OOTD: Fleece Navidad

Good Morning and Happy Monday (yuck…), everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Mine was as busy as ever- with my wrapping up the last of my Christmas shopping, swinging by a really fun holiday party at one of my favorite local breweries in Malden, and spending some time with my family eating great food and making plans for the coming weeks ahead.

Today is shaping up to be a busy one- not just because of work and some scheduled errands later on this afternoon/evening- but also because the World Series trophy is making a scheduled appearance near my office today. It’s a big deal- especially with the lot of us here being Red Sox fans- so we’re re-configuring our entire afternoon around photo-ops and selfies. As one does, I suppose.

But before I fix my hair and re-apply some lipstick for my own shameless selfie- I wanted to share one of my favorite, festive sweaters to wear this time of year- and one I actually sported this past weekend. Ugly Christmas sweaters and the holiday parties that celebrate them aren’t going away anytime soon- but I like that this one in-particular is actually pretty funny, creative- and kind of cute!

Also- it’s definitely cozy!

I layered this sweater with a white tank top and paired it with a pair of skinny jeans and my knee-high brown boots. The sweater got a lot of laughs, which is always good- and I ended up keeping it on post-party when I met up with friends later on, too!

I plan on wearing this again at least one or two more times before Christmas this year. I love it so much and I never get the chance to wear it- for obvious reasons.

But for now I’m off to get my usual start-of-the-week grind going and begin checking my voicemails, e-mails and reviewing my cases for this week. I’m not thrilled about it- although I’m never thrilled on Monday mornings- but it’s just the first step towards Friday!

I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your day and that the next few days are as stress-free and painless as possible!

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 –

OOTD: Seeing Spots

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone! While I’m not particularly looking forward to starting what is going to be a pretty hectic week at my office, I had a pretty fun, laid-back weekend (that also happened to include a surprise belated Birthday party for me!)– that I’ll get into a little later on this week. Plus, I’ve got my coffee and a cinnamon raisin bagel in front of me- so I can’t complain too much. I’ve definitely had worse Monday mornings.

Now that I’m back home in the cold and re-adjusted to my time zone- I wanted to share what has undoubtedly become “the” coat for me this Winter. It’s made a few appearances here on Blondie Birdie since I purchased it on sale for $10 last month (thanks, Primark!) but now I get to show what it looks like when it’s actually on my body.

What I love most about this leopard print coat is that it’s actually lined to keep me warm- so wearing it out and about this time of year isn’t like sacrificing my health for the sake of a fun, vintage look. It’s a legitimate Winter coat- that also happens to give me some serious 60s vibes whenever I throw it on.

I typically wear this coat with black leggings, black high-heeled boots, and a sheer top on nights out. If I’m not tying my hair up into a slicked back, high ponytail and throwing on some chandelier earrings- I do what I did this past weekend and let my hair down, glide on some cherry red lipstick and some winged eye liner- and hit the town.

I get a lot of compliments on this coat- which I hadn’t anticipated when I first bought it- but apparently leopard print is still very much in and still very much coveted. I love it. It’s fun, cozy, chic and is going to come in handy when I inevitably dress as Edie Sedgwick around Halloween later on this year.

I’m not going to lie- as much as I hate Winter- I’m going to be pretty bummed out when I have to put this thing in storage once the warmer weather rolls around!

I hope you all make it through your Monday unscathed. I’ve got a Valentine’s Day inspired dessert recipe coming up in a couple of days for those of you who like a quick and easy chocolate fix- and I’ll be sharing some of the details from this past weekend’s adventure.

Have a good one, everybody!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: January 2018!

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone! I am officially in “Countdown to Vegas and The Super Bowl” mode right now- frantically finishing up some work at my office and attempting to re-pack my suitcase in preparation for my (second) departure to the West Coast within a month. I head out bright and early Saturday morning- having only recently fully recovered from my birthday trip to San Diego just this past weekend when I had the chance to sleep in and late for the first time since I’ve been back home.

Before I dive back into my e-mails and itinerary, though- I wanted to share some of the odds and ends that have made January 2018 one for the books. Fashion? Cosmetics? Cozy and warm Winter essentials? Incredible music and compelling television? I can’t think of better things to kick off the first month of a brand new year with!

As is tradition, I’ll be sharing the things that were able to be laid out and photographed with ease before I dive into some of the other miscellaneous things that I couldn’t quite capture with my camera.

Let’s take a look at what has been giving me serious heart-eyes for the past few weeks!

Kicking things off with my wardrobe- January was all about statement pieces that have withstood the test of time and were easy to match with pretty much anything in my closet. Keeping me warm in the frigid New England temperatures (and numerous snowstorms we’ve had since New Year’s) was important, too- so this leopard print faux-fur coat from Primark was both a lifesaver and a head turner whenever I wore it out and about with high heeled boots or sequined dresses and chandelier earrings. This is just one of those universally chic items that you can keep forever and still wear it- and look good- anytime you put it on.

