When The Boys Are Away, The Girls Will Play…



Like my new glasses!? SC: autumn_benson13

I can’t believe I haven’t posted since Valentine’s! Life has been crazy in the Beson/Wollinger household the past month and a half! Jim has finally returned home after being away in Louisiana for some training with the Army. &Boy was that time a whirlwind between this insane semester, and all the traveling and girl time I had!

Let’s go back to the day before I left for home. I was KILLING myself to get through the week and get all my homework done, before I left for Massachusetts.


I had class until 7:30 and then I was up until about midnight powering through essays and finishing my marketing module, eating all the Girl Scout cookies I acquired between my coworkers child, the Girl Scouts at the PX and my friend Anna’s purchase at the commissary.


&I was also praying all the frickin snow would end!


SC: autumn_benson13

I woke up bright and early and had some breakfast, packed up some lunch for the road and headed off!


Once I finally got into town, my girl Caroline, was also traveling to MA from Drum to visit with family, met up with me for a fun night out! We were headed out to celebrate my best friend Alex’s 21st birthday and St. Patty’s Day! Carrie and I spent the afternoon grabbing bathing suits at Marshall’s to hang out in my brother’s hot tub (got the whole house to myself for the weekend!) &Gathering some pregame goods, including some ingredients to make “pot of gold jello shots” and of course a cake for Miss. Alex!


photo from delsih.com was having too much fun to take a photo 😉

Cadence was all ready for St. Patty’s too!


SC: autumn_benson13

Carrie, Alex, my best friend Nicole and I did the girly thing and got all ready for the night together. Kyle would’ve loved it. A bunch of girls messing up his house with clothes everywhere and makeup and hair products. Good thing he doesn’t read my blogs 😉 LOL


We finally headed into Boston +1 with Alex’s step Momma joining the party! Once we made it to West End Johnnie’s for drinks and dancing, I will shamelessly admit, that I paid off the bouncer so we didn’t have to stand in the freezing cold for an hour. We had the time of our lives dancing the night away, and drinking Goose and cran and just being 20 somethings…until about a ½ hour prior to last call some nasty dude with crusty lips in a trench coat (no joke) came up to me and started to try to dance with me. When I had informed him, I was all set and married, he whispered into my ear, “I don’t care.” I proceeded to shove him, and push us through the crowd to the other side of the bar. NOT OK.


We all stumbled our way to the cabs, and headed to Bova’s!



My sister in law had introduced me to this place on my 22nd birthday, and I will never not go there after a night out. Alex had requested we go all out, with the real 20 something clubbing Boston experience, though she was a bit cranky once we got there, her step momma and I headed in to face some hot pockets and cannolis. We grabbed an Uber XL back to the island, and I stuffed my face in the backseat, and chatted up our driver.



I was dead by the time we made it back to my brother’s house, but somehow my girls talked me into hot tub time at 2am. Nicole was passed out on the couch, and we were dumb enough to think 10 minutes was enough time to warm up the tub after turning up the temp, and ended up freezing our butts off in 30 degree weather…typical us.

The next morning was all about coffee. Dunks with Carrie, Starbs, and George’s Coffee


I spent the next day just lounging around with my girls, Alex and Marissa. We grabbed some nachos and drinks at Jalapeños, and I picked up this AMAZING shirt for Jimmy’s Easter basket:


For the rest of the night, we hung around in the hot tub (which we sufficiently managed to heat up) and played Never Have I Ever..;) watched some episodes of the final season of Girls and ate cake! There was no shortage of crap eaten on this trip..


Sunday was family day! My Momma and I drove into New Bedford to see my Dad’s side of the family. Words don’t even describe how great it feels to be surrounded by your loved ones. Living so far from everyone hurts my heart. I miss dinners with Jim’s parents and sisters, and little brothers every Sunday, and spending Saturday nights hanging around with my brother. We typically only see a lot of my Dad’s side of the family once a year at our Annual Cookout. My cousin Elizabeth made so much good food, and I got to chat with my Aunts and Uncles and see my sweet Papa, and all my baby cousins!


Momma and I headed back up to Fort Drum early Monday morning, but not after a quick visit for breakfast at the firehouse with Kyle!


My Mom was coming up to spend the week with me, and then visit Montreal the following weekend! But that trip will be in my next blog post.


I didn’t get too many photos, where I still had work and class all week, but we spent the week, having dinners with some of my girlfriends! We totally hit up Cracker Barrell more than once, once with Carrie and this cool dude:


&Once with my sweet best friend Anna. &My Momma met my new girlfriend, Carissa, and her sweet girl Aria and we got dinner one of my favorite spots, Stefano’s in Carthage, NY.



Sorry..def licked the canoli before I took this pic…

The rest of Jim’s time away was spent between work, school, Sundays with Anna doing church and lunch dates and Gilmore Girls and wine. &I had one girls night with Carrie, and a couple of other spouses at Drum, eating chips and brownies and doing face masks!


Yes…yes we do have matching pjs.

I am so very happy my hubs is home, and hopefully here to stay for a while. &Congrats to the handsome dude too, for graduating Air Assault School while he was there! 🙂


I have so many adventures planned for this summer to explore NNY. I mean, a list, literally a mile long. &I’m excited for my next post, recapping my Montreal trip with Momma B! I hope you all are having a wonderful week. &If nobody told you yet today, you are beautiful.


Happy Hump Day!


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Home for Christmas

Happy Thirsty Thursday friends!!


It’s currently Sunday. We’re just lounging around the house. We went to breakfast at Longways Diner this morning, and have no other plans really for today. Just gonna clean up around the house, maybe grab some groceries and just prepare for the week ahead. It’s 13 degrees outside here at Drum, and we got quite a few feet of snow dumped on us this week. So I’m just gonna hang out in my fuzzy socks and enjoy my Christmas decorations just a LITTLE while longer…;)


So, this post is gonna be a recap of our trip home for the holidays! This may get long, but these are some of my favorite posts to look back on. Unfortunately even though Jim had been on block leave for a bit, I had to work up until the night before Christmas Eve. We headed to MA on the 23rd, right after I got out of the office.

SOMEHOW we managed to stop only ONE time on the way. Grabbed gas, went pee and grabbed some food for the road. I swear, I must’ve played the bladder cards right that day, because I drink a TON of water everyday, but we did it!


Christmas Eve was so much fun. I started off the morning, heading to my hometown, while Jim stayed at his parents house. I’ve never been so excited to go over that bridge onto the island. I was so blessed to grow up in such a beautiful hometown, and though there is a lot of beauty in Northern NY, there is nothing like be surrounded by the ocean, and gorgeous views daily. It’s truly motivating and inspiring. The ocean brings me so much peace.


I went to lunch at the absolutely breathtaking new hotel, The Beauport with my Mom, her boyfriend Farrell and his sister. I was in so much awe of the architecture, and the stunning Christmas decor and the views from our table I didn’t take a ton of photos! 😦


After lunch, I headed back to the Wollinger house for dinner, and family time. Jim’s Aunt and Uncle came by and we had a Yankee Swap. I was pretty pumped about my gift. Dunkin’ addict over here 😉


I bought this educational game for Andrew, my little brother-in-law a few years back, and he plays it with me every chance he gets when I am over. It’s been so fun seeing how much he got out of that gift, and how much his knowledge has grown over the years. He is a math wiz.


Christmas used to be all about tradition for me. Since my Dad passed away Christmas has been veering further and further from the traditions I grew up with. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to love the change. I now have two incredible families to celebrate the holidays with. My two brother-in-laws are still at the Santa stage of their lives, so Christmas morning is always a blast with them.


