OOTD: Breakin’ Hearts…

OOTD: Breakin’ Hearts…

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

I hope those of you who celebrated Valentine’s Day had a good and delightfully cheesy one yesterday- and those of you who are celebrating Pal-entine’s Day today score some awesome marked down candy and cards so you can share them with your pals at your next get-together (as is tradition!)

I worked my half day at the office yesterday- and while my sorta’, kinda’ Val/Pal-entine is presently out of state for work- I got a series of cards, texts, and little presents from friends, family and co-workers throughout the day that definitely kept me amused and feeling the love.

I dressed festive yesterday, too- without going *too* over-the-top ala wearing Cupid wings or an excessive amount of red and pink. I kept it simple via ModCloth (who are one of my all-time favorites) with this black and white striped short-sleeve sweater- which features bright red “Heart Breaker” lettering across the front.

Cute, a little funny and easy to match with pretty much anything- I wore this sweater with some simple black skinny jeans, black faux-leather combat boots and a black faux-leather jacket to give it an edgier vibe. With my signature red lip- a must in the Winter- and some red/pink glittery polish- I was ready to take on anything the day of love and romance had waiting for me.

What I love about this sweater, apart from how comfortable and flattering it is to my figure- is that I can wear it outside the realm of Valentine’s Day, too. Why I wouldn’t necessarily or actually consider myself a heart breaker- this would still be fun to wear in the Summer with a pair of denim shorts or with a black pencil skirt and some red heels/Mary Janes for a casual dinner with my friends or the fella(s?)

It’s definitely a new favorite in my closet, for sure!

This weekend I’m going to be heading out of town to support a friend’s band who haven’t been around the block in a while- and then try to swing down to lovely Newport, Rhode Island for a little day-cation getaway by the ocean before it’s back to work again first thing on Monday morning.

I’ll have some photos of my travels to share along the way, of course- but I also plan on giving you all another peek into my closet with some more Winter Wear- and a look at the makeup that has been saving my complexion this frigid, arctic time of year where I live!

Until then – here’s wishing you all a warm, safe, and most importantly- FUN– weekend ahead!

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 –

OOTD: Pencil Skirts and Stripes…

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

It’s hard to get back to work this early in the morning- especially when most of my weekend was spent working on other projects, too- because I don’t really feel particularly rested or recharged from my “days off”. Although I’m so excited and so grateful to be productive and in demand for so many different things right now- I have to admit it’s going to feel very nice to come home after work tonight, put on some sweatpants, wrap myself up in blankets and just do absolutely nothing for a few hours!

I digress- this past weekend saw me sneak a *little* time away (35 minutes, to be exact!) to take a brisk stroll in Thompson, Connecticut’s historical district- where I struck a pose outside one of my favorite abandoned buildings in the area. This dilapidated mansion, left to essentially rot by the owner/architect who purchased it to fix up years and years ago- and then gave up shortly thereafter- is one of my dream projects. I’d love to build it back up and restore it to it’s former glory if ever given the opportunity. It’s breathtaking- even in it’s current state.

Since I was in “work mode” while out and about- I was sporting one of my favorite olive green, horizontal striped pencil skirts with a black, long-sleeved thermal top, black tights- and a black, bell-sleeved sweater/cape since it’s been ridiculously chilly as of late.

I know my Winter wardrobe consists almost entirely of black, grays and dark browns- and it has for years- but I’ve been trying to incorporate more colors into the mix without going overboard (I know neon is really in right now- but I need some time to prepare myself before I just jump right into something like that!) 

This green, while definitely on the safer, neutral/Earth tone side- still breaks up the dreariness of my otherwise all-black ensemble and makes me look less like I’m going to a funeral and more like I’m going to a meeting on a painfully frigid day.

Also, this cape/cardigan combo is another piece from my closet I love to wear as often as possible this time of year. The buttons are so big and over-the-top- and it’s so unbelievably cozy!

Over the next couple of days, I’ll be sharing some of my upcoming projects (more in-depth, of course-) as well as a really delicious potato recipe before the end of the week reaches us and I prepare to launch into my birthday celebration(s) next week- so be sure to check back for all the tasty goodness!

Until then, here’s wishing you all a wonderful start to your week! I hope it’s an easy and painless one for you!

xx

– Ashley –

OOTD: Let’s Talk Shop…

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

What a busy week it’s been- and while Friday nights are typically the perfect time to unwind with a bubble bath, a glass of wine and some serious binge-watching on Netflix- my schedule rages on through this weekend!

Tonight after I leave my office, I’ll be throwing on a pair of comfortable shoes and heading over to Down The Road Beer Co. in Everett to catch a set by Salem Wolves (who are unveiling their very own IPA they’ve created with Down The Road!) and Radio Compass as part of indie617’s newest venture- indieBrews! I love good bands and beer- so this is one collaboration I’m particularly excited for.

And then tomorrow, it’s off to Northampton to get started on my work with the lovely folks at Paintbox Theatre before I meet up with friends for dinner and drinks.

With all the traveling and commitments- I don’t have much time to change my wardrobe and usually have to wear something that is both comfortable and chic as I maneuver my way between work, meetings, parties, and events throughout the day/night- all while making sure I stay warm since it’s very, very cold where I live right now.

My current go-to ensemble with busy days like the ones I’ve been having lately are lightweight cotton dresses paired with heavier cardigans or chunky sweaters, thermal tights/leggings, and either ankle boots or modest heels to give me a little more height and accentuate my legs.

When I’m sporting a cardigan over a dress, I tend to only button the very top one so that the sweater doesn’t make me look “boxy” or sloppy. By leaving one button fastened, the sweater frames my body like a cape and doesn’t stifle my shape. It’s very flattering- and keeps me warm!

And, side note- but how lovely is this wool cardigan? I’ve had it for a few years now- and the design is inspired by some of the older Chanel cardigans of the same colors/cuts. It’s very cozy- and matches nearly everything in my Winter wardrobe!

Finally, there’s two things- apart from my keys, wallet and phone- that I never leave home without during these frigid New England months when my schedule is packed- and those things are a heavy beanie hat and my trusted Kate Spade notebook holder so that I can keep all of my paperwork, notes, ideas, etc. in one easy, convenient and cute carrying case.

And as for the hat? I think the little poof ball at the top really ties the whole thing together- don’t you?

All in all, this outfit makes me feel cute, confident and toasty warm- and is easy to wear to my office, post-work events, or to my plans with friends/family out on the town since it’s not *too* dressy but still looks sophisticated enough to command a little respect and attention!

But for now, I’ve got to get some work done before I head out and get started on my very busy weekend. You can follow MY INSTAGRAM for updates from the road as I go!

Here’s hoping you all have a wonderful couple of days ahead- and I’ll be back on Monday!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: December 2018!

Good Morning and Happy “Hump Day”, everyone!

I hope that you all had a wonderful and stress-free holiday! Even though I’m presently back at work for the remainder of this week (yuck…) and still recovering from a Christmas feast-induced food coma- I can’t complain. I had a wonderful few days off that I spent with a lot of my family around New England. It was a long weekend filled with great conversation, incredible meals, thoughtful and generous gifts- and even a little bit of snow on Christmas Eve!

And now, with there being just a handful of days left in 2018- my attention is shifting to wrapping up this year’s reflective posts here on ‘Blondie Birdie’ and preparing for New Year’s Eve and my plans for 2019. It’s going to be a very busy- but very exciting- few days ahead!

Kicking things off in my “Summary of 2018” series- I thought I’d share some of my favorite things from December- ranging from products, belongings/mementos, TV specials- so on and so forth. By now, those of you who follow my blog should know that the photograph-able things will b featured first, followed by the miscellaneous odds and ends.

Let’s get right down to it!

This Prada bag- while not new by any means- was a treasured gift my father had given me before his death following a business trip he’d made to Las Vegas circa 2009/2010. Wanting me to step up my handbag game while simultaneously spoiling me-the bag (which still has it’s authenticity certificate stored within a pocket on the inside) was a total splurge.

However, the bag was lost during a renovation/move after my dad’s passing- and I thought for sure it would never be seen again. Needless to say, I was devastated.

So imagine my surprise when the bag was not only recovered- but returned to me- in mint condition earlier this month. I was so happy that I cried- and it hasn’t left my sight ever since. Isn’t it gorgeous? This is going to be my default Winter handbag for sure!

In the colder months, I’m going a bit darker and “smokier” with my hair color- adding touches of silver and deep ashy browns into my highlights and low-lights. I anticipate I’ll be a much brighter blonde in the Spring and Summer- but for now I’m really enjoying the sort of dark and mysterious vibe my current hair color gives me. It matches my mood and my wardrobe pretty perfectly when it’s cold out.

Of course, maintaining the “smoky” effect requires some work on my part in-between salon visits- so once a week I turn to this conditioner/toner from Kevin Murphy to keep my color looking fresh.

After washing my hair, and gently towel drying to soak up any excess water- I apply this clean-smelling conditioner from root to tip- and then put a shower cap on and let it sit for about 20-30 minutes while I use a face mask, or brush my teeth, or read a magazine. Then I rinse it out and style my curls as usual- and I’m good to go with vibrant, refreshed hair with sealed in color!

To go with my current ash hair color- I’ve also updated my makeup for the Winter season- turning to rich reds and deep berry tones on my lids and lips. I’ve recently fallen in love with the independent and cruelty-free beauty brand Beauty Bakerie– in particular their gel liners and Lip Whips- which are long-lasting, non-drying, and super pigmented while maintaining a reasonable price point.

This matte lip color (called ‘Raspberry Tiramisú’) and soft gel eyeliner (called ‘Belgian Biscotti Gelato’) are both bold purple/red shades that make my otherwise subtle and neutral outfits and makeup choices pop ferociously. I wear the color(s) out with friends, at dinner with my family- and when I’m feeling particularly brave- to work. And the best part is I get nothing but compliments on them!

If you’re curious what the lipstick looks like, by the way- I posted a picture HERE ON INSTAGRAM earlier this month!

And finally, the holidays means my car and my home consistently smell like Christmas cookies- even if I’m not baking or transporting baked goods. I carry this small, aerosol fragrance from Yankee Candle in my bag at all times to freshen up any space to make it smell like sugar cookies for at least a couple of hours.

Just a heads up- I’ve tried the Christmas tree/pine one in the past- and it is POTENT. It’s so strong. This one, while still powerful- is far less aggressive and won’t cause any sneezing or watery eyes the way the pine one did!

And now, with all the photogenic things out of the way- it’s time to talk about a few other things that made the final ‘Favorites’ list for this year!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

The ‘Schitt’s Creek’ Holiday Special – I’ve been a huge fan of Canadian comedy ‘Schitt’s Creek’ since it’s debut a few years ago, but this month saw their first holiday special take place- and my God, was it a masterpiece. The show is such a perfect combination of comedy gold and heartwarming moments- and if that isn’t enough for you to want to tune in- Catherine O’Hara is a GODDESS in it.

The past seasons are presently on Netflix- and I urge everyone to catch up ASAP before the new one starts in January!

And as far as the holiday special? It’s going to be a new tradition to watch in my family every Christmas season.

– MISCELLANEOUS –

Paintbox Theatre – Paintbox has made my “Favorites” list in the past, specifically during their Summer program- but they’re on here again following my recent visit to their annual Holiday Show. I cannot say enough good things about this company- who encourage compassion, literacy, inclusiveness and curiosity among children in the Pioneer Valley. I’m excited to be working with them directly in 2019 since they are comprised entirely of dear friends and lovely human beings. It’s going to be a blast.

The Festive, Fighting Family Yule Log – When I have family over for the holidays, I typically throw on a generic Yule Log video on TV (and usually one that includes some classic Christmas music) to have some background noise and visuals going on during dinner, gift exchanges or conversations- until a friend linked me to THIS ONE a little earlier this month. The 30 minute video features the crackling yule log and music, of course- but peppered in between songs are pre-scripted but VERY realistic familial arguments performed by voice actors.

For those of you who might be away from home during the holidays and miss observing any family dysfunction- you’ll love it.

I think that’s it for my December Favorites, everyone! It was a laid-back month with a few surprises and a couple of new finds I’ve been loving and using regularly leading up to and through Christmas.

But for now, I’ve got to get caught up on any e-mails or voicemails I received over the holiday break, and try to get a handle on my caseload for the remainder of this short work week. If you have any favorites from this past month you’d like to share- feel free to drop me a line!

Have a great Wednesday, everyone! I’ll be back on Friday!

xx

– Ashley –