Halloweekend!

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

Daylight Savings Time has me all mixed up right now, and being back at work so bright and early this morning is just further scrambling my brain- but I’m going to push through, get as much done as I can today at the office- and go home to rest and relax once 5-o-clock rolls around!

I suspected I’d be wiped out this morning, as I usually am following Halloweekend every year. For those who may be unfamiliar with Halloweekend- it’s pretty self-explanatory. It’s the weekend immediately before or following Halloween (depending on what day it falls on) where people get in one final wear from their costumes, have one last party, or do all things spooky before focus shifts to the impending holidays- Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.

It’s a pretty big event for my friends and I every year, so we wanted to do something really special to commemorate the occasion for 2019 given that we’ve all sort of scattered with multiple moves/re-locations. Some of us haven’t seen each other in 5+ months- so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to reconnect!

And we went big- traveling to New Hampshire to visit Haunted Overload at the DeMeritt Hill Farm in Lee, New Hampshire- which has become one of our favorite attractions in recent years. This past weekend marked the final days of the season, and the company opted for a “Lights Out” event for visitors after dark- meaning all the lights were turned off and you had to walk the trail in total darkness.

It was absolute murder on my nerves and vocal chords from screaming so much- but I really did have the best time!

Of course, no trip to the farm is complete without hot apple cider and apple cider doughnuts. Post-trail, our group indulged in both before we all headed back to Boston to turn the clocks back an hour and close out the night with some horror movies and scary video games- which is always the best time.

And now, with Halloweekend over and November in full-swing- it’s time to switch gears and get ready for the impending festive frenzy!

A little later on this week, I’ll have a peek at my Fall 2019 makeup collection, and a visit to some more unique and unusual attractions in the Pioneer Valley before it starts getting too cold to go outdoors!

But before that- I’ve got to get some work done at the office!

Enjoy the start of your week, everyone! Be strong and be brave. We’re going to get through this together!

xx

– Ashley –

Taking a Bite Out of Season 9 of ‘The Walking Dead’…

Well, well, well- look where we are again!

Good Morning, everyone! I had originally planned this post for Thursday- thinking I’d need a couple of days to process the finale to the most recent season of “The Walking Dead”, but considering how much I loved Sunday night’s episode and this season overall- I sat down to start writing and the words just flowed and flowed! Before I knew it, I had a full recap ready to go.

I’ve always been vocal about my grievances with past seasons of what is undoubtedly one of my favorite, “never miss an episode” shows since the TWD’s writing seemed to get lazier as the years wore on. Stories became repetitive, sluggish, and drawn out. The moments that were surprising and meant to catch people off guard felt like cheap ploys for ratings and “shock value” reactions on social media. More and more characters were brought in and then nothing of interest or value was ever done with them until they sort of faded into the background and out of people’s collective memory.

A lot of this downfall I blamed on Scott M. Gimple- the showrunner through seasons 4-8 (which were hands down the weakest)– and I didn’t have the highest hopes for season nine since he was still at the helm and rumors were flying very early on that many of the series’ main cast were in the process of parting ways due to personal reasons, salary disputes, etc.

… But then Angela Kang took over, and although she was essentially left with a years’ worth of messes to sort through and clean up- she rose to the challenge, took what could have been a total disaster- and gave us a string of some of the greatest episodes of ‘The Walking Dead’ since seasons 2 and 3. For the first time in a long time- it felt like someone actually cared about the show, the characters, and the fans who had been watching this entire time.

And yes, while a huge chunk of the main cast jumped ship by the time Season 9 premiered last October- Kang had been careful and creative- and had made it work where the show still functioned just as strongly, maybe even better- without key players to the series’ core.

I’m going to go more in depth after the cut- but this is the part where I warn people that AHEAD BE SPOILERS. If you haven’t caught up, are still binge-watching, or otherwise don’t want to know what happens- DO NOT PROCEED.

Otherwise, let a moment where Negan was actually sweet and heroic WELCOME YOU IN…

Continue reading “Taking a Bite Out of Season 9 of ‘The Walking Dead’…”

“She’s creepy and she’s kooky – Mysterious and spooky…”

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! We made it!

That photo above would be the pumpkin a group of us (and mainly one of my more talented co-workers) carved at work. It came out pretty great!

While my weekend is looking pretty busy with my friend’s wedding and some Sunday Self-Care in the works- this past week has been extraordinarily fun! Halloween was a blast, kicked off with a large potluck brunch with everyone in my office (nearly all who came in some seriously kick ass costumes!) and an impromptu Red Sox/World Series celebration while the parade was happening.

I really do love our Rolling Rallies whenever a hometown team wins a championship. It’s an absolute free-for-all and a great excuse to take a day off of work- and everyone is in such a great mood. The feeling of camaraderie is really fantastic!

Following the party, it was time to set up my Halloween decorations (and the weather both on Wednesday and yesterday was warm, sunny and lovely!) and prepare for an early evening with my niece, brother and sister-in-law. While my niece made out like a bandit with all the candy she got trick-or-treating, pizzas were prepared and AMC’s ‘Halloween’ marathon was on full-blast.

Yes, that included “Halloween III: Season of The Witch’. Such a bad film that it’s actually a classic.

As the night drew to a close, Troy and I- both still in costume- decided to catch a late night movie and stopped by a screening of ‘Bad Times at the El Royale’ which was fantastic. We both loved it. Great cast, terrific acting, awesome soundtrack- and a really interesting/unpredictable and keep-you-guessing story.

Don’t sleep on that one, guys! It’s worth a watch!

But for now I’m going to be powering through some work today (and probably heading into a little early-evening overtime with it as well) so that I can return from my weekend refreshed and as stress-free as possible this coming Monday. It’s always good to stay one step ahead of the game.

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful, warm, and fun weekend ahead! I’ll have plenty of photos to share next week from my friends’ nuptials.

It’s going to be a beautiful ceremony- but I know for a fact the reception is going to be insane.

xx

– Ashley –

October 2018: In a Nutshell

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

With today being one of my favorite holidays, I’m starting things off a bit early this A.M. with a costume party and brunch potluck at my office with my co-workers before I head home to decorate my yard and front porch in preparation for tonight’s Trick-Or-Treaters.

My niece will be dropping by for a candy sweep of my neighborhood before we kick back with some pizza and enjoy a classic horror/slasher movie marathon- as is tradition!

I can’t believe tomorrow is the beginning of November and that Thanksgiving will be just a few short weeks away. I love a good food coma as much as the next person, but I wish October could go on just a little while longer- especially this past one- since it’s been so much fun!

This past month was filled with the usual spooky outings- from haunted pathways in New Hampshire, watching scary flicks in the middle of the woods (and in the middle of the night, no less), checking out Jack O’Lantern festivals with friends visiting from the West Coast and stopping by some of the more notoriously creepy graves in New England- but October was also peppered with plenty of shows, parties (including one of my best friend’s bachelorette party! I can’t believe her wedding is this coming weekend!), pumpkin picking at local farms and random get-togethers, too!

I traveled all over New England in October, including a long overdue trip to Montpelier, Vermont to spend time with family, catching a play at a converted barn in Western Massachusetts- and stopping by the Indie617 HQ to weigh in on music and events around the city not once- but twice.

FYI, if you missed those appearances, HERE’S the first and HERE’S the second! It’s always so much fun hanging out.

This past weekend, I actually braved the storm that rolled through the area to head to the station’s “Boos and Brews” party at Idle Hands Craft Ales in Malden to enjoy some good tunes, some really tasty beer- and PIZZA SKULLS (!!!) courtesy of Fat Boyfriend Bakery They were SO good.

I wore my Freddy Krueger costume to the party, which I’m also sporting today at work and will be wearing tonight while I pass out candy! I should have a decent photo of the whole thing up on my Instagram and here on the blog a little later on today/this week.

So, once all the Halloween excitement is (sadly) over- what do I have planned for November? Well, voting is right up there at the top of my list (and should be for everyone else, too!)– but blog-wise I’ve got plenty more recipes to share, especially with Thanksgiving approaching- as well as more late-Autumn wardrobe staples, early-shopping gift guides for the holidays, a peek inside my Fall makeup collection, and a bit more traveling before it starts snowing around here again!

But for now, I’m going to eat a ton of candy and savor today. Here’s hoping you all have a ghoulish evening! Stay safe out there!

xx

– Ashley –

Killer Clowns and Bachelorette Bliss…

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone! We’re nearly to the weekend! Are you excited?

This coming Saturday is shaping up to be a relaxing one, spent in the countryside of Vermont (weather permitting) where I’ll be visiting some of my family, photographing the foliage/scenery- and enjoying some of Montpelier’s finest dining. I’m excited to visit some old spots I haven’t had the opportunity to stop by in years- and discover some new places, too!

The trip will undoubtedly be vastly different to the craziness of this past weekend, of course- which kicked off on Friday night when friends and I bundled up and headed out to the Rocky Woods Reservation to catch a late evening screening of ‘It’ (the 1990 one) in the middle of the woods, courtesy of the Coolidge Corner Theater’s “After Midnight” program.

Along with snacks and beer from local breweries, the screening also included a live Q&A with the film’s screenwriter, Lawrence D. Cohen and a look at Pennywise’s original costume prototype. And- of course- there were red balloons everywhere. Despite the chill in the air by the end of the 4+ hour event- it was a lot of fun.

Saturday saw me out of the woods and back in the city for my longtime friend Stef’s bachelorette party. She’s getting married in a few short weeks, and this past weekend was the only real chance that we- and a bunch of our hometown friends- could get together to celebrate and see her off properly!

Now, while there were plenty of penis-shaped party favors (and a cake) and an appearance by a blowup doll at one point during the evening- as is the tradition of many, if not all bachelorette parties- we actually did things a bit different and opted for entertainment that would keep all of us on our toes and guessing with our alcohol-fogged brains.

The first stop of the night was Boston’s “Escape The Room” experience. Most of us being avid gamers thought this would be a breeze to get through if we worked together as a team- and we opted for the “Clock Tower” escape sequence. Having done a couple of smaller, less intricate escape rooms in the past- I was *not* expecting the level of detail, complexity, and difficulty of the puzzles required for us to maneuver from room to room. It was hard!

With just under ten minutes on the clock to spare, we did eventually make it out before the buzzer- but I thought the #FAIL sign was too funny not to hold up during our group photo.

If you ever get the opportunity to participate in one of these escape rooms- make sure you’re well-rested and on top of your game! It’s really fun- but you’re going to need to stay sharp during it!

Following our victory, we headed down the street to Papagayo’s for a quick snack and a few delicious margaritas that were mixed up by the bartender, Adele- who was lovely and super accommodating to our party.

After getting a little tipsy, our group walked (see: stumbled) through Downtown Crossing to Elephant & Castle to participate in a mob-themed murder mystery dinner- something Stef has always wanted to join in on. The actors/wait staff were adorable, and while dinner was alright- the dessert ruled and the comedy in the show was worth coming back for seconds.

Oddly enough, I guessed the killer correctly for the “who dunnit?” portion of the evening- and won two tickets to any of their upcoming events- so I guess I really will be coming back for more!

Following dinner (and a few more drinks)– the lot of us hit a couple more bars before we retreated to the hotel room that some of the bridal party had got for the night for some late-night conversation and photo ops with “Standy”- the blow-up doll that was supposed to represent Stef’s fianc√©, Andy.

We eventually dispersed when exhaustion started to take over- but it was a night spent well. We don’t get many opportunities to spend time together as a whole group since we all have careers or families- so events like this and/or holidays are particularly special and something to really be cherished and looked forward to. I had so much fun- and it was so great seeing everyone in one place again. I’m really excited for the wedding!

Sunday was, thankfully, a day of rest- brunch and football, really- and a chance to catch up on some much-needed sleep before I returned to work on Monday morning. The weekend, overall- was one for the record books, however. It was truly a blast! A little crazy at times- but a blast nonetheless.

But before I start preparing for this coming weekend, I’ve got to get some work done at my office (and I gotta’ take off early today, since it’s my half day!)

Enjoy your “Hump Day”, everyone! I’ll be back on Friday with a true sweater weather-inspired OOTD post!

xx

– Ashley –