Lobster and Lounging…

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone!

I’m excited that today is not only my work from home day, but also my designated half day- which means I can get things done in the comfort of my pajamas before I mentally check out at noon, get dressed- and go have some fun with what’s left of my afternoon!

Truthfully I’m still sort of in “rest and relaxation mode” from this past weekend’s excursion to New Hampshire with my mom, my cousin, my cousin’s fiancé- and my dog- where we attended the Hampton Beach Seafood Festival for a day. It’s been our tradition for quite a few years now- and I look forward to it every August/September because it’s essentially just a day to eat great food, stroll the boardwalk, play some classic arcade games (and skee-ball!) and snag some pretty terrific bargains and sales as all the seaside shops attempt to get rid of their remaining inventory before they close up for the Fall/Winter months!

And while I’ve typically gone for lobster rolls as my indulgence of choice during the festival- this year I gravitated towards crab cakes and lobster rangoons (absolutely delicious, by the way!) with freshly-squeezed lemonade from various vendors around the food/cooking tents.

I’m pretty sure I could have easily eaten 10x more of everything- but then I wouldn’t be able to fit into the absolutely adorable clothes I bought while I was in town!

Each year I try to pick up a couple of things I can wear during the following Summer or for future trips to hotter climates- but this year I decided to pick up a couple of dresses (and a new purse to give my current Prada one a bit of a break!) that I can easily wear and accessorize throughout the early Fall. the purse itself came with an accessory- a lovely bit of satin cloth and a navy blue tassel that is around the handle.

The first dress is a foxy (literally) frock with buttons and a really cute cartoon fox print all over- and the second is a ruffled, super soft floral dress that I am going to pair with some cowboy-style boots after I go shoe-shopping this weekend. I can’t wait to wear this out on my next night on the town!

And everything I purchased was under $50 total. Not bad, right?

Overall it was a really lovely day and I’m excited to do it all again next year. Being at the beach and watching the waves always relaxes me- no matter what time of year it is.

This particular trip got me thinking about Hurricane Dorian, though- which threatened our weekend forecast for a few days but thankfully didn’t turn into anything more serious- and it got me thinking about the Bahamas.

On Friday, I’ll be taking a quick break from my usual Autumnal Activities to share ways you can help those affected by what was one of the worst hurricanes we’ve seen shown up on a radar in quite some time. I’m eager to help, and i hope you are, too!

But for now- I’ve got to get to work. Enjoy the rest of your “Hump Day,” everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: December 2018!

Good Morning and Happy “Hump Day”, everyone!

I hope that you all had a wonderful and stress-free holiday! Even though I’m presently back at work for the remainder of this week (yuck…) and still recovering from a Christmas feast-induced food coma- I can’t complain. I had a wonderful few days off that I spent with a lot of my family around New England. It was a long weekend filled with great conversation, incredible meals, thoughtful and generous gifts- and even a little bit of snow on Christmas Eve!

And now, with there being just a handful of days left in 2018- my attention is shifting to wrapping up this year’s reflective posts here on ‘Blondie Birdie’ and preparing for New Year’s Eve and my plans for 2019. It’s going to be a very busy- but very exciting- few days ahead!

Kicking things off in my “Summary of 2018” series- I thought I’d share some of my favorite things from December- ranging from products, belongings/mementos, TV specials- so on and so forth. By now, those of you who follow my blog should know that the photograph-able things will b featured first, followed by the miscellaneous odds and ends.

Let’s get right down to it!

This Prada bag- while not new by any means- was a treasured gift my father had given me before his death following a business trip he’d made to Las Vegas circa 2009/2010. Wanting me to step up my handbag game while simultaneously spoiling me-the bag (which still has it’s authenticity certificate stored within a pocket on the inside) was a total splurge.

However, the bag was lost during a renovation/move after my dad’s passing- and I thought for sure it would never be seen again. Needless to say, I was devastated.

So imagine my surprise when the bag was not only recovered- but returned to me- in mint condition earlier this month. I was so happy that I cried- and it hasn’t left my sight ever since. Isn’t it gorgeous? This is going to be my default Winter handbag for sure!

In the colder months, I’m going a bit darker and “smokier” with my hair color- adding touches of silver and deep ashy browns into my highlights and low-lights. I anticipate I’ll be a much brighter blonde in the Spring and Summer- but for now I’m really enjoying the sort of dark and mysterious vibe my current hair color gives me. It matches my mood and my wardrobe pretty perfectly when it’s cold out.

Of course, maintaining the “smoky” effect requires some work on my part in-between salon visits- so once a week I turn to this conditioner/toner from Kevin Murphy to keep my color looking fresh.

After washing my hair, and gently towel drying to soak up any excess water- I apply this clean-smelling conditioner from root to tip- and then put a shower cap on and let it sit for about 20-30 minutes while I use a face mask, or brush my teeth, or read a magazine. Then I rinse it out and style my curls as usual- and I’m good to go with vibrant, refreshed hair with sealed in color!

To go with my current ash hair color- I’ve also updated my makeup for the Winter season- turning to rich reds and deep berry tones on my lids and lips. I’ve recently fallen in love with the independent and cruelty-free beauty brand Beauty Bakerie– in particular their gel liners and Lip Whips- which are long-lasting, non-drying, and super pigmented while maintaining a reasonable price point.

This matte lip color (called ‘Raspberry Tiramisú’) and soft gel eyeliner (called ‘Belgian Biscotti Gelato’) are both bold purple/red shades that make my otherwise subtle and neutral outfits and makeup choices pop ferociously. I wear the color(s) out with friends, at dinner with my family- and when I’m feeling particularly brave- to work. And the best part is I get nothing but compliments on them!

If you’re curious what the lipstick looks like, by the way- I posted a picture HERE ON INSTAGRAM earlier this month!

And finally, the holidays means my car and my home consistently smell like Christmas cookies- even if I’m not baking or transporting baked goods. I carry this small, aerosol fragrance from Yankee Candle in my bag at all times to freshen up any space to make it smell like sugar cookies for at least a couple of hours.

Just a heads up- I’ve tried the Christmas tree/pine one in the past- and it is POTENT. It’s so strong. This one, while still powerful- is far less aggressive and won’t cause any sneezing or watery eyes the way the pine one did!

And now, with all the photogenic things out of the way- it’s time to talk about a few other things that made the final ‘Favorites’ list for this year!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

The ‘Schitt’s Creek’ Holiday Special – I’ve been a huge fan of Canadian comedy ‘Schitt’s Creek’ since it’s debut a few years ago, but this month saw their first holiday special take place- and my God, was it a masterpiece. The show is such a perfect combination of comedy gold and heartwarming moments- and if that isn’t enough for you to want to tune in- Catherine O’Hara is a GODDESS in it.

The past seasons are presently on Netflix- and I urge everyone to catch up ASAP before the new one starts in January!

And as far as the holiday special? It’s going to be a new tradition to watch in my family every Christmas season.

– MISCELLANEOUS –

Paintbox Theatre – Paintbox has made my “Favorites” list in the past, specifically during their Summer program- but they’re on here again following my recent visit to their annual Holiday Show. I cannot say enough good things about this company- who encourage compassion, literacy, inclusiveness and curiosity among children in the Pioneer Valley. I’m excited to be working with them directly in 2019 since they are comprised entirely of dear friends and lovely human beings. It’s going to be a blast.

The Festive, Fighting Family Yule Log – When I have family over for the holidays, I typically throw on a generic Yule Log video on TV (and usually one that includes some classic Christmas music) to have some background noise and visuals going on during dinner, gift exchanges or conversations- until a friend linked me to THIS ONE a little earlier this month. The 30 minute video features the crackling yule log and music, of course- but peppered in between songs are pre-scripted but VERY realistic familial arguments performed by voice actors.

For those of you who might be away from home during the holidays and miss observing any family dysfunction- you’ll love it.

I think that’s it for my December Favorites, everyone! It was a laid-back month with a few surprises and a couple of new finds I’ve been loving and using regularly leading up to and through Christmas.

But for now, I’ve got to get caught up on any e-mails or voicemails I received over the holiday break, and try to get a handle on my caseload for the remainder of this short work week. If you have any favorites from this past month you’d like to share- feel free to drop me a line!

Have a great Wednesday, everyone! I’ll be back on Friday!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: September 2018!

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

We’ve made it to the end of another week- and pretty close to the end of another month!

While this week was a short one for me, what with returning from the West Coast and today being my half day at work (until next week, anyway- when my designated half day shifts to Wednesdays for a little while!)– I’m looking forward to the weekend and getting ready to dive into October- the month when I’m at maximum “spooky” power.

I’ll have my look back on September up bright and early this coming Sunday morning before I head out to do some long overdue apple and pumpkin picking- but before I get too ahead of myself- I wanted to share some of the products, purchases, odds and ends that I was coveting and obsessing over these past few weeks.

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

Now, the photogenic products are at a minimum as it was really hard to commit to fashion/accessories/shoes- not only because I was in the desert for a considerable amount of time this month- and also because the temperatures fluctuated so often back here in New England that I never knew what to wear or when! That’s the trickiest thing about September where I live. Summer does everything it can to hold on, while Fall is ready to swoop in and take over!

I digress- there are plenty of other things I enjoyed in September- and they’re all gonna’ get a mention.

Let’s take a look!

When I read that snakeskin was going to have a serious moment this Fall- I couldn’t wait to dive into the trend. Not wanting to go straight for cowboy boots or belts to incorporate the print into my wardrobe- I opted to replace my faux-leather cross-body bag with a faux-snakeskin one from ALDO, instead.

With a braided metal chain and clasp to keep the two spacious pouches within the bag secure- I have been loving this thing, It hangs comfortably, holds the essentials, and matches pretty much everything I own!

I have a feeling is one is going to be getting me through the Spring when it comes time for me to change things up again!

These two products were life savers- especially when I’d left the humidity in Massachusetts and spent time in the dry, dusty climate around Las Vegas during my vacation. It took little to no time at all for my skin, hair, and lips to get dry- but luckily I was prepared!

Knowing fully well that my makeup was going to be running off my face the second I stepped off the plane in Nevada and all that would be left would be dry, patchy skin- I opted for this moisturizing primer from Tarte. Not only did it keep my skin hydrated (even when I was out in the middle of the desert, roasting under the sun!)– but it kept my makeup in place. No touch-ups necessary as I went from day to night mode!

Of course, when it did come time to remove my makeup and turn in for the night- I wanted a sleeping mask that would keep my skin moisturized and bright so I could wake up and go. Enter this glittery, berry-scented and lightweight gel “Unicorn Glow” sleeping mask from Soo Ae Skin Care. After each night I fell asleep with this mask on, I woke up with skin that looked and felt sparkling clean and refreshed. Side note? The packaging is too cute. I’m in love!

And finally, with Fall in full swing- I’ve been gradually phasing out my bright pinks, corals and red lipsticks/lip glosses from the Summer and transitioning into rich nudes and brown tones. I’ve been wearing these two shades (the lighter, “Satin Ribbon” and the darker, “Teddy”) from NYX’s ‘Lip Lingerie’ collection.

These formulas go on smooth and quickly dry to a nice, crease-free matte finish that make my lips look plump and very Autumn-esque. You can keep an eye on my Instagram to see more photos of them up close this coming weekend!

And that’s it for the items/products that could be photographed- but as they say in infomercials- wait, there’s more!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

‘The Purge TV’ – I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first turned into this mini-series at the beginning of the month, but it’s been such a wild, dark and twisted ride- and now I’m hooked. The show follows three separate story lines that occasionally intersect on the night of the annual purge (the one night a year where all crime- including murder- is legal) as the characters struggle to survive and face their own morality.

It’s pretty intense- although I loved the candle the network sent me following the premiere!

‘Peppermint’ – I love a good vigilante justice flick, especially when the lead is a female- but seeing Jennifer Garner go from the sweet ‘Capitol One’ spokesperson to a no-nonsense Queen who punches bad guys in the face and blows things up? Count me in. I had so much fun watching this with a friend earlier this month. It was completely unexpected and worth a watch for anyone who likes action movies!

