Thursday, August 18, 2011

In the Bag!

Today is day 18 of the photo challenge over at All Kinds of Complicated,
so that means I'm sharing what's in my bag.

Yes. I'm one of those girls who carries around a big purse, or duffel bag as I like to call it, so I have lots of stuff inside it. Since there are so many random little things inside my bag, I'll share just a few of my essentials.

I think the only item that really stands out as odd is the Flip video camera. You mean you don't carry around a video camera in your purse? I bought this video camera, after my husband and I moved to Florida, in hopes of capturing fun videos to share with family and friends. You just never know when you might need to hop out of the car to video an alligator or two (like in these videos HERE). Not to mention catching the occasional shuttle launch (you can read about that HERE). Video cameras actually really come in handy for sharing fun stuff with loved ones who are far away.

Anyways, that's what you'll find in my bag.
Unfortunately my dSLR camera does not fit in my purse,
or you would probably find that in there too!

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Oh and speaking about photography, you can find me guest blogging for a dear blog friend.
Alisha is has an etsy shop featuring some wonderful photography of hers.
Check out her photos while browsing her blog!

Anyways, what are you waiting for?
Head over to her blog, because I'm sharing a recipe for some very delicious macaroni & cheese.
You're hungry, right? Go visit Alisha's blog: Alisha and Brandon

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Balancing Act & a Photo Challenge

Why does achieving balance in life have to be so difficult? Lately I've been having a hard time balancing everything that I would love to do. Not to mention doing the things I also need to do. There just don't seem to be enough hours in the day to do it all. There also don't seem to be enough dollars in the bank account to do much other than just get by for now.


Balancing all parts of life is much more difficult than when I was in college, because there were less responsibilities then and only one person, that was me, to worry about years ago. Now I have another person, my husband, to take care of as well. He is very high on my list of priorities, and sometimes I feel like such a failure when I have no energy to cook us dinner. Ramen noodles and turkey sandwiches seem to have replaced the chicken dinners that we were used to eating. Not to mention that ramen noodles are cheaper, and they're one thing that seems to work very well on a tight budget. As much as I'd love to come home and cook healthy and delicious meals for us, our finances and time constraints get in the way. Learning how to balance every part of life is never-ending.

There's also the fact that we just moved across the country, and it seems like I never have enough time to squeeze in a phone call to family and friends anymore either. I surely hope they haven't forgotten me, because I think about them often. It's hard to show you care from thousands of miles away. I wish I had enough time to tell each and every one of them how much I love and miss them each day of my life!

This balance thing only seems to get tougher with age. I know I need to be more kind with myself, because most of the time I'm my own worst enemy. It's just that I have such high expectations for myself, and when I don't meet them it feels like a big giant failure. Balance, why are you so difficult to achieve?

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With the whole balance thing being an issue lately, I've decided to start doing a few photo challenge posts. Instead of wracking my brain for blog post thoughts and ideas, I'll share a photo from our life!

One of my favorite blogger friends, Michelle, over at Michabella Living a Life of Love thought of me when she saw a fun photo challenge over on All Kinds of Complicated. Isn't that sweet of her?! I'm so happy that Michelle thought of me when she saw this fun challenge.


The challenge started at the beginning of August, but I'm just now joining.
I'll be starting today on Day 17, and, since I'm starting so late,
I will carry this into the first half of September as well.

I quickly fell in love with this quirky little fish. While shopping at Anthropologie, I noticed this little guy on a shelf next to some soaps and candles. I knew it would be right at home in our office. I threw some of my earrings inside of it's mouth. Who knows, it might even be at home next to the bathroom sink.

Happy Wednesday!
What's on your shelf?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Something New

Hey everyone! I haven't blogged in almost a week, and I've missed you all.

You may remember how I mentioned that dresses are one of my new favorite things lately, so today I wanted to share a new way (at least new to me) to wear a dress. I have no idea why I never thought to wear a top over my dresses before, but it's a great way to make your dress do double duty for you! There's no reason that a dress cannot also be a skirt. What do you think?

I swear, you really do learn something new every day. Sometimes I forget that I can take risks (like wearing a top over a dress is really much of a risk... but you have to start somewhere) with my clothes, and, for the most part, no one really cares. It's fun turning dresses into skirts. I always used to love magic tricks. Who knew I'd still be transforming things late into my twenties. The fun never ends.

1) After realizing I could wear my dresses as skirts, it really made my closet seem much larger than it is. I threw on my tank from Forever21 and cinched my waist with a coral belt. A racerback over regular tank straps mixes things up a bit.

2) My aunt gave me these earrings years ago, and I realized I hadn't worn them in a while. She bought them at a small boutique jewelry store called The Silver Arrow. You can find it on the small main street that runs through Evergreen, Colorado. I lived in Evergreen for a while, and it's a really great little mountain town not too far from Denver. I highly recommend a visit to the town if you're ever exploring Denver and the surrounding areas.

3) One of my very favorite colors is turquoise, and the closest nail polish I've been able to find in turquoise is Essie's Turquoise and Caicos. I love imagining that I'm on a beach in Turks and Caicos when I wear this polish. It never hurts to dream a little.

4) I found this coral dress at Dillard's last year,
but here's a dress that is very similar: Delia's coral eyelet dress

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Happy Monday!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend,
and don't forget that sometimes it pays to take outfit risks.
You never know what you might learn about your favorite item of clothing. (:

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tunes on Tuesday

Today I simply wanted to share
some of my favorite music with you.

My playlists change a lot, but right now
I'm listening to the following:

Stereo Love by Edward Maya & Vika Jigulina. We heard this song a while relaxing next to a pool in Las Vegas, and now it makes me think of sunny skies and chilling by a pool. "Aaaah".

My cousin introduced me to this song.  Lovers' Carvings by Bibio. It starts out sort of slow, but after about a minute and a half the song becomes more upbeat and sort of makes me want to jam.

What You Know by Two Door Cinema Club. Not sure exactly what it is about this song, but I love it. I hope you enjoy this one! (The music video is fun too.)

This acoustic cover of an Outkast song is amazing. Hey Ya by Obadiah Parker is such a beautiful version of a great song. I challenge you not to sing along with this one.

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Have you listened to any of these songs before?
What are some of your favorite songs?

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Home Sweet Seaside-Inspired Home

It's no surprise that I love anything inspired by the sea. You can't go very far, actually you can't go one step, in our apartment without seeing something that suggests you're on a beach or a boat. I think only a coastal-inspired soundtrack, filled with seagulls and waves crashing, would complete the experience. Either that or we could move into a house on the beach. Now that would be the day.

Until we buy and move into our perfect beach-side getaway, I'll continue decorating our place with items that make us feel almost like we're on a beach vacation while sitting on the sofa. Nautical looking lanterns, sea-inspired artwork, and seashells collected over the years take their places on our tables, shelves, and walls.

1. I found the starfish, glass jar, and cork stopper at Patina antique store in Denver. Since we have access to the beach now, I'm hoping to find some starfish myself. What better way, except maybe having an aquarium, to bring the sea to your home than by sharing these lovely little marine creatures?

2. I love filling jars and candle holders with sand and seashells. If you can't spend every waking moment on the beach, then bring the beach to you.

3. Even our bathroom has a sea glass inspired palette.

4. The lanterns on our dining room table sort of make it feel like we're dining seaside. Behind our table you'll find a piece of artwork featuring some delicious looking seafood. Since we can't afford lobster and crab, we might as well look at it while we eat chicken and rice, right?! ;)

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Recently I've pinned a few inspiring images
to my Pinterest boards.

You can see my love for sea inspired colors come to life in these images.
I look forward to having a house
that we can make our own some day.

Until then, I'll keep pinning inspiring ideas!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Bad Blogger

Lately I've been a bit M.I.A. in the blogosphere. It's not that I don't want to read your blog posts and write meaningful comments, but sometimes I just need to focus on and put more effort into what's going on directly around me. This doesn't mean I'm missing out on your blog posts, because I've been quickly browsing over so many of them for the past week or so. I comment on some, but I may not comment every single day. However, I do still get enjoyment from reading your posts... so keep them coming!

Here are some things I've been doing this week:

eating creamsicles

 killing cockroaches

wrapping presents
{No, it's not for you. Sorry}

Not too blog worthy, huh? But now you know.

As much as I love getting your input via comments, I just wish I had more time on my hands to comment on each and every one of your blogs every single day. There just isn't enough time in my day to do that, but that doesn't mean I don't wonder what you're doing! Please forgive me for being a bad blogger lately.

Happy Friday!!
I hope you all have plans to do something fun this weekend.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Not in the Mood

I have a lot on my mind, and that doesn't leave much room for thinking or writing. However, I do feel like leaving you with a random assortment of thoughts from some favorite books to why I love golden retrievers.

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Yesterday I did something very bad.
Okay, bad depending on how you look at it.
I spent money on something I shouldn't have. I bought a book.
We already have a bookshelf full of books, which I refer to as our library,
but after reading 37 pages in the bookstore yesterday I just had to buy this one!
A Big Little Life by Dean Koontz

I may be a bit biased since I grew up with a golden retriever,
but they really are an amazing breed of dog.

Below is a picture of me and my dog, Gnomie, when I was just a baby.
My parents named her Gnomie since she was the runt of her litter, and Gnomes are small.
Makes sense, right?

She used to follow me around our place when I was crawling,
and my parents said she always slept next to me when I fell asleep.
She was basically my guardian angel in dog form.
If you want to know what love is,
get a dog. They will teach you.

Other great books featuring dogs:

There was something about our dog, Gnomie, that made you want to hug and squeeze her. I used to tell her all my secrets, and, since I was an only child, she was a constant companion. She was great at multitasking when it came to meeting the demands of a needy only child. She was also one of the best listeners I've ever known, but maybe that's because she couldn't talk back. I think if she could have spoken with words she would have though. Dogs always seem to know just what you need, and Gnomie was no exception.

Do you have any favorite books featuring a dog as the main character?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

You're Invited to the (Arm) Party

Right now, you just might find yourself asking what is an arm party anyways? I wondered the same thing when I heard the term, but today I'm hosting an arm party all my own. You're invited!

{If the party gets too rowdy, you can always kick someone out.}

By hosting an arm party, I really mean wearing an arm full of fun bracelets. The great thing about an arm party is that you get to invite any kind of bracelet you want. You know, you might include the colorful one with all of the spunk, or maybe you want to invite the bracelet that will be sure to keep everyone else in check or even the single wallflower bangle. Today I invited handmade hemp and yarn bracelets paired with silver, sparkly, and beaded bracelets. They're all invited, and when you put all of these unique individuals together it's sure to be a par-tay!

{  arm party top to bottom:  Dillard's (wore on our wedding day)
homemade by my cousin  |  gifted (see this post)  |  turquoise bangle from forever21
handmade by moi  |  Tiffany & Co. (gift)  }

Want to know something else that's great about the arm party? It's so much fun that it can distract viewers from spending too much time looking at your lackluster outfit. When you want to wear a baggy shirt and frayed denim shorts, just throw on an arm party to breath a little life into an uninspired outfit.

{ I purchased that green ring on a beach in Italy... but that deserves its own blog post }

Maybe someday I'll get to feeling brave and wear a crazy arm party while covering my body with a potato sack. No. Not really. I probably won't do that, but the chances of getting away with it are good when you have an armful of fun bracelets to distract people. The arm party is never boring. Now let's get this (arm) party started!

Bloggers Do It Better

Head over to Pretty Shiny Sparkly to see other arm parties in action.

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Oh. I almost forgot!
Today you can also find me over at Patchie[Verbs] sharing
one of my very favorite waterside getaways. There are lots of pretty pictures too!
Go and read all about it. (:

Your Friendship (Bracelet) Means A Lot

Friendship bracelets are making a comeback! Seriously. For real. The very bracelet I used to spend hours making, while laying in the grass next to the lake, is making a comeback. The friendship bracelet is not just for middle school girls. Anyone can wear them!

Still don't believe me? I've seen quite a few bloggers featuring photos of their colorful bracelets. Kristina, over at Pretty Shiny Sparkly, is hosting another Bloggers Do It Better link-up featuring stacks of bracelets that another blogger has coined an arm party. So get out your favorite bracelets, layer them thick, and link up photos of your own arm party tomorrow! Let's see that lovely arm candy.

Great. Not only do I have a nail polish obsession, but now I'm going to be spending my time making friendship bracelets too. As if I need another time waster. I already have blogging and Pinterest for that. Oh well, I might as well add friendship bracelet making to that list too.

Is it weird keeping friendship bracelets that you make yourself? It's almost like I'm asking myself to be friends. I mean, at least I like me. Yes, I'll be my friend! How sweet of you to make this bracelet for me. Hi, my name is Ashley, and sometimes I talk to myself. We all do that sometimes, right? ...Right?! Oh well. I might be a little crazy, but at least I have a pretty friendship bracelet from yours truly on my wrist. Check back here tomorrow for photos of my newest friendship bracelets.  (:

In the meantime, you can check out some
other blogs for friendship bracelet inspiration:

Fashiolista shows us a pretty assortment of friendship bracelets
Honestly... wtf shows us how to create chevron pattern friendship bracelets
Michabella Living a Life of Love hosted a blogger bracelet swap
Emily Recommends shares some unique friendship bracelets

Are you hopping on the friendship bracelet train?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Just Another Magic Monday

Before my husband and I even knew his job would take us to Florida (which you can read about Here), I was talking about visiting Disney World. Last year we even took part in Disney's 'Give a Day, Get a Day' but never used our free park tickets, because we just couldn't manage to work a Florida vacation into our schedules. Even though our free Disney tickets expired, I was still set on visiting Disney in the near future. Imagine my excitement when I found out that through a friend of a friend we could visit Disney World for free!

If you read my last post about our time spent at Disney, you'll see that anything free at Disney World is something worth celebrating. Parking at the theme parks alone costs about $14/day, but Downtown Disney parking is free. Even though parking is only free at Downtown Disney, a hot dog with fries will set you back almost $9 alone. Your bank account will thank you whenever you find ways to save money at Disney World. Our bank account downright jumped for joy when we were so graciously given free entrance by a park employee. Too bad we didn't live closer to Orlando, or I know where I would be looking for a job!

Unfortunately, we left the dSLR on this visit to Disney World. I knew we would be focused on getting the most out of our time at the parks, and I was worried it might take some abuse in the midst of our craziness. I really hope we visit again (when the weather is much cooler) so that I can get some better photos from around the parks.

I have more photos and possibly a video to share with you from this trip to Disney World, so check back in the next couple of days for those. When I read a blog post over at Keeping up with Kelly & Company, she mentioned making videos on iMovie. We have a Mac too, and our computer came with iMovie but we never use it. I can see where I'll be spending some time over the next few days.

I just saw a cockroach scurry away into the little space between our carpet and baseboard. I have to run! Talk to you later. (:

I hope you're having a magic Monday!