I'm Gonna Get There...

Friday, February 28, 2014

Holidays where there is lots of food and sweets involved is always a terrible time for me. AKA the weight I try so hard to lose during the non-holiday seasons creeps back on. This happened the past holiday season plus Valentine's day and homemade Snickers haven't helped to bring it back off.

If you've been following for any amount of time you know that I've struggled with my weight in the past and am currently still trying to get down to my goal body. So, I have to make deals with myself. My deal was that if I didn't see improvements in my weight/measurements by the end of the month I was going to start Insanity again. The last time I did Insanity I saw pretty good results in my measurements. There was actually a visual improvement in my body...

But the only problem... I am really kind of tired of Insanity. I love the results it gives me, but doing the same workouts over and over again during multiple rounds is just tiring. SO since I technically completed my deal I decided to keep on my path of running/jogging a full 5k. I've been working on this for approximately 8 or so weeks though I'm only in week 6 of training. The crazy snow and whatnot here in Virginia has hindered me from getting out there with my running shoes on. Though I'm not going to let it stop me. I have 3 weeks of training left then I plan to run my own 5k.

This summer I am going to be a bridesmaid in my best friends wedding. It has really given me the motivation to really lose this weight. I have about 4 months before her wedding. My goal is to have lost a total of 10 inches from my trouble stops by then.

I've also heard having a goal body picture to look at is always helpful in achieving your actual body goals. I've never had a body like this, but I believe it's possible.

I'll keep taking my baby steps towards my goals with running and maybe even another round of Insanity. I'm gonna get there... it might just take some time.

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Nanny's Surgery

Thursday, February 27, 2014

This week seems to be dragging on. There are so many things that I can't get out of my mind. One of them is my grandmother, Nanny. She has been having some health problems recently and the best solution is surgery. So today we are preparing for her surgery, which will actually be tomorrow.

This surgery is somewhat dangerous. Though all surgeries for the elderly can be very dangerous, this particular surgery has a 50/50 shot. The surgeon says half of the time the surgery fixes the problem, the other half of the time having surgery only makes the problem worse. Ideally, Nanny wouldn't have had the surgery but her condition has gotten a little worse. Which unfortunately makes the operation necessary.

I'll be very happy to breath a sigh of relief once I hear the results Friday and know that she's okay.

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Almost Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I'm just going to say this for the record: I'M TIRED OF SNOW!!! Okay, I feel better. But seriously, when is Spring getting here?! I'm ready for it. And on this almost wordless Wednesday as we are expecting another bout of snow, I give you my lovely selfie from our last snow storm! Please pardon the paleness, I'm still waiting for the sun to come out!

Happy Wednesday, y'all!

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I'm Here For You

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Being the significant other to a person in the military can sometimes be very difficult. Choices have to be made and sometimes the choices are made for you and all you can do is go along with it. It's tough, but you do it because you love the person you're with.

My best friend from college is currently going through the first deployment with her husband. I've never actually been though the deployment of my significant other. I've had friends that deployed and I sent them letters and care packages, but having a friend who's here, stateside, it's completely new territory for me.

Alpha Chi Sigma brothers, me and my best friend

When I found out he was leaving the first thing I told her was that I was there for her. It doesn't sound like much, but I feel like that's the best thing I can do. I can be a shoulder to lean on or an ear to listen. I can just be there for her.

When she gets home we'll hang out, maybe even have sleepovers like school girls. I've never felt that pain and worry of being away from the person you love, but I'm sure having a friend around is one of the best things she can have right now.

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February Monthly Favorites

Monday, February 24, 2014

I had a bit of trouble coming up with something that was my favorite this much. I hadn't really used anything new that I would consider a favorite but then I began thinking about what I did do a lot this month. It hit me then, I happened to read quite a few books this past month. And there is one way I did it, I rented them from the library.

Now I know we all have busy schedules and we don't always have time to go to the library to browse through the selection and rent a book the old fashion way. Though I do enjoy the smell of books, I sat on my couch in my PJs and rented my books this month through the marvels of modern technology.

I have a library cards with two different library systems that have digital libraries available. One of them uses 3M Cloud Library. I love using this digital library because I can access the books I rent from the app itself, no need in downloading the individual books and worrying about transferring them from my Kindle to my phone or if they will sync to the furthest location. It does it all automatically with an internet connection.

My other library uses a slightly more complicated system for the rental of digital library books but it comes with it's advantages. By using the OverDrive system, not only can I rent books with text, but they also offer audiobooks. I don't know how many people enjoy listening to audiobooks, but they came in handy while I was on my long road trip to Mississippi as well as when I'm quilting yet still want some entertainment without distracting myself by watching TV.

Renting digital books has many advantages. No braving the snow and crazy weather aka renting from your couch in your pajamas. Also no accidentally forgetting to turn in the library book. It returns itself automatically. I am on the waiting list for about 7 books right now and I get e-mail updates when my book arrives. I just go rent it from the respective apps. The other huge advantage to digitally renting them from library is I'm not forking out the big bucks to read the books. My wallet thanks me tremendously!
If you like to read and are paying to buy your digital books try visiting your local library to see if they also have a digital selection you can rent from.

Also if you haven't caught my recent book reviews, you can easily access them from my awesome new tab at the top of my blog! I am feeling quite tech savvy for the moment! :)

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Ahh... Farmville

Friday, February 21, 2014

I visited my college yesterday after talking to quite a few friends from college this past week. It has made me miss my little college town. I don't know that many people there anymore, but I still miss it. I'm hoping John and I will get to go back up there mid-April to the huge Spring Weekend since that's where we met nearly 2 years ago. Plus we got engaged on campus nearly a year ago!

I may be a little weird, but I always wonder what it looks like around where people live. Am I the only one to do that? Okay, I admit I'm weird sometimes. But anyway, since I'm being nostalgic about my little college town, I figured I could show you around my 4 year home of sweet Farmville.

This was my home for 4 years of my life. I made so many great memories around this town and the campus I hate to just let them go around untold in my memory. So here are some of the places around town that stand out to me a little more.

The Rotunda is one of the oldest buildings at Longwood and will always hold a special place in my heart from all of the wonderful Ambassador pictures, my favorite professor and hanging out with friends.

I'm sure y'all are wondering why a rock beside a tree would be one of my favorite places around Farmville and the campus. One Friday I was feeling a little sad so I happened to find this secluded rock and tree. I sat down to just calm down a little bit and cheer myself up before going back to my room. From then on, this rock became my sanctuary for whenever I needed alone time.

Every few years, Longwood gets new artwork around our campus. Some of them are very unique (my way of saying I don't like them) and some of them are actually pretty cool. One of my favorites is the robot. I also love it because John and I spent an hour hanging around it trying to get a geocache without too many people wondering what we were doing.

Last but definitely not least is my favorite place on campus. I always thought this area was very beautiful with the fountain. I liked to sit around here when I was early to a class or meeting friends, but this fountain also has more meaning since John got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife right in front of it. It will always hold a special place in my heart.

I hope you've enjoyed the small tour of my favorite places around Farmville/Longwood community.

Do you have favorite places around your town?

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Boys Behind the Blog: February Edition

Thursday, February 20, 2014

I honestly can't believe that it's already the 20th of February! Where does the time fly to? I feel like yesterday was just the first week of the month. But it's time for John to take over the blog again with Boys Behind the Blog.

Boys Behind The Blog

1. If you could live anywhere, where would you live?
Fiji, it's beautiful there and the houses are about the same as here in the US.
I asked why he chose Fiji and that was his full answer.

2. Sand or snow?
Definitely sand.
3. What Winter Olympic sport would you rock at?
I haven't watched the Olympics so I don't know what I would rock.
Can't say that I blame him there!
4. You're cooking a romantic dinner- what is your go-to dish?
Chicken Alfredo with garlic bread.
Ah, I love his Chicken Alfredo! I'll have to hint about this for our next anniversary!

5. Fill in the blank: This year, I gave Ashley a ____________________ for Valentine's Day?
This year I gave Ashley a surprise for Valentine's Day. 
I still haven't gotten my gift yet, so it's still a surprise.

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Quilting Away

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Yesterday I took the wild notion to pull out all the material I got to make myself a quilt and start working with it again. I started on this quilt around the end of January 2013. But I stopped working on it in late March, so I still have quite a ways to go on it.

In order to make a queen sized quilt I need to complete 20 squares. I've sewn 3 completely together and just finished hand quilting my first square yesterday. I have a little ways to go and I was feeling pretty ambitious setting a goal of having all of the squares sewn and hand quilted by April 1. We will see how well that turns out, hopefully I will make it by then.

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The Olympics

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I'm not a sports watcher, at least not on TV. For the most part I don't find it interesting to sit there and watch people run across a field or court chasing a ball or each other. So when the Olympics came on, I wasn't even remotely interested in watching it even though it might be slightly more eloquent than chasing opponents around.

I remember back in middle school, my history teacher made us watch the winter Olympics. I really didn't like it then either but I had to write my three favorite events for a grade, so I had to watch. I think out of everything I watched, I liked the figure skating the most. They were so graceful, much like dancing on ice. Besides that, I think I made up most of the rest of my report. Then as if to torture me even more, she recorded some of the events on her VHS and made us watch them in class.

Each time my dad reads the newspaper he comments on what place USA is in for the medal count. In some ways I hate not to watch and support the athletes coming from the US, but I find it pretty boring. If I were still in college, I might have watched some of them to just be able to keep up with my friends in conversations, but I honestly don't even know if that is something they keep up with.

Have you been keeping up with the Olympics?
What is your favorite event?

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Surviving Like Jericho

Monday, February 17, 2014

I've never really considered myself one of those apocalypse, the world will end type of people. Well, I never considered myself in that category until I watched the Jericho series.

If you have never heard of or watched Jericho, it's a TV series now on Netflix about a small town in northwest Kansas. At the beginning of the series, the town sees that some kind of explosion has occurred in Denver, Colorado. As the series goes on, it becomes apparent that the United States has been attacked by some group who has set off 20 something bombs (I don't remember the exact number) in major cities, including Washington DC, across the country to cripple the government. The TV show explores the struggles of Jericho after the nuclear attack while the US tries to get back on it's feet.

After watching the show it has really made me think about how I live currently. I don't think I could have survived more than a month in that situation. Seeing how the town struggled to feed it's people and keep everybody warm during the winter, it makes me want to start keeping my own little stock-pile of food and preparing for the worst.

I like to be an optimistic person, and I try very hard to be that way, but the truth is that it could happen. I honestly hope it doesn't, but there's no harm in being slightly prepared right? Like knowing how to make bread in case you can't just go to the local store to buy some. Or knowing how to make ice with some fertilizer. Or knowing how to fix your own car or radio. Knowing the basics so that you can rely on yourself instead of a specially trained mechanic. There's honestly no harm in being prepared.

There are quite a few websites that I've run across that gives detailed survival guide tips like this blog as well as more detailed survival packing and preparedness like this site. It might be good to put a little thought into creating something like this in case of any type of disaster, natural or otherwise.

Also if you are like me and have seen the show or watch it and become interested in it, there is a fan site where you can be updated with all the latest news about the possible revival of the show as well as community chats about specific episodes on Wednesday nights.

Okay, I'll stop running around like a redneck saying the aliens are coming! Thanks for reading.

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A Day for Love

Friday, February 14, 2014

Today is sort of a special day for me. Yes, I know everybody is celebrating Valentine's day, but I have more love to celebrate than just the V-day holiday. Today John and I are celebrating 22 months together. We don't normally celebrate monthly anniversaries, but since today is all about love for every other couple, I figured we could make an exception and celebrate our love for each other both because of Valentine's day as well as our special "anniversary".

I love him so much and I can't imagine trying to make it in the crazy world without him. I honestly can't imagine my future without him. He knows me better than I know myself half of the time. He knows how to cheer me up when I get lost in the dark places in my head. He also knows just how to annoy the crap out of me, but always knows just what to do to make it better.

Since today is a special day to me, I wanted to reminisce about a few firsts in our love story! I love thinking back about special times in our lives together as well as reading back about love posts I've written. It just so happens that a few lovely ladies are also doing a Flashback Friday link up today.

Flashback Friday

I hope y'all have a great Valentine's day and a wonderful weekend.

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Valentine's Day Cards

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Valentine's day is tomorrow. I can't believe it got here so quickly. Have you gotten something for your special someone? John and I decided to exchange gifts about a week ago. I had to plan a little quick but I always like to make gifts as much as I can. It is so much more meaningful to get a handmade gift (in my humble opinion) but it's also usually less expensive to make things instead of buying them. And so here is what I've decided to make John.

I shared earlier about the 52 reasons I love you booklet made out of a deck of cards. Remember? Yeah, super cute. Well I thought about making the booklet but then I remembered how the last time I went to try to play with John's deck of cards he was missing about 6 cards. So basically I decided not to put them together and to let him actually be able to use them when he gets bored.

52 Reasons I love you cards

So it wasn't that difficult to actually complete the project as long as you are a good cutter and gluer. I came up with all the reasons I loved him. That was probably the easiest part of the whole gift. While I was doing that I got busy cutting out all the white paper to glue to my cards. Thankfully I had my Silhouette because if not I think I might still be cutting out paper!

After I got everything cut out, it was time to get to writing. I wrote all the reasons on the individual slips of paper. This was a little difficult. My handwriting often slips into this "only Ashley can read it" illegibility. But luckily none of them got too sloppy. I think out of all the cards I wrote, I re-did maybe 3 because the words got a little scrunched.

Gluing was the fun part. Holy crap did I feel like I was back in elementary school learning how to use the glue. But I made it through, although in all of my fun sticky finger times, I forgot to take pictures of this step.

I'm really happy with how they turned out. I think he will love them. I hope he will use them, but if not I'm sure he will turn to them if he is ever having a rough day and know that he means the world to me.

I hope y'all have fun making or purchasing whatever you happen to be getting for your loved ones!

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Are You Divergent?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Back in December I met up with some of my friends from college. We were all in Alpha Chi Sigma (the chemistry fraternity) together, so you know we are all a bit nerdy anyway. We started talking about what TV shows and books we've been enjoying. After we all proclaimed our love for The Hunger Games series, one of my friends suggested we read the Divergent series.

I took her up on her suggestion and put my name on the HUGE waiting list for it at the library. I finally was able to rent it last Monday while John was working. Let me just say that this was a book I couldn't put down. The whole 6 hours while he was at work, I was busy reading. I finished this book in 3 days flat. It might not seem fast to some of y'all, but for me, reading a book in under a week is pretty fast.

If you have not heard about this wonderful book, you can click the picture above and it will take you to the GoodReads description. I also don't want to give too much of the plot away if you haven't read it and want to. But I want to share some of what pulled me into this book so much.

Since becoming friends with Jake, I've gotten into personality types a little more. He absolutely loves studying about personality types and trying to figure out everybody's type he comes into contact with. I know this sounds like some random facts, but bare with me. I promise it ties in.

Within the book, there are 5 factions or societies: Abnegation, Candor, Erudite, Amity and Dauntless. They dictate everything about you. How you think, what you wear, what your job is, so on and so forth. Each of the different factions place a different believe at the highest level without putting any thought or consideration into the other beliefs.

The one thing I noticed almost immediately about the factions is they seemed like personality types. I am not the best at telling what a persons personality type is so I  used my handy dandy research skills to see what was going on in Veronica Roth's head when she created these factions. It turns out that she used the Five Factor Model known to many psychology students as OCEAN to create the factions found in Divergent. (I used this review and this one to help me with all the personality types stuff... have to credit my sources!)

Abnegation. They believe in selflessness above all other things. People within this faction hold jobs in the government or helping the factionless (homeless people). The type of person to be in this society would be an introvert with good people skills and is very people oriented. They would like routine and orderliness.

Candor. Honesty is the most important to this faction. Candor jobs relate to telling and seeking the truth such as a lawyer or judge. The type of person to best fit into this faction would be an outgoing, energetic person with attention to details. They would enjoy thrilling activities in their spare time.

Erudite. Knowledge is the main focus of this faction. They are always curious or in search of information. People in this faction work in the library, schools as teachers, scientists or mathematicians. The best personality for this faction would be highly introverted who is comfortable being in their own head. They are highly intelligent and are the thinkers of the world.

Amity. Love and peace are the problem solvers to this faction. Citizens here are very friendly and agreeable. People to are very relationship oriented, intend on resolving problems to create a peaceful community would belong in this faction.

Dauntless. Fearlessness is what best describes the dauntless. They highly look down upon cowardly actions. As the cities main police and security force the dauntless would look for extrovert citizen. However according to the Five Factor Model, people who are also drawn to this faction can be unstable, sometimes depressed or have the possibility for frequent mood changes. In today's society they might be considered Gothic.

I've browsed around the web a little bit and found a few faction quizzes. They told me I would be great for Amity. Although I do agree with Amity and their ideals, I believe in my heart that I belong more with Erudite. I am always asking questions and trying to learn as much as I can. Who knows though, I could just be a Divergent.

Where do you think you would belong?
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I'm Really Not A Fan of Change

Monday, February 10, 2014

I am not very good with change. I will be the first to admit that. I don't remember if I've always been this way or if it has been a more recent thing I've acquired about my life. In either case, the change to wearing glasses has been quite a different one.

As I said a little earlier, I have nearsightedness meaning I have trouble seeing things at a distance. My vision is only slightly less than perfect. So looking through the glasses only helps when I am looking at something that is further away from me. Therefore one of the biggest things I've had to get used to is actually looking through my glasses when I'm wearing them. I will look under them or over them because in reality, I can see pretty well without them.

One of the best things about wearing them is that at night when neon signs begin to get a little fuzzy, putting on my glasses makes all of it get so crisp again. I knew the green neon signs (especially diesel fuel prices) were so fuzzy I could hardly read them at night. But other than those, I didn't even realize my eye sight was getting less than perfect.

The one thing I was very shocked about while wearing my glasses is how it makes the colors of things so much more vibrant. Honestly, I never expected that to happen. I guess when things come into focus more, you are able to see everything better even colors.

I have to admit the change made me kind of a baby. I was pretty upset that John and I now pretty much have the same vision and I had to have glasses while he does not. I know that is pretty lame that it would make me that upset but I always prided myself in having wonderful vision. Maybe I was a little vain to not want to wear glasses. And although I am not a super huge fan of actually wearing them and am kind of in denial of having them still, I am trying to be excited that things will be clear and crisp whenever I need them to be.

Does anybody else have an aversion to change like me? Please tell me I'm not that only one!

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2014 Book List

Friday, February 7, 2014

This New Years, I made a goal to read 25 books. I sometimes forget that I like to read. I will get interested in a TV show or caught up in other activities and forget about books even though I have a bookcase full of them. I wanted to share some of the books I want to read this year and maybe get some suggestions from y'all. See what y'all are reading this year.

Each of the books will be linked back to GoodReads so you can read the description. Also you can find me on GoodReads here! I'd love to be friends!

I have a ton of books on my to-read list but sometimes they just don't sound that interesting to me. So these are the first ones of my list for this year.

Have y'all read any of these?
What books are on your reading list for this year?

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