Some People Have Bigger Problems...

I have a problem. 
I accidentally have a rather large collection of Red Box movies.  No, I didn't rent all these in one day.  I rented them over the course of the last year or so.  For one reason or another (one reason: I'm lazy.  Another: I liked the movie. And another: I forgot about it.)  they never found their way back into the belly of the Red Box machine. 
Stop judging me!
Don't be jealous if you don't own classics like:
The Women, Country Strong, Dear John, Burlesque, Footloose, Friends With Benefits and Remember Me. That's some A+ movie watching right there.  But seriously, once you have had a movie for a week and already owe like $12, it seems silly not to just keep it. 
Don't worry, I don't think any of these were major hits, so I'm sure you could Red Box buy them for yourself, or save $15 (and a smidge of self loathing for your complete lack of responsible movie borrowing) and buy them from Target. 
Come on, I know some of you have a collection of books that belong to your local library!  The good news is, Red Box doesn't revoke your rental card when you are delinquent on so many items like the damn library.  Oh yeah, the Gilbert Public Library caught onto my ways long ago. 
Well my friends I have turned over a new leaf.  I have rented 5 movies in the last 4 days (and when I say it like that I instantly realize how lonely moving to a new state has been) and I returned every single one! (Well, except the one I am about to dive into when this blog post is done.)  
I feel like I deserve a pat on the back or at the very least a virtual high five!


Blog Attraction

Why does anyone care about what I have to say?  A question I have been asking myself lately as I have been struggling to keep up with my blog.  I decided to take a step back and start thinking about why I care about what other bloggers have to say.  It became very clear to me that blogs and men are not all that different.  When I was single, there were a few factors that determined how much I liked a guy.  Those same factors qualify to blogs as well.

Humor. One of the most attractive qualities in a man, for me, is humor. I've found I feel the same way about blogs.  If a guy genuinely has made me laugh on a date (pity laughs do not count), chances are I went out with him again. If I smile during your post, I will follow. If I laugh out loud, I'm a dedicated reader forever. For-Ev-Ver!

Honesty.  Since reentering the dating world after my divorce, I became a word vomitter.  I've never been one for surprises, so I guess subconsciously I didn't want to surprise the guy.  "Hi I'm Ashley.  I'm divorced. I am an only child from a nontraditional family. I am allergic to peanuts. I love sunflowers and I have giant feet."  Okay usually it didn't come out quite like that...usually.  I always appreciate guys putting the messy stuff upfront. I don't want you to put on a show for me.  Same goes for bloggers.  I love to read about the good and the bad.  Your challenges make me less hard on myself for my own.  However, if all your posts are about how shitty your life is, I start to pull away.  There has to be a balance. 

Happiness.  I like a man who is happy and who makes me happy.  I like a man who inspires me to be a better version of who I already am.  If your blog makes your life look seemingly perfect, I'm absolutely addicted.  I love reading about peoples happiness.   If you have that sometimes annoying ability to look at everything with a glass half full perspective, I'm on board. Why? Does it make me feel inadequate?  Does it make me hate my own life?  No.  Sometimes I like to feel that little green monster pinching me in the arm.  I recognise envy as an opportunity to make my life even better by reconstructing the source for myself.  I think it's okay to be inspired by someone else's life and want to make some of their joys yours.   Jealous of her travels around the world?  Start saving.  Jealous of her happy relationship? Examine your own.  Jealous of her great style?  Use her posts to inspire your own looks.  If you shit rainbows, I'm charmed and I want to know more.

Attractiveness.  Come on, we all know the best man-friend is an attractive one.  There are many things that draw me to a guy, his eyes, his smile, his tush, his confidence.  Same goes for a blog.  If the header is pretty, I'll read.  If the layout rocks, I'll read.  If your linky image is eye-catching, I'll click. 

A story teller.  A little bubble of pride rises up in my chest when I see my guy command a room with his story or speech.  To be a good story teller is to be able to understand how to use words to engage people.  Not everyone is good at this.  When it comes to blogs, I love those that use great metaphors, either a little whimsy or sarcasm to keep things flowing and command attention.  This is especially important for fashion bloggers.  I don't follow many, but the ones I do, tell a great story.  Not necessarily with their words, but with their images.  I know all those women are good with photoshop because there is just no way their skin is so damn flawless all the time. 

So why would anyone read my blog?  I can't say I excel at all or even one of these areas.  What I do know is I enjoy writing.  I enjoy the interaction I have with other bloggers and most importantly, just like a good man (boyfriend, you're a keeper), I love that blogging has made me a better version of myself.  I know that sounds silly, but I really think blogging has given me a chance to learn more about myself and accept who I am. 

What attracts you to a blog? Or a man for that matter?

(taunting) Quote of the Week

Have you ever spent an hour writing a post that you are abnormally proud of and then somehow it deletes itself when you're not looking?    So instead you just get a quote of the week.  Maybe I will attempt to re-write and post tomorrow.  Meh!

Yeah yeah yeah, quote, I hear you!


I Believe In...

I believe...

That having a good life soundtrack is critical.  This is currently on repeat on my soundtrack:

That Diet Pepsi is superior to Diet Coke in every way except it's ability to cure a hangover.

That sometimes change is all you really need to remember who you've always been.

I believe in elegance, grace, hope and kindness 99% of the time. I also believe it's okay to fall on your face sometimes, trip over your own feet, get frustrated and be a cranky biz-natch 1% of the time.

 I believe that the best things usually don't come without at least a little sacrifice.
I believe in Delta Love. 
I believe in high heels and high standards.
I believe in following your gut.  It's life's way of telling you which path to take.

I believe in bright colors, dressing for the job you want and feeling good in your clothes.
I believe in investing in good shoes, especially if you have the feet of a giant.  (Yep, big foot and I might be related.)

I believe in driving if you can't afford to fly. 
I believe in road trips. 
I believe in car dancing- always.

I believe that puppy cuddle time is the best way to start a day, even if she is the hairiest pup that ever lived.
I believe in down comforters, even in the summer.

I believe in traveling whenever possible. 
I believe that to see the world is to understand humanity.
I believe that adventure is waiting around every corner, you just have to seek it out.

I believe in cute running shoes.
I believe that if I tell myself I love running enough, I might actually start to love running. 
I believe I can run half marathon, despite what my thighs might tell you.
I believe that time at the beach is time well spent.
I believe that the ocean has a way of calming the soul.
I believe that we can be close to God in places other than a church.

I believe in french toast on Sunday mornings.  Growing up my grandfather would make me bacon and french toast every Sunday.  I looked forward to it more than TGIF. 
I believe in adding strawberries to champagne.

I believe in dressing up, wearing layered necklaces, playing dress up with false lashes, finding the perfect shade of lipstick and teasing my hair.
I believe the boyfriend is pretty great and makes me a stronger, happier, better version of myself.

I believe in taking time to wrap presents. 
I believe that the wrapping should be beautiful and add to the excitement of the gift. 
I believe in wrapping themes around the holidays so that everyone knows which gifts are from you.

I believe the glass is always half full.
I believe in vanilla milkshakes.
I believe in finding something that makes you smile every day.

I believe in making your bedroom a happy place (and maybe that means investing in bedding from Anthropologie).
I believe in bed days, at least once a quarter. 
I believe said bed days are best spent with someone you love and a collection of both of your favorite movies and take out menus.

I believe in girls nights.
I believe in catching up with friends on long drives.
I believe that friendship, like any relationship can be hard sometimes.  You can't always be the type of friends someone needs.  They might not always be the friend you need.  That doesn't mean they aren't still a friend.
I believe that friendship knows no distance.

I believe in good food.
I believe in special touches that an atmosphere absolutely magical.
I believe in love.
I believe imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  So get your imitation on and join Erin at Living in Yellow to link up!


Make Your Ad Dollars Count for More Than New Followers

If you're like me, you are laying on your bed with your laptop resting in, well as the name implies, your lap.  Do me a favor and set your laptop aside and sit up without using your arms.  It's a simple request right?  Maybe you just finished an ab busting workout so it hurts a little.  Maybe you haven't been doing enough ab busting workouts (that's me) and are a little slow to get to the sitting position.  Maybe you ignored my request and are still reading.  Don't worry, I'll wait for you.  Go ahead.

Chances are, that was pretty easy for you right?  Now imagine doing that same thing, but without your legs to help stabilize or pull you up either.  Or, better yet, watch what that looks like. 

For Ryan, a marathon runner and all around athlete, just sitting up on his own is a challenge.  A challenge that is just a small part of a much bigger challenge that he now faces. You may have read some of my posts about Meagan and Ryan.  If you need to catch up, you can read about Ryan and Meagan here. And you can follow Ryan's Journey here.

Ryan and Meagan have come to California to spend a month at an incredible facility called Project Walk, a spinal chord rehabilitation center in Carlsbad.  He is already getting to do some incredible things, but as you can imagine, a facility as high tech and cutting edge as this one doesn't come for free.  I've been trying to come up with a way to help and I think I happened upon a genius idea- donating my ad space!  This month, consider sponsoring a family instead of a blog.

So here is the deal, all you have to do is make a donation to Ryan's Journey then forward me your emailed receipt and your button.   I'm even willing to create a button for you (for an additional $5 donation.) If all these spaces sell out, we will all be a part of donating All the details are below!  If you would instead like to make an in kind donation of a silent auction item for an upcoming fundraising event, email me and we can work something out.

Small Ad Space:  Minimum $5 donation- 100x200 space on sidebar.  2 social media mentions and introduction in a group post. 5 available.

Medium Ad Space:  Minimum $10 donation- 200x200 space on sidebar. 4 social media mentions and introduction in a group post, option for giveaway. 5 available

Large Ad Space: Minimum $20 donation- 300x200 space at top of sidebar. 6 social media mentions, feature post/ guest post, option for giveaway. 5 available

Hero Ad Space- Minimum $50 donation- 150 x 600 space at the bottom of each and every post. 8 social media mentions, feature/guest post, giveaway option... let me know what you want and we'll work it out because you are awesome!  1 available 

Want to sponsor? Follow these easy steps:
  1. Make your donation.
  2. Forward me the receipt or email me the total amount you donated with your button.  ashley.ohwellsinsteadofwhatifs{at}gmail.com
  3. I'll send you a fun little questionnaire to fill out
  4. You get warm fuzzy feeling inside because you just spent your advertising dollars on making a difference. 
Thanks for reading!  Thanks for helping make a difference!


Quote of the Week

via Pinterest
Have you ever taken a moment to ask yourself some questions? 

Being that I have a lot of time to myself these days (living in California, without my family, boyfriend or friends), I have had a lot of time to just think. 
About what I want out of life.
      About who I am.
            About what makes me happy. 
                 About my personal style.
                       About what love means to me.
                               About what friendship means to me.
                                      About what I am afraid of.

All of this alone time has been challenging and eye opening. I don't think I have ever taken the time to really get to know myself, at least as an adult.  I highly recommend it. 



Every Step Is A Victory

Today I really need your help.  I want to do something that will be really special for two dear friends of mine. If you want to make an impact on someones day and be an inspirational persons inspiration, read on.

Yesterday I started a link up of Little Victories (go link up and share!). Today I want to talk about something a lot bigger and far more important. 

A while back I wrote this post and this post about my friends Ryan and Meagan who are engaged to be married in February.  Ryan was in a BMX accident in July.  He landed on his back and hasn't been able to feel his legs since.  Meagan, his fiance and biggest cheerleader hasn't left his side.  Together they are facing new challenges and struggles, things that would defeat most of us.  Their love for each other, their unfaltering courage and faith and their unwillingness to give up inspire me so much.  I think it is selfish of me not to share their story. 

The two are leaving this weekend for California to work with Project Walk, in an effort to get Ryan standing on their wedding day.   Last night, a local news show did a live story from his send off party.  I don't think any words I could type could do their story justice. 

Please take a few minutes and watch.  You won't regret it.  (I cried, but you all know I'm a cryer)

Now, if you're inspired by Ryan and Meagan, please leave a comment below.  Please include where you are from.  My plan is to get all the comments printed and added to a map (hopefully a world map) to add to Ryan's inspiration boards.

It's an incredible feeling to know that you have people rooting for you from all across the country and even the world.  Thank you for taking the time to read today's post.  Thank you for caring about my amazing friends.  Thank you for helping to keep them inspired. 

Remember, every step is a victory!

If you would like to follow Ryan's Journey, please join his Facebook group. If you'd like to make a personal contribution, got to HelpHopeLive.


Little Victories

It's time for my new link-up! Click here to read my last little victories post! This is a chance to recognise the silent wins that often go uncelebrated. You can list as many as you want.  Link up for a chance to win a $20 Target gift card!!! All you have to do is link and you'll be entered to win once 20 people have linked up!  Which means your odds of winning are pretty good as far as giveaways are concerned! (1 in 20)
So it's been a long week and I have been having a hard time deciding what I wanted to write about today, until I drove home from work.
Have you ever been eye to eye with a man being chased by the cops?  Have you ever had over a dozen guns pointed in your general direction?  It makes your drive home far more interesting.
So, I had decided to try a new way home, a "shortcut" that got me totally lost.  I spotted the freeway in the distance so I was winding my way back towards it when I got stopped at a red light.  It was a T stop.  You could go right or left only.  I chose Left.  Just then I heard a bunch of sirens and saw a black car, with rear bumper dragging, race through the intersection.  More police cars came up behind me and snuck by.    A helicopter flew overhead.  Oooo, how exciting, my first California car chase! 
Wait, the helicopter was headed back my way.  An instant later the black car was back, moving much slower this time and missing it's rear bumper.  It continued to slow until it came to a complete stop just feet from my car.  Fiona the Focus was a little nervous.  So like any sane woman, I stared down the driver.  Our eyes met and I sent him all the mental notes I could.  Please don't shoot me, please don't hit me.  Please don't try to hijack my car next.  While my eyes stayed fiercely planted on the hijacker, my lips didn't keep their cool.  "Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit!"  Damn it lips, you are totally blowing my calm collected cover! 
You bet I made a diagram.  I'm the blue box!
By now police cars were surrounding me and the driver,  guns drawn.  Alright, it was time to make my getaway!  Luckily one of the police officers had been reading my lips and motioned for me to sneak around his car and turn right. 
Adrenaline was pumping as I approached the next light where I saw the black bumper, a hubcap and various other car parts left behind.  I was tempted to make a u-turn, but thought better of it, found the freeway and continued home. 
After I got home I hopped on the Internet to see if I could find a picture with my car in it from the incident.  Like any good blogger I was beating myself up for not snapping a picture.  I mean, I guess there were more important things to worry about than whipping out my Iphone in that moment.  After searching for the story, I found out the driver must have started moving again and rammed a police car a few time before police fired shots at him and caught him.  Crazy right?
This week's little victory is making it home from work today.  Getting lost but finding my way back.  Making it out of the way of police fire and feeling personally initiated to California by being a part of a car chase. 
Link up your little victory for a chance to win a $20 target giftcard (once we get to 20 people linked up)!!!


A Day Unlike Any Other

I was sitting in the sink, like I always did when I was getting ready for school. I liked to be up close to the mirror and use the medicine cabinet to see the back of my hair. I was in high school, so getting ready for school was always a production;  a production best accompanied by my favorite radio station.  You know, the one that played more music than all the others.  From the moment my alarm went off until I walked out the front door, the music blared from my bedroom. 

 My grandparents sat at the breakfast table.  Even though Grandpa was retired they still got up at 5 AM every morning to read the paper cover to cover and enjoy a pot of coffee together.  Occasionally, when an inappropriate song came on or I had cranked the tunes a decibel too loud, they would yell back to me to turn it down. Being a teenager,  I always ignored them, waiting for my grandfather to get irritated enough to put the paper down and walk back to me sitting in the sink and tell me to turn it down.  Aside from that, and a, "have a good day" as I walked out the door, we shared little conversation in the mornings.  I can't blame them.  I was a particularly sassy in the morning.

It had only been about month since I had returned from a modeling trip to New York City.  Pictures of me and friends in front of all of the major NYC landmarks covered my walls.  I couldn't wait to go back. 


It was just about 6 am.  I had A hour, a class that was before regular school.  Most kids took it because they used a class hour for seminary.  I took it so I could have a half day my senior year.  I was just putting the final touches on my mascara when I heard something that didn't make sense.  Usually I tried to tune out the babble of the DJ's, but something was wrong.  I climbed down from the sink and went into my bedroom to make sure I heard things clearly.  "Early reports... Plane crash... World Trade Center...  Accident?  Terrorism?" 

How could a plane have crashed into a building?  I ran out into the living room and turned on the TV.  My grandparents looked up from the paper, alarmed that I was willingly turning on the news.

It had to have been an accident.  Terrorism doesn't happen here. I tried to explain what I had just heard and they looked at me like I was crazy, but not for long. 

Within seconds of turning on the TV, live footage of a second plane hitting the second building flashed across the screen.  The news room was the most chaotic I had ever seen captures.  No one knew what to say.  No, this wasn't an accident.  How many more planes were on their way to a final destination?  I was glued to the TV.  I didn't understand how this could be happening.

 My grandmother drove me to school that morning.  I sat in the car listening to coverage.  No new news.  I got out of the car praying it was over.

Within the minutes I walked from the car to my classroom, another plane crashed, this time into the Pentagon.  Then the first tower fell.  One of my classmates was in the hallway, holding back emotion as he talked to someone on his cell phone. He left soon after.  Later we found out his uncle worked in the WTC. No one could reach him.

My science teacher had already brought a TV to the classroom and we all sat in near silence, eyes unblinking at images of an icon crumbling.  It was everything I imagined chaos would look like and then some.  People in suits covered in debris dust.  People screaming, crying, heroes in uniform running into the unknown.  Those images will live with me forever.  Another tower, falling to pieces.  A giant pile of rubble, where a symbol of American spirit once stood. 

For the first time in my life, I was scared.  I was scared of what else was going to happen.  I was scared of what these events would mean for the future.  I was scared that someone I knew was there.  I was scared of something that once seemed so foreign, terrorism.  For the first time in my self absorbed, oblivious little life, I felt a need to protect my country and thank God for being an American.

We spent the whole day watching the news and talking instead of or planned studies.  A lot of parents came to pick up their kids early.  It was surreal.  Even across the country in Arizona, we knew the day September 11th, would mean something new from now on.

Eleven years later, I can still remember the uneasy adrenaline I had that day.  I'd imagine 9/11 is for me what Kennedy's assassination or the moon walk was for my grandparents.  A day that will forever be with me.

After writing all this, I am regretting that my pictures of a happy bunch of teenagers walking in and around the World Trade Center are boxed up in AZ.   Images of another time.  A time when terrorism was something that happened in almost imaginary places.  Not in places I felt attached to.

I was lucky.  I didn't know anyone personally that perished that day.  I mourned for those who did.  I didn't include any images in this post, out of respect for those that still mourn every day.  Besides, the images we all have filed away in our own minds are more than enough.  Looking at them again is too horrible, too sad. 

Today we remember, a day we'll never forget.


Life Lately

I've mentioned a few times that life has been crazy lately.  So crazy, that I have forgotten to take pictures of most of it.  Here is a little glimpse of what I did capture!

1. Spending a Sunday in Pacific Beach. 2. My new running kicks- because yeah, I am training for a half marathon, see "27 in 27". 3. Loved this!  Might try to make it soon! 4. A little Delta Love!  Back to Phoenix and Flagstaff to help with recruitment. 5. "Shopping" for inspiration for my new bedroom.  Wait until you guys see what that inspiration turned into! 6. All my baby Deltas during recruitment, posing in the hallway.  Some things never change!  7. Had time on my visit to Phoenix to watch the boyfriend coach his Pop Warner team.

What have you been up to lately?


Life's Little Mysteries

I know, I know, I totally missed my *new* link up that was suppose to start yesterday.  Well, it's just going to have to wait until next week- and I'm sorry.  Life has just been getting away from me!  This weekend (pending getting an out of control nasal drip under control- TMI?) I plan to get my life/blog back on track. 

Anyway, I was getting in the shower today and I noticed I had a little friend, a little spidery friend.  Does anyone else ever find spiders in the shower?  How do they survive the flood? 

This is one of life's little mysteries! 

Story time!
When I was little I always used my grandparents shower.  It was bigger and better than the one in the my bathroom.  Meanwhile, a spider took up residence in my shower.  I hated spiders, but loved having pets, so naturally I named him after something else I hated, Guacamole.  (I no longer dislike guac, only spiders.)

I would check on Guacamole daily when I was brushing my hair and getting ready for school.  I gave a daily report to my grandparents about his daily activity. "yep, he was near the drain again".

I pondered what would happen when I started using that shower again.  Would he survive? Would he call his spider friends and stage an attack?  Was there enough for him to eat there?  I think my grandmother got nervous whenever she would clean the tub, knowing if she Cloroxed the little guy, I would be a little upset.

 Anyway, Guacamole (or a series of lookalikes) lived in the tub for a couple years until I got into my preteens and didn't want anything to do with anyone and wanted my own shower.

The point of that long side story... well, there isn't one. 

But my question is, why do spiders like to live in showers? Anyone?