May 2017: In a Nutshell.

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Memorial Day Weekend, 2017.

Good Morning! This already short week (thanks to Memorial Day) is nearly finished and I couldn’t be more ready for the weekend to arrive so I can try a do-over on my cookout that was rained out this past Monday afternoon or attempt to head to the beach if the weather ever clears up. I’ll take any bit of sunshine I can get at this point- even if it’s just for a few minutes. This rain has been ridiculous! I thought “May Grey” was a SoCal thing- but it looks like it may have just hitched a ride with me back to the East Coast, instead!

I digress- lousy weather aside- May was a pretty fantastic month for a lot of different reasons. I’ve been crushing it at work lately, which is always a good feeling- and getting to know and further bond with some of my co-workers outside of the office has been a lot of fun, too- since I love meeting and getting to know new people. One outing in particular- a meet-up in my hometown to catch a local outdoor film festival/short film competition at one of my favorite bars this past Saturday- resulted in my running into Nev and Max from MTV’s “Catfish” (the guiltiest of guilty pleasures)– who were/are in the area to film an episode, I believe.

I had a MOMENT telling them how much I love their show- but they were thankfully super chill and sweet. Check it out!

This is the face of a girl who never misses an episode.

My co-workers got a kick out of my excited flailing- and that was before I’d even had a drink.

What else? My cousin and my best friend both finished college this month- graduating and obtaining their respective degrees within days of each other- so a good portion of May felt like one big, non-stop party for a while as we all commemorated such wonderful milestones. My cousin is now heading off to begin her career as a chemist, while my best friend is preparing for a month-long residency in Spain later on this Summer. We’re trying to plan a few beach-side bonfires and bar crawls before he goes, though- just so he’ll have some fresher memories of home to take with him while he’s gone.

And by now we all know I had headed to Las Vegas and San Diego a little more than a week ago to unwind, sunbathe, and low-key look at some property outside of the Vegas strip for a few days- and the trip ended up being one of my favorites in recent memory. No stress. No nonsense- lots of Mexican food- and it was AMAZING to spend some quality time with some of the people I love and cherish so much out there. Truly. My only regret is that I couldn’t stay longer because I was having such an incredible time and it was hard to leave it all behind to come back to my life here in Boston.

And now Summer is upon us (even though it doesn’t look/feel like it outside right now) and my big blogging news is just a few days away from going public. Some of you may have seen me discussing it on social media- I know a few friends and some brand representatives have been getting the promotional train running already- but by next week there’s going to be some exciting updates (and the beginnings of a giveaway!) here on Legally Redhead that I’ve been preparing to share for what feels like an eternity now- and I thank everyone for their continued patience while I smooth out the last of the details. It’s been such a fun journey so far and I know it’s only going to get better and brighter from here.

All that being said, I’m reluctantly saying goodbye to May- as much as I want to hold onto it for a little while longer- and saying hello to June, instead. Bring on the Summer and all the sunshine that goes with it!

Sunset in Vegas, May 2017.

‘Til next time!


Homeward Bound…

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Before I even begin talking about my recent vacation (of which I’m still recovering now that I’m back in slightly chillier/rainy temperatures on the East Coast)– there’s a couple of things that happened in the past week that I would like to address. While I was having the time of my life in Las Vegas and San Diego these past few days- I know there was some really dark, heavy stuff happening in the world and it doesn’t feel right just jumping into something super upbeat without acknowledging those things, first.

As I write this, I’m revisiting some Audioslave tracks I enjoyed a lot when I was in my teens and truly reflecting on the magnitude of the loss of one of the most incredible voices in rock- Chris Cornell. To lose someone with so much talent and whose music holds such a special spot in so many people’s lives and memories (especially us 90s kids) is tragic enough- but to know his death was the result of suicide makes it hurt just that much more. It cannot be said enough- but mental illness and depression are serious business and are nothing to be ashamed of- nor should they be dealt with or tackled alone. If you or someone you know is suffering and need help- I urge you to reach out. You’re not alone in this and there are people who are always available to help and who want to see you well and feeling better.

And in equally stunning and horrible music news- there are no words to describe my emotions when I heard about what happened in Manchester. I had been grabbing my phone charger from my hotel room when the news alerts started coming in- and every breaking news segment just became worse and worse as the situation played out in real time. It’s unfathomable and inconceivable and thoughts and prayers can only go so far when so many precious, young lives have been lost and so many families have been irreversibly changed for the worse.

Shows and concerts are a magical experience- completely unique to each fan in attendance- for so many reasons. I’ve gone to many and have gotten emotional more than once when a band played my favorite song or struck a certain chord that just hit me the right way. Shows are a place of love, and acceptance, and being able to lose yourself in music with friends and strangers alike for a night- and to see something so wonderful and precious destroyed by senseless violence is heartbreaking and terrifying and every part of me aches for those who have been affected by this- but I implore you not to be afraid. Do not let the hateful ideology behind what happened in Manchester keep you from enjoying live music and stop you from being present in the world for one another.

This was truly an ugly moment in the world- but I promise you all that there’s more good than bad out there. You just have to be fearless enough to go and seek it out and fight against any evil you may encounter along the way with nothing but love.

And now, to hopefully lift the mood of this post a bit- let me share some bits and pieces from my vacation.

I did not win big. At all.

