Jonas!

Whew. Well, now that the plague has been lifted from my house… I’m back. 🙂

First little S got the bug and that lasted a few days. I was then able to get the house cleaned and aired out and everyone happy and healthy and then… BOOM. There was I, out for the count. With the worst stomach bug OF MY LIFE, YOU GUYS. Horrible. Talking… ER trip for two IV fluid bags and two doses of Zofran, horrible. Dehydration = no joke, my friends. So then we were able to get the house cleaned and aired out again.

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Just in time for good ole Blizzard Jonas to arrive.

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We are somewhere in that pink area. So that was cool.

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Honestly though? I didn’t really mind it all that much. Joe was off work and S was off school. Joe was able to fight the masses for bread & milk & peanut M&Ms. Andandand… we had power and heat.

[Side note: THANK YOU LORD that our HVAC system went out 2 weeks ago and had to be replaced. THANK GOD. Can you even imagine if it hadn’t and we would have been stuck with the old wonky one that barely worked?! Ugh. No no no no.]

Anyway, so I was just content with being in a safe and warm environment with plenty of food. Watching out the windows from the comfort of my recliner + Harry Potter comforter.

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(Me, walking back and forth from my recliner to the kitchen)

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Those were taken Saturday afternoon – snow and wind still a-blazin.

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Which brings us to Sunday – and the aftermath – when the shoveling started.

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The thing about being in an end unit townhouse is that although you are at the end and can shovel your snow onto the grass… the people next to you start shoveling all of their snow over and it just never goes away. Ever. As we were shoveling our next door neighbor was just kind of looking at us pitifully like, “Well what am I supposed to do?!” Uhh… walk it to the sidewalk?…

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So we ended up basically shoveling her spot too. That was a good time.

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Some of the end result. This mound won’t be melted until about… oh… June?

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We attempted some sledding but only S was light enough to get down the hill. Just too much snow and it wasn’t packing very well. But I was able to get down the hill once with a running start and laying on my stomach.

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Success. In sled & selfie form. #soblessed

xx Ashley

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Me Monday: Cars & Skateboards Do Not Mix.

Hello everyone.

It’s now Tuesday, but I like to live on the edge. Moving on.

Today’s tale takes place back when I was around… 21ish. Back in the lazy days of summer.

This is another story of dumb decisions.

I was hanging out with my friend Lindsay (you’ve met her before herehere, & here).

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And we were just hanging around her house, driving around, taking walks around the neighborhood, watching TV – the usual lazy stuff.

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So after a bit of joyriding, Lindsay and I were heading back to her parents’ house to hang out some more.

Her parents house is at the top of a rather large hill. As we were driving up the hill, Lindsay’s brother, Brett, was skateboarding around with some friends at the bottom of the hill.

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I am about 90% certain that this was after I broke my elbow – and my arm was in a huge cast. And I was driving my (manual, stick-shift) car. So there’s that.

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All three of us (Lindsay, Brett & myself) were fairly free-spirited and liked to get in a good laugh. (And from what you’ve read about Lindsay and I before – we clearly never thought things through 100% of the time.)

Anyway. There Lindsay and I were in my Red 1997 Honda Civic.

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(Mine looked a little different than this but you get the idea. Fun fact: my little brother still drives this car. 19 years and still going!)

We stopped to chat with Brett for a second before driving back up the hill to Lindsay’s house.

As we were pulling away, Brett says, “Hey, I don’t want to walk all the way up the hill. Let me just hang onto the back of your car and ride up on my skateboard.”

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(Back to the Future style.)

Lindsay and I think, “Alright. Couldn’t hurt.”

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I make sure to go extra slow because I am NOT trying to kill this kid. I’m only creeping up the hill at maybe 10-15 MPH. And everything is going fine. He’s hanging onto the back and gliding up the hill like a magnificent gazelle.

BUT THEN.

I look into my rearview mirror to check on him, and I see him TRYING TO COME AROUND THE SIDE OF THE CAR SO HE CAN RIDE NEXT TO THE DRIVER’S SIDE OPEN WINDOW. WHILE THE CAR IS MOVING.

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I can literally see this accident about to happen. I’m watching it with my own two eyes. I try to slow down the car to a stop, but we are halfway up the hill and I don’t want to bump him off of the car and then he flies backwards into the abyss. Lindsay and I are like “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!???”

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Brett is on his skateboard, and as he’s trying to climb his way up around to the side of the car – his foot collides with the back tire.

AND THEN.

I feel the car go over a large lump and then a loud “OUCH! AHH!”.

I immediately stop the car and we jump out – Brett is on the ground and YES, PEOPLE, I HAVE RUN OVER THIS KIDS FOOT WITH MY CAR.

Lindsay and I are simultaneously screaming and laughing as we check on Brett. He was fine. Probably had a bruised foot but hey. As Lindsay’s dad always used to say:

“The stupid shall be punished.” – Lindsay’s dad.

I’ll never forget running into Lindsay’s house and yelling to her mom, “I JUST RAN OVER BRETT WITH MY CAR!!!” and the look on her face OMG. I felt like such a jerk hahahaha.

He totally would have made it up the hill completely unscathed had he just stayed put on at the back, too. So, as far as Lindsay and I are concerned – the fault this time lies 75% with Brett and 25% with us. Right?

Interestingly enough, this is only 1/3 out of the series where I hit things with my car. LOL.

Stay tuned!

xx Ashley

5 Favorites

1. Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale!

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Lilly Pulitzer is one of my favorite brands – all their prints are just so colorful and happy and fun. They make me happy. However, the prices are not exactly on the inexpensive range. So, when a sale pops up – it’s a big deal. Lilly only has two sales per year. One in August (Spring/summer prints on sale) and one in January (Fall prints on sale). The good stuff doesn’t usually last longer than a few hours though honestly, haha. You can get really great pricing on the pieces you’ve been eying all season. Like, I’m talking 60-70% off retail pricing. This year’s sale was on the 4th. Usually the sale lasts two days but this time it was only for a day. I could understand why because by the time it was my turn to get on (there’s a virtual line now so that the site doesn’t crash), there wasn’t much left to choose from. But. Regardless. Still an awesome sale for those able to get into the sale right away. So it’s on my list of favorites. Boom.

2. UGG BOOTS.

WINTER HAS ARRIVED. I REPEAT, WINTER HAS ARRIVED. Also, remember how I’ve mentioned before that the heat isn’t the greatest in our current rental? Ah yes. Yesterday, Joe & I woke up and I couldn’t even bear to get out of bed because it was absolutely FRIGID in our house. I finally walked downstairs and checked the thermostat and it was at a glorious 50 degrees. And I had set it the night before at 74, so that was suspect. To make a long story short, the entire heating (and air conditioning!) in the home is busted and needs to be replaced. (!!!) So in the meantime, no heat. It was a high of 34 today. Yes. So, UGG BOOTS, YOU GUYS. I LOVE THEM.

I’m sure some of you out there are saying, “But they’re so UGLY! They’re meant to be slippers. They’re so basic.

…Okay…I hear you… Congratulations on your opinion! I bet you’ve never actually tried on a pair, have you? Actually felt the heavenly sensation?

Maybe I’m basic, but I happen to like the way that they look.

Also, they keep me warm and comfortable and I LOVE THEM.

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3. Superstore.

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Have you seen this show? It just premiered and it’s pretty good. It’s obviously trying to be the new “The Office” or “Parks and Rec” (which nothing ever will be), but it really is fairly hilarious all on its own.

“Do you own one of each of us?…” LOLOLOL.

4. Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso Maker

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We went over to our friend’s house on New Years Eve and they had recently purchased this little baby. They made us all a cup and OMG I couldn’t believe how good the coffee was! Tasted like Starbucks, really. And it seemed to be extremely easy and simple to use. I’ve always wanted to get a cappuccino maker but I always thought they were too involved and complicated to use – but this one worked great. They also seem to be sold out everywhere I look so, there’s another sign. May have to be a copycat and add this to my own kitchen soon!

5. Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup.

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It’s freezing out and I want some. What more is there to say, really?

xx Ashley

Interesting Internet

1. 13 Mindblowing Harry Potter Fan Theories

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Many of these make so much sense!!

2. 7 Hairstyles for when you don’t want to wash your hair.

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Get yourself some Living Proof shampoo and you’re good to go!

3. Tone It Up’s new 8 week challenge is up!

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Join me.

4. 31 Delicious things (in season) to eat in January!

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You know what’s also in season? Brownies.

5. “The Children who went up in smoke”.

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Is this crazy or what?! I found this article in the Pinterest history section. Very interesting read.

xx Ashley

Me Monday Series: Roaring Rapids

Happy Monday!

I’ve mentioned before how I used to live in Richmond VA & attended VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University) many moons ago.

Near campus is the James River – and Belle Isle. People like to go there during the summer heat and swim around in the water and lay out on the big rocks near the shore.

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(It actually looks kinda dumpy here but it was cute. Maybe it was also kinda dumpy, too. But that’s just good ole Richmond charm for ya.)

Anyway so right after I moved there, one weekend my two roommates Peggy & Autumn and a group of other friends decided to take the day and go hang out by the water.

There was a particular part of the river that had a huge jump-off rock with a deep pool underneath to jump into.

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There was also a part of the rapids that allowed you to jump off of the rock and into a channel of water that brought you under and then down farther down the river.

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(That swirling part on the bottom is where you jumped in. Yes. Absolutely terrifying, you’re right.)

On this particular day, the water was extremely rough. Very fast-moving and very strong.

I, am not a very strong swimmer. I can swim. But, not very well against a particularly strong current. So I should have been smarter and just stayed on the rocks.

Should. Have.

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I’m usually fairly cautious when it comes to this kind of stuff. I try not to put myself into fairly clear dangerous situations.

Usually I’m like,

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( I’m kind of a old fuddy-duddy like that.)

Instead, that day I was bit by the “adventure” bug. The, “Oh! I’m young and free and should be doing wild and crazy stuff! Allow me to jump off these rocks into a swirling river current that leads into an even larger body of water somewhere who knows where! Vamos everybody!”

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The thing was – in order to get to the big rock that allowed you to jump off, you needed to first swim across a large part of the river. Because the large jumping rock was smack dab in the middle of the dang river.

I thought, “Oh, no big deal. I can do this.”

I started across with my roommate’s boyfriend – who was probably about 125 lbs soaking wet – and we knew right away that we were in trouble. We tried to cross the river holding onto some of the smaller rocks, but obviously the farther in we got, the stronger the current was.

Eventually, we got about halfway between the shore and the big jumping rock. We were both clinging to this smaller rock with the jaws of life.

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(Me.)

We were terrified of letting go, because we most definitely would be swept away in the current, into a very large portion of rocky rapids ahead.

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Felt like they looked like this.

But they probably were more along the lines of this:

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Whatever. Still scary.

One of my roommates – Autumn – is already on the big jumping rock and is yelling at me to continue over to her.

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My other roommate – Peggy – was on the shore, screaming at me to ABORT. ABORT. GET BACK TO SHORE IMMEDIATELY.

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Alas, I am stuck on the rock.

This is another one of those stories where I should have known better than to do something that I am clearly not prepared for.

It’s pretty clear at this point that the only way I’m leaving the rock that I’m clinging to is to literally let go and let the river take me where it may – and pray that I can swim towards the shore at some point down farther.

A friend on the shore yells out to me, “Hey! Just let go and the water is going to take you down the smallish rapids ahead. Just float on your back and let the water guide you down into the wading part.”

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So, I let go.

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I let go of the rock and the water takes me quickly. Along the way, my friend Peggy is trying to reach out and grab me from shore, but she’s still too far away.

So I brace myself for impact with the rocky rapids ahead of me. I try to grab onto any kind of rock along the way that I can – but there is too much moss n’ junk all over them and they are too slippery to hold onto.

I fall down the rapids and though it hurts – it’s not too bad. I think, “Okay! At least the worst is over! Now I can swim back to shore!”

Nope. Now the water is getting deep, as well as fast. I just keep floating down the river. I look up and the rock shore is super close but I’m going too fast still to grab it.

People are legit just watching me float down in amusement. I’m literally yelling out, “HELP. ME.”

And the people on shore are like,

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Meanwhile all my friends are watching like,

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The big problem that is because I was struggling so much before to grab onto other rocks and swim horizontally – I’m exhausted and don’t have a lot of strength left.

Finally I see a man and his family sitting on the shore near enough to me and I reach out and am like, “I. NEED. HELP. GRAB. ME.” and he finally recognizes that I’m not joking and runs over and pulls me out of the water.

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(It felt a little like this, tbh.)

When I’m finally up and out of the water I look across the river to my friends and yell a bunch of mean things and then vow to never get into that river. Ever. Again.

I’m fairly scratched up but otherwise fine. Notably shaken and also slightly mortified, but fine.

I literally have NO IDEA what happened to my friend’s boyfriend who was clinging to the rock with me, by the way. LOL. I have no idea how he got off of the rock. I mean, I know he did. He’s not still there. I don’t think. 😉

So, moral of the story?

  1. If someone is yelling for help – they probably need help.
  2. If you can’t swim all that well – don’t get into a potentially dangerous fast-moving body of water.
  3. Again: If you can’t swim strong enough to survive, period – don’t go into the strong and deep water. Dummy.

xx Ashley

5 Things I Wish To Change In 2016

Well. Here we are! On the horizon of a brand-spankin’ new year. 2015 has just simply zipped by in a blur, hasn’t it?

