DIY St. Patrick's Day Decoration

Friday, February 27, 2015

I absolutely love St. Patrick's Day! I love decorating the house up in green, saying a drinking toast and having a beer. Okay, so maybe I haven't said a drinking toast before, but I have been to a few St. Patrick's Day parades and celebrated.

This year in order to celebrate St. Patrick's Day and satisfy my crafty side, I decided to create this cute little piece of Irish artwork. It was pretty simple to make and will look great sitting on the mantle for the upcoming holiday!

So this is what you'll need to make it:

A 9 x 12 canvas (~$4)
Gold paint ($1.29)
Green paint ($3)
Stickers (~$4)
Painters tape (~$5)
Paint brush

For a pictorial overview scroll down.

1. You'll want to paint your whole canvas gold. Don't forget the edges! Make sure to get a good coat on there especially where you will put your letters (in the middle of the canvas). Let it dry and apply more coats as necessary.

2. Make sure your gold layer is completely dry! When the paint is dry, place your stickers in the desired location. I put mine in an oval shape. I didn't want them to be just straight and boring. There is no particular pattern or anything, just however suits your fancy. Make sure your letters are stuck on the canvas well. Turn it upside down and press on the back side of the canvas. This will allow you to firmly press on your letters without denting the canvas.

3. Line the edges of your canvas with painters tape! Try to get the tape as straight as possible.

4. Paint green over the gold paint and the stickers. More than likely you will need 2 or 3 coats. Make sure there is no gold peaking through. It can be a little stubborn in some places!

5. After the green paint is completely dry, peel off the painters tape and the stickers. You should be left with a beautiful St. Patrick's Day decoration you can show off! If you need to, touch up the letters with gold paint.

Do you decorate for St. Patrick's Day?
Do you celebrate the Irish?

What's Up Wednesday: Week 4

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Welcome to week 4 of What's Up Wednesday! This is a very special week. You want to know why? Well I'm going to tell you. Katie, Shannon and I have starting having guest hosts join us for What's Up Wednesday. This week we are featuring one of my newest blogging friends and fellow book lover, Chelsie from Life with Rosie. Be sure to hop on over to her little piece of interwebs and check her out! I'm sure you'll love her!

This week is also special because we've started something else new for What's Up Wednesday. We are going to include one bonus question each week. So if you have some suggestions for bonus questions please leave them below! I would love to know what questions you would like to answer!

As always, here are the rules of the game:

1. Please follow your hosts (meKatie and Shannon)

2. Please follow the prompts and add the graphic for our link up (code can be found below)

3. Link up the actual post and not your blogs homepage!

4. Share the link up on Twitter, IG, and Facebook using #Whatsuplinkup

In case you don't remember what the prompts are, here is a list:

What I loved about the past week//
What I'm looking forward to//
What I'm nervous about//
What I've been daydreaming about//
What I ate for dinner last night//
What I'm craving//
What else is new//
Bonus question: What book I'm reading//

What I loved about this past week//

I got the job I applied for. Remember last week I told y'all how I had applied for a job and to keep your fingers crossed?! Well, I got it. Thanks for all of your well wishes!

The job is in a cosmetic lab of  a pharmaceutical company just 15 minutes from my house. I'm so excited (and a little nervous) to start this job. But ultimately I can't wait. Once I get myself situated in the job I'll be sure to tell y'all everything about it!

Also, Christy actually let me take a few pictures of her. She is normally famous for moving her head at the last second so you end up with this blurry light brown blob in your picture.


What I'm looking forward to//

Not having snow on the ground, and as I'm typing this... it's snowing! Yeah, I don't see that happening any time soon though a lot of the snow did melt away this past week.

And as a second to not having snow on the ground, I'm looking forward to warmer weather. One day this past week it was -2 as I was driving into work. I don't remember a time ever in my life that it has been in the negatives in Virginia.

What I'm craving//

There is this local place called The Alamo, it's in the heart of (read: the not so good part of) Richmond and it has some of the best barbecue I've ever tasted. Now where I'm from you have "Carolina" style barbecue which has vinegar based sauce and then there is the other mustard based barbecue. Usually I tend to gravitate towards Carolina style with the vinegar, but this place in Richmond serves mustard based barbecue and it is to die for!

Like I said, it's in the not so good part of Richmond, so my friends and I will only go for lunch, but I've really been craving it. Maybe I can talk them into going up there for lunch this weekend?!

What I'm reading//

I just finished up an audiobook that I ended up loving! It is called Deadline by Sandra Brown. Awesome action/mystery book! So Monday night I started Cinder. There is no better way to start reading a book than a comfy seat on the couch and some hot chocolate. Let me tell you! So far I'm really enjoying the book!

I also pretty much have my reading list picked out for the month. So I'm pretty excited to read these new books and step out of my comfort zone with books a little!

So now it's your turn to link up! Grab a button and add your link!

What's Up Wednesday

Why I Stopped Listening to T Swift and I'll Start Again

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Confession time. In high school, I hated country music. Like with a passion. My friends absolutely loved country music. Anytime I would get in their car and that blasted nasally noise would be on, I would whine and complain until they changed the station. Finally, they turned me on to Taylor Swifts song Our Song. 

I fell in love with Taylor Swifts' first album. I listened to it on repeat! Actually, I loved her first three albums. I couldn't get enough. And then things changed when her Red album came out. I had very very mixed reviews and stopped listening to her all together.

In my head Taylor Swift was a country music artist and that's how it was supposed to be. She made me love country music, so she had to keep singing it. I thought that because she had started singing more pop songs she was becoming a cop-out. She was trying to win over the younger generation with their love of pop music and ignoring all of the fans who loved her as a country music artist... basically me!

I had not listened to a single song of hers for nearly 3 years. I didn't buy any of her new albums or songs on iTunes, nothing, nada, zilch. I was mad at her for changing. But then I realized I was wrong.

Everybody changes, and she is certainly no different. I listened to Shake It Off over the weekend to try to make a new running playlist. I realized that I actually liked the song.

So she doesn't sing country music much anymore... If I had accepted T Swift as a musical singer and not a country music singer, I would have realized that her music was pretty cool all along. So now I have a lot of catching up to do!

Have you ever judged a musical artist?
What type of music do you listen to?

Oh My Running!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Stupid, stupid snow! And stupid freezing temperatures! I have started to fall behind in my running!

If y'all remember, I am training for the Ukrops Monument Avenue 10k coming up on March 28th! I was a week or so ahead of schedule which I thought was pretty good. Then Virginia pounded us with nearly 6 inches of snow and all my running went to the wayside.

I have gotten up to running 6 minutes and I can't wait to continue on my running journey! I have actually signed up for another 5k race (which I believe I mentioned before). This one is in my home town and much more low key. I figured it would be good to warm up so to speak.

I've also figured out two of my favorite running songs are What I Like About You by The Romantics and The Queen and I by Gym Class Heroes. I would really love to find a few more favorite running songs.

I have also decided to try to add a few strength training exercises to my off days (once I start really running again). I found this article about 5 core exercises for runners on Pinterest, so I started it over the weekend. Something is better than nothing right?!

Do you have any suggestions for running?
What are your favorite running songs?
What do you do for exercise?

The Anwers

Friday, February 20, 2015

Today I am here to give you the answers to all of your questions you asked two weeks ago! I wanted to give a huge thank you to Chelsea, Janelle, Chelsie, Shannon, Jen and Elizabeth! I really appreciate y'all putting time and effort into coming up with your questions and I hope that I have answered them!

I know that was a little long, so kudos to you if you made it through the whole thing! Thanks for watching!

Have a great weekend!

What's Up Wednesday: Week 3

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Welcome to yet another What's Up Wednesday! I hope y'all have had a good week. I'm so excited that you're here again and I get to catch up with y'all.

As always, here are the rules of the game:

1. Please follow your hosts (meKatie and Shannon)

2. Please follow the prompts and add the graphic for our link up (code can be found below)

3. Link up the actual post and not your blogs homepage!

4. Share the link up on Twitter, IG, and Facebook using #Whatsuplinkup

In case you don't remember what the prompts are, here is a list:

What I loved about the past week//
What I'm looking forward to//
What I'm nervous about//
What I've been daydreaming about//
What I ate for dinner last night//
What I'm craving//
What else is new//

I didn't have any exciting trips this past weekend or much of anything exciting so no cute vlog intro or anything like that this week. I guess you will get to see what the real life of Ashley is like...

What I loved about this past week//

Well, it was Valentine's Day and even though I didn't actually spend it with John, we did exchange pictures and talked for quite a while on the phone during his lunch break. It was so great to just get the time to talk.

I got this Coca-Cola shirt for Valentine's day, and if y'all knew me... you would know that I am in love with Coke! Like loooooove Coke! (That just reminded me, I never did an Untold Stories of John and Ashley for February and it was supposed to be about Coke... so come back in March to read about that!)

Anyway, I broke in my Coca-Cola shirt by wearing it to dinner with my German neighbors. She made this wonderful German meal for me. It was awesome! Something else you might not know is I'm half German. I've never really had an interest in my German half because, well... I always thought my half Irish side was cooler.

So we had German Schnitzel, a sort of Rotkohl, and fried potatoes. Okay, I'm guessing you want a translation... As you can guess, the fried potatoes are just fried potatoes. They might have had a German name, but I didn't catch it. Our main meat was the Schnitzel, we had pork though apparently it could have been made with veil. And the Rotkohl is cabbage made with a red wine. And I say sort of Rotkohl because I don't think it was the traditional Rotkohl with onions and apples in it. If it had that, I couldn't taste it. In any case it was an absolutely wonderful meal and I can't wait to try my hand at cooking German food!

What I'm looking forward to//

Making more crafts for American Honey Crafts. This weekend Suzanne and I created a Facebook page for our crafts. You should totally go check it out and like it! (Shameless plug for our craft shop there!) We made 2 new pieces and can't wait to make more. I've been getting inspiration from everywhere lately.

What I'm daydreaming about//

I went on an interview a few weeks ago and I've been daydreaming about what it will be like if I can get this job. Y'all... seriously. I would love to have this job. Let's just say if you knew me, and you knew how much I am into beauty and hair care and stuff like that, you would think I was a perfect fit for this job. So keep your fingers crossed that I get in with this company!

Car Selfie//

What's Up Wednesday?! I've been taking this beauty out for a spin!

I have a 3000GT that I absolutely love. I honestly can't believe I'm lucky enough to be able to drive around in it. I don't often drive it though because it takes premium gas and let's face it, I don't want to fork out the $3.20 plus a gallon to fill the tank. Plus I hate taking it to public places where some jerk can ding my door. So I drove it to game night last week and when I got to Suzanne's house, I had to take a car selfie. One of my friends made fun of me and eventually took a picture of me with my car... So yeah, it turned out a lot better. Needless to say.... I love my car!

The Reads//

This past week I started American Sniper by Chris Kyle. I pretty much already know what is going to happen in the book since I went to watch the movie... but I still wanted to read it. Y'all will have to stay tuned for a talk about the book and a song I relate to the book/movie.

What has been going on in your lives? Link up with us so I can read all about you!

What's Up Wednesday

Book Review: The Night Circus

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Le Cirque de Reves arrives without notice. It is a circus like nobody has seen, opening at dusk and closing at dawn. Beyond the gates, black and white tents beckon patrons to enter.

Behind all the show of the circus, a competition is underway. Celia and Marco were bound in the game at a young age. They prepared their magic most of their adolescent life. Both control portions of the circus trying to out shine the other.

As the circus continues, Celia and Marco fall in love with each other. Love was not meant transpire between the two and now the fate of the whole circus is at stake.

This is not a book I had set out to read. In fact I happened upon this book while I was looking for a new audiobook to listen to while driving back and forth from work. When I saw that a few of my Goodread friends also wanted to read the book, I figured it must be worth the read.

The audiobook was great to listen to. The narrator had a great voice that kept me captivated. However, after finishing the book, I feel like physically reading the book would put me more in the middle of things. Either way you choose to read it, you just must read it.

This book wraps you up in it and keeps you there until the very end. The writing paints a picture, or better yet a dream like state that you can't help but fall into while reading. It creates a place that is full of wonder and mystery, a place like any other than I've imagined.

It is about a circus, but not about a circus.
It is a love story, but not a book about love.
It is full of magic that continues to live in you after you've long put the book down.

Run, don't walk and get this book as soon as you possibly can!


Monday, February 16, 2015

Where art thou been? I just started realizing over this past week that I have rarely been watching Netflix. WHAT?! STOP THE BUS!!!! What has happened to me?

I remember a time when I was constantly watching Netflix. I zipped through seasons like a kid eats through his Halloween candy. What the heck happened? I remember a year ago I had recently finished Orange is the New Black, was in the middle of Alias, started watching Firefly with John and discovered Jericho... All of this was pretty much simultaneously being watched. Now I'm lucky if I even "watch" Netflix as I'm going to sleep.

Did the world tilt off its axis without me knowing?! I am going to try to right the world though. I just finished season 3 of Hart of Dixie this weekend and can't wait to get started on Season 4 from the live season. PS I really love Annabeth! I also have her AB initials!

Otherwise I do have 2 other shows that I have started and yet to finish... those being 90210 and Criminal Minds. Another show I would like to try to watch is Friday Night Lights. John watched that and said it was pretty good... no One Tree Hill, but it was pretty good.

What shows do y'all watch on Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Prime? 
Any suggestions for me so I can get the world back on its axis?

Organized Ashley

Friday, February 13, 2015

I am kind of cheap. Okay, that makes me sound bad. Let me explain.... I will splurge on things if I really want it. For example, when I was at the beach over the weekend I bought a pair of Michael Kors jeans and a Michael Kors clutch/purse. In total I spent wayyy more than I had budgeted for this paycheck, but that's okay. What I am cheap about is when I know something is pricey and I can make it or find it somewhere else for a better price.

