“Bring Me Back to Autumn…”

Good Morning and Happy Tuesday, everyone!

I hope those of you who were able to celebrate the long weekend enjoyed it immensely. I personally had a wonderful couple of days off that were spent outdoors despite the occasional drizzle and thunderstorm- and also catching up on some much-needed sleep. Although I’m back at work bright and early this morning- I’m feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day and the remainder of this short work-week!

With this past Sunday marking the beginning of September, the midst of Labor Day Weekend- and the unofficial [official] end to the Summer- I dove headfirst into the Autumnal activities. I had my first Fall-inspired coffee beverage (a pumpkin pie chai, courtesy of Shelburne Falls Coffee Roasters) and made the short journey to Phillipston, Massachusetts to check out the Appleseed Country Fair at Red Apple Farm.

A friend had actually been the one to tell me about the fair- as I hadn’t even known the farm existed- but I’m certainly glad she did because the place is adorable and filled with all the apples, pumpkins, sunflowers and homemade, farm-fresh snacks/sweets a Fall-loving girl could ask for.

The fair itself was very busy but fun- with hay rides, animals to pet, tractors to pose for photos with, hot air balloon lifts, live music and plenty of vendors and food. The farm is also dog-friendly- which means Oliver can join me in a couple of weeks when I go back as there will be less of a crowd so I can pick apples for baking and pumpkins for decorating. He’s going to love it.

And while I wanted to stock up on all the jams, natural peanut butter, kettle corn popcorn and apple dumplings I could carry- I opted for some apple cider to enjoy at home and apple cider doughnuts to share with my mom. They. Are. Delicious.

Yesterday, after running some errands and cooking up a seafood recipe (which will be on the blog this coming Thursday!)– I made a point to swing by Patriot Place at Gillette Stadium to snag a new t-shirt for the upcoming Patriots season and do a bit of window-shopping before a pretty significant thunderstorm rolled through the area and I had to take cover in my car during the subsequent torrential downpour.

Catching an actual game at Gillette this season is on my “Fall 2019 Bucket List”- so here’s hoping I’ll be back there sooner than later!

And the new shirt will definitely be making an appearance on my Instagram this week. It’s really nice!

But with quite a bit of work in front of me and a pretty busy couple of days ahead- I’m off to get things sorted and done early so I can enjoy this coming weekend (and the Hampton Beach Seafood Festival) properly!

Enjoy your day, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

Summer with The Vanderbilts…

Good Afternoon and Happy Wednesday, everyone! I love these mid-week moments!

It’s a bit of a late posting day for me- since I’ve been in an absolute flurry at work since about 7 a.m. today- but I’ve just finished for the day and am getting ready to run a couple of heavily procrastinated errands I can’t put off any longer, prepare for dinner and to say farewell to my dearest friend’s apartment since he’ll be moving out of it this weekend. We’ve had so many wonderful memories there- and respects must be paid!

It’s blowing my mind that we’re nearly at August’s end- with September looming just ahead this coming Sunday. While I’m undoubtedly excited for the Fall and all the Autumnal activities there are to do here in the Pioneer Valley- I’m still very much in a Summer mood and am trying to spend as much time as possible in or around the water before it freezes over.

This past weekend, with the temperatures cooling comfortably and my Sunday freed up after my usual early morning laundry and coffee run- I opted to head down to Newport, Rhode Island for one final Summer weekend coast-side in a community I’ve grown to love dearly over the years. While there, I visited The Breakers- since it had been quite a few years since I marveled at the architecture, the artwork-adorned walls and ceilings- and the spectacular views of the Atlantic.

I took plenty of photos of the grounds and surrounding Cliff Walk- which you can make bigger by clicking below!

It was a beautiful day and a lovely way to sort of bid farewell to Summer- although the official goodbye comes when I head up to New Hampshire for the annual Seafood Festival in a couple of weeks! Can you tell I’m excited for crab cakes and discounted beach clothes?

Sorry. I’m getting ahead of myself here. On Friday, I’ll be talking about some of my favorite odds and ends from August- products, finds, buys, etc. There’s some real gems I discovered/stumbled across that I’m very much looking forward to talking about.

And then on Saturday- before I head to the Indie617 studio to host my show- I’ll be giving Summer 2019 a thorough review and the proper send-off it deserves.

Until then, enjoy your “Hump Day” and keep your heads up! Friday is nearly here!

xx

– Ashley –

Rainy Days and Book Stores…

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone!

When I had initially announced my impending move to the Pioneer Valley earlier this month, I had mentioned that I wanted to highlight some of my favorite places to pass the time out that way. For any of you who have followed this blog or it’s past incarnations- you probably know that I predominantly write about restaurants/bars/shops/attractions in the Boston area or around my hometown in Central Massachusetts.

Being out in Western Massachusetts, close to the Berkshires, and truly in one of the most beautiful, clean, environmentally conscious and artistic parts of New England opens the doors for me to discover and share so many new people, places and things will all of you- and I knew right away that an old favorite (but a goody!) would be first on my list to reacquaint myself with.

The Montague Book Mill, which is a used book store, art gallery and restaurant(s) within an old mill from the mid-1800s- is one of my favorite places to go, curl up by the window with a good read, sip a cup of tea and just relax/zone out for a couple of hours while I listen to the nearby Sawmill River flow past.

I’m never the only one with this idea, and the Mill have utilized a lot of their nooks and crannies by turning them into quiet, peaceful places for those looking to work/study without interruption and in a unique location.

I haven’t been in a few years- but made it a point to stop by on Monday during my day off while the rain was falling outside. As always, I ended up exploring and snapping some photos!

To see the enlarged version, just click the picture!

Before I left to head back home, I popped into The Lady Killigrew Cafe for an early dinner (their brie, apricot jam and marinated apples sandwich rules!) and a quick cup of coffee. How I’ve missed that place. I promised myself I wouldn’t wait another 2-3 years before I went back again- and now that I’ll be living less than 30 minutes away- it’s a promise I can keep!

I’ll be back in the area tonight after work to meet up with Troy for dinner and drinks- and will more than likely make another appearance over the weekend since I’m on the prowl for new furniture.

Until then, though- it’s all about getting things done at my office and getting some caffeine in me as soon as possible!

Enjoy your “Hump Day”, everyone! See you all again on Friday!

xx

– Ashley –

Gardners and Gardens…

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

I hope you’ve all recovered from “Springing Forward” with Daylight Savings Time yesterday morning. I am admittedly still a little bit out of it- especially since I typically go to work so early in the morning- but I should be adjusted and good to go within a couple of days. I know I’m going to feel much better when I can leave work and be able to get in a workout while it’s still light outside!

Prior to time traveling an hour on Sunday morning, I spent a warm and sunny Saturday afternoon browsing the galleries at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum– which is a stone’s throw away from the Museum of Fine Arts here in Boston (another favorite weekend spot of mine!)

I was a kid the last time I visited Isabella Stewart Gardner’s collections- but the museum is just as breathtaking and beautiful as I remember- and the enclosed indoor courtyard was so lush and green that it made me forget all about the fact that there was a lot of snow and slush melting just a few yards away outside whenever I walked around it! It was like I had been transported to a private villa in a tropical destination somewhere.

Well, somewhat private anyway. The museum was surprisingly packed full of people to the point where I felt claustrophobic at times trying to get in and out of rooms/wings- and I normally don’t get like that in crowds at all!

And, not to get preachy- but I have to say it- I love a good selfie as much as the next person. I think it’s wonderful for people to feel good about themselves and have fun and want to share that with the world. Post as many selfies as you want and I will like them all- but if the process of getting the perfect photo involves a full-blown photo shoot that obstructs other people’s views of something or delays/inconveniences others- then you should really reconsider your process and make changes to accommodate and be more considerate to the people around you.

While trying to see a painting yesterday, I had to wait about 15-20 minutes for a clear view while more than one person held up the crowds of people so they could pose, examine the photo, pose again, edit the picture, select a filter- and finally choose the hashtags they wanted on their social media post. It was, frankly, obnoxious and really put a damper on what was otherwise a lovely day.

All I’m saying is that if you can’t get the photo you want within a couple of minutes, maybe loop around and try again a little later so that others can enjoy their stay, too! It’s not the end of the world- I promise!

The only other reason I could think of for the crowds was that this month marks the 29th anniversary of the infamous museum heist that took place there when two thieves, posing as Boston Police Officers- tied up the guards assigned to look after the museum overnight and made out with $500 million worth of paintings that have yet to be recovered.

13 works were stolen total- and the pieces are commemorated around the museum with empty frames where they were once displayed. It was a bit of a treasure hunt trying to locate all the vacated spots as I went from room to room.

Below are some photos I snapped during my stay. As always- you can just click them to enlarge them!

I had a really nice time, despite the aforementioned crowds and impromptu, doorway-blocking modeling sessions. I’d love to go back on a less busy day and spend a little more time in each room!

A little later on this week I’m sharing some pastels in a new OOTD post- and doing some pre-Spring cleaning- both in my home and here on the blog. I’ll have the updates, as well as my tips and tricks ready to share soon. I’m no Marie Kondo by any means- but my system has been working for me!

But with it being Monday, I’ve got to dive into work and get a head start on a busy week. Here’s hoping you all have a good day! Stay strong!

xx

– Ashley –

Think Spring…

Good Morning and Happy “Hump Day”, everyone!

I have Spring on the brain. While this past Winter certainly hasn’t been the worst we’ve seen here in New England (that honor still belongs to 2015 as far as I’m concerned)– it’s still going strong and I’m slowly reaching my breaking point when it comes to dealing with snow, slush and ice.

I want warmer weather. I want to start wearing less layers and lighter sweaters- and I want to be able to exercise outside without risking frost bite!

To hold me over until March 20th (the official first day of Spring!)– I’ve been incorporating more florals into my wardrobe and accessories. I’ve been leaning towards more pink/rose shades for my makeup- and I’ve been trying to find some indoor activities to lift my spirits when the weather outside is frightful.

This past weekend I hit the jackpot with a stop at the Botanic Garden at Smith College in Northampton. Their annual Spring Bulb Show is currently underway (through March 17th)– and it was absolutely beautiful. The garden consists of a series of greenhouses filled- wall to wall- with various tulips, lilies, irises, etc. The show is free to get into- although donations to keep the garden up and running and welcomed and encouraged.

I managed to snap some photos during my stay. To see larger versions, just click on any of the pictures below!

The trip- as brief as it was- definitely got me out of my Winter funk for a little while and has me looking forward to warmer days ahead!

A little later on this week, I’m sharing a Spring-inspired playlist with some old and new favorite songs for the impending season- before it’s time to break for another busy weekend.

In the meantime- if you need something to listen to ’til then- why not check out this snippet from yesterday’s ‘Morning Glory’ segment on Indie617? I dropped by to talk about the 20th anniversary of ‘Cruel Intentions’ and other guilty pleasure movies from the 90s. It was a lot of fun!

I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday as we work our way over the hump and towards Friday. I’m off to play some catch-up at the office!

xx

– Ashley –