November 2018: In a Nutshell

Good Morning, Happy Friday- and Hello (Almost) December, everyone!

Christmas and New Year’s Eve are practically here- and there’s still so much to be done before we deck the halls and prepare to ring in 2019! Yes, it’s officially the busiest and one of the most beautiful times of year again- and I’m both excited and anxious (mostly excited, though!) It feels like I can’t sit still!

Before I tumble into December with my Christmas decorations, various gingerbread recipes and gift shopping lists in tow- I wanted to take a look back on November and all the late-Autumn fun that came with it. In a year filled with months that seemed to come and go in the blink of an eye- November actually felt much longer than usual- which had it’s ups and downs, of course.

November started off with a celebratory bang- with one of my dearest long-time friends getting married in a beautiful ceremony (with an equally gorgeous reception) a few days after the month had kicked off. This was followed-up by a different kind of celebration as one of my other friends celebrated their 35th birthday and then yet another friend announced her engagement! It was a solid 72 hours filled with laughter, ecstatic squealing- and cake…

… So much cake, you guys.

With Daylight Savings Time and the first significant snowfall of the season taking place this month and pretty much sending the message that Winter was well on it’s way- November became less about pumpkin spice and crunchy leaves and more about hot chocolate and bundling up. By the end of last week- temperatures had dropped significantly enough to where I needed a hat, a scarf, and an ice scraper for my windshield.

Only in New England, I suppose- but I love living here- and have to take the bad with the good.

Of course, as November began to wind down- it was all about the food. Multiple Friendsgivings and the actual Thanksgiving meal itself left me stuffed and overly lazy these past few days- but the quality time spent with family and friends was worth having to practically crawl to my couch by the time dessert was done.

Admittedly, November had it’s not-so-great parts, too. With the holiday(s) came stress, and with the decreased sunlight came that first wave of Vitamin D deficiency (and seasonal depression.) Late last week and then earlier this week I had a bit of a falling out with a guy friend of mine I’d been spending a lot of time with for most of the year and leading up to now. He’s overwhelmed. I’m overworked and exhausted- and now our future heading into December is a bit uncertain.

It’s not a great feeling, especially with things like Christmas approaching- but I’m trying to stay busy and optimistic. Whatever is meant to happen will happen on it’s own and in due time. The silver lining is that the experience gave me some much-needed perspective and now, as I prepare to draft my resolutions for the New Year- I’ll have some tangible goals to put into motion.

All that being said, what do I have planned for December? A *ton* of holiday stuff, obviously! That includes recipes, festive OOTDs, plenty of parties, travel to some of New England’s most beautiful and picturesque Christmas-y locations and attractions- a few retrospectives and recaps on the more memorable moments of 2018- and a lot of shopping and preparations!

I’m determined to make December one of the most fun months ever- and to see 2018 off properly! And I’ll be blogging as I do it, of course.

But for now- it’s time to get to work before I head off for the weekend!

Enjoy your Friday and the coming days ahead, everyone! See you all again on Monday!

xx

– Ashley –

Fall Foodie: Slow Cooker Glazed Carrots

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

It’s a short work-week for me, with Wednesday being a half day, Thursday being Thanksgiving- and then my office remaining closed on Friday so we can all recover from our food comas (thank God)– so today and tomorrow are pretty packed with pre-holiday/long weekend paperwork and preparations.

In the spirit of alleviating any last minute stress and hopefully assisting some of you with a quick, “set it and forget it” recipe- I wanted to share an incredibly easy, packed with flavor vegetable side dish you can make in your crock pot while you tend to other, more important matters on Wednesday night or Thursday morning (like watching the parade- which I’m determined to wake up in time for this year!)

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 2 lbs. carrots peeled and sliced into ½ inch pieces
  • ¼ cup butter melted
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Place the carrots in a slow cooker. In a small bowl, whisk together the butter, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  2. Pour the brown sugar mixture over the carrots and toss to coat.
  3. Cook on HIGH for 3 hours or until carrots are tender. If you’d like to thicken the glaze, remove the cover and cook on HIGH for an additional 15 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

So simple, right? And believe me when I say this ridiculously easy recipe is delicious. It’s the perfect combination of sweet, salty- and the tender texture of the carrot slices is savory- not sloppy. If you’re feeling extra creative (and no nut allergies permitting)– you can even add some sliced almonds to the mix for an extra bit of crunch. I’ve done it before- and it’s awesome!

But I’m off to try and stay ahead of my caseloads today and get another cup of coffee. Here’s wishing you all a wonderful start to your week!

xx

– Ashley –

Pre-Thanksgiving Prep!

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

I managed to dig myself out of last night’s first snowfall of the season (and it arrived with a vengeance!) and get to my office this morning- but whether or not I’m motivated enough to actually get anything done is still questionable. All that shoveling made me tired!

So, the weekend before Thanksgiving is undoubtedly a crazy one. Everyone starts heading home for the holiday, there’s the final grocery shopping trip to get done before it’s time to have the actual dinner, insane amounts of cleaning and decorating to do, and- in my case, at least- the Friendsgivings around the city (and this year, around the state, as well!)

This coming weekend is no exception, and tomorrow morning will be filled with a lot of cooking and baking before I head off to one of my friend’s first attempts at Friendsgiving at his new apartment in Somerville later on in the evening. I’m excited- and I’m sure I’ll be posting a lot of pictures up on my Instagram.

And on Sunday? It’s the same thing- except Friendsgiving 2.0 will be taking place out in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, instead!

Next week on the blog I’ve got my usual weekend re-cap on deck, as well as another holiday-inspired recipe to share before the big feast with my family for anyone looking for something last minute, quick and easy to prepare for their guests.

But before I buckle down for my everyday duties at work and get ready to launch into the weekend- I thought I’d share some links from posts of Autumn days past to help those looking for some inspiration or ideas!

IF YOU NEED SOME AUTUMN/THANKSGIVING-INSPIRED RECIPES

IF YOU NEED A SWEET LITTLE FALL PLAYLIST FOR THE PRE-DINNER RECEPTION

IF YOU’RE ABLE TO GIVE TO THOSE IN NEED

Here’s wishing you all a safe and stress-free weekend. As stress-free as it can be, anyway!

See you all on Monday!

xx

– Ashley –

OOTD: Late Fall Florals

Good Morning and Happy “Hump Day”, everyone!

With the weekend just a couple of days away- and snow allegedly on the horizon ’round my neck of the woods within the next 24 hours (noooo!) I’ve been trying to get as much pre-holiday prep done as possible so no amount of snow or freezing rain delays my schedule.

I’m presently in the process of planning both my Friendsgiving(s) and Thanksgiving wardrobes- which has also been a bit of an adventure in itself. While Thanksgiving will undoubtedly consist of an oversized, chunky sweater and pants with any variation of an elastic waist- I have to dress it up just a little for Friendsgiving- where my friends will be snapping plenty of photos of the food, decor, and our circle of deviants. I want to look good when those tagged photos hit social media!

For this coming weekend, I’ll be sporting this high-collared, bell-sleeved burnt orange and floral-printed dress to stay comfortable and chic while I serve my friends sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie!

I picked up this number at Primark a few weeks ago while shopping for some new fleece and velvet-lined leggings. The beautiful colors and simple design just screamed “Autumn!” to me when I first saw it- and once I tried it on- I knew I had to have it. I intend to pair it with either brown or black leggings and my brown, knee-high faux-leather boots (as shown above.) A girl still has to stay comfortable while she’s going for seconds on the green bean casserole, right?

My favorite part of this dress, however- has got to be the sleeves. They’re cute and feminine and give the dress a bit of character. I wish more of my dresses and tops had sleeves like these!

Pretty soon my wardrobe is going to be a lot more beanies and thermal-wear- so I’m hoping to get a little more use out of this dress before Winter officially kicks in the door and makes all of us miserable for the next 3-4 months (possibly longer- since this is New England!)

But for now, I’m off to work for a few hours before I head out to grab dinner and catch a movie with a handsome fella’ I kinda’ like.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Wednesday! Here’s to powering through to Friday!

xx

– Ashley –

My Fall Makeup Routine!

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you’re all as excited as I am for another weekend!

This past week has been a good one- filled with work and nights out (although with Daylight Savings Time, most of my late afternoons are essentially nights, now…) I’ve spent a couple of evenings in Western Massachusetts, re-visiting the truly awful Colonial days of non-stop farming and dying in your early twenties of dysentery in Old Sturbridge Village with friends- and bundling up with my pup Oliver while he recovers from his recent back injury.

Before I pack up at work tonight, head to dinner with my family- and prepare for another weekend out and about around New England- I thought I’d share what has become my Fall makeup routine since mid-September when the temperatures started to drop, the leaves started to change color- and my wardrobe became less about sundresses and more about chunky sweaters and scarves.

Some of you may remember my SUMMER MAKEUP ROUTINE– and although I still use some of those products (like the setting powder and highlighter, for example)– I’ve had to make a few updates and additions to keep up with the changing New England weather and climate.

Here’s what I do after my skin care routine (and some hydrating primer!):

Fenty Beauty PRO FILT’R Foundation: Although I loved my Summer BB cream more than anything, I need a little more coverage in the colder months- when my skin tends to get a bit dryer and I need something a slightly more heavy duty to protect my face from the more harsh elements as we transition into Winter where I live.

By now everyone knows that Fenty Beauty makeup is groundbreaking- both in it’s quality and just how expansive it’s shade selection is. This foundation, a medium-to-full-coverage with a matte finish- matches my skin perfectly and gives me an even, shine-free canvas to work with. It’s long-lasting (we’re talking all day and through the night wear) and oil-free- so it doesn’t clog my pores or leave me with weird bumps and blemishes by the time I’m washing it off. This is a *must* have in the Fall/Winter!

[ MORE INFO HERE ]

Urban Decay’s NAKED HEAT Palette: In the Summer, my eye makeup consisted mostly of nude and gold tones with an occasional swipe of ocean blue eyeliner if I was heading anywhere special. Of course, with Fall being the kickoff period of many indoor events and the impending holidays- I have to step up my makeup game and make my eyes pop more frequently.

Urban Decay’s NAKED HEAT palette was/is typically advertised more in the Summertime- since it’s red and orange-based pigments were supposed to be reminiscent of days spent in the desert, but I find the shades in this palette pair really well with all the browns, marigolds, burnt oranges and hunter greens I have in my wardrobe this time of year. If anything, my eyes seem to mirror the changing foliage around New England.

[ MORE INFO HERE ]

MILK Makeup’s KUSH High Volume Mascara: This cannabis oil-infused mascara was also included in my Summer makeup routine this year, but I love it so much I grabbed another tube for the Fall/Early Winter.

It’s not often I can find a lengthening, thickening, volumizing mascara that doesn’t clump up on my lashes, or worse- make them look/feel dry and flaky- but this stuff works miracles. It really makes my lashes look lovely, but it also softens and conditions them, too! Most of my recent selfies throughout the past few months has me wearing this mascara (and, depending on the occasion- more than one coat of it) and I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. This is *definitely* one of my favorites.

[ MORE INFO HERE ]

NYX Cosmetics Lingerie: These long-lasting, matte-finish liquid lipsticks had made my Favorites list back in September- and for a good reason- they’re perfect for the Fall and look great regardless of what I’m wearing. The two shades, a blush tone and a light brown- go on smooth, dry quickly, but don’t crease or make my lips look caked or parched (although I still throw some balm on over the lipstick once it’d dried- just in case!)

I wear these pretty much all day, every day- and I feel like these are going to get me through the holidays before it’s time to once again upgrade my routine for the Winter!

[ MORE INFO HERE ]

And I think that’s it for my Fall makeup routine- short and simple and loaded with neutrals, deep reds, browns and oranges!

I’m off to get some work done for the day before I officially get my Friday started- but as always- I’d love to hear about your favorite Autumn makeup and products if you’d like to share what you’ve been using/loving/obsessing over! Feel free to leave a comment or drop me a line on my CONTACT page!

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful rest of your day and a lovely weekend ahead! See you again on Monday morning!

xx

– Ashley –