Tax-Free Splurges…

Tax-Free Splurges…

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

As my life and my posting schedule falls into some semblance of normalcy (as normal as it can, anyway)– I’m recovering from a bit of retail therapy from this past weekend where I dipped into some local shops in-between working on a couple of my side jobs and projects.

Saturday and Sunday was our annual “Tax Free Weekend” here in Massachusetts- and it’s exactly what it sounds like. For two days, there’s no sales tax on anything- and considering we typically get taxed quite a bit on any other day (they don’t call us Taxachusetts for nothing)– it’s the perfect opportunity for people to buy those big ticket items they’ve had their eyes on- like furniture, home goods, electronics, etc.- and still be able to save a bit of money.

And while I’m all set with furniture, appliances and TV sets- there were a couple of recent fashion/accessory items I’d spotted in storefront windows in and around my neighborhood that I thought I’d snatch up while they were not only on sale- but not being taxed, too.

I didn’t go completely overboard, of course- because a girl still has to eat- but I am loving what I was able to buy and couldn’t wait to share them here!

The first is this crop-top/sweater from ENJOY. in Shelburne Falls. While I’m definitely going to be pairing this one with a blue or white tank top underneath (I don’t think I’m fully ready to embrace the crop-top lifestyle just yet)– I can’t wait to wear this near the end of Summer/beginning of Fall when it starts to cool down a little but we’re all still spending as much as time by the water as possible.

The cure little “lake” written on the front in white was what sold me. Designed by Wooden Ships– this was marked down considerably from $112. Sold!

Also from ENJOY. is this stainless steel necklace that I’ve been eyeing for quite some time. Designed by Close 2 Ur ❤, this durable pendant depicts two bears in the forest- and is made in the USA. How cute is this?

This is another piece I’m going to be sporting a lot in the late Summer/early Fall since I spend a lot of time out in the woods photographing the foliage and change in the season!

Down the street from ENJOY. is Bridge Street Bazaar, another little local boutique with the cutest tops and accessories.  Right away I spotted this light, thin white tank top- covered in the most adorable bee pattern- on one of their mannequins and popped in to snatch it up.

I want to say that the company who makes these tops might be a mass-producer ala Primark (I couldn’t locate an official website)– but it was $19.00 and without tax- that’s good enough for me to have something fun to wear in these last few weeks of Summer.

And finally, a Bridge Street Bazaar original was this moonstone statement ring that turned colors as I was holding it in my hands (it sort of reminds me of cotton candy- since it fluctuates between bubblegum pink and sky blue.)

On sale and without tax- I gladly parted with my $10 to have a new ring to wear to work and out on the town. It’s so pretty and fits perfectly on my finger- no adjustments needed! You can see a photo of it on me HERE.

With under $100 spent and no tax- I’d say I made out pretty good with two cute new tops and two new pieces of jewelry I’ll be incorporating into my growing wardrobe here in the Valley. I’m very pleased- and so is my wallet! I can’t wait to do it again next year. Maybe by then I’ll be in need of a new mixer or a TV or something.

But until then- I’m off to work! Enjoy the start to your week, everyone! Let’s push through to Friday!

xx

– Ashley –

Makeup and Mini-Golf…

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

As I had mentioned a bit earlier this week- my schedule got a bit hectic with work and some unexpected car repairs- and I’ve been playing a bit of catch-up ever since. Thankfully, things have seemed to calm down and my life (and posting schedule) can hopefully return to some sense of normalcy.

I mean, my life has never really been all that “normal”- but I’m sure you know what I mean.

Despite the chaos, I’ve still managed to have some fun. Last Sunday night, for example- was my friend Phill’s annual Summer-Slam party at his home in Salem. A group of us prepare our best WWE-themed snacks and head over to watch the PPV, eat loads of food, and laugh a LOT.

This year, I donned my best blonde wig to go as Charlotte Flair. My snack? WOOO!-pie pies, of course!

We always have a blast. Our next event will be in January for the Royal Rumble and I cannot wait.

Tuesday night saw a triumphant return- and my first since I was about nine years old- to Crystal Caves Mini Golf in Auburn, Massachusetts- just a few miles away from my hometown. Troy had been running some errands in the area while I was visiting my mom- and we decided to meet up for dinner, drinks and some friendly competition during a break in our evening.

Crystal Caves is exactly how I remember it- loaded with mosquitoes and right off of a loud and busy interstate- but we still had so much fun. I ended up losing by a mere 2 points- but I have a feeling the margaritas we’d indulged in earlier may have resulted in a miscount.

I’m going to set up a rematch eventually.

With the weekend pretty much here- I’m off to finish up work at the office, prepare for dinner with my family at my mom’s house tonight, get ready for my show on Indie617 tomorrow- and plotting some Sunday travel to Connecticut- weather permitting!

I’ll be back on Monday with some more Summer Bucket List fun.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

Late Night Watch…

Good Evening and Happy Friday, everyone! We made it to another weekend!

Today’s post is, obviously, being published much later in the day than usual- and for good reason. I pulled a (near) all-nighter last night that was simply sensational and worth the current groggy, foggy feeling I’ve got going on. I’m going to sleep beautifully tonight!

After dodging some late-afternoon/early-evening thunderstorms and micro-bursts in the Valley yesterday on my way home from my office- it was off to another delicious and beautiful meal with Troy at Galaxy in Easthampton– which is quickly becoming one of my favorite places to hang out and stuff my face.

And, I won’t lie- I got a little tipsy-topsy on the most delicious rum and coconut cocktail ever. I’m going to miss all the Summer-themed drinks come September/October!

Hours later, long after I sobered up and well past midnight- I headed around the corner from my apartment to drop by and visit friends who were hosting an all-night art/photography exhibit in Bank Row in Greenfield.

Over the weekend, someone(s) ripped down and destroyed stunning portraits that were hanging downtown of local legend, drag queen- and absolutely wonderful and talented human being- Joe Dulude II. The portraits were bright, fun, and livened up the area- and their destruction caused a lot of distress to those who know/knew Joe and are familiar with the work he does for, and the joy he brings to the community.

Last night, as a sign of resilience- multiple portraits of Joe in drag (all done by the same incredible photographer who had taken the ones that had been vandalized) were projected on the side of the former First National Bank where the originals had once hung. The impromptu art installation lasted all night- wrapping up this morning- and when I stopped by at nearly 1 a.m. the party was still going strong.

It was wonderful to see everyone, talk, laugh, admire the photos- and say hello to other night owls that were passing by. It was such a positive outcome for such a negative and destructive act.

Next week on the blog, I’m talking Summer Slam, makeup, and recapping an upcoming visit to one of my favorite New England stops during the Summer!

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful weekend ahead. I’ll see you all again on Monday!

xx

– Ashley –

Hitting The Trail…

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Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Last week, when I went to MASS MoCA for the very first time– Troy drove us there by way of Route 2 West- a scenic roadway that dips between mountains and alongside rivers. I had stated I spent most of the drive with my face essentially pressed against the window as I took it all in- and knew right away I wanted to come back to see/photograph some of the roadside attractions (my kryptonite!) along the Mohawk Trail.

The opportunity presented itself yesterday morning during a scheduled day off for me. The last of the furniture I had ordered for my place was arriving in the afternoon- giving me a solid block of a few hours in the sunny A.M. to go exploring before the delivery people arrived to set up. I grabbed my camera, my keys- and a coconut cold brew via Shelburne Falls Coffee Roasters and hit the road.

Now, because it’s the Mohawk Trail- there’s no shortage of Native American-inspired gift shops and trading posts along the way advertising moccasins, pottery, jewelry, etc. None of them were open as I was stopping/passing by- and they were definitely a little tacky- but that’s the beauty of roadside attractions.

When I did eventually reach a decent area to park alongside a low-flowing river near a state park, I kicked off my shoes and headed on into the water for a super cold, super refreshing calf-high dip. While I was splashing around, I found what looked like two pieces of smoothed over quartz. I cleaned them off and brought them back with me- one for myself and one for Troy- who was the reason I even found out the river existed.

One of the more interesting finds was on my way back to Greenfield where I stopped at the Hail to the Sunrise Monument in Charlemont. Although the reflecting pool was empty, I still got to see the stones depicting various tribes and councils around the United States- and the statue of the Mohawk Native American was in pristine condition.

I was the only one there at the time, and snapped some great photos. You can click on any of the images below to enlarge them.

Although the rest of my day was uneventful- apart from running some errands and tidying up my place- I had such a lovely morning and I’m glad I had the opportunity to go on a mini adventure during the week.

I’m working from home today, and should probably finish breakfast and get comfortable before I launch into my e-mails, voicemails, etc. Here’s hoping you all have a good “Hump Day!” Gotta’ keep pushing through to the weekend!

See y’all on Friday!

xx

– Ashley –

Into The Wild…

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

While I’m not particularly thrilled at being back at work in my office so bright and early this morning- I had such a great weekend that I’m still running on that energy so not much can bring me down at this point. I’m sure I’ll be singing a different tune by like, 11 a.m.- but right now I’m feeling fine.

Saturday was my usual afternoon routine, where I hosted my Indie617 show from 12-4 (and thanks to everyone who participated in a lively lyric discussion!)– but from there I went on to perform in a “Summer Showcase” dance and performance event in Salem for a studio I’ve been working closely with over these past few months. I presented a piece I wrote and directed myself- inspired by my struggles with depression, anxiety, self-doubt and ultimately acceptance of my flaws- and the response was overwhelmingly positive.

I haven’t mentioned my work there- or my performance- until now as I’d been extremely self-conscious and wanted to perfect it before I went ahead and shared it with the masses via additional shows or social media- but Saturday night’s reaction was definitely a confidence booster.

Yesterday, in the post-show glow-y haze I was in- Troy advised me he was picking me up and taking me to an unknown destination in The Berkshires and, specifically, New York. Never one to back down from an adventure in a new destination- I agreed.

After a long drive through picturesque towns like Stockbridge and Great Barrington (with lunch at The Marketplace on the way)– we reached our destination on the Massachusetts/New York line- Bash Bish Fallls. Or, as I kept calling it- “Bad Bitch Falls.”

The place was absolutely incredible- and worth the steep 20 minute hike to get to. The views were amazing, the water was super cold and clear, and it was the perfect way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon in August. I was on cloud nine.

Of course, I snapped some photos. You can click on them to enlarge them.

On the way back to Northampton and Greenfield- we stopped at the SoCo Creamery in Great Barrington for some ice cream (banana brownie 4eva) and to take in some more views of the town’s most famous street/shopping area. It’s a super cute town with a lot of bouji boutiques and restaurants- but I enjoyed my time there and wouldn’t mind visiting again.

Overall, I had a really perfect weekend and I wish it could have extended another few days- although I do have tomorrow off and a half day on Wednesday- so here’s hoping I can keep that late Summer magic and adventurous energy going strong.

I’ve got to get started on my work for the week, but I’ll be back on Wednesday morning with more updates from the road. Here’s wishing you all a peaceful and stress-free beginning of the work-week ahead!

xx

– Ashley –