OOTD: Feminine Flannel

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. I know I sure did- and I’ll be posting up all the details, photos and shopping splurges a little later on this week. Before I do that, though- I wanted to show off a simple, comfortable, but oh-so-cute “Summer To Fall” transitional piece I sported this past weekend during a family outing in New Hampshire!

Certain fabrics have always screamed Autumn or Winter to me- wool, cashmere, fleece, so on and so forth- but one fabric I’ve noticed regularly goes underappreciated in these “not too hot, not too cold” days that fall between late August and early September- flannel.

I’m a self-proclaimed aficionado of flannel sheets and the occasional over-sized hoodie as the temperatures begin to drop- but sometimes it’s nice to have a lightweight shirt you can throw on for early-Autumnal activities with a simple pair of leggings and comfortable moccasins. Such was the case with this long-sleeved, button up flannel shirt I recently picked up in the Valley that has a bit of an unexpected twist to it- a lace cutout along the back to allows for an easier time keeping cool under the sun.

The varying shades of brown and red scream “Fall!” to me- but the lace is a nice little reminder that it’s still warm out, too. I wasn’t pouring sweat in this thing- but I also wasn’t shivering by the time the sun began to set, too. It was the perfect top for perfect weather!

I’m sure I’ll be wearing a lot more of this as we continue to gradually move away from Summer’s heat and humidity- and I know it’s going to look great with a pair of fitted jeans and some new ankle boots, as well! I love pieces I can easily mix and match with other things in my wardrobe- and this shirt definitely fits the bill.

But with it being a Monday and my scheduled time at the office beginning right about now- I’ve got to head on out for the day. I’ll be back with a weekend recap this coming Wednesday- highlighting this year’s Seafood Festival and sharing the incredible deals I was able to find during my sidewalk sale perusing.

Until then, enjoy the start of your week, y’all!

xx

– Ashley –

Seaside Starters: Maryland Crab Cakes

Good Morning and Happy Thursday, everyone!

This coming weekend is shaping up to be a busy (in a good way!) one- including a long overdue dinner with my family to celebrate my older brother and my niece’s upcoming birthdays, working at the station, catching a screening of “It: Chapter 2” with friends- and then Sunday will be fully devoted to sand, surf and scallops at Hampton Beach’s Annual Seafood Festival!

And, of course- the Patriots’ regular season kicks off- so there will be beer and nachos, as well. As is tradition!

Inspired by the Seafood Festival, and still getting acquainted with my new kitchen- I thought I’d whip up one of my own favorite recipes to share with you all- crab cakes! These can be served as an appetizer or, if you’re eating more than one- as an entrée all on their own. Whatever you choose- they’re delicious and very easy to make!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 8 ounces crab meat- drained, shells removed and patted dry.
  • ¼ cup diced red bell pepper
  • 2 teaspoons tarragon
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs, divided in half
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ teaspoon McCormick Old Bay seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • ¼ teaspoon dried mustard
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish (optional)
  • Olive oil (to fry cakes)

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Drain crab meat, pick out shells and pat dry with paper towels
  2. Add crab meat, bell pepper, tarragon, ½ cup Panko bread crumbs, egg, salt, pepper, mayo, dried mustard and Old Bay seasoning to a medium mixing bowl and mix with a rubber-tipped spatula.
  3. Scoop handfuls of the combined mixture out one at a time and gentle pat/press together to form cakes.
  4. Add ½ cup Panko bread crumbs to a shallow dish. Place each cake in and coat the sides until all of the cakes are covered evenly in bread crumbs.
  5. Heat a heavy sauté pan and add the olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Place cakes in the sauté pan and cook approximately 4 minutes on each side or until they are evenly browned
  6. Remove cakes and place on a plate to allow to cool for approximately 5 minutes.
  7. Drizzle horseradish sauce over the cakes and serve.

I could eat these crab cakes all day every day- that’s how much I love them- and while I’m sure I’ll be eating plenty of variations of these at the Seafood Festival, among many, many other things- I’m a bit biased when it comes to my own! I don’t think they can be topped!

Next week, my blogging schedule returns to normal now that Labor Day is over (Monday, Wednesday and Friday!) I’ll be sure to have more Autumnal Activities to share, a peek into the Fall section of my wardrobe- and a few other surprises!

But until then- enjoy your weekend, everybody!

xx

– Ashley –

“Bring Me Back to Autumn…”

Good Morning and Happy Tuesday, everyone!

I hope those of you who were able to celebrate the long weekend enjoyed it immensely. I personally had a wonderful couple of days off that were spent outdoors despite the occasional drizzle and thunderstorm- and also catching up on some much-needed sleep. Although I’m back at work bright and early this morning- I’m feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day and the remainder of this short work-week!

With this past Sunday marking the beginning of September, the midst of Labor Day Weekend- and the unofficial [official] end to the Summer- I dove headfirst into the Autumnal activities. I had my first Fall-inspired coffee beverage (a pumpkin pie chai, courtesy of Shelburne Falls Coffee Roasters) and made the short journey to Phillipston, Massachusetts to check out the Appleseed Country Fair at Red Apple Farm.

A friend had actually been the one to tell me about the fair- as I hadn’t even known the farm existed- but I’m certainly glad she did because the place is adorable and filled with all the apples, pumpkins, sunflowers and homemade, farm-fresh snacks/sweets a Fall-loving girl could ask for.

The fair itself was very busy but fun- with hay rides, animals to pet, tractors to pose for photos with, hot air balloon lifts, live music and plenty of vendors and food. The farm is also dog-friendly- which means Oliver can join me in a couple of weeks when I go back as there will be less of a crowd so I can pick apples for baking and pumpkins for decorating. He’s going to love it.

And while I wanted to stock up on all the jams, natural peanut butter, kettle corn popcorn and apple dumplings I could carry- I opted for some apple cider to enjoy at home and apple cider doughnuts to share with my mom. They. Are. Delicious.

Yesterday, after running some errands and cooking up a seafood recipe (which will be on the blog this coming Thursday!)– I made a point to swing by Patriot Place at Gillette Stadium to snag a new t-shirt for the upcoming Patriots season and do a bit of window-shopping before a pretty significant thunderstorm rolled through the area and I had to take cover in my car during the subsequent torrential downpour.

Catching an actual game at Gillette this season is on my “Fall 2019 Bucket List”- so here’s hoping I’ll be back there sooner than later!

And the new shirt will definitely be making an appearance on my Instagram this week. It’s really nice!

But with quite a bit of work in front of me and a pretty busy couple of days ahead- I’m off to get things sorted and done early so I can enjoy this coming weekend (and the Hampton Beach Seafood Festival) properly!

Enjoy your day, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

August 2019: In a Nutshell

Good Morning and Happy Saturday, everyone!

I’m writing this from the comfort of bed, coffee in hand- although it’s not a pumpkin spice latte (yet. That tradition begins bright and early tomorrow morning!) and reflecting on this past August and the Summer 2019 overall, really.

Typically I make lengthy and wild “Bucket Lists” for every season- jotting down places I want to visit, things I want to do and see, food I want to cook/eat, etc. The beauty of living in New England is that with the seasons being so vastly different from one another- there’s many unique experiences to be had. It’s part of the reason I find the idea of leaving permanently so unfathomable.

Until the dead of Winter, anyway- then I’d rather be anywhere *but* here!

Usually I accomplish nearly everything on my bucket lists- however Summer 2019 was the first time in a long time that I felt I had barely scratched the surface. It didn’t feel like failure, or disappointment- but it did leave me asking myself “what happened?”

And the answer is easier to find than you’d think. Summer 2019 was the first one in my new apartment and neighborhood- which meant a lot of my day off activities were spent locally and not out by the ocean, traveling to opposite coasts, etc. I made new friends and went to community potlucks, saw shows in the next town over, soaked up the sun by a local lake, so on and so forth.

I was also working three jobs this past Summer- my full-time office job, my Saturdays with Indie617, and frantic and busy afternoons/evenings with PaintBox Theatre– which wrapped up for the season just a couple of weeks ago and freed up some of my time.

It was definitely Summer- just a new and different kind- which is a bit exciting in itself!

So in Summer 2020, while I’ll definitely have things on my bucket list as usual- I fully plan on practicing better time management and incorporating all the hidden gems within the Pioneer Valley during the hottest season of the year, too!

I’m excited for the Fall- the usual things I always make a point to do like apple picking, pumpkin carving, etc.- and the newer experiences I’ve already planned out here in Western Massachusetts (the foliage is going to look amazing and I cannot wait!)

But first I want to bid farewell to August 2019- a month that saw plenty of travel, time with cherished people in my life, growth and change personally and professionally. It started like a firecracker- with my first trip to MASS MoCA to see Maggie Rogers perform, The journey there inspired a separate visit to the Mohawk Trail just a few days later during some time off I had taken from work.

August saw me straddle the Massachusetts and New York state lines with help from Troy during a surprise trip to Bash Bish Falls– which was one of the most amazing days I’ve had in recent memory. I also celebrated the annual passage of Summer Slam with friends in Salem and mini-golfed for the first time since I was a kid (and lost, but that’s besides the point.)

And with so many changes in my location, career opportunities, etc. I figured I could change my appearance a bit, too- and returned to my brunette roots with help from an incredible stylist. Chocolate-hued hair seems fitting for the Fall- and I wanted to get the jump on it.

So what’s in store for September? A lot of early-Autumn fun- including Hampton Beach’s annual Seafood Festival, The Big E, local Harvest Fairs (I’m stopping by one tomorrow!) and the usual assortment of recipes and peeks inside my closet. My Fall wardrobe is shaping up to be amazing- and I can’t wait to show some of it off!

So expect my Instagram feed to be loaded with pictures of apple cider doughnuts, pumpkin-everything, and leaves, leaves, leaves!

But until then- here’s to August 2019- a busy month that was filled with fun, new adventures, lots of changes- and hope for the weeks ahead! With Monday being a holiday- my posting schedule will be Tuesday and Thursday next week before I return to the normal schedule the week after. I’ll have lots to talk about!

Enjoy the rest of your long weekend, everyone!

xx

– Ashley – 

Favorites: August 2019!

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

The end (of August and the Summer!) is nigh- but I’m ready for sweaters, leaf peeping, scary movies and pumpkin patches- especially now that I’m living in one of the most picturesque, straight-out-of-a-postcard areas in New England! It’s going to be my first Fall in the Pioneer Valley- and there are so many things I want to do!

But respects must be paid to August and really the entire Summer of 2019, first- which I fully intend to do tomorrow morning for my monthly “In a Nutshell” post where I recap the weeks that were and talk about what I have planned for the weeks ahead. There’s a lot of ground to cover- but it’s going to be a fun trip down (recent) Memory Lane!

Before that, though- I wanted to share some of my favorite things from August 2019. From beauty products, to jewelry, to silly sentimental pieces- all the way to movies, music, television, etc.

This is my usual months-end “Favorites” post- and as always- I’ll be starting with the things I was able to photograph, first!

Starting with the silly, sentimental pieces- I had picked up this pair of silver, glittery sandals for about $8 at Primark a couple of years ago when I was strapped for footwear just hours before I was headed to a beach bonfire- but these have become my default Summer shoe choice ever since. This past August was no different, as I wore these trusty, surprisingly durable beauties during road trips, ice cream pit stops, lazier days at the office- and lounging lake-side.

I’m going to store them in the back of my closet until next Summer- where I’m sure they’ll see more adventures.

Exfoliation is key year-round, but especially in the Summer when I’m all about exposed legs, arms, and the occasional exposed midriff. I want my skin glowing and smooth- so I try to find scrubs that both buff away the dead skin but also conditions without drying me out.  I’m partial to sugar scrubs, and this whipped one from LALICIOUS does the job just right.

Not only does this scrub smell incredible, like a candy shop- but it leaves my skin touchable, soft, and glowing.

The scrub is $35, but a little goes a long way- so one tub of this will last you well over the course of a season!

Of course, I can’t exfoliate my body without making sure my face is super smooth, too- but being that it’s far more sensitive than say, my knees or my elbows- I rely on this gentle microdermabrasion scrub from Mary Kay that a friend turned me onto earlier this month.

I only use this lightweight exfoliant about 2 times a week if that- but the results are instant- and my serums and moisturizers sink into my skin with so much more ease whenever I apply them after gently cleansing my skin with this scrub. Throughout August, my complexion has been clear, smooth, and even.

Finally, my go-to jewelry for August was simple and consisted of two things. One, a moonstone statement ring I had picked up a couple of weekends ago during the annual Massachusetts Tax-Free Weekend.

The other? A throwback to my pre-teen and early teenage years with the return of the cowrie shell craze. While I couldn’t bring myself to wear a choker of these like the guys I grew up with used to do all. the. time.– I thought the anklet was a nice, more subtle choice.

I wore this all during the Summer, but it really made a splash in August when more people noticed and seemed to get on board with the trend making a comeback! Now we just need to bring back those glittery butterfly-shaped hair clips and I’ll be thrilled.

And that, my friends- just about does it for the photogenic favorites. But, as always- a one or two more things made the list this month, too!

– MISCELLANEOUS –

All Things Seafood – I had said that my Summer 2019 bucket list consisted of eating as much lobster, crab and scallops as possible, and in August I rose to the challenge since many of my favorite seaside shacks close up after Labor Day.

With stops at some of my longtime favorite locations and some new finds here in the Valley (including a delicious chowder house- which I’ll be revisiting soon!) I’m pretty sure I don’t even want to look at anything from the ocean again until next May/June at least.

Clowns, Baby! – With “It: Chapter 2” coming out in theaters next week, a new trailer for “The Joker” dropping earlier this week (the movie premieres in October) and a new teaser poster for the next Harley Quinn movie making the rounds recently- Summer 2019 is all about clownery and I am here for it. My apologies for anyone with a clown phobia- but I am so, so excited for all of it!

Aaaaand now I’m finished! Although it’s the end of the work-week, I’ve still got some things to do around the office before I break for the long weekend- so I’ve got to get going!

As always, if you’d like to share your own favorite things from this past August- feel free to drop me a line!

Enjoy your Friday, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –