Sometimes when my head is full of ideas and plans and big dreams- things I can't share,  I find myself avoiding my blog because both in life and here, I tend to be an open book.  With my "big plans" taking up so much space in my head, it's been hard for the last week to find much to write about.  I know I know, who likes secrets?  No one!  But alas, I must keep this a secret until I get things in motion.

In truth, I've never liked having secrets.  I don't mind keeping other peoples secrets safe, but I prefer not to have secrets of my own.  I suppose that doesn't make me terribly mysterious.  I think it stems from being a terrible liar- which is why I've never been good at poker.  For me, transparency has always been the best policy.

So that was a long way of saying all my thoughts are focused on something else and thus I have nothing to write about lately.  I've also spent the last week back in Arizona, which has kept me pretty busy.  Which makes me such an inconsistent blogger.  Maybe someday I will learn that while content is king, consistency is queen.

I don't really know where I was going with this post, but here it is none the less.  Have a beautiful day loves!


A Morning Walk For Alzheimer's

Today, I participated in the Walk to End Alzheimer's.  It was bittersweet.  I hate that this disease hits not just close to home, but is actually in my home- my grandparents home.  The home I was raised in.

That's my grandparents and me in Montana

A big part of why I am moving back to Arizona (Surprise!  I'm moving back Arizona!) is to be a bigger part of my grandmothers life.  You see, she has Alzheimer's and it seems like her bad days are rapidly outnumbering her good days.  My grandfather, bless his heart, is trying to cope with the fallout that comes with this viciously cruel disease.

I didn't want to believe it at first.  For at least two years, I lived in denial.  I said "no way" when friends said it may be Alzheimer's that was making her irrational and paranoid.  I said, "impossible" when people told me that some Alzheimer's patients lose their words and this inability to communicate sensibly wasn't just from a bump on the head suffered years prior.  But it was hard to deny after countless tests were done and a neurologist concluded she has all the signs of Alzheimer's Disease.

At first, it was easier to stay away.  I selfishly kept my phone calls short and my visits few.  I didn't know how to deal with her this way.  I didn't know how to rationalize her irrational behavior.  So I just didn't.  But on my last visit home, I saw the toll her disease has taken on my grandfather. I saw the way that it has worn him down. I saw the emptiness in her eyes as she searched for words that would convey something, anything.  I saw the frustration, the fear and the anger that she doesn't know how to express most days.  I saw the anger fear and frustration he feels he can't express.  And I knew I couldn't be so far away anymore.

Luckily, I work for a great organization that is allowing me to work remotely.  Luckily, my grandmother knows who I am and is mostly happy to see me. And luckily, I am at a place in my life that I have the flexibility to be where I need to be. So I'm moving back.  I'll be able to do a job I enjoy while also finding a way to enjoy as much good time as I can with my grandmother, a woman who spent quite a few years putting up with me.

Life has a way of teaching you lessons and helping you grow.  And boy, is this going to force me to grow. I'm going to learn a new level of patience, forgiveness and selflessness.  I'm going to learn how to deal with losing someone one bit at a time.

Thinking about how lost she must get in her own mind sometimes makes me sad.  But knowing that hopefully I can be the brightness in her day gives me hope that this is the right decision, both for me and my family.

Alzheimer's Association's Walk to End Alzheimer's at Angel Stadium

So like I said, today I participated in the Walk to End Alzheimer's.  If you would like to make a contribution towards not just my fundraising goal, but also towards research, care, support and the hope of a future without Alzheimers, please donate HERE.


It Finally Happened

It finally happened, the day I knew was coming from the moment I decided to document my thoughts publicly- an anonymous negative comment.

It's a topic of conversation within blogging circles.  Everyone has different ways of dealing with it and today I had to decide how I was going to deal with it.

First off, I'm not going to apologize for my blog, it's contents, my thoughts, or being honest.  I've found that writing, both this blog and in general allows me to work things out and work on myself.  I have no doubt that my writing can easily come across as self involved for this reason.  I've also found that reading posts by my fellow blogger helps me to understand humanity, validate my feelings or remind me that I am blessed.  I have gotten so much from reading the stories and thoughts on other peoples hearts that I feel a responsibility to give back to a community that gives so much to me.

Second, I blog about my weight loss because it is something that has been hard for me.  It's something that is hard for a lot of people and again, I have found motivation, strength and determination from others who have shared their stories.  I don't want sympathy.  I did this to myself.  And now I am fixing it.  If I help get a few other people off the couch- Awesome.  If encouragement from others helps get me to the gym on a hard day, I'm not complaining either.

Lastly, everyone has a right to their own opinions and like my comment section says, "I like other people's thoughts".  I appreciate gaining perspective.  However, if my posts are an assault on your eyes, by all means, don't read them.  Please spend your time putting good out into the world instead.

Why I'm Single

So I was driving along in the car the other day, minding my business, when my ears were assaulted with the news that by age 35 I only have a 15% chance of getting pregnant.  Immediately my mind went into crisis management mode.  Mathematical equations flew through my brain as I determined that I only have 7 good years left (actually 6 years and 9 months, but who's counting?  I'll tell you who, this girl!)  and thatseems like a very small window for me to accomplish all my pre-baby professional goals,  meet the guy, date for a suitable amount of time, get engaged, plan a wedding, get married,  spend at least a year or two enjoying newlywedom and then start considering babies.

I had to rationalize that this horrifying radio ad was for a news broadcast and they were counting on freaking out women, like myself, enough to tune in.  Who am I kidding, that rationale only lasted a sweet second before it fluttered away and was replaced by the thought that perhaps I am just too picky.  But don't I have the right to be picky?  Isn't the right guy the one that fits into your life as equally and perfectly as you fit into his? Or have I been brainwashed by all those delicious fairytales and romcoms I love so much?

Then I stumbled upon this post and I realized that maybe my list of standards isn't as demanding as I thought! Here's my list.

  1. I need a man that is philanthropic.  Understanding the importance of giving back to the world is really important to me and shows me that a guy cares about more than just himself.
  2. He has to have a passion.  I don't really care what that passion is for (okay, maybe I care a little), it just has to be something.
  3. I feel like it's requires a pretty basic level of understanding to know the difference of there, their and they're.  This one grammar staple has been a consistent roadblock when I attempt to date online. 
  4. On a similar note, it's not u, it's you. There is a difference between abbreviations and laziness.
  5. I know it's superficial, but I just can't handle sandals with socks.
  6. I like to wear heels and I don't like to feel bad about my heels because of his height complex. He has to be taller than me.  
  7. He has to enjoy traveling or aspire to see the world. An absolute must!  I have a thirst for knowledge and experience and I need to share that.
  8. Great eyes and a killer smile.  Both have always been my weakness.
  9. He has probably been on a team that required throwing a ball.  What can I say, I have a thing for athletes.  
  10. He has a career.  Bonus points if he is a successful entrepreneur-something I aspire to be.
  11. He has to be good to his mom and his sisters if he has them.  
  12. In a world where technology allows us to never have to speak to one another, he's not afraid to pick up the phone.  I like getting phone calls. It's kind of like getting a letter in the mail.
  13. He is never rude to people in the service industry.
  14. He's a good role model for my little brothers and loves any opportunity to teach them things.  (This shows me he'll probably be an awesome dad someday.
  15. He likes doing his own thing and doesn't mind me doing my own thing.  I like to spend time with my friends or do things on my own, and I don't have time for jealousy.
  16. I don't think I could be with a Vegan, cheese will always be a part of my life.
  17. No Affliction or Ed Hardy- leave the sparkly things to me.  
  18. He's a cuddler.
  19. Honesty, loyalty, and kindness are high on his list of values.
  20. He's a gentleman and a romantic, or at least he tries to be.  
 I suppose some items are negotiable, but for the most part, life has taught me that my Mr. Right will embody most of this list.

So sure, maybe I am single because I am picky, but I'm not willing to settle.  Maybe I'm not putting myself out there.  Or, as a friend of mine ever so eloquently put it, "Ashley, if you were a taxi, you'd be spending all your time driving around the city, but never turning your light on.  No one would even know you were available."  Or maybe my singleness is all part of some delightful plan that I haven't been privy to.

Yep, those romcoms have really done a number on me!


What Would I Say?

