Spring Staycation: The Colonnade HOTEL, Boston

Last weekend, our little family decided to book a "stay-cation" in downtown Boston and stayed at The Colonnade Hotel. Even though we were there for less than 24-hours we had SUCH an amazing time and didn't want to leave! I wanted to give you guys a little recap of our stay and a review of the hotel! I'll just start by saying how friendly and hospitable everyone was! They gave us such a warm welcome and made us feel right at home. London had a great time running around the lobby, making friends with hotel staff! They really went above and beyond to make our stay perfect! 

Location, Location, Location

The Colonnade is located in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston, walking distance to many of the city's signature landmarks such as the Prudential Center (across the street), the Public Garden, Newbury Street, Fenway Park, and much more! We used to live in Bay Village, a small neighborhood nestled between Back Bay and the South End ... so this area is very familiar to us. Boston is such a walkable city so it's super fun to stroll around taking in all that it has to offer!

The Room

Our room was enormous! We had a two-bedroom suite complete with a dining area and massive bathroom! Everything was meticulously clean, which is always appreciated! The windows run floor to ceiling with an incredible view of the city so I think this was London's favorite part; she loved watching the buses and trolley's drive by from nine floors up! The beds were beyond comfortable...I slept so well until London gave me an early Mother's Day gift by waking up at 5:30am...she just must have been having too much fun, right?! :) 

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The Amenities

Three words...Roof Top Pool. The Colonnade is the only hotel in the city with an outdoor Roof Top Pool and it's pretty glorious. Two years ago, 9 months pregnant with London, my husband and I spent a day there poolside and it was amazing. It doesn't feel like you're in the middle of a bustling city when you're twelve stories up on a roof top! I definitely want to bring Lo there when it opens at the end of this month - she'd love it! There are private cabanas, daybeds and full-menu food service offered poolside all day long as well! The fitness center, 24-hour business center, and French restaurant Brasserie Jo are three more reasons why this hotel is perfect for your city stay!

                                                                                                        Photo: travelandleisure.com

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The Food

Speaking of food, Brasserie Jo is the restaurant located right inside the hotel. The menu is expansive so there's plenty to choose from and lots that even your kids would enjoy! They're very kid-friendly with highchairs, crayons for coloring and cute kids cups! We were there for Mother's Day - so they had a special buffet with food stations, a live jazz band, and "mums for Mum!" Very cute! They also brought Chris and I rose water hibiscus mimosas...and I just about died - SO YUMMY! We also loved how friendly everyone was, from the hostess to the waitstaff and even the head chef, who came to speak to us at our table. They really go above and beyond to make your stay as a whole, memorable! 

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If you're coming to Boston from near (like us!) or far, The Colonnade is the perfect place to stay while you explore everything that the city has to offer! We thoroughly enjoyed our quickie getaway, and hope to return soon so we can enjoy the pool! Highly recommend paying a visit!

Here are more photos from our overnight stay and you can shop my outfits below as well!

xx, Ashley 

 

 

 

 

Summer Lovin...

The weather yesterday was totally giving me summer vibes, and I'm trying to soak it up as much as possible. We enjoyed some family time outside and basked in as much sun as we could. Oh, and did I mention shopping? Yes, I did a little of that too. I have dress envy for all the cute summer looks out right now. I'm realllllly good at window shopping (my husband begs to differ)...so I have chosen some of my favorite dresses currently. They're not to tough on the budget either - which is always a plus! Shop the looks above & let me know your favorite brands for all things summer as well!

xx,

Ashley

One Boston Day

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My Outfit: Sweater: Adrianna Papell, old (similar here) | Jeans: HM | Shoes: Nike, love these | Sunglasses: Dolce & Gabbana, on sale here | 

It's the day of the Boston Marathon & the city is totally bustling with more life and energy then ever! Lo, my sister and I ventured around our old neighborhood, Bay Village, taking in its beauty. I love the beautiful brick row houses, intricate designs, and wildly painted doors! I found a few favorites and of course, we snapped away! The day was perfect, with lots of sunshine. Here's wishing everyone participating in the marathon a safe and happy time ... enjoy this beautiful city! 

xx,

Ashley

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

INSTAGRAM GIVEAWAY!

I've partnered up with Little Beans Clothing to give my Instagram followers a chance to win a $25 shop credit to snag some of the cutest mommy & baby apparel!

To enter, here's what you do:

>  Follow @AshleyMarkwood & @LittleBeans_Co

>  Like the photo posted with the giveaway

*Please tag some friends who you think would like to enter! The giveaway closes in 48 hours!

 

Why I'm totally #TeamLittleBeans:

I love meeting fellow mommy's that are so inspirational and motivate me to chase my dreams! Stephanie, the owner/creator, it not only extremely talented - she's also super sweet!  I'm all about graphic tee's that are witty and just REAL ... so when I came across this company, it was a match made in heaven. Her designs are unique and there's something for everyone; moms, dads, boys, girls, toddlers & babies ... I love the variety!

I hope you all enter this Instagram  giveaway for a chance to win! Below are some of my favorite pieces from the online shop!

xx,

Ashley

 

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!)
Miss Shirleys

Miss Shirleys

fried green tomatoes

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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Magical Newport Weekend, Part I

I hope everyone had a happy Easter celebrating the Resurrection! 
Chris and I were able to get away for a long weekend - and it was just as the title says...magical. Newport, RI is such a little slice of heaven, right in our backyard. After only a 75 minute drive, we arrived in this charming seaside town and were checking into our selected bed & breakfast, The Hydrangea House. We absolutely LOVE b&b's, and this spot was perfect for us. I can't say enough about the hosts, Grant and Dennis, who went above and beyond to make our stay extra special. We had turn-down service at night with cookies left on our pillows, wine and cheese in the afternoon, and the breakfast was OUT OF THIS WORLD. Each morning we couldn't wait to see what they had prepared for us...and it was nothing short of gourmet status. Bread pudding french toast with Vermont maple syrup, homemade glazed apple turnovers, oven baked bacon, raspberry pancake fritters, orange zest yogurt mousse...the list goes on and on. According to Chris, I put on a "legendary" performance at breakfast :)  It was quite funny actually, there were four other pregnant women (myself included) staying at the inn this past weekend! Three were due in June. You'd think there was some sort of "expectant mother special" going on, but it was all by coincidence! 
Anyway, I highly recommend a stay at the Hydrangea House ... even if it's just for a night of two. Below is a photo of the dining room (I was terrible with my camera this weekend) so just take my word for it...you would absolutely LOVE this b&b...especially the quaint rooms and fantastic breakfast! 
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Friday Five

Is it Friday already? This week has gone by in the flash, but I'm not complaining. It's been a week of discovery for me as I learn to adapt to my growing body and work out the kinks in classes like prenatal yoga and coconut oil massages. I also started reading a new book "Bringing Up Bebe" and I'm finding it rather entertaining. I hope you all had an amazingly fulfilled week! XX!

 

One // ILY Couture "donut tee"

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Two // Multi layer necklaces...Wildflower Shop

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Three // Wood prints...*swoon*
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Four // Cinnamon bun pancake cravings...

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Five // My new read...

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Papaya Smoothie!

Pregnancy has definitely given me a heightened awareness concerning the benefits of eating certain foods, mainly fruits and veggies! Thanks to our Nutri-Bullet, I am able to make awesome smoothies in the morning, loaded with rich antioxidants and vitamins. This morning, papaya was on the menu! Papaya is rich in Vitamin C and E, and is also a good source of fiber and folic acid. It prevents constipation and heartburn, which are both perils of pregnancy. Even if you're not pregnant, these smoothies are a great way to kick start your day! See the ingredients below:
- Papaya juice
- Water
- Half of a banana
- frozen blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries (*Can use all three, or choose two of the three)
*Blend in NutriBullet for less than 60 seconds and enjoy!

Skinny Raspberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

Quick, easy, and only about 150 calories each...these muffins are still very tasty and won't start your day off on the wrong foot! There is no oil or butter, but instead applesauce - which gives the muffins a nice, moist (ugh, least favorite word) consistency throughout. 
What you'll need...
  • 1 and 1/4 cups wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • raspberries
  • chocolate chips
Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray a muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, whisk the sugar, applesauce, and egg white together and pour into dry ingredients. Mix with rubber spatula until combined. Fold in raspberries and chocolate chips.

Divide the batter evenly between approximately 10 muffin cups. Bake for 15-20 minutes.  Allow muffins to cool and enjoy!