BabyMoon Essentials...

If there's one thing I HIGHLY recommend doing is taking advantage of a little thing called the "Baby-moon!" Someone along the way came up with this excuse for a getaway and I'm their biggest fan. Chris and I went away for four nights before Lo arrived and it was such a wonderful time to relax, unwind and just enjoy each other before baby. Fast forward 3(ish) years...we're due with our second and the idea of a babymoon sounds even more incredible now that we're parents and crave one-on-one time together!

Chris is currently planning our getaway and it's a total surprise to me :) I don't know where or when we are going...I just know we're going! Ahh!! I'm so excited to escape with him and mostly to sleep in (oh, the little things :) Anyway, it got me really into doing this post for anyone who is also planning their own babymoon! Here are some cute style must-haves and essentials to make your getaway all you dream it will be AND MORE! 

Cute + Comfy Dresses

 

Stylish Swimsuits

 

Fashion-Forward Footwear

 

Beach Accessories


xx,

Ashley 

Mama + Me Class: Coolidge Corner Yoga...

Being that I'm a stay at home mommy to London, I think it's so important that I integrate classes in our schedule so that she can be around other children her age! It's also fun to try new things with her and I always seem to meet some pretty fantastic mama's I can relate to as well. We've been taking a music class together since she was 6 months old, but I also wanted to do something active - especially during these cold winter months - to burn off some of that toddler energy! I began researching places in the Greater Boston area and stumbled upon Coolidge Corner Yoga in Brookline! I was so excited when I found that they offered a "Toddler Yoga" class for children up to 3.5 years old. London is super energetic and I like to be active too - so I thought this sounded like something fun to try together...and it was!

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Our teacher, Joanne was super laid back, patient, and engaging (all great qualities to have when dealing with a bunch of toddlers!) The "hello song" that kicked off every class was one that all of the kids seem to enjoy; "Om, London, celebrate London, sing it with an open and a joyful heart..." What a wonderful message - I just loved it and around week 5, London started singing it at home to all of her stuffed animals. Super cute! Joanne led us through some really fun partner poses that we could try with our little ones. Sometimes Lo was really into trying and sometimes she just wanted to run around the room - which was totally fine too! Either way, we were reaping the benefits; I was getting a stretch in and London was burning energy. Also, even though she was running around the room, I knew that she was still listening and observing which is still a win!  

There were a few signature things that Lo looked forward to every class...

1. Animal Puppets. Each class, Miss Joanne would bring a different collection of animal puppets and the kids would go crazy for them! There were poses associated with each animal, which was also really fun. I think London's favorite was the lion :) 

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2. "Down dog at the wall...bat pose" was another favorite class moment. I was so excited the first time London did it! The first few weeks she just took it all in and observed, but by the 3rd week she was doing it on her own and you could tell she felt very accomplished :) 

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3. The cool down. I think this might have been London's absolute favorite part. With the lights dim and the soft music playing, Lo would lie on her mat and ask me to rub her back. She waited patiently for Miss Joanne to come around and rub lotion on her feet. She would be offered strawberry or banana scented lotion (sometimes chocolate) and London would always say "I'd like strawberry AND banana lotion." I thought this was super cute and unique way to calm the kids down and also such a good sensory exercise that they all really loved. 

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I would highly recommend trying this class if you live in the Boston area! It will certainly nourish your child's budding imagination and will be lots of fun for him/her! There are also classes offered for children in other age groups as well and you can learn more about those here. It's worth mentioning that CCY has a sister-studio, Sadhana, in the South End neighborhood of Boston so totally check that out if geographically that makes more sense for your family. They also offer classes suitable for the whole family! As always, if you have any questions about the class - please leave them in the comments below and I'd be happy to answer! Thanks for stopping by! 

xx, 

Ashley 

Portland, Maine Family Shoot

Last weekend my family and I traveled to Maine to visit family and attend a concert. We absolutely love staying in Portland with Chris's family; their condo is so beautiful and the perfect location downtown! They also get some incredible light flowing in through their large windows ... so of course we took advantage. Here are some photos from Sunday morning, just lounging around.

{My jumper is from PAIGE Denim and you can shop that style in black and similar styles here}

xx,

Ashley

Photography: Kivalo Photography

Just Keep Swimming...Just Keep Swimming...

Our first vacation as a family of three is fast approaching and naturally, we are so anxious and excited! Anxious (frightened) to see how London does on the plane, and excited to be together for seven straight days! We will be staying near the ocean and also at a spot with a pool...so this past Sunday we decided it would be a good idea to acclimate London to the water a bit! She was first introduced to a pool at 7 weeks, and loved it, but I didn't know how she would do now that she's 9 months old! Our gym has "family swim," so we tried it out and well, we have a little fishy on our hands! She was skeptical at first, for maaaaybe 5 minutes, but then she was splashing around, smacking the water and kicking her little legs! We had so much fun with her and can't wait to go again! I don't think we will have any trouble on vacation ... London and the water seem to get along just fine! Here are a few pictures from our family swim!

My swimsuit: Marc by Marc Jacobs

London's swimsuit: Little Me

Oh, Miss Shirley...

During my recent trip to Baltimore, I had my heart set on being super "touristy." I wanted to explore the inner harbor ... try lots of great restaurants ... visit the aquarium, you know, be THAT person. First on my list was to check out "Miss Shirleys Cafe" ... a famous spot that was featured on the Food Network show "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives." It was my intention to eat here ONCE you guys .... just once. Well, Miss Shirley and I became besties by the end of my 3-day stay in Baltimore because I went there EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I don't regret it one bit. When I step on the scale I might ... but I don't plan on doing that for awhile so for now, I'm going to just dream about every last bite. I'll be a gem jerk and share some photos with you ... so you can salivate a little, but mostly so you can understand (and not judge) my decision.

(**The last two photos are from Miss Shirley's site! But they are true to the photo - served up just beautifully!)
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Miss Shirleys

fried green tomatoes

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Toscanini's...Best of Boston!

Some believe it to be the best in the world (yes, world), and every list of "Boston's Best" includes this family-owned ice cream shop! Toscanini's has been part of my own "must try" list for some time now, created back when Chris and I first moved to Boston. Over the weekend, we finally ventured to Cambridge to see what all the fuss was about. 
To start, ALL of the ice cream is homemade right at the shop. They have been making ice cream every morning since 1986! Flavors like "burnt caramel" and "belgian chocolate" are mainstays, but there are always new ones in the rotation. An added bonus is that the toppings like whipped cream, chocolate sauce and butterscotch sauce are homemade as well! I can highly recommend the flavors "Butter Almond" and "CookiesXCreme" because Chris and I went with those - and they were amazing! I hope you all get a chance to check this place out if you ever come to the Boston area. It's definitely worth the extra calories :) 
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Travel Essentials!

The past two weeks have been quite the whirlwind in terms of travel - and there are a few things I just cannot live without when I'm on the road! A mixture of beauty and fashion...here are my "must haves" for all of you jet setters out there!
One // Fresh pair of Nike's
There's nothing cute about running  through the airport in heels, so instead rock some black leggings with some fresh Nike's; you'll be comfortable AND have everyone envious of your casual style! (Thanks to my awesome hubby and NU being sponsored by Nike, I get to be the receiver of some pretty sweet shoes!)

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Two // Batiste dry shampoo...travel size
I swear by this dry shampoo and the best part is that it's super affordable (I can get a 3-pack for under $10)! 

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Three // Burt's Bees Facial Towelettes
I keep these in my purse when I'm traveling...especially for long flights! When you can't wash your face, these are the next best thing. They leave your skin feeling fresh and smelling like grapefruit (which I love!) I also use them to remove my eye makeup - works fab!

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Four // Leather Jacket
I always bring a staple leather jacket on trips with me. It pairs with lots of different outfits - good for a night out or a casual airport look with those cute black Nike's! The one below is from Forever 21...I LOVE their jackets because you don't have to sell your soul to own one!

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Five // EOS Lip Balm
I don't know about you, but when I fly the dry air really does a number on my skin and LIPS! The EOS lip balm is my absolute favorite and I never leave home without it!
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New England "Wish List!"

I've been making my "wish list" for places I hope to visit in New England one day. Of course, they're out-of-this-world amazing (with the price to match) and right in my back yard! I'll be featuring my top 3 so you can dream right along with me! In no particular order:

1. Winvian - Luxury Resort Cottages in Connecticut

This resort sits on 113-acres in the Litchfield Hills of CT and is complete with 5-star dining and a luxurious spa! There are 18 designed cottages; experience a night in a treehouse or log cabin complete with a fireplace, jacuzzi, and steam shower! There is an organic garden on the grounds and the dining menu is farm to table. There is a fabulous wine cellar as well! The feel I get from this place is very "rustic chic" and uber romantic...

2. Twin Farms - Vermont

This all inclusive resort and spa is located in charming Barnard, VT on 300 acres of lush hills. I'm obsessed with this place, and I think this might secretly be the dreamiest spot on my list (but shhh!) Some of the amenities include: customized breakfasts and lunches, cocktails and canapes in the afternoon, fine wines anytime, farm to table dinner, biking, hiking, sledding, snowshoeing, spa services, same day laundry service, and MUCH more. There are 10 separate cottages complete with fireplaces, screened porches, and jacuzzi tubs. The design is impeccable. (Did I mention this place is all inclusive?) Yea...totally a favorite.

3. White Elephant - Nantucket Island, MA 

This historic hotel, considered an island landmark, is located directly on the waterfront and in close proximity to unique boutiques and galleries. There are many different types of accommodations ranging from one bedroom suites and garden cottages to regular king bedrooms. All possess that lovely New England charm and decor. Dine at Brant Point Grill for a 5-star one-0f-a-kind experience! 

 

Sweet Escape (Part II)

Part II is for the foodies out there. My family and friends know that nothing gets me more excited than trying new restaurants and cuisines...it's literally SO much fun for me. There are loads of places to eat in Kennebunkport...and I'm about to showcase my favorite spots just for you!

1. Earth at Hidden Pond 

What We Love: EVERYTHING! (No, but seriously, everything!) The grounds are absolutely stunning, the decor is like no other...I can't even describe it you just HAVE to go. Farm to table dishes to die for and very tasty drinks! Plan on spending at least $100 on dinner/drinks for two!

2. Bandaloop

What We Love: Another restaurant that uses organic and locally grown food in its dishes! Also, everything is made in house! There's a variety of dishes to choose from and it seems that everything has a bit of a twist! Chris and I got the peach/raspberry cobbler for dessert and it was fantastic! Another plus...great downtown location!

3. Mabel's

What We Love: You can't come to Kennebunkport and NOT go to Mabel's Lobster Claw Restaurant! Great seafood in a casual atmosphere...perfect for lunch outside on a nice day! The Bush's frequent this spot whenever they visit their vacation home! I loved the fried haddock sandwich and the lobster roll did not disappoint either. There is also an ice cream window attached with the best butter pecan around!

4. White Barn Inn

What We Love: We went here on our mini-moon and it was quite the experience! We wined and dined for 2.5 hours on a 4-course meal! The food was next level...we could cut our filet with a butter knife it was so tender! For us, it was a bit stuffy but definitely fun to try for something like an anniversary or birthday! Be prepared to spend some money though...our dinner was over $300! 

5. Abbondante

What We Love: This is where we went post-engagement SO naturally, I love this place, but it really is very good! If you're in the mood for Italian food this is certainly the spot! It's casual dining but the lighting is dim so it still has that romantic feel. Also, there's a big stone fireplace in the middle of the restaurant which is stunning. Honestly, I don't remember what I ate that night, if anything (I was so in shock!) but I remember the positive reviews of my family and friends!

Sweet Escape!

With Columbus Day weekend fast approaching, I spent a good portion of my day yesterday searching for romantic inn's and hotels to escape too! One of my favorite places EVER is Kennebunkport, Maine...Chris and I have stayed/dined at many places there and it never disappoints. I love that we live in Boston now and it's less than 1.5 hours to get there as well! If you live in New England (and even if you don't), Kennebunkport is the perfect romantic destination for you and your honey! Here are my recommendations on where to stay! 

1. Tides Beach Club - Chris and I stayed here for our mini-moon this past June!

What We Love: Private beach directly across the property, on-site restaurant with the BEST lobster roll and tuna tar tar, complimentary breakfast, only 1 mile from our favorite restaurant, Earth, GREAT service.

Things to Know: It is about 5 miles from downtown Kennebunkport, small bathrooms and rooms.

2. Inn At English Meadows 

What We Love: The breakfast was phenomenal (the innkeeper went to culinary school in France), amazing decor...it looks like you're in Pottery Barn - very modern taste, complimentary beach passes and chairs, high-end amenities.

Things to Know: A short walk to downtown Kennebunkport, very close to Old Vines wine bar (added bonus), Small rooms in general.

3. Old Fort Inn

What We Love: Rooms are in an old carriage house which is beautiful and charming, pool and bar on site, fireplaces in the rooms, bikes to rent, and bathrobes are NEXT level comfortable. Another great perk is that Old Fort Inn is part of the Kennebunkport Resort Collection so you can take advantage of amenities at other hotels such as Cape Arundel which is close by.

Things to Know: Breakfast was mediocre, it's located on the back side of Kennebunkport near Mabel's restaurant, The Colony, Cape Arundel, etc., nothing special about the bathroom amenities...pretty standard.

4. The Kennebunkport Inn 

What We Love: Perfect downtown location, "One Dock" restaurant on-site (they serve a great steak!), bar on site, free parking, great price for the location.

Things to Know: Rooms/bathrooms are not spectacular, no water views, paying for location...not amenities.

5. The Beach House - Chris and I stayed here the night we got engaged....so this place is extremely close to my heart!

What We Love: Directly across from the beach with beautiful views, very close to downtown, complimentary breakfast, afternoon snacks served.

Things To Know: Small rooms/bathrooms (but clean!), only a few rooms have ocean views.

Coming up: Where to dine in Kennebunkport!