The “Halfway” Check-In!

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. I had a wonderful couple of days that were spent both within Boston where I hosted my 12-4 Saturday show on Indie617– but also out in the Pioneer Valley with my best friend who came to visit through yesterday afternoon. The weather held up nicely until a series of thunderstorms rolled through last night- so I made sure to take him to a couple of great outdoor locations so he could drink in the scenery and the atmosphere.

A full recap of the adventures (with photos) will be up on Wednesday!

Before that, though- early June is typically when I like to “check in” on myself and note my progress since New Year’s Eve. The official start of Summer is just around the corner, 2019 is halfway over- and now seems like just a good time as any to reassess the goals/aspirations I laid out for myself back at the very end of December. I like to take pride in myself on anything I accomplished- and push myself a little harder on the things that I haven’t yet!

I copied my 2019 Resolutions list from my “In a Nutshell: 2019” post from December 31, 2018. Let’s take a look:

Get Healthier/Get Into Better Shape: As someone who loves food and enjoys a good “veg-out” session on the couch while I binge-watch Netflix and Hulu series- this one was admittedly a little harder to get into the swing of after the start of the year. But, now that I’m living in my own place and within a community that both values and encourages wellness, staying healthy and being active- it’s been a lot easier for me to find the time and motivation to make smarter choices about what I’m eating and to exercise regularly.

And honestly- with the views I’ve found in and around the Pioneer Valley since moving here- exercising outdoors is *SO* much more enjoyable!

Stop Putting Up With Bullshit – And Command Respect: I had started the momentum on this resolution near the end of 2018 after a disastrous trip to San Diego in the Fall and and on/off/on again relationship that left me more drained than happy. I began cutting people out of my life who were detrimental to me, my emotional/mental well-being and who were holding me back from achieving my goals- and I didn’t look back.

I’m happy to report that six months later, I’ve surrounded myself with truly wonderful friends I can count on and a guy I might not always see eye to eye with- but whom I’ve built a strong and trusting friendship and connection with and who I care for very deeply. The people who had hurt me, dragged me down, or tried to take advantage of me have all but faded into obscurity and it’s a huge weight off of my shoulders.

Hit Up Some of The Places on My Bucket List: I admit that this resolution is not one I’ve particularly accomplished or have been actively working towards. It’s been placed on the back burner, what with my recent move and everything- however I *have* been able to do some traveling to places like New York and most recently- Las Vegas and San Diego.

I’ve still got another few months to take that unexpected and impromptu trip to New Orleans or Memphis- so here’s hoping I’m able to pull it off!

Get Back Into the Arts: I’ve achieved this goal with a very enthusiastic “oh hell yes!” Between my work with Indie617 and PaintBox Theatre here in the Valley- I have been fully immersed in art, theater, music, creativity and self-expression. It’s been such a beautiful and inspirational journey and I find myself wanting to create my own work more and more with each passing day!

I’m sure living in such a diverse and creative atmosphere will keep me going strong with this resolution, too!

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Obviously, I still have some work to do to reach all of my goals- but I’m really happy with my progress so far. Between some of the completed/near completed resolutions and moving into a beautiful new apartment within this first half of the year- 2019 has been the year of big dreams and even bigger changes these past few months!

Additionally, I like to use the first few days of June for some serious self-care and reorganization. I scrub and dust my living space from top to bottom, make sure everything is spotless and fresh- indulge in a deeply moisturizing hair or face mask (or both if I’ve got the time!) and do some major clean-out of my email and social media inboxes.

I’ve found that with unsubscribing or blocking gratuitous e-mails from companies I had purchased something from months and months ago (and who have been contacting me non-stop ever since. Looking at you- Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret!) as they show up in my inbox- I feel so much better and less anxious whenever I check my e-mail because I can get right to the important stuff I *want* to read without having to worry that it was buried amid the coupon codes, advertisements for new merchandise, etc.

Overall, June is a month of self-reflection, self-improvement, and self-care- be it revisiting goals for the year, getting organized, or simply deleting a bunch of emails to de-clutter your inbox. Whatever and however you choose to “check in’ with yourself halfway through the year is completely up to you- and now is the time to do it so you’ll have more space in your schedule for fun Summertime activities!

And now that just about does it for me today, guys. I’m off to work!

Here’s wishing us ALL a safe, stress-free and laid-back Monday. To the work week ahead!

xx

– Ashley –

May 2019: In a Nutshell

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

We’ve made it to another weekend- and we’re leaving another month behind us! It’s hard to believe that June is here and we’re halfway through 2019 already. There’s still so much I want to accomplish and do before Winter creeps up on us again- and now the pressure is really on since Summer is pretty much here now!

I plan to do a mid-year “check in” regarding my New Year’s Resolutions, goals, aspirations, etc. now that we’re a few hours shy from being six months into 2019- but before I do that- I wanted to focus on taking a look back on May.

This past month has been one of the busiest, most surreal, exciting and unexpected for me- filled with big life changes, travel, a festival for good measure- and lots of time with friends and family. I’m still in a bit of a daze that these past few weeks happened- but when I think about them, I can’t help but smile!

The biggest and probably most important thing to happen in May was that I packed up and left my life and nearly everything I’ve ever known as a city girl behind- choosing instead to move out to the more rural, picturesque and “rustic” Pioneer Valley to forge a new chapter in my life and be a bit more independent while living on my own. I’ve only been here for a couple of weeks- but I truly love it here and I have lots of fun posts planned as I continue to familiarize myself with my new neighborhood and all it’s quirky attractions.

I had posted some photos of my apartment in the “bare bones” stage just hours after my move in- but I’m expecting the last of my furniture to arrive in the days ahead so be prepared for a LOT of home decor talk on here and my social media in June! I’ve got a Pinterest account and an empty shopping cart on Etsy- and I know how to use them.

Cambridge, MA. May 25th.

Just prior to that, I spent a week in Nevada- with a road trip to San Diego to see White Lies perform mixed in– with my West Coast Wife, Kelsey- and her husband and little girl. My days were super relaxing, laid-back, and filled with air conditioning, binge-watching true crime dramas and lots of good food- which is how all vacations should be, really. I couldn’t have asked for a better stay and I am so excited to head back there this Fall.

And then there was Boston Calling- where I stopped by last Saturday to spend time with my Indie617 crew, my good friend Steven who was in town- and see some incredible artists while the sun was shining bright. I had the most perfect day while I was there- and I can’t wait to gush all about it during my show tomorrow at the station (from 12-4 PM EST!)

I’m already speculating about next year’s lineup- that’s how eager I am to do it all over again!

And as always- there were plenty of dinners and celebrations at my mom’s house, with my friends in and around the city- and in the Valley as well.

I’m hoping to carry some of this momentum with me into June. I’m already kicking things off with a visit from my BFF Sean- who is coming to stay for the weekend so I can show him around my place and my neighborhood- and the 16th season of PaintBox kicks off near the end of the month- which I have been tirelessly preparing for and am so thrilled and anxious to see just how all the hard work myself and all of the cast and crew have put in these past few months pays off (fingers crossed!)

I also intend to show off some of the Valley here on Blondie Birdie, share some recipes from my sparkling new kitchen- and give a glimpse into some of my favorite Summer ensembles now that warmer days and sunshine are- hopefully– on the way!

Here’s to May- and June being just as lovely for all of us!

I hope you all have a wonderful, fun and safe weekend ahead. I’ll be back on Monday to get the Summer season going!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: May 2019!

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone!

As many of us try to power through this short work-week- I’m personally looking forward to some much-needed rest and relaxation this coming weekend. Not only am I returning to the studio for Indie617 on Saturday for the first time in a few weeks, but my best friend Sean is coming to visit with me at my new apartment so I can give him a quick, laid-back tour of my neighborhood. Nothing crazy- just good company, good food- and I’m determined to squeeze a nap in there somewhere.

I’m going to be recapping this past May in my monthly “In a Nutshell” post this coming Friday before we kick off June during the weekend- but as is tradition- I thought I’d share some of my favorite things from the past couple of weeks, first. Movies, music, products and odds & ends- this is my “Favorites” list- and the items that I could photograph are up first!

Let’s take a look at what made the cut this month!

While Benefit’s Dandelion Blush had helped get me through the Spring- I need something with a little more color now that Summer is officially (unofficially) here- and I’ve looked no further than by switching over to their GALifornia  powder blush.

With a bit more pink/peach to it- this blush also has a semi-shimmery golden overtone- so I look naturally sunkissed when I wear it as opposed to looking like I’m in a bad beauty pageant. It’s subtle, easy to blend and use for contouring- and super flattering on my pasty skin! I know it’ll look good if and when I ever get a tan, too- so it’s my go-to for the Summer!

So my skin has taken a bit of a beatdown in recent weeks as we transition from arctic temperatures and dive right into hot, humid days- and it’s resulted in my face and body not knowing whether or not to feel tight and dry or oily/hydrated. Some days I need extra moisturizer and some days I need blotting sheets like my life depended on it.

On the days where I’m feeling extra thirsty- I use this cooling, refreshing facial mist from Pacifica. I had picked this up in Vegas (the driest of dry climates!) and was amazed at how quickly it worked. Infused with coconut and caffeine- I use this is a setting spray in the mornings and then throughout the afternoons whenever I need a pick me up to keep me looking fresh.

There’s still plenty of things on my “To-do/Bucket List”- but I’ve recently added “Thank Rihanna” to it specifically because Fenty is such a game-changer in the makeup and cosmetics world. I have yet to buy or try a product from the brand that I dislike- and this month I’m adding the BAESIDE liquid eyeliner trio to the list of things I love and haven’t stopped wearing this month.

With three super bright, long-lasting shades (Papaya Mama, Lime Fever and Skinny Dip)– I have been playing around with these liners ever since I got them after returning from Vegas- and I know they’re going to be a “must have” for me in the coming Summer months. They all look really, really beautiful by themselves or intertwined on my lash line.

I’ll put up photos/swatches on my INSTAGRAM soon!

And finally, to sort of move away from skincare and makeup for a moment- which dominated my Favorites List in May- I’ve also been loving these stacked bracelets from Pura Vida. With fun, Summery colors and a cute VW Bus charm that completely won me over when I first saw it- this is my go-to accessory for this coming Summer and recently made one of my OOTD posts when I was talking about casual wear!

I also love indie companies that are charitable and use their profits to better their communities- which is something Pura Vida believes strongly in and does regularly- so it’s beautiful, hand-made jewelry for a good cause!

So, that’s everything I was able to capture on film- but as they say in infomercials- wait, there’s more!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

“The Act” – While in Vegas, Kelsey and I got to talking true crime and binge-worthy series as we drove through the desert together. We started talking about the very real, very bizarre case of Gypsy Rose Blanchard- and the series’ of documentaries and specials centered on her case. Kelsey recommended this limited episode Hulu series starring Patricia Arquette and Chloë Sevigny that follows the events leading up to and after the murder of Gypsy’s mother- so of course I binged it in one afternoon.

I regret nothing. It was riveting- and definitely worth a viewing if you have the time!

“John Wick 3” – Summer is here and with it comes over-the-top action flicks. Troy and I finally caught this third installment of our favorite series a few nights ago- and it didn’t disappoint. I could watch these movies all day, every day.

Also, Laurence Fishburne has the greatest lines ever and only he could make them sound as cool as they do.

And that just about does it for me today, everyone! As I said earlier, I’ll be back on Friday with a full recap of this past month that was- but until then- enjoy your “Hump Day!”

I’m off to work!

xx

– Ashley –

“Here Comes The Calling…”

Good Morning, Happy Monday- and Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

My goodness, what a weekend I’ve had- and because today is a holiday and I have the day off from work as a result- I am absolutely looking forward to decompressing and taking it easy. I’ve got some laid back lunch/shopping plans with my mom during the day, and then a movie date a little later on tonight (I’m finally seeing “John Wick 3” and I couldn’t be more excited about it!)

I’ll also be sporadically applying aloe vera throughout the day since I got a teeny, tiny sunburn from Saturday. Come to find out- me, the Queen of SPF 50- managed to forget to apply a good amount to my collarbone area and upper arms in the frenzy that was Boston Calling. Not my proudest moment- but the redness and soreness will definitely serve as a painful reminder for next time. *DON’T* forget to apply sunscreen!

Yes, this past Saturday was an absolute whirlwind of incredible music, delicious food, and good times among friends. I spent my day at Boston Calling with the Indie617 crew and my dear friend Steven, who was in town to do lights for Hozier at the festival- and I had the absolute best time ever.

Things kicked off with a little patio pre-party from 12-2 at Casa Caña in Cambridge- where I broadcast my show, soaked up the sun and grooved to good tunes before it was time to make my way over to the Harvard University Athletics Complex- which is where the festival is now housed after moving from City Hall Plaza a couple of years ago.

From there, my day was spent hanging out with Steven where we got to walk around, catch up, and stuff our faces with our favorite festival must-have- the “BBQ Bomb” from The Smoke Shop BBQ. It’s essentially a waffle cone filled with meat, mac and cheese, beans and coleslaw- and it’s life-changing. Steven and I discovered them last year at Boston Calling when he was in town with The Killers- and it was pretty much the number one thing on our itinerary this past Saturday afternoon.

I also spent time at the Indie617 media tent where lots of great artist interviews and coverage was taking place throughout the three days of the festival (which wrapped up last night with a closing performance by Travis Scott.) The photos and videos will be up on the Indie617 website- but you can also peep our social media for clips and behind the scenes footage that we shot during the event.

There was also beer. A lot of beer- which is always appreciated on hot days. I work with an incredibly talented, eager, hard-working and super fun team of people at the station and I’m so unbelievably grateful to be apart of their ranks and to be able to participate in unbelievably cool events like this with them.

And, just a reminder- but you can listen to me on Saturdays from 12-4 PM (EST). I return to the studio this coming weekend! Download our free app or stream online at our website to listen!

And then there were the artists- and what an incredible lineup Saturday had. Clairo, Mitski, Hozier (and I had the best seat in the house to see the whole, stunning performance!) and Tame Impala’s mindblowing set to close out the evening. I sang along. I danced- shamelessly- and managed to take a few good photos when the moment was right!

As always, if you’d like to make any of the images below bigger- simply click on them!

It truly was an awesome day/night and I cannot wait to do it again next year.

That just about does it for me today, since I have to get on the road to go meet with my mom and start our adventure for the day. With May coming to an end this week (!!!) I’m going to be taking a look at some of my favorite things from this past month- before wrapping it up with a neat little look-back/recap on Friday morning.

I hope you all have a safe, sunny and fun-filled Monday. It’s the unofficial start of the Summer- so let’s get through this short week together!

xx

– Ashley –

Festival Frenzy and Historical Strolls…

Good Afternoon and Happy Friday, everyone!

We made it to another weekend- a long one with Memorial Day this time around- and what a weekend it’s going to be! While today is all about tying up some loose ends at work, indulging in a bit of TGIF pampering (hello mani/pedi!) and visiting my family back home for my mom’s cooking tonight at dinner- tomorrow through Sunday is all about Boston Calling!

That’s right- I’m coming back to the city for a couple of days- and I couldn’t be more excited to visit with friends and catch some incredible artists on the various stages (and let’s not forget the delicious food and vendors that come out for the festival every year!)

I’m going to be working media for Indie617 while I’m there (and dancing like crazy during Tame Impala)– but if you see me- please come say hello! Boston Calling is all about good music, warm weather, and connecting with other people within the community- so don’t be shy!

I’ll be sure to post updates on my INSTAGRAM throughout the weekend- so be sure to check in!

Speaking of photos, I’ve been spending as much time as possible between work and other obligations to drink in the scenery of my new neighborhood- and the other night I was able to enjoy a long, peaceful walk in Historic Deerfield- which is a stone’s throw away from my new apartment. The sun was setting over the old, picturesque homes- and I was able to snap some great shots.

If you’d like to see an enlarged version of any of the photos below, just click on them!

I’m so excited to share more locations around the Valley as I get out and explore the area!

That just about does it for me today. I’m off to take care of business and errands. Even though Monday is a holiday, I’ll have my Boston Calling recap up and ready bright and early!

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful Friday and a sensational weekend ahead!

xx

– Ashley –