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 –

POPSUGAR Must Have Box Review: December 2017

Good Morning, everyone! I hope you’re all surviving your week and are hanging in there until this coming weekend arrives. Today marks the first day of my pre-Christmas Vacation-Vacation, so I’ll be out and about running errands and finishing up the last of my holiday shopping and gift-wrapping today. I’m pretty excited to get it done!

Before I head off, though- I wanted to share what was in my recently received POPSUGAR “Must Have” Box- which is actually going to be my last box from the company for a while. That’s not to say I don’t simply adore POPSUGAR or enjoy everything they send me- but in an effort to save some money and make more room around my place for things as part of a resolution I’ve developed for 2018- I am briefly halting my subscription following this month’s assortment of items.

Since this month’s box marked the final one not only for myself, but for 2017- I know POPSUGAR were going to go all out to make sure it was memorable.

This month’s themes/inspirations tied into the holiday season/New Year celebration, and included: COZY, GIVING, SPARKLING, TRADITIONS, WARMTH and CELEBRATE.

Alright- let’s see what I got!

Winter is the time of year where I have to show my skin a little extra TLC to keep it from getting dried out when the temperatures drop- and part of that process is making sure I exfoliate regularly. That being said, when I saw this pretty big container of body scrub by LALICIOUS in this month’s “Must Have” Box- I was ecstatic.

Not only is this stuff not harsh at all against my skin (it’s pretty gentle- but effective!)— but it makes me smell like a freshly baked sugar cookie and I am ALL about that this time of year!

I’m kind of a Pier 1 junkie- and most of my home decor is proof of that- but even I was unaware that the company made cocktail-inspired candles. It’s a pretty pleasant surprise- especially since the Moscow Mule one I received in this month’s collection of items is both eerily spot-on in terms of fragrance (and mouthwatering!) but is also super long-lasting and pretty potent.

Now to collect them all…

Out of all the items I received from POPSUGAR this month, this gorgeous gold and crystal bar necklace from Chloe + Isabel might be my favorite. It’s so sparkly, elegant, eye-catching and fun to wear- and it ties together even the most simple or subtle of ensembles.

I have a feeling I’m going to be getting a lot of wear out of this during the coming holiday parties and New Year’s Eve!

No POPSUGAR box is complete without something I can gift to others- and in this month’s “Must Have” Box- I knew my cousin (who just moved into her very first apartment) would get a kick out of this set of four sparkly acrylic coasters from BaubleBar– which resemble a party dress I wore to New York City a few years ago- as well as about several nail polish shades I still actively wear today.

I digress- these are cute and fun and I know she’s going to make good use of them when she has her friends from her sorority over!

I just need to start this off by saying that this thin, sparkly scarf by TILO is priced at $98. Yes, you read that right. $98. I was almost worried to wear it at first for fear it would get snagged on something or have something spilled on it- but once I put it on I couldn’t take it off because it looked and felt so lovely.

I think one of my favorite things about this scarf, apart from the subtle little rhinestones sewn in throughout it- is that the colors match nearly everything in my wardrobe. I can wear this around my neck with any outfit and it will still look chic and festive. I’m in love!

How cute is this set of “FOR YOU” universal gift tags from ASHKAHN? This year I’m really trying to be unique and special with my gift-wrapping instead of just using the same patterned paper and ribbons/bows for everyone- and I thought these tags would be a nice touch to really help my packages stand out when I make the rounds on Christmas Eve to drop off presents for my family and friends!

Snack time! I split this sugar-cookie flavored chocolate bar from Wild Ophelia right away after I’d spotted it- and it was 100% worth the indulgence. Made with natural ingredients, these gluten-free treats taste as good as the packaging looks- and the company who manufactures them focus their profits on providing grants for girls/women with entrepreneurial aspirations.

Delicious chocolate AND they help women excel? I think I’ve found a new favorite candy company.

And finally- some digital loot (and I’ve blocked out the code on one of them!) The first, a $10 off of any purchase from Pier 1 in-store/online voucher, and the second- a 20% voucher for LALICIOUS.

I have a feeling I’ll be stocking up on body scrub and candles over the next few days!

This was another hit from POPSUGAR, and probably one of the best boxes I’ve seen since I first subscribed to the service a few years ago to perfectly close out the year. I’m going to miss POPSUGAR’s monthly surprises- and I hope to re-subscribe someday soon- but I had a great run and I highly recommend it to anyone who can fit it into their budget!

And with that all being shared- I’m off to buy Christmas presents! Have a great day, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

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 –

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 –