Send Pizza and Hot Chocolate…

My view from Tuesday’s storm (3/13/18)

Happy Friday, everyone!

I don’t know about you all- but I’m so happy and so excited the weekend is here! After another busy, snowy week- I’m looking forward to spending a little bit of time away from home. I’m supposed to head to NYC tomorrow morning to spend a day in Brooklyn- just for fun- and check out the David Bowie exhibit over at the Brooklyn Museum (and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at a couple of Irish pubs around the city.)

On Sunday, it’s back to Boston just in time to stop by the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade- a tradition for my friends and I- and partake in a little day-drinking before I head to my place, throw on some sweatpants and watch ‘The Walking Dead’.

Expect a lot of pictures!

I’m really looking forward to just being able to get outside and not have to shovel, really. My brother and my sister-in-law were kind enough to stop by during Tuesday’s blizzard to help me get my driveway clear and my car cleaned off of snow- but I don’t know how much more of this I can take!

“Go on without me. I’m done for.”

I heard we have another storm coming next Tuesday/Wednesday- although reports have varied so I really don’t know how accurate that is. I’m hoping it’s just a rumor or, worst case scenario- we just get some rain, instead. I’m keeping the shovels nearby, though. Just in case!

Enjoy your weekend, everyone- and have a fun, safe St. Patrick’s Day if you’re planning on partying!

xoxo

– Ashley –

How Many More Weeks of Winter?

Good Morning, everyone!

No, the photo above isn’t a snapshot from December that I waited to post ’til now- but was actually taken yesterday morning during a break from shoveling my way out of the aftermath of Winter Storm Quinn- which dumped just under two feet of snow on my neighborhood.

After the “thunder snow” (a thunderstorm within a blizzard) passed- the cleanup of powder, downed trees and power lines was completed surprisingly quickly! The temperatures have thankfully been on the warmer side, too- so a lot of this should hopefully melt within the next few days- or at least until the next storm, rumored to hit on Monday- rolls in.

I had originally planned an OOTD/Outfit of the Day post for today to showcase one of my early Spring styles- but given the recent weather- it looks like I’ll have to postpone it for next week, instead.

This coming weekend I’m staying close to home (so many flights, trains, ferries, etc. have been cancelled/delayed due to the weather- so I’m going to wait a few days to let things get sorted out before I travel again!) to spend time with family and friends- but I’m planning a day trip to Brooklyn next weekend, as well as catching the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade!

Until then, I’ve got a recipe to share and a peek at some of the metallic pieces currently brightening up my closet coming up on the blog within the next few days.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone- and if you’re in the Northeast- stay warm!

xx

– Ashley –

Bomb Cyclones and Burgers

Good Morning, everyone! I’m currently in the midst of preparing for what will be the second major Winter Storm to hit New England in less than a week- and moving to Nevada is looking better and better right now, honestly.

Last Friday night, we got slammed with major rainfall, dangerously high winds and flooding when Winter Storm Riley barreled over us. While my neighborhood (thankfully) remained above the rising water levels and only lost power in small, quick increments- areas of Boston and Quincy were all but completely submerged- especially when high tide came in.

Power lines and trees were blown over and uprooted, and by the time the storm passed- it looked like a tornado had touched down.

Things got so serious that the National Guard came in to help First Responders get people who were trapped with nowhere to go and no heat/power to safety and shelter. It was an absolute mess- and unlike anything I’d ever seen before.

And now, with residents only just returning to their homes for the first time since the storm moved inland- we’re about to get slammed by Winter Storm Quinn- which is reportedly going to dump a considerable amount of snow on us. Whether or not I’ll be able to get to and/or remain at my office to accomplish anything is still a mystery- but I know for a fact I’m probably just going to give up on shoveling anything in the aftermath.

Nope. I am DONE with this weather. Where is Spring? We keep getting teasers- but I’m ready for it to get here and stay here already.

I digress. Despite the weather, I had a pretty good weekend. I got a lot accomplished in terms of errands and tasks I’d been putting off- and I got to spend some time with friends around my hometown, as well! Sean, who had lost power in his own apartment- made the trek to Central Massachusetts with me to get out of the cold and spend some time playing board games and grabbing late night burgers with a few of our longtime friends from back home.

Can’t let a Winter Hurricane keep us down! 3/4/18

Sunday was all about brunch, relaxing, getting ready for the work week- and flipping back and forth between the Oscars and ‘The Walking Dead’ as the night wore on. It was nice just to do nothing for a day- although this coming weekend is looking like it’s going to be pretty busy. I’m glad I could embrace and enjoy the laziness while I had the time!

For those of you who live in New England – stay safe and warm and let’s ride this thing out together! To those of you watching this unfold from other parts of the world- please send snacks. We need them.

See you all on Friday, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

Brightening Up with Takashi Murakami

Winter in Boston can be a trying time- even for the most outdoorsy of snow bunnies. It’s bitterly cold. There’s sludge everywhere from cars and endless foot traffic. The temperatures make everything run slower than usual (like the T, or your phone)– and every once in a while it warms up just enough to melt the snow that’s been piling up for weeks- only to suddenly drop back into the single digits seemingly overnight, freeze all those melted puddles- and turn the entire city into a slippery nightmare.

That last thing happened this past weekend, actually.

Anyway, this recent cold snap is just one of the reasons I’m heading out to Southern California for a few days starting this coming weekend- but leading up ’til then- I needed a break. I needed something warm, and bright, and cheerful- to get me back into a chipper mood and make me feel refreshed again. You can only stay cooped up under your blankets for so long, after all.

Enter the Museum of Fine Arts and their current exhibit honoring Japanese artist, Takashi Murakami.

I’m a big fan of Murakami’s work- which has always been colorful, fun, and most of all- unique. The MFA never fails to showcase talent in such a way that the entire experience is memorable- so I was really excited to see what they’d do with this exhibit.

Let’s just say that by the time I left- I was dreaming of Spring and I couldn’t stop smiling. This gallery was exactly what I needed.

Between the flower-printed floors, light fixtures, and the huge and busy, bustling murals that took up entire wall spaces- this exhibit is truly something to behold. If you’re in the Boston area and you need something to get you out of your Winter blues for an afternoon- ‘Takashi Murakami: Lineage of Eccentrics’ runs through the MFA until April 1st, 2018.

You’ll have a blast. I promise!

xx

– Ashley –

Hello, 2018…

Good Morning, everyone! It’s great to be back- in a brand new year, no less- and I hope you all had a wonderful weekend welcoming 2018 in a fun, memorable way!

I spent New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day in New Hampshire with my best friend Sean. The whole thing was planned at the last possible minute, really- but we’ve been fortunate in past travels/adventures where just winging it and rolling with the punches has worked out in our favor- and this most recent weekend was (thankfully) no exception.

We hung our hats at The Silver Fountain Inn in Dover- which is about 15 minutes away from Portsmouth. The property is both an inn and a tea parlor that hosts private parties and murder mystery dinners- among other events. Sean and I went halves on an already reasonably priced rate to get ourselves the Boudoir Room for a night- and it might have been one of the nicest rooms I’ve ever stayed in- ever. If you’ve ever visited any of the mansions in Newport, Rhode Island- then you’ll understand me when I say that this room gave me that vibe. I felt like royalty in here!

We were free to explore the rest of the inn- including the rooms that weren’t occupied- at our leisure, and the entire house looked just as gorgeous as our room was. From an amazing dining room with still-festive decor, a spacious sitting room, and a spiraling grand staircase that worked it’s way up three floors- there was a lot to take in!

Below are some of my favorite shots I snapped while we were stretching our legs and grabbing some complimentary tea from the dining area.

I could live there forever- no questions asked!

Of course, we had to briefly leave the comforts of our palace-for-a-night and head out into the bitter, brutal Northeastern cold (seriously- it was actually painful being outdoors for more than a few minutes at a time) to grab dinner and count down to midnight.

After pausing to VERY quickly appreciate some celebratory ice sculptures in downtown Portsmouth- Sean and I headed over to Fat Belly’s Bar & Grille to grab our annual “end of the year, face-stuffing cheat meal” where we just ingest the greasiest/most fattening/carb-loaded dishes, desserts and snacks we can before it’s back to square one on January 1st. I enjoyed a bacon cheeseburger with fries, while Sean had some over-the-top BLT. Fat Belly’s can always be counted on to deliver the goods (hence their name.)

Following dinner, and with a couple of hours to spare- Sean and I did a bit of bar-hopping until we found one that we felt comfortable in, and that wasn’t charging a ridiculously overpriced cover to scam people who were simply looking to come in out of the cold. We popped into The Portsmouth Brewery and ended up staying there for the remainder of our night out on the town- counting down to midnight with a room full of fun, enthusiastic people in their downstairs lounge area.

After milling about for another hour or so, saying our goodnights and best wishes for the New Year to everyone around us- Sean and I bundled up once again to brave the Arctic Tundra temperatures to get back to my car and from there- back to Dover so we could get some much-needed rest and relaxation in our room. I fell asleep almost immediately- the bed was so comfortable.

The next morning, bright and early and feeling rejuvenated- Sean and I enjoyed a breakfast prepared by the innkeeper, Pam. We had initially been a bit indecisive on what we wanted- so Pam made us a little of everything: a Mexican scramble, a buttermilk & strawberry pancake, bacon and English Toffee coffee. It was delicious- and when other guests who had stayed the night eventually came in to join us- we spent the better part of our meal getting to know one another and laughing about our favorite suspenseful TV shows over the years.

It was a really great environment and energy throughout the house- like we were catching up with old friends instead of strangers- and I was admittedly pretty sad when it came time to check out and head back to Massachusetts later on that morning. I’d really love to travel North and stay at the inn again- but definitely for more than just one night next time.

To get back to Melrose, Sean and I opted to drive down the coast as far as it would take us before heading inland to get home. We made a stop at Hampton Beach to enjoy just a couple of minutes of salty, freezing air- and marveled at the braver people who were getting closer and closer to the tide.

I heard every January 1st there’s a “Polar Plunge” (where people jump into the freezing water as a means to ring in the New Year) in Hampton- but I am 100% all set without doing that. I’ll just stick to my heated car and watch from the shore, thank you.

We also made one other stop at the Heart and Soul Cafe in Ipswich for lunch (avocado toast all day, every day!) before we eventually made it home to binge-watch some TV and play some video games before it was time to get my meals and wardrobe in order for the work-week ahead, pencil time into my schedule to hit the gym every day, unpack my bag- and try to get a good night’s sleep.

Overall, I had such an extraordinary and magical experience in New Hampshire for New Year’s- even if it was much colder than I’d expected or hoped for. Everyone remained in good spirits and seemed intent on helping each other out in terms of offering warm places to sit/stay. It was a very pleasant, peaceful way to begin 2018 and I’m very grateful it all worked out on such short notice!

Later on this week, I’m going to be sharing my tips/tricks to overcoming any gym anxiety for those who are looking to get back into the workout game and stick to your resolutions. I’m really excited to be partnering with the creators of a particularly helpful app for that very purpose- and I can’t wait to share the details with you all!

Until then, though- I’ve got to get to work!

Enjoy the rest of your day, everyone!

Ipswich, MA. 1/1/18

xx

– Ashley –