Notes From the Desert…

Notes From the Desert…

Good Morning (and Good Afternoon to everyone back home!) and greetings from fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada!

I’m popping in to check my e-mails and keep this blog going in-between vigorously applying moisturizer and chap stick (it’s very, very dry here) before I get ready to go get some food and enjoy my final hours in the desert before my friend Kelsey and I pack up to head out to San Diego tomorrow morning for the second leg of my West Coast trip.

I think a common misconception about spending any length of time in Vegas is that the bulk of things to do revolves around the Strip- and when you’ve done all the drinking, gambling and sight-seeing you can- there’s not much else left for Vegas to offer. But, this is untrue- because while the Strip is certainly the heartbeat of the city- there’s still so much to do/see and enjoy well beyond the rows and rows of casinos, showgirls, and $9 margarita stands.

For example, Kelsey and I have been keeping it local around the surrounding suburbs of Henderson and Summerlin. I’m getting to know areas I’ll be residing in/near shortly- including restaurants, bars, shops and roadside attractions. Yesterday, after driving a few miles and well into the desert- we stopped at Seven Magic Mountains- an art installation in the middle of nowhere. The “mountains”, spray-painted boulders stacked up on top of each other- are a “blink and you’ll miss them” attraction from the roadside.

And up close? They were pretty cool- even when we were baking in the sun while taking photos of them.

Of course, last night saw us at Peppermill (my favorite!) for burgers and drinks, followed by a quick stop at Fremont Street and at the Cosmopolitan for a nightcap- but even spending the afternoon away from slot machines and club promoters was a welcomed change of pace and a lot of fun. I’m really looking forward to finally moving here and doing more exploring. A couple of days never feels like enough time!

But I’m starving and in need of a shower and some sunscreen. More updates from the road will follow- and be sure to check out my INSTAGRAM for more!

See you all soon!

xx

– Ashley –

OOTD: For The Birds…

OOTD: For The Birds…

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

As you’re reading this, I’m flying across the county to meet my BFF in Henderson, Nevada and embark on a week-long vacation in Las Vegas and San Diego! This post in particular was drafted yesterday- in-between packing and some prior engagements.

One of those prior engagements was my good friend Stef’s bridal shower and brunch earlier in the afternoon at Galliford’s Restaurant in Mendon (right next to Southwick Zoo!) The gathering was so much fun- and thankfully indoors- since it was a lot hotter out than any of us had anticipated!

That’s really the only downside to early/mid September here in New England- the temperatures are pretty unpredictable. Some days are stifling hot, others are brisk and chilly- and it’s hard to decide when it’s appropriate to wear a sun dress or a sweater since it can be raining and cold one minute- and then sunny and sweltering the next!

I opted for this billowy, loose-fitting, button-up chiffon shirt to stay cool (while still looking dressed up) with a cute crane print that I had recently picked up at Primark. I paired it with a simple pair of black slacks and black flats- since I felt the shirt was the focal point of the entire ensemble!

My main goal, of course- was to stay comfortable while I sipped mimosas, nibbled French toast, and ooh’d and aaah’d as Stef opened all the wonderful gifts that had been brought for her as she gets ready to embark on her new ‘Wife Life’ in just a few short weeks (and also while we ironed out the details for her Bachelorette Party!) so this blouse was exceptionally convenient- both outdoors in the sun and inside where we’d retreated to eat and enjoy the air conditioning.

I think my favorite part of this shirt, however- is the black ribbon tie around the high collar. I’d tied it into a loose bow (that thankfully stayed in place all day!) and I thought it completed the look. I felt very prim and proper- even though my friends and I are anything but!

And for those of you wondering how much this cute number was? $10. That’s right- just $10! What a steal, right?

But now, Sin City awaits! I’ll be posting updates from the road- both on here and my social media- throughout the week, so be sure to check in to follow along!

Enjoy the rest of your Monday, everyone! Here’s hoping you all have a wonderful week!

xx

– Ashley –

Crunchy Leaves/Apple Crisp – A Fall 2018 Playlist!

Crunchy Leaves/Apple Crisp – A Fall 2018 Playlist!

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! We did it! We made it to another weekend!

This weekend is looking to be one of my busiest yet- with a baby shower for my cousin’s girlfriend, a bridal shower for my soon-to-be-married childhood friend, and packing for a very, *very* early flight to the West Coast first thing on Monday morning.

Needless to say, I’ve got to stick to a pretty tight schedule AND manage to get some sleep in there somewhere!

Today is quick and early day for me at work- and all I’m really going to be doing is changing my phone and e-mail settings to re-direct any incoming correspondence in my office to whoever is around to help before it’s off to get my hair touched up for a little pre-vacay pampering- so it seems like a good time as any to share one of my favorite traditions: My annual Autumn Playlist (via 8Tracks!)

This year’s playlist, inspired by time spent stepping through crunchy leaves and picking apples at the local orchard on brisk and drizzly days- one of my favorite activities this time of year!- features ten tracks, mostly new with a couple of older favorites sprinkled in- from folk, alternative and indie artists that range anywhere from dreamy and relaxing to more upbeat and catchy.

This is “Crunchy Leaves/Apple Crisp” – a Fall 2018 Playlist!

– TRACKLISTING –

  1. Houndsmouth – Sedona
  2. Kurt Vile – Loading Zones
  3. Middle Kids – Edge of Town
  4. Phantastic Ferniture – Gap Year
  5. Death Cab for Cutie – Autumn Love
  6. Cat Power (ft. Lana Del Rey ) – Woman
  7. Hozier – Shrike
  8. Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus & boygenius – Bite The Hand
  9. Iron & Wine – Autumn Town Leaves
  10. Big Red Machine – Hymnostic

I hope you all enjoy giving it a listen as much as I enjoyed putting it together!

The posting schedule may be a little off next week, since I’ll be on the opposite coast and no doubt getting into trouble with my West Coast friends- but you can feel free to follow the action and my adventures over at my Instagram!

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful weekend! I’m sure I’ll pop by to say hello during my vacation!

Enjoy the rest of your Friday!

xx

– Ashley –

Seafood and Shopping…

Good Morning and Happy Hump Day, everyone!

I’m still recovering from last night’s Interpol show at Orpheum Theater (in a good way- they were phenomenal!) and getting ready to launch into my work day- but I wanted to share some of my favorite steals/finds and photos from my annual trip up to Hampton Beach this past weekend!

Labor Day might be the unofficial end to the Summer, but to me and my family- the *true* way to send off the season and get ready for the Fall is to eat as many lobster rolls, scallops and crab cakes as we can while stocking up on bargains at the Seafood Festival.

This year’s festivities were particularly special since it was the first time we were able to bring Oliver with us! He’s such a wonderful, curious and friendly dog- but crowds and loud noises can sometimes make him anxious- and not everyone in Hampton is as mindful of their pets as I am with mine. On the other hand, I didn’t want to leave him home alone all day- which makes him terribly depressed- so I opted for a somewhat unconventional middle ground.

I bought a dog stroller- and Oliver LOVED it. Not only was he able to see all the action (and eat the occasional French fry I’d sneak him)– but when he got worn out from excitement, he was able to lay down comfortably and sleep peacefully while I wheeled him around from booth to booth. Of course, once we’d left the actual festival- I brought him to the shore so he could run free and enjoy the sand and surf, too!

If you’ve got a smaller/medium sized dog that might need one of these in busy, crowded situations- I highly recommend checking out the selection of carriers on Amazon. Mine was made by VIVO- and it was great quality and super easy to assemble, and even easier to clean, pack up and store for safe keeping when the day was done. There’s plenty of storage space for your pet’s treats, toys, etc. and yes- a cup holder for you, too. I kept my much-needed coffee within reach most of the morning.

Overall, it was such a fantastic day- even though it was a bit chilly along the coast. It was nice spending the morning and afternoon eating great food, watching the ocean, and playing some really old arcade games (that have been around since I was a kid!) along the boardwalk with my mom, my cousin- and Oliver.

Of course, I didn’t just eat amazing food. I did some shopping, as well- and scored some really great deals at some of the shops who were clearing out their merchandise for the season before they shutter their store fronts for the Winter!

While there were plenty of novelty t-shirts, sandals, bikinis and bikini cover-ups on sale- I found a couple of Fall-appropriate pieces that I’ve already started integrating into my wardrobe over the past couple of days!

