Favorites: November 2017!

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone! Is it the weekend yet? It’s been so unbelievably busy at work these past couple of days that I’m really just looking forward to a lazy Saturday afternoon where I can stay in my pajamas, sip come cocoa, listen to some Christmas music and get a bit of my holiday shopping done online without having to leave the comfort of my bed.

I figure I just have to tough it out through Friday and then I’m free to be as unapologetically unproductive as I want- and with December just a couple of days away- I thought now was a good time to share some of the things I really loved this past month before I get too sidetracked in my office (or fall asleep under my desk!)

My overall reflection of this November will be up tomorrow morning- but here are the products, entertainment, and odds & ends that made this month even better!

Although I didn’t participate in the 12:01 a.m. “Doorbuster” Black Friday pandemonium- that doesn’t mean I didn’t go out later on in the afternoon to pick up a couple of things. While most of my shopping was for my loved ones- I also squeezed in just a tiny splurge for myself, too- specifically by stocking up on huge bottles of my favorite shampoo and conditioning treatment by Loma Hair Care at my usual salon.

Ever since I went blonde, I’ve had to take extra special care of my curls to make sure they stay hydrated and strong. This is the stuff my stylist uses on me when I pop by for treatments and touch-ups- and it works wonderfully! My hair is always silky smooth and shiny after every use.

Best of all? It smells amazing!

Speaking of smelling amazing: I always try to set the seasonal mood with candles around my place- switching things up every few months- but this cocoa-scented one from Bath & Body Works might be the most delicious, mouthwatering and festive one I’ve found yet!

I bought multiple jars of this hot chocolate and whipped cream candle because it smells like the real deal and I think these would make incredible gifts- but I even feel warmer having it burning near me. It’s that convincing!

Fenty Beauty makes another appearance on one of my monthly Favorites lists- this time with two products! The first is the universally flattering, long-lasting and moisturizing ‘Gloss Bomb’ Lip Gloss- which makes my lips look plumper and smoother while giving me some much-needed, subtle color.

The second is the lightest shade of the ‘Pro Filt’r’ Matte Foundation- which matches my skin tone PERFECTLY. There’s no weird, orange tint after it dries or uneven coverage. This stuff blends in flawlessly and stays in place all day until it’s time for me to wash it off at the end of the night. I’ve never felt so confident and comfortable wearing a moderate-to-full coverage foundation before- but I swear by this.

I bow down to Rihanna for these! Thank you, Queen!

And lastly for the photogenic items/products- one of my guilty snacking pleasures this past month came courtesy of Trader Joe’s (so I really shouldn’t feel guilty about enjoying these as much as I do!) These chocolate-covered marshmallows are so, so good- and I’m embarrassed to admit how many boxes I’ve gone through- especially during the holidays when they seemed to just appear in my kitchen over and over!

If anyone is looking for a Christmas present for me and is thinking buying these in bulk sounds like a good idea- I won’t complain!

Moving onto some of the other things I loved this month that I couldn’t quite snap photos of so easily…

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

“The Punisher” – When Netflix announced they were going to not only increase my monthly billing fee, but were also pulling the plug on streaming a ton of shows I enjoy within the coming months- I opted to cancel my subscription having binge-watched the latest episodes of some of their original series, first. I figure when it’s time to catch up on a new season of ‘Stranger Things’- I’ll re-join for a month or so. Until then, there’s no sense in continuing to pay for something I’ll rarely use.

But first, I wanted to take in Jon Bernthal’s version of Frank Castle in the new season of ‘The Punisher’- and I’m glad I did- because it’s an incredible combination of drama, action and suspense. Bernthal is so unbelievably talented- and I’m glad he was chosen for the role following what felt like his far-too-premature departure from ‘The Walking Dead’.

– GAMES/APPS –

“The Hallmark Christmas Movie Drinking Game” – Have you all seen THIS? It’s been making the rounds in my office over the past couple of days and it’s pretty brilliant. I have a feeling my girlfriends and I are going to be attempting this when we have our weekly dinner/movie night.

If you read about me dying from alcohol poisoning anytime soon- you’ll know I died doing what I loved- watching bad movies.

Alright everyone- I think that’s it for my November Favorites. There’s a few things that I thought about putting on this month’s assortment of items- but I have a feeling they’ll carry over into December.

Enjoy the rest of your day!

xx

– Ashley –

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POPSUGAR Must Have Box Review: November 2017

Good Evening, everyone! I hope you all made it through your Mondays unscathed. It feels a bit odd to be updating my blog at night as opposed to first thing in the morning, but I experienced a bit of technical difficulty this past weekend when my laptop- the one I’ve had and have been using since I started college (I’m a firm believer in “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”)– finally died out on me for good.

After my initial freak-out, followed by a proper burial and a stunning rendition of “Taps” on trumpet (just kidding- I just packaged it up to have it taken apart by the manufacturer)– I had to make the switch over to my trusty little tablet for all my e-mail and blogging purposes. Of course, transferring all of my stuff took a little bit of time- hence this semi-late night post!

To start off this week of scheduled posts, I wanted to share what I received in this month’s POPSUGAR “Must Have” Box- which arrived at my doorstep late last week and prior to the aforementioned laptop implosion. It was another good one, which should come as a surprise to no one who has been actively reading my reviews of the service.

But let’s take a look inside!

This month’s theme/inspirations go hand-in-hand with the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday: SWEET, GATHER, GRATEFUL, FAMILY and HOST. I only knew one spoiler for this month’s box thanks to POPSUGAR’s e-mail list- so I’ll go ahead and share that, first!

I don’t typically get invested in celebrity couples and never understood the media’s obsession with them- but I fully admit I thought Anna Faris and Chris Pratt were adorable- if only because they’re both so incredibly likable individually, as well. I was thrilled when I found out I’d be receiving a hardcover copy of Anna’s new book, “Unqualified”, where she offers up relationship advice based on her own awkward encounters and hilarious history over the years.

The foreword, penned by Pratt- is sweet and equally funny in it’s own way. I’m really looking forward to sitting down with this during the coming weekend to read it cover to cover!

One of my favorite items in this month’s “Must Have” box is this simple, chic and sturdy rose gold metal headband by Chloe + Isabel (in partnership with celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin). Forgive how messy my hair looks in the above-photo. I’d been out in that oh-so-wonderful Massachusetts rain/fog right before I’d taken it- but the headband still looks lovely, doesn’t it? It’s very comfortable and classes up even the messiest of ponytails!

I love, love LOVE Tarte products- so receiving their ‘PRO Glow To Go Highlight Contour Palette’ was like having Christmas come early this year! I’m a big fan of natural, subtle shimmer lately- and the shades in this palette are so pretty and complimentary against my skin tone. They’re easy to blend and create both bold and everyday looks with ease.

But wait- there’s more!

Time for a snack break! It’s that time of year when peppermint reigns supreme- so I’m really looking forward to munching on these dark chocolate and peppermint covered pretzel rods from Fatty Sundays at work this week when I take a much-needed break in the afternoons. I’m already confident they taste amazing- but it needs to be mentioned that they also look so pretty, too! Talk about Instagram-worthy.

Anytime I get gift wrap around the holidays is a time when I’m thankful indeed- especially when it’s a unique and interesting print that sets my presents for my friends and loved ones apart. Case in point- this newspaper gift wrap (where the pattern sort of reminds me of a rock climbing wall for some reason!) from Knot & Bow which I’ll be using for some of my upcoming Christmas shopping now that I’m getting more and more into the holiday spirit!

Finally, one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen in a POPSUGAR “Must Have” Box (and are sure to be a hit at Thanksgiving!) are these chalkboard style paper placemat setting pieces from Hester & Cook– with the appropriate pencils to allow for freestyle doodling. My niece- who often sets the table at my family’s get togethers- is going to LOVE these. Designing the seating for some of the guests at Thanksgiving this year is going to be a dream come true for her considering how artistic she is.

I’m so excited to see the look on her face when she realizes what these are!

Now, I never really have problems with POPSUGAR because they almost always hit it out of the park with their “Must Have” boxes, but unfortunately- there was one hiccup with November’s assortment of items- and that was that something was missing. Apparently, I was supposed to receive a $25 voucher to BloomThat– but it was nowhere to be found- even after I turned the box upside down looking for it.

The voucher must have slipped through the cracks. It’s not the end of the world, of course- but it is a little disappointing since it would have been useful to pick up a lovely bouquet to set at my mother’s table for Thanksgiving.

Oh well.

Apart from that teeny, tiny setback- I loved November’s “Must Have” Box. It was fun, festive, and full of lovely surprises. Next month will be the annual Christmas box- and I can’t wait!

Enjoy the rest of your night, everyone! My posting schedule will be back to normal on Wednesday morning!

xx

– Ashley-

Favorites: September 2017!

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! This past week has been so insanely busy that I just can’t wait until 4:30 p.m. when I can leave my office for the day, head over to my mom’s house with my older brothers, sisters-in-law, and my niece to have our big bi-weekly family meal together- and get ready for a nice, relaxing weekend- which will include a few laid-back Autumn activities, of course!

Although my look back on the overall month of September will be up tomorrow morning (my “In a Nutshell” posts always get published on the last day of each month!)– I wanted to share some of my favorite products, entertainment, and miscellaneous odds and ends that I really enjoyed these past few weeks. Yes, there are a few pumpkin-related things on the list- this is me we’re talking about, after all- but there’s some other good stuff, too!

First up- here are some of the products/items/splurges that made September even more fun for me!

It should come as no surprise- since it’s been all over Blondie Birdie and my social media accounts since I purchased it near the beginning of this month- that my brown faux-leather, cross-body saddlebag from Old Navy has quickly become one of my favorite Fall accessories. I carry it with me everywhere, it matches pretty much everything in my wardrobe this season (I wear a lot of browns, reds and golds this time of year!)– and it holds the essentials. Also- it has a pretty cute tassel on it that gives it a little bit of character and is nearly identical to ones on a pair of moccasins I’ve been sporting lately.

As a lover of both Bath & Body Works AND enjoying a glass of wine in my bathtub from time to time- I was really excited that the brand recently announced that they were getting in on the bath bomb craze that Lush has pretty much had in the bag for years. That’s not to say I don’t love Lush and their products (they’re one of my favorites!) but B&BW’s “Bath Fizzies” are a little less expensive than Bath Bombs but are just as great. I’ve been loving their Pumpkin Cupcake-scented one lately (and you bet I buy these things in bulk!) because not only does it make my skin and hair smell like a pumpkin spice and vanilla cake- but it moisturizes and conditions, too.

Plus, they’re just so much fun to throw in the tub and watch it change the water different colors!

Keeping up with great products from Bath & Body Works- how incredible are their candles? Although they don’t last as long as, say- Yankee Candle products- they always smell AMAZING and can fill an entire room with the most unique (and sometimes mouthwatering) fragrances. “Leaves” is one of my favorites this time of year- because it’s just a fantastic combination of apple, cinnamon, spices and clove. If you could bottle all of the best things about Fall in one jar- “Leaves” would be it. I always pick up more than one when I go shopping to keep in my kitchen, my bathroom, my bedroom, etc.

When Rihanna first began teasing the launch of her new makeup line- Fenty– earlier this month- I wasn’t sure what to expect. There have been some celebrity-backed brands in the past that have left myself and plenty of other people disappointed (I still don’t get the obsession with the Kylie Jenner stuff, honestly- but maybe that’s just me!)– but the first reviews were overwhelmingly positive and it looked like Rihanna had approved an impressively wide range of shades and colors for a multitude of different skin tones and complexions. I caved and picked up a couple of things- and I’m so glad I did because I have been loving the results!

This “GIRL NEXT DOOR/CHIC PHREAK” Killawatt highlighter is giving me life right now- and makes me glow and sparkle even on the days when I’m exhausted. I wear it on my lids, my cheeks, and as a contour to freshen my face up for work and after-hours. Best of all? It’s reasonably priced. No more buyer’s remorse for overpriced products that don’t work!

Finally- has there ever been a shirt that sums me up so well? This soft cotton jersey-esque top was an impulse buy a couple of weeks ago and has been giving me, my friends and co-workers a good laugh whenever I wear it out and about. I’m actually planning on sporting it this weekend when I make a planned trip to a pumpkin patch outside of the city- because why not, right? Keep an eye out for it on my social media!

And I think that’s it for the products I really enjoyed throughout September- but there’s a few other things that made my Favorites List, too!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

“It” – I remember when I was a kid, my dad read this Stephen King novel cover to cover- only to have nightmares for a few days after he’d finished it. Something being that scary to temporarily traumatize the bravest man I knew was unheard of- so naturally when I was old enough to watch the 1990 mini-series- I went into it expecting the worst- only to be left… Well, not that scared. At all (sorry, Tim Curry! I still love you!) Since then, I’ve read the novel- and although I’m not a particular fan of remakes or the re-imagining of original stories- I always felt like “It’ deserved the Hollywood treatment to really make it worthy of the hype that has surrounded it for so many years.

Well, earlier this month- it got just that. I’ve seen “It” twice in theaters now and I absolutely love it. It’s scary, funny, sad, and- at times- sweet. It’s also perfectly cast. It’s impossible NOT to become emotionally invested in each of the characters. I can’t wait for the sequel in 2019- and I’m already dedicating my Halloween costume this year to the most terrifying scene in the book- and the movie!

The Killers – “Wonderful Wonderful” – It’s been five years since The Killers dropped ‘Battle Born’ on us- so having a brand new album this month felt like getting a surprise visit from old friends for the first time in a long time. I adore this band- always have, always will- and I’ve been listening to WW on heavy rotation since it’s release last week (I also caught a snippet of their set in NYC last weekend- which I’ll get into during my post tomorrow!) It’s a great assortment of head-bopping, sing-along “fun” songs and those pretty, uplifting kinda’-sorta’ballads these boys seem to like so much.

Their upcoming tour should be a lot of fun.

And I think that’s it for my September Favorites. Just a small collection of things I’ve been enjoying over the past few weeks. I’m sure I’ll have plenty more things to share in October!

Enjoy your Friday, everybody!

xx

– Ashley –

POPSUGAR Must Have Box Review: September 2017

Good Morning, Monday. We meet again- and after the crazy weekend I had these past couple of days- a long, cozy nap seems much more preferable than diving headfirst into work. Unfortunately, I think sleeping under my desk would be frowned upon- so I’ve got to power through my e-mails, voicemails, and tasks for this morning and hope the rest of the day takes it easy on me!

Over the weekend, however- I received the September installment of my POPSUGAR “Must Have” Box. Since Fall is undoubtedly my favorite season, I almost always really enjoy the curated collections I get from POPSUGAR from now through November- and I was excited to see how they were going to kick things off.

The themes/inspirations for September’s “Must Have” Box didn’t sound too Autumn-esque at first glance, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect- especially with anything ‘Floral’- which I associate more with Spring/Summer than anything else. The complete theme/inspirations were TRENDSETTING, PERSONALIZE, STYLE, FLORAL and ILLUMINATING.

Let’s take a look inside!

To address my prior concerns with the ‘Floral’ inspiration- I was pleasantly surprised to find this eye-caching and versatile black flower pin from Hat Attack inside September’s “Must Have” Box. Fitting it on my Fall blazers, hats, bracelets, or handbags- this is a cute and seasonally appropriate accessory that spices up basic Autumn wardrobe staples with essentially no effort at all.

Consider me relieved of my worry that this box would be filled with more Summer stuff!

I’ve been sporting knee-high boots lately, and I really love wearing my socks a little bit higher to give me some extra layers on my legs to play around with when putting together an outfit for the day- so these black and grey striped, knee-high wool socks from Richer Poorer are perfect!

Not only do they keep my legs nice and warm on the chillier days that have been rolling in as of late- but they match pretty much everything, too!

I just want to personally thank POPSUGAR from saving me from a trip to Sephora this week to pick up more makeup primer. This new brightening/illuminating gel-primer (packed with vitamins!) from Figs & Rouge is going to work just fine. With an oil-free formula and lightweight texture- this product keeps my makeup in place while giving me a natural glow without clogging my pores or making me look overly shiny. I’m obsessed. Where has this been all my life?

I own a couple of accessories in one of this season’s hottest hues- Millennial Pink- and now I can add convenient clutch to my collection, too. This faux-snakeskin wallet & smartphone holder from Hudson + Bleecker is the perfect size to store the necessities when I go out, and has proven to be a lifesaver for more formal Fall events when I can’t carry around my usual brown saddlebag with me. I love this!

I think my favorite, and probably one of the most unique items in September’s “Must Have” Box is this color-changing and universally flattering cream blush from Lipstick Queen– which goes on black and transforms into a beautiful berry shade once it makes contact with the skin. How cool is that?! I’ve been using the Black Lace Rabbit Blush for a few days now and it always looks subtle and natural on my complexion- and it changes for everyone depending on your skin tone. Here’s a photo of me with it dabbed on:

As you can see, my cheeks have a slight flush of color in them- but it isn’t obvious the way some powder blushes look and it doesn’t interfere with my foundation or finishing powder by making me look blotchy or uneven. It’s such a simple and effective product that kind of blows my mind every time I use it!

And of course, POPSUGAR comes through with the snacks! This is Pipcorn– miniature popcorn that comes in big flavors and isn’t loaded down with gross ingredients or a ton of salt and oil. Kettle corn is actually one of my favorite types of popcorn- so I’ll be bringing this with me to the office tomorrow to store at my desk and munch on during the week for a guilt-free treat!

Finally, POPSUGAR included a bonus item this month- a $30 gift card to HelloFresh (it’s enough to cover the first box and shipping!) My cousin has been subscribed to HelloFresh for a short while now, and she recently told me how much fun her and her boyfriend are having trying the recipes so far. Not only is everything pretty easy to make- but it tastes good, too- so I’ll be using this one for sure!

I thought September’s “Must Have” Box- while not typically like Fall boxes I’ve received in the past- was still great and included a lot of unexpected and unique items to get the season started. I loved the cream blush and the socks the most, I think- but the pin and the wallet were great additions, too!

I can’t wait for October’s box! I hope they add some spooky stuff in there!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: August 2017!

Good Morning and Happy Monday 2.0, everyone! As September and Labor Day Weekend creep closer and closer- I thought I’d take a few minutes before I get down to business with meetings and telephone calls at work to share a few of the things that made this past August extra fun for me while I savored these last few weeks of Summer as much as I could!

Product-wise, there isn’t much to share- and that’s mainly because a lot of my favorites from June and July (particularly my beach-friendly beauty finds) carried over into August while I was spending a lot of time in the sun before the temperatures drop over the course of the next few weeks- but three things definitely stood out!

The first was this body wash/shower gel from Bath & Body Works, simply called “At The Beach”. I love fragrances that can transport me to other places whenever I smell them- and this Shea and Vitamin E-loaded wash sends me right back to Southern California whenever I use it. It’s a really lovely mix of coconut and flowers that makes me think of sunsets on OB with my friends whenever I’m visiting the West Coast. Better than that, though- is that it cleanses and moisturizes my skin at the same time.

I can’t wait to pick up a couple of bottles of this stuff when the Fall scent collection is released!

Keeping on topic of beautiful, Summery scents- I had to include this ‘Bahama Breeze’ air freshener from Yankee Candle– which has helped make my car, my home, and even my office smell like a freshly made margarita whenever I’m doing my weekly cleaning ritual and don’t want my desk or my upholstery to smell like bleach or the usual strong/potent detergents. A couple of spritzes of this stuff and Summer gets extended an extra few hours!

And, like the body wash from B&BW- these aerosol sprays are going to have their Fall scents released shortly. I’m looking forward to making the transition from beach-side cocktail to pumpkin latte in the coming month.

Finally, with all the time I’ve been spending at the beach or hiking in the woods- I still need to stay vigilant on my sunscreen application. While my usual go-to had previously been spray-on SPF- I’ve been really enjoying this mousse formula from SuperGoop! that I had received in my July POPSUGAR “Must Have” box. This lightweight SPF50 applies evenly and smells really clean and refreshing- and I like that it doesn’t make my skin feel sticky or greasy.

When Fall rolls around, I’m definitely going to be looking into getting face-friendly versions of this stuff. I wear a lot of sweaters and layers when it gets cooler outside, but my face is still exposed to harmful rays.

I think that’s it for the products I’ve been using- but there were a few other things that made my Favorites List this month!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

The War on Drugs: “A Deeper Understanding”- I know, I know- everyone is talking about Taylor Swift’s new single that dropped last week, but there were two other great releases, too! One of those was the latest from The War on Drugs. This has become my current and quintessential “long drive” album to listen to in it’s entirety when I’m on the road. It’s so relaxing and beautiful from start to finish- and I have a feeling a couple of the tracks will be making an appearance on my annual Fall playlist I usually put together this time of year.

Queens of the Stone Age: “Villains” If “A Deeper Understanding” is my driving album, then the latest from QOTSA is definitely my “getting ready to go out for a night on the town” soundtrack. The album is this sort of unexpected mix of rock and a little funk- but I’m so into it. It’s bad-ass- and it makes putting my mascara on every day a little more fun when I have it blasting in my bedroom.

“Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later” – I absolutely binge-watched this at the beginning of the month during an extended bubble bath on a quiet Friday night- and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. This entire series- from the original movie, to the prequel on Netflix and to this long-awaited sequel- has been laugh-out-loud funny and completely insane in the best possible way. Gene and Mitch remain my favorite duo of all time.

– MISCELLANEOUS –

Dunkin Donuts Maple-Pecan Coffee – So I may have gave in to temptation a little early and ordered a Fall-inspired beverage over the weekend when I made a quick stop at Dunkins while en route to Western Massachusetts. With the usual lineup of pumpkin-flavored everything being advertised in the drive-thru- my eyes immediately went to their newest coffee flavor- which is a combination of two of my favorite things. I couldn’t help myself- and honestly the coffee was so good that I didn’t regret it for a second.

Your move, Starbucks. This one is going to be hard to beat and it’s a lot cheaper, too!

And I think that’s everything for August! Now that Fall is (almost) here- you know I’m going to have lots of favorites to share in September!

Alright, I’m off to get some work done- and enjoy my maple-pecan coffee, of course!

xx

– Ashley –

POPSUGAR Must Have Box Review: August 2017

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! I’ve got a busy day at work ahead of me and an even busier weekend coming up- but it’s that magical time of the month where my POPSUGAR “Must Have” box arrives at my door and I get to share all of the fun things I found inside!

What made August’s PSMH Box so special was that it marked the company’s 5th year anniversary of curating their monthly assortment of awesome items to send subscribers. I’ve been a devoted member for a couple of years now, and I don’t plan on cancelling my account anytime soon. The things I receive are always so fabulous- and it’s truly like treating myself every few weeks when I go through it and marvel at what’s inside.

The theme/inspirations for August’s “Must Have” box were pretty self-explanatory given the aforementioned milestone- CELEBRATE, GRATITUDE, LOYALTY, SMILE and FRIENDSHIP were the words used to select this month’s items- and with this being the last box before Fall rolls around- I was really excited to see what the company had chosen to wrap up this season.

First up were these really cute white (and gold speckled!) 24-count tall birthday candles from Meri Meri. I know so many people with birthdays sprinkled throughout late August and September- and for some reason I’m almost always the one responsible for getting the cake in order for their parties (it must be my sharp eye for details)– so it’s going to be nice to have these lovely candles on hand to add to the fun when it’s time for my friends and family to close their eyes and make their birthday wishes!

I’ll never say no to trying a great face mask, and I’ve been hearing a lot of really good things about this “Bouncy Mask” from First Aid Beauty. Said to calm irritated skin, firm, hydrate and refine your complexion in just ten minutes- it sounded too good to be true! I haven’t had a chance to give this a try yet, but I plan on taking some time out during my upcoming busy weekend to see if the mask is really worth all the hype.

Who knows? It might very well make my upcoming Favorites List for the month!

I am in love with this cute, simple, friendship bracelet by Dogeared, Inc. With blue silk thread and a sterling silver heart-shaped clasp- this one takes me back to middle school when my girlfriends and I would exchange handmade friendship bracelets on an almost weekly basis. Granted, this one is a little fancier than the yarn or beaded ones we used to make when I was a kid- but the nostalgia is still there- and I’ve been wearing this a lot over the past few days!

I think my favorite item in August’s “Must Have” box was this rose gold “Free Spirit” journal from Fringe Studio. I’m always appreciative of a lovely, simple and well-made notebook to take with me on-the-go- and this one may be one of my favorites. With it’s durable and protective covers to the sweet design on the front- this has been in my bag with an assortment of pens for when an idea springs up unexpectedly or I need to take down some important information.

I’d love to have a 2018 planner with this design, too!

POPSUGAR kept up with their tradition of sending the BEST snacks this month! From Goodie Girl Cookies comes these gluten-free, low-fat chocolate chunk treats that were gone nearly minutes after I spotted them in this month’s “Must Have” box (and yes, I shared a couple- although I was reluctant about it!)

I’m already preparing to order a couple more boxes online to keep around the kitchen for the next time I have a craving but don’t want to regret cheating with something sweet now and then. These are so, so good!

The older I get- the more I can appreciate a quality gift card- so to receive a $25 card to Shoptiques was pretty cool. The website has all sorts of stuff- from dresses to handbags to shoes and home decor- so I know I’m going to have to take some serious time to do extensive browsing to determine what I want to treat myself to! Yes, some of their things are on the pricier side- but they do have a really nice SALE section I’ve been eyeing.

And also? Look how cute the card came packaged!

Finally, POPSUGAR sent me something I can gift to my mother since I know for a fact she has a set of plates that match this polka doted serving tray- also by Fringe Studio- perfectly. I know she’s going to love it, since we have similar taste in decor and I thought this was such a fun, colorful and perfect for any occasion tray that she could keep on hand whenever she has people over for company or just wants to liven up her dining room table.

POPSUGAR has done it again. I loved this month’s box- and every item fit in perfectly with their theme/inspirations and birthday celebration! This collection, as I’d mentioned earlier- serves as their lost assortment of items for the Summer- which means the Fall boxes are going to start rolling out soon. I can’t wait!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: July 2017!

Good Morning and TGIF, everyone! Can you believe we’re heading into the last weekend of July and that Summer is going to be winding down soon? As much as I love the Fall here in New England (I’m very much one of those unapologetic pumpkin-spice-everything type of girls)– I’m not ready to say goodbye to Summer of 2017 yet- especially when it’s been so much fun!

But I’m getting ahead of myself here. We still have this weekend and all through August and early September to soak up some more sunshine and hit the beach before it gets too cold out- which is exactly what I plan on doing come first thing tomorrow morning. Before that, though- I wanted to share some of the odds and ends that I absolutely loved this past month.

Most of my favorites from July were cosmetics-related since I recently did an overhaul and mass clean-out of my skincare and makeup to get rid of expired/empty products and make some room for newer items- but there’s a couple of other things that made the list, too!

One of the things that I ate pretty much non-stop throughout July were these cold brew latte dessert popsicles I kept buying at Trader Joe’s. Think of how refreshing an iced cafe mocha tastes on a sweltering hot morning- then make it even colder and put it on a stick- and you’ve got this wonderfully smooth, creamy and satisfying treat that’s low in fat (and calories, too) and gives you a nice caffeine boost when you might need it the most.

I’m seriously addicted to these things so I have a feeling they’ll probably make my August Favorites list, too!

I was admittedly a little skeptical when I first saw swatches of Urban Decay’s latest Naked palette, “HEAT”- since I’m pretty fair and always assumed any sort of red/orange shadows would just end up making me look like I had a bad case of pink eye or a weird rash or something. Earlier this month, however- I was treating myself to a couple of goodies and thought I may as well give it a try- and I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised with how neat these shadows look.

