August 2019: In a Nutshell

Good Morning and Happy Saturday, everyone!

I’m writing this from the comfort of bed, coffee in hand- although it’s not a pumpkin spice latte (yet. That tradition begins bright and early tomorrow morning!) and reflecting on this past August and the Summer 2019 overall, really.

Typically I make lengthy and wild “Bucket Lists” for every season- jotting down places I want to visit, things I want to do and see, food I want to cook/eat, etc. The beauty of living in New England is that with the seasons being so vastly different from one another- there’s many unique experiences to be had. It’s part of the reason I find the idea of leaving permanently so unfathomable.

Until the dead of Winter, anyway- then I’d rather be anywhere *but* here!

Usually I accomplish nearly everything on my bucket lists- however Summer 2019 was the first time in a long time that I felt I had barely scratched the surface. It didn’t feel like failure, or disappointment- but it did leave me asking myself “what happened?”

And the answer is easier to find than you’d think. Summer 2019 was the first one in my new apartment and neighborhood- which meant a lot of my day off activities were spent locally and not out by the ocean, traveling to opposite coasts, etc. I made new friends and went to community potlucks, saw shows in the next town over, soaked up the sun by a local lake, so on and so forth.

I was also working three jobs this past Summer- my full-time office job, my Saturdays with Indie617, and frantic and busy afternoons/evenings with PaintBox Theatre– which wrapped up for the season just a couple of weeks ago and freed up some of my time.

It was definitely Summer- just a new and different kind- which is a bit exciting in itself!

So in Summer 2020, while I’ll definitely have things on my bucket list as usual- I fully plan on practicing better time management and incorporating all the hidden gems within the Pioneer Valley during the hottest season of the year, too!

I’m excited for the Fall- the usual things I always make a point to do like apple picking, pumpkin carving, etc.- and the newer experiences I’ve already planned out here in Western Massachusetts (the foliage is going to look amazing and I cannot wait!)

But first I want to bid farewell to August 2019- a month that saw plenty of travel, time with cherished people in my life, growth and change personally and professionally. It started like a firecracker- with my first trip to MASS MoCA to see Maggie Rogers perform, The journey there inspired a separate visit to the Mohawk Trail just a few days later during some time off I had taken from work.

August saw me straddle the Massachusetts and New York state lines with help from Troy during a surprise trip to Bash Bish Falls– which was one of the most amazing days I’ve had in recent memory. I also celebrated the annual passage of Summer Slam with friends in Salem and mini-golfed for the first time since I was a kid (and lost, but that’s besides the point.)

And with so many changes in my location, career opportunities, etc. I figured I could change my appearance a bit, too- and returned to my brunette roots with help from an incredible stylist. Chocolate-hued hair seems fitting for the Fall- and I wanted to get the jump on it.

So what’s in store for September? A lot of early-Autumn fun- including Hampton Beach’s annual Seafood Festival, The Big E, local Harvest Fairs (I’m stopping by one tomorrow!) and the usual assortment of recipes and peeks inside my closet. My Fall wardrobe is shaping up to be amazing- and I can’t wait to show some of it off!

So expect my Instagram feed to be loaded with pictures of apple cider doughnuts, pumpkin-everything, and leaves, leaves, leaves!

But until then- here’s to August 2019- a busy month that was filled with fun, new adventures, lots of changes- and hope for the weeks ahead! With Monday being a holiday- my posting schedule will be Tuesday and Thursday next week before I return to the normal schedule the week after. I’ll have lots to talk about!

Enjoy the rest of your long weekend, everyone!

xx

– Ashley – 

July 2019: In a Nutshell

Good Afternoon and Happy Wednesday, everyone!

While posting this late in the day always makes me feel a bit unproductive- I’ve actually been anything but. I’ve been working from home since 7:30 this morning after a super fun (but super late) night out last night. I’ve been running on fumes but getting SO much done today!

Not bad for someone who hasn’t even had coffee or a shower yet, right? Gross, I know- but that’s next on my “To Do” list for today.

Speaking of “To Do” lists- my Summer 2019 Bucket List is still chock full of things I want to accomplish in these final hazy, humid August weeks ahead before September and Fall creep up on us as they always do. Autumn may be my favorite season, but that’s not to say I don’t love the Summertime, too!

With tomorrow marking the first day of a new month, it’s that time where I look back on the last few weeks and recap the highs and lows of the month that was- and July was full of them.

I started the month by meeting my neighbors and making new friends at a community potluck for the 4th of July– and cooling off at what has quickly become one of my favorite spots in the Valley after I was introduced to it by a friend last Summer while I was visiting the area. I’ve returned to Ashfield Lake multiple times this month- especially when New England was being gripped day after day by heatwaves and scorching temperatures.

I also began to further plant some roots in my community as I embraced and attended the Green River Festival– which takes place a short walking distance (and drive) away from my apartment. Although I had only gone for the day- I had a wonderful time in the sunshine listening to music, eating fun food and buying cute clothes.

Of course, July isn’t without sad memories and reflection. This past month marked seven long years since my father passed away, and I opened up to pen a tell-all about the aftermath, the trauma, and the recovery with losing someone you’re close with so abruptly.

Additionally, work was difficult this month- both at my full-time job where tensions are running higher than the temperatures outside between co-workers, supervisors and at times- myself- but also within the Pioneer Valley theater community where I am preparing to ride out the last few shows of my contracted season while simultaneously juggling a plethora of other responsibilities.

And to top it all off- I got an insane flu during what have been the hottest days of the year to date. I was miserable- but thankfully was able to bounce back without a trip to the ER.

All in all? July left me TIRED, y’all!

But August is just a few hours away, and I’ve edited/re-tweaked my Summer Bucket List to better balance with my still hectic schedule. There’s a lot of fun things I’m determined to do/see and I’m excited to finally get around to it- starting this coming weekend- and of course I’ll take plenty of pictures along the way!

So although July was an emotional, physical, and mental roller coaster at times- it wasn’t all bad. It had it’s wonderful moments between sticky days, sweaty nights, sunburns and sneezing fits. I’ll cheers to the good times, for sure!

But I’m also going to toast to August- a new month filled with new possibilities that I hope is good to us all and doesn’t require nearly as much air conditioning to feel comfortable as July did.

And If you’re in need of some late Summer assistance- don’t forget to:

GIVE MY SUMMER 2019 PLAYLIST A LISTEN!

TRY SOME OF MY RECENT SUMMER-INSPIRED RECIPES!

And also go see a movie because there’s so many good things playing right now. Popcorn AND A/C? Yes please!

I’ll be back on Friday with a look at last night’s shenanigans. Enjoy your “Hump Day”, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

June 2019: In a Nutshell

Good Morning and Happy Sunday, everyone! I hope you’re all having a great weekend so far!

It’s always a little weird posting on a weekend- especially a Sunday- since mornings like this are usually reserved for coffee, laundry, and trying to squeeze something fun or entertaining to do in the hours between now and when I return to work bright and early tomorrow morning. But. it’s the last day of June- and a day like that needs some acknowledgment!

I will say that I am excited to head into July. It’s the height of Summer, I’ve got some vacation days coming up- and now that I’ve got the last of my furniture in my apartment and am feeling a little more “at home”- I can cook, decorate, and blog more freely and comfortably than I could a few weeks ago when I didn’t really have much more than a mattress and a desk while I was waiting for the things I’d purchased on back order to arrive and be delivered.

It’s nice to finally and really have my own little piece of the Pioneer Valley to come home to every day.

Looking back at June- a month that has, historically, always had it’s share of troubles and woes for me over the years and for whatever reason- can be a bit difficult at times. Is Mercury in retrograde? Are my brief moments of stress, inconvenience, and/or sadness some sort of annual sacrifice for the Summer Solstice? Am I just consistently unlucky for this one month every year?

I’ll never know- but June saw my full-time job become overwhelming at times, one of my part-time jobs here in the Valley become absolutely chaotic with last-minute changes, departures, and poor preparation leading up to major deadlines and milestones- and one of my dearest friends fall victim to a malicious rumor and subsequent gossip that has essentially robbed him of his livelihood and joy as he struggles to overcome it and get back on his feet.

It was, well- a LOT– to deal with these past few weeks. But, the month also flew by relatively quickly so at least it was quick? Silver linings?

I digress. June wasn’t without it’s nicer, calmer moments as well. I spent a really beautiful weekend showing my best friend around when he came to visit me, my blog celebrated it’s second birthday, I dove headfirst into one of my favorite immersive theater companies and experiencesand naturally I got to eat at some really, really terrific Summer shacks in the area, too!

So what’s in store for July? Well, my usual recipes and OOTD posts, of course- but I’m also going to be doing a little bit of traveling in the coming weeks, as well! Not anywhere super far away or anything- but I’ll be crossing more things off of my “Summer 2019 To-Do” list with trips to my favorite beaches, outdoor attractions, local hot-spots, etc.

And I’ll have plenty of photos and updates along the way, of course!

So all that being said- here’s to June- a month that was not without it’s ups and downs. I truly hope all of us who need it have a better July!

I’m off to get a few things done and set off into this hot and humid day. See you all again tomorrow!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

xx

– Ashley –

May 2019: In a Nutshell

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

We’ve made it to another weekend- and we’re leaving another month behind us! It’s hard to believe that June is here and we’re halfway through 2019 already. There’s still so much I want to accomplish and do before Winter creeps up on us again- and now the pressure is really on since Summer is pretty much here now!

I plan to do a mid-year “check in” regarding my New Year’s Resolutions, goals, aspirations, etc. now that we’re a few hours shy from being six months into 2019- but before I do that- I wanted to focus on taking a look back on May.

This past month has been one of the busiest, most surreal, exciting and unexpected for me- filled with big life changes, travel, a festival for good measure- and lots of time with friends and family. I’m still in a bit of a daze that these past few weeks happened- but when I think about them, I can’t help but smile!

The biggest and probably most important thing to happen in May was that I packed up and left my life and nearly everything I’ve ever known as a city girl behind- choosing instead to move out to the more rural, picturesque and “rustic” Pioneer Valley to forge a new chapter in my life and be a bit more independent while living on my own. I’ve only been here for a couple of weeks- but I truly love it here and I have lots of fun posts planned as I continue to familiarize myself with my new neighborhood and all it’s quirky attractions.

I had posted some photos of my apartment in the “bare bones” stage just hours after my move in- but I’m expecting the last of my furniture to arrive in the days ahead so be prepared for a LOT of home decor talk on here and my social media in June! I’ve got a Pinterest account and an empty shopping cart on Etsy- and I know how to use them.

Cambridge, MA. May 25th.

Just prior to that, I spent a week in Nevada- with a road trip to San Diego to see White Lies perform mixed in– with my West Coast Wife, Kelsey- and her husband and little girl. My days were super relaxing, laid-back, and filled with air conditioning, binge-watching true crime dramas and lots of good food- which is how all vacations should be, really. I couldn’t have asked for a better stay and I am so excited to head back there this Fall.

And then there was Boston Calling- where I stopped by last Saturday to spend time with my Indie617 crew, my good friend Steven who was in town- and see some incredible artists while the sun was shining bright. I had the most perfect day while I was there- and I can’t wait to gush all about it during my show tomorrow at the station (from 12-4 PM EST!)

I’m already speculating about next year’s lineup- that’s how eager I am to do it all over again!

And as always- there were plenty of dinners and celebrations at my mom’s house, with my friends in and around the city- and in the Valley as well.

I’m hoping to carry some of this momentum with me into June. I’m already kicking things off with a visit from my BFF Sean- who is coming to stay for the weekend so I can show him around my place and my neighborhood- and the 16th season of PaintBox kicks off near the end of the month- which I have been tirelessly preparing for and am so thrilled and anxious to see just how all the hard work myself and all of the cast and crew have put in these past few months pays off (fingers crossed!)

I also intend to show off some of the Valley here on Blondie Birdie, share some recipes from my sparkling new kitchen- and give a glimpse into some of my favorite Summer ensembles now that warmer days and sunshine are- hopefully– on the way!

Here’s to May- and June being just as lovely for all of us!

I hope you all have a wonderful, fun and safe weekend ahead. I’ll be back on Monday to get the Summer season going!

xx

– Ashley –

April 2019: In a Nutshell

Good Morning and Happy Tuesday, everyone!

I had mentioned last Friday that the posting schedule would be a short one this week- mostly due to the way the end of the month fell and my other obligations over the next few days as I prepare for my West Coast vacation and my move (!!!)

April has been insanely busy, surprising and filled with new and exciting changes from start to finish- a theme I foresee carrying over into May and possibly June, as well. The biggest news of all, of course- is that I’ll be moving from the city and out to the Pioneer Valley (and into a lovely loft) within a couple of weeks after quietly and discreetly looking around the area and coordinating the arrangements before I finally got to make the big announcement recently when I’d signed my lease agreement and it was official!

I’m so excited to share my new neighborhood, community and discoveries/explorations as I adapt to life in an absolutely beautiful, picturesque area of the state! I recently shared one of my favorite places (so far!) during one of my last trips out to the soon-to-be-apartment- The Montague Bookmill!

There have been some changes at my full-time job, as well- including a new office space after there was a readjustment and realignment within the company that left some of my co-workers in different departments. I am, admittedly, still adjusting to those changes since I’m now working with an entirely different team that I’m still getting to know over these past couple of weeks- but so far, so good!

As always, I spent time with friends- including ones visiting from out of state and ones that just moved a little further away- and my family, as well. Easter was particularly fun and laid back– and despite all the changes I’ve been adapting to- of course I still had time to talk about the most recent season of “The Walking Dead.” Priorities!

So, with April packaged up nicely with a bow- what’s in store for May? The move, obviously- but next week I venture out to fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada (with a quick pit stop in San Diego, California) to spend some long overdue time with my West Coast Wife and her daughter. I’ve also got some fun Memorial Day Weekend plans lined up- as well as my usual assortment of recipes, OOTD/Fashion posts and recaps of nights out in and around the area.

I’m so excited for the coming weeks and hope you’ll all join me here and on my social media as I share my journey(s). April was a great month for making big decisions and taking huge steps towards goals and opportunities- and I’m sorry it has to end so soon!

I’m off to work for the day, but I’ll be back on Thursday with some updates from the family theater company I’ve been working with, as well as some odds and ends before the posting schedule returns to normal next week.

Here’s wishing you all a great day!

xx

– Ashley –