November 2019: In a Nutshell

Good Morning and Happy Saturday, everyone!

Christmastime is officially underway, and so is the countdown to the end of 2019- which means the next few weeks are going to be spent doing a lot of shopping, even more gift wrapping- and plenty of cooking/baking and traveling to various holiday functions and get togethers. December is a busy month for most people, and I’ve known for a while now that things are going to be moving pretty much non-stop for me!

Here on “Blondie Birdie,” I’ll have plenty of holiday cheer to share throughout the month ahead- with ceremonial tree lightings, local events, gift-giving ideas/tips and some of my favorite seasonal recipes for the culinary curious to try out- but I’m also going to be putting together my annual Year-In-Review post to mark the end of the decade while preparing some big blog news and changes for the beginning of 2020. I’m very, very excited!

But before I jump ahead into all of that- I did want to tip my hat to November 2019- a month that was just as busy, exciting and unexpected as December is shaping up to be.

I kicked off the month with one last scare for Halloween with a trip to Haunted Overload in New Hampshire before they closed for the season, only to then enjoy a daytime adventure (in the rain and cold this time around) to the Three Sisters Sanctuary in Goshen just a few short days later.

By mid-month, things had taken a surprising and thrilling turn when Troy and I went to not one, but two Hozier shows in the span of 72 hours– one in Boston and the other in Connecticut- which made for some excellent stories and photographs while we enjoyed ourselves and the company of my dear and longtime friend, Steven, who was the mastermind behind the spectacular light shows for each of Hozier’s shows during this tour. The Connecticut show marked Troy’s first time in a casino- and naturally I had him play a slot machine for the first time, too.

I’m a terrible influence like that.

November saw me return to the Ski & Snowboard Expo to represent Indie617 (our Top 100 Songs of The Decade is streaming now through the weekend, by the way!), the UMass Fine Arts Center for a dance performance, and Red Apple Farm to stock up on ingredients to prepare for this past Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day feast- which didn’t disappoint. I have so many leftovers in my fridge that I’m pretty sure I can feed everyone on my block for a couple of days.

And now, with a couple of quiet, more low-key days ahead of me before I return to work on Monday morning (where the posting schedule will return to normal, as well!)ย I’m looking forward to decorating my apartment, scratching a few things off my Holiday Gift Shopping List- and indulging in more than one hot chocolate since snow is just ahead in this week’s forecast!

So here’s to November- one for the history books, indeed!

I’ll be back on Monday morning- bright and early as usual- so enjoy the rest of your weekend ’til then, everybody!

xx

– Ashley –

Halloweekend!

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

Daylight Savings Time has me all mixed up right now, and being back at work so bright and early this morning is just further scrambling my brain- but I’m going to push through, get as much done as I can today at the office- and go home to rest and relax once 5-o-clock rolls around!

I suspected I’d be wiped out this morning, as I usually am following Halloweekend every year. For those who may be unfamiliar with Halloweekend- it’s pretty self-explanatory. It’s the weekend immediately before or following Halloween (depending on what day it falls on) where people get in one final wear from their costumes, have one last party, or do all things spooky before focus shifts to the impending holidays- Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.

It’s a pretty big event for my friends and I every year, so we wanted to do something really special to commemorate the occasion for 2019 given that we’ve all sort of scattered with multiple moves/re-locations. Some of us haven’t seen each other in 5+ months- so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to reconnect!

And we went big- traveling to New Hampshire to visit Haunted Overload at the DeMeritt Hill Farm in Lee, New Hampshire- which has become one of our favorite attractions in recent years. This past weekend marked the final days of the season, and the company opted for a “Lights Out” event for visitors after dark- meaning all the lights were turned off and you had to walk the trail in total darkness.

It was absolute murder on my nerves and vocal chords from screaming so much- but I really did have the best time!

Of course, no trip to the farm is complete without hot apple cider and apple cider doughnuts. Post-trail, our group indulged in both before we all headed back to Boston to turn the clocks back an hour and close out the night with some horror movies and scary video games- which is always the best time.

And now, with Halloweekend over and November in full-swing- it’s time to switch gears and get ready for the impending festive frenzy!

A little later on this week, I’ll have a peek at my Fall 2019 makeup collection, and a visit to some more unique and unusual attractions in the Pioneer Valley before it starts getting too cold to go outdoors!

But before that- I’ve got to get some work done at the office!

Enjoy the start of your week, everyone! Be strong and be brave. We’re going to get through this together!

xx

– Ashley –

October 2019: In a Nutshell

Good Morning, Happy Thursday- and Happy Halloween, everyone!

Today is looking like it’s going to be a cold, rainy and windy one outside- but that hasn’t stopped me from reaching peak spooky spirit for tonight’s festivities! My apartment is decorated, I’ve got my bowl of candy prepared to put out for my neighbors- I’m dressed in something bone-chilling (but in actuality isย quite warm for the weather!) and I’m ready to watch scary movies, eat pizza, and pass out candy to the trick-or-treaters with family and friends later on- as is tradition!

With tomorrow being the first day of November, and- sadly- it marking the beginning of the end of this most lovely of Fall seasons as Winter and the holidays draw closer and closer- I wanted to take some time to show my appreciation for my favorite month out of the year! October has always been one of the busier, more action-packed times of the year for me- and 2019 was no exception to that!

To keep things at peak-creepy when I wasn’t working- I made it a point to visit/photograph plenty of unusual (and potentially haunted) locations in New England/Massachusetts throughout October. Like this one, or this one, and this one, too– but I made sure to leave the poltergeists where I found them when it came time to share new recipe posts or peeks into some of my favorite mid-Fall finds in the depths of my closet.

I enjoyed capturing the New England foliage at it’s peak, spending a couple of days in Boston with someone beloved to see Bon Iver together– and hanging out with friends from work to marvel at thousands (literally) of jack-o-lanterns! And, of course- I enjoyed movies, meals and quality time with the people I care about when I could.

So, what’s in store for November? After the Halloween-related events wind down this weekend- it’s all bout preparing for Thanksgiving, Winter and beginning the process of reflecting on 2019 and my hopes for 2020 as the holidays are right around the corner!

I’ve got some more Autumn-inspired recipes to share, more cold weather outfits to pose in, and a little more local travel planned within the coming weeks (with some more live shows in my future!)– and I’m so excited to share it all here!

But for now, I’m going to get some work done from home- make sure I’ve got my backup candy on hand- and get ready for tonight! I’ll be back next week on my normal blogging schedule (Monday, Wednesday and Friday)– so be sure to check in!

Have a fun, safe, and thrilling Halloween, everybody! Go get that candy!

xx

– Ashley –

2 Spooky 4 U

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

After battling a 24 hour stomach bug for most of yesterday (I still managed to get a lot done despite feeling pretty awful at random intervals throughout the day,) I’m looking forward to getting some work done at my office today, retreating to my family’s home for a quiet night in with my mom and my dog- and heading to bed early! I need to get my strength up for Halloween next week, after all!

This past Wednesday night- some friends and I from work decided to get into the spooky season spirit with a beloved New England tradition- and we stopped by Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island for their annual Jack-O-Lantern Display Spectacular.

The trail, which winds through a waterfront section of the zoo- features thousands of intricately carved and painted pumpkins, Every year also has a different theme (decades, pop culture, historical moments, etc.) that artists base their designs around. This year it was the different seasons- as well as side themes of notable conservationists and a nod to Stan Lee & Marvel.

You can see some of the photos I snapped below. Click to enlarge any of them for a better view!

I had an absolute blast, and the weather held up nicely so it was great to take some extra time to really look at everything without freezing.

Before leaving, we made sure to grab some hot apple cider and kettle corn popcorn for the road- and then it was all the way back to the Valley for me!

Next week, the posting schedule will be a short one given that Halloween falls on Thursday- but I’ll have some of my favorite things from this past month up to share with you all on Tuesday- and a look back on this most wild and fun of Octobers as a whole with my “In a Nutshell” post!

But until then, enjoy your weekend ahead! I’m off to get some work done!

xx

– Ashley –

OOTD: Keeping Up with the Addams-es…

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone!

I’ve been a firecracker of productivity this week- slaying at work and getting all sorts of things done post-office before I eventually fall asleep at night. I had said before that October tends to be a busier-than-usual-month for me, what with all the Halloween-related festivities and all- and this year is no exception to that tradition. It feels like I’ve been going non-stop!

After work tonight, some friends from the office and I will be venturing down to Rhode Island to enjoy some hard cider and see a famous annual Jack-O-Lantern exhibit I haven’t been able to make it to in a couple of years- so I’m pretty excited. It’s a fitting event for the final days before Halloween.

But today I thought I’d share one of my coziest, warmest, and potentially spooky ensembles I wore earlier this week to work. Between the over-sized black and white sweater and matching socks- a friend who had recently seen me try this on in my apartment joked that I looked like Wednesday Addams. I think it may be a combination of her and Lydia Deetz from “Beetlejuice”- but either way- it’s super comfy.

I wish I could remember exactly where I got this sweater from, but knowing me- I think I can safely assume it was Primark and I was probably getting ready to go on a trip or something when I bought it!

And the faux-leather boots are from Vera Wang. They’re super comfortable, match well with anything and everything- and have a bit of a chunky heel on them that gives me a little height and makes my posture look much better than it normally does when I’m standing/walking.

I’ll be back on Friday with some photos from tonight’s festivities before we break for the weekend and I take some time to put the finishing touches on my Halloween costume(s). I’m very, very excited to share them with you all!

But until then- enjoy your “Hump Day” and stay warm and spooky out there!

xx

– Ashley –