February 2018: In a Nutshell

Good Morning, everyone! Can you believe it’s the end of February already and that March- and Spring!- are right around the corner? I sure can’t. It feels like this month flew by- although I’m sure my traveling and long-term-plan-making kept me pretty occupied (and maybe a little distracted!) as the days went right by me!

February- as short and sweet a month as it is- had it’s fair share of incredible, memorable moments that I’ll carry with me through the rest of 2018. I kicked things off with some of my dearest friends in Las Vegas where I got to catch up with people I love and who I hadn’t seen in what felt like the longest time, enjoy a hometown show from one of my favorite bands (The Killers, obviously!) and ultimately made the decision to move to Henderson, Nevada later on this Fall. Talk about a busy weekend, right?

While I was in Vegas, The Patriots sadly lost the Super Bowl in what was really one of the only low points this past month- which was a bummer, for sure- but what an incredible season they had! I had so much fun reigniting longtime rivalries with friends who support other teams, going to multiple tailgating parties, and enjoying all the amazing game day food- and I’m looking forward to next season where I’m sure my boys are going to dominate again.

But until then- it’s almost time for the Red Sox resurgence!

I was surprised with a Belated-Birthday-Party by my friends this past month, as well as a semi-surprise dinner date for Galentine’s Day courtesy of a guy friend of mine who went above and beyond to cook me a homemade meal (I’m still a little heart-eyed over that one, to be honest!) and rang in the ‘Year of The Dog’ with my own puppers and some Chinese takeout for the Lunar New Year.

With hints of warmer weather teasing us here in New England every so often over these past few weeks- some days were spent out in the sunshine, savoring the rising temperatures- while other, chillier days were spent driving through places in Western Massachusetts and Vermont with the heat cranked up and some hot coffee within reach to decompress and unwind.

And then, of course- there was this past weekend- where I took my friend from work- Bryan- with me down to Mohegan Sun to catch an impromptu show from some of my favorite local boys and longtime friends- the Dropkick Murphys! The guys were nice enough to hook Bryan and I up with an All Access pass so we could roam backstage and stage-side freely- and what a view we had of the show!

The show was the kickoff to their annual Saint Patrick’s Day celebration- and what an incredible performance it was! The crowd was awesome, the setlist was pretty perfect- and we had such an amazing time. Bryan hadn’t seen the guys in years, so I was really glad that he could come along and watch it from what was undoubtedly the best spot in the entire arena with me!

And afterwards, of course- I had to thank Ken- who has been so lovely to me over the years since we first met back in my early (like, really early) twenties. We made sure to take an updated photo, too- since the last one was from circa 2013.

It was truly one of the best ways to wrap up the month, and I hope I get to see the guys again in a couple of weeks at any of their Boston shows. They’re so much fun!

Speaking of- what else do I have in store for March? A long overdue trip to NYC, stopping by the South Boston Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, breaking out some of my Spring wardrobe to share with you all- as well as some new recipes I’ve been experimenting with- and a few other tricks I have up my sleeve!

Enjoy the rest of your day, everyone- and be sure to tip your hat to February. It was a good one!


– Ashley –

Favorites: February 2018!

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone! What a wild weekend I had- which I’ll be talking about in a couple of days when I share my month’s-end “In a Nutshell” post- but for now it’s back to work for me, while simultaneously grieving over last night’s mid-season premiere of ‘The Walking Dead’ (for real- I cried so much that it was actually kind of gross.)

But before I dive into my morning meetings, e-mails and phone calls- I wanted to share some of my favorite things from this past month. Admittedly, there isn’t a lot of products/items since I did a pretty significant amount of traveling throughout February and many of my favorites from January carried over as a result- but there were a few things that stood out and even more odds and ends that I couldn’t photograph that made the list!

Let’s get right into it, shall we?

Despite fluctuating temperatures here in Massachusetts, it’s still pretty cold at night, and this mermaid tail blanket- a gift from my Aunt and Uncle earlier this year- has definitely come in handy on the nights I’ve spent throughout this month lounging on the couch and watching TV or getting some late night work done from the comfort of my dining room table.  This blanket is really warm and really fun- and has made more than one appearance in a selfie or on my Snapchat throughout the past couple of weeks.

Oddly enough, I recently read an article where someone said the mermaid and unicorn-themed clothing and accessories for adults are “juvenile”- which to that, I say- awesome. I’m warm, and that’s all that matters!

I’ve been wearing a lot of turtleneck sweaters lately, which makes accessorizing my neck a little difficult unless I go for statement pieces that are big and bold. I recently rediscovered this peacock necklace that my mother had given to me a couple of Christmases ago and I’ve been rocking it to work and out on the town nearly every day/night ever since.

I love the teal and purple colors- which stand out against my usual Winter-neutral shades of black, tan, and grey- and matching my eye shadow or eye liner to them proves for a fun, pre-Spring look without getting overly light and bright too prematurely.

With plans to potentially move out West later on this Fall, I’ve been revisiting something I’ve had on my ‘Bucket List’ for quite a few years but have never had the opportunity to complete until now. I’m talking about traveling cross-country on the remnants of what was formerly Route 66- complete with cheesy roadside attractions, cheap motels, diner food, and an amazing classic rock playlist.

I picked up this book a while back to see what this journey had to offer- and although it’s a little outdated- a lot of the attractions are still very much in existence (The Blue Whale of Catoosa! Cadillac Ranch! Prada Marfa!) I’ve been enjoying researching the must-sees and marking them down along my personal route map now and then over the past few weeks. It’s going to be an adventure!

And finally, one skin care product I’ve been obsessed with as of late. When I returned from my trip to Vegas earlier this month, my skin needed some serious TLC. The dryness of the desert, followed up by the harsh cold here in New England when I came back home- did a number on my complexion. I turned to this gel textured, 10-minute mask from First Aid Beauty to even out my face- restoring moisture, softening rough areas, and brightening any dull spots that appeared along the way.

I swear by this mask- which I use 2x a week- and achieve fantastic results every single time!

And I think that’s it for the photogenic stuff! Moving on, however-


‘Far Out\Thaw Out’ – I had shared my most recent, Spring-inspired playlist on 8Tracks a few days ago here on the blog, but it’s worth mentioning again because I truly love each song I hand selected for it and have been listening to them on a rotation (typically on my way to and from work) and thought it was worth posting again!

‘Black Panther’ – WAKANDA FOREVER. Not since ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ have I been so thoroughly in love with a MCU movie as I am with ‘Black Panther’ right now. It was perfect from start to finish- and I have to give a standing ovation to my Queen, Danai Gurira (who rules on ‘The Walking Dead’, too!) I practically shrieked with joy when she showed up on my screen.

I’m actually planning on seeing it again this week with friends who haven’t had the privilege of watching it yet- and I’m just as excited as I was the first time around!


Overcooked – I can’t remember the last time a video game caused my friends and I to frantically scream burger ingredients to each other, but here we are. My BFF Sean discovered this game and wasted no time in getting the rest of us on board- but we’ve been obsessively playing it at get togethers all month and we’re showing no signs of stopping any time soon.

The premise seems simple, but the execution can get complicated REAL quick. You play as little cartoon chefs and have to prepare, cook, and serve recipes in the order that they come in. Once the recipes become more complicated and the orders start coming in faster and faster- things turn into an absolute shit show. Our group’s friendship has been tested- more than once- with this game. Over cartoon cheeseburgers, of all things.

And I think that’s it for my February Favorites! I’m off to get some work done- and I hope you all have a great start to your week! Here’s hoping your Monday goes by quickly and painlessly!


– Ashley –

“It only takes two hours to Nevada…”

Since my early twenties, when I first began venturing out to the West Coast for days- and then weeks- at a time, I always said the same thing right before it came time for me to grab my suitcase and return home: “I need to live here.” The weather, the scenery, the music and art scenes, the food and the nightlife? Everything about places like California, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada resonated deeply with me- and it didn’t hurt that so many of my friends were/are peppered throughout different cities and States out that way.

I never feel alone when I travel out West- and given how much more active I am in warmer weather as opposed to being cooped up here in New England during the Winter months- meeting new people when I’m out and about is always pretty easy for me.

Over the years, different friends have tried to convince me to take the plunge, make the commitment- and move to places like San Diego or Los Angeles- and although I would have loved to. I really, really would have loved to- personal circumstances and the inevitable financial strain were unavoidable and caused multiple delays in potential plans to relocate for over a decade.

For example: plans to move years ago were abruptly halted when my father was diagnosed with cancer and later passed away during his post-surgery chemo and radiation treatments. Spending time with him and taking care of both him and my mother while she tried to remain strong for my entire family were understandably the priority- and nothing else mattered at the time.

A couple of years following his death and my recovery from the grief and brief anxiety disorder that I developed in the aftermath of the trauma- an attempt to head out to SoCal for the long haul were once again cut short when the law firm I worked for closed abruptly and I was subsequently laid off months before my scheduled departure without warning- resulting in a HUGE hit to my finances as I scrambled to find work and try to figure out my next step that wouldn’t leave me drowning in debt as I attempted to pay bills and afford transport/travel expenses that would ultimately get me to my destination.

And then, of course- there was the messy, devastating breakup with a long-term love of mine near the end of 2016. A split that left me so dazed and confused that I eventually just put moving on the back burner all together so I could focus on my career, my personal life with my friends and family, and piecing myself back into a person I knew and recognized bit by bit until I felt whole again. I’ve been rooted here in Boston and Massachusetts ever since- occasionally popping by various areas out West every so often to say hello and work on my tan.

But, it looks like things are changing in 2018.

After careful consideration, weighing the pros/cons of the decision, and discussing it at length and in-depth with my immediate family and close friends- I’ve decided that the time is right and the time is now: I’ll be re-locating to Henderson, Nevada later on this Fall to give myself a year-long trial of living my life out West- in the desert- to see how it goes. Everyone I’ve spoken to about this plan has given me their blessing- as well as some friendly advice, of course.

Why Henderson? Well, for starters- it’s a nice, safe area about 20-30 minutes outside of the Vegas Strip. Close enough to go have fun, see a show, gamble and drink if I truly felt like it- but far enough away from the action where I can avoid drunk people who are getting sloppy by the end of the night and get a full night’s rest without being disturbed by bright lights and loud voices/music. I love Vegas, but being *IN* Vegas full-time would be utterly overwhelming and exhausting for me!

My West Coast Wife, Kelsey, also lives in Henderson- as well- so being able to spend more time with her instead of only seeing her a couple of times a year is definitely a bonus!

But one of the biggest perks to moving to Nevada is the cost of living vs. anywhere else- including where I live now. Real estate is incredibly reasonable in Henderson. You can buy a home, or rent a beautiful and spacious apartment/condo without having to work four different jobs or sacrifice your time or sanity to make ends meet. That sort of freedom- and being able to have actual options on where you live and what you can do for work- is a luxury these days. With Vegas being a bustling, tourist-filled city- you can find work pretty much anywhere and everywhere- and not feel boxed in or forced to choose something just for the sake of earning a paycheck.

Listen- I love San Diego- and if I could live anywhere in the world, it’d be there– but it is financially impossible for me. The same way it’s nearly impossible for a lot of people I know out there who are really struggling and working themselves to the bone in order to afford the ever increasing cost of living. I want to enjoy my time in the sunshine- and not work 3-4 jobs just so I can pay rent for an apartment that is essentially the size of a broom closet. That’s not the type of life I want- and in Henderson- that isn’t the type of life I’d be forced to have.

Besides, if I REALLY get lonesome for Ocean Beach? San Diego is a 4 hour drive from Vegas (and a 45 minute flight!)– which is a lot better and a lot more convenient than being 3,000 miles away like I currently am!

So, what’s the plan?

While no set or specific move date has been established- I’m pushing towards a mid-November date to pack up and head out of Massachusetts. Not just because it’ll be right before we start getting slammed with snow again so I can dodge that nightmare in time, but also because my friend Stef is getting married right after Halloween- and moving furniture and heavy objects in breezy Fall weather sounds a LOT more appealing than moving it in the middle of the Summer.

I’ve been cutting expenses and saving as much money as I can as of late to make sure I’m prepared- and have been actively reaching out to and talking with knowledgeable folks in Henderson about renting an apartment/condo. I have a trip planned sometime in the Spring to go and look at some property in-person (as well as meet with some local businesses in regards to starting a career out there.)

It definitely helps that my friends in the Vegas area are so eager and willing to assist, as well. I’ve been offered work opportunities and places to stay until I’m on my feet- which is comforting when I remember I’ll be a lot farther away from all that I’m familiar with here in New England.

And, of course- I’m savoring each moment I have with my family, my friends here at home, and even at work- since I know I’m going to miss it all like crazy once I head out and start driving West.

I fully intend on updating with my progress as things begin and continue moving along- but I’m excited, nervous, anxious, and hopeful to begin this new chapter of my life in a new location and surrounded by different scenery. It’s going to be interesting- that’s for sure!

Enjoy your Friday and your weekend, everyone! I’ll be back next week with my favorites from this past month, a look back at all the highs and lows throughout February- and will have a fun recipe to share with all of you, too!


– Ashley –

Long, Lazy Weekends…

Vermont (2/18/18)

Happy Wednesday, everyone! I hope those of you who had an extended weekend enjoyed it- and for anyone who had to work- I hope it was as stress-free as possible and painless for you!

It’s been ridiculously warm here in Massachusetts- with temperatures soaring into the high 60s/low 70s- which is just warm enough to melt all of the snow that accumulated in an overnight storm that blew through the area on Saturday/Sunday. I always say that New England weather is crazy- and the past 4-5 days are proof of it! We went from Winter to Spring in a matter of hours! I feel like Punxsutawney Phil may have been a little off with his prediction this past Groundhog Day.

My weekend was refreshingly laid back. Although I had wanted to venture out to NYC- the aforementioned storm caused a bit of delay- but I also really wanted (and needed) a weekend to decompress after traveling so much since New Years. I’m not complaining, of course- but going back and forth, to and from the West Coast- can really take a lot out of you! It was nice to just sleep in, catch up on e-mails (and my DVR) and eat some takeout in my sweatpants for a couple of long, lazy afternoons.

When I did venture out- it wasn’t to do anything too crazy. I had a board game night with friends on Saturday just before the snow first started to Fall, and on Sunday- once the roads were clear- I took a long and scenic drive through the back roads of Western Massachusetts, eventually winding my way up towards Vermont where I grabbed dinner and some fresh air.

Monday was my day for errands as I prepared to return to work yesterday morning, but I’d also managed to meet up with my friend Stef later on in the evening- who is in the midst of planning her wedding this coming Fall- for dinner, video games, and catching up.

Overall, despite making it a point to pencil in some “me” time to do absolutely nothing except relax- I’d managed to accomplish quite a lot!

Year of The Dog (2/16/18)

And so did Oliver- who helped me ring in the Lunar New Year at the end of last week. Year of The Dog, indeed!

Later on this week, I have a pretty big announcement about plans I’m hoping will come to fruition mid-Autumn- so I’m pretty excited to talk about that. But until then, here’s hoping we can all make it through this week- short as it is for some- and get ready for this weekend!


– Ashley –

Belated Birthdays, Galentines Day and Dinner Dates…

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! After a particularly grueling work week (for me, it was filled with meetings and making deadlines in-between those meetings)– it’s nice to see the light at the end of the tunnel known as an upcoming three-day weekend! I’m just excited about being able to sleep in for a morning, maybe do a bit of local adventuring- and getting some things done around my place!

Work aside, this past week was a lot of fun- having kicked off with a surprise Belated-Birthday-Party for yours truly that was thrown by some of my friends I hadn’t seen since last month, right before I’d gone off gallivanting around the West Coast! We had a really great dinner, listened to music, played some highly competitive video games- and indulged in my favorite type of cake (complete with crazy candles!)– red velvet!

And while I can’t say for sure who wrote the message to me in the frosting- I think I have a pretty good idea who was behind it…

Of course, this week was all about Valentine’s Day (and the equally important and undeniably way more fun Galentine’s Day holiday on February 13th!) and despite currently dating-around-but-not-seeing-anyone-exclusively situation I’m currently in- I felt festive and made it a point to touch up my nails- which had long since been destroyed since my last legitimate manicure in San Diego a few weeks ago while I was visiting for my birthday.

They’re still in good shape as I type away right now- so I’m pretty happy! Look how cute they came out!

And in preparation for the official day of cheesy romantic anecdotes and lovey-dovey gestures, one of my exquisite gentlemen friends invited me over to cook me dinner and watch a movie together at his apartment on Tuesday night- an impromptu date which included wine, flowers, and candles.

I couldn’t resist snapping a photo before we sat down. It was legitimately too cute (and the food was really good, too!) Of course, neither one of us- both overly sarcastic- could stomach a romantic comedy after a couple of glasses of wine. Instead, we opted for Tom Cruise’s “American Made”- which was actually very good! Gritty, a little dark- but funny and entertaining nonetheless.

Today also happens to be the Chinese New Year- and in celebration of the Year of The Dog- I’ll be cuddling up with mine after work today and enjoying some takeout crab rangoon and Lo Mein. I’ll also be bumping this Spring-inspired playlist I put together on my 8Tracks Account during some downtime this week.

If you’d like to give it a listen, it’s linked right here! The track listing is below!

– Far Out\Thaw Out [Spring 2018] Tracklisting –

  1. Vance Joy – Lay It On Me
  2. Birdy Bardot – Black Mirror
  3. James Bay – Wild Love
  4. MGMT – Me and Michael
  5. Franz Ferdinand – Feel The Love Go
  6. Dani Bell & The Tarantist – Crave
  7. Brian Fallon – Etta James
  8. The Killers – The Way It Was

Enjoy your weekend, everyone! See you next week!


– Ashley –

Sweet(heart) Treats: Chocolate-Filled Puff Pastry Hearts

Happy Hump Day- and Valentine’s Day (and belated Gal-entine’s Day), everyone! For those of you who are partnered up- I hope you have special, romantic, and fun-filled plans with your significant other- and for those of you who are single- live it up! Enjoy your own company or the company of friends who are also on the prowl for a good time. That’s what I plan on doing tonight with some of my girlfriends after I leave the office. There’s a glass of wine with my name on it somewhere!

Whatever your relationship status- we can all agree that tomorrow is the REAL holiday when all the Valentine’s Day candy gets marked down, right?

Speaking of candy. I thought I’d share a quick, easy, chocolate-y and festive dessert for those of you who might be looking to whip something up for your own Valentine today/tonight. It only takes a handful of ingredients and about 40 minutes of your time!


  • Four 9-inch refrigerated pie crusts (not in a shell)
  • 16 DOVE Dark and/or Milk Chocolate PROMISES Squares, unwrapped
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one pie crust until it is about 10 inches in diameter.
  3. Use a small heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut 8 hearts out of the pie crust. Repeat with the remaining pie crusts.
  4. Transfer half of the heart pieces to the prepared baking sheets, spacing them evenly. Place a piece of Dove chocolate in the center of each heart.
  5. Brush around the edges of each heart with cool water. Top with one of the remaining hearts and use a fork to press and seal the edges all the way around. Repeat until you’ve topped every heart.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with 1 tablespoon water to combine. Lightly brush the egg wash over the top of each heart and then sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Cut a small line into the top crust of each piece to create a vent.
  7. Bake until the crust is golden brown, 17 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely before serving.

I served these to a recent date with some strawberry puree and whipped cream to mix up the flavors a bit. The pie crust was crispy and lightly sweetened- and the chocolate was a warm, melty bit of heaven. Needless to say- these went over really well!

I’m off to my final meeting of the afternoon at work before I can break free and go have myself some single girl shenanigans- and I hope you all have a great holiday!


– Ashley –

OOTD: Seeing Spots

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone! While I’m not particularly looking forward to starting what is going to be a pretty hectic week at my office, I had a pretty fun, laid-back weekend (that also happened to include a surprise belated Birthday party for me!)– that I’ll get into a little later on this week. Plus, I’ve got my coffee and a cinnamon raisin bagel in front of me- so I can’t complain too much. I’ve definitely had worse Monday mornings.

Now that I’m back home in the cold and re-adjusted to my time zone- I wanted to share what has undoubtedly become “the” coat for me this Winter. It’s made a few appearances here on Blondie Birdie since I purchased it on sale for $10 last month (thanks, Primark!) but now I get to show what it looks like when it’s actually on my body.

What I love most about this leopard print coat is that it’s actually lined to keep me warm- so wearing it out and about this time of year isn’t like sacrificing my health for the sake of a fun, vintage look. It’s a legitimate Winter coat- that also happens to give me some serious 60s vibes whenever I throw it on.

I typically wear this coat with black leggings, black high-heeled boots, and a sheer top on nights out. If I’m not tying my hair up into a slicked back, high ponytail and throwing on some chandelier earrings- I do what I did this past weekend and let my hair down, glide on some cherry red lipstick and some winged eye liner- and hit the town.

I get a lot of compliments on this coat- which I hadn’t anticipated when I first bought it- but apparently leopard print is still very much in and still very much coveted. I love it. It’s fun, cozy, chic and is going to come in handy when I inevitably dress as Edie Sedgwick around Halloween later on this year.

I’m not going to lie- as much as I hate Winter- I’m going to be pretty bummed out when I have to put this thing in storage once the warmer weather rolls around!

I hope you all make it through your Monday unscathed. I’ve got a Valentine’s Day inspired dessert recipe coming up in a couple of days for those of you who like a quick and easy chocolate fix- and I’ll be sharing some of the details from this past weekend’s adventure.

Have a good one, everybody!


– Ashley –