Be of Good Cheer...

Saturday, December 24, 2011's the most wonderful time of the year.

Happy Holidays to you & yours! 

I'll be taking a little break to revel in the spirit of the season, reflect 
on the past year and refresh for a new one. See you back here on January 1st! 

P.S. Hubby was the creative director for our Christmas card this year, didn't he do great? I was still stuck on inspiration from last year's snow city card, but since we can't send the same one two years in a row had no snow, he took the reigns and created a postcard using a combo of our many photo booth opportunities this year combined with a little street art inspiration. Fun, right?!

I'll Be Home For Christmas

Thursday, December 22, 2011

This morning I heard on the radio that today is the busiest travel day for O'hare Airport. Some 203,000 travelers will pass through on the way to their final destinations. And yours truly will be right there among them. At 7:00pm. With a chance of snow. Wish me luck kiddos!

What are your holiday plans? Whether it's planes, trains or automobiles, I wish you a safe journey to your final destination. (Are you singing "I'll be home for Christmas" in your head? I totally am.)

P.S. If you need any carry-on packing tips I've got ya covered. Hopefully some of my fellow travelers have stumbled upon these. Move it along people.... ;)

P.P.S. Chicago's O'hare & Midway airports are offering free gift wrap through Friday - that's pretty neat, huh.

My Christmas Crib

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Here's what things are looking like in my house lately...

I don't know about you, but I just love returning home to a festive house.
Especially one filled with glitter & sparkles! (I was vibing on pink & shimmer this year.)

It's safe to say I'm completely smitten with my little pink deer .
The guys are definitley sticking around a little longer after the tree is gone. Too cute to pack away!

What's your decor theme this holiday? Do you change it up each year or stick to traditions?

Too Faced Cosmetics Holiday 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Back in the summer I was asked to be a model* in the Too Faced Cosmetics holiday training video for Ulta. The cosmetics junkie in me screamed "yes!" and jumped at the opportunity to be made up in the newest, yet to be released products. It was a fabulous day with an amazing team and crew, not to mention I was already a huge fan on the brand. The only negative - I had to keep the secret for months! (Good thing I'm really good with secrets...) Words can't explain how excited I am to finally be able to share the deets with you now.

{Prep time}

{Beautiful brushes}

Fun fact: Remember my dip-dyed hair? It's all hidden in within that bun.
Bright pink and blue tips weren't quite cohesive with holiday, knowwhatimean.

This is the look I represented. It's a classic, beautiful palette at an incredible value. 
Keep scrolling to see the how-to video!

With everything you need for Natural, Flirty or Smokey looks.

{Almost ready!}

Aaaand the finished product! Don't mind my terrible editing skills, just showing you a few highlights. Kalina Fernandez, Director of Global Artistry for Too Faced, is the wonderful artist walking you through the steps. 
P.S. She has the best jewelry. 

Aren't the colors gorge?! 
So here is the important part. You need these. Go, hurry. They're going fast (already sold out on!) (Both still available on Sephora though - Beautiful Dreamer / In Your Dreams)  You will not be disappointed. The amount of amazing product you get for under $50 is incredible. Just in time for gift giving or add one to your own wishlist! 

While you're at it, check out a few of my other favorite Too Faced products: 

Shadow Insurance Primer - I use it every single day. When I say I've tried nearly every primer on the market believe me. With my oily skin I'm lucky if shadow remains crease-less through lunch. But this, this is a miracle. 

Romantic Eye Shadow Collection - Touted for 'everyday special occasions', they're not kidding. The sparkle/matte, light/dark shadow ratio is perfection. 

Lip Insurance - Another primer I absolutely adore. I won't wear reds, corals or bright pinks without it. You will not believe the staying power in this little tube.

If this is starting to sound like a sponsored post, I assure you, it isn't. Just a big fan spreading the word. :)

Oh, And guess what? I recently did it again for the spring collection! You guys will flip for it as well. Two words - beauty balm. Ok, one more word - turquoise. Ah! Here's a tiny sneak peek on set. Until spring...

*Model is a term I use loosely considering I did little more than lend my face. However, it's an extremely fun experience and quite an honor to participate. A huge THANKS to the fabulous Too Faced team! 

Treasure Bowls

Friday, December 16, 2011

"Treasure bowl" is a term I made up (at least I guess I did) for the simple yet sweet gifts I'm giving this year to some of my favorite females. Stemming from my latest obsession of pretty bowls and dishes ranging from from Anthropologie to thrift store finds I thought this could be a nice way to share a little cheer this season. The concept is simple: Find a small, pretty bowl and fill it with treasures. I'm going with theme's based on color and personality, only adding items that fit within the size of the bowl. (Easy to wrap!) The best part: you can make it work on any budget. When she’s used all the items you gave her, she can re-use the bowl and add her own treasures like collection of cocktail rings, seashells or vintage buttons. Here are a few ideas to get you started...happy treasure bowl hunting! 

The Glamour Girl
Features everything a glam girl loves - sparkles, gold and the hottest items on the market (ikat & glitter!)

The Nature Nirvana
For the lady that loves natural elements in fancy interpretations.

The Blue Belle
She's a class act with impeccable style (and a touch of sass) who loves the sea and fine cuisine.

Update: This post was featured on DailyBuzz Style's Top 9 - All About Ikat roundup - Thanks DailyBuzz Style!

Horsing Around

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Jacket - Zara (also here)  /  Top - H&M  /  Shorts, Necklace & Tights - Forever 21  /  Belt - Vintage (also here) Boots - Charles Albert (similar) (also here)   /   Watch - DKNY  /  Sunnies - Sears  

If you're going to wear a blouse with horses on it, you can't take it too serious. So I got playful and paired my new stallion shirt with faux leather shorts and textured tights. Luckily, the weather on my last trip to Tennessee allowed it to happen, quite the contrast from this past weekend here in Chicago. Missing the pretty leaves and sunshine right about now!!

How's the weather in your part of the world?

Scenes From The Weekend

Monday, December 12, 2011

//  The first holiday cocktail of the season \\

//  With a yummy cheese plate. \\

//  Cookie baking / gingerbread decorating mania  \\

  //  Chocolate rimmed plastic cups. We're classy like that. \\

//  Cookies and cocktails  \\

//  and a Holiday Mani!  \\

How was your weekend?

The Valentino Garavani Archives

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Did you hear about the virtual Valentino museum? It just "opened" and is quite spectacular. One, because from Jackie O to Julia - Valentino has dressed the best. And two, because it's a museum that you download to your computer and explore at your own leisure. Whaat? Yes.

"Animated galleries show a life's work, and hundreds of key dresses have been photographed revolving 360 degrees to show every line and stitch."

You're welcome.

Do you get the Goop newsletters? (I love them.) Gwyneth (seriously, when can we be BFF's?) interviewed Valentino's business partner Giancarlo Giammetti, to get the scoop.

P.S. I'm guest posting over at Lili & Mae today with another 'Spot the Steal' Challenge. Come give it a whirl!

Buffalo Plaid & Sparkly Shorts

Friday, December 2, 2011

Top - Target (old)  //  Short - Bongo Party Shorts (love that name!)  //  Bracelet - Forever 21  //  Earrings - Kenneth Cole  //  Shoes - kelly & katie  (seen, here, herehere

It's safe to say that I'm obsessed with sequins this season. Picked up these shorts for $14 (woot!) but was having a hard time deciding on a top to wear with them. I had packed them in my suitcase over Thanksgiving weekend just for kicks so my options were even more limited. Lying next to them in the bag was this flannel shirt and I thought "why not"? So I gave it whirl and this is what I got. Comfy and sparkly? I'm in love. Next challenge, a sequin crop jacket! 

Update:  This post was featured in DailyBuzz Style's "Mad for Plaid" Top 9 roundup - Eeeps, exciting!

Red Pant Redo

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sweater - Kmart  //  Tank - Target  //  Pants - AE  //  Watch - DKNY  //  Earrings -  Forever 21 // Necklace - Crossroads Consignment 

Maybe you remember the red pants from summer (if not, no biggie - here's the linky for ya). This is my cold weather recreation using the same base pieces, adding a sweater and swaping the dainty necklace for a gold stag head. Oh yeah, the sandals are long gone too. I'm still getting comfortable with the cowboy-ish boots - thanks for your prior encouragement :)

Happy Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 24, 2011

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In preparation for a Thanksgiving post, I went back to last year's to see what was on my mind. I found it, read it and realized I wouldn't change a thing. But since it would be unoriginal of me to post it all for a 2nd time,  here's a new list of a few things I'm thankful for in no particular order:

My health, planned travel, spontaneous travel, memories, blogging networks and communities, meeting many of my favorite bloggers in real life, nail art, salted caramels, the roof over my head, the shoes on my feet, the commute that means I have a job and the busy schedule that means I have friends, family and am fulfilled.

Whether you'll fellowship with those you love, rest and relax or shop to your hearts content, I'm wishing you and your's the happiest of Thanksgiving's.

Gobble gobble sweetie (pumpkin) pies!

Streets of SoHo

Monday, November 21, 2011

 Jacket - Zara  //  Sweater - Aerie  //  Necklace - Macy's  //  Earrings - Forever 21  //  Belt -  borrowed  //  Boots -  Shi  //  Sunnies - Sears  //  Bag - Steve Madden (seen here) 

I love shooting outfits on location (ahem, a fancy way of saying I was out of town and snapped some shots.) These come to you from SoHo, NYC where we spent the 2nd (more fun) portion of my week - the weekend!! And I'm super excited to debut my new jacket - if you could see my coat closet you would say, "Really, Ashleigh. Another one?" But yes, New York was freezing (convenient excuse) and bonus - the super soft collar is removable to convert into a straight up bad a$$ moto-chic blazer. And let's love on the goes with everything shade of peanut butter for a moment, shall we?

Also debuting on the blog, my red boots. Surprisingly, they've never had a spotlight on the blog but rest assured, if I posted every outfit I've worn in fall/winter for the last 3 years, 50% of them would be with these boots. They've been resoled, through rain/sleet/snow and even featured on our Christmas card, I can't get enough. Definitely one of my most favorite items, as the jacket is quickly becoming as well.

So... let's talk faves, what are your's lately?

P.S. I was selected as part of the Chicago Blogger Network style contest with a chance to win an Ipod! I just need your votes! Super easy - no registering, no account to set up, just select me, #7 (if you think I deserve it ;) and submit. Thanks in advance!  (I'm a few days behind due to travel so please help me catch up!)

Got Baggage?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A peek inside my carry-on bag

Though I've always been a particular packer, in the last year I've perfected my version of a well edited suitcase. Since I’m usually traveling alone it’s up to me to lug the bags so I like to be a light as possible. One of the things that always blows my mind is the amount of stuff people bring onto airplanes as carry on items. When I’m checking a bag and don’t have to worry about liquids or large items (and assuming my daily items - wallet, phone, iPod, sunglasses, etc. - are in my handbag) here are my absolute carry-on essentials.

Domestic flights:
  • Documents – Flight itinerary/hotel confirmation/directions/transportation info
  • Makeup – if my luggage gets lost and I have to wear the same shirt for 3 days in a row, at least my face will look decent. (Purchasing single items of clothes in a pinch is much cheaper than temporarily replacing an entire makeup collection.)
  • Camera
  • Laptop – fully charged
  • Cell phone charger
  • Travel liquids – only the necessities, usually just hand sanitizer/lotion
  • Light jacket – I favor this military one. It’s light enough to crinkle into my bag or use as a pillow, yet warm enough to knock off the chill. Pashmina’s are another popular option. In fall/spring, I pack my heavy coat in my checked luggage and retrieve at baggage claim.
  • Peppermint – in gum or candy form can help ward off nausea.
  • Reading material – book and/or magazine’s
  • Recycled napkins – grab a couple from Starbucks on your way to the gate and stash for a pre-landing facial oil blot. (Facial mists are popular for dry skin.)
  • Bag of almonds & cranberries. Peanuts aren’t free anymore folks.
  • Bobby pins – make an in-flight bun and remove upon landing for extra volume. (Don’t bother pre-bunning, some pins can set off the metal detector.)
  • Jewelry case – keep the good stuff nearby at all times.
  • Business cards – because locals have the best scoop!

 International flights:

 All of the above plus:
  • Passport
  • Cozy socks – an absolute must have, even in the summer. Not just socks, but the fluffy, furry kind. You’ll thank me. Airplane floors are freezing, especially in the middle of the night.
  • Travel liquids – as above plus makeup removers/creams
  • Toothbrush/Paste – you'll want this after 14 hours.
  • DVD’s for in flight laptop movie viewing – don’t forget the headphones.
  • Laptop charger
  • Optional – Non electronic projects: this is an excellent time to write cards/letters/thank you notes or birthday greetings for the month. They’re lightweight and can be mailed from the hotel.

Sometimes I like to consolidate to a small over the shoulder bag so my i.d. and boarding pass are easily accessible, packing my larger empty handbag in my checked luggage. Additionally, you may feel the need to carry-on other electronic chargers, you never know when your flight will be delayed, cancelled or worse, lost luggage!

I hope these come in handy for you, at least now I have a list standard list that I can refer to in the future, until now, it’s been in an excel format.

Happy travels!  

Traveling Alone

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sunset over SoHo

For the first 7 years of my marriage Alex and I traveled everywhere together. Leaving town meant a vacation, no matter how mini. However, when I took a new position last year and the work travel amped up I had to get used to traveling alone again. Not that it's a bad thing, just strange not to have my airplane seat mate/baggage handler/local beer critic nearby. The worst part is that I'm a sharer (if having a blog isn't proof of that...) so being by myself means keeping my adventures to myself, at least until we talk again. Luckily,  I'm completely content to wander a city, talk to strangers or eat in public alone (gasp!). I guess you could say, the only problem I have with traveling on the solo is how sad it makes me that the ones I love aren't along to share it all. The point of this post, well I guess there really isn't one. I'm in the Big Apple (all alone) and just felt like sharing. You were warned :)

How do you feel about traveling alone - is the mere thought dreadful or is it a welcome escape?

P.S. Couldn't resist a roof top shot from my hotel. The building on the right is the office I'm spending time at this week. How's that for a commute??