Favorites: September 2019!

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

It goes without saying that I’m thrilled the weekend is here. After a particularly busy few days at work- I’m looking forward to some downtime back home in Central Massachusetts with my family and friends over the next couple of days before we bid farewell to September (!!!) and welcome in my favorite month of the year- October!

As always, I’ll have my review and recap of this past month up and running first thing on Monday morning since it’s the last day of September- but my blogging tradition is to share my favorite finds/products/random odds and ends, first. Today seemed like just as good a day as any with it being a casual Friday- and I’ve got a lot of things I’ve been obsessing over these past few weeks!

I’ll start off with the things I was able to photograph, first- before I dive into the random things that made September so memorable this year.

Let’s take a look!

In the Fall, my makeup looks take a fun and daring direction. I like to play up the neutral shades that frequent my wardrobe this time of year with rich golds, deep berry tones- and bright reds. This past month, I kept my nails shimmering with this shimmery polish (“What’s Gold Is New”) by essie. The shade is long-lasting and super flattering with pretty much anything I wear- and should carry me right through the holiday season!

For my lips, I pregame before applying any color with this exfoliating brown sugar scrub by e.l.f. cosmetics (which tastes delicious, too!) to buff away any dead or dry patches before I either go with a moisturizing berry-toned balm by Milk Makeup (Kush Lip Balm in “Plushberry.”) or get a little more extreme with a bright red matte lip with my NARS duo of  “Holy Red” lip liner and “Inappropriate Red” lipstick.

I’ve been loving these shades and how head-turning they are whenever I wear them out and about!

Of course, I can’t update my Fall makeup collection and not give my bath & fragrance choices a bit of a seasonal makeover, too! For my shower gel, body lotion and lightweight spray-on fragrance- I turned to Bath & Body Works‘ Autumn line and picked up the “Champagne Apple & Honey” trio earlier this month instead of the usual pumpkin or cinnamon scents I reach for this time of year. I figured it was time to try something a little different!

What I’ve always loved about Bath & Body Works products- apart from their awesome prices and sales- is that the fragrances are pretty much spot-on in relation to their name/description and are never overwhelming or nauseating.

This trio makes me smell like I’ve spent a day at the orchard- it’s sweet and seasonal without being overpowering. I love it!

Finally, I have been in full-blown Fall decor mode at my new apartment- eager to cover and fill in spaces with rustic and cute decorations inspired by my favorite season. In recent weeks I’ve found a *lot* of gems at my local Big Lots and HomeGoods– including but not limited to these fun wooden pumpkins and “Happy Harvest” sign that is displayed prominently on my center console at the front of my living room and around my bedroom.

Not pictured is my “Hello Autumn” wreath and multiple strings of maple leaf and pumpkin lights- which I’m still arranging to my liking. You can check out my INSTAGRAM for the final look when it’s done!

And I think that’s it for the photogenic favorites- but a few more things made the list, too!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

“It: Chapter 2” – I was pretty much at the front of the line of people who were excited about the long-anticipated sequel to the 2017 reboot- and it didn’t disappoint. “It: Chapter 2” had everything I loved about the first one- plenty of scares, poignant moments, and a believable cast that you truly thought had known each other their whole lives.

It also had Bill Hader- who stole every single scene he was in. Absolute Oscar-contender right there!

“Back To Autumn: A Fall 2019 Playlist” – So, a little shameless self-promotion here- but earlier this week I launched my playlist for the season and I’m really quite pleased with it. The 16-track soundtrack for pumpkin picking features some newer tracks from a few of my favorite artists- as well as some treasured older songs thrown in there, too.

Feel free to give it a listen and tell me what you think!

– MISCELLANEOUS –

“My Dad Wrote a Porno…” – A friend recently recommended this podcast to me, and after listening to the first few episodes- I was hooked and ended up binging the entire thing in a matter of weeks. Now in it’s fifth season, MDWAP follows Jamie and his two friends- Alice and James- as they struggle to read through a series of erotic novels Jamie’s dad wrote over the course of a few weeks a couple of years ago.

Hilarious, insane, and at times- really, really gross- I end up laughing to the point of crying whenever I tune in. I’m excited to see the Podcast’s live show when it comes to Boston next year!

Pumpkin Pie Chai – A Fall staple at Shelburne Falls Coffee Roasters– this has become my go-to beverage here in the Valley since it tastes like a liquid dessert (without the calorie count.) A hot version is comforting on a chilly day- and an iced version is beyond refreshing when the temperatures tiptoe back into the mid-80s as they’ve done in recent days. I’m hooked!

And that just about does it for my September favorites, y’all! A pretty good early-Autumnal list if I do say so myself!

Of course, if you’d like to share your favorite things from this past month- feel free to get in contact or leave a comment! I’d love to hear all about them!

I’ll be back on Monday to say goodbye to September- but here’s wishing you all a lovely weekend ahead before I sneak back into to work for the morning!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: August 2019!

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

The end (of August and the Summer!) is nigh- but I’m ready for sweaters, leaf peeping, scary movies and pumpkin patches- especially now that I’m living in one of the most picturesque, straight-out-of-a-postcard areas in New England! It’s going to be my first Fall in the Pioneer Valley- and there are so many things I want to do!

But respects must be paid to August and really the entire Summer of 2019, first- which I fully intend to do tomorrow morning for my monthly “In a Nutshell” post where I recap the weeks that were and talk about what I have planned for the weeks ahead. There’s a lot of ground to cover- but it’s going to be a fun trip down (recent) Memory Lane!

Before that, though- I wanted to share some of my favorite things from August 2019. From beauty products, to jewelry, to silly sentimental pieces- all the way to movies, music, television, etc.

This is my usual months-end “Favorites” post- and as always- I’ll be starting with the things I was able to photograph, first!

Starting with the silly, sentimental pieces- I had picked up this pair of silver, glittery sandals for about $8 at Primark a couple of years ago when I was strapped for footwear just hours before I was headed to a beach bonfire- but these have become my default Summer shoe choice ever since. This past August was no different, as I wore these trusty, surprisingly durable beauties during road trips, ice cream pit stops, lazier days at the office- and lounging lake-side.

I’m going to store them in the back of my closet until next Summer- where I’m sure they’ll see more adventures.

Exfoliation is key year-round, but especially in the Summer when I’m all about exposed legs, arms, and the occasional exposed midriff. I want my skin glowing and smooth- so I try to find scrubs that both buff away the dead skin but also conditions without drying me out.  I’m partial to sugar scrubs, and this whipped one from LALICIOUS does the job just right.

Not only does this scrub smell incredible, like a candy shop- but it leaves my skin touchable, soft, and glowing.

The scrub is $35, but a little goes a long way- so one tub of this will last you well over the course of a season!

Of course, I can’t exfoliate my body without making sure my face is super smooth, too- but being that it’s far more sensitive than say, my knees or my elbows- I rely on this gentle microdermabrasion scrub from Mary Kay that a friend turned me onto earlier this month.

I only use this lightweight exfoliant about 2 times a week if that- but the results are instant- and my serums and moisturizers sink into my skin with so much more ease whenever I apply them after gently cleansing my skin with this scrub. Throughout August, my complexion has been clear, smooth, and even.

Finally, my go-to jewelry for August was simple and consisted of two things. One, a moonstone statement ring I had picked up a couple of weekends ago during the annual Massachusetts Tax-Free Weekend.

The other? A throwback to my pre-teen and early teenage years with the return of the cowrie shell craze. While I couldn’t bring myself to wear a choker of these like the guys I grew up with used to do all. the. time.– I thought the anklet was a nice, more subtle choice.

I wore this all during the Summer, but it really made a splash in August when more people noticed and seemed to get on board with the trend making a comeback! Now we just need to bring back those glittery butterfly-shaped hair clips and I’ll be thrilled.

And that, my friends- just about does it for the photogenic favorites. But, as always- a one or two more things made the list this month, too!

– MISCELLANEOUS –

All Things Seafood – I had said that my Summer 2019 bucket list consisted of eating as much lobster, crab and scallops as possible, and in August I rose to the challenge since many of my favorite seaside shacks close up after Labor Day.

With stops at some of my longtime favorite locations and some new finds here in the Valley (including a delicious chowder house- which I’ll be revisiting soon!) I’m pretty sure I don’t even want to look at anything from the ocean again until next May/June at least.

Clowns, Baby! – With “It: Chapter 2” coming out in theaters next week, a new trailer for “The Joker” dropping earlier this week (the movie premieres in October) and a new teaser poster for the next Harley Quinn movie making the rounds recently- Summer 2019 is all about clownery and I am here for it. My apologies for anyone with a clown phobia- but I am so, so excited for all of it!

Aaaaand now I’m finished! Although it’s the end of the work-week, I’ve still got some things to do around the office before I break for the long weekend- so I’ve got to get going!

As always, if you’d like to share your own favorite things from this past August- feel free to drop me a line!

Enjoy your Friday, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

Brunette Birdie?

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! We made it yet again!

It’s funny and fascinating what changes in your life- big or small- can do to you. They can completely turn your world upside down, or have you re-examining and reevaluating your priorities and your goals- or rejuvenate you, refresh you and set you on a new path you may not have even known existed.

There have been a lot of changes in my life in recent months. A new apartment, a new community, new neighbors and friends. There have been changes in my job(s), changes in my personal relationships- and I’ve been attempting to navigate those changes as gracefully as possible while simultaneously reassessing so many of my wants/needs and clumsily preparing for whatever is going to happen next.

Not all of the changes have been good ones. Some have been heartbreaking. Some have been infuriating- but they’ve all shaped the person I am becoming in this new chapter of my life. It’s a scary thing sometimes, but it’s also exciting in a way- because I’m learning so much about myself, what’s truly important to me, and my resilience in the face of the unknown and uncertain.

And lifestyle/personal changes affect you physically, too. While the first month or so after my move was sluggish and had me feeling tired with daily commutes to work, waiting for the arrival of much-needed furniture, not exactly eating or sleeping the best due to long hours- I’ve since got a handle on things and have been actively and regularly working out, preparing better-for-me-meals and sleeping through the night undisturbed (especially now that I’m no longer living near the city!)

And this past Wednesday, when it came time for me to update my blonde curls yet again with help from my stylist- I decided to go bold, try something new- and ditch the golden hues for a more chocolate-inspired look, instead.

That’s right- I’m a brunette again!

I’m still getting used to the new look, which has been well-received by friends, family and co-workers- and it feels like a fitting way to wrap up Summer 2019 and prepare for impending Autumn and the next chapter of my life I’m preparing to write.

And no, I will not be changing the title of my blog from “Blondie Birdie” to “Brunette Birdie” or any variation anytime soon. I’ve grown quite accustomed to my nickname and my little corner of the internet- and I intend to stay here!

Next week I’m going to be visiting one of my favorite coastal towns here in New England, sharing my favorite things from this past month- and getting ready to leap into September after taking a look back at all the highs and lows of August!

Until then- enjoy your weekend, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

My Summer Makeup Routine!

Good Afternoon and Happy “Hump Day,” everyone!

I had wanted to get this post up bright and early on Monday morning- since I’m one of those people who typically sticks to a pretty strict schedule in terms of work and writing- but life, distractions, and side-tracks happen. In this case, it was a bit of tire trouble with my car (see: completely flat!) and some last minute rearrangements at my office that required my full attention.

With the dust settling and my finishing a productive and peaceful half-day-work-from-home-day (the best kind of work day, really!) I wanted to share my makeup routine I’ve been swearing by throughout Summer 2019. I typically do these posts once every few months to share what I’m coveting during the given season- and it’s always fun to sort of compare/contrast what I’m wearing now to what I was wearing this time last year or the years before that.

If you’d like to sneak a peek into the past- I’ve linked everything here!

SUMMER: [ 2018 ]

FALL: [ 2018 ]

WINTER: [ 2019 ]

SPRING: [ 2019 ]

Now let’s get to it, shall we? It’s a beautiful day and I have a lot of stuff I want to do!

L’Oréal Paris Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream: In the Summer, when it’s hot and humid and my skin gets oily and shiny- the last thing I want to wear is a heavy foundation that is going to run right off of my face. I turn to lightweight BB creams- and I’ve found the most interesting concoction via L’Oréal.

This translucent BB cream (shown below in the swatches) applies as a white/pearl color- but quickly blends in with your skin’s natural tone and offers light-to-medium coverage that stays in place all day. My skin looks fresh, bright, even- and stays that way until I wash this off!

[ MORE INFO HERE ]

Physicians Formula “Healthy Powder” with SPF16: I always brush on a little finishing powder before I step out for the day since my skin had a tendency to get a little oily- especially in hotter weather/temperatures. This light-textured press powder with build-able coverage applies easily enough (without making me look chalky) and offers me much-needed sun protection along with Vitamins A, C and E while covering my pores and giving me a smooth, satin finish.

I keep this in my purse on especially hot days where I might need a little touchup in the T-Zone here and there.

[ MORE INFO HERE ]

Benefit Cosmetics GALifornia Powder Blush: I’ve been avoiding bronzers this Summer, opting for a more natural pink/peach flush in my cheeks when I head out to work, the beach, or out on the town with friends. I have been LOVING this blush- which has a bit of a golden tone to it- because it gives me a natural hint of sunkissed color without making me look *too* made up- and it compliments my current dirty blonde beach hair so perfectly.

If I’m ever feeling tired or groggy in the mornings (it happens to the best of us)- this blush never fails to make me look refreshed and recharged. Total game changer.

[ MORE INFO HERE ]

ModelCo Eyelites in “St. Barts”: Much like opting for BB creams instead of foundations during the Summer, I opt for “set it and forget it” cream shadows in the Summer to prevent them from melting down my face when I’m outside and soaking up the sunshine. This golden/nude tone from ModelCo is by far my favorite- because it gives my lids a lovely bit of sparkle that I can dress up or down with bright eyeliners (I’ll get to that in a moment) or simply swipe on some mascara for an office-safe “every day” look.

Best of all? This shadow will NOT move. At all. It doesn’t flake, crease, run down onto your cheeks, etc. You dab it on and you are good to go all day and night.

[ MORE INFO HERE ]

FENTY Beauty Eyeliner Trio in Papaya Mama, Lime Feva and Skinny Dip: Perhaps my favorite and most Summer-appropriate makeup pick comes courtesy of the fabulous and brilliant Rihanna and her beauty line. I mix and match these bright coral, lime and sea blue liners on the daily- and I’ve had people stop me to ask about them. They’re super pigmented, long-lasting- and match pretty much everything and anything you pair them with from your lips to your fingertips.

As much as I love Fall, I am going to be so sad when I eventually have to put these away and turn to more Autumnal shades for my lids- because these very well could be the best eyeliners I’ve ever purchased. Ever.

[ MORE INFO HERE ]

Kokie Cosmetics “Stay Dry” Waterproof Mascara: I don’t make it a habit to go swimming with a full-face of makeup on but honestly- you never know where a day is going to take you and I like to be prepared for anything- be it an impromptu dip in the pool/lake, a more-humid-than-expected day, or even a good cry over spilled ice cream (this actually happened.)

Kokie’s “Stay Dry” mascara does just that- protecting my lashes from the elements and keeping them long, curled and conditioned. This brand is definitely one of my favorite drug store finds.

[ MORE INFO HERE ]

Rimmel London “Stay Glossy” in “Ready To Flamingle”: Finally, Summer 2019 is all about bare lips with SPF-soaked balm or a quick sweep of a fun, pink/peach color. I’ve found that with this shade from Rimmel- which is long-lasting (without feeling sticky) and has just the right amount of sparkle to give my lips a fun pop of color for an evening out on the town.

This has been my go-to these past couple of months before I dip back into darker tones with matte finishes. And, of course- it’s an affordable drug store find!

[ MORE INFO HERE ]

And, as promised- I always show swatches of what I wear to give you all a better idea of how the colors look outside the tubes and packaging. I’m on the fair side, of course- so these shades may not look the same on everyone!

And that just about does it for me, everyone. I’ve got to get going on some afternoon/evening plans- but I’ll be back on Friday morning with a look at all of the fun from this past weekend- and even some of these past few days despite all the scrambling around and unexpected calamity!

If you’d like to share some of your own Summer 2019 makeup favorites or suggestions- feel free to drop me a line!

Until then- enjoy the rest of your Wednesday and have a great few days ahead!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: July 2019!

Good Morning and Happy Monday, y’all!

After a busy Saturday in Boston (my first time downtown in over two months!) with Indie617 and spending my Sunday catching up on errands I had fallen behind on while I was ill last week- I think it’s safe to say I’m back to full health and ready to return to my normal work and blogging schedule.

With only a couple of days of July left- and no, I can’t believe it’s over already either!- my attention turns to recapping the month and preparing for some serious “Summertime Bucket List” cramming in August. I have a lot of thoughts about July- which was filled with many ups, downs, surprises and heatwaves- but I’m reserving those for Wednesday morning’s scheduled “In a Nutshell” post- as is tradition!

Today I want to focus on some of my favorite things from July. Products, thrifty finds, entertainment, etc. As always, I start with the things I was able to capture on camera and work my way down the list from there.

So without further delay- let’s get started!

First things first, you’ll notice this month’s items are placed on what is undoubtedly the greatest welcome mat ever created. I decided to truly make my new apartment a *real* home by investing in a proper mat for my door- but not any old one would do. I needed something that perfectly captured my personality and the laid-back, silly vibe I want radiating through my home for anyone who comes to visit.

What better way to do that than by capturing the most infamous line in “The Room” and proudly displaying Tommy Wiseau’s face in the process? This mat, courtesy of TheMatadoorCo, arrived super quick and is high quality. I love it!

I’ve been trying to make time to read before bed each night (when I’m not out late, obviously) since I have so many unfinished books in my collection. I recently added one more, and I haven’t been able to put it down since it arrived via Amazon. Natalie Wood was/is one of my favorite actresses of all time- gone too soon- and this biography by Suzanne Finstad, which was a New York Times Best Seller, is fantastic.

Featuring insight from the people who knew Natalie best and never before seen photos- I’m learning even more about such an incredible and gifted woman whose death still remains a troubling mystery.

I can’t tan. Actually, let me correct that- I can tan, but it requires getting a painful and dangerous sunburn beforehand. And, growing up in the nineties and early 00s- I am not stranger to self-tanners. All of them have left me orange. ALL. OF. THEM.

I was late getting on board the Jergens’ “Natural Glow” train because I assumed it would result in the same, tangerine-tint on my legs and arms that wouldn’t wash off or fade for weeks. Desperate for just a little color- I gave it a shot earlier this month and I’ve been swearing by it ever since. Obviously, this cream works as a moisturizer so my skin stays soft and smooth- but after a couple of weeks of daily use- I have a natural sun-kissed look, too.

It’s nothing too dramatic. I definitely don’t look like I’ve been in Cancun all July- but I also don’t look *as* pasty as usual- and it’s much safer and way more comfortable than getting a sunburn and waiting for it to gradually turn!

Out of all the steps I take in the morning when I’m getting ready for my day- my least favorite is fussing with my very thick and very curly hair. I just like to throw some product in and let it air dry while I tend to more pressing things. However, a lot of products are hit or miss. Some work well, while others leave my hair looking and feeling stiff or crunchy (the worst!)

I recently stumbled on this butter cream product from Garnier– specifically for curly hair and for air drying- and I don’t think I will EVER use anything else other than this moving forward. Not only does it smell delicious- but it softens my curls, tames frizz without making my hair feel heavy and hard- and actually repairs my ends while it’s left in. I have gotten more compliments in the few weeks I’ve been using this than I ever did with other and often more expensive products that were aimed towards women/men with curly hair.

I wanted new sunglasses before Summer wrapped up, and I wanted them to be unique and bright. Being in my early thirties, however- makes finding such a thing at a bit more difficult- especially since I’m a working professional and would be seen entering/exiting my place of employment in them.

I can’t necessarily walk into my office with bright pink flower-shaped sunglasses without raising a few eyebrows.

Instead, I opted for these chic and modified heart-shaped frames from Sojos that give me the best of both worlds- color and a fun, interesting shape- but subdued enough where I can wear them to work or out and about without looking like I’m trying to dress like a teenager.

These come in a variety of shades- but I am absolutely sold on the candy apple red!

When my last tube of mascara got a little goopy in the July heat- I knew it was time for a replacement. While in my local pharmacy, I scoured the aisles for something lengthening, long-lasting and waterproof (a must-have in New Engand humidity.) I spotted the striped packaging for Kokie’s “Stay Dry” black mascara and was immediately intrigued.

I ended up buying a tube, and it has not let me down since. The mascara softens, lengthens and thickens my lashes without making them look too fake or clumped together- and the formula has outlasted sweat, humidity, lake water and unfortunately a few unexpected tears as well.

Best of all? It’s only $7.00 a tube- so I think it’s safe to say this is my new go-to Summertime mascara.

And that just about does it for my photogenic favorites- but a couple of other things made the list, too!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

“The Lion King” – With a recent string of childhood movie re-makes and re-imaginations (and more scheduled to come)– this CGI re-telling of what is undoubtedly one of Disney’s most beloved, celebrated, and possibly traumatic children’s movies ever made was surprisingly really, really good.

The effects were breathtaking, but it was the excellent choice of voice actors that really made this one worth the watch for me- particularly Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner as Timon and Pumbaa. I was actually laughing out loud in the theater whenever you could hear them on screen. It was perfect.

– MISCELLANEOUS –

Starbucks’ S’mores Frappuccino – AKA, the only thing that helped my throat while I was sick. They’re a limited edition Summertime drink- so be sure to grab one before they start rolling out the Fall beverages in early-to-mid September if you haven’t done so already!

And that just about does it for me today, guys. Like I said earlier- I’ll have my full recap of July up and running this coming Wednesday before we swan dive into August. This month was a doozy.

As always, if you want to share some of your favorite things from this past month- feel free to drop me a line!

Enjoy your Monday and here’s hoping it’s an easy start to the work week ahead. Cheers!

xx

– Ashley –