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 –

“Just hear those sleigh bells jingle-ing, ring-ting tingle-ing, too…”

Good Morning and Happy “Hump Day”, everyone!

Today is my usual half at work (the day changes come January 1st for a couple of months- so I’m enjoying these mid-week breaks for now!) before I head home to finish wrapping my Christmas presents and start scheduling their deliveries to friends and family during visits and parties over the next few days.

I’m quite pleased with how I’ve managed to get my decorating, shopping, (most of) my wrapping, baking/cooking and planning done early and/or reasonably hassle-free this year- so much, actually- that I’ve had more time to enjoy seasonal activities and events I may have otherwise missed during last-minute gift shopping panic.

A portion of this past weekend, for example- was spent in an indoor “Winter Wonderland” with my mother during an outing in Western Massachusetts where I helped her finish checking things off her own shopping list and then grabbed a nice lunch together.

While Christmas is positively beautiful in Boston- and there’s so much to see and do- the crowds can get a little overwhelming at times. The Pioneer Valley is a lot more low-key, historic, and quiet. I’ve been spending a lot of time there and it really is just a lovely location to be leading up to the holidays.

During our day out, my mother and I marveled at rooms lined wall to wall with miniature villages, made a pact to someday purchase one of the 30-foot high Christmas trees that touched the ceiling, tried to find the perfect nutcracker to add to her ever growing collection- and resisted the urge to buy every single dessert-themed ornament we spotted on sale (and there were a lot.)

It was a really great, fun, and laid-back day- and we even saw a bit of snow in what was otherwise a rainy week/weekend!

This coming Friday, I have another seasonally and holiday-appropriate recipe to share (this time it’s a dinner entree!) before I break for Christmas. And then, much to my disbelief at how fast time is flying this month- it’s going to be all about looking back at December and at 2018 overall on Blondie Birdie next week- with recaps about some of my favorite products/items/odds and ends to close out the year- and my Top Ten Photos I snapped during my travels and misadventures since January.

It’s a lot to do and prepare for, but I’m excited!

Until then- here’s wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday. I hope the remainder of the day and this week is stress-free and full of festive fun and cheer!

See you all again on Friday!

xx

– Ashley –

Holiday Trends: Bamboo Earrings

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

I hope everyone who celebrated Thanksgiving had a wonderful holiday and (hopefully) long weekend! I know I certainly did. The past few days have been filled with family, friends, and *so* much food. With all the turkey, vegetables, stuffing, rolls and pie I’ve been eating at all hours since Thursday afternoon- I’m going to be hitting the gym pretty hardcore over the next few weeks to work it all off again…

… Just to make room for all of that delicious Christmas food, of course!

But I digress- I had a lovely few days off and now it’s time to get back to work- both at my office and here on the blog.

Despite the urge to just wear sweatpants during Thanksgiving and the days that followed- I had to stay put together for various parties and outings in and around my hometown. That meant accessorizing and finding stylish (yet practical) shoes to wear out in the snow, too. When it comes to holiday-centric jewelry- I keep the glitz and the glimmer for New Year’s Eve festivities. While I definitely love all things sparkly- sometimes it’s nice to have something a bit more simple and natural to build my look around.

I’ve been wearing these lightweight, uniquely carved bamboo earrings from Green Tree Jewelry all throughout this past week/weekend- and the response I’ve gotten from my loved ones has been great! So much, in fact- that I plan on doing some of my holiday shopping through the company since they carry a variety of beautiful gifts that extend beyond jewelry.

Green Tree, based out of San Diego (my home away from home!) arose from the ashes- literally- following a wildfire that consumed the founders’ previous baseball bat engraving business in 2008. With eco-friendly laser cutters left unscathed in the aftermath, founders Lance Nybye Sr. and Jr. shifted their focus to designing and carving beautiful, intricate, fun and fashionable pieces from sustainable resources within the USA. Their artistry now extends across affordable necklaces, bracelets, ornaments, switch plates and so much more!

What I love most about these earrings, apart from the fact that they don’t feel heavy at all- is that the bamboo isn’t painted/stained or otherwise changed apart from it’s being carved. The natural, smooth wood finish makes each earring different and special in it’s own way.

The smaller pair I’ve been wearing, the Modern Leaf Bamboo Earrings, are my “daytime” pair. Jeans and sweaters? Leggings and long jackets while out and about grabbing lunch with friends, running errands, or digging out the ornaments to get the Christmas tree set up and decorated? These are my go-to accessory.

This pair is simple- yet still beautiful- and just goes so well with most of what I wear during the day.

And my “nighttime”, fancier occasion pair? That would be the larger, insanely cool Greek Bamboo Earrings– which are dramatic (like me!) and look amazing when I’m dressed to the nines and got a good smoky eye or red lip going on. I wore these to a performance I caught over the weekend and they were THE statement piece I needed to make a lasting impression.

Today is Cyber Monday, so if you’re looking for a beautiful gift that will be treasured by someone special in your life this holiday season and you want to support a great business- go give Green Tree Jewelry a browse.

ALSO! If you enter the code “GTJ10” at checkout, you’ll get 10% off your purchase- as well as free shipping!

Have fun getting some great deals today, everyone- and enjoy the start of your week! Let’s push through to Friday together!

xx

– Ashley –

Seafood and Shopping…

Good Morning and Happy Hump Day, everyone!

I’m still recovering from last night’s Interpol show at Orpheum Theater (in a good way- they were phenomenal!) and getting ready to launch into my work day- but I wanted to share some of my favorite steals/finds and photos from my annual trip up to Hampton Beach this past weekend!

Labor Day might be the unofficial end to the Summer, but to me and my family- the *true* way to send off the season and get ready for the Fall is to eat as many lobster rolls, scallops and crab cakes as we can while stocking up on bargains at the Seafood Festival.

This year’s festivities were particularly special since it was the first time we were able to bring Oliver with us! He’s such a wonderful, curious and friendly dog- but crowds and loud noises can sometimes make him anxious- and not everyone in Hampton is as mindful of their pets as I am with mine. On the other hand, I didn’t want to leave him home alone all day- which makes him terribly depressed- so I opted for a somewhat unconventional middle ground.

I bought a dog stroller- and Oliver LOVED it. Not only was he able to see all the action (and eat the occasional French fry I’d sneak him)– but when he got worn out from excitement, he was able to lay down comfortably and sleep peacefully while I wheeled him around from booth to booth. Of course, once we’d left the actual festival- I brought him to the shore so he could run free and enjoy the sand and surf, too!

If you’ve got a smaller/medium sized dog that might need one of these in busy, crowded situations- I highly recommend checking out the selection of carriers on Amazon. Mine was made by VIVO- and it was great quality and super easy to assemble, and even easier to clean, pack up and store for safe keeping when the day was done. There’s plenty of storage space for your pet’s treats, toys, etc. and yes- a cup holder for you, too. I kept my much-needed coffee within reach most of the morning.

Overall, it was such a fantastic day- even though it was a bit chilly along the coast. It was nice spending the morning and afternoon eating great food, watching the ocean, and playing some really old arcade games (that have been around since I was a kid!) along the boardwalk with my mom, my cousin- and Oliver.

Of course, I didn’t just eat amazing food. I did some shopping, as well- and scored some really great deals at some of the shops who were clearing out their merchandise for the season before they shutter their store fronts for the Winter!

While there were plenty of novelty t-shirts, sandals, bikinis and bikini cover-ups on sale- I found a couple of Fall-appropriate pieces that I’ve already started integrating into my wardrobe over the past couple of days!

This grey and white striped, collared sweater was hanging out all by it’s lonesome outside of Dudley’s– and when I tried it on and realized not only how flattering it looked but also how warm it would keep me in the Fall- I had to have it. The end of the season price? $7.50. How could I say no?

Additionally, I spotted this peacock feather printed maxi skirt in the very back of one of the boardwalk shops- where it was marked down to $17. How beautiful are the colors in this skirt? I recently paired this with a pair of brown, knee-high boots and an olive green turtleneck during one of our chillier days- and it looked so lovely.

I had mentioned earlier this week that I’m a big fan of anything with sea life printed on it- so when I saw this sterling silver octopus pendant (marked down to $12)– I knew I had to have it to layer with my other pendants and plain chains.

I really love unexpected and unique designs like this- and I feel the octopus (which is a bit sinister looking, really!) is going to catch some attention if people see it mixed among my other every day necklaces!

I tried a sample of this easy-to-make dip from Moose Creek, and oh my gosh- was it delicious! All you need to do is add a little mayonnaise, a little cream cheese, the dip- and as much lobster meat as you want- and you’ve got a really tasty appetizer to serve at your next get together.

Each packet of dip was $4 and can serve quite a lot of people- so it was well worth the price!

And finally, no trip to Hampton is complete without a stop at Sanborn’s Candies! This year I scored some individually wrapped “chocolate leaves” and a half pound of their soft, decadent and amazing chocolate nut fudge to share with my mom and cousin on the drive back home. It was the sweetest way to end the afternoon!

If you’re ever in New Hampshire at the end of the Summer and have the opportunity to check out the Seafood Festival- I strongly recommend it. Parking and traffic is easiest first thing in the morning- and going on an empty stomach is pretty much mandatory so that you can try a little bit of everything from all the great restaurants and food trucks that come to town to showcase the superstars of their menus.

And be sure to bring cash- since not all of the vendors are equipped to handle debit/credit transactions. It’s thankfully not too common- but it does happen!

I know I’ll be back again next year for it!

But now, I’ve got to get to work and get things done. Enjoy your Wednesday, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

“And we shed what was left of our Summer skin…”

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! I’m so excited we’ve arrived at the beginning of another weekend!

The next few days are gonna’ be busy ones- not that I mind. Today at the office, we’re having a bit of a “Food Day” and tailgating party to celebrate the Patriots regular season kicking off this weekend. I work with some pretty incredible cooks, so I’m really looking forward to snacking sporadically throughout my day.

In order to better prepare for today’s festivities and make sure my Pats gear was updated- I stopped by Patriot Place at Gillette Stadium over this past weekend to pick up a new team shirt (and some earrings I couldn’t resist.) There was a New England Revolution match scheduled a little later on that day- so the place was pretty packed and very wild- but it was a lot of fun. There’s so much to do there.

You can check out the photos of the new gear on my INSTAGRAM later on this afternoon!

Then, tonight- the MVP cook (my mom, of course) is whipping up a big dinner for our family to commemorate my older brother and my niece’s birthday- which fall within days of each other. Fridays are for food comas, right?

Tomorrow morning I’m getting up bright and early to pick up both my mom and my cousin and make the early a.m. drive to New Hampshire so we can spend a fun-filled day at Hampton Beach’s annual Seafood Festival. While I’m definitely going to get some crab cakes- as is tradition- the real fun comes from browsing the sales racks and seaside shops since many of them are going to be closing for the Fall/Winter season and need to move their merchandise quickly. You can find so many great deals if you know where to look.

Oliver is joining us, too- and if the weather permits- he and I will be taking one final dip in the Atlantic before the water gets too cold!

Sunday will, hopefully- be a day of rest and relaxation- spent in the comfort of pajamas after I grab my daily coffee. My West Coast vacation is quickly approaching and I’ve got a lot to do before I fly out to the desert! Apart from working my usual schedule next week- I’m seeing Interpol when they (finally) return to Boston, packing, picking up the necessities I’ll need on the road- and putting the finishing touches on my Autumn playlist for this year.

I’d like to decompress a bit on Sunday before I jump right back into my usual busy itinerary!

But the food is here and I’ve got work to do. Here’s wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

I’ll be back to it on Monday morning!

xx

– Ashley –