One April Day…

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Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! It’s been a pretty hectic week for me- balancing my workload at the office with recuperating from a recent pelvic injury (I’m fine and have since returned to my regularly scheduled workout regimen)– which has pretty much kept me on my toes. I’m glad the weekend and Easter are here- since it’ll give me a chance to catch up on a lot of things (including sleep) and enjoy an afternoon of stuffing my face with good food and chocolate bunnies with my family.

After a lot of back and forth between Winter and Spring- it looks like Spring has finally got the upper hand. The past few days have been only slightly chilly, but comfortable (with the exception of Tuesday when temps briefly skyrocketed into the high 80’s)– which means I’ve been able to spend more time outdoors without having to wear several layers of thermal or risk potentially getting frost bite. It’s great. I’m taking daily walks after work and going on longer hikes during the weekend. The shot above was during a break after an uphill trek just outside Belchertown a few days ago- and the view wasn’t shabby at all.

The only thing I’ve been waiting patiently on is for the trees and the flowers to bloom- but it looks like they’re still a bit shy. I’ve been getting my floral fix at a local greenhouse/farmer’s market whenever I have a free moment- and I plan to make a trip to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden at some point within the next couple of weeks so that I can get those Instagram-able cherry blossom photos while they’re still at peak bloom. If you’re thinking of checking it out for yourself, THIS SITE has been pretty helpful with monitoring the status of the blossoms!

After some much-deserved rest (and gluttony) this coming weekend- I’ll be back with new posts next week- including a really fun dessert recipe (no baking required!) some product reviews, and more Springtime shots from my Easter Sunday.

For those of you celebrating- I hope you all have a wonderful holiday. Enjoy your weekend, y’all!


Legends of the Fall

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Even though I am missing the weather in Las Vegas and San Diego like crazy- it hasn’t completely interfered with my love of all things Fall here in New England- especially with the foliage just starting to hit it’s peak color-changing potential. There’s still some green here and there- but everything has gradually been turning bright and beautiful shades of red, yellow and orange since I got back home. It’s my favorite transition between seasons- even though I know that transition is eventually going to lead into frigid and snowy winter in what I’m sure will feel like no time at all.

I’ve been putting in overtime at work since my return to the East Coast last week (planning an eventual cross-country move is gonna’ cost money, after all-) but Tuesday afternoon, after putting in a few extra hours at the office in the morning- I took the opportunity to take a long and winding drive to visit friends North of Boston. On my way, I stopped at the historic Wayside Inn in Sudbury to go on a little hike and snap some photos of the surrounding scenery.




Hurricane Matthew had dumped quite a bit of rain on us recently (and I’m thankful that was the worst of what we saw here considering how bad it got down South,) but it couldn’t have been more perfect outside during my excursion on Tuesday. It was warm- but not too warm- and sunny. There wasn’t a single cloud in the sky- and it held out that way until the temperatures started to drop by the time the sun began to set just as I was finishing up a delicious Thai dinner in Melrose.

This coming weekend is the annual Rock & Shock convention in my hometown, so I know I’ll be too preoccupied checking it out with old friends to head out and take more pictures of the leaves until next week at the earliest- but I’m quite content with the photos I’ve snapped so far!

Next week I’m going to have the details for my Halloween Giveaway up and running- and of course a few more “Horrors of Netflix” posts, too!



Day Off Date!

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This past week has been the epitome of “May Grey” here in New England. Not a day has gone by where it hasn’t rained, and any appearances by the sun have been brief- mere minutes, really- before the dark clouds rolled back in again. It hasn’t been the pleasant, refreshing Summer rain, either- but rather the cold, miserable type that typically strikes in late Fall/early Winter.

It took it’s toll on me mid-last week, where I came down with a short but tough 24-48 hour cold that left me with a nasty headache, no voice, and having to call out of work to try and get some rest and fight a fever. I’m feeling much better now, thankfully- and just in time- since it seems the sun is ready to make a longer-lasting appearance this week.

I digress. When I was back on my feet I wanted to do something fun during my scheduled day off, rather than lay in bed bundled up in my blankets and waste it (which was awfully tempting, believe me!)– and I found myself out in Deerfield, Massachusetts- where I spent an afternoon at Magic Wings, a butterfly conservatory and garden.

If you’ve got a fear of flying insects, this place probably isn’t for you- since about 4,000+ butterflies are fluttering around you (and landing on you) at any given moment- but I overcame my fear and had such a lovely time taking pictures and keeping warm in the conservatory’s greenhouse-like temperatures. I even got to witness some impromptu tortoise mating (the female ate a leaf during the whole depressing ordeal. Spirit animal? I think so.)

Below are some of my favorite shots I took, including one of the aforementioned tortoise mating (click any of the pics to enlarge!)

After leaving the conservatory, I made a quick stop at the Montague Bookmill for a coffee and to get out of the rain for a second time that afternoon. I haven’t been to the bookmill in a couple of years- not since Troy introduced me to it a while back during a Summer afternoon- but it still looks/feels exactly the same. I ended up curling up with a book about art history in one of the upstairs rooms before the shop closed and I eventually headed home. I’m pretty sure I’d live there if I could.



All in all, despite the rain- my day off was peaceful, serene, and relaxing- just what I needed after being sick for a couple of days. I actually have tomorrow off, as well- and will more than likely be back out exploring Western Massachusetts. People sometimes don’t believe me when I say the area is like something out of a storybook- but how can you look at the photos above and not think so?

I feel like Snow White whenever I’m out there!

‘Til next time!


April 2016: In a Nutshell.

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How in the world are we already in May?! How did that happen? It feels like Spring only just started (with a little fight from the Winter with some final flurries and sleet a few weeks ago) and Summer is already on the horizon- getting ready to push itself into the picture. I’m still trying to organize and enjoy my Spring wardrobe, for crying out loud!

But before I get ahead of myself and go into all of the things I have planned for May and the impending Summertime fun, I have to tip my hat to April- one of the busiest months I’ve had in a while! The most notable thing about this past month was that I was rarely home for most of it. I had headed down to Virginia and D.C. for a long weekend at the beginning of the month, then divided my time between work and Western Massachusetts (where I ultimately turned down the apartment I had mentioned falling in love with back in March because it’s location was, unfortunately, not convenient enough for my commute to/from work after some research and test navigation)– and rounded out the end of April with a long stay near the base of Mount Washington where I got back in touch with nature in a pretty unexpected and thrilling way.



Last weekend, Sean and I headed up to Bretton Woods, New Hampshire for a couple of days at the Mount Washington Hotel and Resort– a hotel we’d spotted during a weekend outing in the same area a couple of years ago and had added to our collective “To Do” list ever since. I had this past weekend (as well as this current weekend!) off due to some training at work I had participated in- so we took the opportunity to take a mini-trip together since we’ve both been so busy and preoccupied with our jobs and other plans.

For those who might think the hotel- isolated within a mountain range and with Mount Washington looming not far in the distance- looks a little like something out of ‘The Shining’- you’re not wrong! While the actual Overlook Hotel (really called the Stanley Hotel) is located in Colorado- hotel staff at the Mount Washington Hotel told Sean and I that Stephen King was inspired to pen ‘The Shining’ after a stay there way back when.

And I can see how he’d be inspired. Not only is the resort sprawling and MASSIVE– but it’s still got historical charm, too. The furnishings in the lobby, the outdoor promenades, and even our room- were elegant and old fashioned.

And yeah, the place is rumored to be haunted, too- with the room reported to have the most supernatural activity being just a couple doors down from where Sean and I stayed. We didn’t see any ghosts while we wandered around the property, though- not even late at night when most of the hotel’s common areas were pretty much deserted.





The resort had plenty of room to move around and plenty to do- including indoor  & outdoor pools, a spa, gift shops, it’s own post office (!!!), stables for horseback riding, hiking trails, fire pits for roasting marshmallows, a small cinema, a former-speakeasy-turned-underground-bar, a cafe and an arcade- all of which Sean and I explored and took advantage of- and the food the hotel served was pretty incredible, too. After we’d arrived, Sean and I had dinner in one of the main dining halls where I’d all but licked my plate clean after wolfing down a REALLY good meal- and the following morning’s brunch- with a seat overlooking the mountains- was one of the best I’ve had in years (I ate so. much. salmon.)

The entrance to the resort's bar, 'The Cave'.

The entrance to the resort’s bar, ‘The Cave’.

When your hobbies follow you on the road.

When your hobbies follow you on the road.

On Sunday, our last day at the hotel and resort- Sean and I took advantage of the nearby ski area- signing up for an afternoon of hiking, rappelling, and zip-lining through and across the mountain ridges. I’d never rappelled or zip-lined before, but after a couple of hours of adrenaline rushes and dangling REALLY high in the air- I think I got the hang of it. Our tour guides were awesome, supportive, and very funny guys- and Sean and I had a lot of fun getting to know them and the handful of others in our group who had a similar idea and had fearlessly joined along with us.



Those are just some of the shots of us in action. It was a BLAST- although it got pretty cold up there on the mountaintops!

Sean and I have already vowed to head back to the resort later on this Summer to participate in the warmer-weather activities (horseback riding! Swimming!) we didn’t get around to this time. I’m so excited. I loved the place and I definitely want to go back as soon as possible.

And now with May arriving tomorrow- and the weather FINALLY staying somewhat consistent in recent days/weeks- I’m hoping to spend even more time outdoors and on the road. I have a few more recipes up my sleeve, a couple more ‘Closet Crushes’ to share- as well as my Spring/Summer fitness tips & tricks for anyone else who is looking for some ways to feel a little better post-Winter-blues. I’ve also got a fun giveaway I’m finalizing as a little pick-me-up in preparation for Summer- and a whole lot more to share!

So long, April. You were beautiful, adventurous- and quite daring!




Day Off Date!

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It may not look like it from the bare trees and the small amount of snow on the ground in some of these photos, but Spring is trying it’s hardest to show itself here in Massachusetts. It really is! We’ve had a few pleasantly warm days amid some more frigid mornings and rainy afternoons these past couple of weeks- but the trees and flowers should begin blooming anytime now. I can just feel it… I swear, I’m not in denial…

… I’m seriously ready to embrace allergies with open arms if it means not shivering like crazy every time I go outside to start my car…

I digress. With the sunnier seasons approaching, I’ve been out and about in Western Massachusetts recently- and not just for hiking (in multiple layers to keep warm, of course) on my days off- but to look at apartments in the Northampton area, too.

Yes, it’s true- one of the savviest city-lovin’ gals in the Boston area is looking to pack up and head out to live in the quieter, less hectic- but MUCH cleaner- Pioneer Valley. The news came as a shock to a lot of my friends when I announced my plans to relocate to a studio apartment or loft in the downtown NoHo area in the coming months.

So why the Pioneer Valley- and why Northampton? Well, for starters- Northampton is a beautiful community with a thriving art, music and theater scene. People are active in Northampton- meaning that there’s more motivation to get out there and get into/maintain my shape- and there are so many independent and locally owned & operated shops, restaurants, cafes, and galleries for miles in every direction that you don’t have to worry about the quality of what you’re purchasing/eating or that your money is going to support some greedy executive who mistreats their employees. Your money goes back into building and maintaining the community.

And while Northampton could certainly be classified as a ‘College Town’ (there’s five of them in and around the area)– it’s not nearly as loud or out of control as other places that are predominantly populated by college kids. The atmosphere and overall vibe is much, much different than what I’m used to- and I really enjoy it. I feel it’s a lot safer and a lot healthier.

Best of all? Northampton isn’t too far from anything, really. A quick jump on the highway and I’m still able to get to and from work at a reasonable time, or visit with my mother- and if I stay on the highway a little longer- I’m back in Boston to visit my friends! No trouble at all!

But what about San Diego? This was a pretty common question after I announced my intentions to move. It’s true that my ultimate end-game is to live in SoCal- surrounded by palm trees and street taco trucks (I’m making myself hungry)– but in terms of strategic financial and career moves: moving to the Pioneer Valley makes more sense. Not only would I save more money (cash that can go towards a move to the West Coast and those aforementioned street taco trucks)– but it will allow me some extra time to establish myself in my new career, thus making a transition to my company’s San Diego office down the line a bit more seamless. I haven’t given up on my California Dreams yet- and I won’t. I’ll get there.

I’ll be sure to update with any news on how my house hunting is going (and imagine how fun the interior decorating posts are going to be once I’ve found a place?!)



So although my recent ‘Day Off Dates’ have consisted primarily of looking at real estate- I’ve still put aside time to have a little fun, too- immersing myself in nature while I wait for Spring to finally show itself. This past Tuesday was spent hiking some of the trails at the Quabbin Reservoir after looking at a couple of less-than-savory studios and taking a lazy drive through Williamsburg where I stumbled on some fantastic abandoned places and stopped for one of the best mocha lattes and egg & cheese sandwiches I’ve ever tasted at Elbow Room Coffee. Seriously- if you’re ever in the area- go say hello to Melissa and try her menu. You won’t regret it.

As for upcoming fun? Well, today I’m heading into work for a few hours before Sean and I participate in one of those crazy “ESCAPE THE ROOM” puzzle/immersive problem-solving attractions that everyone is raving about lately- and then tomorrow it’s all about Easter Dinner with my family!

Next week I’ll have my “March Hits List” post up- as well as a look back on this past month since I have even more exciting news to share about work and some upcoming projects!


Have a great weekend, everyone!


“Slip Into the Autumn Shade…”

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Even though I’ve had to gradually add more and more layers to my wardrobe over the past couple of days because the mornings and evenings have been particular chilly- I have been having the absolute best time outdoors with friends hiking through the woods and past old cemeteries, as well as driving down leaf-lined back roads to farm stands and pumpkin patches. While many of the trees still have a lot of green on them, it looks so beautiful mixed in with the yellows, oranges, and occasional reds that are practically glowing on the branches.

On Saturday, I took a long and aimless drive to Brattleboro, Vermont (which isn’t much farther from my beloved Western Massachusetts) where I stopped numerous times to photograph the foliage, pick up a pumpkin for my mom’s front porch (it’s a tradition!), buy some locally grown vegetables and baked bread, and take in the cozy charm that only the small and picturesque communities in Vermont could offer.

… I also got to feed a baby goat- which had me in near hysterics with how cute it was. I’m such a softie for baby animals.

Each time I visit the area, I always end up asking myself why I don’t spend more time up there. It really is lovely. Especially this time of year.






If Saturday’s excursion wasn’t enough nature for me- I also headed to the Middlesex Fells Reservation on Sunday afternoon with a group of my friends for a couple of hours of hiking and posing for plenty of photos before the sun began to set and we had to start back to where we’d parked before it got too dark out. The Fells is such a massive area to explore, and even though we were there for quite some time- we’d only covered a very small fraction of all there was to do and see. I’d love to head back in the coming weeks before it gets too old (or worse- icy!) to explore a little more. It’s simply awe-inspiring- especially when you catch a glimpse of the area (and the far away Boston skyline) from the top of Wright’s Tower.

All in all, I had such a relaxing and beautiful weekend. My photos just don’t do it justice.


A day in the wilderness isn’t exactly easy on hair like mine.


“Then Labor Day came and went…”

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“And we shed what was left of our Summer skin…”

And just like that- Summer 2015 has come to a close. I hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day weekend! I’m back to work this morning, falling back down to Earth after a few beautiful days spent with good friends- and also with nature- to bid a fond farewell to the season.

Saturday night, I headed to Reading for a low-key “Wet Hot New England Summer Send-off”-slash-housewarming party at my friend Holly’s new apartment, where the group of us made tacos, had a couple of drinks, and binge-watched the ‘WHAS: First Day of Camp’ series on Netflix together. It was fun, relaxed, and especially nice since our circle of friends can’t always find the time to see each other and hang out as often as we’d like now that we’re all well into the wonder that is adulthood.



If you haven’t watched the ‘Wet Hot American Summer’ series yet- you’re missing out! It’s just as funny- if not funnier- the second time around!

On Sunday, prior to spending an evening shooting pool (see: dominating the table) with a friend in Northampton, I managed to catch a breathtaking sunset at the Quabbin Reservoir in Belchertown. It wasn’t planned. I had opted to take the scenic route to Western Massachusetts instead of driving the never-ending highway of despair known as the Mass Pike- and I just happened to pull into the parking area for a section of the Reservoir to stretch my legs for a half hour or so.

A half hour turned into nearly an hour and a half- although I’m sure it’s easy to see why. It was so gorgeous and so peaceful there. I plan on heading back for another late-afternoon stroll once the leaves begin to change colors. It’s going to be stunning!





Knowing that any attempts to head to the beach yesterday for the actual Labor Day holiday were going to be considerably difficult with traffic and with finding a place to park- I opted to spend my extra day off closer to home: running some errands I’d put off and enjoying the sunshine until it came time to prepare for the work I need to do this week. I may not have had the sand under my toes one last time for 2015- but I had an iced coffee and air conditioning- and that’s just as good in my book.

The next few days will be spent at my office, because I have to get SOME work done, after all- but I’m venturing out this coming weekend- first to Hampton Beach’s annual Seafood Festival, and then to participate in one of my favorite seasonal activities: apple picking! I’ll try to keep the apple-filled recipe posts to a minimum (I have one lined up for later on this week that contains no fruit whatsoever!) but I’ll definitely be taking a bunch of photos.

‘Til next time!


Established 1635.

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Despite enjoying driving pretty much all over- especially in the warmer months- I haven’t been around Concord, Massachusetts in nearly several years. The last time I was there, with friends and under the most unusual of circumstances- I fell in love with how picturesque the community was. With beautiful homes, museums and old cemeteries bursting with interesting history, unique shop fronts and restaurants- it’s a charming part of New England that I found myself passing through again last weekend.

Luckily, I had my camera in tow and managed to stop to snap a few photographs while I took an hour to stroll around the downtown area and some surrounding trails before I had to be on my way.




One thing I noticed about Concord during my brief time there was that there were a handful of old inns still open and operating just a short walking distance away from the busier parts of town, which inspired me to take a weekend- maybe later this Summer or early in the Fall- to do some more exploring and enjoy a nice, relaxing mini-getaway like I had when I traveled to Liberty, New York last month.

We’ll see how it turns out!



“The Forest of Talking Trees…”

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I love the outdoors as much as the next person, but hiking in the woods in the middle of Spring or Summer is not my idea of an enjoyable time. The heat. The bugs. Sweating. The bugs. Pollen. The bugs. Even though I’m not a fan of the cold I’d much rather get my climbing cardio on in the colder months where I know I won’t get eaten alive by mosquitos or risk running into a spider (or a nest of spiders- which may or may not be an irrational fear of mine.)

This past Saturday had perfect weather for such an excursion. I headed out to Western Massachusetts with a hot cup of coffee and “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” soundtrack (so good!) on my iPod where I tromped through leaves and over snow to catch the beginning of the late afternoon sunset. There were a few other people wandering the trails, too- some with dogs that were awfully friendly and others with kids that were even friendlier. I had my camera with me, and snapped the above photos before it began getting too dark outside and I started back towards where I’d parked my car.

It was a beautiful ending to the day- made even more so after the fact with a quick stop in downtown Northampton before I eventually headed back home. I’d like to head back within the coming weeks to get a few more photos, preferably earlier in the day while I have the sunlight on my side- and before the snow gets here!


Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening…

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I had no idea what a “polar vortex” was until the moment I stepped outside to head to work this morning and immediately wanted to retreat back into the warmth of my bed until Spring came around instead of desperately trying to get my car door handles to thaw out and unstick. The below zero temperatures that have blanketed most of the country, causing mass school & business cancellations, delayed flights, and essentially “The Day After Tomorrow” conditions finally reached Massachusetts late last night/early this morning, which was unexpected- at least to me- considering yesterday afternoon it didn’t feel too frigid outside.

This past weekend, while still chilly, was bearable enough where I was able to hike for a couple of hours in Western Massachusetts to get some fresh air and not come down with hypothermia. The photos above were snapped at some of the prettier areas I saw (minus the picture of me, obviously.) My favorite shot has to be of the random snowman I found in the middle of a field during my trek through the snow. At least I thought it was a field. It wasn’t until I was approaching the snowman to take a close-up when my foot slipped on something slick, and I realized I was actually walking on the middle of a pond that had frozen over. Yikes.

Regardless, the scenery was very pretty, and the cold (and clean!) air felt refreshing. I’m glad I went before temperatures dropped as much as they have over the last 24 hours. Now, after an incredibly long shower in which I just turned the water up as hot as it could go and contemplated spending the night under the shower head- I’m bundled up in thermal pajamas, fuzzy socks, a big, comfy bathrobe, and a couple of flannel blankets- and I have no intention of moving until it’s time to go to work again tomorrow.

Stay safe and warm, everyone!