Seafood and Shopping…

Good Morning and Happy Hump Day, everyone!

I’m still recovering from last night’s Interpol show at Orpheum Theater (in a good way- they were phenomenal!) and getting ready to launch into my work day- but I wanted to share some of my favorite steals/finds and photos from my annual trip up to Hampton Beach this past weekend!

Labor Day might be the unofficial end to the Summer, but to me and my family- the *true* way to send off the season and get ready for the Fall is to eat as many lobster rolls, scallops and crab cakes as we can while stocking up on bargains at the Seafood Festival.

This year’s festivities were particularly special since it was the first time we were able to bring Oliver with us! He’s such a wonderful, curious and friendly dog- but crowds and loud noises can sometimes make him anxious- and not everyone in Hampton is as mindful of their pets as I am with mine. On the other hand, I didn’t want to leave him home alone all day- which makes him terribly depressed- so I opted for a somewhat unconventional middle ground.

I bought a dog stroller- and Oliver LOVED it. Not only was he able to see all the action (and eat the occasional French fry I’d sneak him)– but when he got worn out from excitement, he was able to lay down comfortably and sleep peacefully while I wheeled him around from booth to booth. Of course, once we’d left the actual festival- I brought him to the shore so he could run free and enjoy the sand and surf, too!

If you’ve got a smaller/medium sized dog that might need one of these in busy, crowded situations- I highly recommend checking out the selection of carriers on Amazon. Mine was made by VIVO- and it was great quality and super easy to assemble, and even easier to clean, pack up and store for safe keeping when the day was done. There’s plenty of storage space for your pet’s treats, toys, etc. and yes- a cup holder for you, too. I kept my much-needed coffee within reach most of the morning.

Overall, it was such a fantastic day- even though it was a bit chilly along the coast. It was nice spending the morning and afternoon eating great food, watching the ocean, and playing some really old arcade games (that have been around since I was a kid!) along the boardwalk with my mom, my cousin- and Oliver.

Of course, I didn’t just eat amazing food. I did some shopping, as well- and scored some really great deals at some of the shops who were clearing out their merchandise for the season before they shutter their store fronts for the Winter!

While there were plenty of novelty t-shirts, sandals, bikinis and bikini cover-ups on sale- I found a couple of Fall-appropriate pieces that I’ve already started integrating into my wardrobe over the past couple of days!

This grey and white striped, collared sweater was hanging out all by it’s lonesome outside of Dudley’s– and when I tried it on and realized not only how flattering it looked but also how warm it would keep me in the Fall- I had to have it. The end of the season price? $7.50. How could I say no?

Additionally, I spotted this peacock feather printed maxi skirt in the very back of one of the boardwalk shops- where it was marked down to $17. How beautiful are the colors in this skirt? I recently paired this with a pair of brown, knee-high boots and an olive green turtleneck during one of our chillier days- and it looked so lovely.

I had mentioned earlier this week that I’m a big fan of anything with sea life printed on it- so when I saw this sterling silver octopus pendant (marked down to $12)– I knew I had to have it to layer with my other pendants and plain chains.

I really love unexpected and unique designs like this- and I feel the octopus (which is a bit sinister looking, really!) is going to catch some attention if people see it mixed among my other every day necklaces!

I tried a sample of this easy-to-make dip from Moose Creek, and oh my gosh- was it delicious! All you need to do is add a little mayonnaise, a little cream cheese, the dip- and as much lobster meat as you want- and you’ve got a really tasty appetizer to serve at your next get together.

Each packet of dip was $4 and can serve quite a lot of people- so it was well worth the price!

And finally, no trip to Hampton is complete without a stop at Sanborn’s Candies! This year I scored some individually wrapped “chocolate leaves” and a half pound of their soft, decadent and amazing chocolate nut fudge to share with my mom and cousin on the drive back home. It was the sweetest way to end the afternoon!

If you’re ever in New Hampshire at the end of the Summer and have the opportunity to check out the Seafood Festival- I strongly recommend it. Parking and traffic is easiest first thing in the morning- and going on an empty stomach is pretty much mandatory so that you can try a little bit of everything from all the great restaurants and food trucks that come to town to showcase the superstars of their menus.

And be sure to bring cash- since not all of the vendors are equipped to handle debit/credit transactions. It’s thankfully not too common- but it does happen!

I know I’ll be back again next year for it!

But now, I’ve got to get to work and get things done. Enjoy your Wednesday, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

OOTD: Feeling Crabby…

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

In exactly one week I’ll be soaring above the clouds on my way to fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada to embark on a much needed vacation and road trip through the desert with my West Coast Wife- but before I do that- I’ve got to get through this work week, first!

This past weekend, although cloudy and a bit chilly- marked the 29th annual Seafood Festival at Hampton Beach, New Hampshire. It’s a bit of a tradition for myself, my mother, and my cousin to attend at least one of the three days of the festival together every year- and after scoring this crab sweater from ModCloth on sale near the end of last month- I knew well in advance I’d have an appropriate (and fun!) outfit to wear for the occasion!

This sweater, knitted and fitted- features white stripes along both sleeves and a bright red crab front and center. It kept me warm, sure- especially when we stopped along the shore to watch the waves for a while- but it was also a huge hit with other attendees and vendors who kept asking me where I got it.

I’m a big fan of Nautical style, which is pretty prominent along the coastal towns in New England. Anything with anchors, lighthouses and seashells automatically catches my eye- but I’ve been really feeling anything with sea life print, too. Crabs, octopus, seahorses, etc. When done subtlety and simple- like this sweater- they can look so cute!

I paired this new wardrobe favorite with a simple pair of white lace shorts and my white and silver glitter slide sandals so I could stay comfortable while I was scarfing lobster and scallops and looking through the racks of the seaside shops for great deals and steals. I found some fantastic stuff- which I’ll share a little later on this week.

And now, like every Monday morning- I’ve got to throw back some coffee and get to work. There’s even more to do this week since I’ll be out of the office by this time next Monday- so I’ve got to stay one step ahead!

Later on this week I’ve got a haul post where I’ll share some of my finds from the Seafood Festival- and yes, plenty of photos of the food itself. I’m also putting the finishing touches on my Autumn Playlist- which seems appropriate more than ever since the forecast calls for some rain and brisk temperatures over the next few days. Fall is officially here- and I am ready for it!

Here’s hoping you all have a great start to your week and that we make it through the next few days unscathed! One step closer to Friday!

xx

– Ashley –

Sunsets and Sandy Toes…

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! We managed to make it to another weekend!

This week got progressively more hectic at work as the days wore on, and with the first half of the week being filled with a lot of rain- I started to get a little stir crazy at home and in my office. Luckily, I managed to find some downtime to break up the monotony with a couple of visits to Western Massachusetts (where I’ve been treated to lovely dinners and some incredible chocolate chunk cookies from Insomnia Cookies courtesy of my dear friend Troy.)

I also managed to clear a bit of my schedule and find a lovely spot at “The Wall” at North Beach in New Hampshire for myself to catch one of the most breathtaking of sunsets I’d ever seen after the clouds had cleared for a while.

The area is settled right across the street from one of my favorite surf shops- Cinnamon Rainbows– who are always open late. Once the sun had vanished and the stars were out, I popped by for a few minutes to browse bikinis and boards. I get paid today, and I have a feeling some of that money is going to be used at the shop this coming weekend while “Treat Yo’Self 2018” rages on. They have the cutest clothes!

Today is my half day at work, so by noon I’ll be out of my office, changing out of my heels and my dress into shorts and sneakers- and running some errands before it’s time to launch into my weekend. I have boat-related plans over the next couple of days (if the sun can stick around!) involving checking out some lighthouses around Boston Harbor, a possible burger date in my hometown at one of my favorite spots to eat- and I’ll be cooking up a *ton* of buffalo chicken wings for my friend Phill’s annual ‘Summer Slam’ party in Salem on Sunday night!

As always, I’ll have my recap up at some point next week (alongside a great chicken recipe I stumbled across)– and you can follow-along my journey(s) over at my INSTAGRAM.

Here’s wishing you all an amazing, safe and sunny weekend! Remember to take some time for yourself to decompress- and stay hydrated. It’s hot out there!

See you all on Monday!

xx

– Ashley –

Drizzly Days, Royal Weddings and Doughnuts…

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

This week is shaping up to be a pretty busy one for me. I have a friend coming into town on Wednesday for a couple of days, Friday is the first day of the Boston Calling Music Festival- and Saturday I’m leaving for a weekend away in Washington D.C. to spend Memorial Day with friends who are flying in for a vacation. Between preparing for all of that and work- I have to make sure I stay on top of things (including getting enough sleep!)

Thankfully this past weekend was pretty laid back, and I was able to get some R&R without wasting the days. The weather, for the most part- was a bit gloomy- so staying indoors and under the comfort of blankets to watch the Royal Wedding bright and early on Saturday morning was nice (and what a beautiful ceremony it was!)

Afterwards, while the guests at Windsor Castle departed to enjoy some lemon elderflower cake at the reception- I decided to enjoy an indulgent treat myself- and braved the chilly temperatures and light drizzle to head to Harvard Square for a doughnut-pop up that was being hosted by Harvest. Although I had missed out on their take on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding cake- I did pick up some of their tasty Strawberry Shortcake, Chocolate Caramel French Cruller and Blueberry Citrus doughnuts, instead.

On Saturday night, after catching up on some e-mails and resting my eyes for a quick refresher- I headed off to Mohegan Sun to meet with friends at the Bow & Arrow Sports Bar to eat some nachos and watch the Celtics and Red Sox (simultaneously.) On a completely unrelated note- how GOOD is Las Vegas’ hockey team? It’s their first season and they have just been dominating lately. It’s going to be so much fun to cheer them on and go to their games when I’m living in the area!

Sorry, I’m getting off track.

Yesterday, after running errands to save myself some time later on this week- I decided to savor the brief break in the rain//fog and soak up the sunshine that had peeked through the clouds up in New Hampshire. I drove along the coast just in time to catch high tide and sat by the water for a couple of hours before grabbing a bite to eat at The Beach Plum and heading home just as the sun started to set.

It was beautiful, peaceful, scenic, and super relaxing.

A little later on this week, I’ve got my trusty “Festival Survival Essentials” to share with you all in preparation for Boston Calling (hint- there’s a lot of sunscreen)– and on Friday- I’m giving everyone access to a playlist I’ve been gradually piecing together to help those of you looking for some new tunes for the Summertime to kick things off during the impending long weekend.

I’m so excited for the coming days and to share my adventures along the way. Be sure to peep my Instagram for the shots I snap while I’m out and about.

Until then, though- let’s power through this Monday and get it out of the way!

xx

– Ashley –

My 10 Favorite Photos From 2017

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone! I hope those of you who celebrated Christmas had a wonderful, relaxing and fun weekend surrounded by loved ones. My holiday was lovely, spent mostly with my family and a few friends- and we actually had our first white Christmas in years- having been buried under a few inches of snow overnight on Christmas Eve!

As 2017 winds down and we prepare to welcome 2018- one of my favorite year-end traditions is looking through all of my photos over the past few months and narrowing them down to create a “Top Ten” of the year- and while the task has been relatively easy in the past- 2017’s collection proved to be a little more daunting. I visited so many amazing places this year, met so many amazing people, and participated in so many amazing things- that picking only ten photos from such an extensive collection of memories was a lot harder than I thought it’d be!

I digress- I’m satisfied with my top ten- and each photo tells it’s own fun story about a place/time from this past year. Stories I’m excited to share again!

Here are my 10 Favorite Photos From 2017!

10. Tranquility in Vermont (Wilmington – September 2017):

Over Labor Day Weekend, my best friend Sean and I decided to use our time off to head up towards Wilmington, Vermont to spend the extended weekend hiking, antiquing, and relaxing at an old mansion-turned-bed & breakfast and neighboring ski resort (that still had plenty to offer in the off-season!) On our last day, while going for an impromptu hike- we came across a footbridge that crossed over a river- and I snapped this photo of the view with my cell phone.

I’d love to go back to Wilmington and re-visit this spot during the Winter to see how much different it looks covered in snow.

9. Where is Spring? (Boston – March 2017):

In contrast, this photo I snapped of an empty outdoor patio area on St. Patrick’s Day in Boston painted the picture of what was undeniably one of the coldest days of the year. Blocks away, people were still lining up to get into pubs and bars to drink (and warm up)– but I was the only person as far as the eye could see in this small section of the city.

I’d ducked into the walkway of this cafe/restaurant- which was closed for the holiday- to answer a text message without taking up the sidewalk- and thought it was too neat-looking NOT to photograph.

8. That’s not creepy at all… (Medfield – October 2017):

During one of our annual stops at Medfield State Hospital in the days leading up to Halloween, my friends and I discovered that the fronts of some of the abandoned buildings and wards had been decorated with Jack-O-Lanterns that were carved by a Boy Scout Troop who had planned an overnight camping trip on the grounds.

What had been a fun and festive activity ended up creating some pretty interesting and spooky photos for those of us who were visiting! This one was my favorite out of the bunch of pictures we took that day.

7. Neighborhood Watch (Boston – May 2017):

After spending most of the morning and afternoon with my own mom on Mother’s Day- I dedicated a good portion of my evening to my fur-baby, Oliver, where we participated in his favorite pastime- watching the neighborhood from the window and howling at any other person/animal that happened to walk by (our neighbors love us.)

My mother took this photo of us mid-spying on the UPS guy who was delivering packages across the street from my place- and I loved the way it turned out.

6. Stacked Rocks and Seagulls (Hampton Beach – July 2017):

While cruising the coast in New Hampshire this past Summer, I had made an impromptu pit stop along the shore to stretch my legs and soak up some sun when I stumbled across an entire section of the beach that was lined with stacked rock formations from prior visitors. I had my camera with me, and spent some time snapping some photos of them (a few of which were really tall and impressive!) when this seagull flew into one of my shots and refused to move.

I think he adds a little charm to the photo, don’t you?

5. “Hiya, Georgie!” (Worcester – October 2017):

Out of all the movies I saw this year, I think the remake of “IT” was my favorite- so much in fact that I went as the ill-fated Georgie for Halloween. What was probably my least expensive and easiest costume to make in all my years of cosplaying ended up being one of my most popular- with people stopping me to take photos while I was out and about in this (and keeping one arm tucked up into the sleeve to give me a “just bitten” look.)

I had so much fun wearing this throughout Halloween and I hope I get the opportunity to sport it again!

4. First Snow of The Season (Belchertown – December 2017):

One of the more recent photos on this list came from a couple of weeks ago following the first significant snowfall of the season while I was in Western Massachusetts. I had stopped to take some photos along a popular hiking/biking trail by a local reservoir and found that I was the only person there- which made for some really nice, uninterrupted quiet time to stop and take in the scenery and being able to take some decent photos without having to wait for my surroundings to be clear of people or vehicles.

This photo in particular was my favorite out of the bunch.

3. I got Catfished (Worcester – May 2017):

While attending a film festival/competition at my favorite bar in my hometown one weekend back in the Spring- I had a fangirl moment when Nev and Max from MTV’s ‘Catfish’ (one of my favorite shows) showed up unexpectedly. It turns out they were filming an episode locally, and had taken a break from production to come check out the festival, too.

They were incredibly nice and obliged me when I asked for a photo- which at first I was going to just send to my mom since she’s also a big fan of the show- but eventually posted on my social media to show that they were really who they said they were online.

2. My Aesthetic (San Diego – May 2017):

While visiting with friends on the West Coast during the Spring, I found myself at Ocean Beach in San Diego during some of my downtime one afternoon where I drank cold beers and sat by the surf with artists and musicians who told me their life stories and played music for me.

One group of happy travelers arrived in a bright blue VW Bus- a vehicle I’ve ALWAYS wanted to own- and the photo I took of it perfectly captures a lot of what I love most about Southern California- including the palm trees towering in the background.

1. Vegas, Baby… (May 2017):

It’s been a tough year for Vegas- for people I love in a city and landscape I adore- so this photo, taken during a West Coast excursion in the Spring- seems especially poignant given recent events this year.

After spending the afternoon attending open houses for real estate that was on the market outside of the strip, and a good portion of my evening drinking and gambling a little- I snapped this photo with my phone while I was en route back to Caesar’s Palace- where I was staying during my trip. The fountains at the Bellagio were right in the middle of going off (bottom, right-hand corner) which added a little something special to this.

It was a warm and beautiful night- and I remember feeling perfectly content and safe.

____________________________

And there they are! My ten favorite photos from 2017. A lot of landscapes and a couple of selfies- but they all tell stories about really fun high-points of my year- and I’m looking forward to documenting more incredible memories in 2018.

And if you have photos you’d like to share about special moments in your year- feel free to send them my way! I’d love to see them!

Have a great day, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –