Very Superstitious…

Good Morning and Happy Monday (ugh…), everyone! Time to get back into that workday grind!

This past weekend was a lazy and relaxing one- with my time divided between an outdoor festival with friends in Western Massachusetts on Saturday and a family cookout on Sunday- but it was enough to recharge me for the week ahead. I’ve got a lot to do over the next few days!

Before I kicked things off in Greenfield on Saturday morning, I was in Medfield overnight for the Friday the 13th-inspired movie screening put on by the Coolidge Corner Theatre! Specifically- the theatre’s “After Midnight” program, where they screen classic horror movies, low-budget 70s flicks, and so-bad-they’re-good cult favorites like “The Room” and “Batman & Robin”- late at night.

Every Friday the 13th- rain or shine- the theater turns the Rocky Woods Reservation in Medfield into Camp Crystal Lake and screen two back-to-back Jason Voorhees movies. There’s plenty of refreshments provided by local breweries and volunteers- and one or two very tall, muscular and intimidating guys that dress like Jason and walk around at random to help creep up everyone’s night.

This year’s movie selection consisted of “Friday the 13th: A New Beginning” and my personal favorite in the series- “Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan”. Both, part of that so-bad-they’re-good category- had all of us in attendance laughing hysterically for hours on end. By the time the night was over- my face hurt from cracking up so much- but the rest of me felt fine thanks to some serious bug spray I used beforehand to keep mosquitoes and ticks away! You can never be too careful, after all.

The Coolidge will be showing classic horror movies through the end of the Summer, so if you’re looking for something to do on a Friday or Saturday night and want to stay somewhere air conditioned and surrounded by good people who like to laugh- I definitely recommend stopping by!

I personally can’t wait for their “Troll 2” night. So, so awful. It’s going to be a blast!

And now I’ve got to get to work and get things done before my phone starts ringing!

Enjoy your Monday, everyone!

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 –

Costumes, Pizzas and Promotions…

You’ll Float Too! Oliver and I (kind of) matching. Halloween 2017.

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! I’m two days into my new position at work and so far, so good. I’ve just been focusing on getting my office in order and staying on top of my caseload as best as I can. My new team has been very welcoming, friendly and helpful so far- and I’m so grateful to them for it!

I am, admittedly, still trying to get out of the Halloween state of mind. It’s tricky, what with having a ton of leftover candy from Trick-Or-Treating the other night and horror movie marathons still going on at local theaters and on television- but I’m doing my best to prepare for Thanksgiving and the last days of Fall. This weekend, I’ll be going hiking with a group of my friends while the not-too-cold-weather holds up- and trying my hand at a couple of recipes I’m hoping will be a smash at the holiday get togethers my family and friends have planned in the coming weeks.

I had said I had two Halloween costumes this year, and my Georgie from ‘IT’ was undoubtedly the universal favorite- but I also went as part of a group costume at work where we all dressed as “Social (Media) Butterflies” that represented different social media apps- and of course I went as Tinder- because why wouldn’t I?

Swipe Right!

The costumes were creative enough to help my team win a company-wide contest- and to celebrate we ordered a bunch of pizzas yesterday and stuffed our faces together. It was worth wearing a scratchy tutu and oversized wings for a couple of hours. We had so much fun!

I’m storing my costume materials away until Halloween 2018 (or until the occasion to wear them again before then arises!) but I’m hoping we can hold onto our championship next Halloween should we all participate again.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I’m going to head off to get my work done so I can get a head start on my Friday night plans!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: October 2017!

Is it Monday again already? Ew. This past weekend sure flew by quickly! The bright side (there’s always a bright side) is that tomorrow is Halloween, of course- which means we all still have a couple of days left to squeeze in some last minute scares and sweets before we hang up our costumes and usher in November and the impending Holiday Season. I’m a bit overwhelmed just thinking about it already!

