February 2019: In a Nutshell

Good Morning and Happy Thursday, everyone!

Another month down (although February is, of course, the shortest one-) and so much to discuss! These past few weeks have been filled with Super Bowl parties/parades, plenty of snowstorms, time spent with friends visiting from out of state, some love and romance around Valentine’s Day- and quite a bit of traveling around New England!

While there were plenty of things keeping me close to home this past month- like watching the Patriots win another Super Bowl and the subsequent celebrations that came with it (and yes, I’m just as disgusted by Robert Kraft’s behavior as the next person) and getting a surprise visit from my San Diego-turned-Chicago-BFF while he was in town for a job interview- I also made it a point to explore some other areas around my neck of the woods that I either hadn’t visited in a long time- or had never visited at all!

There was touring Louisa May Alcott’s home in Concord near the very beginning of the month, swinging by picturesque Newport, Rhode Island for their annual Winter Festival- and this past weekend I found myself out in Berkshire County where I spotted a Pepto-pink church while out and about (shown above!)

I reflected on dating now that I’m in my thirties, played around with Pantone’s “Color of The Year” and cooked up some amazing recipes to get everyone through the last leg of the colder months. As always, I took you all into my closet and into my Winter makeup routine/collection- and now here we are- getting ready to spring forward into March!

So what do I have planned over the next few weeks? Lots of things! In between my usual food and fashion posts- I’m looking forward to sharing some fun promotional opportunities and partnerships- as well as more stories/photos from the road where I’ll be visiting one of my favorite museums in Boston, a flower show/display in Western Massachusetts, a trip to my favorite seaside village in Connecticut- and a trip to Nantucket I’ve been eagerly preparing for and anticipating!

But of course, I’ve got to wrap up my work week, first- and today and tomorrow is all about tying up loose ends at the office before I head out with friends for the weekend and get ready for the unofficial start of Spring!

My posting schedule will return to normal first thing on Monday morning- but until then- here’s wishing you all an easygoing remainder of your week and a fun, safe weekend!

xx

– Ashley –

OOTD: Romantic Reds…

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

Between shoveling through multiple snowstorms and putting myself into food comas from nights out with friends over the past few days- I’m beyond ready for the weekend so I can catch up on some sleep, eat a salad to balance out the burgers, pasta and tacos I’ve been indulging in- and get some errands done that I’ve been sort of putting on the back burner to make way for my social life.

Before I head off to finish up some work I’ve got left at my office to do- I thought I’d share one of my current favorite outdoor ensembles to wear that definitely makes me stand out amid the non-stop snow flurries!

Back when I was a redhead, wearing more than one article of clothing or an accessory that matched my hair color was cartoonish and usually out of the question. But, now that I’m a bit blonder (and just as pale, of course)– I love experimenting with different shades of red and layer it on as much as possible.

So, given that February is pretty much filled with all things red, pink and white for Valentine’s Day- I love wearing this vintage red wool coat that belonged to my mother before it was gifted to me- and this lovely little red beret (with the most adorable floral accent) that was also a gift from a friend who saw it in a shop and apparently thought of me instantly- whenever I’m out and about.

And even though I love a good swipe of red lipstick- I keep my makeup fairly neutral when I’m sporting the coat and the hat at the same time so that I still look like myself within all this beautiful, bright rouge.

I may not be the biggest fan of Winter- but I am definitely going to wear missing this hat by the time Spring gets here!

Next week on the blog, I’m compiling my favorite things from this past month- and taking a look back on all the highs, lows and bizarre in-between moments these last couple of weeks in my monthly “In a Nutshell” post. I’ll be back on Tuesday for a shortened posting schedule for the end of February- but I’ll see you all then!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

My Winter Makeup Routine!

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you all had a sensational weekend!

Every few months, as the seasons change- I like to check in and share my makeup collection/routine and the things I wear on my face almost-daily. I love to experiment with colors and trends, while still attempting to coordinate with my wardrobe and the weather.

Living in New England and having the luxury of four distinct seasons- that means I typically change things up with my clothing, my hair and my makeup every 3-4 months- and Winter is no exception!

