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!


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.


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.


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!



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!


  • 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.


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!


Summer Nights…

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As much as I love my kitchen and as relaxing as a soak in my bathtub can be, my bedroom is by far the most sacred room in my place- not only because it’s where I rest my head at night- but because it’s where I go when I want/need to think and contemplate, cuddle my dog, listen to music without disturbing my neighbors, or dance like a fool to my favorite songs (also without disturbing my neighbors,) or write, draw, and have a good cry- or just sit still in the quiet for a while and not do anything. My bedroom is where I go to find moments of peace after a long day at work or when I come back from a trip and am acclimating to being home again (and maybe recovering from jet lag, depending on where I went.)

For that reason, I like to occasionally update my room to keep it looking and feeling fresh. It could be something minor, like rearranging my furniture a bit, lighting a few candles, or hanging up a new picture- to something a little more time-consuming- like putting a new coat of paint on the walls or performing a major clean-out of my old clothes, shoes, bags, etc.

I was recently inspired by the good folks over at Parachute to share what do I do to prepare my bedroom- my sacred space- for the Summer months. Since I’m currently in the middle of a full-blown bedroom renovation (complete with picking out paint swatches,) I had a few tips and tricks for those who might be trying to prep their own bedrooms for this time of year!

For those who aren’t familiar with Parachute, they are a bedding company based out of  Venice Beach that specialize in creating premium-quality and exceptionally comfortable bedding at a reasonable price that won’t break your bank. Their sheet sets and pillowcases are simple, yet beautiful- and made with the utmost care and precision before they’re delivered right to you!

Parachute also gives back in an awesome way- partnering with Nothing But Nets. With every Venice bedding set that the company sells, a bed-net is donated to a person in need in Africa to protect them from Malaria-carrying mosquitoes (because everyone deserves a good, peaceful- and safe night’s sleep.) Customers who don’t purchase a Venice set can also make a donation at checkout to Nothing But Nets if they choose. It’s an incredible cause and Parachute has really impressed me in a lot of ways since I was introduced to them- not just with their earnest (and cute- because we’ve all wanted to find and recreate hotel style bedding at one point or another after a great vacation) story of how they came to be or the quality of their products- but with their charitable endeavors, too.

But I digress! In the Summer, when the New England days are hot and the nights can get really humid- I focus a lot on my bedding and keeping my room as uncluttered and “light” as possible in order to stay de-stressed and cool as a cucumber while the temperatures rise. Throughout the warmer months, I’m a minimalist with my decor. My heavy blankets and flannel sheets get put into storage bins until the Fall, and I like to make sure my room looks and feels spacious- and always smells crisp and clean- so that I’m refreshed every night when I go to bed and every morning when I wake up to take on the day and beat the heat.

I have four must-haves when it comes to my Summer bedroom look and feel:


Clockwise from the left:

– Clean Cotton Sheets: There’s nothing worse than tossing and turning all night and sweating bullets because you’ve forgotten to put away any and all fleece and flannel bedding, Although I do keep a duvet folded up and within reach for those rare but still possible nights when the temperatures in New England drop unexpectedly (usually when in the midst of a tropical storm working it’s way up the coast,) my bedding consists of lightweight cotton sheets and pillowcases which are so comfortable and easy to care for.

I try to keep the colors as basic as I can, too- sticking to white, creams, and light blues- so that the overall look of my room is brighter and more Summery as opposed to the Fall and Winter when I have more forest greens, dark browns, and grays splashed across my bed. (Bedding image via Parachute.)

– A Fresh-Scented Candle: As much as I love my heavier pumpkin spice-scents and dessert-fragranced candles in the colder months- the Spring and Summer is all about fresh citrus, light florals, clean, beachy/ocean scents- and soothing lavender. I love walking into my room and being greeted by crisp notes that make me feel refreshed and invigorated. I typically light candles in my bedroom and let them burn while I’m elsewhere in my place so that the fragrance has a chance to really work it’s way around my room and adjacent hallway- and only blow them out before I leave the building or before I go to bed so that my room always smells good! (Candle image via Parachute.)

– A Small Desk Fan: I need some white noise and total darkness to fall asleep soundly. Leaving a radio or the TV on isn’t an option and those “soothing sounds” recordings aren’t quite enough to help me doze off peacefully- but the whirring of a fan does the trick. Not only is the noise soothing to me (and drowns out the sounds of any birds, insects, or unruly neighbors should I leave my window open at night,) but the air circulation keeps me, my pillowcase, and my sheets cool so that I don’t end up waking up feeling sweaty and gross. (Fan image via Pinterest.)

– Cooling Eye Gel: While not technically considered bedroom decor, I do keep a bottle of cooling eye gel and/or cream on my night table at my bedside during the Summer to dab on under and around my eyes before I go to sleep at night. The gel is cold to the touch and soothing to the delicate eye area, which is refreshing when it’s hot and humid in the evenings. It reduces puffiness and redness (definitely important when the pollen is flying around,) and brightens up my face overnight so that I don’t have to weigh my skin down with a ton of concealer the next morning that’s probably going to melt off in the sun anyway! (Eye Gel image via YesTo)

I also really like that it doesn’t thaw out and leak all over my nice cotton sheets the way some refrigerated eye masks tend to do when left out too long- and it stays in place without staining my pillowcases- unlike those cucumber patches and sticky under-eye peels. I simply tap this on, flip through a book or magazine while lounging in front of my fan while it sinks into my skin, and then get some sleep!

Those are my must-haves when it comes to my bedroom in the Summertime, and have been for years! I’m sure if and when the day ever comes where I’m living in a cozy beach-side bungalow, my routine might change a bit (like substituting the desk fan for the natural sounds of waves crashing against the sand, for example-) but while I’m here in New England- just outside a bustling and hot city- these have worked really well for me!

Do you have any bedroom essentials in the Summer? Any rituals? I’d love to hear them!