“Just hear those sleigh bells jingle-ing, ring-ting tingle-ing, too…”

Good Morning and Happy “Hump Day”, everyone!

Today is my usual half at work (the day changes come January 1st for a couple of months- so I’m enjoying these mid-week breaks for now!) before I head home to finish wrapping my Christmas presents and start scheduling their deliveries to friends and family during visits and parties over the next few days.

I’m quite pleased with how I’ve managed to get my decorating, shopping, (most of) my wrapping, baking/cooking and planning done early and/or reasonably hassle-free this year- so much, actually- that I’ve had more time to enjoy seasonal activities and events I may have otherwise missed during last-minute gift shopping panic.

A portion of this past weekend, for example- was spent in an indoor “Winter Wonderland” with my mother during an outing in Western Massachusetts where I helped her finish checking things off her own shopping list and then grabbed a nice lunch together.

While Christmas is positively beautiful in Boston- and there’s so much to see and do- the crowds can get a little overwhelming at times. The Pioneer Valley is a lot more low-key, historic, and quiet. I’ve been spending a lot of time there and it really is just a lovely location to be leading up to the holidays.

During our day out, my mother and I marveled at rooms lined wall to wall with miniature villages, made a pact to someday purchase one of the 30-foot high Christmas trees that touched the ceiling, tried to find the perfect nutcracker to add to her ever growing collection- and resisted the urge to buy every single dessert-themed ornament we spotted on sale (and there were a lot.)

It was a really great, fun, and laid-back day- and we even saw a bit of snow in what was otherwise a rainy week/weekend!

This coming Friday, I have another seasonally and holiday-appropriate recipe to share (this time it’s a dinner entree!) before I break for Christmas. And then, much to my disbelief at how fast time is flying this month- it’s going to be all about looking back at December and at 2018 overall on Blondie Birdie next week- with recaps about some of my favorite products/items/odds and ends to close out the year- and my Top Ten Photos I snapped during my travels and misadventures since January.

It’s a lot to do and prepare for, but I’m excited!

Until then- here’s wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday. I hope the remainder of the day and this week is stress-free and full of festive fun and cheer!

See you all again on Friday!

xx

– Ashley –

The Santa Show!

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

After (very) recently finding out I had a few unused days off at my job that I needed to take before the end of 2018- I opted for a long weekend and took last Friday and today off. I think I’m going to try to take some additional days later on this week or near the end of next week, as well- but we’ll see how it goes as we get closer to Christmas!

This past weekend was a mixed bag- busy and relaxing at various times and intervals! I got a lot of pre-holiday errands done, got some gifts wrapped and ready to be delivered, did a little baking/cooking- and still managed to unwind in my thermal PJs while watching Christmas movies. I indulged in some self-care with much-needed TLC for my hair- and started confirming my New Year’s Eve plans (which are the epitome of pampering and indulgence, really!)

The definite highlight, though- was stopping by the Williston Northampton School to see my friends at Paintbox Theatre put on the last of their holiday shows that ran all weekend!

Seeing one of my dearest, longtime friends dressed up like a dog and singing Christmas carols to kids was pretty fantastic, sure- but the whole cast and crew were so fun, so energetic, so hilarious and animated- and so wonderful in each of their interactions with the children in the audience. It was heartwarming and adorable and just so lovely to sit and watch.

I’m really excited to be partnering with Paintbox for their 2019 Summer season- not only because they are a company I believe in and support 100%- but because it will essentially be like working with friends/family and I know it’s going to be a good fit. I can’t wait to get started after the New Year.

But for today- a day off- I’m going to be spending an afternoon with my mother helping her get some of her Christmas shopping done and grabbing lunch before the late afternoon rush when traffic and the shops get busy!

I’ve got to go pick her up right now, actually! Have a great day, everyone! See you all again on Wednesday!

xx

– Ashley –

Festive Foodie: No-Bake Sugar Cookie Truffles

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

Today’s post is coming at you all a little later on in the day than usual- since this morning and mid-afternoon were pretty busy for me. For starters, I was live on-air for “Morning Glory” at Indie617 bright and early this A.M. talking about some of my favorite albums, shows and indie music headlines from 2018. There was a lot of good music and a lot of laughs. If you missed the action or want to hear the audio- CLICK HERE.

Following the segment, I headed back towards Central Massachusetts to have a pre-holiday luncheon with some of my friends/co-workers from the office, where we had a mini gift exchange and got a chance to talk about normal, non-work related things.

Now that I’m home and able to catch up on some e-mails (and touch up my makeup) before I get together with my family to have a little Tree Trimming party- I thought I’d share one of the bites I’m preparing for tonight. With limited ingredients and no baking required for this quick, easy dessert- these truffles are a go-to during the hectic holiday season.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 2 cups sugar-cookie crumbs (from about 15 medium cookies)
  • 6 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 cups white chocolate chips
  • Sprinkles, for finishing

READY? HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the cookies until they are fine crumbs. Add the cream cheese and mix well to combine. The mixture should hold together when pressed.
  2. Scoop the mixture into heaping tablespoon-size portions and roll into balls. Transfer the balls to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  3. Add the white chocolate chips to a medium-size microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until chocolate is smooth and melted.
  4. Dip the cookie truffles into the melted white chocolate to coat fully, returning to the baking sheet as you go. Before the chocolate sets, decorate with sprinkles.
  5. Transfer the baking sheet to the refrigerator until the chocolate is set. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

These truffles are delicious- and can be tweaked a bit for those with different tastes (using dark chocolate instead of white chocolate, for example)– but the’re festive and fun- and no hassle at all!

This coming weekend is going to be filled with time with family and friends (and a long overdue touchup of my hair for the season) as Christmas continues to draw closer.

On Sunday, I’ll be heading out to Easthampton to catch a holiday performance from one of my favorite theater groups- Paintbox Theatre– who will be putting on their annual ‘Santa Show’ for adults and kids alike! Tonight’s first performance is at 7:30 PM, while Saturday and Sundays’ performances are at 10:30 AM and 1 PM.

You can purchase tickets directly through Paintbox’s website or at the¬†Williston Theater- but be sure to get there early to snag a good seat!

And be prepared to sing along to a lot of holiday classics and laugh along to a lot of crazy antics!

But for now- I’m off to prepare for tonight. Here’s wishing you all a wonderful and safe weekend. I’ll be back on Monday!

xx

– Ashley –

Holiday Hangs…

Good Morning and Happy “Hump Day”, everyone!

It’s been such a busy week so far- both with work and pre-holiday preparations- but today is my half day at my office and the only thing I intend on doing once I leave for the day and head home is partaking in some baking and staying bundled up in my cozy pajamas and blankets with a hot cup of cocoa while I watch some classic Christmas movies and work on my end-of-the-year posts for the blog.

I need a day of doing the bare minimum- just to recharge my batteries a bit!

I might still be recovering from this past weekend, really- which saw me stop by Idle Hands Craft Ales in Malden for Indie617‘s first annual ‘Holiday Hang’. While I had a couple of drinks and caught up with friends, the station spun some festive tunes and gave away different prizes- including concert tickets and Idle Hands swag. The turnout was great- as was the food provided by Spoko Polish Street Food. The perfect pairing with my cranberry-orange beer, really!

Also, I have to give credit to the seasonally appropriate video of Nick Offerman sitting in front of a fireplace, occasionally drinking whiskey- that was looped for ten hours and played across a wall at Idle Hands from a projector. It really set the mood.

If you want to get the video rolling at your own holiday party (all ten hours of it!)CLICK HERE.

I’m going to be back and live on air with Indie617 this coming Friday (12/14) at 9 a.m. during ‘Morning Glory’ to talk about some of the biggest indie stories of 2018- so be sure to tune in! I’m very excited to recap what has been a crazy year in music.

A little later on this week (also on Friday, to be more specific)– I’m going to have a new bake-free dessert recipe up here on Blondie Birdie- just in time for a Tree Trimming dinner party I have planned with my family later on that night. I’ve got the cocktails ready to go and a soundtrack ready to play- but I’m admittedly still digging out ornaments from storage that my brothers and I have had since we were little kids! It’s tradition, after all.

A little hint about the recipe, by the way- if you love sugar cookies and white chocolate- you’re going to love what I’m going to share.

But for now, I’m going to get some work done and count down the minutes until noon. Here’s wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday!

xx

– Ashley –

OOTD: Fleece Navidad

Good Morning and Happy Monday (yuck…), everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Mine was as busy as ever- with my wrapping up the last of my Christmas shopping, swinging by a really fun holiday party at one of my favorite local breweries in Malden, and spending some time with my family eating great food and making plans for the coming weeks ahead.

Today is shaping up to be a busy one- not just because of work and some scheduled errands later on this afternoon/evening- but also because the World Series trophy is making a scheduled appearance near my office today. It’s a big deal- especially with the lot of us here being Red Sox fans- so we’re re-configuring our entire afternoon around photo-ops and selfies. As one does, I suppose.

But before I fix my hair and re-apply some lipstick for my own shameless selfie- I wanted to share one of my favorite, festive sweaters to wear this time of year- and one I actually sported this past weekend. Ugly Christmas sweaters and the holiday parties that celebrate them aren’t going away anytime soon- but I like that this one in-particular is actually pretty funny, creative- and kind of cute!

Also- it’s definitely cozy!

I layered this sweater with a white tank top and paired it with a pair of skinny jeans and my knee-high brown boots. The sweater got a lot of laughs, which is always good- and I ended up keeping it on post-party when I met up with friends later on, too!

I plan on wearing this again at least one or two more times before Christmas this year. I love it so much and I never get the chance to wear it- for obvious reasons.

But for now I’m off to get my usual start-of-the-week grind going and begin checking my voicemails, e-mails and reviewing my cases for this week. I’m not thrilled about it- although I’m never thrilled on Monday mornings- but it’s just the first step towards Friday!

I hope you all have a wonderful rest of your day and that the next few days are as stress-free and painless as possible!

xx

– Ashley –