Pioneer Woman

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! We made it to another weekend (relatively) unscathed!

For the past few days, I’ve teased at having big news I’ve been anxiously waiting to share with everyone- and now seems like the perfect time to finally divulge the details. I had been waiting for the right time and for the ink to dry before I said anything outside of my immediate family and my employers- but as of May 18th- I’ll be a resident of the Pioneer Valley for what I’m calling/considering a year-long trial period.

I’ll be moving into a lumber-mill-turned-luxury-loft because I’m a walking Pinterest board.

The road of my life will eventually lead to Las Vegas and the West Coast, I’m sure- but I’m not done here in Massachusetts and New England yet. I’m working, actively participating in my community in various projects, having the time of my life at Indie617 and am hesitant to walk away from my family, lifelong friends and a personal relationship I’m very happy with right now.

But, at the end of the day- cost effectiveness, the need for my own space in a clean, safe area far outside the city and away from the traffic, congestion, and pollution- and wanting to be closer to more work opportunities and a community of artists and creators I’ve come to love and embrace has both inspired and persuaded me to make this change.

I’ll still be working with the same company, who have graciously offered me the chance to work remotely when needed so that I don’t have to leave them. I’ll still be hosting my radio show on Saturdays. I’ll still be attending all sorts of events in and around Boston as if nothing has changed- and things like commuting, travel expenses, etc. have already been heavily considered in my decision making and solutions have been discovered with the help from friends and family- but this is something I need in my life right now: mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and financially.

It’s simply getting too expensive to live where I am right now, and having lived with people for as long as I can remember- from growing up with my parents and brothers, co-existing with friends/friends-of-friends/strangers, etc.- having my own place for a fraction of what I spend now to simply keep a roof over my head is going to be such a refreshing change of pace for me.

It has been a joyous journey for the past few years and I’m admittedly excited, scared, happy, anxious and a little sad to be moving somewhere new and kinda’ far out in the country- but it’s a whole new chapter and adventure and with that comes stories to share as I’m meeting new people, visiting new places and trying new things- so at least I won’t be lacking for content here at ‘Blondie Birdie!’

So that’s the news! It was nothing salacious or anything and my apologies to anyone who was getting their hopes up that it was.

I’ll be sharing all sorts of photos of my new place and the process while I’m moving in a few weeks- both here and on my social media, for sure- but here’s to new beginnings!

And also, here’s to the weekend! I’m off to work for a few hours before I head on over to Down The Road Beer Co. for our fourth installment of IndieBrews tonight with The Devil’s Twins. Come on by, have a drink- and bring your dogs so I can pet them!

See you all again on Monday, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

Celebrations, Clam Chowder and Cocktails…

Good Morning and Happy Thursday, everyone!

With the weekend within reach and with it- so many plans (some long overdue!) with friends- I’m reflecting on the past few days which have consisted of work, good food, strong drinks and commemorating milestones!

Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary since the launch of Indie617– and while I’ve only been on board as a weekend host for a few weeks now- I’ve been a fan and a supporter ever since they emerged on the scene and I couldn’t be happier for everyone involved and grateful to be a part of it. The day was spent reminiscing about the previous year’s shows/events and music we first heard via the station.

Having taken the day off yesterday at my office, I popped by for an appearance during “Morning Glory” and then joined the rest of the station at Stockyard in Brighton for celebratory drinks and lunch to toast to many more fun and successful years together. (Side Note: their claim chowder may be some of the best I’ve ever tasted.)

And with keeping the parties going- last night I also went out with my good friend Duncan who was back in town from Chicago to celebrate his new job and recent promotion! He’ll be working out of Burlington- which is so much closer to me than Chicago- which means we’ll be able to see each other more often! If that’s not a reason to raise a glass- then I don’t know what is!

We indulged in some late night noodles and cocktails courtesy of wagamama– which remains one of my favorite places in the Boston Seaport. I’m so glad they expanded beyond Faneuil Hall, since that place can be a nightmare to navigate through depending on the time of day/year. The dining experience at the Seaport location is much less crowded, crazy and noisy- and it just looks/feels so much cleaner, too!

It was such a good night- even though I’m admittedly feeling a little groggy this morning- but it’s nothing a little coffee won’t take care of!

The posting schedule returns to normal next week- and I’ve got a lot on standby that I’m ready to share- but for now I hope you all enjoy your Friday and your weekend ahead!

xx

– Ashley –

Does It Spark Joy?

Good Afternoon and Happy Friday, everyone! We made it to another weekend!

I’m on my lunch break and am admittedly running on fumes today. The past few days have been busy and the past few nights have been late and long- but I’ve been having such fun with friends and with being productive at a couple of my side jobs/projects. Tonight, to treat myself after work- I’ll be grabbing burgers and catching a screening of “Captain Marvel” with my crew from the office- and then I fully intend to rest and relax this coming weekend!

Amid the busy-ness this week, I’ve also gotten a head start on my Spring cleaning and have been using what little downtime I’ve had to clean out closets, bins, bags, etc. I’ve adopted the Marie Kondo “does it spark joy?” philosophy and have been putting together clothes/shoes for donations, tossing old or expired makeup, and getting rid of knick-knacks around my personal space that have been doing little more than collecting dust.

I’ve also been working on/off on keeping things tidy over here at ‘”Blondie Birdie.” That includes going through and testing links to make sure they still work properly, verifying that images are displaying correctly, getting caught up on e-mails and updating all of my contact information.

That includes finally opening a Facebook page for the blog. You can VIEW AND FOLLOW IT HERE. I promise, I won’t spam anyone with “Fit Tea” advertisements or invites to weird Pay-To-Play games. It’ll strictly be blog-related content!

In a couple of weeks I’m going to be linking my side projects here on the blog, as well- for those who want to participate or check in on all the craziness in the Pioneer Valley theater scene AND on the airwaves in Boston!

But that’s it for me this week. I’ve got to finish up at work. Thanks for everyone’s patience during the process. I’m looking forward to sharing a more streamlined and organized “Blondie Birdie”- with so much more fun content!

Enjoy your weekend, everybody!

xx

– Ashley –

Post-Birthday Recovery…

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

My posting schedule has been a little off this week (and will be next week, as well- given February kicks off next Friday!) The days leading up to and following my birthday are always a little crazy and hectic since I have such a big family and my friends are scattered around Massachusetts and New England. My time is always stretched a bit thin since people come and visit, I’m going out to meet friends for birthday-related fun- and also working full-time. It leaves little time for blogging this time of year!

Tonight is one of the last birthday celebrations planned for me as far as I know- and it involves eating lots of Chinese Food and cake with my mom, my older brothers, my sister-in-law and my niece! Then it’s nothing but sleep, catching up on e-mails, touching up my hair on Saturday- and heading to Salem on Sunday for my friend Phill’s annual ‘Royal Rumble’ party. Always such a good time.

The past few days have been a lot of fun- with the exception of a crazy snowstorm, single digit temperatures and a lot of rain. My actual birthday was a really relaxing affair- mainly because after I had left my office for the day- Troy treated me to dinner and a “Spa Night” at East Heaven in Northampton. I got to completely unwind during a soak in an outdoor hot tub (and despite the cold weather- it wasn’t bad at all) and an hour long massage. Absolute bliss!

He’s a gem.

My co-workers surprised me with a dozen of my favorite doughnuts, my best friend surprised me with a pink frosted cake (pictured above) and other friends loaded me up with carbs earlier this week during a surprise luncheon. If people thought the holidays were the time of year where everyone threw their diets out the window- they haven’t seen anything yet!

With January winding down next week (already?!)– I’m in the process of putting together my favorite things from this month to share next week, as well as writing up a summary of the beginning of the year for my “In a Nutshell” post that should be up next Thursday. I’ve also got a Super Bowl to prepare for following that absolutely INSANE Patriots/Chiefs game this past Sunday- so expect some fun, party-friendly recipes in the coming days.

I want to thank everyone again who texted, called, e-mailed, or dropped me a line on social media for my birthday! I know Tuesdays are pretty much the worst day of the week by default- but my birthday was still wonderful and I’m very appreciative of all the love and warm wishes!

By the way- there’s still time to enter my birthday giveaway!

Enjoy your weekend, everyone! I’ll see you all next week!

xx

– Ashley –

Pineapple Prize Pack – Birthday Giveaway!

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

As I dig my way out of the ice and snow from yesterday’s visit by Winter Storm Harper and prepare to return to work for the first time since my car accident on Thursday night- I thought I’d kick off the week on a high note and share a giveaway I had planned as a bit of a pre-celebration for my birthday tomorrow (yes, tomorrow.)

Given that Massachusetts and most of New England are presently frozen over and the temperatures are going to remain in the single digits today- it seems fitting to have a warm-weather, Summer-inspired giveaway to lighten and brighten the mood! I’ve been on a bit of a pineapple kick as of late, and thought I’d put together some of my favorite things (and some surprises, of course) for one lucky winner!

With the help of Rafflecopter to keep things organized and fair when it comes time to randomly select a winner- this giveaway is currently open to those residing within the United States, Canada, Mexico and the U.K!

Before I get to the rules and how to enter- let’s take a look at what I’m giving away, first- shall we?

First things first- this striped black and white tote bag (with a bright pineapple printed on the side) to store all of your things- and then some! Despite the fact that it’s the dead of Winter right now- I feel like this tote would match most wardrobes this time of year since you can’t go wrong with black and white!

The pineapple is just a bright, fun splash of color to mix it up a little- and honestly- don’t we all need that when the temperatures drop?

A lot of what’s included in this giveaway is decorative and for the home since this is a time of year when a lot of people are planning on remodeling or redecorating their space.

My own home is transitioning into a Southwestern and tropical theme right now- with cactus print and bright colors to keep things cheerful- and I thought the winner would enjoy having some bright pops of color in their kitchen with this set of dishwasher and microwave-safe sturdy plastic plates and bowls (2 of each.)

Of course, no Blondie Birdie giveaway would be complete without a Yankee Candle (a New England tradition!) included- and keeping up with the theme of this assortment of items- I chose their Williamsburg Pineapple scented large jar candle to feature for this one.

I have a smaller version of this candle burning in my bedroom right now- and it smells lovely, clean, and crisp. It’s a nice change from the pine and Christmas cookie-scented ones I had burning throughout December!

I’m not sure how many of you are 21+, but for those who enjoy a strong adult beverage as much as I do- I included these gold metallic pineapple shot glasses to make your next brunch or girls-night-in a little prettier, Summer-y and fun. Best of all? When they’re not being used for drinking- they can be put on display and not necessarily hidden away in your cabinets.

And for those who aren’t 21+ or don’t like to drink- these hold other beverages just fine, too!

Wrapping up the home decor for this giveaway, I included this metal pineapple platter and yellow ceramic votive candle holder- too! Obviously, these can be placed around your home separately- but I like the way they look together (I’m very much into silver and bright yellows this time of year.)

And, just a warning- the silver platter is on the heavier side- so if you win it, just be mindful of where you place it! I recommend a hard, flat surface that can hold some weight.

Finally, to brighten up your Winter wardrobe and include an easy to incorporate (and very easy to match) accessory into your day- I added this multicolored, lovely, super comfortable wrap headband into the mix, too.

I have this style in a plaid print- and I love it- especially on days where I’m running errands and just want to keep my curls off of my face for a little while.

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And as I said earlier- there will be a couple of other surprises added in before I ship this off to the lucky winner- but I’ve got a couple of important rules/specific information for any and all participants to take into consideration!

The giveaway is running from now through midnight (EST) on Friday, February 1st, 2019- after which time a winner will be selected at random through Rafflecopter and contacted directly via e-mail to obtain additional information to process shipping (which I’ll be paying for!) 

If selected, you’ll have 72 hours to respond to the confirmation e-mail. If I don’t receive a response in that time, I’ll unfortunately have to select another winner, instead.

Nothing in this giveaway can be traded or swapped for something else. What you see is what you’ll be receiving if you win!

If all of that sounds good and there are no additional questions/concerns- then this is the moment you’ve been waiting for!

HOW TO ENTER:

First and foremost- please visit the Rafflecopter page for the giveaway by CLICKING HERE to make sure your entry is properly counted!

1. Comment on this post with your first name and e-mail address. (Please keep in mind that I have comment moderation turned on to avoid spambots- so if your comment doesn’t appear right away- don’t panic! I’ll put it through as soon as I’m able!)

2. You can tweet about the giveaway and link back directly to this post or to my homepage: BlondieBirdie.com

That’s it! Just two simple steps and you’re in!

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I look forward to selecting a winner and sending them this prize pack. I’m also looking forward to celebrating my birthday tomorrow with friends, family, and co-workers (no taking the day off for me!)

I’d like to thank everyone who has sent well wishes in advance over the past couple of days- both for my birthday and as I recover from Thursday night’s accident. I’m feeling much better and am being taken very good care of by my insurance company (and my mom- who made me a care package for my sore back!) so I’m very grateful and appreciative. It means the world to me!

Good luck to those who enter- and let’s have a good week, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –