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!



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!


#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.


# 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.


# 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.


# 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.


# 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.


# 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.


# 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!


# 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.


# 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!


# 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!


Q&A with Brian Karscig!

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NervousWreckordsEPPartIFor my circle of friends and acquaintances, Brian Karscig needs no introduction. The immensely talented and very charming San Diego-based rocker has been an omnipresent tour de force in my life since I met him in my late teens after a stop he’d made in Boston with his former band- Louis XIV- and throughout sporadic run-ins and encounters at various gigs in California or Las Vegas (usually when the planets would align just right) that span over the course of a little over a decade.

I could probably write a novel about how sweet Brian is, or how his sense of humor is refreshingly razor sharp- but his undeniable talent and his drive as a musician and songwriter need to be addressed properly- especially with the recent release of the first half of a two-part EP, “The Nervous Wreckord: Part I” (available on iTunes now!)

Brian was kind enough (as always!) to recently answer a few of my questions about the album, his songwriting process, and the challenges that come with being one of the hardest working musicians in SoCal.

LR: Every time I’ve seen you or spoken to you, you’ve always been immersed in a project- and sometimes more than one at a time. How do you multi-task all that creativity without burning yourself out? (I’m a multi-tasker, but you’ve got me feeling like an amateur over here.)

BK: Well, honestly, its hit or miss.  I would love to say everything i do turns out AMAZING or “the way i want it too”, but that wouldn’t be entirely true.  There have been cases where i bite off more than i can chew, or miss the mark.  I love recording and writing music.  Everything i do for TNW or any of my music, i tend to search for a connection or a ‘sound’ during the process and put out what really works for me musically.  I have done records for other people where the expectation from the artist is high because they may have heard something that i did that caught a moment of greatness.  Doesn’t always mean that it will happen with other peoples music or sound. Its always hard to want to do things a certain way, but also keeping the opinions of the artist your working with considered. No matter what tho, there is always something to be learned when recording and writing. Whether it be my music or someone else’s.

LR: When it comes to songwriting, and particularly for this EP- what was/is the process like for you? Are you the type of person that keeps a notebook within reach whenever inspiration hits you? Do you immediately retreat into the studio when you’ve got a sound you want to create and stay until it’s finished? Have the songs on this EP been on your mind for a while? How do you get from point A to point B? (that was like, twenty questions in one. Sorry!)

BK: There is no formula really for writing for me personally.  I wish there was, but sometimes its a guitar riff.  A lot of times its a beat in my head.  I can sometimes think of a line or a phrase that speaks to me, and make that a chorus, then write a song around it.  For The Nervous Wreckord (Part I), it all happened really fast.  I just moved to a new house and was setting up Studio Bee for like 2 months.  Just tweaking and trying to get sounds.  I literally would hit record and mess around with pianos, bass lines, delays, until i stumbled upon something unique.  Or something that at least captured my interest, and led me to believe i was on to something new.  All 5 songs were written while they were recorded, then i laid vocals at the very end.  I do have notepads and pieces of napkin with ideas, eq settings, and lyrics on them, but most things happen spontaneously, and thats what i really tried to capture in this record.  When it feels fresh and real, i convince myself that the listener can hear it the way i heard it when coming up with it.  I know that sounds like a stoned response… probably is.

LR: This EP is split up into two parts, and you had mentioned the second part would be released early next year. I’m sure with new music you want to put your best foot forward, so was it tricky having to sort of pick which songs people hear now as opposed to later on?

BK: Yes it is.  Songs are like your children.  Its really hard to decide which ones you ‘like’ more than others, because you love all of them in different ways equally.  Part I and II were broken up based on their sound.  Part I songs all seem to go to the same party so to speak. Part II will feel like a party as well….but maybe the after party.

LR: Here’s the cliche “so what types of music are you listening to right now?” question- but I’m genuinely curious and I need some recommendations! What’s been on your playlists lately?

BK: I really love my friends old band called The Deathray Davies. The return of the Drunken Ventriloquist is my favorite record by them at the moment.  i listen to them a lot, but i also listen to the Strokes “Comedown Machine” album lately.  i like listening to classical music for string ideas, but my musical taste is all over the place from pop music, rock music and classical.

LR: On the first half of this EP, what song do you feel was possibly the most challenging to create?

BK: They were all challenging in the beginning since i had no idea where they were going to go.  “This won’t be the same” was the toughest.  I had a 4 piece string section over to the house one day, and they were different players than i usually use on my records.  We spent like 3 hours coming up with string ideas, and in the end, i just wasn’t happy with any of it.  So i took the string arrangement they laid, and flipped it backwards.  It created this weird moody, dark weird movement that i was obsessed with for weeks.  My girlfriend would always ask me, “How are you ever going to make this a song”?  That was the challenge i needed.  So i put a beat to it, a cool bass line and guitar riff and its one of my favorites on the EP.

LR: And finally- are we gonna’ get a tour in 2016? (you know you want to!)

BK: I do want to!  I need to assemble a band (with people who aren’t in 5 other bands) and start to seriously consider that option.  I miss touring so much.


I really want to thank Brian for letting me pick at his brilliant brain and taking the time to give me some insight on what it was like creating the EP. It goes without saying that I’m looking forward to the second part of “The Nervous Wreckord” and crossing paths with him again (hopefully!) sooner than later.

Be sure to check out Part I of the EP on iTunes, and to follow Brian and his work as ‘The Nervous Wreckord’, click and like THIS PAGE RIGHT HERE.


“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.

Notes from SDCC: Day 4.

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I am LOVING these 'Game of Thrones' pedicabs!

I am LOVING these ‘Game of Thrones’ pedicabs!







It's blurry, mainly because I was fangirling SO HARD.

It’s blurry, mainly because I was fangirling SO HARD.


I’m taking a break from packing up my suitcase for my return flight to recap the fourth and final day of San Diego Comic-Con. That’s right- the long weekend of costumes, panels, surprise guests, and very long lines- has come to a close!

I spent the first half of yesterday in the exhibitors hall, purchasing gifts for some of my family and friends back home and snapping photos of the amazing cosplays and props on display- before bringing my loot back to my hotel room and returning to the convention in my Daryl Dixon costume again (it just didn’t feel right to end the weekend not dressed up!)

So what can I say about the overall experience of SDCC? Well for starters, I had an incredible time. As crazy and as hectic as it was at certain moments- I’m so happy and so grateful I had the opportunity to come to this beautiful city I love so dearly and see and experience as much as I did. I met wonderful, talented, fun, and creative people from all over- some of whom I’ve since traded contact information with and hope to see again and possibly collaborate with at future conventions.

I got to participate in awesome panels and see exclusive snippets and sneak peeks of upcoming projects in movies, television, and video games. I’m so psyched for the movie “Air,” and for Marvel’s “Agent Carter,” just to name a few. I’m still reeling from the fact that I was sitting mere feet away from Robert Kirkman himself. It all feels so surreal!

I also got some really awesome merchandise- some of it limited edition- that I can’t wait to display and wear proudly once I’m back on the East Coast. But I’ll get to that in a bit…

Would I come back for a second round of San Diego Comic-Con next year? Absolutely- and I hope I get the chance to do so when the time for pre-registration comes around. I definitely learned some tips and tricks for 2015 if I am fortunate enough to score weekend badges again, and I think they’d be beneficial to anyone looking to attempt SDCC:

1. Carefully plan what panels you want to see, and then prioritize them from there based on what you absolutely must be in attendance for and what can be skipped and watched in a designated “replay room” later on. There’s a good chance you may have to sacrifice seeing one or two panels over the course of the weekend since many of them run so close together and the rooms may not be located close to one another for convenient access. You also have to take into consideration that many panels have lines- long ones- so you’ve got to be prepared to do some waiting and miss out on some things from time to time to see the stuff you REALLY want to be present for..

2. Be sure to eat. Since lines at SDCC aren’t just limited to panels and merchandise booths (ask any of us who wanted to get Starbucks throughout the days in the convention center,) I highly recommend eating before you arrive- not only to save yourself from yet more waiting around, but to avoid being so hungry/thirsty that you end up losing your place in line to run and get something to snack on. I made the mistake of not eating much before I showed up for the first couple of days of the convention- and by the time the afternoon rolled around- I was feeling woozy. Bring a snack with you to hold you over until you leave to get a real meal. Security is pretty lenient when it comes to food and beverages.

3. Unless you plan on camping outside Hall H at all hours of the night to get into one of the bigger, more popular panels (“The Walking Dead,” “Game of Thrones,” and Marvel, for example-) check out the designated replay rooms I mentioned earlier. Some of the nearby hotels offer screenings of re-plays following the biggest panels for those who couldn’t make it into Hall H. It’s less crowded and there are no sleeping bags required.

4. Explore your surroundings! I had mentioned when I first arrived here that SO many places in downtown San Diego get into the Comic-Con spirit and have special events, parties, and promotions. If you want a break from walking the convention center- do some digging and head to the Gaslamp District! You’ll never know what or who you’ll see. Plus, you may even score some cool stuff!

5. It’s crowded. Just remember to breathe. There are times, especially in the exhibitors hall- where it is wall to wall people and moving more than a few inches at a time feels like a daunting, maybe even impossible task- as people stop to snap pics, pose, stare at merchandise, or try to find the end of a line. If you get claustrophobic- just try to breathe and relax. You won’t be trapped in that same spot for the rest of eternity. I promise.

And with all that being said- let me show you the stuff I got! Not pictured are the gifts for my friends and family- since those are already carefully packed away. This stuff is alllllllllll mine.


First up, from the Archie booth- I snagged a copy of “Afterlife with Archie” and “The Best of Betty and Veronica.” Afterlife, which briefly features my girl Cheryl Blossom, is a little dark and twisted- which is right up my alley- and the B&V book is a shot of nostalgia that I’ll probably be reading on the plane in a few hours.

Funko POP! Figurines hold a special place in my heart and around my place, mostly because of how friggin’ adorable they are- so when I saw this Alcide figurine from “True Blood,” complete with abs- I had to buy it. I mean, really- look at it:


Way too adorable.


From Skybound Entertainment, I snagged this adult-sized version of the wolf paw print t-shirt worn by Carl Grimes in “The Walking Dead.” I figure all I need is the oversized sheriff’s hat and I’m good to go.


From Her Universe, the makers of my Captain America cardigan I love so very much- I picked up this Black Widow jacket to wear in the Fall. It fits perfectly and is so, so comfortable and cozy. Plus- I feel like a bad ass in it.


And lastly, from Marvel- I couldn’t leave without getting some Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes love. This hoodie is MASSIVE on me- but I don’t even care. It looks cool and it’s really, really soft and warm. As much as I dislike the cold weather- I’m rather looking forward to wearing this out and about when the temperatures begin to drop.

And that’s everything! Getting it all into my suitcase has been surprisingly easy- although closing my suitcase and zipping it shut might be a whole other story- one best reserved for tomorrow morning after I’ve had a good night’s sleep under my belt.

So long, San Diego! See you all back on the East Coast!