Favorites: June 2017!

We’re almost near the end of the month, and one of my posting traditions back at Legally Redhead was to share the items/products/miscellaneous things that I had discovered and/or otherwise enjoyed over the previous weeks. Most Vloggers call this their “Hits & Misses” list, or just “Favorite Things”- but I don’t typically upload anything to YouTube apart from the sporadic concert clips now and then- so I just photograph and/or categorize them there!

A good portion of June was spent at various beaches around New England- typically on the weekends or afternoons off from work- so a lot of the items (particularly cosmetics and hair care!) that I got plenty of use out of this past month were surf and sun-appropriate.

Let’s take a look at those before I dive into some of the other random things I’ve been loving lately!

Sun Bum is a brand I discovered through my favorite surf shop in New Hampshire a couple of years ago- and I always make it a point to stock up whenever I’m in the area and pop by for a visit. Not only are the company’s collection of SPFs, tanning oils and hair sprays/protectors are not only super effective for anyone and everyone planning on catching some rays- but they all smell like a delicious combination of bananas and coconuts, too. If that doesn’t get you into a tropical state of mind- I don’t know what will!

Lately I’ve been utilizing two of their products more than usual- their after-sun cooling lotion, which keeps my skin hydrated and smooth after I’ve been in the salt water all afternoon- and their leave-in conditioner spray (infused with Argan Oil and sunflower seed oil). The spray has been a lifesaver when it comes to preventing my hair from getting dried out or damaged in these scorching Summer temperatures!

I’ve also been coveting those healthy, beachy, “spent all day surfing” waves (even when I’m at work!) so I’ve been turning to Not Your Mother’s Texturizing Hair Cream after my showers in the morning to smooth away frizz and define the shape of my curls a little more. This cream feels like a paste on contact, but once it’s spread evenly in the hands and fingers it glides through damp hair easily and dries quickly. The result are mattified, natural-looking waves- no salt water needed!

I recently wrote about my experience with introducing Glow Recipe’s Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask into my regimen- and I’ve continued to maintain amazing results with it. This was definitely a stand-out product for me in June, and I still have so much of it left that I know I’m going to be using it throughout July, August- and maybe have enough of it for September, too!

And we all know how much I love spoiling myself with new clothes/accessories/shoes at Primark in Downtown Crossing- but I was unaware that they make incredibly efficient and surprisingly low-priced cosmetics, too. One of my favorite finds in the month of June was this sparkly, slightly golden-hued bronzing oil for the face & body. I like to mix this in with my moisturizers and body creams before applying liberally to give myself an extra boost of hydration and a natural-looking sun-kissed glow, too. For someone as pale as I am- this is a big deal!

Pssst- it’s only $4.50, too!

I honestly don’t know how I got on without spray versions of sunscreen when I was younger. They are just SO much easier to use than traditional lotions/sticks/etc. You just spray them all over, give yourself a quick pat-down to make sure everything is covered- and boom- you can enjoy your time in the sun until it’s time to reapply. This SPF50 formula from Top Care was inexpensive and is currently nestled in my beach tote for whenever I venture outdoors for any great length of time.

The formula isn’t sticky or greasy- and dries clear- which is important when you own an all black bikini like I do and don’t the fabric to get ruined or discolored!

In the Summer, I really like my lips to pop (okay, so that’s during every season, but-) and another favorite-find from Primark was this screaming neon pink lipstick/lip gloss combo from the company’s Havana-inspired seasonal collection. At $3 a tube, I wasn’t sure what to expect- but the color is so rich, so pigmented, and so long-lasting that it could easily be the best $3 I’ve ever spent anywhere.

I’m head over heels in love with the color and the creamy, non-drying formula!

One last item from Primark- I swear. I couldn’t resist snatching up these pink and gold oversized cat-eye sunglasses for my recent beach excursion with my friends this past weekend (pictures will be up shortly!) These shades seem to fit the shape my face really well and the colors of the lenses combined with the subtle sparkle of the frames are DAZZLING in the sunshine. You can see a couple of shots of the shades HERE and HERE through my Instagram.

I seriously just feel cooler than cool whenever I have these on- which has been all the time lately!

Okay, hear me out- I know that canned wine sounds a little tacky and more than a bit gross- but most of the beaches around here have some pretty strict “no glass bottles” policies (completely understandable, of course. Nobody wants to step on broken glass while they’re barefoot in the sand!) so when I want to get my rosé wine on while I sprawl out on my towel under my umbrella- my options are a little but limited.

