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!) 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 –

“Life’s no fun without a good scare…”

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone! (As happy as a Monday can be, anyway!)

What a weekend it’s been! Last night was the first full night’s sleep I’ve gotten in a few days- so I’m feeling pretty refreshed today and eager to get things done at work so I can stay one step ahead of the game!

As Halloween creeps closer and closer, my days (and nights) have been filled with horror movies, outings to creepy locations, costume preparation and baking spooky-inspired goods for friends, family & co-workers. It’s been so much fun- and I’m going to be pretty bummed out come November 1st when all the terrifying-in-a-good-way thrills and chills take a backseat until next October!

I think one of my favorite things this year has been finding new places to visit (and scream my head off!) with my friends. Case in point, this past Friday night I made a 2-hour trek to Lee, New Hampshire to check out Haunted Overload with a group of friends and acquaintances. The outdoor haunted trail- located at DeMeritt Hill Farm- was recommended by my friend Chris who had visited it last year and spoke very highly of it.

The theme of the trail changes every year, so you never know what to expect- and it’s SO intricate, detailed, creepy and fun! It wasn’t at all what I expected- and I loved every second of it! Between the HUGE scary wood carvings and the full-sized structures (including a decrepit old Victorian era house) that you run in/through/around while being pursued by evil clowns, butchers wielding chainsaws, etc.- I was hoarse by the end of the night.

Luckily, the farm offers warm apple cider (and snacks) at their stand at the end of the trail- so I made sure to have a drink and pick up some cider doughnuts for home before I left! I’d love to come back next year- or even better, check out the trail during the day to get a better look at the craftsmanship during one of their kid-friendly afternoon events before the season wraps up!

If you find yourself in Lee, New Hampshire before Halloween- definitely stop by. You won’t regret it- and tickets to the trail are way more affordable than other local and highly publicized horror houses that are half as interesting as Haunted Overload is!

Saturday was a little less horror-centric but still picturesque and lovely as I headed up to Montpelier, Vermont (via the scenic route- a 4+ hour drive through the mountains and valleys) to visit my Uncle with my mom and Oliver before he reports to a scheduled surgery in a few weeks.

We left early in the morning, giving us plenty of time to sight-see and admire the foliage along the way. Vermont is a truly lovely state, filled with beautiful farms, old homes, hidden cemeteries and winding roads through the woods- so with a Spotify-generated Fall-themed playlist and some hot coffee- it felt like the perfect Autumn day enjoyed with family.

And even though I’m not a fan of Winter- at all- I’d love to head back up to the area for the holidays since I’m sure it’s absolutely lovely blanketed in snow and Christmas lights!

This week is shaping up to be another busy, exciting one. I’ll be re-appearing on Indie617 this coming Wednesday (where I’ll also be catching a live set from The Wombats later on in the afternoon!) as well as checking out a Jack O’Lantern exhibit with some dear friends who are visiting from the West Coast for a few days.

I’ve got another recipe to share a little later on this week, plus some photographs from my adventures along the way over the next few days- but before I get too ahead of myself- I’ve got to make it through work today!

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful week ahead! Let’s get through it together!

xx

– Ashley –