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 –

July 2017: In a Nutshell

Portsmouth, NH. 7/29/17

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

I feel like many people- myself included- say it every single time we’re about enter a new month, but really- where did the time go? July is finished and here we are getting ready to launch headfirst into August. The summer is almost over! In just a couple of weeks a lot of students will be returning to school, seasonal landmarks and shops will be shuttering their doors until next year- and I’ll be preparing to once again rotate my wardrobe and makeup collection for when the Fall inevitably arrives.

But I don’t want to get ahead of myself, here. We still have a bit of time left to cram in some last minute Summer activities throughout the month of August- so I’m trying not to panic as I make my plans- and July was definitely a whirlwind of a month that deserves a proper sendoff.

I kicked off this past month with a firework-filled Fourth of July and a spur-of-the-moment, wild (and unbelievably fun) 24-hour weekend trip to San Diego to surprise and visit with friends- which might go down as one of the most impulsive things I’ve ever done- and that is really saying something since I’ve done a LOT of crazy, unplanned and unexpected things over the years. It keeps me young, I always say.

Not only was July spent with family and good friends (on both coasts!) but with co-workers as well. A group of really great people I work with and occasionally hang out with and myself caught the most bizarre concert in the sticks of central Massachusetts following my return from California. Granted, one of my co-workers could have easily died in a horrible car accident afterwards- but he miraculously managed to walk away from it relatively unscathed (I saw him the other day when we all went out for lunch and he’s healing up just fine!)

July marked five years since my father passed away, so there was a period of quiet reflection in-between jet-setting here and there. Those closest to me helped make the anniversary a little easier to get through with kind words and much-needed distractions and humor- so I’m very grateful for them- and for a lot of things this past month, really.

Portsmouth, NH. 7/29/17

I would say that the majority of my time in July, much like June- was spent at the beach, mostly in New Hampshire- including this past Saturday when I ventured up to Rye and Portsmouth for a full-day of shopping, dining, swimming in the ocean and cruising the coast while listening to good music. Nearly every weekend throughout the month had at least one full day dedicated to spending time in the sand. You can take the girl out of California but you can’t take California out of the girl- after all- and beach days are a rare commodity around here since it can get so cold sometimes! You truly have to savor it as much as you can and that’s exactly what I did!

So what’s in store for August? Well- for starters- lots of time spent with my best friend Sean, who returned home from Spain yesterday evening (I surprised him at the airport!) after he’d spent some time during his stay hospitalized in Barcelona for extreme food poisoning/dehydration. It’s so good to have him home and in good health again- and I can’t thank the Doctors overseas enough for taking such good care of him.

And while I will undoubtedly spend more time at the beach this coming month- I’ve also got a long overdue trip to NYC planned, a couple of recipes to share, and a few more peeks inside my closet in-between working at my full-time job and traveling as much as I can to those aforementioned seasonal landmarks before they close up for the year!

I’ll see you all in August, but in case you’re looking for a couple of things to add to your end-of-the-Summer bucket list:

  • Bring my 2017 Summer playlist, “Pineapple Daze” with you!
  • There’s still time to whip up some of the recipes I’ve shared these past couple of months for your next BBQ, cookout or pool party!
  • I shared my favorites from July last week- in case you’re in need of some updates to your makeup/skincare regimen for the month of August.

xx

– Ashley –

Stone Stacks and Seafood…

As much time as I spend along the coast in New Hampshire- to the point where I know most of the roads and the sights/places to stop like the back of my hand- sometimes I stumble on something I’d never seen before or that I didn’t know existed and I can still manage to be surprised. Case in point: this past Sunday when I had pulled over to a secluded section of the beach in Northern Hampton in order to answer a couple of texts I had received while I was on the road heading towards my favorite seaside lunch spot to grab a quick bite.

Typically, I’d just sit in my parked, air-conditioned car to answer the texts- but it was lovely out on Sunday- with the sun shining and the temperature not too hot or cold. Instead, I decided to climb up a set of rocks to soak up some Vitamin D and watch the low tide in-between reading messages.

Once I’d reached the top of the rocks along the shoreline, I noticed a path that cut down to a section of the beach where there were a ton of intricate man-made stone stacks (some people call it rock balancing, too- I think.) I mean there were SO many. I’d never seen anything like it before- so I completely forgot about answering my messages and instead grabbed my camera before heading down the pathway to check it out.

I had no idea any of those were just on the other side of the edge of the roadway that I’ve driven by literally hundreds of times over the years- otherwise I would have stopped to check it out sooner! It was such an unexpected sight to see- and I had such a peaceful time sitting among the rocks and marveling at just how much time and patience it must have taken to get some of the stacks just right without causing the entire thing to topple over on itself.

Of course, I HAD been on my way to get food- so when I was done snapping photos- I headed down the coast to the Beach Plum for one of their famous toasted lobster rolls and some ice cold lemonade to eat beside the waves.

The best part of the Beach Plum’s lobster rolls? Absolutely no lettuce to get in the way. Just plenty of meat and a delicious, buttered and lightly toasted roll. That’s all I could ever ask for! So, so good.

Overall, I had quite a nice afternoon- full of surprises and seafood- and I’m looking forward to a planned trip a little further up to Maine this coming weekend if the weather permits!

xx

– Ashley –

Pre-Flight Prep

TGIF, everyone! I hope you’re all recovered from a nice, long Fourth of July weekend and are planning to treat yourselves in some way, shape or form this coming weekend, too. Me? I’m wrapping up some things at my office today before I head off for a weekend on the West Coast first thing in the morning. That’s right- in one of the most impulsive trips I think I’ve ever taken on a whim- I’ll be spending the next 48 hours in sunny San Diego to catch a show, grab a couple of drinks with friends, visit with my number one man-crush from SoCal and snap plenty of selfies in front of palm trees.

And also eat some In-N-Out- as is tradition!

Since I’m only going for a such a short period of time, a suitcase isn’t really necessary. I’ll be backpacking it to and from the airport- which frees up tonight for me so I can get plenty of rest (and anyone who knows me knows that I’m a last-minute packer, so this is a rare occurrence) although I have a feeling I’m going to be too excited to actually sleep.

Be sure to keep an eye on my INSTAGRAM for the snapshots while I’m in the air and on the ground for the next couple of days!

Hampton Beach – 7/4/17

My Fourth of July weekend was an absolute blast- spent between cookouts and the beach. I rounded out my extended holiday with an afternoon trip to Hampton, New Hampshire- which was unbelievably packed to capacity (no surprise, really)– so I strayed off of the shore and spent more time near the Rye and Portsmouth areas to pass the time.

While I was out, I ate a lobster roll with a bit too much lettuce for my taste and browsed clothing and jewelry racks at some of my favorite surf shops before I decided to head back into the city just as the sun was starting to set in order to beat the post-fireworks traffic. Luckily, my neighbors managed to smuggle some fireworks over state lines- so I still got to see quite a show from the comfort of my deck!

I’m looking forward to sharing all of my photos/stories from Southern California next week after I get back- but for now- I’ve got to get some work done!

xx

– Ashley –