OOTD: Witchy Woman

I’ve owned this little black, back-less dress since high school- where I first wore it to a Honor Society dinner and caused quite a commotion when some of the teachers in attendance (and a few of my more conservative peers) thought that the cut of it was a little too risque for a formal event. At the time- I was offered a cardigan to cover up with.

It still fits perfectly, but since then- I typically only wear this out and about around Halloween- since it has a bit of a “witchy” vibe to it. Sure, a lot of it may be because of the way that I dress it up with black leggings/tights, knee-high boots, my go-to wide-brimmed hat and a piece of spooky statement jewelry- but I think the way the fitted bodice transforms into layers of tulle cut at different lengths has something to do with it, too. There’s just something about the silhouette this gives me that makes me feel like I just stepped out of a scene from “The Craft”.

And I always show off my back in it. No more cardigans for me!

For not having usual straps (the ones on this little number wrap around my shoulders at the most peculiar angle and in the oddest way)– this dress is still pretty comfortable. It’s been warm and humid outside in recent weeks- so it was nice to have something so light and breezy to walk around in, like during this past weekend while I was out with some friends and taking some photographs up at my favorite haunt- pun intended- Medfield State Hospital. The eerie scenery had me feeling especially festive.

And for that aforementioned spooky statement jewelry? I knew right away I wanted to wear my blackened steel Edgar Allan Poe pendant necklace from Fable and Fury– a gift from years ago that I still absolutely love and wear all the time throughout the month of October. Paired with a oxblood red lipstick and a smoldering smoky eye? You’ve got a bewitching look that can be pulled off effortlessly during post-office cocktails AND that Halloween party you were invited to and forgot about until the last possible second.

I’m so ready to rock this again this coming weekend- but I’ve got a few more tricks (and treats) in my closet that I’m just DYING to share, too!

Okay, I’ll stop with the bad Halloween puns. I promise.

We’re almost near the weekend, everyone! Hang in there!

xx

– Ashley –

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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 –

OOTD: Woodland Creature

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

When it comes to style and comfort in the Fall- one of my go-to ensembles is typically a pair of flattering skinny jeans, a nice and loose-fitting sweater, and sturdy boots (which I actually posted about not that long ago!) but sometimes- like this past weekend, for example- I need to put something together that can beat both the leftover soaring Summer temperatures that are still lingering around here while simultaneously allowing me to combat the rain that has traveled my way from this most recent round of hurricanes and tropical storms that made their way up the coast.

Enter this lightweight and breezy olive green mini-dress I picked up around this time last year while preparing for a week-long stay that split my time between Las Vegas and San Diego. The fabric it’s made from- ridiculously soft and wrinkle-proof- helps me stay warm (but not too warm) while my trusty knee-high, faux-leather brown boots keep my feet dry when I’m stepping through puddles on my way into the office.

If it’s colder outside- I typically wear leggings with this outfit- but since it’s been unusually (and stifling) hot out these past few days- I’ve gone bare-legged. One of my co-workers who saw me in this last week told me that I looked like Link from “Legend of Zelda”- which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, right?

“It’s Dangerous to Go Alone! Take This!”

Regardless of whether or not I look like an elf on a mission- This is another Autumn-esque outfit I love to wear before it gets too cold outside for me to show much skin. It could be considered another transitional outfit between seasons- but it’s also easy enough to dress up or down year-round depending on the occasion it’s being worn for.

Not pictured? My brown saddlebag- which is pretty much glued to me at this point- but since I’ve shown it plenty of times across social media, I thought I could put it down for a few minutes while I posed for photos (it makes me look more like Link, anyway!)

xx

– Ashley –

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 –

OOTD: Summer-To-Fall Transition

Good Morning and TGIF! I took an earned personal day from work to give myself another long weekend to do whatever I please- and I plan on kicking things off this morning with a salted caramel mocha latte and a trip to Hampton Beach’s annual End-of-the-Summer Seafood Festival to eat half of my body weight in crab cakes and browse the sales racks for some bargains I can grab and store away for next bikini season (or for my next trip to Southern California!)

And speaking of Summer fashion- it’s time for that peculiar New England weather again. I’m talking about those first couple of weeks in September where the mornings are crisp and chilly and you leave your house bundled up in a sweater- but by noon the temperatures have skyrocketed and you’re succumbing to heat stroke.

The transition from a Summer-to-Fall wardrobe can be a bit tricky where I live- especially when it comes to choosing pieces that are versatile enough to keep me warm in the mornings but not overheating by the afternoons- and I think I’ve found a pretty basic but winning combination that manages to do both. This ensemble is one I wore around Vermont this past weekend when it was pouring outside- and I stayed completely comfortable.

I try to keep things as simple as possible when it comes to my day-to-day outfits- especially if I’m going to be wearing something all morning or afternoon at work and/or to plans immediately after I leave my office- so breathable fabrics this time of year are a lifesaver. I own a couple of different colored variations of this cotton, quarter-sleeved striped shirt I picked up at Old Navy during one of their last sales events (they have the most cozy tops, FYI!)– and I feel both the cut and the length compliment my figure nicely.

For my legs, I look no further than quality dark-colored skinny jeans or jeggings (AKA my second skin and the best invention of all time) with a knee-high pair of boots to get me through anything that comes my way this time of year- including a lot of rain- which is exactly what we’ve been seeing around here lately! I love these brown leather ones, which I’ve owned for years and are still going strong. The small heel on them gives my legs a more elongated look- but I can still walk in them for hours at a time without killing my feet.

And finally- I recently made the seasonal handbag switch from my see-through, water & sand-proof pink purse to this brown, faux-leather cross-body saddle bag with a fringe tassel that I had been obsessing over since I first laid eyes on it online and recently picked it up (also at Old Navy!) It holds all of the essentials, and so far- I haven’t lost anything at the bottom of it like I usually do- so I’m pretty happy with this purchase. This is going to get me through mid-to-late November until it’s time to break out my favorite Kate Spade bag for the Winter again!

With boot and sweater season upon us- I’m excited to share some of my other favorite outfits for the Fall in the coming weeks- but ones like this are my go-to when Summer is still fighting to stick around for a little while longer!

And now, I’m off to get an early start on my weekend! Have a good one, everybody. See you all next week!

xx

– Ashley –