A Winner and Little Victories

First let me announce the winner of my HUGE Birthday Giveaway-  Congratulations entry 619 Cindy Aiton!!!!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/6fd0310/" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

You are going to win some really great stuff!  I'll be in touch you lucky duck!

Don't worry, if you didn't win.  You have a chance to win something next week!  I decided I wanted to start my very own link up on Wednesdays called- drumroll please...

Little Victories Wednesday

This is a chance to recognise the silent wins that often go uncelebrated.  You can list as many as you want.  Next Wednesday will be the first link up, so put Little Victories Wednesday in your blog planners and link up, because if you do, you could win a $20 Target gift card!!!  All you have to do is link and you could be a winner!

To get us started, here is one of my little victories this week:

I didn't get lost!  Well to clarify, I have gotten lost about a million times.  Phoenix is a perfect grid.  Everything makes sense.  If you miss your turn, you can take the next one and follow that sweet little grid back, but that is not the case in California.  Practically nothing in California is on a grid. In fact, I have come to believe that when designing the roads they did it similarly to the way ants make their tunnels.  But against all odds, I feel like I have started to get my barrings and today I even knew what general direction I was going without having to consult my Iphone! Win!

Next Wednesday, share your little victories with me and win!


Just Hoppin' Around

Holy Kalamazoo (why did I say that?  I don't know, it just needed to be said!) it's going to be a great day on Oh Wells Instead of What Ifs!!  Why, you ask...

Today I am co-hosting the GFC Blog Hop with Melissa from The Life Of A Not So Ordinary Wife and some other lovelies!  Are you excited?  I am! 

So since there are some new kids in these parts, I wanted to give you three reasons to follow along and join the fun on Oh Wells Instead Of What Ifs!

1. I have a HUGE Birthday Giveaway going on, but today is the final day!  Enter to win over $300 in awesome prizes from me and my wonderful Birthday giveaway sponsors! Hurry and enter so you don't miss out!

2. I like to inspire, whether it's with quotes I've found, stories of fascinating women or just my daily attempt to never ask, "what if".  I'd like to think this is a nice place to hang out for a while. 

3. I have some really awesome things coming up including another week of inspiring women.  Is there a woman that really inspires you?  A celebrity, a writer, and artist, your mom, your daughter?  I'd love to have you write about her!  Email me at ashley.ohwellsinsteadofwhatifs{at}gmail.com so I can have you be my guest!  Plus more giveaways and more excitement, as I take on a brand new chapter in California!

Thanks for stopping by if you're new and thanks for sticking around if this is isn't your first time- Ha!

It's Tuesday again which means it's time for the GFC Blog Hop!

When I want to follow a blog the first thing I look for is GFC (Google Friend Connect), it's so easy and  nice to be able to go and see all of the blogs you follow in one spot. It's really a great tool to have. 

One side note- Did you know you can follow through GFC using your Twitter Account? TRUE, it's definitely an option!

If you are interested in co-hosting the next GFC Blog Hop send me an email at melissa@thelifeofanotsoordinarywife.com

Ok, so let's get to the party, shall we?

RULES are simple:

1. Follow your host via GFC
The First link below

2. Follow your co-hosts via GFC
The Next 8 links below

3. Link up below using your main blog url not a specific post.

4. Make sure to visit some of the blogs in the link up and follow them via GFC 
and if you want to leave them a comment, I'm sure they'd appreciate that as well.

5. Tweet about this blog hop

6. Share about this blog hop by grabbing a button and putting it on your sidebar!

Twenty-Seven in 27

Am I really 27? 

I am.  Most days I feel like I am much younger, too unaccomplished and as terrified as a recent graduate that can't find a job.  I often accidentally tell people I am 25. Shouldn't a 27 year old be set on a career path, own more than her car and be able to afford a vacation? Occasionally, like when I am making big life decisions or feeling particularly successful, I feel like I can say I am 27 with pride. Those moments are usually few and fleeting.  So in an effort to not be surprised a year from now when 28 is on the horizon, I am making a list of goals to accomplish this year.  You have probably seen these posts floating around the blogoshpere lately.  It's time for me to jump on board!  Plus it was easy to steal some from my 30 before 30 list.  Stealing...multitasking...same thing. 

1. Move to a new state- this one is super easy seeing as I'm already here.  I like to start off with things I know I can accomplish so I can get the momentum going!