I didn’t spend a lot of time in Vegas- just over 24 hours, really- but during that time I managed to lose $5 on a “Walking Dead” slot machine, grab In-N-Out Burger (and a couple of cocktails, naturally)– get plenty of steps in as I went from casino to casino- and look at a couple of houses in the area off of the strip that are on the market since I’m still very much intending on making an eventual move out West and wanted to compare Nevada real estate to California’s (spoiler alert: it’s infinitely cheaper to live in Nevada!)

I stayed at Caesar’s Palace in a suite overlooking a portion of the strip, and when my feet eventually started to hurt- I retreated back to my room and to the gigantic Jacuzzi (with a LUSH bath bomb in tow) for some much-needed post-day in the desert rest & relaxation.

Remind me to add “Jacuzzi” to my must-have “House Hunting” list, by the way!

Following Vegas, I headed to San Diego for a few days specifically to visit friends and do absolutely nothing apart from sunbathe and sip cold drinks under palm trees. I was there for a vacation, damn it- which means no itinerary- and did I ever have fun! I actually think this most recent trip, as short as it was- might be one of the best I’ve ever had in Southern California in recent memory. It was so wonderful spending time with some familiar faces (and meeting new ones!) and the weather remained consistently gorgeous throughout my stay- no sign of “May Gray” anywhere!

And although it’s always so hard to leave San Diego and return to the East Coast every time I’m out that way- this time was a little easier- not because I was particularly eager to get back home, but because I have a feeling I’ll be out there again real soon- and might even make a great stride towards a permanent residency after being on the fence and indecisive about it for so long while I attempted to climb the career ladder so I’d have one less thing to worry about. Now that I’ve reached the top of that aforementioned ladder- my options and possibilities are looking a whole lot more bright and attainable!

With Memorial Day this weekend, I hope everyone has a safe and fun holiday. I’ll be sharing my favorites from this past month before packing up some beachwear (weather permitting!) to kick off the start of the Summer season- and then it’s onward into June where I’ll finally be able to share my blogging news! I’m so excited!

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Top 10 Photographs of 2016

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Combing through all of my photos from this past year has been a trip. I’ve been to so many incredible places, have met and spent time with equally incredible people- and have been fortunate enough to occasionally just be in right moment at the right time to catch a perfect shot. Narrowing down hundreds of photos to just ten, and then ranking them proved to be quite a challenge- but this is one of two year-end traditions here on ‘Legally Redhead’. The other, my “In a Nutshell” post that will summarize 2016 in it’s excruciatingly long entirety- will be up tomorrow! I wanted to do this the right way, after all!

All but two of these photos were taken by me (and the two in question have me in them and were taken by other people)– and most are from my travels around New England and across the country this past year. It’s been a lot of fun re-visiting those moments and memories as I organized these pictures for this post- and I hope everyone enjoys them as much as I do!

Without further delay, here are my ten favorite photographs from 2016.


#10: Coney Island (July 5th)

In the early, sunny morning hours following the 4th- my best friend Sean and I hopped a train bound to New York City for a day out together. The original plan had been to try and get a crazy elaborate milkshake at Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer and maybe hang around Central Park for a while- but we ended up riding the subway all the way to Coney Island, instead. I had never been- and Sean hadn’t been since he was a kid.

On the agenda was riding the famous and historic Cyclone roller coaster and strolling the boardwalk for a couple of hours. The weather was perfect, it wasn’t too crowded- and I snapped this quick photo of the Cyclone before we headed back to the subway so we could catch a quick dinner near Grand Central Station before our train departed for home. This is a nice memento from such a beautiful day.


#9: Negan(ette) & Eugene (July 30th)

Some of the most fun I had in 2016 was cosplaying as Negan from ‘The Walking Dead’, and when you combine that aforementioned fun with the hilarity that Josh McDermitt (who plays Eugene on the show) brings each and every time he’s in town- you’ve got the making for a pretty epic photo- even if the roles are reversed and he’s the one holding Lucille! This phone selfie, taken by Josh, was taken at the ‘Walker Stalker’ convention this past Summer when it rolled through Boston for a long weekend. It was my first time wearing my Negan costume- and it was a big hit.

There were a lot of photos from that weekend- but this is by far my favorite. It never fails to make me grin. I had so much fun and I can’t wait to go back next year if it returns to Boston!


#8: Last Night in The Chelsea Apartment (July 23rd)

I swear, not all of my favorite photos are from July of this past year- but a lot was going on then- including saying goodbye to the beautiful apartment in Chelsea following some unforeseen circumstances with the landlord selling the place and booting all the tenants out per the buyer/developer’s request. After a “moving out” party, which involved my friends and I eating way too much pizza and drinking way too much alcohol- I snapped this photo at sunset from the balcony that overlooked the Mystic River, the Tobin Bridge, and the Boston skyline. It had been unbelievably hot out that night- and a thunderstorm was blowing in from the West- making the sky explode with pinks, purples and oranges.

It was a bittersweet scene, really- and I couldn’t think of a better send-off to a place my friends and I hung out hats for years and years.


#7: “Didn’t they film The Shining here?” (April 23rd)

Back in the beginning of Spring, Sean and I decided to take a weekend road trip up to the White Mountains in New Hampshire and spend a couple of days at the (allegedly haunted) Mount Washington Hotel- which eerily resembled The Overlook Hotel from “The Shining”. The history of the hotel is fascinating, and the entire place was stunning inside and out- complete with a former speakeasy-turned-fully-functioning-bar, restaurants, a cafe, movie theater, arcade, indoor swimming pool, spacious conference areas, etc.- and Sean and I opted to stay up all hours to explore as much as we could in-between zip-lining over and repelling down huge trees in the still-snowy mountains.

This photo was taken on our last day at the resort, from across the road that leads up to the hotel. I thought it was such a beautiful scene with the mountains looming behind it. I’d love to go back in 2017!


#6: Overlooking The Atlantic (January 1st)

I spent last New Year’s Eve and this past New Year’s Day on the island of Nantucket- drinking champagne, dancing the night away, and then trekking through the quiet cobblestone streets and taking in the views of the big, beautiful houses and the ocean until it was time to catch a ferry back to my car in Hyannis. Sean captured this photo of me by one of the lighthouses on the island and I think it sums up the “aimless wanderer and avid traveler” part of my personality perfectly- beanie on my head and backpack stuffed with my belongings.

Even though it was January, we were on the waterfront, and it was cloudy out- the weather wasn’t too chilly or windy that day- and it felt nice being outdoors. I miss Nantucket, and since it’s technically the off-season for tourists, I think I’ll head back for a visit soon!


#5: Stop & Enjoy The Foliage (October 11th)

After a stressful Summer and a long return flight home from San Diego a few days earlier, it felt nice to take a day to stroll through the pretty, picturesque New England Autumn scenery- which always brings me so much calm and comfort. I stopped to take this photo on a cloudless, brisk afternoon hike through Sudbury, Massachusetts before heading to a friend’s apartment for dinner plans we had made. While most of the trees were only just starting to turn various shades of oranges, reds and yellows- this one was already in full-blown Fall mode- and I thought it looked gorgeous against the blue sky.

When I eventually leave New England- it’s days like that one that I will miss the most.


#4: San Diego After Dark (October 5th)

On my last night of my Fall vacation in San Diego, during one of my usual “but I don’t want to leave!” bouts of sadness at the prospect of having to return to chilly Massachusetts the following morning- I went for a late night stroll around downtown and The Gaslamp Quarter and came across these illuminated palm trees not far from the convention center (where San Diego Comic-Con is held.) There wasn’t another single soul around apart from me, so I basked in the light and their leaves and snapped this photo with my cell phone to look back on whenever I got homesick for the West Coast.

It was a lovely night and an unexpected find to wrap up my trip.


#3: The Most Bizarre Snowstorm Imaginable (February 5th)

Growing up in New England, I’m no stranger to unusual and unpredictable weather. Blizzards? Heat waves? Tornadoes? Hurricanes? I’ve seen just about everything- but the freakish snowstorm that blew through the area in early February and covered EVERYTHING with a heavy blanket of snow that stuck to the trees like glue was something new to me. I captured this photo in my mother’s driveway, where literally INCHES of snow clung to every single part of every single branch instead of simply falling to the ground- making her neighborhood look like a weird, cartoon version of a Winter wonderland.

High winds blew all of that snow off the branches that very same night- but it was really neat looking as the sun began to set and this is one of my favorite photos I took of it as I was losing daylight. It really was something to behold.


#2: “I see London…” (September 30th)

What can I say about my Vegas trip at the end of September, apart from that it was incredible? Seeing one of my favorite bands perform one of my favorite albums at the venue it was named after was just surreal- and sharing the experience with people I simply adore and cherish and who have become lifelong friends and family made it all the better. I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the Sam’s Town sign with the marquee advertising The Killers weekend performances there. I completely had a fangirl moment the very first time that I saw it (I had never been before!) and needed to commemorate the occasion.

Side Note: Don’t ever drink too much whiskey in Sam’s Town. Yikes. I’m still feeling that one.


#1: “The Echoes They Left Behind…” (October 18th)

Leave it to me to have something completely morbid and maybe a little depressing at the top of the list- but I’m still not over this discovery of discarded grave markers Sean and I found thrown away in the woods on the outskirts of what was formerly the Danvers State Hospital/Asylum. Each marker represents a person with a past, a life, a family somewhere- and their death- and to see these things just heaved into the woods like trash was a sobering moment for me. I’ve been photographing abandoned buildings and places for years- and sometimes you see some pretty messed up stuff- but this admittedly got to me and made me a bit emotional.

I took this photo not only because I couldn’t believe what I had seen- but as a reminder that those who lived and died within Danvers’ walls shouldn’t be forgotten.

And there they are- my top ten photographs from the year. Looking back, I really did travel to some gorgeous and exciting places- a tradition I hope to continue well into 2017 where I plan to take even more pictures and make it even harder on myself to narrow them down come the New Year’s Eve before 2018 starts- but I shouldn’t get ahead of myself.

Here’s to documenting the finer moments of 2016 and keeping the memories they’ve left in my heart and mind forever!


“It’s good to have you with us, even if it’s just for the day.”

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Five flights, three hotels, countless cups of coffee and one Hell of a head cold later- and I’m back home from a whirlwind week on the West Coast. I took yesterday off for myself to unpack, recover from jet-lag (and some serious post-flight congestion) and get my head back together as I re-adjusted and re-acclimated  to my normal, everyday routine here in New England. Try as I may, though- I really would rather be back in Vegas or San Diego right about now. These chillier than usual Massachusetts temperatures were/are not welcoming at all.

Maybe I was just spoiled by the dry, sunny, desert and SoCal days and nights, though.

Going through my photos, mementos, souvenirs and odds & ends that were stuffed in my purse and in my suitcase- I still can’t believe this past week happened (and happened so fast!) Everything was so surreal. It’s hard to put into words the indescribable feelings and emotions I’m experiencing as I reflect on the past few days- but I’m going to try.

Heading to Vegas, I had two goals in mind- I wanted to see my friends out that way (specifically my dear friend Kelsey, who I haven’t had the pleasure of spending time with since her wedding around this time last year to her wonderful husband, Andrew) and the plethora of people I knew who were going to be in town for The Killers’ special “Sam’s Town” 10-year anniversary gigs (located at the album’s namesake.)

Attending those shows was actually my second goal on the agenda. Although I am a shameless fan of The Killers’ entire body of work- “Sam’s Town” has a special place in my heart. I was 20 when the album was released, and although “Hot Fuss” was my first introduction to the band (and the subsequent tour was my introduction to longtime friends on the crew and within their opening bands)– the “Sam’s Town” era helped deepen those friendships/relationships. It truly was the soundtrack to my growing up and coming into my own. Each song is poignant, and overall the record is pretty flawless from start to finish. There isn’t a track I skip when I re-visit it. I was ecstatic to re-live the magic of those shows in a new and unfamiliar venue.



Although there was a bit of unnecessary drama upon my arrival on Friday night (when you’ve been a fan of the band for as long as I have, you tend to cross a few other people from time to time who aren’t exactly the friendliest or most stable people to deal with)– it was quickly forgotten as soon as I was inside the actual venue, the lights dimmed, and the band took the stage.

What I loved most was that the show was set up the way it was back when the album was first released. There were the familiar images of the guys during the “Sam’s Town” era projected onto a curtain that dropped just in time for the crowd to be showered in confetti (nicely done, Steven!) during the intro. There was the classic lighted “Sam’s Town” sign hanging behind the stage- and the guys launched into a couple of encores featuring other favorites after they’d performed the “Sam’s Town” album in it’s entirety. My good buddy Brian also joined the boys on stage to perform his part in the song “My List”- which was awesome. I haven’t seen that one live in ages.

Between Friday and Saturday night’s shows- my time consisted of hanging out with old friends, making new ones- and having one too many cocktails. By the time it came for me to fly to San Diego on Sunday morning, I was burnt out. Happy, of course- but exhausted!


While my agenda in Vegas was all about fun- my trip to San Diego was a bit more business-oriented. I still had fun plans, of course. My dear friends Tommy and Andrea came down from Los Angeles with their beautiful baby boy, Lorenzo, so that we could all go to theNAT together and grab lunch. I sat down for a couple of drinks with my longtime friend, Jimmy- and I made a point to stop by my favorite beach (O.B.) and Mexican food restaurant (Pokez) before I jet-setted back to Massachusetts on Wednesday night.

But while I was in the area- I had a bit of a top secret meeting with a law firm in downtown San Diego to discuss possible employment by the end of the year/beginning of 2017. I hadn’t wanted to say anything to anyone, really- just in case it didn’t pan out or I changed my mind- but the firm seemed impressed with me and my resume and offered me a position should I ultimately decide to make the move to SoCal. It’s a HUGE decision- and one I’ve thankfully been given plenty of time to consider and weigh the pros & cons of before giving my answer.

Many factors come into play with a decision like this: finances, my friends & family here in New England, my living situation, my roles and responsibilities- and what I would be both gaining (and losing) with whether I choose to stay or go. It’s a lot to process- and I’m doing it to the best of my ability while throwing myself back into my current job here in Massachusetts and recovering from a cold I picked up somewhere between San Diego and Chicago on my way home.

There also comes the possibility of employment in Las Vegas and/or Henderson, Nevada- where real estate is infinitely more affordable and reasonable than it is in California. The climate is still right up my alley, albeit a tad dry- but anything is better than snow.

Downtown San Diego, 10/4/16

Downtown San Diego, 10/4/16

As you can probably imagine, I’ve been buzzing with excitement (and nerves) while simultaneously driving myself nuts with overthinking pretty much every aspect of the past few days- and the days moving forward.

And we all thought vacations were supposed to be relaxing, right? Not for me, apparently!

Oh well. I had a phenomenal time and that’s really all that matters. I cannot thank my friends and extended family out West enough for making these past few days some of the most fun, crazy and memorable ones I’ve ever had. I love you all so much and I cannot wait to see everyone again soon!



“Sunsets and Neon Lights…”

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It’s always sort of surreal returning from a vacation on the opposite coast- like I’m re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere for the first time in years. My mind is fuzzy and foggy, my body (usually) aches from long plane rides, and it takes me a couple of days to adjust to the time zone and climate change- especially this time of year where I spend more than a few days in Summer-like temperatures and then return home to Boston where it’s particularly chilly.

I digress- I’m back from a near-week-long trip to fabulous Las Vegas and sunny San Diego! I hit the ground running, having jumped right back into work at my office mere hours after my plane touched down- and I fully admit that I’m way, way behind on my e-mails and messages (but plan to catch up today!) Sometimes it’s just really nice- and healthy- to unplug for a while. I can’t even tell you all how many people I saw during my trip that were so immersed in the screens of their phones/tablets that they were oblivious to everything and everyone else around them (including bumping into so many people/things!) and couldn’t really experience the excitement of Vegas or the beauty of Southern California right there in front of them.

And then there were the planes- where people flat-out REFUSED to stop mindlessly scrolling through Facebook and Twitter (much to the aggravation of the poor flight attendants) before and during take-off. On my flight home, a layover from Nashville to Boston- the man sitting to my side was back on Facebook the second the plane touched down- before we’d even come to a full-stop and pulled up to the gate! He was just furiously scrolling like his very existence depended on it!

It was eye-opening, for sure.

And yes- I occasionally updated Instagram and other social media from time to time during my vacation- but I made a point to have face-to-face interactions and dialogue with the people I care about out West, and whom I don’t get to see nearly as often as I’d like. I highly recommend it for those who plan to be traveling soon (or even just sticking around where you live!) Put the phones/tablets away for just a little while. I promise, all those Facebook photos and Tweets will still be there when you get back!

But here I am getting preachy when I don’t mean to. My apologies!


The view from our breakfast table!

The view from our breakfast table!


My main reason for visiting Las Vegas was for my beloved friend Kelsey’s wedding to her very lucky (now) husband, Andrew. I haven’t seen Kelsey since the last time I was in town- roughly 4-5 years ago- but it was so great to be back. I had prepared for endless sunshine and heat stroke- but was pleasantly surprised that there were some clouds during my stay- and even some light rain! I think it followed me from New England.

Kelsey’s wedding took place at the M Resort Spa and Casino, which is also where I stayed with my best friend Sean- who arrived in town a few hours after I did (and who thought I wasn’t coming into Vegas until the day after he got there- which led to a very nice surprise in the lobby when he showed up and I was waiting to help him with his luggage.) The property is beautiful, about 15-20 minutes away from the Las Vegas strip but with an incredible view of the towers and casinos in the distance- so you can actually relax at night without being disturbed by loud music or bright, neon flashing lights in your window.

Sean and I spent a lot of time at the resort, mostly eating- because oh my God the food was amazing- and taking turns swimming in the gigantic bathtub in our room- but he had never been to Vegas before, and I insisted we catch a shuttle to the strip the day before the wedding to do a lengthy casino-to-casino tour so that he could drink in all the fun, tourist-y stuff the city had to offer a couple of geeks like us.







Sean and I got an early start, heading into town (by the Wynn) and working our way down the strip until we got to the Luxor and Mandalay Bay later on that night before we backtracked to the resort to sleep off a full day of walking, running, sight-seeing, shopping, and riding the roller coaster at New York, New York. Sean got to see his very first fountain show at the Bellagio, while I got to ooh-and-aaah at the interesting decor in The Cosmopolitan (my favorite hotel/casino!)

We didn’t have the time- or the energy- to catch any of the shows taking place at any of the casinos, but I made a mental note to come back as soon as possible to see Britney Spears perform at Planet Hollywood and take a peek at the ‘Absinthe’ show at Caesar’s Palace because if you’re going to go to Vegas, you HAVE to see a show- right?




Since Kelsey’s wedding took place in the evening, and we had more than enough time to get ready- on Friday morning/afternoon, Sean and I once again headed into town so that he could see a couple more locations we didn’t get the chance to hit the day before- namely The Stratosphere and historic Fremont Street. During our brisk walk, we passed more than one drive-through wedding chapel (and sent our friends and loved ones a photo of the exterior of one particular Elvis-themed church asking them if we should take the plunge and get hitched for fun. The responses were golden.) and plenty of gift shops.

Sean, who has been terrified of heights during the entire 19 years I’ve known him- surprised me when he willingly took the elevator up to the top of the Stratosphere to get a bird’s eye view of the strip- and watch people who had WAY more courage than either of us free-fall jump from the top of the building (a new attraction that hadn’t been there the last time I was in town.) Maybe next time I can convince him to try it with me. I admit- it looked like fun.

Fremont Street, which has always felt delightfully dirty and sketchy to me- was a treat, too. I picked up a couple of SUPER tacky gifts for a few folks back home and ate a pretty fantastic street taco while we bobbed and weaved through the crowds under old neon signs and through historic casinos like The Golden Nugget and the Four Queens. By the time mid-afternoon rolled around- we knew we had to hightail it back in order to make ourselves presentable for Kelsey’s special day.



The wedding itself was beautiful. Kelsey looked absolutely gorgeous (which isn’t hard for her at all since I consider her to be one of the most stunning girls I know!) and the reception was one of the most fun things I’ve ever attended. It was a pleasure seeing some of our mutual friends (Erica! Beth!) and meeting loads of new people between drinking, dancing, and hijacking the adorable photo booth that was set up to commemorate the occasion. I am truly so, so happy for Kelsey and Andrew- and I wish them a lifetime of happiness, love, and good fortune. I can’t thank them enough for including Sean and I in something so wonderful!

On Saturday, following the wedding reception- Sean headed back to Boston while I continued West to stay in San Diego for a couple of low-key and relaxing days off the grid where I did my usual tour de force of my favorite burger and Mexican food restaurants- and had more than one night of late night drinking with my dear friend, Jimmy. It was the perfect way to unwind and prepare myself for the flight home and subsequent return to work and New England life.

I’m hoping the next time I head out to San Diego, it’ll be to move into a new apartment (fingers crossed!)

But now that I am officially back on the East Coast for the time being- it’s time to catch up on those e-mails, review the subscription boxes that arrived at my door in my absence, prepare to select a winner for my Halloween Giveaway, and get ready to watch a few more awful horror movies on Netflix!

‘Til next time!


With Love to San Diego…

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Whenever I write a post related to my leaving San Diego (and it happens frequently, since I’m here a lot!) the tone always feels- to me- like I’m writing a eulogy for a dearly departed friend or family member or something. I just feel so sad whenever I have to pack up my bag and head back home to Massachusetts- no matter how long the initial trip out here was.

That feeling is especially poignant today since most of Massachusetts and New England is set to be slammed with a pretty serious blizzard shortly after my plane is scheduled to touch down in Boston. Going from Summertime temperatures and being able to run around the beach in a sundress these past couple of days- only to return home to snow, slush, and frigid temperatures- is like a kick to the stomach. Yuck!

Pushing the impending cold out of my mind as best as I could, I spent yesterday- my last full day in SoCal- at Ocean Beach watching gigantic waves crash against the pier, window shopping at different little stores along the main strip near the water’s edge, and snapping photos while trying to get just a hint of sun-kissed color on my skin (it didn’t work. It never works.)

Despite my intensifying sadness at having to leave in just a couple of hours, overall I had an incredible post-birthday weekend. It was nice to see some familiar faces, enjoy the sunshine, surf, and sand- and just relax for a couple of days!

Another thing I always say in my San Diego-related posts is that I have every intention of moving out here but just never actually get around to starting the process. I promised myself that in 2015 I’d at least make an effort to get the ball rolling on re-locating- and once I’m done shoveling myself out of whatever this winter storm throws at me back in Boston- I’m going to start looking at potential condos and houses, both online and through my friends and networks out here.

Until then, it looks like I’ll be seeing everyone back on the East Coast shortly!



Planes, Cakes and Automobiles

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The view from my hotel room! 1.23.15

Hello from my hotel room in Downtown San Diego! I arrived in SoCal late yesterday afternoon for a long weekend of sun, sand, Mexican food, and some rest and relaxation. My 29th birthday was this past Thursday- and since I’ve spent pretty much every celebration of my getting yet another year older bundled up in frigid New England temperatures- I thought a couple of days in warmer weather would be a nice change and do me some good.

So far I’ve spent a little time working out, breaking into even more of a sweat in the sauna, and indulging in a little pampering- and I’m planning on doing some shopping this morning before I head to the beach and then meet up with some local friends for dinner and drinks later on tonight.





Last year for my birthday, my mom surprised me with a small party where she went above and beyond to satisfy my love of all things “The Walking Dead.” This year, knowing how excited I am for “Avengers: Age of Ultron” to be released in the Spring- she decided to stick with a Marvel (and specifically Captain America,) themed party at her house for me with some of my family because even though I’m 29 now- on the cusp of 30- I can still love and appreciate cute toys to add to my growing display of nerd-dom.

I especially loved the chocolate “Hail Ashley” cake, a play on the Marvel baddies, HYDRA- which was so good it was practically evil (see what I did there?) The cake was also huge- so at least I know when I get back to my place from California next week I’ll have more than enough pieces waiting for me!

I can’t wait to see what she does when I turn the big 3-0 next year.

Top 10 Photographs of 2013.

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In between visiting with family and friends during the holidays, working, and preparing for New Years- I’ve been drafting my “2013: In a Nutshell” post in my free time. For those who may not know, at the end of every month, I like to summarize said month, talk about any major events/turning points that took place, post any pictures that may not have initially made the cut when I blogged, write about the days to come, etc. My 2013 summary is a lot like that- but for the entire year, of course- including an assortment of news, pop culture, random tidbits and nonsense, etc.

I digress, to prepare- I’ve re-visited some of the photographs I snapped during 2013 (and there were a lot!) and wanted to create a post highlighting my Top 10 of the year and the stories behind them.

So without further ado,


# 10: Dropkick Murphys, TD Garden (March 15th)

I took a shot of the heavily illuminated stage- and an enthusiastic fan- during the band’s annual series of Saint Patrick’s Day shows in March. The timing of this shot couldn’t have been any better, thanks in part to the guy in front of me who threw his arms up as I was snapping away while the band prepared to launch into a cover of AC/DC’s “TNT.”

This wasn’t my first Dropkick Murphys show of 2013, and it also wouldn’t be my last. I’d go on to see them perform a couple more times over the next few months- one concert in particular being especially poignant as it was a benefit for “The One Fund” to help those directly affected in the Boston Marathon Bombing.


# 9: Ocean Beach, San Diego (September 27th)

This may not be the most complex photograph I’ve ever taken (I took it sitting down in the sand, after all,) but it’s one of my favorites from the year because it was taken during one of the most relaxing afternoons during one of my most relaxing vacations in recent memory. I was sitting in a small sliver of shade underneath the pier at Ocean Beach waiting for my friend Duncan to arrive while I listened to music and watched the surfers paddle out as the waves crashed in.

I could have stayed like that for hours. It was truly a little piece of paradise.


# 8: Red Velvet Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting (January 22nd)

If there was ever a photograph I wanted to eat, the above shot of surprise cupcakes, a combination of two of my favorite flavors, that my family concocted and made for my birthday would be it. This picture apparently received a lot of attention on Pinterest among foodies and dessert-enthusiasts, which is pretty cool- but I especially liked it because it was a (delicious) reminder of how wonderful my relatives are and the effort they put into giving me a fun (and again, delicious,) surprise.


# 7: Photobombing Norman Reedus in NYC (June 29th)

I can’t take credit for this photo, since I simply posed and a woman at Wizard World NYC caught the moment with her camera- but it’s still one of the best pictures I have from the event, and the year- although definitely not the most flattering. Norman Reedus, of “The Walking Dead” and “Boondock Saints” fame, is also a notorious photobomber. Having seen countless photos of fans simply standing beside him and looking timid or giddy, I decided to liven things up.

I gave Norman a heads up when we got ready to pose in front of the hilariously awkward K-Mart style backdrop, and he was an incredibly good sport and enthusiastic participant to the shenanigans. He’s a genuinely cool guy.


# 6: Mick Jagger, TD Garden (June 14th)

Winning Rolling Stones tickets was a dream come true that I’m still pinching myself about since I can’t believe it actually happened. To be able to see the man, the myth, the legend- Mick Jagger- sashay, dance, and kick his way around the stage- performing all the songs I grew up with and love so, so much- was beyond surreal. I took this shot in between cheering myself hoarse and singing along at the top of my lungs- and it’s an incredible memento to have in my collection of concert pictures from throughout the years.


# 5: Autumn Shade, Winsor Dam (October 5th)

During one of my countless weekend drives, I had stopped in Western Massachusetts to take in the fresh air and beautiful fall foliage. It was during a long walk over the Winsor Dam in Ware/Belchertown when I saw the sun shining through this tree, in the midst of the transition from Summer to Fall- hanging over and shedding it’s leaves onto an unoccupied picnic table. I grabbed my camera, and the result is something I am really quite pleased with.


# 4: Great Gatsby Lawn Party at the Crane Estate (July 21st)

This is another photo I didn’t take myself (Sean helped!) but I loved it, even if it’s considered a “selfie.” We had considered taking this picture in black & white or sepia, to give it a more authentic “old time” feel, but in the end I’m glad we decided to keep the photo in it’s full color. The bright red of my hair and lipstick pales in comparison to the Crane Estate, surrounded by other attendees and the greenest grass I’d ever seen, looming in the background.

It was a beautiful party, and I’m glad I have this photo to remember it by.


# 3: Cliff Walk, Newport (December 22nd)

This is one of the most recent photographs I’ve taken (from a day trip this past Sunday,) but it’s one of the most beautiful, in my opinion. The ocean has always been a place of refuge for me. It can be calming or exciting, perfect to sit and watch in any mood or mind set. On this particular day, it was wild- with waves crashing against the rocks while I strolled Cliff Walk. I took this photo of the water breaking against and inside a small cave within the cliff while some of the Newport Mansions are peeking through the fog in the background.


# 2: The Day After, Boston (April 20th)

At a glance, this photo isn’t anything extraordinary- there’s probably hundreds out there just like this- but to me- the date it was taken and the frame of mind myself and many others were in is what makes this photo so important to me. Shot hours after Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the two Boston Marathon Bombers, was taken into custody- I snapped this photo by the reflecting pool while heading out to brunch with a friend. The sun was shining, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and everyone I saw or spoke to that day seemed to be in good spirits.

The city of Boston has never looked more beautiful to me than it did that day, and in this photograph.


# 1: Medfield State Hospital (January 26th)

And finally, my favorite photograph. Something I captured that I am still, and will remain, very fond of. Taken on one of the coldest days of the year at the abandoned Medfield State Hospital, I was rounding one of the wards when I spotted this dilapidated bench with a tree growing through it. Although I am very pleased with every shot I took that day- this one is my favorite. I know there’s a metaphor in it somewhere, like “life continues through destruction and decay,” or something poetic like that- but I just thought this picture was neat. The snow, the boarded up building in the background, the fence. Every part of it.

I hope to go back someday in warmer weather and see the tree in bloom- still growing through the bench.

And there they are, my top 10 photographs from 2013. It was a hard decision to make, limiting all of my pictures I took down to just ten- but I think it’s a good compilation. All of the photos posted have fun or meaningfulness to them.

I hope to be even more of a shutterbug in 2014 (and who knows- maybe double my list to a “top 20” this time next year?)

Time to Head Home…

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Ah, yes, the dreaded “last day of vacation” has finally arrived. As much as I would love to stay in San Diego forever, I’m due to fly back to the East Coast early tomorrow morning (arriving just in time to catch the series finale of “Breaking Bad!”)

My last day of vacation usually involves packing, double checking that I packed everything about four to several more times, catching up on my (sigh) e-mails so I’m prepared when I get home and get back to business, double-checking that I packed everything another five times, and shopping. My mom, God bless her, loves souvenirs, so I always have to make a point to bring her back something cheesy to appease her, and even though I bring more than enough clothes and outfits for any and every occasion that should arise (you never know when you’ll need a cocktail dress… or a ball gown) while away from home, I always end up picking up a few more things that catch my eye.

Today, while stretching my legs, I stopped by a little store downtown to take a quick peek at a dress displayed in the front window that I had liked the pattern of. Instead, I ended up leaving with a bunch of fun-printed scarves and a crop-top I couldn’t resist buying:








Yesterday, I spent a good chunk of the day catching some sun and salty ocean air down at the pier at Ocean Beach (O.B.) which is one of my favorite spots in San Diego. The overall environment and the people that frequent there, at least every time I’ve visited, are very laid back surfer, skater, and hippie types. When I wasn’t down at the water, I was walking along the main strip of surf-shops, bars, and food shacks, admiring the spray-painted murals and street art on display on the sides of most of the buildings. The entire look of the beach is like something out of late 60s/early 70s, with more modern cars and clothing, of course. I’m so smitten with the place.


I met up with my longtime San Diegon friend, Duncan, at O.B., where we had a really nice little picnic by ocean before heading back to his beautiful apartment in Hillcrest. I met his three-legged cat (who is ADORABLE) and Duncan surprised me with an absolutely gorgeous Michael Kors watch. I’m still a little stunned by it. Every time I go to look at the time, I can’t help but smile.



The night concluded with a visit to a rooftop bar, where I had the most breathtaking view of the city as the sun was setting, followed by some New York style pizza- which is really the only way to end a perfect day.

And now, as the sun begins to set here again (sadly, I have no pizza this time,) I’m preparing to bid farewell to SoCal, and to what was an entirely and thoroughly enjoyable weekend. It was so, so nice to see some familiar faces- and meet some new ones, over the past few days, and while there were a couple of people I sadly did not get the chance to visit due to distance or time constraints- there’s always next time.

It seems that the only thing left to do before I go is stuff my face with one last heaping amount of In-N-Out Burger. I’m craving animal fries like you wouldn’t believe right now.

See you all back on the East Coast!


“We’ve got the ocean, got the babes, got the sun- we’ve got the waves.”

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Hello from beautiful San Diego, California!

This little four day getaway (I arrived Wednesday) was sort of a spur of the moment decision on my part. October looks as though it’s going to be a month full of fun events- with my time split between being at home in Massachusetts and in NYC- and November and December, as is the workplace tradition- will be very, very busy as the firm wraps up cases for the end of the year and prepares for 2014. It’s a little wild to think about- that in just a few months we’ll be heading into an entirely new year.

But I digress, since talking about time going by so quickly can be awfully depressing. Seeing an opportunity to get away, if only for a few days, before I am indubitably swamped, I flew out to Southern California to do, well, nothing. This is the first time in a long time where I’ve traveled somewhere, not to see any specific sights or participate in any specific activity under any specific schedule, but to just sort of come and go as I please- eat and drink where I want, sleep as late as I’d like (although I was up and moving at 7 A.M. Pacific Standard Time yesterday and this morning, so I guess some things never change, even on vacation,) and roll with the punches as they came at me- and it’s been phenomenal, and also very, very relaxing. I’ve discovered a ton of new places in the area to add to the list of places I already frequent and enjoy.

I’ve already explained my love for San Diego, and my long-term goal to eventually make the permanent move here, so there’s no need to bore anyone reading this with the details of my love affair yet again. This place is the best- and that’s really all that needs to be said.

While Wednesday was pretty quiet, low-key, and uneventful (after a pretty long and horrific flight, the only thing I really wanted to do was grab some food and take a nap in my hotel room,) yesterday was filled with a lot of exercise and exploring. I spent the majority of the morning and afternoon in Balboa Park, stopping by the San Diego Museum of Man (an absolutely massive and gorgeous building I’ve always admired from afar whenever I’m here,) to see an exhibit of Medieval torture devices- because why not? I only got a little queasy just once while reading the description of how one of the devices was used (spoiler alert: it was a device designed specifically for women,) but overall, it was morbidly fascinating. Definitely worth checking out if you’ve got the stomach for it.



As it turns out, my timing for this trip turned out to be perfect, especially last night when I stopped by The Griffin to grab a drink and catch a show put together by SoundDiego that featured Neighbors to the North (awesome,) the first live performance from Saint Diego (my new favorite band,) and my old pals, The Nervous Wreckords. Now, my love for the city of San Diego itself and it’s beautiful weather and lovely scenery is only surpassed by my love for the people I know here. I’ve known Brian, the frontman, since my teens- and Daniel, the keyboardist, for a while now, and I hadn’t had the pleasure of spending time with either one of them in about two years. The show was fantastic, but getting to see them and catch up afterwards was truly the highlight of my night (apart from Saint Diego covering CCR’s “Bad Moon Rising,” of course. That was the coolest thing ever.)

And major kudos to the friendly new faces I met last night who talked Boston sports with me (without ripping on my accent too much) and directed me to different things to check out in the city, either during this trip or the next time I’m in town. Those guys, and gals, made an already wonderful evening even better with their hospitality.

With only a couple of days left on the West Coast, I’m looking forward to visiting a few more friends and hitting the beach. It’s still early-ish here, however- and I think I hear breakfast calling my name.