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Everyone has new year resolutions they would like to knock out – some are practical things like losing weight or quitting smoking. Others are more inspirational – travel more, spend more time with loved ones, be more spiritual/nicer/wiser… and the list continues.

I am not unlike everyone else in knowing that there are parts of myself that need growth and change. So, here are some things I would like to work on during the year 2016:

1. Being More Intentional With My Time:

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I find that either my days whiz by without my knowing; or that each minute of the day lasts an actual five minutes each. There is no in-between. I obviously always have things around the house to be doing and a list of errands to run + being with little S – but this year I’m hoping to be a bit more intentional about the way that I spend my time. Everyone needs time to relax and simply veg out in front of the TV – it’s a way to unwind without having to release any kind of brain power. But, instead of unwinding by shutting off my brain functions, maybe instead I’ll pick up that book I’ve been meaning to read. Or call up a friend to catch up. Spending some quiet time with my Bible & with God. Or taking the time to simply sit down and journal some thoughts.

2. Less Distractions.

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I’d also like to really focus more on making my time with Joe & S more intentional. Instead of sitting on the couch with our various electronic gadgets surfing the interwebs or playing various apps – maybe we could instead unplug and, I don’t know, actually just be together without distractions? It’s so easy just to say, “Hey, let’s all watch a movie together! Family movie night!” and then after the movie is playing, get on the iPad and dive into our own worlds. Sometimes Joe & I like to connect over a funny television show that we’ve been watching together and that’s fine – but there is a distinct difference between actually watching it & laughing together; and putting on the show and then scrolling incessantly through social media.

I have a general rule that I try to follow – when I’m out with friends or if Joe and I are out on a date, I put my phone in my purse and I leave it there.  I’m not perfect about this, but I really do try. I’m not on it texting or scrolling through Instagram or taking a gazillion pictures to let everyone know what I’m doing 24/7. I really try to spend that time with the people that I’m with, so why wouldn’t I try to do this when I’m at home, too? Right. Exactly.

3. Being More Mindful About My Body.

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Let’s face it. I’m not getting any younger. I’m pretty good about taking the time to exercise because I usually feel pretty blah about myself when I don’t. But eating the right foods that will nourish my body is another story. I will eat well all day long and then 10pm hits and I’m down in the kitchen inhaling the leftover chicken + chips & salsa + fruit snacks + all the chocolate in the known universe. Anyone else out there do this? Crickets? Yeah. It’s not just about weight – it’s about being healthy. And not treating my body like a trash can. If I wouldn’t allow S to eat this way, then why am I allowing myself? So, practicing self-control is high on the list this year. Right. Exactly.

4. Try To Calm The Anxiety.

Anyone else feel anxious? Like, all the time? It seems to be a common epidemic in our society. I wonder why that is. Maybe because we’ve all got 156,435 things to accomplish in a minimal amount of time while having about 3,545 things running through our minds at any given time. Copious stressors, not enough time, too much pressure, not enough pressure, too much to do, not enough to do… Ah! Sometimes it’s enough to make you want to explode. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way about life at times. I guess what I’m trying to say is that this year, instead of hiding out in anxiety & stress – I’m going to take steps to instead bring some light into the situation. Instead of internally screaming “I can’t handle it!” – instead I will take a deep breath and think, “Okay. This is not the end of the world. Let’s think of one way I can deal with my situation right now.” Maybe it’s dumb. But it’s better than driving myself crazy by wallowing in unnecessary anxiousness.

5. Devote More Time To My Friendships.

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It can be hard to keep up with friendships as you get older – everyone has so many things to do. Be it being busy with work, kids, school, spouse, hobbies – whatever. Old friendships can fall by the wayside. Especially as a military spouse who moves around every few years. I’m guilty of not keeping in touch as well as I should.

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This year I’d like to not allow weeks or even sometimes months (Ugh, I know!) to pass by before I speak to some of my old friends. This goes with item number one. Being intentional with my time! I have an hour of spare time? Instead of surfing Pinterest – let me catch up with a friend. I guess I could simultaneously do those things, but whatev. You get the idea.

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Either way – I don’t want to be neglectful of the relationships in my life any longer. So I hope to work on that in 2016.

There are many other things I could + should + will be working on in the upcoming year – but 5 things on this ole blog tied up rather nicely with a big fat red bow. So there you have it!

Happy New Year, ya filthy animals!

xx Ashley