Always Ascending…

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone!

What a busy, bustling week this has been! I’ve been juggling work at my office, prepping posts for Blondie Birdie, getting my car repaired from my recent accident, planning an upcoming day trip to NYC- and tonight I’ve got to make myself look pretty for a mid-week date in Western Massachusetts where a longtime friend of mine is treating me to a night out to help me relax a bit before it’s back to work tomorrow morning!

It hasn’t all been “all work and no play”, though. Last week’s Franz Ferdinand gig at the House of Blues was truly incredible. I’ve been a fan of the guys for years but had only ever seen them live a couple of times here and there (and each time was fantastic, mind you), so to not only get a free ticket to their recent gig at one of Boston’s best venues- but to also get the VIP treatment upstairs in The Foundation Room before the show where I had the best view in the house- was enough to make my month of April, really. I was ecstatic.

The guys still put on one high energy dance party of a show- even after all these years. I sang along, danced with strangers, enjoyed a couple of cocktails- and just took it all in from my perch right above the stage. I was, and still am, so so grateful for the hookup from indie617. Truly unexpected and amazing. Thank you guys!

This past weekend, needing a little pampering while simultaneously mixing up my look a little- I wore the ‘Always Ascending’ tour t-shirt I picked up at the Franz gig to my stylist where I decided to give myself a bit of a Spring makeover and color my previously golden highlighted hair a little more rosy, instead! That’s right- I took the pastel plunge and dyed my hair rose gold- and I am absolutely in love with it!

This color is so fun, so flattering, and is just the right shade of pink where it won’t clash with anything in my wardrobe. The stain will last a few weeks before I’ll have to touch it up again- but when it starts to fade- it will just be a lighter shade of pink instead of an orange-esque color like what I used to go out of my way to avoid back when I was a redhead.

I took my new hair out on the town with my best friend on Saturday for some late afternoon shopping and a little take-out from Mexico Lindo before heading back to the apartment to eat, drink some homemade margaritas, and watch a couple of horror movies. It was a nice, laid-back way to close out the week- and get me mellowed out and relaxed for the season finale of ‘The Walking Dead’ on Sunday night (where my nerves got shot to hell all over again.)

I’ll be doing a full write-up about the season, my thoughts, predictions for the Fall, etc.- and it’ll be up this Friday! And no worries- I’ll put any spoilers behind a cut/”Read More” tag for those who may not be caught up in the series yet and don’t want to know what’s been happening!

But  first, I’m going to go get some work done before I get dolled up and head out to be wined and dined tonight.

Enjoy your Hump Day, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

Car Accident Management 101

Ouch. 4/13/18

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

And a Happy Patriot’s Day to my fellow Massachusetts folks who have the day off from work/school today. For those of you participating in the Boston marathon- good luck! To those heading to Boylston Street to watch from the sidelines- have fun, stay warm- and be safe!

Heading down to the marathon had actually been on my itinerary for today, but unfortunately I was involved in a car accident this past Friday afternoon (the 13th! Go figure!) on my way home from work when another driver pulled from a stop sign and struck the rear, driver’s side door of my car as I was proceeding in the roadway. The impact was substantial enough to cause some pretty gnarly damages and temporary pain to my shoulder and neck. The damage remains- but my shoulder and neck are thankfully fine as I type this.

Now, I’ve been in a couple of accidents in the past- but it was usually as a passenger in someone else’s car, or the impact was so minimal that there were no damages or injuries. For example, a couple of years ago someone tapped my bumper while they were attempting to straighten their car out in a parking space behind me- and I didn’t even bother calling my insurance company because it was so insignificant.

But Friday’s accident marked the first time I’d ever been involved in a collision where I was driving my own car and there were significant dents/scratches/issues after the fact. I was fortunately able to drive my car home from the scene without issues- but my hubcap snapped. The hatch to my gas tank was pushed in and needed to be pried open with a screwdriver in order for me to fill my tank on Saturday morning. My rear, driver’s side door opens/closes a little funny. Long story short- it needs to be repaired- and claims had to be filed. It’s a lengthy, exhausting process- and one I’m all too familiar with given my job title.

So instead of cheering the marathon runners on this morning- I’ll be getting my car appraised, making arrangements to get it repaired, obtain a rental vehicle, and providing statements to the Adjusters from my own insurance company and the other driver’s carrier in the hopes of getting this resolved as quickly as possible.

Working in insurance/claims has actually been beneficial to me throughout the past few days while I made the necessary calls/contacts and gathered the appropriate evidence to present to the Adjusters- and although I had wanted to share a fun recipe this morning before I headed out for the day- I thought I’d provide some of my tips/tricks to surviving the post-accident process to those of you who may have never had to go through this very same experience (and I truly hope you’ll never have to!) or have gone through it- but may have been flustered throughout everything.

It happens fairly often- believe me!

IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THE ACCIDENT:

1. Stay calm and composed: Unless you or a passenger have been seriously injured- in which case getting medical attention takes priority- going from 0 to extremely pissed off is a pretty common reaction following an accident. This is especially true if said accident wasn’t your fault- but you need to remain calm. Take a couple of deep breaths. If you can move your car somewhere safe and out of the way of traffic before you exit your vehicle and speak with the other driver/passengers, do it.

Losing your cool, flipping out on the other driver, or otherwise working yourself into a frenzy can cause you to forget to do crucial steps or gather important information like obtaining names, license plate numbers, contact info, etc. It can also work against you if police are called to the scene and they have to write down in their report/narrative that you were losing your mind at the scene.

Just keep in mind that accidents happen. People make mistakes- and the other driver is probably just as upset as you are. Even if they’re being aggressive, rude, confrontational, or throwing a fit- keep it together. I was fortunate in my accident (a strange sentence to type) in that the other driver was incredibly polite, apologetic, and eager to assist.

2. Get ALL the information. Take ALL the photos- and not just of your own damage: A common mistake I see from insureds at my job is that they don’t get important information or take photos at the scene/of the damages to both vehicles involved- which can assist an Adjuster SO much- especially if liability is being disputed by the other driver or their insurance carrier.

Get photos of everything- their registration, their license plate, their driver’s license, the damages to your own vehicle, the damages to the other vehicle, the street/location where the accident happened from different angles (just be safe!) Anything that will help paint the picture of the events leading up to, during, and following the accident when your claim gets assigned to an Adjuster. They’ll want to see points of impact on both cars, the layout of the street, etc. so they can complete an accurate and thorough analysis of the claim and better assist you.

When speaking to the other driver, be sure to get their phone number (insurance companies will want it in order to make contact with everyone involved- and having it on hand saves them the trouble of having to mail a contact letter.) If there are any witnesses- get their full names, addresses, and phone numbers in case they need to be contacted to provide statements. Get the responding Police Officer’s full name and badge number- even if he/she tells you it will be on their report. Get it anyway.

And if you’re not sure if the information is necessary or not? Write it down anyway. You never know.

3. If you’re not okay- admit it and speak up: Immediately following an accident, adrenaline usually kicks in and any potential injuries might not be noticeable right away until after the fact when you’ve had a chance to decompress and relax a bit- and only then you might notice you’re not feeling so great and want to get checked out by a Doctor. In my case, I didn’t start feeling pain until late Friday night and into Saturday morning when my left shoulder and neck- which had been jerked side to side during the impact- started to feel a little stiff and sore. It has since resolved itself with some light stretches and a couple of doses of ibuprofen.

However, if you’re in noticeable or substantial pain at the scene of the accident- or if you’re feeling too rattled to drive your vehicle to your destination safely- say something. Tell a responding officer, or a witness, or call a friend/loved one to come and help you. Do NOT ignore it and do NOT attempt to drive if you don’t think you can. Getting into a second accident right after the first is not a good look for anyone. There’s no shame in getting help if you need it.

REPORTING THE CLAIM TO INSURANCE COMPANIES:

1. Report the claim as soon as you can, and stay patient while you do: I always recommend calling in a car accident claim as soon as possible- while details are still fresh in your mind- to get them assigned accordingly and processed ASAP to cut down on unnecessary waiting time to get your vehicle repaired, medical bills paid, etc.

The sooner, the better- but be sure that you’re calm and you’ve got the time/patience to talk to the companies at length and provide as much information as possible. It can be daunting- especially knowing that you’ll have to do it more than once (reporting it to your own carrier, and then the other driver’s carrier, and so forth…) but it will ultimately save you a lot of aggravation moving forward.

Also, sidebar- but if the person taking down the information about your accident/damages doesn’t get something right (in my case, it was the location and the actual accident description)– do NOT be afraid to repeat yourself again, and again, and again if necessary- in order to make sure the facts surrounding the accident are being reported and relayed correctly.

2. Write everything down: Much like you did at the scene of the accident- documenting everything you discuss with the insurance companies is crucial, too. Who did you report the claim to? What’s your claim number? Your Adjuster’s name and telephone number? The other driver’s claim number? The other driver’s Adjuster’s information? Appraisal numbers? Contact numbers for the appraiser? Rental confirmation codes? The list goes on.

It’s a lot of information- and you’re going to have to refer to it more than once- so if you take clearly labeled and detailed notes, you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor in the long haul. Keeping the claim information on hand means you don’t have to waste so much time talking to automated answering services of dodging the run around with company operators. You can be connected- and quickly- to representatives and Adjusters who will be able to pull up the claim and assist you moving forward!

