May Hits List!

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Good Morning and Happy Memorial Day, everyone! I hope those of you who have the long weekend off are savoring it with friends and family, and those of you who have to work through it are surrounded by caring, kind, and fun people to make it a little easier and more enjoyable.

Memorial Day is a lot of things to a lot of different people. For many, including myself, it’s a day to give pause and appreciate those who have died while serving in our country’s armed forces in order to keep the rest of us safe. For many businesses, it’s an excuse to send a ton of spam e-mails and produce tacky commercials advertising low prices and weekend-long sales events…

… But Memorial Day also commemorates the beginning of the Summer season. Cookouts, BBQs, getting a pool or sprinklers ready for impending heat waves and long, lazy days. I’ve been waiting for Summer to arrive for what feels like an eternity- so I’m more than happy to kick off the season with some of my mom’s famous macaroni salad and a juicy burger later on this afternoon at her house.

Now, May was a bit trying for me- the details of which will be shared in tomorrow’s scheduled “In a Nutshell” post- and while I was handling some personal matters, I didn’t quite accumulate a lengthy list of favorites these past couple of weeks. Nevertheless, I did want to share some of the things that helped alleviate a lot of stress throughout the month and products I’ve been seriously praising recently.

So here it is- short, but sweet- my Hits List for May 2016!

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With the hotter weather seemingly here to stay for the foreseeable future- May became all about updating my day & night skin care routines to allow my face and body a chance to adjust and get acclimated to the Summer temps. Gone (for now) are the days of heavy moisturizers to outlast the colder elements and harsh, stripping cleansers- and in are the days of lightweight SPFs and replenishing nighttime creams. I’m thinking of doing an updated skin care post next month to show exactly what I use on my face & body- and when- but here are three products that I implemented into my regimen in May that I’m absolutely loving. From left to right:

I’ve been keeping my hair and makeup as simple as possible lately. Not only because it’s hot out- but because I have to go to work AND squeeze in a workout after I leave the office Monday-Friday (and on Saturdays, too.) I don’t want to spend a lot of time getting ready when I’m just going to be a sweaty mess by the time I get home- but I also don’t want to skip a daily moisturizer and SPF, either. This mattifying, quick-absorbing moisturizer from Cetaphil (with SPF 30) has become a lifesaver in the mornings when I’m on the go. It hydrates my skin without clogging my pores, keeps my face shine-free- and gives me plenty of sun protection when I’m outdoors, too.

Next- I know people have been raving about micellar cleansing water for months, now- and I’m seriously kicking myself for not listening to them sooner. This stuff is a game changer and a must-have for anyone and everyone who wants a quick and efficient way to remove makeup and/or cleanse their skin without leaving behind any kind of greasy residue or worse- drying themselves out. I’ve been using this one from Garnier for a few weeks now in the morning and at night- and it literally pulls the impurities from my skin. I can actually see it working. My skin feels refreshed and cleaner than it does with just a regular cleanser.

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Finally, I have found my new favorite Summertime night cream in the form of this firming night balm from FARMACY. I received this product in a recent POPSUGAR ‘Must Have’ Box and I have been hooked ever since. The product looks and smells like lime Jell-O (just stay with me here) and melts into your skin as you apply it- finally setting in as a lightweight oil that hydrates and firms while you sleep. When I wake up, my skin looks brighter and feels so much softer and smoother. A little goes a long way with this stuff, too- so I know I’ll only need a little bit each night to get through the Summer.

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I have been spending a lot of time outdoors since the weather took a turn for the better, and I plan on spending even more time out in the sun now that Summer is here- but since my hair is (dyed) red- I have to be careful and use the proper products to keep it from fading into an awkward tangerine color. Enter this spray in color-protectant from Not Your Mother’s. After I wash and towel dry my hair- I spray some of this product from root to tip and work it through with my fingers. Then I style as usual. My reds have stayed considerably stronger than they did prior to me using this stuff- and it’s pretty helpful at keeping my frizzy flyaways at bay, too!

My only gripe with this spray is the smell. It kind of reminds me of grape cough syrup and I find myself frantically grabbing for my styling products to mask the fragrance in the seconds after I work it through my curls so I don’t gag.

Next- I am a total germophobe when it comes to my makeup brushes and sponges. I have this whole, intricate system of soaking/scrubbing/drying my tools that can actually take a couple of hours to see through from start to finish. In the Summer- that germophobia gets even worse since sweat is continually thrown into the equation. Thankfully, BeautyBlender threw me a time-saving bone with this solid version of their sponge/brush cleanser. All I have to do to get my blenders/brushes sparkling clean is wet them and swipe them across this solid soap a couple of times and presto! Foundation, dirt, grime and sweat are history!

I especially love this solid cleanser because it lasts way longer than the liquid one- and it works just as good- if not better!

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I had eyed this Prince pillow (as well as it’s tote bag version) from Heart Felt Design months ago- but had never got around to actually ordering one for myself. After Prince’s passing, it seemed like the right time to finally own a version of the legend that I could hug, squeeze, and make my home look really awesome with. This recently arrived in my mailbox and I have been head over heels in love with it since. Each pillow is handmade- with loving and precise detail- and arrives a few weeks after ordering.

Heart Felt Design has a wide variety of items, too- music legends, movie/television/book characters, custom designs and so on. Definitely go check them out if you’re looking for something unique to spruce up your space!

And now, for the stuff I couldn’t photograph!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

  • Summer Blockbuster Season is upon us! – The new Independence Day movie? ‘Jason Bourne’? ‘Star Trek: Beyond’? ‘Suicide Squad’? I feel like a good chunk of my Summer 2016 is going to be spent in air conditioned movie theaters and munching on popcorn. Although I got a head start catching flicks like the new Captain America movie and Key & Peele’s ‘Keanu’ a couple of weeks ago- I’m really looking forward to shamelessly diving into some over the top action movies this Summer.

– MISCELLANEOUS –

And that is pretty much everything for the month of May! I’m sure now that Summer is officially underway- my list for June is going to be much larger than this month’s Hits List was- and I’m looking forward to it!

And as always, feel free to share your Hits for May 2016 in the comments.

Have a great Memorial Day, everyone!

xx

April Hits List!

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This post is a couple of days late, having just missed the end-of-April deadline I’d set- but I’m not being too harsh on myself considering how busy I was last month. Having the best intentions when it comes to a regular posting schedule is all well and good- but juggling that with the other day-to-day tasks in life, love and leisure can be a bit challenging at times. My hats off to Vloggers who continually create, produce and publish content on a schedule without fail. I don’t know how you all do it without visibly stressing out or losing your composure- but more power to you!

April’s ‘Hits List’ might appear small at first glance- but a lot of these items have helped me tremendously during my past few weekends when traveling out of state- and some of them are just plain old silly fun I’ve been enjoying since the beginning of last month.

Like I’ve done with past installments of this monthly series- I thought I’d start by sharing the items/products that are easier to be displayed and photographed- before I go into things like music, movies, games and television.

Let’s see what made the list last month!

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Carrying over my Springtime/Summertime coconut-scented-everything obsession from body washes, lotions, and candles into my hair styling regimen, these two products- both from OGX– have made my “apply and go” morning hair care routine even more easy and beneficial to my curls these past few weeks. After washing/conditioning my hair and scalp in the shower, I work a few pumps of the clear COCONUT MILK SERUM through my still damp hair to tame frizz and keep my curls glossy and hydrated from root to tip.

After that, I work through the COCONUT CURLS MOUSSE through my hair- again, from root to tip- before letting it air dry. This product defines my curls without making them crunchy or overloaded with sticky product build-up. And of course, both products smell incredible and don’t cause any kind of fading or discoloration to the red dye/highlights I have.

My hair has been looking and feeling on point since I started using both of these products at the beginning of April- effortless but still well put together. I don’t plan on switching up anything in my routine anytime soon- which should make Summer an easy time for styling!

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I am a shameless caffeine addict. I can barely function without my morning latte and the smell of coffee instantaneously puts me in a more relaxed mood- so it seems only fitting that I would turn to my one and only life source by slathering it all over my face/neck/shoulders to combat clogged pores and dryness, right? I have been absolutely LOVING this ‘Cup O’Coffee’ mask/scrub from LUSH lately- and this is a must-have for any other coffee lovers, too!

I typically use this mask 2-3 times a week- mostly in the morning since the scent gives me a nice boost of energy- leaving it on my skin for a good twenty minutes before I gradually rinse/scrub my face by adding warm water. After I pat my skin dry, my face feels smooth and considerably softer- not tight or dried out.

I’m actually running a little low on this product, so I have a feeling I’ll be replenishing within the next week or so.

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When I was in Virginia at the beginning of April, and spending a couple of days in Alexandria- I was quite surprised by how few souvenirs there were to commemorate the little town- especially now that ‘The Walking Dead’ has made the area even more popular. Every gift shop or gas station I stopped by was filled wall-to-wall with Washington D.C. memorabilia- but nothing for Alexandria. No t-shirts. No postcards. Nothing. Nada.

That’s why I was so happy when I spotted this mug on the top of a shelf that was otherwise lined with cheap aluminum replicas of the neighboring National Memorials. I was quick to snatch it up, elated I’d finally found something to mark my brief but wonderful stay- and I’ve been using it to sip my evening tea before bed.

… And maybe also pretending I’m Rick Grimes while I do it- but that’s another story for another day.

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Is there anybody in this world (apart from Robert Downey Jr.) who is more excited about this week’s release of ‘Captain America: Civil War’ than I am? It feels like I’ve been waiting ages for this movie- and all the promotions, appearances, and advertisements have all but turned the days leading up to it finally arriving in theaters into a week-long event in itself. Of course I’ll be there on opening night- popcorn in hand and probably sporting my favorite Winter Soldier hoodie to celebrate!

Knowing how pumped up I am to see the flick, my friends have been picking up assorted odds and ends for me as presents- the most recent being these two FUNKO figurines of Cap and Black Widow to add to my collection. I’ll never get over how cute these things are- although I’m starting to run out of places to display them!

I have a feeling these two will find a home on my desk at work.

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I’m actually surprised I haven’t mentioned Veet up until now considering it’s been a Spring/Summer staple-slash-lifesaver of mine since my Junior year of high school (yes, really.) I use this gel cream hair remover once a week or every couple of weeks in-between touch-up shaving and it keeps my legs (and arms, depending on how fuzzy they’re looking) smooth and stubble free for DAYS with no irritation and no dryness. I swear by this stuff.

I’ve heard complaints from people who have tried NAIR, another similar brand, and stated they were burned or the product just flat-out didn’t work for them- and honestly I’ve experienced similar issues when I’ve used NAIR- but I’ve never had an issue with Veet. As long as you follow the instructions, don’t leave it on for too long, and make sure to exfoliate and apply some lotion after use- this will be your new best friend in the warmer months. I promise you.

And yes, for curious minds- they have other formulas, too- for face, the bikini area, etc. Just make sure to read the directions before use and you should be just fine and silky smooth in no time!

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And finally, since Prince’s passing- I’ve been re-visiting my vinyl collection as I own a couple of his albums through years of thrifting with friends- and seeing some of what I’ve accumulated over time has been a tremendous amount of fun in recent days. My favorite so far, I have to say, is a copy of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ I bought for about $3 circa 2006/2007 at a Salvation Army near my hometown. Inside the album, I found a series of magazine clippings from the 80s and fan drawings by a girl named Pam (dated 1983) who I can only assume is the previous owner of the record.

Once I’m done re-organizing my collection (and playing ‘Purple Rain’ some more)– I think I’m going to try to track Pam down to return her drawings to her. They’re quite nice!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

  • ‘Preacher’ – I should really consider buying stock in AMC these days considering how much they own my Sunday nights. ‘Preacher’, set to debut on May 22nd- stars one of my many man-crushes, Dominic Cooper- and is based on the comic of the same name. The previews look awesome, a little creepy, intense and pretty funny- so I’m really excited to sit down and start watching this one once ‘Fear The Walking Dead’ winds down (I won’t be doing a recap of the season, FYI.)

– TECH/APPS/GAMES –

  • Grand Theft Auto – An oldie but a goodie. My friends and I had taken an indefinite hiatus from blowing each other up and running each other over instead of successfully completing missions in GTAV- using our video gaming time to play scarier and more story-driven games in recent months- but April saw us returning to the land of Los Santos to partake in crime sprees and mass destruction once again. If only the world could hear the laughter coming from our microphones late at night when it’s a free-for-all in the streets and we’re hijacking planes, trains and automobiles.
  • eRewards – This is another website I’ve been affiliated with for quite some time now, but am just getting around to mentioning now. eRewards is a survey site, plain and simple- no strings attached. The company will e-mail you a couple of surveys every few days that range anywhere from five minutes to a half hour to complete- and every survey that is completed/partially completed adds a dollar amount credit to your account. After you’ve accrued some money, you can trade it in for gift cards, restaurant vouchers, frequent flyer miles, etc. I’ve been doing it for a few years and I’ve already gotten plenty of Starbucks gift cards, points towards my airline and hotel chain of choice, Macy’s and American Eagle vouchers, etc.

Best of all? It’s completely free to join and there’s NO spam e-mails. Just the surveys!

I think that’s pretty much it for my April hits. I’ve already started compiling my list for May- which I intend on sharing (on time!) in a few more weeks.

And as always- feel free to share your favorites from last month, too!

xx

March Hits List!

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Good Morning and Happy Tuesday, everyone! I’m up bright and early today- not only because it’s my day off and I don’t want to waste a single minute of it- but because I’m also going to look at a beautiful studio loft apartment in Western Massachusetts a little later on this morning to see if it’s a good fit for me. I’m excited, a little anxious, but hopeful. Even if I’m unable to secure the apartment or even if it’s not “the one”- it’s still a step in the right direction- and it’ll still keep me motivated.

My end-of-the-month wrap-up will be up on the blog this coming Thursday- but before I get around to discussing some exciting news about my job and the details of an even more exciting mini-road trip I’m embarking on at the end of next week- I wanted to share some of the random things that have helped to completely make my March!

As usual (well, usual since I’ve started writing these posts every month, anyway)– I thought I’d start with the products/pieces I’ve been coveting over these past few weeks and then go into the stuff that I can’t exactly photograph easily.

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With Spring (kinda’) here- I’ve been preparing to trade in my favorite pair of knee-high black boots for more seasonally appropriate flats, sandals, and sneakers- and since I haven’t bought myself a decent pair of kicks in a while- I thought I’d splurge a little bit on these limited edition, glow-in-the-dark Andy Warhol-inspired high-tops from Converse. I’m absolutely loving the bright pops of color on these shoes- and like my other (and much more weathered) pairs of high-tops I’ve owned since high school (!!!)– these sneakers are just the most comfortable things to wear. My feet never get tired in Chuck Taylors. They just don’t. They are my favorite shoes- even if they make my feet look gigantic- and I intend on getting plenty of wear out of these ones, too.

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Of course, if I’m going to start rocking flats and sandals again- that means I have to make sure my feet look and feel good, first. I’m always down for a good pedicure (it’s the calf rub, honestly. I could sit in that cushy chair at the spa and just have my calves rubbed for three hours)– but I wanted to try an at-home treatment prior to my first pedi of the season so that I could spend more time getting my calves massaged and less time getting abused by the pumice stone. After reading many, MANY reviews (and being both horrified and fascinated by the post-application photos I saw)– I caved and ordered a package of Baby Foot Exfoliation Peel off of Amazon.

For those who have never heard of ‘Baby Foot’- the package comes equipped with two gel-soaked booties you strap onto your feet and leave on for an hour before rinsing the gel off and going about your business. Within a few days, however- the dry, dead skin on your feet begins to peel- and when I saw “peel”, I mean you are essentially a shedding snake for a good week/week and a half. Your skin comes off (painlessly!) in SHEETS. It’s disgusting and awesome at the same time- and when all that dead skin is gone- all you’re left with is super soft heels and toes. The stuff is incredible.

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Is it possible to fall madly and deeply in love with a liquid foundation? Because I think I did- and the love affair is still going strong. Some of you my recognize this full coverage Amazonian Clay Foundation from Tarte from my most recent Sephora Haul, but this stuff has truly been a lifesaver in ways I hadn’t even anticipated. Not only does it match my skin (FINALLY!), but it doesn’t feel like I’m wearing anything at all while I have it on- which is an amazing feat in itself for a product that covers every imperfection so ridiculously well. Please, Tarte- I beg of you- don’t ever discontinue this. You don’t understand how much it means to me.

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Even though we’re only in the early days of Spring, I’ve already opted for citrus, beach-y fragrances to get me through the next few months (I can’t do florals this year. I just can’t. Every year I do florals and I just needed a break from them.) I recently stocked up on body washes, lotions, and spritzes from Bath & Body Works‘ Hawaiian-inspired collection, specifically their Honolulu Sun (coconut and warm sand!) and Golden Pineapple Luau fragrances. Now every shower transports me to the beautiful beach-side communities in Southern California that I adore so much. I love smelling like I just sipped a smoothie by the ocean. Even if it’s only March.

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One other product from B&BW that made it onto this month’s ‘Hits List’ was this Mahogany Coconut 3-wick candle. Now, I’m devoted to Yankee Candle 100%- but sometimes, on occasion- I like to stock up on these ones, too. They don’t last very long- but they’re strong- and the scent lingers well after the candle is done burning. This fragrance, a mixture of sandalwood and coconut- smells crisp and refreshing- and is perfect to have lit while Spring cleaning and preparing to open the windows to let in some fresh air this season.

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Over the weekend, Sean and I headed to Somerville to redeem a birthday present for me that he’d made reservations for back in January. The event- “Trapped in a Room with a Zombie” is exactly what it sounds like. You, and a handful of other participants, are locked in a puzzle-filled room for an hour with a zombie. Your objective is to work together to solve each puzzle in order to find the key and escape before your clock runs out. The kicker? Every five minutes- the zombie’s chain gets a little longer- and you lose if he grabs you.

Years of playing ‘Resident Evil’ and ‘Silent Hill’ had pretty much prepared me for this moment- and my team escaped with a scary-close three minutes to spare. It was an absolute BLAST– one of the most unique and fun things I’d ever participated in- and I highly recommend checking it out if you’re in the Boston area anytime soon! You won’t regret it!

VICTORY!

VICTORY!

And now, for the stuff that couldn’t be photographed:

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

  • ‘Schitt’s Creek’ – One of my favorite Canadian comedies returned for it’s second season this past month, and it’s even better than the first season. Starring Eugene Levy (and his totally dreamboat son, Daniel Levy) and Catherine O’Hara- the 30-minute show follows the Rose Family, who move to the small, dead-end town of Schitt’s Creek after businessman and father Johnny (Eugene Levy) loses the family’s fortune. The show is so witty and genuinely funny- and Chris Elliot plays the mayor- Roland Schitt. It doesn’t get much better than that.
  • ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ – John Goodman might be one of the most lovable people on the planet, but good God- when he wants to terrify the living Hell out of you- he DOES it, and really, really well at that. I might be in the minority of people who really enjoyed the original ‘Cloverfield’ movie (motion sickness and all) so I was excited to return to the world of a still unexplained and very vague alien invasion. I liked how this was a completely different take on the events unfolding in the first movie- but was twice as scary and unsettling.

– MISCELLANEOUS –

  • Costume Designing! – With the 2016 Comic-Con circuit officially getting underway, I have a couple of months before things kick off here on the East Coast with Boston & Rhode Island Comic-Con, ‘Walker Stalker’, MegaFest, etc. Last year, despite being pretty busy- I had managed to pull of a really great Agent Carter costume I was very proud of. This year, now that my schedule is a little easier to manage- I have a series of three costumes I’m going to attempt (two of which are ‘Walking Dead’-related, of course!) The process of getting started is always the most fun- and I’ve been having a blast browsing tools and fabrics and writing out my plans. I’m hoping to share my progress once I get going!

And I think that’s everything for the month of March! As always, I’d love to hear your favorites for this past month and/or recommendations for things to try and do in April! Leave a comment or drop me an e-mail!

I’m off to look at the apartment. Wish me luck!

xx

February Hits List!

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Good Morning and Happy 50%-Off-Valentine’s-Day-Candy-Day, everyone!

With temperatures staying consistently in the negatives since Friday night, and wind chill statistics causing a statewide safety alert- even in the afternoons when the sun has been shining brightly- I’ve been in a bit of a hibernation mode over this past weekend- only stepping outdoors if it was absolutely necessary (I’ve even forgone my usual coffee/tea runs at my local cafe!) Poor Oliver, who loves rolling around in the snow unlike any dog I’ve ever known in my life- has refused to go anywhere near the door when it comes time for him to take his daily walk. He wants no part of it.

Of course, a couple of days spent mostly confined to hot baths and warm blankets isn’t all bad. It’s given me a chance to catch up on my e-mails, update and re-organize my makeup collection- and prepare my monthly “Hits List” post for February!

This month I admittedly got a little swept up in ‘Valentine’s Day Fever’. I’m not talking about not-so-subtlety hinting to the guy I’ve been seeing for a romantic, candle-lit three-course dinner or six dozen roses or anything like that, since that’s never really been my thing- but I’ve picked up a couple of holiday-inspired finds in recent days and my current, mostly-neutral makeup and wardrobe color palette has been flushed with touches of romantic pinks, ravishing reds, and bold purples throughout February so far.

Like I did in my first ‘Hits List’ post last month, I’m going to start with my products and pieces, first- and then move onto the other stuff that couldn’t quite be photographed properly for this month’s collection!

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Starting in the bottom, left-hand corner of my laid out spread for February are my Valentine’s-inspired products from Lush Cosmetics. Not too long ago, I ran out of my absolute favorite lip scrub of all time, Lush’s ‘Popcorn’ scrub- and I was looking to replenish my little tub by re-ordering online. Instead, I saw this limited edition mandarin/cherry infused version, ‘The Kiss’ (with edible hearts mixed in it!) and knew I had to have it. It works incredible, tastes delicious, and the hearts are pretty fun. I’m not even going to deny it.

To pair with the scrub, I also purchased it’s matching lip gloss of the same name- which applies like and has the same moisturizing texture of a lip balm. I like that it doesn’t feel sticky/tacky on my lips and that the light pink color is really, really faint- since I tend to apply this a lot in the car or at work and don’t want to have it all over my face.

Finally, nothing says Valentine’s Day quite like Lush’s ‘Sex Bomb’ bath bomb! The last time I used this floral-scented moisturizing bomb was when I was in Las Vegas last October and wanted to unwind after a long day in the desert on the strip in the gigantic bathtub inside my hotel room. It’s been really nice having a couple of these on hand- especially when it’s been so frigid outside! I leave my bath feeling relaxed, refreshed, and with touchable soft skin.

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Moving upwards are two pieces from my wardrobe I’ve been adoring lately. The first is a knitted and embellished headband that I’ve been using to keep my ears and scalp warm when I’ve been in need of a break from my Winter hat collection. This thing definitely comes in handy in-between stylist appointments since it covers up my roots really well, but it’s also versatile since I can wear it indoors, too (just as long as I push it back behind my ears!)

Next up is my new favorite pair of leggings, the ‘King of Hearts’ printed stretchy design from Black Milk Clothing! It’s been a while since I’ve made a BMC purchase, but I saw these leggings and couldn’t resist. I love a good statement piece- something that is unique, comfortable, and really stands out- and these met all the requirements. I’ve been pairing these with my favorite slouchy black sweater and my black leather ankle boots in recent weeks and I get stopped wherever I go so people can take a look at them! I posted a photo of me sporting these over on my Instagram, if anyone wants to see how the print looks when it’s on!

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Moving a little to the right on the spread-out of this month’s favorites are these three crystals (rose quartz, amethyst, and obsidian) I recently obtained from a spirituality-centered store in Western Massachusetts. Now, I’m not an expert when it comes to crystals, their uses or meanings- but I like to keep an open mind- and I’ve been placing these around my home and my work space (or holding them in my hand when I’m being absent-minded or driving since they’re smooth and cool to the touch) and they’ve just been nice to have within reach. I’d like to pick up some larger ones for decorative purposes in the future, but these pocket-sized ones are good for now.

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Next up are my three “go-to” beauty products for the month of February. While January was all about nudes, light browns, and grays- I’ve been infusing my lids, lips and cheeks with more pink/red shades. My favorite shadow palette to create the perfect “romantic” inspired look has got to be my Urban Decay ‘Naked3;’ mirrored compact. I love blending the shimmer and matte rose and gold tones with my neutral shadows. It just gives my eyes such a beautiful sparkle that will be a nice way to transition into Spring (if it ever arrives!)

One of my all-time favorite drug store finds that I keep re-purchasing are these Color Sensational Creamy Matte lipsticks from Maybelline. They’re long-lasting, highly pigmented, non-drying, and affordable. While a nice bold red lip has become my trademark of sorts- I’ve changed it up a bit for this month and have been wearing a more subtle rose shade that works well with my ‘Naked3’ palette and my overall fair complexion.

Of course, I wanted to have a fun pop of color somewhere in my everyday look, and I turned to my longtime favorite ‘Hypnotic’ nail polish from Sephora’s Formula X line to give my digits a burst of beautiful, prismatic purple to brighten things up. I swear, I don’t have any kind of endorsement deal with Sephora or Formula X for constantly plugging the polish. I just absolutely love the longevity, range of shades and overall quality of the line.

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I was fortunate to have more than one Valentine this year in the form of friends and family- and in true V-Day tradition- those friends and family made sure I had plenty of chocolate to get me through the end of the month. This box (and bear!) was a gift from my aunt, uncle, and cousins- and I managed to hold off on eating each piece until I knew I had a decent photo of the not-destroyed box. Talk about willpower!

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I’ve been making my own juices and smoothies lately (anything with mango is an automatic favorite for me!) but on those mornings when I don’t have the time or the ingredients- I’ve been turning to Naked Juice to keep me going. My favorite is the ‘Green Machine’ beverage– a mix of fruits and vegetables (but thankfully tastes more fruity and sweet) but I’m also quite fond of the banana-chocolate smoothie and the orange-mango juice. I stock up on these weekly to bring with me to work or when I’m on the run. They’re delicious!

And last, but certainly not least- ‘THE WALKING DEAD’ IS BACK, YOU GUYS! Can we talk about last night’s mid-season premiere? I need to talk about it. At length. In detail. With lots of flailing and unintentionally raising my voice in excitement. I’M SO HAPPY.

But I digress- this past Christmas, my best friend Sean not only bought me a real Samurai sword designed to look just like Michonne’s (and there haven’t been any injuries or extensive property damage when I’ve swung it around for fun, by the way)– but he also picked up this “Mrs. Daryl Dixon” wallet for me, too! My current wallet, which I’ve had for roughly seven or eight years now- is in it’s final stages of falling apart- so I’ll be switching over my IDs, cards, and cash over to this hard-cover clutch-style one this week! It’s quite fitting, after all.

My friends know me so well.

And now, onto the other things I’ve been loving this month!

– MUSIC/MOVIES –

  • ‘Deadpool’, ‘Zoolander 2’, ‘The Witch’ and ‘Triple 9’ February has proven to be the month filled with movies that I really want to see. Although ‘Triple 9’ isn’t out for a couple of weeks and ‘The Witch’ is out later this week- that gives me plenty of time to get caught up on ‘Deadpool’ (I might go see it today since I have the day off!) and ‘Zoolander 2’- which is surely the guiltiest pleasure out of the four. Sean and I re-watched the first ‘Zoolander’ over the weekend to refresh our memories, and it stands up to the test of time. I’m really excited to see how ridiculous the sequel is.
  • #TeamIronMan and #TeamCap – While Marvel fans are flying high on ‘Deadpool’s record breaking success at the box office so far, I’m still reeling from the most recent trailer for ‘Captain America: Civil War’ that aired during the Super Bowl and the resulting hashtags that took off on social media afterwards (I’m Team Cap all the way, for the record.) Tickets for San Diego Comic-Con go on sale this coming weekend, and if I can get in- I have a feeling I’ll be creating a Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier costume for the occasion…

I’ll probably make a Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier costume anyway, but that’s besides the point…

  • ‘Off The Wall’ – I’m a huge Michael Jackson fan, so it goes without saying that I thoroughly enjoyed Spike Lee’s documentary that premiered on Showtime earlier this month which details the making of Michael’s pre-‘Thriller’ album and broke down it’s brilliance and catchy-ness track by track. With commentary from fellow musicians, producers, choreographers, celebrities and Michael’s friends & family- it was a really interesting look inside the mind of a late, great genius during a tumultuous era and one of my favorite records to put on when I’m having a glum day and/or want to dance.

– TECH/APPS –

  • The Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Headset – Sean had received an Oculus Rift headset from his parents for Christmas last year, and whenever I get the chance- you best believe I have a ball playing with it. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been having way too much fun blowing my mind with horror games and short animations/films. Maybe I’m just showing my age here, but the technology is seriously incredible- unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. I’ve been recording my friends playing the game ‘Sisters’ (it involves creepy dolls and a power outage- need I say more?) and their terrified reactions are always priceless. I’m thinking of getting my own headset eventually- but only in the hopes that there will be an influx of zombie-themed games by the time I do. I want to really feel like I’m in that post-apocalypse setting, you know?
  • CLUE – Ladies, this one is for you. If you’re on a funky form of birth control (that isn’t the pill) or if you’re off birth control and you’re trying to monitor your cycle- you’re gonna’ love this app- which is completely free for the iPhone and Android. CLUE allows you to enter daily stats on your body’s behavior- from your mood to your complexion to your food cravings and your amount of sleep per night/energy levels- to make it 110% easier to be prepared for your impending period or ovulation. It takes a few weeks of daily data entry to get an accurate calendar established, but once you do- you’re golden. You’ll never be caught off guard again! I’ve been using this for a couple of months now and it’s been really, really helpful to me to better understand my body.

– MISCELLANEOUS –

  • Hey, New Yorkers – are you familiar with NeXT Stop Project? For those who haven’t heard of it, it’s a MetroCard recycling service of sorts. You can mail in your low balance MetroCards to the address provided on the website, and the service combines the low fares into full fares for subway riders in need. Pretty cool, right? I only recently heard about it after going through some of my own MetroCards I’ve accumulated from weekend stays in NYC over the past few months and didn’t know what to do with them. I’ve since mailed them in- and I hope they can help someone get to where they need to be on time! I don’t know for sure if Boston has a similar program for the T, but if not- they should definitely look into it.
  • The Lush Spas in NYC & Philadelphia have a Beatles-inspired treatment – I know I’ve already talked at length about my recent Lush purchases, but I’ve been meaning to share this for a while and thought I may as well do it now! At my last job, booking any sort of spa treatment always proved to be difficult since I typically only had weekends off and spas were either fully booked or closed on those days. I’ve known about Lush’s ‘Hard Days Night’ treatment since it was launched circa 2014, but until now booking the service was nothing more than an unlikely dream.

But now, with a new work schedule that includes a weekday off, too- I’m actually able to book the service- and much sooner than I expected! I’m working out the appointment details now- but I cannot wait to share the experience with you all once I go!

  • Starbucks’ ‘Molten Chocolate Cake Latte’ – If 50% off Valentine’s Day candy isn’t enough chocolate for you, may I recommend what could very well be one of the most indulgent treats I’ve allowed myself? For a limited time, Starbucks is offering a line of ‘Molten Chocolate Cake’ beverages (cocoa, lattes, and frappuccinos) to get a pretty good sugar rush. With steamed chocolate milk, chocolate whipped cream, and a shot of chocolate syrup- I think I’ve reached my cocoa quota for the month. I might even have to skip my next cheat day in order to fully recovery from this one.

And I think that’s everything I’ve been loving/coveting throughout February so far! Although it doesn’t feel like it right now, Spring is on it’s way- so I’m sure I’ll have some fun, colorful things to share in March’s “Hits List” post!

And as always- if you have anything you’re crushing/loving/obsessing over this month- feel free to share!

xx

January Hits List!

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For 2016, I thought I’d try something a little different and check in every mid-month to share the products, pieces, food, tech-stuff and anything (and everything!) in-between that I’m coveting and craving for a series I dubbed the ‘Hits List’. I still intend to keep my reflective month’s end ‘In A Nutshell’ posts, of course- since those are more about touching on the personal and emotional milestones I went through over the course of the month- but I thought this would be a fun way to offer a glimpse into the more “every day” part of my life every few weeks. The part typically only seen on my Twitter feed or my Instagram photos.

January for me- thus far- has been about long overdue organization, self-care, and keeping cozy in the ever-changing New England climates (one day it’s warm enough to go outside wearing only a sweater. The next day- it’s like snowshoeing through an Alaskan wilderness.) I have a lot of big plans this coming year, but I’m also still adjusting to my new job and work schedule- and with my birthday only a few days away- I’m trying not to overwhelm myself or prematurely burn myself out by taking on too much at once this month.

For that reason, January’s ‘Hits List’ is pretty low key and laid back.

Let’s get into the products and pieces first!

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Starting in the center of my laid-out belongings is one of my most important and valued little pocket-items: my 2016 planner- gifted to me by my Aunt this past Christmas. I think I have a pretty good memory most of the time, but this booklet has become a lifesaver when it comes to jotting down meetings, appointments, deadlines and other to-dos weeks in advance that I may have otherwise overlooked or forgotten about. It’s also been really helpful at work when I’m trying to remember co-workers phone extensions or office numbers! The size is perfect, since it doesn’t take up a lot of room in my purse- which means I can bring it everywhere with me.

Moving upwards is my new knitted cuffed beanie from Love Your Melon. I am a hat lover- but unfortunately I can rarely, if ever- pull off cute Spring/Summer floppy hats or baseball caps. I always end up looking weird. For that reason, I have a wide assortment of berets and beanies to adore throughout Fall and Winter (and they also keep my head warm, duh!) that I never take off from late September – early April. This year, I wanted something a little more durable and a little heavier- and I turned to the good folks over at LYM for a neutral-toned beanie I could wear with pretty much anything.

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I’ve mentioned LYM on here before, but for those who missed the memo- with every purchase of one of their hats, the company donates one to a child battling cancer. If that’s not a good enough reason to make you want to run out and order one in every color- I don’t know what is. The hats themselves are really great quality, too. They will last you a lifetime if you take care of them!

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Moving onto the yearly casualties of cold and unpredictable Massachusetts Winter weather every year- my hair and my hands. I am a lotion fiend. I vigorously apply it all over every morning after my shower, and then again at night before bed- but for some reason, my hands and my cuticles still take a beating. They always feel stiff, dry, and scratchy to me. Enter these fuzzy hand warmers (which I have dubbed my “Chewbacca Gloves”) that I’ve been putting on, post-hand cream application, each and every time I step outside- even if it’s just to check the mail for thirty seconds. They’re super soft, still allow me to use my phone without complications or annoyances, and they keep my hands toasty and protected from the elements.

I’ve also been obsessively using this ncLA peach-scented cuticle oil morning and night (first introduced to me in one of my POPSUGAR “Must Have” Boxes)– and I’ve noticed a significant decrease in hangnails and dry patches along my fingertips. It’s a miracle oil, and for those interested- it’s available other fragrances, too!

If the shade of my hat and gloves weren’t enough indication that I’ve been sporting nothing but neutral tones these past couple of weeks- then let me introduce you to my current favorite Nail Polish, Sephora Formula X’s nail lacquer in ‘Elite’, from their 2015 Fall collection. It’s a long-lasting mocha color that compliments my current wardrobe and makeup choices perfectly. It goes with anything!

Finally, for my hair- I’ve been doubling down on hair mask applications and ultra-hydrating conditioners in recent days to keep my ends from breaking and my roots from frizzing up- but I’ve also integrated this Hawaiian Kukui Nut oil from OGX into the mix pre (and post!)– styling. It strengthens my hair through and through, gives it an incredible shine, keeps frizz and flyaways at bay- and it smells really good, too!

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While my hands and cuticles might require a little more TLC throughout January- my face remains relentlessly oily/combination at all times. In a way, it’s good- because I don’t have to really change my morning and nightly cleansing and moisturizing regiments too much- which means less hassle and more time. These past few weeks, I’ve been relying on two products to ensure a deep clean, enough hydration (without building up excess oil on my skin) and SPF protection- because even though it’s Winter and most of my time is spent indoors- the sun is still a sneaky, tricky devil.

In the morning, after cleansing my face and applying any serums- I like to slap on some of this Cetaphil moisturizer with SPF 15. It just gives my skin a little something extra when I’m braving frigid temperatures for any amount of time- and it keeps my skin soft and smooth. It’s suitable for all skin types and can be found in pretty much any pharmacy around.

At night, after removing my makeup- I apply this two-in-one mask/exfoliating cleanser from GLAMGLOW. The product applies like a mask, quickly drying on my face- and turns to foam after water is added and massaged into the skin. I swear by this stuff. Not only does it leave my skin feeling super clean without drying it out- but it brings any blemishes to the surface so they can be extracted and dealt with then and there!

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Thanks to POPSUGAR, I’ve also been obsessed with these candles from Capri Blue lately. I’ve ordered a few that I’ve been keeping lit around my home- since they smell clean and crisp and that’s just sort of the refreshing vibe I’ve needed and have been going for since New Years. I’ve kept one lit next to my bed- almost nightly- while I catch up on reading or do any stretches or end-of-the-day meditation in the designated section of my bedroom. These are just really great candles (in a beautiful, reusable tin!)

And now, for the stuff that couldn’t be photographed:

– MUSIC/MOVIES –

  • ‘The Revenant’ – Can we please give Leonardo Dicaprio an Oscar before he dies filming his next movie? ‘The Revenant’, although a little on the long side (by the two hour mark I was getting a little fidgety in my seat), the movie is beautifully shot and can get pretty intense at times. Although Dicaprio doesn’t do much more than crawl, grunt, and cry throughout this film- he’s still mesmerizing to watch. The fact that ‘The Revenant’ has been cleaning house at recent award shows gives me hope that the poor guy’s work will FINALLY be recognized and he can go a little easier on himself.
  • The Last Shadow Puppets – As a longtime fan of Arctic Monkeys, I had no problems falling in love with frontman Alex Turner’s side project- The Last Shadow Puppets- with former The Rascals’ singer, Miles Kane. Their debut album, 2008’s ‘The Age of The Understatement’ was pretty incredible from start to finish- but the band disappeared shortly after it’s release and success until a few days ago when they surprised everyone by dropping their first single, ‘Bad Habits’, off their yet-to-be-released second album. It’s awesome to have new music from them, and I’m hoping for a U.S. tour at some point this year.
  • David Bowie tributes – I was just as shocked and saddened as everyone else to hear of David Bowie’s passing last weekend (and the hits just kept on coming when the late, great Alan Rickman also passed away a few short days later,) but it’s been really touching to see the outpouring of love and admiration for such a brilliant and innovative artist in the form of many special tribute events and celebrations of his life and his work around the city. From karaoke nights, to cover bands, to art exhibits- and even to cupcakes– I’ve been having so much fun dancing and singing along to some of my favorite Bowie songs in recent days with friends and strangers alike.
  • ‘Ash Vs. Evil Dead’ – I’ve only recently caught up and finished the first season of this show (I don’t get the Starz Network- so I’ve been relying on a friend to DVR episodes for me that I binge watch whenever I’m over her apartment) but I’m already itching for the second season. This show- just like the ‘Evil Dead’ film- is campy, gory, and very, very funny. My friends and I have already committed on a group costume inspired by the show’s characters (with me as Kelly because OF COURSE)– so I’m just really excited to see more of it. I think it returns in October, making it the perfect companion series to get into alongside ‘The Walking Dead’ during my favorite time of year!

– TECH/APPS –

  • Lose It! – A free app. available for Android and the iPhone. This carb-counting/exercise monitoring application lets you set weekly/monthly goals for yourself, offers tips, tricks, and challenges- and allows you to scan in the bar codes of any packaged foods you’re eating to automatically calculate it’s nutritional value- to help you reach any and all weight loss goals you’ve set for yourself in 2016. I’ve been using this since New Years, and am already down five pounds by following the daily carb allowance I’ve set for myself since punching in my goals. It’s super convenient and helpful- and to make it fun, the app. encourages you to unlock badges and trophies with every goal met or surpassed.
  • Galaxy Tarot – Another free app. for Android and the iPhone- this one is, as you probably guessed- a Tarot Card reading application. Whether or not you believe in Tarot (or horoscopes or anything,) this one is pretty fun to use with your friends. Apart from giving you the ability to perform detailed readings- the app. also has a ‘Card of the Day’ function that teaches you about one of each of the cards every morning. The app itself is designed beautifully and is easy to control and use. My co-workers and I always have a pretty good time with this one on our lunch breaks.

– MISCELLANEOUS –

  • theSkimm – As I begin the grueling process of the yearly unsubscribing from 99.9% of the e-mailing lists I never wanted to be apart of in the first place (those in-store clerks are ruthless and online shopping has turned my inbox into a nightmare of promotions, sales, special codes, and spam)– I can never unsubscribe from the daily news round-up e-mail, theSkimm. Every morning, before work- this service sends me an e-mail containing quick and witty recaps of news stories from around the world: from politics, entertainment, music, etc. It’s a quick and fun read to stay informed- and I love their occasional book and wine recommendations, too!
  • PureWow.com – Another daily e-mail list I could never shake (and wouldn’t want to) are the fun reads I get from PureWow every day. With recipes I try ALL THE TIME, round-ups of happenings and hot-spots in and around NYC (where I frequent as much as I can) beauty recommendations, gift ideas, and contests- these e-mails make for good reading during my lunch hour or throughout my evening wind-down.
  • Last Message ReceivedThis fascinating Tumblr account is pretty self-explanatory. People anonymously submit the last messages they ever received from friends/family members/ex-boyfriends or ex-girlfriends/etc. either through text or screencaps. Some of the messages are heartbreaking, others can be downright cruel- but each one comes with a story from a real person somewhere in the world. It’s an intimate and sometimes shocking read- but it has really made me think about the people in my life and how I end each of the conversations I have with them. This site just makes me want to reach out and hug some of these people who are hurting so much.

And I think that’s everything for January right now! I’m sure whatever didn’t make this month’s list will be featured in February.

If you have anything you’re crushing/loving/obsessing over this month- feel free to share!

xx