Nordstrom Anniversary Sale: My Favorite Finds

Hi guys!

If you’re a fashion lover like me, then you probably know that today is the first day of early access for the Nordstrom Anniversary sale for all cardholders. I first heard about the sale two years ago and am always shocked by how many people shop it each year. The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is unique because the items included are new styles for fall, not older or last season items! This sale is really the best time to stock up on all your fall looks because prices go back up once the sale is over!

This year’s sale is a little different. Usually card members can get early access a week before, but this year if you are a cardholder with Ambassador or Icon status you get to start shopping even earlier! Wednesday was the first day I could shop so I raced home from work and headed to the mall. I was debating sharing what I found because I feel like sometimes it can be a bit much with every blogger covering it, but you guys really seemed interested in what I got, so I figured I’d at least share some of the items that I really loved!

I swore before I walked in that I wouldn’t just get a bunch of sweaters, but here we are. I think my favorite two parts of the sale each year are sweaters and shoes, so it’s hard not to get carried away when I see all the new and coziest styles. Here are a few that I really couldn’t live without!

1.Chelsea28 Cowl Neck Sweater | Color: Beige Oatmeal Light Heather | My size: XS

2.BB Dakota Up to Speed Faux Leather Moto Jacket | Color: Parchment | My size: XS

3.Something Navy Flecked Crewneck Sweater | Color: Pink Windsome Combo | My size: XS

4.Caslon Side Snap Tunic Sweater | Color: Beige Oatmeal Light Heather | My size: XS (regular – fits like a dress on me and I’m 5’3”)

5.Leith Longline Cardigan (pictured above) | Color: Pink Adobe | My size: XXS

6.Leith Longline Cardigan | Color: Beige Oatmeal Medium Heather | My size: XXS

7.Make + Model ‘Gotta Have It’ V-Neck Tee | Color: White | My size: XS

8.Sperry Crest Vibe Platform Sneaker | Color: White/Tan Leather | My size: 6.5

9.Caslon Evelyn Genuine Calf Hair Mule | Color: Leopard Print Calf Hair | My size: 6.5

10. Halogen Button Sleeve Turtleneck Sweater | Color: Pink Bride | My size: XS

If you shop the sale, let me know! Also, if you have any questions please leave them in the comment section below or reach out to me!

My Favorite Summer Wines

Happy Saturday!

A glass of wine in the late afternoon light is what summer dreams are made of. My father’s side of the family is Italian, and I grew up spending summers in the town my grandmother grew up in. This little town called Filetto is southeast of Rome up in the mountains near the coast. What you can find in this quaint little town is old world charm, a culture of community and a strict adherence to the afternoon siesta schedule. You’ll also find acres and acres of grape vines.

I grew up with a love and appreciation of wine, how it’s made, and how it’s best enjoyed. My grandfather has been growing his own grapes and making his own wine his whole life. Even after moving to the states, he has kept the tradition alive. While wine is something my family believes can be consumed year round, I am especially found of the light summer whites and rosés that cool you down on a hot day.

Now, growing up surrounded by some of the best wines, I can be a bit particular in my choices; however, I’m firm in my belief that good wine can be found in any region and at any price point. I’m also a gal on a budget, so the wines I’ll be sharing today are all budget friendly, and of course, delicious!

Ruby Red Blood Orange Rosé

I found this slightly sweet rosé at my local liquor store, but you can check it out here. I like that its light, fruity, and refreshing. I’ve also tried the grapefruit version as well, which I also love. The flavor of both is unique and I almost feel like would go great in a sangria or homemade cocktail concoction!

Voga Italia Pinot Grigio

I love a good pinot (Grigio and noir) and as soon as summer rolls around it quickly becomes my drink of choice. This one is another local liquor store find that has quickly become a staple. I love how light it is, it’s really no wonder it’s award winning!

Strawberry & Raspberry Rossini

This wine tastes like a Bellini in a bottle. It’s prefect all day long, from brunch to dinner, just pick up a bottle at your local Trader Joe’s. It is very sweet, so if that’s not your thing then maybe stick to the plain Prosecco. I, however, have a wicked sweet tooth and can’t get enough of this fruity drink.

The Delicious Monster

Another great Trader Joe’s find, this wine is from South Africa. I’m not going to lie, I base most of my wine trying decisions based off the label. I know they say not to judge a book by its cover, but before you taste that first sip, I find it’s pretty hard to go by much else. I love the palm print of this wine, but honestly I love the wine itself even more! Even better, it’s under $10, it’s a wine-win-win!

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Anything from Chloe Wines

Unfortunately, I was fresh out of my favorite wine brand for this shoot – I literally cannot seem to keep a bottle in my house for a week without it disappearing – but here’s a fun throwback from last summer when Luca was a bitty baby pup. Some of my favorites are the Pinot Grigio, Rosé, and Prosecco. They’re all amazing and can be found at your local liquor store for under $15!

If you guys try any of these let me know what you think! I’m also always looking for new ones to try, so comment your favorites below!

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Decorating My New Apartment

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It sometimes feels like I’m in a constant state of packing and unpacking, moving and settling in. I’ve been moving in and out of student housing since I was fifteen, and after finally moving back home for a year, it’s time to move once again. As most of you know, I will be moving to North Carolina in August to start law school at Duke! As many times as I’ve moved, this time feels unique in a couple of ways. First, it’s a much bigger move. Before, I had roommates who would bring things, so I usually only had to furnish my own bedroom. Now I’m going in with a clean slate and will have to furnish an entire apartment. Second, the distance is a lot further this time. I was always under 2 hours away, so moving was just a matter of taking a few car trips. Now I have a twelve hour drive, which feels a bit more daunting. There a few other difference as well, like the fact that my brother is my roommate instead of a group of girls, or that i now have to also think of my pup, Luca, and how he fits into the mix. I’m getting a little dizzy just thinking of all this now, but mostly I’m just really excited to begin this new adventure!

The thing about moving so far is that the cost of getting my furniture all packed up and moved is about as much as it costs to buy new stuff (at least that seems to be the case for me and my Salvation Army bed frame). I’m not too upset though, because I get to decorate all over again! Since before I even signed the lease, I’ve been on the hunt for cute pieces to make my new home feel, well like a home. I’ve found some amazing pieces to fill my space (without breaking my budget), so today I wanted to share them with you!

Bedroom

My decor style is pretty simple, I like light white pieces and gold accents. My style for my bedroom would best be described as feminine, modern, and glam. I like clean lines. Lots of white and gold accents. Here are some of what I’ve bought for my bedroom so far:

 

White Queen Sleigh Bed

Bed: I love this sleigh bed. I was debating getting an upholstered bed, but i really likes the simple, feminine style of this one. I also like that its wood, so I can always repaint or strip it down and stain it if I need to.

 

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Nightstands: Something that I was so insistent on was having two nightstands. I’ve always only had one, but I love the symmetry of having two. I absolutely feel in love with these when I say them and couldn’t be happier with my choice. The drawers are a pretty decent size as well, so I plan to use them for extra storage.

 

Gold Etagere Bookshelf

Bookshelf: As much as I love white furniture, I wanted to make sure that I had a little more golden glam in the mix. I really like the way I’ve seen gold etagere bookshelves styled, so I got this one to put my favorite pictures and little treasures on display.

 

Gold Makeup Organizer

Golden Makeup Organizer: I got these organizers to use in my room and my bathroom. I love how they fit so perfectly with the theme. They’ll perfect for my makeup and jewelry too! I ordered mine from Wayfair, but they don’t appear to be available anymore. The ones linked are identical ones from Amazon.

Blue Ginger Jar Lamps

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Pink Lamps

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Lamps: I’ve been seeing ginger jars all over some of my favorite decor spaces. I wanted to add some more color into the space and these lamps are perfect. I still haven’t decided which to get but these are my top choices:

Area Rug

Rug: My apartment is all hard flooring, so an area rug was a must for my room. I debated getting something with more color, but I like that this one is so versatile and will be able to work in any space.

 

Living Room

If it was just me, my living room would be filled with a lot more white and gold; however, my brother doesn’t share my same love of gold bar carts and pops of pink. Instead, I went with a coastal farmhouse vibe for our shared space, and I actually love how well everything seems to be coming together so far.

Couch

Couch: I was dead set on getting a white couch, but the maintenance to keep it freshly white would be a nightmare. I decided to save the couch of my dreams for when I’m fully on my own and instead got this lovely light sand colored one. It’s a little more gray than beige but the color matches perfectly with all of the other upholstery we got.

Blue Area Rug

Ranck Sky Blue/Light Gray Area Rug

Blue Beige Area Rug

Kalil Blue/Beige Area Rug

Rug: I’m actually using the rug I bought two years ago in the living room. I got it at Homegoods, but will link some similar ones I also love.

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Ottoman: I also bought this at Homegoods, I love the weather wood look and it matches the couch perfectly.

TV Stand

TV Stand: I like how this tv console warms up the space with a wooden tone. The sliding doors are perfect for storage and really add to the farmhouse feel.

 

Kitchen

Table: I looked all over for a table and ultimately just bought one for $20 at salvation army. I was originally hoping for a more beachwood look, but the one we got is a darker color. I actually think it will help add some contrast to the space, so I’ll keep you guys posted on that.

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Chairs: We went with these classic looking chairs for the space I think they’ll look really cool never to the darker table

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Settee: A challenge with furnishing a lived in space is finding the balance between aesthetic and function. I want our living space to be somewhere we can hangout and entertain, but there really want room for more than just a couch in the space so we had to get creative. I chose this settee for the dining area because it will double as additional seating in the living room if we need. The two spaces are open and connected, so it works out really well.

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Bar stools: I saw these stools and though they were the perfect way to tie everything together, The bluish gray stripes on the upholstery tie in nicely with the pillows we picked out for the living room. I also love the light wood.

 

I still have a few things here and there that I need to get, but this is the bulk of it. I’m so excited to see how it all comes together when we finally get to move in!

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I’m Going to Law School!

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It’s been a minute hasn’t it? Well, if you missed me don’t fret – you’re about to get the full scoop on what I’ve been up to while I’ve been MIA around here. When I first started Bay State Blonde it was so I could share all my favorite things, the things that bring me all the joy this crazy world has to offer. I feel in some ways I’ve succeeded in that and in others, I have come up short. I really hope that in this next chapter of my life (that you’ll hear about shortly!) I will be able to stay true to that mission and help BSB really grow into what it was always meant to be. So what’s been going on? What on earth has made me so busy that I’ve neglected one of my biggest passions? 

Well…after graduating nearly a year ago, I have started a full time job in Boston, adopted the cutest pup in the world, oh and got into law school.

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I knew I wanted to be a lawyer, but it’s been all I ever saw myself doing since I was in grade school. Law school was one of those dreams I woke up with each morning and went to bed with each night. This dream and I grew to be so intertwined that there came a point where I couldn’t even tell who I was if not an aspiring lawyer. Well, as it goes with most dreams, this one came with its share of trying times and seemingly endless challenges. Firstly, I knew very little people who had applied to law school before and I was the first in my family to ever even entertain the idea of grad school. Next, there was the biggest roadblock at all – the voice in my head telling me all the things I couldn’t do instead of all the amazing things I could. I could (and probably will) write an entire post about that voice and how I’ve learned to quiet it. But for the sake of saving you guys from having to read a novel today, I’ll just say that this voice proved to be my most tenacious rival throughout this process. Now let me tell you something you probably already know, applying to school is hard work. It’s a full time job on top of your full time job. I had to make sacrifices – this blog was unfortunately one of them – but… it paid off!

I spent most of last summer studying for the LSAT and all of fall working on my applications. I sent my applications to a few schools in early December very unsure of what to expect. I was hoping for good news to come as an early Christmas present. But given the fact that schools take anywhere from weeks to months to get back to you, I knew it was a long shot. Nevertheless, I found myself checking my email so often it became a mindless habit.

Christmas came and went and I left for Florida to spend New Year’s with my boyfriend and his family. While away I did my best not to think about it and to just enjoy my time, but the curiosity, nervousness, and excitement permeated my every thought. I’ve always had high hopes of big things happening in 2019 and I was dizzy with the thought of what this next year could bring. After returning from all the New Year’s Eve celebrations, I have this distinct memory of looking at myself in the mirror and seeing something different I couldn’t quite explain. Blame it on the champagne, but in that moment I said, “this year I’m finally going to live my dream.” Well, God wasted no time. On the evening of January 1st, I opened my email to find a message with the subject “Welcome to Duke Law.”

That moment is one I already know I’ll remember forever. I couldn’t believe that my dream was finally a reality. At the time I didn’t know what school I would choose, but it’s not surprising that I ended up choosing the school that made me feel so special right off the bat.

Despite all the excitement I was afraid to really consider what this news meant. I’ve lived in Massachusetts my whole life, aside from the four years I spent just an hour away in Providence. I know that moving away is a normal part of life and something that people do every day, but to me it seemed like the most daunting thought in the world. Over the next few months I waited as more schools got back to me, but with each new acceptance I couldn’t help but compare it to Duke.

In late March, I went down to visit Duke’s campus. At first I felt like I was in a foreign world. Where were the old colonial houses I grew so used to back home? Why was the city so quiet? After grabbing dinner, my mom and I took a drive to the Sarah P. Duke Gardens on campus and that’s all it took. I think it took a good minute or two for me to pick my jaw up off the ground after seeing the awe inspiring beauty of this place. The sun had just started to slip below the tallest tree line and specks of golden light were splattered along the rows of flowers. In that moment this place that once seemed too foreign and far, felt entirely like home. If you ever have the chance to visit, please do. It really is quite a beautiful piece of our little world.

For the first time in weeks, I went to sleep that night with more excitement than fear about this new chapter of my life. The following day was filled with the kindest faces that made Duke feel even more like home. By the end of the day I was itching to get to the bookstore to start building my collection of apparel. When it was time to go, all I wanted to do was stay. The flight home felt far quicker than it had been on the way down. Everything truly began to fall into place and to add to an already happy ending, my little brother decided to move down with me and be my roommate. Such a beautiful surprise that I never would have expected, instantly settled any last worries I had about being alone. As it turns out, my new home will be filled with family and tons and tons of love. We will be heading down in August together and at last, I feel as though I understand when people say “if it’s meant to be it will be.” A year ago I could only dream that someday I’d be writing this post. I cannot wait to see what other beautiful surprises lie ahead.

Thanks for letting me share this slice of my life with you, but now it’s my turn to read! Have you guys ever moved far away from home? Have you ever gone to law school or grad school? I’d love to share in your experiences as well, so comment below or feel free to reach out to me!

If there’s anything else that I didn’t get to share that you’d like to know more about let me know!

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I Got it from My Mama

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Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mamas out there!

Today I want to dedicate this post to the most incredible woman I know, my mom. My mom is the kind of person who makes everyone feel special and loved, even on their worst day. When we were younger, she was always the mom my friends wanted to come over and see after school. I owe so muchto her because she simply never believed that there was anything in this world that I couldn’t do. No matter how much I doubted myself, she was always there to tell me that I could and would succeed. She struggles to talk about herself and her accomplishments, but I’m endlessly fascinated by what she’s done with her life. 

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The ninth of eleven children from South Dakota, my mom moved to Boston on her own shortly after graduating high school. She started working and eventually fell into modeling. While out here she met my dad and they fell for each other. Being the boss lady that she is he moved inwith her and she managed to continue paying the rent on her own. Eventually, they built a house together and had me! My mom was so much on her own before she met my dad and had me and my siblings but it was once she became a mom that I really feel like she grew into a role she was truly destined for.

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Anyone can tell you that being a mom is hard work, but with my mom you’d really never know. She was there for everything. Every game, recital, school fair, field trip, and that’s all continued through until now, even as all her kids are grown up. When I told her I wanted to start this blog, she never questioned it, she just jumped right into the role of photographer – despite having no prior experience or interest for that matter. Almost every picture on this site is her doing. She’s such an integral part of this process and has never gotten the full credit or thanks she deserves. 

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As I stand on the cusp of where I am now and where I’m going, I am so thankful to know that no matter what she’ll always be there. Getting to move back home and live with her this past year has brought us closer than ever, and I’ll be forever thankful for all the time we’ve spent together so far. 

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Despite being my favorite person, my mom and I have very different personalities. I am always on the go, hyper-focused, type-A, and have a tendency to think of myself before others. My mom on the other hand likes to take her time and is always putting others’ needs before her own. She’s taught me to look at situations from the other perspective and to ask what I can do for others instead of the reverse. I know in my heart that most of my very best qualities are what I have learned from her. I can only hope that someday when I become a mom myself that I can take on that nearly impossible role with half as much grace and patience as she has these past twenty-three years. I love you, Mom. Thank you for giving me everything in this world, and for molding me into the woman I have become. I’ll never be able to make it up to you, and I simply don’t know what I would do without you. 

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Cozy Fall Layers

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There’s a lot to love about fall, but one thing I could definitely do without is the colder weather. The best way to combat the cooler days is with cozy fall layers, so today I’m sharing one of my favorite fall looks.

There are a couple of ways to mix up a classic look and make it fall ready – you can add an oversized scarf to transform a classic white shirt and some jeans. I found this green scarf at Nordstrom Rack and its Free People. I love it and will most likely be wearing it nonstop this fall and winter.

As for the rest of my outfit, my jeans are from Loft, my top is from Tobi, my boots are Vince Camuto, and my bracelet is from Francesca’s.

What are some of your favorite ways to change up your wardrobe for fall? Comment below!

Love Ashley

Cozy Fall Home Decor

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Happy Fall Y’all!

If you’ve been reading my posts lately, then you know how much I love all things fall! This season I really worked to clean up my space a little better in my living room. I reorganized how and where I store things and it just feels so much less cluttered now. Hopefully next season I’ll get to my closet (ha!).

Today’s post is all about how I decorated for fall this year. Cooler weather outside calls for making it feel as cozy and warm inside as possible. I always love making spaces my own. For me, nothing compares to the feeling of coming home after a long day and I really strive to create a space that feels welcoming and homey. I never grow tired of the familiar smells as I walk through the door or the sight of a cozy couch asking to be curled up on while I unwind. The biggest decor lesson I have learned is to make whatever space you’re working with feel like it’s yours. Sometimes I find myself scrolling through Pinterest for hours loving images of beautiful spaces, but when I try and recreate the look I realize it doesn’t really fit with my space or my style.

Fall decor is a perfect example of this. My decor style is all about light spaces, lots of whites, and cooler tones. Traditional fall decor focused more on deeper, warmer hues. While I love the look of a cozy autumn cottage in the mountains, or a warm rustic farm house, those looks would just look out of place in my space. The challenge for myself this season was to find a way to incorporate all the things I love about fall in my space, while balancing them with my style. Follow along to see how I tackled fall seasonal decor.

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When I think of traditional fall colors I think of warmer hues and a lot of orange. I was nervous that too much of this would feel out of place in my living room, especially since my rug is white and blue. Searching through Pinterest, I found a lot of inspiration for shaking up traditional fall decor by mixing up the traditional color scheme. I focused on working with my cooler tones but still incorporating warm colors as well. The blankets I used on my couch and chair are actually scarves but they were perfect as decorative accents so I just ran with it.

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I love pumpkins, especially small little ones (though I think they’re technically gourds). I used them to add little touches of fall to the space. I found the gold ‘thankful’ embroidered pillow at HomeGoods and loved how it fit. For other decorative accents, I found some festive little wooden signs in the Target dollar section which went nicely with the mantle. I also found these fabric pumpkins at target. They were a great way to stay true to the fall theme while still tying the space together.

I really love how my space turned out, but I’d be lying if I said I haven’t switched a few things around. I’m always changing things up because this is all so new to me. I have learned a lot so far and feel even more prepared to tackle holiday decorations in a month or so! For now though, I think I’ll just sit back with my pups and relaxin my cozy fall home.

How do you decorate your home for fall? Comment below!

Love Ashley

October’s Mix: Pumpkin Spice Moscow Mules

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Hi guys,

It’s time to share October’s mix with you. This month’s drink is similar to September in that it’s a fun twist on a popular cocktail. When I think October I immediately think of colorful leaves, fall spices, and pumpkin of course. These very best parts of fall inspired October’s drink: a Pumpkin Spice Moscow Mule. After adding pumpkin flavor to almost every aspect of my diet and lifestyle, a cocktail felt like the natural next step in the progression of my pumpkin addiction.

When walking through the kitchen section of Homegoods, I saw a variety of pumpkin flavor syrups. These are meant to add a little flavor to coffees but I wondered what else they could do. Trying to imagine what this would pair well with, I decided vodka was probably one of my best bets. I also love classic Moscow Mules and figured the ginger beer would be a nice paring with the pumpkin spice.

I was a little weary at first because one of my favorite flavors in drinks is lime, so I was nervous that eliminating that from the recipe would ruin it – but I was fairly certain pumpkin and lime wouldn’t be the best combination of flavors. Eliminating this, I sought to add something else to the mix to bring out the spice and help to cut down the sweetness. Cinnamon did just the trick, but I think nutmeg could be a yummy spice to throw into the mix as well!

This recipe did take a little trial and error, and I even had it reviewed my BSB’s very own cocktail expert, aka my mom. I underestimated how strong the pumpkin spice flavoring was. I initially used 2 oz, but it was so overpowering it was hard to notice any of the other flavors at all. Eventually we settled on an ideal mix which you can find below!

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What are some of your favorite fall drinks? Comment below!

Love Ashley

Apple Picking

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Every family has their traditions. As time goes on we grow out of some, let others go, and create new ones.  Growing up, many of our family traditions were known as “forced family fun.” I can still remember the dread of having to get out of my warm bed on a chilly weekend morning to tag along on another reluctant adventure. Looking back now, these are some of my most cherished memories.

One tradition I can always remember loving was apple picking. Every year my two siblings and I climb trees to reach the best apples we can find. In recent years it has been getting harder to find a time that we can all be together but I was so happy when we all made the trip to Brooksby’s Farm, in Peabody this past Saturday. It took a little bit of coaxing and some tough negotiating (my brother would only agree to three pictures and not a single click of a camera more), but we managed to make it work.

When my mom and I went earlier in the season, the line was incredibly long so I was nervous that we would have to deal with long lines and crowds again, but it was way less busy! We go to walk right into the orchard and climb any tree we wanted. The apples tasted so good we couldn’t stop eating them.

After we had picked our share, we went over to the pumpkin patch. As kids the rule was that you had to be able to carry your pumpkin to the car. I think on those days I developed super human strength because I was always determined to take home the biggest one I could find. Now I think the little round ones are the cutest.

Next to the pumpkin patch is the farm stand where we get to the best part of our trip – apple cider donuts. Thankfully this line was shorter than usual too and we were able to grab a warm batch of donuts and some cider too. Shortly after it was time for us all to go off about our days. Life seems to be getting busier every year but I’m so thankful for the traditions that have stood the test of time and allow us to all be together again.

Do you have any special fall traditions? Comment them below!

Love Ashley