

Thursday, December 22, 2016

12 Days of Christmas Blogging - Day 9

Being married is amazing. When it comes to the holidays, though? Things tend to get a little trickier. There is always some sort of debate about who will go where and when. My family is huge into our traditions and our celebration is extremely meaningful to me. That means I do not want to miss a single moment of it. The problem? My husband wants me to share in his holiday traditions. There in lies the debate. But we seem to have a found a system that works well enough. We have our own Christmas celebration on Christmas morning, go to his parents house for a few hours, then to mine to unwrap gifts. After that? My husband heads back to his parents to hang out and enjoy dinner while I stay with my family. It might not be the ideal arrangement for everyone, but I think it works!

For Day 9 of the "12 Days of Christmas Blogging" challenge, it is all about dinner. Who will be there? Where will you have it? What will you eat? This is what I have planned....

Day 9: Who Will Be Sitting With You For Christmas Dinner

Some people love Christmas dinner more than anything. Me personally? I prefer the morning and afternoon to the evening. The morning is full of excitement! The afternoon with a blissful calm. The evening, however, means that the magic of the holidays is starting to wind down. I hate that feeling. Which is why Christmas dinner is not my favourite experience. Ahh, well. This year, I plan to dine with my mom, dad, brother, and sister. That may change a bit (my sister's boyfriend might be there as well) but for all intensive purposes...that is the guest list.

It is a chance for us to come together after a busy day and eat some good food. I personally like to load up my plate with mashed potatoes (my dad makes the best mashed potatoes ever!) and stuffing. Yum! Meanwhile, everyone else will enjoy turkey, gravy, and other fixings. Then there is always way too much dessert. Like Rice Krispie Squares, cake shaped like a snowman, decorated cupcakes, and holiday cookies. By the time the meal is through? We are all completely stuffed.

Looking for an extra dose of holiday spirit? Check out my latest video for the creation of beauty is art YouTube channel. It is dedicated to my collection of Ugly Christmas Sweaters!

How will you spend Christmas dinner? Who will join you?

xo Shannon

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

12 Days of Christmas Blogging - Day 8

We all have our own traditions. Things that we do year after year. Well, the same can be said for every small town, big city, and country. There are always amazing traditions that take place. Thanks to the "12 Days of Christmas Blogging" challenge, I have been giving thought to some of those traditions today. Which ones stand out? How do they add to my overall seasonal experience? After a bit of pondering...I have come up with one Christmas tradition that makes every holiday feel bright and merry.

Day 8: Share a Local Christmas Tradition In Your Town or Country

Every town has a tree lighting ceremony of some sort and maybe even a parade. But there is one Christmas tradition that always signals the "official" start of the holiday season in Toronto and the surrounding area: the annual Toronto Santa Claus Parade. It features floats, marching bands, and enduring favourites like the Celebrity Clowns. Every single year, I watch it. Even though the commentary is corny and it goes on for is a tradition that makes me smile. I remember when my brother and I were in our teens, we would always put up the outside Christmas lights on the day of the parade. We would finish just in time to make ourselves a cup of hot chocolate and watch the parade. It was a lovely tradition! Now, I watch it online or with my family a day or two later. But no matter what, this is one local tradition that continues.

Are there any local traditions in your town?

xo Shannon

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

12 Days of Christmas Blogging - Day 7

Something I have been doing lately? Looking at old holiday photos. I was organizing some files on my computer when I came across pictures of the last three Christmases. There were photos of decorations, family, friends, presents, lights, and freshly fallen snow. Going through them all made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. So when I saw that Day 7 of the "12 Days of Christmas Blogging" challenge was about sharing photos from past or present Christmases, I thought...perfect! I will definitely be sharing photos from this holiday in the next week or so. But for now, take a trip down memory lane with me.

Day 7: Share Pictures of Christmases Past or Present

These are some pictures that I have taken over the last few years. Some are of my family home and some are from the apartment last year. I tried to pick the ones that stood out most to me. (Without posting pictures of my family...they are not keen to be on my blog!) I hope you like them.

Thank you for going down memory lane with me. Honestly? Looking at these holiday photos makes me want to go back even further. I think it is time to pull out my external hard drive and see what other photos I can find!

Do you take a lot of pictures during the holidays?

xo Shannon

Monday, December 19, 2016

12 Days of Christmas Blogging - Day 6

Christmas is coming up fast. It won't be long until we are tearing open boxes, eating too much food, and basking in that oh-so-perfect holiday glow. Excited? Me? Absolutely. With every day that passes, I become more eager for everything that awaits. Like those magical Christmas Eve traditions and my all-time favourite holiday movies. As of today, I am halfway through the "12 Days of Christmas Blogging" challenge. That means there are only six days left until Christmas. Remember to enjoy every minute of them!

Day 6: Share a Fond Childhood Christmas Memory

You'd think this would be a hard one. I'm lucky enough to have many wonderful childhood memories, specifically around the holidays. Like lying on the living room floor while my family and I listen to John Denver and the Muppets. Or tobogganing down the hill at the church near our old house. But my favourite memory is one that I share with my brother. We used to spend the days leading up to Christmas coming up with the perfect Christmas morning plan. (It was called "The Plan." Very creative title, I think!) It was very specific....from the time we would wake up to the best way to creep down the stairs to avoid waking up our sister and parents.

We would get up ridiculously early, like 4 or 5, and go through our stockings and Santa bags. Then we would show each other what we got, eat chocolate, and watch whatever Christmas special was playing on TV. It sounds silly but that is a memory I will always cherish. We did this every single year....even when we were way too old. Now that I am married and have moved out? It is something I miss more than I can describe. If only I could go back. Live it one more time.

What is your favourite childhood Christmas memory?

xo Shannon

Sunday, December 18, 2016

12 Days of Christmas Blogging - Day 5

Can you believe it? Somehow, it is already day 5 of the "12 Days of Christmas Blogging" challenge. Time is going by so quickly. Though it always seems to at this time of year. Every day is loaded with things to go. Like Christmas shopping, decorating, baking, seeing family, meeting up with friends, wrapping gifts, and sending out holiday cards. Not to mention work and all of those other day to day responsibilities. Phew! No wonder so many people feel frazzled during the holiday season. Me? I keep wishing there was a way to slow things down. I love the build up to Christmas so much (the lights, the music, and the magic) that I never want it to end.

Day 5: What Is On Your Personal Wish List This Year

It's true. The holiday season can feel rushed and chaotic. Which is why my personal wish list is not a present or a material item. It is to slow down and appreciate every moment. I have been trying to do things in advance this month (like decorate, write out my Christmas cards, and things like that) so that when it comes down to it....there is more than enough time to enjoy the important things. I want to watch holiday movies with my family, go to dinner with my best friend, and create special Christmas memories that last long after the 25th of December. By being organized - and a little obsessed with Christmas - I hope to make the most of the season. That is my wish.

What is on your wish list?

xo Shannon

Saturday, December 17, 2016

12 Days of Christmas Blogging - Day 4

There are so many things that get lost in the shuffle of the holiday season. With full schedules and a ton of get-togethers on the calendar...activities like reading get put on the back burner. At least they do for a lot of us. This is something I have actively tried to change over the last couple of years. How? I started treating myself to a Christmas themed book each December. I have two this year. One is a girly novel that I found in the clearance bin and the other is a holiday themed mystery novel by Joanne Fluke. Reading them gives me joy and adds to the wonder of the season. That brings me to the Day 4 prompt in the "12 Days of Christmas Blogging" challenge.

Day 4: Share a Christmas Story or Write One Of Your Own

Okay, there are a few ways to interpret this prompt. But I am going to take it this way. There is one Christmas story I remember my mom reading to me each year. I loved it so much. Sometimes, I would ask her to read it over and over again. It was called "Twelve Bells For Santa." (I am currently trying to locate our copy but if I cannot find it....I'm thinking of ordering it off of Amazon.) There was something so special about that story. But even better than the story? How safe, secure, and content I felt, curled up with my mom. I listened to her melodic voice read this sweet holiday story and in that moment, life was perfect.

So that is my favourite Christmas story. However, the other part of the prompt mentions writing a story of your own. Well, I actually started a holiday themed novel last year. It is still in bits and pieces - and barely beyond the planning stage - but I hope to one day finish it. Until then, I will keep reading "Twelve Bells For Santa."

What is your favourite holiday story?

xo Shannon

Friday, December 16, 2016

12 Days of Christmas Blogging - Day 3

Ahh, food. There is nothing like the scents and smells that the holiday brings. Just think about the mashed potatoes, stuffing, freshly baked cookies, and an array of tasty treats. My stomach is rumbling just thinking about it all! My sweet tooth definitely goes into overdrive around Christmastime. Which is why the Day 3 prompt for the "12 Days of Christmas Blogging" challenge was especially exciting. Finally, I have the chance to talk about my favourite holiday food.

Day 3: Your Favourite Christmas Recipe or Food

I'll be very honest. When it comes to cooking? I am pretty lousy. Even with a recipe on hand things rarely turn out the way I hope. On the plus side, my baking skills are marginally better. So each year I try to bake something special for the holidays. (Beyond my usual Rice Krispie Squares.) Last year it was a chocolate and marshmallow concoction that I got out of a holiday themed book. I am not quite sure what I will try this year - but I can promise that my belly will be very full of gingerbread this month. It is my all time favourite holiday food.

That's right. I am seriously obsessed with gingerbread! The smell...the taste...the cute decorations. What could be better? I honestly love everything about gingerbread. That probably explains why I have gingerbread scented hand soap (I stock up from Bath & Bodyworks and use it all year round) and gingerbread scented candles around the apartment. December is guaranteed to be a month full of delicious gingerbread. Thank goodness!

Speaking of food (sort of)....part three of my three part Too Faced holiday palette review is up! Take a peek at the Eggnog Latte palette:

What is your favourite holiday food?

xo Shannon

Thursday, December 15, 2016

12 Days of Christmas Blogging - Day 2

Out of all the things I write about (makeup, beauty, fashion, and lifestyle) my favourite thing to write about has to be Christmas. It taps into the sentimental side of me. It gives me the chance to reflect and appreciate how beautiful life - and the world - really is. There is nothing more fulfilling. Yesterday, I introduced the "12 Days of Christmas Blogging" challenge. Now it is time for me to tackle the second writing prompt. Here goes....

Day 2: Favourite Christmas Tradition Old or New

The holiday season is all about tradition. At least it is with my family. There are things that we do every single year without fail. (Like bicker while hauling up boxes of decorations!) Those things are the reason Christmastime feels so special to me. I love watching my brother meticulously set up the snowy village on the table. Or the fact that my Dad always feeds us cookies while we decorate. The way my mom plays Clay Aiken's holiday CD over and over again. And how we always watch Christmas With The Kranks together. Those little traditions make me smile whenever I think of them. As for a favourite tradition? I have two to share with you today. One is old and one is relatively new.

The first is an older tradition. It started when my siblings and I got a little too old to sing songs before bed on Christmas Eve. (Which we used to do.) So we started a new tradition. We would all pile into the car and drive around to see the Christmas lights. Some years, we would be out for a half an hour. Other years, for an hour or more. It really depended on how well the houses were decorated! We still do that today and I love it. My Dad puts on classical Christmas music and we drive around to see all of the beautiful holiday displays.

The next tradition is a little bit newer. It is one my husband and I have shared for the last few years. Oddly enough, it also has to do with Christmas lights. I suppose there is a theme going on here! A week or two before Christmas Day, we get into his car, grab a white hot chocolate from Second Cup, and drive to a street that goes all out for decorations. People wait for hours just to see these elaborate displays! It is always a ton of fun.

So there you have it. Those are my favourite Christmas traditions. What are yours?

xo Shannon

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

12 Days of Christmas Blogging - Day 1

Anyone who knows me is fully aware of my Christmas addiction. I watch holiday movies all year round and fall in love with anything remotely related to gingerbread, Santa Claus, and Rudolph. In all dream job is a Christmas elf. Since this time of year means so much to me, I wanted to take part in a challenge I found online. It is called the "12 Days of Christmas Blogging" challenge and it has 12 writing prompts related to Christmas. So from now until Christmas morning, you will see a post from me every single day.

Day 1: List Your Favourite Things About Christmas

There are so many things I love about the holidays. Some of my favourite moments include: spending time with my family and friends, that warm fuzzy feeling I get in the pit of my stomach, wrapping presents, watching Christmas movies, listening to Bing Crosby before bed, the soft glow of the lights when the sun goes down, the sound my inflatable holiday Spongebob makes, and the kindness in the hearts of others. It is both the big things (being with loved ones) and the small things (the lights and the wrapping paper) that make up the beauty of the season. It is a time to feel grateful, blessed, and loved. Those are my favourite things but they really only scratch the surface. I truly love it all.

What are your favourite things?

xo Shannon

Monday, December 12, 2016

my december so far.

Excitement is in the air. Despite grumbles from co-workers and less than enthusiastic friends....the holiday season is officially upon us. There is no denying the fact that snow is falling outside, tinsel is wrapped around trees, and Christmas lights fill rooms with a warm electric glow. Ahh, what a time to be alive. There is something so special - magical - about this month. December is often full of fun things to do, traditions, and memorable moments. Which is why I wanted to pause and reflect on the amazing experiences I have had so far. Like decorating the apartment, setting up the Christmas tree, going holiday shopping, and all the rest. So here it December so far.

This is truly a wonderful time of year. These are just a few snapshots of my favourite holiday moments so far. There were many more that either didn't get photographed or did not make the cut. But I will be sure to post some more holiday favourites after all of the holiday fanfare has ended. Until then...enjoy every moment of this magical December.

