Top 10 Photographs of 2014.

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Last year around this time, in the midst of drafting my summary of 2013, I had compiled a list of my ten favorite photographs that I had taken/were taken of me throughout the year. I’ve recently completed my “In a Nutshell” post for 2014- due to be published on New Year’s Eve, and thought that I would put together another post ’til then of my ten favorite photographs from this year!

It was hard to narrow it down to just ten photos, because I saw so many great places, did so many fun things, and met so many wonderful people this past year- so I was frequently re-arranging my list- adding and omitting things- but I think I finally have it sorted. Here’s my “Top 10” pictures that span the course of 2014!


# 10: Fireworks in Cape Cod (July 5th)

The best thing about the Fourth of July landing on a Friday this year was that any and all celebrations of the holiday were extended well into the weekend. Such was the case when my girlfriends and I headed to Cape Cod on Saturday, July 5th, to spend a day at the beach and watch some delayed fireworks displays. The shot above, taken as the sun was setting over nearby Hyannis, captured a group of teenagers setting off some smaller firecrackers near where my friends and I were lounging. It was a beautiful, memorable night.


# 9: Brighton Sharbino smothering me at Boston’s “Walker Stalker Convention” (June 14th)

While I met a lot of really fun actors and actresses at Boston’s very first “Walking Dead” centric-convention (Jon Bernthal and Steven Yeun being two of my favorites,) I had the most fun posing with Brighton Sharbino- the beautiful young lady who portrayed the unhinged Lizzie Samuels in Season 4. Brighton was a sweetheart, and was more than happy to oblige me when I asked her if she could smother me for the photo the way her character attempted to do to baby Judith in one of the most unnerving scenes of the show to date.


# 8: Abandoned House, Rhode Island (May 24th)

On a beautiful, sunny Spring day, after cleaning out and washing my car- I found myself traveling along the back roads heading towards Rhode Island to spend an afternoon in Newport. On the way, I passed this abandoned house- nearly being taken over by the elements and plants growing around it- and had to stop to snap a few photos of it, the partially collapsed garage next to it, and the abandoned VW Bus tucked away under a tree across the street. This was my favorite picture out of the bunch that I took that day.


# 7; The William H. Mason House. Thompson, CT. (March 16th)

This was another find while driving aimlessly one Sunday afternoon after grabbing a coffee and running some errands. I found myself in Connecticut, and spotted this beautiful (and unfortunately decaying) home off the side of the road. Some research into the area turned up information- specifically that this beautiful structure was once known as The William H. Mason House, and is currently scheduled for demolition due in part to the current owner (a wealthy New York-based interior designer,) failing at any attempt to preserve it. It’s a shame, really- because the building is gorgeous and could be turned into a number of things.


# 6: “Is my grin cheesy enough?” Old Orchard Beach (June 22nd)

While I visit Hampton Beach a lot throughout the year (it’s one of the easiest beaches to get to, after all-) June 2014 saw me returning to one of my favorite locations, Old Orchard Beach in Maine, for the first time since my teens. In the photo above, taken by my best friend Sean, I attempted to re-create an identical picture of me that was taken in the exact same spot when I was 16. Although my hair is much redder and my fashion sense is considerably better than it was at the time of the first photo- my big, cheesy grin is pretty much the same.


# 5: My favorite Starbucks date (October 2nd)

In the Fall of 2014, my niece began kindergarten and my brother started a new job. Because of scheduling conflicts- he recruited me to bring my niece to school a couple days every week. Since then, we’ve mastered making pancakes or french toast sticks in the a.m. while still getting her to her classroom on time. Sometimes, on the days we’re running a little behind and don’t have time to cook in my kitchen- we stop at Starbucks. I snapped this picture of her, mid-sip of her hot chocolate (because I’m not giving caffeine to a six year old,) while we were walking to her school.


# 4: Sleeping Red Panda, Roger Williams Park Zoo (May 18th)

As someone who has to bribe my dog with treats to get him to hold still for photos, it was a pleasant surprise to be able to snap a couple of pictures of some Red Pandas during a Springtime visit to the zoo/conservation society in Rhode Island. Granted, they were sleeping soundly at the time, so it wasn’t a challenge getting good shots- but this one, taken from a distance- is my favorite. His/Her little face is just so precious!


# 3: The Lizzie Borden Sofa, Fall River (February 15th)

I traveled, on a whim, to quite a few places in 2014. One of my earlier outings in the year, a short drive to Fall River, brought me to the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast one snowy afternoon where I, and maybe 5-6 other people, were given a tour of the legendary crime scene. I took this picture of the couch where, in 1892, Lizzie’s father Andrew was found murdered (the picture of the scene is easily available on Google- if any curious minds have the stomach to see it for themselves.) The tour was fun and informative, and the home is beautiful, if not a little bit creepy- and this will always be my favorite photo from the day.


# 2: Oliver’s Sunday Best (April 20th)

As a joke to surprise my mom this year, I dressed up my miniature schnauzer, Oliver, in a button up dress shirt, vest, and bow tie that I had picked up in the children’s department of a clothing store for Easter dinner at her house. I only kept the outfit on him long enough to take the photo above while he sat on her couch, but all of my relatives that were present at the time thought it was the cutest thing ever. Since then, I’ve turned this picture into a greeting card for friends and family alike. My little guy looks like such a dapper gentleman!


# 1: Ashley Dixon, San Diego Comic-Con (July 27th)

I hope a photo of myself ranking at #1 doesn’t come across as conceited or egotistical- I just really had the time of my life dressed as Daryl Dixon from “The Walking Dead” while at the biggest comic convention in the world over the Summer. This picture, snapped on the last day of SDCC by a stranger who had asked me to pose with his children a few minutes earlier outside the convention center- was taken just a half hour or so before the event and weekend came to a close. I was tired, hungry, and my feet hurt more than a little- but it was worth it and I really hope I can do it again someday.

And there they are- my top 10 photos from 2014! It’s been a blast going through all of my photos and albums from this year. So many good memories and great pictures from throughout the months.

Here’s hoping there’s even more of them next year!

“If you’re fond of sand dunes and salty air…”

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One thing that I’ve learned over the years is that when it comes to going away for a day/weekend- it’s best not to get dragged down with planning every minor detail of your day(s.) During the work week, I depend on plans. I plan what to eat, I plan what to wear, I plan appointments for clients and I plan what files and what paperwork to focus on for a (pre-planned) amount of time. I have been told by many people- friends, family, and colleagues- that I am both the most organized and most meticulous person they know.

So when it comes to my days off and/or vacations, I like to loosen the grip I have on my schedule and just let the chips fall where they may, so to speak. I tend to make one solid plan- like heading to a specific location, seeing a specific attraction, or visiting a specific shop or restaurant- and let the rest of my day(s) and experiences happen from there. It makes it easier to unwind and enjoy myself.

I consider myself blessed to have a tight-knit circle of friends and acquaintances who share a similar view on plans and weekend getaways, too- so when a group of my girlfriends asked me to come along for a spontaneous day at Cape Cod this past weekend, I didn’t hesitate to accept the invitation- because I knew I’d have an incredible time.


The one solid plan for this particular adventure was to bring our friend Alyssa to a family function at her parents’ vacation home just outside Hyannis. The drive there, although long, was also insanely fun thanks in part to our playlist and the fact that Alyssa brought a bunch of snacks for those of us who were crammed in the backseat of the car. We arrived late in the afternoon, and once Alyssa reached her family’s house- the four of us that were left hit the town with no real destination in mind.

I haven’t been to Hyannis since I was a kid, and even then- my time there was limited to the hotel where my dance studio was staying for a regional competition. I didn’t see the beach and I certainly didn’t see the cute main street lined with bars, restaurants, museums, and stores. That street is where we ended up first this past weekend, grabbing some really good food at Fresh Ketch and sitting outside to people watch before we did a little shopping and ultimately decided to hit the beach as the sun was setting.







The sand wasn’t scorching by the time we arrived but the water was so warm. I was glad I had decided to wear a lightweight cotton (and tie-dye!) dress since it made wading into the waves a lot easier. The group of us stayed there for a couple of hours, alternating between going in the water and lounging on a blanket to watch the sunset as well as a few different groups who had also come down to the beach set off the last of their stockpiled Fourth of July fireworks.

When Alyssa eventually called us to come meet her for more fireworks- this time viewed from the roof of a nearby yacht club with her family- we gathered up our things and jumped in the car to go. We managed to catch the tail-end of the show, which was still impressive nonetheless- before we went back to her family’s house for cake and goodbyes and then started the long journey home.

It was such a beautiful, perfect, hassle-free day. The scenery was gorgeous, the company was, of course- fantastic- and almost none of it was planned in advance. We just went with it- and it all worked out in our favor.