Favorites: November 2018!

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone!

I’m so very excited for my half day today- since I’ve been trying to get a head start on my holiday shopping early this year so I’ll have more time to truly savor the Christmas season without all the last-minute gift buying stress. While I’ve definitely utilized some of the great deals that were available this past “Cyber Monday”- sometimes it’s nice to go window shopping and browsing in-store to find that perfect gift for a special someone.

I’ve still got some work to do at my office before I take off at noon today, and before I jump into it- I wanted to share some of my favorite things/odds & ends from this past November now that December is on the horizon! Goodness, there’s a lot to do in the coming weeks, isn’t there?

You all know the drill by now! The photogenic things come first, and then it’s all the miscellaneous bits and pieces I’ve been obsessing over all month!

But enough of the introduction- let’s get into it!

Late Fall/Early Winter is a beautiful time in New England- and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t even particularly like the snow- but the scenery, the fashion options, and the fragrances all over (think pine, cinnamon and sugar cookies wherever you go!) are intoxicating. That’s why I’m particularly fond of the ‘Maple Remedy’ hair care line from Garnier.

Not only does this shampoo and conditioner make my curls smell like Vermont maple syrup- but it’s deeply conditioning and smoothing, too! It’s the perfect in-shower pick-me-up on those cold days where I just want to put my pajamas back on and crawl into bed to sleep through any impending snowstorms. I love this stuff!

With my hair care changing for the more frigid months- there’s no reason my makeup can’t be upgraded, too! Gone are the days of bronzer and gold-tones (until next Summer, anyway) and in are more natural and rosy shades. I’ve recently replaced my shimmery gold highlighter with this light pink/iridescent one from Milani Cosmetics, instead.

What I love about this highlighter is that it still gives me an ethereal glow, but it looks a lot more natural against my dark Winter wardrobe and accessories as opposed to the warmer, more Summer-esque tones I wore through the Fall- and the coverage is easily build-able depending on the occasion!

So I know everyone is probably sick and tired of looking at food after Thanksgiving, right? Well that’s too bad- because Trader Joe’s delivered the GOODS this month and I can’t stop snacking on them.

First up is TJ’s ‘Carrot Cake Spread’- for those of us who love the taste of carrot cake but can’t be bothered to bake one. This spread, which I put on toast (surprisingly good!) or use as a dip for plain shortbread cookies- takes all the great flavors of the dessert and puts it in a convenient and mess-free jar. I’m addicted.

And then there’s TJ’s seasonal offering- their turkey and stuffing flavored kettle corn potato chips. Now, I’m always fascinated with some of the flavors that Lay’s comes out with every year when they host those “create a flavor” contests since many of them are pretty spot-on- but these chips are freaky levels of accurate- and delicious, of course. They legitimately taste like turkey and stuffing. I’ve been (reluctantly) sharing them just so I can gauge the reactions of people trying them for the first time- and the results have been really funny.

Finally, switching over to beverages instead of food- ever since I tried Idle Hands Craft Ales’ “Undead Red” at the Indie617 Halloween party last month- I’ve been taste-testing a ton of their other creations. My current favorite is their Thanksgiving release- “Crantastic”- a sour ale that combines cranberry and blood orange. It’s like a hard cider or a very fruity wine- and I love it! It’s perfect for the season and goes well with those Thanksgiving leftovers.

Idle Hands will be hosting another Indie617 party within the coming weeks for the impending holidays- and I’m so excited to see what they’re brewing next!

And that’s it for the photogenic goods- but as they say in the infomercials- wait, there’s more!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

IT’S CHRISTMAS MOVIES AND MUSIC SEASON, FINALLY – With Thanksgiving and Black Friday in the books- it’s now, *officially* okay to binge-watch your favorite holiday films and crank that Christmas Classics Spotify playlist. AMC have started to air my favorites, including the original ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ and ‘Christmas Vacation’- and I’ve been blasting a beloved Frank Sinatra Christmas album in the car while driving to/from work- so needless to say I am ready for the month ahead!

‘The Walking Dead’ – After a few disastrous seasons at the hands of former show-runner Scott Gimple, the reins have been taken over by Angela Kang for the show’s ninth season- and her fresh perspective and genuine respect for the story and it’s characters have given us some of the best episodes we’ve seen in years.

The show has, in many ways, been saved- even with Rick Grimes’ departure- and for the first time in what feels like a long time- I’m actually longing for it’s return in February!

And I think that’s everything! A month that essentially celebrated food had my favorites consisting of, well- mostly food or beauty products that smelled like food!

As always, if you’d like to share some of your own favorites- feel free to drop me a line on social media or leave a comment here!

I’m off to get some work done and enjoy an afternoon off. Have a great “Hump Day”, everyone! I’ll be seeing you again on 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 –

Favorites: October 2018!

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone! Especially my fellow Red Sox fans! What a series!

And so begins another work week- the repetition thankfully being broken up by Halloween and kicking off November in style. While I’ll divulge the details of my wild and fun weekend a little later on this week (as well as re-cap the month of October overall in my scheduled “In a Nutshell” post)– I thought I’d take time in-between catching up on work at my office and recovering from one of twelve flus/nanoviruses going around New England like wildfire as of late and share some of my favorite products, items, odds & ends from this past month.

Despite my current sniffle and scratchy throat- which is thankfully improving after some much-needed rest and relaxation last night (and some NyQuil)– October was a month I tried to practice more self care. That included drinking more water, getting more fresh air, and updating my skincare products/regimen to make sure I was staying hydrated from head to toe. Many of this month’s favorites are items that reflect those efforts!

As always, I’ll start with the things I was able to photograph before I jump into some of the miscellaneous things that were a little trickier to capture with my camera!

When Bath & Body Works had their buy three- get three free sale this past month, I took the opportunity to stock up on some of their Fall-inspired skincare line- including pumpkin/apple/cinnamon-scented scrubs, lotions, creams and perfumes.

I’ve been using these products daily and my skin has never looked or felt better- which is definitely appreciated since it’s been chilly and rainy these past few weeks and I’ve been able to avoid letting my skin get dull or dry as we gradually transition from the Fall to the Winter.

Also? Smelling like a pumpkin pie? I’m loving that!

Bath & Body Works have recently started promoting their holiday line- and the buy three-get three free sale is presently up and running if anyone is looking for some good deals or gifts for family/friends!

If I’m going to indulge my skin in some serious care- then I wanted to make sure my hair was being well taken care of, as well. Lately I’ve been loving all sorts of products from Kevin Murphy– but this detoxifying shampoo might be one of my favorites. I use this once a week, massaging it into my scalp and down to the ends of my curls and letting it sit for a minute or two before I rinse- and my hair feels squeaky clean without dryness or frizz. The non-lathering formula melts away product and chemical buildup at the root, while softening and conditioning the ends.

Of course, not every day can be a good hair day- and while I’ve been seeing a lot of beanies and knitwear around lately- I’ve opted for this navy blue beret, embellished with tiny gold stars, instead. It easily matches most of the pieces in my Fall wardrobe- especially my flannel shirts and sweaters- and it’s just so cute!

Finally, I love boot season- and with a couple of Fall weddings coming up over the next few weeks- I’ve wanted to stay seasonal and comfortable on and off the dance floor. I’ve been loving these tan, suede booties with a wooden block heel from Primark lately- which are also super easy to incorporate into both my casual AND dressy wardrobe- and are insanely comfy, too!

And that’s it for the photogenic products/items- but I’ve got a couple of other things that made this month’s list, too!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

‘Halloween’ – Of course the holiday itself is one of my favorites, but I’m talking about the sequel to the horror-movie of the same name. As a kid, the only horror movie “baddie” who ever truly scared me was Michael Myers. He didn’t have corny one-liners like Freddy Krueger and he didn’t get blasted off into space ala Jason Voorhees.

No, Michael has always stayed the same- silent and ruthless- even through some questionable sequels/re-makes. But, thankfully, the most recent installment in the film franchise brings things back around full circle in a truly terrifying way. It’s just so damned good!

– GAMES/TECH/APPS –

‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ – Even though this game has only been out for a couple of days, my friends and I have been having a free-for-all of a good time playing it. I don’t think we’ve accomplished any of the missions successfully since we keep getting sidetracked- but the graphics and the gameplay thus far are pretty incredible and it was well worth the wait for it to finally be released!

– MISCELLANEOUS –

Idle Hands Brewing: Undead Red – I first tasted this bright red sour this past Saturday at Indie617’s ‘Boos & Brews’ party at Idle Hands‘ place in Malden- and I was hooked. Infused with fruit and with a cherry aftertaste, this beer was delicious- paired wonderfully with chocolate- and wasn’t too potent for a lightweight like me. I’m a big fan, and will more than likely dropping by this weekend at some point to have a bit more.

And I think that does it for my October favorites! I’ll have a recap of this past month up and running on Wednesday morning before I pass out candy to the Trick-Or-Treaters and get ready to jump-start November!

Until then, though- I’ve got to get some work done. Here’s wishing you all a wonderful start to your week!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: September 2018!

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

We’ve made it to the end of another week- and pretty close to the end of another month!

While this week was a short one for me, what with returning from the West Coast and today being my half day at work (until next week, anyway- when my designated half day shifts to Wednesdays for a little while!)– I’m looking forward to the weekend and getting ready to dive into October- the month when I’m at maximum “spooky” power.

I’ll have my look back on September up bright and early this coming Sunday morning before I head out to do some long overdue apple and pumpkin picking- but before I get too ahead of myself- I wanted to share some of the products, purchases, odds and ends that I was coveting and obsessing over these past few weeks.

That’s right- it’s time for my monthly Favorites!

Now, the photogenic products are at a minimum as it was really hard to commit to fashion/accessories/shoes- not only because I was in the desert for a considerable amount of time this month- and also because the temperatures fluctuated so often back here in New England that I never knew what to wear or when! That’s the trickiest thing about September where I live. Summer does everything it can to hold on, while Fall is ready to swoop in and take over!

I digress- there are plenty of other things I enjoyed in September- and they’re all gonna’ get a mention.

Let’s take a look!

When I read that snakeskin was going to have a serious moment this Fall- I couldn’t wait to dive into the trend. Not wanting to go straight for cowboy boots or belts to incorporate the print into my wardrobe- I opted to replace my faux-leather cross-body bag with a faux-snakeskin one from ALDO, instead.

With a braided metal chain and clasp to keep the two spacious pouches within the bag secure- I have been loving this thing, It hangs comfortably, holds the essentials, and matches pretty much everything I own!

I have a feeling is one is going to be getting me through the Spring when it comes time for me to change things up again!

These two products were life savers- especially when I’d left the humidity in Massachusetts and spent time in the dry, dusty climate around Las Vegas during my vacation. It took little to no time at all for my skin, hair, and lips to get dry- but luckily I was prepared!

Knowing fully well that my makeup was going to be running off my face the second I stepped off the plane in Nevada and all that would be left would be dry, patchy skin- I opted for this moisturizing primer from Tarte. Not only did it keep my skin hydrated (even when I was out in the middle of the desert, roasting under the sun!)– but it kept my makeup in place. No touch-ups necessary as I went from day to night mode!

Of course, when it did come time to remove my makeup and turn in for the night- I wanted a sleeping mask that would keep my skin moisturized and bright so I could wake up and go. Enter this glittery, berry-scented and lightweight gel “Unicorn Glow” sleeping mask from Soo Ae Skin Care. After each night I fell asleep with this mask on, I woke up with skin that looked and felt sparkling clean and refreshed. Side note? The packaging is too cute. I’m in love!

And finally, with Fall in full swing- I’ve been gradually phasing out my bright pinks, corals and red lipsticks/lip glosses from the Summer and transitioning into rich nudes and brown tones. I’ve been wearing these two shades (the lighter, “Satin Ribbon” and the darker, “Teddy”) from NYX’s ‘Lip Lingerie’ collection.

These formulas go on smooth and quickly dry to a nice, crease-free matte finish that make my lips look plump and very Autumn-esque. You can keep an eye on my Instagram to see more photos of them up close this coming weekend!

And that’s it for the items/products that could be photographed- but as they say in infomercials- wait, there’s more!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

‘The Purge TV’ – I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first turned into this mini-series at the beginning of the month, but it’s been such a wild, dark and twisted ride- and now I’m hooked. The show follows three separate story lines that occasionally intersect on the night of the annual purge (the one night a year where all crime- including murder- is legal) as the characters struggle to survive and face their own morality.

It’s pretty intense- although I loved the candle the network sent me following the premiere!

‘Peppermint’ – I love a good vigilante justice flick, especially when the lead is a female- but seeing Jennifer Garner go from the sweet ‘Capitol One’ spokesperson to a no-nonsense Queen who punches bad guys in the face and blows things up? Count me in. I had so much fun watching this with a friend earlier this month. It was completely unexpected and worth a watch for anyone who likes action movies!

– GAMES/TECH/APPS –

‘Dead By Daylight’ – Although this horror movie-inspired PC game would have been a perfect contribution to my October favorites, I couldn’t wait to add it since my friends and I have been having a blast playing it. In the game, you can choose to be a survivor or the “killer” (and some are based off of classic horror movie baddies)– and you either work with your team to solve puzzles and escape the killer- or you go around and kill the survivors before they can escape.

It’s funny and crazy- and is definitely going to keep me occupied in the coming days when it starts raining again!

‘Hidden Agenda’ – Another group mystery/horror game, this PS4-Smartphone hybrid game (from the company behind ‘Until Dawn’!) allows players to work together to track down a serial killer, or- depending on your motives- sabotage your team. We played this as a group right before I left for the West Coast and it was the best. time. Seriously. Get your friends together and give it a shot!

– MISCELLANEOUS –

Maple. Pecan. Everything – Coffee, muffins, candles, etc. I don’t care what it is- if it’s got maple and pecan in it- I’ll eat it or use it to scent my home. Who needs pumpkin spice when this combination is taking over this Fall? I can’t get enough of it!

