Stay-cations, Horror Movies and Chicken Coops…

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone!

As we reach the halfway point to the weekend and I prepare to share some big and exciting news in a couple of days (I gotta’ make sure the ink is dry, first!)– I’m taking a look back on what was a pretty exciting weekend that took me from one side of the state to the other. Lots of driving? Sure. Worth it? Absolutely.

On Friday, after I’d left work for the day and ran some errands- I partook in a little “Stay-Cation” in my hometown of Worcester with Troy who was working a conference in the city over the weekend. We ate locally, had some super strong drinks, and watched the re-make/re-telling of “Pet Sematary” which was… Not that great. I’m nearly certain I’ve said it before, but Stephen King movies rarely translate well on screen. I’m not sure if it’s because what you dream up in your head as you’re reading his work is infinitely more scary than anything any director can pull off- but many film adaptations of his stories rarely work properly (except “Misery”, “Stand By Me” and the re-make of “It.”)

I digress. “Pet Sematary” was a serious let-down (except for the cat. I loved the cat!) and if our tickets hadn’t been discounted- I probably would have been really mad when I was leaving the theater.

Side Note: where is the trailer for “It: Chapter 2?”

On Saturday, after leaving the Indie617 station in Boston for the afternoon- it was off to the wilderness of Barre, Massachusetts to visit my friend Stef and her husband Andy in their new home they’d recently moved into for dinner and a late night horror movie with some of our circle of friends. Our film of choice? “Sleepaway Camp”!

Stef and Andy are budding farmers, and now that they’re out of the city and living in a very rural, remote location- they’ve been able to start using their land the way they’ve always wanted. They’ve already started getting their animals in order and are planning what fruit/vegetables to grow once the weather gets a bit nicer.

While I was visiting, I met Stef’s newest family addition- a bunch of little chickens! They’re not for food, by the way (they’re way too cute) but Stef is hoping to have fresh eggs when they get big enough.

I’m trying to convince her to invest in some alpacas, too. We’ll see how that goes.

Sunday, after sleeping entirely too late (I needed it)– it was all about errands, preparing meals for the week, and catching up on e-mails with an iced coffee in one hand and a pizza bagel in the other in and around my home- where I sometimes just need to sort of veg out and be still in for an afternoon or an evening to re-center myself and relax.

For now, I’ve got to get to work and attempt to stay one step ahead of the game despite how busy it’s been lately- and get ready for Friday!

Here’s wishing you all a lovely “Hump Day!” Talk soon!

xx

– Ashley –

Post-Birthday Recovery…

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

My posting schedule has been a little off this week (and will be next week, as well- given February kicks off next Friday!) The days leading up to and following my birthday are always a little crazy and hectic since I have such a big family and my friends are scattered around Massachusetts and New England. My time is always stretched a bit thin since people come and visit, I’m going out to meet friends for birthday-related fun- and also working full-time. It leaves little time for blogging this time of year!

Tonight is one of the last birthday celebrations planned for me as far as I know- and it involves eating lots of Chinese Food and cake with my mom, my older brothers, my sister-in-law and my niece! Then it’s nothing but sleep, catching up on e-mails, touching up my hair on Saturday- and heading to Salem on Sunday for my friend Phill’s annual ‘Royal Rumble’ party. Always such a good time.

The past few days have been a lot of fun- with the exception of a crazy snowstorm, single digit temperatures and a lot of rain. My actual birthday was a really relaxing affair- mainly because after I had left my office for the day- Troy treated me to dinner and a “Spa Night” at East Heaven in Northampton. I got to completely unwind during a soak in an outdoor hot tub (and despite the cold weather- it wasn’t bad at all) and an hour long massage. Absolute bliss!

He’s a gem.

My co-workers surprised me with a dozen of my favorite doughnuts, my best friend surprised me with a pink frosted cake (pictured above) and other friends loaded me up with carbs earlier this week during a surprise luncheon. If people thought the holidays were the time of year where everyone threw their diets out the window- they haven’t seen anything yet!

With January winding down next week (already?!)– I’m in the process of putting together my favorite things from this month to share next week, as well as writing up a summary of the beginning of the year for my “In a Nutshell” post that should be up next Thursday. I’ve also got a Super Bowl to prepare for following that absolutely INSANE Patriots/Chiefs game this past Sunday- so expect some fun, party-friendly recipes in the coming days.

I want to thank everyone again who texted, called, e-mailed, or dropped me a line on social media for my birthday! I know Tuesdays are pretty much the worst day of the week by default- but my birthday was still wonderful and I’m very appreciative of all the love and warm wishes!

By the way- there’s still time to enter my birthday giveaway!

Enjoy your weekend, everyone! I’ll see you all next week!

xx

– Ashley –

“But you’re the Pumpkin King!”

Good Evening and Happy Friday, everyone!

While my posts typically go up fairly early in the morning- I opted to sleep in a little late today before work after a night out- and figured I’d update while I was curled up and cozy and getting ready for a much-needed quiet night in.

The World Series is on, and then it’s a late night horror movie marathon before I kick off my weekend bright and early tomorrow morning!

This past week has been wild- in a good way. Shortly after I shared my Game Day recipe for Loaded Baked Potato Chips on Wednesday, I was live on Indie617 during ‘Morning Glory’ with Michael Marotta where we talked Jack White looking miserable at baseball games, the time Ryan Adams baby-sat me, the good ‘ol days of VH1 reality television- and debated which Strokes album was the best. If you missed the segment and want to give it a listen- CLICK HERE.

My time with Indie617 is extending to tomorrow, as well- where I’ll be making an appearance at their Boos & Brews Halloween Party at the Idle Hands Craft Ales in Malden (DETAILS HERE). I’m so excited to listen to some good music, have some drinks, and savor some pizza skulls- yes, you read that right- pizza skulls!

Last night, my good friends visiting from Pasadena for the week met up with me at Franklin Park Zoo so that we could catch up while we walked through their Jack O’Lantern Journey display (which runs through November 4th!) It was really impressive- and definitely made me want to step up my own Jack O’Lantern game!

It was really good seeing them, since it’s been a couple of years- and I’m looking forward to visiting their neighborhood once I’m out on the West Coast again!

But it’s time to watch the Red Sox and get ready for a busy day tomorrow! I’ll be back on Monday with some of my favorite things from October and a recap of this lovely, spooky month come Halloween!

Enjoy your weekend, everyone! Don’t forget to stock up on candy for the Trick-Or-Treaters before the stores run out!

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 fiancĂ©, 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 –

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 –