Tree Lighting and Pre-Blizzard Bridges…

Tree Lighting and Pre-Blizzard Bridges…

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

I’m getting a late start this A.M.- due in part to it being a post-holiday-weekend-Monday and also because we have been getting absolutely buried under snow here in Massachusetts. The first significant Winter storm of the season began rolling in through the area late yesterday afternoon/evening- and has been going strong ever since. All forecasts are showing it won’t let up until tomorrow morning- so I’ve been taking it slow and steady today. Shoveling, driving, working- I don’t see the need in rushing myself and risking my safety (or sanity.)

Prior to the storm, I had a chilly- but fun weekend- where I finalized my holiday shopping list and participated in a few festive activities as well- including a ceremonial tree lighting in South Deerfield and a mini-road trip to Vermont where I managed to capture an authentic covered bridge en-route.

I thankfully had my camera with me during my journey(s) and caught some lovely photos along the way. As always, you can simply click any of the images below to enlarge!

I will undoubtedly be taking some photos of the aftermath of this storm, as well- since snow is always the prettiest in December. Anytime after that and it’s just a major inconvenience!

I’ll be back on Wednesday after I dig myself out from beneath the snow and ice and return home to my nice, warm apartment. If you live in the area- stay safe! And, if you don’t- wish us luck as we power through what I’m sure will be the first of many blizzards in the months to come!

xx

– Ashley –

October 2018: In a Nutshell

Good Morning, Happy Wednesday- and Happy Halloween, everyone!

With today being one of my favorite holidays, I’m starting things off a bit early this A.M. with a costume party and brunch potluck at my office with my co-workers before I head home to decorate my yard and front porch in preparation for tonight’s Trick-Or-Treaters.

My niece will be dropping by for a candy sweep of my neighborhood before we kick back with some pizza and enjoy a classic horror/slasher movie marathon- as is tradition!

I can’t believe tomorrow is the beginning of November and that Thanksgiving will be just a few short weeks away. I love a good food coma as much as the next person, but I wish October could go on just a little while longer- especially this past one- since it’s been so much fun!

This past month was filled with the usual spooky outings- from haunted pathways in New Hampshire, watching scary flicks in the middle of the woods (and in the middle of the night, no less), checking out Jack O’Lantern festivals with friends visiting from the West Coast and stopping by some of the more notoriously creepy graves in New England- but October was also peppered with plenty of shows, parties (including one of my best friend’s bachelorette party! I can’t believe her wedding is this coming weekend!), pumpkin picking at local farms and random get-togethers, too!

I traveled all over New England in October, including a long overdue trip to Montpelier, Vermont to spend time with family, catching a play at a converted barn in Western Massachusetts- and stopping by the Indie617 HQ to weigh in on music and events around the city not once- but twice.

FYI, if you missed those appearances, HERE’S the first and HERE’S the second! It’s always so much fun hanging out.

This past weekend, I actually braved the storm that rolled through the area to head to the station’s “Boos and Brews” party at Idle Hands Craft Ales in Malden to enjoy some good tunes, some really tasty beer- and PIZZA SKULLS (!!!) courtesy of Fat Boyfriend Bakery They were SO good.

I wore my Freddy Krueger costume to the party, which I’m also sporting today at work and will be wearing tonight while I pass out candy! I should have a decent photo of the whole thing up on my Instagram and here on the blog a little later on today/this week.

So, once all the Halloween excitement is (sadly) over- what do I have planned for November? Well, voting is right up there at the top of my list (and should be for everyone else, too!)– but blog-wise I’ve got plenty more recipes to share, especially with Thanksgiving approaching- as well as more late-Autumn wardrobe staples, early-shopping gift guides for the holidays, a peek inside my Fall makeup collection, and a bit more traveling before it starts snowing around here again!

But for now, I’m going to eat a ton of candy and savor today. Here’s hoping you all have a ghoulish evening! Stay safe out there!

xx

– Ashley –

“Life’s no fun without a good scare…”

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone! (As happy as a Monday can be, anyway!)

What a weekend it’s been! Last night was the first full night’s sleep I’ve gotten in a few days- so I’m feeling pretty refreshed today and eager to get things done at work so I can stay one step ahead of the game!

As Halloween creeps closer and closer, my days (and nights) have been filled with horror movies, outings to creepy locations, costume preparation and baking spooky-inspired goods for friends, family & co-workers. It’s been so much fun- and I’m going to be pretty bummed out come November 1st when all the terrifying-in-a-good-way thrills and chills take a backseat until next October!

I think one of my favorite things this year has been finding new places to visit (and scream my head off!) with my friends. Case in point, this past Friday night I made a 2-hour trek to Lee, New Hampshire to check out Haunted Overload with a group of friends and acquaintances. The outdoor haunted trail- located at DeMeritt Hill Farm- was recommended by my friend Chris who had visited it last year and spoke very highly of it.

The theme of the trail changes every year, so you never know what to expect- and it’s SO intricate, detailed, creepy and fun! It wasn’t at all what I expected- and I loved every second of it! Between the HUGE scary wood carvings and the full-sized structures (including a decrepit old Victorian era house) that you run in/through/around while being pursued by evil clowns, butchers wielding chainsaws, etc.- I was hoarse by the end of the night.

Luckily, the farm offers warm apple cider (and snacks) at their stand at the end of the trail- so I made sure to have a drink and pick up some cider doughnuts for home before I left! I’d love to come back next year- or even better, check out the trail during the day to get a better look at the craftsmanship during one of their kid-friendly afternoon events before the season wraps up!

If you find yourself in Lee, New Hampshire before Halloween- definitely stop by. You won’t regret it- and tickets to the trail are way more affordable than other local and highly publicized horror houses that are half as interesting as Haunted Overload is!

Saturday was a little less horror-centric but still picturesque and lovely as I headed up to Montpelier, Vermont (via the scenic route- a 4+ hour drive through the mountains and valleys) to visit my Uncle with my mom and Oliver before he reports to a scheduled surgery in a few weeks.

We left early in the morning, giving us plenty of time to sight-see and admire the foliage along the way. Vermont is a truly lovely state, filled with beautiful farms, old homes, hidden cemeteries and winding roads through the woods- so with a Spotify-generated Fall-themed playlist and some hot coffee- it felt like the perfect Autumn day enjoyed with family.

And even though I’m not a fan of Winter- at all- I’d love to head back up to the area for the holidays since I’m sure it’s absolutely lovely blanketed in snow and Christmas lights!

This week is shaping up to be another busy, exciting one. I’ll be re-appearing on Indie617 this coming Wednesday (where I’ll also be catching a live set from The Wombats later on in the afternoon!) as well as checking out a Jack O’Lantern exhibit with some dear friends who are visiting from the West Coast for a few days.

I’ve got another recipe to share a little later on this week, plus some photographs from my adventures along the way over the next few days- but before I get too ahead of myself- I’ve got to make it through work today!

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful week ahead! Let’s get through it together!

xx

– Ashley –

Moose Crossings and Ice Cream Sundaes…

Good Morning and Happy Hump Day, everyone!

Every year, when Father’s Day rolls around- I like to take a day or two to just get out of town for a little while and visit new places, try new dishes, or see new art and otherwise keep myself preoccupied for a little while. My own father passed away from chemotherapy complications nearly six years ago- and while I don’t fall into a deep depression the way I did during the first couple of Father’s Days after he was gone- I still tend to get sad/emotional from time to time.

Thankfully, the weather was lovely this past weekend- which made taking a mini road trip up to Brattleboro, Vermont on Saturday all the more enjoyable since I could spend time outdoors in the sunshine. And, since I naturally took the back roads to get there- I was able to stop along the way at different farms and along trails and river edges to squeal at cute animals or dip my toes in the water to cool off.

I put a lot of miles on my cars, for sure- but it’s worth it. I love to explore, and on warm Summer days- nothing beats driving through the countryside with the windows down, listening to music, and sipping iced coffee or tea. It’s very therapeutic for me.

And with all the hiking I did on Saturday when I wasn’t behind the wheel- I made sure to treat myself with a little hot fudge sundae at Northfield Creamie. I pass by it a lot whenever I’m in Western Massachusetts, but had never actually had the chance to stop and savor their delicious desserts until now! It was well worth the pit stop.

On Sunday, one of my longtime and dearest friends out in Western Massachusetts invited me out to Turners Falls for an afternoon to get a behind-the-scenes look at a show he’s performing through this weekend at the Shea Theatre. It’s an immersive theater experience- which is right up my alley- and I’m excited to see the play in it’s completion this coming weekend. It was really interesting to see all the work and preparation that goes into it- and I had a lot of fun meeting everyone since they were all so unbelievably friendly.

After a dinner at Riff’s (their goat cheese and avocado quesadilla is the best, by the way) and doing a little street art tour by some of the building sides and alley ways- I had to bid my dudebro adieu and head home so I could get a good night’s sleep in me before sliding into work bright and early on Monday morning.

Overall, I had a beautiful, relaxing and food-filled weekend- and I knew my dad was there with me in spirit. He would have loved the scenery- since he was a fan of taking long and aimless drives, too. That’s where I get it from, after all!

Many thanks to the friends who took time from their days with their own fathers to check in and send good vibes (and more than one funny joke or meme to keep me in good spirits) and to the new faces I met along my travels who made me feel welcome and cherished. It means more than you’ll ever know!

But I’ve got to get to work and make sure I’m staying on top of my tasks today!

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful mid-week!

And, with only a couple days left to go- there’s still some to enter my Beach-themed giveaway! Get on that!
Turners Falls, MA. 6/17/18

xx

– Ashley –

Long, Lazy Weekends…

Vermont (2/18/18)

Happy Wednesday, everyone! I hope those of you who had an extended weekend enjoyed it- and for anyone who had to work- I hope it was as stress-free as possible and painless for you!

It’s been ridiculously warm here in Massachusetts- with temperatures soaring into the high 60s/low 70s- which is just warm enough to melt all of the snow that accumulated in an overnight storm that blew through the area on Saturday/Sunday. I always say that New England weather is crazy- and the past 4-5 days are proof of it! We went from Winter to Spring in a matter of hours! I feel like Punxsutawney Phil may have been a little off with his prediction this past Groundhog Day.

My weekend was refreshingly laid back. Although I had wanted to venture out to NYC- the aforementioned storm caused a bit of delay- but I also really wanted (and needed) a weekend to decompress after traveling so much since New Years. I’m not complaining, of course- but going back and forth, to and from the West Coast- can really take a lot out of you! It was nice to just sleep in, catch up on e-mails (and my DVR) and eat some takeout in my sweatpants for a couple of long, lazy afternoons.

When I did venture out- it wasn’t to do anything too crazy. I had a board game night with friends on Saturday just before the snow first started to Fall, and on Sunday- once the roads were clear- I took a long and scenic drive through the back roads of Western Massachusetts, eventually winding my way up towards Vermont where I grabbed dinner and some fresh air.

Monday was my day for errands as I prepared to return to work yesterday morning, but I’d also managed to meet up with my friend Stef later on in the evening- who is in the midst of planning her wedding this coming Fall- for dinner, video games, and catching up.

Overall, despite making it a point to pencil in some “me” time to do absolutely nothing except relax- I’d managed to accomplish quite a lot!

Year of The Dog (2/16/18)

And so did Oliver- who helped me ring in the Lunar New Year at the end of last week. Year of The Dog, indeed!

Later on this week, I have a pretty big announcement about plans I’m hoping will come to fruition mid-Autumn- so I’m pretty excited to talk about that. But until then, here’s hoping we can all make it through this week- short as it is for some- and get ready for this weekend!

xx

– Ashley –