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!)Β 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 –

“Be Still My Foolish Heart – Don’t Ruin This On Me…”

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

What an unbelievable whirlwind of a mini-vacation it’s been- and the party has been unexpectedly extended into this weekend! A little later on today, after I have some coffee, freshen up, and make sure the errands I put on the back burner until now get done- I’ll be heading back down to Connecticut and to Foxwoods Casino as a continuation of the North American Hozier tour.

This comes after an absolutely incredible show in Boston the other night- where Troy and I managed to watch the performance from the front row of the absolutely breathtaking Boch Center (also known as the Wang Theatre- which always gets a chuckle from people visiting from out of town.)Β Prior to the show, we did our best to stay warm in the colder-than-usual temperatures with a quick dinner at Citrus & Salt. Troy had churros for the first time- and that in itself was a wonderful experience. For me, anyway. I enjoyed it.

It was, by far, one of the best shows I’ve been to in years. So much talent on one stage- from the opening act, Angie McMahon- all the way to the encore that resulted in a deafening ovation from a sold out venue. There was even a birthday toast for one of the Hozier bandmates- resulting in everyone on stage wearing a red wig to match her hair as they drank whiskey and the crowd sang along to “Happy Birthday” for her. Such a sweet, adorable moment.

And after some catch up and some drinks with a dear friend backstage- it was time to get moving onto the next venue. The tour life, after all!

Needless to say, I’ve been on a bit of a cloud nine. I’ve been having so much fun. Monday might be only a few short days away- but work is the last thing I’m concerning myself with right now. I just want to enjoy these final days off!

Tomorrow, I’ll be making the brief trip into Boston to host my Indie617 Saturday show- with a bit of a catch! I’ll actually be broadcasting live from the Ski & Snowboard Expo at the Seaport World Trade Center. If you’re in attendance- come by our booth and say hello!

And after I fully rest and recuperate this weekend- I’ll be back on Monday morning with another recap, I’m sure- as well as some holiday-inspired posts and a look at what I wear to look cute (but stay comfortable) when I’m going to be stuffing my face on Thanksgiving.

Enjoy your Friday and the remainder of your week, everybody! Stay warm and safe out there!

xx

– Ashley –

“A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others…”

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

It’s a short work-week for me as I have Wednesday through Friday off- and for good reason! Troy and I will be venturing back to Boston on Wednesday to see Hozier perform at the Wang Theatre (and reuniting with my dear friend Steven, who is currently on tour with him-) and then the remainder of the week will be spent resting, recuperating, and more than likely redecorating my apartment for the holidays. Sadly, it’s time to put the Fall decor away and swap it out for some Christmas stuff, instead!

But, needless to say- having to be at work today and tomorrow instead of getting a jump on my mini-vacation has me going a little stir crazy.

I was filled with similar energy yesterday, as well- despite it being cold and gray outside- and I took the afternoon to locate something I had only recently discovered while scrolling through one of those “bizarre things to do in your area!” clickbait advertisements/articles (which actually ended up being pretty helpful!)

I had never known about the “Tin Man of Goshen” or the Three Sisters Sanctuary– but once I read about it- I knew I had to see it for myself. The land, over eight acres at this point- is an ever-evolving art installation filled with huge metal sculptures, intricate glass work and straw figurines.

I had started my adventure at the sanctuary on my own after finding it tucked away off the road side- but Troy surprised me by making an appearance shortly after my arrival, as well- and together we explored the winding installations. It was lovely- made even more so by the fact that we were the only two people there apart from some workers who were tending to the land.

As always, I took plenty of photos. You can click to enlarge any of the images below!

It was really, really neat- and unlike anything I expected.

A little later on this week I’ll have another Autumnal/Thanksgiving-inspired recipe to share before I head off to the city for a couple of days of wild, early-Winter fun- and the full recap of that adventure should be up by Friday if I’m not too exhausted!

As always, enjoy the start of your week, everybody! Stay warm and stay strong!

Friday will be here before we know it!

xx

– Ashley –

MASS MoCA’d…

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Amid all the Halloween-related fun last week and a busy workload at my office this week- I’d nearly forgotten to share some of my photos from a recent outing to MASS MoCA I had gone on when my dear friend Troy surprised me with day passes one rainy afternoon about a week or so ago.

The last time I’d been at MASS MoCA (The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art,) I’d gone to see Maggie Rogers perform at an outdoor space in the museum’s courtyard during the Summer. An unexpected and pretty wild thunderstorm forced the crowd inside for a while- so I got to see parts of the museum/exhibits while we waited for conditions to become safe enough to venture back outdoors and continue with the show as scheduled.

I had mentioned to Troy, who was also with me during that outing- that I had wanted to come back and see the museum in it’s entirety someday.

And what better day to do it than a chilly October afternoon when it was pouring outside?

We walked from room to room, wing to wing, for a few hours while the rain beat down on the roof above us. It was a beautiful, relaxing day. Some of the exhibits stood out to me than others- like James Turrell’s “Into The Light,” Rafa Esparza’s “staring at the sun,” and my girl Annie Lennox’s “Now I Let You Go”- but overall it was a really incredible experience.

And, naturally- I snapped photos! To enlarge any of the images below, simply click!

Afterwards, Troy and I wrapped up the evening with an early dinner at Freight Yard Pub (in North Adams)– which was superb- before it was time to head home, dry off and warm up from the rain.

Such a good day.

I’m off to work bright and early today as usual- but a little later on this week I’ll have a peek inside my Fall makeup collection and some links to where you can buy what I’m wearing before we break for the weekend.

Until then- enjoy your “Hump Day,” 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 –