My 10 Favorite Photos From 2019

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! It’s the last “TGIF” of the decade!

I cannot believe that in a few days 2019 will be on it’s way out and we will be welcoming 2020. I am still in the process of *trying* to finalize my New Year’s Eve plans with minimal success- but there’s still a couple of days left to make reservations and book accommodations- so I’m struggling not to lose my mind too much.

I’ll have my annual “Year in Review” post up bright and early on Tuesday morning before I head off to wherever my date for the evening and I end up choosing as our champagne and countdown location- but before I do- I wanted to revisit some of my favorite photographs I’ve snapped over these past twelve months and give a little backstory on each of them!

Narrowing down hundreds of photos from 2019 to just ten was no easy feat- and in-between marveling at just how many interesting places I visited and how many surreal experiences I had this year- I agonized over what pictures to include and what ones to keep in the digital scrapbook.

But I DID emerge with ten photos I am very, very fond of- and am excited to share before I head off for the last round of holiday parties this weekend!

10. Green River Festival (Greenfield – July 2019):

Shortly after moving to the Pioneer Valley in the Spring, I discovered that the famed Green River Festival took place within a short walking/driving distance from my apartment. Having never been but hearing nothing but good things from the locals- I decided to head down on it’s last day to check it out.

I had a great time watching live, local bands/artists perform- eating plenty of snacks from surrounding food trucks and shopping small business vendors who had set up impromptu tented storefronts on the grounds- but the fields itself were vast, rolling, and very picturesque. While looking for some shade so I could sit and listen to the music without getting sunburnt- I snapped this photo of a gigantic tree in the middle of everything- just looming in the distance against the blue sky.

I thought it was absolutely lovely.

9. “Bad Bitch Falls” (New York – August 2019):

When Troy tells you he has a surprise for you and that he’s picking you up for an adventure- you just roll with it. Such was the case in August when, after a successful dance performance in Salem the day before- he thought he’d take me somewhere new and beautiful to celebrate.

Over an hour in the car and one grueling uphill hike over the Massachusetts/New York State Line later- it paid off. Bash Bish Falls remains one of *the* highlights of my Summer and 2019 overall. It was breathtaking, refreshing- and despite there being a ton of people with the same idea coming and going- for a little while it felt like Troy and I were the only two people there.

And that feeling was divine.

8. Hozier, Boston Calling (Boston – May 2019):

After joining the Indie617 on-air team in March- I never in my life expected it would lead to me being considered “MEDIA” at the biggest Boston-based festival of the year. But, sure enough- I was all over the place that weekend- hosting my show from a nearby hotel/restaurant, running around the press area, having drinks with friends and watching some of my favorite artists perform insanely good sets.

I snapped this photo of Hozier from the lighting rig just as the sun was setting- and right before I had to run across the field to catch the opening of Tame Impala’s set from a different stage.

I got plenty of sun, cardio, and possible alcohol poisoning during Boston Calling ’19- and I hope I get to do it again for 2020.

7. Now It’s All Covered in Flowers (Shelburne Falls – June 2019):

The only selfie of 2019 comes courtesy of my best friend Sean, who snapped this photo of me while visiting my new place one weekend during the Summer. While showing him around my neighborhood and surrounding attractions- we stopped at the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls to take photos and dodge a LOT of bees.

While walking near a moss/leaf covered building just across the street from the bridge on our way back to my car- Sean snapped this photo of me in my little black and pink floral dress with the impressive backdrop behind me.

I always liked how bright and vibrant the colors were in this picture- and I wish I could have made it back in the Fall  to see the difference the season made.

6. Spider Gates (Leicester – October 2019):

While highlighting some of the creepier, more notorious areas in New England this past Fall- I made a stop at the famed Spider Gates cemetery as I was en route to visit my mom. One of the oldest Quaker cemeteries in Massachusetts- Spider Gates has a chilling (but long since debunked) history of the supernatural.

When I visited in October, however- I was the only one there- which is highly unusual given it’s a popular attraction leading up to Halloween. The grounds were- admittedly- a little eerie, and I ended up getting out of there a little quicker than normal after I’d snapped some photos.

This one, showing the entrance gates and the alleged “hanging tree” overhead- was one of my favorites.

5. Hiking Mount Grace (Warwick – January 2019):

A few days after New Year’s of 2019, Massachusetts experienced our annual “January Thaw”- where the temperatures get a little warmer than usual and any accumulated snow begins to melt. The result is typically rainy, foggy mornings/afternoons.

I went hiking that weekend at Mount Grace- and captured this photo of myself crossing a rather rickety wooden bridge over a rising stream of melted snow and rainwater with the remnants of the Fall leaves passing through. Out of all the pictures of snow-covered trees, mossy rocks and storm clouds I had managed to collect- this one was my favorite- because it reminds me of my favorite king of weather here in New England.

4. Orchard House (Concord – February 2019):

I haven’t seen the new adaptation of “Little Women” yet (although I’ll probably catch it tonight after work or later on this weekend)– but back in February I decided to visit Louisa May Alcott’s home on a whim for a tour and to snap some photos of it’s gorgeous and historic exterior.

If you’re ever in Concord- which is a beautiful town all on it’s own- this cozy little home is a must see. I’m sure with the success of the revamped movie it’ll see an influx of tourists flocking into town to experience it for themselves- but don’t let that stop you. It’s a piece of history and the staff there are extremely friendly and kind.

3. The Eyrie House Ruins (Holyoke – October 2019):

I love this photo for a lot of reasons. Not only because I love abandoned and creepy places- and not only because the story of how this hotel burned down to nothing but ruins in 1901 is a borderline comedy- but because I almost died hiking to get there and this photo is a sort of testament to my own strength and resilience.

Following a heavy rainfall in October, I began the longest and steepest hike of my life to the summit of Mount Tom to photograph the ruins. Soaked, slipping, and out of breath by the time I got there- I was ready to just collapse and curl up- but the ruins were worth the trouble and I had the best time exploring them and taking photos.

Next time I’m wearing proper hiking boots, though.

2. The Stolen Artwork (Boston – March 2019):

There are a lot of places in the Greater Boston area that I have yet to visit- and in 2019 I wanted to scratch a few of them off my Bucket List- starting with the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum where I got to see the empty frames that held still missing artwork- stolen from the museum back in 1990.

Although the museum was absolutely packed the day that I went- I had a wonderful time- and caught this photo without interruption despite the crowds. The galleries are beautiful and I could have easily spent hours longer in there admiring the art and the indoor courtyard- which made even a frigid March day feel like the middle of May.

1. MASS MoCA (North Adams – October 2019):

And finally, on another one of my “Troy said we’re going on an adventure” outings- this shot was taken in the stairwell of MASS MoCA on a rainy October afternoon. Despite all the art, all the intricate paintings and sculptures and prints and designs around the museum- this shot of the building while I stood in the stairwell with Troy was one of my favorite moments of that day and of 2019 because I was so indescribably happy at the time.

That, and MASS MoCA is a beautiful building in a beautiful town.

It had been a perfect day.

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And there you have it- my ten favorite photos from 2019!

I’m hoping to have even more photos to choose from in 2020, since I intend to take my camera with me wherever I go- but for now I’m just going to reflect on these ones I’ve chosen for this year and remember how many good times and good trips I’ve had so far.

I’m off to get some work done and prepare for the very, very busy days ahead. Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

I’ll see you all again on New Year’s Eve!

xx

– Ashley –

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of The Year…

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

Today I wanted to show off this year’s ugly Christmas sweater after an impromptu Holiday-Card-Photo-Shoot earlier this week- but I’m still waiting on the finished pictures to arrive, which is fine- because I’ve definitely been keeping busy since then.

With my holiday shopping *nearly* done (and I’m utterly exhausted from it,) I took some time off on Wednesday night to venture back into Boston with Troy and show my support for Indie617 and our nominated morning show at the Boston Music Awards at the House of Blues.

Although we couldn’t stay for the entire show (we live on the opposite side of the state, after all!) we had a wonderful time. It was great seeing friends and colleagues. catching a quick set from Future Teens and watching one incredible tribute to The Cars’ Ric Ocasek. And, even though it was late and cold out- we grabbed a quick bite at Yard House before hitting the road to come home.

It was absolutely worth being a little groggy yesterday morning.

I’m aiming for a nomination next year for “Best Saturday Show Hosted by Someone Who Calls Herself Pelvis Costello.” Wish me luck!

This weekend I have friends visiting my neck of the woods from out of town for a pre-holiday dinner and long overdue get-together- so I’m really excited- and next week on the blog I’ll have more festive finds and photos as Christmas comes closer and I prepare to wind down 2019 and get ready for the New Year. Time always flies by so quickly these last few weeks of December!

Until then, though- enjoy your weekend, everybody!

xx

– Ashley –

“Be Still My Foolish Heart – Don’t Ruin This On Me…”

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

What an unbelievable whirlwind of a mini-vacation it’s been- and the party has been unexpectedly extended into this weekend! A little later on today, after I have some coffee, freshen up, and make sure the errands I put on the back burner until now get done- I’ll be heading back down to Connecticut and to Foxwoods Casino as a continuation of the North American Hozier tour.

This comes after an absolutely incredible show in Boston the other night- where Troy and I managed to watch the performance from the front row of the absolutely breathtaking Boch Center (also known as the Wang Theatre- which always gets a chuckle from people visiting from out of town.) Prior to the show, we did our best to stay warm in the colder-than-usual temperatures with a quick dinner at Citrus & Salt. Troy had churros for the first time- and that in itself was a wonderful experience. For me, anyway. I enjoyed it.

It was, by far, one of the best shows I’ve been to in years. So much talent on one stage- from the opening act, Angie McMahon- all the way to the encore that resulted in a deafening ovation from a sold out venue. There was even a birthday toast for one of the Hozier bandmates- resulting in everyone on stage wearing a red wig to match her hair as they drank whiskey and the crowd sang along to “Happy Birthday” for her. Such a sweet, adorable moment.

And after some catch up and some drinks with a dear friend backstage- it was time to get moving onto the next venue. The tour life, after all!

Needless to say, I’ve been on a bit of a cloud nine. I’ve been having so much fun. Monday might be only a few short days away- but work is the last thing I’m concerning myself with right now. I just want to enjoy these final days off!

Tomorrow, I’ll be making the brief trip into Boston to host my Indie617 Saturday show- with a bit of a catch! I’ll actually be broadcasting live from the Ski & Snowboard Expo at the Seaport World Trade Center. If you’re in attendance- come by our booth and say hello!

And after I fully rest and recuperate this weekend- I’ll be back on Monday morning with another recap, I’m sure- as well as some holiday-inspired posts and a look at what I wear to look cute (but stay comfortable) when I’m going to be stuffing my face on Thanksgiving.

Enjoy your Friday and the remainder of your week, everybody! Stay warm and safe out there!

xx

– Ashley –

October 2019: In a Nutshell

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

Today is looking like it’s going to be a cold, rainy and windy one outside- but that hasn’t stopped me from reaching peak spooky spirit for tonight’s festivities! My apartment is decorated, I’ve got my bowl of candy prepared to put out for my neighbors- I’m dressed in something bone-chilling (but in actuality is quite warm for the weather!) and I’m ready to watch scary movies, eat pizza, and pass out candy to the trick-or-treaters with family and friends later on- as is tradition!

With tomorrow being the first day of November, and- sadly- it marking the beginning of the end of this most lovely of Fall seasons as Winter and the holidays draw closer and closer- I wanted to take some time to show my appreciation for my favorite month out of the year! October has always been one of the busier, more action-packed times of the year for me- and 2019 was no exception to that!

To keep things at peak-creepy when I wasn’t working- I made it a point to visit/photograph plenty of unusual (and potentially haunted) locations in New England/Massachusetts throughout October. Like this one, or this one, and this one, too– but I made sure to leave the poltergeists where I found them when it came time to share new recipe posts or peeks into some of my favorite mid-Fall finds in the depths of my closet.

I enjoyed capturing the New England foliage at it’s peak, spending a couple of days in Boston with someone beloved to see Bon Iver together– and hanging out with friends from work to marvel at thousands (literally) of jack-o-lanterns! And, of course- I enjoyed movies, meals and quality time with the people I care about when I could.

So, what’s in store for November? After the Halloween-related events wind down this weekend- it’s all bout preparing for Thanksgiving, Winter and beginning the process of reflecting on 2019 and my hopes for 2020 as the holidays are right around the corner!

I’ve got some more Autumn-inspired recipes to share, more cold weather outfits to pose in, and a little more local travel planned within the coming weeks (with some more live shows in my future!)– and I’m so excited to share it all here!

But for now, I’m going to get some work done from home- make sure I’ve got my backup candy on hand- and get ready for tonight! I’ll be back next week on my normal blogging schedule (Monday, Wednesday and Friday)– so be sure to check in!

Have a fun, safe, and thrilling Halloween, everybody! Go get that candy!

xx

– Ashley –

“Cause every place I go- I take another place with me…”

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

It feels weird to be back at my office after having two days off during the week and then working from home for a half day yesterday- but I’m here and determined to get some stuff accomplished and get ready for the weekend after a planned dinner with my family a little later on tonight.

What an interesting few days it’s been, though!

As most of you already knew since I was pretty much gushing about it on social media- Tuesday was when Troy and I headed into Boston for the day to enjoy the weather (pre-bomb cyclone) and catch a set from Bon Iver at TD Garden from the front row. We had everything planned well in advance- but as most of you know and probably attest to yourselves- rarely do things ever go exactly as expected.

Things were off to a rough start when our AirBnB (which I will refrain from linking to on here even though all my instincts are telling me to put our host on blast) was not only not at all as it was advertised- but was also incredibly risky to both our health and privacy. We didn’t feel safe leaving our personal belongings there or sleeping there- so we opted to drive back to the Pioneer Valley after the show, instead.

For those of you who may not be aware- that is a LONG drive.

I was admittedly gutted- since I had been looking forward to being in the city for a couple of days- but when life gives you lemons and all that. Instead, we made as much as we could with the time we *did* have- including grabbing dinner and drinks in the North End at Assaggio and strolling around the city prior to the show starting.

Bon Iver was, of course- brilliant- and our seats were fantastic. Feist opened the show (and played “My Moon My Man”- which absolutely made my night) so I was very, very happy. I remain so grateful to everyone who facilitated getting us the seats after I had phoned in a favor. The chain of people is still a little foggy- but I’m hoping to get the specifics so I can send the proper thank yous accordingly.

On Wednesday, having returned to the Valley in lieu of tolerating unsatisfactory AirBnB accommodations- we opted to spend a lazy, rainy day dining out, driving, and catching peak foliage from Poet’s Seat Tower- which is just a short drive/hike away from my apartment and looks over all of Greenfield.

You bet I took photos. Click to enlarge!

Closing out the evening, before having to get ready for some work yesterday morning- Troy and I swung by the West End Pub in Shelburne Falls- right near the Bridge of Flowers- right before the night’s storm rolled through and took down most of the leaves (and a few trees, as well.)

Maple cheesecake is apparently a thing there- and I am filled with regret that I didn’t know about it sooner because it ruled.

And now, a couple days later and still a little groggy and in “mini-vacation mode-” here I am. Reluctantly getting back into a work state of mind.

Next week on the blog I’ll have some more creepy, kooky (mysterious and spooky) locations around the New England area to share, a return visit to one of my favorite Halloween attractions in Rhode Island to dissect- and maybe another peek into my closet before it comes down to the final hours ’til Halloween!

Until then, though- enjoy your weekend, everybody! Stay safe out there and be good to each other!

xx

– Ashley –