Today I came across a new website that ate up at least 20 minutes of my time called What Would I Say. In the interest of giving everyone a good laugh, I had to share! Basically the site generates Facebook posts based on a mash-up of things you have said before.  Here are a few of my favorites it came up with for me!


What an interesting metaphor.

This one totally makes sense, Chumbabwumba night would be everyone's favorite!

I prefer dance parties in the car, but a warm couch wouldn't be bad I guess.  

Sounds like I'm pretty serious about Glee. 

They liked the color purple, macaroni and cheese, ruby red slippers and a bunch of trees?

Quite a luxury indeed!  


Yeah, he better!

Shake it, Shake it Shake it, Haka!

Is there a socially acceptable form of hoarding and if so, who has time for that?


Yes, let's hang out soon Vegas.

Love, support, laughter and wine sounds like a good place to live if you ask me!

Need a good laugh or need to waste 20 minutes of your day?  Check out What Would I Say!


Easy Breakfast Casserole

So, if you have been reading my blog for a while, you'll probably recognize the following post.  The truth is I made this casserole a couple weeks ago for our kegs and eggs breakfast during Tequila Sunrise and it was a big hit!!  I figured it couldn't hurt to share it again with a few new notes!

* * * * *

This breakfast casserole is super easy and super delicious!  I like to throw it together while I am making dinner because I am not a morning person!!  It's great for large groups too!!  I just double the recipe!   Ready for some deliciousness?  I thought so!

A square glass baking dish
1 Package of crescent rolls
6 Eggs
1/3 cup of Milk (not pictured)
1/2 cup of cheese
1/3 cup chopped onion
A pile of breakfast meat, I chose sausage.  Sometimes I also mix in some bacon!
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Spread out the crescent rolls so that they cover the whole glass baking dish, you may have to tear some off and patch up some spots.  Oh, go ahead and preheat the oven to 350 degrees while you're at it.

2. Cook up the breakfast meat of choice and the onions.  The smell will be mildly intoxicating!
3. Add the onion and meat mixture to the glass dish and sprinkle some of the cheese on top.

4. Mix together the eggs and the milk. Add some salt and pepper.  I like to do this while listening to Salt N Pepper, but that is just personal preference.

5. Pour the mixture over the top of the dish and sprinkle remaining cheese on top.

6. Then roll the sides of the crescent roll down to form a ridge.  This won't make it taste and better, I think it just looks prettier, and I'm all for pretty food!

7.  Remember how you preheated the oven?  Go ahead and pop this sucker in for 30-45 minutes.  You'll be able to tell its done when the sides are golden and the middle isn't all wibbly-wobbly.  This is pretty scientific, so I won't blame you if it's a little wibbly-wobbly your first time.

8.  Let cool and serve.  See, I told you the edges look pretty!

 If you're like me and you hate waking up early just to feed yourself, this is the perfect solution.  It lasts me all week and I just pop a piece in the microwave each morning.  Holy yum!


Okay, So Maybe I'm A Little Sassy

First, be sure to check out some of the lovely sponsors on my sidebar!  Love these ladies!

Lately I've been feeling like a bit of a smart ass, so naturally, I've been attracted to the following items:

I mean could innuendo get any cuter?

Just as friendly as "Welcome", don't you think?

As a person who really likes sending cards to people, Julie Ann Art has made some of my favorites!

I'm totally getting this for Christmas day!

This is actually an ornament, but I might be recreating it into a tag for holiday wine gifts!

Hope you enjoyed a little sass on your Sunday!


I Get A Little Bit Stronger

Some days you are just driving along and your mind is dancing from thought to random thought, when a memory unearths itself from the caverns of your mind and you feel an instant ache in your chest, reminiscent of the instant that moment turned into memory.  It's as if for just a couple second your heart is breaking all over again.

For me the memory itself wasn't the sad part.  It was of a happy, young girl who had no idea how jaded that day would seem just a little over a year later.  The ache in my heart was for the pain that happy girl would feel all too soon.

Sometimes I miss that girl.  She had the life she planned on.  Everything was moving along just right.  She had masked her fears enough to radiate a happy life, full of love and adventure.  She was exactly where she expected to be.  She had a perfect day, the day she always dreamed she would have.

She was blissfully naive.  She didn't believe in divorce, especially for herself.  Her love was true and would last forever. She was insecure, had a short fuse and didn't truly understand the value of the people in her life. 

One day that girl disappeared.  Her perfect life plan shattered.  Her self understanding demolished.  Her pain and her fears were unceremoniously exposed.  She was a barely functioning shell of a human being. She was as lost as anyone could be.

I don't miss that girl. 

Today, certain memories still make it feel as if my heart is breaking all over again.  Luckily now the pain disappears in seconds instead of months.  I wonder when the pain will disappear entirely- just like that naive girl did. But when I really think about it, I don't want it to disappear completely.  Somehow the pain proves how much I loved him.  Somehow the pain feels like an earned battle wound.  Somehow the pain feels reassuring.  Reassuring that it did matter and it was special, even if it wasn't meant for forever.

I went to the gym to get all those pesky memories out of my head and as the sweat push those moments back into their cavern, a song came on that reminded me that every day I get a little bit stronger.  Thanks Sara Evans.

Someday, I'll be driving along and my mind will be dancing from thought to thought and instead if chest pain I hope I'll smile because those memories got me onto the exact path I was suppose to be on.  

I can't wait to see who is walking that path with me.


It's About Time

Oh. My. Gosh.  I am having one of those seemingly insignificant days that turns out to be unassumingly momentous.  Do you ever have one of those?

You see, movies, music and books have a profound effect on the way I see the world.  It's why I avoid particularly gruesome movies, angry music and any written word that doesn't inspire a passion for life.  Some how these mediums, tend to help me uncover feelings and thoughts I might not have happened upon otherwise.  I guess a shorter way of saying that, is just to say, they inspire me.

So anyway, I've been really busy lately.  October zoomed by in a blink.  Laundry piled, the refrigerator sat empty and my mind stayed active with the checking off of an endless to do list.  But this morning, the first day of non-daylight savings time, I finally had a day to myself.  I did some grocery shopping and made myself lunch and sat down on the couch.  After finishing my salad, I was headed into the kitchen to clean up when a commercial came on for the new movie, About Time.  I lingered, waiting patiently to see when it was coming to theaters and went straight to my laptop for movie times upon seeing it was "now playing".

For a girl who is a self professed lover of love, this movie seemed like a natural Sunday pick.  For one, it is from the creators of Love Actually, probably one of my favorite movies about love. Plus, it stars Rachel McAdams, ruler of all love stories simply because of her perfect portrayal or Allie Hamilton.  I expected a delightful two hours filled with an adorable love story.  I certainly did get what I expected and more.  You see, I am a sucker for a good love story, but I am an absolute sap for a movie about loving life.  About Time was such a beautiful gentle reminder that one should never forget to make every ordinary second extraordinary and that I life loved is truly a life lived.

The movie quickly surged to the top of my favorites list. And not just because of scenes that took me back to my beloved London, including a particular escalator that I took regularly and upon seeing it I got a smack of nostalgia.  Or because the soundtrack, like all my favorite movies, was absolutely perfect!  I almost want to see it again, just to write down all the quotes that I need hanging on my wall.  I just adore movies that take a look at love from more angles than just significant others.  It wasn't about the love of his life, it was about loving his life. To say I loved it feels like an understatement.

And it posed an interesting question.  If you could relive different moments, what would they be and would you change them?  Would you do things differently-big or little?  It would kind of be like reading one of those choose your own adventure books when, if you're like me, you would read what happens after each choice and choose the best one.  It made me wonder, if I could go back in time right now, what might I change? If I did things differently, could I have avoided heartache?  Could I have avoided hard lessons?  Could I be living a different life?  Would it be worth it?

So why does seeing a movie alone get to qualify as a momentous day?  Why not.  It reminded me to slow down.  It reminded me how beautiful simplicity is. It reminded me to find joy in the ordinary. Most importantly, it reminded me to fill my life with love, instead of just looking for it.

Life and love are both so infinitely complex and equally beautiful.  About Time was a wonderful portrayal of just that.

In short, I highly recommend it!  If I haven't convinced you yet, here's the trailer!