Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice…

Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice…

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

While the thought of returning to work after such a great weekend isn’t exactly ideal- I take comfort in the fact that I’ll be heading to The Big E in a couple of days for some early-Autumn fun- so at least that will break up the humdrum of daily office life. I am more than ready for some fried Oreos, hot apple cider- and carnival rides that may or may not have passed “mandatory” safety inspections!

This past weekend was also filled with some early-Autumn fun. After hosting my show on Indie617 and performing in Salem on Saturday night- I made a point to spend my Sunday at Red Apple Farm to pick some apples, find myself the perfect pumpkin, and indulge in all the farm-fresh snacks I could find- all with my beloved little Oliver in tow!

It was a beautiful, sunny- and comfortably cool afternoon. Oliver was completely fascinated by the apple trees, the tractors that were driving by, and the goats and piglets the farm has available for viewing/feeding/petting. I’m pretty sure he’d be okay if I were to adopt a pet pig in the future. They’d probably get along famously.

Naturally, I picked up some apple dumplings, some all natural peanut butter and some homemade strawberry-apple jam before we left for the afternoon- and I’m excited to dive into all of it in the coming days!

But of course, I’ve got to dive into my caseload at work, first- and make sure I stay ahead so I can get an early jump on this coming weekend!

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful start to your week. I’ll be back on Wednesday with a pretty fantastic appetizer recipe that takes no time at all to whip up!

xx

– Ashley –

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 –

“Bring Me Back to Autumn…”

Good Morning and Happy Tuesday, everyone!

I hope those of you who were able to celebrate the long weekend enjoyed it immensely. I personally had a wonderful couple of days off that were spent outdoors despite the occasional drizzle and thunderstorm- and also catching up on some much-needed sleep. Although I’m back at work bright and early this morning- I’m feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day and the remainder of this short work-week!

With this past Sunday marking the beginning of September, the midst of Labor Day Weekend- and the unofficial [official] end to the Summer- I dove headfirst into the Autumnal activities. I had my first Fall-inspired coffee beverage (a pumpkin pie chai, courtesy of Shelburne Falls Coffee Roasters) and made the short journey to Phillipston, Massachusetts to check out the Appleseed Country Fair at Red Apple Farm.

A friend had actually been the one to tell me about the fair- as I hadn’t even known the farm existed- but I’m certainly glad she did because the place is adorable and filled with all the apples, pumpkins, sunflowers and homemade, farm-fresh snacks/sweets a Fall-loving girl could ask for.

The fair itself was very busy but fun- with hay rides, animals to pet, tractors to pose for photos with, hot air balloon lifts, live music and plenty of vendors and food. The farm is also dog-friendly- which means Oliver can join me in a couple of weeks when I go back as there will be less of a crowd so I can pick apples for baking and pumpkins for decorating. He’s going to love it.

And while I wanted to stock up on all the jams, natural peanut butter, kettle corn popcorn and apple dumplings I could carry- I opted for some apple cider to enjoy at home and apple cider doughnuts to share with my mom. They. Are. Delicious.

Yesterday, after running some errands and cooking up a seafood recipe (which will be on the blog this coming Thursday!)– I made a point to swing by Patriot Place at Gillette Stadium to snag a new t-shirt for the upcoming Patriots season and do a bit of window-shopping before a pretty significant thunderstorm rolled through the area and I had to take cover in my car during the subsequent torrential downpour.

Catching an actual game at Gillette this season is on my “Fall 2019 Bucket List”- so here’s hoping I’ll be back there sooner than later!

And the new shirt will definitely be making an appearance on my Instagram this week. It’s really nice!

But with quite a bit of work in front of me and a pretty busy couple of days ahead- I’m off to get things sorted and done early so I can enjoy this coming weekend (and the Hampton Beach Seafood Festival) properly!

Enjoy your day, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

Summer with The Vanderbilts…

Good Afternoon and Happy Wednesday, everyone! I love these mid-week moments!

It’s a bit of a late posting day for me- since I’ve been in an absolute flurry at work since about 7 a.m. today- but I’ve just finished for the day and am getting ready to run a couple of heavily procrastinated errands I can’t put off any longer, prepare for dinner and to say farewell to my dearest friend’s apartment since he’ll be moving out of it this weekend. We’ve had so many wonderful memories there- and respects must be paid!

It’s blowing my mind that we’re nearly at August’s end- with September looming just ahead this coming Sunday. While I’m undoubtedly excited for the Fall and all the Autumnal activities there are to do here in the Pioneer Valley- I’m still very much in a Summer mood and am trying to spend as much time as possible in or around the water before it freezes over.

This past weekend, with the temperatures cooling comfortably and my Sunday freed up after my usual early morning laundry and coffee run- I opted to head down to Newport, Rhode Island for one final Summer weekend coast-side in a community I’ve grown to love dearly over the years. While there, I visited The Breakers- since it had been quite a few years since I marveled at the architecture, the artwork-adorned walls and ceilings- and the spectacular views of the Atlantic.

I took plenty of photos of the grounds and surrounding Cliff Walk- which you can make bigger by clicking below!

It was a beautiful day and a lovely way to sort of bid farewell to Summer- although the official goodbye comes when I head up to New Hampshire for the annual Seafood Festival in a couple of weeks! Can you tell I’m excited for crab cakes and discounted beach clothes?

Sorry. I’m getting ahead of myself here. On Friday, I’ll be talking about some of my favorite odds and ends from August- products, finds, buys, etc. There’s some real gems I discovered/stumbled across that I’m very much looking forward to talking about.

And then on Saturday- before I head to the Indie617 studio to host my show- I’ll be giving Summer 2019 a thorough review and the proper send-off it deserves.

Until then, enjoy your “Hump Day” and keep your heads up! Friday is nearly here!

xx

– Ashley –

Into The Wild…

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

While I’m not particularly thrilled at being back at work in my office so bright and early this morning- I had such a great weekend that I’m still running on that energy so not much can bring me down at this point. I’m sure I’ll be singing a different tune by like, 11 a.m.- but right now I’m feeling fine.

Saturday was my usual afternoon routine, where I hosted my Indie617 show from 12-4 (and thanks to everyone who participated in a lively lyric discussion!)– but from there I went on to perform in a “Summer Showcase” dance and performance event in Salem for a studio I’ve been working closely with over these past few months. I presented a piece I wrote and directed myself- inspired by my struggles with depression, anxiety, self-doubt and ultimately acceptance of my flaws- and the response was overwhelmingly positive.

I haven’t mentioned my work there- or my performance- until now as I’d been extremely self-conscious and wanted to perfect it before I went ahead and shared it with the masses via additional shows or social media- but Saturday night’s reaction was definitely a confidence booster.

Yesterday, in the post-show glow-y haze I was in- Troy advised me he was picking me up and taking me to an unknown destination in The Berkshires and, specifically, New York. Never one to back down from an adventure in a new destination- I agreed.

After a long drive through picturesque towns like Stockbridge and Great Barrington (with lunch at The Marketplace on the way)– we reached our destination on the Massachusetts/New York line- Bash Bish Fallls. Or, as I kept calling it- “Bad Bitch Falls.”

The place was absolutely incredible- and worth the steep 20 minute hike to get to. The views were amazing, the water was super cold and clear, and it was the perfect way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon in August. I was on cloud nine.

Of course, I snapped some photos. You can click on them to enlarge them.

On the way back to Northampton and Greenfield- we stopped at the SoCo Creamery in Great Barrington for some ice cream (banana brownie 4eva) and to take in some more views of the town’s most famous street/shopping area. It’s a super cute town with a lot of bouji boutiques and restaurants- but I enjoyed my time there and wouldn’t mind visiting again.

Overall, I had a really perfect weekend and I wish it could have extended another few days- although I do have tomorrow off and a half day on Wednesday- so here’s hoping I can keep that late Summer magic and adventurous energy going strong.

I’ve got to get started on my work for the week, but I’ll be back on Wednesday morning with more updates from the road. Here’s wishing you all a peaceful and stress-free beginning of the work-week ahead!

xx

– Ashley –