Lobster and Lounging…

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone!

I’m excited that today is not only my work from home day, but also my designated half day- which means I can get things done in the comfort of my pajamas before I mentally check out at noon, get dressed- and go have some fun with what’s left of my afternoon!

Truthfully I’m still sort of in “rest and relaxation mode” from this past weekend’s excursion to New Hampshire with my mom, my cousin, my cousin’s fiancé- and my dog- where we attended the Hampton Beach Seafood Festival for a day. It’s been our tradition for quite a few years now- and I look forward to it every August/September because it’s essentially just a day to eat great food, stroll the boardwalk, play some classic arcade games (and skee-ball!) and snag some pretty terrific bargains and sales as all the seaside shops attempt to get rid of their remaining inventory before they close up for the Fall/Winter months!

And while I’ve typically gone for lobster rolls as my indulgence of choice during the festival- this year I gravitated towards crab cakes and lobster rangoons (absolutely delicious, by the way!) with freshly-squeezed lemonade from various vendors around the food/cooking tents.

I’m pretty sure I could have easily eaten 10x more of everything- but then I wouldn’t be able to fit into the absolutely adorable clothes I bought while I was in town!

Each year I try to pick up a couple of things I can wear during the following Summer or for future trips to hotter climates- but this year I decided to pick up a couple of dresses (and a new purse to give my current Prada one a bit of a break!) that I can easily wear and accessorize throughout the early Fall. the purse itself came with an accessory- a lovely bit of satin cloth and a navy blue tassel that is around the handle.

The first dress is a foxy (literally) frock with buttons and a really cute cartoon fox print all over- and the second is a ruffled, super soft floral dress that I am going to pair with some cowboy-style boots after I go shoe-shopping this weekend. I can’t wait to wear this out on my next night on the town!

And everything I purchased was under $50 total. Not bad, right?

Overall it was a really lovely day and I’m excited to do it all again next year. Being at the beach and watching the waves always relaxes me- no matter what time of year it is.

This particular trip got me thinking about Hurricane Dorian, though- which threatened our weekend forecast for a few days but thankfully didn’t turn into anything more serious- and it got me thinking about the Bahamas.

On Friday, I’ll be taking a quick break from my usual Autumnal Activities to share ways you can help those affected by what was one of the worst hurricanes we’ve seen shown up on a radar in quite some time. I’m eager to help, and i hope you are, too!

But for now- I’ve got to get to work. Enjoy the rest of your “Hump Day,” everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

OOTD: On The Lake…

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

As we get ready to head into another work week (and the last week of August- if you can believe it- because I certainly can’t!) I have been preparing the inevitable wardrobe “switcheroo” or transition into heavier, more Fall-friendly layers. We are, of course- going to see plenty more scorching and humid days ahead- since Summer in New England never tends to bow out particularly gracefully- but it’s been a bit chilly the past few days/nights, and I like to be prepared!

I’ve been picking up some lightweight sweaters/cardigans and not-too-heavy leggings in recent days, and as I had mentioned last week during my Tax-Free Weekend Haul reveal– this “lake” sweater was/is going to be ideal for those kind of cool/kind of warm days that tend to show themselves on and around Labor Day.

I actually had the opportunity to wear it this past weekend when temperatures dipped into the high sixties (and where it’s been about eighty degrees and higher in recent weeks- we could definitely feel the change!) but still made it a point to keep it Summery with a pair of distressed denim shorts, a grey cotton tank top, and flip flops- which are not pictured since I don’t wear shoes in my apartment!

With my color-changing moonstone ring, I was ready to go about my weekend errands, as well as some unexpected travel to Rhode Island- which I’ll get into a little later on this week. I took a LOT of photos.

I’ll also have my monthly “Favorites” roundup ready to go on Friday morning- and Saturday, as is tradition with the last day of the month- I’ll take a look back on this August that was before we jump right into September!

Until then, I’ve got some work to do at the office- and I best get to it!

Enjoy the start of your week, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

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 –

A Day at Green River Festival…

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

I’ve taken a personal day from work today. Originally, I had plans with some friends to head down to the Cape for the morning/afternoon- however our schedules and respective obligations caused a delay and the trip is now postponed until further notice.

Today also happens to be the anniversary of my dad’s passing- which is always a pretty difficult day to get through- so I’m opting to keep busy and spend the day with my mom so we don’t have to be alone in our memories and grief. We’re going to do some shopping and dining out in my neighborhood- which I’m excited for.

I’m also low-key recovering from stopping by the Green River Festival yesterday and roasting under the sun for a few hours. The festival, a 3-day music/art/cultural celebration- is only a couple of miles away from my new apartment- so parking and reaching the festival on foot were no problem at all. It was a beautiful and sunny Sunday afternoon- and while I’d heard of the festival in the past- I’ve never had to opportunity to go and enjoy it for myself until now.

I saw some fantastic performances, ate some great food, and shopped some local vendors in-between ducking into the shade and snapping some photos.

If you’d like to see bigger versions, simply click!

My favorite find of the day came courtesy of Taproot Threads, based out of my town. All of the artwork featured on their pieces is hand-drawn, and printed on fair-trade garments with water-based ink. The material is soft, lightweight and cozy- and I’m wearing this t-shirt today when I go to spend time with my mom!

Look at how lovely the illustration is up-close!

It was such a great day, and next year I may try to go for all three days (Friday-Sunday. With my work schedule this year, yesterday was the only day I could pull off!)

With many local businesses now going into post-festival “recovery mode”- I anticipate it will be quiet day around the neighborhood. The perfect opportunity to rest and relax.

But I need coffee and I need it now- so I’m off! Here’s wishing you all a good start to your work-week. I’ll be back on Wednesday!

xx

– Ashley –

Father’s Day in Hampshire County…

Good Morning and Happy Monday (yuck…) everyone!

While I had absolutely *grand* plans for this past weekend in anticipation of lots of sunshine and soaring temperatures- Mother Nature threw all of us here in the Valley a curveball and turned a beautiful and breezy Saturday afternoon/evening into a positively chilly and rain-filled Sunday. It wasn’t just an occasional shower or sprinkle, either- but big, fat cold droplets that seemed to last all day.

My scheduled strawberry picking at a local farm and an outdoor brunch unfortunately had to be rescheduled for a later date this week/month- but I did my best to make do with my afternoon after I finished some early morning errands.

Of course, yesterday was Father’s Day- which is always a rough day for me to get through ever since my dad passed away unexpectedly in the Summer of 2012. I’m usually able to distract myself or keep myself occupied so that I don’t feel too sad- and living in a new area where I’m still getting acclimated and familiarized is definitely a BIG distraction these days. I took the opportunity to drive a little further West than where I presently live to do some exploring and try to find a Father’s Day present for my mom.

To explain: After my dad died- my mother and I made a pact that for every Father’s Day and for what would have been her and my dad’s wedding anniversary- we’d celebrate it together. This could mean having dinner together, buying each other little gifts/cards, etc. We have a family dinner scheduled later on this week, of course- but I wanted to get her something special, too.

My mom loves anything Americana or kitschy, farm-related things- so my living in the Valley is a dream come true for her because I’m essentially surrounded by that stuff on all sides. As I was passing through Williamsburg yesterday- a charming little town Northwest of Florence- I spotted the Williamsburg General Store and knew I’d find something perfect for her there.

Sure enough- I came across this bumble bee watering can and immediately thought of my mom- who spends a lot of time outside tending to her yard and would probably use this for it’s intended purpose AND for decoration.

I’m excited to see her reaction when she opens it. I think it’s adorable- and don’t worry, she doesn’t go online much so unless someone shows this post to her before I visit her later on this week- my posting about it isn’t going to spoil the surprise!

I’ve actually got a short work-week this week, having taken Wednesday off to be present when the last of the furniture I ordered arrives and is finally delivered to my apartment. So, as much as I don’t want to be at work right now- at least I’m not technically here a full week.

But I’ve still got lots to do this morning- so this just about does it for me today!

Enjoy the start of your week, everyone. Let’s push through to Friday together!

xx

– Ashley –