Favorites: May 2018!

Good Morning, everyone!

I hope you all had a fabulous long weekend. Mine was absolutely crazy (in a good way!) and to be honest- I’m still recovering from it a bit. I’m going to attempt to be productive at my office today, but I have a feeling I’ll be heading to bed early tonight to sleep off the last of my grogginess. I’m just thankful it’s a short work week!

My photos/recap of this past weekend- and the month of May overall- will be up on Thursday morning. Memorial Day caused a slight shift in my posting schedule this week, but I’m looking forward towards June and all the Summer plans I have ready to get started on!

But before I jump ahead, I wanted to share some of my favorite products, releases, odds and ends from this past month- most of which are makeup and hair care-related- because May was definitely a month of phasing out my Winter/Spring products to make way for more heat and humidity-friendly cosmetics, instead!

Let’s take a look at what made the cut, shall we?

My color scheme in the Summer months is filled with bright aquas, oranges, golds, corals and pinks- and I’m a big fan of Southwestern inspired jewelry/accessories like this jeweled bracelet and statement ring I purchased from ALDO a couple of years ago. These pieces go so well with my Summer wardrobe- and with temperatures on the rise- I’ve been wearing them daily throughout May.

Side note: the orange in the ring perfectly matches my current nail polish color- and makes an appearance elsewhere in this month’s roundup!

Attention to those with pink hair in need of a touch-up, or to those who want to take a non-permanent plunge with pastels: I have found the perfect product for you! This in-shower aerosol spray from Kristin Ess is applied to wet hair (or towel dried, if you want the color to be a little brighter)– left on for 2-3 minutes, and then rinsed out. The result is a temporary rose gold hue to your highlights that lasts for about three to four shampoos.

I’ve been using this spray once a week to keep my rose gold tint refreshed because it’s so easy to use. It’s also formulated with “zip up” technology- which repairs split ends and the hair’s cuticle while simultaneously creating a barrier to protect your strands from environmental damages and color fading.

The results are definitely noticeable- and the $12 price tag cannot be beat. I love this stuff and I want to buy it in bulk so I never run out!

To create that shimmery, iridescent lip look I covet so much this time of year- I turned to the ‘Unicorn Tears’ lip gloss from Too Faced this past month. With a blue/silver shimmery finish, this gloss can be worn by itself for a unique and bold look- or over lipstick to give your pout a holographic glow.

I wear this over one of my hot pink lipsticks and the results are so neat looking! The sparkle is caught in so many different ways and at every angle- so my lips are the first thing people typically see since they’re so shiny and bright!

And what’s new, Summer makeup without a new bag to put it in? My longtime leopard print bag was recently on it’s way out- so I opted for this new cotton zipped one from Old English Company that boldly states “BUY ME PIZZA AND TELL ME I’M PRETTY” on both sides. It’s very me, no?

While this pouch doesn’t fit all of my brushes, blushes and eyeliners- it does hold the essentials for a day/night out (and serves as a great conversation piece whenever I take it out!)– and is also machine washable- which means easier and more hygienic/thorough cleansing as opposed to canvas/vinyl/plastic makeup bags. I love it!

And finally, my latest drug store/pharmacy finds for Summer makeup! I’ve been taking a break from full-coverage, matte foundations lately to give my skin a chance to breathe. In it’s place, I’ve been using this antioxidant loaded BB cream from Found Cosmetics to give me a little coverage and a ton of skin-nurturing benefits without the harsh chemicals or additives that can cause breakouts, redness, etc. My skin feels and looks so soft, smooth, and dewy- not caked-up or powdery!

And remember that orange shade I’ve been obsessed with this past month? Meet the matching lipstick from Maybelline! ‘Siren in Scarlet’- a tangerine orange with a cream/sheen finish- gives me a bright, long-lasting pop of color in what is otherwise neutral, everyday and office-friendly makeup. I’m obsessed with the finish and the feel of this formula/shade- and am taking it all the way into June with me!

And that’s it for the products/items that can be photographed! I’ve still got a couple of other things that made the list, though!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino: Okay, listen. This album- an unusual departure from the band’s sound and past body of work- took a considerable amount of time to grow on me as I listened more and more and got used to it. It’s definitely a different style, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad. There are a few songs on here that get me going when I’m listening to them on my way to work.

Honestly, I’m just so glad to have another album and another tour from these guys that I’ll even listen to the songs I don’t like *quite as much*- just because.

I’ve Got No Roots – Summer 2018: Introduced last week before I’d left for Boston Calling and Washington D.C.- my new 12 track Summer playlist is a good one I can’t stop listening to. With artists like Middle Kids, The Decemberists and Courtney Barnett- this little soundtrack packs a fun, dance-worthy punch and I can’t wait for you all to play it!

And I think that’s it for May Favorites, everyone! Short, sweet- and to the point!

If you have any of your own favorites you’d like to share- feel free to reach out to me! Maybe I can check them out and maybe they can make the list for June 2018!

But until then- enjoy the rest of your day, everyone! Let’s get to Friday unscathed!

xx

– Ashley –

Always Ascending…

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone!

What a busy, bustling week this has been! I’ve been juggling work at my office, prepping posts for Blondie Birdie, getting my car repaired from my recent accident, planning an upcoming day trip to NYC- and tonight I’ve got to make myself look pretty for a mid-week date in Western Massachusetts where a longtime friend of mine is treating me to a night out to help me relax a bit before it’s back to work tomorrow morning!

It hasn’t all been “all work and no play”, though. Last week’s Franz Ferdinand gig at the House of Blues was truly incredible. I’ve been a fan of the guys for years but had only ever seen them live a couple of times here and there (and each time was fantastic, mind you), so to not only get a free ticket to their recent gig at one of Boston’s best venues- but to also get the VIP treatment upstairs in The Foundation Room before the show where I had the best view in the house- was enough to make my month of April, really. I was ecstatic.

The guys still put on one high energy dance party of a show- even after all these years. I sang along, danced with strangers, enjoyed a couple of cocktails- and just took it all in from my perch right above the stage. I was, and still am, so so grateful for the hookup from indie617. Truly unexpected and amazing. Thank you guys!

This past weekend, needing a little pampering while simultaneously mixing up my look a little- I wore the ‘Always Ascending’ tour t-shirt I picked up at the Franz gig to my stylist where I decided to give myself a bit of a Spring makeover and color my previously golden highlighted hair a little more rosy, instead! That’s right- I took the pastel plunge and dyed my hair rose gold- and I am absolutely in love with it!

This color is so fun, so flattering, and is just the right shade of pink where it won’t clash with anything in my wardrobe. The stain will last a few weeks before I’ll have to touch it up again- but when it starts to fade- it will just be a lighter shade of pink instead of an orange-esque color like what I used to go out of my way to avoid back when I was a redhead.

I took my new hair out on the town with my best friend on Saturday for some late afternoon shopping and a little take-out from Mexico Lindo before heading back to the apartment to eat, drink some homemade margaritas, and watch a couple of horror movies. It was a nice, laid-back way to close out the week- and get me mellowed out and relaxed for the season finale of ‘The Walking Dead’ on Sunday night (where my nerves got shot to hell all over again.)

I’ll be doing a full write-up about the season, my thoughts, predictions for the Fall, etc.- and it’ll be up this Friday! And no worries- I’ll put any spoilers behind a cut/”Read More” tag for those who may not be caught up in the series yet and don’t want to know what’s been happening!

But  first, I’m going to go get some work done before I get dolled up and head out to be wined and dined tonight.

Enjoy your Hump Day, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: January 2018!

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone! I am officially in “Countdown to Vegas and The Super Bowl” mode right now- frantically finishing up some work at my office and attempting to re-pack my suitcase in preparation for my (second) departure to the West Coast within a month. I head out bright and early Saturday morning- having only recently fully recovered from my birthday trip to San Diego just this past weekend when I had the chance to sleep in and late for the first time since I’ve been back home.

Before I dive back into my e-mails and itinerary, though- I wanted to share some of the odds and ends that have made January 2018 one for the books. Fashion? Cosmetics? Cozy and warm Winter essentials? Incredible music and compelling television? I can’t think of better things to kick off the first month of a brand new year with!

As is tradition, I’ll be sharing the things that were able to be laid out and photographed with ease before I dive into some of the other miscellaneous things that I couldn’t quite capture with my camera.

Let’s take a look at what has been giving me serious heart-eyes for the past few weeks!

Kicking things off with my wardrobe- January was all about statement pieces that have withstood the test of time and were easy to match with pretty much anything in my closet. Keeping me warm in the frigid New England temperatures (and numerous snowstorms we’ve had since New Year’s) was important, too- so this leopard print faux-fur coat from Primark was both a lifesaver and a head turner whenever I wore it out and about with high heeled boots or sequined dresses and chandelier earrings. This is just one of those universally chic items that you can keep forever and still wear it- and look good- anytime you put it on.

And on those cold mornings where my hair isn’t quite dry or my roots aren’t looking on point to my liking- I toss on this millennial pink knitted beret (with a fun little poof ball) from Bed Bath & Beyond to keep my scalp warm and/or hidden from the general public. This is another accessory that matches pretty much anything and can be worn with anything- like a fancier pantsuit on my way into work or with jeans and a chunky sweater on the weekends while I’m running errands.

I particularly love the color of the beret, too- and I hope it stays on trend for a long time!

January has been all about protecting my skin and hair until Winter finally gives up and retreats for a few months- but with frequent travel over these past few weeks (including flying to warmer climates)– it was easy for things to get thrown off-balance a bit. Luckily, I had some help along the way to keep everything exfoliated, smooth, conditioned and hydrated.

First and foremost, I have been using this vegan facial scrub from Garnier every morning in the shower and it sets the stage for my serums and moisturizers. The formula- which is 96% vegan and infused with green tea- gently buffs away pore-clogging dirt and excess oil without stripping my skin of it’s natural hydrating components the way some other scrubs (particularly the ones with apricot seeds or whatever) do. My skin is left smooth and soft and ready for the rest of my regimen.

Last week I had talked about what was packed in my carry-on bag at the airport- and the biggest essential was Caudalie’s spray-on beauty elixir. This stuff has single-handedly saved my complexion this past month. So much, in fact- that I’ve felt completely comfortable stepping out into the world without any makeup on more than once (I spent a good portion of my time in San Diego makeup-free- which is huge for me!) It shrinks my pores, tightens my skin, refreshes any dry spots on my face- and lasts all day.

Of course, that’s not to say I’ve simply stopped moisturizing- because that’s really important, too- and for the past few weeks I’ve turned to an old favorite and an overall classic in Clinique’s ‘Dramatically Different’ Lotion. Lightweight and non-greasy- I’ve just been slathering this on in the mornings and then again at night to even out my combination skin. This tube is travel-sized (naturally) and comes in handy if I feel like I’m starting to have a dry spell mid-flight.

Naturally, I can’t neglect my hair. Since I’ve gone blonde, I have to make sure my curls get as much hydration as possible to keep them from looking frizzy or damaged. Throughout this month, prior to applying my regular styling products- I’ve applied generous amounts of this argan oil from OGX from root to tip. This formula deeply penetrates my hair to soften my curls and give them a healthy shine that may have otherwise not been possible given the current climate in Massachusetts that is essentially sucking the moisture out of everything. I rely on this product- and I don’t know what I’d do without it!

For makeup this month, two products really stood out for me- and I’ve been using them daily. The first, a minty green eye shadow from Make Up For Ever– has become my go-to eye look at work and on nights out.  When splashed against the usual dark and neutral hues in my Winter wardrobe and accessories- this makes my eyes pop and gives me a bit of much-needed color. I typically brush on some shimmery highlighter over the shadow, too- just to lighten it a bit and enhance the green more- but it’s a simple one-step color that makes my morning makeup routine so much easier.

By now, we know that I am fully committed to Fenty Beauty– so another one of their products popping up in my monthly “Favorites” collection shouldn’t be a surprise. For January, it was the MATTEMOISELLE matte lipstick in ‘Single’. Soft, long-lasting, and super-flattering- I wore this everywhere in San Diego- where it remained drink-proof, taco-proof AND kiss-proof for days on end. I cannot wait for Spring so I can grab the lilac-version of this formula- because I know it’s going to look amazing paired with floral prints and lots of pinks!

Another one of my “Carry-On Essentials” items that also made my Favorites list in January? My nautical-themed weekly planner for 2018- which I take with me everywhere in my bag. I jot down my work schedule, meetings, trips/destinations, appointments and blog-related to-dos in this book every other day and it helps me stay on top of everything.

A lot of my friends use electronic planners on their phones/tablets- which I know is probably more convenient- but I’ve seen their phones break or glitch out on them multiple times. Having a good ol’ fashioned paper planner I can rely on all the time is just so much less stressful for me. Plus- how cute is the design?

And finally- let’s give it up for cozy socks- AKA what I’m wearing inside of my snow boots 99.9% of the time this month. I’ve been coveting the aloe-infused pairs lately since the cold weather is murder on my heels- and not only do these keep my toes toasty and warm even when I’m out shoveling for hours on end- but my skin stays soft and smooth, too! There’s no need for an emergency pedicure after every blizzard when I have these things within reach!

When I was a kid, getting socks for the holidays was unthinkable- but now that I’m an adult- I’ll happily accept more of these, thanks.

And there are just some of my favorites for the month of January, 2018- the things that I could take photos of, anyway. But there’s still a few more things I really loved this month!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” – I have a sort of love/hate relationship with Ryan Murphy. While shows like “American Horror Story” or “Scream Queens” never quite did it for me (too many characters  to follow in a limited amount of time = sloppy writing)– he’s pulled off some incredible dramas ala “Feud: Bette & Joan” and his most recent installment of American Crime Story which follows the events leading up to and following the murder of fashion icon Gianni Versace outside of his home in Miami Beach.

Unlike it’s O.J. Simpson ‘Crime Story’ predecessor- the casting in the Versace version is spot-on and it’s been so incredibly interesting to watch. I’m hooked!

The Redwoods Music – My friend Daniel in San Diego is an incredibly gifted, unbelievably talented musician and singer/songwriter who is an active member of some of the most fantastic local acts in Southern California. I absolutely adore him- and was finally able to catch up with him during my recent visit (after just missing each other around various gigs and venues for the past few months!) where he was kind enough to play me some of the things he’s been working on lately. With acts signed onto The Redwoods Music Label like The Midnight Pine and Birdy Bardot- the doors have been opened for me to discover more incredible acts and expand my current playlists substantially. You gotta’ go give these artists a listen!

– GAMES/APPS –

“Oxenfree” – Released in 2016, I was actually unaware of Oxenfree’s existence until earlier this month when a friend rigged up Steam at a party to show a group of us who had gathered for a night of pizza and board games. With a graphic novel-esque design and a sci-fi/mystery-inspired story that felt reminiscent to teen movies from the 80s- it didn’t take long at all for those of us who took turns playing it to become fully invested in the characters and the plot. It was a really fun and really unique gaming experience- and one that I highly recommend if you love a good, supernatural trip!

– MISCELLANEOUS –

Flannel Sheets – Perhaps the one comfort from home that I missed the most (apart from my dog) while I was away last week were my flannel sheets. I’ve stockpiled a few sets to get me through the Winter since it’s always freezing at night- and I’ve grown so accustomed to nodding off in them that I actually had a bit of trouble getting rest on the West Coast because anything else just felt weird by comparison. Now that I’m back and bundled up again- I’ve been sleeping like a rock (on dachshund printed ones at the moment, FYI!)

And I think that’s everything for January 2018. I’ll be talking about my trip to San Diego, the month in review, etc. a little later on this week in my “In a Nutshell” post- but these were my favorites and I’m sticking to them!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: December 2017!

Good Morning, everyone- and Happy Friday! Are you all ready for New Year’s Eve? Me, personally? I’m compiling the last of my 2018 resolutions and putting together the final touches on my “Year In Review” post that will be up and running this coming Sunday morning (and it’s a doozy- let me tell ‘ya!)

But I don’t want to get ahead of myself. We’re still in December and I have a few favorites to share from this past month! Some were products that kept me feeling festive, and others were gifts I received around Christmastime- but they all held a special place in my heart over these last few weeks and I know I’ll be enjoying them well into the new year, too!

I’m a big fan of OGX hair care products- which have always worked well for me and always come in the most lovely fragrances- so when I heard they had launched a limited edition, holiday-inspired collaboration with YouTuber Kandee Johnson- I searched high and low to get my hands on some of their conditioners!

I was lucky enough to find them at my local pharmacy and stocked up- but by far my two favorite scents are Frosted Sugar Cookie- which makes my hair smell like a dessert, and Sparkling Cider- which is the perfect mix of apple and cinnamon.

These conditioners leave my hair silky, smooth, frizz-free and moisturized- and I’m going to be so sad when this collection is gone for good!

Winter is absolutely brutal on my skin from head to toe- so I always try to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and apply lotions and moisturizers rigorously- but sometimes I need a little something extra to help out and this month I turned to the Christmas-themed sheet masks from The Crème Shop to give me a healthy glow and an extra boost of vitamins/antioxidants.

Made and manufactured in Korea, these masks are mess-free and have been giving me a beautiful, soft and clear complexion despite the fact that we’ve entered single-digit temperatures outside. I look fresh-faced and feel lovely after each time I use one of these- and I’ll be packing a few of the masks with me when I head to California in a few weeks to keep my skin dewy after takeoff!

Side note: how adorable is the packaging?

I have been coveting metallic lips and eye-looks lately- which I think are especially gorgeous this time of year when there’s snow and frost everywhere. This rosy pink, metallic-sheen lip liner and gloss set that I picked up from Primark for $4.50 (seriously) has quickly become my favorite go-to everyday cosmetic item because it makes my lips POP when I wear them together.

The gloss is long-lasting and non-drying- and the finish is so neat looking. You can see a photo of me wearing it in THIS Instagram pic, in case you’re curious!

I can’t stress enough that Primark is one of the most surprising places to find good-quality and inexpensive makeup!

I recently ripped the inside of my pineapple-printed wallet that I’ve had for the last couple of years- and I was pretty bummed out about it- but this past Christmas my oldest brother and his wife surprised me with a brand new, navy blue Kate Spade wallet as a gift- and it is a fine replacement that matches my handbag, wardrobe, etc.

I’m a big fan of Kate Spade products since they’re well-made and durable- and this wallet holds everything I switched over from my old one- and then some!

And finally- courtesy of my other big brother and his wife- this Pennywise (the Tim Curry version!) FUNKO Figurine absolutely cracked me up on Christmas Eve when I opened it.

Although the made-for-TV-movie isn’t exactly the best or scariest adaption of the book- it’s still a classic- and I’m excited to put this guy up on my wall alongside my Walking Dead and Captain America figurines!

But that’s not all! A few other things made my Favorites list this month, too!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” – I know opinions on the latest installment in the Star Wars franchise are divided, but I personally liked the film. To me, TLJ is aiming the plot and the characters in an exciting, new direction where anything (and the unexpected) is possible while still incorporating the most important and cherished plot-points/characters from the original. I’m looking forward to whatever comes next!

“The Disaster Artist” – Anyone who knows me knows how much I LOVE the best-worst-movie ever made, ‘The Room’- and I try to catch the midnight screenings around the city with my friends as much as possible. That being said, this movie is James Franco’s finest work. Inspired by the book that detailed the making of the movie from the point-of-view of one of it’s stars- ‘The Disaster Artist’ is interesting, funny, and even sweet at times. It’s definitely worth a watch if you’ve ever enjoyed ‘The Room’!

– GAMES/APPS –

TILE – Probably known more for their heartwarming, ugly-cry inducing commercial where a lost stuffed panda wanders an unknown city looking for it’s owner (the most adorable of little girls)TILE is actually a pretty neat, handheld tracking device that you can sync up to your Bluetooth to help you locate missing keys, phones, etc. The company was kind enough to send me one of their devices earlier this month- which has since found a permanent home on my car keys since I’m prone to misplacing them!

And I think that’s everything for December 2017! I’m looking forward to sharing my memories of this past year that was before the ball drops at midnight and we welcome 2018- but for now- I’m off to enjoy my Friday!

xx

– Ashley –

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 –