July 2019: In a Nutshell

Good Afternoon and Happy Wednesday, everyone!

While posting this late in the day always makes me feel a bit unproductive- I’ve actually been anything but. I’ve been working from home since 7:30 this morning after a super fun (but super late) night out last night. I’ve been running on fumes but getting SO much done today!

Not bad for someone who hasn’t even had coffee or a shower yet, right? Gross, I know- but that’s next on my “To Do” list for today.

Speaking of “To Do” lists- my Summer 2019 Bucket List is still chock full of things I want to accomplish in these final hazy, humid August weeks ahead before September and Fall creep up on us as they always do. Autumn may be my favorite season, but that’s not to say I don’t love the Summertime, too!

With tomorrow marking the first day of a new month, it’s that time where I look back on the last few weeks and recap the highs and lows of the month that was- and July was full of them.

I started the month by meeting my neighbors and making new friends at a community potluck for the 4th of July– and cooling off at what has quickly become one of my favorite spots in the Valley after I was introduced to it by a friend last Summer while I was visiting the area. I’ve returned to Ashfield Lake multiple times this month- especially when New England was being gripped day after day by heatwaves and scorching temperatures.

I also began to further plant some roots in my community as I embraced and attended the Green River Festival– which takes place a short walking distance (and drive) away from my apartment. Although I had only gone for the day- I had a wonderful time in the sunshine listening to music, eating fun food and buying cute clothes.

Of course, July isn’t without sad memories and reflection. This past month marked seven long years since my father passed away, and I opened up to pen a tell-all about the aftermath, the trauma, and the recovery with losing someone you’re close with so abruptly.

Additionally, work was difficult this month- both at my full-time job where tensions are running higher than the temperatures outside between co-workers, supervisors and at times- myself- but also within the Pioneer Valley theater community where I am preparing to ride out the last few shows of my contracted season while simultaneously juggling a plethora of other responsibilities.

And to top it all off- I got an insane flu during what have been the hottest days of the year to date. I was miserable- but thankfully was able to bounce back without a trip to the ER.

All in all? July left me TIRED, y’all!

But August is just a few hours away, and I’ve edited/re-tweaked my Summer Bucket List to better balance with my still hectic schedule. There’s a lot of fun things I’m determined to do/see and I’m excited to finally get around to it- starting this coming weekend- and of course I’ll take plenty of pictures along the way!

So although July was an emotional, physical, and mental roller coaster at times- it wasn’t all bad. It had it’s wonderful moments between sticky days, sweaty nights, sunburns and sneezing fits. I’ll cheers to the good times, for sure!

But I’m also going to toast to August- a new month filled with new possibilities that I hope is good to us all and doesn’t require nearly as much air conditioning to feel comfortable as July did.

And If you’re in need of some late Summer assistance- don’t forget to:

GIVE MY SUMMER 2019 PLAYLIST A LISTEN!

TRY SOME OF MY RECENT SUMMER-INSPIRED RECIPES!

And also go see a movie because there’s so many good things playing right now. Popcorn AND A/C? Yes please!

I’ll be back on Friday with a look at last night’s shenanigans. Enjoy your “Hump Day”, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

The Waters Fine…

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

It’s back to work bright and early for me this morning, unfortunately. Always a daunting and difficult thing to face after a long weekend that was filled with sunshine (and only one or two freak thunderstorms in passing.) I hope those of you who also had an extended holiday weekend for the Fourth of July enjoyed it- and those who didn’t get a break really soon!

My Fourth of July was not spent on a beach or at a park watching fireworks and eating hot dogs and hamburgers (not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course)– but at a community potluck thrown in my neighborhood. I was invited by a new friend-of-a-friend, Kat- and met a bunch of new faces and some additional newcomers to the Pioneer Valley while eating fresh salads, pasta, grilled vegetables and different types of pies. I also got to wave a sparkler around for the first time in about twelve years- which was very, very exciting for me!

I had a really, really good time and I’m looking forward to seeing new friends at upcoming events this Summer.

In the days after the 4th, I made sure to spend some time with my mom and Oliver- including lots of couch snuggles and binge-watching TV in front of the air conditioner in-between errands and ordering pizza. With the heat and the humidity at an all-time high on Friday and Saturday- there was no way I was turning the oven on.

Yesterday, knowing it was my last day of freedom before I returned to the office- I made sure to stay cool and go off the grid for a while- opting out of driving two hours to the beach and instead traveling about thirty minutes away to Ashfield Lake (where my phone has no service at all) for a quick dip.

I had my camera with me- and stored it somewhere dry- but I managed to get a couple of photos while I was lounging.

It was a beautiful afternoon/evening. I’m still very much an ocean girl- but I’ll never say no to a quiet, clean, peaceful lake.

A little later on this week I’m sharing one of my favorite “comeback” pieces from my Summer wardrobe (I love when old trends turn up again!) and whipping up a really delicious- and icy- dessert recipe to cool you all down before this coming weekend!

But before that- I gotta’ get to work. I don’t want to- but I have to.

Hang in there, everybody. Let’s push through to Friday. We can make it if we try!

xx

– Ashley –

OOTD: Your Best American Girl…

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

I hope those of you here in the States had a wonderful Fourth of July. Mine was exquisite- spent in the company of both longtime and new friends at various little get togethers, gatherings and potlucks. I’ll have a full recap of my night (and this coming weekend) within a few days- but first I wanted to share my spin on dressing patriotic without looking too over-the-top.

When I was a little kid, my mom liked to dress me to the nines for whatever holiday we were celebrating. Color-coordinated shirts/dresses, shorts/tights, shoes and hair accessories. For the Fourth of July- I was decked out in more Americana, red white and blue stuff than any clothing store had any business selling.

Now that I’m older- I’m all about looking festive but staying comfortable and practical. I want outfits that are easy to take from an afternoon cookout to evening fireworks- from evening fireworks to post-fireworks cocktails. I don’t want to look like I raided a novelty shop or catalog for the cheesiest America-themed pieces around- but I still want to show a little patriotism despite my current political views and opinions on this country not being exactly favorable at the moment.

For yesterday’s 4th of July celebrations- I figured two out of the three American colors wasn’t bad. I chose these little navy blue lace shorts (companions to the black ones I wore in my last OOTD post) and this slouchy, deep red billowy top with bell sleeves. The fabrics were lightweight and comfortable- which was a necessity since temperatures skyrocketed to the high 80s yesterday afternoon and humidity was at an all-time high.

There was no way I would have survived in denim or anything other than breathable cotton without pouring sweat!

For my shoes, I donned my favorite patriotic pair of flats that I’ve had for a few years now (and are still in mint condition) to incorporate some of the white in my red, white and blue.

And for those who saw me without sunglasses yesterday afternoon/evening- I utilized my blue FENTY liquid liner for an extra pop of color!

I’m sure next year I’ll try something a little different, like red and white or all white with pops of blue here and there- but we’ll see!

This weekend I’m heading to the beach, chilling a recipe for Summertime sweets I’ll have up a little later on next week- and getting some overdue errands done in-between time in the sun and surf!

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend ahead of you. Stay cool, stay hydrated, wear SPF (and reapply it often)– and stay safe!

See you again on Monday!

xx

– Ashley –

“No Lifeguard On Duty” – A Summer 2019 Playlist

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Before we break for the extended Fourth of July weekend (I’m counting down the minutes until there’s BBQ and fireworks…) and I get ready to do the bare minimum at my office today- I wanted to share a little playlist I’d been putting together over the past couple of weeks in anticipation for impending beach days, popsicles and flip flops- three things I’m really looking forward to in the next few days.

As always, the playlist has been uploaded on Spotify for convenience. The tracks, mostly newer from both this year and 2018- were compiled from some of my favorite “Summer-esque” tunes we predominantly feature on Indie617– and vary between fun and upbeat to dreamy and electronic to moody and melodic. It’s a little bit of everything- but then again so is Summer, isn’t it?

This is “No Lifeguard On Duty – A Summer 2019” playlist – CLICK HERE TO LAUNCH

– TRACK LISTING –ย 
  1. Wallows (Ft. Clairo) – Are You Bored Yet?
  2. BLOXX – Sea Blue
  3. Alex Lahey – Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself
  4. Ladytron – The Island
  5. Arlie – Big Fat Mouth
  6. Japanese Breakfast – Essentially
  7. Stella Donnely – Tricks
  8. Tame Impala – Patience
  9. Local Natives – When Am I Gonna’ Lose You?
  10. Vampire Weekend – This Life

I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do!

I’ll be back bright and early on Friday before I hit the beach to show off some semi-patriotic pieces from my closet- but until then- enjoy your “Hump Day”, everyone!

And have a safe and joyous Fourth! If you’re setting off fireworks- please be careful.

You don’t want to go viral for an unfortunate sparkler accident.

xx

– Ashley –

“She was an American girl…”

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

It’s back to blogging for me after a few days off to celebrate the Fourth of July, spend some time with friends, and just unplug for a little while. As much as I enjoy putting together new content for Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays- sometimes it’s nice to just leave e-mails on unread for a bit and reconnect with nature and loved ones.

I highly recommend taking a break like that every once in a while! I try to do it once a month if it’s possible. It isn’t always easy- but it *is* always rewarding.

But these past few days have been a lot of fun, and I have the photos to prove it!

On Saturday, I headed down to Foxwoods for their annual ComiCONN Comic-Convention with my friend Evan to browse local artists/businesses and see some stars (also also eat the most delicious nachos and quesadillas at Scorpion Bar.) I’ve always been a bit of a Mohegan Sun girl- since most of my favorite bands/artists typically play there- but my first trip to Foxwoods in a long time didn’t disappoint. They’ve really done a lot with the place since the last time I was there and it’s very nice.

While we were there, I got to see/chat up ‘The Walking Dead’s Ross Marquand (he plays Aaron)– and he was an absolute sweetheart. He was so kind, funny, charismatic, and personable. That show might be taking all the wrong turns lately- but I’m so excited to see what he does next!

On Sunday, after running some pre-work week errands, I once again found myself in Western Massachusetts- this time at Ashfield Lake for the very first time with a friend of mine. We were desperate to beat the heat wave that has been mercilessly hammering down across New England for the better part of a week- and the water couldn’t have been more perfect. Not too cold, but not too warm after roasting under the sun all day. It was just right- and completely refreshing.

After we dried off, it was off to Amherst for dinner before I had to head back home and get ready for work.

The photo at the top of the post was taken right before we left the lake- as the sun was setting. One of Massachusetts’ hidden gems!

Although I had to work on Monday and Tuesday (and again yesterday and today)– the Fourth of July was spent in the wilderness. Specifically, in the White Mountains- where I spent the day hiking and swimming in streams, under waterfalls, and in lakes until it was time to head back into civilization, the city- and enjoy some fireworks and BBQ.

I especially love the White Mountains this time of year because it’s not ski-season, which means many of the busier areas and attractions aren’t as busy. I was able to rest and relax and just take in the sounds of the mountains around me until I had to rejoin Boston’s nightlife again. It was beautiful.

And now- back home and rejuvenated- I’m preparing for the weekend. After work today, I’ll be visiting a friend in Northampton before he takes the stage this weekend for a Summer-long theater project, and I’ve got a pretty great recipe up my sleeve that I’m excited to whip up tomorrow (and share next week!)

With that and a planned beach day with friends? It’s shaping up to be a lovely couple of days ahead!

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful Friday, and an even better weekend! I’ve got to get some work done before I take off again!

See you all on Monday!

xx

– Ashley –