September 2014: In a Nutshell.

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Despite the fact that we’ve reached the end of September, the leaves have been changing colors, and we are (officially) in the midst of Fall- it has felt more like mid-July these last few days here in New England. I briefly had to swap my boots and hoodie for comfortable flats and a t-shirt when temperatures unexpectedly soared this past weekend. Much like Winter did earlier this year when it came time for Spring to reign supreme, it seems Summer isn’t ready to go without a fight.

As excited as I am that my favorite month of the year is finally here, proper respects must be paid to September- which, when not in my office, was spent in beautiful locations like Hampton Beach, rural Vermont- and the always picturesque Western Massachusetts taking in the beginnings of Autumn. September also saw the start of what has quickly become my newest favorite tradition: bringing my six year old niece to kindergarten a couple of days per week. I love concocting bizarre pancake recipes with her for breakfast, listening to music together in the car, and talking about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles while we walk hand-in-hand to her school. She’s just such a fun little kid and I adore spending time with her.

I also ended this month on the highest of high notes:

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On Friday night, I saw one of my favorite bands, Kasabian, at The ‘Dise.  The last time I saw Kasabian live was circa 2005 at a small outdoor festival in Staten Island with my friend Sam. At the time, Sam had quite the crush on singer Tom Meighan (not that I blame her- he was, and still is- very, very handsome,) but I’ve always had a thing for Sergio Pizzorno, the guitarist. Despite my love for the band- it seems as though every time they came to the area in recent years, I was either out of town or busy with other plans.

Regardless, Friday night’s show was worth the wait. Kasabian were fantastic and the show was fun and memorable enough to climb near the top of my list of all-time favorite gig experiences. Not even getting accidentally elbowed in the face during the encore by a very enthusiastic fan could deter my good mood. I sang along to every song, fawned ridiculously (and shamelessly,) and jumped up and down with the crowd until it became physically impossible to move.

I hope they come back to Boston sooner rather than later.

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On Sunday, I headed out to West Springfield with some of my girlfriends to attend the final day of The Big E, because what better way to start the week than by stuffing ourselves with the unhealthiest of fair foods and then risking our necks on carnival rides? When we couldn’t take anymore deep fried Oreos or swinging dangerously high off of the ground- we spent the afternoon and early evening walking the fair grounds, feeding farm animals and perusing booths upon booths of goods from local vendors. It was a really lovely afternoon spent in good company.

And with October mere hours away, I’m so excited for all the things I have planned! “The Walking Dead” returns in a couple of weeks, as does “American Horror Story.” I have a pretty fun Halloween-themed giveaway coming up (the details will be announced this coming weekend!) some travel and day-trips scheduled, and I get to absolutely decimate my recommendations on my Netflix account when my “Horrors of Netflix” reviews return!

It’s been fun, September- but now it’s October’s turn to shine- and I couldn’t be more excited!

Quick Eats: Pumpkin Spice Muffins.

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I’m sure that most of us- if not all of us on more than one occasion- have had to whip up something quick and easy to serve guests and/or ourselves in lieu of of meticulously planning and preparing a meal from scratch. I’ll never shame cooking and baking shortcuts or anyone that uses them. I work full-time and have other obligations that require my full-attention. I can’t always clear a couple of hours in my schedule to spend in the kitchen mixing, chopping, seasoning, etc.

Such was the case earlier today, when wanting to enjoy the flavors of the season (namely: pumpkin) came with a time restraint. I opted to use pre-packaged boxed pumpkin bread mix to create pumpkin spice muffins for a late breakfast- taking advantage of the extra minutes the mix bought me to add a tasty salted caramel twist with extra ingredients I had laying around.

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Pillsbury had the right idea with their packaged ‘Quick Bread’ mixes. Some milk, a little oil, a couple of eggs and some vigorous stirring- and you’ve got yourself a thick batter in minutes that can be poured into your pan and placed in the pre-heated oven. I even found these Fall styled baking cups for an added touch of cute. When all the batter was evenly distributed in the cups, I had exactly a dozen muffins with little to no leftover batter in my mixing bowl. I don’t like being wasteful, so I was pretty happy about this.

While the muffins began to bake, I got to work on giving my cream cheese flavored icing a little tint of orange with food coloring to make them look nice and festive. Some of you may be wondering “who puts icing on a muffin?” which is a completely fair question to ask. As much as I enjoy the taste of pumpkin, a lot of times the ‘spice’ part of it tends to be overwhelming. I like to sweeten it just a little and I find that pairing it with cream cheese usually has a delicious result. I don’t frost the muffin like it was a cake or anything- but a nice, thin layer along the top really evens out the flavor.

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After the muffins had cooled and had been properly iced to my liking- I added a handful of roasted and salted peanut seeds to the top of them to give them a salty crunch. The final touch was then lightly drizzling melted caramel over the seeds and letting it harden and set.

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The entire baking and decorating process from start to finish took about a half hour- and the finished muffins were delicious- the perfect combination of sweet and salty. I served them with warmed apple cider, and to make things a little more fancy and Autumn-esque- I decorated the placements with fake Fall leaves.

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A Day in the Green Mountain State…

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The final weeks of September through mid-October tend to be the most beautiful here in New England, with the leaves changing brilliant colors before they tumble off the branches and onto the ground. It’s a transition that can be easily overlooked in all it’s breathtaking glory when you- say- work in the city, for example. Not content with missing a moment of foliage and having this past Sunday freed up of any specific plans or errands that needed to be taken care of- I hopped in my car, selected the “Scenic Route” options on my GPS- and made a four hour journey along the winding back-roads heading North to Vermont. My destination? A covered bridge tucked away near Rutland that I had hoped to photograph- but I found myself stopping (on more than one occasion) to check out various farmer’s markets, stunning views of the mountains, and lots of abandoned places along the way.

While there’s still plenty of greenery to be found- I did catch a glimpse of bright red and orange leaves showing themselves along mountainsides, in fields, and on farms. The drive was so relaxing that when I lost cell service and couldn’t locate the covered bridge for the life of me (and my GPS was rendered useless when trying to do so-) I didn’t even mind. Instead, I stopped for a late lunch/early dinner at Mr. Darcy’s Bar and Grill in Ludlow, Vermont (I loved their name- and their soup!) as well as a country store on my way home where I picked up some chocolate fudge as a surprise for my mother and some of my personal favorite- maple cotton candy- for myself.

I’m planning another trip to Vermont- more than likely this coming weekend- since there were plenty of places I had wanted to stop this past Sunday but couldn’t because of time limitations. I’m looking forward to pumpkin and apple picking, snapping a few more photos, and of course grabbing some more maple cotton candy.

xx

Loot Crate: September 2014.

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Three subscription review posts in a row? I know, I know. Despite my recent content- I assure you all that Legally Redhead is not being changed into “What’s in Ashley’s Mailbox Today?,” and I promise I’ll feature different posts within the coming days (apart from what’s been arriving in the post-) but most of you know that Loot Crate is the box I simply love receiving the most! So much that I wanted to share September’s box, with a “GALACTIC” theme- before I head off on an Autumn adventure this crisp, chilly afternoon!

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I always start off with the usual items I receive every month- the mini-magazine and collector’s pin. September’s issue, featuring a breakdown of all the stuff in the box, games, and puzzles- also included a fun little article for ‘Firefly’ fans (I’ll get to that in a minute,) that breaks down the best character items from the show- and an interview with Julian Higgins- the director and mastermind behind Loot Crate’s fun, creative theme videos.

I was also happy to find a blast-from-my-past in the form of a packet of Pop Rocks in September’s box- which were promptly ripped open and devoured as soon as I finished taking the photo above. The only flavor that is even worth paying attention to is green apple (same thing applies to Jolly Ranchers hard candies- end of discussion,) so a good thing was made even better.

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Okay, so I’m just going to go ahead and revoke my own “geek” card by fully admitting that I’ve never watched ‘Firefly’ before (I think I can hear some of my friends reading this blog actually screaming and recoiling in horror right now.) Somewhere among Joss Whedon’s infinite other projects- this one-season wonder simply slipped by me. It’s a shame, too- because I do love me some Nathan Fillion. Regardless, this stack of bank robbery money, inspired by the show- will be gifted to someone who will fully appreciate it, as it’s completely lost on me.

What isn’t lost on me is this month’s Bonus Digital Loot- codes to get a look at Dark Horse Comics’ “Halo Escalation” series. My love of Halo has transcended from my days many, many years ago- spending hours upon hours mercilessly destroying my ex-boyfriend on his XBox while he fought, in vain- to beat in me “Halo 2.” Needless to say, I’m excited to read these comics and take those days of glory to a whole new level.

And although I can never have enough magnets in my place- I think I’ll be gifting this Star Wars Retro Arcade one to a friend who will undoubtedly enjoy the throwback to simpler times and even simpler video game graphics. Oh, Intellivision, how I miss you.

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I actually cackled when I unfolded this 9 x 27″ poster that had been carefully placed in the bottom of my Loot Crate. Although I would love to keep this poster of one of Star Wars’ most iconic images/scenes someplace where company can get a good look at it (my bathroom, for instance-) I think I’ll be gifting this to one of my friends who is a huge Han Solo fan. I’m not sure if giving this photo to them could technically be considered cruel or not, since it does capture Han in quite the predicament- but I’m sure they’ll find a place for it!

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Before Hollywood had them showing up in countless sequels or battling Predator for some inexplicable reason- there was simply ‘Alien,’ and it was terrifying. Try to recall when and where you were the first time you ever saw the infamous “chest-burst” scene and then think about how your face probably looked immediately following it. Awesome, right? Of course it was! September’s Loot Crate featured this classic style ‘Alien’ action figure- which will find a happy home among my other collectibles I refuse to take out of their boxes.

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Oh, Funko- you’ve gone and done it again and you’ve given me an adorable figurine of Nathan Fillion’s character, Captain Malcolm Reynolds, from ‘Firefly.’ The hair! The coat! The gun! It’s just all so perfect. Unfortunately, since I’m now an admitted non-watcher of the show- I’ll be gifting this along with the bank robbery money pictured earlier in this post!

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Lastly, and maybe one of my favorite items in September’s box- OH MY GOD I GOT A TRIBBLE! It’s so cute, and furry, and isn’t multiplying all over the place! It’s just a fun little ball of hair that sits comfortably in the palm of my hand and can be displayed in it’s adorable “Please Do Not Feed” carrying container.

Once again, I had so much fun unboxing and playing with September’s Loot Crate. “GALACTIC” is a hell of a theme to take on- but I think they tackled it brilliantly! Now with October approaching, as well as Halloween- I’m hoping we get a horror-themed box chock-full of bloody, gory, terrifying goodness!

Ipsy Bag: September 2014 Review.

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With New York Fashion Week over and done, and Boston Fashion Week swiftly approaching- September’s Ipsy Bag, NYFW-inspired with a “Street Style” theme- arrived in an edgy silver, studded pouch and featured an assortment of chic products for the fashionista on the go. With skin care, makeup, and tools tucked inside- I was really pleased this month, both with the pouch- which I’ve been using to carry odds and ends within my Fall handbag- as well as the quality of what was is in it.

What I Received:

Nourish Organic Moisturizing Cream Face Cleanser

Pacifica Natural Water-Proof Eye Pencil in ‘Gun Metal’

Mitchell and Peach Luxury Hand Cream

CAILYN Art Touch Tinted Lip Gloss in ‘Love Affair’ (*Full Size!*)

Crown Brush Infinity Shadow/Crease Duet Brush (*Full Size!*)

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Product # 1: Nourish Organic Moisturizing Cream Face Cleanser ($13.99)

When it comes to skin care and cosmetics, the more natural and organic- the better. I can’t stand using products that contain harsh chemicals and ingredients whose names I can’t even pronounce. They almost always result in some sort of horrid reaction or breakout that causes me more grief than I have the time or patience to deal with. For the past few years my skin care regimen has been simple, and effective. When I saw this vegan, fragrance-free cream cleanser, suitable for all skin types in my Ipsy bag- and read it’s short list of ingredients that I actually understood (watercress, cucumber, and aloe-vera, just to name a few-) I was excited to use it. This cleanser was gentle but effective on my face- giving me a deep clean without stripping my skin or drying it out. I was left feeling refreshed and rejuvenated after each use- and without any aforementioned horrid reactions or breakouts!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! This cleanser, with it’s organic components and ability to thoroughly clean even the most sensitive of skin- can and will make an excellent addition to my daily (and nightly) wash-up routine. I have a little of the sample left, but I fully plan on purchasing the full-sized tube once I’m out.

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Product # 2: Pacifica Natural Water-Proof Eye Pencil in ‘Gun Metal’ ($11.00)

I make no attempts to hide my disdain for hard pencil liners. Ones that I like, or at the least don’t mind TOO much are far and few between- and I’m usually left tossing them out and replacing them with my usual gel or pen/marker liners. My overall impression has been that they hurt to apply, they don’t last long, and they’re rarely pigmented enough to my liking. I was skeptical when I saw this waterproof grey/silver pencil liner in my Ipsy bag, audibly sighing when I realized that I’d have to try it in order to give a proper review.

But I was pleasantly surprised.

This liner went on smooth- with no tugging or irritation. It was perfectly pigmented, giving me a beautiful stroke of silver that brought out the blue in my eyes and is a perfect shade for the season- and it lasted all day without fading, smudging, flaking, or bleeding down from my lash line. I was impressed, relieved, and really happy to finally have found a hard pencil liner that actually works for me!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I never thought I’d see the day where I would willingly and happily pay for a pencil like this- but it really is a stand-out product among other eyeliners. This particular formula comes in four shades total, including “Gun Metal,” and I’d love to try them all.

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Product # 3: Mitchell and Peach Luxury Hand Cream (£17)

In my July GlossyBox, I had received a tube of Mitchell and Peach’s body cream in this same fragrance that I had really enjoyed. The hand cream was no exception. Like the body lotion- this product sank into my skin quickly without leaving any kind of greasy residue and kept my hands soft and lightly fragranced (without being overpowering) for a long time. It’s a nice, effective, and luxurious treat that I’m happy to have in my handbag now that it’s getting chillier outside.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! For the holidays, I’d love to put together a Mitchell and Peach gift set for some of my girlfriends who are in need of a little pampering. These products are wonderful and I’d absolutely purchase more of them in the future.

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Product # 4: CAILYN Art Touch Tinted Lip Gloss in ‘Love Affair’ ($19)

The last time I used a CAILYN lip product, it dried my mouth out so bad that I was peeling and sore for a good three days- only able to use clear balms and Vaseline to keep my lips hydrated while they healed. Needless to say, I was hesitant to try this lip gloss- despite it’s lovely cranberry color. I love a good matte, wine-colored lip in the Fall- but I thought this might be a nice way to transition into that- and threw caution to the wind to give this product a shot.

Here are the pros: The shade, is, at first- very pretty- and the consistency of the gloss isn’t thick or tacky. It’s lightweight and smooth.

That’s about it.

The gloss lasted all of ten minutes before it had faded completely (and I’m not a compulsive lip-licker or anything.) The description of the product stated that it could act as a lip stain- but after the color bled to the outer edges of my lips and disappeared, the only color that remained was the off-red that resulted in my lips once again becoming severely dried out and chapped. Sigh.

Would I Purchase?: No. This is the second time I’ve had a bad reaction to a CAILYN lip product, and I hope it’ll be the last. I don’t know what it is with the ingredients this brand uses but the colors never last and they are beyond drying. Thankfully, this was the only disappointing product in September’s bag.

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Product # 5: Crown Brush Infinity Shadow/Crease Duet Brush ($6.99)

When it comes to reviewing beauty boxes/subscriptions- one of the hardest things for me to write about are makeup brushes. What exactly can be said? The bristles are soft, they apply color/product evenly? There’s only so much to review. For that reason, I’ll get right down to it instead of trying to create any kind of “filler” for this post. This brush is nice. It’s not revolutionary or groundbreaking- but it’s two-in-one function (one side is for shadow, the other for the crease,) is convenient. The bristles are, in fact, soft- and the brush does distribute shadow and blend it evenly. Best of all? It’s price point. You can’t go wrong for $6.99!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! Although I don’t anticipate having to replace this brush anytime soon- I wouldn’t be opposed to buying a new one if and when the time came. It’s decent quality and fairly priced.

With the exception of the lip gloss- September’s Ipsy bag was a hit for me. I enjoyed, and was even surprised (in a good way!) by some of the products I received- and I discovered a new cleanser that I absolutely love. I’m looking forward to October’s bag!

GLOSSYBOX: August 2014 Review.

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For as long as I’ve been subscribed to GlossyBox, I’ve not only accepted- but defended- their late shipment dates. For the quality and quantity of products you get for $21 a month- having to wait an extra few days to receive your box as compared to other beauty subscription services that typically arrive weeks earlier isn’t the end of the world. Some past boxes haven’t necessarily been spectacular, but my overall experience with the company has been a positive one.

Recently, I almost canceled my subscription- not only because their shipments ran WAY later than usual- but also because there was no indication as to what the status of my August box actually was, period. I typically get two e-mails a month in regards to my service (not including spoilers of special offers-) one when my debit card is charged and one when my box finally ships. In August, there was no correspondence and nothing in my mailbox for weeks. After being charged for my September box and still not having last month’s one in my possession- I reached out to customer service over social media.

It took the efforts of a lovely girl named Leanna at the GlossyBox USA Twitter account to look into my subscription and give me a proper update- and as she promised- the box arrived at my door a couple of days after our conversation. Granted, it was nearly two weeks past when I usually receive it- but Leanna was polite, friendly, and prompt with her assistance. I ultimately decided to let this minor inconvenience slide and keep my subscription- but I really would like to see some changes in the future when it comes to shipping and keeping customers in the loop when there’s a delay/shortage/etc.

August’s GlossyBox celebrated the company’s third anniversary and included makeup, skincare, hair care, and nail polish- two of the items being full-sized. As always, I took my time trying everything- so apologies for the extended lateness of what was an already late review!

What I Received:

Überliss Hydrating Shampoo & Conditioner

Kryolan for Glossybox Highlighter in ‘Cashmere’ (*Full Size!*)

Eyeko London Skinny Liquid Eyeliner

SpaRitual Explore Color Collection in ‘Navigate’ (*Full Size!*)

Eslor Firming Collagen Day Cream

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Product # 1: Überliss Hydrating Shampoo & Conditioner ($23.90 & $25.90)

Whenever I receive any kind of shampoo or conditioner in a beauty subscription service, I’m almost always left squinting at the back of the tubes/bottles/containers- scanning the list of ingredients for color-stripping components or harmful, drying chemicals. Lucky for me, this shampoo and conditioner duo were free of both of those types of things- and were instead loaded up the good stuff- like fruit extracts, royal jelly, green tea, lemon peel, and keratin. Both products smelled really nice during my initial trial- which is a huge selling point for me.

The shampoo, sulfate-free and therefore ideal for my color treated red hair- didn’t lather up as much as I’m used to when washing, but my hair still felt squeaky clean and INSANELY soft and silky after I’d massaged it into my scalp and down through my ends before rinsing. So soft and silky, in fact- that I wasn’t sure using the conditioner was even necessary. I did anyway, of course.

The conditioner- which has a sort of unusual, slick, Vaseline-esque texture- sank into my strands easier than I thought it would and didn’t cause any sort of build up on my scalp. I had left it on my hair for about 5-10 minutes in the shower while I used my body wash and face scrub before I combed and rinsed it out- and my curls looked and felt fantastic afterwards. My hair was even softer, silkier, and so, so shiny. Best of all? It didn’t feel weighed down or greasy. I was beyond impressed- and happy!

Would I Purchase?: Yes to both! I absolutely loved both the shampoo and the conditioner and the results they gave me! After each use, I have such a hard time keeping myself from touching or playing with my hair. It just looks and feels so much healthier! The price tags for both of these products- especially combined- might be a little staggering, but I promise it’s a splurge that you wouldn’t regret. This duo is worth investing in- and I will definitely be purchasing the full-sized bottles very soon.

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Product # 2: Kryolan for Glossybox Highlighter in ‘Cashmere’ ($18.95)

On days where I want to achieve the “no makeup” makeup look, I use little more than a lightweight foundation, a highlighter for my cheekbones and brow bone, and a touch of mascara. I love highlighters that give my typically pale skin a subtle glow- a look that is flattering year round and perfect for those days where I want to look fresh-faced and natural but am in a rush or on the go (like when I’m running errands, for example.) This creamy highlighter- with a silky texture and a hint of shimmer- illuminates my skin without making it look glittery or oily. Instead, my face appears radiant and bright. Results aside- I’m also a fan of the small, sturdy packaging- which makes it the perfect size to throw in my bag for quick touch-ups throughout the day.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I love the texture of this highlighter, it’s natural finish, and the way it makes my skin look flawless after application. A little goes a long way, too- which means the $18.95 price tag is not going to waste. This has definitely become a “must have” in my purse.

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Product # 3: Eyeko London Skinny Liquid Eyeliner ($16)

This product isn’t shown in the unboxing photo above, since the size of the tube was pretty small and seemed to get lost in GlossyBox’s black packaging confetti. I hadn’t even realized I’d received it until I went to put the box aside for future gifting purposes and it tumbled out!

Although I’m a stickler for gel eyeliners, I’ve noticed that in recent months I’ve also added pen liners to my makeup collection. For the most part, the fine, Sharpie-style points make for easy application and the formulas give me hours of smudge-proof and flake-proof wear. This Eyeko product, although designed much like a pen liner in terms of the shape of the applicator- was significantly more difficult to apply. It took numerous, uncomfortable attempts to get the tip of the liner to run smoothly along my lids and give me an even line. I also noticed that the pen seemed to dry out shortly after being opened- whereas other pen liners I own are still going strong after being used multiple times. The only saving grace to this product was that the longevity was fabulous. This liner stayed in place from early morning through well into the night without fading or smudging.

Would I Purchase?: No. I just wasn’t “wow’d” by this eyeliner. Sure, the staying power packs a punch- but applying it perfectly is nothing short of a hassle and the pen dries out quickly. The other marker-like liners I own are easier to work with and hold up for a lot longer than this one did. I’ll stick with those.

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Product # 4: SpaRitual Explore Color Collection in ‘Navigate’ ($12)

This is actually the second full-sized SpaRitual polish I’ve received from GlossyBox. The first, from my June 2013 box, was a beautiful red I had fallen in love with. The formula was easy to apply, gave rich color and a beautiful shine- and lasted for a long time without chipping. In August’s box, I was treated to a gorgeous sky blue from SpaRitual’s Spring 2014 “Explore” collection. Just like the polish I’d received before it, this glided on my nails with ease- giving me plenty of color with one coat (two coats pictured above.) Also like the polish before it- I thought this particular shade was a bit un-seasonal. This blue would be better suited for the Spring/Summer, much like the candy apple red I received last Summer would have been more appropriate in the Fall/Winter. Either way, I’m a fan.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! This is another hit from SpaRitual- a brand I’m confident enough in to highly recommend. Their shades are brilliant, the applications are mess-free, and the longevity of their lacquers is fantastic.

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Product # 5: Eslor Firming Collagen Day Cream ($85)

When looking for a good daytime moisturizer, I really only need three things and three things only: I need SPF, I need it to be fragrance and oil-free, and I need it to be lightweight. I’m still in my twenties- so fine lines, wrinkles, and the loss of elasticity is (thankfully) not a concern for me just yet.

This moisturizer was indeed lightweight,  contained some oil (Avocado, wheat germ, and Sesame, to be specific,) but no SPF- and also had a slight fragrance to it- which caused concern. I have sensitive skin, and from past experiences, anything with any kind of perfume in it causes an allergic reaction or breakout on my face. Even still, I decided to give this cream a chance. Fortunately, there was no allergic reaction or breakout. The cream made my skin feel soft and hydrated- but not too greasy despite the oils in it. However, after a few days of use- I still haven’t noticed any changes in firmness to my skin. It still looks and feels exactly the same- not tighter or anything- as I had sort of expected it to feel with continuous use.

Would I Purchase?: No. While I liked the overall hydration this day cream provided me, it’s anti-aging purpose doesn’t fit my current needs and it’s lack of SPF means I’d have to put a sunscreen on top of it, too. Not only that, but the $85 price tag is a little steep for something that doesn’t meet my basic requirements for a moisturizer.

Overall, I loved three out of the five (six if you count the shampoo and conditioner separately) products I received in August’s GlossyBox- which isn’t bad at all. Not worth the extra waiting time- but still not too bad. I’ve already been given two sneak peeks into September’s box, a collaboration with Harper’s BAZAAR, which is shaping up to be a great assortment of products! Here’s hoping I receive it on time!

And once again, thanks to Leanna at GlossyBox’s U.S. customer service department for her help in getting the shipping fiasco sorted. Her efforts were, and are- greatly appreciated!

xx

The 2014 Seafood Fest Mini-Haul.

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Every September, as is tradition (and typically at my mother’s insistence,) her, myself, my cousin, and any other relatives that have an afternoon to kill- meet at her house, pile into one vehicle- and head up to Hampton Beach for their annual Seafood Festival for a day or two. The festival is exactly what it sounds like: a huge three-day gathering along the boardwalk where Hampton’s best restaurants cook up and serve their most delectable dishes and local vendors come to push their end-of-the-season merchandise- usually marked ridiculously low- during a weekend-long sidewalk sale before the beachfront shops board up and close for the Winter.

Although the whole thing is almost always crowded and parking can be downright nightmarish at times- the food is nothing short of incredible and some of the bargains and steals you can find on a wide variety of goods make the trip worth it. In past years, I’ve found so many brilliantly priced pieces of clothing and accessories that have long since become cherished staples in my wardrobe.

My family and I headed up this past Sunday (in two cars this time!) to do a little shopping and sampling. Naturally, we ate our fair share of lobster, crabs, and clams- and my cousin and I couldn’t resist getting in some quality skee-ball and pinball at one of the local arcades- but we took plenty of time to walk from booth to booth, table to table- and pick up some necessities (and some, not so much a necessity,) too.

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Whenever I go to the Seafood Festival, I make a point to stop by the Scentastics booth. I’ve been a longtime fan of their all-natural soaps and body oils- which are total lifesavers in the winter since they cleanse and condition my skin- leaving it soft, smooth, and lightly fragranced. I stocked up on five soaps this year for the upcoming colder months (after I run out of my pumpkin-scented body washes,) all of which smell heavenly. The company, based out of Vermont- has a wide array of other products available on their website, too- such as air fresheners, chap sticks, hand/body creams, candles, etc- but if you have sensitive skin- they are definitely worth checking out!

SeafoodFestHaul20143

SeafoodFestHaul20144

Although I saw quite a few dresses and tops I was tempted to buy, I kept my purchases to a minimum this year- opting to budget instead of splurge. Apart from the soap, the only other things I picked up on the boardwalk are the two necklaces pictured above- one, a cross to add to my growing collection- and the other, a cow skull, which caught my eye and piqued my interest (I love unusual jewelry!)

Crowds and parking aside, I did have a nice time at the festival this year. I’m sure I’ll be heading back next September for the 2015 one, too.

Rainy Autumn Morning – A Fall 2014 Playlist.

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RainyAutumnMorning2014

Some might say it’s a little early to be rejoicing in the upcoming arrival of Autumn, and sure- it’s been hot and humid these past few days where I live- but anytime after Labor Day is fair game for Fall enthusiasm, in my opinion. I’ve already prepared my warmer, layered wardrobe. I’ve already stocked up on plenty of pumpkin-scented body products to get me through the next couple of months- and I’ve already compiled a playlist for the season- this one inspired by those gray, rainy mornings after the leaves have started to change colors and there’s a slight chill in the air. Those are the mornings I like to curl up by my window with a hot mug of tea (or cider,) and listen to slower, soothing tracks- some included in this playlist from the likes of Elliott Smith, Angus & Julia Stone, and Birdy- among others!

I hope you all enjoy it!

August 2014: In a Nutshell.

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August2014Bonfire

“So long, Summer” Bonfire. 8/29

And, just like that- Summer 2014 is coming to an end! While I will undoubtedly miss the days and nights I’ve spent at the beach, the cookouts I’ve shared with family and friends, seasonally appropriate iced coffee drinks, my very-faint-but-still-kind-of-noticeable-tan- and being able to wear sundresses and sandals pretty much all day, every day- I’m excited for Fall and all the things I have planned for it: including but not limited to trips to Vermont and NYC, some preliminary apartment hunting, a return to outfit/fashion posts (it’s been forever since I’ve done one!) and a Halloween-themed blog giveaway that I’m putting together and should have up by the end of September!

August ’14 was, to date, one of the rougher months I’ve had in a while. It began with attending a funeral for a good friend of mine from high school, and it goes without saying that it was a beyond sad and sobering experience. I had also briefly re-capped the unexpected and tumultuous turning point of a long-standing friendship/relationship I was in and the results it had on a move that I had been really looking forward to and preparing myself for. Those things aside, I spent the majority of August being ill, as well- first, catching a strain of a flu my co-worker introduced into the office, and then falling victim to a pretty nasty stomach bug shortly thereafter. Between being physically spent and emotionally exhausted- I was unusually glum for a good portion of the month.

That’s not to say August didn’t have it’s good moments, of course. Boston Comic-Con was a blast and seeing Arcade Fire live for the first time was life-changing. I managed to get in a couple of days with friends soaking up the last of the hot weather and greenery before the leaves begin to change, and just the other night we gathered at a friend’s apartment to have a couple of beers and an impromptu bonfire in the backyard- which felt like a nice way to say farewell to the Summer and welcome in Autumn.

I’m looking forward to September- so much, in fact- that I’ve already dug out my boots and my hoodies, and am putting together a Fall playlist (which I’ll share here when it’s done!) Bring on the season!

xx

Review: “Come Back to Me”

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ComeBackToMePosterIf any of you reading this have kept up with this blog for any extended amount of time, then you’ll know that I have a tremendous amount of fun reviewing horror movies- especially around October when I completely ruin my recommendations list by watching and ripping apart the worst of the worst- bottom of the barrel horror and slasher flicks Netflix has to offer. I’m scathing, spoiler-filled, and my critiques could be (and probably are) considered borderline mean to anyone involved in the creation of the films. That’s not to say I don’t encourage and support artistic endeavors and efforts- but I live for insane plots, cheesy special effects and shoddy CGI- and I definitely don’t hold back about it.

So I was admittedly pretty surprised when I was actually ASKED to not only watch, but also review an independent horror movie here on Legally Redhead last week. I felt like I would be the last person anyone promoting a film would want to go to, considering my knack for movie-mockery, but I went into the assignment, for lack of a better word- and the film itself- with an open mind. Not too long after agreeing to watch and dissect the movie: 2014’s ‘Come Back to Me,’ I received a gigantic version of the poster shown near the left in the mail. I plan on adding it to my “Horror Den,” which sounds far more diabolical than what it actually is- a spare bedroom filled with all my horror genre-related stuff.

‘Come Back to Me’ is available for rent and download on iTunes, and also as a rental on Charter on Demand. A quick plot summary, per the movie’s IMDB page:

“Sarah & Josh are married suburbanites. After a car accident, Sarah suffers blackouts & ends up pregnant though Josh is sterile. As her life spirals she hides a camera in her home & unlocks a horrific secret with far-reaching consequences.”

Before I begin, I would like to add that despite being asked to review this movie as opposed to just watching it on my own- I critiqued this like I would any other- giving it a final rating which will be revealed at the end of this post.

And, as always:

FULL SPOILERS ARE AHEAD. DO NOT CLICK THE “READ MORE” TAB IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW IMPORTANT PLOT POINTS- INCLUDING THE ENDING OF THIS MOVIE. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.

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