Holiday Hangs…

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 –

November 2018: In a Nutshell

Good Morning, Happy Friday- and Hello (Almost) December, everyone!

Christmas and New Year’s Eve are practically here- and there’s still so much to be done before we deck the halls and prepare to ring in 2019! Yes, it’s officially the busiest and one of the most beautiful times of year again- and I’m both excited and anxious (mostly excited, though!) It feels like I can’t sit still!

Before I tumble into December with my Christmas decorations, various gingerbread recipes and gift shopping lists in tow- I wanted to take a look back on November and all the late-Autumn fun that came with it. In a year filled with months that seemed to come and go in the blink of an eye- November actually felt much longer than usual- which had it’s ups and downs, of course.

November started off with a celebratory bang- with one of my dearest long-time friends getting married in a beautiful ceremony (with an equally gorgeous reception) a few days after the month had kicked off. This was followed-up by a different kind of celebration as one of my other friends celebrated their 35th birthday and then yet another friend announced her engagement! It was a solid 72 hours filled with laughter, ecstatic squealing- and cake…

… So much cake, you guys.

With Daylight Savings Time and the first significant snowfall of the season taking place this month and pretty much sending the message that Winter was well on it’s way- November became less about pumpkin spice and crunchy leaves and more about hot chocolate and bundling up. By the end of last week- temperatures had dropped significantly enough to where I needed a hat, a scarf, and an ice scraper for my windshield.

Only in New England, I suppose- but I love living here- and have to take the bad with the good.

Of course, as November began to wind down- it was all about the food. Multiple Friendsgivings and the actual Thanksgiving meal itself left me stuffed and overly lazy these past few days- but the quality time spent with family and friends was worth having to practically crawl to my couch by the time dessert was done.

Admittedly, November had it’s not-so-great parts, too. With the holiday(s) came stress, and with the decreased sunlight came that first wave of Vitamin D deficiency (and seasonal depression.) Late last week and then earlier this week I had a bit of a falling out with a guy friend of mine I’d been spending a lot of time with for most of the year and leading up to now. He’s overwhelmed. I’m overworked and exhausted- and now our future heading into December is a bit uncertain.

It’s not a great feeling, especially with things like Christmas approaching- but I’m trying to stay busy and optimistic. Whatever is meant to happen will happen on it’s own and in due time. The silver lining is that the experience gave me some much-needed perspective and now, as I prepare to draft my resolutions for the New Year- I’ll have some tangible goals to put into motion.

All that being said, what do I have planned for December? A *ton* of holiday stuff, obviously! That includes recipes, festive OOTDs, plenty of parties, travel to some of New England’s most beautiful and picturesque Christmas-y locations and attractions- a few retrospectives and recaps on the more memorable moments of 2018- and a lot of shopping and preparations!

I’m determined to make December one of the most fun months ever- and to see 2018 off properly! And I’ll be blogging as I do it, of course.

But for now- it’s time to get to work before I head off for the weekend!

Enjoy your Friday and the coming days ahead, everyone! See you all again on Monday!

xx

– Ashley –

October 2018: In a Nutshell

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

With today being one of my favorite holidays, I’m starting things off a bit early this A.M. with a costume party and brunch potluck at my office with my co-workers before I head home to decorate my yard and front porch in preparation for tonight’s Trick-Or-Treaters.

My niece will be dropping by for a candy sweep of my neighborhood before we kick back with some pizza and enjoy a classic horror/slasher movie marathon- as is tradition!

I can’t believe tomorrow is the beginning of November and that Thanksgiving will be just a few short weeks away. I love a good food coma as much as the next person, but I wish October could go on just a little while longer- especially this past one- since it’s been so much fun!

This past month was filled with the usual spooky outings- from haunted pathways in New Hampshire, watching scary flicks in the middle of the woods (and in the middle of the night, no less), checking out Jack O’Lantern festivals with friends visiting from the West Coast and stopping by some of the more notoriously creepy graves in New England- but October was also peppered with plenty of shows, parties (including one of my best friend’s bachelorette party! I can’t believe her wedding is this coming weekend!), pumpkin picking at local farms and random get-togethers, too!

I traveled all over New England in October, including a long overdue trip to Montpelier, Vermont to spend time with family, catching a play at a converted barn in Western Massachusetts- and stopping by the Indie617 HQ to weigh in on music and events around the city not once- but twice.

FYI, if you missed those appearances, HERE’S the first and HERE’S the second! It’s always so much fun hanging out.

This past weekend, I actually braved the storm that rolled through the area to head to the station’s “Boos and Brews” party at Idle Hands Craft Ales in Malden to enjoy some good tunes, some really tasty beer- and PIZZA SKULLS (!!!) courtesy of Fat Boyfriend Bakery They were SO good.

I wore my Freddy Krueger costume to the party, which I’m also sporting today at work and will be wearing tonight while I pass out candy! I should have a decent photo of the whole thing up on my Instagram and here on the blog a little later on today/this week.

So, once all the Halloween excitement is (sadly) over- what do I have planned for November? Well, voting is right up there at the top of my list (and should be for everyone else, too!)– but blog-wise I’ve got plenty more recipes to share, especially with Thanksgiving approaching- as well as more late-Autumn wardrobe staples, early-shopping gift guides for the holidays, a peek inside my Fall makeup collection, and a bit more traveling before it starts snowing around here again!

But for now, I’m going to eat a ton of candy and savor today. Here’s hoping you all have a ghoulish evening! Stay safe out there!

xx

– Ashley –

Killer Clowns and Bachelorette Bliss…

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone! We’re nearly to the weekend! Are you excited?

This coming Saturday is shaping up to be a relaxing one, spent in the countryside of Vermont (weather permitting) where I’ll be visiting some of my family, photographing the foliage/scenery- and enjoying some of Montpelier’s finest dining. I’m excited to visit some old spots I haven’t had the opportunity to stop by in years- and discover some new places, too!

The trip will undoubtedly be vastly different to the craziness of this past weekend, of course- which kicked off on Friday night when friends and I bundled up and headed out to the Rocky Woods Reservation to catch a late evening screening of ‘It’ (the 1990 one) in the middle of the woods, courtesy of the Coolidge Corner Theater’s “After Midnight” program.

Along with snacks and beer from local breweries, the screening also included a live Q&A with the film’s screenwriter, Lawrence D. Cohen and a look at Pennywise’s original costume prototype. And- of course- there were red balloons everywhere. Despite the chill in the air by the end of the 4+ hour event- it was a lot of fun.

Saturday saw me out of the woods and back in the city for my longtime friend Stef’s bachelorette party. She’s getting married in a few short weeks, and this past weekend was the only real chance that we- and a bunch of our hometown friends- could get together to celebrate and see her off properly!

Now, while there were plenty of penis-shaped party favors (and a cake) and an appearance by a blowup doll at one point during the evening- as is the tradition of many, if not all bachelorette parties- we actually did things a bit different and opted for entertainment that would keep all of us on our toes and guessing with our alcohol-fogged brains.

The first stop of the night was Boston’s “Escape The Room” experience. Most of us being avid gamers thought this would be a breeze to get through if we worked together as a team- and we opted for the “Clock Tower” escape sequence. Having done a couple of smaller, less intricate escape rooms in the past- I was *not* expecting the level of detail, complexity, and difficulty of the puzzles required for us to maneuver from room to room. It was hard!

With just under ten minutes on the clock to spare, we did eventually make it out before the buzzer- but I thought the #FAIL sign was too funny not to hold up during our group photo.

If you ever get the opportunity to participate in one of these escape rooms- make sure you’re well-rested and on top of your game! It’s really fun- but you’re going to need to stay sharp during it!

Following our victory, we headed down the street to Papagayo’s for a quick snack and a few delicious margaritas that were mixed up by the bartender, Adele- who was lovely and super accommodating to our party.

After getting a little tipsy, our group walked (see: stumbled) through Downtown Crossing to Elephant & Castle to participate in a mob-themed murder mystery dinner- something Stef has always wanted to join in on. The actors/wait staff were adorable, and while dinner was alright- the dessert ruled and the comedy in the show was worth coming back for seconds.

Oddly enough, I guessed the killer correctly for the “who dunnit?” portion of the evening- and won two tickets to any of their upcoming events- so I guess I really will be coming back for more!

Following dinner (and a few more drinks)– the lot of us hit a couple more bars before we retreated to the hotel room that some of the bridal party had got for the night for some late-night conversation and photo ops with “Standy”- the blow-up doll that was supposed to represent Stef’s fiancé, Andy.

We eventually dispersed when exhaustion started to take over- but it was a night spent well. We don’t get many opportunities to spend time together as a whole group since we all have careers or families- so events like this and/or holidays are particularly special and something to really be cherished and looked forward to. I had so much fun- and it was so great seeing everyone in one place again. I’m really excited for the wedding!

Sunday was, thankfully, a day of rest- brunch and football, really- and a chance to catch up on some much-needed sleep before I returned to work on Monday morning. The weekend, overall- was one for the record books, however. It was truly a blast! A little crazy at times- but a blast nonetheless.

But before I start preparing for this coming weekend, I’ve got to get some work done at my office (and I gotta’ take off early today, since it’s my half day!)

Enjoy your “Hump Day”, everyone! I’ll be back on Friday with a true sweater weather-inspired OOTD post!

xx

– Ashley –

Hello, Pumpkin…

Good Morning and Happy “Hump Day”, everyone!

It’s a short work week for me, which is nice- since I’ve got a busy weekend ahead to prepare for (including my hometown’s annual horror convention, my friend’s bachelorette party- and decorating for Halloween!) But the extra day off this past Monday has also given me the opportunity to spend more time outdoors in this lovely and brisk New England Fall weather.

This past three-day weekend was filled with scenic drives, stops at local farms and pumpkin patches, walks through the woods (some of which required umbrellas for unexpected rain!) and plenty of photo ops along the way. The foliage may not have quite reached maximum Autumnal potential just yet- but it’s quickly getting there as the days go on! I’m sure I’ll have the obligatory “rolling in the leaves” pics up on my social media soon enough (I’m not sorry, by the way. I love those!)

What made these past couple of days so special, of course- was that they were spent in the company of my family. I work a lot, and my ten year old niece is in school- so being able to take an afternoon together to sip coffee (and cocoa) and help her find the perfect pumpkin for her front porch, pet goats at the farmer’s market, and grab lunch with her and my mom was the ideal way to spend an October afternoon. Best of all? Oliver came too- and he was the most curious, cuddly, well-behaved pup imaginable!

Below are some of my favorite photos I snapped along the way. Feel free to click to enlarge them!

The rest of this week, leading up to Friday night, at least- will be mostly spent indoors between my office and home (or at the movie theater, since I’m seeing ‘Venom’ with friends from work tonight!) but it’s going to be so nice to be back outdoors in just a few short days! Bring on the rain and the chilly air. I’m here for it and I’ve got my boots ready to wear for the occasion!

But I’ve got to get some work done today before I get head out on the town to stuff my face with popcorn and watch Tom Hardy in IMAX. It’s the only way to watch Tom Hardy, really.

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday and an easy, stress-free transition from your work week into Friday. I’ll have a recipe waiting for you when you get there!

xx

– Ashley –