2.  Lose 50 pounds.  I have a hard time with committing to weight loss, but I am thinking that in addition to my location change I will try some lifestyle changes as well.  And let's be honest, I plan on spending a lot of time on the beach and I would prefer to do that with a little less fat.  If part of my routine could include dance classes, that would be great!

3.  Run a 1/2 marathon.  I was not born a runner.  I have yet to mold myself into a runner.  I am going to do it though.  Even if I hate it. 

4.  Learn how to paddle board.  I have a lot of anxiety about being in water that I can't see the bottom of.  I feel pretty good about being on top of it though.  Since I am moving to the beach, it seems like a good time to give it a try.  Plus I hear it's a great workout.

5.  Again since I will be near the beach, I think it is time I actually learn how to ride a bike.  Then I will have a reason to get a really cute yellow beach cruiser!

6.  I really want to do an urban race or one of those obstacle course races.  Who's in?

7. Make something old new again.  And by that I mean some kind of Pinterest project to redo an old piece of furniture.  Considering I sold off all of my furniture, this seems like a very likely necessary item to check off the list soon.

8.  Go to LA to the new Sprinkles Ice Cream shop. (and explore.  I haven't been to LA since I was 13.)

9.  Go to Vegas for Meagan's bachelorette party.  I. Can't. Wait.

10.  Get comfortable in my new job.  I expect that to take a solid 6-12 months.  It's a big step, but a step that feels right. (It's one of the things that actually makes me feel 27.)

11.  Go see the Bethenny Show live.  I would settle for Ellen too.

12. Spend a day at Disneyland with a kid- specifically my little brother.  Don't read this Colton, you'll spoil your birthday/Christmas present!

13. Reach 500 followers on my blog.  I love interacting with all of you.

14.  Give up soda.  Seriously this time.  Good thing I have a year to do it.

15. Join a team.  A kickball team, softball team- whatever.  I love playing on a team.

16. Pay off  a good majority of debt and cut up all but one of my store credit cards.  If you are wondering, the lucky card that won't get the ax is my Macy's card.  Solidify and stick to a budget so that someday I will be able to buy a home, go on vacations and eventually retire.

Man coming up with 27 things is kind of hard. 

17.  Visit a state I haven't been to.  Is it cheating if I already did that when I went to Virginia last week?

18. Take a vacation with the boyfriend.  We've always visited people.  I'd like us to do something together, just us!

19.  Buy a DSLR camera.  Savings plan in action!

20.  Go on a cruise with all my girlfriends.  Who doesn't want to do that every year!

21.  Make a definitive decision about Grad school.  Should I even get my masters? What program should I do?  When should I start?  What do I want to be when I grow up?

22.  Start working on a book.  I have some awesome ideas, it's really more about setting aside the time to get it going. 

23.  Find a permanent place to live, preferably near the beach.

24.  Embrace being comfortable with who I am.

25.  This might sound weird, but increase my water intake.  I think that will happen naturally when I stop drinking soda.  I'm constantly dehydrated.

26.  Get organized.  I have a tendency to be a little messy if everything doesn't have a home.  When I take the time to give things a home, things never get messy.

27.  Really appreciate and enjoy this next year.  It's definitely starting a new chapter and I don't want to miss a single opportunity.

Whew, that was way harder than it looks!  What are you going to do this year?


Quote(s) Of The Week

Alright, moving all by yourself to a new state is freaking scary, but it's also the most invigorating thing I have ever done.  This week, I couldn't decide on just one quote, so I hit Pinterest and this is what I found!

I just might get this one printed for my office!

How I felt after my meetings at my national office.

My hope for myself.

If you don't believe that, what do you have to look forward to?  Wonder is what makes life, well, wonderful!

The weights are gone and I'd consider this flight school.

Or at the very least be the type of person you want your (future) children to meet.
Be inspired!


Playing Catch Up

It’s been a crazy few days. I’m sorry I have been practically mute!

  Fogo de chao  Fogo de Choa Dessert  MK watch

Let’s rewind. Last weekend, the Boyfriend and I celebrated my birthday by going to dinner at Fogo De Chao. It was fabulous! I feel like I ate an entire farm animal. I highly recommend it if you are looking for a place to celebrate something special. He also gave me this beautiful Michael Kors watch. You may recognize it from this post. Isn’t it lovely?!

the fam  birthday cake

Then I spent some time with family. We had dinner and cake and long chats about life, the future and the past.

goodbye flowers

The work week included saying farewell to my coworkers who threw me a Pinterest dessert party and gave me some beautiful flowers. It was bittersweet. I made Nutella cupcakes.  I linked to the recipe I used! They turned out pretty awesome. Then I had lots of loose ends to tie up so I spent a couple days running around Phoenix and doing my very best to avoid packing! I hate packing!

blogger-image--1100307293  Lauren and I  Farewell basket

On Friday, I invited all my friends to a going away/birthday happy hour. It was wonderful to see everyone. It was a fantastic evening of friends and food. Lauren made me a, in her words, “going away-birthday-please don’t leave me basket”. It has all the California essentials and made me miss her instantly. And Julie gave me a Starbucks gift card- I love her! It meant so much to me that so many people came out just for me.

I was suppose to leave for California on Saturday, but seeing as I hadn’t started packing yet, I put off leaving until Sunday. So I did some packing and then went to a birthday lunch with my mom. The boyfriend really got a good gauge of how terrible I am at packing as he looked at the disaster that was my packing style.


On Sunday I was off to California. (And I only cried until Gila Bend!) Don’t get me wrong, I am totally excited to be here, but moving, alone, to a new state and a new job is a little emotional. After 6 hours in the car, I made it to my temporary home , the Boyfriend’s Mom’s house. I unpacked as best I could with limited time, because I then needed to pack my carry-on to catch a flight first thing in the morning.

flying  Hilton

Monday, my birthday, I flew across the country.  Well I tried to.  People let me share a kindness with you.  Never, ever, EVER fly through O’Hare.  I had two cancelled flights, spent 7 hours in the airport and couldn’t connect to wifi!  I finally made it to my hotel room at about 1 AM.  Thank goodness I was on west coast time.  Anywho, it was an awesome couple of days in D.C. then it was back to my new home, California. 

The rest of the week was filled with getting acquainted with my new job and my new state.  Hoping to find a place to live this week. 

Finally, if you haven’t entered my awesomely HUGE giveaway, you better get on it, there are only a few days left!  You can win all kinds of awesome stuff from my birthday giveaway sponsors and myself!


Giant Birthday Giveaway

Today, August 20th, is my 27th birthday!  I am actually traveling across country today for work, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to have an AWESOME birthday.  Why you ask?  Well today I am hosting a HUGE giveaway for my readers! 

I have always been more concerned about putting together the perfect swag bag for my party guests than what I am going to get as a gift, so in true Ashley fashion, (and thanks to some awesome Birthday Swag Bag sponsors) I am giving away possibly the greatest birthday swag bag ever to one lucky reader! These goodies value over $300!   And for your gift to me, all you have to do is enter the Rafflecopter drawing below (and maybe become a follower too?). 

Here are the details:

Niki from Gumdrops and Gloss is giving away a $25 gift card to Sephora. (Reason enough to enter right there, but oh my friends there is much more!

Erin from Living in Yellow (don't you just love her?) is giving away a medium ad space on her blog!

Jen from That's What She Read is giving away Gone Girl- Check out her blog.  She is newer to the blogging scene, but super great!  Super.

Tammy of Lemons Avocados & The Bay is hooking someone up with a small ad!

Jenn from Party of One is giving a $15 gift card to H&M!

Melissa from The Life Of A Not So Ordinary Wife is giving away a $10 credit to her Not So Ordinary Shop!  Check it out, cute stuff!

Neely, one of my absolute favorites from A Complete Waste Of Makeup is giving away a $25 gift card to Starbucks AND a medium ad space!  She's one of your favorites too now huh?
Courtney from Courtney Cakes is giving away a Scentsy Plug in (I picked it out!)
With all these ads you'll have, you'll need a button design!  Janna, from Perception is Everything is going to design a button for you!
Molly from That Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi is giving away some of her favorite things, including nail polishes, Burt's Bees products and some delicious almonds.
Have you met Mary from A Happy Wife In New Orleans?  She is giving away an ad space on her blog.
Laura from Under the Suburban Sun is giving away a Seche Base and Top coat polish. Jealous!
Jenni from Story of My Life is sending you some adorable note cards

Natalie, from Urban Anthropology is giving away $15 to Anthropologie

Holly from Running In Stilettos is hooking some lucky reader up with a few of her favorite things

Plus I am giving away a surprise prize pack of my favorite things valued at $55!!!! 

Okay so you totally have to enter like a million times! Good luck and thanks for helping me celebrate my birthday!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/6fd0310/" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway


Letters From London- Part 3: Around the city

It's time for more letters from London!  This one is comprised of snippets from throughout my time there.  Enjoy!

So I am sure many of you have heard about the bomb scare last weekend.  I feel that I must write to say that everything is fine although I am a little tense about the situation.  On Friday, there was smoking car in Piccadilly Circus, (within walking distance from where I live) there was a bomb inside and the police successfully disarmed it.  Another car was found in front of Buckingham Palace with a similar device inside and a car with a homemade bomb was crashed into Glasgow airport.  I have heard reports of up to 5 vehicles being found with similar devices.  However, all of the devices have been disarmed.  I am not really sure on all the details because I really haven’t read or heard many consistent things.  Anyway, on the 1st the national security level was raised to critical which is the highest for the U.K.  Everything in the city is going on as planned and we have all been kept very informed about the situation by the program.  Last night, on Tottenham Court Road (The street behind our residence- refferenced in Harry Potter) all the way up to Piccadilly Circus, there were police cars everywhere and we were advised to avoid the area.  Things are fine though.  I have noticed more police out and about and I do freak out a little whenever I hear a siren, but other than that everything is fine.  It's strange to be in a big city though so far away from a notable comfort zone with such scary things as a possibility. 
We saw a lot of shows while in London because we lived just a few blocks from the theater district.  We Will Rock You was my favorite, but we also saw Wicked (another favorite of mine), Fame, Dirty Dancing, and Mary Poppins.  We also were there for the final Harry Potter book's release.  Everyone on the tube had a copy.  We saw one of the HP movies at the Odeon and I was super amused by the title change of Live Free or Die Hard.

On the bright side I am going to see We Will Rock You this weekend with Katie and it is suppose to be amazing.  We found half price tickets.  Then we have this weekend free and instead of as we originally planned to go to Scotland.  We are staying here as we feel we haven’t gotten to take in as much of London as we would have liked to so far. The cruise last weekend was fun, but due to some sea sickness I wasn't able to enjoy it as much as I would have liked.  I am still having a great time here, I am just doing so with a little more caution.

Happy Fourth of July from the country you gained your independence from!!!  Enjoy some fireworks for me since obviously people here are not celebrating.  Actually some think we eat turkey today... it's very strange.  Someone asked K who we gained independence from.  But anyways, Happy 4th!!!!

Wow what an interesting week here in London! So let me start by saying the security issues have died down and things seem to be getting back to normal.  The Tour De France is here and many of the roads are blocked off so we were given Friday off from work.  But on Thursday I went to a sample sale and spent £50 on £880 worth of clothing.  Yeah that’s right kids, that’s $1600 worth of designer clothing and I paid $100.  The best part is it really isn't like a store. It is a design studio and you have to ring a bell to get in so the sale was certainly not open for the general public. I felt totally VIP.So meanwhile, I am in shopping euphoria and hardly notice the rain or the slick sidewalks (note: when in London bring more than 2 pairs of black flip flops and don't wear the ones from old navy in the rain... they have no traction.  Somehow in my room the flip flop gnomes have found me and stolen one pair of my black flip flops.  I have searched everywhere and I am convinced that the flip flop thief has followed me to London) So anyway, the sidewalks... There I am, walking along enjoying the rain and the use of my umbrella and somehow I slip on some metal grate thing and trip and scuff up my knee and really screw up my toe.  Immediately blood covered my shoe and A had to go get me gauze and athletic tape to make it home.  It was gross and really really painful.  My toenail is about 3/5 gone and I am wearing a rather large bandage.  It looks great with heels let me tell you!   
The Ice Bar, a bar made completely of ice.  You have to wear a parka and you can only go in for 40 minutes at a time.  Such a fun experience.  Riding on the top front seat of a double-decker.  Under our umbrellas.  One of the last nights in London (yes, that's a pole and yes I was only 21. )

Then Friday night we went and saw We Will Rock you.  AMAZING!!!!  Basically it is a story about the future and rock music has died and through the story they incorporate nearly every song Queen ever did.  The singers were amazing and the acting was great and I would see it again if I could in heartbeat.  Then after the show (that K and I wore our new designer dresses that we got practically for free to) we went to this exclusive club called the Roof Garden.  It was gorgeous.  As the name implies it is a roof garden with an indoor dance floor and bar.  We got to skip the Queue (line) and walk right in.  Needless to say the people waiting for a while were not happy with us.  But we had a great night all because E knew a guy that runs the place.
The gardens Princess Dianna had, hats, traditional English tea, porn in a telephone booth, Big Ben and Parliament, More gardens.

Today we went to lunch at a cafe near where I work and then Katie and I headed towards Buckingham Palace.  To our surprise we ran right into the Tour De France and watch some people that the crowd cheered for very loudly.  To be honest I know nothing about the Tour De France except that it's a bike race and it really throws me off that it is in London right now.  Anyway, that was neat to see and of course take pictures of.  We walked around Trafalgar Square where there are a lot of embassies and the national gallery museum.  We had dinner at the Texas embassy and it was actually really cool.  Apparently there actually was a Texas embassy in London when Texas was it's own country, However, the real location was down the street a few blocks.   
Justin Timberlake in concert, in London, for free!

OH MY GOSH WHAT A NIGHT.  So yesterday Katie calls me and says with a shaky voice, " wanna go to the Justin Timberlake concert?" Naturally I freaked out and was really excited to go.  Her boss had 4 tickets so he was taking his girlfriend and gave us the other two tickets.  We didn't believe it was happening until we got there.  The o2 arena is about an hour away by tube and totally worth it.  It is a huge venue with restaurants, clubs, a beach and the arena itself.  We got to the door and went to the VIP suites entrance.  Wow.  We got to skip the lines at the other entrance, we had a private lounge with gourmet food and drinks and we had escalators instead of stairs to our seats.  When we got the the box we found out that Visa owned it and both decided that we would be loyal to the company since they had sort of given us this awesome opportunity.  The box had it's own bartender and free drinks for the night.  We were right above the circular stage and the concert was amazing.  I have never seen a better performance.  Fergie started out the concert and usually I am not a fan of her live performances, but last night she actually sounded great.  There was no dubbing either. At one point she even did 4 one handed front handsprings with microphone in the other hand and sang at the same time. (just notes not words) Anyway, after Fergie Justin came on and he was soooooooooo good.  I never understood why silly girls scream when they see him.  Well, now I know two things, why they scream and that apparently I am a silly girl.  Not only did he sing he danced and looked like one of his dancers, he played piano with his band and even broke out a guitar a few times.  He even played a song on the piano at the end without the rest of the band.  Oh my god it was amazing.  However, on a unfortunate note in or silly screaming girl state Katie somehow put down her memory card that holds every picture she has taken since she has been here.  We are hopeful, but it hasn't turned up yet.  
Our final dinner in London, Riding the "O" line, In front of the fountain at Buckingham Palace, getting lost on the tube, tube riding, Tower Bridge.

On Sunday we went back to Trafalgar square to retake some of K's pictures.  Unfortunately we were caught in a downpour.  Literally.  Some of the people were laying down in pools of rain water.  I am pretty sure they are going to get syphilis.  Meanwhile, I was running to the National Museum across the way.  So it wasn't so unfortunate after all.  We got to see some really major paintings like Madonna on the Rocks, Sunflowers and Waterlily Bridge and we wasted enough time there for the sun to come out.  We then went back to retake pictures at the Texas Embassy and then made our way towards Buckingham Palace.  Again more pictures and then we took a stroll through St. James Park.  I highly recommend going through St. James Park.  It is in my opinion on of the prettiest parks in London and it gives great views of the palace and something that looks like a scene out of a Disney movie. (Although I am not actually sure what we were looking at)  Then in an effort to find a tube station we literally ran into the houses of Parliament, Big Ben and Westminster Abby.  We took more pictures and headed for the tube.  This week has been pretty slow.  

 Last night, on a whim, Katie and I decided to go see Fame and we were in the front row with very cheap tickets.  The show was amazing and I am so glad we did it.  The only thing that was weird about it was that the actors were literally smiling at us, because they could actually see us.  Tomorrow we are thinking about going to the Tower of London and something else.

London Notes:
Subway is very popular here I have passed four today and they are reasonably priced.
They serve soda with barely any ice here.
Driving here is far crazier than in New York. Crossing the street is probably the scariest thing we have done so far or maybe it was our bus ride from the airport. I am surprised we and all pedestrians are still alive.
Everything here either smells or tastes like vinegar and that’s kind of strange too.
Pubs close early. Clubs open late.
Always always always carry an umbrella.
Read the newest Harry Potter on the tube or you will feel like an outsider.