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 –

April 2019: In a Nutshell

Good Morning and Happy Tuesday, everyone!

I had mentioned last Friday that the posting schedule would be a short one this week- mostly due to the way the end of the month fell and my other obligations over the next few days as I prepare for my West Coast vacation and my move (!!!)

April has been insanely busy, surprising and filled with new and exciting changes from start to finish- a theme I foresee carrying over into May and possibly June, as well. The biggest news of all, of course- is that I’ll be moving from the city and out to the Pioneer Valley (and into a lovely loft) within a couple of weeks after quietly and discreetly looking around the area and coordinating the arrangements before I finally got to make the big announcement recently when I’d signed my lease agreement and it was official!

I’m so excited to share my new neighborhood, community and discoveries/explorations as I adapt to life in an absolutely beautiful, picturesque area of the state! I recently shared one of my favorite places (so far!) during one of my last trips out to the soon-to-be-apartment- The Montague Bookmill!

There have been some changes at my full-time job, as well- including a new office space after there was a readjustment and realignment within the company that left some of my co-workers in different departments. I am, admittedly, still adjusting to those changes since I’m now working with an entirely different team that I’m still getting to know over these past couple of weeks- but so far, so good!

As always, I spent time with friends- including ones visiting from out of state and ones that just moved a little further away- and my family, as well. Easter was particularly fun and laid back– and despite all the changes I’ve been adapting to- of course I still had time to talk about the most recent season of “The Walking Dead.” Priorities!

So, with April packaged up nicely with a bow- what’s in store for May? The move, obviously- but next week I venture out to fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada (with a quick pit stop in San Diego, California) to spend some long overdue time with my West Coast Wife and her daughter. I’ve also got some fun Memorial Day Weekend plans lined up- as well as my usual assortment of recipes, OOTD/Fashion posts and recaps of nights out in and around the area.

I’m so excited for the coming weeks and hope you’ll all join me here and on my social media as I share my journey(s). April was a great month for making big decisions and taking huge steps towards goals and opportunities- and I’m sorry it has to end so soon!

I’m off to work for the day, but I’ll be back on Thursday with some updates from the family theater company I’ve been working with, as well as some odds and ends before the posting schedule returns to normal next week.

Here’s wishing you all a great day!

xx

– Ashley –

Favorites: April 2019!

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! We made it to another weekend (and in my case – just barely!)

Next week is a short posting week, Tuesday and Thursday only, given that April is winding down and May is just a few days away (!!!)– but before I recap these past few weeks and get ready to jump into a brand new month that is going to be filled with travel, my move, and a LOT of adjustments- I wanted to share a few of my favorite things from April that helped make all these changes a little easier to get through!

This is my monthly “Favorites” post that highlights some of the products, items, impulse buys, and odds & ends that I’ve been enjoying all month- and as always I like to start with the things I was able to capture with a camera before I work my way down to the miscellaneous things- movies, TV shows, food/drinks, etc.

It’s a little list- but a good one- so let’s get started!

With Spring here, I finally get to switch up my makeup from deep gem-toned eye shadows and merlot-colored lipstick to lighter, fresher shades for the warmer weather! The first thing I decided to swap out was my blush. During the Winter I had been using a silvery highlighter all over my face to give me an icy glow- but with Spring here I opted for something a little more on the pink/rosy side (and with a hint of gold to make me look sunkissed!)

I’m loving this tiny little powder blush/highlighter, “Dandelion” from Benefit Cosmetics. The formula is lightweight and the color goes on so smoothly. I always have just the right amount of rose-gold glow whenever I walk out the door with this on!

I always keep a little roller ball perfume in my bag for touch-ups throughout the day- and I have been loving this “Wild Flower” one from Victoria’s Secret (underrated in the beauty/fragrance department, really!) The fragrance makes me smell like a pretty, tropical botanical garden, if that makes sense- with notes of lotus and magnolia- and it lasts a really, really long time- so frequent applications are a thing of the past!

It’s a limited edition, though- so be sure to snatch one up before they’re gone for good!

Just quickly jumping back to makeup for a second- but did you know that Sephora’s brand of makeup is actually amazing (and super affordable?) Case in point- this medium-coverage, oil-free foundation I started rocking the second the last of the snow melted because it gives my skin a chance to breathe while covering any imperfections flawelessly!

Best of all? It’s only $20! This is going to be my go-through the Summer. I just know it.

Of course, I can’t apply serums, creams, and brand new makeup to a puffy face- which is why I’ve finally caved and purchased a rose quartz facial roller at my local pharmacy. I didn’t want to believe the hype, guys- but it actually works!

Here’s what I do- I keep this roller chilled in my refrigerator overnight. In the morning, while I’m making a cup of coffee and before I put anything on my face- I gently roll this over my skin for about 5-10 minutes. The cold and the quartz reduces puffiness, redness, and helps to smooth out my skin for when it’s time to finally dive into my skincare regimen and makeup for the day!

Finally, in my attempt to live a healthier lifestyle in 2019 and embrace the sleeveless season- I’ve also been searching for the right aluminum-free deodorant- which has proven to be a quest in itself. Some don’t work all that well. Others smell, well- pretty weird- but I’ve found a winner with Secret’s new formula!

Clear, and free of harmful chemicals and dyes- this deodorant doesn’t leave marks on my clothes, smells light and pretty, and doesn’t feel greasy or gross after a couple of hours the way some other deodorants and antiperspirants do. I’m in love!

And I think that does it for the photograph-able stuff this month- but like they say in infomercials- “but wait, there’s more!”

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

“Game of Thrones” – So I know we’re only two episodes into the final season, and I know I’ve had a love/hate relationship with this show over the years- but how good has it been so far? You can tell everyone involved is really trying to give this one a proper sendoff and actually care about doing it right- so even though this Sunday night’s episode is going to undoubtedly destroy me emotionally- I’m also super excited!

Okay, *now* I’m done!

Short and sweet- much like how the entire month of April felt- those were some of the things that particularly stood out for me.

I’m off to get things done at work before I check out for my half day at the office and run some errands- but I’ll be back on Tuesday! Here’s wishing you all a fun, safe and hopefully sunny weekend!

xx

– Ashley –