Fortunately, though- Underwood’s canned wines are actually really, really good and well-made, you guys. These have been awesome to have stored in a cooler when I’m on the shore with my friends because they’re convenient and taste delicious (and aren’t overpriced like some bottles can be!)

I’m actually incorporating some into an upcoming Summer drink recipe I’m making soon- so keep an eye out!

I think that’s everything that I could photograph easily- but there’s still a few other things that made my list of favorites, too!

– MUSIC/MOVIES –

The Killers – “The Man” Who would have thought that one single from a yet-to-be-released album would be my most-played track this month? Fusing a bit of Bowie with a little bit of Queen- my favorite band has returned with a bold, confident and swagger-filled anthem for the ages. With lyrics like “They kiss on the ring/I carry the crown/Nothing can break-nothing can break me down”- it’s really difficult NOT to get pumped up while listening to this. I’m so excited for the new album (and the tour that will undoubtedly follow!)

Lorde – “Melodrama” – Speaking of anthems for the ages- Lorde is back with a new album this month and it’s SO good! I’ve been jamming out to this one while I’m shuttling back and forth between the office and it just puts me in such a good mood. My favorite track varies day-to-day, but right now I’m loving “Homemade Dynamite” the best. Check back with me in a few days and I’m sure it will have changed again!

– TECH/APPS –

“Ice-Cream, Please!” – What if I told you there was an app, similar to Uber, but instead of hailing affordable transportation to your destination- it hailed nearby ice cream trucks to come to your location so you can indulge your creamsicle craving, instead? Yes- it’s a real thing. Yes- it works. Yes- it’s amazing- and yes- the app is free! I’ve been having an absolute blast with this one- especially when I get the opportunity to blow my friend’s minds by having an ice cream truck roll up to us when we’re out at any given point.

This one is gonna’ save your Summer, everyone. Mark my words!

________________________________

And I think that’s pretty much it for my June 2017 favorites! Not a bad compilation of things, if I do say so myself!

If you have any favorites from June/recommendations for July that you’d like to share- feel free to drop me a line!

xx

– Ashley –

POPSUGAR Must Have Box Review: June 2017

A couple of years ago, I was actively reviewing about 3-4 monthly subscription box services every few weeks: GlossyBox & Ipsy (makeup/cosmetics), Loot Crate (gaming/movies/comics/etc.) and POPSUGAR’s “Must Have” Box (a lifestyle subscription service that features a little bit of everything from makeup, food, decor, books, etc.)

Last year, while reviewing my finances and budgeting- I decided to limit myself to one subscription box per month- and the one I overwhelmingly chose to stick with and continue receiving/reviewing was POPSUGAR’s service. At $39.95 per month (+ shipping), the “Must Have” box is a bit more expensive than the others- but the value of everything included with each installment far surpasses the cost and makes each box worth the splurge now and then. It’s like a little treat for myself that arrives on my doorstep just when I need it the most!

Every month, POPSUGAR selects a theme or multiple inspirations to curate the contents of the box around. I’d say that most of the time- the items included fit the theme/inspirations very well. Subscribers are usually given the theme/inspirations in advance- so it’s always fun to try and guess what will be in the box before it actually arrives.

The theme/inspirations for June were: BEACH READ, SWIM, WAVES, BREEZE, MERMAIDS and PALM TREES.

I love the Summer boxes- so I was really excited to see what I got!

I am always and forever in need of durable totes/clutches/pouches to carry with me when I’m on the go- and I’m legitimately in love with this palm tree-covered one from ALOHA Collection. Apart from the cute and Summery exterior design- this pouch is completely splash proof- which means that my belongings are going to be safe, secure and dry when I bring this to my next outing at the beach.

It’s the perfect size, too- so it can fit all of the necessities in it without it weighing me down!

Of course, no good beach outing is complete without a decent page-turner to dive into while I’m resting on the shore under my umbrella. Taylor Jenkins Reid’s “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” is described as a drama with a little bit of mystery thrown in for good measure. From Google Books’ reviews:

“In this entrancing novel “that speaks to the Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor in us all” (Kirkus Reviews), a legendary film actress reflects on her relentless rise to the top and the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.”

I received a hardcover edition of this novel in this month’s “Must Have” box and I’m already bringing it with me to start reading at work during my break!

I’ve been taking extraordinary good care of my nails as of late (although after this weekend I’m in dire need of a fresh coat of polish) and one of the reasons is because I’ve been utilizing cuticle oil. This “So Rich- Mermaid Tears” version from NCLA is packed with Vitamin E extract and sunflower seed oil to keep my tips healthy, moisturized and shiny. Bonus? This oil smells like honeysuckle!

POPSUGAR always includes the most unique (and delicious) snacks in their “Must Have” boxes. These cookie butter bites from Belgian Boys are no exception to that rule. I absolutely indulged in these super tasty (and super cute!) mustache-shaped cookies from the Heavens the second I saw them- and I don’t regret it one bit!

I’ve been using a sea salt-infused texturizing cream to give my curls a more wavy and Summer-appropriate beachy look lately- but I have to admit that the sprays make it SO much easier to style my hair without the crunch or the hassle. I am LOVING this version of those sprays from Captain Blankenship– especially because this particular spray is infused with aloe- so it won’t dry my hair out!

The fragrance of this spray is, admittedly, a little potent at first- but it fades quickly so it’s not as powerful as the day goes on after spraying and styling my hair the way I want. I’ve been browsing some of the other products this company makes- and they definitely know a thing or two about keeping your skin and hair ready for the beach. I sense some shopping in my immediate future!

My favorite item in June’s “Must Have” box is- without question- this adjustable “Aloha” baseball cap from Billabong. I love the bright blue hue of this cap, as well as how comfortable it is- and it goes with pretty much anything in my wardrobe. I can wear it to the beach, out running errands, around the house- and to work on our casual office days.

This is my new go-to hat for every occasion (sorry, trusted Red Sox hat!) and I’m going to be sporting it for the remainder of the Summer for sure!

Considering I’ve been experimenting with Summer-inspired eats/treats and drinks in my kitchen lately- I know I’m going to use these pretty pastel blue and white striped straws from Meri Meri the next time I have company over and need to serve some chilled watermelon lemonade or chocolate & strawberry milkshakes to help my guests cool down when the temperatures are soaring.

I just love the look of these straws- and I’m tempted to find plastic cups that match them- just because!

Finally, POPSUGAR included a bonus item in this month’s “Must Have” box- and it’s one I’m definitely familiar with- especially when I’m in a rush in the mornings! It’s a bottled version of Starbucks‘ mocha Frappuccinos (best served cold- by the way!) which I’m sipping right now as I post this from my office! It’s tasty AND refreshing!

POPSUGAR was nice enough to include a coupon, too- for when I decide to stock up on more of these drinks before this week comes to an end!

It should come as no surprise to anyone that I loved this month’s “Must Have” box and thought that each item really represented the overall theme/inspirations really well. I’m going to use everything that I received- which is another reason this box was such a success! Nothing is going to waste!

I can’t wait to see what POPSUGAR has in store for July!

xx

– Ashley –

Beauty Report: Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask

While many of my friends are typically the first ones to try out new technology or discover up and coming bars/restaurants to introduce the rest of us to- I’m almost always the first one trying and reviewing whatever new makeup/skin care/hair care/cosmetics are hitting the market and creating a buzz among consumers and bloggers alike. It’s a pretty great trade-off of information, I have to admit. My friends will tell me where to get the latest cocktail craze popping up in filtered Instagram posts across the city- and I’ll tell them what dry shampoo is going to save their scalp this Summer or what sunscreen is going to give them the best coverage for the cheapest price.

Of course, sometimes the hottest new products sell out- and keep selling out- before I can get my hands on them as quickly as I’d like- so when Glow Recipe’s coveted Watermelon Sleeping Mask was FINALLY restocked a couple of weeks ago- I was so excited to snag a jar of it to see if all the hype I’d been reading and hearing about was worth the $45 price tag.

Glow Recipe, a company that promotes natural and harsh-free skincare products inspired by trends in the Korean cosmetics market- have been consistently selling out of their most Summery-scented product yet- this nighttime repair mask/peel that boasted being able to refresh and rejuvenate my skin while I slept. What’s in it, you may ask? According to Glow Recipe’s website:

“This pillow-proof formula acts as a radiance-boosting hybrid hydrator, formulated with soothing, amino-acid rich Watermelon Extract, hydrating Hyaluronic Acid, and pore refining AHAs that work while you sleep to gently exfoliate and clarify.”

