January 2019: In a Nutshell

Good Afternoon and Happy Thursday, everyone!

I’m absolutely floored that today is the last day of January and we’re going right into Valentines season come tomorrow! It feels like it was only just yesterday I was sipping champagne in NYC and bidding a fond farewell to 2018- and now one month has already come and gone in the blink of an eye!

I suppose January can go either way, though. For a lot of people- it seems to drag on for an eternity (maybe because of the cold and the snow and the post-holiday blues?) and for others, like me- who are so pumped up for a new year and new goals/aspirations- it goes by really, really quickly while we’re scrambling to accomplish so much all at once!

That’s not to say I didn’t get to stop and enjoy myself, of course. As busy as it was- January was certainly a pretty interesting start to 2019!

As I said earlier, January kicked off with a brisk couple of days in New York City where I rang in the New Year in comfort and style (and with a really amazing view of the skyline) to start things off on a good, exciting note. I took in views from the top of Rockefeller Center and ate some delicious food around the Lower East Side.

From there, my days (and particularly my weekends) were all about spending time outdoors- including during our most recent snowstorms/blizzards, torrential downpours and a Super Wolf Blood Moon- and catching great indoor shows around Boston with local bands and at awesome breweries.

My Birthday Cake – Courtesy of My Mom.

I spent a lot of time with friends and family this past month- particularly around both my own birthday and my best friend’s birthday- which are right on top of each other. I was surprised with cakes, presents, and impromptu spa treatments- which definitely came in handy following the one low point from this past month when I was hit in my car by a distracted driver that then fled the scene just a couple of weeks ago.

I finally get my car back tomorrow, though- so February is already looking promising!

Most recently, I began closing out this month at my friend Phill’s annual ‘Royal Rumble’ themed party in Salem on Sunday night- which was absolutely hilarious and fun. The snacks our circle of WWE fans come up with are brilliant- bordering on insane- but in the best way possible. I dress up for every event- and given that it was pretty chilly out and wearing spandex shorts was not something I was particularly eager to do given that hypothermia would have been imminent- I donned a rainbow wig and a mask and went as Asuka!

January was also the month I got seriously organized- which has been really beneficial and has definitely de-stressed and de-cluttered my life in such a brief amount of time. I’m taking on so many new and exciting projects in 2019- some of which I’ve already started working on- so staying on top of my game is something I’m hoping to carry over into February and the months that follow.

Speaking of February- even though it’s the shortest month of the year- I have so much planned! This weekend is the Super Bowl (Go Pats!) where I’ll be eating all the wrong kinds of snacks for what will undoubtedly be the biggest “cheat day” of the year. My BFF from San Diego-Now-Chicago will be in town for the Chinese/Lunar New Year, I’m looking to do some more traveling and participate in more photography opportunities in the coming weeks- and I have a few really fun, inspired posts to share, too!

My posting schedule will return to it’s usual Monday, Wednesday and Friday routine next week- but for now I’m going to call it a night, go play some ‘Resident Evil 2’, and get ready for Friday and the weekend!

Enjoy the next few days, everyone! See you all soon!

xx

– Ashley –

“The following contest is scheduled for one fall…”

Good Morning and Happy Hump Day, everyone!

As predicted, it’s been a busy week- and this morning has me chugging my coffee before heading into a four-hour meeting that’ll take me through my lunch break and lead-up to a long afternoon of overtime while I catch up on any messages that came in while I was out of the office.

I’m pretty tired for sure, but we’re almost to the weekend- so I just have to hang on a little longer before I can sleep late and gradually make my way to the beach. I’ve been craving some French fries and fried dough from one of my favorite spots in Portsmouth, New Hampshire- so that’s on the agenda for sure.

Before I get a little too ahead of myself, though- I wanted to backtrack once again to this past weekend. Last Sunday marked my friend Phill’s annual ‘Summer Slam’ viewing party- with the venue changing from his former apartment in Cambridge to his new residence in lovely (and spectacularly spooky) Salem, Massachusetts.

As always, attendees came prepared with Wrestling-themed food to compete for the SnackDown Championship Belt (calculated by a panel of judges who score on taste, presentation, and how clever the name of the food is.) This event’s winner was The Ultimate W’Oreo Pie- but I was really quite proud of my Bob Backlund’s Crossface (Buffalo) Chicken Wings if I do say so myself!

And like I’ve been doing since the Royal Rumble party earlier this year in January, I came in costume- this time as Becky Lynch. I’m really feeling the orange wig- and I’m looking for more excuses to wear it again ASAP.

Two of our regulars, Caleb and Cliff, were unable to make it due to distance and prior obligations- but with a little ingenuity they were able to be Skyped into the party in order to watch the event (and add their own commentary) with us live as the show was broadcast.

Overall it was such a fun night- and it’s something I really look forward to every year. I’m already thinking of ways I can make an even more elaborate costume or an even pun-nier food to bring. I believe the next get together is in January for the Royal Rumble- which means doing full body paint ala Finn Balor as ‘The Demon’ might result in hypothermia around here- but we’ll just have to wait and see!

I’ve got to get to work, though- and brace myself for today’s packed and semi-chaotic schedule.

Here’s wishing you all a wonderful Wednesday and s safe journey to Friday and the weekend!

xx

– Ashley –

Cupcakes and Championship Belts

Good Morning and Happy Wednesday, everyone!

First things first- I’m positively beat. I spent a good portion of last night rocking out to Franz Ferdinand at the House of Blues thanks to a hookup from Boston’s latest independent radio station- indie617. Getting home late and then waking up early to get a good stretch and a shower in before work doesn’t bode well for me!

But despite needing an extra cup of coffee and some serious under-eye concealer this morning- I had an amazing time. Be sure to peep my Instagram for some pics/video!

It seems I’ve been going non-stop in recent days- including last night’s show- and am more than likely going to be in need of a spa day soon so that I can get a little rest and relaxation in before I hit the ground running again. Hot stone massage? Here I come!

This past Saturday marked my friend Stef’s birthday party- and our circle of friends, who are almost always too busy to coordinate anything that allows us all to be in the same place at the same time- managed to pull it off without a hitch! There were decorations, cupcakes, plenty of booze, kiddie balloons- and a pretty intense game of Cards Against Humanity.

Imagine 12-13 people sitting around, throwing down some of the most horrific and offensive cards imaginable- and not being able to stop laughing. That was my Saturday night and I couldn’t have asked for anything better, really.

*you’re.

On Sunday, after spending a good chunk of my morning in the kitchen baking/cooking- I headed to my friend Phill’s apartment for his annual Wrestlemania viewing party with snacks in tow. While I had dressed up like Alexa Bliss for the Royal Rumble back in January– this time I went for a hometown hero look and dressed like Boston’s very own Sasha Banks- purple hair included.

And, themed food is a must- so I brought small pigs-in-a-blanket and an applewood-smoked BBQ sauce that I called “Sasha Franks with Legit Sauce”. I wasn’t the only one who went all out, of course. I ended up eating half of my body weight in ‘Dean Ambrosia’, ‘Tag Team Meat Brawls’, and New Day-inspired pancakes.

And despite a weird, slightly unsettling ending to the actual Wrestlemania event (there was a lot of blood pouring out of someone’s head from a botched elbow to the face)– I had such a fantastic and fun time. I can’t wait for ‘Summer Slam’!

But, for now- I’ve got to get to work. Expect more photos from last night’s show to be up within the next few days- as well as a recap of some other events I’ve got going on a little later this week!

Enjoy your Hump Day, everyone!

xx

– Ashley –

January 2018: In a Nutshell

Ocean Beach, San Diego. 1/21/18

Good Morning and Happy “Hump Day”, everyone! I’ve managed to dig myself out from beneath the latest snowfall here in Massachusetts to get into boss babe mode at work, re-pack my suitcase for Las Vegas this weekend, and reflect upon this past month. With five Mondays- January may have felt like an eternity to get through to some- but for me, it was pretty busy, and a little crazy, and sorta’ fast-paced- in mostly the right ways!

The month- and year- started off peacefully enough- with a weekend spent at a quaint bed & breakfast in New Hampshire with my best friend to bid farewell to 2017. But, once I was home and back to work- that’s when the real excitement started. There were blizzards, birthdays, and appearances by The Killers (and that was all within the first week!)

I spent time at an incredibly bright and flower-filled art exhibit here in Boston before eventually working my way out West in the middle of the month to kick-off an extended weekend in San Diego to celebrate my birthday. This is where things got a little tricky- because while I had an amazing time in the sunshine and had the opportunity to catch up with longtime friends I hadn’t seen in months- one of my friends got really sick with a flu that had been going around about halfway through my stay. His being down for the count as he tried to recover threw off some scheduled birthday plans- and my trip ended on a much calmer and much quieter note than I had anticipated.

I tried to make the best of it, though. With half-priced margaritas in the afternoons (Happy Hour is illegal in Massachusetts- just a little not-so-fun FYI- so I fully embraced it as much as possible!) and views like this everywhere you turned- who could feel sad for too long?

When I returned from California last week, my family and some of my local friends from around home made sure that I knew they didn’t forget my birthday while I was away. With dinners, cards, and a pretty funny cake (thanks, Mom)– I feel just as loved at 32 as I did when I was 22. Even more astonishing as that the celebration isn’t even done, yet! Before I leave for Vegas, more of my extended family want to treat me to another party- and when I come home from my second voyage to the West Coast- my friends have another get-together planned for me.

I used to worry sometimes that getting older wouldn’t be so fun or as appealing as it seemed to be when I was younger- but the people in my life have made sure that it is and I’m so, so grateful to them for it.

Side Note: A lot of people who follow this blog and my social media accounts sent such lovely, encouraging, funny, and kind messages before, during and in the days following my birthday- and words can’t even begin to describe how much it meant to me. From the bottom of my heart- thank you all! I truly appreciated all the love. It was overwhelming in the best way possible!

Courtesy of my Mother.

And finally, this past weekend- in honor of the WWE’s ‘Royal Rumble’- I headed to my friend Phill’s annual PPV party in an Alexa Bliss costume (with color coordinated cupcakes in tow!) to watch the show, stuff my face, participate in the pool we had going- and compete for our “Best Party Snack” prize- the Snack-Down Championship Belt.

While my cupcakes didn’t score me the title- I was pretty content that the “People’s Elbow Macaroni & Cheese” won- because it was delicious!

We are so nerdy and I absolutely love it.

So what do I have planned for February? Vegas, baby! I head out this coming weekend to visit with friends from Nevada, catch my beloved Pats in the Super Bowl, and maybe see a show or two before it’s back home to work in-between planned day trips to NYC, sharing some Valentine’s Day-inspired recipes, showcasing more pieces from my wardrobe and trying to get through these last few weeks of Winter unscathed.

And to kick things off in February? I’ll have a recipe post later up this week (Super Bowl appropriate!) before I hop my plane on Saturday morning.

Hang in there, everyone- the week is almost over!

xx

– Ashley –

Protests, Roller Coasters and SummerSlam 2017…

Good Morning, everyone! Have all of your eyes adjusted back to normal after looking at the solar eclipse yesterday? I shared a pair of those special protective glasses with some of my co-workers yesterday when we viewed the phenomenon from a clearing outside our office. Pretty neat stuff- even if it didn’t get as dark out as I had thought (and sort of hoped) it would!

Before I launch into what I did this past weekend, I wanted to get serious for just a couple of minutes.

I try not to get too political here on Blondie Birdie. It’s not because I’m not interested in current events and it’s certainly not because I don’t care about what’s happening in the world around me- a peek into any of my social media would disprove that misconception very quickly considering how vocal I am surrounding the issues I care about deeply- but a good portion of the news and politics continues to be depressing, infuriating and downright horrifying 99.999% of the time. For that reason, I try to keep things light here. Not only for my readers and subscribers- but for myself, too. Sometimes it’s nice to have a small corner of the internet to escape to when things are looking bleak and rough literally everywhere else.

I do have to comment on what happened in Boston this past weekend, though- because I was on the sidelines for a brief period of time and couldn’t have been prouder of my city for the display of unity, decency and peaceful protest that sent a message to the world and set a precedent for how to drive out hatred and bigotry when it dares come knocking at your door.

For those of you who didn’t know, a small group of white supremacists/Neo-Nazis/”Alt-Right” enthusiasts had scheduled a “Freedom of Speech” rally in Boston Common on Saturday so they could get away with as much hate speech/rhetoric and propaganda as they wanted. Following the events in Charlottesville just days earlier- Bostonians weren’t going to just let it stand- and the handful of losers who ended up hiding and huddled together with police protection in a gazebo right in the middle of the park were surrounded by 20,000+ peaceful protesters  who came armed with nothing but signs, banners, and chants until the Nazis (and let’s not mince words. They’re Nazis) were eventually escorted out of the area and back to their basements in armored police vehicles while the crowd cheered, clapped and hollered.

Now, the section I was standing in was well-behaved. I’d heard about a couple of people getting riled up and who attempted to start some trouble long after the rally disassembled- but there’s always and inevitably going to be a few bad eggs in groups that large- and they were far outnumbered by good, decent people who knew that Boston’s strength comes from and relies heavily on the diversity of it’s citizens. I was so, so proud of each and every single person who showed up. THAT’S how you get rid of ignorant and hateful cowards.

And if anyone thinks what happened in Boston didn’t change anything or doubts it made a difference- a bunch of scheduled and similar white supremacy rallies around the country were cancelled following what happened in my city. It DOES work.

Candid. Six Flags. 8/19/17

Following my stopping by the Common to voice my support alongside those fighting against inconceivable and poisonous hatred- I wanted to close out my Saturday with something fun and carefree- and headed to Six Flags New England with some friends for the remainder of my afternoon/evening to ride roller coasters until I sustained a mild thoracic spine strain (those wooden coasters will get you every. single. time- but I’m healing up nicely!) and eat gigantic ice cream cones until the park closed. My friends continue to buy season passes to Six Flags and then never use them for reasons that are beyond my comprehension- but I get a discounted entry when they bring their passes with them- so it works out for me, anyway!

My favorite coaster is still the Superman (formerly the Bizzaro)– because there’s that .3 seconds where you feel like you might legitimately fly out of your seat and die- but they’ve got a couple of re-vamped ones that I really enjoyed, too- prior to my injury, anyway.

The cost of food and beverages in that place is a whole other story, though. If you ever get the urge to go to Six Flags- pack a good, filling picnic lunch and enjoy it outside the gate before you re-enter the park during your stay. You’ll save yourself a small fortune. I promise! Charging $5 for water bottles during the hottest days of the year are NOT okay.

On Sunday, after a long time in the kitchen making sure my baked goods came out just right- I headed over to Allston for my friend Phill’s WWE ‘SummerSlam’ party to view the event with a group of equally passionate professional wrestling fans. Phill has 3 events per year for the three biggest PPVs- the Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, and SummerSlam- and up until now I’d never been to one of his parties. The rules were simple: don’t cheer Roman Reigns (a universally disliked and over-hyped character)– and if you bring a snack, it had to be wrestling themed.

My contributions to this event- and my attempt to win the coveted SNACK-Down Championship Belt (AKA best party food) was my “Undercaker” chocolate cake shaped like a wrestling ring- complete with turnbuckles and ropes!- and some gluten-free Balor Club cupcakes specifically for an attendee, James, who I was informed had an allergy and who I didn’t want to exclude. Overall I think everything paired nicely with the huge SummerHAM that one of Phill’s friends- dressed like John Cena, naturally- brought, as well as a dip called ‘Bean Ambrose’- among many other snacks.

The creativity was seriously awesome, and I had the best time- and while I was debating dressing up like Alexa Bliss, I went for a more simple look and rocked my WAY oversized Finn Balor/Demon King shirt- just in time for him to re-emerge in all his body-painted glory for his match. To say I was delighted is an understatement.

Next time, for sure- I’m rocking the Alexa look. New Cosplay project!

Overall, I had a really fun, really fulfilling weekend- and needed a full day yesterday to recover in-between work and catching up on some errands and much-needed sleep at home. My posting schedule is a little off as a result- but it should be back to normal by next week.

Enjoy your Tuesday/Monday 2.0, everyone! I’m getting ready to throw an impromptu, in-office, surprise Bachelorette party for one of my co-workers who is getting married this weekend! I’ll be sure to take some pictures!

xx

– Ashley –