Favorites: November 2019!

Good Morning and Happy (Black) Friday, everyone!

I had wanted to get this post up yesterday morning before making the journey to my family’s home back East for Thanksgiving- but as most of you know- the holidays can get pretty crazy. Blogging had to temporarily be put on the back burner so I could focus on retrieving a pre-ordered chocolate pie and packing up some presents to get on the road in time!

But I’ve since made it back to the Valley and slept in nice and late this morning to dream away the stuffing and mashed potatoes I over-indulged in last night- and avoid the Black Friday crowds in the early A.M. hours!

I’m going to be heading out in a little while to grab a much-needed coffee and try to get a jump on my holiday shopping- but before I do- I wanted to share some of my favorite things from this past month as we enter the final couple of days of November and the end of 2019 is officially upon us!

This month’s list is short and sweet- since a lot of my Fall favorites from September and October carried over into these past weeks as well- but some new things made the list that I’m excited to talk about!

Let’s take a look!

Earlier this month, I revisited my PS4 since colder/snowier weather is on the way and in the event I should be confined to my apartment- I’m going to need something to keep me entertained until the roads are clear (and there’s only so much Netflix a person can watch.) Troy, who appeared to be in the same mindset- surprised me with these wireless surround sound headphones from Turtle Beach a few weeks ago to take our online gaming to the next level.

They work awesome, and I’ve been having so much fun with late night GTA and “Resident Evil” sessions with some help from these. I haven’t tried them with a game that will be making an appearance a little later on in the post- but I should- since surround sound might help me understand the story a bit better!

To save myself time and money in the mornings before work, I’ve been living the K-Cup life. The problem is- sometimes they can taste really, really gross and you have to liven them up with some flavored creamer or sugar in order to get your caffeine fix without gagging.

I finally found a good (albeit limited time only!) creamer from International Delights that actually tastes like what it’s supposed to- French Toast!

As part of their Holiday 2019 flavors- I should really consider stocking up on this before it’s gone. It tastes really good, and just a splash of it in my coffee can make even the most stale K-Cup bearable.

One of my stops today- and probably not until much later on this evening- may be Kohl’s so that I can try and stock up on more of these knee-high wool socks- which have gotten me through the rainier, colder days this past November!

Thick without making my boots feel tight/uncomfortable, and high enough to wear over or under my jeans or leggings- these socks keep my legs and feet dry and warm regardless of how much time I spend outdoors. They’re super soft, too- which is always nice this time of year when my skin tends to get on the dry side.

Here’s hoping the Black Friday crowds left some for me!

As I prepare to decorate my apartment for the holidays- I’m also focused on making it a bit warmer and cozier for myself and guests who stop by when it’s frigid out. For myself when I go to bed- I want to be toasty and cozy- and I have been loving (and living in) these flannel sheets from Cuddl Duds throughout November.

With a very cute, cabin-inspired patchwork print- these sheets have made my bedroom look like a rustic little Christmastime getaway. I’m thinking I might try to stock up on more of these tonight, too!

And I think that’s it for the photogenic favorites- but I’ve got a few more things that made the list, too!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

Living the Hozier Life – Where October was all about Bon Iver and experiencing their Boston show from the front row- November was all about going on a mini-Hozier tour with people I adore and enjoying a few days off from work to celebrate good music, beautiful venues, and a weekend of firsts.

My VIP passes are proudly on display in my apartment right now.

– GAMES/TECH/APPS –

“Death Stranding” – Okay, so I have *no* idea what is even happening right now- but I love this game and I love listening to Mads Mikkelsen say “bee-bee” over and over. So, although I haven’t beaten it yet- I’m on the side of the fence of a very divided nation that thinks this is a pretty good, compelling, and odd video game to pass the time with!

And that just about does it for my November faves, everyone! Tomorrow morning on the blog I’ll have my full recap of this past month that was before it’s time to dive headfirst into Christmas, wrapping up this decade, and New Year’s Eve!

