August 2018: In a Nutshell

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

We’ve made it to another weekend (and it’s a long one thanks to Labor Day!), to the end of August, and really- to the the end of Summer 2018. I know the first day of Autumn isn’t technically until September 22nd- when I’ll be right smack in the middle of a vacation on the West Coast- but something about the beginning of September feels new and exciting every year.

Maybe it’s because the regular football season is starting soon, or the Pumpkin Spice Latte is already back in coffee shops- or kids are returning to school and sweaters are beginning to pop up in the storefronts. Either way- it’s time to say goodbye to Summer and welcome in the Fall season- which is especially fun and beautiful here in New England!

But respects must be paid this past August, which was jam packed with as many Summertime activities that my friends and I could fit into our schedules!

Even though the month started with a F1 tornado dropping in on my mom’s neighborhood while I was visiting- the following weeks were filled with day trips to the beach, to seaside communities in Connecticut, to dairy farms out in Western Massachusetts where we filled up on ice cream and French fries- and most recently to Colby Farms in Newbury- where the sunflowers were in full bloom and where I brought Oliver for National Dog Day this past weekend to spend some quality time together!

While at the farm, I made sure to grab some sunflowers to bring home- as well as a couple of peaches to bite into once I’d returned to the comforts of my kitchen and my air conditioning!

I caught a George Clinton show earlier this month, went to my friend’s Summer Slam party to watch Finn Balor and eat a ton of good food a couple of weeks ago, saw a couple of great movies (the most recent being “Operation Finale” the other night- and it was incredible!)– did plenty of grilling and began packing away my Summer wardrobe while simultaneously prepping my Fall one for the coming weeks!

Overall, August- much like the majority of my Summer- was pretty busy but oh so fun and filled with sun! I’ve got the tan lines to prove it!

So, what’s in store for September?

Well, as I said earlier- I’ll be taking a week off near the end of next month to head out West and split time between Las Vegas and San Diego to catch up with friends and browse the real estate in Henderson, Nevada. I’m also getting ready to launch into the Patriots’ regular season with a trip to Gillette Stadium and some tailgating parties- and I’ve got plenty of Fall recipes, outfits, and a pretty great Autumn-inspired playlist to share in the coming weeks!

So before I head into my half day at work, a planned dinner with my family later on tonight and my long weekend- here’s to August and the Summer of 2018- which was wild, a little unpredictable, sweltering hot at times- and a whole lot of fun. I’m gonna’ miss it!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I’m taking Monday off from blogging for Labor Day festivities- but I’ll be back on Wednesday with a really great dessert recipe to share!

Enjoy your Friday, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: August 2018!

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

I’m recovering from a pretty busy weekend- spent at the beach on Saturday and a farm stand out in Newton yesterday (I took some incredible photos which will be up a little later on this week)– so being back at work with a mountain of cases in front of me isn’t exactly ideal right now.

Before I swallow my coffee and the urge to run screaming out of my office and focus on getting things done in full-blown “boss bitch” mode- I thought I’d share the usual end-of-the-month favorites compilation to spotlight some of the products, odds and ends that have made this past August easier and a lot of fun- despite the stifling heat and humidity.

As always, I’ll get this started with the things I was able to capture in photographs before moving onto the miscellaneous bits and pieces that were a little bit harder to snap pictures of.

Let’s get started!

With plastic straws becoming a thing of a past and “sippy cup” style lids feeling a little *too* ridiculous for me, an adult woman, to use when drinking my daily iced coffee- I turned to Amazon and ordered a set of these FDA-approved stainless steel drinking straws (for only $8.99 a set!)

With four straight straws, four curved straws, and two cleansing brushes that make washing these a breeze- I pop these in the fridge overnight and then stick them in my coffee in the morning. The result is consistently cool sips of mocha-hazelnut and the bonus of cutting back on plastic pollution in the oceans and in landfills!

Side note, but I’m really going to miss my disposable (and recyclable!) Summer-themed dinnerware I’ve been using for my cookouts, BBQs and parties over the past couple of months- even though it means it’s nearly time so stock up on some Fall-inspired ones. These lemonade printed plates and napkins went over really well in August- and I thankfully have an extra set to put away for next year!

With August being one of the more humid months during the Summer this year, I needed a lot of help to keep my curls hydrated and frizz-free. I found some relief in these little mask/leave-in conditioner “shots” from GARNIER– particularly the banana-scented strengthening treatment.

A couple of times a week, I run this mask over my hair in the shower and then rinse after about five minutes. Later on, when my hair is still damp- I comb some of the product through my to my ends and let it air dry. I’m left with soft (not stiff) and defined curls with zero frizz. It’s a miracle in a little tub!

Of course, there were days when I just didn’t have the patience, the time, or the energy to try and get my fly-aways under control. When that happened- I turned to these brightly-colored and tropic-inspired headbands I had picked up at Primark a couple of months ago. They match pretty much everything in my Summer wardrobe and made my hair look so cute- even on days where I didn’t really put that much effort into it!

Makeup be damned. There were days when I came in from being outside and just wanted to run a faucet over my head or dunk my face in a bucket of ice cold water. Of course, those options weren’t available (most of the time) and I had to get resourceful. I turned to Happy Spritz’s “Breathe Deeply” peppermint essential oil facial spray to offer me relief.

Not only is this spray insta-cooling, but the scent also clears out my sinuses if I have any of those early morning pollen allergies driving me nuts. It leaves my face and neck feeling soft and hydrated- and doesn’t leave behind any kind of sheen/slickness to my skin!

And finally, before I start hoarding my favorite Fall candles from Bath & Body Works, I had to burn out the last of my Summer ones this past month. My favorite, without a doubt- was “Cherry Snow Cone”- which smelled exactly like it should have. Cherry syrup with a hint of lemon.

A close contender and follow-up to that one was a candle simply called “Boardwalk”- which was a really great combination of coconut and fried dough and made my bedroom smell like a road trip to the coast in Maine- if that makes sense to anyone else apart from me.

That’s it for the photogenic favorites. Now, as promised-here are a few other things that made the list this month!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

Interpol – “Marauder” – Interpol’s latest album dropped this past Friday, and with all the driving I did on Saturday and Sunday to get to my destinations, I had a chance to give it a few good listens from start to finish. While it’s definitely a different direction for the band sound/lyrically wise- I’m seriously loving the new style and it’s made me even more excited to see them live in a couple of weeks!

Bob’s Burgers – I know, I know. With the amount of TV I watch, I’m amazed I’ve been sleeping on this cartoon for as long as I did, too. I had always wanted to sit down and watch it- but never found the time and never got around to it until recently- and laughed my ass off with every single episode as I started getting caught up.

I’m 99.9% sure that H. Jon Benjamin’s voice just makes everything better.

And I think that does it for the month of August, everyone! As always, if you’d like to share some of your own favorite things from this past month- drop me a line or leave a comment!

Maybe they’ll make my list in September. You never know, right?

Here’s wishing you all a stress-free and easy-as-possible Monday to get through. Let’s get things done!

xx

– Ashley –

July 2018: In a Nutshell

Good Morning and Happy Monday 2.0, everyone!

This week’s posting schedule is a short one (today and Thursday only)– not only because the last day of July happened to land on a Tuesday- but because I’ve got a pretty busy few days ahead of me and have been coordinating different events, meet-ups, errands and deadlines around an already packed work-week!

Can you all believe we’re getting ready to dive into August? That means there’s only one solid month of Summer left before we start to gradually transition into the Fall. Cooler temperatures, shorter days, changing foliage- and the return of pumpkin spiced everything. It’s pretty wild- and I, for one- intend to savor the next few hot and sunny weeks ahead as much as possible!

But before I get ready to change my calendar and start planning as many beach days as I can get away with- I thought I’d take a look back on the month of July- and all the fun (and sometimes insanity) that came with it!

The beginning of this past month was marked by tragedy, unfortunately. Following the suicide of an old friend near the end of June, the first few days of July saw me return to my hometown in Central Massachusetts to pay my respects and spend some much-needed time with mutual friends I hadn’t seen in many years who were also in mourning.

While the circumstances were indeed grim, being able to catch up with so many people I’d missed and care about- and both laugh and cry as we shared memories from a long time ago- was pretty cathartic. I’m making more of an effort to find time to see these friends more often, despite our busy schedules and home lives- because it shouldn’t only be tragedies that bring people back together.

By the time July 4th rolled around, I was also getting back in touch with nature- hiking, swimming beneath waterfalls and in lakes, and catching ferries around Boston Harbor’s islands to get a taste of the ocean and get out of the city for a few hours at a time. By the time Friday the 13th rolled around, I was a pro at packing backpacks filled with SPF, bug spray, and snacks- and had no issues camping out in the middle of the woods for a Jason Vorhees-inspired film festival at Rocky Woods Reservation!

And despite quite a few scattered thunderstorms and sun showers- I caught plenty of outdoor cookouts and backyard BBQs with friends and family (take a peek at some of my SUMMER RECIPES posts for a few of my favorite dishes!) as well as taking in some local children’s theater to support one of my best friends and enjoying some Summer blockbuster action flicks in air conditioned theaters!

This past weekend, with July winding down- I kept things closer to home. Friday night was the Arctic Monkeys show at TD Garden. I love those brilliant boys from Sheffield- and it was a real trip to see them play for thousands at the Garden when I can remember so clearly watching them play for about 100 people in small venues throughout New York and London in our early twenties! Alex may have shaved off his beautiful hair last week, but he was still just as dashing and charming as ever- and hearing some of the bangers I love best reverberate off the walls of the arena was such an incredible feeling.

Live music can make you feel invincible sometimes. I swear.

Following the gig, friends and I took the after party to the Coolidge Corner Theater for their midnight screening of “The Room” (AKA the best worst movie ever made) ala “Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Within three minutes- the entire crowd was laughing hysterically- and by ten minutes in, we were throwing plastic spoons at the screen after being given handfuls of them by the staff upon entry. If you’ve never had the opportunity to go to a midnight screening, don’t even hesitate to buy tickets if one is available near you. Grab your friends and go. It’s a riot.

By the early afternoon on Saturday, my friends and I- having gone to bed around 4 a.m.- needed to recharge and sleepily walked to downtown Melrose to get brunch at our favorite weekend spot- Cappa’s Trackside Kitchen. We all split omelettes, toast, hash, home fries- and my personal favorite- banana Nutella French toast- before grabbing coffees to go and heading out into the sunshine to wake ourselves up a little.

Sunday was my day to rest, although I did take a bit of time to get a few errands for the week accomplished- but the majority of the day was spent in pajamas, surfing the web, watching trashy reality TV, and eating nachos. Sometimes you just really, really need a lazy Sunday- and it seemed like a fitting way to bid farewell to an otherwise jam-packed and busy month! Decompressing and getting ready for the next one!

So what do I have planned for August? Well, as I mentioned earlier- definitely as many beach days as possible! I’m also hoping to spend a little more time in some of my favorite seaside towns before that tricky New England weather starts to change again.

I’ve got Boston Comic-Con and Summer Slam coming up within the next couple of weeks, too- which is going to require some creativity and dressing up on my part!

And, of course- I’ll have plenty of recipes, outfits and recaps to share as Summer 2018 begins to draw to a close!

But I’ve got a meeting at work this morning before I get right back into my daily grind- so here’s wishing you all a wonderful end to your own July- and a lovely rest of your Tuesday!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: July 2018!

Good Afternoon and Happy Friday, everyone!

I’m taking a break from running errands, catching up on e-mails, and enjoying a light lunch before I start getting ready for tonight’s Arctic Monkeys show at TD Garden- followed by a midnight screening of ‘The Room’ at Coolidge Corner Theater with some friends!

I thought now would be a good time as ever to share some of my favorite things from this past month- considering it’s nearly over (time is flying by this Summer, isn’t it?!) As usual, I’ll recap the month as a whole next week before August is here- but for today- it’s all about the products and odds & ends I’ve been loving/obsessed with over the past few weeks!

I’ll be starting with the items/products I was able to photograph before moving onto some of the other miscellaneous things, of course.

Let’s get right to it!

Throughout July, I was trying different mascaras derived from more natural ingredients to lengthen, define and condition my lashes- but there’s one that really stood out for me that I’ve been using every day since trying it for the very first time. Milk Makeup’s KUSH High Volume Mascara (infused with cannabis oil- and there’s plenty of weed puns on the packaging) has thickened, softened, and protected my lashes since I started using it.

I think this has taken the title of my new all-time favorite mascara!

For my lips, I’ve been really into bright reds/corals/oranges this month- and I found the perfect long-lasting, non-drying liquid lipstick from Sephora’s Cream Lip Stain line. This shade, called “Chili Pepper” is so bold and fun to wear- day or night. Whenever I’m rocking this, I always have people stopping me to ask about it. Best of all? It was only $14!

And in July I tried to keep that red/orange hue on my nails, too- especially with all the patriotic parties that happened at the beginning of the month! For quick touch-ups for my manicure, I turned to Lollipops Nail Polish in “VOYAGE À PARIS” to keep my digits looking fresh, shiny and cherry red!

July has been filled with scattered thunderstorms, plenty of sun showers- and more than one foggy day. Long story short: it’s been humid. Times a thousand. I knew that no ordinary hairspray would keep my curls from puffing up- but I also didn’t want anything so heavy-duty that my hair would look and feel like dry straw. Enter OGX’s Humidity Blocking Hairspray. Infused with shea butter and marula oil- this lightweight aerosol hairspray keeps my hair controlled- without the crunch.

I’ve been able to make it through so much unpredictable weather these past few weeks with this stuff!

Finally, Summer isn’t Summer without some Bath and Body Works fragrances! Throughout July, I’ve been lathering up with this Beach Water Coconut body wash- which is a really great combination of coconut, bergamot and musk- and transports me to the coast every morning in the shower.

And, while on-the-go, I am *obsessed* with their “At The Beach” body mist. It’s a refreshing, cooling ocean scent- and I never leave home (or the office) without spritizing some on!

I think that’s it for the products- but some other things made the list, too!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

“Mission Impossible: Fallout” – I saw this movie last night with Troy, and what an absolute adrenaline rush! The action scenes were amazing, the comedic scenes were perfect- and Henry Cavill was such a great addition to the cast. This was the quintessential, fast-paced Summertime movie and I can’t stop talking about how good it was!

– MISCELLANEOUS –

Paintbox Theater – I posted about this Western Massachusetts’ children’s theater company earlier this month- and their last performance of the Summer season is taking place the first weekend in August (it’s “The Little Mermaid” by the way!) So if you’ve got little ones and would like to make a trip to one of the most beautiful parts of the state- there’s still time to get tickets to see an adorable show!

And I think that’s it for July, everyone! I’ve got to go get prettied up for tonight- but if you’d like to share some of your own favorite things from this month, feel free to drop me a line or leave a comment!

As always, here’s wishing you all a wonderful weekend! See you all next week!

xx

– Ashley –

June 2018: In a Nutshell

Good Morning and Happy Saturday Morning, everyone!

The end of this beautiful, sunny, and often scorching hot month falls on a weekend this year- so before I get ready to get a long overdue mani/pedi and head down to Foxwoods for ComiCONN this afternoon- I wanted to take a quick look back at June 2018 and tip my hat to all the fun and fond memories I made over these past few weeks!

June could easily be summarized with two words: Road Trips. While I didn’t cruise Route 66 across the country (yet) or take my family’s longtime favorite 3-day scenic down the Florida- I spent a lot of my days off and down-time heading to places like Manchester-By-The-Sea, Brattleboro in Vermont, and especially spots in Western Massachusetts like Shelburne Falls and Turners Falls- just really beautiful, relaxing and picturesque locations in the New England area.

And even though it required a lot of time in my car to get to those places (not that I mind- I love driving!) I spent enough time soaking in the scenery and the sun where I’ve developed a bit of an actual tan AND my hair got a little blonder! I’m the East Coast version of a West Coast beach babe, after all.

I saw a lot of great art and performances throughout June, too- from the annual “Film Wars” festival/competition in my hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts- to the hypnotic “Deux Ex Machina” at the Shea Theater. It was a great month for talent and creativity- and an even greater month to enjoy that talent and creativity outdoors. With the exception of a couple sporadic tornado warnings and watches around the area- June was filled with sunny days and lovely sunsets nearly every night!

Robbing the wardrobe department in Deux Ex Machina blind.

I also celebrated a year of blogging and over 100 posts here at Blondie Birdie with a fun, beach-themed giveaway earlier this month (now closed. Sorry! I’m sure there will be another one soon, though!) and, through some local networking events sprinkled throughout June- am really excited for some planned partnerships and collaborations I have in store for the coming weeks!

So, what else do I have planned for July? More travel around New England, of course- but I’m seeing some more great performances by local artists, putting together a guide to Summertime dining in the area, sharing some more backyard BBQ-friendly recipes, continuing to let everyone into my wardrobe for a peek around at what I wear during the hottest months of the year- and celebrating Friday the 13th with some good, ol’ fashioned camping!

Here’s wishing you all a fantastic weekend! I’ll be back on Monday morning with a new recipe to make your 4th of July easy and cute before I break for the holiday- but you can keep an eye on all my Comic-Con adventures over at my INSTAGRAM in the meantime!

See you all soon!

Summer Solstice!

xx

– Ashley –