September Hits List!

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Have I ever mentioned how much I detest packing? Because I really, really detest packing. Once my suitcase is loaded up and I’m on my way to my destination- I’m as happy as can be- but trying to sort out outfits, accessories, toiletries and electronics (and all those chargers!) is nothing short of torture. I’m always left feeling like I forgot something and triple-checking every inch of my bag to make sure the necessities are accounted for.

That’s the stage I’m at right now. My flight leaves tomorrow morning and I’m only halfway done with sorting out my vacation wardrobe for the next week- so I thought I’d take a break, decompress, and use some time to share my favorite things from the month of September, instead!

As always, I’ll be starting with the items/things that are easy to photograph- and move onto some other hits I’ve been enjoying these past few weeks.

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The first item I’ve been wearing non-stop this past September should come as no surprise- it’s the black, wool, wide-brimmed hat I received from Jack & Lucy in this month’s POPSUGAR “Must Have” box! This thing is just so cute and so comfortable- and it pairs well with pretty much every outfit I’ve been sporting so far- whether it’s full-blown Fall-appropriate sweaters, jeans and booties- to rompers and mini-dresses with flats (the weather has been a bit unpredictable lately.)

I’ll be bringing this with me to the West Coast- not only because it looks so chic- but because it’ll keep the sun out of my eyes, too.

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As much as I love my corals, pinks, and neon purple shades of nail polish- it’s time to retire them to make room for more Autumn-friendly colors to sport on my fingertips and toes for the next few months. I recently splurged a bit over at ncLA on these two lacquers from the company’s “Back to School” themed Fall collection- and although it was a tough choice when there was a beautiful red and royal blue available for purchase- I ultimately settled on “These Grades Are Just A Jumping Off Point” (a deep hunter green) and “2” Above The Knee… Yeah, Right” (a rich canary yellow).

I’m absolutely in love with these polishes and I cannot wait to start rocking them once I’m back home next week!

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It’s been a while since I’ve purchased anything from Fortune Cookie Soap– but when they re-released their “Basic Bitch” Fall line (ALL THE PUMPKIN SCENTS)– I snatched up some of their body cream, lip balm, and hand sanitizer. With fun named like ‘Selfie Stick”, “Can’t Even”, and “Yoga Booty”- I have smelled like a pumpkin patch/Starbucks’ PSL for the better part of the month and I’m loving every minute of it.

Best of all? FCS’ products are all SUPER affordable, too!

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I’ve had the same phone for about three or four years now, and we’ve been through a lot together: holidays, birthdays, travel, comic-conventions- but by the time I finally got around to upgrading it a few days ago- only half of the touchscreen worked correctly and the battery couldn’t hold a charge for more than a couple of hours. It was finally time to say goodbye and get something new.

My provider went above and beyond with updating my plan, my billing- and hooking me up with a brand new Samsung Galaxy with one of the most insane and incredible cameras I’ve ever seen on a phone (it rivals my professional camera I use for urban exploration shoots- that’s how clear and innovative it is!) as well as a fabulous “TAKE A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE” pink and black case from Kate Spade.

I’m so thankful to have this with me when I travel. My shots from Vegas and San Diego are going to be awesome!

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What’s a Fall “Hits List” without something from Yankee Candle? While I’ll never get tired of scents like “Harvest” or “Pumpkin Cupcake”- my home has been filled with one of their newest fragrances as of late- “Candied Pecans”. If you’re a fan of sweet and almost peanut buttery scents- you’ll love this one. It smells delicious and really sets the tone for the season. I’m sure I’ll be picking up another one of these soon!

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Finally- I can never have enough oversized sweaters in the fall. I live in them- and this knitted red & white cardigan I picked up from Kohls earlier this month is everything. It’s soft, cozy, and keeps me warm- and I’ll be wearing this tomorrow morning during take-off to keep myself toasty (and looking cute) during the flight.

Now that I think about it- I should probably start doing some Fall-inspired “Closet Crushes” posts, shouldn’t I?

I digress. Let’s see what else I loved in September!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

  • “Sam’s Town” – Part of my trip to Vegas this week includes a show from The Killers, who are celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the release of their sophomore album (and now I feel super old.) The show is at- you guessed it- Sam’s Town Casino, and I’ve never been more excited. I’ve been revisiting the album in the recent days leading up to my trip, and it really does withstand the test of time. It’s pretty flawless from beginning to end and I’m really looking forward to hearing some of the tracks live again.
  • “Apple Cider Afternoons” – Have you all listened to my Autumn-inspired playlist? I’m quite proud of it. It’s a beautiful combination of dreamy, soothing old favorites and newer tracks. It’s perfect to plug into your phone/music player when you’re going for a long walk through the falling leaves or a nice drive to your closest apple orchard.

That’s enough self-promotion. I swear.

  • “American Horror Story: S6” – I’m pretty sure I’ve just been hate-watching the past couple of seasons of AHS, which always start off so strong and then completely fall apart with excess characters and storylines that go absolutely nowhere by mid-season. Although this current season is only a couple of episodes in so far, I’m liking the premise and how there isn’t too much happening at once. I hope it can stay consistently strong and scary (also: where is Evan Peters? Where is he?)

I think that’s pretty much everything for this month. I’ve procrastinated enough- and now it’s time to get back to packing!

Feel free to share your own favorites for the month of September in the comments- and if you’d like to follow my travels over the course of the next few days- I’ll be updating my Instagram regularly!

xx

Mini Sephora Fall Haul!

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Now that Fall is in full swing and I am leaving for the West Coast in a couple of days- I took the time to completely clean out my makeup collection and downsize my necessities considerably. So much stuff got tossed- expired mascara, shadow palettes that were used down to the bare tins, and lipsticks I was scraping at with Q-Tips to get the very last bit of color I could.

Needless to say, I was long overdue for a restock and replenish trip to Sephora– but I also didn’t want to break the bank by purchasing a bunch of products that would either expire before I got a chance to finish them up or be considered out-of-season or style by the time I got around to using them.

So I did the responsible thing: I made a list of what I needed versus what I wanted, I set a budget, and after browsing the store for a good hour- I got some really nice, new stuff- and only went over my budget by a little.

I swear, it was only by a little bit.

So here’s my mini “Fall Haul” post to showcase what I’m loving and what I’ll be wearing through the remainder of the Autumn and into the Winter!

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For my face, I only needed a re-stock of my favorite medium-to-full coverage foundation from Tarte ($39). I love this stuff. It gives me SPF15 protection and is hypoallergenic (and vegan!) while still being efficient enough at hiding my pores and giving me a flawless finish.

I also wanted a pressed powder that I could use for the days I didn’t feel like wearing a liquid foundation or to keep in my bag for quick touch-ups (which I’m sure I’ll need while I’m in the desert!) I turned to Sephora’s own brand of cosmetics and tried their Matte Perfection Powder Foundation ($20)- which feels lightweight on my skin and is perfect for evening out and balancing my more troublesome and oily areas.

I rarely wear bronzer in the Fall/Winter- instead embracing my porcelain complexion- and I already have a brand new blush courtesy of Cargo Cosmetics and my recent POPSUGAR Must-Have Box, so I saved a little money there!

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I also stuck to Sephora’s own makeup line when it came to selecting a couple of new eye shadow singles. I wanted two fairly neutral shades that I could gradually build upon to make into a dramatic smokey eye- or keep subtle and play up with a bold lip color, instead. I didn’t want any blues or deep purples this time around- and instead opted for a shimmery rose gold tone (“What Happens in Vegas”, a fitting name- and $10) to highlight my eyes, and a slightly darker mauve tone for my lids (“Free Hugs”- also $10!)

Both of these colors really bring out the blue in my eyes and are sparkly and noticeable without being overwhelming. They’re tame enough to wear to work and can be accentuated with liners and mascara (that’s next!) to create a more “night-friendly” look, too.

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For eyeliners, I had some difficulty making up my mind between two different shades and types (both from Sephora’s collection)– and I just decided to splurge a bit and get both so I could mix and match. The first shade, “Cappuccino”, is a shimmery brown that glides on easy and stays in place all day. It’s from the Contour Eye Pencil 12-hr Wear Waterproof line and is only $10.

The second, a $14 liner from the Contour Brushed Metal Gel Eyeliner Waterproof line- is a coppery/reddish shimmer shade called “Moscow Mule”. This is another long-lasting formula that really makes my eyes pop. Out of the two liners I picked up, I think this one might be my favorite- but it’s a close call!

Finally, to wrap up my eye looks- I wanted to get a re-fill of one of my favorite mascaras to date- the waterproof “Lights, Camera, Splashes” formula from Tarte ($21). I LOVE the shape of the brush on this mascara, and it really does last forever and a day! It’s wonderful.

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Finally, I wanted to get a couple of new lipsticks for the Fall/Winter- and I went with my trusted and true company- Urban Decay. Both shades are from UD’s Vice line ($17 each)- and both are a creamy texture (but with a matte finish!)

The first shade, “Safe Word”, is a light and neutral nude-pink that I typically wear every day for a more natural look. The second- reserved for those special nights out- is called “Hex”, and is a deep cherry/red wine hue that gives me that vampy look I covet so much this time of year.

After taxes, my total purchase came to $167 and some change. Not bad considering these products are going to carry me through the next few months until my next trip to Sephora. I’m in love with everything I picked out- and I’m sure you’ll all be seeing it make appearances in any upcoming photos I post on here or my social media accounts.

Did any of you splurge on any makeup for the Fall season? Are there any must-have Autumn beauty items you’re getting ready to break out?

Feel free to share!

xx

POPSUGAR Must Have Box: September 2016.

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With August’s “Must Have” box arriving a little late last month- POPSUGAR wasted no time in making sure their September collection of items was prompt and punctual when being shipped out to subscribers’ doorsteps. My box showed up this past weekend- and previews/spoilers for October’s “Must Have” assortment started popping up in my e-mail shortly thereafter. It looks like the company is determined to stay one step ahead of the game these days!

September’s box, the first in what I call the “Autumn Trio” (September/October/November) was inspired by/had the theme of: GLAMOROUS, EYE-CATCHING, INDULGENT, BOLD, TIMELESS and SARTORIAL. I had a feeling the “indulgent” part would be some sort of food (and I wasn’t wrong)– but I had no idea what POPSUGAR would include to fit the rest of the theme.

Let’s take a look at what I received!

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I am always on the prowl for a good and deeply hydrating hair mask- and since the one I’ve been using as of late is nearly gone- I was really happy to see this conditioning mask from Briogeo in September’s “Must Have” box. At $36 a container, I know I’ll have to use this sparingly so it won’t be gone in a week or two- but I admit it’ll be difficult because this stuff smells SO good and so clean! Best of all? It’s free of harmful and color-damaging chemicals.

I can’t wait to give this mask a try!

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I don’t have a gluten allergy so anything gluten-free isn’t really a big deal to me. As long as whatever I’m snacking on tastes good and not like chalk- I’m happy. Enter these dark chocolate and coconut bites from The Gluten Free Bar- which combine my two favorite flavors for a surprisingly yummy treat. These bites are low calorie and packed with protein- which means I don’t feel like I’m cheating on my diet/fitness regimen while I’m enjoying them (definitely a perk!)

I checked out some of the other flavors that are available through GFB’s website- and I have a feeling I’ll be ordering some more of their stuff real soon!

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I was really into wide-brimmed beach hats this past Summer, but I wasn’t sure how to implement that new favorite accessory into my Fall wardrobe without it looking weird or lazily thrown together. Thankfully, Jack & Lucy (I couldn’t locate an official website for their company!) had me covered. I think this black, adjustable wool hat is my favorite item in September’s “Must Have” box. I’ve been wearing it non-stop: to work, out when I’m walking/taking photographs, dining with my friends. It’s so chic and pairs so well with my long sweaters, leggings and knee-high boots!

I’ll definitely be packing this in my bag when I fly out to Vegas next week!

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Also getting packed in my suitcase next week? This retractable lint roller from Flint. My clothes are always a magnet for dog hair, fuzz, and pollen- so I’ll be toting this around with me everywhere I go from now on. I’m really liking how compact this roller is, but also that it’s refillable AND recyclable. It’s perfect for someone like me who wants to look spot-on wherever I go while remaining environmentally responsible.

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I haven’t had a manicure in weeks (I’ve been trying to give my nails a break and strengthen them)– although I have a feeling I’ll be touching up my digits and my toes with a nice coat of a berry tone or an oxblood hue before I jet-set off to the West Coast next week. I plan on keeping this miniature manicure kit from ncLA close to me for those quick touch-ups and overall upkeep between salon visits, though. I think the carrying case is adorable- and the size of the tools is perfect for easy transport.

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Forgive my semi-blotchy skin (thanks, PMS. You always know how to make an entrance)– but I couldn’t wait to try on and show off this bright and sparkly red lip gloss from Smith & Cult. Although the formula itself feels a little sticky/tacky at first- I’m loving the buildable color- which is a neat red/gold combination that looks really pretty by itself or layered over lipstick.

I’m in the process of starting my annual Fall clean-out of my old makeup and cosmetics- and I have a feeling this gloss is going to find a home in my bag for the Fall/Winter.

Overall- I loved September’s “Must Have” box. My favorite item was hands down the black wool hat- followed closely by the lip gloss and the hair mask. The value of each item surpassed what I spent on the box (and then some!) which is always pretty cool.

Bring on October!

xx

I Just Got Out of a Toxic Relationship.

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Since the end of May/beginning of June, those of you who have consistently followed this blog may have noticed that I briefly mentioned or skirted around some issues I was dealing with in my personal life- in particular- my love life. While the details were scarce and the specifics may have been flat-out omitted at times, it was probably obvious I was processing some stuff with undeniable difficulty.

I’ve been on the fence about writing this post for a while. I wanted to give myself enough time to reflect and heal so my thoughts and words would be clear and concise. I wanted the take away to be something positive- not negative or (ugh..) full of self-pity. More importantly, I wanted to make sure I approached such a personal and sensitive subject with the respect it deserved. A few weeks ago, there were only two ways to do so on my mind:

1. Not discuss the subject at all- and go about my merry way without so much as acknowledging that I spent a good chunk of my Summer being heartbroken, and then not-so-heartbroken as I pulled myself together (and up)– and moved forward. I could have continued posting recipes, and writing about makeup and movies and all the things I love about Fall- and not once mentioned what I had been through.

But I realized that wasn’t being honest- both to myself or the readers of this blog- and honesty is something I value, respect and encourage. The truth of the matter is this: as happy and as grateful as I am for the good people, things, opportunities and adventures in my life- everything is not always sunshine, rainbows, unicorns and kittens all day, every day. It isn’t for anyone.

2. The other approach- nearly decided in my state of anger at the time- was to be petty and not hold back at all. I was so tempted to share it all: full names, times, places, phone numbers, screenshots- everything. I wanted this post to be the first thing anyone saw when they Googled the man who had hurt me and wasted years of my life. I wanted to forward the link on my blog to his family, friends, co-workers. Everyone. It was the karma I thought he deserved.

But, just like option one- I had a realization (after I’d calmed down and took that aforementioned reflection time.) I am not a spiteful or vengeful person. I don’t want anyone to hurt or suffer permanently because I was temporarily upset. It isn’t worth it- and it certainly isn’t worth losing myself in hatred or payback.

Instead, in my moments of clarity- I discovered the previously unknown third option- this option:

I wanted to share what had happened to me this Summer and what I’d learned- both for the catharsis of writing it down and to look back on if I ever started feeling sad and needed a reminder of my own strength- but also to help any other individual out there who finds him or herself in the same position I was in and who may stumble on this post someday when they’re looking for help or some perspective on the matter.

This blog is a window into my life, after all- good AND bad aspects of it. I had opened up following my father’s death and the resulting anxiety/depression I was experiencing after the fact- and now I’m opening up again.

So, let me start by saying it plain and simple: A man I loved and trusted- a longtime friend and lover for years- changed to the point where he was unrecognizable. And the cost was a multi-years-long relationship.

To understand the present and what little I know of the future, you must first understand our past.

The Beginning…

I met my ex (who, to protect his privacy, will now simply be referred to as my “ex” in all things: ex-friend, ex-lover, ex-business associate- just “ex”) while we were in high school. He was two years older than me- a junior when I was a freshman and a senior when I was a sophomore. We belonged to a couple of the same clubs/extra-curricular activities. His father was a teacher at our school and I was a student of his for a brief period of time.

I thought my ex was cute when I first met him- albeit a bit eccentric and maybe even dorky to some degree (and this is coming from someone who had glasses, braces, and dressed like Hot Topic and a thrift store threw up on me every day- so that’s saying something) but there was a mutual attraction. He was funny, flirty, and had accomplished a great deal academically at such a young age. He was the valedictorian of his graduating class and had obtained a full-scholarship to an impressive university in Western Massachusetts. He was somewhat arrogant, too- which I thought was actually a bit deserved given that his drive and determination had worked out in his favor- even though he had difficulty spelling basic English words correctly- a trait that followed him all the way up through our very last correspondence this year (I swear to God that is my first and final cheap shot. I promise.)

We had only gone out a few times during our two years at school together before he’d graduated and moved away and I focused on finishing up my own high school career and finding myself.

We didn’t see or speak to each other again for another four years. At that point, he had graduated college and I was 22 and out of high school- having took off running the second I was handed my diploma. I had briefly foregone college to instead travel, meet new people and try new things while simultaneously figuring out what it was I wanted to do for a career. While he continued to try and hone his craft, create art and find reliable income (and residence)– I had turned into somewhat of a party girl- jet-setting to England, hanging around festivals in California, or staying up all night in New York City.

MySpace (I feel like a fossil even typing that) is what brought my ex and I back together. I cannot for the life of me remember who sent the first message- but I vividly remember us making plans to meet up. I remember getting ready for our first date in years- and I remember feeling like no time had passed at all when we sat down for dinner (I also remember we hated the movie we saw that night- “The Eye” starring Jessica Alba.) We had both done and experienced a lot in the four years we’d lost touch- but there was common interest, mutual respect- and that same spark of attraction.

We made plans a couple days later- then again a couple days after that- and more a few days after that.

It didn’t take long for the relationship- whatever you want to call it or however you choose to define it- to become physical.

We carried on like that for just over four years- between him traveling to different cities or even countries for work or me taking off to visit friends across the country or go to a festival/show. We sent each other postcards, brought each other trinkets and knick-knacks. Sometimes if our schedule allowed- we’d take a day trip together. Other times (if we were lucky)– a weekend. He met my friends- who weren’t particularly big fans of his due to that aforementioned eccentricity and still prominent arrogance- but I ignored their criticisms. I met some of his friends. We spent a few holidays together- and if we couldn’t see each other during the actual holiday- we always caught a movie or grabbed coffee after our allotted time with our families was done. His father, whenever I’d come over- always treated me with such kindness. I never felt out of place or like I wasn’t welcome.

I look back with a sentimental smile. I was so happy then. I adored my ex. He was one of my best friends. I trusted him implicitly. I loved him and felt he loved me, too.

The Beginning of the End…

Things began to turn after my father died- and not just for the obvious reasons of losing a parent- but because it was the first time my ex had ever flat-out abandoned me when I needed him the most. I had phoned him in the early morning hours after my father had passed and I had, in a daze, come home from the hospital. I sobbed into the phone. I told him I needed him.

… And he told me his father would help me through my grief. I did not see him or hear from him again for eight months. Two seasons passed. The Boston Marathon had been attacked by domestic terrorists- and in the sunny afternoon hours of the day following the younger Tsarnaev brother’s capture and arrest- my ex reached out to me through my friend to talk- treading lightly and cautiously for obvious reasons.

Now, I’m aware that anyone in their right state of mind would tell someone who pulled such a stunt after a friend/lover they presumably cared a great deal about suffered such a loss- to go play in traffic- but at the time I really wasn’t in my right state of mind. I was still in mourning. I was coping with guilt and anxiety- and I was lonely. It was very easy for me to forgive and slip back into the comforts of the familiar embrace of someone who at one point had made me so happy and who I had trusted.

Again, it was like no time had passed and it didn’t take long for us to fall back into old habits. He was sensitive to the topic of my father and admitted he too, had felt the pain of my loss. He went as far as to tell me he carried my father’s obituary with him in a book (until the book was stolen some time prior to our meeting back up.)

He was going through financial hardships at the time- and I began to pay for things to ease the burden on his shoulders. I continued to pay for things for months. So much, in fact, that he began to jokingly refer to me as his “sugar mama”. At the time, I didn’t see anything wrong with it- but looking back- I believe it began to change his perception of me and my role in our relationship. I was starting to become less of a person in his eyes, and more of a commodity.

We almost moved in together until work took him out of state for nearly a year to New York in late 2014- and that’s where our friendship/relationship began to fall apart beyond repair.

Prior to my ex skipping out on me, the apartment we planned to share, and Massachusetts- we had become physical again- and while he was away- the physical aspect seemed to be the only thing on his mind. We exchanged risque texts, photos, and made plans for him to come back to Massachusetts or myself to come to New York for a weekend/visit that never seemed to come to fruition. He always told me he was too busy with work- although I only recently found out he had started dating a girl in New York whom he didn’t want me to know about or for her to know about how he was carrying on with me through what one may consider inappropriate photos or texts.

When his apartment was robbed in New York and he had to break his lease early due to his feeling unsafe on the premises, he turned to the law firm I worked for at the time for legal counsel. I personally handled every aspect of it- even getting him a full refund of his security deposit and a partial payment to cover his stolen belongings. For Christmas that year- I gave him the money to replace his stolen laptop since he needed it for his job. I mention it not as a slight against him for falling on hard times or to congratulate myself for being fortunate enough to spend money on someone- but because I really want to stress how I would have done anything for him because I simply wanted him to be happy and successful.

That was the last holiday season we’d spend together.

Upon his return to Massachusetts the following Summer (2015) after the expiration of his contract with the company he had worked for in New York, my ex came back a completely different man. Gone were the days of tender moments and spending time together solely just to see one another or enjoy each other’s company- replaced instead by sexual demands and no tolerance or patience for my emotional needs.

I was confused but complicit- feeling responsible for his change in some way and driven by guilt to make it up to him somehow. I was made to feel I had done something wrong. I loved him, and I missed my friend- the one I trusted and who I felt safe with. I wanted to get him back. I didn’t care what it took.

I truly believe by then my ex knew this- and used it to his advantage to get whatever he could out of me.

Throughout the remainder of 2015 and into 2016- our relationship became a mostly sexual one, unless my ex needed money or my legal expertise to further his career or business endeavors- although I wasn’t sure I was comfortable with it. The fog of sentimental memories had started to lift and I realized I was being treated like a toy or a personal ATM. He began lying to me- poorly and very obviously- about his whereabouts and what he was doing- using work as an excuse for never being around when I needed him, for being cold and for being distant. When I questioned it- I was treated like a burden. When I mustered up the courage to leave him and our past behind- he knew exactly what to say or what to do to give me a glimmer of hope that he still loved me and was just overwhelmed with his responsibilities. I was promised- multiple times- that things were going to get better and get better soon for us.

And once I had given in- he’d waste no time in sexualizing me and our relationship as soon as he could and the cycle would start all over again. My body and my money was all he cared about- a sad fact I only recently came to terms with over these past few weeks. At the time- my self-esteem was shot to Hell- and I fully admit I was too weak to turn my back on him.

By the end of Spring, I found out he was sleeping around with other women- a bitter pill to swallow when he barely had the time to treat me like an actual person who had done nothing but love and support him and his work for years- and when I told him I couldn’t continue on with him anymore: he assured me he had been safe each and every time (also a lie- and probably the most infuriating one of the many) and stressed how important I was to him. He told me he didn’t want to lose me- how he couldn’t bear it.

I had told my ex, more than once since his return from New York when things were indisputably different between us, that if either one of us had found someone new- someone we were serious about and someone we wanted to try and build a future with- then whatever we were doing had to stop. I never wanted to be “the other woman” if he was involved with someone else. I never wanted to be cheapened like that and I never wanted to play a part in deceiving another woman. I had boundaries- even in the weird, gray area I’d found myself pushed into by him.

I thought he understood, but just like so many other things- I had been wrong.

The Breaking Point…

And now, after all of that explanation- we find ourselves up to this past Summer- where a woman my ex had been dating since last November (right around the time I parted my ways with my former employer and he’d expressed faux-concern for me) contacted me after going through my ex’s phone, finding my social media- and this blog- and had put the pieces together. He was building a life with her while carrying on with me behind her back. I was forwarded hundreds of screenshots of things he had said, proof of things he had done- lies he had told each of us to our faces and via text.

We gave each other as much information as we could to get the facts in order and then confronted him immediately- and when blaming both her and I for his actions, then attempting to turn her and I against each other to lessen his accountability, and finally trying to make things right with each of us (only to continue to lie and attempt to seduce us both one at a time literally HOURS after giving each of us an individual face-to-face explanation and apology)– he finally caved.

And by “caved”, I mean he found some other unsuspecting woman to prey upon after blocking both myself and the other woman he had duped and used from his social media- presumably so we couldn’t warn his new girlfriend of what she was getting herself into.

Since June and up until the end of August, he has insulted me and my intelligence, tried to devalue me, discredited the 15 years we’ve known each other (and the 7 we spent as lovers) and get me to question myself and my self-worth. I have been degraded, manipulated, lied to repetitively- and then I’ve been sweet-talked, charmed, given sob stories, heard every pity party excuse imaginable- and have had empty promise after empty promise made to me. The other woman involved in this has experienced the same treatment from my ex- who wants to have his cake and eat it, too- by having us both while never being questioned or forced to answer for his behavior or his actions.

He also apparently didn’t realize this had since turned into a “sisters before misters” situation and both her and I had been sharing EVERYTHING with one another to keep the other from being manipulated or deceived.

At the very end of August, with more lies he’d told in the previous weeks being exposed- I had that “A-ha!” moment that many people in toxic relationships have before they get out for good once and for all. I remember sitting in my car, staring at my phone, and asking myself- out loud- “Ashley, is this really worth it? Is the stress, the pain, the turmoil and the tears REALLY worth the effort you’re putting into this guy who isn’t even the same person he was all those years ago? Is fighting to preserve your fond memories of the past and of someone who is long gone worth destroying your present or your future?”

And just as soon as I asked myself the question- I responded, again out loud- “absolutely not.”

The End…

The truth was finally apparent: I had allowed myself to be treated like a doormat for the better part of two years simply because I had a history with my ex. A history I thought I had to fight to preserve when it was clearly obvious- to everyone except me at the time- that I was the only one actively trying to keep it, and the relationship, intact. I was the only one who wanted things to be okay between us. I cared about him more than he cared about me. I was a distraction for him- something convenient to have around when he was bored or in need of comfort and/or support.

If my ex didn’t value me enough to be honest with me, to treat me with respect and compassion, to not use me solely for personal gain or sexual gratification- or care about me and my health enough where he would use protection while sleeping with other people after everything we’d gone through together and after everything I’d done for him- then he’d never value me or care about me enough to accept/admit accountability for his actions or change his behavior to be a better person and a better friend.

And that’s the type of selfish, irresponsible, immature, toxic and borderline-abusive person I can’t have around me. I couldn’t allow him to keep pulling me under with him as he drowned in a sea of his lies and deception. I had to break the surface and swim my way to safety, self-love and self-respect.

I texted my ex that day- one last time- to let him know he was not welcome in my life anymore. I asked him not to contact me again. He had replied, to insult me and try to once again pin the blame on me for our falling out- but I barely read the message before I’d deleted it and blocked his number.

I have returned any and all things he had gifted me over the course of seven years. Postcards, books, trinkets, clothing, and photos of us throughout our time together. I did not want mementos of him in my home or my personal space. I’ve erased all of our pictures from social media- a lengthy process if there ever was one- but it was remarkably refreshing to not have to be reminded of him and how happy we used to be or the type of person he had gradually turned into every time I signed onto any of my networking sites.

The Silver Lining…

I fully admit it has been a difficult Summer and walking away from someone I once loved with every fiber of my being for YEARS was not easy. I cried- a lot, and there were a few days where I couldn’t eat anything- but those tears have become less and less frequent and have been replaced with a newfound sense of strength (and also I’m back to eating everything in front of me- thank God.) I don’t stress out as much as I used to. When my phone beeps- I don’t immediately cringe worrying about what lie of my ex’s will be exposed next or what excuse he’s concocted to skirt responsibility he’ll throw my way. I have more time to focus on my work, my friends and my family- all of whom have shown me a tremendous outpouring of support and approval for my decision to do what was right for me and not what I thought was right for him.

More importantly: I’m able to focus on myself. In the days and weeks following the very final conversation with my ex- I realized how much of myself I’d lost leading up to and throughout this ordeal and what I’d given up for someone who couldn’t even meet me halfway. It made me sick. It was a wake up call and it’s been nice spending time alone and doing things on my own that make me happy.

It feels, like the first time in a long time, that I’ve finally stood up for myself. Granted, it was long overdue- but I did it and I’m proud of myself for not simply rolling over and tolerating being treated like an object or an afterthought anymore. In the 2006 movie ‘The Holiday’ (a cheesy romantic comedy and one of my absolute favorite guilty pleasures)– the late and great Eli Wallach tells Iris (a character I relate to in so many ways and who is played by the Goddess Kate Winslet)– who has just confided in him about the man she loves who has left her for another woman but keeps giving her false hope and leading her on:

“He let you go. This is not a hard one to figure out. Iris, in the movies we have leading ladies and we have the best friend. You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason you are behaving like the best friend.”

I’ve been thinking about that quote on and off since all this began to unfold this past Summer- and it resonates with me now more than ever. I’m a leading lady- and it’s about time I started being treated like one. Just like Iris, I put my foot down and told the man who was hurting me for years I was finished with him- and it felt amazing.

Let me reiterate: realizing you are worth it and you are deserving of happiness and love feels AMAZING.

Surprisingly, one of the better things to come out of this is the friendship I’ve developed with the other woman who was hurt in all of this, too (I’m still not revealing names for privacy reasons- but I would like to state that calling her “the other woman” makes me feel really bad since that’s not what she is at all. I just don’t know how else to refer to her without posting her name!)  It’s unfortunate but fairly common to see women turn against each other in scenarios like these- leaving the actual at-fault party free of blame while they’re too busy bickering or going out of their way to tear down the other- but this time the women actually teamed up to hold the person REALLY responsible accountable.

Since her and I have met in person (and she’s truly lovely)– we’ve hung out a couple of times. She’s bright, funny, and someone I have a lot in common with apart from our questionable taste in guys. I may have said goodbye to a 15 year friendship- but I gained a new one- and it’s based on honesty and support. I don’t regret that one bit.

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In Addition…

Despite the occasional aggressive or angry undertones scattered throughout this post- I don’t want to vilify my ex. That was not and never will be my intention. He hurt me- badly, and his behavior was downright deplorable and reckless at times- but I don’t wish anything bad on him or for him. Our entire friendship and relationship wasn’t ALL bad. We did have good times- and I will always cherish those memories and in some way, I will always cherish him for being a part of them.

I just can’t have him in my life or anywhere near me anymore.

I admit I am not a perfect person- and I’m sure in many ways I was not the ideal friend/girlfriend/lover/whatever- but I tried my hardest to be and I fought as valiantly as I could to keep things together. I accept my share of blame and I take responsibility for those less-than-perfect things I did/said throughout the years. I own up to my mistakes and I have learned from them. Just like I’m learning from this now.

I hope my ex gets the help he needs. He has some deep-rooted honesty and commitment issues that I truly think he needs a professional to help him work through. He is surrounded by “yes!” people- meaning that the people in his life enable him and allow him to continue to act the way he has leading up to this point and they refuse to hold him accountable for any wrongdoings- and it has taken a toll on him and the relationships he has with those who care about him and who can’t sit back and not keep him in check from time to time.

I truly do wish him the best in all things. I wish him love, happiness and success in whatever path he chooses. I hope he has a long, healthy and fulfilling life. I really and honestly do- but I also hope this whole situation has taught him a valuable lesson- similar to the lessons I learned for myself. It would be a damned shame to walk away from this without at least gaining some perspective.

This post was to give everyone an in-depth and unfiltered look into what has been going on in my life this past Summer, and in some ways- the last couple of years. My detailing the history of the relationship was not an attempt to tell any sort of sordid or salacious tidbits- but rather to help those following along better understand why I was so reluctant to walk away from this relationship at first and the emotional, mental, and at times physical toll this had taken on me. I loved him, and I was heartbroken- and I tend to disappear when I am sad so that I can work through things without burdening those closest to me with my tears or overall lethargy.

I want people who find themselves in the same situation that I was in to take a long and hard look at it and ask themselves the same question I did: is it worth it?

Knowing someone for a long time isn’t a free pass for them treat you however they want. Sleeping with someone doesn’t mean that sex is all you’re good for. If someone you’re dating/friends with can’t respect you enough to show you common courtesy and treat you like a human being they value and appreciate- then you need to respect, value and appreciate yourself enough to know when to move on to people who DO. It’s perfectly acceptable to put yourself, your needs, and your emotional well-being first once in a while.

I did what was right for me- as painful and as difficult as it was- and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

And you have to do what’s right for you, too.

You owe yourself the chance to be happy. Believe that.

xx

Quick Eats: Creamy Spinach Tortellini

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If I was a superhero (and really- who’s to say I’m not?) my one weakness wouldn’t be some strange element from another planet, or bullets (okay- probably bullets)– but it WOULD be pasta. Whenever there’s any form of pasta in front of me- I just continue to eat it until I can’t move and am rendered useless for the remainder of the day. Add cheese to it and I’m pretty much done for.

A friend, knowing my weakness well, forwarded me this 20 minute recipe for cheesy spinach tortellini- which happens to be my favorite type of pasta- and I ended up clearing an entire afternoon so I could prepare it, eat a serving (or two) and then lay motionless for a few hours until it digested and I could stand up and walk around without needing a long nap, first.

Carb Counters beware- this recipe isn’t for the faint of heart- but if you’re feeling a little indulgent on your “Cheat Day”, I say go big or go home and try your hand at this one!

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WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 1 20 oz. package Three Cheese Tortellini (or your favorite kind!)
  • 1 8 oz. package of cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 6 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup Cheddar Jack or mozzarella cheese, shredded

OKAY, HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

1. Cooking the package of tortellini according to package instructions.

2. Meanwhile, in a large, oven proof skillet, simmer the cream cheese with chicken or vegetable stock for about 10 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 400℉.

4. Add spinach to the cream cheese sauce and simmer for another 5 minutes.

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5. Add tortellini, mix everything well and sprinkle the shredded cheese on top.

6. Place the skillet in the oven and bake for about 7-10 minutes, until the shredded cheese melts.

7. Serve hot- and enjoy!

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This stuff hit the spot. It was really filling, but not in the “I feel sick” way- and that’s coming from someone who ate a pretty good sized portion. The spinach was a nice addition, too- since it broke up the heaviness of all the cheese and tortellini in every spoonful.

If I could make a recommendation, I would flavor this with a little salt and pepper, too. I didn’t do that at first- and while the completed recipe did taste good all on it’s own- I found it needed just a small amount of flavoring to really knock it out of the park. A sprinkle of salt and pepper helped enhance the taste. Just keep that in mind if you make this on your own!

I’ll definitely be cooking up this one again!

xx

Apple Cider Afternoons: An Autumn Playlist

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(Image via Tumblr)

Despite the fact that it’s been ridiculously humid out these past few days (if you need proof, look no further than my hair)– I’ve been very much in an Autumn frame of mind. I’m planning a trip to a local orchard this coming week to pick some apples, hop on a hay ride, and indulge in all things pumpkin. My boots- both ankle and knee-length versions- have made more than one appearance over the past few days as I transition out of my Summer wardrobe staples- and I’ve been compiling another calm and somewhat slow-paced playlist to match the cooler weather and overall more relaxed tempo of the upcoming season.

Whenever I put together a playlist, especially my annual Autumn ones, I like to select a nice mix of older and newer songs that I feel fit the theme/inspiration I’ve chosen. This year, I thought about brisk afternoons I’ve spent in the company of friends while we sipped cider (the regular and/or hard kind) and went for walks through the falling leaves together, or stayed indoors to bake everything we’d picked up during day trips to the orchard or nearby pumpkin patches- or simply gathered as a group to plan our over-the-top Halloween costumes and parties.

The result was this 10-track mix, titled “Apple Cider Afternoons”- which features artists like SOAK, Low Roar, Angel Olsen and Joseph- among others.

I hope you all enjoy it as much as I am!

xx 

Quick Eats: Lemon Butter Scallops

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Since Fall is pretty much here already, I’ve been looking into more warm, filling recipes to try as I transition out of my usual Summertime BBQ and cookout-inspired favorites. What I didn’t want to do, however- was immediately dive right into pumpkin and apple flavored anything. Not that I don’t love those types of recipes (because of course I love them!)– but I really wanted to strive for different flavors and textures in my cooking and baking endeavors for the month of September.

With Hampton Beach’s annual Seafood Festival approaching this coming weekend, I felt inspired to get a head start on my eating of all things from the sea and try a 10-minute (seriously!) scallop appetizer recipe I had found online that perfectly blended tartness and garlic flavor- all with a satisfying crunchiness to it.

If you like scallops- you’re going to love this. I promise.

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WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 pound scallops
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

FOR THE LEMON BUTTER SAUCE:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

OKAY, HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

1. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.

2. Remove the small side muscle from the scallops, rinse with cold water and thoroughly pat dry.

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3. Season scallops with salt and pepper, to taste. Working in batches, add scallops to the skillet in a single layer and cook, flipping once, until golden brown and translucent in the center, about 1-2 minutes per side. Set aside and keep warm.

4. To make the lemon butter sauce, melt 2 tablespoons butter in the skillet. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in lemon juice; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

5. Serve scallops immediately with lemon butter sauce, garnished with parsley, if desired.

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These were devoured so quickly it was insane. The scallops were just the right amount of crispy and chewy- and the lemon butter & garlic sauce was beyond delicious. I half expected someone to try licking the plate when these were gone (it didn’t happen- but I’m sure there was plenty of temptation!)

I have extra scallops in my freezer- and considering how quick and easy these were to make- I’m sure I’ll be indulging in more of them later on this week!

xx

POPSUGAR Must Have Box: August 2016.

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One of my favorite things about POPSUGAR’s “Must Have Box”, apart from what I receive- is how on top of things and on the ball their customer service department is. If there’s going to be a delay in deducting payments, or shipments- they let you know A.S.A.P. You’re never left wondering when the money is going to be pulled from your account or when your box is going to arrive at your doorstep. They keep you informed with e-mails and alerts and I love that! It’s greatly appreciated and it’s just good business overall!

August’s payment/shipment was a tad late- arriving earlier this week, actually- but I had known in advance the company was slightly behind, so I didn’t mind at all.

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With Fall right around the corner and many students already back in school for the new semester- it seemed only appropriate that August’s “Must Have Box” would incorporate that into their theme/inspiration for the month. MOTIVATION, ORGANIZATION, ORDER, FRESH, TRANSITION AND BACK-TO-SCHOOL were the words and phrases used to curate the assortment of items enclosed in this installment.

Let’s take a look at what I got!

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It’s breaking my heart that I have to retire my beloved beach tote I had picked up from Primark earlier this Summer- but this lovely, durable and adjustable brown duck bag from BAGGU helps to take away the sting a little.  Made with recycled fabric, I’m loving the print of this bag- which is perfect for the Fall and will compliment my more neutral ensembles perfectly. The bag is also big/deep enough to hold the necessities without weighing me down or getting in my way, too- so it’s a win! I think this will be a perfect transitional piece from my nautical Summer tote for the coming season.

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I plan on upgrading my phone at some point this weekend since it’s on it’s last leg. It’s barely holding a charge anymore, and only half of the touch-screen works properly. It’s been a fun few years- but I need to find something newer and better for myself and my technological needs.

Of course, with a new phone comes that fun first few weeks of paranoia about scratching or dirtying up the screen- so these reusable screen clothes (in the cutest shapes!) from UNPLUGGED arrived just in time. These individual wipes can stick to the back of your phone (or it’s case) for quick, on-the-go clean-ups- perfect for travel!

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Speaking of awesome travel necessities for technological needs- I am LOVING this portable USB PowerGloss charger from TRIPLE C. I mean seriously loving it. This thing is a lifesaver. This charger is about the size of a lipstick tube- which makes it SO convenient when I’m on the road or in transit and my aforementioned dying phone needs a bit of juice so I can text/call.

This might be one of the most practical and most used things I’ve ever received in a subscription service. It’s a game changer and something I honestly and truly needed in my life.

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Also in need of some serious updating- apart from my phone? My makeup collection. I’ve used up pretty much every last bit of my Summer cosmetics: BB creams, aqua eyeliners, gold shadows and bronzers. I’ve hit pan on nearly everything- so receiving this beautiful and sheer pink blush from CARGO COSMETICS was a nice surprise for my face (and my wallet.)

I tend to lean towards more natural rose/mauve tones on my cheeks in the Fall and Winter- and this color is so flattering and beautiful with my complexion- that I know I’ll get plenty of use out of it!

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I am constantly reaching for post-it notes at work (and at home, or in my car, or while shopping for post-its) so this booklet of brightly colored ombré sticky notes from CHRISTIAN LACROIX PARIS is fantastic. Not only are the notes themselves bright and fun- but the case they’re sealed in is beautifully made, too!

This booklet has found a home in my bag for when I need to write myself a quick reminder or have to jot down an idea I don’t want to forget!

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I’m fairly sure I’ve said it before- but it can definitely be repeated- POPSUGAR finds the most unusual, but oddly delicious snacks to include in their “Must Have” boxes. This cookies & cream flavored popcorn from COOKIE POP is no exception. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first laid eyes on this stuff- but it actually tastes really, really good- like a saltier version of Cookie Crisp Cereal. It’s low in fat and calories, too- which makes it completely safe for those who are trying to snack healthier but still need to satisfy their cravings for something sweet!

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Finally, this month’s bonus coupon(s) came in the form of this %20 OFF and FREE SHIPPING voucher for CARGO COSMETICS (I edited out the actual code for privacy purposes)– which I’m sure I’ll be using to stock up on some stuff prior to flying out to Vegas at the end of this month. I can’t wait to browse their selection of products and see what I find!

Overall- as usual- I was thrilled with my “Must Have” box (shocking, I know.) I am going to get plenty of use out of each item I received- and the overall value of the products included easily surpasses what I paid for the box to begin with. I am beyond grateful for the portable charger- and the blush and the bag have saved me a ton of aggravation of having to go out and purchase ones on my own.

August’s box was another success- and you know I’m looking forward to September’s!

xx

August 2016: In a Nutshell.

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So long, Summer…

I can’t believe that this is it and that Summer 2016 is officially over (I’m aware the actual first day of Fall isn’t until September 22nd, but still!) It feels like it was just yesterday I was still wearing my Winter jacket and trying to gear myself up for Spring- and now here I am making room in my closet for my sweaters and leggings again.

For anyone who has followed this blog in recent years, you’ll know that Fall is my favorite season. The weather? The fashion? The food and the foliage? Halloween? The return of my “Horrors of Netflix” blogging series? I mean- what’s not to love, right? But Summer is a close second in terms of my favorite season- and I’m sad to see this one go- even if I spent a good amount of it dealing with and subsequently moving on from a former relationship (these types of things just can’t happen in the Winter when everyone is miserable by default, can they? They always have to happen during what’s supposed to be the more fun and laid back times of the year and mess up everything.)

I digress- out of the Summer season- August was probably my favorite month. Not only because the motivation, inspiration and rejuvenation (a lot of “nations” in there) I had started to experience near the end of July had carried over into this month and didn’t show signs of stopping- but also because there was great news and celebrations everywhere- and not just for me, either! One of my best friends got married. Another got promoted at her job- and there were plenty of birthdays and anniversaries to go around. Tonight I have dinner plans with an old friend of mine from high school who just came back to Massachusetts for the first time in years since relocating for their job.

I also found out earlier this month that I’ll be in Las Vegas and San Diego for a week-long vacation/possible apartment hunting adventure during the end of September and beginning of October. I might even catch a show or two while I’m around that way and I’m SO excited to see my friends out West and enjoy a few days of rest, relaxation- and probably some gambling and cocktails, too. While my original plan for a vacation was to finally visit New Orleans to complete one of my New Years resolutions- the recent flooding in and around Louisiana made traveling that way a bit more difficult. The last thing I want to do is sight-see and be a tourist when I know people nearby are struggling to rebuild their homes and lives. It just didn’t feel right.

I’ll be re-scheduling my NOLA trip for early 2017, for sure!

Between hopping from party to party, celebration to celebration, planning for September while soaking up the last of the Summer sun and preparing some long overdue blog posts and updates- I’ve also been putting in some overtime at work to set aside a little extra money for future endeavors and efforts- often coming by my office on my scheduled days off for a few hours at a time. Needless to say, I’ve been keeping busy- but I enjoy it. I like being productive and it’s a nice distraction from certain things.

So here’s to the end of Summer. I hope it was kind to everyone and you all made wonderful memories amidst the heat waves, backyard BBQs and pool parties.

Here’s hoping Fall is lovely!

xx

August Hits List!

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Narrowing down my favorites for the month of August proved to be a somewhat daunting task. With Autumn right around the corner, these last few weeks have been spent frantically trying to hold onto the final days of Summer and savoring the last bit of everything that came with these hot, hazy afternoons and evenings before they transition into some much needed cooler, crisper weather.

August saw me clearing out and using up the last of my Summertime skincare, hair care and makeup in order to make room for my more Fall-appropriate beauty finds- and my wardrobe and accessories have slowly but surely begun evolving from bright florals and tropical tones to more subtle neutrals and rich jewel hues. I’m packing up my maxi dresses, poolside sarongs and beach-friendly sandals and unloading my cozy cardigans, lightweight tights and ankle boots.

Autumn is by far my favorite season- without a doubt- but I’m not quite ready to let go of Summer just yet (Reason #5,342 why I belong on the West Coast!)

I digress. Apart from lots of products loaded with SPF and/or Aloe Vera- here are a few of my miscellaneous favorites from August 2016!

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When I initially dipped back into being a brunette last month, I knew my hair care routine would have to change. I’d have to stop using my shampoos and conditioners designed specifically for red hair (including a couple that actually deposit some color with each wash) in order to keep my chocolate shade from changing or fading out right away. I also didn’t want to break the bank by continuing to purchase pricier products, either- which was part of the reason I went back to my natural color to begin with. I wanted to save some of my money that was otherwise going towards expensive dye/highlight appointments every few weeks (red is the hardest color to maintain, after all!)

I stumbled on the new “Whole Blends” line from GARNIER purely by accident while I was looking for a shampoo that didn’t have red or orange tint to it. My curiosity was piqued by the natural ingredients for each formula (there’s six “Whole Blends” collections to choose from depending on your needs/concerns) and the price had me sold then and there. Lately I’ve been loving the hydrating Coconut Water & Vanilla Milk shampoo, which I only use a couple times a week- and which makes my hair feel clean and soft- not dried out or brittle.

All of the “Whole Blends” masks are great, too- although I think my favorite right now is the “Honey Treasures” one. It deeply conditions and de-tangles my curls and leaves my hair looking and feeling healthy and strong- and it smells awesome.

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During the recent heat wave we had here in Massachusetts- it felt like no amount of fans or air conditioning helped- and I found myself resorting to laying in my bathtub in semi-chilly water as a last ditch effort to cool off and try to relax. I could have used bath bombs to make the experience a bit more pampering- but they tend to work better in hotter water and the idea of even a lukewarm bath nearly had me in tears.

Instead, I turned to bath salts- and specifically the ones from the San Francisco Salt Company– to help me unwind and keep heat stroke away. While I am able to order different types of salts at SFSC’s website, there’s actually a location not far from me where I can choose and package my own depending on the type of fragrance I want. The blue and gold mix pictured above is a blend of ocean-inspired scents and a hint of mimosa- the perfect combination for a Summer send-off, if you ask me. The salts soften my skin and make my entire bathroom smell heavenly.

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I’d like to think I’m pretty open-minded about nearly anything and everything- even things I don’t fully or completely understand or practice- like witchcraft, spells and/or stones. I find those things fascinating nonetheless, and during my recent trip to Mystic, Connecticut- I ended up strolling into the Mystical Elements store in Mystic Village to take a look around. These spell jar candles from Artemisia Botanicals caught my attention almost immediately- not only because of how potent (but nice!) they smelled- but because I thought they’d make cute gifts, too. There’s different candles for a variety of purposes: good health, love, protection, and strength- but I thought this money one was a nice fit considering my desire to move out West.

While I haven’t gotten around to following the instructions on this candle to see if it works and if a fortune comes my way in the near future just yet- it smells nice enough where even if it doesn’t work- at least my home will have a pretty fragrance lingering throughout it for a while.

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I’ve owned the same grey, faux-leather wallet for approximately 6/7 years now- and even when it only recently began falling apart at the seams (literally)– I refused to replace it. It wasn’t until it broke completely, beyond repair and quite embarrassing and disgusting looking- when I traded it in for this new smaller, brighter and more compact wallet from Spartina 449.

The size of this wallet caused me to do a long overdue clean-out of old cards and passes I no longer had use for as I moved all of my stuff over to it- but it still comfortably fits my necessities. Best of all? I love the pattern on this wallet and the pineapple emblem on it’s magnetic clasp. Even though Fall is on it’s way, this will still give me a little bit of Summer every time I reach into my purse.

And with all the photograph-able favorites well, photographed- let’s move onto the other things I loved in August!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

  • “Fear The Walking Dead” – As much of a fan of the original ‘The Walking Dead’ as I am, it took me a little while to get into this slow-paced spin-off when it first premiered last year. Since then, it’s definitely picked up speed on the action and suspense- and the characters have become more developed and interesting to watch. The second half of season two recently premiered (after a pretty disappointing mid-season finale)– and it’s already showing a bit more promise. I hope it keeps up!
  • ‘Catfish’ – This show might be my guiltiest of guilty pleasures. I’ve been low-key obsessing over this series for five seasons now- each one getting more and more insane and over-the-top- but I can’t stop. I love me some trashy (probably scripted) reality TV. Nev and Max and their bromance for the ages are so entertaining to watch- and the twists always leave me laughing and furiously taking to social media to discuss. The second half of the season premiered this past month and it’s been AWESOME.

– TECH/APPS/GAMES –

  • Snapchat – The last thing I need is an app that gives random guys the capability to send me unsolicited dick pics (even if it’s just for a few seconds at a time) but Sean got me to finally cave and now I’m addicted to Snapchat just like the rest of the world. I have way too much fun fooling around with the filters and messenger.

Have it? Add me! My username is LegallyAshley!

– MISCELLANEOUS –

  • Starbucks’ Iced Coconut Milk Mocha Macchiato – While I am absolutely ready to dive right into some salted caramel mocha (and maybe even some pumpkin spice even though I don’t particularly like the taste)– I’m going to miss this Summertime drink I’ve been chugging nearly every day since it made it’s debut at Starbucks. It’s sweet, creamy and refreshing- and it gives me just enough of a caffeine kick to keep me going without giving me the jitters. I have a feeling I’m going to need to find a recipe to make these at home when Starbucks inevitably removes them from the menu.

And I think that’s it for my August favorites! I’m ready to recap the month of August overall with my upcoming ‘In A Nutshell’ post and prepare to welcome September, Autumn- and a cross-country vacation!

Feel free to share your August favorites!

xx