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!


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!


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!


“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!


July 2015: In a Nutshell.

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Deerfield, Mass. July 2015.

First and foremost, I’m so proud to say that this is my 300th post here at “Legally Redhead!” It’s been a couple of years since I started this blog with nothing more than just a slightly vague idea of what I wanted it to be about and how I wanted it to look- and it’s blossomed into such a fun and fulfilling project for me. Over the course of these past 300 posts I have met and networked with so many interesting people and have made so many new friends- both near and far- and I have gotten to experience new things and travel to new places. “Legally Redhead” has truly played a crucial part in opening my eyes and mind to all sorts of adventures and possibilities!

From a business perspective, “Legally Redhead” has enabled me to form strong partnerships with different brands and companies that I otherwise would have missed out on had I not taken the initiative to begin this blogging journey- and I’m truly thankful to the representatives of those brands/companies that continue to support and encourage me and who continue to promote my content.

But mostly I’m thankful to those of you who follow my blog or even just casually read it from time to time, and who communicate with me through the comments/social media/e-mail/etc. or share my posts with your friends and/or followers. Connecting with all of you is what makes this worth it for me and keeps me going- even when I hit that occasional slump of writer’s block from time to time or get overwhelmed at work and am unable to post for a bit while I catch up at my office.

Deerfield, Mass. July 2015.

Deerfield, Mass. July 2015.

From the bottom of my heart- thank you all so much! Here’s to another 300 posts!

I also want to say HAPPY FIRST DAY OF CAMP to my fellow “Wet Hot American Summer” enthusiasts and Netflix subscribers who have no doubt already started marathoning the mini-series as soon as it launched today. I’m anxiously waiting ’til after I leave work this afternoon to head home, close my blinds, make some popcorn- and get started. I’m so excited to see Gene and his talking can of vegetables again- and I promise everyone I will refrain from incessantly quoting the series all day, every day.

What can I say about July? It was a beautiful, often scorching hot month that I spent most of outdoors at backyard BBQs, bonfires, and the beach. When I wasn’t slathering on SPF like my life depended on it- I was following the San Diego Comic-Con feeds (and inwardly shrieking at all things “Walking Dead”-related) and preparing for the upcoming craziness of a jam-packed August. Earlier this month, my best friend Sean headed to Spain for a month-long study abroad program through his college (and he returns home tomorrow!) while another friend moved back to the area after nearly a year living and working in Upstate New York! It’s truly been a fast-moving few weeks- and it isn’t going to be slowing down anytime soon.

Deerfield, Mass. July 2015.

Deerfield, Mass. July 2015.

To kick off August, I’ll be heading to Boston Comic-Con this weekend (in my full Agent Carter costume, which I will happily share photos of as soon as possible!) to meet the lovely Hayley Atwell and the man, the myth, and the legend himself- Stan Lee! I’ll also be reuniting with my longtime friend and absolutely brilliant lighting designer, Steven, as he heads into town for a stop at the House of Blues with the always wonderful Mr. Brandon Flowers (I’ll be sharing photos from the show, too!)

Even though August marks the winding down and near-end of the Summer season, I’ll still be sharing some of my favorite hot weather-friendly recipes and my “Battle of the Beaches” post that compares Hampton Beach in New Hampshire to Old Orchard Beach in Maine for others like me that love the ocean and the boardwalk no matter what time of year it is. I had initially wanted to have it up in July, but I’m still making some final edits and changes (plus, it gives me a reason to head to the beaches- again- for a couple of days for “research purposes”!)

Also in August? The “Walker Stalker” convention returns to Boston for it’s second year to thrill other ‘Walking Dead’ fans like me in the area. I can’t wait to see some familiar faces and meet some new ones- too!

I’m so excited for these coming weeks and to close out Summer 2015 in style!


Deerfield, Mass. July 2015.

Deerfield, Mass. July 2015.

Deerfield, Mass. July 2015.

Deerfield, Mass. July 2015.

Merry Friday!

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Merry Day-After-Christmas and Happy Friday, everyone! I hope those of you who celebrated the holiday yesterday had a wonderful one! While it wasn’t a particularly white Christmas this year (more of a rainy, foggy one where I was,) I still had a great couple of days spending time with some of my family and friends- swapping presents by the tree(s), and eating twice my body weight in Chinese food- as is tradition, of course. Today, I’m heading into my office while it’s empty and quiet to do some last-minute filing and drafting before I take this coming weekend to finish up my last couple of posts for the year (including my usual reflection of the past 12 months and hopes/goals for the coming year,) and prepare to welcome 2015 with open arms next week!

The photos above are a few of my favorites that I took a couple of nights ago while I was out for an evening ride along the back roads of Western Massachusetts. With hot coffee in hand and Christmas music on the radio- I happened to drive through the main street in the town of Ware (“Where?” “Ware.” “No, where?” “Ware.”) Their seasonal display- much like last year when I would frequently pass by while on my way to Amherst and Northampton- is beautifully simple and old fashioned. I couldn’t resist stopping to snap a some pictures before heading back on my way. The wreaths and the trees really light up and bring to life what is otherwise a fairly quiet, darkened street.

I love Christmas decorations (obviously,) and am sad to have to take mine down before the new year- especially my Christmas tree. It’s an artificial one that I’ve had since I was a little kid that is easy to assemble and has miraculously withstood the test of time and sometimes questionable storage techniques. I cherish it, mostly because of it’s history- but for the past few years I’ve been tempted to try my hand at getting a real Christmas tree (I’ve just never gotten around to actually doing it.) I’m hoping next year I’ll finally muster up the courage to face the maintenance and fear of pine needles all over my floor head-on to have the “true” Christmas tree experience!


12/20. My mom snapped this photo of me while we were out at a local greenhouse. I wanted to take that tree behind me home to decorate!

Stay safe, warm, and enjoy the rest of your week (as well as any presents you may have received and leftovers from holiday meals,) everyone!

“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!


On a Personal Note…

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Belchertown, Mass. August 2014.

Belchertown, Mass. August 2014.

When I first started writing Legally Redhead, I had intended for it to be a lifestyle blog: a little bit of everything from my love of makeup, to my travels, to my unusual affection for bad horror movies, to fashion, food, urban exploration and photography- and everything in between. For the most part, I’ve stuck with that formula- pumping out a couple of posts per week that delve into subscription boxes, recipes, time spent with friends in and around town, adventures at comic-conventions (Boston Comic-Con is this weekend!) or in the wilderness, movie reviews and the occasional giveaway. I love blogging. I love connecting with people from all over the world and from all walks of life. I admire and appreciate every single one of you who follow Legally Redhead or read it on a regular basis. It means the world to me and I hope you’re all enjoying the content I deliver as much as I enjoy putting it together.

This being a lifestyle blog, of course- I do have to occasionally blog about some of the more personal aspects of my life- even if they’re not always fun and upbeat. Some of you may remember my post from June of last year where I opened up about my struggle with an anxiety disorder and coping with my father’s death, for example.

Don’t get me wrong- I consider myself so, so blessed that my life is overwhelmingly positive. I have wonderful friends, a loving and supportive family, a great job that I look forward to going to (almost) every day, an adorable and mischievous dog- and financial stability and freedom that I achieved through hard work and perseverance. I am grateful.

So the reason for this post, some of you may be wondering? Well, there’s one aspect of my life I rarely blog about. Sure, I tweet about it sometimes- but the discussions and conversations are usually kept at a minimum and in private (and are usually hysterically vulgar and raunchy depending on the audience and the overall mood at the time.) I’m talking about my romantic and sex life. I consider myself pretty open in that I’m blunt and willing to discuss pretty much anything- but when it comes to publicly declaring my affections for someone I’m spending a lot of time with- especially on my blog- I’m a little more reserved. I do value some privacy, to an extent. It’s always nice to have a little mystery and keep some things to myself.

However I know a few people were concerned and curious with a few brief updates I’d made on social media over the past couple of days, and I wanted to clarify what they meant on here where I have more than 140 characters!

I was recently preparing to make a pretty big change in my life: specifically, I was going to be moving in with a dear, longtime friend of mine that I suppose you could say I was dating depending on how you look at it. I digress. I was on the verge, mere weeks away, from packing up my things and moving out to Western Massachusetts to live in the lovely town of Northampton with said dear friend by September 1st. I had mentioned it in my “In a Nutshell” post for July, and at the time- was nearly done making plans to re-locate. Despite the change in scenery, I was going to keep my job, since I never mind spending time in my car- even when it’s during a commute (that, and I can’t completely leave the city behind!) Ultimately, I’d like to live in San Diego- but this move seemed like a step in the right direction.

I was nervous, definitely frazzled- but excited nonetheless. I love the area- which is always buzzing with activity and has so many unique nooks and crannies to discover and explore, is a forty minute drive away from my mom and older brothers- and an hour and a half away from my friends. I was eager to paint, redecorate, cook in a new kitchen, and do all the fun things that typically come with getting a new place. More than anything, I was positively elated at the idea of living with someone I know, trust, and care very deeply for in a cozy, chic apartment downtown.


Belchertown, Mass. August 2014.

Unfortunately, my guy-friend and would-have-been roommate received a once in a lifetime temporary job offer out of state earlier this week, and accepted it- which is not surprising at all since he had been holding out hope for it. The move could have still happened for me, since living in a semi-new town on my own for a few months until he returned to the area didn’t seem too terrible- but the job has the potential to become permanent after the trial period is up- meaning that I may never see him again, and if I do- it won’t be for a very, very long time. Not exactly comfortable with looking for roommates on Craigslist (nobody can fault me for that one,) and not knowing anyone in my current area who would be eager to drop whatever they have going on to move an hour or so West on such short notice- I begrudgingly had to give up what would have been our apartment and scrap my plans to move while preparing myself to say goodbye to my friend when he leaves in a couple of weeks.

I’m hurt, sure. Disappointed? Absolutely- maybe even a little angry (mostly because of the disappointment and the fact that I had really, really wanted to get new furniture. Argh!) but I’m trying to keep my head up besides the setback and continue moving forward. I’m happy for my friend. I’ll miss him, but I know he’s going to be a tremendous success in his new endeavors.

As for me- it looks like I’ll be staying right where I am for now, which isn’t a bad thing at all. I’d still like to re-locate to the Northampton area eventually, maybe with more time and preparation. It won’t happen overnight- but I’m confident I can make it work sooner than later.

And that’s it- the disastrous failed moving debacle in all it’s frustrating glory! My apologies if I’ve been aloof or seemed like a bit of a Debbie Downer over the past few days to anyone! I’m just in the process of bouncing back from this minor setback.

I do want to say a big thank you to those who had reached out to me when they heard the news and attempted to cheer me up or take my mind off of it all together (usually by forwarding hilarious .gifs to my inbox.) You guys are the best!


Odds & Ends.

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“Ashley, I’m wearing my ugly sneakers. Don’t show the internet my ugly sneakers.” Me (left) and my mom. Mother’s Day 2014.

In my teens, my relationship with my mother was strained and tumultuous, to say the least. I was a stubborn, rebellious, and often ungrateful pain in the ass who thought I was right about everything- and my mom, who was just as stubborn, had the common sense- and what I considered to be audacity at the time- to tell me I wasn’t, in fact, right about everything- and what an obnoxious twit I was being. I vividly remember shouting matches between us being a weekly occurrence while my poor father or older brothers tried to play referee before tempers flared too much and something in my parents’ house got broken. I’m pretty sure I damaged more than one door from slamming them so hard on a regular basis.

In my early twenties, things hadn’t improved much. My mother and I could never really see eye to eye on a lot of things- be it my wardrobe, my impulsive and sometimes reckless travels, my circle of friends, or the guys I dated (in her defense- she did end up being absolutely right about them- although back then I’d never have given her the satisfaction of letting her know that.) I never thought things would improve between us, and I had vowed that if and when I had children of my own- I would never be the type of mother to them that mine was to me.

But naturally, as I got older, matured a little, gained some perspective about myself and the world around me- the underlying bitter tension between my mother and I seemed to diminish slowly but surely and was instead replaced with patience and understanding as we started to connect and bond. When my dad became ill a couple of years ago, my mom and I drew strength from each other, and came to rely heavily on one another to get us through the toughest of times when he passed away a short time later. We grieved together. She’d lost her husband- the love of her life, and I’d lost my father and best friend. In the wake of that loss and the grieving, we’d finally fully-developed the mutual respect that had been missing during my teens and early twenties.

It’s not always easy. Sometimes I drive my mom nuts and vice-versa. Sometimes we argue or make each other cry- because, like I said- we’re both stubborn- but we both finally understand how much we truly love each other and how that love comes with no strings attached.  I love my mom. I respect her, and I’m grateful for all the sacrifices she’s made for me (including some of her sanity, I’m sure.) I don’t have kids- and probably won’t for a long time- but if and when I do- I can only hope to be at least half the type of mother to them that my mom is to me.





For Mother’s Day this past weekend, my mom and I spent the day shopping (including buying each other lovely candles!) disregarding our healthy diets to scarf down a platter of deep fried seafood and fries- and go for a nice, long drive through the back roads of picturesque Western Massachusetts to take in the scenery, sunshine, and fresh air. It was a beautiful, relaxing day- and set the tone for the remainder of this week.


Another thing that set the tone for this week? An AMAZING belated-birthday (or on the flip side- a very, very, very early birthday present) from my wonderful, beautiful, incredible friend Imogen across the pond! It was on my table when I came home from work yesterday afternoon, and I admittedly teared up- in a good way- while reading the very kind words she wrote inside my card. I will cherish it always.

I was more than content with the card and the caramel mini eggs, but Imogen had included a couple more surprises for me, too!



In the world of Harry Potter, my favorite house has always been Slytherin. Save for a few genuinely bad eggs, I’ve always thought Slytherins were misunderstood, or, such as the case with Draco Malfoy, misguided- as opposed to just genetically downright evil (yes, I’m aware I’m talking about fictional characters. I just have a lot of feelings, okay?!)

Anyway- any quiz, game, or questionnaire related to determining which Hogwarts House I’d belong in, I’ve hilariously always ended up in Slytherin. Imogen (a Ravenclaw for sure,) knows this, and sent me a pair of Slytherin leggings to wear to proudly show my support for what is CLEARLY the best house.



And last, but certainly not least, Imogen- who is a huge “Walking Dead” fan like me- sent me the full collection of TWD-themed eye shadows from Geek Chic Cosmetics. With fun names like “Stay in the House, Carl,” and “He’s Korean,” I CANNOT WAIT to try these out. I’ll be doing a separate post within the next few days dedicated entirely to these shadows- including swatches and reviews.

Imogen, THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. I’m seriously at a loss for words right now because of how surprised and appreciative I am. I adore you! This was one of the best belated/super early birthday presents ever!

These past couple of days have been so phenomenal!

Sunset in Deerfield…

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Last Sunday, on one of my usual drives through Western Massachusetts to unwind, I stopped in Historical Deerfield as the sun was setting and went for a nice, brisk walk around the main street of old colonial houses before it got too dark, and too cold outside. The museums and most of the shops were closed, and with the exception of a couple of patrons going into a nearby restaurant- I was one of the only people out and about. It was really peaceful, and very, very pretty.

These were a few of my favorite shots from some of the buildings that caught my eye.

Growing up, I had used to want to live in a centuries old home like the ones in Historical Deerfield, until I visited a few on various class trips and heard how creaky the walls and floors were, or felt first-hand how drafty they could be in the colder months. Now I’m just a fond observer, admiring their exteriors- which look especially pretty during winter.