February 2019: In a Nutshell

Good Morning and Happy Thursday, everyone!

Another month down (although February is, of course, the shortest one-) and so much to discuss! These past few weeks have been filled with Super Bowl parties/parades, plenty of snowstorms, time spent with friends visiting from out of state, some love and romance around Valentine’s Day- and quite a bit of traveling around New England!

While there were plenty of things keeping me close to home this past month- like watching the Patriots win another Super Bowl and the subsequent celebrations that came with it (and yes, I’m just as disgusted by Robert Kraft’s behavior as the next person) and getting a surprise visit from my San Diego-turned-Chicago-BFF while he was in town for a job interview- I also made it a point to explore some other areas around my neck of the woods that I either hadn’t visited in a long time- or had never visited at all!

There was touring Louisa May Alcott’s home in Concord near the very beginning of the month, swinging by picturesque Newport, Rhode Island for their annual Winter Festival- and this past weekend I found myself out in Berkshire County where I spotted a Pepto-pink church while out and about (shown above!)

I reflected on dating now that I’m in my thirties, played around with Pantone’s “Color of The Year” and cooked up some amazing recipes to get everyone through the last leg of the colder months. As always, I took you all into my closet and into my Winter makeup routine/collection- and now here we are- getting ready to spring forward into March!

So what do I have planned over the next few weeks? Lots of things! In between my usual food and fashion posts- I’m looking forward to sharing some fun promotional opportunities and partnerships- as well as more stories/photos from the road where I’ll be visiting one of my favorite museums in Boston, a flower show/display in Western Massachusetts, a trip to my favorite seaside village in Connecticut- and a trip to Nantucket I’ve been eagerly preparing for and anticipating!

But of course, I’ve got to wrap up my work week, first- and today and tomorrow is all about tying up loose ends at the office before I head out with friends for the weekend and get ready for the unofficial start of Spring!

My posting schedule will return to normal first thing on Monday morning- but until then- here’s wishing you all an easygoing remainder of your week and a fun, safe weekend!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: February 2019!

Good Morning and Happy Tuesday, everyone!

It’s a short posting week for me- both because of how busy my schedule is over the next couple of days and also because of the way the last day of the month and the first day of March falls. Before I jump into Daylight Savings Time, Saint Patrick’s Day, and the beginning of Spring- I wanted to share a few of my favorite things from February- including some skin care, makeup, and a book I have not been able to put down since I started reading it about a week or so ago!

My full re-cap of the month will be up on Thursday- but until then- here’s my Favorites from February 2019!

And, as usual- the other odds and ends that I couldn’t quite capture with a camera will follow the photos and details below.

Every few months, when I’m running low on body wash and lotions- I like to stop by Bath & Body Works to take advantage of their “Buy 3/Get 3 Free” sales (such a good deal!) and stock up. With Winter winding down and my bottles and containers of pumpkin and mint-scented body care nearly empty- I’ve got Spring and floral scents on my mind.

To leap into a new season and a new fragrance, I made my semi-annual trip earlier this month and picked up the newest addition to their collection- the ‘Rose’ body wash, lotion, and perfume mist. The scent, which is a lovely combination of rose, jasmine and musk- is sweet and light- not heavy and overpowering.

It’s perfect for this time of year and I look forward to using it every morning when I’m getting ready to start my day!

With an impending change in the seasons ahead- I’ll undoubtedly need to re-tweak my skin/hair care routine and products to stay ahead of the temperature and climate shifts here in New England. Until then, however- I’ve got to keep myself hydrated and protected against the still bitter cold that has remained strong and fierce where I live.

Lately I’ve been incorporating an extra step into my morning and evening skin care- this Vitamin C-loaded and lightweight ‘C.E.O. Glow’ serum from Sunday Riley. A couple of drops covers my entire face post-toning and pre-moisturizer- and the result is a softer, smoother, noticeably brighter complexion.

My skin feels amazing after I apply this stuff- and since I began using it earlier this month- I’ve noticed that some darker spots that typically pop up during PMS vanished in a matter of days and haven’t been back since. Consider me a lifelong fan!

With February being the month of all things Valentine’s Day, it should come as no surprise that I turned to a lot of pinks and reds with my makeup, fashion and accessories choices over the past few weeks. Two of my favorites- for my lips and my nails, respectively- were bright, fun- and got a lot of compliments.

First, I looked no further for a bold, neon pink lip than Fenty’s Stunna Lip Paint in their latest shade, “Unlocked”. Super pigmented, non-drying, and ultra long-lasting (my lips stay slightly tinted for a day or so after I take this off with makeup remover- that’s how strong it is!)– this liquid-to-matte lipstick definitely turns heads and had me feeling a bit more romantic each time I wore it.

Not to be outdone, I relied on NCLA’s red/pink polish in “Call My Agent” to get my digits through the month of February unscathed. I love this Vegan and cruelty-free cream polish- which adds so much color and shine to my nails without all the harmful chemicals.

Best of all? It’s pretty resilient, too-which means I don’t need to touch up my nails every couple of hours!

This absolutely adorable red beret with floral accents made an appearance on Blondie Birdie last week, and it is definitely one of my favorite accessories from this past month. I wear it everywhere- and will probably continue to do so right up until the moment Spring is here to stay.

The hat, a gift from a friend of mine, is just the right amount of vintage and cutesy charm to make me look like a starlett from the Classical Hollywood era whenever I have it on. It goes with everything, too- from wool coats to fancy sweaters to jeans and t-shirts on my more casual days.

I love the fit, the color, and the flowers that stand out along the side!

A show that made the ‘Favorites’ cut this month (which I’ll get to in just a moment) was inspired by the memoir and fascinating true life/true crime story I’ve been lowkey obsessed with for a while now. Fauna Hodel, granddaughter of the notorious George Hodel- a prominent physician and aristocrat in Los Angeles during the 30s and 40s who was thought to be the perpetrator behind the still unsolved ‘Black Dahlia’ murder- spent the first part of her life with an adoptive black family in Nevada. When she finds out who she really is- she sets off to find her real family- and uncovers the most INSANE secrets.

Honestly, the phrase “truth is stranger than fiction” has never been more appropriate than it is for Fauna and this book is one of the most heartbreaking things I’ve read.

And with that, my photogenic favorites are complete- but as they say in infomercials- wait! There’s a little bit more!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

‘I Am The Night’ – The TNT-based miniseries, which draws inspiration from Fauna Hodel’s memoirs- definitely strays from the book in terms of action, suspense, and additional characters- but the core story is still there and it’s beautifully shot, directed, and acted.

I love when Patty Jenkins and Chris Pine make magic together- and this series is no exception!

Okay, NOW my monthly “Favorites” post is completed!

A little later on this week- I’ll take a look back on February 2019 from start-to-finish (with some recent travel photos added in, as well!) but if you’d like to share some of your favorite things from this past month before then- I’d love to hear about them! Leave a comment or drop me a line!

See you all again on Thursday!

xx

– Ashley –

January 2019: In a Nutshell

Good Afternoon and Happy Thursday, everyone!

I’m absolutely floored that today is the last day of January and we’re going right into Valentines season come tomorrow! It feels like it was only just yesterday I was sipping champagne in NYC and bidding a fond farewell to 2018- and now one month has already come and gone in the blink of an eye!

I suppose January can go either way, though. For a lot of people- it seems to drag on for an eternity (maybe because of the cold and the snow and the post-holiday blues?) and for others, like me- who are so pumped up for a new year and new goals/aspirations- it goes by really, really quickly while we’re scrambling to accomplish so much all at once!

That’s not to say I didn’t get to stop and enjoy myself, of course. As busy as it was- January was certainly a pretty interesting start to 2019!

As I said earlier, January kicked off with a brisk couple of days in New York City where I rang in the New Year in comfort and style (and with a really amazing view of the skyline) to start things off on a good, exciting note. I took in views from the top of Rockefeller Center and ate some delicious food around the Lower East Side.

From there, my days (and particularly my weekends) were all about spending time outdoors- including during our most recent snowstorms/blizzards, torrential downpours and a Super Wolf Blood Moon- and catching great indoor shows around Boston with local bands and at awesome breweries.

My Birthday Cake – Courtesy of My Mom.

I spent a lot of time with friends and family this past month- particularly around both my own birthday and my best friend’s birthday- which are right on top of each other. I was surprised with cakes, presents, and impromptu spa treatments- which definitely came in handy following the one low point from this past month when I was hit in my car by a distracted driver that then fled the scene just a couple of weeks ago.

I finally get my car back tomorrow, though- so February is already looking promising!

Most recently, I began closing out this month at my friend Phill’s annual ‘Royal Rumble’ themed party in Salem on Sunday night- which was absolutely hilarious and fun. The snacks our circle of WWE fans come up with are brilliant- bordering on insane- but in the best way possible. I dress up for every event- and given that it was pretty chilly out and wearing spandex shorts was not something I was particularly eager to do given that hypothermia would have been imminent- I donned a rainbow wig and a mask and went as Asuka!

January was also the month I got seriously organized- which has been really beneficial and has definitely de-stressed and de-cluttered my life in such a brief amount of time. I’m taking on so many new and exciting projects in 2019- some of which I’ve already started working on- so staying on top of my game is something I’m hoping to carry over into February and the months that follow.

Speaking of February- even though it’s the shortest month of the year- I have so much planned! This weekend is the Super Bowl (Go Pats!) where I’ll be eating all the wrong kinds of snacks for what will undoubtedly be the biggest “cheat day” of the year. My BFF from San Diego-Now-Chicago will be in town for the Chinese/Lunar New Year, I’m looking to do some more traveling and participate in more photography opportunities in the coming weeks- and I have a few really fun, inspired posts to share, too!

My posting schedule will return to it’s usual Monday, Wednesday and Friday routine next week- but for now I’m going to call it a night, go play some ‘Resident Evil 2’, and get ready for Friday and the weekend!

Enjoy the next few days, everyone! See you all soon!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: January 2019!

Good Morning and Happy Tuesday, everyone!

I know it’s early on in the week- but I hope it’s going well for you all so far! I’ve been working (of course) and enjoying a couple of warmer-than-expected days with friends in the outdoors- but February is just a few days away and it’s time for me to compile the things, products, odds and ends that I absolutely adored and was otherwise obsessed with this past month!

It’s a new year- and I’ve got some new followers- so I’ll just give a quick explanation. At the end of every month- I always, without fail- share two posts. One, which falls on the very last day of the month- is a recap of the previous days/weeks. The highs and lows, miscellaneous adventures and photos that didn’t quite fit in with any of my other scheduled content, etc. That post (which will be up this Thursday!) is my “In a Nutshell” post.

Before that, though- I photograph and do a little write-up of all the things I bought, found, was gifted, discovered, etc. that made the month all the more sensational. That would be this post you’re reading right now- and it’s my “Favorites” of January 2019!

But perhaps just simply showing you all the things I loved this month would be a little easier than trying to explain the process. So, without further delay…

First things, first- 2019 is all about keeping organized- and I turn to this lovely little teal and gold sparkly weekly planner from Orange Circle Studio! I write everything in here- my appointments, due dates for bills, meetings, scheduled blog content, plans with friends/family, and goals for each month.

This planner is the perfect size where it fits right into my purse- which means I can take it with me wherever I go in case anything comes up while I’m on the road- and the bright colors and shimmer stand out if I have it on my desk and need to find it in a flash. It definitely doesn’t get lost in the shuffle!

Speaking of staying organized- now that I’m working with my favorite theater company in the Pioneer Valley- there’s a lot of meetings and lot of information I need to keep track of! Not wanting to carry around a flimsy notepad or cover my space with post-it notes- I treated myself to this faux-leather bound Kate Spade notepad and binder.

The motto on the front, “Let’s Talk Shop”- is a nice touch that *I* think makes me look like I’m all business.

I mean, it does- right?

The lining in my wallet I’ve had for a few years now was finally starting to tear/shred and fray- and I decided that for the new year I’d treat myself to a new one. I am absolutely, head-over-heels in love with this New England Harbors-themed one from Spartina 449. It’s like a cute map of home and reminds me of some of my favorite places here in New England no matter where I travel.

The wallet has a ton of space, too- and it holds all of my cards, money, ID, etc. and then some. It’s definitely a welcomed upgrade!

As a belated-Christmas/early-Birthday present this year, my cousin Paige surprised me with this portrait of Oliver- done by the tremendously talented Tami Draws Stuff. It’s so accurate and so adorable and is presently hanging in my office next to an actual photograph of Oliver.

My co-workers absolutely love it. I linked to Tami’s Etsy shop above, so if you or someone you know has a fur-baby you’d like to get a personalized portrait of- either for yourself or as a gift- definitely check her out! Her work is really impressive and oh so cute!

Another Christmas present that I’ve been using pretty much non-stop lately is this gray/black pom-topped beanie from Crane Clothing Company my sister-in-law had given me. I have a collection of beanies (I do live in New England, after all-) but not too many of them have the poms on them so this is such a fun addition to my assortment and one that matches pretty much everything in my Winter wardrobe.

Also, it’s super comfortable and doesn’t move around when I have it on. There’s nothing worse than a beanie that keeps slipping down over your eyes when you’re trying to get things done!

Finally, to close out this month’s collection of items I was able to snap photos of- I’ve been indulging in some serious LUSH treatment throughout January. Specifically, their chocolate lip scrub (which works amazing and tastes delicious)– and their Oatifix mask/facial cleanser. I really love using this mask every few days- not only because it makes my skin smell like an oatmeal cookie- but because it clears out my pores in my oily areas while simultaneously hydrating and calming my dry areas.

This mask is perfect for combination skin- and even more perfect for combination skin during the Winter! It’s a lifesaver for me!

That’s it for the products- but a couple of other things made my list for January ’19, too!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

‘Surviving R. Kelly’ – The Lifetime Network, notorious for bad biopics and tantalizing thrillers for bored housewives, delivered a knockout punch to disgraced R&B singer R.Kelly earlier this month with their six-part docu-series detailing the singer’s troubled past, his multiple victims, and the people in his camp who enabled and assisted him with his abusing underaged girls and the subsequent cover-ups and payoffs.

The series is gripping, heartbreaking, and at times- difficult to watch- but it’s a story that needed to be told and was long overdue. I really hope that within the fallout from it’s premiere- R.Kelly finally gets put in jail and his victims find closure and peace.

– GAMES/APPS –

‘Resident Evil 2’ – The remake of one of my all-time favorite classic horror video games I’ve been waiting months for dropped last week and I have to say that it’s AWESOME so far. Between the graphics, the gameplay, the jump scares and the story (lightly altered but still pretty true to the original)– this is a huge win for Capcom and for the ‘Resident Evil’ franchise as a whole- which has sort of gone off the rails in recent years.

I can’t wait for the weekend so I can keep playing it without being interrupted by anyone or anything!

And there it is- my Favorites from January of 2019! A decent collection of things, if I do say so myself!

My recap of the month will be up on Thursday (and there’s so much to talk about!) but until then- I’m off to get some work done and make some dinner plans!

If you’d like to drop me a line or leave a comment to tell me some of your favorite things from January- feel free! I’d love to hear about them!

And there’s still some time to enter my BIRTHDAY GIVEAWAY BY CLICKING HERE IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY!

See you all soon!

xx

– Ashley –

New Year, New York…

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

What an absolutely fun, exciting and beautiful past few days I’ve had! Even coming back to my office on Wednesday morning to return to my usual weekday grind has been enjoyable- thanks in part to a new scheduling system I’ve been utilizing to better manage my time/tasks. I have to say that starting my 2019 *not* being inundated with cases and loose ends is a nice change of pace.

Of course, I have to talk about my New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day- which was spent between New York City, Western Massachusetts and finally- home sweet home.

