Top 10 Photographs of 2015.

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As has become a bit of a tradition for me since I started ‘Legally Redhead’, I’ve put aside some time to comb through all of my photos- ones I’ve taken myself throughout all of my adventures and ones that have been taken of me (some flattering, and some not so much)– over the course of this past year, and believe me when I say there were a LOT of them. So many, in fact- that narrowing down the photos to just ten to include in this list proved to be much more challenging than I’d been prepared for! I had an idea going into this post, sure- but once all of those photos were laid out in front of me- all of them filled with such wonderful memories, travels, and some with just plain silliness- my idea was thrown out the window and it was like starting from scratch!

I digress- After multiple edits, rearrangements, and more edits- I think I’ve formally and finally selected my favorite ten photographs from 2015!

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#10: Oh, the HUMANITY (February 26th)

Some may be surprised that a photo from one of the worst winters imaginable (barely) made it onto the list, considering how miserable the non-stop blizzards made me, and the rest of New England- but this picture I captured on my cell phone from inside the parking garage at my last job after yet another storm shows just how serious things were starting to get when we began running out of places to put all of the snow. The back of my car, pictured in the bottom, left-hand corner- shows how close the buildup was getting to what was my designated parking spot at the time.

That pile wasn’t completely melted until late May/early June, by the way.

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# 9: Barely able to contain my excitement with Hayley Atwell at Boston Comic-Con (August 2nd)

While the image quality might not be the best (it’s a photo of a glossy photo, after all-) the laminated copy of this picture snapped during this year’s Boston Comic-Con is proudly on display in my bedroom. While I simply didn’t have enough time to make multiple, elaborate costumes like I did for San Diego Comic-Con in 2014- the one costume I DID take the time and the effort to make, a homage to one of my favorite female Marvel heroes- was a gem in my cosplay résumé. When I got to wear my costume and pose next to Peggy Carter herself, Hayley Atwell- I was pretty much inwardly screeching with joy. When Hayley complimented the outfit- I couldn’t stop beaming- and that’s right around the time this photo, which definitely highlights my overjoyed megawatt grin and subsequent squinty eyes- was snapped by the hired photographer for the event.

Meeting Hayley was the cherry on top of a truly fantastic weekend I had that month. Not only did my longtime friend Steven attend the convention with me (and we saw ‘Ant-Man’ that night!) but it was also the day before Brandon Flowers’ incredible performance at House of Blues.

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# 8: An evening in The Morgan Library (January 18th)

In the first of many day/weekend trips to NYC my friends and I took in 2015- January 18th saw me catch a train to Manhattan all on my own specifically to spend a couple of hours perusing and relaxing in The Morgan Library and Museum on Madison Avenue. While it was a tad difficult to get a perfect shot without other visitors looking and looming around in the background- I always liked this one the best. I thought it captured just how gigantic the library really is- and the stunning artwork that brightens up the ceiling (that feels like it’s a three miles high.)

The visit to the museum was absolutely worth the train ride- and the gigantic bruise I sustained on my hip after I fell on ice shortly after my arrival in the city earlier that afternoon.

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# 7: Central Park Pretzel Squad (June 20th)

During another day trip to NYC, this time during the Summer and with a group of some of my best guy friends- what was going to be a quick visit proved to be a nearly 24 hour walking tour of the city (we only took the subway back to Grand Central Station when we reached Brooklyn and literally couldn’t move our legs anymore.) The trip was with- and for- our friend, Nick- who had never visited NYC before. We were determined to show him as many tourist attractions as we could (and I thought we did a pretty good job!) but I snapped this photo with my phone in the middle of the afternoon when our group stopped to take a break in Central Park. It wasn’t until we’d all taken a bite when I realized that we’d all ordered some variation of a cart pretzel- which are really the best.

I was going to omit food photos this year (because I did a lot of really tasty baking and thought ten photos of my kitchen concoctions might be a bit much for one post)– but this one was too good to pass up.

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# 6: Historic Deerfield (July 27th)

2015 was the year I rediscovered (or rekindled?) my love of Western Massachusetts, specifically the Pioneer Valley. I spent a lot of time in Northamption, Amherst, Hadley, and Deerfield- especially the historic area- lined with pretty houses, old fences, and plenty of flowers. I stopped by the area one afternoon in July to take a walk while I waited for my friend to finish up at work so we could go about our scheduled plans. After taking a corner, I was greeted by all these bright and beautiful flowers- some that had grown almost as tall as me- and I took a few photos while trying to avoid the bees that were buzzing about.

This one was my favorite of the bunch. I love all the different colors in this photo.

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# 5: Making a friend at Ocean Beach, San Diego (January 25th)

Days before the first of many historic blizzards and Winter storms were set to hit the East Coast at the beginning of the year, I was in sunny San Diego celebrating my 29th birthday with friends. On my last day before I was due to fly back home- I headed down to Ocean Beach- my favorite spot in SoCal. While there, I watched surfers ride the waves, ate some awesome tacos, and strolled the boardwalk- which is where I spotted this guy just hanging out. Even as I inched closer and closer to him, he didn’t budge- he just sat on the railing and watched me- and then he let me take his picture with the beautiful ocean and palm trees in the background.

Sadly, I didn’t see him this past October when I returned to San Diego for a vacation.

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# 4: Quabbin Reservoir (September 6th)

As Summer slowly but surely began to slip away, making room for Autumn- I headed out for one last evening hike along the Quabbin Reservoir one late afternoon in September before I made my way to Northampton for a dinner date. My timing as I hit the trails was perfect, because I caught this beautiful and serene shot just as the sun was first beginning to set. I was the only one there for a short period of time before a couple of hikers came by, and I remember just being so blown away with how lovely the water looked as it reflected the sky. It was like something out of some far away fantasy movie.

It’s a shame swimming isn’t allowed in the reservoir- because I would have dove in- in a heartbeat!

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# 3: My final set list of my 20’s (August 3rd)

I had mentioned it above with my photo with Hayley Atwell- but August 2nd-3rd were so unbelievably fun for me. The 3rd, my second day of getting to spend time with my Irish BFF, Steven- was also the day Brandon Flowers brought his ‘Desired Effect’ tour to Boston. Since my teens, The Killers and their individual solo work have played an integral part of my life. I’ve met so many people and have made so many friends because of the band’s existence and through their wide and diverse fan base- and their music has, on more than one occasion- been a soundtrack to different ups and downs since my late teens.

The set list shown above, a gift from Steven after the show- marks my final B.Flow performance of my 20’s. Come mid-January, I’ll be entering my thirties, and while I don’t anticipate never seeing a show again, ever- it’ll be within a whole new era of my life.

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# 2: Viva Las Vegas! (October 16th)

Despite the fact that we’ve known each other for 20 years, my best friend Sean and I have never actually taken a vacation together (apart from the occasional weekend in NYC or New Hampshire or something.) All of that changed when my long lost twin sister, Kelsey, tied the knot in Las Vegas this past October and Sean was more than happy to fly across the country and come along as my date. We had an absolute BLAST there- from hitting the strip, going from casino to casino, to being apart of Kelsey’s beautiful ceremony at the M Resort- which marked my first time seeing her in a few years! It was by far one of the best trips I’ve ever been on- and the photo-of-the-photobooth-strip above is just a snippet of our overall carefree and silly attitude during our stay.

We’ve already agreed that we need to head back to Vegas together A.S.A.P. and catch a show or two (and do some gambling.) Maybe it’s in store for 2016? We’ll just have to wait and see!

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# 1: Stone Arch Bridge – Upstate New York (April 25th)

In April, I set off to Bethel, New York, for a long weekend of relaxation in the middle of nowhere and to revisit areas I had stopped by with my parents during a family holiday over five years ago. One spot in particular, the Stone Arch Bridge, proved to be one of my favorite places to pause, sit, and take a few photos. The area was still feeling the aftermath of Winter (the trees were bare and it was a bit chilly out) but it ended up working in my favor. I loved all of the pictures I took during my stay- but this one in particular really caught my attention while I was reviewing it after I’d come home. It’s very similar to a photo my father took the last time I was there (only the trees were much fuller and I was actually on the bridge in his version.)

Because of how sentimental the area is to me, and because of how lonesome-looking but lovely this picture came out (I’m quite proud of it!) I’ve dubbed this picture my # 1 of 2015.

And there it is! My top ten photos from this past year. I’m very pleased with my list- and I’m looking forward to snapping even more pictures come 2016 with all the big plans I’ve been making for the upcoming year!

xx

Comics, Cosplay, and Cheeseburgers

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Yesterday marked the third and final day of Boston’s annual Comic-Con. I had been unable to attend on Friday or Saturday due to prior commitments, but was able to stop by for a few hours in the afternoon in my Peggy Carter costume to browse the booths, admire other cosplayers’ ensembles and intricate props, pose for photos, and geek-out at the guests (like Stan Lee, who I caught a glimpse of as he passed through the photo op area with a coffee in hand and a smile on his face!)

I snapped a few photos with my cell phone, since it was more convenient than digging my big camera out of my bag over and over- and easier to hold while trying to simultaneously juggle my little toy pistol and my purse. There were so many fantastic costumes on display as I roamed the aisles (and quite a few other women dressed as Peggy Carter- all of who looked absolutely beautiful!) and even though my feet were killing me by the time I took my heels off- it was worth it.

Marvel Team!

Marvel Team!

This lovely lady was dressed as Angie from "Agent Carter" and she looked incredible!

This lovely lady was dressed as Angie from “Agent Carter” and she looked incredible!

Ms. Frizzle!

Ms. Frizzle!

Owen and Claire from "Jurassic World". I loved these two!

Owen and Claire from “Jurassic World”. I loved these two!

My ultimate fan-girl moment of the day came when I had the pleasure of meeting and posing for a photo with Peggy Carter herself, the absolutely stunning Miss Hayley Atwell. She’s so beautiful, and so sweet- and her complimenting my costume brought me enough joy to last me through this life and probably well into the afterlife, too. I was so completely elated. I think my huge smile in our photo speaks for itself, really:

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I swear I must have looked like the heart-eyes emoji for hours afterwards.

The best part of the day, though- was that my good friend Steven (who I only get to see once every year or so!) met up with me at the convention. We had so much catching up to do, and when my feet couldn’t take the heels anymore, we continued our conversation all the way to Harvard Square- where after changing into some flip-flops- I gave Steven his first tour of the grounds at Harvard University and stuffed my face with a double cheeseburger and fries at Charlie’s Kitchen. One of the perks of the Peggy Carter costume is that without the hat and the suit jacket, it looks like I’m just enjoying a break from a formal business meeting. It’s a lot more practical (and comfortable!) than my semi-itchy Poison Ivy costume from San Diego Comic-Con last year, for example!

We also caught an evening screening of ‘Ant-Man’ by Fenway, too- which seemed like the perfect way to end a beautiful afternoon of good, old fashioned geek-dom. I really, really enjoyed the movie- so much that I would happily see it again- and I all but clutched my chest at the post-credits scene (no spoilers!)

Tonight, I’m re-joining Steven at the House of Blues on Lansdowne Street for his last night in town where he will be working his lighting magic for Brandon Flowers’ show. I’m so excited. I’ve been loving Brandon’s latest album and I’m looking forward to singing and dancing along.

I’ll be wearing more comfortable shoes for it, at least.

Steven and I post-convention!

Steven and I post-convention!

Inspired By: Peggy Carter

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One of my favorite female characters from the Marvel universe has got to be Peggy Carter. Smart, strong, brave, and beautiful- Peggy was never the damsel in distress and never tolerated any B.S. from any man (and she had the mean right hook to back herself up.) Portrayed perfectly by the stunning, talented Hayley Atwell in the “Captain America” movies, I was thrilled when I first heard the news that Hayley would once again be reprising the role and that Peggy would be getting her very own mini-series spin-off on ABC this year.

Premiering tonight at 8 P.M. (EST,) “Agent Carter” focuses on Peggy’s life following the events of “Captain America: The First Avenger” and WWII, where she’s attempting to make it in a male dominated, not-so-female-friendly society while working for the SSR and completing missions for Howard Stark. I cannot wait to watch the series- groundbreaking for women in it’s own right- and once again get emotionally invested in a character I find so inspirational.

Of course, Peggy’s no-nonsense, overall badass-ery isn’t the only thing I love about her. Her makeup- simple yet timeless- and her 1940’s fashion is on point, too. Inspired, I took to my own makeup collection in an attempt to re-create Agent Carter’s look. I’m nowhere near as beautiful as Ms. Atwell, but it was fine to try nonetheless!

My tools, consisting mainly of a natural finish foundation, light rose-colored blush, a nude/light brown eye shadow, black eyeliner for my top lids (and a medium brown for a small section of the bottom lid as to not appear too harsh,) was aided by a lightweight moisturizing gel on my face to plump up and smooth my skin, and a primer for my eyes to hold everything in place.

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And for my lips, I turned to Besame Cosmetics– who, according to Hayley Atwell herself, are the masterminds behind Peggy’s signature red shade. I purchased the exact color, “Red Velvet,” after perusing the website and falling in love with nearly everything. Once I received it, I immediately took a liking to the creamy, comfortable texture of the lipstick- and it’s longevity. The color stayed in place for hours without needing touching up or reapplication!

Also- the packaging. Can we stop and appreciate the packaging for just a moment? It’s lovely.

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Perhaps the easiest part of this “Inspired By” look was my hair and wardrobe. With naturally spiral-curled hair, there was no need for curlers or pins. I simply parted my hair on the side and let it flow freely- and since I work at a law firm- mimicking Peggy’s crisp white blouse and navy blazer was a breeze (I have a collection of them in my closet!)

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I had a lot of fun playing around with this look (although I wish I had Peggy’s snazzy red fedora to complete it!) and am hoping to do more “Inspired By” looks in the future- but first- I have to get ready to finally watch “Agent Carter” tonight!