And I think that’s it, everyone! This month had a lot of fun things I’ll be using well into October- but I’m sure I’ll have some new finds to share, too!

I’m off to finish up some work and enjoy a company luncheon. Here’s hoping you all have a wonderful Friday and beginning to your weekend!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: August 2018!

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

I’m recovering from a pretty busy weekend- spent at the beach on Saturday and a farm stand out in Newton yesterday (I took some incredible photos which will be up a little later on this week)– so being back at work with a mountain of cases in front of me isn’t exactly ideal right now.

Before I swallow my coffee and the urge to run screaming out of my office and focus on getting things done in full-blown “boss bitch” mode- I thought I’d share the usual end-of-the-month favorites compilation to spotlight some of the products, odds and ends that have made this past August easier and a lot of fun- despite the stifling heat and humidity.

As always, I’ll get this started with the things I was able to capture in photographs before moving onto the miscellaneous bits and pieces that were a little bit harder to snap pictures of.

Let’s get started!

With plastic straws becoming a thing of a past and “sippy cup” style lids feeling a little *too* ridiculous for me, an adult woman, to use when drinking my daily iced coffee- I turned to Amazon and ordered a set of these FDA-approved stainless steel drinking straws (for only $8.99 a set!)

With four straight straws, four curved straws, and two cleansing brushes that make washing these a breeze- I pop these in the fridge overnight and then stick them in my coffee in the morning. The result is consistently cool sips of mocha-hazelnut and the bonus of cutting back on plastic pollution in the oceans and in landfills!

Side note, but I’m really going to miss my disposable (and recyclable!) Summer-themed dinnerware I’ve been using for my cookouts, BBQs and parties over the past couple of months- even though it means it’s nearly time so stock up on some Fall-inspired ones. These lemonade printed plates and napkins went over really well in August- and I thankfully have an extra set to put away for next year!

With August being one of the more humid months during the Summer this year, I needed a lot of help to keep my curls hydrated and frizz-free. I found some relief in these little mask/leave-in conditioner “shots” from GARNIER– particularly the banana-scented strengthening treatment.

A couple of times a week, I run this mask over my hair in the shower and then rinse after about five minutes. Later on, when my hair is still damp- I comb some of the product through my to my ends and let it air dry. I’m left with soft (not stiff) and defined curls with zero frizz. It’s a miracle in a little tub!

Of course, there were days when I just didn’t have the patience, the time, or the energy to try and get my fly-aways under control. When that happened- I turned to these brightly-colored and tropic-inspired headbands I had picked up at Primark a couple of months ago. They match pretty much everything in my Summer wardrobe and made my hair look so cute- even on days where I didn’t really put that much effort into it!

Makeup be damned. There were days when I came in from being outside and just wanted to run a faucet over my head or dunk my face in a bucket of ice cold water. Of course, those options weren’t available (most of the time) and I had to get resourceful. I turned to Happy Spritz’s “Breathe Deeply” peppermint essential oil facial spray to offer me relief.

Not only is this spray insta-cooling, but the scent also clears out my sinuses if I have any of those early morning pollen allergies driving me nuts. It leaves my face and neck feeling soft and hydrated- and doesn’t leave behind any kind of sheen/slickness to my skin!

And finally, before I start hoarding my favorite Fall candles from Bath & Body Works, I had to burn out the last of my Summer ones this past month. My favorite, without a doubt- was “Cherry Snow Cone”- which smelled exactly like it should have. Cherry syrup with a hint of lemon.

A close contender and follow-up to that one was a candle simply called “Boardwalk”- which was a really great combination of coconut and fried dough and made my bedroom smell like a road trip to the coast in Maine- if that makes sense to anyone else apart from me.

That’s it for the photogenic favorites. Now, as promised-here are a few other things that made the list this month!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

Interpol – “Marauder” – Interpol’s latest album dropped this past Friday, and with all the driving I did on Saturday and Sunday to get to my destinations, I had a chance to give it a few good listens from start to finish. While it’s definitely a different direction for the band sound/lyrically wise- I’m seriously loving the new style and it’s made me even more excited to see them live in a couple of weeks!

Bob’s Burgers – I know, I know. With the amount of TV I watch, I’m amazed I’ve been sleeping on this cartoon for as long as I did, too. I had always wanted to sit down and watch it- but never found the time and never got around to it until recently- and laughed my ass off with every single episode as I started getting caught up.

I’m 99.9% sure that H. Jon Benjamin’s voice just makes everything better.

And I think that does it for the month of August, everyone! As always, if you’d like to share some of your own favorite things from this past month- drop me a line or leave a comment!

Maybe they’ll make my list in September. You never know, right?

Here’s wishing you all a stress-free and easy-as-possible Monday to get through. Let’s get things done!

xx

– Ashley –