Favorites: December 2019!

Good Morning and Happy Day-After-Christmas, everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. I know we’re all probably feeling a bit tired and sluggish today (I know I am- and I’m back at work this morning!) but it’s officially the final countdown to New Year’s so I have shifted gears from tree lightings and gift wrapping to preparing to bid farewell to 2019 and planning for a brand new decade ahead.

Tomorrow morning I’m going to be sharing my Top 10 photos from 2019- things I’ve snapped pictures of over the past twelve months during my travels and (mis)adventures- before I summarize the year in it’s entirety early next week.

Before that, though- I thought I’d share some of my favorite things from December. It’s a small compilation this month, since I’ve been so over-the-top busy these past few weeks- but makeup lovers everywhere should enjoy it nonetheless!

Let’s take a look before I make it through my day with my eyes half closed, shall we?

Around the holidays, I only demand one simple thing from my eye makeup- be as sparkly as possible. I want my eyes to be bright and festive to match the Christmas scenery around me. This year, on a budget so I could guarantee my loved ones would have fantastic gifts to look forward to- I turned to Physician’s Formula’s “Shimmer Strips” Palettes.

There are five variations of this $12 palette to meet any holiday need- but I have been loving the simple rosy/nude version- which includes darker, smoky tones- white and gold tones for highlighting- and pretty pink/peach shades that are work/office-friendly. The shadows are buttery smooth and don’t crease or crinkle as the days wear on.

With my Dior mascara running a little low and my lashes in need of some TLC- I found a drugstore dupe that lengthens, thickens, and conditions my eyelashes for a fraction of the price. Doll Face Makeup’s Fast-Faux Extreme Volume Mascara gives me the coveted “falsies” look without the mess or the hassle. It doesn’t clump or flake off- and it’s easy enough to remove at the end of the day without a ton of tugging and struggle.

You can see the mascara in action in my recent selfies I’ve snapped over on my social media! There’s definitely a difference!

And finally, for my lips this month- I wanted to give my trademark “classic red lip” look a bit of a festive and metallic makeover. Doll Face was also able to assist me with this transition, as well- with their Matte-nificent Matte Metallic Liquid Lip Color in the shade “Mercury.”

Smooth and long-lasting, this lip gloss has quickly become one of my all-time favorites for it’s longevity and pigmentation. Best of all? It’s only $10- and the formula comes in a variety of different shades to carry me through the seasons, as well.

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And that just about does it for my final, albeit brief- Favorites breakdown of 2019. Short and sweet- much like my current holiday break! I’m off to try and get a bit of work done while it’s quiet and cozy here at my home office.

Here’s wishing you all a peaceful and relaxing day ahead- and I’ll be back tomorrow to start the annual rewind of the past year that was!

xx

– Ashley –

OOTD: Elf on the Shelf…

Good Morning and Happy Thursday, everyone!

This week and throughout this weekend is jam packed with holiday parties and get togethers with family and friends- including dinners, gift exchanges, etc. Tomorrow, as is tradition- is my office’s “Ugly Holiday Sweater Day”- and although I’ve had some trusted favorites to fall back on in the past, this year I’ve got a new contender in my closet to show off!

This over-sized sweater, a gift from Troy in preparation for this year’s holiday cards- is covered in sequins, bells, different colors and fuzzy stuff- and I absolutely love it. From the peppermint striped sleeves and buttons to the sparkly collar to the illusion of it being belted. It’s adorable and hideous all at once.

I’ve worn this a couple of times since receiving it- and it’s easy to dress up or down. My go-to is a pair of skinny jeans, my knee-high boots and a green velvet Santa hat (with tiny rhinestones sewn into the white cotton- which you may not be able to see in the photos!)

Best of all- the sweater is surprisingly comfortable- not itchy or smothering at all.

I’m gonna’ wear this around this time next year, too.

Next week on the blog I’ll be sharing my favorite things from December 2019, and revisiting my top favorite photos from this past year, as well. I’ll certainly be posting before Christmas Day- so here’s to a fun, safe, stress-free weekend ahead!

Be good to each other out there, everybody!

xx

– Ashley –

“Giving The Tree a Trim…”

Good Morning and Happy (Snowy) Tuesday, everyone!

Over the next couple of weeks, with the holidays and snowstorms and general end-of-the-year life and work craziness- the posting schedule on “Blondie Birdie” will be a little different. Instead of my usual Monday, Wednesday, and Friday blog offerings- I’ll be keeping things to a minimum on Tuesdays and Thursdays so I don’t burn myself out by Christmas. I’m sure you all understand- since there’s typically just so much happening this time of year. It can be easy to get overwhelmed!

With just a couple of things left on my Holiday shopping list to get over the next few days- I’ve been trying to focus on the things that truly matter, i.e. spending time with family and friends when I can. They’re all just as busy with shopping, wrapping, decorating and preparations for Christmas and New Year’s as I am- so it’s nice to be able to take a few hours out to enjoy one another’s company and catch up.

That was the case this past weekend when the “Fab 4” reunited. My longtime/childhood friends Sean, Stef and Holly came out to my neck of the woods on Sunday afternoon/evening to have a carefree visit to Yankee Candle’s main store in Deerfield before it was time to grab some food and play some board games when our party eventually worked our way back to Stef’s new house in Barre (not terribly far from me these days!)

It was a really nice time, and being able to make post-holiday plans for early 2020 with my friends gives me even more to look forward to. We always celebrate Friendsgiving AFTER the New Year to avoid losing our minds- so we have a date, a time and place for January- and I couldn’t be more excited!

But as I write this, I’m presently getting buried under another snowstorm sweeping across New England- but work still needs to be done before I can enjoy it- so I’m off to shovel my way to my office!

Stay dry, warm and safe out there, everybody!

xx

– Ashley –

Festive Foodie: Gingerbread Snaps with Cream Cheese Filling

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone!

I’m in a lovely mood. Not only did I take today off from work to prepare for tonight’s Boston Music Awards (and got to sleep in a little later than usual in the process,) but last night I had the most fun taking ugly Christmas sweater photos with my favorite person in the world for my 2019 holiday cards- and somehow my little town successfully managed to dodge an impending overnight snowstorm- getting by with only a little bit of rain in the early morning hours today!

So while I sit here, sipping a coffee and planning on doing some errands and Christmas shopping this morning and early afternoon before it’s time to make my way into Boston- I thought I’d share a baking endeavor I undertook earlier this week when a craving for gingerbread hit me.

Despite not being 95 years old, I actually love ginger snap cookies- and I knew of a way to make them a bit more festive for this time of year.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

FOR THE COOKIES:

  • 2⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup molasses

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  2. In a medium bowl sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a large bowl beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla and molasses.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the flour mixture about ½ at a time.
  5. Form the dough into balls about 2 tablespoons in size. Place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Press the dough balls flat to increase crispiness.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the tops are set.
  7. In a large bowl beat the butter and cream cheese together using an electric mixer.
  8. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the powdered sugar about ½ – 1 cup at a time until you’ve mixed in 2 cups.
  9. Beat in the cream 1 tablespoon at a time, alternating with a little extra powdered sugar until the desired sweetness and consistency.
  10. Frost the cooled cookies using a flat knife and apply another flattened cookie on top to form the sandwich shape.

From there, I usually stick the completed cookies in the refrigerator for an hour or so to harden up the cream cheese and make them prime for dunking in cocoa- but you can indulge however you’d like!

I’m off to get some errands done and make myself look presentable for tonight- but I’ll be back on Friday morning with more festive content as the holidays creep closer and closer!

Wish Indie617 luck for the BMAs- and enjoy your “Hump Day,” everybody!

xx

– Ashley –

Digging Out of The Snow…

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

While I had wanted to get a post up, as usually scheduled, this past Wednesday- the Winter storm that began whipping though New England on Sunday night had other plans for me. With over two feet of snow accumulated where I live and occasional power outages due to strong winds- my primary focus became staying warm and safe until it was calm enough outside to shovel my way back into the world on Wednesday afternoon.

The storm marked the first significant one of the 2019/2020 Winter season- and while snow is always a welcomed guest throughout December (we’re dreaming of white Christmases and all)– by February I know I’m going to dread the sight of it. It’s like clockwork. It happens every year.

I digress. During a lull in the storm on Monday afternoon- I went for a little hike not far from my office to snap some photos of the aftermath. Little did I know another foot of powder was on it’s way- so I managed to get some nice shots before then.

On top of the snow, a lot of my friends and family have been battling some weird cold/flu that’s been spreading like wildfire- so needless to say I’ve been proactive with keeping myself rested, hydrated, and well until it blows over. The last thing I need during the busiest time of the year is to get taken down by a sore throat or a stuffy nose!

Yesterday, in-between glasses of orange juice and Vitamin C gummies- I headed out to pick up some things in order to finally get around to decorating my apartment for the holidays. November marked six months living in Greenfield- and this Christmas will be the first in my new place!

I picked up some small decor to place around my kitchen and living room areas- and while I thought a $15 artificial, pre-lit tree was the perfect addition to my place- it ended up looking more like something from “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” So comically odd looking. See for yourselves!

Next week on “Blondie Birdie” I’m going to have a recipe for a festive family favorite (say that three times fast,) a peek at my latest ugly Christmas sweater- and a recap of this coming Sunday’s Patriots/Chiefs game since I’ll actually be in attendance! I’m so looking forward to tailgating with friends- despite the cold!

Here’s wishing you all a warm, safe and productive weekend ahead. Be good to each other out there! ‘Tis the season, after all!

xx

– Ashley –