– GAMES/TECH/APPS –

‘Dead By Daylight’ – Although this horror movie-inspired PC game would have been a perfect contribution to my October favorites, I couldn’t wait to add it since my friends and I have been having a blast playing it. In the game, you can choose to be a survivor or the “killer” (and some are based off of classic horror movie baddies)– and you either work with your team to solve puzzles and escape the killer- or you go around and kill the survivors before they can escape.

It’s funny and crazy- and is definitely going to keep me occupied in the coming days when it starts raining again!

‘Hidden Agenda’ – Another group mystery/horror game, this PS4-Smartphone hybrid game (from the company behind ‘Until Dawn’!) allows players to work together to track down a serial killer, or- depending on your motives- sabotage your team. We played this as a group right before I left for the West Coast and it was the best. time. Seriously. Get your friends together and give it a shot!

– MISCELLANEOUS –

Maple. Pecan. Everything – Coffee, muffins, candles, etc. I don’t care what it is- if it’s got maple and pecan in it- I’ll eat it or use it to scent my home. Who needs pumpkin spice when this combination is taking over this Fall? I can’t get enough of it!

And I think that’s it, everyone! This month had a lot of fun things I’ll be using well into October- but I’m sure I’ll have some new finds to share, too!

I’m off to finish up some work and enjoy a company luncheon. Here’s hoping you all have a wonderful Friday and beginning to your weekend!

xx

– Ashley –

1-Year Blogiversary Beach Giveaway!

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

While the start of a new work (or school) week is typically dreaded, I think I have some exciting news to take some of that early Monday morning gloom away. At least I do for one lucky reader, anyway!

This past Saturday marked the one year milestone since I launched ‘Blondie Birdie’ back on June 9, 2017.  When I first decided to make the move from my former longtime home at ‘Legally Redhead’ and start fresh and new here- I had wanted to not only focus more on sharing my love of food, vintage clothing and travel- but also showcase local businesses and female-fronted organizations that were doing amazing things for causes that I was passionate about.

Since then, Blondie Birdie has grown beyond that and into so much more- with collaborations/partnerships in Boston, NYC, San Diego, Las Vegas and London- and I’m so excited to see what the the future holds for my little corner of the internet!

I wanted to take a quick moment to say thank you so, so, so much to all of the readers, fellow bloggers, businesses, designers, photographers, and artists that have made this such an incredible blogging journey for me so far- and especially thank my friends and family for supporting me and helping out with this project in so many ways over this past year. I know it wasn’t always easy- recipe attempts were burned, GPS devices were needed more than once when my unfailing wanderlust got myself and others lost in the wilderness- and shooting at just the right angle to showcase an outfit/accessory could be downright frustrating- but I was and will forever remain overwhelmingly proud and grateful for what has been built here. I couldn’t have done it without all of you!

That being said, here’s to another great year ahead with just as much fun, silly, (hopefully) interesting content- and to many more years after that, too!

To show my appreciation, I’ve put together a Summer/Beach-inspired giveaway (with help from Rafflecopter) to commemorate this most exciting of occasions! I handpicked a selection of items that reflect both me and my blog’s overall laid-back, Summery, mermaid-obsessed personality. Just a head’s up- there is a lot of aqua and blue in here!

This giveaway is currently open to those residing within the United States, Canada, Mexico and the U.K- but I haven’t forgotten those who live outside those areas. I’ll be planning something special for all of you soon. I promise!

Before I get into the rules/regulations and how to enter- here’s what’s included!

I always keep a notebook handy for scribbling down ideas or mindlessly doodling when the thoughts (or the mood) hits me, and this ruled mermaid notepad from Spartina 449– with really good advice etched into the cover- is perfect for bringing to the beach or your next backyard BBQ in case you need to jot down some recipes, poetry- or write a couple of reminders for any family functions your relatives mention while you’re there that you accidentally forgot about…

… It happens to the best of us. No worries!

You didn’t think me- a girl from New England- wouldn’t include a Yankee Candle in a giveaway, did you? Of course I’m putting one in there!  This medium sized glass jar features the scent “Life’s A Breeze”- which is a perfect combination of salty sea air and fresh cotton. It’s light and clean- and will refresh any room in your home for hours and hours!

There’s a reason Yankee Candle is considered *the* go-to candle company, after all!

I know I’m not the only one who has been relaxing on a pool floatie and wished my frozen margarita could float right alongside me- right? Well for the winner and a friend (unless they’re having two drinks at once, in which case- more power to you!) now you don’t have to paddle your way to the pool’s edge to grab your cocktail.

This set of two drink floaties from Slant Collections are going to help keep you relaxed and hydrated for the whole Summer.

Everyone needs a new pouch to hold their Summer essentials- and I thought this mermaid (and merman!) covered one from Danica Studio was incredibly cute and convenient. Both sides have the underwater design on them- which I love- and there’s enough space to fit the important stuff: cards, keys- and your phone!

Just because you leave the beach or the pool to return to real life doesn’t mean you can’t still bring some of it home with you. I’m including this super moisturizing foaming bubble bath from Michel Design Works in the giveaway- because being able to transform your tub into a less-drying ocean with a few drops of this shea-butter infused, beach-scented bubble bath is divine!

And finally, Summer Sundays (for me) means having a couple of glasses of rosé with my girlfriends while we grill or lounge by the shore- but this glass, with “RESTING BEACH FACE” predominantly featured in gold lettering- can actually fit an entire bottle of wine in it.

So if you’re having a tough day, or maybe want to make a good day a little better- drink up!

Of course, I plan on throwing a few more more beach-inspired surprises in there, too!

Before I get to the most important part (how to enter)– here’s just a couple of important rules/specifics for all participants to consider:

The giveaway is running from now through midnight (EST) on Saturday, June 23rd, 2018- after which time a winner will be selected at random through Rafflecopter and contacted directly to obtain additional information to process shipping (which I’ll be paying for!) 

If selected, you’ll have 72 hours to respond to the confirmation e-mail. If I don’t receive a response in that time, I’ll unfortunately have to select another winner, instead!

Nothing in this giveaway can be traded or swapped for something else. What you see is what you’ll be receiving if you win!

But now, onto what you’ve all been waiting for!

HOW TO ENTER:

First and foremost- please visit the Rafflecopter page for the giveaway by CLICKING HERE to make sure your entry is properly counted!

1. Comment on this post with your name and e-mail address. (Please keep in mind that I have comment moderation turned on to avoid spambots- so if your comment doesn’t appear right away- don’t panic! I’ll put it through as soon as I’m able!)

2. You can tweet about the giveaway and link back directly to this post or to my homepage: BlondieBirdie.com

That’s it! Just two simple steps and you’re in!

I’m so excited for this giveaway and to choose a winner in a couple of weeks. I’ll be tweeting out (and posting) occasional reminders every now and then- but it’ll be kept to a minimum to avoid spamming everyone.

Again, thank you all so much for the continued support and enthusiasm. I really love writing Blondie Birdie and I hope you all feel the joy I pour into it every week.

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful Monday! Let’s make it count!

xx

– Ashley  –

Favorites: September 2017!

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! This past week has been so insanely busy that I just can’t wait until 4:30 p.m. when I can leave my office for the day, head over to my mom’s house with my older brothers, sisters-in-law, and my niece to have our big bi-weekly family meal together- and get ready for a nice, relaxing weekend- which will include a few laid-back Autumn activities, of course!

Although my look back on the overall month of September will be up tomorrow morning (my “In a Nutshell” posts always get published on the last day of each month!)– I wanted to share some of my favorite products, entertainment, and miscellaneous odds and ends that I really enjoyed these past few weeks. Yes, there are a few pumpkin-related things on the list- this is me we’re talking about, after all- but there’s some other good stuff, too!

First up- here are some of the products/items/splurges that made September even more fun for me!

It should come as no surprise- since it’s been all over Blondie Birdie and my social media accounts since I purchased it near the beginning of this month- that my brown faux-leather, cross-body saddlebag from Old Navy has quickly become one of my favorite Fall accessories. I carry it with me everywhere, it matches pretty much everything in my wardrobe this season (I wear a lot of browns, reds and golds this time of year!)– and it holds the essentials. Also- it has a pretty cute tassel on it that gives it a little bit of character and is nearly identical to ones on a pair of moccasins I’ve been sporting lately.

As a lover of both Bath & Body Works AND enjoying a glass of wine in my bathtub from time to time- I was really excited that the brand recently announced that they were getting in on the bath bomb craze that Lush has pretty much had in the bag for years. That’s not to say I don’t love Lush and their products (they’re one of my favorites!) but B&BW’s “Bath Fizzies” are a little less expensive than Bath Bombs but are just as great. I’ve been loving their Pumpkin Cupcake-scented one lately (and you bet I buy these things in bulk!) because not only does it make my skin and hair smell like a pumpkin spice and vanilla cake- but it moisturizes and conditions, too.

Plus, they’re just so much fun to throw in the tub and watch it change the water different colors!

Keeping up with great products from Bath & Body Works- how incredible are their candles? Although they don’t last as long as, say- Yankee Candle products- they always smell AMAZING and can fill an entire room with the most unique (and sometimes mouthwatering) fragrances. “Leaves” is one of my favorites this time of year- because it’s just a fantastic combination of apple, cinnamon, spices and clove. If you could bottle all of the best things about Fall in one jar- “Leaves” would be it. I always pick up more than one when I go shopping to keep in my kitchen, my bathroom, my bedroom, etc.

When Rihanna first began teasing the launch of her new makeup line- Fenty– earlier this month- I wasn’t sure what to expect. There have been some celebrity-backed brands in the past that have left myself and plenty of other people disappointed (I still don’t get the obsession with the Kylie Jenner stuff, honestly- but maybe that’s just me!)– but the first reviews were overwhelmingly positive and it looked like Rihanna had approved an impressively wide range of shades and colors for a multitude of different skin tones and complexions. I caved and picked up a couple of things- and I’m so glad I did because I have been loving the results!

This “GIRL NEXT DOOR/CHIC PHREAK” Killawatt highlighter is giving me life right now- and makes me glow and sparkle even on the days when I’m exhausted. I wear it on my lids, my cheeks, and as a contour to freshen my face up for work and after-hours. Best of all? It’s reasonably priced. No more buyer’s remorse for overpriced products that don’t work!

Finally- has there ever been a shirt that sums me up so well? This soft cotton jersey-esque top was an impulse buy a couple of weeks ago and has been giving me, my friends and co-workers a good laugh whenever I wear it out and about. I’m actually planning on sporting it this weekend when I make a planned trip to a pumpkin patch outside of the city- because why not, right? Keep an eye out for it on my social media!

And I think that’s it for the products I really enjoyed throughout September- but there’s a few other things that made my Favorites List, too!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

“It” – I remember when I was a kid, my dad read this Stephen King novel cover to cover- only to have nightmares for a few days after he’d finished it. Something being that scary to temporarily traumatize the bravest man I knew was unheard of- so naturally when I was old enough to watch the 1990 mini-series- I went into it expecting the worst- only to be left… Well, not that scared. At all (sorry, Tim Curry! I still love you!) Since then, I’ve read the novel- and although I’m not a particular fan of remakes or the re-imagining of original stories- I always felt like “It’ deserved the Hollywood treatment to really make it worthy of the hype that has surrounded it for so many years.

Well, earlier this month- it got just that. I’ve seen “It” twice in theaters now and I absolutely love it. It’s scary, funny, sad, and- at times- sweet. It’s also perfectly cast. It’s impossible NOT to become emotionally invested in each of the characters. I can’t wait for the sequel in 2019- and I’m already dedicating my Halloween costume this year to the most terrifying scene in the book- and the movie!

The Killers – “Wonderful Wonderful” – It’s been five years since The Killers dropped ‘Battle Born’ on us- so having a brand new album this month felt like getting a surprise visit from old friends for the first time in a long time. I adore this band- always have, always will- and I’ve been listening to WW on heavy rotation since it’s release last week (I also caught a snippet of their set in NYC last weekend- which I’ll get into during my post tomorrow!) It’s a great assortment of head-bopping, sing-along “fun” songs and those pretty, uplifting kinda’-sorta’ballads these boys seem to like so much.

Their upcoming tour should be a lot of fun.

And I think that’s it for my September Favorites. Just a small collection of things I’ve been enjoying over the past few weeks. I’m sure I’ll have plenty more things to share in October!

Enjoy your Friday, everybody!

xx

– Ashley –