Tree Lighting and Pre-Blizzard Bridges…

Tree Lighting and Pre-Blizzard Bridges…

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

I’m getting a late start this A.M.- due in part to it being a post-holiday-weekend-Monday and also because we have been getting absolutely buried under snow here in Massachusetts. The first significant Winter storm of the season began rolling in through the area late yesterday afternoon/evening- and has been going strong ever since. All forecasts are showing it won’t let up until tomorrow morning- so I’ve been taking it slow and steady today. Shoveling, driving, working- I don’t see the need in rushing myself and risking my safety (or sanity.)

Prior to the storm, I had a chilly- but fun weekend- where I finalized my holiday shopping list and participated in a few festive activities as well- including a ceremonial tree lighting in South Deerfield and a mini-road trip to Vermont where I managed to capture an authentic covered bridge en-route.

I thankfully had my camera with me during my journey(s) and caught some lovely photos along the way. As always, you can simply click any of the images below to enlarge!

I will undoubtedly be taking some photos of the aftermath of this storm, as well- since snow is always the prettiest in December. Anytime after that and it’s just a major inconvenience!

I’ll be back on Wednesday after I dig myself out from beneath the snow and ice and return home to my nice, warm apartment. If you live in the area- stay safe! And, if you don’t- wish us luck as we power through what I’m sure will be the first of many blizzards in the months to come!

xx

– Ashley –

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 –

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 –

September 2019: In a Nutshell

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

I’ve never made any attempts to hide or downplay the fact that Autumn is my favorite season and that I enjoy stereotypical “basic” Fall-related activities to the fullest. Apple picking? Pumpkin patches? Leaf peeping? Hay rides and s’mores over bonfires? I’m all about it and I’m not embarrassed or ashamed to admit it.

Needless to say, September through early November is my favorite time of year (after that- Winter, Christmas and coldness tend to take over!) and with this year being my first Fall living in the Pioneer Valley- I’ve been doing my best to make the most of it and indulge in every local Autumnal activity I can.

October is undoubtedly the month/time of year I look forward to the most- but I have to show some love to September, too- especially this past one since it was filled with beauty, travel, good food and time with loved ones!

September started off in true Fall fashion with a visit to the Appleseed County Fair where I got a head start on stocking up on apple cider doughnuts and kettle corn popcorn while browsing local vendors and farm stands. I was so enamored with my time at Red Apple Farm in Phillipston that I returned there a couple of weeks later with my mother and Oliver to partake in our traditional apple and pumpkin picking!

That wasn’t the only tradition I honored in September. My family and I also made our annual pilgrimage to Hampton Beach at the end of the Summer season to shop great deals and chow down on crab cakes, lobster rolls, and savor some fresh squeezed lemonade at their Seafood Festival.

And of course- no early Fall days in New England are complete without a stop at The Big E. I swung by there a couple of weeks ago to grab my favorite fair food (fried Oreos!) and take in the sights and sounds of the best New England restaurants, small businesses and farms had to offer!

And in-between all the travel, taste testing, decorating my place to look like my very own Fall-inspired farmhouse and unpacking my sweaters for the season- I was still able to put together a pretty dreamy Fall playlist, too!

All in all, this past September felt like the perfect way to bid a final farewell to Summer 2019 and usher in the Fall! There’s still a few things on my Autumnal “To-Do” list, of course- but that’s what October is for!

Speaking of- what do I have planned for the coming month ahead? Well, I’d like to photograph the foliage (which usually reaches it’s peak prettiness within the next couple of weeks,) cook up some more Fall-inspired recipes, put together a great Halloween costume and savor all the spookiness that comes with living in Western Massachusetts this time of year! Expect a lot of creepiness and macabre in October! It’s my specialty, after all!

But before I get too ahead of myself- there’s still a few hours of September left to savor- and I’ve got to get some work done at the office.

Enjoy the start of this week, everybody. I’ll be back with a quick, easy and delicious dessert recipe on Wednesday morning!

xx

– Ashley –

Lobster and Lounging…

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone!

I’m excited that today is not only my work from home day, but also my designated half day- which means I can get things done in the comfort of my pajamas before I mentally check out at noon, get dressed- and go have some fun with what’s left of my afternoon!

Truthfully I’m still sort of in “rest and relaxation mode” from this past weekend’s excursion to New Hampshire with my mom, my cousin, my cousin’s fiancΓ©- and my dog- where we attended the Hampton Beach Seafood Festival for a day. It’s been our tradition for quite a few years now- and I look forward to it every August/September because it’s essentially just a day to eat great food, stroll the boardwalk, play some classic arcade games (and skee-ball!) and snag some pretty terrific bargains and sales as all the seaside shops attempt to get rid of their remaining inventory before they close up for the Fall/Winter months!

And while I’ve typically gone for lobster rolls as my indulgence of choice during the festival- this year I gravitated towards crab cakes and lobster rangoons (absolutely delicious, by the way!) with freshly-squeezed lemonade from various vendors around the food/cooking tents.

I’m pretty sure I could have easily eaten 10x more of everything- but then I wouldn’t be able to fit into the absolutely adorable clothes I bought while I was in town!

Each year I try to pick up a couple of things I can wear during the following Summer or for future trips to hotter climates- but this year I decided to pick up a couple of dresses (and a new purse to give my current Prada one a bit of a break!) that I can easily wear and accessorize throughout the early Fall. the purse itself came with an accessory- a lovely bit of satin cloth and a navy blue tassel that is around the handle.

The first dress is a foxy (literally) frock with buttons and a really cute cartoon fox print all over- and the second is a ruffled, super soft floral dress that I am going to pair with some cowboy-style boots after I go shoe-shopping this weekend. I can’t wait to wear this out on my next night on the town!

And everything I purchased was under $50 total. Not bad, right?

Overall it was a really lovely day and I’m excited to do it all again next year. Being at the beach and watching the waves always relaxes me- no matter what time of year it is.

This particular trip got me thinking about Hurricane Dorian, though- which threatened our weekend forecast for a few days but thankfully didn’t turn into anything more serious- and it got me thinking about the Bahamas.

On Friday, I’ll be taking a quick break from my usual Autumnal Activities to share ways you can help those affected by what was one of the worst hurricanes we’ve seen shown up on a radar in quite some time. I’m eager to help, and i hope you are, too!

But for now- I’ve got to get to work. Enjoy the rest of your “Hump Day,” everyone!

xx

– Ashley –