Favorites: April 2019!

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! We made it to another weekend (and in my case – just barely!)

Next week is a short posting week, Tuesday and Thursday only, given that April is winding down and May is just a few days away (!!!)– but before I recap these past few weeks and get ready to jump into a brand new month that is going to be filled with travel, my move, and a LOT of adjustments- I wanted to share a few of my favorite things from April that helped make all these changes a little easier to get through!

This is my monthly “Favorites” post that highlights some of the products, items, impulse buys, and odds & ends that I’ve been enjoying all month- and as always I like to start with the things I was able to capture with a camera before I work my way down to the miscellaneous things- movies, TV shows, food/drinks, etc.

It’s a little list- but a good one- so let’s get started!

With Spring here, I finally get to switch up my makeup from deep gem-toned eye shadows and merlot-colored lipstick to lighter, fresher shades for the warmer weather! The first thing I decided to swap out was my blush. During the Winter I had been using a silvery highlighter all over my face to give me an icy glow- but with Spring here I opted for something a little more on the pink/rosy side (and with a hint of gold to make me look sunkissed!)

I’m loving this tiny little powder blush/highlighter, “Dandelion” from Benefit Cosmetics. The formula is lightweight and the color goes on so smoothly. I always have just the right amount of rose-gold glow whenever I walk out the door with this on!

I always keep a little roller ball perfume in my bag for touch-ups throughout the day- and I have been loving this “Wild Flower” one from Victoria’s Secret (underrated in the beauty/fragrance department, really!) The fragrance makes me smell like a pretty, tropical botanical garden, if that makes sense- with notes of lotus and magnolia- and it lasts a really, really long time- so frequent applications are a thing of the past!

It’s a limited edition, though- so be sure to snatch one up before they’re gone for good!

Just quickly jumping back to makeup for a second- but did you know that Sephora’s brand of makeup is actually amazing (and super affordable?) Case in point- this medium-coverage, oil-free foundation I started rocking the second the last of the snow melted because it gives my skin a chance to breathe while covering any imperfections flawelessly!

Best of all? It’s only $20! This is going to be my go-through the Summer. I just know it.

Of course, I can’t apply serums, creams, and brand new makeup to a puffy face- which is why I’ve finally caved and purchased a rose quartz facial roller at my local pharmacy. I didn’t want to believe the hype, guys- but it actually works!

Here’s what I do- I keep this roller chilled in my refrigerator overnight. In the morning, while I’m making a cup of coffee and before I put anything on my face- I gently roll this over my skin for about 5-10 minutes. The cold and the quartz reduces puffiness, redness, and helps to smooth out my skin for when it’s time to finally dive into my skincare regimen and makeup for the day!

Finally, in my attempt to live a healthier lifestyle in 2019 and embrace the sleeveless season- I’ve also been searching for the right aluminum-free deodorant- which has proven to be a quest in itself. Some don’t work all that well. Others smell, well- pretty weird- but I’ve found a winner with Secret’s new formula!

Clear, and free of harmful chemicals and dyes- this deodorant doesn’t leave marks on my clothes, smells light and pretty, and doesn’t feel greasy or gross after a couple of hours the way some other deodorants and antiperspirants do. I’m in love!

And I think that does it for the photograph-able stuff this month- but like they say in infomercials- “but wait, there’s more!”

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

“Game of Thrones” – So I know we’re only two episodes into the final season, and I know I’ve had a love/hate relationship with this show over the years- but how good has it been so far? You can tell everyone involved is really trying to give this one a proper sendoff and actually care about doing it right- so even though this Sunday night’s episode is going to undoubtedly destroy me emotionally- I’m also super excited!

Okay, *now* I’m done!

Short and sweet- much like how the entire month of April felt- those were some of the things that particularly stood out for me.

I’m off to get things done at work before I check out for my half day at the office and run some errands- but I’ll be back on Tuesday! Here’s wishing you all a fun, safe and hopefully sunny weekend!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: March 2019!

Good Evening and Happy Friday, everyone!

Today’s post is coming at you a little late in the day given how busy I’ve been this week. Within the past 24 hours I’ve been given a raise at my full-time job, found out a company shift has left me with a new team to work with- and applied for a lovely loft out in the Pioneer Valley (fingers crossed!)

Needless to say, I’m a little spent and plan on heading to bed early tonight before I head out to do my radio show tomorrow afternoon and spend an evening with my friend Duncan (who is visiting from Chicago for the second time this month! So excited!)

Before I put a sheet mask on and lay down- I wanted to share some of my favorite things from this past month! In terms of items/products- there isn’t much since a lot of my favorite things from February carried over into this month, as well- but what I did choose has definitely made the last few weeks so much easier.

As always- here’s the stuff I was able to take pictures of, first!

Even though this large floral necklace can feel heavy at times- I’ve been wearing it so much this month because it’s bright and bold and yes- a little tacky. But it’s fun and gets me into a Spring frame of mind- which I so desperately need right now given we keep dipping back and forth into warm weather and then bitterly cold days.

While my wardrobe continually switches between light sweaters on one day and heavy wool coats the next- this necklace remains a constant reminder that sunnier days are coming!

And while I gotta’ hold out on the full coverage foundations until it’s officially BB Cream season- I’m still going into Spring mode with my makeup and this rosy pink matte lip paint from Tarte.

This shade, ‘OG’, is long-lasting, non-drying- and super flattering to my still pasty Winter skin tone. It’s not too pale, but not too bright- which makes it perfect to wear at work or when I’m out during the day and going for the minimal makeup look while I’m having lunch or running errands.

If you’re sensing a pink or floral theme this month- you’re not wrong. I got one of these rose sheet masks from Mamonde in a recent subscription box- and I fell in love with how soft and supple it made my sometimes dry skin feel.

And although skincare products with fragrance can sometimes irritate my face- this one did anything but. The rose scent was relaxing and quite pretty- and I didn’t have any redness or small bumps after I finally peeled it off to take on the rest of my night!

Finally, I’m a huge advocate for women and their sexual health- and I’m wary of promoting products I don’t personally use or stand by. That being said, QUEEN V is one of my favorite and affordable brands geared towards women, their sexual pleasure, and their reproductive health.

These daily supplements boost my immune system and digestion while simultaneously keeping *that* area well-balanced so that I’m always feeling on top of my game. 30 capsules is $19- which is a lot more reasonable than other one-a-day vitamins I’ve seen on the market!

And that’s it for the photogenic goods this month- but I’ve still got a couple more things that made the list!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

‘Captain Marvel’ – Despite man-babies everywhere doing the absolute most to try and stifle this movie’s success from behind their keyboards- I was elated that ‘Captain Marvel’ was such a box office smash because it’s super entertaining and so much fun to watch. Knowing how devastating ‘Avengers: Endgame” will undoubtedly be next month- this was such an uplifting superhero experience to watch well in advance!

‘Us’ – Speaking of excellent movies, does Jordan Peele know how to make AMAZING cinema or what? I have yet to see a skit or a movie he’s been involved with that hasn’t just been expertly shot and acted and I am always left awe-struck and anxiously waiting to see what he’s going to do next. ‘Us’ is super creepy, really unexpected- and could very well be one of the best movies of 2019!

‘What We Do In The Shadows’ – A recent addition, the series inspired by the movie premiered earlier this week on FX and you guys- it is side-splitting funny. For real. I was cracking up so bad within 2 minutes and it just got progressively funnier as time wore on. I can’t wait to see the series through to the finale.

And that’s it for March, you guys! Short and sweet and to the point!

I’m spinning tracks at Indie617 tomorrow from 12-4 before I prepare to wrap up the month with a pretty little bow on Sunday. Lots of stuff and many changes happened this month for me- and I’ll be sure to recap them all with my “In a Nutshell” post!

Enjoy the start of your weekend, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: January 2019!

Good Morning and Happy Tuesday, everyone!

I know it’s early on in the week- but I hope it’s going well for you all so far! I’ve been working (of course) and enjoying a couple of warmer-than-expected days with friends in the outdoors- but February is just a few days away and it’s time for me to compile the things, products, odds and ends that I absolutely adored and was otherwise obsessed with this past month!

It’s a new year- and I’ve got some new followers- so I’ll just give a quick explanation. At the end of every month- I always, without fail- share two posts. One, which falls on the very last day of the month- is a recap of the previous days/weeks. The highs and lows, miscellaneous adventures and photos that didn’t quite fit in with any of my other scheduled content, etc. That post (which will be up this Thursday!) is my “In a Nutshell” post.

Before that, though- I photograph and do a little write-up of all the things I bought, found, was gifted, discovered, etc. that made the month all the more sensational. That would be this post you’re reading right now- and it’s my “Favorites” of January 2019!

But perhaps just simply showing you all the things I loved this month would be a little easier than trying to explain the process. So, without further delay…

First things, first- 2019 is all about keeping organized- and I turn to this lovely little teal and gold sparkly weekly planner from Orange Circle Studio! I write everything in here- my appointments, due dates for bills, meetings, scheduled blog content, plans with friends/family, and goals for each month.

This planner is the perfect size where it fits right into my purse- which means I can take it with me wherever I go in case anything comes up while I’m on the road- and the bright colors and shimmer stand out if I have it on my desk and need to find it in a flash. It definitely doesn’t get lost in the shuffle!

Speaking of staying organized- now that I’m working with my favorite theater company in the Pioneer Valley- there’s a lot of meetings and lot of information I need to keep track of! Not wanting to carry around a flimsy notepad or cover my space with post-it notes- I treated myself to this faux-leather bound Kate Spade notepad and binder.

The motto on the front, “Let’s Talk Shop”- is a nice touch that *I* think makes me look like I’m all business.

I mean, it does- right?

The lining in my wallet I’ve had for a few years now was finally starting to tear/shred and fray- and I decided that for the new year I’d treat myself to a new one. I am absolutely, head-over-heels in love with this New England Harbors-themed one from Spartina 449. It’s like a cute map of home and reminds me of some of my favorite places here in New England no matter where I travel.

The wallet has a ton of space, too- and it holds all of my cards, money, ID, etc. and then some. It’s definitely a welcomed upgrade!

As a belated-Christmas/early-Birthday present this year, my cousin Paige surprised me with this portrait of Oliver- done by the tremendously talented Tami Draws Stuff. It’s so accurate and so adorable and is presently hanging in my office next to an actual photograph of Oliver.

My co-workers absolutely love it. I linked to Tami’s Etsy shop above, so if you or someone you know has a fur-baby you’d like to get a personalized portrait of- either for yourself or as a gift- definitely check her out! Her work is really impressive and oh so cute!

Another Christmas present that I’ve been using pretty much non-stop lately is this gray/black pom-topped beanie from Crane Clothing Company my sister-in-law had given me. I have a collection of beanies (I do live in New England, after all-) but not too many of them have the poms on them so this is such a fun addition to my assortment and one that matches pretty much everything in my Winter wardrobe.

Also, it’s super comfortable and doesn’t move around when I have it on. There’s nothing worse than a beanie that keeps slipping down over your eyes when you’re trying to get things done!

Finally, to close out this month’s collection of items I was able to snap photos of- I’ve been indulging in some serious LUSH treatment throughout January. Specifically, their chocolate lip scrub (which works amazing and tastes delicious)– and their Oatifix mask/facial cleanser. I really love using this mask every few days- not only because it makes my skin smell like an oatmeal cookie- but because it clears out my pores in my oily areas while simultaneously hydrating and calming my dry areas.

This mask is perfect for combination skin- and even more perfect for combination skin during the Winter! It’s a lifesaver for me!

That’s it for the products- but a couple of other things made my list for January ’19, too!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

‘Surviving R. Kelly’ – The Lifetime Network, notorious for bad biopics and tantalizing thrillers for bored housewives, delivered a knockout punch to disgraced R&B singer R.Kelly earlier this month with their six-part docu-series detailing the singer’s troubled past, his multiple victims, and the people in his camp who enabled and assisted him with his abusing underaged girls and the subsequent cover-ups and payoffs.

The series is gripping, heartbreaking, and at times- difficult to watch- but it’s a story that needed to be told and was long overdue. I really hope that within the fallout from it’s premiere- R.Kelly finally gets put in jail and his victims find closure and peace.

– GAMES/APPS –

‘Resident Evil 2’ – The remake of one of my all-time favorite classic horror video games I’ve been waiting months for dropped last week and I have to say that it’s AWESOME so far. Between the graphics, the gameplay, the jump scares and the story (lightly altered but still pretty true to the original)– this is a huge win for Capcom and for the ‘Resident Evil’ franchise as a whole- which has sort of gone off the rails in recent years.

I can’t wait for the weekend so I can keep playing it without being interrupted by anyone or anything!

And there it is- my Favorites from January of 2019! A decent collection of things, if I do say so myself!

My recap of the month will be up on Thursday (and there’s so much to talk about!) but until then- I’m off to get some work done and make some dinner plans!

If you’d like to drop me a line or leave a comment to tell me some of your favorite things from January- feel free! I’d love to hear about them!

And there’s still some time to enter my BIRTHDAY GIVEAWAY BY CLICKING HERE IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY!

See you all soon!

xx

– Ashley –

Dinner Parties and Resolutions…

Good Morning and Happy “Hump Day”, everyone!

I hope you’re all having a fabulous week so far. I, personally, have been enjoying a little downtime following last week’s insane amount of work, hustle and back-to-back commitments! It’s nice to have a little time to catch up on some of the things on my “to watch” list on Netflix, curl up with a good book of magazine, play some video games- or mix all three with friends during a bundled up dinner party and game night like I did this past weekend when it was too cold to go outside- so we opted for some indoor fun, instead!

Our menu was simple but filling- wheat linguine with chicken and vegetables tossed in a cream sauce with some garlic bread. It was just so nice to stay warm and toasty and eat together, goof around, and catch-up with one another since it’s been undoubtedly crazy and non-stop movement since the holidays!

Which brings me to the point of this post- staying organized and sticking to goals! I know we all go into the New Year with the best of intentions, big goals/aspirations and earnestly plan to fully commit to achieving them- but by mid-to-late January we might pause and ask ourselves “wait, I have to do this for the whole year?”

I know I certainly get like that- which was a contributing factor to my not reaching some of the resolutions I had set for myself in 2018… And 2017…. And maybe 2016…

… You get the picture.

But while I’m usually holding my head in my hands and sighing in disbelief at my own lack of commitment by this time every year- I’ve actually found a lot of success by implementing one or two different techniques into my daily routine these past couple of weeks- and also by making just a few small, minor changes in how I do/approach things and which don’t disrupt my life in any capacity.

I figured I’d list them here- in the hopes they may help someone else reach their goals, too!

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Invest in a planner- and note it daily.ย We’re all digital these days- and everything we need to do/want to do is made even more convenient with the click of a button or an app- but I’ve found that writing things down in a planner (and picking out a pretty one is half the fun!) not only keeps me from forgetting important dates/times/due dates/plans that I may otherwise overlook while navigating through multiple applications I have open on my phone/computer at any given time- but there’s something really satisfying about crossing off the things I’ve accomplished each day as I go!

Additionally, I set small goals for myself at the beginning of each month and write them down in my planner, as well. It can be something as simple as renewing my passport before my birthday to something a bit more challenging- like running for a longer distance than what I’m used to when I go for a jog or doing 100 more squats- but having them in writing is a daily reminder that I have something to work towards. And, if I don’t want to have to do them the following month on top of other things I end up jotting down- I’m more inclined to accomplish them!

Build and commit to a schedule and a time frame that boosts your productivity: My job can get absolutely crazy sometimes- i.e., the holidays- and throughout 2018 I found myself getting overwhelmed, irritable, and coming into the office earlier/staying later than I or anyone else should ever have to do because I wanted to get things done. It ended up burning me out and really wearing me down- until I tried a trick a friend (who also has a pretty hectic office job) taught me.

I developed a time frame for every work day and dedicated certain tasks to fit into those time frames. They are the only things I focus on/get done until time is up and I move onto the next designated block of time/tasks. For example, I go into work at 7:30 a.m. From then until 9 a.m. I am drafting legal paperwork (and listening to music) since it’s the only time of day where my phone isn’t ringing off the hook and I can focus.

From 9 until 11, I am making calls and responding to e-mails, and from 11-1 I’m going through tasks, cleaning up files, etc. until I take a lunch break at 1- return at 2- and close out the last couple of hours of my day finishing up anything I didn’t get to in the morning. Since I started adhering to this semi-strict time allowance- I’ve been able to leave on time and not have to worry about things not being done- and it’s been amazing,

Factor in self-care and healthy choices, too: Of course, setting specific times and tasks for those times doesn’t just include work or office duties- but good choices for my body/mind, as well! During work I always make it a point to get up and stretch/take a quick walk and drink plenty of water- and after I leave the office for the day and have a light dinner- I allot a period of time to get some yoga/cycling/cardio in.

It may be Winter, but that doesn’t mean I can’t work out from the comfort of home or the gym!

It’s also crucial for me to schedule in some self-care. Be it catching up on a couple of episodes of a show I’m watching on my couch, taking a bubble bath, coming up with content for the blog, etc. My schedule may not be as strict when I’m not in the office- but it’s important for me to find that time where I can just take a deep breath, unplug from the world, relax and re-center myself.

Don’t beat yourself up- and allow yourself cheat days/days off: Listen, life happens- and things can come up without a moment’s notice that disrupt our schedules and plans- and that’s okay. If a day gets muddled up- it’s not the end of the world and you can start fresh the next day. If I were to say this plan has been implemented perfectly day in and day out without the occasional hiccup or setback along the way, I’d be lying- because sometimes I can be impulsive and run off to do something “just because”- that conflicts with my schedule or things I need to get done- but it hasn’t stopped me and I haven’t given up.

More importantly, you have to give yourself some “cheat days” or some time to indulge- especially those of us looking to be healthier or get into better shape. Don’t deprive yourself of the good, even gluttonous things in life- because you shouldn’t have to be miserable while you’re working hard to achieve your goals. Moderation is key- and if you reward yourself from time to time- it’ll be easier to get back on track than it would be if you didn’t stop to smell the roses (metaphorically, of course) at all.

For me, my “cheat days” or days to do whatever I want are reserved for the weekends- where I’m free to go wherever I want, stay out late without wearing myself out, etc. Then, come Monday- it’s back to work and back to focusing on the things I want to accomplish that month/this year.

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I know it’s still very early on in 2019, but those are the things I’ve been doing as of late and I’ve already seen wonderful results in regards to reaching my goals, better managing my time, increasing my productivity- and cutting down on stress!

I feel if I keep going forward with these tips/tricks and maybe implement new ones along the way- I will remain on top of my game and make 2019 a really successful year!

But, time is money- and I’m at work- so it’s off to get things done and prepare for my half day tomorrow (where I’m cooking up something really delicious for Friday!) and finalize some pre-birthday plans for this weekend!

If you’d like to share some of your own tips/tricks for sticking to your goals, staying organized, and time management- I would absolutely love to hear them! Please feel free to drop me a line or leave a comment.

Have a great rest of your Wednesday, everybody!

xx

– Ashley –

Into The Woods…

Good Morning and Happy “Hump Day”, everyone!

I hope you’re all having a wonderful week so far- and are staying strong as we work our way to Friday and another weekend ahead. Just a couple of days left and we’re free!

Tonight after I leave my office, I’ve got to head over to Cambridge where I’m meeting an old friend of mine I haven’t seen since this past Summer and some of his co-workers/business associates for a belated holiday party they had invited me to. The plan is dinner and an escape room experience- which should prove to be interesting. My closest friends and I were at each other’s throats the last time we all got locked in a room together for an hour- so it should be pretty entertaining to see how it goes with a few complete strangers!

This past weekend saw me actually escape the city instead, however- as I headed out to Western Massachusetts (and a bit North into New Hampshire) to jump start my New Year’s fitness regimen and spend a little more time outdoors and in nature- and hiked a good portion of the forest surrounding Mount Grace.

It’s been an odd mix of rain and snow here these past few days- and Saturday was no exception. I ended up bringing an umbrella with me to avoid getting sick because of the low temperatures and on/off sleet. It helped a little, but made some of the navigating and balancing myself as I stepped across wet/icy leaves and steep inclines a little difficult. I admittedly took more than one tumble during my trek- but thankfully no serious damage was done!

Best of all? I captured some really nice photos as the fog rolled in and out. You can click on the photos below to enlarge them!

There’s apparently a guard tower that you can scale to get a better view of the forest and surrounding areas- but I didn’t get an opportunity to locate it. That, and with the sun setting early these days- I also didn’t want to chance getting lost in the woods in the dark!

I’ll definitely have to go back and find it when the weather clears up a bit.

I’m hoping to be outdoors some more this coming Saturday/Sunday, although with everything I have planned- I think most of my time is going to be divided between driving to and from- and being indoors with friends and family as we celebrate belated birthdays and milestones that were overlooked around the holidays.

But I’m off to get some work done before the pandemonium goes down in Cambridge tonight. Here’s wishing you all a great rest of your Wednesday!

I’ll be back on Friday with a peek into my Winter wardrobe- provided I make it out of the escape room, of course!

xx

– Ashley –