Lobster and Lounging…

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone!

I’m excited that today is not only my work from home day, but also my designated half day- which means I can get things done in the comfort of my pajamas before I mentally check out at noon, get dressed- and go have some fun with what’s left of my afternoon!

Truthfully I’m still sort of in “rest and relaxation mode” from this past weekend’s excursion to New Hampshire with my mom, my cousin, my cousin’s fiancé- and my dog- where we attended the Hampton Beach Seafood Festival for a day. It’s been our tradition for quite a few years now- and I look forward to it every August/September because it’s essentially just a day to eat great food, stroll the boardwalk, play some classic arcade games (and skee-ball!) and snag some pretty terrific bargains and sales as all the seaside shops attempt to get rid of their remaining inventory before they close up for the Fall/Winter months!

And while I’ve typically gone for lobster rolls as my indulgence of choice during the festival- this year I gravitated towards crab cakes and lobster rangoons (absolutely delicious, by the way!) with freshly-squeezed lemonade from various vendors around the food/cooking tents.

I’m pretty sure I could have easily eaten 10x more of everything- but then I wouldn’t be able to fit into the absolutely adorable clothes I bought while I was in town!

Each year I try to pick up a couple of things I can wear during the following Summer or for future trips to hotter climates- but this year I decided to pick up a couple of dresses (and a new purse to give my current Prada one a bit of a break!) that I can easily wear and accessorize throughout the early Fall. the purse itself came with an accessory- a lovely bit of satin cloth and a navy blue tassel that is around the handle.

The first dress is a foxy (literally) frock with buttons and a really cute cartoon fox print all over- and the second is a ruffled, super soft floral dress that I am going to pair with some cowboy-style boots after I go shoe-shopping this weekend. I can’t wait to wear this out on my next night on the town!

And everything I purchased was under $50 total. Not bad, right?

Overall it was a really lovely day and I’m excited to do it all again next year. Being at the beach and watching the waves always relaxes me- no matter what time of year it is.

This particular trip got me thinking about Hurricane Dorian, though- which threatened our weekend forecast for a few days but thankfully didn’t turn into anything more serious- and it got me thinking about the Bahamas.

On Friday, I’ll be taking a quick break from my usual Autumnal Activities to share ways you can help those affected by what was one of the worst hurricanes we’ve seen shown up on a radar in quite some time. I’m eager to help, and i hope you are, too!

But for now- I’ve got to get to work. Enjoy the rest of your “Hump Day,” everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: August 2019!

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

The end (of August and the Summer!) is nigh- but I’m ready for sweaters, leaf peeping, scary movies and pumpkin patches- especially now that I’m living in one of the most picturesque, straight-out-of-a-postcard areas in New England! It’s going to be my first Fall in the Pioneer Valley- and there are so many things I want to do!

But respects must be paid to August and really the entire Summer of 2019, first- which I fully intend to do tomorrow morning for my monthly “In a Nutshell” post where I recap the weeks that were and talk about what I have planned for the weeks ahead. There’s a lot of ground to cover- but it’s going to be a fun trip down (recent) Memory Lane!

Before that, though- I wanted to share some of my favorite things from August 2019. From beauty products, to jewelry, to silly sentimental pieces- all the way to movies, music, television, etc.

This is my usual months-end “Favorites” post- and as always- I’ll be starting with the things I was able to photograph, first!

Starting with the silly, sentimental pieces- I had picked up this pair of silver, glittery sandals for about $8 at Primark a couple of years ago when I was strapped for footwear just hours before I was headed to a beach bonfire- but these have become my default Summer shoe choice ever since. This past August was no different, as I wore these trusty, surprisingly durable beauties during road trips, ice cream pit stops, lazier days at the office- and lounging lake-side.

I’m going to store them in the back of my closet until next Summer- where I’m sure they’ll see more adventures.

Exfoliation is key year-round, but especially in the Summer when I’m all about exposed legs, arms, and the occasional exposed midriff. I want my skin glowing and smooth- so I try to find scrubs that both buff away the dead skin but also conditions without drying me out.  I’m partial to sugar scrubs, and this whipped one from LALICIOUS does the job just right.

Not only does this scrub smell incredible, like a candy shop- but it leaves my skin touchable, soft, and glowing.

The scrub is $35, but a little goes a long way- so one tub of this will last you well over the course of a season!

Of course, I can’t exfoliate my body without making sure my face is super smooth, too- but being that it’s far more sensitive than say, my knees or my elbows- I rely on this gentle microdermabrasion scrub from Mary Kay that a friend turned me onto earlier this month.

I only use this lightweight exfoliant about 2 times a week if that- but the results are instant- and my serums and moisturizers sink into my skin with so much more ease whenever I apply them after gently cleansing my skin with this scrub. Throughout August, my complexion has been clear, smooth, and even.

Finally, my go-to jewelry for August was simple and consisted of two things. One, a moonstone statement ring I had picked up a couple of weekends ago during the annual Massachusetts Tax-Free Weekend.

The other? A throwback to my pre-teen and early teenage years with the return of the cowrie shell craze. While I couldn’t bring myself to wear a choker of these like the guys I grew up with used to do all. the. time.– I thought the anklet was a nice, more subtle choice.

I wore this all during the Summer, but it really made a splash in August when more people noticed and seemed to get on board with the trend making a comeback! Now we just need to bring back those glittery butterfly-shaped hair clips and I’ll be thrilled.

And that, my friends- just about does it for the photogenic favorites. But, as always- a one or two more things made the list this month, too!

– MISCELLANEOUS –

All Things Seafood – I had said that my Summer 2019 bucket list consisted of eating as much lobster, crab and scallops as possible, and in August I rose to the challenge since many of my favorite seaside shacks close up after Labor Day.

With stops at some of my longtime favorite locations and some new finds here in the Valley (including a delicious chowder house- which I’ll be revisiting soon!) I’m pretty sure I don’t even want to look at anything from the ocean again until next May/June at least.

Clowns, Baby! – With “It: Chapter 2” coming out in theaters next week, a new trailer for “The Joker” dropping earlier this week (the movie premieres in October) and a new teaser poster for the next Harley Quinn movie making the rounds recently- Summer 2019 is all about clownery and I am here for it. My apologies for anyone with a clown phobia- but I am so, so excited for all of it!

Aaaaand now I’m finished! Although it’s the end of the work-week, I’ve still got some things to do around the office before I break for the long weekend- so I’ve got to get going!

As always, if you’d like to share your own favorite things from this past August- feel free to drop me a line!

Enjoy your Friday, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

OOTD: On The Lake…

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

As we get ready to head into another work week (and the last week of August- if you can believe it- because I certainly can’t!) I have been preparing the inevitable wardrobe “switcheroo” or transition into heavier, more Fall-friendly layers. We are, of course- going to see plenty more scorching and humid days ahead- since Summer in New England never tends to bow out particularly gracefully- but it’s been a bit chilly the past few days/nights, and I like to be prepared!

I’ve been picking up some lightweight sweaters/cardigans and not-too-heavy leggings in recent days, and as I had mentioned last week during my Tax-Free Weekend Haul reveal– this “lake” sweater was/is going to be ideal for those kind of cool/kind of warm days that tend to show themselves on and around Labor Day.

I actually had the opportunity to wear it this past weekend when temperatures dipped into the high sixties (and where it’s been about eighty degrees and higher in recent weeks- we could definitely feel the change!) but still made it a point to keep it Summery with a pair of distressed denim shorts, a grey cotton tank top, and flip flops- which are not pictured since I don’t wear shoes in my apartment!

With my color-changing moonstone ring, I was ready to go about my weekend errands, as well as some unexpected travel to Rhode Island- which I’ll get into a little later on this week. I took a LOT of photos.

I’ll also have my monthly “Favorites” roundup ready to go on Friday morning- and Saturday, as is tradition with the last day of the month- I’ll take a look back on this August that was before we jump right into September!

Until then, I’ve got some work to do at the office- and I best get to it!

Enjoy the start of your week, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

Tax-Free Splurges…

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

As my life and my posting schedule falls into some semblance of normalcy (as normal as it can, anyway)– I’m recovering from a bit of retail therapy from this past weekend where I dipped into some local shops in-between working on a couple of my side jobs and projects.

Saturday and Sunday was our annual “Tax Free Weekend” here in Massachusetts- and it’s exactly what it sounds like. For two days, there’s no sales tax on anything- and considering we typically get taxed quite a bit on any other day (they don’t call us Taxachusetts for nothing)– it’s the perfect opportunity for people to buy those big ticket items they’ve had their eyes on- like furniture, home goods, electronics, etc.- and still be able to save a bit of money.

And while I’m all set with furniture, appliances and TV sets- there were a couple of recent fashion/accessory items I’d spotted in storefront windows in and around my neighborhood that I thought I’d snatch up while they were not only on sale- but not being taxed, too.

I didn’t go completely overboard, of course- because a girl still has to eat- but I am loving what I was able to buy and couldn’t wait to share them here!

The first is this crop-top/sweater from ENJOY. in Shelburne Falls. While I’m definitely going to be pairing this one with a blue or white tank top underneath (I don’t think I’m fully ready to embrace the crop-top lifestyle just yet)– I can’t wait to wear this near the end of Summer/beginning of Fall when it starts to cool down a little but we’re all still spending as much as time by the water as possible.

The cure little “lake” written on the front in white was what sold me. Designed by Wooden Ships– this was marked down considerably from $112. Sold!

Also from ENJOY. is this stainless steel necklace that I’ve been eyeing for quite some time. Designed by Close 2 Ur ❤, this durable pendant depicts two bears in the forest- and is made in the USA. How cute is this?

This is another piece I’m going to be sporting a lot in the late Summer/early Fall since I spend a lot of time out in the woods photographing the foliage and change in the season!

Down the street from ENJOY. is Bridge Street Bazaar, another little local boutique with the cutest tops and accessories.  Right away I spotted this light, thin white tank top- covered in the most adorable bee pattern- on one of their mannequins and popped in to snatch it up.

I want to say that the company who makes these tops might be a mass-producer ala Primark (I couldn’t locate an official website)– but it was $19.00 and without tax- that’s good enough for me to have something fun to wear in these last few weeks of Summer.

And finally, a Bridge Street Bazaar original was this moonstone statement ring that turned colors as I was holding it in my hands (it sort of reminds me of cotton candy- since it fluctuates between bubblegum pink and sky blue.)

On sale and without tax- I gladly parted with my $10 to have a new ring to wear to work and out on the town. It’s so pretty and fits perfectly on my finger- no adjustments needed! You can see a photo of it on me HERE.

With under $100 spent and no tax- I’d say I made out pretty good with two cute new tops and two new pieces of jewelry I’ll be incorporating into my growing wardrobe here in the Valley. I’m very pleased- and so is my wallet! I can’t wait to do it again next year. Maybe by then I’ll be in need of a new mixer or a TV or something.

But until then- I’m off to work! Enjoy the start to your week, everyone! Let’s push through to Friday!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: July 2019!

Good Morning and Happy Monday, y’all!

After a busy Saturday in Boston (my first time downtown in over two months!) with Indie617 and spending my Sunday catching up on errands I had fallen behind on while I was ill last week- I think it’s safe to say I’m back to full health and ready to return to my normal work and blogging schedule.

With only a couple of days of July left- and no, I can’t believe it’s over already either!- my attention turns to recapping the month and preparing for some serious “Summertime Bucket List” cramming in August. I have a lot of thoughts about July- which was filled with many ups, downs, surprises and heatwaves- but I’m reserving those for Wednesday morning’s scheduled “In a Nutshell” post- as is tradition!

Today I want to focus on some of my favorite things from July. Products, thrifty finds, entertainment, etc. As always, I start with the things I was able to capture on camera and work my way down the list from there.

So without further delay- let’s get started!

First things first, you’ll notice this month’s items are placed on what is undoubtedly the greatest welcome mat ever created. I decided to truly make my new apartment a *real* home by investing in a proper mat for my door- but not any old one would do. I needed something that perfectly captured my personality and the laid-back, silly vibe I want radiating through my home for anyone who comes to visit.

What better way to do that than by capturing the most infamous line in “The Room” and proudly displaying Tommy Wiseau’s face in the process? This mat, courtesy of TheMatadoorCo, arrived super quick and is high quality. I love it!

I’ve been trying to make time to read before bed each night (when I’m not out late, obviously) since I have so many unfinished books in my collection. I recently added one more, and I haven’t been able to put it down since it arrived via Amazon. Natalie Wood was/is one of my favorite actresses of all time- gone too soon- and this biography by Suzanne Finstad, which was a New York Times Best Seller, is fantastic.

