Rainy Days and Book Stores…

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone!

When I had initially announced my impending move to the Pioneer Valley earlier this month, I had mentioned that I wanted to highlight some of my favorite places to pass the time out that way. For any of you who have followed this blog or it’s past incarnations- you probably know that I predominantly write about restaurants/bars/shops/attractions in the Boston area or around my hometown in Central Massachusetts.

Being out in Western Massachusetts, close to the Berkshires, and truly in one of the most beautiful, clean, environmentally conscious and artistic parts of New England opens the doors for me to discover and share so many new people, places and things will all of you- and I knew right away that an old favorite (but a goody!) would be first on my list to reacquaint myself with.

The Montague Book Mill, which is a used book store, art gallery and restaurant(s) within an old mill from the mid-1800s- is one of my favorite places to go, curl up by the window with a good read, sip a cup of tea and just relax/zone out for a couple of hours while I listen to the nearby Sawmill River flow past.

I’m never the only one with this idea, and the Mill have utilized a lot of their nooks and crannies by turning them into quiet, peaceful places for those looking to work/study without interruption and in a unique location.

I haven’t been in a few years- but made it a point to stop by on Monday during my day off while the rain was falling outside. As always, I ended up exploring and snapping some photos!

To see the enlarged version, just click the picture!

Before I left to head back home, I popped into The Lady Killigrew Cafe for an early dinner (their brie, apricot jam and marinated apples sandwich rules!) and a quick cup of coffee. How I’ve missed that place. I promised myself I wouldn’t wait another 2-3 years before I went back again- and now that I’ll be living less than 30 minutes away- it’s a promise I can keep!

I’ll be back in the area tonight after work to meet up with Troy for dinner and drinks- and will more than likely make another appearance over the weekend since I’m on the prowl for new furniture.

Until then, though- it’s all about getting things done at my office and getting some caffeine in me as soon as possible!

Enjoy your “Hump Day”, everyone! See you all again on Friday!

xx

– Ashley –

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Good Morning and Happy Marathon Monday, everyone!

Now that my big moving day news is out of the way as of last week- I have been focusing on the actual move itself- including the lengthy and tedious process of beginning to pack, buying new furniture to replace older pieces I don’t necessarily want to take with me, coordinating the delivery and installation of those new pieces for when I’ve returned from a brief stay in the West Coast just prior to my mid-month move-in date, so on and so forth.

It’s exciting and admittedly stressful for sure- as is the case with any move of a significant distance (and moving anywhere out of the city can be considered a significant distance!) but I’m taking it day by day and finding joy wherever I can.

When I’m not working or packing my life away in boxes, I’ve been exploring my soon-to-be-new-neighborhood, as well. I’ve been to the Pioneer Valley plenty of times over the years (including multiple visits per week for work and friends in recent months) but there’s still so much to see/do/uncover. I have my favorite places established for coffee and food, i.e. The Roost and Mama Iguana’s in Northampton, respectively- but with any community with a budding and prominent art/theater/music scene- there’s a lot of hidden gems that may otherwise go overlooked if you don’t seek them out!

Troy has been a huge help in showing me around, introducing me to new places and people, giving me tips/tricks on what’s worthwhile and what to avoid, etc. He’s lived in the Valley for years and knows nearly everyone/everything out in Western Massachusetts.

Last Friday night, he brought me to the Tunnel Bar for the first time. It’s an old railway tunnel from the 1800s tucked away in downtown Northampton that was turned into a very chic cocktail lounge. The space is unique for sure- and would be amazing for a performance piece. Based on notes on my phone and a napkin I found in my purse that Troy and I had scribbled on as we drank- it looks like we had started to develop a script while we were there?

I think I’m going to start developing a series of posts highlighting some of those unique and must-see places for anyone reading who wants to visit the area- and I could probably start as soon as this week!

But for now, today has me back to work and back in the city for Marathon Monday- even with the current torrential downpour and thunderstorms. It’s one of the best days to be in Boston- as the Marathon showcases incredible athletes’ resilience and the city’s enthusiasm for their dedication (and excitement for Spring!)

I’ll be sure to post plenty of photos/videos on my social media throughout the day, and I’ll be back a little later on this week to share one of my favorite Springtime vintage finds from my closet!

Have a wonderful start to your week, everyone! Stay dry and be safe out there!

xx

– Ashley –

Pioneer Woman

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! We made it to another weekend (relatively) unscathed!

For the past few days, I’ve teased at having big news I’ve been anxiously waiting to share with everyone- and now seems like the perfect time to finally divulge the details. I had been waiting for the right time and for the ink to dry before I said anything outside of my immediate family and my employers- but as of May 18th- I’ll be a resident of the Pioneer Valley for what I’m calling/considering a year-long trial period.

I’ll be moving into a lumber-mill-turned-luxury-loft because I’m a walking Pinterest board.

The road of my life will eventually lead to Las Vegas and the West Coast, I’m sure- but I’m not done here in Massachusetts and New England yet. I’m working, actively participating in my community in various projects, having the time of my life at Indie617 and am hesitant to walk away from my family, lifelong friends and a personal relationship I’m very happy with right now.

But, at the end of the day- cost effectiveness, the need for my own space in a clean, safe area far outside the city and away from the traffic, congestion, and pollution- and wanting to be closer to more work opportunities and a community of artists and creators I’ve come to love and embrace has both inspired and persuaded me to make this change.

I’ll still be working with the same company, who have graciously offered me the chance to work remotely when needed so that I don’t have to leave them. I’ll still be hosting my radio show on Saturdays. I’ll still be attending all sorts of events in and around Boston as if nothing has changed- and things like commuting, travel expenses, etc. have already been heavily considered in my decision making and solutions have been discovered with the help from friends and family- but this is something I need in my life right now: mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and financially.

It’s simply getting too expensive to live where I am right now, and having lived with people for as long as I can remember- from growing up with my parents and brothers, co-existing with friends/friends-of-friends/strangers, etc.- having my own place for a fraction of what I spend now to simply keep a roof over my head is going to be such a refreshing change of pace for me.

It has been a joyous journey for the past few years and I’m admittedly excited, scared, happy, anxious and a little sad to be moving somewhere new and kinda’ far out in the country- but it’s a whole new chapter and adventure and with that comes stories to share as I’m meeting new people, visiting new places and trying new things- so at least I won’t be lacking for content here at ‘Blondie Birdie!’

So that’s the news! It was nothing salacious or anything and my apologies to anyone who was getting their hopes up that it was.

I’ll be sharing all sorts of photos of my new place and the process while I’m moving in a few weeks- both here and on my social media, for sure- but here’s to new beginnings!

And also, here’s to the weekend! I’m off to work for a few hours before I head on over to Down The Road Beer Co. for our fourth installment of IndieBrews tonight with The Devil’s Twins. Come on by, have a drink- and bring your dogs so I can pet them!

See you all again on Monday, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

March 2019: In a Nutshell

Good Morning and Happy Sunday, everyone!

I hope you’re all enjoying your weekend so far. It’s been beautiful here in my neck of the woods- with sunshine and comfortably warm temperatures- and today is actually the first day I’ve been able to wear sneakers since early Fall of 2018! I was nearly starting to forget how my legs looked without knee-high boots on.

I don’t really follow basketball (sorry, Celtics!) but I had my own version of “March Madness” this year with regards to how unbelievably busy this past month was. I was essentially moving non-stop from one side of the state to the other- back and forth- at any given time. Not only was I working my full-time job Monday through Friday (I actually just got a raise, too- which definitely kept me from succumbing to stress!) but I also started my Saturday radio show in the city and working diligently as the Marketing & Publicity Director at a family theater company in Western Massachusetts. I had written more in-detail about those opportunities and career paths HERE.

Despite spending a lot of time on my feet (and maybe even more time in my car!) I still managed to take some time out to do a little cooking, raid my wardrobe to show off my favorite Springtime looks just as we kicked off the season, spend time with friends/family and a few surprise visits from those arriving from out of state, put together a light and pretty playlist to say au revoir to Winter– and enjoy some local traveling/sightseeing- including a stop at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and a brief trip to stop and smell the flowers during the Bulb Show at Smith College’s Botanical Garden.

Perhaps one of the biggest things to happen this month, however- is that I may be potentially relocating to the Pioneer Valley. I don’t want to speak too much into the universe right now- since the details are still being sorted out and I’m waiting for definitive confirmation and getting ahead of myself may result in it not coming to fruition- but so far the signs are good and I may have a pretty exciting “In a Nutshell” post ready to go by the end of April. I’m anxious and excited and hopeful and trying to be optimistic- but we’ll see how it goes!

And while it feels like I’ve done so much this month- there were a few things I couldn’t quite get to because of my schedule- including a planned trip to Nantucket, NYC and some sponsored posts I’ve been working on. Sometimes there just isn’t enough hours in the day or days in the week!

The good news is there’s always April- and with it comes the time to follow through on those plans/posts, as well as get ready for some upcoming events- including Marathon Monday and Easter! Now that I’ve gotten myself into the swing of all these new roles/responsibilities- I think I’ll have a much easier time keeping up with my day trip/weekend plans and my content here at Blondie Birdie, as well.

So as crazy as March was- it was invigorating and exciting and has me eager to move forward into April and Spring! I’m recharged and ready to go!

Because I’m posting on the weekend, I’m taking a short posting schedule this week (Tuesday and Thursday.) On Tuesday, I’ll have a look back at some of the things I did over these past couple of days- and on Thursday I’m going to be re-capping the most recent season of “The Walking Dead”. The finale is tonight and this season has been one of the best I’ve seen in years. I’m so excited- but also a little terrified!

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful rest of your Sunday and an easygoing Monday! I’ll see you in a couple of days!

xx

– Ashley –

Bloom Where You’re Planted…

Good Morning, Happy “Hump Day” and Happy (official) First Day of Spring, everyone!

It seems fitting that the season of blossoming and blooming would start just as so many exciting new opportunities and changes are happening for me/around me right now. I know I always briefly mention how busy I am lately- but I really mean it! I’ve been going non-stop!

Back at the end of 2018, I had mentioned a couple of new projects I was preparing to start working on and had admittedly been excited to delve more into the details when the time was right. One project was for a radio station based out of Boston, and the other was for a family theater company based in the Pioneer Valley. Considering both of those projects are essentially on opposite sides of the state- I go back and forth fairly often!

I also maintain my full-time legal specialist position and still make sure to find time to spend with family and friends- all of whom are thankfully very understanding to my occasional time restrictions- so with everything finally coming to fruition and all the smaller, more intricate details being ironed out- it feels like I can relax much more easily now!

So, what’s the news?

Well, beginning this Saturday- I’ll be starting my very own weekly show on Indie617 from 12-4 PM where I’ll get to play the music I love, talk about upcoming shows, recap recent events around the city of Boston, etc. I’m so excited since I simply adore everyone at the station and have been having a blast popping by for occasional sit-downs/chats over the past couple of months during the “Morning Glory” show.

You can stream my show online at the website or download the Indie617 app (it’s free- so no excuses!)

Additionally, I’ve taken on the role of Marketing & Publicity Director at Paintbox Theatre– a company I have loved and held dear for a very long time now. The work that they do for children and families in the Pioneer Valley is beyond admirable and I’m so thrilled to be a part of all the fun, crazy, and adorable things they have planned for their upcoming Summer season!

Of course, working across and around the state has sort of grounded me in the New England area- which is funny considering it was around this time a year ago I was earnestly and vehemently talking about moving out to Las Vegas/Henderson, Nevada- and as I continue with my year of self-reflection and attempts at bettering myself by learning from past mistakes and missteps- I think that’s one flaw I need to tackle head on: my eagerness to move to a new location- sometimes places that are thousands of miles away from everything I’ve ever known or worked for- without addressing the reasons why.

First it was San Diego, and my main drive behind that was because I wanted to be closer to friends (and yes, a guy I liked at the time)– but I had never stopped to really consider career opportunities or the astronomical cost of living out there. Granted, where I live is on the pricier side as well- but I can still live and support myself without stretching myself out too thin.

I had just assumed my career could be easily transitioned across the county- but that wasn’t the case.

With my planned move to Las Vegas, my intentions were more fine-tuned- I wanted to live somewhere warm, close to my West Coast Wife, and in an area where the cost of living was infinitely more manageable (and I still do so much!)– but being so far away from my family, my friends and restarting a career over in a part of the country where the turnover rate of the population is nearly non-stop was a bit intimidating.

Plus, financial setbacks throughout 2018 kept delaying the process- and now here I am- finally getting my momentum back.

While Vegas/Henderson is not off the table by any means- I need to rebuild my foundation, first- and I need to do it here at home and by utilizing the aforementioned opportunities/projects I’ve taken on to build up both my finances and my resume (should I decide to switch career paths at any given time. I have to show I’m versatile!)

That means making the best of what I have here (“bloom where you’re planted”) for the time being- which includes potentially finding a less expensive place to live within the Pioneer Valley or outside of the city so I can better accomplish my short-term goals- and gradually work my way towards my long-term ones.

With smaller plans in play and these new projects keeping me occupied and focused- I can say with all sincerity that I’m excited for the future and looking forward to what’s ahead without any nervousness, uncertainty or anxiety- something that plagued me in the past when I was trying to relocate/reignite my life and passions.

And hopefully the future will be warmer here in New England real soon!

I’m off to play catch-up after an unexpected day off from work yesterday- and a little later on this week I’m dabbling with floral print again. I’ll have the photos to show you all what I mean!

Enjoy your Wednesday, everybody!

xx

– Ashley –