Favorites: February 2019!

Good Morning and Happy Tuesday, everyone!

It’s a short posting week for me- both because of how busy my schedule is over the next couple of days and also because of the way the last day of the month and the first day of March falls. Before I jump into Daylight Savings Time, Saint Patrick’s Day, and the beginning of Spring- I wanted to share a few of my favorite things from February- including some skin care, makeup, and a book I have not been able to put down since I started reading it about a week or so ago!

My full re-cap of the month will be up on Thursday- but until then- here’s my Favorites from February 2019!

And, as usual- the other odds and ends that I couldn’t quite capture with a camera will follow the photos and details below.

Every few months, when I’m running low on body wash and lotions- I like to stop by Bath & Body Works to take advantage of their “Buy 3/Get 3 Free” sales (such a good deal!) and stock up. With Winter winding down and my bottles and containers of pumpkin and mint-scented body care nearly empty- I’ve got Spring and floral scents on my mind.

To leap into a new season and a new fragrance, I made my semi-annual trip earlier this month and picked up the newest addition to their collection- the ‘Rose’ body wash, lotion, and perfume mist. The scent, which is a lovely combination of rose, jasmine and musk- is sweet and light- not heavy and overpowering.

It’s perfect for this time of year and I look forward to using it every morning when I’m getting ready to start my day!

With an impending change in the seasons ahead- I’ll undoubtedly need to re-tweak my skin/hair care routine and products to stay ahead of the temperature and climate shifts here in New England. Until then, however- I’ve got to keep myself hydrated and protected against the still bitter cold that has remained strong and fierce where I live.

Lately I’ve been incorporating an extra step into my morning and evening skin care- this Vitamin C-loaded and lightweight ‘C.E.O. Glow’ serum from Sunday Riley. A couple of drops covers my entire face post-toning and pre-moisturizer- and the result is a softer, smoother, noticeably brighter complexion.

My skin feels amazing after I apply this stuff- and since I began using it earlier this month- I’ve noticed that some darker spots that typically pop up during PMS vanished in a matter of days and haven’t been back since. Consider me a lifelong fan!

With February being the month of all things Valentine’s Day, it should come as no surprise that I turned to a lot of pinks and reds with my makeup, fashion and accessories choices over the past few weeks. Two of my favorites- for my lips and my nails, respectively- were bright, fun- and got a lot of compliments.

First, I looked no further for a bold, neon pink lip than Fenty’s Stunna Lip Paint in their latest shade, “Unlocked”. Super pigmented, non-drying, and ultra long-lasting (my lips stay slightly tinted for a day or so after I take this off with makeup remover- that’s how strong it is!)– this liquid-to-matte lipstick definitely turns heads and had me feeling a bit more romantic each time I wore it.

Not to be outdone, I relied on NCLA’s red/pink polish in “Call My Agent” to get my digits through the month of February unscathed. I love this Vegan and cruelty-free cream polish- which adds so much color and shine to my nails without all the harmful chemicals.

Best of all? It’s pretty resilient, too-which means I don’t need to touch up my nails every couple of hours!

This absolutely adorable red beret with floral accents made an appearance on Blondie Birdie last week, and it is definitely one of my favorite accessories from this past month. I wear it everywhere- and will probably continue to do so right up until the moment Spring is here to stay.

The hat, a gift from a friend of mine, is just the right amount of vintage and cutesy charm to make me look like a starlett from the Classical Hollywood era whenever I have it on. It goes with everything, too- from wool coats to fancy sweaters to jeans and t-shirts on my more casual days.

I love the fit, the color, and the flowers that stand out along the side!

A show that made the ‘Favorites’ cut this month (which I’ll get to in just a moment) was inspired by the memoir and fascinating true life/true crime story I’ve been lowkey obsessed with for a while now. Fauna Hodel, granddaughter of the notorious George Hodel- a prominent physician and aristocrat in Los Angeles during the 30s and 40s who was thought to be the perpetrator behind the still unsolved ‘Black Dahlia’ murder- spent the first part of her life with an adoptive black family in Nevada. When she finds out who she really is- she sets off to find her real family- and uncovers the most INSANE secrets.

Honestly, the phrase “truth is stranger than fiction” has never been more appropriate than it is for Fauna and this book is one of the most heartbreaking things I’ve read.

And with that, my photogenic favorites are complete- but as they say in infomercials- wait! There’s a little bit more!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

‘I Am The Night’ – The TNT-based miniseries, which draws inspiration from Fauna Hodel’s memoirs- definitely strays from the book in terms of action, suspense, and additional characters- but the core story is still there and it’s beautifully shot, directed, and acted.

I love when Patty Jenkins and Chris Pine make magic together- and this series is no exception!

Okay, NOW my monthly “Favorites” post is completed!

A little later on this week- I’ll take a look back on February 2019 from start-to-finish (with some recent travel photos added in, as well!) but if you’d like to share some of your favorite things from this past month before then- I’d love to hear about them! Leave a comment or drop me a line!

See you all again on Thursday!

xx

– Ashley –

My Winter Makeup Routine!

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you all had a sensational weekend!

Every few months, as the seasons change- I like to check in and share my makeup collection/routine and the things I wear on my face almost-daily. I love to experiment with colors and trends, while still attempting to coordinate with my wardrobe and the weather.

Living in New England and having the luxury of four distinct seasons- that means I typically change things up with my clothing, my hair and my makeup every 3-4 months- and Winter is no exception!

This time of year, I stick to full coverage foundations and lighter, frostier shades of highlighters and eyeshadow since my skin is at it’s palest during the Winter months and it’s easy for me to look overdone with darker-than-necessary tones- but I let my boundary pushing side shine through when it comes to choosing brighter and bolder lip shades. It may look and feel like a frozen tundra outside on most days- but that doesn’t mean my entire face has to look that way, too! I need a pop of color here and there!

If you’d like to take a look at my past collections- here’s my SUMMER 2018 ROUTINE, and my FALL 2018 ROUTINE. You’ll see some returning favorites in this post, for sure- but there’s a few new things I’ve been making good use of, too!

Fenty Beauty PRO FILT’R Foundation: This is one returning favorite that is pretty much a must for me throughout the Winter. Fenty is one of the few brands that not only have foundations that match my skin tone perfectly- but also offer long-lasting and comfortable coverage at a reasonable price point.

This foundation in particular gives me a lovely, matte finish that covers any and all imperfections and makes contouring and adding subtle hints of color to my eyes and lips a lot easier than other foundations that leave behind shine or aren’t full-coverage. Rihanna saves the day yet again!

[ MORE INFO HERE ]

Milani Cosmetics Strobelight Insant Glow Powder in “Afterglow”: When it comes to highlighting/contouring in the Winter- I try to stay away from anything too bronze, too pink, or too peachy. Again, I’m super pale this time of year (and any time of year, really-) so I lean more towards iridescent, pearl tones to make my cheeks, eyes, and bone structure to pop.

This lightweight, shimmery powder with build-able coverage gives me a beautiful Winter glow that makes me look vibrant and awake without reflecting like a disco ball. This is definitely going to be in my makeup bag again when next Winter rolls around, too!

[ MORE INFO HERE ]

Maybelline Expert Wear Eye Shadow Quad in “Charcoal Smokes”: Okay, so I have to be honest here and say that I don’t use *all* of the colors in this quad- as lovely as they are. The darkest shade, to be used for liner- hasn’t been touched. The light blue/silver, medium and dark grays, on the other hand- I use all the time to create a neutral, flattering smoky eye with a touch of iciness that acts as a sharp contrast to the darker tones in my wardrobe.

And whoever said that people with blue eyes shouldn’t wear blue eyeshadow were wrong, by the way. As is the case with anything- healthy moderation is key- and I believe the light blue in this easy to blend quad makes my eyes really stand out in a good way!

[ MORE INFO HERE ]

MILK Makeup’s KUSH High Volume Mascara: Another returning favorite from my collection and current mascara champion is this cannabis oil-infused, lengthening and thickening black mascara from MILK Makeup. I’ve already gushed at length about how fantastic this mascara is- from how it transforms the look of my lashes to how it simultaneously conditions and softens them as I’m wearing it.

It’s truly something you have to experience for yourself- so if you haven’t tried this mascara yet- get out there and do it right now!

[ MORE INFO HERE ]

Doucce Relentless Matte Lip Crayon in “Winterberry”: One of my year-round lip looks, practically trademarked at this point- is a bold, highly pigmented red lip. In the Spring and Summer- it’s glossy and shiny- but in the Fall and Winter I am all about mattes. Given that my skin and lips tend to be dryer in the colder months, of course- I turn to products that will not only make me look smoldering (even when it’s snowing out!) but also be comfortable and hydrating, too.

Doucce’s soft, rich red lip crayon does just that- with long-lasting wear and no feathering or “bleeding” as the day/evening wears on. I can eat, drink, kiss and be merry- and not have to worry about constant re-applications.

[ MORE INFO HERE ]

NYX Lip Lingerie in “Cabaret Show”: Of course, not every occasion calls for a sultry red lip- and when I’ve got a meeting, a conference, or a daytime event that requires me to present as a little more subtle- I wear this pigmented dusty rose shade as a liquid lipstick alternative.

While this color isn’t as bold as the red crayon, it’s still deep and rich and keeps me from looking washed out the way lighter shades or no lip color at all would this time of year. I’m a huge fan of NYX and their entire ‘Lip Lingerie’ line- and this is definitely one of my favorites.

[ MORE INFO HERE ]

And I think that’s it for my Winter Makeup Collection! Of course, there are a few things not pictured since I mix and match every other day- like concealers, eyeliners, etc. but what’s pictured above is the core of my seasonal assortment this year!

I’m off to get some work done at my office and try not to think about shoveling myself out of yet another snowstorm this week- but of course I’d always love to hear about your own Winter makeup routines/collections if you’d like to share ’em! Feel free to drop me a line, leave a comment, etc.

Here’s hoping for an easygoing week ahead!

xx

– Ashley –

Living Coral – Pantone 2019

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

I am admittedly off to a bit of a late start today, what with last night’s Super Bowl and all. A tense game and a pleasantly surprising Patriots’ victory usually calls for a groggy Monday- and now I’m getting ready to (attempt) to get some stuff done at my office today and figure out a way to carpool over to tomorrow’s Victory/Celebration Parade that’s been scheduled in the city!

Before I do that, though- I wanted to talk about incorporating colors into my Winter look. Not just any colors, of course- but Pantone’s 2019 ‘Color of The Year.’ Every year, Pantone announces what color they anticipate will be the big sensation in the following months. From electric purples, “Millennial” pinks, to rich greens- it’s always been fun finding ways to embrace the designated shade in makeup, fashion, accessories and home decor and seeing how other bloggers, designers and influencers are embracing it.

This year’s color, though- may be one of my favorites. 16-1546- or “Living Coral” as it’s being called- is a bright, Summery combination of pink/orange that was one of my favorite tones to wear long before it was thrust into the spotlight- and I’ve been predominantly featuring it in my makeup this Winter to brighten up what is otherwise a neutral and darker-shaded canvas in my clothing and accessories.

Why? Because it pops!

And I’d like to share how I manage to do it- for under $30.

There are certain makeup brands I love for sure- Fenty, Tarte, and Urban Decay come to mind almost immediately- but sometimes I feel people sleep on Sephora’s own line of cosmetics which are just as pigmented and just as high quality as other brands you’d find within the store for a fraction of the price. When I’m in need of color but don’t want to break the bank- I turn to them!

For example, their ‘Blush Me’ cream blushes go on smoothly, and are easy to blend with your fingertips to a powdery and long-lasting finish. This shade, ‘All Smiles’, is a $5 way to achieve a ‘Living Coral’ flush!

For my eyes- I keep it simple- usually sticking to one universally flattering shade to blend onto my lid and into my crease before I finish it off with a couple of swipes of lengthening and thickening mascara. Again, Sephora comes through in a clutch with their Colorful Eyeshadow Singles ($8) in ‘Cherry Blossom’- which sets as a beautiful pink/gold on my lids and is flattering to every skin tone.

I’m so in love with this color and I think it’s perfect for any season!

Finally, I finish things off with a bold lip (my specialty!) and to truly bring out my passion for ‘Living Coral’- I turn to Sephora yet again and their LipStories lipstick line. This shade, ‘a satin finish called ‘Hot in Havana’- may look like a super rich orange- but once applied and blotted out (or, if you prefer- finished with a clear or pink gloss)– is a beautiful coral color that pulls everything together and completes this Pantone-inspired look!

Best of all? The lipstick is also only $8 and is just as long-lasting, hydrating and pigmented as other brands that are triple that price!

When all is said and done- this ‘Living Coral’ look- splashed against the backdrop of my black, gray, brown and dark green wardrobe this time of year- makes me look bright, cheerful, and even maybe like I’m preparing to jet set off to a tropical destination to beat the Winter blues.

Of course, ‘Living Coral’ isn’t just limited to my makeup right now. I’ve also been sporting a bright and fun manicure courtesy of Butter London- who paired up with Pantone to develop a limited edition line of nail polishes inspired by this year’s ‘Color of The Year’. You can snag your own HERE if you’ve got room for a bit of a splurge this month!

But that’s it for me today, everyone! I’ll be back on Wednesday- post-parade and the Lunar New Year celebrations- to share one of my favorite Super Bowl recipes for those of you who are still in “GAME ON!” mode!

Enjoy your Monday, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: December 2018!

Good Morning and Happy “Hump Day”, everyone!

I hope that you all had a wonderful and stress-free holiday! Even though I’m presently back at work for the remainder of this week (yuck…) and still recovering from a Christmas feast-induced food coma- I can’t complain. I had a wonderful few days off that I spent with a lot of my family around New England. It was a long weekend filled with great conversation, incredible meals, thoughtful and generous gifts- and even a little bit of snow on Christmas Eve!

And now, with there being just a handful of days left in 2018- my attention is shifting to wrapping up this year’s reflective posts here on ‘Blondie Birdie’ and preparing for New Year’s Eve and my plans for 2019. It’s going to be a very busy- but very exciting- few days ahead!

Kicking things off in my “Summary of 2018” series- I thought I’d share some of my favorite things from December- ranging from products, belongings/mementos, TV specials- so on and so forth. By now, those of you who follow my blog should know that the photograph-able things will b featured first, followed by the miscellaneous odds and ends.

Let’s get right down to it!

This Prada bag- while not new by any means- was a treasured gift my father had given me before his death following a business trip he’d made to Las Vegas circa 2009/2010. Wanting me to step up my handbag game while simultaneously spoiling me-the bag (which still has it’s authenticity certificate stored within a pocket on the inside) was a total splurge.

However, the bag was lost during a renovation/move after my dad’s passing- and I thought for sure it would never be seen again. Needless to say, I was devastated.

So imagine my surprise when the bag was not only recovered- but returned to me- in mint condition earlier this month. I was so happy that I cried- and it hasn’t left my sight ever since. Isn’t it gorgeous? This is going to be my default Winter handbag for sure!

In the colder months, I’m going a bit darker and “smokier” with my hair color- adding touches of silver and deep ashy browns into my highlights and low-lights. I anticipate I’ll be a much brighter blonde in the Spring and Summer- but for now I’m really enjoying the sort of dark and mysterious vibe my current hair color gives me. It matches my mood and my wardrobe pretty perfectly when it’s cold out.

Of course, maintaining the “smoky” effect requires some work on my part in-between salon visits- so once a week I turn to this conditioner/toner from Kevin Murphy to keep my color looking fresh.

After washing my hair, and gently towel drying to soak up any excess water- I apply this clean-smelling conditioner from root to tip- and then put a shower cap on and let it sit for about 20-30 minutes while I use a face mask, or brush my teeth, or read a magazine. Then I rinse it out and style my curls as usual- and I’m good to go with vibrant, refreshed hair with sealed in color!

To go with my current ash hair color- I’ve also updated my makeup for the Winter season- turning to rich reds and deep berry tones on my lids and lips. I’ve recently fallen in love with the independent and cruelty-free beauty brand Beauty Bakerie– in particular their gel liners and Lip Whips- which are long-lasting, non-drying, and super pigmented while maintaining a reasonable price point.

This matte lip color (called ‘Raspberry Tiramisú’) and soft gel eyeliner (called ‘Belgian Biscotti Gelato’) are both bold purple/red shades that make my otherwise subtle and neutral outfits and makeup choices pop ferociously. I wear the color(s) out with friends, at dinner with my family- and when I’m feeling particularly brave- to work. And the best part is I get nothing but compliments on them!

If you’re curious what the lipstick looks like, by the way- I posted a picture HERE ON INSTAGRAM earlier this month!

And finally, the holidays means my car and my home consistently smell like Christmas cookies- even if I’m not baking or transporting baked goods. I carry this small, aerosol fragrance from Yankee Candle in my bag at all times to freshen up any space to make it smell like sugar cookies for at least a couple of hours.

Just a heads up- I’ve tried the Christmas tree/pine one in the past- and it is POTENT. It’s so strong. This one, while still powerful- is far less aggressive and won’t cause any sneezing or watery eyes the way the pine one did!

And now, with all the photogenic things out of the way- it’s time to talk about a few other things that made the final ‘Favorites’ list for this year!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

The ‘Schitt’s Creek’ Holiday Special – I’ve been a huge fan of Canadian comedy ‘Schitt’s Creek’ since it’s debut a few years ago, but this month saw their first holiday special take place- and my God, was it a masterpiece. The show is such a perfect combination of comedy gold and heartwarming moments- and if that isn’t enough for you to want to tune in- Catherine O’Hara is a GODDESS in it.

The past seasons are presently on Netflix- and I urge everyone to catch up ASAP before the new one starts in January!

And as far as the holiday special? It’s going to be a new tradition to watch in my family every Christmas season.

– MISCELLANEOUS –

Paintbox Theatre – Paintbox has made my “Favorites” list in the past, specifically during their Summer program- but they’re on here again following my recent visit to their annual Holiday Show. I cannot say enough good things about this company- who encourage compassion, literacy, inclusiveness and curiosity among children in the Pioneer Valley. I’m excited to be working with them directly in 2019 since they are comprised entirely of dear friends and lovely human beings. It’s going to be a blast.

The Festive, Fighting Family Yule Log – When I have family over for the holidays, I typically throw on a generic Yule Log video on TV (and usually one that includes some classic Christmas music) to have some background noise and visuals going on during dinner, gift exchanges or conversations- until a friend linked me to THIS ONE a little earlier this month. The 30 minute video features the crackling yule log and music, of course- but peppered in between songs are pre-scripted but VERY realistic familial arguments performed by voice actors.

For those of you who might be away from home during the holidays and miss observing any family dysfunction- you’ll love it.

I think that’s it for my December Favorites, everyone! It was a laid-back month with a few surprises and a couple of new finds I’ve been loving and using regularly leading up to and through Christmas.

But for now, I’ve got to get caught up on any e-mails or voicemails I received over the holiday break, and try to get a handle on my caseload for the remainder of this short work week. If you have any favorites from this past month you’d like to share- feel free to drop me a line!

Have a great Wednesday, everyone! I’ll be back on Friday!

xx

– Ashley –

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 –