This time of year, I stick to full coverage foundations and lighter, frostier shades of highlighters and eyeshadow since my skin is at it’s palest during the Winter months and it’s easy for me to look overdone with darker-than-necessary tones- but I let my boundary pushing side shine through when it comes to choosing brighter and bolder lip shades. It may look and feel like a frozen tundra outside on most days- but that doesn’t mean my entire face has to look that way, too! I need a pop of color here and there!

If you’d like to take a look at my past collections- here’s my SUMMER 2018 ROUTINE, and my FALL 2018 ROUTINE. You’ll see some returning favorites in this post, for sure- but there’s a few new things I’ve been making good use of, too!

Fenty Beauty PRO FILT’R Foundation: This is one returning favorite that is pretty much a must for me throughout the Winter. Fenty is one of the few brands that not only have foundations that match my skin tone perfectly- but also offer long-lasting and comfortable coverage at a reasonable price point.

This foundation in particular gives me a lovely, matte finish that covers any and all imperfections and makes contouring and adding subtle hints of color to my eyes and lips a lot easier than other foundations that leave behind shine or aren’t full-coverage. Rihanna saves the day yet again!

[ MORE INFO HERE ]

Milani Cosmetics Strobelight Insant Glow Powder in “Afterglow”: When it comes to highlighting/contouring in the Winter- I try to stay away from anything too bronze, too pink, or too peachy. Again, I’m super pale this time of year (and any time of year, really-) so I lean more towards iridescent, pearl tones to make my cheeks, eyes, and bone structure to pop.

This lightweight, shimmery powder with build-able coverage gives me a beautiful Winter glow that makes me look vibrant and awake without reflecting like a disco ball. This is definitely going to be in my makeup bag again when next Winter rolls around, too!

[ MORE INFO HERE ]

Maybelline Expert Wear Eye Shadow Quad in “Charcoal Smokes”: Okay, so I have to be honest here and say that I don’t use *all* of the colors in this quad- as lovely as they are. The darkest shade, to be used for liner- hasn’t been touched. The light blue/silver, medium and dark grays, on the other hand- I use all the time to create a neutral, flattering smoky eye with a touch of iciness that acts as a sharp contrast to the darker tones in my wardrobe.

And whoever said that people with blue eyes shouldn’t wear blue eyeshadow were wrong, by the way. As is the case with anything- healthy moderation is key- and I believe the light blue in this easy to blend quad makes my eyes really stand out in a good way!

[ MORE INFO HERE ]

MILK Makeup’s KUSH High Volume Mascara: Another returning favorite from my collection and current mascara champion is this cannabis oil-infused, lengthening and thickening black mascara from MILK Makeup. I’ve already gushed at length about how fantastic this mascara is- from how it transforms the look of my lashes to how it simultaneously conditions and softens them as I’m wearing it.

It’s truly something you have to experience for yourself- so if you haven’t tried this mascara yet- get out there and do it right now!

[ MORE INFO HERE ]

Doucce Relentless Matte Lip Crayon in “Winterberry”: One of my year-round lip looks, practically trademarked at this point- is a bold, highly pigmented red lip. In the Spring and Summer- it’s glossy and shiny- but in the Fall and Winter I am all about mattes. Given that my skin and lips tend to be dryer in the colder months, of course- I turn to products that will not only make me look smoldering (even when it’s snowing out!) but also be comfortable and hydrating, too.

Doucce’s soft, rich red lip crayon does just that- with long-lasting wear and no feathering or “bleeding” as the day/evening wears on. I can eat, drink, kiss and be merry- and not have to worry about constant re-applications.

[ MORE INFO HERE ]

NYX Lip Lingerie in “Cabaret Show”: Of course, not every occasion calls for a sultry red lip- and when I’ve got a meeting, a conference, or a daytime event that requires me to present as a little more subtle- I wear this pigmented dusty rose shade as a liquid lipstick alternative.

While this color isn’t as bold as the red crayon, it’s still deep and rich and keeps me from looking washed out the way lighter shades or no lip color at all would this time of year. I’m a huge fan of NYX and their entire ‘Lip Lingerie’ line- and this is definitely one of my favorites.

[ MORE INFO HERE ]

And I think that’s it for my Winter Makeup Collection! Of course, there are a few things not pictured since I mix and match every other day- like concealers, eyeliners, etc. but what’s pictured above is the core of my seasonal assortment this year!

I’m off to get some work done at my office and try not to think about shoveling myself out of yet another snowstorm this week- but of course I’d always love to hear about your own Winter makeup routines/collections if you’d like to share ’em! Feel free to drop me a line, leave a comment, etc.

Here’s hoping for an easygoing week ahead!

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 –

Cozy Cooking: Smoked Gouda Potato Pancakes

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! We made it to another weekend- and considering I almost *didn’t* make it to the weekend- I’m very grateful.

Last night, while en route to visit a friend for a pre-birthday dinner celebration since I won’t see them on my actual birthday- I was hit from behind by a woman speeding on the highway who failed to slow down for the line of traffic I had been stopped and waiting in. The collision caused some serious damage to the back of my car, and unbeknownst to me until later on when I attempted to get myself and my vehicle home safely- some even worse damage to my tires.

What made it worse was that when I went to pull over to exchange information and see if she was okay- she went around me and took off. The impact had caused my stuff to go flying around the inside of my car- so I didn’t get a photo of her car, her license plate, etc. It was a hit and run- and now I’m dealing with the fallout, the appraisal process, and a very sore back. I hope wherever she is- she steps on a Lego block.

I digress. I’m thankful it wasn’t worse- and even though I’m in some pain right now- I’m especially thankful it seems to be a superficial injury.

___________________________

We’re expecting a significant amount of snowfall here in New England this coming weekend, which means a couple of things- the supermarkets are going to be like something out a post-apocalyptic horror movie with people fighting for the last of the bread and milk (it’s a Northeast thing) and I am more than likely going to be spending a considerable amount of time indoors while the roads are cleared.

I’ve already done my grocery shopping for the next couple of weeks- so I’m ready for anything- and I know of at least one Winter-friendly, warming dish I can whip up if I don’t lose power! These Gouda-loaded potato pancakes are crispy, cheesy, super filling- and can make even the coldest climate feel a little more cozy and comfortable.

Best of all? They’re super easy and fast to make! I did a trial run of these earlier this week- and they came out fantastic!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 1 lbs. russet potato, peeled
  • 1 small onion, peeled
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¾ cup shredded smoked Gouda cheese
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Grapeseed oil, as needed
  • Sour cream
  • Sliced green onions

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Coarsely shred the potato and onion on a box grater. Transfer shreds to a piece of cheese cloth and squeeze as dry as possible. Let sit for 2 minutes and then squeeze dry again.
  2. Whisk together the flour, salt and pepper. Toss the potatoes, onions, and cheese in the flour to coat and then the lightly beaten egg and stir until evenly coated.
  3. In a large skillet, heat up a generous amount of oil over medium heat until hot and shimmery. Drop the potato mixture by the tablespoon and flatten.
  4. Cook over medium to medium-high heat until edges are crisp and golden, about 1 1/2 – 2 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until golden, about 1-2 minutes. Drain on a wire rack or paper towels.
  5. Continue pancaking until potato mixture is done. Top pancakes with sour cream, green onions, and more shredded Gouda, if desired.

I could eat these pancakes every day for the rest of my life and never get sick of them. They’re like thicker, cheesier hash browns and are perfect for breakfast, lunch- or dinner!

Prior to the snowfall, I’ll be finishing up some things/loose ends in regards to my car accident and icing/applying a heating pad to my back to alleviate my pain. This coming Tuesday is my birthday- and depending on the weather and if I have a car or not- we’ll see what ends up happening for a celebration!

I hope you all have a wonderful, warm and safe weekend. If you’re from my neck of the woods- be careful driving and shoveling!

See you all next week!

xx

– Ashley –