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!
– Ashley –