Living Coral – Pantone 2019

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

I am admittedly off to a bit of a late start today, what with last night’s Super Bowl and all. A tense game and a pleasantly surprising Patriots’ victory usually calls for a groggy Monday- and now I’m getting ready to (attempt) to get some stuff done at my office today and figure out a way to carpool over to tomorrow’s Victory/Celebration Parade that’s been scheduled in the city!

Before I do that, though- I wanted to talk about incorporating colors into my Winter look. Not just any colors, of course- but Pantone’s 2019 ‘Color of The Year.’ Every year, Pantone announces what color they anticipate will be the big sensation in the following months. From electric purples, “Millennial” pinks, to rich greens- it’s always been fun finding ways to embrace the designated shade in makeup, fashion, accessories and home decor and seeing how other bloggers, designers and influencers are embracing it.

This year’s color, though- may be one of my favorites. 16-1546- or “Living Coral” as it’s being called- is a bright, Summery combination of pink/orange that was one of my favorite tones to wear long before it was thrust into the spotlight- and I’ve been predominantly featuring it in my makeup this Winter to brighten up what is otherwise a neutral and darker-shaded canvas in my clothing and accessories.

Why? Because it pops!

And I’d like to share how I manage to do it- for under $30.

There are certain makeup brands I love for sure- Fenty, Tarte, and Urban Decay come to mind almost immediately- but sometimes I feel people sleep on Sephora’s own line of cosmetics which are just as pigmented and just as high quality as other brands you’d find within the store for a fraction of the price. When I’m in need of color but don’t want to break the bank- I turn to them!

For example, their ‘Blush Me’ cream blushes go on smoothly, and are easy to blend with your fingertips to a powdery and long-lasting finish. This shade, ‘All Smiles’, is a $5 way to achieve a ‘Living Coral’ flush!

For my eyes- I keep it simple- usually sticking to one universally flattering shade to blend onto my lid and into my crease before I finish it off with a couple of swipes of lengthening and thickening mascara. Again, Sephora comes through in a clutch with their Colorful Eyeshadow Singles ($8) in ‘Cherry Blossom’- which sets as a beautiful pink/gold on my lids and is flattering to every skin tone.

I’m so in love with this color and I think it’s perfect for any season!

Finally, I finish things off with a bold lip (my specialty!) and to truly bring out my passion for ‘Living Coral’- I turn to Sephora yet again and their LipStories lipstick line. This shade, ‘a satin finish called ‘Hot in Havana’- may look like a super rich orange- but once applied and blotted out (or, if you prefer- finished with a clear or pink gloss)– is a beautiful coral color that pulls everything together and completes this Pantone-inspired look!

Best of all? The lipstick is also only $8 and is just as long-lasting, hydrating and pigmented as other brands that are triple that price!

When all is said and done- this ‘Living Coral’ look- splashed against the backdrop of my black, gray, brown and dark green wardrobe this time of year- makes me look bright, cheerful, and even maybe like I’m preparing to jet set off to a tropical destination to beat the Winter blues.

Of course, ‘Living Coral’ isn’t just limited to my makeup right now. I’ve also been sporting a bright and fun manicure courtesy of Butter London- who paired up with Pantone to develop a limited edition line of nail polishes inspired by this year’s ‘Color of The Year’. You can snag your own HERE if you’ve got room for a bit of a splurge this month!

But that’s it for me today, everyone! I’ll be back on Wednesday- post-parade and the Lunar New Year celebrations- to share one of my favorite Super Bowl recipes for those of you who are still in “GAME ON!” mode!

Enjoy your Monday, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: October 2017!

Is it Monday again already? Ew. This past weekend sure flew by quickly! The bright side (there’s always a bright side) is that tomorrow is Halloween, of course- which means we all still have a couple of days left to squeeze in some last minute scares and sweets before we hang up our costumes and usher in November and the impending Holiday Season. I’m a bit overwhelmed just thinking about it already!

Before that, though- I wanted to share some of my favorite products/items/miscellaneous odds and ends that helped to make October the fabulous fright-fest that it was. Most of the things that made the list are silly finds I picked up along the way these past few weeks, while others are some my favorite kinds of entertainment- but all of it holds a special place in my heart when I look back on October of 2017.

Up first are the things I was able to photograph in one place!

A couple of weeks ago, while at the Rock and Shock Horror Convention in my hometown- I picked up one of these ‘Stranger Things’-inspired natural soaps from the booth that had been set up for Fiona’s Fright Soap. This bar in particular smells like a pretty amazing combination of pancakes and maple syrup- and with the second season of ‘Stranger Things’ premiering on Netflix a few days ago (spoiler alert: it’s awesome so far)– it felt like an appropriate time to start using it.

The soap not only makes me smell like a delicious breakfast- but it makes my skin feel really soft and smooth, too. I know this was a limited edition product but I’m hoping Fiona’s eventually makes it a regular item so I can order more of them!

One of my girlfriends, Stef, recently got into canning goods/food with her fiancé- and she’s been kind enough to give me enough food to get me through the zombie apocalypse every time we hang out. Her most recent concoction- and probably my favorite- is this vanilla & whiskey infused apple sauce. She makes it from scratch, air-seals it so it doesn’t go bad- and passes it around like Halloween candy- and it’s AMAZING. It tastes like apple pie filling with a little bit of a boozy kick.

I’ve been hounding Stef for the recipe so I can put it up here for everyone to enjoy. That’s a foodie post I’m really, really going to like putting together!

Speaking of food and sweets- one of my favorite things about Halloween is cooking/baking some seriously macabre snacks for my friends and co-workers. I’ve been loving these edible cupcake/cake toppers from Wilton. They make everything so much more funny- and I REALLY love seeing people’s reactions when they realize that they’re edible and bite into them for the first time. It’s priceless.

I’ll be turning to them when I start baking for next Halloween, too! (Side Note: I love the little edible hatchets you can buy as cupcake toppers. A little bit of red icing and you’ve got a sweet, delicious murder-themed dessert!)

With all of my Halloween stuff going on this past month, it was easy to neglect my nails sometimes. Thankfully, Saks Fifth Avenue had my back- and were nice enough to ship this milk chocolate-inspired shade of nail lacquer from Smith and Cult to me. The color (called “Tenderoni”)– which has quickly become my signature hue on my nails, eyes and lips- is going to be perfect for the remainder of the Fall through the Winter.

It’s smooth, long-lasting, and I’ll be posting a swatch of it soon on Instagram!

Finally, this was another find at the Rock and Shock Convention that I’m completely in love with! I’ve been wearing this Ouija pendant necklace non-stop since I got it- since it’s not only seasonally appropriate- but it looks pretty damned cool, too. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments from people who have leaned in close enough to get a good look at it- and I’m thinking I may keep on wearing it even after Halloween is over!

And that is everything I was able to photograph for my October favorites.

Of course, some other things made the list, too!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

“The Walking Dead” – OOOOOH, IT’S BACK, BABY- AND IT FEELS SO GOOD. Although we’re only a couple of episodes into the eighth season of my number one obsession- the pace of the show has been incredible. Rick Grimes is straight up murdering people. Daryl looks like he actually showered for once. Carol remains my flawless Queen- and Ezekiel still won’t break character. It’s everything I hoped for and more and I’m praying this season makes up for all the heartbreak viewers experienced around this time last year!

“Broad City” – On the opposite end of the spectrum, one of my favorite comedies is back and I couldn’t be happier. One of the things I love most (and there’s a lot I love about it) about “Broad City” is that it focuses on common issues for women everywhere- but it does it in a funny, and often touching or poignant way. The most recent episode, where Ilana admits she’s having trouble finding sexual gratification since Election Night while Abbi comes to terms with aging after finding her first grey hair- was some of the best writing I’ve ever seen on the show. I want to be BFFs with those girls.

– GAMES/APPS –

“South Park: The Fractured, But Whole” – I’m a longtime ‘South Park’ fan (it’s social commentary is spot. on.) and the last game that came out, “The Stick of Truth” is one of my favorites. While “Stick of Truth” was like a ‘Lord of The Rings’ parody- “The Fractured, But Whole” is geared towards making fun of the successful string of superhero movies that have come out in recent years. Featuring more predominant characters in the latest seasons- my friends and I have been pretty much dying laughing while we take turns playing this at get-togethers. It’s a riot- and really, really fun!

And I think that’s everything for the month of October. Most of it was Halloween and Horror-related, sure- but it’s the one time of year where it’s universally appropriate! I’m sure I’ll come back around to less gory and scary things come November.

Try to enjoy your Monday, everyone! I’ll be back tomorrow to talk about October 2017 overall before we pass out some candy and kiss this month goodbye!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: July 2017!

Good Morning and TGIF, everyone! Can you believe we’re heading into the last weekend of July and that Summer is going to be winding down soon? As much as I love the Fall here in New England (I’m very much one of those unapologetic pumpkin-spice-everything type of girls)– I’m not ready to say goodbye to Summer of 2017 yet- especially when it’s been so much fun!

But I’m getting ahead of myself here. We still have this weekend and all through August and early September to soak up some more sunshine and hit the beach before it gets too cold out- which is exactly what I plan on doing come first thing tomorrow morning. Before that, though- I wanted to share some of the odds and ends that I absolutely loved this past month.

Most of my favorites from July were cosmetics-related since I recently did an overhaul and mass clean-out of my skincare and makeup to get rid of expired/empty products and make some room for newer items- but there’s a couple of other things that made the list, too!

One of the things that I ate pretty much non-stop throughout July were these cold brew latte dessert popsicles I kept buying at Trader Joe’s. Think of how refreshing an iced cafe mocha tastes on a sweltering hot morning- then make it even colder and put it on a stick- and you’ve got this wonderfully smooth, creamy and satisfying treat that’s low in fat (and calories, too) and gives you a nice caffeine boost when you might need it the most.

I’m seriously addicted to these things so I have a feeling they’ll probably make my August Favorites list, too!

I was admittedly a little skeptical when I first saw swatches of Urban Decay’s latest Naked palette, “HEAT”- since I’m pretty fair and always assumed any sort of red/orange shadows would just end up making me look like I had a bad case of pink eye or a weird rash or something. Earlier this month, however- I was treating myself to a couple of goodies and thought I may as well give it a try- and I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised with how neat these shadows look.

While there’s plenty of red/orange tones- they can easily be blended and sort of mellowed out with the lighter brown and almost rose-colored shades that are included in this palette, too. There’s a nice mix of shimmers and mattes that I’ve been experimenting with pretty much every day since I picked this one up for myself and I haven’t found a color combination that I dislike yet. Every shade is really beautiful and makes me think of days spend out in the desert whenever I visit Nevada!

Another “wasn’t sure at first but now I’m a believer” find? Brazilian Bum Bum Cream by Sol de Janeiro. HEAR ME OUT- I wear a lot of bikinis during the Summer, and even though I never skip squats and am a body lotion/cream fiend- I was intrigued about this Guaraná-packed moisturizer I heard mentioned through word of mouth. It’s all-natural ingredients are supposed to boost circulation in your skin while smoothing and tightening- and some people I know swear by it.

First things first, the cream smells delicious- good enough to eat, even- and it doesn’t feel greasy or sticky after you slather it on, but the most important thing are the results. I’ve been using this quick-absorbing cream religiously for a good portion of July now- and even though I’ve always thought my posterior looked decent, anyway- it definitely looks a lot smoother and feels a bit firmer after I use this stuff! Consider me a fan!

I recently misplaced one of my favorite raspberry-hued Formula X nail polishes, and I cannot find it for the life of me (I think it’s somewhere in San Diego!)– so I found a lovely substitute in Deborah Lippmann’s Summer 2017 collection with this bright, poppy pink shade called “Shut Up And Dance” which I’ve been sporting on my fingers and toes nearly all month. The formula, long-lasting like a gel manicure but without the harmful chemicals and UV rays- gives full coverage and is highly pigmented.

The shade just feels like Summertime- and I doubt I’ll be wearing any other color on my nails ’til the Fall!

And the last thing in July’s beauty round-up is this gorgeous roll-on fragrance from Replica– “Beach Walk”. A really incredible combination of lemon, coconut, cedar wood and ylang ylang- among others- this perfume transports me to the beach even when I’m landlocked at work. It’s hard to describe just how lovely this perfume is- but I’ve been wearing it every day and I get so many compliments on it.

It absolutely reminds me of evenings spent at Old Orchard Beach strolling the boardwalk with my friends. Replica managed to somehow bottle that memory in fragrance form!

I think that’s it for the things I was able to photograph for the month of July- but there’s still a couple of other Favorites, too!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

“Preacher” (2nd Season!) I’ve been a huge fan of AMC’s “Preacher” since it premiered last year, and I was so thrilled that it had been picked up for a second season that started in late June after another series I enjoy, “Fear The Walking Dead”, wrapped up for the time being. The show, characters, story- and the comic book it’s based on- are absolutely bonkers. It’s funny, clever, violent, a little gory- but so, so entertaining nonetheless. I’ve been putting the finishing touches on a Jesse Custer cosplay I intend to wear around Comic-Con next month when it swings through Boston- so I’m very excited!

“Atomic Blonde” – So the movie technically comes out today, but I’m already so hyped up to see this one with my girlfriends this weekend. It’s been a pretty good year for ass-kicking female-led films so far- so to watch Charlize Theron take no prisoners as a secret agent and look stunning while she’s stabbing people with a stiletto heel is something I can definitely get behind. Yes, please!

– MISCELLANEOUS –

San Diego Comic-Con Recaps! – The biggest convention of the year wrapped up this past weekend, and I was LIVING for the updates that were coming out on a near hourly basis- both from friends who were in attendance and on social media. The trailer for the 8th season of “The Walking Dead” (my all-time favorite show, ever- period) stopped me in my tracks when it was released- and I was fan-girling so hard on my phone during the Marvel panel updates. I haven’t been to SDCC since 2014- where I had the time of my life- but I’m really hoping I can be there for 2018 to re-live all the excitement and previews!

Alright- I think that’s everything! Anything else that I may have forgotten will definitely get a mention next month when I inevitably remember it!

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

POPSUGAR Must Have Box Review: June 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

xx

– Ashley –