General musings on the ups and downs and ins and outs in the life of a 30 something, unmarried, life loving, some times interesting and sometimes not, mostly happy girl just trying to figure it all out!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas Cards

I get completely excited about Christmas cards! I love sending them- and I don't like just doing ones from the store with a picture added. I like custom ones.

This is the one I did last year, which Shannon inspired.
The front is a picture of me at "Ashley Lane" and then "Hamlin Place." We randomly came across "Hamlin Place" in York Harbor, Maine and S and I made Chip pull a U-Turn and go back so we could get a photo. Then S Googled Ashley Lane and found one about 30 minutes from their house. So we took a road trip and VOILA! Christmas Card!!

Last year was Van's and my great road trip. So inside I did pics of us in North Carolina, one of me in New York City and one of Van in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. The quote was, "Every time we love, every time we give, its Christmas." from Dale Evans.
I loved it!

This year Tommie at Oh My Gluestick is designing mine, with a little help from my sister, Katie... It's going to be awesome and I am completely pumped!

So what about you? Are you as crazy about Christmas cards as I am??

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Crazy Thanksgiving!!

My Thanksgivings are aways a bit nuts because I have to work. We do a light up ceremony for Pensacola the day after Thanksgiving and it involves a few hundred children dressed as elves marching with Santa, the Mayor, etc! Events planning is NOT my favorite thing, so I always find it hard to relax at Thanksgiving. And I'm house sitting this year as well. So I ran in, ate, took a nap, and ran out on my poor family because the thought of total solitude was so alluring!!! I promise, I make up for it at Christmas with baking and present wrapping and fun!

I did make a yummy pumpkin cream cheese pie with a homemade gingersnap crust, though. And here are a few random snapshots from my quick visit home.

PS- Thanksgiving is also my Paw Paw's Birthday. He's 88 this year and informed us that he gets in trouble with the ladies at his retirement home because if he has lunch with one and dinner with a different one they think he's cheating! HA! My Ganny hasn't even been gone a year, but I guess when you're 88 there's no time to waste.

Also, please check out my Mama's Thanksgiving tree. Really, where would this world be without my mother???

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Where is your heart?

Lately it has been hitting me very hard that my friends are spreading out. Some of them very far, by the way! And also with some changes I hope happen in my life, some that I have had with me won't be for long. For a person who never expected to have close girlfriends, I've ended up being very lucky. The women who have touched my life have left lasting marks on my heart that I treasure. 

Technology being what it is, we are very lucky these days. But still, it's hard. I have a very difficult time coping with not being able to be present to give help and just enjoy life with these people I love so much.

Niki and I were supposed to live together and live our lives in sync.
S is about to have a baby in Boston and I won't be there.
T is moving to Seattle and I won't be there to help her decorate her first-ever home.
I don't get to have coffee with Katie every morning now and catch up on yesterday.
Amanda started a new job and I didn't get to take her out for a beer to celebrate.
Katelyn had a baby in Germany!It's been so long since I've seen her I can't even think about it.
Annie is headed back to Croatia Friday and I probably won't get to talk to her for months.
And my AC- good heavens, what would I even DO without her?

It's amazing to get to talk to them so often and share pictures. Thank goodness for cell phones, texting and digital photos! And I'm an avid mailer of packages and cards. But it still hurts to not be right there, next to them.

So where is your heart? And what tricks do you use to stay close it all of its pieces?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pie in a Pumpkin

OK, I am DYING to make this! But I don't think I will have time with my crazy-busy Thanksgiving week. Can someone please make it for me and tell me how it goes?
What are the odds I could make it ahead one night and cook it at dinner?

1 5-7 pound pie pumpkin
6 eggs
2 cups whipping cream
½ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
¼ teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg

Cut the lid of the pumpkin (as if making a jack-o-lantern.) Save lid. Clean out fibers and seeds. Mix together all ingredients except butter; pour into pumpkin. Do not fill all the way to the top; the custard will expand while baking. Top custard mixture with butter. Cover with pumpkin lid, using wooden toothpicks to keep it from falling into custard as it bakes. Bake at 350 for 1-1½ hours, or until mixture inside pumpkin has set. If mixture has not set after 1 hour, try removing the lid for the last 30 minutes of baking.
Serve from the pumpkin, scraping some meat from the pumpkin sides with each serving. Serves 8.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Goodbye, T Hamm!

T Hamm has been in my life for about 12 years now. We are long-time pals, and over the last 6 years we have become each other's side kicks and partners in crime. She has landed herself squarely into my "random friend" role because she is willing to do pretty much anything with me. We've been known to attempt to steal road signs (until we found out it was a felony), get lost hiking in the woods, listen to 80s music on road trips, stop at coffee shops we find in banks, dress as 65 year old women to go to the airport, pose for "we can do this better than Madonna" photos, trick or treat on horseback, horseback ride at midnight, etc, etc... We're weird.

Yesterday I was at T's going away party from work (which her coworkers threw her in a bar and she doesn't drink... total other conversation). She leaves in a week for Washington State where she'll meet up with her new hubby for a lifetime of bliss! (I have goosebumps right now) I am going to miss the crap out of her- but this girl has earned her right to some happiness and a great life and I'm so excited for her!

A few pics from last night's extreeeemely random event:

And a few reasons I am going to miss T so much:
(Please click to enlarge- many images are hilarious!!)

T was with me when I bought my house, broke up with a boyfriend, got cheated on, found out I couldn't have children, lost my horse, almost lost Van twice and about a million other things. And I have been with her through stalkers, a dog, a niece, jerky boyfriends, her MARRIAGE and her husband's deployment. We're life partners.

And as much as I am going to miss her, THIS is why I am so happy she's going:
John has absolutely proven himself worthy of my T. He adores her, wants to take care of her and plans to give her the love, happiness and life she deserves!

I love you T Hamm!!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Let's Play Dress up!

Last night I was looking at my closet (depressingly small and over-stuffed) and all my clothes and thought to myself... wouldn't it be fun to have friends come over and create outfits for you from your wardrobe??? Think of the new creations from what you already have that different "fashion eyes" could create! Each friend could come and make a week of outfits and then you wouldn't have to decide what to wear for months. Sounds about perfect.

Here is who I want to come make me over:

And, seeing as I have no intention of showing you my closet, here is where I would want this to occur:
Oprah's Closet!!!

Or in honor of my AC, Fergie's closet. 

Who's first???

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"Being barefoot liberates!" -Pat Green

When I was a kid, I went barefoot as much as possible. Much to the horror of my poor, neat, clean Mama- I went barefoot at the barn all the time. I loved it! I felt so free. I loved the sand under my feet, the mud between my toes and feeling my horse's coat while I was riding around bareback. I was a regular little farm kid- chicken poop, dirty stalls, none of it bothered me! Gross to think about, I know. But you know what- I didn't care. And that was the greatest part of it. It was the place in life I started learning not to worry about what people thought. Besides, Sally swears I got so tall from walking around where there was "fertilizer: (manure). My Roommate just hates mud, so naturally I am teaching my nephew to love it!
Nathan & Auntie

Toe ring Tay Tay gave me to wear for my birthday party. I, of course, had to remove my shoes for proper display!

My sweet Annie got home from her yachting job and headed directly to the barn... barefoot. She smiled at me and said, "I'm home!!" And I thought to myself, what happened to me?? I always have my shoes or slippers on now and think I need a nice pedi all the time. What has being a grown up done to me??

So I went to the barn with her and came back to the house with these toes:
Not pretty- but I was a happy girl! And this is mild compared to the black toes I had as a kid!

My childhood friend Drayton always said, "God made dirt, so dirt can't hurt."
Amen to that!

It's beautiful out today- find a park and go barefoot in the grass!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Remarkable Creatures

In the airport on my way home, I saw that Tracy Chevalier has FINALLY written a new book! Tracy is one of my favorite authors and I adore her books. They are usually a bit surreal and very, very potent and deep.

She is most famous for Girl with the Pearl Earring, which is the story of how an ordinary Dutch girl, turned maid, came to pose for one of the world's most famous paintings.( It is immensely better than the movie, by the way, so I suggest you read it). However, she has written four other books, The Virgin Blue being my favorite. All of her books revolve around the lives of women and their ups and down, difficulties, struggles, and ultimate ability to overcome and survive- happy ending or no.

The newest book, Remarkable Creatures, looks like it will focus on an unlikely friendship between two women in the early 1800s. Both have a fascination with fossils and the focus of the story is the discovery of a strange fossil that is difficult to identify. But, having read her other books, I expect the "Remarkable Creatures" in the book to be the two women. 

Seeing as I just posted about my adoration for my best friend- you know how important my girl friends are to me. So I'm really looking forward to this read. Besides, I have a few rather unlikely friendships in my own realm (AC and S!) so I think it will be a fun perspective to read about.

I plan on rewarding myself with the book if I hit the gym enough this week!

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Story of Niki and Ashley

I just got home from visiting my best friend in Texas for a long weekend. It's the worst thing in the world to leave your best friend when your life really needs her to be with you. I swear, sometimes I wonder if the girl was meant to be my soul mate and I get her instead of a husband.

We met during sorority rush at LSU, and we basically HAD to be friends because we were like that game you play when you're a kid - Which one of these is not like the other one? There were girls dressed to the nines everywhere, all in the latest fashions. Come to find out, rush at LSU is a huge deal and also a fashion show. We were not informed. I was this cute little beach girl in a sun dress and flip plops and Niki was in a red dress with white polka dots, a huge bow and some major, major ringlets going on in her hair. We didn't just not fit in, we stood out. Thankfully, someone has the presence of mind to put us in the same rush group, and right next to one another. It was an instant bond, and it lasted. We went to theme parties dressed alike, spent Spring Breaks together, watched and memorized Eddie Izzard, survived crazy roommates (hers sued her, mine threatened to shoot me), graduated, and about a thousand other things. The memories and stories are endless. I think the only bad one was when she made me take a 7:30am aerobics class our last semester. I really hated her every Monday and Wednesday morning.

When her husband proposed, he informed us not to worry because he knew we were a package deal, and thankfully he's remained true to his word. We've had two kids now (seriously, she called me from the delivery room). I'm obsessed with her kids, and she accepts that. We cry every time we leave each other. And we're working hard to be living in the same place! Our plan was to live together pretty much forever.

Pics from the recent trip - Niki, Lorelei, Nathan and Auntie Roommate (that would be me)!

Thank you, thank you God, for my best friend. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fancy Nancy

So, my Mama's newest obsession is Fancy Nancy. See the photo and you'll understand...

Fancy Nancy is this cute little character who thinks that every single thing in life should be fancy (thus my mother's obsession). She wears tiaras and sparkly heels to do everything, including nature walks, science experiments, and, of course, shopping.

The books narratives are actually very quirky and cute. And the illustrations can keep an adult occupied for an hour, much less kids. It's a good vocabulary lesson because she uses "fancy" words for everything and then tells you what they mean.

I'm going to start a Fancy Nancy collection for Lorelei and Aury- if I can talk S into that much fru fru! Check her out for the loves in your life... or maybe your Mama!

A brief excerpt:
"I love being fancy. My favorite color is fuchsia. That's a fancy way of saying purple. And I can't wait to learn French, because everything sounds fancy in French!

Lace-trimmed socks do help me play soccer better! And sandwiches definitely taste better if you stick in frilly toothpicks!"

Seriously, guys... this kid IS my Mama!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween & Puppies

Wow, I am way behind on Blogging! It's been a very busy few weeks.

My Halloween weekend began with the Downtown Trick-or-Treat on Friday evening. We had over 1,000 kids downtown, but I found it easy to pick my favorite costumes.
I ran into this family of gnomes outside of The Leisure Club, my new favorite spot. I was obsessed and paparazzied them! They even turned the stroller into a field of flowers for the baby. And the little boy had a beard and hat to match his dad, but was having a moment in this picture. ;) Please tell me they are the cutest thing you've ever seen. And please, see the LSU cheerleader!

I arrived home to a crazy pregnant dog. This wasn't a huge surprise since she's been crazy for a few weeks now. But it turns out that she was a bit over-the-top crazy due to labor pains. She finally delivered 24 hours later, on Saturday evening. We have two puppies, both adorable! Alpo is the boy (names after the 6 - 10 cans of Alpo Tommie CHEWED THROUGH while preggers) and Charlene in the girl. They made for a happy Sunday of cuddling. 

To end the weekend, T Hamm and I planned to go trick-or-treating through our neighborhood on horseback, passing out candy. She dressed as a cowgirl, I dressed as a farm girl. We did it five years ago and has a blast! this year was a total bust. We were completely disappointed and took ourselves out for ice cream. But we were really cute, so here's some pics anyway.

And one final photo to end the post. This is my Roommate (BFF) and family dressed as Super Mario. Roommate is Luigie, Jade is Big Mario, Nathan is Little Mario, and Lorelei is, of course, the princess!

All About Ashley

My photo
Spring, TX, Southern, United States
Playing with and keeping up with my nephew and niece take up a lot of my time. Van Geaux takes up the rest of it. Work is an afterthought most days! I like to be outside- but not when it's too hot. I get bored at my desk all day. Niki keeps my world spinning and without her and AC I'd lose it. My work ethic crashes at 4 p.m. daily and I live my sweet puppy and my hedgehog whenever I am not at Niki's. I truly believe naps are quality pass-time events, and sometimes I say bad words at work. I'm pretty sure I'm insane on multiple levels and I believe rules don't apply to me.
It seems that my life is quite entertaining. I didn't realize this myself, but was informed of it by my friends- who are rather entertained by tales of my life occurrences.

I'm far from a professional writer. These are just stories, comments, and other items for simple amusement. Hopefully it's a fun read, as Shannon plans to edit it into a book one day! Maybe we'll become famous, and maybe we'll just have some good laughs at my expense (and some other characters in my life). Either way, happy reading!