Wedding Cake, Haunted Mansions and Post-Election Naps…

Good Morning and Happy “Hump Day”, everyone!

Listen, I am admittedly pretty tired after watching election coverage last night from the edge of my seat- and being at work (even just for a half day) is not something I’m particularly up for physically, mentally or emotionally right now- but I’m an adult and there’s a lot to do at my office this morning.

I’m just *really* looking forward to catching a nap at home later on this afternoon before I head out for the evening.

I had taken yesterday off from work- just because- and although I now have a lot of missed calls, e-mails, regular mail and general out-of-office maintenance to go over and catch up on- I wanted to share some photos from my longtime friend Stef’s wedding this past weekend.

Stef and I met when I was about 16/17 and we were both working at the same crummy after-school job at a local grocery. I told her a joke I’d heard in one of my classes earlier in the day- just a painfully unfunny, borderline “dad” joke- but she laughed and we became instant friends. That friendship has carried on- through good times and bad- over the course of 16 years. We’re both now in our thirties and are in very different places in our lives than we were back when we’d met- but we’re still just as close as ever.

On Saturday, Stef married her longtime boyfriend, Andy- in a lovely little ceremony in Linwood, Massachusetts. Although neither she or Andy are particularly religious, the church portion of the evening was more for their older family members who had wanted to bear witness to a a more traditional union between the two.

The reception, on the other hand… Well, that was all Stef and Andy. 100%.

Stef had picked out the Asa Waters Mansion in Millbury as her venue. Formerly inhabited by the family behind the Waters & Co. Armory in the mid-to-late 1800s- the house was reportedly a stop on the Underground Railroad and has since been turned into a function hall, community gathering spot, and museum. It’s a beautiful house- more than likely haunted- and very cozy. Although dinner and the dance floor were a bit of a tight squeeze given how old the home is- we had a blast cutting loose and taking a tour of the grounds provided by some of the helpful staff on hand.

Stef’s wedding cake and cupcakes were crafted with love and care by our dear friend Holly- who I’m hiring for any future events I host because everything looked and tasted amazing.

It was so good catching up with old friends, making new ones, dancing and dining and laughing at the same inside jokes the lot of us have been cracking up at for over a decade now. I’m so happy for Stef and Andy and I know they’re going to have a lifetime of happiness ahead of them. I’m so grateful I got to be a part of the celebration.

I’m actually supposed to see Stef, Andy and a couple of friends visiting from out of the country later on today for a while- so I’m pretty excited to recap all the excitement with them and get a look at some of the photos that were snapped throughout the evening.

But, alas- I’ve got work to do, first. Here’s hoping you all have an easy, stress-free Wednesday! Let’s push through to the weekend!

xx

– Ashley –

OOTD: Lady In Red…

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

What a weekend it’s been. One of my longtime and dearest friends tied the knot on Saturday night in one of the most fun ceremonies and celebrations I’ve ever had the fortune of attending (and I’ll have photos from the night up a little later on this week!)– and yesterday, a day that was supposed to be for rest and some self-care- was instead spent at an Urgent Care veterinarian’s office after Oliver sustained a back injury and needed to be checked out.

He’s thankfully okay (it was a strain/sprain and he’s on some anti-inflammation medication to alleviate his symptoms while he recovers)– but my nerves were shot. Once I’d had a chance to come home, shower, and unwind- it took me no time at all to succumb to exhaustion and fall asleep.

And now here I am, at work for another week. Sigh.

Before I launch into my e-mails, voicemails, and caseload for the week- I wanted to share the beautiful, Autumn-appropriate dress I wore to the aforementioned wedding this past weekend, first!

Red is a bold color I never shied away from- my hair was a fire engine red hue for a good several years, after all- and I knew with how bold and exciting my circle of friends are that donning a red dress in a church wouldn’t be frowned upon by them.

I opted for this fitted, quarter-length sleeved red dress that stopped just above my knee and was accentuated with a thin red tie around the waist to break up the simplicity of the fabric. I was covered- perfect for a formal occasion- but was still comfortable when it came time to throw back a couple of drinks and some wedding cake come the time of the reception!

And while more than one female guest ended up taking their heels off by the end of the night- I was able to stay standing in these black velvet, buckled ankle booties with a chunky heel to give me some height and some support. I haven’t really had a chance to wear these out because of all the rain we’ve been having- so I’m glad it was nice out by the time it came ready to head on over to the church!

I turned my convertible faux-snakeskin bag into a clutch for the evening, and the gray and black really played well against the dress, the boots, and my newly acquired dark gray manicure- which really pulled the whole look together for me.

I’m looking forward to getting some more wear out of this dress now that the holidays will be approaching soon- since the red will be pretty festive and the simple style of the dress will be easy enough to doll up or down depending on the event. This one is a keeper, for sure!

But I’ve got a lot of work to do- and this week is going to be another busy one I need to stay on top of- so I’m heading out to get things done before I can even stop and think about getting some much-needed rest and relaxation!

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful start to your week and a terrific few days ahead before we reach another weekend!

xx

– Ashley –

“She’s creepy and she’s kooky – Mysterious and spooky…”

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! We made it!

That photo above would be the pumpkin a group of us (and mainly one of my more talented co-workers) carved at work. It came out pretty great!

While my weekend is looking pretty busy with my friend’s wedding and some Sunday Self-Care in the works- this past week has been extraordinarily fun! Halloween was a blast, kicked off with a large potluck brunch with everyone in my office (nearly all who came in some seriously kick ass costumes!) and an impromptu Red Sox/World Series celebration while the parade was happening.

I really do love our Rolling Rallies whenever a hometown team wins a championship. It’s an absolute free-for-all and a great excuse to take a day off of work- and everyone is in such a great mood. The feeling of camaraderie is really fantastic!

Following the party, it was time to set up my Halloween decorations (and the weather both on Wednesday and yesterday was warm, sunny and lovely!) and prepare for an early evening with my niece, brother and sister-in-law. While my niece made out like a bandit with all the candy she got trick-or-treating, pizzas were prepared and AMC’s ‘Halloween’ marathon was on full-blast.

Yes, that included “Halloween III: Season of The Witch’. Such a bad film that it’s actually a classic.

As the night drew to a close, Troy and I- both still in costume- decided to catch a late night movie and stopped by a screening of ‘Bad Times at the El Royale’ which was fantastic. We both loved it. Great cast, terrific acting, awesome soundtrack- and a really interesting/unpredictable and keep-you-guessing story.

Don’t sleep on that one, guys! It’s worth a watch!

But for now I’m going to be powering through some work today (and probably heading into a little early-evening overtime with it as well) so that I can return from my weekend refreshed and as stress-free as possible this coming Monday. It’s always good to stay one step ahead of the game.

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful, warm, and fun weekend ahead! I’ll have plenty of photos to share next week from my friends’ nuptials.

It’s going to be a beautiful ceremony- but I know for a fact the reception is going to be insane.

xx

– Ashley –

October 2018: In a Nutshell

Good Morning, Happy Wednesday- and Happy Halloween, everyone!

With today being one of my favorite holidays, I’m starting things off a bit early this A.M. with a costume party and brunch potluck at my office with my co-workers before I head home to decorate my yard and front porch in preparation for tonight’s Trick-Or-Treaters.

My niece will be dropping by for a candy sweep of my neighborhood before we kick back with some pizza and enjoy a classic horror/slasher movie marathon- as is tradition!

I can’t believe tomorrow is the beginning of November and that Thanksgiving will be just a few short weeks away. I love a good food coma as much as the next person, but I wish October could go on just a little while longer- especially this past one- since it’s been so much fun!

This past month was filled with the usual spooky outings- from haunted pathways in New Hampshire, watching scary flicks in the middle of the woods (and in the middle of the night, no less), checking out Jack O’Lantern festivals with friends visiting from the West Coast and stopping by some of the more notoriously creepy graves in New England- but October was also peppered with plenty of shows, parties (including one of my best friend’s bachelorette party! I can’t believe her wedding is this coming weekend!), pumpkin picking at local farms and random get-togethers, too!

I traveled all over New England in October, including a long overdue trip to Montpelier, Vermont to spend time with family, catching a play at a converted barn in Western Massachusetts- and stopping by the Indie617 HQ to weigh in on music and events around the city not once- but twice.

FYI, if you missed those appearances, HERE’S the first and HERE’S the second! It’s always so much fun hanging out.

This past weekend, I actually braved the storm that rolled through the area to head to the station’s “Boos and Brews” party at Idle Hands Craft Ales in Malden to enjoy some good tunes, some really tasty beer- and PIZZA SKULLS (!!!) courtesy of Fat Boyfriend Bakery They were SO good.

I wore my Freddy Krueger costume to the party, which I’m also sporting today at work and will be wearing tonight while I pass out candy! I should have a decent photo of the whole thing up on my Instagram and here on the blog a little later on today/this week.

So, once all the Halloween excitement is (sadly) over- what do I have planned for November? Well, voting is right up there at the top of my list (and should be for everyone else, too!)– but blog-wise I’ve got plenty more recipes to share, especially with Thanksgiving approaching- as well as more late-Autumn wardrobe staples, early-shopping gift guides for the holidays, a peek inside my Fall makeup collection, and a bit more traveling before it starts snowing around here again!

But for now, I’m going to eat a ton of candy and savor today. Here’s hoping you all have a ghoulish evening! Stay safe out there!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: October 2018!

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone! Especially my fellow Red Sox fans! What a series!

And so begins another work week- the repetition thankfully being broken up by Halloween and kicking off November in style. While I’ll divulge the details of my wild and fun weekend a little later on this week (as well as re-cap the month of October overall in my scheduled “In a Nutshell” post)– I thought I’d take time in-between catching up on work at my office and recovering from one of twelve flus/nanoviruses going around New England like wildfire as of late and share some of my favorite products, items, odds & ends from this past month.

Despite my current sniffle and scratchy throat- which is thankfully improving after some much-needed rest and relaxation last night (and some NyQuil)– October was a month I tried to practice more self care. That included drinking more water, getting more fresh air, and updating my skincare products/regimen to make sure I was staying hydrated from head to toe. Many of this month’s favorites are items that reflect those efforts!

As always, I’ll start with the things I was able to photograph before I jump into some of the miscellaneous things that were a little trickier to capture with my camera!

When Bath & Body Works had their buy three- get three free sale this past month, I took the opportunity to stock up on some of their Fall-inspired skincare line- including pumpkin/apple/cinnamon-scented scrubs, lotions, creams and perfumes.

I’ve been using these products daily and my skin has never looked or felt better- which is definitely appreciated since it’s been chilly and rainy these past few weeks and I’ve been able to avoid letting my skin get dull or dry as we gradually transition from the Fall to the Winter.

Also? Smelling like a pumpkin pie? I’m loving that!

Bath & Body Works have recently started promoting their holiday line- and the buy three-get three free sale is presently up and running if anyone is looking for some good deals or gifts for family/friends!

If I’m going to indulge my skin in some serious care- then I wanted to make sure my hair was being well taken care of, as well. Lately I’ve been loving all sorts of products from Kevin Murphy– but this detoxifying shampoo might be one of my favorites. I use this once a week, massaging it into my scalp and down to the ends of my curls and letting it sit for a minute or two before I rinse- and my hair feels squeaky clean without dryness or frizz. The non-lathering formula melts away product and chemical buildup at the root, while softening and conditioning the ends.

Of course, not every day can be a good hair day- and while I’ve been seeing a lot of beanies and knitwear around lately- I’ve opted for this navy blue beret, embellished with tiny gold stars, instead. It easily matches most of the pieces in my Fall wardrobe- especially my flannel shirts and sweaters- and it’s just so cute!

Finally, I love boot season- and with a couple of Fall weddings coming up over the next few weeks- I’ve wanted to stay seasonal and comfortable on and off the dance floor. I’ve been loving these tan, suede booties with a wooden block heel from Primark lately- which are also super easy to incorporate into both my casual AND dressy wardrobe- and are insanely comfy, too!

And that’s it for the photogenic products/items- but I’ve got a couple of other things that made this month’s list, too!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

‘Halloween’ – Of course the holiday itself is one of my favorites, but I’m talking about the sequel to the horror-movie of the same name. As a kid, the only horror movie “baddie” who ever truly scared me was Michael Myers. He didn’t have corny one-liners like Freddy Krueger and he didn’t get blasted off into space ala Jason Voorhees.

No, Michael has always stayed the same- silent and ruthless- even through some questionable sequels/re-makes. But, thankfully, the most recent installment in the film franchise brings things back around full circle in a truly terrifying way. It’s just so damned good!

– GAMES/TECH/APPS –

‘Red Dead Redemption 2’ – Even though this game has only been out for a couple of days, my friends and I have been having a free-for-all of a good time playing it. I don’t think we’ve accomplished any of the missions successfully since we keep getting sidetracked- but the graphics and the gameplay thus far are pretty incredible and it was well worth the wait for it to finally be released!

– MISCELLANEOUS –

Idle Hands Brewing: Undead Red – I first tasted this bright red sour this past Saturday at Indie617’s ‘Boos & Brews’ party at Idle Hands‘ place in Malden- and I was hooked. Infused with fruit and with a cherry aftertaste, this beer was delicious- paired wonderfully with chocolate- and wasn’t too potent for a lightweight like me. I’m a big fan, and will more than likely dropping by this weekend at some point to have a bit more.

And I think that does it for my October favorites! I’ll have a recap of this past month up and running on Wednesday morning before I pass out candy to the Trick-Or-Treaters and get ready to jump-start November!

Until then, though- I’ve got to get some work done. Here’s wishing you all a wonderful start to your week!

xx

– Ashley –