AFTER YOU REPORT THE CLAIM:

1. Be patient: From experience, it’s frustrating to have someone report a claim and then call the assigned Adjuster an hour later wondering why nothing has been done for their vehicle damage/injuries. Chances are, your Adjuster is reviewing your policy, confirming your coverage, making the necessary contacts and assigning the correct appraisers/team members to work on a claim with them.

Give them a chance to familiarize themselves with your accident before you start blowing their phone/e-mail up with questions and concerns. If you still haven’t heard anything within two business days after reporting an accident- then absolutely make contact- but other than that? Chill.

2. Read each form you receive in the mail- and cooperate with any investigations: It’s standard procedure for insurance companies to send out forms and seek statements from drivers involved in accidents- especially if there’s disputes in liability or conflicting stories. As frustrating as it is- cooperate fully with all companies investigating the accident and be prompt with returning calls, completed paperwork, etc.

The more efficient and upfront you are, the better the outcome and the quicker the results. A lot of times when claim handling gets held up or delayed- it’s because one of the involved parties is slacking or being unresponsive. Don’t be that person. Be the person who is helpful and on top of things.

3. If it’s too much for you to handle- seek out some help: Your insurance company is there to help you out during stressful times like accidents and injuries- so never be afraid to reach out to your own Adjuster to ask any questions that come to mind or check in/monitor your claim status. Many companies also offer helpful resources on their websites, as well- so utilizing those can make all the difference.

And I say this as an absolute last resort- but obtaining an Attorney/Legal Representative is also an option if you’d rather have someone handle all the paperwork on your behalf (and potentially take a good chunk of any settlements you receive.) It’s entirely up to you, of course- and how much of the work you’re willing to do yourself.

4. Take some time to treat yourself/do something good for your morale: Listen, car accidents are an ordeal in themselves- and dealing with the aftermath can wear you out. Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Eat a nice meal. Watch a funny movie. Get your nails done or buy a video game to keep yourself entertained.

Whatever it takes to get you feeling good, less stressed and like yourself again- go for it!

I hope those help anyone who find themselves in my current predicament down the line. Despite my schedule getting botched up as a result of this accident- I’m surprisingly calm and optimistic about the whole thing right now. Things happen, and sometimes those things aren’t exactly ideal- but thankfully no one was seriously injured and I can still drive my car to/from work right now- so it could always be worse.

I’m off to get these tasks done- but I hope everyone has a great Monday!

xx

– Ashley –

OOTD: New Metal

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

After what proved to be a pretty busy week- I’m so excited to have a low-key, chill weekend ahead of me. Tonight marks my bi-weekly dinner with my mom, brothers, sister-in-laws, and niece- and tomorrow night I’m kicking it with friends for a quiet-night in to enjoy some pizza, drinks, pajamas and horror movies. All of this is leading up to Sunday night’s season finale of ‘The Walking Dead’ (I’m already terrified…) before Monday’s big ‘Patriot’s Day’ festivities here in Boston.

I’m hoping the weather stays sunny and somewhat warm- not only for those running the Boston Marathon on Monday- but for those of who who are going to be watching (and in my case, brunching) from the sidelines, too!

But before we break for a blissful few days off- I wanted to showcase an eccentric piece I’ve had in my closet for a while now and recently took out to wear once it actually started to feel like Spring around here. This ribbed, calf-length and rose gold metallic skirt is such a fun thing to sport with confidence- especially since it can easily be paired with blouses, button-ups, or in my case- tucked tank tops (not pictured: a black cardigan) and some over-sized rose gold sunglasses.

The muted metallic color of the skirt, as well as the texture of the fabric is so neat looking. It catches the light with every movement- but there’s a silky soft lining and an elastic waistband- so I stay comfortable and can move freely and without restriction in it during the day. The length is perfect, too- since I can wear it to the office or out to dinner and still look on point.

Plus, given the season- pinks and rose tones just feel so lovely and appropriate right now.

Since it’s been raining on/off a bit here lately, I wore some high-heeled, buckled black boots with the skirt this time around to keep my feet from getting wet in case I encountered any puddles during walks to/from my car- which always happens, no matter how careful I am- whenever I wear flats.

Maybe it’s just me, but I think they gave this outfit a bit of an edgy kick to it- and in colder temperatures I might accentuate that edginess a bit more with a leather jacket or some studded jewelry.

I twirled, spun, and strutted around my office in this thing- and of course took my runway moves to the streets once I’d left work for the day and opted to run some errands while I was still looking and feeling fabulous. I can’t wait to bust this one out again when it’s a little dryer out and I can wear open-toed heels or wedge sandals with it and not have to worry about getting my pedicure wet in the rain!

But I am going to wrap up this Friday’s case load at my job and head on over to my family’s house to eat, drink and be merry. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend- and I’ll see you all again on Monday!

xx

– Ashley –

Cupcakes and Championship Belts

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone!

First things first- I’m positively beat. I spent a good portion of last night rocking out to Franz Ferdinand at the House of Blues thanks to a hookup from Boston’s latest independent radio station- indie617. Getting home late and then waking up early to get a good stretch and a shower in before work doesn’t bode well for me!

But despite needing an extra cup of coffee and some serious under-eye concealer this morning- I had an amazing time. Be sure to peep my Instagram for some pics/video!

It seems I’ve been going non-stop in recent days- including last night’s show- and am more than likely going to be in need of a spa day soon so that I can get a little rest and relaxation in before I hit the ground running again. Hot stone massage? Here I come!

This past Saturday marked my friend Stef’s birthday party- and our circle of friends, who are almost always too busy to coordinate anything that allows us all to be in the same place at the same time- managed to pull it off without a hitch! There were decorations, cupcakes, plenty of booze, kiddie balloons- and a pretty intense game of Cards Against Humanity.

Imagine 12-13 people sitting around, throwing down some of the most horrific and offensive cards imaginable- and not being able to stop laughing. That was my Saturday night and I couldn’t have asked for anything better, really.

*you’re.

On Sunday, after spending a good chunk of my morning in the kitchen baking/cooking- I headed to my friend Phill’s apartment for his annual Wrestlemania viewing party with snacks in tow. While I had dressed up like Alexa Bliss for the Royal Rumble back in January– this time I went for a hometown hero look and dressed like Boston’s very own Sasha Banks- purple hair included.

And, themed food is a must- so I brought small pigs-in-a-blanket and an applewood-smoked BBQ sauce that I called “Sasha Franks with Legit Sauce”. I wasn’t the only one who went all out, of course. I ended up eating half of my body weight in ‘Dean Ambrosia’, ‘Tag Team Meat Brawls’, and New Day-inspired pancakes.

And despite a weird, slightly unsettling ending to the actual Wrestlemania event (there was a lot of blood pouring out of someone’s head from a botched elbow to the face)– I had such a fantastic and fun time. I can’t wait for ‘Summer Slam’!

But, for now- I’ve got to get to work. Expect more photos from last night’s show to be up within the next few days- as well as a recap of some other events I’ve got going on a little later this week!

Enjoy your Hump Day, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

Brunch Bakes: Giant Cinnamon Roll

Good Afternoon and Happy Monday, everyone!

When it comes to breakfast and/or brunch, I try to keep things light and healthy so that I don’t feel weighed down for the rest of the day and can still keep busy and active without needing a nap, first. Needless to say, there’s a lot of fruits, nuts and grains involved- as well as the occasional egg or two.

However, sometimes it’s nice to give myself a “cheat day” and indulge in something sweet, sticky or covered in powdered sugar and syrup. With this past weekend marking my friend Stef’s birthday party AND Wrestlemania (I’ll get into those a little later on this week!)- there was a lot of snacking and late-night tasting going on- so I figured I may as well make my “Girls Day” Sunday brunch fun and whipped up this gigantic cinnamon bun to serve.

At 9 inches around, this cinnamon bun is served like a pie- cut into slices- and so, so worth doing some extra crunches for repentance during my next workout.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 5 ounces unsalted butter, melted, plus 1 tablespoon, softened
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract, divided
  • Three 8-ounce tubes crescent roll dough
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream, or more as needed

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch oven-safe skillet with the softened butter.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the melted butter, light brown sugar, flour, granulated sugar, cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla to make a smooth paste.
  3. Open the tubes of crescent roll dough and unfurl the contents of each tube into one long, flat piece. Spread about 2 tablespoons of the filling evenly over the entire surface of each piece and then cut in half lengthwise to create two long strips. (You should end up with six strips total.)
  4. Roll one strip into a tight spiral and place it in the center of the prepared skillet. Wrap the remaining pieces of dough around the spiral, working outward, until you’ve used all the dough.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with 1 tablespoon water. Brush the egg wash evenly over the cinnamon roll and then transfer to the oven to bake until golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes.
  6. In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, heavy cream and remaining 1½ teaspoons vanilla until the mixture reaches a smooth, spreadable consistency. Add more cream if needed.
  7. Ice the cinnamon roll with the glaze and let set for 5 minutes

I brought some of the leftover slices into work this morning to share with my co-workers who also had a severe case of Monday blues- and it cheered them right up! This is perfect to share, or- if you’re feeling particularly gluttonous (we all do every now and then)– to eat in sections all on your own.

But I am off and hitting the ground running. I took a half day today at work for a couple of appointments- but it’s sunny and cool out- so maybe I’ll take the scenic route to get where I’m going and enjoy the freedom from my office!

xx

– Ashley –