Monday, September 29, 2014


Hi guys! Oh my gosh, I'm on cloud nine right words can express my excitement! I just received my letter from Disney today telling me that I have been accepted for the spring Disney College Program at Walt Disney World in Florida! I can't believe it...I'm truly grateful for this once in a lifetime opportunity! More info to come, but for right now make sure you're following me on Twitter and Instagram for updates and the like! Have a magical day ;) (already practicing!)

Sunday, September 28, 2014


Hi everyone! Today's post is the first in a series that I'm calling #StudyAbroadSunday (gotta love those hashbrowns...i mean tags lol jk i'm technologically competent i swear) These posts will be photo heavy, as each one will showcase a city that I visited while I was studying abroad last spring. First stop: Edinburgh, Scotland! Here are some of my favorite shots, hope you enjoy :)

Our bus from London to Edinburgh had beds! Basically the Knight Bus ;)

The only way to prepare for drinking Scottish whiskey is to make a's true!

until next time,

Saturday, September 27, 2014


Hi everyone! I have two exciting things to share with you today, the first being that I'm less than 20 views away from 1,000 page views on Essentially Shannon! :) And the second thing is that...I was nominated for the Liebster Award! :D Heidi over at Chaste and Beautiful (link down below) nominated me and I couldn't be happier! She gave me some fun questions to answer but first here are my eleven facts about myself!

1. I've lived in 5 different states (and two countries!)
2. My boyfriend lives in England (and yes, he's british...can i get an amen?)
3. I have two mini dachshunds (and i love them oodles and oodles)
4. My favorite movie of all time is Pulp Fiction
5. Math is by far my worst subject
6. I love shopping but I hate spending money (cheapo at heart)
7. I am an only child
8. I'm obsessed with Pretty Little Liars (it makes me feel like nancy drew okay...)
9. I love to read
10. I played tennis for two years in high school
11. I played the flute for 5 years

And now onto the questions...

1. What inspired you to start blogging?

There are two things that have ultimately led the birth of Essentially Shannon: my obsession with Youtube and my love of writing :)

2. Favorite makeup brand? Why?

For drugstore makeup, I have to say Maybelline! Almost all of my favorite mascaras (especially the pumped up colossal mascara, it's my all time fave at the moment) are from Maybelline, and I love their BB creams! And for my favorite high-end brand, I have to go with Benefit. Their packaging is spot-on and the quality of the makeup itself is great.

3. Favorite celebrity?

Easy! Hands down, Jennifer Lawrence. I wish we were best friends. She's a riot and so down to earth.

4. Makeup item you can't leave home without?

Okay, I'm gonna break the rules here a little bit and say lip balm. Not really makeup, but I never leave the house without it. Not with my chapped lips!

5. What's in your makeup bag?

How much time do we have here? I have a little storage unit on my dresser dedicated to makeup but I'll just mention the basics: lip balm, BB cream, concealer, tinted eyebrow gel, my Lorac Pro To-Go palette (aka the love of my life), mascara, and blush.

6. Favorite movie?

As mentioned above, Pulp Fiction. Nothing will ever be able to compete. Tarantino is a true genius! Oh, and I love Uma Thurman <3

7.  Favorite shopping destination?

My favorite place to shop is Forever 21! Trendy pieces for reasonable prices, sounds like a deal to me :)

8. Do you think life is beautiful? Why?

Absolutely :) There is beauty in everything if you look close enough!

9. How many siblings do you have?

Nada! I'm an only child.

10. Favorite blogger?

That's a hard one! I love Sweet Electric, the quality of her pictures is amazing and her posts are concise yet full of info! Stephanie's Look is another favorite, she's actually a friend from high school and her blog is another reason why I decided to start my own :)

I nominate:
1. Tiffany from Tiffancy 
2. Mandy from mandydacandy 
3. Amber from Amber Smith 
4. Anna from MzMatch
5. Emily from The Lifestyle Junkie

Here are my questions:

1. Where is your favorite place to blog?
2. Favorite holiday?
3. Favorite food?
4. Best blogging tip?
5. What is your dream job?
6. Favorite author?
7. Do you have any tattoos? If so, what is it and why did you get it?
8. If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?
9. What is your favorite fashion trend right now?
10. Who inspires you?
11. Current favorite song?

Again, thank you Heidi for nominating me for this award! I had a great time answering these questions, and I can't wait to see what my nominees have to say :) I'll link below to everyone's blogs down below!

until next time,

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Hi everyone! Two posts back to back, that can only mean one thing! This girl got all her homework done ;) So, today I'm going to share with you my fitness routine! For the past 5 years or so, working out has become a part of my daily life (totally not saying i'm perfect and literally went every day for the last five years...that would be ridiculous lol) and has helped me become more confident in myself and my body. Back in middle school and early high school (wow, i'm old), I used to dread P.E. class...I used to make my mom write me notes so I could wriggle my way out of running the mile every Friday...yeah I was that girl. But something changed when I started going to the gym on a regular basis the summer before my junior year (well my boyfriend of a year and half dumped me so...that might have been a motivating know the "i'm gonna get hot and then he'll realize what he's missing" mindset?) Something just clicked when I discovered how much more positive my outlook on life and opinion of myself was when I exercised. When I moved across the country 2 years ago, I left behind a multitude of things, one of those things being my beloved gym. Not only was it 3 minutes from my house, it had pretty much any piece of equipment you could possibly want and classes like Zumba (oh how i miss you) and kickboxing (don't miss you quite as much because you killed me but hey) But thankfully for me my fitness story didn't end when I moved because I discovered the beauty of working out at home! And that's where this comes into the picture:

I love Youtube. I watch Youtube probably more than I watch TV these days. Like I've said before, I was partially inspired to create my blog by the people I watch on Youtube. I was perusing the site one day, and I stumbled upon a workout video by Blogilates (person? company? entity? at that point i didn't know, but i would soon find out) and I clicked on it. Now, I cannot remember for the life of me what video it was, but in the grand scheme of things, that detail isn't important. What was important was the fact that I had just discovered my new favorite way to workout! :)

This is Cassey Ho, and she's amazing. She (so it is a person!) is the creator of Blogilates, a Youtube channel chock full of the best workout videos out there (personal opinion of course...but true) What does Blogilates stand for, you ask? It's a portmanteau (see this is where my english classes come in's a fancy word for combined words) of blog and pilates, which I think is adorable. So yep, at it's roots Blogilates is pilates. Which may intimidate people...but it's so much fun! Cassey takes pilates (and yoga sometimes!) moves and choreographs them to pop songs, like Call Me Maybe and Roar (none of that weird chanting stuff they play in some pilates classes...) So I'm sure some of you are sitting there saying, "But I don't know anything about doing pilates, Shannon!" Well fear not, because even though Cassey challenges you, there are always modifications! And the videos are short, so no excuses about not having time to do them ;)

When I wasn't in school, I was working out with Blogilates videos every day! Even though I wasn't running every day (i hate running...ugh), I definitely felt like I was doing an effective workout. This semester of college, however, I'm taking yoga and I do it three times a week. So Monday, Wednesday, Friday I do yoga 50 minutes of yoga, and Tuesday and Thursday (and saturday and sunday if i have time) I workout at home with Blogilates. I love doing both, as they make me feel refreshed and energized :) Since I've been started doing Blogilates, I've put on a lot of muscle, which is something I didn't really get from going to the gym! At first, I didn't really know how I felt about gaining muscle because I thought it would make me look kinda "manly", but I've decided that it makes me look strong and healthy, and I love it! I can't imagine my life without Blogilates and yoga, they make me feel amazing and I plan on doing them for a long time to come :)

I hope you enjoyed my fitness journey/routine! Blogilates does have an app (iphone and android) that has monthly workout calendars (which are awesome because they tell you exactly what videos to do when!), all you have to do is search for it in the app store!

Comment down below your fitness routine and where you excercise! Home? School? Gym? I'd love to hear how you stay fit!

I'll link below to some of my favorite Blogilates videos in case you're interested and you don't know where to start :)

until next time,

Monday, September 22, 2014


Hi everyone! Okay, so I don't know about you guys, but as soon as the weather starts to turn chilly (which it definitely is in New England now...sad face) my lips take a turn for the worse. Even though I use lip balm on a daily (more than daily really...i'm kind of obsessed) basis, they still manage to end up dry and chapped without fail. But, I found a product this summer (i know, random time to discover a lip scrub) that I've just recently fallen completely in love with!

What is this miraculous product, you ask? It's the Whipped Cherry lip scrub by Bite Beauty and it's smells as good as it sounds! (Every time I use it, I'm very tempted to have a nibble...) As you can see, it comes in this adorable packaging, and a nice glass pot I might add! Despite the fact that you can't really eat it, the lip scrub is 100% natural and contains healthy vitamins! Also, it is paraben/sulfate/phthalate free :) 

As you can probably tell, this scrub is not the most exfoliating of lip scrubs. I would say something like Lush's Ocean Salt is much harsher (although it gets the job done) than this one. At first, I was on the fence about this scrub because I didn't think it was exfoliating enough, but as I've incorporated it into my skincare routine I've definitely noticed a difference! In addition to being a gentle exfoliater, this scrub does an amazing job of moisturizing as well! After I use it, I can't help but touch my lips because they're so soft :)

For me, this product (despite it's hefty $18 price tag) is a chilly-weather essential of mine and is lovely to use! It's delicious scent alone is a reason to buy it ;) Comment below if you've ever used this product or if you'd try it! Also, let me know how you tackle chapped lips! I'll link below to the Sephora website where you can purchase this product if you're interested.

until next time,

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Hi everyone! I thought today I would share with you the makeup products that I've been using on the days I have class and don't have loads of time to do a full look! Since I'm a commuter (I live at home...ah the beauty of my own bathroom and bed) and I live 30 minutes away from campus, I have to wake up at 6 a.m. (oh the horror!) in order to get to my 8 a.m. class on time! (Thankfully it's yoga, so I'm kind of okay with it) So, here are the products that help me achieve a simple, flawless look when I'm short on time! :)

Step One: BB cream! I've become a huge fan ever since I tried the Revlon Photoready BB Cream. Let me just say that it's been true love ever since ;) I recently purchased the Maybelline Dream Pure BB Cream and I am really liking it so far :) I was drawn to the fact that it has salicylic acid in it, as I'm always looking for products that actually help my skin. Usually I just apply this with my fingers, but sometimes I'll use a brush.

Step Two: Concealer! I use Maybelline Instant Age Rewind for Dark Circles under my eyes and the Maybelline Fit Me concealer on blemishes. I've been using both of these for quite a while now! The coverage is perfect for me.

Step Three: Brows! I love a bold brow, and Benefit's Gimme Brow helps me achieve that. It's a tinted brow gel, which darkens them and also keeps them in place! Also, I use a little bit of the shade Mink from my Lorac Pro To-Go palette on a small angled brush to fill in any spots that need a little more color.

Step Four: Eye shadow! This step is occasional though. (i.e. when i have a bit of extra time, so almost never on a school day) But when I do apply eye shadow, my go-to palette is my Lorac Pro To-Go. I'll swipe some Cafe on my lid first, and then Pearl as an inner corner highlight to brighten up eye area! Simple, simple, simple :)

Step Five: Powder! Throughout the school day, my t-zone tends to get oily so this Neutrogena Shine Control Powder is my savior. I just apply it all over my face with a fluffy brush and I'm good to go! I've hit pan on this one, so I bought a new one the other day.

can you tell i love this stuff? ;)

Step Six: Mascara! Even if I don't have time to put on mascara, I will always curl my lashes! It makes my eyes look so much more awake! (which, believe me, i need that early in the morning) My new favorite mascara is the Maybelline Pumped Up Colossal Volume Express, it's the only mascara that I've found (like, ever) that gives me crazy volume and keeps a curl all day long! I'm more and more impressed with it every time I use it :)

the wand is giant!

Step Seven: Blush! I have a few that I love but this Physician's Formula blush is natural and flattering. (Sometimes I'll use the blush in the Lorac palette also!)

Step Eight: Set! I've been using Urban Decay setting sprays for years now, as I always went to their counter to get my makeup done for dances and special occasions! I live by their setting sprays because they always do an amazing job keeping my makeup in place. I'm all for drugstore makeup (i'm kind of a cheapo) but I will always spend the extra money for Urban Decay setting spray! I use the De-Slick kind, which controls oil. It's perfect for school days when I do yoga in the morning and run around all day!

Voila! There you have my go-to products for a simple, fast makeup look! Let me know down below if you've tried any of these products and what your favorite products are for a quickie look! :)

until next time,

Monday, September 15, 2014


Hi everyone! I've had so much homework to do this weekend (who knew i would have so much reading to do as an english major...i kid, i kid) but I'm finally done now so my reward is writing this post! ;) (rewarding myself with writing...yeah i guess that's a bit odd!) I was reading Genevieve's Life Blog the other day (link down below), and I pretty much squealed with delight when I saw that she had created a Harry Potter tag! Harry Potter has, and always will be, my absolute favorite book series and I like to think that it is partially responsible for making me into the person I am today (you know, apart from my parents and all that other stuff that greatly influenced my upbringing) In fact, I plan on inking something HP related somewhere on my body very soon! ;) More on that later though, onto the tag!

Question Number One: First experience of Harry Potter?

When I was about 6 or 7, my mom bought me the first few Harry Potter books (they hadn't been out too long at that point) I remember vividly sitting down one day, cracking open Sorcerer's Stone, (to all you UK people reading this, yes Philosopher's Stone sounds so much cooler) reading about 2 or 3 pages, and giving up. I was pretty advanced as far as reading level for my age went, but I think HP was still a bit over my head at that point...

Question Number Two: Which film have you watched the most?

You know, I thought this question would be harder to answer! I have to say Sorcerer's Stone/Chamber of Secrets because I have those two on VHS and I used to watch them constantly when I was younger. I was the little girl who walked around her house putting on a fake British accent and quoting Hermione any chance I got ;)

Basically me from ages 7-12

Question Number Three: What is your favorite Harry Potter film?

Okay, now this one is hard. Cliche disclaimer: All of the movies have a special place in my heart, blah blah blah. I truly do love all of them, but going back to the second question, I have to say that it's a tie between Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets. I think Chamber of Secrets is really underrated and often forgot about, even though it has some of my favorite scenes in it...Ron eats slugs, the dueling club, Polyjuice Potion anybody?! And of course I have to say Sorcerer's Stone purely for the sentimental value...oh, and the fact that I can pretty much quote the whole thing verbatim (no shame!)

Question Number Four: Favorite moment out of all of the films?

Another hard one! Like really hard. Every scene is good, how am I supposed to pick one? I'm gonna go out on a limb and say the scene from Goblet of Fire where Harry apparates back to the maze entrance with Cedric's dead body...the emotion in that scene is so raw, especially from Amos. It's heartbreaking to watch and it gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. But because I can, I'm gonna name a few more of my favorites: anything having to do with going back to Hogwarts (the train journey, so beautiful), anything with Snape in it (I love me some Alan Rickman), and the Yule Ball :)

Question Number Five: If you could be any character, who would you be?

Well, I already think of myself as being like Hermione (insert picture of me dressed up as her here) since we have many similarities, so I'm gonna pick someone else! Weirdly enough, I'm going to say McGonagall because she's an Animagus (yes please) and she's a badass witch. So yeah.

Yep...that's me!

I'm a boss ass witch, witch, witch, witch, witch, witch, witch...see what i did there? ;)

Question Number Six: If you could learn one thing at Hogwarts, what would it be?

Easy! I'm going to agree with Genevieve here and say how to ride a broomstick! Every time I watch a Quidditch scene I have an urge to hop on one and ride around!

Question Number Seven: Favorite teacher at Hogwarts?

Hands down, Snape. Don't need to tell me to turn to page 394 twice ;)

And that's it for the Harry Potter tag! Once again, credit goes to Genevieve for creating this awesome tag :) I'll link to her blog down below! Also, I got a chance to visit the Harry Potter Studio Tour (!!!) when I was in London and I took some pretty cool pictures, so if you'd be interested in seeing those leave a comment down below! Oh, and I tag anyone who wants to do this tag! ;)

until next time,

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Hi everyone! Today I want to share with you my top five favorite beauty/fashion gurus on Youtube! I watch a lot of Youtube (probably more than I watch TV) so narrowing down my front runners was difficult but here they are!

Disclaimer: These are in no particular order!

1. grav3yardgirl (aka Bunny)

Although she may not be my most frequently watched guru nowadays, grav3yardgirl was the first person to introduce me to the online world of beauty and fashion. Before I discovered her videos, I was pretty clueless when it came to makeup and style. (Back in the day, I thought wearing colored eyeshadow every day to school was a good idea) I love Bunny's videos because she is genuine and fun to watch! I especially look forward to her styling videos because she has a killer fashion sense and her outfits inspire me to be more daring in my choices.

2. missmeghanmakeup/beautybaby44 (Meghan and Lindsey Hughes)

Okay, hang on a second. Yes, I know Meghan and Lindsey are two different people and that they both have their own channel. However, I grouped them together for two different reasons. A. They are sisters and sometimes they make videos together/are in each other's videos and B. I was having a hard time deciding who my top five were going to be so by grouping them together they only counted as one ;) Every time I check my subscription box and I see a new video from Meghan or Lindsey, I drop everything I'm doing to watch it! Even though Lindsey is 19 and Meghan is 17 (I'm pretty sure...don't quote me on that), they are both mature yet hilarous. The quality of their videos is top-notch and you can tell that they put a lot of effort into their content. I would say Lindsey is more girly, and Meghan's style is closer to street style/boho. I love their haul videos, and their monthly favorites are something I always look forward to. I truly value their opinions about products (as proven by a large number of products in my makeup/skincare selection that i purchased as a result of their positive review!) and I know I can always count on their videos to introduce me to a new love of some sort :)

3.  arose186 (Arden Rose)

You know those people that you watch on Youtube and you can't help but think to yourself, "We could totally be best friends"? Arden is definitely one of those people for me, which is probably why I like her so much. She is funny, witty, sarcastic, and all around sassy. (The similarities between us are growing as I write this...) Although she makes "typical" beauty videos (tutorials, hauls, unboxings, favorites), she also puts up some really funny collab videos and recently has posted some thought-provoking ones (namely one called Why Women Wear Makeup). Her personal style is reminiscent of old Hollywood and she reminds me of Lana Del Rey!

4. meghanrosette (Meghan Rienks)

Once again, Meghan (yes, another Meghan!) is one of those people that I would love to be friends with. I find myself laughing out loud most of the time when I watch her videos, she's that funny! She is an aspiring actress and it's evident that she's very comfortable in front of the camera :) Like Bunny, her personality shines through in everything she does and it makes her videos unique and entertaining!

5. macbarbie07 (Bethany Mota)

First of all, let me just say how proud I am of this girl!!! I started watching her videos about 2 years ago before she was super well known (before Dancing With the Stars, that is) and she has come so far! She was just announced as part of the new Dancing With the Stars cast ( what) and she has her own clothing line at Aeropostale! I can't stress enough how much this girl deserves to be where she is today! She is extremely creative (obviously...she has her own clothing line!) and super bubbly. She genuinely cares about her fans (which she calls Motavators, cute right?) and she still finds time to create new content on her channel. She is the epitome of the"girl next door" and is quite relatable :)

So, those are my top five beauty/fashion gurus! Who are your favorite beauty/fashion Youtubers? Leave a comment down below :)

until next time,

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


Hi everyone! Recently, I've done a bit of online shopping for what I like to call my fall "essentials". These are pieces that I consider staples in my wardrobe once the weather starts to get cooler. (Sadly it seems that summer is officially over in New England!) After watching a Zoella haul, I decided to give a go for the first time so I got a few bits from their site! Boohoo is a UK clothing retailer that has trendy clothing at relatively inexpensive prices. (Think British Forever 21!) Without further ado, let's jump into what I bought from Forever 21, Aerie, and Boohoo! :)

Forever 21 has always been my go-to store for trendy pieces because it's cheap and even if I never get around to wearing something that I've bought, I don't feel guilty because everything is so inexpensive! This time around, I purchased some fall basics.

First, I got two soft and stretchy basic long sleeve shirts in white and hunter green. I have the same one in black but the reason behind buying the white one has a story! I previously purchased the same exact white one about a year ago but when I was traveling around the UK this spring (I was going to Edinburgh or Dublin...can't remember which one) I crammed it in my Jansport backpack along with everything else (as all study abroad students do...) and my purple shampoo exploded somewhere along the way and ruined my shirt :( And I bought the same shirt in hunter green because I've decided I need to be more daring in my color choices it is!

The next thing I got from Forever 21 is this traditional flannel. I've been on the lookout for a warm yet cute flannel for a while now, as my fashion goal in the winter is to look cute but also not freeze to death on campus. I was skeptical of how thick this flannel would be (since we all know how Forever 21 loves to make everything out of rayon and polyester...) but I was pleasantly surprised! Though it's not as warm as a "real" flannel, it's what I was looking for in terms of pattern and will hopefully keep me warm. I went up a size so it's a bit baggy and I can wear it with leggings.

The last few things I ordered from Forever 21 were hair accessories! Initially, I started looking at them because I needed to get my cart to a certain dollar amount for free shipping...but hey, they're adorable and I've been needing some new things to liven up my hair. At first I wasn't really on board with the scrunchie trend but I've come around and I love them now! They make me feel like DJ Tanner from Full House and in my book that's a good thing ;) I got a three pack of basic ones (black, blue, and red) and a tartan one with a wire bow which should be good for topknots. I also got a hounds tooth wire headband as I love the print. (I also got a pair of boring black leggings but you all know what those look like and they're super basic so....yeah)

Boohoo is the second place that I found some really great items for fall wear. I am obsessed with knee high socks so when I found this pair of black and white ones I was hooked! I believe they had the word "referee" in the name (could also be used in a future Halloween costume lol) and to my surprise they are thigh high instead of knee high! I plan on wearing them with dresses, shorts (weather permitting), and under jeans as the weather gets colder.

For months I've been on the lookout for some frilly ankle socks, and I'm happy to say I've finally found a pair for less than 30 dollars! (I'm totally not referring to Urban Outfitters and their outrageous prices or anything) I got a white pair and a black pair to wear with my black combat boots and brown booties.

Continuing on with the plaid trend, I got a tartan scarf. Once again, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality, as it is quite thick and will actually keep me warm. I adore scarves because they are so versatile and I think this one will pair nicely with basic tops and dresses.

Finally, I got some bralettes from Aerie. A few months back, I got a black halter bralette from Urban Outfitters that I love but it's starting to pill and I wanted a couple more. Aerie doesn't have any halter style bralettes (which is a bummer because I love the way that the halter looks with certain tops) so I just got two basic ones in black and white. They are super comfortable and so much better than a bra. If you've never tried one out and you can do without the extra support, you should give one a try! They are nice to wear on days where you don't feel like putting on an actual bra! Also, I think the all over lace adds a nice pop of femininity to any outfit :)

Well, that's my fall haul! (I'm pretty sure being able to rhyme is a requirement to be an English major so I can check that skill of my list!) I hope you enjoyed seeing what I bought, I'm sure this is the first of many hauls on my blog. Leave a comment down below if you'd be interested in a fall look book/styling kind of post!

until next time,

site design by designer blogs