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: 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: June 2017!

We’re almost near the end of the month, and one of my posting traditions back at Legally Redhead was to share the items/products/miscellaneous things that I had discovered and/or otherwise enjoyed over the previous weeks. Most Vloggers call this their “Hits & Misses” list, or just “Favorite Things”- but I don’t typically upload anything to YouTube apart from the sporadic concert clips now and then- so I just photograph and/or categorize them there!

A good portion of June was spent at various beaches around New England- typically on the weekends or afternoons off from work- so a lot of the items (particularly cosmetics and hair care!) that I got plenty of use out of this past month were surf and sun-appropriate.

Let’s take a look at those before I dive into some of the other random things I’ve been loving lately!

Sun Bum is a brand I discovered through my favorite surf shop in New Hampshire a couple of years ago- and I always make it a point to stock up whenever I’m in the area and pop by for a visit. Not only are the company’s collection of SPFs, tanning oils and hair sprays/protectors are not only super effective for anyone and everyone planning on catching some rays- but they all smell like a delicious combination of bananas and coconuts, too. If that doesn’t get you into a tropical state of mind- I don’t know what will!

Lately I’ve been utilizing two of their products more than usual- their after-sun cooling lotion, which keeps my skin hydrated and smooth after I’ve been in the salt water all afternoon- and their leave-in conditioner spray (infused with Argan Oil and sunflower seed oil). The spray has been a lifesaver when it comes to preventing my hair from getting dried out or damaged in these scorching Summer temperatures!

I’ve also been coveting those healthy, beachy, “spent all day surfing” waves (even when I’m at work!) so I’ve been turning to Not Your Mother’s Texturizing Hair Cream after my showers in the morning to smooth away frizz and define the shape of my curls a little more. This cream feels like a paste on contact, but once it’s spread evenly in the hands and fingers it glides through damp hair easily and dries quickly. The result are mattified, natural-looking waves- no salt water needed!

I recently wrote about my experience with introducing Glow Recipe’s Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask into my regimen- and I’ve continued to maintain amazing results with it. This was definitely a stand-out product for me in June, and I still have so much of it left that I know I’m going to be using it throughout July, August- and maybe have enough of it for September, too!

And we all know how much I love spoiling myself with new clothes/accessories/shoes at Primark in Downtown Crossing- but I was unaware that they make incredibly efficient and surprisingly low-priced cosmetics, too. One of my favorite finds in the month of June was this sparkly, slightly golden-hued bronzing oil for the face & body. I like to mix this in with my moisturizers and body creams before applying liberally to give myself an extra boost of hydration and a natural-looking sun-kissed glow, too. For someone as pale as I am- this is a big deal!

Pssst- it’s only $4.50, too!

I honestly don’t know how I got on without spray versions of sunscreen when I was younger. They are just SO much easier to use than traditional lotions/sticks/etc. You just spray them all over, give yourself a quick pat-down to make sure everything is covered- and boom- you can enjoy your time in the sun until it’s time to reapply. This SPF50 formula from Top Care was inexpensive and is currently nestled in my beach tote for whenever I venture outdoors for any great length of time.

The formula isn’t sticky or greasy- and dries clear- which is important when you own an all black bikini like I do and don’t the fabric to get ruined or discolored!

In the Summer, I really like my lips to pop (okay, so that’s during every season, but-) and another favorite-find from Primark was this screaming neon pink lipstick/lip gloss combo from the company’s Havana-inspired seasonal collection. At $3 a tube, I wasn’t sure what to expect- but the color is so rich, so pigmented, and so long-lasting that it could easily be the best $3 I’ve ever spent anywhere.

I’m head over heels in love with the color and the creamy, non-drying formula!

One last item from Primark- I swear. I couldn’t resist snatching up these pink and gold oversized cat-eye sunglasses for my recent beach excursion with my friends this past weekend (pictures will be up shortly!) These shades seem to fit the shape my face really well and the colors of the lenses combined with the subtle sparkle of the frames are DAZZLING in the sunshine. You can see a couple of shots of the shades HERE and HERE through my Instagram.

I seriously just feel cooler than cool whenever I have these on- which has been all the time lately!

Okay, hear me out- I know that canned wine sounds a little tacky and more than a bit gross- but most of the beaches around here have some pretty strict “no glass bottles” policies (completely understandable, of course. Nobody wants to step on broken glass while they’re barefoot in the sand!) so when I want to get my rosé wine on while I sprawl out on my towel under my umbrella- my options are a little but limited.

Fortunately, though- Underwood’s canned wines are actually really, really good and well-made, you guys. These have been awesome to have stored in a cooler when I’m on the shore with my friends because they’re convenient and taste delicious (and aren’t overpriced like some bottles can be!)

I’m actually incorporating some into an upcoming Summer drink recipe I’m making soon- so keep an eye out!

I think that’s everything that I could photograph easily- but there’s still a few other things that made my list of favorites, too!

– MUSIC/MOVIES –

The Killers – “The Man” Who would have thought that one single from a yet-to-be-released album would be my most-played track this month? Fusing a bit of Bowie with a little bit of Queen- my favorite band has returned with a bold, confident and swagger-filled anthem for the ages. With lyrics like “They kiss on the ring/I carry the crown/Nothing can break-nothing can break me down”- it’s really difficult NOT to get pumped up while listening to this. I’m so excited for the new album (and the tour that will undoubtedly follow!)

Lorde – “Melodrama” – Speaking of anthems for the ages- Lorde is back with a new album this month and it’s SO good! I’ve been jamming out to this one while I’m shuttling back and forth between the office and it just puts me in such a good mood. My favorite track varies day-to-day, but right now I’m loving “Homemade Dynamite” the best. Check back with me in a few days and I’m sure it will have changed again!

– TECH/APPS –

“Ice-Cream, Please!” – What if I told you there was an app, similar to Uber, but instead of hailing affordable transportation to your destination- it hailed nearby ice cream trucks to come to your location so you can indulge your creamsicle craving, instead? Yes- it’s a real thing. Yes- it works. Yes- it’s amazing- and yes- the app is free! I’ve been having an absolute blast with this one- especially when I get the opportunity to blow my friend’s minds by having an ice cream truck roll up to us when we’re out at any given point.

This one is gonna’ save your Summer, everyone. Mark my words!

________________________________

And I think that’s pretty much it for my June 2017 favorites! Not a bad compilation of things, if I do say so myself!

If you have any favorites from June/recommendations for July that you’d like to share- feel free to drop me a line!

xx

– Ashley –

Beauty Report: Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask

While many of my friends are typically the first ones to try out new technology or discover up and coming bars/restaurants to introduce the rest of us to- I’m almost always the first one trying and reviewing whatever new makeup/skin care/hair care/cosmetics are hitting the market and creating a buzz among consumers and bloggers alike. It’s a pretty great trade-off of information, I have to admit. My friends will tell me where to get the latest cocktail craze popping up in filtered Instagram posts across the city- and I’ll tell them what dry shampoo is going to save their scalp this Summer or what sunscreen is going to give them the best coverage for the cheapest price.

Of course, sometimes the hottest new products sell out- and keep selling out- before I can get my hands on them as quickly as I’d like- so when Glow Recipe’s coveted Watermelon Sleeping Mask was FINALLY restocked a couple of weeks ago- I was so excited to snag a jar of it to see if all the hype I’d been reading and hearing about was worth the $45 price tag.

Glow Recipe, a company that promotes natural and harsh-free skincare products inspired by trends in the Korean cosmetics market- have been consistently selling out of their most Summery-scented product yet- this nighttime repair mask/peel that boasted being able to refresh and rejuvenate my skin while I slept. What’s in it, you may ask? According to Glow Recipe’s website:

“This pillow-proof formula acts as a radiance-boosting hybrid hydrator, formulated with soothing, amino-acid rich Watermelon Extract, hydrating Hyaluronic Acid, and pore refining AHAs that work while you sleep to gently exfoliate and clarify.”

The mask can also be used as a 10-minute hydration booster when applied (in a thicker consistency) to troubled areas and then rinsed off after waiting 10-15 minutes.

I’ve used a few different Korean beauty products in the past that have yielded some amazing results- so I couldn’t wait to give this pretty pink jar a go.

The first thing I noticed about this mask, apart from it’s adorable packaging- was that it smelled exactly like Watermelon Jolly Ranchers candies (my favorite!) and therefore I had to resist the urge to taste test this, too. Believe me- it was tempting!

The second thing I noticed was that the mask’s consistency was much thinner than I expected and was a lot easier to apply as a result. At first glance, the gel-like substance resembled Clinique’s Moisture Surge Moisturizer– but once I used the small, plastic spatula included with the mask to apply it to cleansed and gently dried skin- it spread over my face and absorbed way faster than the Clinique moisturizer has ever done- which means I don’t need to use as much to make sure my skin is covered. Considering the amount of this stuff packed into the 2.7 ounce glass jar- I’m more than getting my money’s worth! This product is going to last me months since I don’t need that much at all each night.

Once applied, there was no sticky or greasy residue. My skin did have a bit of a sheen to it- but it didn’t feel oily or slick. It felt soft to the touch and, like promised, none of the mask came off on my pillow or my sheets while I slept.

Each morning that I woke up after applying this mask- I noticed that the mask had, in fact, peeled- and some trace flakes were left behind along my T-Zone and jawline (but rinsed off easily!) Underneath the dried pieces of mask, my skin looked brighter and felt a lot softer. Minor imperfections and darkened spots from past breakouts eventually started to fade more and more with continuous usage, too!

My one warning is that after the first couple of uses- some blemishes that were hiding out under the surface of my skin came to a head in the form of sporadic whiteheads. I’ve read this is a fairly common reaction with masks/peels and they were easy enough to buff away with my electronic cleansing brush in the mornings- but it’s worth mentioning to those who may panic at the first sight of any type of acne. It goes away the more you use the mask! Mine cleared up in just a couple of short days and hasn’t been back since!

VERDICT: I can absolutely see why this mask sells out as often and as quickly as it does- because it actually works really, really well! After the initial aforementioned minor breakout shock wore off and I continued using the mask consistently (maybe even a little borderline religiously!)– it didn’t take long at all for my skin to look and feel more radiant, softer, smoother, clearer and brighter. A little of this formula goes a long way so there’s really no possible chance you could waste this or run out of it quickly if it’s used correctly and sparingly as directed.

And I mentioned it before but it’s definitely worth repeating- it smells delicious! It’s not very often I get to put something that smells like fruit-infused candy on my face so I’m more than a little thrilled when it happens!

You can pick up Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask at their official website, as well as Sephora– and be sure to add yourself to their mailing list for alerts of when they’re back in stock in case they’re sold out!

Have you used the Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask? Do you know of something comparable? Is there something similar that you prefer, instead? I’d love to hear about it!

xx

– Ashley –