I have been wanting a nice planner for myself. I browsed around online and saw them for $30 or more. My jaw almost hit the ground. I couldn't believe the price of planners. I even went to my local Staples and ran into the same prices. I made my mind up then... I was going to be cheap and just make my own. And so I did. While I was at Staples, I bought a ream of heavy weight paper ($13) and priced getting a spiral binding with vinyl covers ($5). I think I can handle less than $20 in materials.

I just got my planner printed out last night and I'm loving it so far. I still have to take it to Staples for them to bind it, but I'm really loving how it turned out. I've already got my week planned out for the most part.

One of the things that I love about a planner is that I don't have to try to keep track of things in my head. Did I already schedule my social media posts? When was I going to write this post? Do I have time to brainstorm for next month's post or am I just flying by the seat of my pants? Well, no more unorganized Ashley.

And seriously y'all I'm hoping this helps. I am a little embarrassed to say that I often forget even the most simple tasks... shaving my legs for instance. John always complains that my legs are like a porky pine but I haven't seen him recently so I honestly have forgotten to shave my legs. But no more prickly legged Ashley y'all. I've even make notes about shaving my legs!

So basically I'm so thrilled to have this planner physically in my hands! And since I've already created it all, I figured I would share the fun and post a copy of the monthly calendar if y'all would like download it and use it (so you don't forget to shave your legs either!).

How do you stay organized?
Do you make things when you don't want to pay to buy them?

The Golden Vlog: February

Thursday, February 12, 2015

I am so happy to finally be able to link up with Elizabeth and share The Golden Vlog with y'all. I had two of my good friends help me with the vlog... and it only took us like 3 takes to finally be happy with is. So I hope y'all enjoy... and no critiquing!

Also here is the picture I told y'all about from when John proposed.

Also don't forget to ask your questions! If you have any, please try to get them in by Monday so I can include them in the video. If not I'll just answer them as written answers.

What's Up Wednesday 2.11.14

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Welcome to another week of What's Up Wednesday! I want to thank y'all so much for participating in the link up last week. Katie, Shannon and I were very happy to have so many of y'all come to participate. We are still trying to work out a few things with the link up and so we have made a few changes, including that we ask you follow the prompts as closely as you can! Please read over our new guidelines and have fun meeting some new friends and catching up!

1. We would love it if you follow your hosts (me, Katie and Shannon)

2. Please follow the prompts and add the graphic for our link up (code can be found below)

3. Link up the actual post and not your blogs homepage!

4. Share the link up on Twitter, IG, and Facebook using #Whatsuplinkup

In case you don't remember what the prompts are, here is a list (plus a surprise prompt):

What I loved about the past week//
What I'm looking forward to//
What I'm nervous about//
What I've been daydreaming about//
What I ate for dinner last night//
What I'm craving//
What I'm doing for Valentines day//
What else is new//

I have honestly been so excited to do the link up again this week. The only way to explain how excited I was is to show you the video I created... So please enjoy and I'll get into more detail after the video!

What I loved about this past week[end]// 

I got a long weekend from work and so my mom and I took off for the beach. We honestly didn't do much... well we did a lot of shopping, but other than that, we didn't do much.

What have you been up to this week? We want to know in the What's Up Wednesday link up!

We got a later start than we had wanted, so we stopped for dinner on the road, which was great because I finally got Zaxby's! I had been craving it since Shannon mentioned it last week in her What's Up Wednesday! Thanks Shannon! I finally got my Zaxby's.

Mom and I were on the hunt for cute (and bright colored) running shoes all weekend. That's why we went shopping so much. We couldn't find anything we liked. On our first day of shopping, I figured out that the new shopping center that opened up has a Which Wich in it. OMG!! I had to get lunch there and introduce Mom to it's glory. I love how they have gluten free options which was great for her.

We stayed out almost until the malls closed, but the one thing I love about South Carolina malls is they are outdoors. Well that is good and bad, but good because I caught this beautiful sky at sunset!

Saturday was also filled with shopping... Here's mom and my selfie before going out shopping and the wind messing up our hair completely...

Saturday night we went to eat at this really cool hamburger cafe called River City Cafe. It is an awesome rustic type of restaurant where you are encouraged to throw your peanut shells on the floor (and write on the walls). There is literally graffiti everywhere in the restaurant. It's pretty cool to see. When mom and I got seated, I happened to be looking around at all of the old license plates hanging on the wall and what did I see but two initials... I promise I didn't write them, but it just so happens that A&J also fits Ashley and John... 

Before we left to come back home, I had to go out on the beach one time. I walked around a bit but I didn't dare to stick my feet in the water. Just the sand was cold enough!

I don't have any big plans for this weekend. No Valentine's Day plans (see long distance relationship), but I am looking forward to chowing down on the Valentine's cookies I made last night!!!

What have you been up to? Let us know! Grab the button and add your link.

What's Up Wednesday