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 –

Favorites: October 2018!

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone! Especially my fellow Red Sox fans! What a series!

And so begins another work week- the repetition thankfully being broken up by Halloween and kicking off November in style. While I’ll divulge the details of my wild and fun weekend a little later on this week (as well as re-cap the month of October overall in my scheduled “In a Nutshell” post)– I thought I’d take time in-between catching up on work at my office and recovering from one of twelve flus/nanoviruses going around New England like wildfire as of late and share some of my favorite products, items, odds & ends from this past month.

Despite my current sniffle and scratchy throat- which is thankfully improving after some much-needed rest and relaxation last night (and some NyQuil)– October was a month I tried to practice more self care. That included drinking more water, getting more fresh air, and updating my skincare products/regimen to make sure I was staying hydrated from head to toe. Many of this month’s favorites are items that reflect those efforts!

As always, I’ll start with the things I was able to photograph before I jump into some of the miscellaneous things that were a little trickier to capture with my camera!

When Bath & Body Works had their buy three- get three free sale this past month, I took the opportunity to stock up on some of their Fall-inspired skincare line- including pumpkin/apple/cinnamon-scented scrubs, lotions, creams and perfumes.

I’ve been using these products daily and my skin has never looked or felt better- which is definitely appreciated since it’s been chilly and rainy these past few weeks and I’ve been able to avoid letting my skin get dull or dry as we gradually transition from the Fall to the Winter.

Also? Smelling like a pumpkin pie? I’m loving that!

Bath & Body Works have recently started promoting their holiday line- and the buy three-get three free sale is presently up and running if anyone is looking for some good deals or gifts for family/friends!

If I’m going to indulge my skin in some serious care- then I wanted to make sure my hair was being well taken care of, as well. Lately I’ve been loving all sorts of products from Kevin Murphy– but this detoxifying shampoo might be one of my favorites. I use this once a week, massaging it into my scalp and down to the ends of my curls and letting it sit for a minute or two before I rinse- and my hair feels squeaky clean without dryness or frizz. The non-lathering formula melts away product and chemical buildup at the root, while softening and conditioning the ends.

Of course, not every day can be a good hair day- and while I’ve been seeing a lot of beanies and knitwear around lately- I’ve opted for this navy blue beret, embellished with tiny gold stars, instead. It easily matches most of the pieces in my Fall wardrobe- especially my flannel shirts and sweaters- and it’s just so cute!

Finally, I love boot season- and with a couple of Fall weddings coming up over the next few weeks- I’ve wanted to stay seasonal and comfortable on and off the dance floor. I’ve been loving these tan, suede booties with a wooden block heel from Primark lately- which are also super easy to incorporate into both my casual AND dressy wardrobe- and are insanely comfy, too!

And that’s it for the photogenic products/items- but I’ve got a couple of other things that made this month’s list, too!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

‘Halloween’ – Of course the holiday itself is one of my favorites, but I’m talking about the sequel to the horror-movie of the same name. As a kid, the only horror movie “baddie” who ever truly scared me was Michael Myers. He didn’t have corny one-liners like Freddy Krueger and he didn’t get blasted off into space ala Jason Voorhees.

No, Michael has always stayed the same- silent and ruthless- even through some questionable sequels/re-makes. But, thankfully, the most recent installment in the film franchise brings things back around full circle in a truly terrifying way. It’s just so damned good!

– GAMES/TECH/APPS –

‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ – Even though this game has only been out for a couple of days, my friends and I have been having a free-for-all of a good time playing it. I don’t think we’ve accomplished any of the missions successfully since we keep getting sidetracked- but the graphics and the gameplay thus far are pretty incredible and it was well worth the wait for it to finally be released!

– MISCELLANEOUS –

Idle Hands Brewing: Undead Red – I first tasted this bright red sour this past Saturday at Indie617’s ‘Boos & Brews’ party at Idle Hands‘ place in Malden- and I was hooked. Infused with fruit and with a cherry aftertaste, this beer was delicious- paired wonderfully with chocolate- and wasn’t too potent for a lightweight like me. I’m a big fan, and will more than likely dropping by this weekend at some point to have a bit more.

And I think that does it for my October favorites! I’ll have a recap of this past month up and running on Wednesday morning before I pass out candy to the Trick-Or-Treaters and get ready to jump-start November!

Until then, though- I’ve got to get some work done. Here’s wishing you all a wonderful start to your week!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: August 2018!

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

I’m recovering from a pretty busy weekend- spent at the beach on Saturday and a farm stand out in Newton yesterday (I took some incredible photos which will be up a little later on this week)– so being back at work with a mountain of cases in front of me isn’t exactly ideal right now.

Before I swallow my coffee and the urge to run screaming out of my office and focus on getting things done in full-blown “boss bitch” mode- I thought I’d share the usual end-of-the-month favorites compilation to spotlight some of the products, odds and ends that have made this past August easier and a lot of fun- despite the stifling heat and humidity.

As always, I’ll get this started with the things I was able to capture in photographs before moving onto the miscellaneous bits and pieces that were a little bit harder to snap pictures of.

Let’s get started!

With plastic straws becoming a thing of a past and “sippy cup” style lids feeling a little *too* ridiculous for me, an adult woman, to use when drinking my daily iced coffee- I turned to Amazon and ordered a set of these FDA-approved stainless steel drinking straws (for only $8.99 a set!)

With four straight straws, four curved straws, and two cleansing brushes that make washing these a breeze- I pop these in the fridge overnight and then stick them in my coffee in the morning. The result is consistently cool sips of mocha-hazelnut and the bonus of cutting back on plastic pollution in the oceans and in landfills!

Side note, but I’m really going to miss my disposable (and recyclable!) Summer-themed dinnerware I’ve been using for my cookouts, BBQs and parties over the past couple of months- even though it means it’s nearly time so stock up on some Fall-inspired ones. These lemonade printed plates and napkins went over really well in August- and I thankfully have an extra set to put away for next year!

With August being one of the more humid months during the Summer this year, I needed a lot of help to keep my curls hydrated and frizz-free. I found some relief in these little mask/leave-in conditioner “shots” from GARNIER– particularly the banana-scented strengthening treatment.

A couple of times a week, I run this mask over my hair in the shower and then rinse after about five minutes. Later on, when my hair is still damp- I comb some of the product through my to my ends and let it air dry. I’m left with soft (not stiff) and defined curls with zero frizz. It’s a miracle in a little tub!

Of course, there were days when I just didn’t have the patience, the time, or the energy to try and get my fly-aways under control. When that happened- I turned to these brightly-colored and tropic-inspired headbands I had picked up at Primark a couple of months ago. They match pretty much everything in my Summer wardrobe and made my hair look so cute- even on days where I didn’t really put that much effort into it!

Makeup be damned. There were days when I came in from being outside and just wanted to run a faucet over my head or dunk my face in a bucket of ice cold water. Of course, those options weren’t available (most of the time) and I had to get resourceful. I turned to Happy Spritz’s “Breathe Deeply” peppermint essential oil facial spray to offer me relief.

Not only is this spray insta-cooling, but the scent also clears out my sinuses if I have any of those early morning pollen allergies driving me nuts. It leaves my face and neck feeling soft and hydrated- and doesn’t leave behind any kind of sheen/slickness to my skin!

And finally, before I start hoarding my favorite Fall candles from Bath & Body Works, I had to burn out the last of my Summer ones this past month. My favorite, without a doubt- was “Cherry Snow Cone”- which smelled exactly like it should have. Cherry syrup with a hint of lemon.

A close contender and follow-up to that one was a candle simply called “Boardwalk”- which was a really great combination of coconut and fried dough and made my bedroom smell like a road trip to the coast in Maine- if that makes sense to anyone else apart from me.

That’s it for the photogenic favorites. Now, as promised-here are a few other things that made the list this month!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

Interpol – “Marauder” – Interpol’s latest album dropped this past Friday, and with all the driving I did on Saturday and Sunday to get to my destinations, I had a chance to give it a few good listens from start to finish. While it’s definitely a different direction for the band sound/lyrically wise- I’m seriously loving the new style and it’s made me even more excited to see them live in a couple of weeks!

Bob’s Burgers – I know, I know. With the amount of TV I watch, I’m amazed I’ve been sleeping on this cartoon for as long as I did, too. I had always wanted to sit down and watch it- but never found the time and never got around to it until recently- and laughed my ass off with every single episode as I started getting caught up.

I’m 99.9% sure that H. Jon Benjamin’s voice just makes everything better.

And I think that does it for the month of August, everyone! As always, if you’d like to share some of your own favorite things from this past month- drop me a line or leave a comment!

Maybe they’ll make my list in September. You never know, right?

Here’s wishing you all a stress-free and easy-as-possible Monday to get through. Let’s get things done!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: July 2018!

Good Afternoon and Happy Friday, everyone!

I’m taking a break from running errands, catching up on e-mails, and enjoying a light lunch before I start getting ready for tonight’s Arctic Monkeys show at TD Garden- followed by a midnight screening of ‘The Room’ at Coolidge Corner Theater with some friends!

I thought now would be a good time as ever to share some of my favorite things from this past month- considering it’s nearly over (time is flying by this Summer, isn’t it?!) As usual, I’ll recap the month as a whole next week before August is here- but for today- it’s all about the products and odds & ends I’ve been loving/obsessed with over the past few weeks!

I’ll be starting with the items/products I was able to photograph before moving onto some of the other miscellaneous things, of course.

Let’s get right to it!

Throughout July, I was trying different mascaras derived from more natural ingredients to lengthen, define and condition my lashes- but there’s one that really stood out for me that I’ve been using every day since trying it for the very first time. Milk Makeup’s KUSH High Volume Mascara (infused with cannabis oil- and there’s plenty of weed puns on the packaging) has thickened, softened, and protected my lashes since I started using it.

I think this has taken the title of my new all-time favorite mascara!

For my lips, I’ve been really into bright reds/corals/oranges this month- and I found the perfect long-lasting, non-drying liquid lipstick from Sephora’s Cream Lip Stain line. This shade, called “Chili Pepper” is so bold and fun to wear- day or night. Whenever I’m rocking this, I always have people stopping me to ask about it. Best of all? It was only $14!

And in July I tried to keep that red/orange hue on my nails, too- especially with all the patriotic parties that happened at the beginning of the month! For quick touch-ups for my manicure, I turned to Lollipops Nail Polish in “VOYAGE À PARIS” to keep my digits looking fresh, shiny and cherry red!

July has been filled with scattered thunderstorms, plenty of sun showers- and more than one foggy day. Long story short: it’s been humid. Times a thousand. I knew that no ordinary hairspray would keep my curls from puffing up- but I also didn’t want anything so heavy-duty that my hair would look and feel like dry straw. Enter OGX’s Humidity Blocking Hairspray. Infused with shea butter and marula oil- this lightweight aerosol hairspray keeps my hair controlled- without the crunch.

I’ve been able to make it through so much unpredictable weather these past few weeks with this stuff!

Finally, Summer isn’t Summer without some Bath and Body Works fragrances! Throughout July, I’ve been lathering up with this Beach Water Coconut body wash- which is a really great combination of coconut, bergamot and musk- and transports me to the coast every morning in the shower.

And, while on-the-go, I am *obsessed* with their “At The Beach” body mist. It’s a refreshing, cooling ocean scent- and I never leave home (or the office) without spritizing some on!

I think that’s it for the products- but some other things made the list, too!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

“Mission Impossible: Fallout” – I saw this movie last night with Troy, and what an absolute adrenaline rush! The action scenes were amazing, the comedic scenes were perfect- and Henry Cavill was such a great addition to the cast. This was the quintessential, fast-paced Summertime movie and I can’t stop talking about how good it was!

– MISCELLANEOUS –

Paintbox Theater – I posted about this Western Massachusetts’ children’s theater company earlier this month- and their last performance of the Summer season is taking place the first weekend in August (it’s “The Little Mermaid” by the way!) So if you’ve got little ones and would like to make a trip to one of the most beautiful parts of the state- there’s still time to get tickets to see an adorable show!

And I think that’s it for July, everyone! I’ve got to go get prettied up for tonight- but if you’d like to share some of your own favorite things from this month, feel free to drop me a line or leave a comment!

As always, here’s wishing you all a wonderful weekend! See you all next week!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: June 2018!

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

I’ve never been more relieved that the weekend is here than I am right now. What a whirlwind week it’s been- and it’s going to be so nice to just relax after work today, enjoy a home cooked meal with my family at my mom’s house- and then partake in some pampering and time with friends…

… When I’m not getting my geek on at this weekend’s ComiCONN at Foxwoods on Saturday afternoon, of course!

But while my look back on this month that was will be up on the blog bright and early tomorrow morning before I hit the road to Connecticut- I wanted to share some of the things I’ve been wearing/using/eating/watching/listening to/and otherwise raving about all throughout June.

That’s right- it’s time for my monthly Favorites post!

As always, I’m going to start with the things I could photograph before jumping into the odds, ends, and miscellaneous things that made this past month extra special!

Kicking things off are these adorable, bright and Summery flower sandals I picked up from ModCloth earlier this month. Whenever I wear these, people always stop me to take a better look at them- particularly the huge pink flowers that sit on top of my toes with every step.

These are such fun and comfortable sandals to wear- and I’ve been sporting them at work, at the beach, on dates, and running errands. They’ve become my go-to shoe for the Summer!

And keeping up with my Summer fashion, I had posted earlier this week about one of my latest wardrobe obsessions in the form of comfortable and flattering one-piece bodysuits. I’ve been wearing them with shorts, jeans and skirts pretty much non-stop on the weekends because they’re so easy to dress up/down and are no fuss.

This mini-collection of some of my favorites, amassed during recent trips to Primark, are colorful (with the exception of the black and white one- which is a “dressier” one piece I wear to nighttime functions)– and are perfect for this most hot and humid of New England seasons!

Moving from fashion to beauty/cosmetics- I only had a couple of things that made the list this month (I don’t use a ton of makeup this time of year since it melts off my face in record time!) and both are great products that benefit skin and boost a healthy glow! The first, is this lightweight and non-greasy, oil-free moisturizer with SPF15 from OLAY, which I’ve been wearing under my BB cream.

Formulated for combination/oily skin (AKA- me), this lotion hydrates my skin and protects it from harmful UV rays rays without clogging my pores. It’s also loaded with skin conditioning vitamins, so my face actually feels nice while I’m wearing it.

And at night, I use this gentle facial roller (which I store in the refrigerator during the day to get it nice and cold) to boost circulation and collagen production after I’ve washed my face and applied my serums for the evening. 5-10 minutes of rolling this over my cheeks, down the bridge of my nose and my forehead makes a world of difference!

Best of all? You can find affordable rollers online. You don’t have to break the bank to get anything super fancy. This one was only $2!

Moving onto one food item I was obsessed with this past month, if loving a yogurt is wrong- I don’t want to be right. Yoplait’s new ‘Oui’ yogurts– which are more like a thick custard than a typical creamy texture- are SO good. I’ve been stocking up to eat these with breakfast every day because they’re so delicious and come in a ton of great flavors.

The ‘Oui’ yogurts are non-GMO and come in individual glass pots- which means you can recycle them or reuse them! I started washing mine out for when I bake bite-sized desserts, and others I’ve given to my friends’ kids so they can use them to plant seeds or for arts & crafts projects. It’s so much more rewarding than tossing endless plastic containers away!

And finally- I’m *so* over inflatable unicorn pool floats all over my Instagram feed. This year- I’m bringing you all the pizza slice float. Big enough to hold my grown up self without sinking me but small enough to not take up all the space in the pool- this was a purchase I’d made on a whim at the very beginning of the Summer and I haven’t regretted it one bit.

My friends are actually getting each of their own- and we’re looking into picking up some of these cheeseburger floats, too.

And I think that’s it for the more photogenic favorites for the month of June- but some other things made the list, too!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

Interpol – “The Rover”: Interpol are undoubtedly one of my favorite bands- and maybe the only band whose lyrics I’d ever consider getting tattooed on me at some point- so when I found out they were releasing a new album in August, entitled ‘Marauder’- I was more than excited. When I heard the first single from the album, “The Rover”- my spirit temporarily left my body because it’s SO good. I can’t stop listening to it.

August feels so far away now!

– GAMES/APPS –

Viridi – Sometimes things can get overwhelming at my job, and the idea of even glancing at social media (and all the craziness that can come with it) when I’m already stressing out and need a break is unheard of. When I can’t meditate or simply take off for weeks at a time on a whim- I turn to Viridi. This botany app, backed by soothing music and soft colors/scenery- lets you grow and tend to virtual plants. It might sound silly, sure- but it’s actually super relaxing and mellows me out when I’m having a rough day.

Also? I can’t grow anything to save my life- so to be able to not immediately kill my plants in a game is refreshing!

– MISCELLANEOUS –

Deus Ex Machina – Unfortunately, this immersive theater experience based out of the historical Shea Theater in Turners Falls ended this past weekend, but what an *amazing* show it was! Patrons are whisked away from room to room- sometimes separately and sometimes in pairs or groups- by actors (portraying 1920s era ghosts trapped in the theater) where so many different things are happening at once. There’s music, and dancing, and drinking- and I had the time of my life there.

Think NYC’s “Sleep No More”- but not obscenely expensive and you actually get to see great performances without being overcrowded! I can’t wait until it comes back. Truly.

One of my dearest friends was/is in the cast, and I owe him the biggest thanks for smuggling me in to see the show. I loved it oh so very much.

And I think that’s it for the month of June! And, as I’d mentioned earlier- before we jump into July this coming Sunday, my look back on this past month will be up tomorrow morning before I head out for the weekend! Keep an eye out (weekend posts are easy to miss, ‘ya know!)

Enjoy your Friday, everyone! We made it! Now it’s time to kick back and celebrate!

xx

– Ashley –