What are your favourite December moments so far?

xo Shannon

Saturday, December 10, 2016

holiday tips to keep you happy and healthy this christmas

There are many wonderful aspects of the holiday season. For you, that could mean spending time with loved ones, putting up twinkling Christmas lights, or devouring a plate or warm gingerbread cookies. Or it might mean sending out a thoughtful card, wrapping gifts, or DIY-ing something special. Everyone has a different version of the perfect celebration. But one thing we all have in common? Wanting the season to be full of laughter, joy, and happy memories. These holiday tips will help make that a reality....
  • Stop worrying about everything you eat. The month of December is loaded with goodies. There are delicious meals (complete with stuffing and mashed potatoes), holiday cookies (elaborately iced and decorated), and tasty treats (hot chocolate and other seasonal beverages). All of those indulgences can cause us to worry away the holidays. Stop worrying! The average person only gains one to two pounds over the holiday season. So instead of feeling guilty about that turkey dinner....embrace it. Letting go of that guilt allows you to enjoy the holiday season rather than worry it away. 
  • Give yourself time to catch up on sleep. It can be tricky to juggle everything. There are office parties, get-togethers with friends, and of course, all of the other responsibilities you have on a day-to-day basis. Often? Sleep is the first thing to go. That can cause us to be irritable, grumpy, and generally sour. Unless you feel like channeling your inner Grinch, this is no way be about the holiday season! So give yourself time to catch up on sleep. Schedule an extra hour of rest on the weekends or treat yourself to a mid-week nap. This will give you the fuel you need to enjoy every Christmas moment. 
  • Use technology less than you normally would. We all rely on technology. Our smart phones are with us at all times, we use our computers for hours each day, and we have a constant need to be connected. To everyone. At every moment. This can be a good thing....but it can also be emotionally draining. This holiday season, give yourself a break. Put your phone in another room for a couple of hours each night. (Especially when you are partaking in holiday themed activities, like baking or decorating the Christmas tree. They are an unnecessary distraction from your actual holiday goals.) Aim to go as technology free as possible on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Your stress levels will lower and you'll be able to give your full attention to the people you're with.
  • Start making plans for January. The weeks leading up to Christmas tend to be full of things to do and people to see. Then once it's over? Life can feel pretty dull and depressing. So start making plans for January. Not only will this give you the opportunity to thin your social calendar for December (there are too many people to see and never enough time to see them all) but it gives you something to look forward to. Post-holiday. So plan ahead. That way, your holiday season will be full of love...and so will the new year ahead. 
There you have it! A few little tips and tricks for a wonderful holiday season. I hope they help you achieve the perfect Christmas.

Something else to help you celebrate the holiday season? Take a look at part two of my review of the Too Faced Grande Hotel Cafe holiday set....

Do you have any holiday tips? Share them in the comment section below!

xo Shannon

Thursday, December 8, 2016

inspired by: holiday style

There are so many things that make the holiday season special. Like being with friends and family, decorating the Christmas tree, and of course, all of the fabulous get-togethers. With so much happening this is definitely on my mind. I want to be well dressed wherever I go. That includes movie nights with my best friend, family dinners, and everything in between. There are a few key pieces in my closet that are sure to get tons of use in the weeks to come. Examples? My sparkly gold flats, my pearl earrings, snowflake accessories, gold add ons, and my favourite retro inspired red dress.

Above you can see a slightly more elegant version of my holiday favourites. This look has all the same elements of the things I love most. There is glitter, gold, and tons of old-school charm. What better way to celebrate December? There is also a red-ish nude lipstick shade, some lovely long false eyelashes, and a gold purse. These add ons are certain to make your outfit feel special, elegant, and seasonal.

Right now? I am totally inspired by holiday style. Red, silver, and gold are my current go-to's. Be sure to incorporate them into your next outfit!

Something else that is inspiring me this holiday season? The new Too Faced Grande Hotel Cafe set. Check out part one of my three part review!


What are your holiday style favourites?

xo Shannon

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

current obsession: Cas & Co. Custom Creations

Makeup brush holders from Cas & Co. Custom Creations

I have always been in awe of her. Smart, kind, and friend Robin has it all. We met in University and bonded over music, movies, and boredom (Some of our classes were less than thrilling.) Over the years, she has continued to amaze me. Most recently? She began selling her crafts and custom designs. Cas & Co. Custom Creations launched on Facebook late last month. Since then she has been sharing photos of all her new items. Each one is more astounding than the next. From holiday decor pieces to glittery makeup brush holders, there is a little bit of everything.

Honestly? I knew she was talented. (After all, the Mr. and Mrs. mugs she made for my bridal shower are prominently displayed in my living room.) Even knowing this, her creations took my breath away. I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when bam! That photo of the makeup brush holders popped up. It was a love at first sight kind of moment. Since then....I have been keeping a close eye on her creations. Which is what inspired today's post. I wanted to show some of the incredible pieces from Cas & Co. Custom Creations. 

I cannot fully express just how amazed I am. Her creative spirit shines through in every piece....and that makes them truly extraordinary.

To find out more about Cas & Co. Custom Creations be sure to visit the Facebook page.

What do you think of these designs?

xo Shannon

Monday, December 5, 2016

how to create your own holiday glitter lips.