Featuring insight from the people who knew Natalie best and never before seen photos- I’m learning even more about such an incredible and gifted woman whose death still remains a troubling mystery.

I can’t tan. Actually, let me correct that- I can tan, but it requires getting a painful and dangerous sunburn beforehand. And, growing up in the nineties and early 00s- I am not stranger to self-tanners. All of them have left me orange. ALL. OF. THEM.

I was late getting on board the Jergens’ “Natural Glow” train because I assumed it would result in the same, tangerine-tint on my legs and arms that wouldn’t wash off or fade for weeks. Desperate for just a little color- I gave it a shot earlier this month and I’ve been swearing by it ever since. Obviously, this cream works as a moisturizer so my skin stays soft and smooth- but after a couple of weeks of daily use- I have a natural sun-kissed look, too.

It’s nothing too dramatic. I definitely don’t look like I’ve been in Cancun all July- but I also don’t look *as* pasty as usual- and it’s much safer and way more comfortable than getting a sunburn and waiting for it to gradually turn!

Out of all the steps I take in the morning when I’m getting ready for my day- my least favorite is fussing with my very thick and very curly hair. I just like to throw some product in and let it air dry while I tend to more pressing things. However, a lot of products are hit or miss. Some work well, while others leave my hair looking and feeling stiff or crunchy (the worst!)

I recently stumbled on this butter cream product from Garnier– specifically for curly hair and for air drying- and I don’t think I will EVER use anything else other than this moving forward. Not only does it smell delicious- but it softens my curls, tames frizz without making my hair feel heavy and hard- and actually repairs my ends while it’s left in. I have gotten more compliments in the few weeks I’ve been using this than I ever did with other and often more expensive products that were aimed towards women/men with curly hair.

I wanted new sunglasses before Summer wrapped up, and I wanted them to be unique and bright. Being in my early thirties, however- makes finding such a thing at a bit more difficult- especially since I’m a working professional and would be seen entering/exiting my place of employment in them.

I can’t necessarily walk into my office with bright pink flower-shaped sunglasses without raising a few eyebrows.

Instead, I opted for these chic and modified heart-shaped frames from Sojos that give me the best of both worlds- color and a fun, interesting shape- but subdued enough where I can wear them to work or out and about without looking like I’m trying to dress like a teenager.

These come in a variety of shades- but I am absolutely sold on the candy apple red!

When my last tube of mascara got a little goopy in the July heat- I knew it was time for a replacement. While in my local pharmacy, I scoured the aisles for something lengthening, long-lasting and waterproof (a must-have in New Engand humidity.) I spotted the striped packaging for Kokie’s “Stay Dry” black mascara and was immediately intrigued.

I ended up buying a tube, and it has not let me down since. The mascara softens, lengthens and thickens my lashes without making them look too fake or clumped together- and the formula has outlasted sweat, humidity, lake water and unfortunately a few unexpected tears as well.

Best of all? It’s only $7.00 a tube- so I think it’s safe to say this is my new go-to Summertime mascara.

And that just about does it for my photogenic favorites- but a couple of other things made the list, too!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

“The Lion King” – With a recent string of childhood movie re-makes and re-imaginations (and more scheduled to come)– this CGI re-telling of what is undoubtedly one of Disney’s most beloved, celebrated, and possibly traumatic children’s movies ever made was surprisingly really, really good.

The effects were breathtaking, but it was the excellent choice of voice actors that really made this one worth the watch for me- particularly Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner as Timon and Pumbaa. I was actually laughing out loud in the theater whenever you could hear them on screen. It was perfect.

– MISCELLANEOUS –

Starbucks’ S’mores Frappuccino – AKA, the only thing that helped my throat while I was sick. They’re a limited edition Summertime drink- so be sure to grab one before they start rolling out the Fall beverages in early-to-mid September if you haven’t done so already!

And that just about does it for me today, guys. Like I said earlier- I’ll have my full recap of July up and running this coming Wednesday before we swan dive into August. This month was a doozy.

As always, if you want to share some of your favorite things from this past month- feel free to drop me a line!

Enjoy your Monday and here’s hoping it’s an easy start to the work week ahead. Cheers!

xx

– Ashley –