The next few weeks are going to be insanely busy- but fun and reflective- so I’m looking forward to a little downtime this coming weekend before we get into the thick of the seasonal spirit!

Before that, though- enjoy your Friday! Be safe out there- and more importantly- be good to one another!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: October 2019!

Good Evening, everyone! I hope you’ve all been having a wonderful day so far!

Tonight’s post is arriving a little late. I’ve said it before, I’m sure- but even the most carefully thought out plans or the strictest of schedules can get a bit delayed or botched up a bit when life throws us a curve ball. I had wanted to get this post up a little earlier today, as is my typical way of running “Blondie Birdie”- but a day filled with meetings, phone calls, and back-to-back commitments kept me a little preoccupied throughout the morning and early afternoon.

But, I’m here- and October is winding down (I can’t believe it either!) and although I’ll have my monthly recap up this coming Thursday morning- I promise! – I wanted to share a few of my favorite things from these past few weeks that have helped make my non-stop countdown to Halloween a bit more comfy, cozy and healthy!

That’s right, y’all! It’s a late night edition of “Favorites” for October 2019!

This month’s list isn’t particularly lengthy- but it’s a good one for sure. So, without wasting any more time- let’s take a look!

Back in 2016, a day before a departing flight to Las Vegas- I picked up a super cheap pair of moccasins to wear on board so I wouldn’t be uncomfortable and so that I could slip them on and off with ease while getting through the TSA checkpoints. They ended up being the most comfortable pair of shoes I’d ever owned- and I wore them constantly.

Earlier this year, they finally gave out after years of wear and tear- and I haven’t been able to replicate them since. This sherpa-lined pair, while a little bit bulkier- are still super comfortable and still look very cute with a pair of jeans and a flannel, or a pair of leggings with a long sweater. They’re perfect for the sunnier Fall days we’ve had where I don’t want to commit to boots but still want my feet to stay warm!

Although I try to eat healthy, work out regularly and follow a pretty hardcore skin regimen- sometimes it helps to have a little extra boost working on the inside to keep me looking and feeling as radiant as I’m striving for. Earlier this month, I started taking these daily skin-boosting vitamins from EVOLUTION_18 (by Bobbi Brown)– and I can say that my skin looks brighter, clearer, and smoother after only a few weeks.

Loaded with collagen and Vitamin C- this is my new miracle vitamin that I’m swearing by now and forever! My skin has never looked better- and that’s coming from someone who has tried pretty much every mask, cream, spa procedure- and everything in-between!

Of course, my face isn’t the only thing that needs a little extra TLC this time of year- especially since I’ve been wearing heeled boots pretty much non-stop. Although I stick to my mani/pedis every few weeks (despite the weather outside)– sometimes you need some additional self-care in-between spa visits.

I love this pumpkin-infused foot scrub from ONYX– which smells delicious and smooths out my heels in no time at all. I like to use these packets after a long day at work on my feet or on the weekends when I’m indulging in some lazy, Netflix and Chillin’ on my own. They just relax me so much!

And finally- even though I like to be spooky 24/7- some days I don’t have time to pull off a costume or horror-inspired look. That’s why I’ve embraced ultra-soft and knotted headbands with fun and festive prints on them to give me a fun Halloween vibe without all the time-consumption AND keep my curls away from my eyes when I’m busy working out/running errands/getting things done.

This one in particular, which features bats and masks- was designed by my boss’ fiancé- who is starting her own accessories business in the coming weeks ahead. I love it!

And that’s it for the photogenic things- but I’ve got a couple more things on my list this month!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

“Joker” – Controversial? Sure. Entertaining? You bet! I was in the majority of people who truly enjoyed this movie and celebrated Joaquin Phoenix’s performance in it. Despite all the fears of violence surrounding the film’s opening day- I had a great time watching this in theaters and would absolutely see it again!

“Big Mouth (Season 3)” – My favorite raunchy comedy about raging hormones and teenage angst returned for it’s third season on Netflix earlier this month- and I binged the entire thing over the course of an evening. Just like the seasons before it, “Big Mouth” delivered another dosage of “too close to home” humor surrounding all the awkwardness that comes with puberty and adolescence.

And I think that just about does it for October, my lovelies! My favorite month filled with some of my (new) favorite things!

I’ll let you all get some much-needed rest now, and I’ll be back on Thursday morning before the Halloween hi-jinks officially commence to take a reflective look back on the month that was.

Have a great night, everybody!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: September 2019!

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

It goes without saying that I’m thrilled the weekend is here. After a particularly busy few days at work- I’m looking forward to some downtime back home in Central Massachusetts with my family and friends over the next couple of days before we bid farewell to September (!!!) and welcome in my favorite month of the year- October!

As always, I’ll have my review and recap of this past month up and running first thing on Monday morning since it’s the last day of September- but my blogging tradition is to share my favorite finds/products/random odds and ends, first. Today seemed like just as good a day as any with it being a casual Friday- and I’ve got a lot of things I’ve been obsessing over these past few weeks!

I’ll start off with the things I was able to photograph, first- before I dive into the random things that made September so memorable this year.

Let’s take a look!

In the Fall, my makeup looks take a fun and daring direction. I like to play up the neutral shades that frequent my wardrobe this time of year with rich golds, deep berry tones- and bright reds. This past month, I kept my nails shimmering with this shimmery polish (“What’s Gold Is New”) by essie. The shade is long-lasting and super flattering with pretty much anything I wear- and should carry me right through the holiday season!

For my lips, I pregame before applying any color with this exfoliating brown sugar scrub by e.l.f. cosmetics (which tastes delicious, too!) to buff away any dead or dry patches before I either go with a moisturizing berry-toned balm by Milk Makeup (Kush Lip Balm in “Plushberry.”) or get a little more extreme with a bright red matte lip with my NARS duo of  “Holy Red” lip liner and “Inappropriate Red” lipstick.

I’ve been loving these shades and how head-turning they are whenever I wear them out and about!

Of course, I can’t update my Fall makeup collection and not give my bath & fragrance choices a bit of a seasonal makeover, too! For my shower gel, body lotion and lightweight spray-on fragrance- I turned to Bath & Body Works‘ Autumn line and picked up the “Champagne Apple & Honey” trio earlier this month instead of the usual pumpkin or cinnamon scents I reach for this time of year. I figured it was time to try something a little different!

What I’ve always loved about Bath & Body Works products- apart from their awesome prices and sales- is that the fragrances are pretty much spot-on in relation to their name/description and are never overwhelming or nauseating.

This trio makes me smell like I’ve spent a day at the orchard- it’s sweet and seasonal without being overpowering. I love it!

Finally, I have been in full-blown Fall decor mode at my new apartment- eager to cover and fill in spaces with rustic and cute decorations inspired by my favorite season. In recent weeks I’ve found a *lot* of gems at my local Big Lots and HomeGoods– including but not limited to these fun wooden pumpkins and “Happy Harvest” sign that is displayed prominently on my center console at the front of my living room and around my bedroom.

Not pictured is my “Hello Autumn” wreath and multiple strings of maple leaf and pumpkin lights- which I’m still arranging to my liking. You can check out my INSTAGRAM for the final look when it’s done!

And I think that’s it for the photogenic favorites- but a few more things made the list, too!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

“It: Chapter 2” – I was pretty much at the front of the line of people who were excited about the long-anticipated sequel to the 2017 reboot- and it didn’t disappoint. “It: Chapter 2” had everything I loved about the first one- plenty of scares, poignant moments, and a believable cast that you truly thought had known each other their whole lives.

It also had Bill Hader- who stole every single scene he was in. Absolute Oscar-contender right there!

“Back To Autumn: A Fall 2019 Playlist” – So, a little shameless self-promotion here- but earlier this week I launched my playlist for the season and I’m really quite pleased with it. The 16-track soundtrack for pumpkin picking features some newer tracks from a few of my favorite artists- as well as some treasured older songs thrown in there, too.

Feel free to give it a listen and tell me what you think!

– MISCELLANEOUS –

“My Dad Wrote a Porno…” – A friend recently recommended this podcast to me, and after listening to the first few episodes- I was hooked and ended up binging the entire thing in a matter of weeks. Now in it’s fifth season, MDWAP follows Jamie and his two friends- Alice and James- as they struggle to read through a series of erotic novels Jamie’s dad wrote over the course of a few weeks a couple of years ago.

Hilarious, insane, and at times- really, really gross- I end up laughing to the point of crying whenever I tune in. I’m excited to see the Podcast’s live show when it comes to Boston next year!

Pumpkin Pie Chai – A Fall staple at Shelburne Falls Coffee Roasters– this has become my go-to beverage here in the Valley since it tastes like a liquid dessert (without the calorie count.) A hot version is comforting on a chilly day- and an iced version is beyond refreshing when the temperatures tiptoe back into the mid-80s as they’ve done in recent days. I’m hooked!

And that just about does it for my September favorites, y’all! A pretty good early-Autumnal list if I do say so myself!

Of course, if you’d like to share your favorite things from this past month- feel free to get in contact or leave a comment! I’d love to hear all about them!

I’ll be back on Monday to say goodbye to September- but here’s wishing you all a lovely weekend ahead before I sneak back into to work for the morning!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: August 2019!

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

The end (of August and the Summer!) is nigh- but I’m ready for sweaters, leaf peeping, scary movies and pumpkin patches- especially now that I’m living in one of the most picturesque, straight-out-of-a-postcard areas in New England! It’s going to be my first Fall in the Pioneer Valley- and there are so many things I want to do!

But respects must be paid to August and really the entire Summer of 2019, first- which I fully intend to do tomorrow morning for my monthly “In a Nutshell” post where I recap the weeks that were and talk about what I have planned for the weeks ahead. There’s a lot of ground to cover- but it’s going to be a fun trip down (recent) Memory Lane!

Before that, though- I wanted to share some of my favorite things from August 2019. From beauty products, to jewelry, to silly sentimental pieces- all the way to movies, music, television, etc.

This is my usual months-end “Favorites” post- and as always- I’ll be starting with the things I was able to photograph, first!

Starting with the silly, sentimental pieces- I had picked up this pair of silver, glittery sandals for about $8 at Primark a couple of years ago when I was strapped for footwear just hours before I was headed to a beach bonfire- but these have become my default Summer shoe choice ever since. This past August was no different, as I wore these trusty, surprisingly durable beauties during road trips, ice cream pit stops, lazier days at the office- and lounging lake-side.

I’m going to store them in the back of my closet until next Summer- where I’m sure they’ll see more adventures.

Exfoliation is key year-round, but especially in the Summer when I’m all about exposed legs, arms, and the occasional exposed midriff. I want my skin glowing and smooth- so I try to find scrubs that both buff away the dead skin but also conditions without drying me out.  I’m partial to sugar scrubs, and this whipped one from LALICIOUS does the job just right.

Not only does this scrub smell incredible, like a candy shop- but it leaves my skin touchable, soft, and glowing.

The scrub is $35, but a little goes a long way- so one tub of this will last you well over the course of a season!

Of course, I can’t exfoliate my body without making sure my face is super smooth, too- but being that it’s far more sensitive than say, my knees or my elbows- I rely on this gentle microdermabrasion scrub from Mary Kay that a friend turned me onto earlier this month.

I only use this lightweight exfoliant about 2 times a week if that- but the results are instant- and my serums and moisturizers sink into my skin with so much more ease whenever I apply them after gently cleansing my skin with this scrub. Throughout August, my complexion has been clear, smooth, and even.

Finally, my go-to jewelry for August was simple and consisted of two things. One, a moonstone statement ring I had picked up a couple of weekends ago during the annual Massachusetts Tax-Free Weekend.

The other? A throwback to my pre-teen and early teenage years with the return of the cowrie shell craze. While I couldn’t bring myself to wear a choker of these like the guys I grew up with used to do all. the. time.– I thought the anklet was a nice, more subtle choice.

I wore this all during the Summer, but it really made a splash in August when more people noticed and seemed to get on board with the trend making a comeback! Now we just need to bring back those glittery butterfly-shaped hair clips and I’ll be thrilled.

And that, my friends- just about does it for the photogenic favorites. But, as always- a one or two more things made the list this month, too!

– MISCELLANEOUS –

All Things Seafood – I had said that my Summer 2019 bucket list consisted of eating as much lobster, crab and scallops as possible, and in August I rose to the challenge since many of my favorite seaside shacks close up after Labor Day.

With stops at some of my longtime favorite locations and some new finds here in the Valley (including a delicious chowder house- which I’ll be revisiting soon!) I’m pretty sure I don’t even want to look at anything from the ocean again until next May/June at least.

Clowns, Baby! – With “It: Chapter 2” coming out in theaters next week, a new trailer for “The Joker” dropping earlier this week (the movie premieres in October) and a new teaser poster for the next Harley Quinn movie making the rounds recently- Summer 2019 is all about clownery and I am here for it. My apologies for anyone with a clown phobia- but I am so, so excited for all of it!

Aaaaand now I’m finished! Although it’s the end of the work-week, I’ve still got some things to do around the office before I break for the long weekend- so I’ve got to get going!

As always, if you’d like to share your own favorite things from this past August- feel free to drop me a line!

Enjoy your Friday, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: July 2019!

Good Morning and Happy Monday, y’all!

After a busy Saturday in Boston (my first time downtown in over two months!) with Indie617 and spending my Sunday catching up on errands I had fallen behind on while I was ill last week- I think it’s safe to say I’m back to full health and ready to return to my normal work and blogging schedule.

With only a couple of days of July left- and no, I can’t believe it’s over already either!- my attention turns to recapping the month and preparing for some serious “Summertime Bucket List” cramming in August. I have a lot of thoughts about July- which was filled with many ups, downs, surprises and heatwaves- but I’m reserving those for Wednesday morning’s scheduled “In a Nutshell” post- as is tradition!

Today I want to focus on some of my favorite things from July. Products, thrifty finds, entertainment, etc. As always, I start with the things I was able to capture on camera and work my way down the list from there.

So without further delay- let’s get started!

First things first, you’ll notice this month’s items are placed on what is undoubtedly the greatest welcome mat ever created. I decided to truly make my new apartment a *real* home by investing in a proper mat for my door- but not any old one would do. I needed something that perfectly captured my personality and the laid-back, silly vibe I want radiating through my home for anyone who comes to visit.

What better way to do that than by capturing the most infamous line in “The Room” and proudly displaying Tommy Wiseau’s face in the process? This mat, courtesy of TheMatadoorCo, arrived super quick and is high quality. I love it!

I’ve been trying to make time to read before bed each night (when I’m not out late, obviously) since I have so many unfinished books in my collection. I recently added one more, and I haven’t been able to put it down since it arrived via Amazon. Natalie Wood was/is one of my favorite actresses of all time- gone too soon- and this biography by Suzanne Finstad, which was a New York Times Best Seller, is fantastic.

Featuring insight from the people who knew Natalie best and never before seen photos- I’m learning even more about such an incredible and gifted woman whose death still remains a troubling mystery.

I can’t tan. Actually, let me correct that- I can tan, but it requires getting a painful and dangerous sunburn beforehand. And, growing up in the nineties and early 00s- I am not stranger to self-tanners. All of them have left me orange. ALL. OF. THEM.

I was late getting on board the Jergens’ “Natural Glow” train because I assumed it would result in the same, tangerine-tint on my legs and arms that wouldn’t wash off or fade for weeks. Desperate for just a little color- I gave it a shot earlier this month and I’ve been swearing by it ever since. Obviously, this cream works as a moisturizer so my skin stays soft and smooth- but after a couple of weeks of daily use- I have a natural sun-kissed look, too.

It’s nothing too dramatic. I definitely don’t look like I’ve been in Cancun all July- but I also don’t look *as* pasty as usual- and it’s much safer and way more comfortable than getting a sunburn and waiting for it to gradually turn!

Out of all the steps I take in the morning when I’m getting ready for my day- my least favorite is fussing with my very thick and very curly hair. I just like to throw some product in and let it air dry while I tend to more pressing things. However, a lot of products are hit or miss. Some work well, while others leave my hair looking and feeling stiff or crunchy (the worst!)

I recently stumbled on this butter cream product from Garnier– specifically for curly hair and for air drying- and I don’t think I will EVER use anything else other than this moving forward. Not only does it smell delicious- but it softens my curls, tames frizz without making my hair feel heavy and hard- and actually repairs my ends while it’s left in. I have gotten more compliments in the few weeks I’ve been using this than I ever did with other and often more expensive products that were aimed towards women/men with curly hair.

I wanted new sunglasses before Summer wrapped up, and I wanted them to be unique and bright. Being in my early thirties, however- makes finding such a thing at a bit more difficult- especially since I’m a working professional and would be seen entering/exiting my place of employment in them.

I can’t necessarily walk into my office with bright pink flower-shaped sunglasses without raising a few eyebrows.

Instead, I opted for these chic and modified heart-shaped frames from Sojos that give me the best of both worlds- color and a fun, interesting shape- but subdued enough where I can wear them to work or out and about without looking like I’m trying to dress like a teenager.

These come in a variety of shades- but I am absolutely sold on the candy apple red!

When my last tube of mascara got a little goopy in the July heat- I knew it was time for a replacement. While in my local pharmacy, I scoured the aisles for something lengthening, long-lasting and waterproof (a must-have in New Engand humidity.) I spotted the striped packaging for Kokie’s “Stay Dry” black mascara and was immediately intrigued.

I ended up buying a tube, and it has not let me down since. The mascara softens, lengthens and thickens my lashes without making them look too fake or clumped together- and the formula has outlasted sweat, humidity, lake water and unfortunately a few unexpected tears as well.

Best of all? It’s only $7.00 a tube- so I think it’s safe to say this is my new go-to Summertime mascara.

And that just about does it for my photogenic favorites- but a couple of other things made the list, too!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

“The Lion King” – With a recent string of childhood movie re-makes and re-imaginations (and more scheduled to come)– this CGI re-telling of what is undoubtedly one of Disney’s most beloved, celebrated, and possibly traumatic children’s movies ever made was surprisingly really, really good.

The effects were breathtaking, but it was the excellent choice of voice actors that really made this one worth the watch for me- particularly Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner as Timon and Pumbaa. I was actually laughing out loud in the theater whenever you could hear them on screen. It was perfect.

– MISCELLANEOUS –

Starbucks’ S’mores Frappuccino – AKA, the only thing that helped my throat while I was sick. They’re a limited edition Summertime drink- so be sure to grab one before they start rolling out the Fall beverages in early-to-mid September if you haven’t done so already!

And that just about does it for me today, guys. Like I said earlier- I’ll have my full recap of July up and running this coming Wednesday before we swan dive into August. This month was a doozy.

As always, if you want to share some of your favorite things from this past month- feel free to drop me a line!

Enjoy your Monday and here’s hoping it’s an easy start to the work week ahead. Cheers!

xx

– Ashley –