Tax-Free Splurges…

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 โค, 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.ย  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 –

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 –

Living Coral – Pantone 2019

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

I am admittedly off to a bit of a late start today, what with last night’s Super Bowl and all. A tense game and a pleasantly surprising Patriots’ victory usually calls for a groggy Monday- and now I’m getting ready to (attempt) to get some stuff done at my office today and figure out a way to carpool over to tomorrow’s Victory/Celebration Parade that’s been scheduled in the city!

Before I do that, though- I wanted to talk about incorporating colors into my Winter look. Not just any colors, of course- but Pantone’s 2019 ‘Color of The Year.’ Every year, Pantone announces what color they anticipate will be the big sensation in the following months. From electric purples, “Millennial” pinks, to rich greens- it’s always been fun finding ways to embrace the designated shade in makeup, fashion, accessories and home decor and seeing how other bloggers, designers and influencers are embracing it.

This year’s color, though- may be one of my favorites.ย 16-1546- or “Living Coral” as it’s being called- is a bright, Summery combination of pink/orange that was one of my favorite tones to wear long before it was thrust into the spotlight- and I’ve been predominantly featuring it in my makeup this Winter to brighten up what is otherwise a neutral and darker-shaded canvas in my clothing and accessories.

Why? Because it pops!

And I’d like to share how I manage to do it- for under $30.

There are certain makeup brands I love for sure- Fenty, Tarte, and Urban Decay come to mind almost immediately- but sometimes I feel people sleep on Sephora’s own line of cosmetics which are just as pigmented and just as high quality as other brands you’d find within the store for a fraction of the price. When I’m in need of color but don’t want to break the bank- I turn to them!

For example, their ‘Blush Me’ cream blushes go on smoothly, and are easy to blend with your fingertips to a powdery and long-lasting finish. This shade, ‘All Smiles’, is a $5 way to achieve a ‘Living Coral’ flush!

For my eyes- I keep it simple- usually sticking to one universally flattering shade to blend onto my lid and into my crease before I finish it off with a couple of swipes of lengthening and thickening mascara. Again, Sephora comes through in a clutch with their Colorful Eyeshadow Singles ($8) in ‘Cherry Blossom’- which sets as a beautiful pink/gold on my lids and is flattering to every skin tone.

I’m so in love with this color and I think it’s perfect for any season!

Finally, I finish things off with a bold lip (my specialty!) and to truly bring out my passion for ‘Living Coral’- I turn to Sephora yet again and their LipStories lipstick line. This shade, ‘a satin finish called ‘Hot in Havana’- may look like a super rich orange- but once applied and blotted out (or, if you prefer- finished with a clear or pink gloss)– is a beautiful coral color that pulls everything together and completes this Pantone-inspired look!

Best of all? The lipstick is also only $8 and is just as long-lasting, hydrating and pigmented as other brands that are triple that price!

When all is said and done- this ‘Living Coral’ look- splashed against the backdrop of my black, gray, brown and dark green wardrobe this time of year- makes me look bright, cheerful, and even maybe like I’m preparing to jet set off to a tropical destination to beat the Winter blues.

Of course, ‘Living Coral’ isn’t just limited to my makeup right now. I’ve also been sporting a bright and fun manicure courtesy of Butter London- who paired up with Pantone to develop a limited edition line of nail polishes inspired by this year’s ‘Color of The Year’. You can snag your own HERE if you’ve got room for a bit of a splurge this month!

But that’s it for me today, everyone! I’ll be back on Wednesday- post-parade and the Lunar New Year celebrations- to share one of my favorite Super Bowl recipes for those of you who are still in “GAME ON!” mode!

Enjoy your Monday, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –