Pre-Thanksgiving Prep!

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

I managed to dig myself out of last night’s first snowfall of the season (and it arrived with a vengeance!) and get to my office this morning- but whether or not I’m motivated enough to actually get anything done is still questionable. All that shoveling made me tired!

So, the weekend before Thanksgiving is undoubtedly a crazy one. Everyone starts heading home for the holiday, there’s the final grocery shopping trip to get done before it’s time to have the actual dinner, insane amounts of cleaning and decorating to do, and- in my case, at least- the Friendsgivings around the city (and this year, around the state, as well!)

This coming weekend is no exception, and tomorrow morning will be filled with a lot of cooking and baking before I head off to one of my friend’s first attempts at Friendsgiving at his new apartment in Somerville later on in the evening. I’m excited- and I’m sure I’ll be posting a lot of pictures up on my Instagram.

And on Sunday? It’s the same thing- except Friendsgiving 2.0 will be taking place out in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, instead!

Next week on the blog I’ve got my usual weekend re-cap on deck, as well as another holiday-inspired recipe to share before the big feast with my family for anyone looking for something last minute, quick and easy to prepare for their guests.

But before I buckle down for my everyday duties at work and get ready to launch into the weekend- I thought I’d share some links from posts of Autumn days past to help those looking for some inspiration or ideas!

IF YOU NEED SOME AUTUMN/THANKSGIVING-INSPIRED RECIPES

IF YOU NEED A SWEET LITTLE FALL PLAYLIST FOR THE PRE-DINNER RECEPTION

IF YOU’RE ABLE TO GIVE TO THOSE IN NEED

Here’s wishing you all a safe and stress-free weekend. As stress-free as it can be, anyway!

See you all on Monday!

xx

– Ashley –

Detained Children: How To Help

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

We made it through this week- and I’ve got big plans for this weekend that I’m just itching to get to! But first, I wanted to take some time to discuss something a little more serious before we all jump into “TGIF/Weekend Mode”.

I’ve stated in the past (more than once, I’m sure-) that I try to keep things at Blondie Birdie lighthearted and fun. The world can be such a bleak, depressing place sometimes- to the point where it’s overwhelming- and it’s nice to have something else to focus on when the news and the headlines just get to be too much. Writing this blog is a nice and much-needed break from all the badness going on in the world- and I hope it offers some happiness and comfort to those who read it, too.

Sometimes, though- we see things happening around us that can’t simply be put on the back-burner and which need our immediate and undivided attention. That being said, I’d like to take a quick break from posting about fashion, or food, or my travels in and around New England- and talk about helping innocent children who are presently being detained in prison-like camps at our borders as part of a cruel and unjust “zero tolerance” immigration policy.

Now, I know there are many different and strong opinions on both sides of the immigration debate- but it needs to be repeated and understood that people from outside countries who come to our borders and make it clear that they are seeking asylum are not committing a crime. Seeking asylum is *not* illegal- despite what some news outlets would want you to believe.

These people are leaving their homes, families and friends- pretty much everything they’ve ever known- to escape poverty, war, corrupt governments/authority figures, and persecution to seek safety and a chance at a future that would otherwise be uncertain or grim if they were to stay in their homeland.

Many of these people are coming here with small children as a means to protect them and allow them access to a better life- only to have those children taken from them and sent to glorified concentration camps for an unknown period of time. Many of these children do not speak English- and many of them may never be reunited with their parents ever again. In an already problematic child services/social services system that is riddled with human error and overcrowding- these kids have so many odds stacked up against them from the start.

Despite your opinion on immigration- surely you all must agree that these children don’t deserve to be punished in this way, and that they shouldn’t be used as pawns by politicians and wannabe’ totalitarian dictators.

But, there are ways to help- and I wanted to share a few organizations who are actively working to help both the children detained in campsites along the border, as well as their families- and who need donations to continue to do amazing work.

KIND (Kids in Need of Defense): I’ve actually worked with KIND’s Boston branch before, and have seen firsthand all the good they continue to do by providing trained, qualified pro bono legal representatives to assist and aid children in their immigration proceedings and ensure that each child is placed within a safe and suitable living environment- as well as granting them easier access to the tools and counseling they may need to adapt.

KIND are actively taking donations to pay for mental health counseling, violence prevention workshops to assist at-risk girls- and pay for the training to enlist new legal representatives to help with their cause. Please consider helping them out! They’re amazing!

– Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project (ASAP): Similar to KIND’s efforts, ASAP works to assist the most vulnerable asylum seekers- of all ages- who have fled violence and sexual abuse in their homelands to find them stability and reunite them with family while walking them through the immigration process. ASAP also comes to the rescue for any asylum-seeker facing unfair deportations/raids/etc in all areas across the country.

– We Belong Together: Focusing on promoting equality for, and empowering immigrant women while simultaneously providing the tools needed to keep refugee families together- We Belong Together works tirelessly to aid the mothers, daughters, sisters, nieces, etc. who are at-risk and are often the most vulnerable when it comes to immigration proceedings.

– Al Otro Lado: For my Southern California people! Al Otro Lado is currently working to assist refugees and provide legal support for immigrants in the Los Angeles area. Right now, given the crisis- they are offering their aid to the infants and unaccompanied minors being detained at the border.

Any bit helps and will go towards making a huge difference for a child and their family.

Many of my friends are immigrants who came to this country when they were young. Some were fleeing war, while others were fleeing persecution, poverty or famine. A friend of mine in college once told me how she had come to the United States in her early teens with nothing more than the clothes she was wearing and a little money she had secretly saved up- to avoid an arranged marriage with a man more than twice her age. Another one of my friends, openly gay- told me how just being himself and loving who he wants in his native country could get him killed.

I couldn’t imagine my life without knowing these individuals and I certainly couldn’t imagine turning my back on them if they were in the same situation that many of these families at the border are in right now. These people I know are some of the hardest working, kindest and most patriotic people you’ll ever meet- and, despite everything going wrong in this country right now- are still so grateful to be here.

I implore everyone reading this- regardless of your stance on immigration- to do the right thing and help these children. They shouldn’t have to suffer.

And with all that being said- I hope you all have a fantastic and beautiful weekend. Much love to all of you. I think we could all use it right about now.

I’ll be back on Monday with your regularly scheduled blogging content!

xx

– Ashley –

Thanks AND Giving…

(via Pinterest)

One of my favorite things about my job is that my office believes very strongly in giving back to our community. Whether it’s holding fundraisers for local non-profits, sponsoring local businesses and teams in their charitable endeavors or educating and encouraging growth and development within our neighborhoods- it’s always rewarding (and fun!) to pitch in and work together as a team to help others and make our city a cleaner, safer and more compassionate place.

With Thanksgiving less than two weeks away, my company’s focus has shifted to the pending holiday season- and that includes helping those less fortunate stay fed and warm in the frigid New England temperatures. We’re currently holding a food drive and coat collection to benefit our local shelters and pantries. The holidays can be rough- even on the most fortunate and happy people in the world. Imagine how much worse it is for those who are down on their luck this time of year?

Inspired by the overwhelming outpouring of support and eagerness my co-workers have displayed when it comes to lending a helping hand to strangers- I wanted to share some links for non-profit organizations who are truly saving lives this time of year for anyone who reads Blondie Birdie and might want to do something to help out, too.

Find Your Local Food Bank – Head on over to Feeding America’s website, tap in your location, and voila! You’ll be connected to the food bank closest to you. From there, you can bring non-perishable goods to be delivered and/or distributed to those in need. For a full-list of appropriate non-perishable foods, simply CLICK HERE.

Send Some Love to Our Troops & Their Families – Our neighborhoods include plenty of military families, as well- many of whom are spending the holidays while their loved ones are overseas. Homefront America is taking donations to provide hundreds of military families with the groceries necessary to feed their loved ones without the worry or the hassle that comes with preparing a meal.

Don’t Forget Our Elders – During the holidays, we spend time with family and friends from all over and from all walks of life- but there are some elderly men and women who don’t have the luxury of being able to sit around a table for Thanksgiving dinner with their loved ones. Meals on Wheels is taking up volunteers to bring food and groceries to the elderly who are unable to get to their local grocery stores or prepare their meals themselves. Not only are you keeping our older generations from going hungry- but it’s a great opportunity to meet new people and make new friends, too!

Help Someone Keep Warm – Growing up in Massachusetts, I can attest that we never really fully adapt to the cold. We just wear as many layers as possible and try to put up with it as best we can until Spring rolls back around. That being said, I can’t imagine not having an adequate coat this time of year. Sadly, many people go without proper protective wear to shield them from the harsher elements.

If you have a gently worn coat that either doesn’t fir you anymore, or has been replaced with something new- you can donate your older coat to places like the previously linked Burlington Coat Factory, New York Cares or, if you’d rather just purchase a new coat for someone in need- Operation Warm.

Even just a little bit of support and willingness to take action can do SO much and change someone’s whole life. You can make a difference- and now is the perfect time to do it!

And for those in the Boston area: My office is taking donations through next Friday (11/17/17). If you’d like to help out- drop me a line and we can coordinate a day and time for me to swing by and pick up your donation!

Enjoy your weekend, everyone. Try to stay warm out there!

xx

– Ashley –