November 2018: In a Nutshell

Good Morning, Happy Friday- and Hello (Almost) December, everyone!

Christmas and New Year’s Eve are practically here- and there’s still so much to be done before we deck the halls and prepare to ring in 2019! Yes, it’s officially the busiest and one of the most beautiful times of year again- and I’m both excited and anxious (mostly excited, though!) It feels like I can’t sit still!

Before I tumble into December with my Christmas decorations, various gingerbread recipes and gift shopping lists in tow- I wanted to take a look back on November and all the late-Autumn fun that came with it. In a year filled with months that seemed to come and go in the blink of an eye- November actually felt much longer than usual- which had it’s ups and downs, of course.

November started off with a celebratory bang- with one of my dearest long-time friends getting married in a beautiful ceremony (with an equally gorgeous reception) a few days after the month had kicked off. This was followed-up by a different kind of celebration as one of my other friends celebrated their 35th birthday and then yet another friend announced her engagement! It was a solid 72 hours filled with laughter, ecstatic squealing- and cake…

… So much cake, you guys.

With Daylight Savings Time and the first significant snowfall of the season taking place this month and pretty much sending the message that Winter was well on it’s way- November became less about pumpkin spice and crunchy leaves and more about hot chocolate and bundling up. By the end of last week- temperatures had dropped significantly enough to where I needed a hat, a scarf, and an ice scraper for my windshield.

Only in New England, I suppose- but I love living here- and have to take the bad with the good.

Of course, as November began to wind down- it was all about the food. Multiple Friendsgivings and the actual Thanksgiving meal itself left me stuffed and overly lazy these past few days- but the quality time spent with family and friends was worth having to practically crawl to my couch by the time dessert was done.

Admittedly, November had it’s not-so-great parts, too. With the holiday(s) came stress, and with the decreased sunlight came that first wave of Vitamin D deficiency (and seasonal depression.) Late last week and then earlier this week I had a bit of a falling out with a guy friend of mine I’d been spending a lot of time with for most of the year and leading up to now. He’s overwhelmed. I’m overworked and exhausted- and now our future heading into December is a bit uncertain.

It’s not a great feeling, especially with things like Christmas approaching- but I’m trying to stay busy and optimistic. Whatever is meant to happen will happen on it’s own and in due time. The silver lining is that the experience gave me some much-needed perspective and now, as I prepare to draft my resolutions for the New Year- I’ll have some tangible goals to put into motion.

All that being said, what do I have planned for December? A *ton* of holiday stuff, obviously! That includes recipes, festive OOTDs, plenty of parties, travel to some of New England’s most beautiful and picturesque Christmas-y locations and attractions- a few retrospectives and recaps on the more memorable moments of 2018- and a lot of shopping and preparations!

I’m determined to make December one of the most fun months ever- and to see 2018 off properly! And I’ll be blogging as I do it, of course.

But for now- it’s time to get to work before I head off for the weekend!

Enjoy your Friday and the coming days ahead, everyone! See you all again on Monday!

xx

– Ashley –

Friendsgiving 2018!

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone!

I hope you’re all having a wonderful week so far! Today is a half day at my office before I head out for a pre-Thanksgiving cocktail hour with my co-workers and then start off for home for a long weekend spent with my family. I’m excited to see everyone, excited to be lazy- and excited to eat a feast- which will be my third one since this past weekend!

Saturday night marked our annual Friendsgiving- this year spent in Somerville at my friend’s new apartment. 32+ of us arrived, bringing an array of dishes and desserts in a potluck fashion- and spent an evening dining, drinking, occasionally dancing, playing Jenga and ‘Catchphrase’- and winding down with a Bob Ross marathon on Netflix as our numbers started to dwindle down after midnight.

It was so much fun seeing familiar faces, meeting new ones, and eating a ton of good food- and on Sunday, after dragging my sleepy self out of bed- the second Friendsgiving in Western Massachusetts took place with just as many incredible people and recipes!

I honestly didn’t think I’d be able to eat anymore this week, but my mom’s cooking tomorrow will definitely change my mind.

This year, like every year- I’m thankful for my friends, my family, my career, my health and the fact that I have shelter, food, and clothes on my back. It hasn’t always been easy- and sometimes things looked downright bleak- but I’ve been fortunate to keep my head above the water and keep pushing forward. I’m very, very grateful- for everyone and everything.

Here’s wishing you all who are celebrating a fun, lovely, and safe Thanksgiving spent with people you love and who love you right back!

I’ll have a post up on Friday after I awaken from my food coma (there’s no way I’m going Black Friday shopping. Nope.) before it’s off for a weekend in my hometown!

See you all then!

xx

– Ashley –

Pre-Thanksgiving Prep!

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

I managed to dig myself out of last night’s first snowfall of the season (and it arrived with a vengeance!) and get to my office this morning- but whether or not I’m motivated enough to actually get anything done is still questionable. All that shoveling made me tired!

So, the weekend before Thanksgiving is undoubtedly a crazy one. Everyone starts heading home for the holiday, there’s the final grocery shopping trip to get done before it’s time to have the actual dinner, insane amounts of cleaning and decorating to do, and- in my case, at least- the Friendsgivings around the city (and this year, around the state, as well!)

This coming weekend is no exception, and tomorrow morning will be filled with a lot of cooking and baking before I head off to one of my friend’s first attempts at Friendsgiving at his new apartment in Somerville later on in the evening. I’m excited- and I’m sure I’ll be posting a lot of pictures up on my Instagram.

And on Sunday? It’s the same thing- except Friendsgiving 2.0 will be taking place out in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, instead!

Next week on the blog I’ve got my usual weekend re-cap on deck, as well as another holiday-inspired recipe to share before the big feast with my family for anyone looking for something last minute, quick and easy to prepare for their guests.

But before I buckle down for my everyday duties at work and get ready to launch into the weekend- I thought I’d share some links from posts of Autumn days past to help those looking for some inspiration or ideas!

IF YOU NEED SOME AUTUMN/THANKSGIVING-INSPIRED RECIPES

IF YOU NEED A SWEET LITTLE FALL PLAYLIST FOR THE PRE-DINNER RECEPTION

IF YOU’RE ABLE TO GIVE TO THOSE IN NEED

Here’s wishing you all a safe and stress-free weekend. As stress-free as it can be, anyway!

See you all on Monday!

xx

– Ashley –

OOTD: Late Fall Florals

Good Morning and Happy “Hump Day”, everyone!

With the weekend just a couple of days away- and snow allegedly on the horizon ’round my neck of the woods within the next 24 hours (noooo!) I’ve been trying to get as much pre-holiday prep done as possible so no amount of snow or freezing rain delays my schedule.

I’m presently in the process of planning both my Friendsgiving(s) and Thanksgiving wardrobes- which has also been a bit of an adventure in itself. While Thanksgiving will undoubtedly consist of an oversized, chunky sweater and pants with any variation of an elastic waist- I have to dress it up just a little for Friendsgiving- where my friends will be snapping plenty of photos of the food, decor, and our circle of deviants. I want to look good when those tagged photos hit social media!

For this coming weekend, I’ll be sporting this high-collared, bell-sleeved burnt orange and floral-printed dress to stay comfortable and chic while I serve my friends sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie!

I picked up this number at Primark a few weeks ago while shopping for some new fleece and velvet-lined leggings. The beautiful colors and simple design just screamed “Autumn!” to me when I first saw it- and once I tried it on- I knew I had to have it. I intend to pair it with either brown or black leggings and my brown, knee-high faux-leather boots (as shown above.) A girl still has to stay comfortable while she’s going for seconds on the green bean casserole, right?

My favorite part of this dress, however- has got to be the sleeves. They’re cute and feminine and give the dress a bit of character. I wish more of my dresses and tops had sleeves like these!

Pretty soon my wardrobe is going to be a lot more beanies and thermal-wear- so I’m hoping to get a little more use out of this dress before Winter officially kicks in the door and makes all of us miserable for the next 3-4 months (possibly longer- since this is New England!)

But for now, I’m off to work for a few hours before I head out to grab dinner and catch a movie with a handsome fella’ I kinda’ like.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Wednesday! Here’s to powering through to Friday!

xx

– Ashley –

November 2017: In a Nutshell

Good Morning, everyone! I can’t believe that today is the last day of November and Christmas (and a whole new year!) are right around the corner! Like every Holiday season, I know the next few weeks are going to be pretty hectic and crazy- but I’m looking forward to spending some more time with my family and friends doing all sorts of fun, festive things during one of the prettiest times of the year here in New England- right up until 2018 arrives!

But I have to tip my hat to November, because this past month was pretty spectacular. A good portion of it was spent outdoors with friends taking in the late Autumn scenery at local state parks and trails- even when it was bitterly cold out (or flurrying!) at times- while the days leading up to Thanksgiving Weekend revolved around lots of cooking and baking in the kitchen and gathering around the dining room table. I mean, look at the spread my family put together this year- and this was only a portion of it!

When not hiking, stuffing my face, or working crazy amounts of overtime this past month to stay on top of the year-end caseload at my office (and to get some extra Holiday cash!)– I was watching Blondie Birdie undergo a much-needed and fabulous makeover. I’m still getting used to my new layout, and I’m still in absolute awe at how beautiful it turned out. I feel like a true professional now!

So what do I have up my sleeve for December? Well, apart from finishing up my holiday shopping and finalizing plans for New Years Eve (and early 2018- since I intend on doing some traveling right away!) I have some Christmas-inspired recipes to share, a peek into the more festive pieces in my wardrobe, and a look at some of my favorite local Holiday hot-spots I like to visit every year. I’m also thinking of coming up with a little gift-guide for those last minute shoppers who need some inspiration to make it to that home stretch- so stay tuned!

Enjoy the rest of your week, everyone! I’ll be back next Monday with one of my favorite recipes for the most divine hot chocolate you’ll ever drink!

 

xx

– Ashley –