Viva Las Vegas

Taken earlier this Summer.

On Monday morning, I was planning on sharing some beautiful photographs I had taken over the weekend during a long hike through the forest and a visit to a local pumpkin patch and farmer’s market. Instead, I was woken up by a series of texts and calls from friends in Las Vegas who were making the rounds to let as many people as they could know that they were okay and not to panic. It was pretty early in the morning- earlier than I usually wake up during the week- and I wasn’t sure what was happening until I checked social media on my phone and my heart sank at the news.

59 lives lost and over 500 people injured in what is now, to date, the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. The people I know who live and/or work in the area are all thankfully safe, sound, and unharmed- but it has shaken me to my core that 59 families cannot experience that relief and that hundreds and hundreds of people will never quite be the same again.

I love Las Vegas. Not only because of the people I know there but because it is just a stifling hot, glitzy, kinda’ crazy, non-stop circus and it’s perfect in every way because if you need a break from it all- you can head out to the desert and enjoy the calm- and everything will still be waiting for you when you head back to the strip- just as bright and as busy as ever. The only other place I can think of that is like that is NYC- but at least Vegas doesn’t get snow.

Vegas is where I plan to relocate. It holds a special place in my heart.

I digress. I try not to get too political on Blondie Birdie- since I’ve stated in the past that this is my escape from the harsh realities of the world and I want to keep it as lighthearted as possible- but enough is enough. How many more people have to die? How many more families have to be ripped apart and how many more friendships have to be altered forever because we, as a Nation, cannot get it together when it comes to proper gun control?

I am by no means saying that I want SWAT teams going door to door and seizing everyone’s guns- and I get that’s a popular misconception when talking about enforcing stricter gun control laws and regulations- but there is absolutely no legitimate reason why people should have access to military style, semi-automatic weapons and to be able to stock pile ammunition. I don’t understand how people fail to comprehend how utterly insane that is. You don’t need an AK-47 to go hunting and you certainly don’t need to fire 100 bullets in under 30 seconds to protect your home or your family. Those weapons are designed for one thing and one thing only- killing as many targets as possible in the shortest amount of time. They serve NO other purpose apart from that.

The Second Amendment was written when muskets were still a thing. Muskets. The gun that takes practically 45 minutes to load and another several to fire properly- and it was first enforced during a time in our history when having the hiccups could kill you. Isn’t it time we update those things- even if it’s just a little bit- to fit in with our current day and age?

The most common argument (that I’ve seen, anyway) to that suggestion is “well, people will just get them illegally anyway-” and sure- that’s very much a possibility- but that’s like saying “well, there’s a million other ways I could get cancer so I’m just going to keep smoking.” Wouldn’t you want to at least TRY to lessen your chances of death and destruction by restricting access to a thing that could potentially kill you? Wouldn’t you want that for your loved ones?

Like universal healthcare, so many other countries have figured out gun control and have not suffered loss, after loss, after loss, after loss, etc. the way that we have here in the United States. Isn’t it time we join the rest of the world’s example and become a country that takes the necessary actions to protect it’s citizens from harm? Can’t we all tell our leaders that we want to be able to go to school, or work, or church, or a movie theater, or a concert- and NOT risk our lives every time we do?

Sandy Hook should have been the wake up call. Small children being slaughtered in their classrooms should have been the final straw. Why is this still happening?

I’m just tired. I’m tired of awful things happening to innocent people and nobody doing a damned thing about it. I’m tired of “thoughts and prayers” when they have solved nothing in the aftermath of each of these tragedies. I’m tired of watching coverage of people describing their lost loved ones as they fight back tears.

I guess that most of all- I’m tired that this will be the worst mass shooting in U.S. history until the next one, and then the next one, and then the next one- because we are failing to act, and ultimately- we are failing each other.

I’m sorry for this. I’m sorry I had to write this. I hope I’ll never have to write anything like it ever again. I hope that things can finally change in America- because I want to live a nice, long life and be happy- and I want all of you to live nice, long lives and be happy, too.

Hug your loved ones. Be good to each other- and stay safe. I’ll get back to my regularly scheduled blog posts shortly.


– Ashley –

Ways To Help – Hurricane and Earthquake Relief

Good Morning, Happy Friday- and Happy First Day of Fall, everyone! While I am undoubtedly thrilled that my favorite time of year is *officially* underway and am excited for all the seasonal activities that come with it- I understand that these past couple of weeks haven’t exactly been joyous for others in different parts of the world, and wanted to offer some suggestions for those- like me, who is beyond grateful to be somewhere safe – and who may be feeling helpless during this frightening and horrifying string of non-stop global/weather-related disasters and don’t want to just sit back and do nothing.

As most of you know, Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma left parts of Texas and Florida underwater and millions of people without power in recent weeks- and in the past couple of days we saw a 7.1 magnitude earthquake strike near Mexico City and a category 5 hurricane batter Puerto Rico. While the frantic search to find survivors and restore power sources continue- I know that it can be overwhelming to want to help as much as possible- especially if you live far away from the affected areas and aren’t sure where to start.

The most predominant and well-known relief comes from The Red Cross and UNICEF, of course- and I don’t want to knock any of their hard workers who are truly trying their best to accommodate and assist so many people in such vast areas of destruction- but it’s well-documented that both of these organizations can’t always be relied upon to get the donated funds where they need to be in a timely fashion.

For that reason, should anyone be weary but don’t know where else to turn- I’ve found a handful of non-profit agencies who are working tirelessly ’round-the-clock to help out. If you’re looking for something to put some money into- these are great options.



Those are just a few to get started- but there’s a lot more out there!

If you know of any other non-profit organizations who are helping with the ongoing disaster reliefs- please feel free to leave a comment or contact me directly to share! The more help- the better.

Hang in there, everyone- and enjoy your weekend.


– Ashley –

Protests, Roller Coasters and SummerSlam 2017…

Good Morning, everyone! Have all of your eyes adjusted back to normal after looking at the solar eclipse yesterday? I shared a pair of those special protective glasses with some of my co-workers yesterday when we viewed the phenomenon from a clearing outside our office. Pretty neat stuff- even if it didn’t get as dark out as I had thought (and sort of hoped) it would!

Before I launch into what I did this past weekend, I wanted to get serious for just a couple of minutes.

I try not to get too political here on Blondie Birdie. It’s not because I’m not interested in current events and it’s certainly not because I don’t care about what’s happening in the world around me- a peek into any of my social media would disprove that misconception very quickly considering how vocal I am surrounding the issues I care about deeply- but a good portion of the news and politics continues to be depressing, infuriating and downright horrifying 99.999% of the time. For that reason, I try to keep things light here. Not only for my readers and subscribers- but for myself, too. Sometimes it’s nice to have a small corner of the internet to escape to when things are looking bleak and rough literally everywhere else.

I do have to comment on what happened in Boston this past weekend, though- because I was on the sidelines for a brief period of time and couldn’t have been prouder of my city for the display of unity, decency and peaceful protest that sent a message to the world and set a precedent for how to drive out hatred and bigotry when it dares come knocking at your door.

For those of you who didn’t know, a small group of white supremacists/Neo-Nazis/”Alt-Right” enthusiasts had scheduled a “Freedom of Speech” rally in Boston Common on Saturday so they could get away with as much hate speech/rhetoric and propaganda as they wanted. Following the events in Charlottesville just days earlier- Bostonians weren’t going to just let it stand- and the handful of losers who ended up hiding and huddled together with police protection in a gazebo right in the middle of the park were surrounded by 20,000+ peaceful protesters  who came armed with nothing but signs, banners, and chants until the Nazis (and let’s not mince words. They’re Nazis) were eventually escorted out of the area and back to their basements in armored police vehicles while the crowd cheered, clapped and hollered.

Now, the section I was standing in was well-behaved. I’d heard about a couple of people getting riled up and who attempted to start some trouble long after the rally disassembled- but there’s always and inevitably going to be a few bad eggs in groups that large- and they were far outnumbered by good, decent people who knew that Boston’s strength comes from and relies heavily on the diversity of it’s citizens. I was so, so proud of each and every single person who showed up. THAT’S how you get rid of ignorant and hateful cowards.

And if anyone thinks what happened in Boston didn’t change anything or doubts it made a difference- a bunch of scheduled and similar white supremacy rallies around the country were cancelled following what happened in my city. It DOES work.

Candid. Six Flags. 8/19/17

Following my stopping by the Common to voice my support alongside those fighting against inconceivable and poisonous hatred- I wanted to close out my Saturday with something fun and carefree- and headed to Six Flags New England with some friends for the remainder of my afternoon/evening to ride roller coasters until I sustained a mild thoracic spine strain (those wooden coasters will get you every. single. time- but I’m healing up nicely!) and eat gigantic ice cream cones until the park closed. My friends continue to buy season passes to Six Flags and then never use them for reasons that are beyond my comprehension- but I get a discounted entry when they bring their passes with them- so it works out for me, anyway!

My favorite coaster is still the Superman (formerly the Bizzaro)– because there’s that .3 seconds where you feel like you might legitimately fly out of your seat and die- but they’ve got a couple of re-vamped ones that I really enjoyed, too- prior to my injury, anyway.

The cost of food and beverages in that place is a whole other story, though. If you ever get the urge to go to Six Flags- pack a good, filling picnic lunch and enjoy it outside the gate before you re-enter the park during your stay. You’ll save yourself a small fortune. I promise! Charging $5 for water bottles during the hottest days of the year are NOT okay.

On Sunday, after a long time in the kitchen making sure my baked goods came out just right- I headed over to Allston for my friend Phill’s WWE ‘SummerSlam’ party to view the event with a group of equally passionate professional wrestling fans. Phill has 3 events per year for the three biggest PPVs- the Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, and SummerSlam- and up until now I’d never been to one of his parties. The rules were simple: don’t cheer Roman Reigns (a universally disliked and over-hyped character)– and if you bring a snack, it had to be wrestling themed.

My contributions to this event- and my attempt to win the coveted SNACK-Down Championship Belt (AKA best party food) was my “Undercaker” chocolate cake shaped like a wrestling ring- complete with turnbuckles and ropes!- and some gluten-free Balor Club cupcakes specifically for an attendee, James, who I was informed had an allergy and who I didn’t want to exclude. Overall I think everything paired nicely with the huge SummerHAM that one of Phill’s friends- dressed like John Cena, naturally- brought, as well as a dip called ‘Bean Ambrose’- among many other snacks.

The creativity was seriously awesome, and I had the best time- and while I was debating dressing up like Alexa Bliss, I went for a more simple look and rocked my WAY oversized Finn Balor/Demon King shirt- just in time for him to re-emerge in all his body-painted glory for his match. To say I was delighted is an understatement.

Next time, for sure- I’m rocking the Alexa look. New Cosplay project!

Overall, I had a really fun, really fulfilling weekend- and needed a full day yesterday to recover in-between work and catching up on some errands and much-needed sleep at home. My posting schedule is a little off as a result- but it should be back to normal by next week.

Enjoy your Tuesday/Monday 2.0, everyone! I’m getting ready to throw an impromptu, in-office, surprise Bachelorette party for one of my co-workers who is getting married this weekend! I’ll be sure to take some pictures!


– Ashley –