November 2017: In a Nutshell

Good Morning, everyone! I can’t believe that today is the last day of November and Christmas (and a whole new year!) are right around the corner! Like every Holiday season, I know the next few weeks are going to be pretty hectic and crazy- but I’m looking forward to spending some more time with my family and friends doing all sorts of fun, festive things during one of the prettiest times of the year here in New England- right up until 2018 arrives!

But I have to tip my hat to November, because this past month was pretty spectacular. A good portion of it was spent outdoors with friends taking in the late Autumn scenery at local state parks and trails- even when it was bitterly cold out (or flurrying!) at times- while the days leading up to Thanksgiving Weekend revolved around lots of cooking and baking in the kitchen and gathering around the dining room table. I mean, look at the spread my family put together this year- and this was only a portion of it!

When not hiking, stuffing my face, or working crazy amounts of overtime this past month to stay on top of the year-end caseload at my office (and to get some extra Holiday cash!)– I was watching Blondie Birdie undergo a much-needed and fabulous makeover. I’m still getting used to my new layout, and I’m still in absolute awe at how beautiful it turned out. I feel like a true professional now!

So what do I have up my sleeve for December? Well, apart from finishing up my holiday shopping and finalizing plans for New Years Eve (and early 2018- since I intend on doing some traveling right away!) I have some Christmas-inspired recipes to share, a peek into the more festive pieces in my wardrobe, and a look at some of my favorite local Holiday hot-spots I like to visit every year. I’m also thinking of coming up with a little gift-guide for those last minute shoppers who need some inspiration to make it to that home stretch- so stay tuned!

Enjoy the rest of your week, everyone! I’ll be back next Monday with one of my favorite recipes for the most divine hot chocolate you’ll ever drink!

 

xx

– Ashley –

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October 2017: In a Nutshell

The cupcakes I made for work today. The fingers- made out of sugar- are edible!

Good Morning, everybody- and Happy Halloween! Despite an unusual past 24 hours- which saw a freak storm roll through Massachusetts and down trees, power lines, and cause major power outages across the state- it’s one of my favorite holidays and I’m already having a great time. We’re having a themed party (complete with costumes, decorations, and snacks!) at work today- and then tonight I’ll be taking my niece Trick-Or-Treating before we sit down to watch some classic horror movies and enjoy a pizza- my favorite tradition when Halloween falls on a weekday.

It goes without saying that October is probably my most adored month out of the whole year- and this past October was definitely one to remember. I spent a lot of time with my friends visiting new (as well as longtime favorite) haunted-and-horror-themed attractions around the New England area- like the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at Roger Williams Park Zoo, the annual Rock & Shock Convention in Worcester- and checking out a double-feature screening of Friday the 13th movies ON Friday the 13th! I also got to share some more of my favorite seasonal recipes and show off a couple of treasured, “spooky” pieces from my wardrobe.

This past weekend, I was able to finally unveil one of two Halloween costumes I prepared for this year (I’ll be able to show the second one a little later this week after I get some photos in it today!) at my friend Alyssa’s annual Halloween bash where I got to catch up with some old friends for the first time since the Summer. I went as Georgie from “IT”, including the post-Pennywise-inflicted wound and the S.S. Georgie in my other hand. I didn’t expect it to be as big of a hit as it was- but everyone seemed to really, really love it- which made me happy.

And although I had originally made plans to go camping/”glam”ping as well as visit the real town of Sleepy Hollow this past month- my friends’ schedules, and my own schedule- made actually being able to put those plans into motion a little difficult. I’m not fretting too much about it, though- since there’s always November (or December- weather permitting!)– and I had a lot of impromptu fun regardless!

Why was my schedule a little tricky to maneuver around? Well- the big, work-related news from this past month is that I got promoted at my job! I start with a new team in a new area of the company beginning next week- and I’m so excited to get started! I’ve put everything I have into my career, and it’s so thrilling to see my hard work pay off as I advance myself. I’m truly grateful and appreciative and eager to continue challenging myself as I set new goals to work towards.

So, what do I have planned in November (apart from moving my office?)– well, I’ve got a few Thanksgiving recipes to share, some travel days ahead of me before I get too preoccupied with the impending holidays, some colder-weather ensembles I’ve put together to pose in and some miscellaneous reviews of various products I’m putting together to post up here on Blondie Birdie.

But before I jump into that- it’s time to party!

Have a safe and kick-ass Halloween, everyone! I can’t wait to see all of your costumes!

xx

– Ashley –

September 2017: In a Nutshell

It’s starting! 9/28/17

Well Good Morning! It feels like it’s been ages since I’ve posted on a weekend- but here we are! I’m getting ready to go enjoy this grey, breezy, not-quite-rainy morning at a pumpkin patch- right after I get my roots touched up with a long overdue visit with my stylist, Barbara.

It feels like September only just started- and a part of me is sad to see it go since I had such a wonderful time these past few weeks- but I’m also really excited to dive into October because it is- without question- my favorite month of the year. The weather is perfect. the foliage reaches peak prettiness, “The Walking Dead” comes back, and the absolute best holiday of them all arrives. I’m talking about Halloween, of course!

But before I practically back-flip into October in my state of elation- I have to tip my hat (or in this case, beanie) to September. I started the very beginning of the month with an extended weekend getaway in one of the most beautiful parts of Vermont- which set the pace for what was to come in the following weeks. Since then, I visited Salem right before it gets crazy with all the Halloween-related events and attractions, spent time with friends I hadn’t seen in ages at my friend’s breathtaking wedding in our hometown, got my “Game of Thrones” on at King Richard’s Faire for the very first time- and last weekend I took an impromptu trip to NYC to attend the Global Citizens Festival- where I got to spend time in and around Central Park with one of my best friends and catch sets from The Killers, The Lumineers, Green Day and Stevie Wonder!

It was incredible. I had such a good time.

So what do I have planned for October? A possible camping trip, plenty of scary shenanigans for Friday the 13th, a weekend at the annual horror movie convention in my hometown, more recipes and OOTDs to share- and I may be heading to a more peaceful section of New York to visit the real Sleepy Hollow for a few days- just in time for Halloween! October has always been a really busy month for me, so I’m excited to bring all the adventure to Blondie Birdie.

But Fall is in full-swing- and if you need any inspiration to get into the spirit of the season, I’ve got a couple of helpful links to get you started!

And I think that’s it for me today and for this fantastic month of September.

Enjoy your weekend and I’ll see you in October, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

August 2017: In a Nutshell

The accuracy.

I am the shameless and quintessential Autumn Enthusiast, or “Basic Bitch” as it’s more commonly referred to whenever September/October roll around. Pumpkin Spice? ALL THE THINGS. Ugg boots? Mandatory and comfortable (and okay, yes- a little hideous looking). Sweaters and scarves? Can’t get enough of them. Apple picking and football? Every weekend, baby! Long drives to look at the changing foliage? Hop in! I made us a Fall-inspired playlist to listen to along the way! Halloween? It’s better than Christmas!

You get the idea.

I am all about Fall- but I’ve got to give a proper send-off to August- the last month of what has been an incredible Summer. I knew things were going to be great when my best friend Sean returned home to Boston at the very end of July after a month-long stay in Spain- and sure enough we’ve spent the better part of the past few weeks at the beach soaking up the sun with our friends. When I needed a break from being covered in sand and saltwater- I had also managed to squeeze in a quick (and rain-filled) hiking trip to the White Mountains, a stifling hot afternoon at Six Flags, and caught a live WWE house show in my hometown for the first time since I was about 11. I’m not even going to try and play it cool- I had so much fun and got really into it- and that was even before my friend’s Summer Slam party a couple of weeks ago where I successfully managed to pull off baking a wrestling ring cake!

Balor Club – Boston (8/27/17)

I stood up against hate speech with 20,000+ of Boston’s best, sat through a solar eclipse, cooked up some really tasty recipes and got to hang out and catch-up with old friends I hadn’t seen in a long time now that all of our work and/or vacation schedules seemed to have finally settled down- a trend I hope continues throughout September, too!

So what’s in store for next month? Well, I’m kicking off Labor Day Weekend with an overnight stay at an (allegedly) haunted inn up in the mountains of Vermont because I’m already in Halloween Mode- and a trip to NYC I had initially planned for August had to be postponed for this coming month instead due to a scheduling conflict- so I’m pretty excited to finally head back out there for a day or two! I’ll be attending a couple of early Fall weddings, preparing some of my favorite Autumn-inspired dishes- and sharing plenty of my chillier weather wardrobe staples in the coming days.

And who knows- maybe there will be a couple of other surprises, too!

So here’s to what was undoubtedly an awesome Summer of 2017- and to hoping that Fall is just as fun!

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

July 2017: In a Nutshell

Portsmouth, NH. 7/29/17

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

I feel like many people- myself included- say it every single time we’re about enter a new month, but really- where did the time go? July is finished and here we are getting ready to launch headfirst into August. The summer is almost over! In just a couple of weeks a lot of students will be returning to school, seasonal landmarks and shops will be shuttering their doors until next year- and I’ll be preparing to once again rotate my wardrobe and makeup collection for when the Fall inevitably arrives.

But I don’t want to get ahead of myself, here. We still have a bit of time left to cram in some last minute Summer activities throughout the month of August- so I’m trying not to panic as I make my plans- and July was definitely a whirlwind of a month that deserves a proper sendoff.

I kicked off this past month with a firework-filled Fourth of July and a spur-of-the-moment, wild (and unbelievably fun) 24-hour weekend trip to San Diego to surprise and visit with friends- which might go down as one of the most impulsive things I’ve ever done- and that is really saying something since I’ve done a LOT of crazy, unplanned and unexpected things over the years. It keeps me young, I always say.

Not only was July spent with family and good friends (on both coasts!) but with co-workers as well. A group of really great people I work with and occasionally hang out with and myself caught the most bizarre concert in the sticks of central Massachusetts following my return from California. Granted, one of my co-workers could have easily died in a horrible car accident afterwards- but he miraculously managed to walk away from it relatively unscathed (I saw him the other day when we all went out for lunch and he’s healing up just fine!)

July marked five years since my father passed away, so there was a period of quiet reflection in-between jet-setting here and there. Those closest to me helped make the anniversary a little easier to get through with kind words and much-needed distractions and humor- so I’m very grateful for them- and for a lot of things this past month, really.

Portsmouth, NH. 7/29/17

I would say that the majority of my time in July, much like June- was spent at the beach, mostly in New Hampshire- including this past Saturday when I ventured up to Rye and Portsmouth for a full-day of shopping, dining, swimming in the ocean and cruising the coast while listening to good music. Nearly every weekend throughout the month had at least one full day dedicated to spending time in the sand. You can take the girl out of California but you can’t take California out of the girl- after all- and beach days are a rare commodity around here since it can get so cold sometimes! You truly have to savor it as much as you can and that’s exactly what I did!

So what’s in store for August? Well- for starters- lots of time spent with my best friend Sean, who returned home from Spain yesterday evening (I surprised him at the airport!) after he’d spent some time during his stay hospitalized in Barcelona for extreme food poisoning/dehydration. It’s so good to have him home and in good health again- and I can’t thank the Doctors overseas enough for taking such good care of him.

And while I will undoubtedly spend more time at the beach this coming month- I’ve also got a long overdue trip to NYC planned, a couple of recipes to share, and a few more peeks inside my closet in-between working at my full-time job and traveling as much as I can to those aforementioned seasonal landmarks before they close up for the year!

I’ll see you all in August, but in case you’re looking for a couple of things to add to your end-of-the-Summer bucket list:

  • Bring my 2017 Summer playlist, “Pineapple Daze” with you!
  • There’s still time to whip up some of the recipes I’ve shared these past couple of months for your next BBQ, cookout or pool party!
  • I shared my favorites from July last week- in case you’re in need of some updates to your makeup/skincare regimen for the month of August.

xx

– Ashley –

June 2017: In a Nutshell

Happy Friday, everyone! I’m getting ready to put in one last productive day at the office before I break for a long, extended Fourth of July weekend- but given that it’s the last day of June- I thought I’d continue my tradition of wrapping up the month with a nice little summary in one of my other blogging traditions I’ve carried over from ‘Legally Redhead’- my “In a Nutshell” posts.

As I type this, my best friend of 21 years- Sean- is on a plane headed towards Spain where he’s going to be living for a while to study abroad. It’s an exciting and incredible journey he’s embarking on, although it’s a bit of a downer to end the month with his departure since I know I’m not going to see him for a while and I already miss him. I can’t wait to hear all about his trip when he comes back in a couple of months.

This past weekend- Sean’s last here in Massachusetts before he left for his trip- a group of our friends threw an all-day (and nearly all-night) farewell party at Singing Beach in his honor. We swam in the ocean, ate amazing food, played games, and when the sun eventually set- we made s’mores over a bonfire, stargazed, and danced to music along the surf. It was pure magic! Maybe one of the best nights ever. Truly.

A lot of June was spent at the beach, really. It seemed that every free weekend or afternoon I had- I was heading to the coast to savor the salty air and sunshine as much as possible. When I wasn’t doing that- I was all business (okay, and maybe some fun) at work as well as getting Blondie Birdie off the ground. I’m loving writing here, by the way! I celebrated Pride with my friends, saw and LOVED “Wonder Woman” during a Girls-Only Sunday brunch get-together, and dove right back into some of my favorite shows that returned for the Summer like “Preacher” and “Fear The Walking Dead”.

While July 4th is going to be a busy weekend for sure, the weekend after that is proving to be even more action-packed since I’ll be returning to the West Coast for a couple of days! That’s right, San Diego- I’m stopping by to say hello (and grab some In-N-Out while I’m there!) 

I’ve also got some more recipes, cosmetic reviews, a Summer-inspired playlist and a whole lot more to share in July- so I’m pretty excited!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and if you’re in the States and celebrating the Fourth- be careful with those fireworks!

xx

– Ashley –