Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Good Morning and Happy Marathon Monday, everyone!

Now that my big moving day news is out of the way as of last week- I have been focusing on the actual move itself- including the lengthy and tedious process of beginning to pack, buying new furniture to replace older pieces I don’t necessarily want to take with me, coordinating the delivery and installation of those new pieces for when I’ve returned from a brief stay in the West Coast just prior to my mid-month move-in date, so on and so forth.

It’s exciting and admittedly stressful for sure- as is the case with any move of a significant distance (and moving anywhere out of the city can be considered a significant distance!) but I’m taking it day by day and finding joy wherever I can.

When I’m not working or packing my life away in boxes, I’ve been exploring my soon-to-be-new-neighborhood, as well. I’ve been to the Pioneer Valley plenty of times over the years (including multiple visits per week for work and friends in recent months) but there’s still so much to see/do/uncover. I have my favorite places established for coffee and food, i.e. The Roost and Mama Iguana’s in Northampton, respectively- but with any community with a budding and prominent art/theater/music scene- there’s a lot of hidden gems that may otherwise go overlooked if you don’t seek them out!

Troy has been a huge help in showing me around, introducing me to new places and people, giving me tips/tricks on what’s worthwhile and what to avoid, etc. He’s lived in the Valley for years and knows nearly everyone/everything out in Western Massachusetts.

Last Friday night, he brought me to the Tunnel Bar for the first time. It’s an old railway tunnel from the 1800s tucked away in downtown Northampton that was turned into a very chic cocktail lounge. The space is unique for sure- and would be amazing for a performance piece. Based on notes on my phone and a napkin I found in my purse that Troy and I had scribbled on as we drank- it looks like we had started to develop a script while we were there?

I think I’m going to start developing a series of posts highlighting some of those unique and must-see places for anyone reading who wants to visit the area- and I could probably start as soon as this week!

But for now, today has me back to work and back in the city for Marathon Monday- even with the current torrential downpour and thunderstorms. It’s one of the best days to be in Boston- as the Marathon showcases incredible athletes’ resilience and the city’s enthusiasm for their dedication (and excitement for Spring!)

I’ll be sure to post plenty of photos/videos on my social media throughout the day, and I’ll be back a little later on this week to share one of my favorite Springtime vintage finds from my closet!

Have a wonderful start to your week, everyone! Stay dry and be safe out there!

xx

– Ashley –

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 –

Stay-Cations and Solo Debuts…

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

I’m writing this on Sunday night from Troy’s dining room table while I listen to The Cure and munch on a crab cake sandwich from a takeout order I had placed at Fitzwilly’s just down the street. I’ve been staying at his place in downtown Northampton these past few nights- some of which while he’s been away in San Diego for his job- as a bit of a “Stay-Cation” to get away from minor office/home stresses, be closer to the Pioneer Valley while I work on side projects and look at real estate in the area- and just be able to breathe in some fresh air and do a little sightseeing around town.

It’s back to work for me this morning, though- and I’ll be diving into work-mode as soon as I get into the office bright and early momentarily. The good news and the upside, however- is that my little venture/vacation in Northampton left me feeling a lot more refreshed! I desperately needed it after all the Spring cleaning I’ve been doing and all the big changes and opportunities I recently talked about.

This past Saturday saw my brief return to Boston, however- when I launched my Saturday afternoon radio show at Indie617! Although there were a couple of technical difficulties at the very beginning that left me rattled- I got the hang of it and loosened up- and had a really good time! The response has been really kind and positive, too- which is amazing. If you missed it, I’ll be back this coming Saturday from 12-4 PM! I play good tunes and share upcoming and super fun events in the area- so you definitely don’t want to miss it!

Prior to this weekend, however- I’ve got a pretty great breakfast recipe to share on Wednesday- followed by a recap of my favorite things from March on Friday! With Sunday being the last day of the month, my full summary of these past few weeks will be up whenever I roll out of bed for brunch- which means a shortened posting week next week- but it’ll be a good one nonetheless!

For now, I’ve got to get the jump on my work and caseload for the week- and indulge in some post-office burgers and fries with friends after I clock out for the day. I won’t be laying my head in the Pioneer Valley tonight for the first time in a long time- which is a shame- but I’m sure I’ll be heading back *real* soon! It’s so peaceful there!

