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: 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 –