Film Wars!

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone! We’re almost to Friday (not that I’m keeping track or anything…)

The good news is that I’ve nearly fully recovered from my recent cold/flu- save for a little residual congestion that has been giving me the worst headaches imaginable- but I’m back on my feet, working without interruption, and making all sorts of plans!

The bad news was that this past weekend, that pesky aforementioned cold/flu was still leaving me bit lethargic- and although I got a few errands done (with some difficulty)– I didn’t accomplish nearly as much as I had hoped during such a lovely and sunny couple of days.

One thing I *did* do, however- was head to my hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts- and to my favorite dive bar, Ralph’s, to catch their annual local film festival/competition- the Worcester Film Wars!

The premise of Film Wars is pretty cool- and anyone can enter the contest whether they have a background in acting/directing/editing/etc. or not. You and your team of friends fill out the online registration form, and then you or a representative from your team attend the launch event (also at Ralph’s) where you’ll get to spin the wheel of movie must-haves (and referred to as the “Devil Wheel.”) Whatever the spinner lands on- be it a wardrobe piece, a line of dialogue, a specific color or sound effect- is something you and your team will need to incorporate into your movie!

From there, teams have exactly 72 hours to write, shoot, edit and submit their films (3-7 minutes long!) to the judges where they will then be premiered at the actual competition the following week in front of an outdoor audience who will individually vote on their favorite of the bunch. Winners get some really great prizes from local sponsors/companies- and it’s an overall fun, silly, boozy time for everyone.

I had a blast catching up with friends from back home, having a couple of drinks, and watching all the participating teams’ efforts. It was so much fun- and the weather held up nicely despite there being possible rain in the forecast!

You can actually view some of this year’s (and past years) submissions by CLICKING HERE. Just be warned that we’re from Massachusetts- and we swear. Like, a lot. Most of those short films are probably not safe for work.

For now, I’m heading off to get some work done before my phone starts ringing off the hook, though- and then it’s onward to some dinner plans tonight!

Keep an eye out this coming Friday before I break for the weekend, however- since I’ve got a pretty fun dessert recipe to share!

Have a great day, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

May 2018: In a Nutshell

Good Morning and Happy Thursday, everyone! The weekend is so close we can practically reach out and touch it!

I am admittedly feeling pretty under the weather today. Ever since I got back from D.C., I’ve been battling a somewhat tough-as-nails flu that has rendered me essentially helpless and useless for the past 48+ hours. I’m hoping it breaks before the weekend so I’m not bedridden during my days off- but we’ll see! I’ve got plenty of things to binge On-Demand and on Netflix if it doesn’t.

But enough jumping ahead! This post is about jumping backwards (a little) and taking a nice, long and loving look at the month of May, 2018- and what a month it was!

In perhaps what proved to be one of my busiest, bustling, most jam-packed few weeks ever- May started off with a bang when my friends and I ditched work for a day to kick off the Summer slightly early at Singing Beach- and set off on a seasonal mission to try as many new restaurants and bars as possible (Citrus & Salt is a hit, by the way!)

Mother’s Day was spent brunching and shopping with my mom, and with the warm weather finally here to stay for a while- I spent more time working out/exercising outdoors (when we weren’t having tornado watches, anyway.) Thankfully- storms didn’t blow us away- but the Editors sure did during their show at the Paradise Rock Club on May 16th! Soooo good!

Romantics everywhere celebrated the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and¬†Meghan Markle while Bostonians everywhere mourned the ends of the seasons for both the Bruins and Celtics. Let’s go Golden Knights!

But of course, this past weekend and all the crazy fun that came with it was the perfect way to round out May. It started last Wednesday night- when my friend from Ireland came into town to have dinner and do some sightseeing while we caught up since we’d last seen each other in Vegas back in February. It was beautiful outside, which made the night even better- and that weather carried all the way over into Friday- which was also Day 1 of the Boston Calling Music Festival.

I was fortunate enough to have a VIP pass, and seized the opportunity to see acts like Portugal, The Man – Paramore, The National, and my favorite boys by way of fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada- The Killers! The whole day/night was absolute magic. I couldn’t stop smiling. Here are a few of my favorite photos I snapped of the scene with my phone (Click to Enlarge!)

It should be noted that one of those photos is of the “BBQ Bomb” they were selling at The Smoke Shop BBQ’s tent- which was a waffle cone filled with beans, queso mac & cheese, and pulled pork. It may have been one of the best things I’ve ever purchased (or ever ate, really.)

Come Saturday morning, it was off to Logan International to catch a quickie flight to Washington D.C. to spend Memorial Day weekend with my friend Duncan (formerly of San Diego- and now based in Chicago!) who I hadn’t seen since the last time we were in D.C. together a couple of years ago to attend a friend of his’ wedding ceremony. The warm weather held up for most of the weekend- save for a couple of showers and scattered thunderstorms- which was nice.

I forgot how beautiful and clean many section of D.C. were- and although certain parts of the city (particularly the monuments) were pretty packed in the afternoons- by nighttime everyone had cleared out and I was able to do some serious tourist-y stuff like walk the entire Mall to the Capitol Building and Supreme Court without seeing another soul for hours. It was pretty amazing- and the pictures I took speak for themselves!

While we were in town, we caught a showing of “Shear Madness” at the Kennedy Center, which was SO much fun- and I made sure to make stops at Arlington Cemetery to pay my respects and the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery to see the amazing new portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama before I had to head back home and beat the post-holiday traffic on Monday morning.

It was such a lovely weekend- and I took a lot of photos along the way. Below are some of my favorites! (Click to Enlarge!)