I had wanted a cozy, laid-back New Year’s Eve- particularly since the past few celebrations over recent years have involved expensive, extravagant parties, bar-hopping, and/or spending entirely too much time in bitterly frigid New England cold. To see out 2018 and welcome in 2019- I just wanted to be warm, comfortable, have some decent food and a drink- and be somewhere a little different than Massachusetts so I could have a new experience to start the New Year off on the right foot.

And so, I turned to NYC- and entrusted my evening to the fine folks at the Hotel Indigo on the Lower East Side. I’m a frequent guest at their San Diego/Gaslamp Quarter location whenever I travel to the West Coast- so their incredible service, a spacious room with a view, and kick-ass amenities were not surprising. What was surprising was their lobby (with a wrap-around panoramic view of the city via floor to ceiling windows) being located on the 14th floor as opposed to on the ground level. I was a big fan of that twist.

I settled right in, ordered a fantastic cheeseburger from their Mr. Purple restaurant (and some cheesecake! I had to go big and gluttonous for the last night of the year!), grabbed a drink at a dive bar down the street while dodging the rain as much as possible- and then retreated to my room where I texted/video chatted with friends back home and abroad while we waited for the countdown to midnight via various news outlets. I opted to watch Anderson Cooper take shots of tequila and look like he was ready to throw up- and it was worth every minute. Truly.

After midnight, it didn’t take long for my body to give into the cheeseburger, champagne, and a day of train travel to arrive in New York- and I managed to successfully get a full night of peaceful, uninterrupted sleep. I awoke on New Year’s Day feeling refreshed, energized- and pleasantly optimistic! Even better? Monday night’s rainstorms and freezing cold had disappeared- and Tuesday saw plenty of sun and temperatures that reached the high fifties/low sixties for most of the day!

To kick off 2019, I wanted to honor a family tradition *and* do something different and daring. When I was a kid, my mother thought lighting a candle and saying a prayer to whatever higher power we believed in to wish our loved ones a blessed new year and express hope for our own happiness/prosperity for the months ahead. After grabbing breakfast- I had navigated my way to Rockefeller Center- and popped by St. Patrick’s Cathedral across the street to honor my mom’s tradition (I called her to let her know afterwards- and she was delighted!) and take in the beautiful architecture.

The city was still very much decked out for Christmas during my brief stay- and it was such a thrill to have a chance to catch a glimpse of some of the over-the-top decor before it gets taken down again. Below are a couple of photos I snapped with my phone. You can click them to enlarge ’em and see!

And, for my “different and daring” to-do for the day- I opted to face my fear of heights and ride an elevator 70 stories up Rockefeller Center to take in the views of New York from atop of the world at the ‘Top of The Rock’ Observation Deck. While the wind made things a little intimidating at first and it took a few minutes for my heart to stop racing- it was such an exhilarating and memorable experience.

The sun made catching photos of the Empire State Building (and snapping the perfect selfie) a little difficult- but I managed to get a few pics I was content with- and would definitely go back and do it again if given the opportunity.

After coming back down to Earth- and knowing I had plans with my friend Troy later on in the evening out in Northampton, Massachusetts- I managed to catch an early afternoon train home before the crowds and traffic got too bad with everyone trying to get out of the city all at once.

Once I was back in my home state a couple of hours later, I closed out New Year’s Day with a cozy night in watching movies and snacking on whatever was in Troy’s kitchen before I headed back to my own place to get another good night’s sleep and prepare for my return to work on Wednesday morning.

And now, only a couple of days later during this short work-week- and I’m ready for the weekend! I have a few things planned- including some local travel/hiking and a recipe post to put together for next week- but before I start all of that- I’m heading over to Allston today to catch a set by The Sheila Divine at Great Scott for Indie617!

If you’re in the area, come say hello! It’s going to be a lot of fun and a great way to kick off live music in Boston for 2019.

I’m off to get some work done before I take off for the rest of the day. I’ll be back on Monday, when my posting schedule returns to normal now that the holidays are done!

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –