Into The Wild…

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

While I’m not particularly thrilled at being back at work in my office so bright and early this morning- I had such a great weekend that I’m still running on that energy so not much can bring me down at this point. I’m sure I’ll be singing a different tune by like, 11 a.m.- but right now I’m feeling fine.

Saturday was my usual afternoon routine, where I hosted my Indie617 show from 12-4 (and thanks to everyone who participated in a lively lyric discussion!)– but from there I went on to perform in a “Summer Showcase” dance and performance event in Salem for a studio I’ve been working closely with over these past few months. I presented a piece I wrote and directed myself- inspired by my struggles with depression, anxiety, self-doubt and ultimately acceptance of my flaws- and the response was overwhelmingly positive.

I haven’t mentioned my work there- or my performance- until now as I’d been extremely self-conscious and wanted to perfect it before I went ahead and shared it with the masses via additional shows or social media- but Saturday night’s reaction was definitely a confidence booster.

Yesterday, in the post-show glow-y haze I was in- Troy advised me he was picking me up and taking me to an unknown destination in The Berkshires and, specifically, New York. Never one to back down from an adventure in a new destination- I agreed.

After a long drive through picturesque towns like Stockbridge and Great Barrington (with lunch at The Marketplace on the way)– we reached our destination on the Massachusetts/New York line- Bash Bish Fallls. Or, as I kept calling it- “Bad Bitch Falls.”

The place was absolutely incredible- and worth the steep 20 minute hike to get to. The views were amazing, the water was super cold and clear, and it was the perfect way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon in August. I was on cloud nine.

Of course, I snapped some photos. You can click on them to enlarge them.

On the way back to Northampton and Greenfield- we stopped at the SoCo Creamery in Great Barrington for some ice cream (banana brownie 4eva) and to take in some more views of the town’s most famous street/shopping area. It’s a super cute town with a lot of bouji boutiques and restaurants- but I enjoyed my time there and wouldn’t mind visiting again.

Overall, I had a really perfect weekend and I wish it could have extended another few days- although I do have tomorrow off and a half day on Wednesday- so here’s hoping I can keep that late Summer magic and adventurous energy going strong.

I’ve got to get started on my work for the week, but I’ll be back on Wednesday morning with more updates from the road. Here’s wishing you all a peaceful and stress-free beginning of the work-week ahead!

xx

– Ashley –

On The Mend…

Good Evening and Happy Friday, everyone!

Earlier this week, I talked about working and fighting through a pretty aggressive Summertime flu that struck me over this past weekend and essentially kept me down for the count until about Tuesday night/Wednesday morning when I tried to return to my normal blogging schedule amid coughing fits, sneezing episodes- and much-needed power naps.

I am thankfully nearly 100% better again- with the occasional cough here and there- but I have my energy and motivation back and I’m excited to return to work and my projects without interruption.

I’ve been recovering with the help of lots of rest, plenty of water- and embracing the opportunity to indulge in a few guilt-free “cheat days” with delicious dining out and about in the Pioneer Valley. Wednesday night saw me trying Antonio’s Pizza for the very first time (and I can’t believe I slept on it for so long!) My tortellini and pesto slice, and the chicken nacho slice I pretty much inhaled are pictured above.

Last night, I went a little more upscale with a dear friend during dinner and drinks at Spoleto. Another place I’d only ever driven by but never stopped in- and it was phenomenal. I could have eaten seconds or thirds if I knew I wouldn’t have been in a food coma afterwards.

It’s definitely a perk to living in the Valley now- there’s no shortage of fantastic places to try new dishes!

With July wrapping up next week (already?!) I’ll be sharing some of my favorite things from these past few weeks- and then going through the ups and downs of my Midsummer in my monthly “In a Nutshell” post next Wednesday before we launch into August and the final days of Summer.

Until then- here’s wishing you all a wonderful weekend ahead. Get out there and enjoy yourselves!

xx

– Ashley –

Lazy Sundays…

Good Morning, Happy Monday- and Happy July, everyone!

To call my Sundays “lazy” isn’t entirely accurate. My Sunday mornings are typically pretty busy, filled with errands- like grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning or paying bills- before I launch into plans throughout the afternoon and evening to try and have a little fun before I head back to work each Monday morning (like I’m getting ready to do right now… Ugh.)

Yesterday, though? Absolutely a “Lazy Sunday.” After laundry and grocery shopping- it was all about eating junk food, laying in bed, napping, and doing absolutely nothing except count down the minutes for June (and my subsequent “June Gloom Curse” to end. See my last post for more information on that.)

Granted, in-between errands and prior to my laying down for the count in the late afternoon/evening- I did manage to visit two wonderful local places: one new and one familiar.

The first, en route to Northampton- was this adorable little roadside farm/flower shop called Sunset Acres Farm in Whately (which I snapped a photo of above since it looks like a secret garden!) It was lovely- and I really would have stayed longer of a rather nefarious looking thunderstorm with cloud-to-ground lightning hadn’t rolled through the area while I was perusing tomato plants to purchase.

I’m absolutely going to head back when the weather isn’t so unpredictable!

The second, the place I’m familiar with- was Local Burger. I was starving and craving a cheeseburger (and buffalo/blue cheese fries.) I haven’t been to Local in a long time, but it never changes. The decor and the food is always the same and it’s always really, really good.

With a food coma brewing- I wrapped up my errands before heading home where my last task of a on/off rainy Sunday was finishing the changes to “Blondie Birdie’s” layout! Yes, if you look now- I’ve gone teal and a bit less cluttered with my site. An appropriate way to begin July and the peak of Summer, if I do say so myself.

Obviously, I’m keeping an eye out for any glitches or issues- so if any of you happen to see anything pop up or look out of place- please let me know so I can fix it!

But that just about does it for me today. It’s going to be a busy day at the office- what with the upcoming holiday weekend- so I’ve got to try and get a handle on things before they inevitably go off the rails.

Have a great start to your week, everybody!

xx

– Ashley –

The Summer 2019 Bucket List Is Underway!

Good Evening, everyone!

It’s later than usual for me to update “Blondie Birdie,” and I had wanted to get this post up and running earlier this morning- but life happens, and work happens, and errands- and sometimes my schedule just doesn’t go as planned. I’m here, though- resting comfortably in my air conditioned apartment with a sheet mask and a cold glass of lemonade after a long day at the office.

And I’m happy to report that my Summer 2019 To-Do/Bucket List already has one thing scratched off of it!

When I first moved to the Valley, I had talked about wanting to explore pretty much anything and everything there was to do- from off-the-wall attractions, to theater, to parks and museums- and really good places to eat. I’ve grown familiar with certain spots in Northampton I frequent regularly for coffee or dinner- but this past weekend while I was out running errands I happened to pass by Captain Jack’s Roadside Shack in Easthampton that I’d heard about through the grapevine but had never actually visited before.

The place looked pretty busy but not overcrowded- and I was starving- so I stopped with the intention of ordering some fries and a lemonade or something light to get me through the remainder of my afernoon. But, then I saw their lobster rolls- and I’m pretty sure my jaw hit the floor. I had to have one.

LOOK AT THIS!

It was huge, delicious and worth every penny- and I loved the thin cut fries that came with it, too!

If seafood isn’t your thing, no worries- they also had chicken, burgers, pulled pork, and plenty of sides to choose from! And the portions are massive. I managed to power through the lobster roll and some of the fries but there was no way I could eat all of it on my own in one sitting!

I know I’ll definitely be heading back there soon (they have a crab roll that is calling my name) but for now- I’m just glad I got to scratch “eat a lobster roll” off of my Summer Goals list this early on! Next on the agenda? Hitting the beach, obviously!

A little later on this week I’m going to be sharing my favorite things from this past month. There’s a lot of makeup and hair care included now that the heat and the humidity have arrived here in New England- but I’ve found some great products I’ve been loving and I can’t wait to show them off!

Until then, though- enjoy your night and your Thursday! I’ll see you all again on Friday!

xx

– Ashley –

“Here Comes The Calling…”

Good Morning, Happy Monday- and Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

My goodness, what a weekend I’ve had- and because today is a holiday and I have the day off from work as a result- I am absolutely looking forward to decompressing and taking it easy. I’ve got some laid back lunch/shopping plans with my mom during the day, and then a movie date a little later on tonight (I’m finally seeing “John Wick 3” and I couldn’t be more excited about it!)

I’ll also be sporadically applying aloe vera throughout the day since I got a teeny, tiny sunburn from Saturday. Come to find out- me, the Queen of SPF 50- managed to forget to apply a good amount to my collarbone area and upper arms in the frenzy that was Boston Calling. Not my proudest moment- but the redness and soreness will definitely serve as a painful reminder for next time. *DON’T* forget to apply sunscreen!

Yes, this past Saturday was an absolute whirlwind of incredible music, delicious food, and good times among friends. I spent my day at Boston Calling with the Indie617 crew and my dear friend Steven, who was in town to do lights for Hozier at the festival- and I had the absolute best time ever.

Things kicked off with a little patio pre-party from 12-2 at Casa Caรฑa in Cambridge- where I broadcast my show, soaked up the sun and grooved to good tunes before it was time to make my way over to the Harvard University Athletics Complex- which is where the festival is now housed after moving from City Hall Plaza a couple of years ago.

From there, my day was spent hanging out with Steven where we got to walk around, catch up, and stuff our faces with our favorite festival must-have- the “BBQ Bomb” from The Smoke Shop BBQ. It’s essentially a waffle cone filled with meat, mac and cheese, beans and coleslaw- and it’s life-changing. Steven and I discovered them last year at Boston Calling when he was in town with The Killers- and it was pretty much the number one thing on our itinerary this past Saturday afternoon.

I also spent time at the Indie617 media tent where lots of great artist interviews and coverage was taking place throughout the three days of the festival (which wrapped up last night with a closing performance by Travis Scott.) The photos and videos will be up on the Indie617 website- but you can also peep our social media for clips and behind the scenes footage that we shot during the event.

There was also beer. A lot of beer- which is always appreciated on hot days. I work with an incredibly talented, eager, hard-working and super fun team of people at the station and I’m so unbelievably grateful to be apart of their ranks and to be able to participate in unbelievably cool events like this with them.

And, just a reminder- but you can listen to me on Saturdays from 12-4 PM (EST). I return to the studio this coming weekend! Download our free app or stream online at our website to listen!

And then there were the artists- and what an incredible lineup Saturday had. Clairo, Mitski, Hozier (and I had the best seat in the house to see the whole, stunning performance!) and Tame Impala’s mindblowing set to close out the evening. I sang along. I danced- shamelessly- and managed to take a few good photos when the moment was right!

As always, if you’d like to make any of the images below bigger- simply click on them!

It truly was an awesome day/night and I cannot wait to do it again next year.

That just about does it for me today, since I have to get on the road to go meet with my mom and start our adventure for the day. With May coming to an end this week (!!!) I’m going to be taking a look at some of my favorite things from this past month- before wrapping it up with a neat little look-back/recap on Friday morning.

I hope you all have a safe, sunny and fun-filled Monday. It’s the unofficial start of the Summer- so let’s get through this short week together!

xx

– Ashley –