Opening Day Eats: Mini Spinach-Ricotta Calzones

Good Morning and Happy Hump Day, everyone!

Being a Bostonian- it should surprise no one that I’m emotionally invested (like, unhealthily so) in our sports teams- as many people around here tend to be. But, as much as I enjoy the Bruins and the Celtics- my love and loyalty rests firmly with the Patriots, and- above all else- the Red Sox.

Opening Day for the Sox 2018 regular season is right around the corner, and to celebrate- we’re having a little impromptu party at the office with food and beverages (I’m sure we’ll be drinking harder stuff after we close for the day, though..) Not wanting to leave my co-workers hanging with limited options for snacks- I came across this mini calzone recipe that can feed 12 and requires minimum prep and a short amount of baking/cooking time- making it easy, quick and convenient to work into your schedule!

And, like most of my recipes- this one is also pretty versatile if you want to add/remove certain ingredients and fillings!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 1 pound frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed very well
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds pizza dough, equally divided into 12 pieces
  • 1½ cups ricotta cheese
  • ¾ cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the spinach and garlic; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Use your hands to stretch each piece of dough into a 4-inch circle. If the dough is too sticky, lightly oil your hands to make it easier to handle. Transfer the circles to the baking sheet.
  4. Spoon about 2 tablespoons ricotta into the center of each piece of dough. Top with a heaping spoonful of the spinach mixture, then sprinkle with 1 tablespoon mozzarella cheese.
  5. To close the calzones, fold the dough in half over the filling and press firmly around the edge to seal. You may have to stretch the dough slightly as you pull it over to make sure the filling is fully encased. Use a paring knife to cut small vents into the top of each calzone.
  6. Brush each calzone with olive oil and bake until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbly, 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Anything with heaping amounts of ricotta is an automatic win for me- and these calzones were no exception! They were warm, crunchy, gooey from the cheese- and surprisingly pretty filling despite being a considerably smaller size than a regular calzone!

I’m thinking the next time I whip up a batch of these, I’ll be incorporating pepperoni, sausage, and maybe some mushrooms or green peppers to mix them up a bit. I’m a sucker for mini-foods, after all!

xx

– Ashley –

OOTD: Casual Saturday

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

Time to get back to the grind and start getting things done at work- all while simultaneously preparing for Easter dinner with my family this coming weekend! I’m still on the fence about what I’m going to be cooking/baking to bring with me- although I’m pretty intrigued by the concept of Japanese cheesecake. I’ve seen a few recipes floating around lately and it looks surprisingly simple (and delicious.)

We’ll see how that goes!

But I’m getting ahead of myself a little. This past weekend- despite some snow flurries here and there- was actually pretty nice out. Nice enough where I could spend some time running errands and briefly go hiking in just a t-shirt (and then a light faux-leather jacket whenever the snow started to fall.)

Skinny jeans/jeggings and a well-worn band t-shirt is actually my go-to weekend outfit when I’m just hanging around the neighborhood and/or getting things done during the Springtime. I know enough musicians and artists where I’ve developed quite a nice collection of merchandise over the years- but on Saturday I was rocking a David Bowie tee I picked up during my recent trip to Brooklyn.

Paired with some black ankle boots, a couple of studded rings, and that aforementioned faux-leather jacket and you’ve got the makings of an effortless, always-chic and pretty badass looking ensemble that works during the day- and even better at night if you’re going out for a casual hang.

Case in point? I hit a couple of dive bars around the city Saturday night in this and felt comfortable and cool the entire time. Bowie just does that, I think.

Side note: These boots are ridiculously comfortable. Hitting the pavement or climbing up a nearby (and rocky) hill in one of the neighboring State Parks to catch a view of the skyline during the snowfall? My feet stayed dry and warm. The small, chunky heel on these works wonders with evenly distributing pressure.

One of these days I’ll have to show off the rest of my band tee collection I’ve accrued since my teens. So many memories that always look good with a comfortable pair of jeans and boots or sneakers. Even the ones that don’t fit anymore are kept in storage for safe keeping. I just can’t bring myself to part with them!

But that’s another post for another day. I’m off to get some work done!

Have a terrific Monday, everyone! Let’s get through this week together! We can do it!

xx

– Ashley –

My Favorite Makeup Trends for Spring 2018!

Good Morning, everyone!

Although it doesn’t particularly feel like it or look like it outside right now- Spring is officially here- and with the new season comes embracing and celebrating the latest colors, prints, textures and trends in fashion, accessories, styling and makeup.

I’ve been gradually transitioning into less heavy outerwear (when the weather permits, of course) and slowly but surely working my way out of multiple layers upon layers now that my office and various establishments around the city are starting to lay off the indoor heating a little bit. My boots are beginning to be replaced by flats and heels again. My knit beanies and berets have all but turned into wider-brimmed “Festival Friendly” hats- and my usual darker, neutral-toned tops and trousers are getting ready to go into hibernation while more flowing, breezy fabrics with brighter, bolder shades/designs take their rightful place in the spotlight.

And while I’m so excited to share some of my Spring wardrobe in the coming weeks- it’s this season’s makeup trends I want to talk about today!

I’m all about standing out this Spring. Winter was a pretty tame, subdued season for me in the Cosmetics department. A swipe of mascara here, a matte nude lipstick there- and the faintest of flushes brushed across my cheekbones- but it has been a long, cold and dreary Winter and I am ready to break out of the ordinary and have some fun with the unexpected over the next few months!

Of course, before I can get started with metallic lipsticks or neon eyeliners- I have to set the stage for my look- and picking the right foundation is key. It’s a slippery slope to fall down if you haven’t done your homework when trying to locate a foundation that not only matches your skin tone (I was pretty much orange-colored for most of my teens until I got help by a professional makeup artist at my mother’s urging)– but one that also addresses any skin concerns you may have, too! Acne? Fine lines? Dryness or rosacea? There’s a base out there just waiting for you to find it and have your life changed by it!

If you need some help picking a foundation, and the idea of getting swatched at Sephora is a little overwhelming (I totally get it)– then a really great resource to help you get started can be located over here at Reviews-Dot-Com. With over 700+ foundations tried and tested, ingredients carefully researched, and formulas’ longevity put to the test- the contributors behind Reviews narrowed down the market to a handful of really great liquid and powder formulas- both on the high end of the price range and the more affordable drug store brands, too.

Even more convenient is that Reviews-Dot-Com makes it easy to click your desired shade and purchase the formula of your choosing directly from their website, too. You don’t have to have 40+ tabs open all at once while you’re researching brands and attempting to buy the base you want. It’s all right there!

Once you’ve got your proper foundation applied and blended- then it’s time to have some fun. Here are some of the makeup trends for 2018 I’ve been integrating into my every day look- both in and out of the office!

Eye Gloss: For those mornings when you want your eyes to pop, but don’t want to spend 20 minutes blending your shadow. Meet Eye Gloss- the one-step product to give your eyelids a shiny, reflective sheen that doesn’t feel wet or sticky to the touch. In a variety of universally flattering and light-catching shades, this product is perfect for a flawless, effortless look for your next Spring picnic or Easter dinner with the family. [BUY IT HERE]

Blue Eyeliner: Whoever said people with blue eyes shouldn’t wear blue liner was- let’s be real- a stick in the mud and probably not very fun or adventurous at all. I love blue liner, especially on the cobalt side- and if anything- it makes my eyes pop something fierce. I’ve been sporting Sephora’s Contour Eye Pencil – 12 hour wear in the shade ‘My Boyfriend’s Jeans’ lately [BUY IT HERE]

Pops of Lilac: Whether it’s eyeliner, lipstick/gloss or a tinted mascara- lilac is *the* shade of the season and I couldn’t be happier since it compliments pretty much everyone. I’ve been savoring little hints of it via shimmery eye shadow, like the ‘Blackberry Frost’ duo from Clinique- which is super pigmented, long-lasting and makes for a really great and unique-looking smokey eye. [ BUY IT HERE ]

Metallic/Iridescent Lipsticks: Winters are all about mattes, and Summer is all about tinted and moisturizing balms- but for me- Spring is all about cool metallics in unique shades with pink, purple or red undertones. My favorite lately is Tarte’s “Yacht Week”- an iridescent and sparkly orchid that stands out from across the room. I wore the shade on my most recent trip to NYC and I continually got stopped on the street by people who wanted to know what color it was. [ BUY IT HERE ]

I’ll be posting some pics on my Instagram in the coming days featuring some of these trends/favorites and how I incorporate them with my Spring wardrobe- so keep an eye out!

Do you have any Spring makeup/fashion trends you’re looking forward to experimenting with or showing off now that the season is finally here? I’d love to hear about ’em- so feel free to drop me a comment!

But I’m off to get some work done at the office. Enjoy the rest of your week- and your weekend- everyone! I’ll be back next week!

xx

– Ashley –

“There’s a starman waiting in the sky…”

Good Morning, everyone!

This week’s blogging schedule may be a little off. Instead of my usual Monday, Wednesday and Friday posts- I’m updating today and Thursday (and posts should be back to normal next week!) I was away/out most of this past weekend- which left pretty much no time at all to decompress at my place, catch up on e-mails, and get working on my Blondie Birdie stuff for the week before I was suddenly hurrying back to the office yesterday morning bright and early!

But what a weekend I had! On Saturday, I opted to spend St. Patrick’s Day in Brooklyn, New York- kicking things off at the Brooklyn Museum where I caught their “David Bowie Is” exhibit (which runs through July 15th.) Featuring mementos from Bowie’s childhood up until his death in 2016- including costumes, letters, photographs, instruments,  handwritten music sheets, and so much more- the self-guided audio tour was fascinating and gave an intimate look into the life of one of the most talented, entertaining, versatile artists and visionaries of our lifetime.

I truly could have spent the whole day in there dancing and singing along to the music. It was brilliant- and it you’re in Brooklyn anytime soon- I can’t recommend checking it out enough!

Photos aren’t allowed within the exhibit, but I snapped those in the queue area.

Of course, while I was there- I checked out the rest of the museum, as well- which boasts a pretty impressive art collection. One of my favorite exhibits, apart from the Bowie exhibit and tucked away in a far corner on the fourth floor was Judy Chicago’s ‘The Dinner Party’- a large, triangular dining table scene where each seating arrangement was decorated specifically for various groundbreaking women throughout history.

The museum was a little more lenient about allowing photographs throughout the rest of the exhibits, of course…

(Click the thumbnails to enlarge.)

And with Saturday being St. Patrick’s Day- I made sure to grab a Guinness at a nearby pub before i had to get back to my train to catch a late night ride home!

On Sunday, while I had every intention of heading down to catch the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade- the cold weather and packed sidewalks caused a bit of a road block, and coupled with the newly shortened parade route due to the still towering snowbanks from the recent series of storms/blizzards- finding a decent spot that wasn’t in the direct path of the very chilly wind proved to be a daunting and somewhat hectic task.

My BFF and I finally decided to celebrate the extended holiday indoors with spicy food and an “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” mini-marathon bundled up under blankets. Worth it. Best of all? Friends who did manage to find a spot with a decent view sent some photos over from the parade- which was super sweet of them!

But for now, I’ve got to get to work for the day! A little later on this week, I’m talking Spring makeup (tomorrow is the first day of the season, after all- even though it doesn’t feel like it here!) including finding the best foundation for your skin tone and type. I’m excited to talk about all the hues and trends I’ve been loving lately!

But until then- enjoy your Tuesday, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

Send Pizza and Hot Chocolate…

My view from Tuesday’s storm (3/13/18)

Happy Friday, everyone!

I don’t know about you all- but I’m so happy and so excited the weekend is here! After another busy, snowy week- I’m looking forward to spending a little bit of time away from home. I’m supposed to head to NYC tomorrow morning to spend a day in Brooklyn- just for fun- and check out the David Bowie exhibit over at the Brooklyn Museum (and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at a couple of Irish pubs around the city.)

On Sunday, it’s back to Boston just in time to stop by the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade- a tradition for my friends and I- and partake in a little day-drinking before I head to my place, throw on some sweatpants and watch ‘The Walking Dead’.

Expect a lot of pictures!

I’m really looking forward to just being able to get outside and not have to shovel, really. My brother and my sister-in-law were kind enough to stop by during Tuesday’s blizzard to help me get my driveway clear and my car cleaned off of snow- but I don’t know how much more of this I can take!

“Go on without me. I’m done for.”

I heard we have another storm coming next Tuesday/Wednesday- although reports have varied so I really don’t know how accurate that is. I’m hoping it’s just a rumor or, worst case scenario- we just get some rain, instead. I’m keeping the shovels nearby, though. Just in case!

Enjoy your weekend, everyone- and have a fun, safe St. Patrick’s Day if you’re planning on partying!

xoxo

– Ashley –