November Hits List!

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend! Mine was spent in the company of my family and friends (for the first of two annual “Friendsgivings”. The second and larger of the gatherings usually happens shortly after New Years when it’s easier to coordinate a dinner with so many people after the hectic holiday season winds down and schedules open up a bit more!) and also putting in a bit of overtime at work.

December and Christmas are upon us- but before I bid a fond farewell to the roller coaster that was November and focus on getting my decorations set up and my gift shopping list organized- I wanted to share some of my favorite things from this past month, first!

There’s only a few things I photographed- but plenty of other random things that made the list, too!

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I used to snicker at jokes about “basic bitches” who collected UGG boots and drank pumpkin spice lattes all the time- until I turned into one, anyway. While these boots are not UGG brand- they are just as comfortable for half the price. I’ve been sporting these almost daily since we haven’t seen more than an occasional flurry of snow around here lately. The faux-fur lining on the inside keeps my feet warm and dry, and walking or standing for any length of time feels like I’m simply wading through marshmallows. These boots are super cozy and go with just about any pair of skinny jeans, leggings or tights.

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Speaking of being cozy. Now that it’s considerably more chilly outside (and sometimes indoors, too)– I’ve been bundling up in anything with Sherpa material underneath my winter coat for extra warmth. I’m particularly fond of this lined flannel pullover with Sherpa material around the collar. I usually bring this to work with me to put on at my desk in case there’s a draft. It’s long enough to wrap around me but it’s still chic- so I don’t look like I’m wearing a bathrobe in public or anything.

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While my home typically smells like pine, gingerbread, peppermint and vanilla (with a hint of brown sugar) around the holidays- I thought I’d add a touch of something new this year and purchased one of Yankee Candle’s new “All Is Bright” jars. The fragrance- a freshly popped bottle of champagne- is already getting me ready for New Years. It’s sweet and bubbly- just like the drink. If you see this candle around- definitely grab one. It’s lovely!

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I received a sample of this brightening moisturizer with SPF 15 from Garnier with a recent purchase of my usual micellar water- and I’ve been hooked ever since. This oil-free formula is lightweight, loaded with vitamins, keeps my skin feeling soft all day, and has visibly evened out my complexion (which usually gets a little blotchy and patchy with the dropping temperatures) with continued use. I’ve already picked up a full-size tube for when I run out of the decently-sized sample- and I plan on using it religiously throughout the Winter.

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Finally, in an attempt to cut back on my spending for the holidays (and overall, really)– I’ve started taking the time to prepare my own coffee in the morning using my K-Cup brewer instead of making speedy early morning stops at local cafes. I’ve been loading up on homemade peppermint mocha lately (with a touch of chocolate flavored creamer. So good!) and my mom was kind enough to pick up this spill-proof and durable Vera Bradley travel mug for when I head to work. It’s definitely better for the environment than multiple discarded plastic and Styrofoam cups- and the painted feather design is really pretty.

And now, onto some of the other odds and ends!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

  • The Killers – “Don’t Waste Your Wishes”: Now that’s it acceptable and not way-too-early to listen to Christmas music, I strongly recommend The Killers’ new album- a compilation of all of their holiday singles- to benefit charity. While “A Great Big Sled” and “Don’t Shoot Me Santa” will forever be my all-time favorites, hearing Brandon talk about his childhood in the album’s closing cover of “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” is especially poignant, too.
  • TCM’s Natalie Wood Marathon: This past month, on the nights when I would get home from work and just wanted to veg out on my couch or in bed- I flipped on any one of the TCM’s choice Natalie Wood (one of my favorites) movies since she was the network’s star of the month. I loved re-visiting “Rebel Without A Cause” and “West Side Story”- but “Searchers” and “Kings Go Forth” were fun to see for the first time, too.

– MISCELLANEOUS –

  • Planning my New Years: 2016 was, essentially, a dumpster fire- and a year I plan on giving the proper attention and criticism it deserves for my “In A Nutshell” post at the end of December. Until then, I’ve been starting preparations for my New Years Eve- and while I’m keeping quiet on what my final farewell to this past year that was will look like- I can say that the details have me very excited. It’s nice to have something to look forward to considering how rough 2016 has been so far. Not just for me- but for a lot of others, too.

And I think that’s pretty much it for my November hits! As always- if you’d like to share your own list of favorites for the month- feel free!

Have a great Monday!

xx

October Hits List!

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When I said this past October was insanely busy, I wasn’t kidding. My days were so packed, in fact- that I’m only just now getting around to sharing a few of my favorite products/items/odds & ends from the past few weeks before I go and do my part as an American citizen and vote in this year’s election and then spend the next few hours fighting nausea as I wait for the results to come in. I’ve honestly never been more terrified of politics than I have been this past year- and it all comes to a head tonight.

I fully plan to talk about this bizarre, ugly and embarrassing Presidential race and election for my end of the year wrap-up post- but for now I want to focus on the good things I liked throughout last month while I try to avoid the sobering realization that my country could very well be heading into an actual apocalypse within the next few hours.

As always, to start things off- here’s the things I was able to photograph, first:

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The first two items are those accidental finds we’ve all come across when we’re on the road or away from home and realize a little too late that we forgot to pack something. In this instance, it was makeup remover and concealer- which resulted in a pit-stop at a local pharmacy to see what I could scrounge up on short notice. The first things I picked up were these black-colored charcoal wipes from Yes To! I love this makeup remover- because it takes everything off with  couple of swipes and purifies my skin without drying me out or feeling too harsh. My skin is left feeling super clean and really refreshed.

Next, I snatched up this full-coverage, but lightweight in texture “Age Rewind” concealer from Maybelline. I know, I know- the sponge applicator is kind of gross after a few uses- but I typically dab this stuff onto my ring fingers and gently tap it around and under my eyes to give myself a more “I actually got some sleep last night” look. This stuff blends with my skin tone perfectly (no discoloration or creasing!) and lasts all day. What I like most, though- is that it hydrates my eye area so they stay soft and smooth even after I remove this at the end of the day.

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October marked another year at my hometown’s ‘Rock & Shock’ convention- where I spent the weekend with friends stocking up on all sorts of horror gear and getting the opportunity to meet and talk to some of my favorite horror actors/actresses- including the talented, funny, and very kind Matthew Lillard (Scream, 13 Ghosts). I also got to see one of my all-time favorite actors/artists again for the first time in a few years- the always amazing Malcolm McDowell.

Naturally, I got a signed photo and picked up the cutest “A Clockwork Orange’ figurine from FUNKO while I was there, too. I couldn’t resist. I’m a sucker for those toys and Alex DeLarge is the character I adopted my pen name since he is one of the worst villains in literature and cinematic history (and doesn’t have to do anything supernatural or magical to pull that off.)

He’s currently sitting proudly and deviously on my desk.

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And finally- Halloween night is hit-or-miss in my neighborhood when it comes to Trick Or Treating. Some years, I get a CRAZY amount of kids at my door, to the point where I worry that I’m going to run out of candy and will have to hand out random things like staplers or Yankee Candles I have around my home- and then other years my street is like a post-apocalyptic wasteland where there isn’t a soul in sight.

Regardless of the outcome, I always stock up on candy in case it’s the former so I won’t be caught off guard- but this year was pretty quiet. Whether it’s because it was chilly, a little damp out from the previous days’ rain- or because Halloween fell on the much dreaded Monday night this time around- I’m not sure. All I know if I have a bunch of leftover candy and it’s been pretty awesome because I have an undeniable sweet tooth.

I’m running low on peanut butter cups, though- which is cause for concern.

And now, onto the other random things!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

  • “The Walking Dead” – This one goes without saying. This season started off BRUTALLY and it’s just been picking up momentum and intensity ever since. I’ve been loving it. Jeffrey Dean Morgan was the perfect casting choice for Negan and the recent introduction to King Ezekiel and his Kingdom had me so moved that I’m just waiting on edge for more episodes featuring him. There are still so many unanswered questions from the premiere, of course- like where the hell is Maggie and is she okay- but I’m looking forward to the coming confrontations between the different groups and communities.
  • “HarmonQuest” – Sean got me into this one-season-so-far show from Amazon that I’ve nearly finished watching. The premise is simple and silly- three comedians and a weekly guest star play ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ in front of a live audience. Their story is animated as it unfolds. Think “Drunk History”meets an intricate dice game and the results are golden. I’ve never played ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ before but honestly this show has me tempted to give it a try. It’s really funny.

– TECH/APPS/GAMES –

  • “7 Days To Die” – This is another thing Sean got me into when he failed to entice me into playing MineCraft with him since this is essentially MineCraft with better graphics and zombies. We’ve been playing this on PS4 lately and as frustrating as I find most first-person-anything- I’ve been enjoying this. The story is easy enough to follow: the world is overrun with zombies and every 7 days they hunt and attack you in hordes. In-between those attacks- you have to find food, sew clothing/armor, and build shelter and weapons to defend yourself. It includes a fair amount of tree-punching to pick up wood like it’s blockier and less-zombie-filled counterpart- but it’s still fun.

– MISCELLANEOUS –

  • MY NEW CAR!!! – Have I mentioned how much I love my new car? Because I really, really love it. It’s sleek and clean and quiet and beautiful and I absolutely adore driving it. Definitely a highlight of my October and in 2016 in general.

And that, I think- was it for the month of October. Short and sweet! I’m already putting things together for November now that I’ve had some time to stop and breathe for a bit while I catch up on everything I’d inadvertently fell behind with- but we’ll get to that when it’s closer to the end of the month.

I’m off to vote. Good luck, America! I think we’re gonna’ need it.

xx

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

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

June Hits List!

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I’ve reserved a few words to describe this month of June 2016, none of which are particularly kind (I’ll get to that in tomorrow’s ‘In a Nutshell’ post,) but one word that stands out- especially this week- is “scorching”. This month was ridiculously hot! I’m not complaining, since I’ll take middle-of-the-desert-like temperatures over snow any day of the week, but I did have to adjust a few things- namely my makeup and my wardrobe- to keep either of them from sliding off of me in my perpetual state of sweaty-ness.

Because of that, my June ‘Hits List’ is filled with mostly necessities and/or odds & ends I’d picked up over the past few weeks to help me beat the heat and decompress as much as possible after some stressful situations I took on and tackled this month.

As per usual, I thought I’d show the material things that are easy to photograph, first- before I dove into music/movies/apps/tech and miscellaneous things that require more of a words-only description.

Let’s take a look!

Last week, during a day of cycling through downtown Boston, grabbing lunch at Paul, and lounging poolside back at the apartment, Sean and I also stopped by my new favorite store- Primark– for an impromptu mini-shopping spree. For those not familiar with the glory that is Primark: think Forever 21 prices meets H&M-but-better quality- add five stories of limitless clothing and accessory options in the heart of Downtown Crossing- and you’ll understand why it’s so appealing and why I could spend hours and hours in there on any given day.

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From our most recent haul, these are three of my favorite finds (not pictured are the two swimsuits and the cover-up I also bought!) The first is this really big, really Summer-y navy blue, tan and gold bag that can hold pretty much all of my work and beach necessities and then some- and which has really cute, very sturdy rope and faux-leather handles that gives it a sort of nautical feel- which we all know I’m a huge fan of. The price of the bag? $14.

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I also picked up this adorable and oversized cream-colored lace hat with brown suede accents for when I’m heading to the pool/ocean/out for a stroll in the sun. At $6- this was a steal- and it matches pretty much everything in my Summer wardrobe. I’ll be getting a lot of use out of this and I’m so excited because it looks great on- and that’s coming from someone who never thought she could pull off the “floppy hat” look properly.

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Finally, when I laid eyes on these $7 canvas sandals with flamingos printed all over them- I knew I had to have them- and considering they are SERIOUSLY SO COMFORTABLE- I’m thrilled I picked them up. If I’m wearing black? I put these on. Pink? I’m sporting these. Any color? These are my new go-to’s. I’m in love.

Good God, I love Primark so much.

Next up is my makeup selections for June- which, given the soaring temperatures- I kept as light and minimal as possible. You’re crazy if you think I’m dropping serious dough at Sephora for products that are going to be melting off of me the second I step outside. I’ve found decent enough dupes/substitutions in my local drug pharmacy- and both my wallet and my face are quite pleased.

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For example, I rediscovered my love of Maybelline’s Dream Fresh BB Cream, which matches my skin tone perfectly and gives me just enough coverage where I look refreshed (and not like I’m wearing a mask) and I have been coveting my #113 shade of Lasting Finish Matte Lipstick from Kate Moss’ collaboration with Rimmel since it gives me a subtle, natural pop of color that compliments my complexion and doesn’t feel sticky/tacky/drying. Most importantly? It stays in place- even when it feels like the rest of me is roasting in the sun.

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In regards to my skin care, I haven’t really changed anything up too drastically this Summer. I’m still using lightweight and oil-controlling moisturizers (and plenty of SPF!) as well as light cleansers and gentle toners- but one addition I’ve made is implementing this gentle grapefruit-infused daily scrub from Yes To into my routine. I like that this scrub cleans out my pores without being abrasive- and it smells really nice, too.

And in the spirit of all things fruit/citrus-scented for the Summer- I’ve also been obsessively slathering this Sparkling Limoncello hand cream from Bath & Body Works all over my palms for the past month. I love citrus scents/flavors in general- but especially in the hotter months (I think it’s because they remind me of my home away from home in Southern California and it’s comforting in a way.) This hand cream is super softening and moisturizing- which is nice after I’ve been in the pool or out on the sand for a while and my skin gets a little prune-ish and dry.

And now, onto the other stuff!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

  • ‘O.J.: Made in America’ – Not since ‘The Jinx’ has there been a documentary that has been so gripping, so chilling, and so revealing. I was a kid when the “Trial of the Century” went down- but I remember watching the Bronco chase in my parents’ living room, and the big glove-don’t-fit moment- and sitting in my fourth grade classroom listening to a radio broadcast of the verdict and not fully understanding exactly why it was so important but knowing that it was. ESPN’s five-part documentary: detailing O.J. Simpson’s rise to fame, his repeated abuse of Nicole Brown, the murders, the trial- and then his downward spiral  post-acquittal- all with the backdrop of rising racial tensions in Los Angeles at the time O.J. was charged- really shined a light on so many factors to the case that I don’t think a lot of people who tuned in every day saw for themselves or took into consideration.

Featuring interviews with/commentary by Marcia Clark (LOVE HER), Mark Fuhrman (still a piece of garbage), Carl Douglas (still awful), O.J.’s former friends and colleagues, and members of the L.A.P.D. and surviving members of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman’s families- the documentary is definitely worth a binge-watch on your next day off. It’s fascinating- even if there are no real winners by the end of it.

– TECH/APPS/GAMES –

  • ‘Death Stranding’ – Okay, so even though the game hasn’t been released (yet)– can we talk about the weird, semi-creepy trailer from the latest collaboration between Hideo Kojima and Norman Reedus after the game-changing demo ‘P.T./Silent Hills’ fell through? Revealed at this month’s Sony E3 Conference- I have so many questions, no answers- and nothing more than “Norman Feetus” jokes to get me through this until we get a tentative release date and more information. Even still- this looks incredible and I can’t wait to dive into it.

I think that’s pretty much everything for the month of June! I plan on recapping this shit-show of a month tomorrow, but I’ll have more favorites in July!

And as always- feel free to share your own hits for June. I’d love to hear about them!

xx

GLOSSYBOX: May 2016 Review.

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I’ve been a loyal subscriber to GlossyBox for a few years now, having first opened up my account back in the beginning of 2013 when the company collaborated with blogger Man Repeller for a special curated box. I had been so pleased and impressed with everything that I had received that I couldn’t wait to see what would come the following month, and the month after that- and the month after that.

And now, just a little over three years of samples, coupons, and reviews- my relationship with GlossyBox has sadly come to an end. I still think very highly of the service, and recommend it to anyone looking to test out new products from different brands- but for me, it was starting to get a little stale. There’s only so many black eyeliners and rose-hued lipsticks a girl can need/want- and coupled with my new budgeting plan for 2016- it was finally time to sever ties and bid a fond farewell to my very first beauty box subscription.

Last month’s box, which arrived free of charge since I cashed in my accrued GlossyDOTS (collected by answering survey questions about the samples received in past boxes)– arrived right on time- however I only recently finished trying everything out.

WHAT I RECEIVED:

Adore Cosmetics Cellmax Elite Facial Serum

RITUALS Cosmetics Shower Foam in ‘Zensation’

Benefit Cosmetics Roller Lash Super Curling & Lifting Mascara

NIOXIN System 3 Cleanser & Scalp Therapy Conditioner

TALIKA Photo-Hydra Day

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Product # 1: Adore Cosmetics Cellmax Elite Facial Serum ($749.95. Yes, really.)

Have you ever held something in your hand that was so obscenely expensive that you had a mild panic attack at the very thought of dropping it while you clutched it in your sweaty palm? WELL DO I HAVE A PRODUCT FOR YOU TO TRY. This is Adore Cosmetics’ facial serum- and it’s price tag is one of the most bonkers things I’ve ever seen in my entire life. For just under $750 for a full-sized jar, I wanted this serum to make my face look the way it did when I was seven years old. I’m talking giving me my flawless elementary school skin. If I’m spending what could easily be a month’s rent- then I want miracles.

Well, after using this serum for a few days- morning and night- I gotta’ say it’s pretty awesome. My skin has been significantly brighter, clearer, softer and smoother. The difference is really, really noticeable- and a little goes a long way- so I’ll be milking this deluxe sample for as long as possible.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! Listen, if food, shelter and clothing were not a necessity- I would buying this stuff in bulk. While my skin doesn’t look the way it did while I was in elementary school- it still looks and feels great- and that’s good enough for me. This serum seriously packs a punch and I’m going to be sad when I’m left scraping this little jar for the last bit of it!

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Product # 2: RITUALS Cosmetics Shower Foam in ‘Zensation’ ($15)

I’d received a full-sized RITUALS shower foam in a past GlossyBox before, which I had really enjoyed. The fragrance was divine- and the foam-on-contact aerosol can made for a mess-free shower experience. This miniature version, with a different scent that still smelled light, fresh, clean and only a little floral- was just as good. It left my skin feeling truly cleansed and moisturized throughout the day- and I personally loved how conveniently-small the canister is. This would be perfect to travel with since it beats the drying and over-perfumed hotel room bar soaps or body washes any day.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I looked at RITUALS website, and it seems they do have these smaller-sized containers of shower foams available for sale- which means I can stock up for my upcoming travel plans (and keep one in my gum bag for my post-workout shower, too.)

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Product # 3: Benefit Cosmetics Roller Lash Super Curling & Lifting Mascara ($24)

Speaking of travel-sized necessities- I love receiving small tubes of mascara because for me- they never go to waste. I always use them up before they expire, they’re more convenient to carry with me, and the fact that they’re free isn’t a bad deal, either. I also love Benefit Cosmetics- so getting to try a tube of their Roller Lash mascara was really enjoyable for me.

This mascara had a really unique shaped brush which helped coat my lashes evenly and without any clumping or flaking. Theproduct definitely lengthened my lashes- although I didn’t really notice any difference in how they curled up (but mine tend to do so naturally, so that might be why)– but this stuff stayed in place all day and well into the night, even when it was getting hot and humid outside- without giving me the dreaded raccoon look by the time I got home.

Would I Purchase?: Maybe. I liked the longevity of this mascara, and I liked how it lengthened my lashes- but there was a certain “wow’ factor that was missing that I usually find in my Tarte and Too Faced mascaras. This one is nice for sure- but I’m not 100% sold on it.

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Product # 4: NIOXIN System 3 Cleanser & Scalp Therapy Conditioner ($49 for kit)

I was unfamiliar with the brand NIOXIN prior to receiving these two samples of shampoo and conditioner- but apparently the products are designed to aid those with thinning hair. Since my hair is pretty thick and curly naturally, I had a feeling I wouldn’t see much of a difference- but decided to try these anyway for the sake of a review. Despite being for chemically-treated hair- both products are loaded with sulfates and hard-to-pronounce artificial ingredients- so I went easy on the usage as to not strip my red.

Both the shampoo and the conditioner smell STRONGLY of mint (and getting a little in your eyes is not a fun experience- trust me), but while the shampoo didn’t lather up all that well and didn’t make my hair feel any cleaner- the conditioner worked well enough at de-tangling my curls and softening my scalp. I just needed to use a lot of it to work through my hair. By the time I was done, my hair didn’t look or feel any different in terms of thickness. It looked about the same.

Would I Purchase?: No. I can’t say for certain if this product would work wonders for thinning hair, but for me- it was okay. My hair didn’t feel particularly clean after I used the shampoo, and I needed a lot of the conditioner to get my curls soft and manageable. The overpowering mint fragrance didn’t really help much, either. I’ll pass on this stuff.

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Product # 5: TALIKA Photo-Hydra Day ($49)

I’m always a little weary when it comes to trying serums/oils/moisturizers from brands that I’m not too familiar with. I have sensitive and combination skin- and one unusual ingredient or too much added perfume and my face turns into a war zone of bumps, blemishes, and redness. I’d never tried TALIKA products before- at least not any that I can remember easily- but this lightweight, anti-aging “plumping” moisturizer seemed tame enough.

While this product does have a little bit of a fragrance to it- which kind of reminded me of the beach for a reason I still can’t quite explain- it was harmless on my face. It softened my skin, and even brightened my complexion a bit- but I didn’t necessarily notice any changes to the “plumpness” or firmness to it. It was just a nice, lightweight daily moisturizer that I didn’t mind having within reach after I washed my face.

Would I Purchase?: Maybe. If you’re looking for something to seriously firm, tighten, or tone your skin- this might not be the perfect product for you- but it’s a decent daily moisturizer to apply in the mornings before my makeup- which is a nice, convenient thing to have in the Summer. Really the only thing that’s still got me on the fence about this product is the price point- since $49 is a lot to spend on something that doesn’t do every single thing it’s supposed to, after all.

My final GlossyBox consisted of two YES (“YASSSS”) products, two maybes, and one definitive no. Not the best assortment of items- but also not the worst, either.

I’ve had a lot of fun with the company- and I recommend them to anyone who is looking to try new beauty products every month for a reasonable price- but I needed a break.

xx

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

GLOSSYBOX: April 2016 Review.

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After last week’s unforeseen and unfortunate loss of a cultural icon- I wanted to work through the mourning process and get back to schedule and to the basics. Namely: my monthly subscription service reviews.  Having only recently received my April POPSUGAR ‘Must Have’ box and Loot Crate over the past couple of days due to late and/or delayed shipments, I thought I would write and post my reviews based on the order the boxes were delivered to me and kick off this installment with the first to arrive at my door this month- my April GlossyBox.

April’s GlossyBox contained two full-sized products and three deluxe samples that predominantly covered skincare but also included a hair styling product, a makeup product, and a nail polish (always one of my favorite things to receive!) The selection of items and the box itself did not have a specific theme- but with the Summer months approaching- I’m hoping GlossyBox will have some fun collaborations to liven things up a little.

WHAT I RECEIVED:

ALTERNA Haircare CAVIAR CC Cream for Hair 10-in-1 Complete Correction

Studio | 10 Brow Lift Perfecting Liner (*Full Size!*)

Biossance ‘THE NOURISHER’ Precious Rose Face Oil

Leighton Denny Expert Nails Nail Polish in ‘Pillow Talk’ (*Full Size!*)

Unani Dermo Defense Face Mask

Let’s take a look at everything one-by-one.

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Product # 1: ALTERNA Haircare CAVIAR CC Cream for Hair 10-in-1 Complete Correction ($25)

This actually isn’t the first time I’ve tried this product through GlossyBox. Back in 2014 when the company teamed up with BERGDORF GOODMAN, I had received a deluxe-sized sample tube of this very same styling cream- and I had absolutely loved it.

Nearly two years later and despite the packaging looking slightly different- I’m still as big a fan of this product as ever. It makes my hair ridiculously soft and frizz-free, tames my curls to give them a beautiful and effortless wavy appearance, and it doesn’t require using a TON of product since a little bit of the cream goes such a long way-  even with my thick hair- so having to buy in bulk isn’t really necessary (just a life choice since I like this stuff so much.)

Would I Purchase?: Yes! I continue to swear by this cream. No matter what type of hair you have- this product is a must-buy game changer. It has completely simplified my morning styling routine and whenever I use it- my hair always looks and feels incredible. On most days, this is the only product I need/use in my curls!

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Product # 2: Studio | 10 Brow Lift Perfecting Liner ($20)

I’ve been getting experimental with my brows lately- and by “experimental”- I mean I’ve been too lazy to pluck or wax them properly so I’ve just been letting them grow out until my next appointment at the salon where I’m sure I’ll clean them up a little. Until then, all I really do is use a brow gel and brush to keep them even and in place and go about my day. I’ve never really been in need of a pencil- especially a hard-tipped one like this brow pencil/highlighter duo I received from Studio | 10.

The cool thing about this product (and this brand in general) is that with every one of these brow pencils sold- the company donates one to a person undergoing cancer treatment who may need a pick-me-up from the side effects of their treatments/medications and who could use a boost in morale and self-confidence. Having known a few people who have courageously battled cancer throughout my lifetime- I think it’s the little things that make all the difference- and sending someone something as small as a little makeup is a sweet gesture.

Despite being hard-tipped, both ends of this pencil actually applied pretty smoothly. Unfortunately, the colors didn’t look quite “right” on my skin tone (the brown was too noticeable and the highlighter wasn’t noticeable enough) and I couldn’t get either end to blend to look more subtle and natural. I think I’ll be sticking to my brow gel and brush for now.

Would I Purchase?: No, not for myself- but given the buy one/give one aspect of this liner- I wouldn’t be opposed to picking up a few for some of my girlfriends’ makeup collections. It would be supporting a nice cause and they’d probably have more luck getting this pencil to look right on them than I did!

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Product # 3: Biossance ‘THE NOURISHER’ Precious Rose Face Oil ($72)

In a past GlossyBox, I had received a multi-purpose Biossance oil that I had enjoyed very much as I slathered it on my cuticles, the ends of my hair, and my face and neck. This oil- a face-only formula that smelled strongly of freshly picked roses whenever I uncapped the bottle- was obviously a little different. I used this oil as directed- applying with a cotton ball in the morning before my makeup and at night after thoroughly cleansing my face before bed. Although it took a few minutes to fully absorb, I noticed that my skin gradually became softer and smoother with each passing day- and I didn’t have any sort of bad reaction or breakout from this oil- even with the fragrance and even when I applied sunscreen after using it in the mornings. Not bad at all!

Would I Purchase?: Yes! Much like the last oil I received from Biossance- the price tag on this product is a little steep- but it’s worth it given the results that can be achieved. I think when it comes time for me to splurge a little bit on myself and replenish some of my skin care- I’d consider ordering a full-sized bottle of this oil to keep on hand since it worked wonders for me. It made my skin look and feel hydrated and supple all day & night long- and I believe it would be suitable for any and all skin types, too.

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Product # 4: Leighton Denny Expert Nails Nail Polish in ‘Pillow Talk’ ($16)

Whenever I receive a nail polish in any of my subscription services, I typically take a photo of how the polish looks on my nails since it can turn out much different than how it appears in the bottle. Unfortunately, shortly after my last manicure- I headed off to New Hampshire for a weekend in nature- and by the time I got done hiking/rock climbing/zip-lining (that recap is coming up shortly)– my nails weren’t exactly the most photogenic things. In fact, my hands pretty much took a beating- and I’m trying to get them back into nice condition again.

I digress! The color of this long-lasting lacquer was lovely (say that three times fast.) A bright combo of pink/red- this polish really stood out on my nails pre-trip to New Hampshire and is going to be a nice addition to my Summer colors when it comes time to get pedicures again.

Also? I just love the name of the color, too.

Would I Purchase?: Yes! It’s hard for me to locate a nail polish I don’t like (it’s happened, for sure- but those instances are far and few between) and this shade is another winner for me. I love the color and the longevity- and I’ll hopefully have a photo of how it looks on my fingertips up on my Instagram once my hands are healed up!

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Product # 5: Unani Dermo Defense Face Mask (N/A)

Finally, the last product in April’s GlossyBox was this gel-like face mask for sensitive skin from Unani, which I unfortunately couldn’t find a price listing for. The mask, lightweight and meant to be used 2-3 times a week, sank into my skin with ease and rinsed off with no complications after I’d kept it on for approximately ten minutes- briefly leaving my skin feeling soft and conditioned- although not necessarily “clean” the way most face masks do.

The issue with this mask arose shortly thereafter- when a series of bumps along my cheeks appeared- followed by more bumps along my forehead and chin. This mask made me break out- badly- and some serious extraction and salicylic acid application was required to clear up the damage.

Just to make sure that the reaction was a result of the mask itself and not the side-effects of my period- I tried the mask again a few days later- and the same exact thing happened (although not as badly the second time around.) Once again, I had to scrub and nurture my skin to clear up the blemishes- and some of them still haven’t gone away.

Would I Purchase?: No. Out of all the products in April’s GlossyBox- this one was the worst. This mask temporarily ruined my skin- and I’ll be steering clear from it while I wait for the reaction it caused to eventually clear itself up and my face can return to it’s normal oily/combination state.

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April’s GlossyBox also included an additional voucher for 50% off (the code was edited out in the above photo) a kit from the company Doorstep Desserts– who make weekly deliveries of ingredients to bake/cook different types of desserts depending on subscribers preferences and pay plans. The concept is pretty neat, and we all know how much I love to bake a good dessert- so I think I’ll be using this one in the future to see if the company is as good as it sounds!

Overall, April’s GlossyBox was a pretty good composition of different products- and although two of them were just not for me at all- overall I was pleased with what I received (especially another sample of the CC cream for my hair!)

Next month’s GlossyBox will be free thanks to my cashing in my accrued GlossyDots- and I’m going to take the opportunity to determine if I want to stay a subscriber or not since I’ve been on the fence with the company for quite a while now.

We’ll see how it goes in May!

xx