Pirates and Piglets…

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

Before I begin another week at work and try to stay dry during what is shaping up to be a rainy few days ahead- I wanted to dial it back a bit and share some of my favorite moments from this past weekend! There was a lot of driving, a considerable amount of delicious food- and a little bit of theater!

On Saturday, I had made the mini-trek down to Mystic, Connecticut for the first time in a couple of years. My original plan was to do a little shopping in Olde Mistick Village (a series of shops, boutiques and restaurants set within a 1700s style-inspired Colonial village) and then grab a slice of pizza over at Mystic Pizza over on Main Street. Yes, *the* Mystic Pizza.

What I hadn’t anticipated was the traffic- both road-wise and pedestrian. When I was a kid, my family typically visited/stayed in Mystic during the Fall- and it was never particularly busy. That all changes in the Summer, however- when tourists flock from all over to get a taste of that small, quaint, seaside New England charm. Not only was getting from point A to B a hassle in itself- but parking was pretty much impossible. After doing some shopping in the village and driving by Mystic Pizza (sadly, may I add-) I eventually returned home to get rested up for yesterday.

I did manage to buy my mother and my dog each a cute present while I was in town, though- so not all was lost.

Yesterday morning, with coffee in hand- I swung by Easthampton to catch my friend Troy in his performance for Paintbox Theatre’s “Pirates!” (which I blogged about last week!) The show was, I believe, sold out- and the auditorium appeared packed to capacity with very excited children and amused adults as they watched the pandemonium take place on stage, in the aisles, and even in the audience.

It was beyond adorable- and I’m so, so proud of the incredible cast and crew who were involved in what ended up being Easthampton’s official Pirate Day- per the mayor- who also happened to be in attendance!

After the show, I headed out so Troy could get going on the planned activities for the kids for the remainder of the afternoon- heading back out towards Central Massachusetts and dodging sunshowers (that turned into thunderstorms) that rolled through the area. Famished before I could reach my destination, I saw signs for Stone Cow Brewery in Barre and decided to stop and indulge in some of their BBQ, a beer, and the scenery. I’ve passed by the place so many times in the past but never had the time to stop- but I’m sure glad I did!

Not only was the food amazing (their corn bread is some of the best I’ve ever tasted)- but the surrounding farmland was beautiful and seeing some baby animals while I strolled the area was the cherry on top of a perfect afternoon.

Although I did feel a little bad when I came across the baby piglets. Especially since I had just eaten a pulled pork sandwich. Yikes.

Overall it was a pretty fun weekend- and being back at work is definitely a downer!

This week I’ve got a fun grilling recipe I’m excited to share with everyone, as well as a peek into some of my favorite products, items, odds & ends from July- so keep an eye out!

Until then, though- I hope you all have a fantastic start to your week. Let’s get through it together!

xx

– Ashley –

Odds and Ends…

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! We made it!

Before I launch into my half day at work and kick-start my weekend nice and early, I thought I’d post about a bit of blog maintenance I’ve been performing over the past few days. I like to clean things up every few months in terms of my layout, pages, and links- and it’s always good to let visitors know what’s new or changed so they don’t get lost along the way!

In layout news, I’ve de-cluttered my sidebar a bit so you’re all not bombarded with my social media posts- and put my Instagram feed along the bottom of the page to free up some space.

I’ve also updated my “CONTACT” page with some new links for those looking to connect across various platforms (like BlogLovin!)

And I’ve made it a bit easier to e-mail me directly by clicking the icon at the very, tippy-top of my main page. I know a couple of people had reached out because it wasn’t working 100%. Don’t worry- it’s been fixed!

I think that’s everything! Blondie Birdie should be looking nice and organized, and running smoothly again!

I’ll be back to posting my regularly-scheduled content next week. Until then, I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

xx

– Ashley –

Ahoy, Mateys!

When it comes to theater and the arts- I wouldn’t exactly call myself a refined, sophisticated know-it-all- and I like what I like without apology. I was a trained ballet dancer through my teens and a Fine Arts major in NYC for all of thirty seconds in my early twenties before I made the switch to wide-eyed traveler, tenacious law student and tireless writer. But my interest in performances and painting never waned.

I like immersive theater the best- and anything dark, broody or supernatural and spooky is right up my alley given my self-proclaimed “Halloween Queen” title- but sometimes family-friendly and downright silly can be an unexpected delight that I treat myself to from time to time. When that type of theater happens to take place right in the heart of Western Massachusetts- an area I frequent often and truly enjoy spending time in- it’s even better.

My first introduction to Paintbox Theater was in the Summer of 2014 after a return trip from San Diego Comic-Con (speaking of- I hope everyone attending this week has a great time and uploads an obscene amount of photos so I can keep up!) My longtime friend, Troy- an actor with an almost intimidating resume and now company manager at Paintbox- had picked me up at the airport and invited me to come along to a rehearsal so I could see firsthand what it is that they do.

He was also borrowing my car that week- which I’m sure impacted his decision to invite me to some degree- but that’s neither here nor there.

Paintbox- founded by Tom McCabe, a celebrated storyteller (who also serves as a writer and director of the company’s productions)– puts on three shows every Summer that not only interact heavily with it’s teeny-tiny audience members- but simultaneously encourages literacy, kindness, and friendship with each performance. All the things this world so desperately needs right now, really.

They do this by incorporating audience participation and allowing children to add their own artwork to the set- drawings that are shown via a projection screen over the stage that are used to depict scenery, characters, points in the story, etc. It’s a nice and adorable way for kids to feel like they’re *in* on the play and included in the shenanigans and sometimes absolute pandemonium (in a controlled, safe way of course) happening with the actors onstage.

And if you’re worried that there isn’t anything to keep the adults entertained during all of this- think again. Some of the jokes, which are subtle enough to go way above a toddler’s head- are pretty perfect for any parent or grown-up patron who needs a good chuckle.

I was completely moved by the company’s efforts to reach and entertain children back in 2014- and have popped by performances now and then through the years to say hello. Now, in it’s celebratory 15th season- Paintbox is getting ready for their second show of the Summer: “Pirates!” and since I’m always looking to share fun things to do around New England- I thought this would be perfect for those of you reading this (with or without younger ones) who might want to travel to one of the more beautiful areas of Massachusetts and catch a show while supporting a great group of hardworking people.

I, myself, have been a proud supporter of Paintbox for years now- and think you’d all enjoy it!

Saturday- July 21, 2018 @ 10:30 AM & 1:00 PM – Sunday- July 22, 2018 @ 10:30 AM

Williston Theater @ 18 Payson Ave, Easthampton, MA. 01027

(the Sunday show will immediately be followed by a 2nd annual “Pirate Day” with games and activities.)

Wednesday- July 25, 2018 @ 10:30 AM (Rain Date: Thursday, July 26, 2018 @ 10:30 AM)

Millside Park @ 2 Ferry Street along the Manhan Rail Trail

Tickets can be purchased at the website linked above, or by CLICKING HERE.

Enjoy your Wednesday, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

Very Superstitious…

Good Morning and Happy Monday (ugh…), everyone! Time to get back into that workday grind!

This past weekend was a lazy and relaxing one- with my time divided between an outdoor festival with friends in Western Massachusetts on Saturday and a family cookout on Sunday- but it was enough to recharge me for the week ahead. I’ve got a lot to do over the next few days!

Before I kicked things off in Greenfield on Saturday morning, I was in Medfield overnight for the Friday the 13th-inspired movie screening put on by the Coolidge Corner Theatre! Specifically- the theatre’s “After Midnight” program, where they screen classic horror movies, low-budget 70s flicks, and so-bad-they’re-good cult favorites like “The Room” and “Batman & Robin”- late at night.

Every Friday the 13th- rain or shine- the theater turns the Rocky Woods Reservation in Medfield into Camp Crystal Lake and screen two back-to-back Jason Voorhees movies. There’s plenty of refreshments provided by local breweries and volunteers- and one or two very tall, muscular and intimidating guys that dress like Jason and walk around at random to help creep up everyone’s night.

This year’s movie selection consisted of “Friday the 13th: A New Beginning” and my personal favorite in the series- “Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan”. Both, part of that so-bad-they’re-good category- had all of us in attendance laughing hysterically for hours on end. By the time the night was over- my face hurt from cracking up so much- but the rest of me felt fine thanks to some serious bug spray I used beforehand to keep mosquitoes and ticks away! You can never be too careful, after all.

The Coolidge will be showing classic horror movies through the end of the Summer, so if you’re looking for something to do on a Friday or Saturday night and want to stay somewhere air conditioned and surrounded by good people who like to laugh- I definitely recommend stopping by!

I personally can’t wait for their “Troll 2” night. So, so awful. It’s going to be a blast!

And now I’ve got to get to work and get things done before my phone starts ringing!

Enjoy your Monday, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

OOTD: In The Navy…

Good Morning, Happy Friday- and Happy Friday The 13th, everyone!

Before I finish up early at work, head out to stock up on bug spray and snacks, and venture out into the woods for an overnight Jason Vorhees-inspired camp out to commemorate this most creepy of dates with some friends- I wanted to share one of my favorite Summertime pieces that was under $10! Yes, you read that right- under $10!

This navy blue, cotton, strapless dress- courtesy of Primark– was unsurprisingly intended to be a bikini cover-up. But, when the temperatures soar and I want to be able to be out and about without sweating through or sticking to fabrics- this little number comes in handy!

This dress is lightweight and stops mid-thigh, making it easy to accessorize with sandals/flats without having to worry about it getting even shorter. I also love the crocheting around the mid-section, which makes this look super flattering!

I wore this dress this past weekend during my afternoon excursion to Georges Island- and paired it with a simple tan Panama hat and comfortable navy and white striped flats to make maneuvering around Fort Warren and the surrounding beach a little easier and safer.

And, as usual- I framed my face with my favorite pair of cat-eye shades from Quay Sunglasses! I was comfortable (even when exploring a spooky abandoned fort) and looked ready to go from beach-to-yacht-to-seaside-dinner in no time at all!

If I’m wearing this dress out at night, I tend to wear a little more bling with it to make it feel a bit more fancy- and if I’m feeling more daring- I’ll skip the flats/sandals and go with a modest wedge heel that isn’t too high.

But for under $10- this dress was a great buy that gets a ton of use in the hotter months!

I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your Friday and a ton of fun this coming weekend! If you’re superstitious- be extra careful today. And, if you’re not superstitious- try not to wander into any abandoned Summer camps anyway, okay? You never know what (or who) is lurking out there!

See you all on Monday!

xx

– Ashley –