Monday Madness

Mar 31, 2014
It's time to link up! You don't have to follow me and your post can be about whatever you want. The Monday Madness Link Up was created for you to promote your blog and meet new people!

Stop back on Wednesday for my Springtime Mega Giveaway! You won't want to miss the change to win FOURTEEN amazing products.

I did something kind of crazy last week. I pierced my ears! Okay, so that's really not crazy, but it is for me. The last time I had my ears pierced and wore earrings was when I was 13. That was 16 years ago. I have super sensitive ears and they would always be irritated and get infected. Has anyone else experienced this? How did you remedy it? My sister has the same problem, but keeps it under control by wearing only sterling silver. I'd been thinking about re piercing them for awhile now, and I finally got over my reservations and did it!

I only worked a half day on Friday so I was able to have a lunch date with Nick, sign up for tennis lessons again, and run some errands! I have another half day this Friday! I'm going to the salon for a major change... stay tuned! Saturday we grabbed a bite to eat out and Sunday was warm enough to head up to the tennis courts after church (of course we had to layer).

I'm excited about the Essie polish I bought this weekend. I got two new colors – Good as Gold and Fifth Avenue. I love my Essie polish!

Nick and I rented American Hustle on Friday night. It was a really good movie! The character/actors were amazing, the story was great, and it wasn't overly raunchy (despite Amy Adams character's aversion to bras). We finally watched Horrible Bosses on Saturday. It was the funniest movie I've seen in a long time and I have a huge crush on Jason Bateman

Now that our kitchen/dining area is painted, I'm working on a knitting a blanket in blue to pull the color into the living room. I'm super excited about it! I've been reading The Imposter Bride by Nancy Richler which is a departure from my normal reads. However, it's eloquently written and very interesting. I've been geeking out over Ghirardelli's Cherry Tango chocolate and the show Bar Rescue. Both so good!

Scout says have a great week!

March Subscription Boxes

Mar 27, 2014
I love getting my Ipsy and Birchbox deliveries in the mail every month!

In this month's Ipsy Glam Bag I received bareMinerals Marvelous Moxie Lipstick in Get Ready, Nicole by OPI Roughless, Be a Bombshell eye shadow quad, and Pixi Flawless Beauty Primer.

Bag pros: The brands were amazing! Sample sizes were great. Liked the lipstick color.

Bag cons: The eye shadow quad palette color were hideous.

In this month's Birchbox I got Rescue Balm by Air Repair, COOLA BB cream in tinted matte SPF 30, BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenate from Vasanti Cosmetics, Curl Keeper by Curly Hair Solutions, and Might Leaf tea pouches.

Box pros: Included products I would actually use. The rescue balm sample was gone in a matter of days (it's still chapped skin season here in Michigan!) and I loved the BrightenUp exfoliating wash. It has a bunch of natural ingredients and it's gentle enough to use it more than once a week. I was impressed with COOLA's BB cream. I find BB creams to be overly greasy and this one wasn't, most likely because it was all natural. There were numerous items in this box that I would purchase.

Box cons: I don't drink tea so I sent these pouches of tea leaves on to a friend who would appreciate them! I have naturally wavy hair that I usually blow dry and straighten, so I don't know that I really have a need for a curl keeper cream, but did hang on to it for a day when I can let me hair air dry to see how it works

Ipsy vs. Birchbox: Ipsy wins for monetary value and size of samples; however, I have to go Birchbox again this month. Again, I was more excited about the products I received in my Birchbox.
If you are interested in joining Ipsy or Birchbox, please use my referrals:
What are you favorite subscription services?

Dress Like Kate: Installment 4

Mar 25, 2014
If you have been following along you probably know that I have the hugest girl crush on Kate Middleton. (Clears throat)... Excuse me, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. One thing I love about Kate is her style. It is classic, timely, and modest. She has great pieces that can be mixed and matched and worn more than once. Kate's dresses are my favorite! Unfortunately, most of us don't have Kate's budget so I went on a mission to find affordable, inspired-by-Kate pieces. Enjoy!

Even a duchess needs to dress down! Kate was extremely sporty growing up and is still very into fitness and living a healthy lifestyle. Kate's coal Zara skinny jeans and gray zip up were a very easy Kopy Kate. Old Navy jeans and a Danskin zip up sweatshirt make this look affordable for any budget. Add your sneakers/tennis shoes/athletic shoes like Kate did!
This is one of the outfits Kate recycled, wearing it to an event in Los Angeles and a party the night before Zara Phillip Tindall's wedding. Kate's Diane Von Furstenberg dress goes for around $400, but the Mossimo tie shirt dress costs only $30! Add your favorite nude or black pumps!
The Duchess' goal on her trip to Asia was to stay cool and look poised. She succeeded in both with her Mulberry dress. The Trellis About It dress offer chiffon material so you stay cool and has the same tank style and color as Kate's dress. Accessorize with a skinny belt to make this a true Kate look!
Look for Dress Like Kate: Installment 5 coming soon, and don't forget to check out earlier installments!

Monday Madness - NEW LINK UP!

Mar 24, 2014

Hey everyone! Hope you all had a great weekend! We are still waiting for spring in our parts – it snowed about on Saturday. So OVER it!

I'm really proud of last week's posts which were in celebration of Women's History Month. If you have a chance, bounce back and check then out!

I'm starting a new Monday link up on my blog! It's called 'Monday Madness.' Follow me if you are feeling kind, but the Monday Madness is a place to promote your blog and meet new friends. It's simple – right about whatever you want and link up!

Friday after work Nick and I met downtown and enjoyed some apps and a drink at the City Flat Hotel. We rarely get out, but I just felt I needed to unwind from the week before headed home. We ran into our pastor and his wife who were with another couple from church. Small world. Saturday we went to see The Monuments Men, did a little shopping at Ulta, and the rest of the weekend did my usual housework and blogging. Hope you all had a more exciting weekend!

Congratulations to Kate from Another Clean Slate. She won the 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime giveaway!

My Favorite Women in History

Mar 21, 2014
"Well behaved women rarely make history."
- Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Betty Friedan

  • Writer, feminist, and women's right activist
  • With her book, The Feminine Mystique (1963), Friedan broke new ground by exploring the idea of women finding personal fulfillment outside of their traditional roles
  • Helped advance the women's rights movement as one of the founders of the National Organization for Women
  • "Aging in not 'lost youth' but a new stage of opportunity and strength." - Betty Friedan

Louisa May Alcott
  • Author, proponent of women's rights and the abolition of slavery
  • Produced the first mass marketed literature for juvenile girls
  • Published over 270 works, including Little Women
  • Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.” - Louisa May Alcott

Betty Ford
  • U.S. First Lady and breast cancer survivor
  • Supported and lobbied for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment
  • Strong advocate for women's right to free choice
  • Helped establish the Betty Ford Clinic, dedicated to helping women with chemical dependency
  • The search for human freedom can never be complete without freedom for women.” - Betty Ford

Clara Barton
  • 'Angel of the Battlefield', independent nurse
  • First saw combat in Fredericksburg, VA in 1862
  • Founder and first president of the American Red Cross (1881)
  • I may sometimes be willing to teach for nothing, but if paid at all, I shall never do a man's work for less than a man's pay.” - Clara Barton

Coolest Couple – Lucy Stone and Henry Blackwell

  • Lucy Stone was the first woman in Massachusetts to earn a college degree
  • Lucy Stone was the first woman in the United States to keep her own name after marriage

When Stone married Henry Blackwell in 1855, she and Blackwell registered the following protest, which was read at the ceremony and then published in the abolitionist newspapers:

While we acknowledge our mutual affection by publicly assuming the relationship of husband and wife, yet in justice to ourselves and a great principle, we deem it a duty to declare that this act on our part implies no sanction of, nor promise of voluntary obedience to such of the present laws of marriage, as refuse to recognize the wife as an independent, rational being, while they confer upon the husband an injurious and unnatural superiority, investing him with legal powers which no honorable man would exercise, and which no man should possess. We protest especially against the laws which give to the husband:

1. The custody of the wife's person.

2. The exclusive control and guardianship of their children.

3. The sole ownership of her personal, and use of her real estate, unless previously settled upon her, or placed in the hands of trustees, as in the case of minors, lunatics, and idiots.

4. The absolute right to the product of her industry.

5. Also against laws which give to the widower so much larger and more permanent interest in the property of his deceased wife, than they give to the widow in that of the deceased husband.

6. Finally, against the whole system by which "the legal existence of the wife is suspended during marriage," so that in most States, she neither has a legal part in the choice of her residence, nor can she make a will, nor sue or be sued in her own name, nor inherit property.

We believe that personal independence and equal human rights can never be forfeited, except for crime; that marriage should be an equal and permanent partnership, and so recognized by law; that until it is so recognized, married partners should provide against the radical injustice of present laws, by every means in their power.
Thank you for joining me this week for Women's History Month!

The Royal Report

Mar 13, 2014
Hey, don't forget! There is less than a week left to enter the 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime Giveaway!

My favorite English family as been out and about a lot this year. Here's a report of what they've been up to...

January 9 – The Duchess of Cambridge turns 32!

January - The search is on for a new nanny for Prince George! Jessie Webb, 71, came out of retirement to help at the beginning of his life, but it is now reported that her duties have come to an end. Rumor has it that the current nanny candidate is young and European.

January 25 - Kate takes Prince George on a Middleton family vacation to Mustique. The pair, along with Kate's brother James, fly commercial. Kate does not take a nanny. Reports say that this trip was to celebrate Carole Middleton's 59th birthday!

January 31 – Carole Middleton turns 59!

February 6 - Princes Harry and William flew to southern Spain for some shooting. They bagged wild boar and stag on their bro weekend.
While the princes are off in Spain, Pippa Middleton attends the wedding of Arabella Musgrave, Prince William's ex girlfriend. It has been widely reported that Arabella was the only girl who could make Kate jealous. 

February 11 - Kate attends a gala for The National Portrait Gallery. She recycled a Jenny Packham gown and wore borrowed jewels from The Queen. 

February 14 - Kate makes a visit to Northolt High School in Ealing on behalf of her charity, The Art Room. She is wears an LK Bennett dress and what is said to be an "eternity ring" from Prince William. Was it a birthday or Valentine's gift?

While Kate is visiting the school, Princes William and Harry help out  in flooded areas of London.

February 17 - Kate accompanies The Queen to the Dramatic Arts Reception for British actors and actresses held at Buckingham Palace. She re wears a red Alexander McQueen number and meets movie stars such a Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep.

February 18 - Harry took girlfriend, Cressida Bonas, to Royal Albert Hall for Cirque de Soleil's Quidam for her 25th birthday. They sit in the royal box.

February - Kate becomes godmother to one of her close university friend's son. No details were released.

February - Kate is spotted wearing a Merci Maman necklace reportedly gifted to her by her sister Pippa. Possibly a birthday gift?

February - The Queen has a custom t-shirt made for her great grandson, Prince George.

February 25 - Pippa Middleton speaks at the Women in Advertising and Communications dinner in London. Her speech included the now famous quote: “As I have found out, recognition has its upside, it's downside and - you may say - it's backside." Pippa also said of her 2011 bridesmaid's gown that she was "glad it fitted" at the time of the royal wedding, but added, "In retrospect, it fitted a little too well."

March 1 - William and Kate enjoy a night out celebrating a friend's birthday at the London bar Bunga Bunga.

March 2  - An official announcement was made that, yes, Prince George will be going on his parents' tour of Australia and New Zealand in April!

March 3 - Kate attends a leaving party (I think that means retirement party in American) for Sir Marcus Setchell, the doctor who helped deliver Prince George. Setchell also delivered the Countess of Wessex's two children and served The Queen as Surgeon-Gynecologist.

March 4 - The Wales' official down under tour schedule is released (more on this later).

March 6 - Will and Kate head to the Maldives for vacation, leaving Prince George in the care of Grandma and Grandpa Middleton.

March 7 - Price Harry's girlfriend, Cressida Bonas, attends her first official function with him. They attended We Day in the UK for the Free the Children charity where he was the keynote speaker. Princess Beatrice, who introduced Harry and Cressy, also attended the event.

March 8 - Harry and Cressy cheered on the England and Wales Rugby teams at Twickenham where they were competing in the Six Nations.

Watch for the next Royal Report and Dress Like Kate coming soon!

Blogging The Bachelor: Finale

Mar 11, 2014

We have officially marked the end of the "most controversial and shocking" season of the Bachelor yet! Thank you Juan Pablo for all the adventures, laughs, and blogging material. More importantly, thank you to Aubrey and Kimberly for including me in #bloggingthebach this season!

  • The best part of the girls meeting Juan Pablo's family is the return of Brace Face Cousin. I love that guy! Can he be the next Bachelor?
  • Ever heard the term “blinded by love”? Do a Google search and you'll find Clare and Nikki's pictures with that phrase. His entire family is saying that he can be kind of an A hole.
  • Why are Kelly, Sharleen, Chelsie, and Kat in the audience? Andi's a no show... Is she waiting in the wings for the announcement that she will be taking the Bachelorette crown?

  • I just want to get through these final dates, see how this turns out, and get to what everyone really wants to see – After the Final Rose.
  • Whatever JP said to Clare in that helicopter pulled her out of LaLa Land and into reality for the first time this season. Rumor has it the disrespectful and sexual thing he said was, “I love f------ing you.”
  • Oh, how quickly we got back to LaLa Land. He talked himself right out of that one.
  • Juan rejects Clare, but that's not a huge surprise after that last date. He doesn't like women who challenge him. And, damn, did Clare let him have it. It. Was. Awesome.

  • Told ya that's what he said. 
  • What a let down for Nikki. He doesn't even say he loves her. 
  • What a deflating ending after all the love fest endings of recent seasons. 
  • We don't want to hear more of his BS either, Clare!
  • Nikki baby, if he doesn't say it, he doesn't feel it.
  • Could Chris Harrison and JP possibly hate each other any more?
  • I am so confused. I have no idea why they are so tight lipped.
  • Andi's the next Bachelorette. Good for her! I can't wait to see her wardrobe.

Until next season...
xoxo, Ash

100 Books to Read in a Lifetime

Mar 10, 2014
Amazon recently released their 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime list. Created by Amazon book editors, the list is to serve as a bucket list of books to create a well-read life. Being the book worm and the avid reader that I am, I'll will be giving away a book from the Amazon list. Happy reading!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My First Birchbox

Mar 7, 2014
Birchbox was the first subscription service I had ever heard of, but I decided to go with Ipsy Glam Bag first. I had heard negative comments about Birchbox such as terrible customer service and repeat products. After receiving a less than stellar first Ipsy Glam Bag, I decided I needed to give Birchbox a try.

I was first surprised to see how small the package was. Their boxes look so much bigger on their website and social media! However, when I opened it I was not disappointed.

Agave Healing Oil Treatment

Pros: I use oil in my hair after every time I wash it so I knew this be useful. The consistency is really nice and it doesn't have much of a smell. It helped hydrate my hair.

Cons: Only the price. My $13 Avon Moroccan Argon Oil Treatment is doing a great job and it's a little more in my price range.

Retail Cost of Full Size: $24-$40

Value of Sample: $3 (?)

It's Potent! Eye Cream by Benefits Cosmetics

Pros:  I use eye cream as a part of my daily routine so getting one was fantastic because eye creams are not cheap! I've never tried any sort of Benefit cosmetic before, but have always heard amazing things about the brand. This eye cream is super creamy and makes my under eye area feel so smooth. A little bit goes a long way which is great on the budget!

Cons: None.

Retail Value of Full Size: $34

Value of Sample: $4 (?)

Mox Botanicals Bath Milks

Pros: I love taking baths. They are so relaxing. I like that these bath milks actually help my skin because they are packed with nutrient-rich sea salt.

Cons: None. Would put this on a wish list!

Retail Value: $12 for a two pack

Sample Value: $6

Sheer Tint in Be Magentable with Me by OPI

Pros: OPI is one of my favorite nail polish brands (but it doesn't beat out Essie). The concept of a tinted top coat is very interesting. I put it on unpainted nails and it gives a different look and an alternative to opaque nail polish.

Cons: None, really. I'll use it because I have it, but I won't purchase it.

Retail Value of Full Size: $9

Value of Sample: $2 (?)

Reviver Dry Deodorant Swipes for Clothes

Pros: I love this! I have never seen anything like it before. It's deodorant for you clothes. You rub it over your clothes and it gets rid of odors on contact. This is great for after eating in a restraint or if you need to freshen your gym clothes! The best part is that they are reusable!

Cons: None.

Retail Value: $17.99 for a pack of 6

Sample Value: $2.99

I was really impressed with my February Birchbox and it beat out my Ispsy Glam Bag based on the prodcuts I received. Ipsy does win in overall value and size of samples (Ipsy was worth a whoping $39.49 as compared to Birchbox's $17.99 value). Although Ipsy's product sizes were larger and worth more, I still have to give this month to Birchbox. They sent me products I will actually use and I love the presentation card and box.

Do you subscribe to both Ipsy and Birchbox?
Which one do you favor?
Designed with ♥ by Nudge Media Design