While there’s plenty of red/orange tones- they can easily be blended and sort of mellowed out with the lighter brown and almost rose-colored shades that are included in this palette, too. There’s a nice mix of shimmers and mattes that I’ve been experimenting with pretty much every day since I picked this one up for myself and I haven’t found a color combination that I dislike yet. Every shade is really beautiful and makes me think of days spend out in the desert whenever I visit Nevada!

Another “wasn’t sure at first but now I’m a believer” find? Brazilian Bum Bum Cream by Sol de Janeiro. HEAR ME OUT- I wear a lot of bikinis during the Summer, and even though I never skip squats and am a body lotion/cream fiend- I was intrigued about this Guaraná-packed moisturizer I heard mentioned through word of mouth. It’s all-natural ingredients are supposed to boost circulation in your skin while smoothing and tightening- and some people I know swear by it.

First things first, the cream smells delicious- good enough to eat, even- and it doesn’t feel greasy or sticky after you slather it on, but the most important thing are the results. I’ve been using this quick-absorbing cream religiously for a good portion of July now- and even though I’ve always thought my posterior looked decent, anyway- it definitely looks a lot smoother and feels a bit firmer after I use this stuff! Consider me a fan!

I recently misplaced one of my favorite raspberry-hued Formula X nail polishes, and I cannot find it for the life of me (I think it’s somewhere in San Diego!)– so I found a lovely substitute in Deborah Lippmann’s Summer 2017 collection with this bright, poppy pink shade called “Shut Up And Dance” which I’ve been sporting on my fingers and toes nearly all month. The formula, long-lasting like a gel manicure but without the harmful chemicals and UV rays- gives full coverage and is highly pigmented.

The shade just feels like Summertime- and I doubt I’ll be wearing any other color on my nails ’til the Fall!

And the last thing in July’s beauty round-up is this gorgeous roll-on fragrance from Replica– “Beach Walk”. A really incredible combination of lemon, coconut, cedar wood and ylang ylang- among others- this perfume transports me to the beach even when I’m landlocked at work. It’s hard to describe just how lovely this perfume is- but I’ve been wearing it every day and I get so many compliments on it.

It absolutely reminds me of evenings spent at Old Orchard Beach strolling the boardwalk with my friends. Replica managed to somehow bottle that memory in fragrance form!

I think that’s it for the things I was able to photograph for the month of July- but there’s still a couple of other Favorites, too!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

“Preacher” (2nd Season!) I’ve been a huge fan of AMC’s “Preacher” since it premiered last year, and I was so thrilled that it had been picked up for a second season that started in late June after another series I enjoy, “Fear The Walking Dead”, wrapped up for the time being. The show, characters, story- and the comic book it’s based on- are absolutely bonkers. It’s funny, clever, violent, a little gory- but so, so entertaining nonetheless. I’ve been putting the finishing touches on a Jesse Custer cosplay I intend to wear around Comic-Con next month when it swings through Boston- so I’m very excited!

“Atomic Blonde” – So the movie technically comes out today, but I’m already so hyped up to see this one with my girlfriends this weekend. It’s been a pretty good year for ass-kicking female-led films so far- so to watch Charlize Theron take no prisoners as a secret agent and look stunning while she’s stabbing people with a stiletto heel is something I can definitely get behind. Yes, please!

– MISCELLANEOUS –

San Diego Comic-Con Recaps! – The biggest convention of the year wrapped up this past weekend, and I was LIVING for the updates that were coming out on a near hourly basis- both from friends who were in attendance and on social media. The trailer for the 8th season of “The Walking Dead” (my all-time favorite show, ever- period) stopped me in my tracks when it was released- and I was fan-girling so hard on my phone during the Marvel panel updates. I haven’t been to SDCC since 2014- where I had the time of my life- but I’m really hoping I can be there for 2018 to re-live all the excitement and previews!

Alright- I think that’s everything! Anything else that I may have forgotten will definitely get a mention next month when I inevitably remember it!

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –