OOTD: Now It’s All Covered in Flowers…

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! We made it to the weekend!

It’s been such a busy- but wonderful- week and I’m excited to spend some time with my mom and my brothers tonight at our bi-weekly family dinner, head into Boston for a few hours to do my radio show tomorrow afternoon- and then soak up a little sun back at home while I’m out and about on the town running errands and just exploring my neighborhood!

And while I’m doing that, I’ll more than likely be wearing one of my favorite Summer weekend ensembles- a sundress or romper with bright and fun sandals. Much like I did last weekend when I took my best friend to visit the Bridge of Flowers while he was visiting from the city!

I love a good, simple, comfortable and loose-fitting sundress with a cute print. This one, adorned with hot pink flowers- also has an open back to it- so to keep myself from looking like I was going out to the club when I was really just walking around the more “sophisticated” Shelburne Falls during the afternoon- I opted to wear a pale pink tank top underneath the dress to look a bit more modest and not show off too much skin since there were plenty of families and small children running around!

And if these sandals look familiar- it’s because they’re the ones I had picked up at ModCloth last year and wore for pretty much the entirety of Summer 2018. After pulling them out of my closet and bringing them to my new apartment with me- they are officially back and ready for more (and are still ridiculously comfortable!)

And, as cute as this dress and these sandals are- it’s Shelburne Falls that was the real MVP of this “Outfit of The Day” post. No matter where I turned, the entire village itself was the perfect backdrop for photos and selfies. Look at that wall of ivy! Look at the Deerfield River behind me! They made the dress look even better, honestly!

And that just about does it for me this week. I’m going to be back on Monday with more warm weather clothing, some Summertime recipes, peeks around the Pioneer Valley and celebrating Blondie Birdie’s second year here on the web (!!!)– but here’s wishing you all a lovely, safe weekend ’til then!

Now get out there and go have some fun!

xx

– Ashley –

OOTD: Dressed-Down Dog Walking…

Good Morning and Happy “Hump Day”, everyone!

Although next Monday is the sort of unofficial “First Day of Summer” with Memorial Day, the past few days have been hot, dry, loaded with on/off thunderstorms- and super sunny- so I think it’s safe to say we may have skipped right over Spring this year in New England and just went straight for Summertime, instead.

It’s not that I mind, really- except that it makes dressing practical and comfortably a little tricky with rising temps and blustery winds whenever a storm rolls though. Luckily, I have a fail-proof set of Late-Spring-Early-Summer outfits for such occasions/forecasts- and I happened to be wearing one on a windier day earlier this week while I checked in on Oliver and took him for a walk.

The ensemble isn’t exactly groundbreaking- skinny jeans or Capri pants with a bright tank top, a lightweight cardigan and comfortable flats/sneakers. It’s the essential errand/lounging/casual hang out outfit that women have made look sensational for years- but I’m quite fond of this outfit in particular because everything was purchased at Old Navy and cost under $60.

I just moved, guys- I need to grab good deals when I find them!

Also- I am absolutely feeling all things marigold lately- so this tank top is my new “gonna’ wear this ’til it gets destroyed” article of clothing.

And you may not be able to see it in the brightness of these photos or because Oliver is just the cutest ever- but I found a new set of stacked bracelets I’ve fallen head over heels in love with courtesy of Pura Vida. This stack in particular is their 2019 collection, “Dreaming Outloud”- a Summer-inspired set of colors and charms (including a VW bus- my favorite!)

Pura Vida help generate jobs and income for artisans around the globe- while donating a portion of their proceeds to numerous charities worldwide. I love independent fashion and accessory brands that give back and do something positive for their communities while simultaneously creating cute things I love to wear all the time- so I’ll be buying more in the future from this company for sure.

These bracelets will also- most certainly- make my “Favorites” list for May!

But that does it for me today, everyone. There’s lots of work to be done at the office this morning and lots of preparation to go into this upcoming long weekend! I’m looking forward to touching base on Friday before I head back into the city for Boston Calling!

Enjoy your Wednesday, everybody! Be good to one another!

xx

– Ashley –

OOTD: For The Birds…

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

As you’re reading this, I’m flying across the county to meet my BFF in Henderson, Nevada and embark on a week-long vacation in Las Vegas and San Diego! This post in particular was drafted yesterday- in-between packing and some prior engagements.

One of those prior engagements was my good friend Stef’s bridal shower and brunch earlier in the afternoon at Galliford’s Restaurant in Mendon (right next to Southwick Zoo!) The gathering was so much fun- and thankfully indoors- since it was a lot hotter out than any of us had anticipated!

That’s really the only downside to early/mid September here in New England- the temperatures are pretty unpredictable. Some days are stifling hot, others are brisk and chilly- and it’s hard to decide when it’s appropriate to wear a sun dress or a sweater since it can be raining and cold one minute- and then sunny and sweltering the next!

I opted for this billowy, loose-fitting, button-up chiffon shirt to stay cool (while still looking dressed up) with a cute crane print that I had recently picked up at Primark. I paired it with a simple pair of black slacks and black flats- since I felt the shirt was the focal point of the entire ensemble!

My main goal, of course- was to stay comfortable while I sipped mimosas, nibbled French toast, and ooh’d and aaah’d as Stef opened all the wonderful gifts that had been brought for her as she gets ready to embark on her new ‘Wife Life’ in just a few short weeks (and also while we ironed out the details for her Bachelorette Party!) so this blouse was exceptionally convenient- both outdoors in the sun and inside where we’d retreated to eat and enjoy the air conditioning.

I think my favorite part of this shirt, however- is the black ribbon tie around the high collar. I’d tied it into a loose bow (that thankfully stayed in place all day!) and I thought it completed the look. I felt very prim and proper- even though my friends and I are anything but!

And for those of you wondering how much this cute number was? $10. That’s right- just $10! What a steal, right?

But now, Sin City awaits! I’ll be posting updates from the road- both on here and my social media- throughout the week, so be sure to check in to follow along!

Enjoy the rest of your Monday, everyone! Here’s hoping you all have a wonderful week!

xx

– Ashley –

OOTD: Feeling Crabby…

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

In exactly one week I’ll be soaring above the clouds on my way to fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada to embark on a much needed vacation and road trip through the desert with my West Coast Wife- but before I do that- I’ve got to get through this work week, first!

This past weekend, although cloudy and a bit chilly- marked the 29th annual Seafood Festival at Hampton Beach, New Hampshire. It’s a bit of a tradition for myself, my mother, and my cousin to attend at least one of the three days of the festival together every year- and after scoring this crab sweater from ModCloth on sale near the end of last month- I knew well in advance I’d have an appropriate (and fun!) outfit to wear for the occasion!

This sweater, knitted and fitted- features white stripes along both sleeves and a bright red crab front and center. It kept me warm, sure- especially when we stopped along the shore to watch the waves for a while- but it was also a huge hit with other attendees and vendors who kept asking me where I got it.

I’m a big fan of Nautical style, which is pretty prominent along the coastal towns in New England. Anything with anchors, lighthouses and seashells automatically catches my eye- but I’ve been really feeling anything with sea life print, too. Crabs, octopus, seahorses, etc. When done subtlety and simple- like this sweater- they can look so cute!

I paired this new wardrobe favorite with a simple pair of white lace shorts and my white and silver glitter slide sandals so I could stay comfortable while I was scarfing lobster and scallops and looking through the racks of the seaside shops for great deals and steals. I found some fantastic stuff- which I’ll share a little later on this week.

And now, like every Monday morning- I’ve got to throw back some coffee and get to work. There’s even more to do this week since I’ll be out of the office by this time next Monday- so I’ve got to stay one step ahead!

Later on this week I’ve got a haul post where I’ll share some of my finds from the Seafood Festival- and yes, plenty of photos of the food itself. I’m also putting the finishing touches on my Autumn Playlist- which seems appropriate more than ever since the forecast calls for some rain and brisk temperatures over the next few days. Fall is officially here- and I am ready for it!

Here’s hoping you all have a great start to your week and that we make it through the next few days unscathed! One step closer to Friday!

xx

– Ashley –

Summer Wind Down…

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! Today couldn’t have come fast enough for me!

It’s been a busy and, admittedly- pretty stressful week at work- with a lot of overtime, late nights, and earlier-than-I-care-to-think-about mornings. I’m excited to have a half day at my office today, and am rather looking forward to getting a proper night’s sleep over the course of this weekend. I really, really need it!

I hate to say it, but Summer is coming to an end- and in a couple of weeks we’re going to be into September, Labor Day, and the beginning of all things Fall. Although it’s my favorite season and I have plenty planned around New England to savor every moment of it- I’m a little sad to be saying farewell to the Summertime. I’m going to miss long days, late nights at the beach, bonfires and BBQs.

Of course, the pressure is on to squeeze as much last-minute Summertime fun into the schedule as possible- which can cause some serious stress and FOMO to those, like me- who work a lot- so I’ve compiled a handy little guide that has benefited me over the past few years when it comes time to put the flip flops away and start shopping for cute boots and sweaters again.

KEEP TRACK OF YOUR VACATION TIME/PTO

If you’re itching to take a few days off from work, plan a trip, etc. and you know you’ve got earned (and owed!) vacation time left to use up at your job- ask for a print-out or a written record of how many hours/days/weeks you have for your personal file and reference- and go from there!

In my case, I have about 3 weeks of unused time at my company that I can take- whenever I want- before the end of the year, and although I’d been saving a good chunk of that time for October and Halloween-related festivities- I plan on using a couple of days within the next 2-3 weeks for some stress-free beach days and pool lounging.

Once you have a better idea of how much time you have at your disposal, making plans is a *lot* easier!

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THOSE LATE SUMMER FARES

With students heading back to school and classes starting up shortly (if they haven’t done so already!) many popular tourist destinations and vacation hot spots are going to be a lot less crowded than they were throughout June and July. If you’re thinking of taking a day trip, a weekend away- or a full-blown vacation- now is the time!

And when it comes to saving some money for booking flights or hotels- you’re in luck- because September is typically when fares are at the lowest (especially for those trying to book trips around the holidays!) so keep an eye out for weekly sales- they typically go into effect on Tuesdays and run through Thursdays- to compare prices and save some serious cash.

MAKE A LIST- AND CHECK IT TWICE

No, not the type of list where you’re keeping track of nice and naughty kids- I’m talking about a list of the places/things/activities you want to do before the end of the Summer. I use my notepad app on my phone to help me out when I’m planning day trips. I list what I want to do/see- ranked from what I absolutely and 100% have to get done before Fall arrives to what I can wait to do ’til next Summer- and where each of these places/things are located.

Then, when I’m on the road of planning my day off adventures- I can check the list, see what’s left, and go from there! For example, the other night while traveling to Easthampton- I crossed “get a milkshake at Cindy’s Drive-In” off my list. It’s a little roadside 50s style food stand that remains open throughout the Spring and Summertime only- and I had been dying to go since passing by it last month!

I had one of their German Chocolate Milkshakes- and it was awesome.

GET A HEAD START ON THE FALL DE-CLUTTER

I’m not saying you have to pack up your swimsuits and put your shorts in storage right this minute- but now is the perfect time to begin easing your way into your Fall wardrobe and/or makeup as painlessly as possible.

Those wedge sandals you wore to your cousin’s wedding last month but haven’t touched since? Those can be packed up. The Patriotic tee you tossed on for the 4th of July festivities? Into the closet it can go. How about the aqua eyeliner you’ve been wearing every day since Memorial Day that has been worn down to nearly nothing? Yeah, that can get tossed until you buy a new one next Summer.

As you wear your late Summer outfits- ask yourself when you plan to wear them again before the Fall. If there’s no definitive answer- wash them or have them dry-cleaned and pack them away ’til next year!

This doesn’t just apply to clothing/makeup, either. Every year around this time, I go through my e-mail inbox to unsubscribe from mailing lists and advertisements from companies/businesses I haven’t bought anything from/visited in a long time. That restaurant I made an online reservation with back in June but haven’t returned to since? That clothing company I bought a couple of sundresses from for backyard BBQs and who have been e-mailing me 5 times a day ever since? Yeah. No thanks.

As I get the alerts- I’ll go in, so who the e-mail is from- and if it’s not anything I’m interested in, I unsubscribe. If a company/business is persistent, even after I’ve requested they cease e-mailing me promotions- the trusty block feature works wonders!

This sort of de-cluttering is especially helpful leading up to the holidays, when e-mail advertisements go into hyperactive mode. I like to get it done early!

STAY HYDRATED AND WEAR SPF.

I think this one goes without saying. Summer might be ending- but that doesn’t mean the hotter days are going to be over and done with anytime soon. Remember to drink lots of water and wear lots of sunscreen.

And finally-

DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP IF YOU DON’T ACCOMPLISH ALL YOUR PLANS

So that camping trip in the mountains didn’t pan out as expected and you didn’t get around to signing up for those surfing lessons you swore you’d try way back in the Spring. Relax. Life happens and not everything we want to do or plan to do can go right 100% of the time. We may have the best intentions- but that doesn’t mean work or family or personal matters are going to just go along with those intentions.

If you didn’t accomplish everything on your Summer ’18 “To-Do” list- it’s okay. A lot of outdoor activities are just as much fun in the Fall (maybe even moreso since it won’t be so hot out and there won’t be as many bugs!) and worst case scenario? You add it to the top of your list for Summer 2019! It’s not the end of the world.

Just grab a final scoop of ice cream before it’s gone and enjoy the last of these long, late and lazy days!

_______________________________

Those are just some of my tips/tricks to making the most out of these final days of Summer. As always, if you have tips of your own- feel free to drop me a line or leave a comment and share what you do to wind down for the end of the Summer!

But that does it for me this week. I’m going to wrap up a few things at my office and then head out to hit the town- and the coast!

Enjoy your Friday, everyone- and have a safe and wonderful weekend! I’ll see you all on Monday!

xx

– Ashley –