Digging Out of The Snow…

Digging Out of The Snow…

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

While I had wanted to get a post up, as usually scheduled, this past Wednesday- the Winter storm that began whipping though New England on Sunday night had other plans for me. With over two feet of snow accumulated where I live and occasional power outages due to strong winds- my primary focus became staying warm and safe until it was calm enough outside to shovel my way back into the world on Wednesday afternoon.

The storm marked the first significant one of the 2019/2020 Winter season- and while snow is always a welcomed guest throughout December (we’re dreaming of white Christmases and all)– by February I know I’m going to dread the sight of it. It’s like clockwork. It happens every year.

I digress. During a lull in the storm on Monday afternoon- I went for a little hike not far from my office to snap some photos of the aftermath. Little did I know another foot of powder was on it’s way- so I managed to get some nice shots before then.

On top of the snow, a lot of my friends and family have been battling some weird cold/flu that’s been spreading like wildfire- so needless to say I’ve been proactive with keeping myself rested, hydrated, and well until it blows over. The last thing I need during the busiest time of the year is to get taken down by a sore throat or a stuffy nose!

Yesterday, in-between glasses of orange juice and Vitamin C gummies- I headed out to pick up some things in order to finally get around to decorating my apartment for the holidays. November marked six months living in Greenfield- and this Christmas will be the first in my new place!

I picked up some small decor to place around my kitchen and living room areas- and while I thought a $15 artificial, pre-lit tree was the perfect addition to my place- it ended up looking more like something from “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” So comically odd looking. See for yourselves!

Next week on “Blondie Birdie” I’m going to have a recipe for a festive family favorite (say that three times fast,) a peek at my latest ugly Christmas sweater- and a recap of this coming Sunday’s Patriots/Chiefs game since I’ll actually be in attendance! I’m so looking forward to tailgating with friends- despite the cold!

Here’s wishing you all a warm, safe and productive weekend ahead. Be good to each other out there! ‘Tis the season, after all!

xx

– Ashley –

Tree Lighting and Pre-Blizzard Bridges…

Tree Lighting and Pre-Blizzard Bridges…

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

I’m getting a late start this A.M.- due in part to it being a post-holiday-weekend-Monday and also because we have been getting absolutely buried under snow here in Massachusetts. The first significant Winter storm of the season began rolling in through the area late yesterday afternoon/evening- and has been going strong ever since. All forecasts are showing it won’t let up until tomorrow morning- so I’ve been taking it slow and steady today. Shoveling, driving, working- I don’t see the need in rushing myself and risking my safety (or sanity.)

Prior to the storm, I had a chilly- but fun weekend- where I finalized my holiday shopping list and participated in a few festive activities as well- including a ceremonial tree lighting in South Deerfield and a mini-road trip to Vermont where I managed to capture an authentic covered bridge en-route.

I thankfully had my camera with me during my journey(s) and caught some lovely photos along the way. As always, you can simply click any of the images below to enlarge!

I will undoubtedly be taking some photos of the aftermath of this storm, as well- since snow is always the prettiest in December. Anytime after that and it’s just a major inconvenience!

I’ll be back on Wednesday after I dig myself out from beneath the snow and ice and return home to my nice, warm apartment. If you live in the area- stay safe! And, if you don’t- wish us luck as we power through what I’m sure will be the first of many blizzards in the months to come!

xx

– Ashley –

November 2019: In a Nutshell

Good Morning and Happy Saturday, everyone!

Christmastime is officially underway, and so is the countdown to the end of 2019- which means the next few weeks are going to be spent doing a lot of shopping, even more gift wrapping- and plenty of cooking/baking and traveling to various holiday functions and get togethers. December is a busy month for most people, and I’ve known for a while now that things are going to be moving pretty much non-stop for me!

Here on “Blondie Birdie,” I’ll have plenty of holiday cheer to share throughout the month ahead- with ceremonial tree lightings, local events, gift-giving ideas/tips and some of my favorite seasonal recipes for the culinary curious to try out- but I’m also going to be putting together my annual Year-In-Review post to mark the end of the decade while preparing some big blog news and changes for the beginning of 2020. I’m very, very excited!

But before I jump ahead into all of that- I did want to tip my hat to November 2019- a month that was just as busy, exciting and unexpected as December is shaping up to be.

I kicked off the month with one last scare for Halloween with a trip to Haunted Overload in New Hampshire before they closed for the season, only to then enjoy a daytime adventure (in the rain and cold this time around) to the Three Sisters Sanctuary in Goshen just a few short days later.

By mid-month, things had taken a surprising and thrilling turn when Troy and I went to not one, but two Hozier shows in the span of 72 hours– one in Boston and the other in Connecticut- which made for some excellent stories and photographs while we enjoyed ourselves and the company of my dear and longtime friend, Steven, who was the mastermind behind the spectacular light shows for each of Hozier’s shows during this tour. The Connecticut show marked Troy’s first time in a casino- and naturally I had him play a slot machine for the first time, too.

I’m a terrible influence like that.

November saw me return to the Ski & Snowboard Expo to represent Indie617 (our Top 100 Songs of The Decade is streaming now through the weekend, by the way!), the UMass Fine Arts Center for a dance performance, and Red Apple Farm to stock up on ingredients to prepare for this past Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day feast- which didn’t disappoint. I have so many leftovers in my fridge that I’m pretty sure I can feed everyone on my block for a couple of days.

And now, with a couple of quiet, more low-key days ahead of me before I return to work on Monday morning (where the posting schedule will return to normal, as well!) I’m looking forward to decorating my apartment, scratching a few things off my Holiday Gift Shopping List- and indulging in more than one hot chocolate since snow is just ahead in this week’s forecast!

So here’s to November- one for the history books, indeed!

I’ll be back on Monday morning- bright and early as usual- so enjoy the rest of your weekend ’til then, everybody!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: November 2019!

Good Morning and Happy (Black) Friday, everyone!

I had wanted to get this post up yesterday morning before making the journey to my family’s home back East for Thanksgiving- but as most of you know- the holidays can get pretty crazy. Blogging had to temporarily be put on the back burner so I could focus on retrieving a pre-ordered chocolate pie and packing up some presents to get on the road in time!

But I’ve since made it back to the Valley and slept in nice and late this morning to dream away the stuffing and mashed potatoes I over-indulged in last night- and avoid the Black Friday crowds in the early A.M. hours!

I’m going to be heading out in a little while to grab a much-needed coffee and try to get a jump on my holiday shopping- but before I do- I wanted to share some of my favorite things from this past month as we enter the final couple of days of November and the end of 2019 is officially upon us!

This month’s list is short and sweet- since a lot of my Fall favorites from September and October carried over into these past weeks as well- but some new things made the list that I’m excited to talk about!

Let’s take a look!

Earlier this month, I revisited my PS4 since colder/snowier weather is on the way and in the event I should be confined to my apartment- I’m going to need something to keep me entertained until the roads are clear (and there’s only so much Netflix a person can watch.) Troy, who appeared to be in the same mindset- surprised me with these wireless surround sound headphones from Turtle Beach a few weeks ago to take our online gaming to the next level.

They work awesome, and I’ve been having so much fun with late night GTA and “Resident Evil” sessions with some help from these. I haven’t tried them with a game that will be making an appearance a little later on in the post- but I should- since surround sound might help me understand the story a bit better!

To save myself time and money in the mornings before work, I’ve been living the K-Cup life. The problem is- sometimes they can taste really, really gross and you have to liven them up with some flavored creamer or sugar in order to get your caffeine fix without gagging.

I finally found a good (albeit limited time only!) creamer from International Delights that actually tastes like what it’s supposed to- French Toast!

As part of their Holiday 2019 flavors- I should really consider stocking up on this before it’s gone. It tastes really good, and just a splash of it in my coffee can make even the most stale K-Cup bearable.

One of my stops today- and probably not until much later on this evening- may be Kohl’s so that I can try and stock up on more of these knee-high wool socks- which have gotten me through the rainier, colder days this past November!

Thick without making my boots feel tight/uncomfortable, and high enough to wear over or under my jeans or leggings- these socks keep my legs and feet dry and warm regardless of how much time I spend outdoors. They’re super soft, too- which is always nice this time of year when my skin tends to get on the dry side.

Here’s hoping the Black Friday crowds left some for me!

As I prepare to decorate my apartment for the holidays- I’m also focused on making it a bit warmer and cozier for myself and guests who stop by when it’s frigid out. For myself when I go to bed- I want to be toasty and cozy- and I have been loving (and living in) these flannel sheets from Cuddl Duds throughout November.

With a very cute, cabin-inspired patchwork print- these sheets have made my bedroom look like a rustic little Christmastime getaway. I’m thinking I might try to stock up on more of these tonight, too!

And I think that’s it for the photogenic favorites- but I’ve got a few more things that made the list, too!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

Living the Hozier Life – Where October was all about Bon Iver and experiencing their Boston show from the front row- November was all about going on a mini-Hozier tour with people I adore and enjoying a few days off from work to celebrate good music, beautiful venues, and a weekend of firsts.

My VIP passes are proudly on display in my apartment right now.

– GAMES/TECH/APPS –

“Death Stranding” – Okay, so I have *no* idea what is even happening right now- but I love this game and I love listening to Mads Mikkelsen say “bee-bee” over and over. So, although I haven’t beaten it yet- I’m on the side of the fence of a very divided nation that thinks this is a pretty good, compelling, and odd video game to pass the time with!

And that just about does it for my November faves, everyone! Tomorrow morning on the blog I’ll have my full recap of this past month that was before it’s time to dive headfirst into Christmas, wrapping up this decade, and New Year’s Eve!

The next few weeks are going to be insanely busy- but fun and reflective- so I’m looking forward to a little downtime this coming weekend before we get into the thick of the seasonal spirit!

Before that, though- enjoy your Friday! Be safe out there- and more importantly- be good to one another!

xx

– Ashley –

Pre-Thanksgiving Thanks…

Good Morning and Happy Tuesday, everyone!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around my neighborhood- with decorations and lights going up in all the storefronts and the common at breakneck speed. I believe there’s more than one tree lighting ceremony being kicked off this coming weekend around the Valley- whereas I’m still shopping for my own little tree to commemorate my first Christmas in my new apartment. I haven’t found the perfect one yet- but there’s still time and I’m getting closer, I think!

Of course, Thanksgiving is going down in a couple of days- and I’ll be packing up the apple dumplings I recently picked up at Red Apple Farm and the salted chocolate pie I pre-ordered from Florence Pie Bar before I head over to my mom’s house to mingle and eat- but I have my monthly “Favorites” post lined up in the morning, too! It’s a short but sweet one!

I’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude and what I’m thankful for this year. My friends and family, of course- it goes without saying- and as crazy as my full-time job can make me at times, I’m thankful I’m gainfully employed since I know so many others are out there struggling to find steady work/income right now. I’m thankful to Indie617 for giving me a show on Saturdays and allowing me to grow and learn in a field outside what I’m normally used to- and have an immense amount of fun while I do it.

I’m grateful for my health, my beautiful apartment, my kindhearted and artistic community for welcoming me with open arms- and the deepening friendships/relationships I’ve forged since moving out here.

I’m also beyond thankful for the time I’ve been able to spend with someone near and dear to me. He’s moving for a job opportunity in early 2020 and I’m going to miss him very, very much- but I’m so grateful he’s been such a major part of my life for so long and that we’ve been able to make such wonderful memories together this past year.

I’m especially grateful to this blog and it’s followers/subscribers- who have made 2019 one of my most productive and successful to date. There’s big changes coming to “Blondie Birdie” in early 2020 that I’m excited to share- and I hope you’ll all be excited, too!

But before I get ready to get some pre-holiday work done at my office- here’s some helpful links for those of you who might need a little backup as the day of unapologetic gluttony and super comfy elastic-waist pants draws closer and closer!

Need a last minute recipe? I got you!

Need some holiday outfit inspiration? I got you there, too!

Need a soundtrack for dinner? Oh, you know I got you!

Enjoy the rest of your day, everybody!

xx

– Ashley –