Before that, though- I wanted to share some of my favorite products/items/miscellaneous odds and ends that helped to make October the fabulous fright-fest that it was. Most of the things that made the list are silly finds I picked up along the way these past few weeks, while others are some my favorite kinds of entertainment- but all of it holds a special place in my heart when I look back on October of 2017.

Up first are the things I was able to photograph in one place!

A couple of weeks ago, while at the Rock and Shock Horror Convention in my hometown- I picked up one of these ‘Stranger Things’-inspired natural soaps from the booth that had been set up for Fiona’s Fright Soap. This bar in particular smells like a pretty amazing combination of pancakes and maple syrup- and with the second season of ‘Stranger Things’ premiering on Netflix a few days ago (spoiler alert: it’s awesome so far)– it felt like an appropriate time to start using it.

The soap not only makes me smell like a delicious breakfast- but it makes my skin feel really soft and smooth, too. I know this was a limited edition product but I’m hoping Fiona’s eventually makes it a regular item so I can order more of them!

One of my girlfriends, Stef, recently got into canning goods/food with her fiancé- and she’s been kind enough to give me enough food to get me through the zombie apocalypse every time we hang out. Her most recent concoction- and probably my favorite- is this vanilla & whiskey infused apple sauce. She makes it from scratch, air-seals it so it doesn’t go bad- and passes it around like Halloween candy- and it’s AMAZING. It tastes like apple pie filling with a little bit of a boozy kick.

I’ve been hounding Stef for the recipe so I can put it up here for everyone to enjoy. That’s a foodie post I’m really, really going to like putting together!

Speaking of food and sweets- one of my favorite things about Halloween is cooking/baking some seriously macabre snacks for my friends and co-workers. I’ve been loving these edible cupcake/cake toppers from Wilton. They make everything so much more funny- and I REALLY love seeing people’s reactions when they realize that they’re edible and bite into them for the first time. It’s priceless.

I’ll be turning to them when I start baking for next Halloween, too! (Side Note: I love the little edible hatchets you can buy as cupcake toppers. A little bit of red icing and you’ve got a sweet, delicious murder-themed dessert!)

With all of my Halloween stuff going on this past month, it was easy to neglect my nails sometimes. Thankfully, Saks Fifth Avenue had my back- and were nice enough to ship this milk chocolate-inspired shade of nail lacquer from Smith and Cult to me. The color (called “Tenderoni”)– which has quickly become my signature hue on my nails, eyes and lips- is going to be perfect for the remainder of the Fall through the Winter.

It’s smooth, long-lasting, and I’ll be posting a swatch of it soon on Instagram!

Finally, this was another find at the Rock and Shock Convention that I’m completely in love with! I’ve been wearing this Ouija pendant necklace non-stop since I got it- since it’s not only seasonally appropriate- but it looks pretty damned cool, too. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments from people who have leaned in close enough to get a good look at it- and I’m thinking I may keep on wearing it even after Halloween is over!

And that is everything I was able to photograph for my October favorites.

Of course, some other things made the list, too!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

“The Walking Dead” – OOOOOH, IT’S BACK, BABY- AND IT FEELS SO GOOD. Although we’re only a couple of episodes into the eighth season of my number one obsession- the pace of the show has been incredible. Rick Grimes is straight up murdering people. Daryl looks like he actually showered for once. Carol remains my flawless Queen- and Ezekiel still won’t break character. It’s everything I hoped for and more and I’m praying this season makes up for all the heartbreak viewers experienced around this time last year!

“Broad City” – On the opposite end of the spectrum, one of my favorite comedies is back and I couldn’t be happier. One of the things I love most (and there’s a lot I love about it) about “Broad City” is that it focuses on common issues for women everywhere- but it does it in a funny, and often touching or poignant way. The most recent episode, where Ilana admits she’s having trouble finding sexual gratification since Election Night while Abbi comes to terms with aging after finding her first grey hair- was some of the best writing I’ve ever seen on the show. I want to be BFFs with those girls.

– GAMES/APPS –

“South Park: The Fractured, But Whole” – I’m a longtime ‘South Park’ fan (it’s social commentary is spot. on.) and the last game that came out, “The Stick of Truth” is one of my favorites. While “Stick of Truth” was like a ‘Lord of The Rings’ parody- “The Fractured, But Whole” is geared towards making fun of the successful string of superhero movies that have come out in recent years. Featuring more predominant characters in the latest seasons- my friends and I have been pretty much dying laughing while we take turns playing this at get-togethers. It’s a riot- and really, really fun!

And I think that’s everything for the month of October. Most of it was Halloween and Horror-related, sure- but it’s the one time of year where it’s universally appropriate! I’m sure I’ll come back around to less gory and scary things come November.

Try to enjoy your Monday, everyone! I’ll be back tomorrow to talk about October 2017 overall before we pass out some candy and kiss this month goodbye!

xx

– Ashley –

Fright Fest

Ugh. Is it Monday already? I’ve been going non-stop since I left my office on Friday afternoon and it feels like I didn’t get enough time to take a break and actually get some rest. I’m not complaining much, of course- since my weekend was a lot of fun- but I fully plan on falling into my bed when I get home later on!

Where do I begin? With the exception of a beautiful wedding reception I attended with a friend/co-worker at the 228 in Sterling, Massachusetts- which is a big barn tucked away outside the city that has been converted and renovated into a lovely function hall- my weekend was all Halloween and horror movies.

On Friday night, with plenty of blankets, cushions and snacks in hand- a group of my friends and I headed out to Rocky Woods Reservation in Medfield, MA. to catch a lake-side, outdoor double-feature screening of “Friday the 13th – Part 2” and “Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood” (my favorite). While it definitely got a bit cold outside- the weather held up nicely and remained clear- so it wasn’t unbearable. There were a lot of other people there, too- and it was so much fun laughing together at the cheesy gore and bad 1980s fashions while enjoying a couple of hard ciders and some popcorn.

There were a couple of different versions of Jason Vorhees running around the place, too- and while I managed to avoid them for most of the night- one caught me on my way out after the movies wrapped up and I was heading back to my car.

Big shout-out to the Coolidge Corner Theatre for putting together the event and for Lookout Farm Brewing for the really delicious cider. I can’t wait to check out their taproom soon to scope what else they have to offer on their menu.

I also made it a point to swing by the annual Rock and Shock Convention in my hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts for a little while. Focused primarily on the horror genre, the convention- which occurs at the DCU Center downtown every October- features loads of interesting panels, surprise guests, live music and local vendors dedicated to all things spooky and scary. This year, much to my surprise and delight- I ran into Tom Payne- who plays Jesus on “The Walking Dead”. Jesus is one of my favorite characters in the comic and on the show- so snapping a photo together absolutely made the trip worth it for me.

He’s just as pretty in person as he is on television, folks! He was a sweetheart.

While I was at Rock and Shock, I popped by a couple of vendors to splurge on myself a little, too. My first buy was at the booth for Fiona’s Fright Soap– where I picked up a set of three detergent and paraben-free body soaps. One, a “Mummy” themed bar that smells like oatmeal. Another, a “Friday the 13th” themed bar that has a more fruity fragrance- and a third one inspired by Eleven in “Stranger Things” that smells like, you guessed it- waffles and maple syrup.

I’m so excited to use these!

I also picked up this awesome steel Ouija pendant necklace from a large booth in the center of the vendor area- and I apologize for not getting their company’s name since it appeared they were sharing space with about 2-3 other shops at the time. I saw this and knew I had to have it- even if it means spirits could potentially communicate with me through my neck when I’m wearing it. It has a wood detail that I am just in love with!

Overall, I had a really great weekend- and even though being back at work is a little bit of a bummer- I have more fun stuff planned this coming week (and weekend!) that I’m pushing towards!

And all that being said- I’ve got to kick into overdrive and get some stuff done today. Enjoy the beginning of your week, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –