February Hits List!

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Goodness, is the weekend almost over? Is tomorrow really Monday and is February nearly finished? It’s been so unbelievably warm out in New England these past few days that it almost- ALMOST– feels like I’m in the midst of Spring Break. Having to switch back into work mode and return to a heated office tomorrow morning seems a little unfair if you ask me!

But before I look back on all the exciting changes that happened this past month (and believe me- I have a lot to look forward to!) and share what I have planned in March- and before I prepare to meet friends for brunch a little later on this morning/afternoon- I wanted to review some of the things that I’ve been absolutely loving in the entirely-too-short month of February 2017.

This is my monthly “Hits List”! Enjoy!

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First things first- this year’s Super Bowl was one of the most unexpected, exciting games I’ve ever watched- and the celebrations throughout Boston only made the 72 hours following the Patriots’ comeback and subsequent victory over the Falcons all the more fun. I know they aren’t the most beloved team outside of New England- but that hasn’t stopped me from wearing this silky, commemorative quarter-sleeved shirt out and about (especially on casual Fridays at my office.)

While most of the post-Super Bowl memorabilia has been a tad on the expensive side- this officially licensed shirt was reasonably priced and will surely get more wear than if I had purchased a $150 jersey or $50 hat. Plus- it’s so comfortable!

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Now that I’m in my 30’s (just don’t tell anyone)– I’ve been researching different skin care products that will keep my complexion clear and my face looking smooth, bright and firm. Every product or system dubs itself a miracle worker- which can leave a person skeptical after reading for so long. For assistance with my occasional breakouts (usually after PMS)– I turned to Reviews.com to get honest opinions from others who were also doing their own homework into better skin care and results. Reviews.com doesn’t just stick to skin care, however. They weigh in on pretty much everything and anything- making them a valuable resource if you ever want a second, third, or fourth opinion on anything you’re thinking of trying/buying!

One of the most common mistakes people make when it comes to skin care, and one of the things I saw mentioned quite frequently on Reviews.com is over-exfoliating the skin. While it might seem like a good idea to scrub and slough away dead skin cells as much as possible- you can actually be doing more harm than good if you overuse products like scrubs or tools like cleansing brushes.

I’ve wanted to pick up a decent cleansing brush for a couple of months now- but had read mixed reviews on different brands (most that were overpriced or very harsh)– and I finally found this really great brush from Avon that has been working extraordinarily well on my skin! The bristles to the brush are soft and clean out my pores without shredding my face or drying me out. It’s my new wonder tool that I use each night before bed. I find that once a day with this thing works just fine!

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I don’t wash my hair every single day (I do always condition it in the shower, however)– since I don’t want to dry my curls or my scalp out by over-cleansing- but since product can build up pretty quickly, especially if I’m wearing any type of hat for any length of time- I’ve turned to this light, fresh-fragranced dry shampoo from Batiste to keep my hair looking and feeling soft and squeaky clean. I simply spritz some of this on in-between washes and massage it into my scalp and through my curls before styling my hair as usual- and the formula adds volume and shine without any residue or stiffness.

Batiste makes dry shampoos that also add temporary color to your hair, too- so if you’re looking for a quick fix to problematic roots peeking through in-between salon visits- it’s worth checking out!

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One of my favorite finds in February was this holographic nail polish (the color itself is called “MEGA”) from ILNP. The shade- shimmery and multi-colored- never appears quite the same in different angles and lighting. I treated myself to my first manicure and pedicure in a while literally hours after this arrived in my mailbox because I was s excited to see how it looked on- and I’m confident that this is going to be the lacquer I’m spotted in the most throughout 2017.

It’s so gorgeous, and fun- and long-lasting. I made it just beyond the two-week mark before this started to fade/chip and even then it wasn’t all that noticeable and was easy enough to cover up. That’s impressive for someone who does as much typing and texting as I do!

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I am an avid collector of key chains- and although not all of them have made it onto my main key ring (can you imagine how heavy it would be if they did?) I try to keep them on display. This Prince chain from The Found, however- has been added and is proudly on display on my main key ring alongside my Michonne from “The Walking Dead” charm and a flip-flip souvenir from my very first trip to San Diego back in 2007. That’s how awesome this one is.

I’m loving the sass levels of this key chain- the charm being considerably larger than the U.S. quarter I had thought it was initially compared to. I’m not complaining, though. I’ve already had a ton of people notice it and ask to see it up close. It’s so well-made and so, so much fun. My keys just feel ten times sexier with this chain hanging out next to them.

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Finally, as we begin to transition into Spring and I begin to re-organize my perfume collection- I splurged a bit via Avon and bought a bottle of their PRIMA fragrance (the body wash and lotion were a bonus with my purchase!) This scent is a really pretty, light and unique blend of rose, plum and patchouli- which might sound a little funky on paper- but I assure you all it’s quite lovely!

It reminds me of sunny mornings spent in a garden- which given the recent warm weather- has me feeling extra happy these days!

And I think that’s it for all the photogenic stuff for February 2017. Let’s move onto the other odds and ends that have made this month so enjoyable!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

  • “Get Out” – I was a huge fan of Key & Peele’s sketch show on Comedy Central, and their first movie since the show wrapped up, “Keanu”, left me pretty much in stitches from laughing so hard- so when I heard that Jordan Peele was working on a horror movie- I was intrigued. When the first trailers/previews for “Get Out” were released and were already SUPER unnerving, I couldn’t wait for it to be released- and now that the movie is getting glowing reviews and is dominating at the box office- I’ve made plans to see it after work this week and I am. so. excited. I love seeing other, brilliant sides to comedic geniuses- and I love a genuinely good horror flick!
  • “Logan” – Speaking of movies that are getting glowing reviews, I am all about the new Wolverine movie (even if the last few weren’t that great.) The latest- and I think final- installment to this particular franchise looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun and I’ll happily spend an afternoon checking it out with my friends in the coming days. Hugh Jackman, after all…

– TECH/APPS/GAMES –

  • “You Must Remember This” – Hello, newest podcast obsession. If you love old Hollywood and all the bizarre and salacious stories that came out of it, this one is a must-subscribe-to. Every episode, approximately 30-40 minutes long (perfect for that morning commute!) details different famous figures from Hollywood’s golden era through the 70’s and 80’s- including their work, scandals, contributions to film/society, etc. Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Marlon Brando, Rita Hayworth, etc. The podcast is fascinating- and free on iTunes- and extremely entertaining!

And I think that’s it for this month! I have to take off to meet my friends for brunch- but I’ll be back to recap this past February in it’s entirety on Tuesday.

As always, if you have your own favorites for this month that you’d like to share- drop me a line!

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

Day Off Date!

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It’s kinda’ funny how we, as human beings, can forget to take care of or treat ourselves in little, simple ways- especially with how hectic, stressful or distracting life can be at times. We get so wrapped up in the bigger picture and agonizing over all the details that go into making that very same picture that we can often (and unintentionally) deprive ourselves from smaller things that make us happy along the way- enjoying our favorite meal, singing along to our favorite songs, savoring a quiet evening walk after a tough day at work- or even something as frivolous as getting a long overdue manicure and pedicure.

All of those things are activities that bring me a bit of joy but have been subsequently put on the back burner as of late while I’ve been working overtime at my full-time job and actively trying to repair not only myself- but my longtime friendship/connection with someone very near and dear to me, too. At the end of May, I briefly talked about moving forward with love and forgiveness in regards to the recent crossroads I had arrived at with someone in my life, and while it has been challenging at times to stay upbeat and optimistic through the transition towards whatever lies ahead- especially given some recent circumstances and previously unknown information about the past coming to light- I’m doing my best and I’m trying.

However, It feels nice knowing that I’m not trying by myself. It helps ease the uncertainty and makes the future look a little bit brighter to know I’m not the only one fighting to make things better.

While pouring myself into work and patching up my personal life- I also took some time to have a couple of suspect freckles checked out for signs of skin cancer as part of my company’s recent “Global Health Week” activities and also for my own peace of mind. For those of you who didn’t follow my old, long-since-purged blog- I got a really, really bad sunburn a few years ago. The sunscreen my friends had brought for a day at the beach had expired without any of us knowing- making our multiple re-applications useless. I fell asleep on my towel- and was rendered bed-ridden with a serious case of sun poisoning and heat stroke for a week afterwards as a result. My skin was fried, split, and I couldn’t move for days.

Since then, I’ve had a few small freckles appear in a couple of the areas were I was badly burned. For the most part, they appear relatively normal (and I check them often to stay on top of things) but I wanted to be sure and have a professional take a look at them, as well. Given the toll cancer has taken on my family- I was a nervous wreck throughout preparing for my biopsy, the actual biopsy itself, and waiting for the results after the fact.

Thankfully- my results were good- and I’m still catching my breath over it. I can’t stress it enough though: replace your sunscreen and replace it often.

Finally, right before taking this past Tuesday off for some long overdue self-love and pampering- some rapscallions or whippersnappers (side note: I actually have my own suspicions of who did it) messed with/vandalized my car while it was parked and unattended in Western Massachusetts. The damage was minimal and easily fixed- but even still- it was an unnecessary headache on top of an already omnipresent migraine.

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That’s why on my day off this past week, I said enough is enough and devoted my day to enjoying the little things to center myself and get my state of mind back where it needs to be and where it’s strayed from for the past couple of weeks: indulging in my favorite food, blasting my favorite songs while I drove through picturesque Massachusetts, and stopping just long enough to get my first manicure in months and my first pedicure of the season in bright, Summery colors- and I gotta’ say- it made me feel so much better. It’s wild how something as simple as enjoying an iced chai latte in the sun, listening to The Killers at maximum volume, or a fresh coat of polish and a floral design on your toes can just brighten your day and relax you almost instantly.

PRO-TIP: Make the time to enjoy the little things and treat yourself. You deserve it. We all do.

Now that I’m feeling rejuvenated, refreshed, and much more de-stressed- I’m ready to tackle some plans I’ve got in the next couple of weeks with a clearer mind and much more focus.

But first- I’ve got work and some dinner plans tonight.

‘Til next time!

xx