Glitter is on my mind. It might have something to do with the holiday season, my general obsession for all things sparkly, or the glitter adhesive I picked up recently. (You can check it out and read about my experience at the National Women's Show here.) Whatever the reason....all signs point to glitter. Over the past couple of weeks, I have been creating random glitter looks using the assortment of products at my disposal. There was of course, the turquoise glitter and adhesive from the women's show, along with my giant collection of loose glitter, and my beloved lip set from Ciate. (Pictured above.) I found the latter while perusing Marshall's last year. It was super cheap and I thought - why not! It was definitely not a purchase I regret.

That brings me to today's post. This is a quick and easy how to. Before you know'll have gorgeous glittery lips that are perfect for any holiday party, fashion post, or Instagram selfie.

See? Super simple. All you really need is some glitter and something that will make your lips tacky. The Ciate kit came with Glitz Grip, which is essentially glitter adhesive with a brush applicator. However, I also have the Eye Spy Eye Primer by Jordane Cosmetics which works brilliantly with glitter. There are some from NYX and Too Faced as well. So whatever your budget...glitter lips are in your future! Be sure to give them a try this season.

Have you ever tried to create glitter lips?

xo Shannon

Saturday, December 3, 2016

meeting tiffany pratt at hudson's bay

It wasn't what I expected. When my mom and I sat down for a luncheon at Hudson's Bay....we were greeted with a warm hug and a friendly smile. Tiffany Pratt (HGTV star and author) greeted every single person who had come to the event. It was surprising....especially since most people are keen to keep one another at a distance. On our seats there was a small boxed lunch and a copy of Tiffany's new book, This Can Be Beautiful.

We flipped through the book (which was loaded with rainbow coloured pages, glitter, and fun DIY projects) and debated which project we would tackle first. Decisions, decisions. Then Tiffany Pratt began to speak. I assumed the afternoon would be full of decorating advice. Instead, it was an incredible speech - full of motivation and inspiration. She urged us to enjoy creativity and stop worrying about the outcome. She spoke of appreciating our true selves and the importance of having fun in life. She talked about the fact that many of us live life in the future instead of embracing the present. She shared stories of energetic connections and positivity. In fact....she even led us in a guided meditation. It was incredible.

By the end of the luncheon? I felt inspired in a way that I hadn't in a long while. It was exactly what I needed. My mom and I waited a while for the crowd to thin before approaching Tiffany. She signed both of our books and took photos with us. (I have a habit of getting super nervous but I managed to tell her that her talk had been super inspiring to me...causing her to write "love and inspiration" inside my book.) She was super friendly and kind hearted. Her energy was so beautiful. It was truly a gift to be around her, even for a short while.

Meeting Tiffany Pratt was a wonderful experience. It made me so grateful for the amazing things I have in my life...and also made me eager to crack open the book and get creative!

Have you attended any events lately? Do you DIY?

xo Shannon

Thursday, December 1, 2016

the december tag.

How incredible is that photo? I saw it and it absolutely took my breath away. It reminded me of how peaceful soft flakes of snow seem....and how wondrous the world can be. Somehow, it seemed like the perfect way to welcome in December. There is something exciting about the start of this month in particular. Being a total Christmas-a-holic it means that I can go into full blown Christmas mode (and no one can say a darn thing about it). It signals the start of family get togethers, parties, and a raft of other exciting events. To start it off on the right foot, I decided to do "The December Tag." I found this online a while back and bookmarked it for this occasion. So, here goes! 

Favourite Thing About December. There is no doubt about it. My favourite thing about this month is the build up to Christmas. I love spending time with loved ones, watching movies, and wrapping presents. It is the best time of year.

Your Most Cherished Tree Ornament. Something I love? Decorating the Christmas tree. Sure, it's a huge pain to lug everything out, unbox all of the decorations, and fiddle with hooks and wires. But when it is all done? The beauty of that tree makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It's hard to choose my favourite ornament (because I have an awful lot of them) but I think it is one of a dollhouse. It lights up inside and I've had it since I was a little girl. 

Must Have December Accessories. Hats, gloves, and scarves are important. Especially once the temperatures drop lower and lower. But even more important? The wintery accessories I wear throughout the month. I'm talking snowflake earrings, Christmas charm bracelets, tree shaped necklaces, and candy cane rings. Oh yeah. Tacky is my middle name come December! I love holiday themed jewellery - along with novelty t-shirts and ugly Christmas sweaters. 

Easiest Person To Shop For. This is a tricky question. I don't find anyone particularly easy to shop for. Probably because I desperately want to find the perfect gift. I want my loved ones feel appreciated. So, I have a habit of shopping even after I am done shopping. I add and add and add until I feel good about the selection of gifts I have for them. 

Wrapping Paper or Paper Bags? Absolutely, wrapping paper. Ever since I was a little kid, I have loved wrapping and unwrapping presents. I used to tear into packages with reckless abandon. Now? I absolutely love to wrap up gifts in festive paper. It is fun, relaxing, and rewarding. 

Favourite Holiday Scents. Oh, December smells make me giddy. Visiting Bath & Bodyworks in December usually proves to be a dangerous activity. I just love those warm, sweet scents! Like gingerbread, marshmallow, sugar cookies, vanilla, and peppermint. I have a ton of scented candles out and ready to go at all times.

Best Stocking Stuffer To Receive. Stockings are always an exciting part of the Christmas festivities. I love buying people little stocking stuffers and I love to receive them, too. My favourite things to get are cheesy holiday themed items. Like Santa Claus Pez dispensers and stuffed elves. Anything fun and themed is good with me.

December is here. The month ahead is sure to be full of fun, excitement, and some seriously amazing moments. I cannot wait! 

In other latest YouTube video for the creation of beauty is art. is up now. It is a long overdue birthday haul. Please take a look....and like, comment, and subscribe if you get a chance.

Are you excited about December?

xo Shannon 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

taking a bus shopping trip to the usa

Oh, how I love to travel. And shop. Put the two together and you have one seriously unforgettable getaway. Which is precisely why the bus trip my mom and I took to the USA (specifically Erie, Pennsylvania) was so memorable. It all started very early on a Friday morning. We were up and waiting for the tour bus before 6:30 am had rolled around. We joined a large group of shoppers and drove for a couple of hours before stopping at the Canadian Duty Free. Then it was time to head over the border (where we were stopped for Remembrance Day as it was close to 11. We actually saw all of the border workers come together to stand in silence. Pretty amazing that even the border shuts down out of respect). From there? It was lots of driving, going over instructions, and planning out our day.

The first shopping stop was at Millcreek Mall. We were given a few hours to get our shop on before dropping our luggage off at the hotel and coming back for round two. It was a fun first day though there were certainly some high and low points. The good? Five Below (what an amazing store), Fuddruckers burgers (it was so good it was seriously mind blowing) and spending time with my mom (I love being around her). The not so good? Ulta (no Kardashian makeup....heart broken). By the time we got back to the hotel it was 9pm. We barely had time to watch a show and plan out the next day before we went to bed.

The second day was spent at the Gove City Outlet. Oh my! What a day that was. There were so many stores it was totally overwhelming. We found awesome things we would never be able to find in Canada (like the brand new Paris Hilton perfume) and Christmas gifts for a great price. My mom was even able to pick up some Michael Kors purses for incredible prices. It was a jam packed day full of shopping, shopping, and more shopping. After we all loaded back onto the bus we stopped at Cracker Barrel to eat dinner. I had never been there before so it was a really cool experience. The food was tasty and the gift shop was incredible. I wound up buying the Reba McEntire holiday CD that was exclusive to the restaurant. Neat!

The day didn't end there. Oh was off to do even more shopping. We were dropped off in a plaza that had a few different stores but my mom and I were after Kohls. Why? Lauren Conrad. I absolutely love her and have since Laguna Beach. So I was eager to get my hands on something from her clothing line. I have seen pictures online for years and years but was never able to buy them myself. Everything was so beautiful and it was a super exciting experience. (Even if people thought I was crazy for taking pictures of the Lauren section.) I wound up buying a sweater and a couple of gorgeous accessories. Then we went back to the hotel to rest up for the next day of shopping.

It was another very full day. We were downstairs at 6:45 am to put our luggage on the bus, grab breakfast, and get going. The first stop was Wal-Mart (which had some seriously amazing Christmas stuff) and then Target (which is basically my favourite place ever). Then we drove back to the border, went through customs, and headed back into Canada. It was a long drive back but we stopped briefly to stretch our legs and grab food. Eventually, we were back at our original drop off point with very heavy suitcases and very empty wallets.

Honestly, it was a really wonderful weekend getaway. My mom and I had a blast shopping, talking, and being together. It was definitely something I needed...even if my bank account doesn't agree! These are some of the things that came home with me (minus gifts for my loved ones). There were ugly Christmas sweaters, movies, t-shirts, CDs, perfumes, holiday items, and well, a lot more. Take a look.

There is no doubt about it. This was by far my most memorable shopping trip. I had never taken a bus trip like this so it was definitely an interesting experience. The best part? Doing something totally out of the ordinary with my mom. I know she had a good time as well so that makes it even better.

Have you done any shopping lately?

xo Shannon

Sunday, November 27, 2016

miss piggy: love it or leave it

Some people have style and some people define style. Miss Piggy is certainly the latter. She has never been one to shy away from fashion risks. Throughout her career, she has worn just about every colour, print, pattern, accessory, and hairstyle there is....with varying results. But no matter what, this iconic actress/singer/frog lover has inspired us all. Most recently? She participated in the 90th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Parade with Tony Bennet. Rehearsals took place on Wednesday and Miss Piggy stepped out wearing a bold dress, purple gloves, and a pair of pearls. So....was it a love or a loathe?

What I Love: If anyone can pull off these bold colours, it is definitely Miss Piggy. I adore the combination of pink, fuschia, black, orange, white, and green. All of the colours paired with that dramatic swirling pattern shouldn't work. On most people it would look dizzying or over the top. Yet on her, it does. Everything about this dress is fun. It is also pretty daring! That plunging neckline shows off just enough - but Piggy stays classy with those gorgeous purple gloves and that stunning pearl necklace. It was a fabulous combination.

What I Loathe: There is no doubt about it. Miss Piggy is a style icon. The only thing I did not love about this outfit? The fact that we will never know what shoes she was sporting! My guess? Something with a high heel and tons of glitter.

I hope you enjoyed this holiday-themed Love It Or Leave It! A little unusual, sure, but fashion inspiration can come from absolutely anywhere. (And anyone!)

What did you think of Miss Piggy's parade outfit? Love or loathe?

xo Shannon

Thursday, November 24, 2016

pros and cons of the morphe 35W eyeshadow palette

Eyeshadow is my weakness. It has been for a very long time....which is odd, considering I never used to wear it. My early makeup looks were reserved to eyeliner and mascara only. Eyeshadow seemed too complicated. Too overwhelming. Then I started watching YouTube tutorials and suddenly, eyeshadow became my most loved beauty product. It amazed me just how versatile it could be. Eyeshadow was an exciting path to self expression and creativity and I fell madly in love with it.

So, when the Morphe 35W eyeshadow palette came into my life...I had high expectations. Not only had I heard positive things about the brand (courtesy of YouTubers and fellow makeup addicts) but the colours looked stunning. It was full of warm browns, pretty peaches, golds, and purples. All of my go-to shades. Were my expectations met? Yes and no. This is my take on the Morphe palette.

To begin, take a peek at the inside of the palette. There are a ton of beautiful eyeshadow shades.

  • Colour Selection. One thing that I adore are the many shadows available in this palette. There are thirty five eyeshadows altogether, with a row of lighter colours on the top row, medium and metallic shades on the second row, tons of pink and peach shades on the third row, browns and purples on the fourth, and dark dramatic colours on the fifth. The selection and range is fantastic. Plus, there is this incredible burnt orange shade that reminds me so much of my beloved Squash lipstick! 
  • Variety of Finishes. It is always nice to have a little variety. Not just in terms of the colours themselves but the finishes. The 35W palette has a wonderful variety to choose from. Some shades are matte, others are shimmery, and some are full out glittery. No matter what type of look you are going for - you can create it with this versatile palette.
  • Quality and Pigmentation. It's true. These shadows are pretty great. It certainly lives up to the hype when it comes to overall quality and pigmentation. While there are some issues (which you will see in the con list) this is certainly well worth the money. The shimmery shades are smooth, buttery, and ultra pigmented while the matte shades are soft and buildable. 
  • Simple Packaging. Sometimes, I want elaborate packaging. Other times, I want a product that works well and is easy to store. This palette falls into the latter category. It comes in a black plastic case that is sturdy, strong, and simple. It is easy to store and take with you if you are travelling. 
  • Consistency of Shadows. This palette is full of wonderful eyeshadow shades - ones that are so smooth and pigmented. Unfortunately? This is not true of all the eyeshadow shades. Which brings me to the one and only con on the list: consistency. The eyeshadows do not perform the same way in a consistent manner. While the shimmery colours are flawless....the others are a little more hit or miss. Some of the matte shades are quite pigmented but a few are chalkier and harder to use. The same can be said for the glitter shades. Fortunately, there are far more stand outs than disappointments.
Final Rating: What would I rate the Morphe 35W eyeshadow palette? 8/10. It excels in many areas - it is versatile and easy to use - however the consistency is not consistent for every single eyeshadow. Overall, I am really loving this. There are certain colours that I use often (like that squash shade and those beautiful metallic browns) and the price tag was very reasonable. 

Want more reviews? Check out my latest YouTube video for the creation of beauty is art. It is a review of some makeup brush sets from


Have you tried this palette? Are you a fan of Morphe products? 

xo Shannon

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

my experience at the national women's show

It was a great day. Exhausting, but definitely great. Very early in the morning, my best friend, her mom, and I all took the train downtown to attend the National Women's Show in Toronto. We were tired but excited for the events that awaited us. Though we arrived at the show early....we were still quite far back in line to get in. The reason? Early arrive-es are given a massive goodie bag full of samples and full-sized products. We were eager to get our hands on that goodie bag and we did! It was certainly worth the wait.

Inside, there were food products to try (everything from pasta to chocolate bars), along with skin care samples, hair products, lotions, and a dozen other odds and ends. It was a great way to start the day. Once inside, we were able to check out the many vendors - there were some dedicated to clothing, makeup, travel, lifestyle products, food, alcohol, and well, just about everything you can imagine - and pick up samples along the way. It seemed everyone was eager to give away lip balms, food samples, lotions, and reading materials. Before long....our bags were filled to the brim.

We were also able to do a bit of shopping. I picked up some unique Christmas gifts. Splurged on some sweets. Oh, and bought a bit of makeup. We were doing really well until we hit the Jordana Cosmetics booth. Before we knew what was happening, we were getting glitter lips applied by one of the girls working there. Honestly? We looked awesome. Which explains how my BFF and I ended up buying lipstick, glitter, and adhesive. (I also picked up a beautiful eyeshadow palette.) It was such a fun and exciting way to end our day at the Women's Show. 

Here is a peek at some of the items that came home with me (that didn't make their way into the kitchen or get stolen by my hubby)....

As for the glitter lips? I'll be re-creating them in a post next week, so stay tuned for that! The picture above shows the lipstick and glitter shade that I fell in love with....a gorgeous turquoise. Definitely a great colour to play around with.

Overall, the National Women's Show was a fun (but slightly exhausting) day full of friendship, shopping, and glitter. What could be better?

xo Shannon

Sunday, November 20, 2016

it always seems impossible until it's done.

I am someone who sets goals. Constantly. My life is full of an endless array of to do lists and planners....each one full of dreams, goals, and desires. Certain things are accomplished on a regular basis. Like, writing articles, putting up blog posts, filming videos, and other everyday occurrences. Those are all jotted down on my daily to do list. But then there is a larger to do list. One that I have handy - and add to frequently. This summer, I came up with quite a few goals. One of them? Run 5K. Originally I wanted to sign up for an official 5K run but decided that my goal didn't require a lanyard, t-shirt, and number. I simply wanted to do it. Just to prove that I could.

This summer, I ran here and there. I ran home from work some days. I would run around the neighbourhood until my legs throbbed and my heart beat wildly. No matter how often I ran...that 5K seemed totally out of reach. Normally? I'd reach 2.5K or 3K on a good day. It was good. Just not what I hoped to accomplish.

Now that summer has ended and we are well and truly into the fall season....I thought my dream of 5K had passed me by. For this year at least. Then, on Friday, we had an unseasonably warm day. Temperatures soared. The sun shone brightly. So, on a whim, I decided to go for one last run of the season. (I listened to Christmas music while I ran and watched people hanging up their holiday lights. Very weird experience!) That turned out to be my 5K run.

I was about 2K in. I was definitely rusty. My legs hurt, my stomach cramped, and my water bottle seemed to weigh a hundred pounds. Then it popped into my head. This is your last chance to accomplish that summer goal. I ran faster and harder than ever. I pushed, pushed, pushed. Once I hit the 3.5K mark....I knew this was going to happen. The idea of making my 5K dream a reality kept me moving even when I wanted to stop. Once I was done? I was floating on air. The sense of pride and accomplishment was overwhelming. It was truly a blissful moment.

Today, I wanted to make a little blog post to commemorate that moment. And to remind myself that it is always possible to achieve my goals.

xo Shannon

Friday, November 18, 2016

current obsession: rimmel scandal eyes rockin' curves

I wasn't looking for a new mascara. There are several in my collection that I use frequently and love. Some are on the more expensive side (like They're Real! by Benefit and DiorShow by Dior) and others are on the less expensive side (The Super Sizer by Cover Girl is my all time favourite). So when my husband gave me the Rimmel Scandal Eyes Rockin' Curves mascara as part of my birthday gift....I had pretty low expectations. I assumed it would be a somewhat okay mascara that I would use for work now and then. Wrong! This mascara has seriously blown me away. It is fantastic.

The mascara itself creates super bold eyelashes. The colour is jet black (I personally hate when a mascara is only sort of black. I like it when my lashes are super dramatic and dark) and it creates both volume and length. There is such a huge difference when the product is applied. It adds a ton of drama to any look and is the perfect finishing touch.

My favourite thing about this mascara? The wand. This is called Rockin' Curves for a reason! The wand itself has an S-shaped curve, with smaller bristles at the tip and larger bristles along the middle and bottom. The shape makes it so easy to apply the mascara. The curve works with my eye shape perfectly and makes application on the bottom lashes a total breeze. It is a serious game changer. I am totally obsessed with this wand. It works well and really speeds up my morning! 

Overall, the Rimmel Scandal Eyes Rockin' Curves mascara definitely exceeded my expectations. It works well, adds tons of drama to any makeup look, and has a unique wand that simplifies application. It was a very happy surprise! 

Have you tried this mascara? What did you think of it?

xo Shannon