In Bloom – A Spring Playlist

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! We’ve made it to another weekend!

Earlier this week I talked about getting into a Spring state of mind since the snow, sleet, ice, and bitterly cold temperatures were starting to get me down. While I ready my floral print everything, pastels, and spend time in local greenhouses and at flower shows in an attempt to inject some nature and brighter colors into my life- I also needed a seasonally appropriate soundtrack to keep my spirits up until the warmer weather gets here!

Using 8Tracks– which remains one of my favorite ways to create/swap what are essentially good ol’ fashioned mixtapes online- I created “In Bloom”- a brief, ten-track playlist of some of my favorite upbeat and dreamy songs that range from recent releases to a couple of older, classic indie tunes.

I also lined up these songs in Spotify for when I’m in the car- and honestly they make my commute feel a little more cheery and calming despite the fact that there are still some pretty intimidating-looking snowbanks along the roadsides here in Massachusetts.

But I digress! You can listen to the Playlist below (or by CLICKING HERE)

And for the curious- here’s the tracklisting:

  1. Lucy Dacus – La Vie en Rose
  2. Cults – Go Outside
  3. Belle and Sebastian – Another Sunny Day
  4. Deerhunter – No One’s Sleeping
  5. Jenny Lewis – Red Bull & Hennessey
  6. Tall Heights – The Deep End
  7. Soccer Mommy – Blossom
  8. Billie Eilish – When The Party’s Over
  9. Beirut – Gallipoli
  10. Death Cab For Cutie – Northern Lights

This coming weekend I’ll be visiting one of my favorite art museums in the city and bracing myself for some much-needed Spring cleaning around my closet and bedroom- all while losing an hour of precious sleep once Daylight Savings Time kicks in on Sunday morning!

I’ll be back on Monday (and will undoubtedly be sleepy and confused when I am)– so here’s to a fun, warm, safe weekend to you all! Enjoy!

xx

– Ashley –

Like Real People Do…

Good Morning and Happy “Hump Day”, everyone!

Today is my newly assigned half day at work for the next couple of months before our company’s schedules shift again right before the new year- and I have a (hopefully) lovely afternoon planned at a local orchard after I head out of my office today! Unfortunately, I’m simultaneously fighting off a bit of a Fall cold, as well- so I may need to take it a little easy over the remainder of the week.

My sneezing and sniffles is the result of some serious rain and a sudden temperature drop in the past few days- and being caught unexpectedly in more than one frigid downpour when I was wearing nothing more than a thin cardigan came back to haunt me.

Of course, it’s all been worth it- since I’ve been having so much fun over the past couple of days. Monday night, after I all but tumbled out of my office in my hurry to get over to Fenway right away- saw me at House of Blues to catch a set by Hozier and meet up with my dearest of dear, longtime friends- Steven- who also happens to be the brilliant lighting designer/wizard for this tour.

Hozier’s made a few appearances in past Fall playlists I’ve put together- since he’s perfected the dreary, haunting vocals/vibe- but I’d never actually seen him live and was completely blown away at how insanely talented he, his band, and their backup singers are. It was truly incredible-and I watched most of it with my mouth hanging open in absolute awe.

The opening band, Hudson Taylor, were also fantastic and fun and had the entire crowd fired up. I enjoyed them so, so much!

And of course, seeing Steven is always wonderful. I wish he and I saw each other more often, but when we are in the same town at the same time- it’s always so great to get the opportunity to catch up, crack jokes, listen to good music and (if I’m lucky-) watch him work his magic with his stage designs. Last night, with how low-key and laid back the show seemed- sort of reminded me of way, way back when he and I first met so many years ago before tours got super extravagant and complex. It was really nice- and I’m hoping he comes back sooner than later.

The evening ended with a set list (my very first Hozier one!) and a late night cheeseburger on my way home- which is fitting for any Monday night out, really!

Last night, after working late and just starting to feel a tad under the weather- I opted to stay in so I could wrap myself up in fleece pajamas, warm blankets, and have a serious video game session with Sean (we played ‘Dead By Daylight’ in opposite rooms, obviously. It’s the only way to do it properly!) so it was a nice way to unwind while taking care of myself and getting some much-needed rest.

But today I am all about getting back out there and picking some apples and pumpkins- rain or shine- so expect quite a few photos on my social media along the way!

I’m off to get some work done first, though! Enjoy your Wednesday, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

Crunchy Leaves/Apple Crisp – A Fall 2018 Playlist!

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

This weekend is looking to be one of my busiest yet- with a baby shower for my cousin’s girlfriend, a bridal shower for my soon-to-be-married childhood friend, and packing for a very, *very* early flight to the West Coast first thing on Monday morning.

Needless to say, I’ve got to stick to a pretty tight schedule AND manage to get some sleep in there somewhere!

Today is quick and early day for me at work- and all I’m really going to be doing is changing my phone and e-mail settings to re-direct any incoming correspondence in my office to whoever is around to help before it’s off to get my hair touched up for a little pre-vacay pampering- so it seems like a good time as any to share one of my favorite traditions: My annual Autumn Playlist (via 8Tracks!)

This year’s playlist, inspired by time spent stepping through crunchy leaves and picking apples at the local orchard on brisk and drizzly days- one of my favorite activities this time of year!- features ten tracks, mostly new with a couple of older favorites sprinkled in- from folk, alternative and indie artists that range anywhere from dreamy and relaxing to more upbeat and catchy.

This is “Crunchy Leaves/Apple Crisp” – a Fall 2018 Playlist!

– TRACKLISTING –

  1. Houndsmouth – Sedona
  2. Kurt Vile – Loading Zones
  3. Middle Kids – Edge of Town
  4. Phantastic Ferniture – Gap Year
  5. Death Cab for Cutie – Autumn Love
  6. Cat Power (ft. Lana Del Rey ) – Woman
  7. Hozier – Shrike
  8. Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus & boygenius – Bite The Hand
  9. Iron & Wine – Autumn Town Leaves
  10. Big Red Machine – Hymnostic

I hope you all enjoy giving it a listen as much as I enjoyed putting it together!

The posting schedule may be a little off next week, since I’ll be on the opposite coast and no doubt getting into trouble with my West Coast friends- but you can feel free to follow the action and my adventures over at my Instagram!

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful weekend! I’m sure I’ll pop by to say hello during my vacation!

Enjoy the rest of your Friday!

xx

– Ashley –

Funk and Frosting…

Good Morning and Happy Hump Day, everyone!

This week has been filled with phone calls and meetings, and as we kick off the halfway mark to Friday- the momentum is still going strong. I’ve got so much to do today, and then immediately after work it’s off to a date in Western Massachusetts to decompress and relax with good company.

Although this past weekend took an unexpected turn with some wild weather and a F1 tornado dropping by my mother’s neighborhood for a couple of minutes- I still managed to find some time to take in a bit of impromptu live music, indulge in the sweeter things, and even pamper myself a bit.

On Saturday night, after recovering from the shock of the storm that ripped through the area- I headed back out towards Beverly to grab a couple of drinks and catch a George Clinton show at the Cabot Theater. One of my friends had rounded up a handful of tickets to the show and thought it would be a fun way to pass an evening. He was right- although the show itself was a bit… Unusual?

There was so much happening all at once and a lot of noise so it was a bit difficult to differentiate one song from the next (especially with 20 people on stage at any given time)– but everyone was in good spirits and the inside of the venue was really beautiful- so it all evened out and it was worth the price of admission. It was a unique experience for sure!

On Sunday morning, while nursing an unexpected-and-not-hangover-related migraine that seemed to materialize out of nowhere first thing in the A.M.- I opted to treat myself to some “Unicorn Poop” (yes, that’s the real name) cupcakes courtesy of Whoopie-Doo & Cupcakes, Too! while I was passing through the Sturbridge area. The cupcakes were *almost* too pretty to eat- with the rainbow swirled frosting, edible glitter and rich chocolate cake- but I powered through my remorse once I tasted how delicious they were.

And sure enough- my headache went away shortly afterwards!

Sunday afternoon and evening was all about errands and preparing for this most busy of work weeks- while also sneaking in an aqua-colored mani/pedi combo- but I’m looking forward to doing some more cooking this week (I have a great steak recipe to share on Friday morning before we break for the weekend!) and spending some long overdue time at the beach this coming Friday/Saturday- if the weather holds up, of course.

And Sunday is going to be all about Boston Comic-Con! I’m really looking forward to visiting some of my favorite local vendors and artists since I’ve been out of the circuit for a few months (I love to cosplay and attend the panels, meet and greets, etc.- but sometimes a girl just needs a break now and then!)

Expect a lot of pictures here and on my social media over the next few days!

But we’ve still gotta’ make it through this week- so I’m going to dial it back a bit and just say that I hope you all have a wonderful and stress-free Wednesday- and I’ll see you all on Friday!

Don’t spoil your appetites, either- because the recipe I have planned for Friday’s post is one of my favorites for the late Summertime!

xx

– Ashley –

July 2018: In a Nutshell

Good Morning and Happy Monday 2.0, everyone!

This week’s posting schedule is a short one (today and Thursday only)– not only because the last day of July happened to land on a Tuesday- but because I’ve got a pretty busy few days ahead of me and have been coordinating different events, meet-ups, errands and deadlines around an already packed work-week!

Can you all believe we’re getting ready to dive into August? That means there’s only one solid month of Summer left before we start to gradually transition into the Fall. Cooler temperatures, shorter days, changing foliage- and the return of pumpkin spiced everything. It’s pretty wild- and I, for one- intend to savor the next few hot and sunny weeks ahead as much as possible!

But before I get ready to change my calendar and start planning as many beach days as I can get away with- I thought I’d take a look back on the month of July- and all the fun (and sometimes insanity) that came with it!

The beginning of this past month was marked by tragedy, unfortunately. Following the suicide of an old friend near the end of June, the first few days of July saw me return to my hometown in Central Massachusetts to pay my respects and spend some much-needed time with mutual friends I hadn’t seen in many years who were also in mourning.

While the circumstances were indeed grim, being able to catch up with so many people I’d missed and care about- and both laugh and cry as we shared memories from a long time ago- was pretty cathartic. I’m making more of an effort to find time to see these friends more often, despite our busy schedules and home lives- because it shouldn’t only be tragedies that bring people back together.

By the time July 4th rolled around, I was also getting back in touch with nature- hiking, swimming beneath waterfalls and in lakes, and catching ferries around Boston Harbor’s islands to get a taste of the ocean and get out of the city for a few hours at a time. By the time Friday the 13th rolled around, I was a pro at packing backpacks filled with SPF, bug spray, and snacks- and had no issues camping out in the middle of the woods for a Jason Vorhees-inspired film festival at Rocky Woods Reservation!

And despite quite a few scattered thunderstorms and sun showers- I caught plenty of outdoor cookouts and backyard BBQs with friends and family (take a peek at some of my SUMMER RECIPES posts for a few of my favorite dishes!) as well as taking in some local children’s theater to support one of my best friends and enjoying some Summer blockbuster action flicks in air conditioned theaters!

This past weekend, with July winding down- I kept things closer to home. Friday night was the Arctic Monkeys show at TD Garden. I love those brilliant boys from Sheffield- and it was a real trip to see them play for thousands at the Garden when I can remember so clearly watching them play for about 100 people in small venues throughout New York and London in our early twenties! Alex may have shaved off his beautiful hair last week, but he was still just as dashing and charming as ever- and hearing some of the bangers I love best reverberate off the walls of the arena was such an incredible feeling.

Live music can make you feel invincible sometimes. I swear.

Following the gig, friends and I took the after party to the Coolidge Corner Theater for their midnight screening of “The Room” (AKA the best worst movie ever made) ala “Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Within three minutes- the entire crowd was laughing hysterically- and by ten minutes in, we were throwing plastic spoons at the screen after being given handfuls of them by the staff upon entry. If you’ve never had the opportunity to go to a midnight screening, don’t even hesitate to buy tickets if one is available near you. Grab your friends and go. It’s a riot.

By the early afternoon on Saturday, my friends and I- having gone to bed around 4 a.m.- needed to recharge and sleepily walked to downtown Melrose to get brunch at our favorite weekend spot- Cappa’s Trackside Kitchen. We all split omelettes, toast, hash, home fries- and my personal favorite- banana Nutella French toast- before grabbing coffees to go and heading out into the sunshine to wake ourselves up a little.

Sunday was my day to rest, although I did take a bit of time to get a few errands for the week accomplished- but the majority of the day was spent in pajamas, surfing the web, watching trashy reality TV, and eating nachos. Sometimes you just really, really need a lazy Sunday- and it seemed like a fitting way to bid farewell to an otherwise jam-packed and busy month! Decompressing and getting ready for the next one!

So what do I have planned for August? Well, as I mentioned earlier- definitely as many beach days as possible! I’m also hoping to spend a little more time in some of my favorite seaside towns before that tricky New England weather starts to change again.

I’ve got Boston Comic-Con and Summer Slam coming up within the next couple of weeks, too- which is going to require some creativity and dressing up on my part!

And, of course- I’ll have plenty of recipes, outfits and recaps to share as Summer 2018 begins to draw to a close!

But I’ve got a meeting at work this morning before I get right back into my daily grind- so here’s wishing you all a wonderful end to your own July- and a lovely rest of your Tuesday!

xx

– Ashley –