The mask can also be used as a 10-minute hydration booster when applied (in a thicker consistency) to troubled areas and then rinsed off after waiting 10-15 minutes.

I’ve used a few different Korean beauty products in the past that have yielded some amazing results- so I couldn’t wait to give this pretty pink jar a go.

The first thing I noticed about this mask, apart from it’s adorable packaging- was that it smelled exactly like Watermelon Jolly Ranchers candies (my favorite!) and therefore I had to resist the urge to taste test this, too. Believe me- it was tempting!

The second thing I noticed was that the mask’s consistency was much thinner than I expected and was a lot easier to apply as a result. At first glance, the gel-like substance resembled Clinique’s Moisture Surge Moisturizer– but once I used the small, plastic spatula included with the mask to apply it to cleansed and gently dried skin- it spread over my face and absorbed way faster than the Clinique moisturizer has ever done- which means I don’t need to use as much to make sure my skin is covered. Considering the amount of this stuff packed into the 2.7 ounce glass jar- I’m more than getting my money’s worth! This product is going to last me months since I don’t need that much at all each night.

Once applied, there was no sticky or greasy residue. My skin did have a bit of a sheen to it- but it didn’t feel oily or slick. It felt soft to the touch and, like promised, none of the mask came off on my pillow or my sheets while I slept.

Each morning that I woke up after applying this mask- I noticed that the mask had, in fact, peeled- and some trace flakes were left behind along my T-Zone and jawline (but rinsed off easily!) Underneath the dried pieces of mask, my skin looked brighter and felt a lot softer. Minor imperfections and darkened spots from past breakouts eventually started to fade more and more with continuous usage, too!

My one warning is that after the first couple of uses- some blemishes that were hiding out under the surface of my skin came to a head in the form of sporadic whiteheads. I’ve read this is a fairly common reaction with masks/peels and they were easy enough to buff away with my electronic cleansing brush in the mornings- but it’s worth mentioning to those who may panic at the first sight of any type of acne. It goes away the more you use the mask! Mine cleared up in just a couple of short days and hasn’t been back since!

VERDICT: I can absolutely see why this mask sells out as often and as quickly as it does- because it actually works really, really well! After the initial aforementioned minor breakout shock wore off and I continued using the mask consistently (maybe even a little borderline religiously!)– it didn’t take long at all for my skin to look and feel more radiant, softer, smoother, clearer and brighter. A little of this formula goes a long way so there’s really no possible chance you could waste this or run out of it quickly if it’s used correctly and sparingly as directed.

And I mentioned it before but it’s definitely worth repeating- it smells delicious! It’s not very often I get to put something that smells like fruit-infused candy on my face so I’m more than a little thrilled when it happens!

You can pick up Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask at their official website, as well as Sephora– and be sure to add yourself to their mailing list for alerts of when they’re back in stock in case they’re sold out!

Have you used the Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask? Do you know of something comparable? Is there something similar that you prefer, instead? I’d love to hear about it!

xx

– Ashley –

Surf’s Up…

Happy First Day of Summer!

I’m celebrating the Summer Solstice with an ice cream party at work today, but before I go crazy with the toppings- I wanted to share some details from my weekend!

Father’s Day has, obviously, not really been the same for me since my father passed away in the Summer of 2012. While I admire and always send my love and best wishes to all awesome dads everywhere on such a wonderful and well-deserved day of appreciation- it goes without saying that I miss my own dad very much. I fully admit that I get emotional from time to time when I think about him- and this past Sunday was no exception. I had a good cry- but I didn’t let it ruin my day.

My dad would have wanted me to push through any sadness and make the best out of my day- just like he always did- and what a beautiful, sunny and warm day it turned out to be! The weather this past weekend was originally supposed to be on the rainy and cloudy side- but by the time Sunday afternoon rolled around, the temperatures were soaring and the sky was clear. I headed up to Hampton Beach, New Hampshire (one of my dad’s favorite spots to visit) to soak up the sun and the sand- and I arrived at the coast just in time for high tide and some pretty big waves.

I’m not a good surfer by any means- but I do give it my best on occasion. It’s a really fun and challenging hobby I hope to master someday- although Sunday was not that day. I got knocked off of my board more than once (okay- I got knocked off of my board a LOT) before I eventually retreated to the rocks to watch some other enthusiasts give it their best shot.

When the tide eventually started crashing dangerously close to where I had stored my gear- I took a quick drive along the water to grab an Almond Joy ice cream cone at one of my favorite spots, The Beach Plum, and then started to make my way back towards the city.

This weekend is going to be spent at another beach (again!) with friends, but overall- I had a really good Sunday. I think my dad may have been there in spirit- at least it felt like he was- and I hope he enjoyed the day as much as I did.

xx

– Ashley –

Backyard BBQ Recipes: Mexican Street Corn Dip

When I was a kid, I was pretty easy to please at backyard BBQs and cookouts. Hot dogs? Cheeseburgers? Potato salad? Okay, sure- fine. I just wanted to jump in the pool with my little pink floaties strapped around my arms so I would eat pretty much anything that was put in front of me just to hurry up and get it over with so I could move onto the swimming part of the day (after waiting 30 minutes post-meal, of course!)

But now that I’m an adult who loves to cook and experiment with flavors, textures, and colors on my plate- those old standbys just don’t do it for me anymore. I need some variety- even if I have to prepare it and bring it to the party myself!

I found this great nacho/dip alternative online a few days ago while searching for recipes for different and/or unique dishes to bring to an upcoming Summertime get together my friends are having this coming weekend. The use of cotija cheese, corn kernels and lime really caught my attention and I had a trial run with the recipe this past Saturday afternoon to make sure it tasted as good as it sounded (Spoiler Alert: It absolutely does!)

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 white onion, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups corn kernels (fresh or thawed)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1½ cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Tortilla chips
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup crumbled cotija cheese
  • ⅓ cup sour cream
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more as needed)
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. In a medium pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, 1 minute more.
  2. Add the corn and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
  3. Add the milk and cream and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the Monterey Jack cheese until it’s fully melted.
  4. Arrange the tortilla chips in an even layer on a platter, and pour the corn mixture evenly over it.
  5. Sprinkle the cilantro and cotija cheese evenly over the dip, and drizzle the sour cream across it. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper, then serve immediately with lime wedges.
  6. Sit back and bask in the glory of being the V.I.P. of the backyard BBQ!

The different cheeses, the cilantro, the corn and lime juice all blended really beautifully within this recipe- and the taste is a perfect mix of saltiness with just the right amount of sour for an extra tang on your tongue while you’re eating it. I shared this with family after preparing it and they enjoyed it just as much as I did- which is always a good sign!

The prep time for this dip is about 30-40 minutes- depending on how much of it you’re making- and it’s sure to be a hit at your next backyard BBQ, cookout, or beach party! I know I’m looking forward to making it (and eating it) again in the coming days!

xx

– Ashley –

OOTD: Athleisure

I am very much an outdoorsy type of girl, and while I consider my natural habitat to be pretty much anywhere oceanside or within close proximity to the beach- I’ve never been opposed to hikes through the woods, treks up mountains, or even just a stroll through the park. Of course, New England’s often unpredictable weather tends to make some of those excursions a little difficult (“Treadmill Season” is what I usually call it when I’m confined to the indoors due to things like snow, sleet or the occasional tornado but still need to fit a workout into my schedule!) so I more than make up for lost quality time with the kinder side of Mother Nature once Spring and Summer roll around these parts and I spend as much time outdoors as I can- keeping my body moving and continue getting into and/or maintaining my shape.

… And every Summer, I like to treat myself a little bit for sticking to my guns and working towards my fitness goals all throughout the Winter/Spring by updating my workout wardrobe with a few new pieces, too!

Feeling comfortable and confident are key when it comes to owning any outfit, but especially when that outfit is going to be used for exercising- which, let’s face it- isn’t always the most glamorous thing in the world. Lightweight and breathable fabrics are a must and if you can find anything that is totally and completely equipped to handle sweat- even better!

When the good folks over at Adore Me– the go-to site for designer lingerie at awesome prices- asked me to share my ideal “Athleisure” (athletic wear that can also double as leisurely attire) now that Summer is underway- I knew right away what ensemble I wanted to spotlight. Best part? Every piece of it came from my favorite treasure trove of affordable fashion in Downtown Crossing- Primark! Can you say convenient?

What I love about these stretchy, slimming, and really comfortable purple and black workout pants/leggings is that they give me enough support without slowing me down the way other made-for-the-gym style bottoms can by being made with materials that feel way too heavy or that have any kind of shape wear (literally the most uncomfortable things in the world apart from wearing a suit of armor while doing squats) built into them. These move with my body- which means the fabric doesn’t stretch or tear. I can run, jump, roll, and lift without worrying!

And while the loose-fitting tank top I’m wearing might not necessarily look like anything out of this world- it’s actually designed with fabric that helps maintain a safe body temperature for me no matter how hot I get while I’m in the middle of a workout. Given our recent heat wave- this thing definitely came in handy while I was out and about.

Of course- I couldn’t NOT wear my favorite pair of holograph sneakers (also from Primark!), could I? These shoes go with everything and are just so comfortable that I take them with me all the time- be it to the gym, a local show/concert, or even just to a friend’s house to hang out. I love them! Always be sure you can stand walking/running in your shoes for a while before you commit to them full-time. Nothing slows down a workout faster than sore feet!

Primark has different color combinations of the pants and the tank top- and I own a few more shades so that I can alternate or mix and match while properly caring for/washing these pieces as I go. If you don’t have a Primark near you- I definitely recommend checking out their website (linked above!) to order some of their stuff online.

What’s great about these types of outfits is that I can wear them to the gym but also when I’m out just running errands because the whole thing together looks sporty and comfortable. I just throw my hair back with an elastic or a headband, toss my sunglasses on and I’m ready to go grocery shopping, grab a latte, walk my dog or check my mail.

MUST-HAVE ACCESSORIES:

For these low-maintenance types of outfits, you don’t really need anything more than:

  • Some decent earbuds
  • A kick-ass, upbeat playlist to blast through those earbuds I just suggested to keep you motivated and get your blood pumping!
  • A water bottle filled with ice water so you can stay cool and hydrated- which is always so important this time of year!
  • A light wristlet to carry around your phone/keys/cards/cash/etc. There’s nothing worse than thinking you left one of the essentials somewhere at the gym and having to backtrack to find them.

If you have your own Athleisure must-haves or tips/tricks- feel free to share!

xx

– Ashley –

All You Need Is Love…

I’m a straight woman who was fortunate enough to be raised and currently reside in Massachusetts. I say fortunate because Massachusetts- and most of New England, really- is one of the more liberal and progressive areas in the country. Our impressive list of schools and businesses bring in so many different people from all races, religions, cultures and orientations that my state is like a big mixing pot of never-ending educational and growing possibilities. If you spend any significant amount of time in any of the neighborhoods around Boston- you get to know some of the most incredible individuals and can learn so much from them at the same time.

So when Boston has it’s annual Pride celebration for our LGBTQ brothers and sisters, you know it’s going to be a fun time and that all are welcome with open arms- no matter what- compared to other areas of the country where homosexuality/bisexuality or being transgender is either not properly understood, accepted- or both. I’m grateful I get to be in a city that celebrates the variety of life instead of trying to suppress it or refuse to acknowledge it’s existence. People say a lot of things about Boston- some good and some not so good- but you can’t deny that we are a city that takes care of our residents and look out for one another.

I have a wonderful group of longtime friends from the LGBTQ community, and every year I like to meet up with them while they hop to and from multiple events around the city for the celebration. While I missed the parade this year due to a prior commitment- I was able to head down to Back Bay for a huge block party with plenty of drinks and dancing. The weather was absolutely perfect- so much that when our group eventually dispersed from the party, we were able to enjoy a delicious outdoor dinner in the shade at nearby TICO.

If you stop by, be sure to try their truffle guacamole and watermelon margaritas. You won’t regret it (and yes- that’s a side dish of macaroni and cheese. A girl has to get her carbs when she’s having a little bit of alcohol in the sunshine!) TICO is a bit on the pricier side for tapas- but it’s worth the splurge every now and then. I certainly don’t have any regrets- and the view from their outdoor patio where we were seated was pretty spectacular.

The party eventually made it’s way- and winded down- at Dillon’s on Boylston Street where we once again found ourselves lounging on an outdoor patio and sipping refreshing, chilled (and fairly strong) cocktails under the sunset. When more of our friends arrived from their own dinner reservations elsewhere around the city- we all started to head in different directions. Some friends went to a drag show in Cambridge, others went to a different bar, and I headed home to get some much needed rest after a busy day and an even busier work-week.

Exciting, I know- but I had a lot of stuff to get done and errands to run around Downtown Crossing on Sunday!

Speaking of getting things done- I’m headed off to the office for the day. Have a good Hump Day, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –