OOTD: In Bloom

Good Morning, everyone!

I’m so beyond grateful it’s Friday. It’s been such a busy week- with work, post-office plans nearly every day, trying to find the perfect Mother’s Day gift before this coming Sunday- and squeezing in enough time for the gym and getting enough sleep to function like a relatively normal person. Although tonight is my bi-weekly family dinner with my mom, brothers, sister-in-laws and niece- I have to admit I’m looking forward to just being able to relax and sleep a little late tomorrow morning. I need it!

Earlier this week I had dinner arrangements with friends at The Local in Wellesley (one of my favorite towns in the Greater Boston area!) and thought it was just as good a time as any to break out an oldie but a goody party dress I’ve had since my early-to-mid twenties so that I could match the blossoming trees along Wellesley’s main street/historic district.

This lightweight, cotton dress with detailed embroidery and a floral print is the most beautiful shades of sky blue and pastel pink- and hits a little ways above the knee- making it easy to wear to both my office (with a modest button-up cardigan over it) and out with friends where I can expose some shoulder.

Wearing heels with this dress, however- can make it look entirely too short. Instead, I paired it with my pastel pink flats (which have made an appearance in some past OOTDs!) to stay comfortable and keep from exposing a little too much to those who were enjoying the late Spring afternoon/evening around the town.

And for my makeup- some shimmery pink eye shadow and lip balm was all I needed to keep things in a light, pretty and seasonal state.

I have a similar dress in a different pattern that I feel is more Summery given the colors- so I’m sure that will be making an appearance on the blog at some point after Memorial Day!

But I’m off to finish up some work for the week and get ready to catch up with my family tonight. I’ll be back on Monday- and in the meantime- I hope all the moms out there from all corners of the Earth and all walks of life have a truly beautiful Mother’s Day: filled with your favorite foods, maybe a little wine, some quiet time- and lots of pampering. You earned it!

I’ll be spending Mother’s Day with my own Mama- where we have brunch and some shopping plans in mind- so I’m hoping the nice weather holds up so we can spend more time outdoors.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

May Flowers, Margaritas and Mirror Selfies…

Good Morning, everyone!

Although Cinco de Mayo was this past Saturday- I held off on hitting up some of my favorite Mexican food restaurants and/or any bars until Sunday afternoon at the absolute earliest. It’s a tricky holiday (much like St. Patrick’s Day), especially in the city- and even moreso when that city has a large college population. There’s a lot of drunk people running around- most of whom don’t know what Cinco de Mayo actually commemorates- and an alarming amount of white people wearing sombreros and making packed places somehow feel even smaller.

I digress. While many people were recovering from their hangovers on Sunday morning/afternoon- I took the opportunity to visit Citrus & Salt in Back Bay to try one of their signature cocktails and catch the Bruins game while I chowed down on homemade tortilla chips and fresh guacamole. Some of my friends had been there before and raved about it- so I decided to check it out on my own while I was in the area.

Firstly, the decor to the place is gorgeous- like a mix of a beach party meets a Día de Muertos celebration- so many pretty colors and skulls everywhere- and the food was awesome. Everything was made fresh and had so much flavor to it.

My cocktail of choice was the “I Didn’t Text You- Tequila Did”- which combined tequila, a coconut puree, and a big Popsicle  dunked into it. It was strong- but delicious- and got me a little buzzed right away. I liked that the name of the drink was prominently displayed on the bathroom mirror, too…

When I was done dining, I headed back towards Boston Common and the Public Garden where I was meeting friends who had gotten a late start due to those aforementioned hangovers. Although the sky was a bit grey and dreary at  times- the park was vibrant with the newly planted tulips along the pedestrian walkways and around the statues/monuments. I couldn’t resist getting a little tourist-y and snapping some pics while I waited. Below are a few of my favorite shots!

I’ve got a meeting to get to this morning and some work to catch up on this afternoon before I head back downtown for dinner plans with some friends and to pose in one of my favorite dresses for the Spring/Summer season. Keep an eye out for it this Friday!

‘Til then- enjoy your Wednesday/Hump Day, everyone! We’re almost to the weekend!

xx

– Ashley –

Backyard BBQ Recipes: BLT Pasta Salad

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone! Here’s hoping you all had a great weekend!

Before I dive right into my e-mails, early morning meetings and phone calls at the office- I thought I’d share a quick and easy recipe I tried out this past weekend for an afternoon cookout at a friend’s house (the first of many this coming season, I’m sure!)

I’m a big fan of the simplicity of BLTs for lunch- but I also think a backyard BBQ isn’t quite the same without a chilled pasta salad available as a side. This recipe combines the two- the minimal ingredients of the sandwich but with a more filling pasta substituted in place of the bread and a bit more flavor with a creamy and tangy dressing mixed in. Add some avocado and you’ve got yourself a hit for your next early-Summer gathering!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 1 pound bacon
  • 1 pound pasta (your choice! I used penne.)
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3 medium tomatoes, cut into small wedges
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Arrange the bacon on the baking sheet; season generously with black pepper. Bake until the bacon is crisp, 15 to 17 minutes. Remove from the pan from the oven and cool completely.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions, 7 to 9 minutes. Drain and cool to room temperature.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard and vinegar; season with salt and pepper.
  4. In a large bowl, toss together the pasta, tomato, avocado and romaine. Crumble the bacon into the salad.
  5. If serving immediately, add the dressing and toss well to coat. Or leave undressed and store in the refrigerator for up to two days.

This pasta salad was so good- and was a fun and flavorful spin on the usual macaroni salads I typically see at cookouts and backyard BBQs. Any leftovers (and there wasn’t much!) were placed back in an airtight container and refrigerated- and tasted just as good on Sunday during an indoor lunch when the weather didn’t hold out as planned.

I’m thinking I’ll be making another batch of this for my co-workers when we have our pre-Memorial Day weekend luncheon in a couple of weeks. Anything with bacon and avocado is sure to be a hit!

Try to enjoy your Monday, everyone! Let’s make it to the weekend!

xx

– Ashley –

Mid-Week Hooky

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

Okay, so technically this past Wednesday wasn’t an actual day of hooky- since my job knew I wasn’t coming in just for the sake of having a day off while the temperatures hit the mid-80s (!!!)– but there was something kind of thrilling about being out and enjoying such a beautiful day when I knew my co-workers were back at the office. The day was made even more fun, of course- since I didn’t make any specific plans and was just sort of rolling with the punches as they came.

There were plenty of options. Would I catch the Red Sox game at Fenway in the early afternoon? Tempting- but my seats would have had me roasting under the sun well before the fourth inning. Would I go day-drinking and enjoy one too many margaritas near the park? Also a possibility- except that finding parking on a weekday around lunchtime is a nightmare- and leaving the car while I went from place to place until the evening when I would be back to normal and ready to drive home would have likely landed me with expired meters and plenty of tickets tucked onto my windshield. Or, would I head to Cambridge to see Ronan Farrow discuss his new book? This choice nearly won- and I would have loved to have gone if I hadn’t gotten sidetracked.

Instead, my best friend (who ended up playing a bit of hooky as well) and I packed some snacks, a couple of towels, and some SPF 50 and headed to Singing Beach in Manchester-by-the-Sea to get our 2018 “Beach Bums” season underway while the coast wasn’t crowded.

5/2/18. Beach Bum. Literally.

I couldn’t find my swimsuit from last year and had to improvise with one from 2014/2015- but I’ve been meaning to buy a new one anyway, and a lot of the cuts/colors/embellishments I’ve been seeing on this year’s hottest and trendiest swimwear has me excited to try something completely new! I’ll share whatever I eventually go with- but I’m hoping to find something bright, colorful, flattering- and comfortable!

But I digress- the water was still a bit too cold to dive into- so I kept things dry and laid back on the sand. I sat under an umbrella and read while my friend worked on an assignment they’re completing for degree work. Afterwards, when it started to get dark out and the late-night beach goers began rolling in for their planned bonfires- we headed back to Melrose where we stopped at Wood + Fire for some salad and to split a pasta dish (their wood fired Gnocchi is delicious,  by the way!) before it came time to call it a night and get ready to head back to work the next morning.

Overall, a “Just Because” day off was just what I needed. It was laid-back, stress-free, spent with the comfort of a good friend in beautiful scenery- and included a fantastic meal. I highly recommended taking a day off every now and then to decompress, unwind, and then prepare yourself to get back to work and start fresh. It’s invigorating!

Speaking of, I’ve got to get to work so I can begin re-organizing my schedule for next week. I like to stay a couple of steps ahead of things!

Enjoy your Friday and your weekend, everyone! See you all on Monday- where I’ll have a BBQ/Cookout-inspired recipe to share!

5/2/18. Manchester-by-The-Sea

xx

– Ashley –

Win A Set Of Enamel Pins From Old English Company!

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone! Here’s hoping you’re all hanging in there ’til the weekend!

What better way to kick off the month of May then by sharing a contest where you could win something really cute and participation is incredibly easy? Pretty great, right?

One of my favorite things to collect- apart from expanding my ever-growing assortment of keychains from around the world- are enamel pins that I use to accessorize my denim jacket, my bag, sneakers, etc. I love finding ones that are not only eye-catching, but that I feel reflect who I am and what my personality is like. I have plenty of ones related to tacos and pizza, a couple that resemble the likeness of musicians/artists I like, and more than one ‘Broad City’ reference.

And now, I want to help one lucky individual start and/or expand their own pin collection, too! Old English Company– who design some of the cutest clothing, bedding, stationary and art prints ever- are hosting a contest to win a set of their lovely and funny enamel pins! Entering the contest is super easy- and will only take a couple of minutes!

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS AND TO ENTER THE CONTEST

And if you’d like to browse some of the other super cute pins Old English Company has to offer, CLICK HERE!

Good luck to everyone who enters! If you do, you’ll have to show me how you use the pins to complete your look!

And thanks to Old English Company for putting together such a nice contest for the Spring!

And now, I’m off to enjoy a “Just Because” day in the city this morning/afternoon since the weather is absolutely perfect.

I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Image via Old English Company

xx

– Ashley –