Notes From The Big E…

Notes From The Big E…

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! We made it!

As much as I would love nothing more than to just sleep through this entire weekend since I am absolutely wiped out from these past couple of days (not including work!)– there’s still plenty of things left on my September “To-Do” list Iย  want to see through before this month begins winding down- and this coming weekend is the time to do it!

One thing I managed to scratch off my September/Fall Bucket List this past Wednesday was popping by The Big E for a late afternoon/evening filled with the unhealthiest (and delicious) fair foods, carnival rides and bizarre attractions. It’s pretty much a must-do for New Englanders- often a tradition for my friends and I- and I wanted to make sure I could enjoy it for a few hours while the weather was nice and the sun was shining!

Now that I live in the Valley, getting to The Big E takes no time at all- so I was able to park and walk in without having to sit in post-work-pre-dinner traffic for hours on end (another less favorable tradition…)

I had a lovely time squealing over cute farm animals, eating half my body weight in Friskie Fries (and fried Oreos!) and soaking up the sunset amid all the flashing lights and rickety rides while simultaneously wondering whether or not I needed any of the unusual gadgets and accessories vendors were pitching in the exhibit halls.

Naturally, I snapped some photos along the way…

Such a nice way to spend a Wednesday afternoon.

The Big E is up and running through September 29th if you want to check it out for yourself!

Next week on Blondie Birdie- I’ve got my annual Autumn playlist ready to go for those in need of a dreamy soundtrack, more photos from my early Fall adventures- and some of my favorite things from this past September (and believe me- there’s a lot!)

But until then- enjoy your weekend, everybody!

xx

– Ashley –

Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice…

Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice…

Good Morning and Happy Monday, everyone!

While the thought of returning to work after such a great weekend isn’t exactly ideal- I take comfort in the fact that I’ll be heading to The Big E in a couple of days for some early-Autumn fun- so at least that will break up the humdrum of daily office life. I am more than ready for some fried Oreos, hot apple cider- and carnival rides that may or may not have passed “mandatory” safety inspections!

This past weekend was also filled with some early-Autumn fun. After hosting my show on Indie617 and performing in Salem on Saturday night- I made a point to spend my Sunday at Red Apple Farm to pick some apples, find myself the perfect pumpkin, and indulge in all the farm-fresh snacks I could find- all with my beloved little Oliver in tow!

It was a beautiful, sunny- and comfortably cool afternoon. Oliver was completely fascinated by the apple trees, the tractors that were driving by, and the goats and piglets the farm has available for viewing/feeding/petting. I’m pretty sure he’d be okay if I were to adopt a pet pig in the future. They’d probably get along famously.

Naturally, I picked up some apple dumplings, some all natural peanut butter and some homemade strawberry-apple jam before we left for the afternoon- and I’m excited to dive into all of it in the coming days!

But of course, I’ve got to dive into my caseload at work, first- and make sure I stay ahead so I can get an early jump on this coming weekend!

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful start to your week. I’ll be back on Wednesday with a pretty fantastic appetizer recipe that takes no time at all to whip up!

xx

– Ashley –

“Bring Me Back to Autumn…”

Good Morning and Happy Tuesday, everyone!

I hope those of you who were able to celebrate the long weekend enjoyed it immensely. I personally had a wonderful couple of days off that were spent outdoors despite the occasional drizzle and thunderstorm- and also catching up on some much-needed sleep. Although I’m back at work bright and early this morning- I’m feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day and the remainder of this short work-week!

With this past Sunday marking the beginning of September, the midst of Labor Day Weekend- and the unofficial [official] end to the Summer- I dove headfirst into the Autumnal activities. I had my first Fall-inspired coffee beverage (a pumpkin pie chai, courtesy of Shelburne Falls Coffee Roasters) and made the short journey to Phillipston, Massachusetts to check out the Appleseed Country Fair at Red Apple Farm.

A friend had actually been the one to tell me about the fair- as I hadn’t even known the farm existed- but I’m certainly glad she did because the place is adorable and filled with all the apples, pumpkins, sunflowers and homemade, farm-fresh snacks/sweets a Fall-loving girl could ask for.

The fair itself was very busy but fun- with hay rides, animals to pet, tractors to pose for photos with, hot air balloon lifts, live music and plenty of vendors and food. The farm is also dog-friendly- which means Oliver can join me in a couple of weeks when I go back as there will be less of a crowd so I can pick apples for baking and pumpkins for decorating. He’s going to love it.

And while I wanted to stock up on all the jams, natural peanut butter, kettle corn popcorn and apple dumplings I could carry- I opted for some apple cider to enjoy at home and apple cider doughnuts to share with my mom. They. Are. Delicious.

Yesterday, after running some errands and cooking up a seafood recipe (which will be on the blog this coming Thursday!)– I made a point to swing by Patriot Place at Gillette Stadium to snag a new t-shirt for the upcoming Patriots season and do a bit of window-shopping before a pretty significant thunderstorm rolled through the area and I had to take cover in my car during the subsequent torrential downpour.

Catching an actual game at Gillette this season is on my “Fall 2019 Bucket List”- so here’s hoping I’ll be back there sooner than later!

And the new shirt will definitely be making an appearance on my Instagram this week. It’s really nice!

But with quite a bit of work in front of me and a pretty busy couple of days ahead- I’m off to get things sorted and done early so I can enjoy this coming weekend (and the Hampton Beach Seafood Festival) properly!

Enjoy your day, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

August 2019: In a Nutshell

Good Morning and Happy Saturday, everyone!

I’m writing this from the comfort of bed, coffee in hand- although it’s not a pumpkin spice latte (yet. That tradition begins bright and early tomorrow morning!) and reflecting on this past August and the Summer 2019 overall, really.

Typically I make lengthy and wild “Bucket Lists” for every season- jotting down places I want to visit, things I want to do and see, food I want to cook/eat, etc. The beauty of living in New England is that with the seasons being so vastly different from one another- there’s many unique experiences to be had. It’s part of the reason I find the idea of leaving permanently so unfathomable.

Until the dead of Winter, anyway- then I’d rather be anywhere *but* here!

Usually I accomplish nearly everything on my bucket lists- however Summer 2019 was the first time in a long time that I felt I had barely scratched the surface. It didn’t feel like failure, or disappointment- but it did leave me asking myself “what happened?”

And the answer is easier to find than you’d think. Summer 2019 was the first one in my new apartment and neighborhood- which meant a lot of my day off activities were spent locally and not out by the ocean, traveling to opposite coasts, etc. I made new friends and went to community potlucks, saw shows in the next town over, soaked up the sun by a local lake, so on and so forth.

I was also working three jobs this past Summer- my full-time office job, my Saturdays with Indie617, and frantic and busy afternoons/evenings with PaintBox Theatre– which wrapped up for the season just a couple of weeks ago and freed up some of my time.

It was definitely Summer- just a new and different kind- which is a bit exciting in itself!

So in Summer 2020, while I’ll definitely have things on my bucket list as usual- I fully plan on practicing better time management and incorporating all the hidden gems within the Pioneer Valley during the hottest season of the year, too!

I’m excited for the Fall- the usual things I always make a point to do like apple picking, pumpkin carving, etc.- and the newer experiences I’ve already planned out here in Western Massachusetts (the foliage is going to look amazing and I cannot wait!)

But first I want to bid farewell to August 2019- a month that saw plenty of travel, time with cherished people in my life, growth and change personally and professionally. It started like a firecracker- with my first trip to MASS MoCA to see Maggie Rogers perform, The journey there inspired a separate visit to the Mohawk Trail just a few days later during some time off I had taken from work.

August saw me straddle the Massachusetts and New York state lines with help from Troy during a surprise trip to Bash Bish Falls– which was one of the most amazing days I’ve had in recent memory. I also celebrated the annual passage of Summer Slam with friends in Salem and mini-golfed for the first time since I was a kid (and lost, but that’s besides the point.)

And with so many changes in my location, career opportunities, etc. I figured I could change my appearance a bit, too- and returned to my brunette roots with help from an incredible stylist. Chocolate-hued hair seems fitting for the Fall- and I wanted to get the jump on it.

So what’s in store for September? A lot of early-Autumn fun- including Hampton Beach’s annual Seafood Festival, The Big E, local Harvest Fairs (I’m stopping by one tomorrow!) and the usual assortment of recipes and peeks inside my closet. My Fall wardrobe is shaping up to be amazing- and I can’t wait to show some of it off!

So expect my Instagram feed to be loaded with pictures of apple cider doughnuts, pumpkin-everything, and leaves, leaves, leaves!

But until then- here’s to August 2019- a busy month that was filled with fun, new adventures, lots of changes- and hope for the weeks ahead! With Monday being a holiday- my posting schedule will be Tuesday and Thursday next week before I return to the normal schedule the week after. I’ll have lots to talk about!

Enjoy the rest of your long weekend, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –ย 

Summer with The Vanderbilts…

Good Afternoon and Happy Wednesday, everyone! I love these mid-week moments!

It’s a bit of a late posting day for me- since I’ve been in an absolute flurry at work since about 7 a.m. today- but I’ve just finished for the day and am getting ready to run a couple of heavily procrastinated errands I can’t put off any longer, prepare for dinner and to say farewell to my dearest friend’s apartment since he’ll be moving out of it this weekend. We’ve had so many wonderful memories there- and respects must be paid!

It’s blowing my mind that we’re nearly at August’s end- with September looming just ahead this coming Sunday. While I’m undoubtedly excited for the Fall and all the Autumnal activities there are to do here in the Pioneer Valley- I’m still very much in a Summer mood and am trying to spend as much time as possible in or around the water before it freezes over.

This past weekend, with the temperatures cooling comfortably and my Sunday freed up after my usual early morning laundry and coffee run- I opted to head down to Newport, Rhode Island for one final Summer weekend coast-side in a community I’ve grown to love dearly over the years. While there, I visited The Breakers- since it had been quite a few years since I marveled at the architecture, the artwork-adorned walls and ceilings- and the spectacular views of the Atlantic.

I took plenty of photos of the grounds and surrounding Cliff Walk- which you can make bigger by clicking below!

It was a beautiful day and a lovely way to sort of bid farewell to Summer- although the official goodbye comes when I head up to New Hampshire for the annual Seafood Festival in a couple of weeks! Can you tell I’m excited for crab cakes and discounted beach clothes?

Sorry. I’m getting ahead of myself here. On Friday, I’ll be talking about some of my favorite odds and ends from August- products, finds, buys, etc. There’s some real gems I discovered/stumbled across that I’m very much looking forward to talking about.

And then on Saturday- before I head to the Indie617 studio to host my show- I’ll be giving Summer 2019 a thorough review and the proper send-off it deserves.

Until then, enjoy your “Hump Day” and keep your heads up! Friday is nearly here!

xx

– Ashley –