Holiday Trends: Bamboo Earrings

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

I hope everyone who celebrated Thanksgiving had a wonderful holiday and (hopefully) long weekend! I know I certainly did. The past few days have been filled with family, friends, and *so* much food. With all the turkey, vegetables, stuffing, rolls and pie I’ve been eating at all hours since Thursday afternoon- I’m going to be hitting the gym pretty hardcore over the next few weeks to work it all off again…

… Just to make room for all of that delicious Christmas food, of course!

But I digress- I had a lovely few days off and now it’s time to get back to work- both at my office and here on the blog.

Despite the urge to just wear sweatpants during Thanksgiving and the days that followed- I had to stay put together for various parties and outings in and around my hometown. That meant accessorizing and finding stylish (yet practical) shoes to wear out in the snow, too. When it comes to holiday-centric jewelry- I keep the glitz and the glimmer for New Year’s Eve festivities. While I definitely love all things sparkly- sometimes it’s nice to have something a bit more simple and natural to build my look around.

I’ve been wearing these lightweight, uniquely carved bamboo earrings from Green Tree Jewelry all throughout this past week/weekend- and the response I’ve gotten from my loved ones has been great! So much, in fact- that I plan on doing some of my holiday shopping through the company since they carry a variety of beautiful gifts that extend beyond jewelry.

Green Tree, based out of San Diego (my home away from home!) arose from the ashes- literally- following a wildfire that consumed the founders’ previous baseball bat engraving business in 2008. With eco-friendly laser cutters left unscathed in the aftermath, founders Lance Nybye Sr. and Jr. shifted their focus to designing and carving beautiful, intricate, fun and fashionable pieces from sustainable resources within the USA. Their artistry now extends across affordable necklaces, bracelets, ornaments, switch plates and so much more!

What I love most about these earrings, apart from the fact that they don’t feel heavy at all- is that the bamboo isn’t painted/stained or otherwise changed apart from it’s being carved. The natural, smooth wood finish makes each earring different and special in it’s own way.

The smaller pair I’ve been wearing, the Modern Leaf Bamboo Earrings, are my “daytime” pair. Jeans and sweaters? Leggings and long jackets while out and about grabbing lunch with friends, running errands, or digging out the ornaments to get the Christmas tree set up and decorated? These are my go-to accessory.

This pair is simple- yet still beautiful- and just goes so well with most of what I wear during the day.

And my “nighttime”, fancier occasion pair? That would be the larger, insanely cool Greek Bamboo Earrings– which are dramatic (like me!) and look amazing when I’m dressed to the nines and got a good smoky eye or red lip going on. I wore these to a performance I caught over the weekend and they were THE statement piece I needed to make a lasting impression.

Today is Cyber Monday, so if you’re looking for a beautiful gift that will be treasured by someone special in your life this holiday season and you want to support a great business- go give Green Tree Jewelry a browse.

ALSO! If you enter the code “GTJ10” at checkout, you’ll get 10% off your purchase- as well as free shipping!

Have fun getting some great deals today, everyone- and enjoy the start of your week! Let’s push through to Friday together!

xx

– Ashley –

Seafood and Shopping…

Good Morning and Happy Hump Day, everyone!

I’m still recovering from last night’s Interpol show at Orpheum Theater (in a good way- they were phenomenal!) and getting ready to launch into my work day- but I wanted to share some of my favorite steals/finds and photos from my annual trip up to Hampton Beach this past weekend!

Labor Day might be the unofficial end to the Summer, but to me and my family- the *true* way to send off the season and get ready for the Fall is to eat as many lobster rolls, scallops and crab cakes as we can while stocking up on bargains at the Seafood Festival.

This year’s festivities were particularly special since it was the first time we were able to bring Oliver with us! He’s such a wonderful, curious and friendly dog- but crowds and loud noises can sometimes make him anxious- and not everyone in Hampton is as mindful of their pets as I am with mine. On the other hand, I didn’t want to leave him home alone all day- which makes him terribly depressed- so I opted for a somewhat unconventional middle ground.

I bought a dog stroller- and Oliver LOVED it. Not only was he able to see all the action (and eat the occasional French fry I’d sneak him)– but when he got worn out from excitement, he was able to lay down comfortably and sleep peacefully while I wheeled him around from booth to booth. Of course, once we’d left the actual festival- I brought him to the shore so he could run free and enjoy the sand and surf, too!

If you’ve got a smaller/medium sized dog that might need one of these in busy, crowded situations- I highly recommend checking out the selection of carriers on Amazon. Mine was made by VIVO- and it was great quality and super easy to assemble, and even easier to clean, pack up and store for safe keeping when the day was done. There’s plenty of storage space for your pet’s treats, toys, etc. and yes- a cup holder for you, too. I kept my much-needed coffee within reach most of the morning.

Overall, it was such a fantastic day- even though it was a bit chilly along the coast. It was nice spending the morning and afternoon eating great food, watching the ocean, and playing some really old arcade games (that have been around since I was a kid!) along the boardwalk with my mom, my cousin- and Oliver.

Of course, I didn’t just eat amazing food. I did some shopping, as well- and scored some really great deals at some of the shops who were clearing out their merchandise for the season before they shutter their store fronts for the Winter!

While there were plenty of novelty t-shirts, sandals, bikinis and bikini cover-ups on sale- I found a couple of Fall-appropriate pieces that I’ve already started integrating into my wardrobe over the past couple of days!

This grey and white striped, collared sweater was hanging out all by it’s lonesome outside of Dudley’s– and when I tried it on and realized not only how flattering it looked but also how warm it would keep me in the Fall- I had to have it. The end of the season price? $7.50. How could I say no?

Additionally, I spotted this peacock feather printed maxi skirt in the very back of one of the boardwalk shops- where it was marked down to $17. How beautiful are the colors in this skirt? I recently paired this with a pair of brown, knee-high boots and an olive green turtleneck during one of our chillier days- and it looked so lovely.

I had mentioned earlier this week that I’m a big fan of anything with sea life printed on it- so when I saw this sterling silver octopus pendant (marked down to $12)– I knew I had to have it to layer with my other pendants and plain chains.

I really love unexpected and unique designs like this- and I feel the octopus (which is a bit sinister looking, really!) is going to catch some attention if people see it mixed among my other every day necklaces!

I tried a sample of this easy-to-make dip from Moose Creek, and oh my gosh- was it delicious! All you need to do is add a little mayonnaise, a little cream cheese, the dip- and as much lobster meat as you want- and you’ve got a really tasty appetizer to serve at your next get together.

Each packet of dip was $4 and can serve quite a lot of people- so it was well worth the price!

And finally, no trip to Hampton is complete without a stop at Sanborn’s Candies! This year I scored some individually wrapped “chocolate leaves” and a half pound of their soft, decadent and amazing chocolate nut fudge to share with my mom and cousin on the drive back home. It was the sweetest way to end the afternoon!

If you’re ever in New Hampshire at the end of the Summer and have the opportunity to check out the Seafood Festival- I strongly recommend it. Parking and traffic is easiest first thing in the morning- and going on an empty stomach is pretty much mandatory so that you can try a little bit of everything from all the great restaurants and food trucks that come to town to showcase the superstars of their menus.

And be sure to bring cash- since not all of the vendors are equipped to handle debit/credit transactions. It’s thankfully not too common- but it does happen!

I know I’ll be back again next year for it!

But now, I’ve got to get to work and get things done. Enjoy your Wednesday, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

“And we shed what was left of our Summer skin…”

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! I’m so excited we’ve arrived at the beginning of another weekend!

The next few days are gonna’ be busy ones- not that I mind. Today at the office, we’re having a bit of a “Food Day” and tailgating party to celebrate the Patriots regular season kicking off this weekend. I work with some pretty incredible cooks, so I’m really looking forward to snacking sporadically throughout my day.

In order to better prepare for today’s festivities and make sure my Pats gear was updated- I stopped by Patriot Place at Gillette Stadium over this past weekend to pick up a new team shirt (and some earrings I couldn’t resist.) There was a New England Revolution match scheduled a little later on that day- so the place was pretty packed and very wild- but it was a lot of fun. There’s so much to do there.

You can check out the photos of the new gear on my INSTAGRAM later on this afternoon!

Then, tonight- the MVP cook (my mom, of course) is whipping up a big dinner for our family to commemorate my older brother and my niece’s birthday- which fall within days of each other. Fridays are for food comas, right?

Tomorrow morning I’m getting up bright and early to pick up both my mom and my cousin and make the early a.m. drive to New Hampshire so we can spend a fun-filled day at Hampton Beach’s annual Seafood Festival. While I’m definitely going to get some crab cakes- as is tradition- the real fun comes from browsing the sales racks and seaside shops since many of them are going to be closing for the Fall/Winter season and need to move their merchandise quickly. You can find so many great deals if you know where to look.

Oliver is joining us, too- and if the weather permits- he and I will be taking one final dip in the Atlantic before the water gets too cold!

Sunday will, hopefully- be a day of rest and relaxation- spent in the comfort of pajamas after I grab my daily coffee. My West Coast vacation is quickly approaching and I’ve got a lot to do before I fly out to the desert! Apart from working my usual schedule next week- I’m seeing Interpol when they (finally) return to Boston, packing, picking up the necessities I’ll need on the road- and putting the finishing touches on my Autumn playlist for this year.

I’d like to decompress a bit on Sunday before I jump right back into my usual busy itinerary!

But the food is here and I’ve got work to do. Here’s wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

I’ll be back to it on Monday morning!

xx

– Ashley –

A Slice of Heaven…

Good Morning and Happy (Ugh…) Monday, everyone!

When it comes to day trips, road trips, vacations, etc.- I consider myself pretty spontaneous and open to trying/visiting new places/people/attractions. I’m not married and I don’t have kids- so it’s not like failing to adhere to a strict schedule is going to result in a backseat meltdown or anything.

My original plan on Saturday morning was to head down to Boston Harbor and catch the earliest ferry to photograph some of the lighthouses sitting on the edge of the Harbor Islands- but when I sat up in bed and saw how foggy out it was- I knew I’d need a backup plan. I’m always a little weary of being on a boat in low-visibility conditions- and trying to take good pictures of the lighthouses when they were blanketed in rain wasn’t exactly my idea of an “ideal Saturday morning.”

I suddenly realized that the weather would give me an advantage if I headed down to Mystic, Connecticut bright and early. The last time I had tried to spend a beautiful afternoon in the popular tourist town- finding parking or sidewalk space to walk was near impossible. Never afraid of a little rain and drizzle- I figured I’d have the town to myself to shop, dine and explore!

No sooner had I arrived there, found prime parking on Main Street (which is like winning the lottery)– and exited my car to browse some of the local shops- when the sun suddenly broke through the clouds and stayed out for the remainder of my time there.

After grabbing an iced latte from one of my favorite cafes in the area, Bartleby’s– I spent the mid-afternoon strolling the pier on the waterfront, watching boats pass and the drawbridge in the center of town go up and down to allow the bigger ships to make their way through. There were plenty of sidewalk sales happening once the weather cleared up- so I managed to browse goods by some of the local shops in the area like Tidal River Clothing Co., Trove (for the fella’), and Sea Bags.

When I started getting hungry, I was able to find a seat against the counter at Mystic Pizza (the same one from the 1988 Julia Roberts movie of the same name) and enjoy a slice of cheese pizza- which was everything I’d hoped for and more. Naturally, I had to take a photo of my slice- and the famous sign outside- before I headed back towards my car.

I left Mystic just in time, since a late-afternoon storm had started to come towards the area. My drive back was filled with lightning, thunder and rain- but overall I had a really nice day in one of the most charming coastal towns in New England.

I’m still recovering from my friend’s Summer Slam party last night (and I’ll have the photos from that adventure up a little later on this week)– but for now I’ve got to ease my way into my Monday morning routine and focus on getting some work done since this week is looking like it’s going to be a pretty busy one.

Enjoy your Monday, everyone! Let’s get through this one together!

xx

– Ashley –

OOTD: August Brights

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

What a whirlwind weekend I had. Literally. While I was spending time with my mother on Saturday morning, a F1 tornado touched down in her town and caused some pretty significant damage to the Main Street/downtown area and surrounding side streets. Thankfully, there were no deaths or injuries reported- which is a big deal considering we’re not used to (or particularly prepared for) twisters in rural Massachusetts- but quite a few people were displaced in the aftermath.

Saturday’s storm/tornado is the second I’ve narrowly dodged since a F3 swept across a highway I was traveling on back in 2011- and the one thing that still sends a chill up my spine to this day is the sound it made. While taking cover in my mother’s cellar with her and Oliver (who was such a brave little dog throughout the ordeal!)– it sounded like a freight train was speeding by eerily close to where we were sitting. It was the same noise I had heard on that highway back in 2011. It lasted only a few seconds- but it was pretty insane and intense.

My mother’s home wasn’t damaged at all, and I couldn’t be more thankful for that- and yesterday’s weather was clear and sunny- which made it a lot easier for those performing cleanup to the affected areas. It could have been so much worse, but we got really, really lucky.

Yesterday afternoon, after running some errands and taking a much-needed breather following such a close call- I met up with friends for a late lunch/early dinner to decompress and get myself back into a good state of mind. It was pretty hot out- so I opted for this bright aqua sun dress with subtle silver beading along the straps to stay cool and comfortable.

I can’t remember where I got this dress, honestly. I’ve had it for years- but instinct tells me it was probably up at Hampton Beach and more than likely during their annual Seafood Festival. I usually find really cute pieces for amazing prices when I stop by during that time.

I just know I love the color, which was flattering back when I was a redhead but seems to really look lovely and Summery now that I’ve got blonde curls going on. To keep things bright and cheerful, I paired the dress with my pink floral sandals from ModCloth and matched my lipstick shade (Urban Decay!) to the shoes to give my face a flush of color.

I’m hoping to get some more wear out of this dress before the end of Summer- and since it’s pretty versatile- I have a feeling it’s going to be making an appearance in my office within the next week or so. If I need to cover up the beaded straps for any reason- I have a white, short-sleeved cardigan I can pull on over it.

And now with a brand new work-week underway, I’ve got to dive right into my voicemails, e-mails, and caseloads to try and get my schedule clear by Friday and not have to worry about a thing!

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful Monday and a steady, easygoing week ahead!

xx

– Ashley –