A shade of the dramatic, where different is all there is.

Just Life

365 Days of Marriage

Engagement Ring with emeralds

Well, its been a year already, I can’t believe it!  On January 28th, 2012 I was lucky enough to marry my best friend and the love of my life.  I’m not sure where the time went, but I couldn’t be happier about who I spent it with.

Canadian Winter Wedding

James, you are the best husband a girl could ever ask for.  I love you more than anything and would do this all over again if given the chance.  

Pictures of an outdoor winter wedding

 (Maybe, minus the big bill this time!)

Winter Wedding at The Lodge, Strathmere

We were lucky enough to have our very own cousin and loving friend perform the ceremony. We love you Andy!  From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for making our day extra special.

So, as a dedication to our 1 year wedding anniversary I decided to share some pictures and a special video of our wedding vows with you all.  Thank you Ali for the video!

And of course, special thanks to all of those who made our wedding day a day worth remembering!  That goes for the wedding party and all of our friends and family who were able to join us.  We can’t imagine having shared it with anyone else.

Winter Wedding in Ottawa Canada
I really hope you enjoy these small snip-its from our wedding!  I know I do, every time I see them.

Winter Wedding in the snow


Wedding Cake with Peacock Theme

Four Seasons of Blogging

When I started Eyemasq last November, I had no idea that I would stick with “this blogging thing” for a full year, let alone enjoy it as much as I have.  

Fall in Ottawa

Autumn Fog in Ottawa

What I’ve found that I love most about blogging is that it serves as a journal of sorts for me.  It really gives me a chance to catalogue new experiences and forever have note of how I felt in those special moments.  I always find it especially interesting to go back and review old posts and see where my head was at months ago.

Emerald Green Wedding Dress at Outdoor Winter Wedding, Ottawa Canada

Winter Wedding in Ottawa

Over the past year I’ve been able to share some of my crazy travel experiences with you, my wonderful wedding, experimentations with makeup/nails and even my special visit with a long time penpal from Brazil that I had the pleasure of meeting in person for the first time.

Ottawa in the Spring

Samira at Stanley’s Maple Farm, Ottawa

So much has happened in the past 12 months and I’m thankful to have a small piece of it documented here in my little sanctuary.  And if anyone chooses to actually read it, then that is just a huge bonus for me!

Mont Royal Parc

Mont Royal, Quebec

I’m thrilled that I haven’t grown tired of this yet – because I still have what seems like a never-ending list of new things I want to post about and share with my readers (old and new).

Beautiful fall pictures

Autumn colours in Ottawa

It was our first snow fall of the season yesterday and I can’t believe how quickly time has flown by.  It feels like winter was just here and that I just wrote my first post.  I think seeing all of the snow really reminded me of how long I have been at this.

Horse drawn carriage, outdoor winter wedding

Horse Draw Carriage, Winter Wedding in Ottawa

So let me say a big THANK YOU to anyone who has ever taken a minute out of their busy lives to read my words here at Eyemasq!  Your encouraging responses and visits are what have kept me motivated to keep going this past year.  And I have special love for my fellow bloggers – you constantly inspire me to try new things and I learn so much from all of you, I don’t know what I would do without you all!!  

Sharing snip-its of my life here has been a true pleasure as I attempt to carve out a tiny piece of the world wide web for myself and I look forward to many more seasons with all of you.  ❤

Truly…thanks for reading!



Madonna: MDNA World Tour

Madonna outdoor concert

Madonna has been a hot ticket this summer world wide.  When I heard she was coming to Ottawa, I was excited and really wanted to get my hands on some tickets for a girls night out.  Unfortunately, the tickets went on sale and we couldn’t get through on the phone lines or on-line…the show sold out in just a few minutes, the Scotiabank Centre was packed, with no room for us.

Madonna 2012 world tour

My girlfriend Suzie and I weren’t quite ready to give up though, so the following week when tickets were going on sale for her show in Quebec City, we said “It’s only a 5 hour drive – this could be fun!”.  We got ourselves tickets to the outdoor show that was to be held in the Plains D’ Abraham, the home of a very famous battle from the Seven Years’ War over 250 years ago.  From the very beginning this particular event inspired controversy across Quebec.  The Plains d’ Abraham have always upheld a strict policy when it comes to what activities they allow and the circumstances surrounding such events.  Paul McCartney’s 2008 performance for Quebec City’s 400th anniversary was free to the public, and stars like Elton John played for non-profit festivals that demanded no direct entry fee.  Never before has there been a for profit commercial concert held on the grounds, until September 1st, 2012 when Madonna wanted to host a giant dance party.  What made this even more controversial was that the parks commission didn’t even charge her for the use of the park or a take a cut of each ticket (a practice very common with various parks commissions to go towards the upkeep of the park).  So not only did they break their own written policy outlined in the National Battlefields Commission, but they gave it up to the Queen of Pop for free.  You can imagine that not everyone was behind this plan.

I have no doubt that the concert brought a massive amount of economic benefits to the city however.  A week before the show, it was near impossible to find a hotel for under $200/night  and everywhere we went the streets were bustling for the long weekend.  The concert in Quebec City ended up hosting over 72,000 people.  All tickets sold were general admission, but there were 3 different areas sectioned off.  Suzie and I were in the largest mass of people, packed in like sardines for several hours before the show was set to start.

Looking forward to the stage waiting for the opening act:

Madonna outdoor concert

Looking behind us at the crowd – take a look at the people all the way up the hill:

Madonna outdoor concert in Quebec City

It had been a long hot day and when it was finally time for the DJ Paul Oakenfold to take stage…he was late.  And when he finished, it was at least another hour before Madonna decided to join us all.  The concert was slated to start at 8pm.  She made her appearance at 10:30pm.  After having been standing for several hours…herded like cattle with thousands of other people and then sitting down on the cement for several more hours to hold our place…I was not impressed that she couldn’t even be on time.  I would’ve BOO’ed her, had I known how to BOO in French.

In case you are wondering if she played your favourite Madonna song, take a look at her set list for the 2012 MDNA Tour:

  1. Opening Prayer /Girl Gone Wild
  2. Revolver
  3. Gang Bang
  4. Papa Don’t Preach
  5. Hung Up
  6. I Don’t Give A
  7. Best Friend / Heartbeat (Interlude)
  8. Express Yourself / Born This Way
  9. Turn up the radio
  10. Give Me All Your Luvin’
  11. Open Your Heart
  12. Masterpiece
  13. Justify My Love (Interlude)
  14. Vogue
  15. Candy Shop
  16. Human Nature / Erotica
  17. Like A Virgin
  18. Nobody Knows Me (Interlude)
  19. I’m Addicted
  20. I’m A Sinner
  21. Like A Prayer
  22. Celebration (encore)

I was lucky, she did play my favourite “Like A Prayer” in her 90 minute show even though there was a heavy focus on her new album MDNA (her 12th studio release).

The only intelligible part of any of my videos is the small portion that was a cappella with the crowd singing…the rest of the time there was so much bass my recordings are a total mess, but I thought this might be fun for some.

I think I would’ve enjoyed the actual show a lot more without the ordeal of a general admission outdoor concert.  If I had a seat, in a stadium somewhere, it wouldn’t have been nearly as infuriating that she was extremely late…because we would’ve arrived at 8pm, not 3:30pm.  (Even worse for other people who arrived at 10am when the gates to the waiting area opened).  And after it was all over, I’m sure you can imagine over 72,000 people all trying to make their way out of a park and to the street at the exact same time.  Wading through ankle deep garbage was less than ideal…by the time Suzie and I made our way back to our hotel we were completely and utterly exhausted and drained, with aching feet and blisters. The process of it all was just too much.  If I could do it all over again…well I wouldn’t, not under the same circumstances anyway.

The content of the show itself was violent at times and always overtly sexual, mixed with impressive choreography and visual displays.  The 90 minute set worked its way from darkness to light.  Having just turned 54, Madonna still moves really well and strives to entertain.  The New York Times wrote, “Madonna and her team do know how to dazzle.”   While New York Daily News called the show “an idea-intensive, message-packed riddle wrapped in an enigma that must be seen to be believed,” arguing that the show’s risky artistry “deserves praise.”

Madonna world tour - outdoor concert in Quebec city (MDNA tour)

So if you are holding a hot ticket for one of the many cities she has left…here is my advice:

  • Be open minded and be ready for anything (she is a wild one and always has been)
  • Prepare yourself for lots of leather, push up bras, a strip tease and a whole lot of pelvic thrusting.  Not young child appropriate.
  • Don’t expect her to be on time, you will likely be disappointed
  • Wear some fun make-up, after all, it is Madonna!

mermaid makeup

What was the best concert you’ve ever been to?  Who/what band would you go through all of this for???

If you saw Madonna on the MDNA tour, I’d love to hear what you thought below!



The Hunger Games: a must read

For those of you that know me in person, you are likely tired of hearing about The Hunger Games.  So I decided I should take a few minutes and spread the wealth of my obsession to my virtual friends and followers too.  😛  I will say though, this post does NOT contain any spoilers, in case you are reading the books or heading to the theatre.

I hadn’t heard much about The Hunger Games, certainly not at all when the books first came out.  A couple of months before the movie released I heard the odd thing, someone read the books, someone else asked for a gist of the story….from what I overheard I thought it sounded like a book I read a long time ago called “The Long Walk” by Richard Bachman (an alias belonging to Stephen King).  A similar premise in some ways…but it turned out to be very very different.

I don’t need to tell anyone about all of the hype surrounding The Hunger Games.  It was certainly the most anticipated movie of 2012.  Based on the novels written by Suzanne Collins, Gary Ross directed this adaptation and got it ready for the big screen.  On opening weekend, The Hunger Games was the third highest grossing movie of all time, falling only behind The Dark Knight and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt 2.  In the first four days of its release, The Hunger Games became the highest grossing film in Lionsgate history!

For anyone that doesn’t know (perhaps you live under a rock) IMDB gives The Hunger Games a tagline of :

“Set in a future where the Capitol selects a boy and girl from the twelve districts to fight to the death on live television, Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her younger sister’s place for the latest match.”

Katniss volunteering for Prim

Knowing my husband wanted nothing to do with the movie, I decided when Samira and I were heading to the theatre in Quebec City, it would be a great opportunity to see it.  I remember enjoying the movie a lot, I remember thinking “huh, that was pretty cool”.  I wasn’t floored by any means, but I was intrigued.  I thought “what an incredibly interesting story”.  I wanted to know more, I had some questions I wanted answered.  That night I spoke on the phone with my husband about how he was off the hook and how he no longer had to fear being dragged to the movie theatre to see The Hunger Games…he sounded thrilled that we weren’t going to have to have that discussion! 🙂

When Samira and I arrived home 4 days later I was presented with a gift, one that was wrapped by someone you could tell didn’t normally wrap gifts…but certainly tried his best.  ❤

Tearing off the ribbon and paper, I discovered the full hard cover set of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay.  Now I am someone that used to love to read and I used to read a lot.  It has been a couple of years since I’ve taken the time to enjoy a good book…but this opportunity that I was presented with, seemed like the perfect time to sit down and get back into a hobby I used to truly love.  A couple of days later, I started into the first novel in the series.  Within 7 days, I had finished all three of them.

Katniss with her bow

The novels are so engrossing!  You don’t care about eating, or tv, or your emails.  You just want to get to the next page.  The hours flew by and when I wasn’t reading, I was thinking about reading.  I was thinking about the characters, I was thinking about their world.  I was anticipating where the story would go, what would happen.  These books are, in a word, phenomenal.

I don’t ever remember caring about characters as much as I cared about Katniss, Peeta and Gale.  When I finished the books, I saw the movie again.  This time I felt super torn about the film.  Half of me was upset about the glaring omissions from the book.  I kept wishing that the movie had been just 15 minutes longer….if they could’ve just added one more thing here or there….(even though the film was already 2 hours and 22 minutes)  The other half of me was filling in the blanks with what I knew from the novels.  How I already felt about the characters, how I knew what they were feeling, even if it wasn’t clear in the movie.  I filled in the gaps and by the end of the movie I was almost in tears, applying everything I had in my mind about the characters to what I was seeing on screen.  The actors were no longer just these characters on screen I knew nothing about.  They were instead Katniss and Peeta and Haymitch and Effie, straight out of my books.

Katniss and Peeta in the cave

I definitely recommend, if you have the chance, to see the movie after you have read the book.  Everything on screen will make more sense and if you give yourself over to it, it will be more enjoyable.  If I were to conduct a full analysis of the movie, I would come up with about a billion problems with the adaptation as The Hunger Games made it’s way to the big screen.  I would describe it as “scraping the plot surface” in an effort to tell the story and not much else.  Yet somehow, every time I see the trailer for the movie, it makes me just want to watch the movie again…so it is hard for me to be very convincing when I say the movie just scraped the plot surface.  I am however, 100% sure that the gem in all of this, is the novels.  If I hadn’t read the books, I don’t believe the trailers or the movie would have the same affect on me as they do currently.  So if you happen to walk by the novels and think to yourself “I wonder if they are any good”, the answer is yes.  Make time to read them, you won’t be sorry.

Catching Fire, the sequel is rumoured to be hitting theatres in November of 2013.  I will be eagerly awaiting it and will likely even re-read the books before going to see it.  I hope it is four hours long, because that is probably the only way I will be truly satisfied! 🙂

But isn’t it always like that with a book and movie adaptation?  Have you ever found a movie based on a book that didn’t disappoint you as a reader in some way?

May the odds be ever in your favor!



May the odds be ever in your favor

The Space Between

Blue and Silver Smoky Eye Tutorial

In between our trip to Toronto and heading out for Quebec City, we had one night back in Ottawa and had a small gathering to get some friends together and enjoy the long Easter weekend.  So it seemed like a good occasion to experiment with a new makeup look.

MAC Makeup Look

This silver and blue smoky eye was easy to create and a good option for an evening or a holiday look.  I find using blue instead of black (like you would typically see with silver) also makes it a little more fun by adding a pop of colour, black would be much sexier and more dramatic.  So it just depends on what sort of look you are trying to create.

MAC Makeup Look

To create this look:

  1. Start by applying an eye primer all over your lid and up to your brow.  I used Urban Decay’s Primer Potion for this step.  Give it a minute and let it set.
  2. Gently press Platinum Pigment by MAC (or you can use any silver eyeshadow) all over your lid.  Depending on the texture of the shadow you are using, sometimes I find that pressing the shadow on results in better coverage and a nicer colour payoff than what you would get by brushing it on.
  3. Then select your darker colour of choice, I went for Deep Truth by MAC which is a shimmery navy blue.  Spread this colour throughout your crease and at the outer edge of your eye.
  4. I then took a little bit of Black Tied eyeshadow by MAC (a black with small specks of silver) and really intensified the outer edge by making it just a tad darker, adding more depth.
  5. Using a lighter colour as a highlighter, softly brighten the inner corner of your eye and your brown bone.  For this I used Forgery eyeshadow by MAC, a very light silver shade.
  6. Then, using an angled shadow brush, I dusted both the navy blue eyeshadow (Deep Truth) and the platinum pigment under my lash line to bring the top and bottom together.
  7. For eyeliner, I would recommend either a gel eyeliner or a liquid liner.  For both my waterline and my upper lashes, I used MAC’s Fluidline in Blacktrack.
  8. I finished the look off with 2 coats of Too Faced lashGASM mascara.  (If you want to see this mascara face off with it’s competitor, please visit my Ultimate Mascara Review)

Silver and Navy Blue Smoky eye

Please let me know if you like this format of breaking down the shadows, if you find it useful or interesting, please let me know and I can keep doing it!

Blue and Silver Smoky Eye Tutorial

Now, onto the rest of the evening!  Samira brought with her from Brazil, not only some recipes, but also some actual ingredients so we could make authentic Caipirinha (a Brazillian drink) and Brigadeiro (a Brazilian sweet).  It was a perfect night to try everything out seeing as we had a room full of people eager to sample.


What you need:

Caipirinha Recipe

  • A Bottle of Cachaca
  • Sugar
  • Lemons or Limes
  • Ice (Crushed ice would’ve been better I think)

Start off by cutting up your lime or lemon into four pieces

Homemade Caipirinha

Remove the peel and place the pieces of lemon/lime in the bottom of your glass.  Add 4 spoonfuls of sugar on top.

Making Caipirinha

Use anything you have to mash up the fruit and sugar until it looks like this:  (As you can see, we had to use the handle of our whisk)

Mashing lemons for Caipirinha

Now this is where this gets insane.  Add Cachaca and a few ice cubes.

This drink was insanely strong.  It smelled and tasted like pure alcohol.  No one was able to finish theirs, except for Samira.  I think this was some sort of sick joke…although she was able to finish more than one.   +1 Samira, you win!

I think if I was ever going to make this again, I would used crushed ice and pack my glass full, before adding the Cachaca…that way you only end up with about 2 ounces of alcohol in your drink, instead of 10.


After the drinks, I think everyone was a little weary of the Brigadeiro…haha, but everyone ended up loving this typical Brazilian sweet.

What you need:

  • 2 cans of condensed milk
  • 6 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • chocolate sprinkles
In a medium saucepan, pour in your condensed milk.
Condensed Milk for Brigadeiro
Add your butter and cocoa powder.
How to make Brigadeiro
Mix everything together
Making Brigadeiro
Cook over medium heat until it thickens (takes about 10 minutes), you will need to stir it constantly so it doesn’t burn and stick to the bottom of your pot.
Once it is nice and thick you have options.  Samira said that making the traditional balls takes forever so it would be best to just put it on a couple of plates and forget about the balls.  So we poured the Brigadeiro onto two dinner sized plates, added some chocolate sprinkles and put them in the fridge to cool.  (Okay, so one plate made it to the fridge, the other one I dropped on the floor making an awful mess…..)
After about 15 minutes, the plate I didn’t drop had cooled enough and was ready to eat.  Everyone loved it and it was soooooooo easy to make!  So go ahead and make some homemade chocolate and enjoy yourself some Brazilian Brigadeiro!

***If you want to make your Brigadeiro into balls: remove from heat and let rest until cool enough to handle. Form into small balls and eat at once or chill until serving.***

How many of you are rushing off right now to go make some homemade chocolate?!?!?  Be honest!!

But seriously, I would love to hear from you if you’ve ever made either of these before and what you thought!  (Or, if you think you’ll try them in the future.)

Thanks for reading!

❤ Shannon ❤

MAC Makeup Look

Beijos from Brazil

Today I have a very special post and it doesn’t fit into my normal Eyemasq posts.   Instead it is just a story that I wanted to share with you all.

When I was about 13 years old, almost 15 years ago now (boy does that make me feel like I am getting old) I met a girl named Samira on the internet and she was from Brazil.  Not sure if you all remember ICQ or not, but that instant messaging computer program made us fast friends.  Upon a little bit of chatting, we decided we wanted to send letters, pictures, presents and to become true pen-pals.

We began writing each other right away and every couple of months I would receive a package from Samira, detailing what was new in her life and asking for updates in mine.  I would immediately write her back and the cycle began, every few months another letter.  I have an entire box of her letters here, I kept every single one.  I have every picture and even every envelope ever sent.   We would sign every letter with Abraços e Beijos, Portuguese for Hugs and Kisses (the first Portuguese I ever learned).  In the past few years, the letters stopped and Facebook was our new medium for staying in touch and updating each other on our lives.  Who knew you could have SO MUCH in common with someone on the other end of the world.  We ended up being so alike and to this day share all of the same passions in life.  We are both married now, working away and trying to find as much time for travel as possible.

Several months ago Samira contacted me about a possible trip to Canada.  We worked out dates with our varying schedules and in no time at all her flight was booked.  She needed a letter of invitation to apply for a VISA and the months flew by…she was coming!

Most people don’t know what it is like to have a long distance friend…or at least one that you actually manage to stay friends with as the years pass.  For Samira and I, our friendship only knew distance and lots of it!

Yesterday, my penpal of 15 years, flew in from Sao Paulo, Brazil and we met face to face for the first time.  I picked her up at the airport and it felt like the craziest thing.  I was able to see her in person and actually hear her voice…something I didn’t even realize I was missing out on for all of those years.

Canadian Hotdog

And this morning, for the first time in her life she saw snow falling from the sky.  She ran outside onto the balcony immediately trying to get pictures…I personally have never been so happy to see snow.

For the next two weeks, Samira and I will get to know what it is like to be friends in person and not through snail mail, email or Facebook.  We will be tourists in Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City.  And we will be able to experience those comfortable silences where you simply hang out with a person.  I couldn’t be more excited to have her here and I can’t wait to see what the next two weeks have in store for us.

Parliament Hill in Canada's Capital City

So Abraços e Beijos Samira!  And from the bottom of my heart, welcome to Canada!  I couldn’t be happier to have you. ❤

Marry Me, Today and Everyday

Marriage is defined as the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law.

Merriam Webster’s dictionary doesn’t make it sound as romantic as people would like to believe.  Including myself.  When I think about “marriage” I think about the “till death do us part” and the “in sickness and health”.  I’ve always been a hopeless romantic at heart though, of that there is no denying.

White Winter Wedding Cape with fur

By definition, it doesn’t sound like anything more than a business deal.  I think there are several people out there who would agree.  And I know that whenever people enter into a “contract” there is always the chance of both failure and success.  Humans add the variable to contracts.  Our stubborn qualities, egos, unwillingness to change or perhaps changing too much is one of the reasons we need contracts in the first place.  And like everything, people change their minds all the time.  Everyday.  People change their majors at University.  They change their mind on the next country they want to visit.  People’s opinions change about what a work contract may mean and an agreement or understanding that seemed fool proof in the beginning can begin to tear and fall apart when the slightest amount of strain is added.  So I guess it isn’t that crazy to imagine all the people that change their minds after marriage.  After what is supposed to be a life long commitment.

Wedding in the Snow

According to statistics, 4 in 10 first marriages in Canada end in divorce.  To a newly wed that can be scary!  You see broken marriages everywhere.  With a co-worker, with family, on tv.  Everyone is in court somewhere fighting over everything except staying together.

People keep asking us, does being married really feel any different?  Does anything change?  For us, living together before hand, the answer would be mostly no.  Our day to day is the same as before and the way we treat each other is the same in every way.  The only difference we have noticed is that being married is scarier than just being a couple.  The fear of losing the person you love more than anything in the entire world is daunting.  When you stop to think about it, the only way it can be described would be terrifying.  And when you get married, the stakes are raised.  Everything is just that much scarier and the idea of losing your loved one is just that much more painful to imagine.

Wedding in the Snow, Canada

I don’t think I can properly put into words what I mean, but I will continue to try.  I’ve been married for 13 days and today, just like every other day before in the last 2.5 years, I can’t imagine my life being spent with anyone else.

And I can’t ever imagine where things get so bad, that we can’t talk our way back to a better place and all we are left with is lawyer fees and anger.  Today, divorce is so prevalent and all I can think about is that these people must’ve been happy at some point.  Things must’ve been great back when they stood up in front of their family and friends and said “I do”.  I’m sure, every single couple thought they would be the ones to make it.  The ones to spend their whole lives together.  So where does it all go wrong?  What happens?  Why can’t people fix it?

emerald green wedding dress

I think it is fair to say that not everyone makes the best decisions all the time.  I’m as guilty as the next person I guess.  I’ve made decisions in the past that I’m sure if I’d slowed down, stopped and really thought about, I would’ve decided differently and there would’ve been situations I could’ve avoided all together.

Not everyone is in a relationship and thinks “this is the person I am going to spend the rest of my life with”.  For some people it’s easier to stay in relationships because it is comfortable, it’s safe and they don’t really want to “start over”.  (I know because I was one of those people years ago.)  Everyday people get married because it is the next step in a long relationship, it makes “sense”, they’ve been together a really long time…so why not?

Really, why not?

If only everyone who got married couldn’t imagine their life with anyone else.  If only everyone who made that commitment couldn’t bear the thought of being in this world without their other half.

In a perfect world I would wish that everyone could live happily ever after.  I would wish everyone could have that happy marriage with the white picket fence…or whatever sort of fence they fancied.

But because this isn’t a perfect world and I don’t have a genie in a bottle, I will instead just give this marriage everything I have and never forget why I said “yes”.

Wedding in the Snow, White Winter Cape