This picture is in my in-law’s living room. I used an app. Andrew totally believed me. Mikey, not so much. He sai he wasn’t falling for it 😉


Cadence loves her Papa


After Christmas we headed to my Momma’s house for round two. We are always so spoiled by the amount of gifts we receive between the Wollinger’s and the Benson’s. We are so blessed to have so many loved ones that care so much to go out of their way for us. Jim’s parents and Andrew soon followed and we all hung out at Momma B’s house, ate some good food and hung out. Christmas felt a little empty sans Grandpy and Uncle Jimmy, but I felt them there in spirit. ❤


Don’t mind the jar of queso…I got hungry…



My Mom is the cutest. Home decor GOALS.


Wouldn’t be a holiday at the Benson household without an appearance from Alex!

We ended Christmas over at my big brothers house–but not before making a quick pit stop at the Lobstah Trap Tree. Like the most Gloucester Christmas thing evah.


Kyle, Stephanie, Jim and I hung out in Kyle’s new hot tub for the rest of the night.  I am NOT a fan of winter, and didn’t think I’d be real into going into a hot tub in the freezing cold, but it’s actually amazing!!

December 26th is my little bother-in-law Mikey’s birthday!


Mikey is one of the sweetest, silliest, kids in the world. He is so curious about the world, and some of the best conversations I’ve ever had with any human being have been with this kid. I can’t believe he is 10 years old.

We started off the morning curing out Christmas hang over at Cape Ann Coffee’s. YUM


Seriously tho…Massachusetts just does breakfast better then NNY….


&Went for a ride around the Backshore before visiting my brother at the firehouse.


All my life I looked up to my brother as my hero. He entered Marine boot camp just before the attacks of 9/11/2001. I was too young to fully understand the impact of that tragic event on this country, but I knew Kyle was going to protect us. &Now I see him thriving in his role as a fire fighter. His passion to protect and serve is something I so respect. I am so proud of him. &Visiting him at work, brings me so much happiness.




Cadence loves her Uncle Kyle


That afternoon we headed up to celebrate Mikey turning 10. I loved listening to Mike and Andrew and their cousin Maggie chatting amongst themselves. A child’s perspective of the world is so pure and innocent. I don’t ever want them to grow up.


After the birthday celebrations we didn’t have anything planned, and ended up meeting up with one of my best friends, Marissa at the mall. I was helping her pick out some interview clothes and then we went to dinner. I try to stay away from chains when I’m home because there are so many great food places on the North Shore, but we REALLY missed the 99s.


Sorry not sorry for the silly Snap filters

The 27th was a REALLY warm day at home. We had some sibling time with Jim’s sisters. Went into downtown Newburyport, and had some delicious lunch at Agave, played Cards Against Humanity and waxed some body hair. #casual


Since the girls had plans for the night, we headed back to Gloucester and took Cadence for her first real walk on the beach. Good Harbor never fails me. We went just around sunset, and it was stunning. When I’m by the ocean I can feel in every inch of my bones, the work of God. He has created such beauty. Photos can’t do it justice.


“The Heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the hands of his work.” Pslam 19:1

The 28th was a LONG day. So much adventure. We started out the day at our ABSOLUTE FAVORITE BREAKFAST SPOT EVER. (&If my brother Snapchats me from there one more time, Im gonna punch him.) Red’s in Salem.

Breakfast was spent with Nana Janice and Momma B. It was so nice to spend time with them. We went to the House of the Seven Gables, surprisingly its one of the places I’ve never been to in Salem. Neither had Nana Jan! She was born and raised in Salem, and her mother was a tour guide at the house, but she still had never taken a tour! When people find out I am from the North Shore area of MA, Salem is always a topic of conversation. It truly is an awesome area. If you’ve never been, go. &The House of Seven Gables is a quality “tourist attraction.” Not kitschy by any means.


Once we got back to Gloucester, we wanted to soak up some more time in the nice weather. With all the snow and low temperatures here at Drum, Cadence hasn’t gotten many walks in, in the past few months. &We were heading to Boston that night, so we wanted to get her energy out. We took her for a walk at Ravenswood. I love walking trails. So peaceful. &Cadence was happy too!


Jimbo and I went skating at Frog Pond for date night–back where he proposed over a year later!


The rest of our time home, was spent hanging around with friends and family, and soaking up as much New England as we could.


We even spent almost 2 1/2 hours chatting it up with one of the owners of Sully’s. &He was pretty frickin Boston. Definitely will never forgot that conversation, and I hope that won’t be the last time we speak with him! Sly is one of the coolest guys around!

There is nothing better than being home for the holidays. But I am so happy to be back in our home, at Fort Drum. I miss everyone and everything back home–but Im so happy to be back in my routine, and spending time with the hubs. I can’t wait to see with 2017 has to offer, and though I can’t believe Im saying this–Im PUMPED for the Spring semester to begin!


Happy New Year everyone!


What are some of your goals going into 2017?





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I’m sorry for the lack of post last week! I had so much going on personally, I even wanted to get this post up sooner! &Momma B came up to visit! We’ve been having such a nice time. That’s been the best part about being at a base so close to home. It’s not super close, but close enough that it’s less than a half a days drive if any friends or family want to come and visit, or we want to go back home. So, yeah! I hope all the Mommas out there had a lovely Mother’s Day, and got at least a few minutes of pampering and special treatment! Because Lord knows how difficult and selfless the job of being a Mom is.


I’m lookin scrub-a-licious in this photo….^^^ But we got jelly spa pedicures! 🙂


PS–I didn’t buy that MK purse for my Momma^^ (wish I could afford that! It’s hers…It just looked nice in the photo with all the pink! 😉 But we did get her another nice little gift ❤ )

But, I promise, I’m going to keep posting at least once per week! I actually had a reader DM me on Insta asking why I didn’t post last week. (To say she made me feel awesome was an understatement!) Comment below if you’re an avid reader! I have my go-to blogs, that I have to check up on at least weekly, and I know how sad it can be when I don’t see any new posts, so it’s a pretty amazing feeling that someone enjoys my content that much! Also…stay tuned! Because I have a little giveaway coming real soon!!!


SO! This post, is SO SO SO SOOOOO important to me. Although I hope that this post inspires all of my readers to participate in their local Relay for Life events, I’m REALLY hoping that this post reaches my readers from my home town. I’m going to tell you all a little story about why I Relay in a moment, but first, I want to let my local readers be aware of something.

RELAY FOR LIFE OF CAPE ANN IS IN TROUBLE. I know, SO MANY of you that would be an incredible asset to the leadership team for our local Relay. I wish I could be there, but as you know–I’m currently living in Upstate NY. SO RELAY NEEDS YOU. CAPE ANN NEEDS YOU. THE ABILITY TO KICK CANCERS A$$ NEEDS YOU. There is a possibility, that–despite the incredible efforts of the small, yet enthusiastic team of leaders, Cape Ann’s Relay has currently–it MIGHT NOT HAPPEN. If you, or someone you know has been affected by cancer, (because Lord knows, sadly at this point, all of us have at least known someone who has been affected) and would make a great addition to this team–PLEASE attend this event. You can click that hyperlink for more info; But it is tonight, at the First Baptist Church in Gloucester. That’s 38 Gloucester Ave, and it begins at 6:30pm. Even if you can’t attend, and want to volunteer, you may contact any of the leaders, or myself–and we can point you in the right direction. (All of the info will be at the bottom of this post.)




Growing up, I have dealt with a whole lot of loss. Uncles, my Nana, my Dad, and most recently, my Grandpy. But two of those deaths, were what opened my eyes to so many things–and they are the reason I Relay.

When I was a sophomore in high school, I thought I had the world at my feet. I was a good kid, got good grades, had a lot of friends, and an incredible family. Some of my favorite memories include Sunday morning brunch over at my Uncle Tommy’s, and rides around the Backshore with my Dad, and him. Uncle Tommy and my Dad were BEST FRIENDS. I mean, inseparable. These are two men, who grew up in foster care, were separated so much of the time, both went to Vietnam, and came back ALIVE..and remained so close through it all. When Uncle Tommy got sick, he didn’t broadcast it. He was so brave, and so selfless. One day after school..my Mom came to pick me up. Now, I knew something was off, because she never picked me up from school. That was my Dad’s thing. I got in the car, and she (as she was in such shock) just announced to me that Uncle Tommy had passed. I didn’t even know the severity of what was wrong, and I was in so much shock. This was the first time of my life, that I lost someone who was pretty much a part of my daily life. I’ll never forget coming home, and going to the stairs, to walk up to my room, only to be met with a closed door, and my Dad inside it, crying SO LOUDLY..I had only seen him (and I’m not exaggerating) shed tears one other time, and that was at his Mother’s funeral. Many of his brothers had passed before, but I was so young. My heart was broken. My family fell apart. My Dad had literally lost his other half. Nothing was ever the same. My Uncle Tommy was a man who dedicated his life to his family, his children and his community. He coached Gloucester peewee football for so many years. Not only did my family lose a key player, but so did our community.


Then, two years and three days later..my Dad passed away from cancer caused by exposure to Agent Orange. My Dad was absolutely, with out a doubt, my best friend in the entire world. We had a relationship unlike any other. He was my Father when I needed it…constantly on my case to get up for school, get to dance class on time, get off the computer and get my homework done. He was my chauffeur–driving me to and from school, work, dance etc, giving my friends and I rides to the mall, the beach and constantly to Dunks and around the Backshore, having to endure our music blasting. &He was my friend always. My Dad was always the chaperone anywhere we went, but he felt like just another piece of our friend group. One time I had invited a couple of my friends over, and I went up to my room, and realizing an HOUR went by that they didn’t make their way up the stairs, so I headed down, and there they were all congregated on the couch watching some movie that he had told them was “a classic.” (One of his favorite phrases.)


Now, it’s 2016. I’ve moved to Upstate NY to live with my soldier, and so much has changed within my family dynamic. But I can promise you, not a day goes by that I don’t think of BOTH  of those men. My heart breaks knowing, Jimmy will never have the chance of meeting either one of them. My father won’t walk me down the aisle. This whole weekend that my Momma has been here, neither one of us could stop saying how much he would’ve enjoyed this trip. Visiting an Army post, hanging out with the family. But I know they have one another up in Heaven.

But that is why I Relay. So other nieces and daughters, and families don’t have to lose their loved ones too soon. So they don’t have to go through the absolute agony, of watching someone who was once SO STRONG, wilt away. So they won’t have sleepless nights in hospital chairs, weekly chemo sessions, praying to our great Lord that maybe, this will be the cure.

&That is why, all of my readers should Relay. Relay until there is a cure, and this horrible disease is abolished.


CAPE ANN READERS–If you have an hour, or 40 hours to volunteer your time, it’s so important that we preserve the ability to have this event in our home. This event allows thousands of dollars to go towards research to find a cure. It goes towards services that allow those families financially struggling to make ends meet during costly treatments to make it through. If you want to know where your money goes, just do a quick Google search, or watch this video.

This money helps your family, your community, your loved ones fight the battle against cancer. Please consider volunteering even an hour to your local event.


“When someone has cancer, the whole family, and everyone who loves them, does too.”-Terri Clark

INFO FOR TONIGHTS RELAY EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/857394654371522/


Myself– autumnelizebeth@yahoo.com


Pastor Cindy– pastorcindya@gmail.com




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Weekend Recap

Hey guys! I had SO MUCH FUN this weekend. There are a lot of changes that are about to happen in my personal life, and I’ll let you all in on that soon! But for now I’ve just been trying to have as much fun as possible, and spend lots of time with friends and family, and I’m just SO EXCITED! This weekend was full of beautiful Indian Summer weather, and I just had so much fun.

Friday night I headed out with my boyfriend’s little sister for her bachelorette. We went to a place called the Lawn On D in South Boston to start off. If you’re ever in the area, YOU HAVE TO GO. There was free parking, but not many spots open, so I would suggest taking public transit. I’m most definitely going to be taking another trip up with some friends in a few weeks. It’s literally just a huge lawn. They have live music there, and swings in the shape of rings that glow in the dark. I’m such a dork, I thought it was so cool. &They have corn hole, ping pong tables, food trucks. It’s seriously so cool, and other than of course the food–its all free! &Free, is for me! 😉 After that we just headed on over to Fire and Ice. It’s a really cool restaurant, that you pick all of your ingredients from the “ice” side and bring your food over to a grille, where they cook it up for you. The chefs are usually pretty entertaining, and do tricks with the food. They’re just super high energy. It’s almost like a hibachi restaurant, but you can make almost ANY thing you could think of. They have tons of ethnic choices as well.


Saturday morning I headed to work, and saying I was exhausted was an understatement. But two Dunk’s iced coffees later, I was human again. After work, I headed into my hometown to my Momma’s house, and showered, and let her style me. It was nice to have a day with her. It felt like I was 17 again. Jimmy came down and we went out for the evening with my Mom, her boyfriend, and his sister and brother in law. They’re an awesome group.

We headed to the Seaport Grille. My picky Mom had a salad, and although I’m not a fan of seafood, my Mom’s boyfriend Farrell, and his sister and brother in law shared two HUGE seafood platters, and said they were to die for. Jim and I got  “Sully’s Burger” and it was absolutely delicious. Not your average restaurant burger, and the buns were fluffy and warm. The Seaport Grille isn’t just good food, the atmosphere is incredible too. They have an outdoor eating area, but inside had a little less of a wait. The owners of the Seaport also own a yacht, called the Beauport Princess. It is absolutely GORGEOUS. You can rent it for special events, weddings..and they also do dinner cruises, and my family and I are hoping to take one soon!


After dinner we headed to the Gloucester Cinema. The theater I went to as a kid. I even went there for my first date, where my Dad (who had dropped us off) showed up, and sat behind us. It was so fun going back there with Jimmy, and seeing the theater. It hasn’t changed a bit. We saw Black Mass. The theater was packed. Of course the movie was HUGE in this area, where the main character is based on James “Whitey” Bulger–a notorious Irish mob boss from the Winter Hill gang in Boston. The movie was incredible, and per usual, Johnny Depp was unrecognizable, as he immersed himself into the sinister character that is Jimmy Bulger.

(Boston, MA, 05/27/14) Johnny Depp plays the part of Whitey Bulger in the movie production of Black Mass while shooting a scene in East Boston on Tuesday, May 27, 2014. Staff photo by Christopher Evans.

The next morning Jim and I went for a traditional Dunks run and ride around the backshore. On the ride my brother Kyle called me and invited us to go watch the Pats vs Bills came with him at The Studio. We took the boat for a cruise around the harbor, and docked outside. We sat out on the deck, and the weather was absolutely gorgeous. Perfect breeze, sunshine. We had a drink, and ordered a bacon flatbread pizza. It was super good–but it did take about an hour before they delivered it to us. It was okay though, since we were all distracted by the game and chitchatting with friends.


After lunch Jim and I had Momma B pick us up at the restaurant, and rushed home to get ready–and headed to one of the places from the Fall Favorites post, Russell Orchards. We met up there with one of my best friends, Alexandra and a friend of hers, and got some apples to bake with, and took some typical photos. It was so nice to spend some time with her. She’s my best friend, since we were 11 and 13 years old.


&To finish off an excellent weekend, after having dinner with his family–delicious meatball subs made by his Momma!–we baked some apple, walnut coffee cake! It came out AMAZING and made the whole kitchen smell like Fall wonderland. Stay tuned for a recipe!


Tell me what you did this weekend in the comments! (I’m nosey!)

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“Home is where love resides, memories are created, family and friends always belong, and laughter is forever shared.”