Favorites: November 2017!

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone! Is it the weekend yet? It’s been so unbelievably busy at work these past couple of days that I’m really just looking forward to a lazy Saturday afternoon where I can stay in my pajamas, sip come cocoa, listen to some Christmas music and get a bit of my holiday shopping done online without having to leave the comfort of my bed.

I figure I just have to tough it out through Friday and then I’m free to be as unapologetically unproductive as I want- and with December just a couple of days away- I thought now was a good time to share some of the things I really loved this past month before I get too sidetracked in my office (or fall asleep under my desk!)

My overall reflection of this November will be up tomorrow morning- but here are the products, entertainment, and odds & ends that made this month even better!

Although I didn’t participate in the 12:01 a.m. “Doorbuster” Black Friday pandemonium- that doesn’t mean I didn’t go out later on in the afternoon to pick up a couple of things. While most of my shopping was for my loved ones- I also squeezed in just a tiny splurge for myself, too- specifically by stocking up on huge bottles of my favorite shampoo and conditioning treatment by Loma Hair Care at my usual salon.

Ever since I went blonde, I’ve had to take extra special care of my curls to make sure they stay hydrated and strong. This is the stuff my stylist uses on me when I pop by for treatments and touch-ups- and it works wonderfully! My hair is always silky smooth and shiny after every use.

Best of all? It smells amazing!

Speaking of smelling amazing: I always try to set the seasonal mood with candles around my place- switching things up every few months- but this cocoa-scented one from Bath & Body Works might be the most delicious, mouthwatering and festive one I’ve found yet!

I bought multiple jars of this hot chocolate and whipped cream candle because it smells like the real deal and I think these would make incredible gifts- but I even feel warmer having it burning near me. It’s that convincing!

Fenty Beauty makes another appearance on one of my monthly Favorites lists- this time with two products! The first is the universally flattering, long-lasting and moisturizing ‘Gloss Bomb’ Lip Gloss- which makes my lips look plumper and smoother while giving me some much-needed, subtle color.

The second is the lightest shade of the ‘Pro Filt’r’ Matte Foundation- which matches my skin tone PERFECTLY. There’s no weird, orange tint after it dries or uneven coverage. This stuff blends in flawlessly and stays in place all day until it’s time for me to wash it off at the end of the night. I’ve never felt so confident and comfortable wearing a moderate-to-full coverage foundation before- but I swear by this.

I bow down to Rihanna for these! Thank you, Queen!

And lastly for the photogenic items/products- one of my guilty snacking pleasures this past month came courtesy of Trader Joe’s (so I really shouldn’t feel guilty about enjoying these as much as I do!) These chocolate-covered marshmallows are so, so good- and I’m embarrassed to admit how many boxes I’ve gone through- especially during the holidays when they seemed to just appear in my kitchen over and over!

If anyone is looking for a Christmas present for me and is thinking buying these in bulk sounds like a good idea- I won’t complain!

Moving onto some of the other things I loved this month that I couldn’t quite snap photos of so easily…

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

“The Punisher” – When Netflix announced they were going to not only increase my monthly billing fee, but were also pulling the plug on streaming a ton of shows I enjoy within the coming months- I opted to cancel my subscription having binge-watched the latest episodes of some of their original series, first. I figure when it’s time to catch up on a new season of ‘Stranger Things’- I’ll re-join for a month or so. Until then, there’s no sense in continuing to pay for something I’ll rarely use.

But first, I wanted to take in Jon Bernthal’s version of Frank Castle in the new season of ‘The Punisher’- and I’m glad I did- because it’s an incredible combination of drama, action and suspense. Bernthal is so unbelievably talented- and I’m glad he was chosen for the role following what felt like his far-too-premature departure from ‘The Walking Dead’.

– GAMES/APPS –

“The Hallmark Christmas Movie Drinking Game” – Have you all seen THIS? It’s been making the rounds in my office over the past couple of days and it’s pretty brilliant. I have a feeling my girlfriends and I are going to be attempting this when we have our weekly dinner/movie night.

If you read about me dying from alcohol poisoning anytime soon- you’ll know I died doing what I loved- watching bad movies.

Alright everyone- I think that’s it for my November Favorites. There’s a few things that I thought about putting on this month’s assortment of items- but I have a feeling they’ll carry over into December.

Enjoy the rest of your day!

xx

– Ashley –

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Favorites: June 2017!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pssst- it’s only $4.50, too!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– MUSIC/MOVIES –

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

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

– TECH/APPS –

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

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

________________________________

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

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

xx

– Ashley –

POPSUGAR Must Have Box Review: June 2017

A couple of years ago, I was actively reviewing about 3-4 monthly subscription box services every few weeks: GlossyBox & Ipsy (makeup/cosmetics), Loot Crate (gaming/movies/comics/etc.) and POPSUGAR’s “Must Have” Box (a lifestyle subscription service that features a little bit of everything from makeup, food, decor, books, etc.)

Last year, while reviewing my finances and budgeting- I decided to limit myself to one subscription box per month- and the one I overwhelmingly chose to stick with and continue receiving/reviewing was POPSUGAR’s service. At $39.95 per month (+ shipping), the “Must Have” box is a bit more expensive than the others- but the value of everything included with each installment far surpasses the cost and makes each box worth the splurge now and then. It’s like a little treat for myself that arrives on my doorstep just when I need it the most!

Every month, POPSUGAR selects a theme or multiple inspirations to curate the contents of the box around. I’d say that most of the time- the items included fit the theme/inspirations very well. Subscribers are usually given the theme/inspirations in advance- so it’s always fun to try and guess what will be in the box before it actually arrives.

The theme/inspirations for June were: BEACH READ, SWIM, WAVES, BREEZE, MERMAIDS and PALM TREES.

I love the Summer boxes- so I was really excited to see what I got!

I am always and forever in need of durable totes/clutches/pouches to carry with me when I’m on the go- and I’m legitimately in love with this palm tree-covered one from ALOHA Collection. Apart from the cute and Summery exterior design- this pouch is completely splash proof- which means that my belongings are going to be safe, secure and dry when I bring this to my next outing at the beach.

It’s the perfect size, too- so it can fit all of the necessities in it without it weighing me down!

Of course, no good beach outing is complete without a decent page-turner to dive into while I’m resting on the shore under my umbrella. Taylor Jenkins Reid’s “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” is described as a drama with a little bit of mystery thrown in for good measure. From Google Books’ reviews:

“In this entrancing novel “that speaks to the Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor in us all” (Kirkus Reviews), a legendary film actress reflects on her relentless rise to the top and the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.”

I received a hardcover edition of this novel in this month’s “Must Have” box and I’m already bringing it with me to start reading at work during my break!

I’ve been taking extraordinary good care of my nails as of late (although after this weekend I’m in dire need of a fresh coat of polish) and one of the reasons is because I’ve been utilizing cuticle oil. This “So Rich- Mermaid Tears” version from NCLA is packed with Vitamin E extract and sunflower seed oil to keep my tips healthy, moisturized and shiny. Bonus? This oil smells like honeysuckle!

POPSUGAR always includes the most unique (and delicious) snacks in their “Must Have” boxes. These cookie butter bites from Belgian Boys are no exception to that rule. I absolutely indulged in these super tasty (and super cute!) mustache-shaped cookies from the Heavens the second I saw them- and I don’t regret it one bit!

I’ve been using a sea salt-infused texturizing cream to give my curls a more wavy and Summer-appropriate beachy look lately- but I have to admit that the sprays make it SO much easier to style my hair without the crunch or the hassle. I am LOVING this version of those sprays from Captain Blankenship– especially because this particular spray is infused with aloe- so it won’t dry my hair out!

The fragrance of this spray is, admittedly, a little potent at first- but it fades quickly so it’s not as powerful as the day goes on after spraying and styling my hair the way I want. I’ve been browsing some of the other products this company makes- and they definitely know a thing or two about keeping your skin and hair ready for the beach. I sense some shopping in my immediate future!

My favorite item in June’s “Must Have” box is- without question- this adjustable “Aloha” baseball cap from Billabong. I love the bright blue hue of this cap, as well as how comfortable it is- and it goes with pretty much anything in my wardrobe. I can wear it to the beach, out running errands, around the house- and to work on our casual office days.

This is my new go-to hat for every occasion (sorry, trusted Red Sox hat!) and I’m going to be sporting it for the remainder of the Summer for sure!

Considering I’ve been experimenting with Summer-inspired eats/treats and drinks in my kitchen lately- I know I’m going to use these pretty pastel blue and white striped straws from Meri Meri the next time I have company over and need to serve some chilled watermelon lemonade or chocolate & strawberry milkshakes to help my guests cool down when the temperatures are soaring.

I just love the look of these straws- and I’m tempted to find plastic cups that match them- just because!

Finally, POPSUGAR included a bonus item in this month’s “Must Have” box- and it’s one I’m definitely familiar with- especially when I’m in a rush in the mornings! It’s a bottled version of Starbucks‘ mocha Frappuccinos (best served cold- by the way!) which I’m sipping right now as I post this from my office! It’s tasty AND refreshing!

POPSUGAR was nice enough to include a coupon, too- for when I decide to stock up on more of these drinks before this week comes to an end!

It should come as no surprise to anyone that I loved this month’s “Must Have” box and thought that each item really represented the overall theme/inspirations really well. I’m going to use everything that I received- which is another reason this box was such a success! Nothing is going to waste!

I can’t wait to see what POPSUGAR has in store for July!

xx

– Ashley –