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And although I had originally made plans to go camping/”glam”ping as well as visit the real town of Sleepy Hollow this past month- my friends’ schedules, and my own schedule- made actually being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 –

Medieval Times

When I was a kid, one of the the unanimous favorite places for field trips and birthday parties was the Higgins Armory Museum in my hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts. The building- overwhelmingly huge in size and overlooking most of the city- was a showcase for medieval armor and weaponry, as well as art and literature. Even more impressive was that a good portion of the interior was designed to look like the inside of a castle- complete with stone pillars, balconies, alters and stained glass.

Years ago, the museum also hosted an annual beer-tasting festival where breweries from all over New England would come down for a couple of days and my friends and I would go get tipsy off of endless Dixie cups filled with various wine and beer samples before we stumbled back to our friend’s nearby (former) apartment a few blocks away and ordered pizzas. Those trips were always a lot of fun.

Higgins unfortunately closed down a while ago, and most of the armory was shipped to Worcester’s Art Museum for display- rendering the big, beautiful and spacious building where majestic suits of armor, shields and swords once sat- empty and unattended for quite some time.

Until recently, anyway.

My friend Anita got married over the weekend to her now-husband, Brandon- and the reception was held in what was previously the castle-themed room at Higgins- which had been renovated and decorated absolutely and breathtakingly gorgeous. My cell phone photos simply don’t do it justice.

Now, admittedly- I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I first walked into the museum. The castle room is on the third floor of the building- and when Sean and I first entered the main hall on the first floor and were greeted by rows upon rows of empty hallways and cleaned out display cases- we weren’t sure we were in the right place. The second floor, which appeared to house a couple of offices but not much else- had us in a panic, but when we reached the third floor and saw what had been done with the space- we were ecstatic. Not only did it accommodate everyone comfortably- but we could play the music and cheer as loud as we wanted for as late as we pleased- and we didn’t have to worry about disturbing anyone!

The ceremony was lovely, laid-back, and a lot of fun. You could tell that Anita and Brandon just wanted everyone to have a good time and made it as free-spirited and wild as they are. I was also appreciative of how Anita included a lot of her culture in the ceremony (and the food!)– from her dress changes to the music choices to the decor. It was fascinating and I had a blast meeting and mingling with her family. They were all extremely nice- and they definitely know how to party!

Anita also happens to know a lot of people I used to hang out with in high school and during my early twenties- some of whom I hadn’t seen in a long time- so there were quite a few happy reunions and a lot of catching up going on during the course of the night.

I had an amazing time, and I would seriously consider throwing a Halloween party in that space someday!

Keeping up with the theme of Knights and fair maidens- on Sunday I headed over to Carver, Massachusetts with a group of my friends to check out King Richard’s Faire for the first time. Open on the weekends, the Faire runs from now through October 22nd and is essentially a large collection of vendors, shows and attractions in the middle of the woods. It’s a pretty neat setup- one that I had a lot of fun exploring- but the place is definitely on the pricier side. General admission tickets were $32 each and that doesn’t include the price of food or beverages (all considerably marked up, of course)– and if you’re thinking about buying any kind of authentic steel or leather goods- you better have your wallet and a lot of cash on you!

Astronomical prices aside- it’s an interesting way to spend an afternoon- especially to catch some of the jousting tournaments they have throughout the day. A lot of people went in costume, naturally- so I opted to go as Cersei Lannister from’Game of Thrones’- just for fun!

I love that wig so, so much.

Overall- I had a great weekend. It was action-packed and exciting- and I was really happy I got to see and spend time with so many of my friends all at once. Work can get a little crazy sometimes, and the weekends are often pretty hectic- but it’s awesome when we can all find the time to hang out together- even if it’s just for a couple of hours.

Here’s to Wednesday and the work week almost being over! Hang in there, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –