Saturday, December 27, 2014


Hi everyone! Wow, it's been way too long since I last blogged, it feels so good to be back :) I spent last weekend in Rome (I had to keep telling myself it was December, it was so warm it felt like summer!) and I wanted to share some of my pictures with you all! (I don't know about you, but ever since I saw The Lizzie McGuire movie when I was younger I've always wanted to go to Rome!) We managed to see most (if not all) of the famous sites in the city like the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, and the Vatican (and the Sistine Chapel, but sadly I couldn't take any pictures in there, boo) I was extremely disappointed to discover that the Trevi Fountain is still under construction and it has ugly scaffolding all over it! That was one of the things I was really looking forward to seeing, but it was kind of cool that we were able to walk through it since there is no water in it. Oh, and I ate some really delicious food. A lot of delicious food. Definitely a highlight of my trip! Well enough blabbing, let's get into the pictures!

i got a heart in my cappuccino!

when in rome. am i right?

my amazing porcini mushroom fettuccine

mike's giant calzone


cannolis are life

mike and i our first night in rome

just chillin at the colosseum

not a white christmas, but still beautiful for sure!

be adventurous

this lovely building (the pantheon) was a two minute walk from our hotel!

a view of the roman forum

the vatican

cathedrals are abundant in europe and they are all gorgeous 

until next time,


Sunday, December 7, 2014


Hi everyone! For Christmas this year, my lovely parents put money on my travel debit card! It works basically just like a gift card, there is a certain amount of money on the card and you can spend it anywhere you want! Last year, I used the card while I was abroad and it was super convenient so I will be doing the same on my trip this year! (9 more days to go, eek!) So, since my parents already gave me 300 dollars to spend I won't be receiving any actual gifts this Christmas. But, that doesn't mean that I don't have some goodies in mind that (hypothetically) I would love for Christmas! ;)

First things first: I love my little Nikon Cool Pix point and shoot camera. I really do. It's cute, compact, and it's purple. And it will be perfect for when I start vlogging! However, in a perfect world I would own a Canon Rebel DSLR camera for blogging purposes! My Nikon is sub par when it comes to focusing so it would be ideal to have a camera that allows for easier close up shots. These cameras are pretty pricey (as I'm sure most of you know already) so I probably wont be able to buy one for myself anytime soon, but a girl can dream, right? :)

Victoria's Secret sweatpants are my favorite and they're basically all I wear when I'm at home! (And out in public occasionally...not gonna lie) I have two pairs right now that are pretty worn out, so a nice new pair would be splendid! I love the Skinny kind because I can tuck them into boots.

Oh boy, I've been eyeing this Sigma travel set for probably about a year now. Lindsey (beautybaby44 on Youtube, love her) is always talking about Sigma brushes and how great they are, and I really want to get my hands on these babies! They come in a really nice holder as well :)

Another beauty item on the wishlist! I have Benefit's Coralista blush and I absolutely love it, so I think this blush palette would be an awesome present because it has 5 shades that I've never tried! Also, the packaging is super adorable (as always) so that's a plus.

How could I leave the iPhone 6 off my wishlist?! I have the iPhone 5 right now, which definitely does the trick, but I would love to upgrade! At first I was skeptical of the increase in screen size, but I think a slightly bigger screen would be helpful because I read a lot on my phone and watch Youtube videos! The iPhone 6 Plus is too big though, I'll pass on that one ;)

And what would I put on my iPhone 6? A Wildflower case, of course! Like I've mentioned before, I love Wildflower cases and I can't imagine any other kind on my phone.

Well, that's all for my hypothetical Christmas wishlist!

What's on your wishlist this Christmas? Leave a comment down below, I love hearing what other people have their eye on! :)

until next time,

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Hi everyone! I just wanted to do a quick update for you all. Sorry I've been MIA for a couple days, it's a week and half until finals and I'm freaking out a little bit with all of this work and studying! You know how professors just love to assign projects and papers right before the end of the semester! Trust me, I would much rather be blogging instead, but it has to be done :( Anyways, I'm hoping to get a few posts up in the coming week for you guys :)

Guess where I'll be exactly 2 weeks from right now! Go on, take a guess! You don't know? I'll be on a plane somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean. Eeeek! And where am I going, you ask? To England, to see my boyfriend, Mike! Finally. I'm so excited. If you're new to Essentially Shannon and you have no clue what I'm talking about you should click here and read up! Will I be posting while I'm away on my lovely 3 week holiday, you ask? Well, that's the plan! I'm bringing my laptop and camera with me on my trip and I definitely plan on blogging while I'm in England, so stay tuned for some international posts :D Maybe I can even get Mike to help me out with a few OOTD posts ;)

Next up on the agenda: I'm moving to Florida in mid January because I am doing the Spring 2015 Disney College Program! If you're scratching your head in confusion right now, the Disney College Program is a prestigious (I mean, it is Disney so...duh) paid internship at the Walt Disney World Resort (they do it at Disneyland also) that allows college students (that's me!) to work in the parks and resorts in a variety of different roles (I'm in Quick Service Food and Beverage in case you're wondering, but there are so many possible roles) Oh, and did I mention I get into the parks for free? ;) Yeah, it's a pretty sweet gig and I'm so grateful for this amazing opportunity! I can't wait to move down to Orlando and meet my wonderful roommates and embark on this new adventure! I've always loved Disney, and the fact that they want me to work for their company blows my mind and I couldn't be more jazzed! And I mean, I'm avoiding the winter yet again and I'll probably get a tan for the first time in years so that's definitely a plus :)

So what does this mean for Essentially Shannon? Since I will be working a lot when I'm down at Disney, I will be really busy. And tired. But I am going to do my absolute best to post as much as humanly possible during my four and a half months down there! I'm also happy to anounce that I will be vlogging my entire experience! My university requires that I document my program in some way, and I chose to vlog it for two reasons. The first is that I already blog on a regular basis, so I thought it would be fun to try something different! That's not to say that I wont blog anything about my program though ;) And second, I want to have videos of my program to watch years from now when I'm feeling sentimental! I plan on getting my channel together and posting my first video (probably an About Me or something along those lines since it will be the first video I post) when I get back from England, so when I get that all set up I will be sure to link you guys to my channel if you want to come along with me on this journey! It should be pretty fun to watch, I mean it is Disney World...

Finally, I just wanted to say hi to all of my new followers and thank you! I am thankful for every single one of you and I hope you all stick around and follow me on these adventures of mine! And always, be sure to follow me on social media to keep up with me! :)

until next time,

Friday, November 28, 2014


Hi everyone! This is my very first book review on Essentially Shannon, and I couldn't be more stoked! I'm thankful for Thanksgiving break because I actually had a chance to read some books that I've been wanting to read for so long (kind of ironic because as an English major i'm constantly reading...) But on that note, I (literally, like two hours ago) just finished Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas so here is my review! :)

Hold on a second, can we just take a second to marvel at how beautiful this cover is? I know it's what's inside a book that's important, but come on. This cover is AMAZING. You don't even have to open the book to know it's going to be crazy good. I mean, you should open the book and read it...but just wait till after my review, okay? ;)

I feel like before I tell you what I thought of this book that I should just say: Harry Potter is, and will always be, my favorite book series. Nothing can ever compare. That's just how it is for me, literature wise. So, when a book/series even comes anywhere close to my love for Harry Potter, you know it has to be good. And this book does not disappoint in any way.

Okay, with that little disclaimer out of the way, let's get into this (spoiler free) review. First of all, you're probably wondering, "Shannon, what is this book even about?" Oh, I'll tell you what it's about. Throne of Glass follows Celaena Sardothien, aka the most kickass female protagonist in any book ever, an 18 year old assassin who is imprisoned in the salt mines of Endovier while she serves out her sentence for the plethora of crimes she has committed. One day, everything changes when the Crown Prince arrives and offers Celaena her freedom, but with a catch: she will compete against other fugitives to become the King's Champion, the royal assassin who does the king's bidding without question. If she emerges victorious, she will be granted her freedom after four years of servitude as the royal assassin.

Upon her arrival in Adarlan, Celaena begins her training and things seem to be going pretty well. Although she pretends to be somewhat incompetent in front of the men she is competing against, it becomes clear that Celaena is the front runner to win the competition. However, her competitors start to be murdered one by one and Celaena discovers that something truly evil is lurking among them.

I know, I know, that synopsis is kind of vague but it has to be because I don't want to give anything important away! And plus, I really want you to read the book! ;) For me, this book started out a little bit slow (but really, what book doesn't) but once I got past the introduction of the world and the characters, I was hooked! Like I said earlier, Celaena Sardothein is the most kickass female protagonist ever. I mean for one, she's an assassin. And two, she doesn't take anyone's crap. And three, she wears beautiful clothes and Dorian the Crown Prince is in love with her. So, I mean what's not to like. 

I thought the plot was great, it kept me interested and there were a few red herrings, which always makes for an interesting read! The world building was pretty extensive (it is the first book in a series, after all) but I enjoyed getting to learn about the different kingdoms and I can't wait to learn more. In my opinion, for fantasy series in particular, creating an interesting world with an intriguing story and mythology is one of the hardest things to do but Maas went about it really well. This book is considered "romance" as well, and the romantic aspect was one of my favorite parts surprisingly. Usually, I am leery of romance in YA fantasy books because it tends to be cheesy or just plain annoying (cough Twilight cough) But, I am a huge fan of Celaena and Dorian (Delaena? Can we make that happen?) Their conversations were by far some of my favorite scenes in the book, and I can't wait to see where the next book takes their relationship.

Speaking of the next book (Crown of Midnight, if you're wondering), I loved Throne of Glass so much that I bought it immediately after I finished and I plan on starting to read it...oh, right after I finish this blog post! If I had to give Throne of Glass a rating, I would easily give it a 4.5 out of 5 starts! It's definitely up there on my list of favorite series and I can't wait to start the next book! If you're looking for a great fantasy read, I would most definitely recommend it!

until next time,


Hi everyone! I'm back with, you guessed it, another haul! I've been shopping around for some warmer pieces to wear to school and also for my trip to England in less than three weeks! It's been absolutely frigid here the past two weeks (so glad I'm leaving for Florida in January!) and it will be quite cold in England, so I wanted to get some clothes that will keep me from freezing but are also adorable! So, let's get into it!

First up is my Wednesday Adams dress from Boohoo! Definitely not the actual name for this dress, but that's what I call it! I've been looking for a dress like this for what feels like forever...but I finally found it :) I was expecting the dress to be stiffer but it's made out of a stretchy material so it's pretty comfortable. I love the collar, in a way it reminds me of the Pilgrims...but in a good way? It's more sophisticated than anything though! I can't wait to wear this with tights!

I got two chokers from Boohoo as well. I can't help but laugh because if you told my ten year old self that ten years later I would be buying chokers and wearing them again...I would have thought I was crazy! Who knew they would be in style again?! Like the scrunchy trend, I wasn't into the whole choker thing at first but I love the grunge look and when I started seeing other people wearing them and I remembered how awesome they look I was totally in! I love how a choker can add a 90's vibe to any outfit, and I really like styling them with lower neckline tops so it's the focal point of the look!

The last thing I got from Boohoo is this pair of black combat boots! I'm so glad I finally found a pair to replace my old ones (R.I.P.) that fit me and that I actually like!

They have silver detailing and a knit material that sticks out of the top. They aren't as high as my old pair of combat boots which makes me kind of sad, but I still really like them.

I only made one purchase at Francesca's, but I'm so in love with it. It's this stunning green and black skater style (my fave) dress and it's actually perfect. I saw it on a mannequin as soon as I walked into the store and I knew it was the one! I was looking for a sequinned dress to wear for New Year's (because I'm actually doing something on New Year's for once in my life!) but I was having a hard time finding one that I wouldn't have to sell my soul for (they're so expensive!) so I gave up on that dream. But I found this one and I couldn't be happier! It's super festive and I can't wait to wear it on New Year's or Christmas...I haven't decided yet :)

Onto Forever 21! I got this black cable knit sweater dress and it's the best. It's a lot warmer than I expected and it goes down to right above my knees so I could wear it with or without tights! Sweater dresses, especially basic ones like this, are such a perfect piece for winter because the ways you can accessorize them are basically endless! I like pairing it with some black tights or leggings and my combat boots for a more edgy feel, but I could definitely picture it dressed up with some gold jewelry and black heels!

Speaking of heels, I'm actually head over heels for this sweater. Which is crazy, because normally I don't even like wearing turtlenecks! Well, technically this is a cowl neck sweater but you know what I mean. Again, this is really great quality for Forever 21 as it actually keeps me warm! And, cowl neck = no need to wear a scarf! Also, it's cropped so it looks awesome with high waisted jeans :)

And last but not least, I picked up a pair of basic black ballet flats from DSW! I primarily got these for the Disney College Program as I'll be in business casual clothes quite a bit while I'm there, but I plan on wearing them around as well! Just need to break them in first ;)

Have you been taking advantage of Black Friday sales? What do you have your eye on for Christmas? Let me know in the comments!

until next time,

Sunday, November 23, 2014


Hi everyone! I did something naughty yesterday...I went to the mall and went absolutely bonkers in Lush. The store only opened a few weeks ago and I didn't even know it was there until I spotted it from the second floor and nearly had a heart attack! I am obsessed with Lush and I used to go to the one in the mall near me in California all the time, but I haven't been to one since I moved (besides once when I was in England, I was too poor at the time to buy anything lol) because the closest one to me is in Massachusetts! Probably a good thing, because what happened yesterday would have happened a lot more if there had been one closer to me all this time... But anyways, I have quite a bit to show you so let's get on with the haul! :)

The first product I picked up is the I Love Juicy Shampoo. First of all, isn't the name is adorable? And the smell...oh the smell! As you can see, the label says this shampoo is made with mango, papaya, kiwi and pineapple so basically it smells like heaven. I used this shampoo during the Great Hair Debacle of 2012 (long story but it involved some Lush henna, my hair, and a lot of frustration on my end) and I decided to repurchase it because I remember loving it and it's the perfect size for travel! It's a great shampoo for people like me whose hair tends to lean towards the oily side.

Next, I got the Eua Roma Toner Water. In the past, I've used the Tea Tree Toner Water but I decided to try this one instead! It has rose and lavender in it, so it's hydrating and calming on the skin. I used it last night and so far I'm really liking it :) Again, the perfect size for travel!

Okay, so this next item was a bit of a splurge for me. Whenever I go into Lush, I always want to treat myself to a lotion but they are pretty pricey! I finally decided to go for it this time around, probably due in part to my excitement and also because the girl who was helping me was such a good salesperson...they could probably persuade me into buying anything! Despite the fact that it was $26.95 (18 GBP), I picked up a tub of Dream Cream, which is Lush's best selling lotion. So it must be amazing!

The more I think about it, the more I start to believe that this product is in fact worth it's price tag. For one, the container is quite large so this product should last me a couple months at the least! And with Lush products, they're handmade and full of natural, quality ingredients so I'm okay with spending more than I normally would because I like knowing what I'm using on my body. I used Dream Cream today as a body lotion and I am very impressed! It has a nice, mild smell and it makes your skin feel like a dream...guess the name is fitting! ;)

Don't you just love impulse buys? I picked up some Santa's Lip Scrub at the register because it was so cute and festive!

As you can see, it is red and has little hearts on top! It smells like cherry Coke, so I can only imagine how it will taste. Oh, that reminds me. You can eat it when you're through with scrubbing your lips! Awesome, right? :)

I'm finally going to try a steamer tab! I'm quite excited about it because I hear that it's basically a mini facial. You get a bowl full of super hot water, drop the tab in, and put your face over it! I hear it's supposed to help open up your pores, which sounds amazing and I can't wait to try it. The one I got is the Dream Steam Tab, it has lavender and rose in it!

I usually pick up a face mask at Lush every time I go as a treat to myself and this time was no exception! My face has been breaking out recently so I told the girl who was helping me that and she recommended that I get the Cupcake Fresh Face Mask. Disclaimer: You will want to eat this mask when you smell it but don't do it! It really does smell like cupcake mix but it has a bunch of inedible ingredients in it so I would stick to actual cupcakes if I were you! ;) I tried this mask out last night and it was lovely! It made my skin really smooth and smell really nice. I think it'll take a few more times to see if it really helps with breakouts but I'm hopeful!

Finally, I picked up two bath bombs! The first one I got is the Snow Angel Bath Melt. It's called a bath melt but it's also a bath bomb! I'm so excited to try this one out, it smells like almond and it's covered in gold glitter, so very festive!

The second bath bomb I picked out was Phoenix Rising. I think I was drawn to it because of the color (purple is my favorite, in case you were wondering!) but it has a nice cinnamon scent to it as well. I'm looking forward to popping this into the bath very soon!

Sadly, we've come to the end of the haul! I'm very happy with all of my purchases, it's nice to splurge every once in a while and treat yourself! We all deserve a treat sometimes :) Let me know down below what your favorite Lush product is, or even what you buy when you want to pamper yourself!

until next time,

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