This grey and white striped, collared sweater was hanging out all by it’s lonesome outside of Dudley’s– and when I tried it on and realized not only how flattering it looked but also how warm it would keep me in the Fall- I had to have it. The end of the season price? $7.50. How could I say no?

Additionally, I spotted this peacock feather printed maxi skirt in the very back of one of the boardwalk shops- where it was marked down to $17. How beautiful are the colors in this skirt? I recently paired this with a pair of brown, knee-high boots and an olive green turtleneck during one of our chillier days- and it looked so lovely.

I had mentioned earlier this week that I’m a big fan of anything with sea life printed on it- so when I saw this sterling silver octopus pendant (marked down to $12)– I knew I had to have it to layer with my other pendants and plain chains.

I really love unexpected and unique designs like this- and I feel the octopus (which is a bit sinister looking, really!) is going to catch some attention if people see it mixed among my other every day necklaces!

I tried a sample of this easy-to-make dip from Moose Creek, and oh my gosh- was it delicious! All you need to do is add a little mayonnaise, a little cream cheese, the dip- and as much lobster meat as you want- and you’ve got a really tasty appetizer to serve at your next get together.

Each packet of dip was $4 and can serve quite a lot of people- so it was well worth the price!

And finally, no trip to Hampton is complete without a stop at Sanborn’s Candies! This year I scored some individually wrapped “chocolate leaves” and a half pound of their soft, decadent and amazing chocolate nut fudge to share with my mom and cousin on the drive back home. It was the sweetest way to end the afternoon!

If you’re ever in New Hampshire at the end of the Summer and have the opportunity to check out the Seafood Festival- I strongly recommend it. Parking and traffic is easiest first thing in the morning- and going on an empty stomach is pretty much mandatory so that you can try a little bit of everything from all the great restaurants and food trucks that come to town to showcase the superstars of their menus.

And be sure to bring cash- since not all of the vendors are equipped to handle debit/credit transactions. It’s thankfully not too common- but it does happen!

I know I’ll be back again next year for it!

But now, I’ve got to get to work and get things done. Enjoy your Wednesday, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

OOTD: Feeling Crabby…

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

In exactly one week I’ll be soaring above the clouds on my way to fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada to embark on a much needed vacation and road trip through the desert with my West Coast Wife- but before I do that- I’ve got to get through this work week, first!

This past weekend, although cloudy and a bit chilly- marked the 29th annual Seafood Festival at Hampton Beach, New Hampshire. It’s a bit of a tradition for myself, my mother, and my cousin to attend at least one of the three days of the festival together every year- and after scoring this crab sweater from ModCloth on sale near the end of last month- I knew well in advance I’d have an appropriate (and fun!) outfit to wear for the occasion!

This sweater, knitted and fitted- features white stripes along both sleeves and a bright red crab front and center. It kept me warm, sure- especially when we stopped along the shore to watch the waves for a while- but it was also a huge hit with other attendees and vendors who kept asking me where I got it.

I’m a big fan of Nautical style, which is pretty prominent along the coastal towns in New England. Anything with anchors, lighthouses and seashells automatically catches my eye- but I’ve been really feeling anything with sea life print, too. Crabs, octopus, seahorses, etc. When done subtlety and simple- like this sweater- they can look so cute!

I paired this new wardrobe favorite with a simple pair of white lace shorts and my white and silver glitter slide sandals so I could stay comfortable while I was scarfing lobster and scallops and looking through the racks of the seaside shops for great deals and steals. I found some fantastic stuff- which I’ll share a little later on this week.

And now, like every Monday morning- I’ve got to throw back some coffee and get to work. There’s even more to do this week since I’ll be out of the office by this time next Monday- so I’ve got to stay one step ahead!

Later on this week I’ve got a haul post where I’ll share some of my finds from the Seafood Festival- and yes, plenty of photos of the food itself. I’m also putting the finishing touches on my Autumn Playlist- which seems appropriate more than ever since the forecast calls for some rain and brisk temperatures over the next few days. Fall is officially here- and I am ready for it!

Here’s hoping you all have a great start to your week and that we make it through the next few days unscathed! One step closer to Friday!

xx

– Ashley –