So what’s in store for June when I’m feeling better? More travel and beach days, I’m hoping! More Summer fashion and awesome cookout recipes, definitely- and maybe seeing some familiar faces who will be in the area over the next couple of weeks!

But until then- here’s to May- which was wildly fun and unexpected. Here’s to this coming weekend being filled with endless possibilities- and here’s to me beating this awful cold once and for all!

Have a beautiful, fantastic weekend, everyone! See you all next week!

xx

– Ashley –

Festival Survival: The Essentials

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Today is a busy one for me. I’ve got work, meetings, and dinner plans with a friend of mine visiting from outside the country who is here for this coming weekend’s Boston Calling Festival. I’ll be at the show bright and early on Friday- but then it’s off to Washington D.C. on Saturday!

Preparing for a day out in the sun, listening to some great bands and artists got me thinking about ‘Festival Essentials’, though. If you’ve got Instagram, then chances are your feed was being overwhelmed by posts from Coachella this year. Loads of pretty people wearing some seriously impractical outfits (and flower crowns) in the sweltering Indio heat. Sure, it looked great in photos- but how did it feel after a couple of hours? Probably not great, I’d imagine.

Inspired, I came up with some items that I consider to be reasonable and comfortable must-haves when it comes to braving those outdoor Spring/Summer music festivals- and things I’ll personally have on me when I roll into Boston Calling on Friday!

And while I’m sure dressing up in tulle, leather, or suede with lots of fringe is a good time- I’ll be sticking to a breathable pair of cotton shorts and a lightweight t-shirt, thanks! I want to be able to dance!

First and foremost- ditch the wedge sandals or the stilettos and settle on a practical and comfortable pair of sneakers, ankle boots or flats. You’re going to be standing for hours on end- or, if it rains- you’re going to want to keep as much material between your toes and the muddy ground as possible. Think support and think fitted insoles to absorb moisture and to keep the inside of your shoes from getting ruined..

I’ll be sporting this pair of moccasins I bought solely for flying (slip on/off = quicker TSA checkpoint time) and for standing for long periods of time. They’re soft, lined, and cushioned at the bottom- so my feet stay cozy and dry for as long as I have these on!

The second most important thing after reasonable shoes? Sunscreen. The higher the SPF the better. If you’re going to be roasting under the sun for an afternoon while you wait for your favorite band to take the stage- then you need to go all out and protect yourself from damaging UV rays that could cause skin cancer (and/or a seriously painful burn!)

I live for this spray-on SPF50 from Trader Joe’s- which makes applying/re-applying sunscreen during the day a lightweight and mess-free breeze. It’s not greasy or sticky, and doesn’t clog your pores. It just sinks in like water.

Speaking of H20- you need. to. stay. hydrated. I know the idea of spending $14 on a bottle of water is ridiculous (and it truly is)– but dehydration and heat stroke are serious business and need to be prevented at all costs. If security is strict and won’t let you bring your own bottle inside the venue- then splurge on one and seek out options for free re-fills. Some vendors will have a “one time purchase/unlimited refills” policy- so take advantage of it!

I’m not gonna’ sweat shame- because we all do it and it’s nothing to feel gross about- but if you’re looking for a quick and easy refresher to cool yourself off and make yourself smell a little nicer for when you’re huddled in a crowd with hundreds of strangers- then I highly recommend carrying a pack of deodorant wipes with you.

These ones from Pacifica have been a long-time favorite of mine. They smell crisp, clean and a little tropical- but they also soften and hydrate your underarm area so that you feel even more refreshed and are more inclined to throw your arms up during that one song you really, really like.

I, frankly, don’t have the time or the patience to apply a full face of makeup that I’m going to sweat off right away- so I keep it simple when I’m headed to a festival. A tinted moisturizer with sunscreen mixed in (of course!)– a hydrating lip balm, and a lightweight cream-to-powder eye shadow in a neutral tone to brighten my eye area for when I’m posing for that selfie by the side of the stage is really all I need to get by.

This coconut balm and shimmery beige shadow from Sephora keep me looking glossy (not sweaty) and put together. Add a couple of swipes of waterproof mascara and you’ve got an effortless look that won’t be running down your face by the end of the night.

And it goes without saying- but bring a pair of sunglasses. Even if it’s just to hide your tears when that one band plays that song that reminds you of your ex. You’re taking steps to protect your skin during this adventure- so you gotta’ remember to protect those peepers, too!

And when I know that electrical outlets may be scarce- I like to bring a portable charger with me to plug my phone into when it starts losing juice but I need to keep it up and running. This one- from Triple C- is the size of a tube of lipstick and can get my battery life up considerably in under an hour. I just connect it to my phone, tuck the phone into my purse- and let it work it’s magic.

And finally- bring a bag that is big enough to carry everything- but small enough to carry around comfortably. I typically use a small, drawstring backpack, my cross-body bag, or this mid-sized beach tote slung over my shoulder. The magnetic clasp sewn into the inside keeps my belongings secure and doesn’t weigh me down.

I also try to keep a big hat with me to protect my scalp from burning under the sun, too. It’s an area that often gets overlooked while we’re slathering on the SPF on our bodies and faces- but it can burn just as easily, too! This wide-brimmed hat was a purchase from Primark a couple of Summers ago for a beach weekend I had planned with friends- but it’s held up since then- and is still consistently useful!

And those, my lovelies- are my “Festival Essentials”- for a carefree and comfortable day out in the sun with other fans listening to music we love. I’m so excited for Friday!

If you’ve got your own Festival Essentials (I do love a good recommendation!) that you’d like to share- feel free!

But for now, I’m off to get to work. Enjoy your Hump Day, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –