Reader’s Choice 2019!

Good Morning and Happy Thursday, everyone!

As we ready ourselves for Friday and the weekend- I wanted to take a moment to talk about some super fun developments with the family theater company I’m involved in- and ask for your help (and it’ll only take 2 minutes of your time- I promise!)

As some of you (most of you?) know- I signed on earlier this year to work with my friends at PaintBox Theatre based out of the Pioneer Valley. I’m their current marketing and publicity director, and even though the season doesn’t officially kick off until the end of June- it’s been a really fun journey so far!

A little background information on PaintBox: they are a family theater company, gearing up for their 16th (!!!) season. They take beloved children’s’ stories and give them an updated, modern twist on stage with enough subtle humor to keep the adults laughing, as well- all while encouraging literacy, self-expression, creativity, inclusiveness, kindness and play. The costumes and props are easy to replicate and made with simple materials- so children can utilize things they have at home while letting their imaginations take care of the rest.

And all of this is done with a talented cast, a dedicated crew- and the love and support of our community and sponsors who keep us going!

All that being said, we’ve been nominated for “Best Summer Theater” in the Daily Hampshire Gazette– an honor we won last year and a title we hope to hold onto this year, as well!

Voting takes- legitimately– a minute, and it would mean the world to me, the company and everyone PaintBox has made smile over the years if you could take the time to vote for us. Our category is under “Arts & Entertainment.”

CLICK HERE TO VOTE

If you did- thank you so, so, SO much!

And if not, the voting is open until 5/19/19 at 5 PM (EST.) Please consider helping out!

And of course, if you’d like to learn more about the company and our impending Summer season- please feel free to visit our website (linked above) or our social media accounts (you’ll see my designs on each!) It’s going to be a wonderful season of really great shows the whole family can enjoy!

I’m off to work for the day, and then keeping busy tomorrow through the weekend. I’m going to be back on Monday when the posting schedule returns to normal- and right before I leave for my trip to the West Coast!

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful rest of your week and a warm, safe, fun weekend!

xx

– Ashley –

April 2019: In a Nutshell

Good Morning and Happy Tuesday, everyone!

I had mentioned last Friday that the posting schedule would be a short one this week- mostly due to the way the end of the month fell and my other obligations over the next few days as I prepare for my West Coast vacation and my move (!!!)

April has been insanely busy, surprising and filled with new and exciting changes from start to finish- a theme I foresee carrying over into May and possibly June, as well. The biggest news of all, of course- is that I’ll be moving from the city and out to the Pioneer Valley (and into a lovely loft) within a couple of weeks after quietly and discreetly looking around the area and coordinating the arrangements before I finally got to make the big announcement recently when I’d signed my lease agreement and it was official!

I’m so excited to share my new neighborhood, community and discoveries/explorations as I adapt to life in an absolutely beautiful, picturesque area of the state! I recently shared one of my favorite places (so far!) during one of my last trips out to the soon-to-be-apartment- The Montague Bookmill!

There have been some changes at my full-time job, as well- including a new office space after there was a readjustment and realignment within the company that left some of my co-workers in different departments. I am, admittedly, still adjusting to those changes since I’m now working with an entirely different team that I’m still getting to know over these past couple of weeks- but so far, so good!

As always, I spent time with friends- including ones visiting from out of state and ones that just moved a little further away- and my family, as well. Easter was particularly fun and laid back– and despite all the changes I’ve been adapting to- of course I still had time to talk about the most recent season of “The Walking Dead.” Priorities!

So, with April packaged up nicely with a bow- what’s in store for May? The move, obviously- but next week I venture out to fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada (with a quick pit stop in San Diego, California) to spend some long overdue time with my West Coast Wife and her daughter. I’ve also got some fun Memorial Day Weekend plans lined up- as well as my usual assortment of recipes, OOTD/Fashion posts and recaps of nights out in and around the area.

I’m so excited for the coming weeks and hope you’ll all join me here and on my social media as I share my journey(s). April was a great month for making big decisions and taking huge steps towards goals and opportunities- and I’m sorry it has to end so soon!

I’m off to work for the day, but I’ll be back on Thursday with some updates from the family theater company I’ve been working with, as well as some odds and ends before the posting schedule returns to normal next week.

Here’s wishing you all a great day!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: April 2019!

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! We made it to another weekend (and in my case – just barely!)

Next week is a short posting week, Tuesday and Thursday only, given that April is winding down and May is just a few days away (!!!)– but before I recap these past few weeks and get ready to jump into a brand new month that is going to be filled with travel, my move, and a LOT of adjustments- I wanted to share a few of my favorite things from April that helped make all these changes a little easier to get through!

This is my monthly “Favorites” post that highlights some of the products, items, impulse buys, and odds & ends that I’ve been enjoying all month- and as always I like to start with the things I was able to capture with a camera before I work my way down to the miscellaneous things- movies, TV shows, food/drinks, etc.

It’s a little list- but a good one- so let’s get started!

With Spring here, I finally get to switch up my makeup from deep gem-toned eye shadows and merlot-colored lipstick to lighter, fresher shades for the warmer weather! The first thing I decided to swap out was my blush. During the Winter I had been using a silvery highlighter all over my face to give me an icy glow- but with Spring here I opted for something a little more on the pink/rosy side (and with a hint of gold to make me look sunkissed!)

I’m loving this tiny little powder blush/highlighter, “Dandelion” from Benefit Cosmetics. The formula is lightweight and the color goes on so smoothly. I always have just the right amount of rose-gold glow whenever I walk out the door with this on!

I always keep a little roller ball perfume in my bag for touch-ups throughout the day- and I have been loving this “Wild Flower” one from Victoria’s Secret (underrated in the beauty/fragrance department, really!) The fragrance makes me smell like a pretty, tropical botanical garden, if that makes sense- with notes of lotus and magnolia- and it lasts a really, really long time- so frequent applications are a thing of the past!

It’s a limited edition, though- so be sure to snatch one up before they’re gone for good!

Just quickly jumping back to makeup for a second- but did you know that Sephora’s brand of makeup is actually amazing (and super affordable?) Case in point- this medium-coverage, oil-free foundation I started rocking the second the last of the snow melted because it gives my skin a chance to breathe while covering any imperfections flawelessly!

Best of all? It’s only $20! This is going to be my go-through the Summer. I just know it.

Of course, I can’t apply serums, creams, and brand new makeup to a puffy face- which is why I’ve finally caved and purchased a rose quartz facial roller at my local pharmacy. I didn’t want to believe the hype, guys- but it actually works!

Here’s what I do- I keep this roller chilled in my refrigerator overnight. In the morning, while I’m making a cup of coffee and before I put anything on my face- I gently roll this over my skin for about 5-10 minutes. The cold and the quartz reduces puffiness, redness, and helps to smooth out my skin for when it’s time to finally dive into my skincare regimen and makeup for the day!

Finally, in my attempt to live a healthier lifestyle in 2019 and embrace the sleeveless season- I’ve also been searching for the right aluminum-free deodorant- which has proven to be a quest in itself. Some don’t work all that well. Others smell, well- pretty weird- but I’ve found a winner with Secret’s new formula!

Clear, and free of harmful chemicals and dyes- this deodorant doesn’t leave marks on my clothes, smells light and pretty, and doesn’t feel greasy or gross after a couple of hours the way some other deodorants and antiperspirants do. I’m in love!

And I think that does it for the photograph-able stuff this month- but like they say in infomercials- “but wait, there’s more!”

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

“Game of Thrones” – So I know we’re only two episodes into the final season, and I know I’ve had a love/hate relationship with this show over the years- but how good has it been so far? You can tell everyone involved is really trying to give this one a proper sendoff and actually care about doing it right- so even though this Sunday night’s episode is going to undoubtedly destroy me emotionally- I’m also super excited!

Okay, *now* I’m done!

Short and sweet- much like how the entire month of April felt- those were some of the things that particularly stood out for me.

I’m off to get things done at work before I check out for my half day at the office and run some errands- but I’ll be back on Tuesday! Here’s wishing you all a fun, safe and hopefully sunny weekend!

xx

– Ashley –

Rainy Days and Book Stores…

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone!

When I had initially announced my impending move to the Pioneer Valley earlier this month, I had mentioned that I wanted to highlight some of my favorite places to pass the time out that way. For any of you who have followed this blog or it’s past incarnations- you probably know that I predominantly write about restaurants/bars/shops/attractions in the Boston area or around my hometown in Central Massachusetts.

Being out in Western Massachusetts, close to the Berkshires, and truly in one of the most beautiful, clean, environmentally conscious and artistic parts of New England opens the doors for me to discover and share so many new people, places and things will all of you- and I knew right away that an old favorite (but a goody!) would be first on my list to reacquaint myself with.

The Montague Book Mill, which is a used book store, art gallery and restaurant(s) within an old mill from the mid-1800s- is one of my favorite places to go, curl up by the window with a good read, sip a cup of tea and just relax/zone out for a couple of hours while I listen to the nearby Sawmill River flow past.

I’m never the only one with this idea, and the Mill have utilized a lot of their nooks and crannies by turning them into quiet, peaceful places for those looking to work/study without interruption and in a unique location.

I haven’t been in a few years- but made it a point to stop by on Monday during my day off while the rain was falling outside. As always, I ended up exploring and snapping some photos!

To see the enlarged version, just click the picture!

Before I left to head back home, I popped into The Lady Killigrew Cafe for an early dinner (their brie, apricot jam and marinated apples sandwich rules!) and a quick cup of coffee. How I’ve missed that place. I promised myself I wouldn’t wait another 2-3 years before I went back again- and now that I’ll be living less than 30 minutes away- it’s a promise I can keep!

I’ll be back in the area tonight after work to meet up with Troy for dinner and drinks- and will more than likely make another appearance over the weekend since I’m on the prowl for new furniture.

Until then, though- it’s all about getting things done at my office and getting some caffeine in me as soon as possible!

Enjoy your “Hump Day”, everyone! See you all again on Friday!

xx

– Ashley –

Monday, Monday…

Good Morning and Happy (ugh…) Monday, everyone!

I suppose I can’t complain too much since I have the day off from work- and with Friday being my half day- it’s shaping up to be a quick, easy and painless week at the office for me. Although the sun seems to be indecisive this morning as to whether it wants to come out or not- it’s warm out and I’ve got a lovely drive ahead of me. Not to/from Montpelier, Vermont as originally planned- since there was a change in scheduling (I’ll get to in a minute)– but to meet with my soon-to-be-landlord at my soon-to-be-new-apartment to go over some final details.

I’ll also be taking the remainder of the afternoon to visit one of my favorite places in the Valley and, more specifically- Montague, Massachusetts. It’s been ages since I’ve been and today seems like just as good a time as any to go!

Don’t worry- I’ll have the photos/recap up shortly. It’s one of my favorite well-kept-secrets out in Western Mass!

Did everyone who celebrated Easter have a good one? I’m still a bit sluggish from the huge dinner I had at my mom’s house last night- but the company was great and the weather was perfect. The only downside I can think of is that we were missing a few people due to unexpected illnesses and last minute scheduling conflicts- including my uncle who I had been preparing to pick up in Vermont and bring down to stay with my family for the weekend. He couldn’t make it- although there’s talk of planning a Summer cookout/BBQ for his birthday to make up for it, instead.

Regardless, we all had a wonderful time and I have enough leftovers to last me a few days- which is always appreciated. I even managed to dress Oliver up in his Sunday best for the occasion!

He looks like he’s ready to lead the Debate Team to victory.

As April winds down over the next few days and we prepare for May- I’m also preparing for a week-long trip to the West Coast in a couple of weeks, my move to the Valley, the Boston Calling Festival and other late Spring/early Summer plans and travel I have lined up locally. There’s so much happening and I’m just trying to take it day by day and not burn myself out!

Later on this week I’ll have the photos from my adventure in Montague this afternoon up and running, and then on Friday I’ll be sharing some of my favorite things/items/products/odds and ends/etc. from this past month.

Here’s hoping you all have an easy and stress-free start to your week! I’ll be back on Wednesday!

xx

– Ashley –