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 is 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 –

“Cause every place I go- I take another place with me…”

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

It feels weird to be back at my office after having two days off during the week and then working from home for a half day yesterday- but I’m here and determined to get some stuff accomplished and get ready for the weekend after a planned dinner with my family a little later on tonight.

What an interesting few days it’s been, though!

As most of you already knew since I was pretty much gushing about it on social media- Tuesday was when Troy and I headed into Boston for the day to enjoy the weather (pre-bomb cyclone) and catch a set from Bon Iver at TD Garden from the front row. We had everything planned well in advance- but as most of you know and probably attest to yourselves- rarely do things ever go exactly as expected.

Things were off to a rough start when our AirBnB (which I will refrain from linking to on here even though all my instincts are telling me to put our host on blast) was not only not at all as it was advertised- but was also incredibly risky to both our health and privacy. We didn’t feel safe leaving our personal belongings there or sleeping there- so we opted to drive back to the Pioneer Valley after the show, instead.

For those of you who may not be aware- that is a LONG drive.

I was admittedly gutted- since I had been looking forward to being in the city for a couple of days- but when life gives you lemons and all that. Instead, we made as much as we could with the time we *did* have- including grabbing dinner and drinks in the North End at Assaggio and strolling around the city prior to the show starting.

Bon Iver was, of course- brilliant- and our seats were fantastic. Feist opened the show (and played “My Moon My Man”- which absolutely made my night) so I was very, very happy. I remain so grateful to everyone who facilitated getting us the seats after I had phoned in a favor. The chain of people is still a little foggy- but I’m hoping to get the specifics so I can send the proper thank yous accordingly.

On Wednesday, having returned to the Valley in lieu of tolerating unsatisfactory AirBnB accommodations- we opted to spend a lazy, rainy day dining out, driving, and catching peak foliage from Poet’s Seat Tower- which is just a short drive/hike away from my apartment and looks over all of Greenfield.

You bet I took photos. Click to enlarge!

Closing out the evening, before having to get ready for some work yesterday morning- Troy and I swung by the West End Pub in Shelburne Falls- right near the Bridge of Flowers- right before the night’s storm rolled through and took down most of the leaves (and a few trees, as well.)

Maple cheesecake is apparently a thing there- and I am filled with regret that I didn’t know about it sooner because it ruled.

And now, a couple days later and still a little groggy and in “mini-vacation mode-” here I am. Reluctantly getting back into a work state of mind.

Next week on the blog I’ll have some more creepy, kooky (mysterious and spooky) locations around the New England area to share, a return visit to one of my favorite Halloween attractions in Rhode Island to dissect- and maybe another peek into my closet before it comes down to the final hours ’til Halloween!

Until then, though- enjoy your weekend, everybody! Stay safe out there and be good to each other!

xx

– Ashley –

“If you leave the light on- then I’ll leave the light on…”

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! We did it! The week is pretty much over!

Have you ever had a day/night that was so perfect- just a whirlwind of excitement, unexpected moments, picturesque scenery, incredible company and, if you’re lucky- a fantastic soundtrack to back all of it up- that when the night is over you can’t sleep because you just don’t want any of it to end?

I’ve had a few nights like that throughout my life- but this past Tuesday night was definitely one of them and a really wonderful way to wrap up July.

I’ve never been to MASS MoCA before- which is now a good 45 minutes away from me as opposed to the 2+ hours away it was before I moved. So, when Troy extended an invitation last week for me to come see Maggie Rogers perform there this past Tuesday night- I jumped at the chance. The weather was going to be beautiful (I’ll get to that momentarily) and there’s really nothing quite like spending a beautiful Summer night listening to good music in a new place and with someone you absolutely cherish who can make you laugh ’til it hurts. It’s magic.

The drive to MASS MoCA took us through a portion of the Mohawk Trail- which was absolutely incredible. I’m pretty sure I stayed glued to my window like someone who had never seen rocks and trees before but it was breathtaking and exploring more of it is definitely on my “Summer 2019 Bucket List” now.

The stage/show itself was set in an outdoor courtyard looking area of the museum- between a series of wings of contemporary art. It was a really unique setup that provided great surround sound as we settled in and watched the opening band. It *also* provided a pretty good few of a storm that was starting to roll in from the distance.

By the time Maggie took the stage, we had what looked like a heat lightning storm looming overhead. It didn’t look/feel dangerous- almost like fireworks- but we had been warned that if things started to take a turn for the worse, the show would be delayed until everyone got the okay to return to their designated seating/standing areas.

Sure enough- the storm got worse mid-set, and we were told we’d have to take refuge in the museum until it blew over. We were ushered into one of the wings just as the torrential downpour started- with way more severe lightning.

But, we’re not quitters- we never have been- and we used the time to walk around the wing of the museum we were being kept in (so I essentially got to see some art for free- always appreciated!) before the Powers That Be deemed it was safe enough to go back outside. Maggie, bless her heart- was a trooper and finished her set spectacularly even with some light drizzle and fog. It was incredible.

And even though I was feeling pretty tired while working from home on Wednesday morning- and certainly looked a little haggard pre-coffee- it was without question one of the best nights of 2019 thus far and I’m so, so thankful to Troy for bringing me along for the experience.

While I didn’t have my “professional” camera on me (it’s so heavy!) I did manage to snap some photos throughout the chaos with my phone. You know the drill- click on a photo to enlarge!

I’m thinking of heading to MASS MoCA on the next rainy day to see the rest of the museum since I was so captivated by the wing I had been hiding out during the storm. I’m itching to see what else there is to check out!

But for now- I’m off to get started on my work day. Tomorrow afternoon I’ll be hosting my usual 12-4 show on Indie617 before I head on over to Salem for a performance and prepare for a little post-show pampering Sunday morning!

See you all again on Monday. Have a great weekend!

xx

– Ashley –

A Day at Green River Festival…

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

I’ve taken a personal day from work today. Originally, I had plans with some friends to head down to the Cape for the morning/afternoon- however our schedules and respective obligations caused a delay and the trip is now postponed until further notice.

Today also happens to be the anniversary of my dad’s passing- which is always a pretty difficult day to get through- so I’m opting to keep busy and spend the day with my mom so we don’t have to be alone in our memories and grief. We’re going to do some shopping and dining out in my neighborhood- which I’m excited for.

I’m also low-key recovering from stopping by the Green River Festival yesterday and roasting under the sun for a few hours. The festival, a 3-day music/art/cultural celebration- is only a couple of miles away from my new apartment- so parking and reaching the festival on foot were no problem at all. It was a beautiful and sunny Sunday afternoon- and while I’d heard of the festival in the past- I’ve never had to opportunity to go and enjoy it for myself until now.

I saw some fantastic performances, ate some great food, and shopped some local vendors in-between ducking into the shade and snapping some photos.

If you’d like to see bigger versions, simply click!

My favorite find of the day came courtesy of Taproot Threads, based out of my town. All of the artwork featured on their pieces is hand-drawn, and printed on fair-trade garments with water-based ink. The material is soft, lightweight and cozy- and I’m wearing this t-shirt today when I go to spend time with my mom!

Look at how lovely the illustration is up-close!

It was such a great day, and next year I may try to go for all three days (Friday-Sunday. With my work schedule this year, yesterday was the only day I could pull off!)

With many local businesses now going into post-festival “recovery mode”- I anticipate it will be quiet day around the neighborhood. The perfect opportunity to rest and relax.

But I need coffee and I need it now- so I’m off! Here’s wishing you all a good start to your work-week. I’ll be back on Wednesday!

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 –