And on those cold mornings where my hair isn’t quite dry or my roots aren’t looking on point to my liking- I toss on this millennial pink knitted beret (with a fun little poof ball) from Bed Bath & Beyond to keep my scalp warm and/or hidden from the general public. This is another accessory that matches pretty much anything and can be worn with anything- like a fancier pantsuit on my way into work or with jeans and a chunky sweater on the weekends while I’m running errands.

I particularly love the color of the beret, too- and I hope it stays on trend for a long time!

January has been all about protecting my skin and hair until Winter finally gives up and retreats for a few months- but with frequent travel over these past few weeks (including flying to warmer climates)– it was easy for things to get thrown off-balance a bit. Luckily, I had some help along the way to keep everything exfoliated, smooth, conditioned and hydrated.

First and foremost, I have been using this vegan facial scrub from Garnier every morning in the shower and it sets the stage for my serums and moisturizers. The formula- which is 96% vegan and infused with green tea- gently buffs away pore-clogging dirt and excess oil without stripping my skin of it’s natural hydrating components the way some other scrubs (particularly the ones with apricot seeds or whatever) do. My skin is left smooth and soft and ready for the rest of my regimen.

Last week I had talked about what was packed in my carry-on bag at the airport- and the biggest essential was Caudalie’s spray-on beauty elixir. This stuff has single-handedly saved my complexion this past month. So much, in fact- that I’ve felt completely comfortable stepping out into the world without any makeup on more than once (I spent a good portion of my time in San Diego makeup-free- which is huge for me!) It shrinks my pores, tightens my skin, refreshes any dry spots on my face- and lasts all day.

Of course, that’s not to say I’ve simply stopped moisturizing- because that’s really important, too- and for the past few weeks I’ve turned to an old favorite and an overall classic in Clinique’s ‘Dramatically Different’ Lotion. Lightweight and non-greasy- I’ve just been slathering this on in the mornings and then again at night to even out my combination skin. This tube is travel-sized (naturally) and comes in handy if I feel like I’m starting to have a dry spell mid-flight.

Naturally, I can’t neglect my hair. Since I’ve gone blonde, I have to make sure my curls get as much hydration as possible to keep them from looking frizzy or damaged. Throughout this month, prior to applying my regular styling products- I’ve applied generous amounts of this argan oil from OGX from root to tip. This formula deeply penetrates my hair to soften my curls and give them a healthy shine that may have otherwise not been possible given the current climate in Massachusetts that is essentially sucking the moisture out of everything. I rely on this product- and I don’t know what I’d do without it!

For makeup this month, two products really stood out for me- and I’ve been using them daily. The first, a minty green eye shadow from Make Up For Ever– has become my go-to eye look at work and on nights out.  When splashed against the usual dark and neutral hues in my Winter wardrobe and accessories- this makes my eyes pop and gives me a bit of much-needed color. I typically brush on some shimmery highlighter over the shadow, too- just to lighten it a bit and enhance the green more- but it’s a simple one-step color that makes my morning makeup routine so much easier.

By now, we know that I am fully committed to Fenty Beauty– so another one of their products popping up in my monthly “Favorites” collection shouldn’t be a surprise. For January, it was the MATTEMOISELLE matte lipstick in ‘Single’. Soft, long-lasting, and super-flattering- I wore this everywhere in San Diego- where it remained drink-proof, taco-proof AND kiss-proof for days on end. I cannot wait for Spring so I can grab the lilac-version of this formula- because I know it’s going to look amazing paired with floral prints and lots of pinks!

Another one of my “Carry-On Essentials” items that also made my Favorites list in January? My nautical-themed weekly planner for 2018- which I take with me everywhere in my bag. I jot down my work schedule, meetings, trips/destinations, appointments and blog-related to-dos in this book every other day and it helps me stay on top of everything.

A lot of my friends use electronic planners on their phones/tablets- which I know is probably more convenient- but I’ve seen their phones break or glitch out on them multiple times. Having a good ol’ fashioned paper planner I can rely on all the time is just so much less stressful for me. Plus- how cute is the design?

And finally- let’s give it up for cozy socks- AKA what I’m wearing inside of my snow boots 99.9% of the time this month. I’ve been coveting the aloe-infused pairs lately since the cold weather is murder on my heels- and not only do these keep my toes toasty and warm even when I’m out shoveling for hours on end- but my skin stays soft and smooth, too! There’s no need for an emergency pedicure after every blizzard when I have these things within reach!

When I was a kid, getting socks for the holidays was unthinkable- but now that I’m an adult- I’ll happily accept more of these, thanks.

And there are just some of my favorites for the month of January, 2018- the things that I could take photos of, anyway. But there’s still a few more things I really loved this month!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” – I have a sort of love/hate relationship with Ryan Murphy. While shows like “American Horror Story” or “Scream Queens” never quite did it for me (too many characters  to follow in a limited amount of time = sloppy writing)– he’s pulled off some incredible dramas ala “Feud: Bette & Joan” and his most recent installment of American Crime Story which follows the events leading up to and following the murder of fashion icon Gianni Versace outside of his home in Miami Beach.

Unlike it’s O.J. Simpson ‘Crime Story’ predecessor- the casting in the Versace version is spot-on and it’s been so incredibly interesting to watch. I’m hooked!

The Redwoods Music – My friend Daniel in San Diego is an incredibly gifted, unbelievably talented musician and singer/songwriter who is an active member of some of the most fantastic local acts in Southern California. I absolutely adore him- and was finally able to catch up with him during my recent visit (after just missing each other around various gigs and venues for the past few months!) where he was kind enough to play me some of the things he’s been working on lately. With acts signed onto The Redwoods Music Label like The Midnight Pine and Birdy Bardot- the doors have been opened for me to discover more incredible acts and expand my current playlists substantially. You gotta’ go give these artists a listen!

– GAMES/APPS –

“Oxenfree” – Released in 2016, I was actually unaware of Oxenfree’s existence until earlier this month when a friend rigged up Steam at a party to show a group of us who had gathered for a night of pizza and board games. With a graphic novel-esque design and a sci-fi/mystery-inspired story that felt reminiscent to teen movies from the 80s- it didn’t take long at all for those of us who took turns playing it to become fully invested in the characters and the plot. It was a really fun and really unique gaming experience- and one that I highly recommend if you love a good, supernatural trip!

– MISCELLANEOUS –

Flannel Sheets – Perhaps the one comfort from home that I missed the most (apart from my dog) while I was away last week were my flannel sheets. I’ve stockpiled a few sets to get me through the Winter since it’s always freezing at night- and I’ve grown so accustomed to nodding off in them that I actually had a bit of trouble getting rest on the West Coast because anything else just felt weird by comparison. Now that I’m back and bundled up again- I’ve been sleeping like a rock (on dachshund printed ones at the moment, FYI!)

And I think that’s everything for January 2018. I’ll be talking about my trip to San Diego, the month in review, etc. a little later on this week in my “In a Nutshell” post- but these were my favorites and I’m sticking to them!

xx

– Ashley –

OOTD: Subtle Sparkle and Shine

In my late teens/early twenties, the New Year’s Eve ensemble code that my girlfriends and I always stuck to was simple: short dresses/skirts, the highest heels imaginable- and enough sequins and glitter that you’d still be picking them out of your hair by Memorial Day Weekend.

Now, in Southern California, Nevada, or Arizona- this dress code would not only be expected, but probably appropriate in some ways, given the climate- but we grew up in (and still reside) in New England. You know, the part of the country that has been consistently under a thick blanket of ice for a few weeks now? That corner of the United States that hasn’t seen temperatures come out of the negatives for days? Yeah, that part.

But we were young and dumb back then- and looking cute or sexy meant risking frost bite or hypothermia in the New Year. I can remember one New Year’s Eve where I wore open toed heels – OPEN TOED HEELS– during a snowstorm because I had a party to get to. I look back, cringe accordingly- and then see other girls around that age doing the exact same thing. I can’t help but laugh- because I know they’ll look back on it someday and have the same reaction, too. It’s a lesson every young woman has to learn when they grow up in parts of the country that experience some drastic season changes.

I digress- now that I’m older and (somewhat) wiser- I’ve learned that layers and practical footwear can be cute for New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day, too. And if I want to sparkle and shine for the occasion- I don’t have to look any farther than knitted sweaters that use shiny thread. Case in point? This oversized sweater I picked up at Primark and wore around New Hampshire and Ipswich on New Year’s Day.

Not only did I look festive AND comfortable- but I was beyond cozy and warm, too. Paired with fleece-lined leggings, knee-high wool socks and my black snow boots- I didn’t have to worry about being exposed to the elements or getting sick as a dog from being outside for more than a few minutes at a time.

I know some people think the material this sweater is made from feels “itchy” at times- but I was fine all day and well into the night wearing it. I think, moving forward- if it ever became an issue- it’s nothing a tank top or a thin, thermal long-sleeved shirt underneath wouldn’t solve.

I wore small, faux-diamond earrings and swiped some metallic gray eye shadow on my lids (and a metallic pink gloss on my lips) to complete the look without going overboard.

I loved the outfit, and it’s definitely something I would wear again- even on regular work days at the office where champagne toasts at midnight aren’t a requirement (but I wish they were!)

xx

– Ashley –