Enjoy the start of your week, everyone! We’re all in this together and we can push through to Friday!

xx

– Ashley –

Bloom Where You’re Planted…

Good Morning, Happy “Hump Day” and Happy (official) First Day of Spring, everyone!

It seems fitting that the season of blossoming and blooming would start just as so many exciting new opportunities and changes are happening for me/around me right now. I know I always briefly mention how busy I am lately- but I really mean it! I’ve been going non-stop!

Back at the end of 2018, I had mentioned a couple of new projects I was preparing to start working on and had admittedly been excited to delve more into the details when the time was right. One project was for a radio station based out of Boston, and the other was for a family theater company based in the Pioneer Valley. Considering both of those projects are essentially on opposite sides of the state- I go back and forth fairly often!

I also maintain my full-time legal specialist position and still make sure to find time to spend with family and friends- all of whom are thankfully very understanding to my occasional time restrictions- so with everything finally coming to fruition and all the smaller, more intricate details being ironed out- it feels like I can relax much more easily now!

So, what’s the news?

Well, beginning this Saturday- I’ll be starting my very own weekly show on Indie617 from 12-4 PM where I’ll get to play the music I love, talk about upcoming shows, recap recent events around the city of Boston, etc. I’m so excited since I simply adore everyone at the station and have been having a blast popping by for occasional sit-downs/chats over the past couple of months during the “Morning Glory” show.

You can stream my show online at the website or download the Indie617 app (it’s free- so no excuses!)

Additionally, I’ve taken on the role of Marketing & Publicity Director at Paintbox Theatre– a company I have loved and held dear for a very long time now. The work that they do for children and families in the Pioneer Valley is beyond admirable and I’m so thrilled to be a part of all the fun, crazy, and adorable things they have planned for their upcoming Summer season!

Of course, working across and around the state has sort of grounded me in the New England area- which is funny considering it was around this time a year ago I was earnestly and vehemently talking about moving out to Las Vegas/Henderson, Nevada- and as I continue with my year of self-reflection and attempts at bettering myself by learning from past mistakes and missteps- I think that’s one flaw I need to tackle head on: my eagerness to move to a new location- sometimes places that are thousands of miles away from everything I’ve ever known or worked for- without addressing the reasons why.

First it was San Diego, and my main drive behind that was because I wanted to be closer to friends (and yes, a guy I liked at the time)– but I had never stopped to really consider career opportunities or the astronomical cost of living out there. Granted, where I live is on the pricier side as well- but I can still live and support myself without stretching myself out too thin.

I had just assumed my career could be easily transitioned across the county- but that wasn’t the case.

With my planned move to Las Vegas, my intentions were more fine-tuned- I wanted to live somewhere warm, close to my West Coast Wife, and in an area where the cost of living was infinitely more manageable (and I still do so much!)– but being so far away from my family, my friends and restarting a career over in a part of the country where the turnover rate of the population is nearly non-stop was a bit intimidating.

Plus, financial setbacks throughout 2018 kept delaying the process- and now here I am- finally getting my momentum back.

While Vegas/Henderson is not off the table by any means- I need to rebuild my foundation, first- and I need to do it here at home and by utilizing the aforementioned opportunities/projects I’ve taken on to build up both my finances and my resume (should I decide to switch career paths at any given time. I have to show I’m versatile!)

That means making the best of what I have here (“bloom where you’re planted”) for the time being- which includes potentially finding a less expensive place to live within the Pioneer Valley or outside of the city so I can better accomplish my short-term goals- and gradually work my way towards my long-term ones.

With smaller plans in play and these new projects keeping me occupied and focused- I can say with all sincerity that I’m excited for the future and looking forward to what’s ahead without any nervousness, uncertainty or anxiety- something that plagued me in the past when I was trying to relocate/reignite my life and passions.

And hopefully the future will be warmer here in New England real soon!

I’m off to play catch-up after an unexpected day off from work yesterday- and a little later on this week I’m dabbling with floral print again. I’ll have the photos to show you all what I mean!

Enjoy your Wednesday, everybody!

xx

– Ashley –